Negativity rarely is tempered any more. Why not? There are mountains of evidence to suggest we don’t have to expect the worst automatically, but we will ignore all of that evidence to focus on a recent loss. It’s Johnny Come Lately logic, but it is prevalent. There are honestly people out there who put more weight on the 44-6 loss we had to the Eagles years ago than the win just a few weeks ago. And if we had lost the rematch to Philadelphia, oh my would that 44-6 game and the current loss become an indictment. Luckily, we didn’t have to see this.
Pardon my bluntness, but that’s silly. I suppose in 1995, when we faced the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl, we should have just figured we were destined to lose the game because we had already lost two Super Bowls to them. If the Internet had been as big then as it is now, that would have been the prevailing thought. I guarantee it. Forget that Steelers’ quarterback Neil O’Donnell was no Terry Bradshaw and the Steel Curtain was long since in mothballs, those losses would have been relevant to the future. Were they? Of course not. But had we lost…all bets are off.
Sure, in the recent years we had been the big dog and won two Super Bowls and the Steelers hadn’t. To a large portion of the people that fact would not have mattered, and I’m going to tell you why. Humans have a desire to be right, and they see this as a sign of their intelligence. This is an illusion.
Let me give you an example. If I said before the season started that I saw this as an 8-8 team that will miss the playoffs, would I look intelligent to you right now? If you say “yes”, you are basically Pavlov’s dog. You react to stimuli. But here’s the truth. By making a prediction like that, what I have really done is taken the most saccharine possible approach. There are 32 teams in the NFL and it is a parity driven league. My chances of being close to the very definition of parity are astronomically higher than to pick an extreme either way.
First of all, saying the Cowboys will not win it all is not being right if they don’t. To be right, you actually have to tell me who will, because 31 teams won’t. By saying the Cowboys won’t, I have a 97% chance of being right. Conversely, there is only a 3% chance of being right if I say they will win it all. No one stakes their reputation as intelligent upon a 3% chance. The very thought of that is in and of itself, stupid, and as I said the idea is to look intelligent.
The Internet has magnified this, because someone can actually claim that they have been right for the last 16 years in claiming that the Cowboys would not win the Super Bowl. But this is not true. To be right, they’d actually have to hit that 3%, and tell you who will win it, and be right each year. Trust me when I tell you no one has done that or even come close. Saying the Cowboys will not win is merely playing the odds. And the fact is, the odds are against winning it all. That’s why it is so special when you do.
It’s like taking a roulette wheel and modifying it to where only one number has the little borders indicating you are the winner. If the number 18 was the only number on a roulette wheel that had borders to capture the marble, and the odds were exactly the same, would you ever play #18? Of course not. Not when you have the entire rest of the wheel open to you.
The Internet is the best thing to ever happen to the game of football, and the worst. From the standpoint of being able to find anything you want, it is fantastic. From the standpoint of being able to abuse knowledge, it is the worst.
It is followed closely by two games, Madden and Fantasy Football. These two games have convinced people that they are experts who just don’t have NFL jobs. Hey, I had Madden 2001. I customized the games to 15 minute quarters and I rushed 1993 Emmitt Smith on every play and won the Super Bowl undefeated. Emmitt averaged over 400 yards per game and had something like 60 TDs. What did this teach me? That it is easier to trick a computer than it is a human. Because trust me, as good as Emmitt was in 1993, he was not going to average that and wouldn’t achieve that even if he played every game against college defenses.