February 7, 2012

IT WOULD ACTUALLY BE MORE INTERESTING IF THE COIN TOSS DECIDED THE WINNER OF THE GAME:

Luck plays huge role in Super Bowl (Gregg Easterbrook, 2/07/12, ESPN)

Whenever a football game ends with a margin of less than a touchdown, the contest might have gone either way based on a bounce of the ball. In New England's three Super Bowl victories, the critical bit of luck favored the Patriots. In New England's two Super Bowl loses, the critical bit of luck favored the Giants.

Consider:

In the 2002 Super Bowl against the St. Louis Rams, New England was outgained by 160 yards. But Rams quarterback Kurt Warner had an unblocked rusher in his face and short-armed a pass that Ty Law cut in front of and returned for a touchdown. New England went on to a three-point victory.

In the 2004 Super Bowl against the Carolina Panthers, the Panthers tied the score with 1:08 remaining. But the Panthers' place-kicker honked the kickoff, which went out of bounds. Taking possession on their 40, the Patriots moved into position for the winning field goal just ere the clock struck midnight.

Midway through the 2005 Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles, New England safety Eugene Wilson went out injured, which sent a rookie into the game. But the Eagles' coaching staff did not realize there was a backup at safety until about five minutes remained. Then the Eagles, who had only one receiver per side most of the second half, lined up with double wides and ran a deep post at the new defender -- touchdown. The Patriots held on to win by three. Had Philadelphia attacked the novice safety earlier, the outcome could have been different.

In the 2008 Super Bowl versus the Giants, perhaps you have heard about a long catch a Jersey/A player made against his helmet. New England lost by three.

And with four minutes remaining in Sunday's Super Bowl, Wes Welker, among the most reliable receivers in football annals, dropped a pass that would have put New England in position to ice the game. New England went on to lose by four.

In many aspects of life, luck is a bigger factor than we care to admit. We want to think some become rich and others poor based on merit, not luck. We want to think some teams win and others lose because the winner "deserved" laurels. In a 20-point football win, the winner did deserve to win. In games that come down to the final snap, either team might have prevailed: luck calls the ultimate shot. Change a couple bounces of the ball and the best team of the 21st century could be anything from 5-0 to 0-5 in the Super Bowl.
Posted by orrinj at February 7, 2012 8:43 PM
  
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