In the aftermath of the New England Patriots’ 59-0 whipping of the Tennessee Titans on October 18, I saw a lot of posts on Sportsline condemning the Pats for running up the score. I saw similar posts from people upset with the Indianapolis Colts for throwing deep late in a blowout 42-6 victory over the St. Louis Rams. I don’t understand why people have been critical of these victories and other blowout wins because the players and coaches are merely doing their jobs and doing them well. It is an absolute shame that we live in a society where limits are placed on how exceptional one is allowed to be.
Competition is what makes sports truly great. Perhaps Herman Edwards knows that fact better than anyone else after considering his “You play to win the game!” rant as then coach of the New York Jets. Following this rant, the Jets finished the year 7-2 to make the playoffs and soundly beat an Indianapolis Colts team led by Edwards’ friend and mentor, Tony Dungy. Was Edwards trying to show up his former boss by winning 41-0? Was this just a lack of class on the part of Edwards for daring to win by such a large margin? I don’t think any reasonable person would argue that that was the case. Edwards was just executing his job as head coach and did it brilliantly that day.
We’ve seen the recent dilution of competition in sports as high school coaches are fired for winning and teams condemned for playing their best. It’s high time that coaches stop worrying about the feelings of opposing players and instead focus on their own team. Instead of feeling bad for the loser, feel bad for the player that has to ride the bench because they played too well and gave their team a big lead. We as a society should encourage excellence because it elevates us. As a Colts fan, I loathe the New England Patriots but still respect their right to walk out on a football field to play 4 quarters regardless of what the score is.