Playing to Win

SportsChLeagueContributor IFebruary 9, 2010

In professional sports, the margin between winning and losing is razor thin.  Often, it is the team that plays to win versus not to lose, that ends up on top.  And it is this characteristic that makes the Super Bowl win of the New Orleans Saints so impressive.

Head coach Sean Payton and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams earned my admiration and respect with the go for it attitude they showed.  Payton’s onside kick call to open the second half was the call of the season!  And don’t give me any of that lucky bounce nonsense.  Luck is the combination of preparation and opportunity arriving at the same time.  I may buy into a little bit of karmic intervention as well, but it’s interesting that unprepared and/or bad teams never seem to get the breaks.  Payton’s Saints practiced that onside kick for two weeks before succeeding and Williams’ blitzing defense resulted in the winning pick six only after weeks of watching tendencies in film study.  The Saints were supposed to get worn down by Colt perfection, instead they outscored Indy 31-7 in quarters two, three, and four, and are now partying on Bourbon Street!

On the flip side, the other Peyton is getting destroyed.  What is it with people these days?!?  Don’t get me wrong, I took some pleasure in watching the four-time MVP, golden boy quarterback throw the interception that sealed the game for the Saints, but don’t blame it all on Manning.  Peyton Manning is a GREAT quarterback, will go down as one of the best ever, and every team in the NFL (except maybe New England) whether they’re led by Brees, McNabb, Romo, or Rivers would trade their QB straight up for Manning.  The Colts were undone by being conservative and playing not to lose.  They’ll spend the offseason kicking themselves and wondering what might have been.

Play to win folks; there’s a reason they say, “To the aggressor go the spoils!”