Both the NFC and the AFC Championship Games on January 20 were instant classics as they both were decided in overtime. The competitive fight and spirit by the players in each game was at such a high level. We all know the more you put into it, the more it hurts when the outcome does not go your way. These four teams put as much into it as you can. But what makes matters worse is when the game is taken from you by such a poor call by the officials.
In the NFC Championship Game there was a non-call on a blatant pass interference call. Not only was it obvious pass interference, it also included a helmet-to-helmet hit by the Los Angeles Rams defender. Had either call been made, the New Orleans Saints would have been able to run down the clock and then kick an easy field goal to win the game and go to the Super Bowl.
Late in the AFC Championship Game the Kansas City Chiefs got called for roughing the passer when replays clearly showed it did not happen. In this case the call influenced the outcome of the game but it did not necessarily dictate it. How do you as a player or coach get over it?
Listed below were some comments by the losing team’s coach in each game.
Sean Payton (New Orleans):
“It’s tough to get over it.”
“You can’t dwell on it.”
“We’ll probably never get over it.”
Andy Reid (Kansas City):
“We have ourselves opportunities to finish the game.”
“It’s going to hurt. That’s important. That’s how you get better.”
“Use it to motivate yourself in the off-season.”
So it happened. Now What?
I try and take something from each of them. Because getting over setbacks whether the setback was based on fairness or not, is emotionally challenging. So from “now what” realize it is tough to get over a heart-breaking loss; accept the fact that it happened; give it time (you cannot erase feelings!); use the loss to motivate you to be better in the future.
I’ve struggled with how the players, coaches, and fans feel on the losing side of outcomes when the finality of the season ends this way… or really any way. And then I received an email today on MLK Day 2019 from the website InspireYourPeople.com. I believe Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great man and a great leader with a great vision. Here are some of his profound words from the website today:
“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope. Only in this way shall we live without fatigue of bitterness and the drain of resentment.”
We must find within us the ability, strength, and willingness to be resilient through the disappointment. Best wishes with this challenging venture through life.