Experts In Their Field

The NFL playoffs are beginning, and with both of our local franchises having made it into the postseason tournament, the media hereabouts are brimming with informative coverage of the impending contests.

The best part, for the seeker of wisdom, is the commentary by the players and coaches themselves, in which they offer the lay audience a glimpse of the arcane inner workings of the game, and share with us the expertise that they bring to bear as they gird their loins for the struggle ahead.

To be adequately prepared for these life-and-death encounters it is necessary first to make a searching assessment of the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. Here’s one of our local gladiators summing up the results:

We have a lot of dramatic similarities. That’s a good thing and a bad thing, because it can cut both ways.

Pure gold. To be able to distill into such a lucid exposition that which, to the ordinary mind, might seem irreducibly complex is a precious gift.

I have learned a lot in recent days, in particular about the keys to success. Apparently, ceteris paribus, the team that does a better job of “executing” will prevail. (Let’s hope everyone has been working hard in this department, what with recent videos from Iraq having set a such disappointingly shoddy standard.)

Other tactical skills will be needed as well. A team’s chances, we hear, are improved by “moving the ball”, and it appears that “making the big plays” is of near-paramount importance — eclipsed only, perhaps, by the need to “put points on the board”.

Endurance will also tell, the savants inform us. Football games being an hour in length, we learn that playing the “full sixty minutes” will be a necessary condition of success. This truth is known to apply independently of the units of analysis; one startlingly enormous participant patiently explained that victory will depend on the earnestness of his team’s commitment to playing a “full four quarters”.

Finally, we hear this, from an out-of-town coach:

The way I see it, the whole thing could come down to special teams.

Well, there you have it, then. May the most special team win. Pass the Fritos.

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  1. Kevin Kim says

    See, this is exactly why we Virginia yokels can’t stand you fancy-ass New York types. Go back to snortin’ caviar!


    PS: Utter BS, the above was. I don’t normally follow football. Actually, I prefer watching one-on-one sports– taekwondo, boxing, singles tennis, even ping-pong. Hell, even SUMO. With team sports, there’s too much randomness and diffusion of responsibility. An abstraction called “the team” wins.

    PPS: I wish I had Sam Elliott’s voice. That first line would sound cool out of his mouth.

    Posted January 7, 2007 at 12:52 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Why thank you, Kevin.

    You are quite right – there’s no better accompaniment to a gridiron showdown than a few lines of caviar. I think I’ll get out my mirror and razor blade, roll up a C-note, help myself to an eight-ounce tin of Marky’s Caspian 000 Beluga Malossol from the ol’ Sub-Zero, and enjoy the game.

    I just hope our lads can move the ball, and put a few points on the board.

    Posted January 7, 2007 at 1:43 pm | Permalink
  3. John Madden, the greatest of football commentators, is a master at making tautologies drip with meaning. In writing, it just doesn’t seem as impressive:

    “Great football is just great football. No matter what the pundits say, the scoreboard will tell you who won the game.”

    Posted January 9, 2007 at 6:48 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Hi Blue Devil, and thanks for stopping by.

    I really, really love that guy.

    Posted January 9, 2007 at 7:05 pm | Permalink