Monday, January 15, 2007

On Football

I got a great comment, that made me think I should go off on football for a minute. Maybe two.
MacFan said...
"Sorry about the Seahawks. It sucks, I know, but at least you're not in Houston like me...At least your team made it to the playoffs and there's hope for next year. There's NO hope for the Texans unless the whole ownership and upper management changes."

The difference between the Houston Texans and the Chicago Bears is not a big one. NFL teams are made up of the elite football players in the country. From the standpoint of skill, brains, strength and talent, the differences between teams are minor. Even though the teams at the far ends of the spectrum, it is a very narrow spectrum.

The difference is a nanosecond.

The things that make championship teams happen are teamwork, team-think, and team attitude. That happens with players who put the team above themselves, and believe in their teammates to do the same. Part of that is coaching. Part of that is the attitudes of the individual players. When you believe in your own skills and you believe that your teammates are all together, you don't have to think about what you'll do next. Your muscles know what to do.

With skills, strength, speed, and smarts being the same, the difference that lets one guy beat another on the football field is a nanosecond of hesitation. The TV camera won't see it. It will look like a good play to all the world, but a nanosecond of uncertainty about whether a teammate will make a block, catch a pass, or beat a receiver will make the difference in one matchup. A nanosecond of doubt about your own ability to make the play lets the other guy win. The team with the fewest nanoseconds of hesitation will win the play, and ultimately the game.

The reason the Seahawks matched up as well as they did against the Bears; the reason they even got to that game is because the entire team is built on those basic principles. If you can sell me another reason for their success, I'll fly to Houston and buy you a beer. Their defense was The Replacements. The O-line was a game of musical chairs. They didn't have the same receiving corps on the field for any kind of consistent look for the quarterback. Matt Hasselbeck missed several games with a bad knee, and then played half the season with a broken hand. Shaun Alexander missed six games. Those problems cost them a nanosecond here and a nanosecond there. Through it all, they played as a team; no whining. No finger pointing.

They still went to the Divisional Championship game and almost beat the best team in the NFC.

Houston has the same level of talent. They just need to get those nanoseconds back.

I promise I won't be serious in the next post.

Next post: Something about....

Hey! I was eating that.