Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stomach Punch Losses

I have had my disappointments as a sports fan. Big ones, small ones, the ones that keep you up, the ones that still bother you the next day, the ones you can barely look at the highlights of. There are very rare weeks where a sports fan experiences TWO of these types of loses in a span of four days.

Loss 1:
Colts 35-Pats34.

Yuck. What a bad loss. This was a total disappointment for a few reasons.

1) The Pats did the same thing 3 years ago in the AFC Championship game in Indy. This is now a trend. Remember the day when the Pats owned the Colts. When Ty Law intercepted 18 passes in one game. When the snow was falling in Foxboro. No snow in Indy, just turf and high temperatures and worn out Patriots defenses.
Are we going to see this again?

2) The 4th and 2 call was pretty bad. But people are forgetting everything that led up to that. Belichick took the bashing for this loss. However, the team as a whole really messed this up. Leading by 17 points in the fourth quarter is not lost on one play call. Its lost when your runningback fumbles the ball on the goal line. Why did the Pats slow down their defense and let Manning attack them while the Pats D stood on their heels.

3) This loss is going to lead to two possible things. The first possibility is this is the loss that becomes the rallying cry. The thing that puts the chip on the shoulder. The moment that we look back to in January and say, "this was the turning point. We missed the small things in this game that the Pats did well." The Pats moved the ball at will, they owned most of the game. Who is to say they cannot do it again in January.

The other sinario is that the team flops, folds, and quits. Personally, I dont see that happening. At all. Belichick is too good a coach, and the team is too proud to fold. They have the Jets this week and then ANOTHER game against an undefeated team in the Saints. The Pats have played in 4 games against undeafeated in the past 7 weeks. That's pretty unreal.

The Pats will bounce back, the radio shows will stop talking about the 4th and 2 call (that would be great). Isn't it amazing how WEEI can literally say the same thing for five striaght days? Unreal.

However, the Pats loss was nothing compared to what happened to the Boys in Green...

Loss 2:

Ireland 1- France 2
On this blog I bitched about the FIFA seeding the World Cup playoff games. The Irish team drew France, they needed to beat them over the course of two games (they add up the goals from the two games, awesome format...).

I watched the first of the two games with my dad, godparents, godparent's son, and girlfriend (she didnt know what she was getting into....). The game was superb. I had not watched a soccer game and felt as nervous as I did in a long time, maybe ever, The French team made me nervous, Henry made me nervous, the whole thing made me nervous. You could feel the tension through the TV.

Ireland is an unbelievable sports nation. Croke Park in Ireland just started hosting soccer and rugby games. Before that the Gaelic Athletic Association, who invested millions into the stadium, banned both (English) sports from being played in their stadium.

Now Ireland has a proper place to play, 80,000 screaming fans. I have been to this stadium, awesome. When the entire stadium starts singing the national anthem, you cannot help but get goosebumps. Very cool.

The game ended 1-0 in favor of the French.

The second game on Wednesday ran into the rest of my life. So it was hard to follow. I listened to some of it on radio, and then followed the rest on gamecast while I was tutoring. Yes I said tutoring. Sometimes things are important enough to get distracted...
These guys won't be in South Africa...

The Irish won the game 1-0. Meaning the total score was 1-1. They went to overtime, and then the unimaginable happened. Thierry Henry handled the ball and assisted in the goal that sent the French to the World Cup. The goal that destroyed Ireland's hopes of going to South Africa.

Before the game Ireland called for a new rule regarding the seeding of teams and FIFA changing their rules as the playoff neared. Now the Irish game could change something much more significant, replay in soccer. The World Cup has had some moments that have gone down in history. The "hand of God" by Maradonna, the English goal in 1966 that hit the crossbar and might or might not have crossed the line, the Spanish goal against North Korea after the ball was out of bounds. Soccer like any other sport has moments where refs cannot see what is going on. Why not add one replay per team. Have them only used if a goal is in question.

It would have taken 10 seconds to possibly change the lives of 11 Irishmen, hey I know I am biased, but give me a break. I got punched in the stomach by sports twice this week...

Articles about the Ireland loss:

Ireland wants France to invite them back to Paris to replay the game...There are some other good articles linked on this page...

The Irish viewpoints...