It’s the catch-phrase for every quarterback controversy in the free world, or wherever NFL stakes have been firmly planted: so and so gives us the best chance to win.
Insert whatever rationale or preference you like, shake it up and serve and you can make as much sense as the rocket scientists left in charge to decide just which “best chance” will be the choice.
Funny thing is, as tensions mount and debates rage in pro-football cities across the nation, it seems like an older standby holds true even more: whoever wins the turnover battle comes out on top.
Are we talking 100 percent, fool-proof lock? No, exceptions always exist.
But it’s been pretty apparent most Sundays this fall that the giveaway-takeaway factor has, well, factored greatly in the outcomes of most games.
This past weekend, the evidence was obvious.
Buffalo, San Diego and St. Louis all outgained their opposition easily, topping New England, Miami and San Francisco by 125 yards or more. Their efforts yielded, in order, a six-point loss, a 10-point loss and a tie. Why? Well, because they all lost the turnover battle in their respective games.
He comes across as the crusty curmudgeon to many, if not all who reside outside the confines of Crimson Tide bliss. But, for those of who are don’t bow down to the right-here, right-now bottom-line philosophy of “a win is a win is a win … no matter how crappy you perform,” Alabama football coach Nick Saban spoke the truth about his squad’s showing the past two weeks.
Point being – the previously top-ranked Tide didn’t play well the Saturday of either week. Initially, they got away with that, sneaking out of a Baton Rouge, La., with a last-minute victory they really didn’t earn. Stuck in the same, “resting on their laurels” rut, they gave a similar effort next time … and paid for it.
In short, he could see trouble brewing when ’Bama faced off against Louisiana State, if not earlier. The warning signs were there. Frankly, the Tigers dominated the Tide two weeks ago. They outgained their visitors all evening, and if not for that 72-yard TD drive down the stretch, LSU would have doubled up ‘Bama in that all-telling stat.
In another all-telling stat, the Tide lost the turnover battle, too. They coughed it up twice; LSU not once.
These are not the best of sports times in Philadelphia.
The Phillies failed to make the playoffs for the first time in six years, their star players starting to leak some serious oil in the process. The 76ers appear to have been hoodwinked in the Andrew Bynum deal, putting all the eggs in the basket of a 7-footer with creaky knees and an even creakier drive. The Flyers … well, the Flyers, like their NHL brethren, haven’t even taken to the ice this fall and it doesn’t appear they will again in the near future.
Even the city’s only major-college football team, Temple, is in tatters, a somewhat ballyhooed return to the Big East (at least around campus and among some alums) being overrun by consistently stiffer competition and a head coach who grows more and more stubborn with sticking to a power ground game that continuously fails.
But rock bottom is reserved for the true heart and soul of Philly – the Eagles.
No squad, no outfit, no franchise, no organization means more to more people within the city’s limits than the midnight green-clad gladiators who take the turf on Sundays, representing the blue-collar masses in battle against NFL competition.
Umm, any questions?
For all the doubters, detractors and denial artisans out who struggle to venture outside the norm, see beyond the status quo and admit that conventional wisdom isn’t always correct, this one had to be tough.
To think Alabama, ranked No. 1 in the country, playing before a raucous home crowd in Tuscaloosa, could lose to a two-loss Texas A&M squad and its freshman quarterback was preposterous. Possessing arguably the nation’s top defense, the Tide figured to roll over the Aggies and systematically submerge Johnny Manziel with the complexities of their schemes and the other-worldly skill level of their waves upon waves of athletes.
A&M stood no chance, and, surely, Manziel’s Heisman campaign would be snuffed out on its biggest stage yet … and things would get back to the way they should be: typical, common, almost scripted.
Only three hours and change after kicking off before a national-TV audience, a major rewrite was in order.
Really? Yeah, really … big time.
Florida State University’s football team is 9-1. It currently stands 10th in the BCS rankings and eighth in the AP poll.
The question begs to be asked: Would this be the case if Bobby Bowden were still in charge of the Seminoles?
Think about it. Just try to imagine FSU under Mr. Dadgummit’s direction checking in with that kind of record, this late in a season, and getting, well, that kind of lack of respect.
B-Squared had 14 straight years of 10 wins from 1987 through 2000. His teams never finished out of the top five in any poll. They were royalty, and treated as such before a single snap was fired back between the wickets of a center. Without fail, the ’Noles were in the national-title talks, if not the actual chase.
They were very good, often great … and never, ever were denied their just due.