Monday, December 1, 2014

Play to win ... and you just might do it!

My favorite play of this past NFL weekend was not a spectacular catch or an amazing run. It certainly wasn't either of the TWO punts the Panthers had blocked for touchdowns in their miserable loss at Minnesota.

It was this:

The Packers were leading the Patriots by 5 points with 2:28 to go when New England called its final time-out. Green Bay faced a third-and-4 at its own 43. If the Packers make the first down, it's game over. If they don't, they have to punt.

If Packers coach Mike McCarthy lets Aaron Rodgers attempt a pass and the ball falls incomplete, the clock will stop, giving Tom Brady more than enough time to break Packerland's collective heart.

Most coaches, even those with star QBs, would have run the ball, figuring: "If we get the first down, great. If not, the clock goes all the way to 2 minutes, we punt and they probably have to go more than 80 yards in less than 2 minutes with no time-outs. And they need a TD, not a field goal. It's the smart, safe play. Nobody can second-guess that decision."

McCarthy didn't do that. He trusted the best quarterback in the NFL to complete a pass. Whereas most coaches would have played not to lose, McCarthy played to win. He played with the intention of not letting Brady get his grubby hands on the football again.

Rodgers threw a perfect pass to Randall Cobb for a 7-yard gain. The cameras zoomed to Brady on the New England sideline and showed Mr. Perfect screaming the same four-letter profanity three times.

After the 2 minute warning, Rodgers took a knee three times, and Packerland partied as if it were 1967 (or at least 2011).


After a long Thanksgiving break, my Scholars Academy Eagles are back in action this week.

Last season, we lost a total of nine times to four teams. We got revenge against one of those teams in the playoffs, coming back for a thrilling victory against St. Michael's. In our second game this season, we got revenge against the team that beat us three times in 2013-14, thrashing St. Anne's 36-18. Our next two games (Tuesday and Thursday) are against the other two teams that owned us last season, and I'm looking forward to seeing where we stack up.

Unfortunately, our All-Conference center Celeste sprained her ankle during the Thanksgiving break and can't play Tuesday. She will be very difficult to replace, but we are a stronger, deeper team this year and I'll be leaving for practice in a few minutes to prepare the team to play without her.

If we score a monumental upset, it will be because the girls rose to the occasion.

If we don't ... fire the coach!

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