I’m the Coach AND the Quarterback

The game is easy from the seats. Some days I think the only difference between bravado and real life is a TV screen…and an HD one at that.

Over 100 million people watched it. Last weekend, that many people were treated to arguably one of the best Super Bowls in history. The biggest game of the year pitted the defending champion Seattle Seahawks against the annual powerhouse New England Patriots, 2 teams with something to prove; the Seahawks, to repeat with a young and future superstar QB in Russell Wilson; the Patriots, attempting to finalize the argument of who’s the best QB of all time in Tom Brady. 2 great coaches, 1 incredible and 1 pretty darn good defence. Good weather, a big crowd, funny commercials and a surprisingly good halftime show made it a memorable event to watch. Now that it’s over, the most talked about aspect of the game is a ‘failed’ call by a coach that shouldn’t have choked in making the wrong play call. Pete Carroll elected to pass on the 1-yard line, and Wilson threw an interception, although not from a bad pass but from an incredible defensive play by Patriots DB Malcolm Butler. The masses asked why they didn’t run it; after all, they have Marshawn Lynch, right? Just before the play, a camera caught the sulking Tom Brady sitting on the bench, dejected and almost assuredly throwing in the proverbial towel. And then it happened. We were all stunned. We all asked the same question, and then answered our own question. “Why didn’t they run the ball?” That’s what I would have done. Really? You would have? I would have? We’ll never know because there is only one Pete Carroll, and last time I checked, we aren’t him and he won last year. And in New England. And at USC. It’s so easy to second guess any play that turns out the opposite of what we think, or what turns out to be not what we want. And after thinking about it, I wanted to know why we say and think what we do, and I think I have the answer.

You see, I’m a quarterback, and a head coach, at least at that moment. In baseball, with the game on the line, I’m the pitcher that gave up the home run, the catcher that called the pitch, and the manager that put the pitcher in the game. I’m the other manager that pinch hit the right guy at the right time because I would have felt the vibe too. I’m the general manager that wouldn’t have drafted that guy. I’m both the Royals GM Dayton Moore who signed the wrong guys, as well as the one who got his team to the 7th game of the World Series, and darned near almost pulled it off. I’m Jacques Vaughn who just got fired from the Orlando Magic, as well as the one who was a stud at KU. I’m the fans that hated LeBron James for making a side show out of the NBA when he signed with the Miami Heat, and I’m also the fan telling my son about the 35 he just put up. You see, I’m the 20/20 vision guy, I’m the master of hindsight and the fearful of foresight. I’m the ‘I told you so’ and the ‘You don’t know’. I know everything about nothing, but something about everything. I sit in the safety of my armchair, and from there I make 70 yd. touchdown passes, I juke players out of their shoes, and I hit 50 bombs a year. I don’t swing at bad pitches, I don’t miss dunks, I win every hockey fight and yet I can’t skate. I’d never take a dive in soccer, I could’ve made that putt, and he should’ve passed me the ball because I was wide open. I am the masses, and by “I”, I mean we. We are. Those of us that watch the game, those that make the decisions from the safety of our comfort zone without any pressure, preparation, or perspiration. I’m seriously thinking about growing turf on my seat. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I just made a wicket…or something…

I should’ve known better. As a pro baseball player, I could hear the comments. Most were funny, some were silly, none of them bothered me much. I’d even respond to the good ones, but most were the same. The game is easy from the seats. Some days I think the only difference between bravado and real life is a TV screen…and an HD one at that. For those that can’t stop talking about “The Call” to end Super Bowl XLIX, I have a message for you. You cheated yourself. If you were a Seattle fan, or an anti-cheating, strip-all-his-records, Tom Brady Hatey, then I’m sure you feel a bit…deflated. If you’re one of those that didn’t care who won and just wanted to see a great game, yet now can’t stop talking about a bad coach, a young QB that didn’t audible, a shoulda-woulda-coulda pass interference no-call, etc., then you really did cheat yourself, because you witnessed history. I hope many of you saw 2 of the best instead of 2 cheaters. I hope you saw a HOFer and a future HOFer at the QB position. I hope you saw rugged, tough-as-nails behemoths that played with broken bones and torn ligaments. I hope you saw what the game really was; one for the ages. If you didn’t, pull the lever down on your lounger, go to your local football field, call about 100,000 people that you don’t know, televise it so 100 mill can watch, gather 11 of the biggest, most athletic men you’ve ever seen and put them across from you, give them full permission to try not only to tackle you, but remove your head from you body, reach your hands under the sweaty crotch of a 350 lb. center, backpedal as fast as you can, and throw a strike to a receiver slotted in the middle of 5 other guys with about 2 inches to spare. If you can do that successfully, then your chair days are over. If you can’t, I give you one bit of advice: relax and enjoy the game. Pick out the good stuff. Get your beverage of choice, with your buddies of choice, laugh at Steve Buscemi playing Jan Brady, and remember why you love the game. Until then, get back outside and run a Wings Left, 82 Roll, Wildfire Sting, Shoot 4, on 3, ready, BREAK!