“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Inept and stupid: Jacksonville lost to New England for two reasons. The first is the delay of game penalty near the end of the first half, leading 14-3 with time running out; Jacksonville had a 3rd and 7 on New England’s 43. Quarterback Blake Bortles threw a 12-yard completion for a first down on the Patriots’ 30-yard line, meaning that they were in good shape for a field goal or a touchdown to lengthen the lead to either 17-3 or 21-3 going into the half. But, wait! There’s a penalty! For delay of game! Get this—Bartles was so inept that coming out of a timeout, he couldn’t get the ball snapped in time! After failing on 3rd and 12 they were forced to punt the ball to New England. Patriot quarterback Tom Brady went the length of the field for a touchdown to go into the half trailing only 14-10. That was at least a 10 point switch, if not a 14 point switch. That was the inept, and that alone was enough to cost them the game. UCLA fans will be familiar with this particular idiocy because Jim Mora’s team did the exact same thing against Colorado last year.
… football coaches are just as ill-thinking as baseball managers
But the stupid came in the 4th quarter when they were trying to preserve a 3-point lead with their automated play calling. On every first down they ran a line plunge, just as they had the entire game. That was their game plan; run first, then pass. In the 4th quarter they had possession three times with a 3-point lead. Patriots coach Bill Belichick was ready for their first down run and flooded the box with nine defenders. Anybody with at least half a brain would have called a pass against that defense on first down, but not Jacksonville.
CBS’s brilliant commentator Tony Romo accurately stated before they started running their plays in the 4th quarter that they had to do something different on first and second down when New England wasn’t ready for it to keep possession. But they didn’t. Confirming their little minds, they stuck with their game plan running for little or no gain on each first down and it constantly put them at 2nd and 9. Ergo, they had to turn the ball back to New England, twice (even after linebacker Myles Jacks had stolen the ball from a Patriots’ receiver to thwart one of New England’s advances). You can’t do that against Tom Brady.
This just proves that football coaches are just as ill-thinking as baseball managers. If I knew they had to pass on first down and if Tony Romo knew they had to pass on first down, why didn’t Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone, who is paid millions of dollars to know more than Romo and I know, have this knowledge? It’s easy to understand why Buffalo pays him $4 million not to coach the Bills.
Another thing that the NFL playoffs have confirmed is the abject ignorance of NFL coaches in judging talent. Quarterbacks Case Keenun and Nick Foles, who faced each other in the NFC Championship game, have been cast off by several teams who need a good quarterback. In fact the Rams dumped both of them. Even their current coaches are fools because they kept these guys on the bench until injuries forced the coaches to play them. All the teams who are crying for a quarterback could have had both of these for the price of a bus ticket. But, like former Dodgers manager Don Mattingly who was too dumb to realize that Justin Turner was not just the best hitter on the Dodgers roster, he was probably the best hitter in baseball, all of these coaches are almost criminally lacking in good judgment of talent.
Tony Medley is the author of three books including “UCLA Basketball: The Real Story,” the first book written on UCLA basketball. Visit TonyMedley.com.