Courage? What’s that?

I don’t normally blog about sports, but this weekend, I watched one of the worst displays of football I’ve ever seen. And I’ve watched a lot of football. I’ll let Gregg Easterbrook from ESPN sum up why I was doubled over laughing at my favorite team:

“Coach, can you see the scoreboard?” Often TMQ wants to holler this at coaches who seem oblivious to the big shiny numbers on the Jumbotron. Carolina trailed Pittsburgh 17-0 and had second-and-10 on the Steelers’ 19 with seven seconds remaining in the first half, holding one timeout. John Fox ordered the field goal. Sure, kick early go for it late — unless you’re way behind and a loss ends your playoff hopes! With seven seconds and a timeout, a shot at the end zone was realistic. OK, so it’s 17-3 at intermission. Flash forward to the end of the third quarter. It’s Pittsburgh 20, Carolina 3 and the Cats face fourth-and-2 on their 25, the home crowd roaring at fighter-jet-afterburner decibels. Remember, a loss all but ends Carolina’s season. In trots the punting unit — and I scarcely even need tell you Pittsburgh took the ball the other way for a touchdown that made the lead 27-3 and caused TMQ to write the words “season over” in his notebook about the Cats. Wait, there’s more! Now it’s 27-3 in the fourth quarter, and Carolina faces fourth-and-16 from its own 13. Sure that’s a long down, but you trail by 24 points and the greatest fourth-quarter comeback in NFL history was from 25 points. You’ve got to go for it! Carolina punted and the football gods, outraged, allowed the Steelers to return the punt for a touchdown. You’re 6-7 and a loss all but concludes your season, why aren’t you going for it? Now you are 6-8 and your season is over.

I know, I know: we fans watching at home and cheering in the stands aren’t down there on the field playing, but any idiot knows that desperate situations call for desperate measures. I’ve had it with the Panthers. When that punt was returned for a touchdown to make it 34-3 after a ridiculously dumb penalty negated a turnover that could have breathed a tiny bit of life into the game, I laughed uncontrollably for a good minute. This was not an isolated incident, but typical of John Fox’s coaching style. Take no risks and hope good things happen. It works if you have the personnel, but when half your team is hobbled on the sidelines and the other half isn’t executing anything well, why not try something risky?

1 Response to “Courage? What’s that?”

  1. 1 Bekah December 19, 2006 at 11:06 pm

    It’s been that kind of season for us, too. In fact, both Brian and I were amazed to hear the commentators state that the Pack is still in it for a wild card slot. Goodness gracious, how bad is the rest of the league if we manage to get a wild card?

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