Win or lose, there’s always more to it than meets the eye. There are obvious gaffes, and then those which appear to be obvious, but the crux of the problem lies elsewhere. The bottom line though, is that a team wins together, and loses together. Finger pointing is the single most destructive element that can tear apart a locker room. And something to be avoided at all costs.
Take the Steelers loss at Denver the other night. An obvious gaffe is a false start, right? So obviously Max Starks jumping off-sides, followed on the next play by Flozell Adams was a no-brainer. As an astute fan of the game, you might find yourself jumping the gun and want to point the finger.
“Hey, these guys don’t have their heads in the game!”
Easy to make the call. Unless you realize that the Steelers were going on a silent count. In a silent count, the QB signals the center, and the center keys the rest of the line. You have a rookie center starting his first game with a 350 lb pro bowl NT breathing heavily on his snout. Was it the rookie center or the two veteran tackles? This takes some real timing. If the center is just a hair slow in his mentally rhythmic countdown, false start. If he’s ahead of the silent snap rhythm, the defense has a decided jump on the offense. Same with the tackles, and their ability to stay on rhythm. Does that make the false starts acceptable? No, but it sure changes the discussion, doesn’t it?
So, who’s to blame on this one? We used to have two rules back in the day. Rule #1-Never point the finger at someone else. Rule #2-See rule #1.