The 32 proud franchises of the National Football League took the field during the first weekend of the NFL season full of hope for the year to come. For half of them, that hope took a quick and cruel blow because they stumbled and lost in their first trip out of the gate. Professional athletes are used to dealing with defeat and probably won't read too much into it, but fans are an impulsive lot. More than one is standing on the bridge deciding whether or not to jump, but we've got reasons why each of them should take a deep breath and hold on a little longer.
In descending order of reasons to keep feeling good about the team:
Tennessee Titans: You've got less reason to worry than any other team in this group. You lost to the defending Super Bowl champions in overtime and on the road. The defense looks strong, Kerry Collins thrived in an improved passing game and Jeff Fisher's moustache has never tasted fear.
Detroit Lions: Surprised to see them this high on the list? You shouldn't be. After losing all 16 games you played in 2008, you're going to start panicking about losing one measly game? Pshaw.
Oakland Raiders: This was the best the Raiders have looked in years. You have to just keep the faith that JaMarcus Russell will eventually figure out that you're trying to throw the ball to your teammates or that his poor accuracy will eventually lead to a shaving accident that puts him on the bench.
Miami Dolphins: Remembering that you lost your first game in 2008 before going on to win the AFC East should be enough to put off any serious heart palpitations. If that doesn't work, put on some tunes by co-owners Mark Anthony, Jennifer Lopez and Gloria Estefan and dance your troubles away.
Chicago Bears: The glass is half-empty crowd will bemoan the fact that Jay Cutler threw four interceptions in his first start, but the real wisdom is in asking yourself one simple question: How many interceptions would Rex Grossman have thrown?
Washington Redskins: Spend your time rooting for the Native American group suing for ownership of the Redskins trademark. The Redskins might be 0-1 this season, but the Washington Inoffensive Mascots are undefeated, baby!
Kansas City Chiefs: Matt Cassel didn't play, so that's a good reason to keep believing that he's really a great quarterback and not the product of the Patriots machine.
Arizona Cardinals: There's no reason to think that God has abandoned Kurt Warner just because of one loss, even if that loss did come against the heathens of San Francisco.
Cincinnati Bengals: How many times can a play like this happen? Okay, it's the Bengals so it might happen a few more times but that still leaves 10 or 11 games up for grabs.
Houston Texans: Who among us can stand fast in the face of Mark Sanchez's dreamy good looks?
Jacksonville Jaguars: Based on their attendance the last few years, no one was paying attention to this game and, again based on the attendance numbers, they'll probably be in Los Angeles sooner rather than later. In other words, don't waste your time.
Buffalo Bills: The Patriots cheated! They probably didn't, but that and the fact that Terrell Owens hasn't thrown anyone under the bus should be enough to get you through the week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: If you forget about the three mistakes by safety Sabby Piscitelli that led to three Cowboys touchdowns, the Buccaneers won the game 21-13. Not too shabby for a team that just fired their offensive coordinator.
St. Louis Rams: The Cardinals are about to enter the playoffs, so there's no good reason why anyone in St. Louis should be paying any attention to the Rams. To those that are watching, we apologize for suggesting there was a reason to keep thinking better days lie ahead for this team.
Cleveland Browns: Based on Eric Mangini's devotion to security, you don't even know if the Browns are planning to show up to play this week's game so how can you be apoplectic about it?
Carolina Panthers: Jake Delhomme's thrown nine interceptions in his last two starts, intended backup Josh McCown is on injured reserve and the middle of their run defense is gooier than a molten chocolate cake. That seems like three good reasons to abandon hope, so we can only offer Heather Mitts. She's engaged to new backup quarterback A.J. Feeley. Take a look and then you'll realize that the Panthers still roar!