Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Bitter Taste of the Limelight

I would not pretend to speak for anyone else, but I for one am relieved that the Earth has not stopped spinning on its axis and that the Sun has not yet come crashing down upon us out of the sky.  Given the reaction to Pete Carroll's decision to throw a pass from the half-yard line in the final minute of Sunday's Super Bowl rather than allow his monstrous running back, Marshawn Lynch (a/k/a "The Beast"), carry the ball into the end zone for the winning score, I thought that at least the latter and perhaps both were legitimate possibilities.  

Do not misunderstand.  As someone who watches a fair amount of football - and who likes to pretend (in the way that middle-aged non-athletes like to do) that I know more about the game than the persons who get paid obscene amounts of money to coach it and to play it, I could not figure out what the hell was happening either.  But after I thought about it for a few moments, considered that it did not impact my collecting a piece of the pot in the Super Bowl pool in which I participated and - THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART - remembered that it was just a damn football game, I opted not to wish harm upon Seattle's coach.  

A lifetime ago, Kara and I were in Giants Stadium watching the Giants run out the clock against the Eagles when the home team decided that simply kneeling down was not enough.  We watched in stunned disbelief as the Giants snatched defeat from the joys of victory.   A brutal loss?  Indeed.  One from which there was no way to recover?  Not quite.  In the three and one-half decades since the Giants have played in the Super Bowl five times, winning four.  Larry Csonka was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.  Joe Pisarcik played several more years, finishing his career with the Eagles, and is presently the President of the NFL Alumni Association.   

Life being what it is, however, not everyone associated with that particular debacle escaped unscathed.  Bob Gibson was the Offensive Coordinator for the Giants in 1978.  He is the one who sent in the play that Pisarcik and Csonka failed to execute.  The following day, the Giants executed Gibson - professionally speaking.  He was fired.  At age fifty-one, his career in football was over.  He never worked in the NFL  again.

It is perhaps for that reason that in the aftermath of Seattle's Super Bowl meltdown,  Travis Gibson took to Twitter in defense of coaches he has never met and likely shall never meet and, far more importantly, to speak up on behalf of an eighty-seven-year-old grandfather whose recent battle with cancer has left him in poor voice.  "Let me go on record.  No coach should EVER be fired based on one play call."  

If you do not believe him, then take a look out of your window this morning at your first opportunity.  If the sun is indeed in the sky - where it is supposed to be - and not setting your lawn ablaze, then maybe, just maybe, you should reconsider your position. 


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