Coach Ben, who played less high school football than my daughter, continues to rally the troops:
Yeah, I know. We were big for a while. Back in ’94, we were on top. BMOC. And in this century, we won narrow, yeah, but we won. Those guys, they got so frustrated, they lost their composure…fielded teams with crazy yells, ascots, weird Vietnam obsessions. They were angry about losing, so they played angry, so they lost.
But then we got sloppy. We got stupid. We drafted some lames, and one or two guys worse than lames – people who didn’t deserve to see the field got major minutes. We let people get cocky, and then get stupid. We started fighting over who should get the ball. We started talking behind each others backs. We started demanding bigger contracts – gotta feed the family, ya know? Or maybe buy that yacht.
And you know what they did? They lost so much, they finally fired enough bad coaches and found a few mediocre ones. They didn’t get a lot smarter, just a little. Just smart enough to stop thinking squash games, and start thinking NASCAR. Just smart enough to say it was okay if everyone didn’t have the same playbook sections on school prayer, on abortion, or guns – never run those plays any more, anyway. Just smart enough to send Heath freaking Shuler after us.
But dammit, they won. You have no idea how much losing can hurt until you’ve lost to Heath freaking Shuler.
Maybe we need a reminder about what this is all about, and about who it isn’t about. Get your head in the game, and pay attention.
Look over there. You see that guy on the sideline? The one we all thought was taking us to the promised land a few years back? He proved what he could be, and what he couldn’t. Yeah, he did some good things. But remember “building a permanent majority”? Remember “let’s go to Mars”? Remember “Harriet Miers”? Yeah, you remember.
Some of you might hate him. Lots of you do. I don’t, I still respect the guy, but that’s okay, we don’t have to agree on everything to play on this team.
But guess what: it doesn’t matter, dammit. It does NOT matter. Let me clue you in to a freaking truth here: that guy ain’t long for the sideline. His time is running out. He knows when he’s packing up. And when he’s gone, it’s not going to matter any more what he thinks. We’re still gonna to be out here on this field, fighting our guts out, unless we give up and go home crying. And you’re not gonna do that, are ya?
Some of you are all torqued up about who the next guy is gonna be calling the plays. Some of you feel like you don’t fit into his scheme, so you’re already whining about it, about deserting the team depending on who wears the headset.
Hell, I hear ya. I don’t have a lot of confidence in any of these guys they’re talking about in the papers. I know I’ll get pissed off if they start calling quarterback sneaks every play, I’ve already got a bum knee.
But you know what? I’m still here. You’re still here. And you know what, here’s the truth, whoever it is: they ALL need us if they’re going to win.
So stop it. Stop the whining, stop the excuses. Stop looking over to that sideline for leadership. You look here, you look in the huddle, you look at your teammates. It’s not his job any more to get us on the same page – it’s ours.
The Gipper ain’t walking through that door. And good thing, too. If he were, he’d be ashamed.
Pull that turf out of your facemask. Get your head in the game. Start thinking about what we can do together when we put our minds to it. What we can do right.
No one else can do that. This is on us. Let’s take it back, starting now.
This is what happens when Madden NFL2007, too many Red Bulls, and the inability to plagiarize with impunity collides.