Play to Win
Riddle me this one sports fans: I was watching the Superbowl last weekend, and I couldn’t help but notice that with 1:57 left in the game and the Panthers down by 14 points, they decided to punt the ball. Did you catch that? In the biggest game of their lives, the Panthers decided it would be better to start their vacation a few minutes early rather than make any attempt at winning the Superbowl. Now I know it was 4th and 24 at their own six yard line, but I don’t care if it was 5th down and in some strange rule change, the whole team needed to learn how to fly in order to get a first down, it's worth a shot isn’t it? Miracles do happen don’t they? Ron Rivera must have been saying to himself, “well miracles do happen, but there is no way anyone could complete a 4th and 24 from their own six with the game on the line, I mean that’s impossible,” right Aaron Rodgers? Are you kidding me Ron?
I might have thought it was impossible too if the Green Bay Packers hadn’t done the exact same thing three weeks earlier. I mean are we forgetting this? Maybe Ron didn’t see that play. Maybe he was out rewatching the Force Awakens, looking for plot holes, or maybe he was baking his famous banana bread while getting ready for his game the next day? These are just one man’s guesses. But don’t you think one of his assistants, before he punted, might have said something like, “Hey Ron, don’t know if this is relevant, but the Packers completed this exact same play three weeks ago so it is definitely possible, just thought you should know this random bit of information I have.” And I know that just because something happened before doesn’t mean it will happen again. But this wasn’t one of those things where people say, “well it happened in 70 BCE so you never know,” or it happened when Jesus was still up and about or when Adam and Eve were still figuring out how to maintain a good relationship, this was three weeks ago--a time where they already had HD television, DVR and Donald Trump was running for president.
By punting the ball he knew that best case scenario, they would get the ball back with around 50 seconds left, no timeouts and deep in their own territory down by two touchdowns which is exactly what happened. Worst case, the Broncos get a first down, game over. Now don’t get me wrong, at 4th and 24 and down by two touchdowns with 1:57 left, I would have put a large sum on the Broncos winning that game, but give yourself the slimmest of chances to create a miracle and turn the impossible into possible. Hasn’t Kevin Garnett taught us anything? But it’s ok Ron, people get second chances. So next time you find yourself in the Superbowl in need of a miracle play, maybe go for it instead of giving up? Just a thought.