Monday, January 23, 2012

No Winners Yesterday

I always find it much more satisfying to watch a team win a game rather than watch a team lose it. Unfortunately, both conference championship games yesterday ended with a team losing.

The Ravens-Patriots game ended on one of the least satisfying final plays in all of professional sports: a missed  field goal. Actually, I should qualify that a bit. A missed field goal on its own is not an unsatisfying way to end a game. If a team is down a point or two and the field goal is a game-winning attempt and it's from a challenging distance (be it too close or too far) it's a perfectly satisfying way to end a game. Everyone knows going into the play that it's going to be the last play of the game, and the kicker isn't expected to make it from that distance. The problem with a game-tying attempt from easy distance is that no one expects it to be the end. You assume you're going to overtime. Then suddenly it's over and you've won (or lost) and no one knows quite how to react because no one was prepared for that outcome.

Then you have the Giants-49ers game, which hinged on two special teams turnovers by the back-up kick-off returner pressed into service when the regular guy got injured last week. This is not only ironic, as the 49ers lead the league in turnover ratio, but also sad that the game hinged on a team losing. As the game headed into overtime, I turned to Diana and said "the first team that makes a mistake is going to lose", and then it happened.

I'm not saying that the better team didn't win. Championship teams make fewer mistakes. I'm just saying I would rather have seen Eli Manning lead the Giants on some super-human drive to win the game than see a back-up fail to protect the football. Still, in a championship game between two evenly-matched opponents, it often comes down to either who makes the superstar play or who makes the mistake. Yesterday, in spit of two superstar quarterbacks, both games came down to mistakes.

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In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.