Thursday, November 14, 2002

A Strange Analysis of The Patriots' Victory

On Sunday, November 10 the Chicago Bears, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, lost to the New England Patriots 33-30. The pivotal play in the game was an apparent interception by the Bears, with only 54 seconds remaining, that would have sealed their victory. Upon review, the play was ruled naught but an incomplete pass. The Patriots, given another chance, scored with 20 seconds left to culminate a come-from-21-points-behind victory.

After the game, on one of the more obscure ESPN networks, I heard the following exchange between two analysts and former NFL greats: Running back John "The Irresistible" Calvin, and the unpredictable maverick quarterback James "Free Willy" Arminius. I though you sports fans might find their comments to be of interest.

Arminius: The game was a joy to behold. The Pats, down but not out, found something within themselves to run the good race. They should be proud their accomplishment: through sheer determination of will they secured a great victory.

Calvin: Well, it wasn't really like that. They were completely dead as a result of trespasses— er, I mean bad passes, and if not for Coach Belichick on the sideline generating confidence, they would have continued to lay down and play dead.

Arminius: Oh there you go again, never wanting to give credit where it's due. Sure the coach encouraged them, but he didn’t make the plays. It was their faith in their inherent abilities that allowed them to win.

Calvin: Coach Belichick didn't make the plays, but he called them. If Tom Brady, in the huddle, told the players "Oh just go do whatever you want to do", do you think they would have scored that last touchdown?

Arminius: Huh! That last play was an audible! Brady called it, not Belichick! How do you like them apples?

Calvin: (A little stunned, but appearing to recover quickly) Well you don't have to get snippy about it! Maybe Tom Brady called the play, but Coach Belichick designed it, and Brady was only reacting to his training; the teaching that his coach had forged within him!

Arminius: Calvin, you make my head spin! You always want to give all the credit to the coach! I suppose Belichick had something to do with the interception call being overturned?

Calvin: He certainly did.

Arminius: (Makes buzzing sound) Wrong again! Would you like to try Double Jeopardy where the stakes are twice as high? The play occurred within the last two minutes. You know the rules— on second thought I don't think you do— at that point late in a game the coach cannot call for a review. It is purely a decision of the referee.

Calvin: Gimme a break. The referee clearly had no intention to review the play until he heard Belichick yelling at him. The coach cannot demand a review, but he can certainly make his desires known, and have great influence on the referee's so-called choice.

Arminius: You know nothing about football. On any given Sunday, any team can win! They all have an equal shot. It's called parity.

Calvin: Yeah right. Talk to the longsuffering Arizona Cardinal fans about parity and equal opportunity. In truth, some teams are destined for greatness while others are destined— due to their own lack of ability, not because of scheduling or officiating bias— to be vessels of their hapless fans' wrath. Look at the Cardinal running backs! Why it seems that none of them seeks the end zone, no not one! Their snazzy uniforms might as well be filthy rags.

Arminius: Calvin, you are better suited for the World Wrestling Federation, where all the matches are predetermined. I am sure your are clueless about the nature of true athletes.

Calvin: (Audible gasp) World Wrestling Federation? Well, come over here and I'll let my free will choose to land a flying scissors kick on your scrawny behind!

Arminius: Oh yeah! Well if I just happen to perform an overhead helicopter body slam on you, Frenchman, nobody can hold me responsible, I’m just doing what you made me do!

(Fade to black)

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