Some aspects of sports can fly under the radar when it comes to how they affect the outcome of the game. There are times when everything can be going right and then one part of your team will lose the game.
These parts of your team can help lead you to a championship, but can also be a main component in a collapse of your team.
I have compiled a list that looks at the five most undervalued and unappreciated parts of the big three sports(MLB, NBA, and NFL).
A game can be won or lost at the charity stripe. They may be called free throws, but they are far from free. Some of the best players in the game are the worst free throw shooters.
Not only does a successful team make their free throws, but they always find ways to get to the line. If there is a significant difference in free throw percentage between teams at the end of the game, the team with the higher one wins basically every time.
Free throws become even more important come playoff time, when the games get more physical. Some of the best teams have a no-layup rule where they make other teams earn their points from the stripe. Free throw shooting can make or break your team.
A big turnover can completely flip an NFL game upside down. One moment you are about to be going in for a score, and the next you are watching the other team celebrate. This can mean a 14 point swing in a game, which is usually enough to decide the game. Just ask Kurt Warner and the Cardinals if turnovers are big.
In the NFL it is a well known fact, if you win the turnover battle, you will win the game. This is almost always the case in any game. Teams have to protect the ball to win.
Most of the upper echelon of teams have either a ball-hawking defense or a ball control offense that rarely gives the ball up. If your quarterback is throwing interceptions, it can completely deflate the psyche of a team.
In baseball today, if you can hit they will find a place for you. The problem with that philosophy is that your team is on defense half the time. Just like a really great defensive player can change a game, so can a horrible one.
One key to having a winning ball club has always been to have a stellar defense. This does not necessarily mean one that is all over the highlight film. It has more to do with the defense that does not make many errors and always executes the easy plays.
A big error can cause the floodgates to open and end all hope for teams to win games. Along with that, a great play to save runs can pump up your team to have a big inning on offense.
A kick or punt return to the house can completely change the momentum and outlook of a game. Every team wishes they can have that one big time play making returner, the one that teams will try to kick away from.
The most underrated part of the special teams is the kick coverage team, mostly compiled of backup skilled position players. Being able to return kicks and cover kicks can drastically change field position from game to game.
Field position is basically what football is all about. Those extra yards will change games, for better or for worst.
Special teams may be the biggest when it comes to the postseason. When the games get deeper in the year and become more physical, every yard matters more. This makes special teams a very undervalued part of a football team.
In Major League Baseball this area of a team is the most unpredictable from year to year. With most managers worried about the starting staff, the bullpen has just as big an affect, if not more than the starting rotation.
A good bullpen will go somewhat unnoticed and just do their job day in and day out. A bad bullpen will stick out like a sore thumb and will ruin seasons.
The most important aspect of a bullpen is having pitchers that come in and throw strikes. If relievers come in and start throwing wild and walking people, it becomes contagious.
All of the recent championship teams have had a great bullpen the year that they won it all. Along with that they have had a stopper at the end. This seems to be a very key component in winning a World Series title.