The FFG On Sports: When Does It Matter?

Week 4 Of The NFL Season Has People Singing A Lot Of Conflicting Tunes

Anyone who has ever seen or listened to even a minute of ESPN’s First Take has no doubt heard Steven A. Smith or Skip Bayless use some indefinable statement as the basis for their argument. “Tim Teabow is a winner.” “LeBron James can’t make a big shot.” “Eli Manning is clutch.” I am not suggesting any of these arguments are or are not true but what I do find amusing is that, when forced to use facts or examples to illustrate the veracity of the statements they attribute a level of significance to the specific examples they are using while dismissing comparable accomplishments by others. What do I mean? Last Sunday night was the perfect example.

Eli Manning Is A Clutch Quarterback

Before last season this phrase would have been viewed as almost laughable, now it is regarded as fact. That “fact” was not merely born of Super Bowl heroics but it stems from Eli’s 4th quarter performance last year where he won game after game with scoring drives late … kind of like what Mike Vick is doing in Philadelphia this season. What?! Blasphemy you say. Well, so far, in four games this year Mike Vick has led come from behind 4th quarter scoring drives that won the game for the Eagles. In fact, all three score came with less than 2 minutes to play in each game. Clutch right? Just like Eli last year. Only local and national media simply keeps asking “what is wrong with Vick?” Or “can the Eagles win with Mike Vick as their QB?” Vick has already beaten the defending Super Bowl champions and one of the favorites to represent the AFC in this year’s Super Bowl. Apparently Vick isn’t clutch, he’s lucky. I’m just not sure what the difference is.

Well, They Should Have Lost That Game In Miami

The Jets sit tied atop the AFC East with a 2-2 record. Even better each of the Jets wins came against division opponents. Their two losses came on the road at a perenial power (Pittsburgh) and at home to what might be the best team in football (the 49ers). The Jets remaining schedule looks favorable and a playoff birth doesn’t seem out of the question. The problem is to many the team feels like it is getting worse, not better (a number of injuries to their best players might account for some of that). For those who are worried they point to the week 3 win against Miami, where Sanchez and the Jets offense did not look good for most of the game, got some lucky bounces at the end and pulled off a winning drive in OT. An ugly game like that shouldn’t count and the QB is clearly the problem … unless the QB is Tim Teabow who played one of the ugliest football games of all time last year in Miami, only to pull of one drive and win the game despite posting one of the lowest Passer Ratings in modern NFL history. No sane person would argue that Mark Sanchez has been good this season but in NFL terms is he not a much more proven winner than Tebow? Mark Sanchez has four road playoff wins en route to two AFC Championship game appearances in 3 seasons. Tebow has one playoff win after getting his team to .500 in a season that was chalk full of games just like the one Mark Sanchez had in Miami, only sometimes worse. When Tebow does it he’s clutch, when Sanchez does it he sucks. Go figure.

Perception, of course, is reality. So it doesn’t matter if guys like Sanchez or Cutler or Vick pull out victories, they have “burned” us before, we know they aren’t clutch, performance be damned. I think I’m going to root hard for the Jets, the Eagles and the Bears to keep on winning in spite of it all, of course only one can win the only game that will change everyone’s opinion.

But hey, what do I know? I’m fat.