Updated: Dec 31, 2018
It’s 4th and 4 on the goaline, your team is down by 4 with :02 seconds left to go in the national championship game. “Alright here we go guys, Right Axle 125 Pick on 1” The star quarterback says in the huddle, glancing at all the men, trying to confirm in them the belief that they were going to score on this play, like they have all year long. The ball is snapped, the Quarterback drops back and sees a wide-open Wide Receiver. He riffles the ball to him, the lights flash, the Quarterback knows he just made a perfect pass, to his stud wide receiver who hasn’t dropped a ball all year. He can already see himself holding the trophy and his parents and family telling them how proud of him they are. Except that’s not how any of it went. As the perfectly spiraled ball sailed through the air to the wide-open receiver, the receiver put up his hands and it went straight through them. It looked like slow motion, the same play had worked all year long and now in the championship game the ball hit the ground and the team lost.
What’s the point of this story? Don’t teams win and lose like this all time? The goal of any competition is to win, there’s no if’s, ands, or buts about it, you can learn a lot and gain a lot from the process, but that doesn’t change what the goal of playing that game is.
Knowing this we want to investigate how to win more of these games. To a disgruntled fan, the wide receiver “dropped the ball like he always does. Thinking this way gives us nothing to work with, it takes control out of our hands and just means that every time we throw him the ball, he’ll drop it and watching this athlete from the previous games and practices we know this isn’t true. To a sports announcer the wide receiver “is just not clutch”. Once again knowing this, what control does this give us? Every time we need to win a game we just don’t throw to this guy? There’s no growth in this, that doesn’t seem like the winning formula. And once again, we have seen in previous games this same wide receiver makes clutch plays consistently, so this cant be the problem. To the wide receiver coach, the wide receiver coach dropped the ball because he didn’t stay after practice to catch those extra 100 balls, like he said. This solution gives us some control, the wide receiver could have stayed after and caught the 100 balls, but this same wide receiver had caught everything all year long, he led the conference and team in catches, this doesn’t really seem like the issue.
There’s a lot of pointed out issues by people here about why the wide receiver dropped the ball, but if you investigate it most of them don’t make sense. The wide receiver has no issue catching a football, he’s done it plenty of times before, this wide receiver has no issue making big time plays, he has done it plenty of times before. So why did the wide receiver drop the ball? Let’s take a deeper look into the wide receiver himself, as a human, not an athlete. The national championship game took place during finals, this wide receiver was good at football, but struggled in school. He was on a full ride scholarship, but if his grades drop below a certain point, he loses this scholarship and if he loses this scholarship there’s no way, he can afford school. To add onto this stress, this wide receivers’ girlfriend also has finals this week and