Fans Just Wanna Be Coaches

Matthew GilmartinSenior Analyst INovember 26, 2008

*All names given to hypothetical players, in addition to the name given to the hypothetical fan, are made up.  They do not represent any real people, at least not intentionally.

Say an NFL fan, Dale Stevenson, is watching his team play.

If his team keeps doing something that isn't working, he wants to scream at his team's coach, "Look, Coach Brown, that inside run isn't working!  We've been trying to get that going for this entire half, and it's gotten us a total of 21 yards!  Quit banging your head against the wall!  The interior of their line is just too big, and their linebackers are just too fast!  Don't you ever learn?!  For all our sakes, try something else!"

Or if one receiver is playing better than the others, yet the coach keeps throwing to the two less-effective receivers, Dale wants to yell, "Coach, McMahon and Smith are dropping pass after pass!  Stop throwing to them, they're killing us!  We already would've scored at least one touchdown if we were throwing to Law!" 

Maybe the starting quarterback is constantly overthrowing his receivers and making fatally bad decisions.  Then he would cry, "Pull the plug on that gunslinger, Brown!  We're lucky that they haven't picked him off three times already, and the first half isn't even over yet!  Unless you're trying to lose, put Simpson in!  Even a pure game manager would do better than this wackjob!  At least maybe he wouldn't force a throw on every other play!"

The kicker who does the kickoffs is having a really bad day at the office.  He's sent two kicks wobbling through the air, both of which came down out-of-bounds.  So Dale protests, "Thompson sucks, Coach!  He couldn't kick it straight if his life depended on it!" 

The other team's versatile RB is tearing his team's defense up with a combination of deft carries and deceptive play-action passes.  Yet, the coach keeps the defense in heavy pass coverage.  Dale groans, "Brown, Bigby is torching us on the ground and in the flat!  Get out of that Cover 4!  Bring pressure and press the coverage!"

There are three seconds left in the fourth quarter.  The score is 28-27.  Dale's team has just scored a touchdown and now has the choice to go for two and win the game, or kick the extra point and go into overtime. 

Not wanting to chance overtime and the possibility that his team won't even get the ball in overtime, Dale pleads:  "Coach, GO FOR IT!!!  What do we have to lose?!  We haven't been able to stop those guys except for a couple drives earlier in this quarter.  If we lose the start-of-overtime coin toss, we're done for!  Decide the game now and go for the win!"

But, of course, Coach Brown elects to kick the extra point, which is successfully converted.  However, it turns out Dale's premonition was right. 

The opposing team wins the coin toss at the start of overtime, and then wins the game on the opening drive of overtime with a 46-yard field goal that drills straight through the center of the goal posts. 

Game over.  Home team 28, Visitors 31.  Dale is so mad, he can't see straight, and he wonders how that monkey of a coach ever got hired in the first place.

Does any of this ring a bell?  If you've been a fan of your team for long enough, I bet you've seen a game like this during which you questioned every decision your team's coach made.  

Don't you realize what you were trying to do by telling your coach how to do his job?  You wanted to be the coach, so you tried being your virtual, on-screen coach's consultant.

That's the way all fans are.