The Only Stat That Matters
This, is YOUR time! Now go out there and take it!
-Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) to the US Hockey Team in ‘Miracle’
Like most of the free world, I watched Super Bowl 56 on Sunday, and like most of the free world, I would imagine, I rooted for the Bengals, even though they’re not my team and I really didn’t have a dog in the fight.
In social media and on sportsyak, everyone seemed to want to blame one play, one player for the loss.
‘The refs decided to call the game only at the end’
‘The fouls called against the Bengals were ticky-tack’
‘If only Tyler Boyd had not dropped a pass for the first time all season’
To listen to some people, this was almost as criminal as the 1972 Gold Medal basketball game, where it seemed like everyone wanted the Soviet Union to beat the United States, which they finally did on the third try. And you’d also think that Tyler Boyd was Bill Buckner 126.96.36.199 (Beta Version)
All of to which I say: Poppycock. At best this is tunnel vision; at worst, unfair and uninformed scapegoating.
You can’t look at a sporting event in a vacuum. You have to look at it holistically. I think Joe Burrow being sacked seven times had a lot more to do with Cincinnati failing to achieve victory than a single dropped pass. I think Matthew Stafford, who had to know he would be embarking on what would be a career defining drive against a very good defense — especially when Cooper Kupp was the only go to regular receiver left — had as much to do with the Rams winning as anything.
And as far as the refs taking the first 58 minutes of the game off, I didnt hear many people say much about how Cincinnati benefitted from this on the 75 yard TD to Tee Higgins that should have been called back. And as far as the ‘make up calls’ at the end of the game, if Cincinnati didn’t commit them, is it reasonable to think they wouldn’t have been called? Don’t forget, the first TD Cooper Kupp caught was called back due to offsetting penalties. How quickly we forget that, and how quickly sportsyak and social media didn’t remember us this.
A friend of mine told his team after a tough loss once ‘I’m not going to blame the refs when we lose. If we do that, I have to give them credit when we win, and I’m not willing to do that.’ And I think that applies here. If you want to make excuses and who ‘choked’ or who ‘cost you the win’ go ahead. The way I will see it, is a team that overcame an injury to a major player, a team who was burned by a terrible non-Call, and thanks largely to a drive for the ages, made said terrible non-Call not matter.
That’s what I call a champion.
And that’s all I’ve got.