America loves sports. To think that just a few years ago, the NFL was flying high. Big ratings. Sold out stadiums. And oh, any team can win year to year (mostly). Salary caps and the draft create parity across teams. These are concepts that Major League Baseball is just now starting to understand. Until recently, I would have thought football would roll and take the mantle of America’s sport. The stadiums remind me of the coloseo in Rome. Gladiators enter the arena with sword and shield at the ready. It is a fight to the death. This maybe the problem. Some concussion experts believe the game has long term effects on our youth. Right or wrong, who wants to take a chance with their kid? That’s a tough choice, but it does appear football numbers are down across the country for a varying number of reasons. The game may look different in the coming years.
Yet, we still have the now. And two teams of gladiators faced off last week. The scoreboard says it was the most boring game in the NFL this year. The Seahawks and Cardinals played to a 6-6 tie. What was interesting about this game wasn’t the defense or offensive missteps. Sport fans love to debate coaching decisions. Be it a pitching change in the World Series or going for it on fourth down at the fifty yard line, we love to second guess the manager.
In the nail biting finish, both teams marched down the field and earned chip shots to win it. The coaches elected to make the kick. Each team came up empty. At the after game press conference, the coaches assessed their kickers.
Bruce Arians, coach of the Cardinals, said he had simple advice for his kicker Catanzaro:
“Make it. He’s a professional,” Arians said. “This ain’t high school. You get paid to make it.”
Pete Carroll made the following response:
“He has been making kicks for us for years,” Carroll said. “I love him and he’s our guy.”
Similar circumstances. The same in game decision. Two different responses on the outcome. What an amazing game.