There is an old saying: to the victor goes the spoils. We grew up praising people who were successful in their own industry. Nowadays, we tend to pick out opponents’ flaws rather than give credit where credit is due.
No better example than the final play for the Seahawks in Super Bowl 49. Everyone, including me, questioned the play call of making a pass at the one-yard line on 2nd and goal. But what the criticism of the call and the end result of the play tells me is that no one cares that Malcolm Butler made that big interception in the end zone. They might as well kick dirt in his face. It says that Seattle handed the Lombardi Trophy to New England rather than admitting the Patriots stood tall in the end and kept the Seahawks out of the end zone.
I remember when Joe Carter hit the walk-off World Series winning home run in 1993. It was at the time, and still is today, the greatest post-season home run in baseball history. That Blue Jays team was perhaps the most-talented in club history. But I wouldn’t have anyone else coming to the plate in a critical situation than Carter. Carter was a clutch performer and was the right guy at the right moment. But even days after the victory parade, most of the focus was on the pitcher who served up the pitch, Mitch Williams. They said Williams was tired, ineffective, wild. It was because he threw what was a batting-practice fastball that cost the Philadelphia Phillies the World Series. What about Joe? They probably would reply with: who?
If a team wins the game, we don’t go talk about how they managed to get the winning score. Instead we find flaws in the losing side. They didn’t do this or they failed to that. They seem to like pointing out the wrongs instead of realizing their side got beat by a better player or a better team. Let’s look at this another way. Connor McDavid will be the first overall in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. But I would suspect if he gets chosen by the Leafs, no one will brag how talented he is, instead will likely say he got lucky or had a great supporting cast or the talent in the draft wasn’t that good. Just you watch. The excuse machine will be in high gear.
I’m going to get crucified for saying this but no one is giving NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman his due for Super Bowl 48 being in New York. In the 47 years prior, the NFL championship game was always played either in a dome stadium or in a location where it had a warm climate. So people were left scratching their heads when Roger Goodell announced that Super Bowl 48 would be played at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Whether he admits it or not, Goodell obviously saw how successful the NHL Winter Classic and other outdoor games have been. If thousands of people brave bone-chilling temperatures to watch a regular season hockey game, why wouldn’t the same go watch a sport with something a little more at stake?
Laying blame on someone as the reason that their team lost is taking the easy way out. A cynic like me would never point out the fact that someone had to score, that they had to battle adversity, and it took lots of hard work to achieve success. Some would go as far as to accuse the other of cheating no matter how far-fetched it is. Why? No one wants to admit the other team worked harder, had a better work ethic, and simply wanted it more. These qualities make champions. The conversation about sports is not about how poorly you did, it should be more about how your opponent was more determined in beating you .