Monday, November 29, 2010

Pro Football: Out of "luck" only in closing moments

ALLOW ME to change the subject to professional football, of which I am a nutty fan. With sports, one can be nutty without endangering fragile world peace, encouraging the wrath of Rush Limbaugh or forcing John Boehner to choke up. Still, in the wake of Sunday's games it was possible to hear some things that were nuttier than others. Not that they changed anything, which is a good reason why sports is so important in our workaday cares.

For example, you could not pick up a paper or listen to a sportscast that didn't accuse the Pittsburgh Steelers or Cleveland Browns of being lucky to have won because of their opponents' blunders.

The Steelers won in overtime against the Buffalo Bills because, as "luck" would have it, a Buffalo receiver dropped a pass in the end zone that would have changed the outcome. (Actually, the crestfallen receiver openly blamed his misfortune on God's last-minute intervention instead. Honest.)

And the Browns won, as luck would have it, because Carolina's field goal kicker missed the payoff zone with seconds remaining.

Being inexpert on the fortunes of winning and losing, I still must wonder why the witnesses to these terrible moments (for the losers, at least) don't make a big deal out of a mishandled end zone pass in the first quarter of the game, or a stray field goal attempt in the second quarter or any other game-changing episode that unluckily (?) doesn't happen in the closing seconds.

It's quite nutty to raise these questions, I know. There is doubtless a perfectly rational explanation by the deeper thinkers, but I don't know what it is.

As Chuck Noll, the former Steelers coach, once explained to a reporter who asked whether the Steelers would have won if, by chance, an onside kick had worked by traveling the necessary 10 yards. "Winning," said Noll, "has nothing to do with geography."

1 comment:

TimJayFitz said...

In a Beacon article yesterday Peyton Hillis explained that he played so well because of God - leading one to assume that God hates the Carolina Panther's defense.