It's almost impossible to see Essendon slipping far from the AFL limelight in 2013.
In normal circumstances, the signing of Brendon Goddard from St Kilda would be the major talking point at a powerhouse club which has endured uncharacteristically lean times in the last decade.
So often criticised for failing to land the big fish from other clubs, it was Essendon who made the biggest splash in the first year of free agency.
Securing Goddard from St Kilda to a lucrative four-year deal should lift some of the midfield burden from skipper Jobe Watson, who could hardly have done more for the cause in a 2012 campaign which netted him a first Brownlow Medal and All-Australian jumper and a third club best and fairest award.
Nearly as exciting for the red and black faithful is the arrival of big Joe Daniher.
The 201cm son of former Sydney and Essendon star Anthony Daniher would likely have gone at pick No.1 in the draft had the Bombers not been able to snare him for the bargain price of No.10 under the father-son rule.
Coach James Hird said the club initially planned to ease the hulking key forward into senior action with a handful of senior games in 2013.
"But the way he moves on the track and dominates marking contests is quite remarkable for a boy his age," said Hird.
"Certainly we don't want to ruin him, but he's making us think about playing him a lot more than we were."
That's the good news.
Then there's the elephant in the room in the shape of the wide-ranging Australian Crime Commission report which prompted investigations by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and an external review commissioned by the board into the club's controversial supplements program in 2012.
Hird was preaching to the converted earlier this month when he said the club would fight for its reputation.
"We're not walking around with our heads bowed," said the club legend, ahead of his third season in charge.
"We're walking around proud of our footy club."
Be that as it may, it's likely to be months rather than weeks before the issue plays out.
And whatever did or didn't happen last year, it will take an almighty effort by Hird and the coaching staff for it not to become a massive distraction for the playing group.
Just where the list is at is far from clear.
Goddard will make an immediate impact and Daniher is likely to become a significant factor sooner rather than later.
Dyson Heppell has already delivered on his considerable promise and there are high hopes Michael Hurley can do the same this year.
Tom Bellchambers seems ready to make the No.1 ruck position his own, although there remain concerns that the midfield is still too one-paced.
But is the real Essendon the one which won 11 of its first 15 games in 2012 to set up a prospective top-four finish?
Or is it the side which lost seven straight games to slip all the way to 11th?
They are both big questions, but neither of them is the biggest one facing the club in one of the most crucial years in its long history.