White Cover Magazine
Don’t call it luck. Let’s call it fortune.
You know why? Because dropping the word luck is a knock used by bitter people. It removes all skill from the equation, defines whoever you’re talking about as someone who bobs and weaves their way to accomplishments that are pretty impossible to win on fluke alone. It’s a ridiculous way to sum up a game – especially a game like football, where great players’ careers and performances are littered with luck, or fortune, or something like either.
(NOTE: “For the fans in the Northwest, this has to be one for the ages.” Props to Pete Carroll for giving us loser British Columbians a chance to celebrate this one. He didn’t say, for the fans in Seattle or for the fans in Washington or for fans of every in Blaine and south. Love it.)
Tom Brady wouldn’t be Tom Brady if he wasn’t (1) selected by the New England Patriots, way at the back of the draft, if he wasn’t (2) backing up Drew Bledsoe, who just decided to get injured at the perfect time in Brady’s development, and (3) if the zebras hadn’t screwed the Oakland Raiders and given the Pats the ball back, in the infamous ‘Tuck Rule’ game.
But I hate the people who hang that all on Brady, because they forget one obvious thing – all the great ones need a little luck. They need a call to go their way once in a while, they need the other team to drop the football at the right time, they need something divine on their side. If they weren’t lucky at the most fortunate of times, well they wouldn’t have the wins to call themselves great.
Brady himself was pretty unlucky in 2008 when Eli Manning’s prayer of a throw stuck to David Tyree’s helmet. The catch cost the Patriots their fourth Super Bowl and it cost Brady his perfect season.
And the Seahawks were lucky – well, fortunate – yesterday that an endless slope of circumstances went their way…
I’ll skip over the onside kick. I know Brandon Bostick bobbled and blew that reception, but onside kicks are a flukey operation by nature. It’s quite a literal toss-up – if the receiving team is fortunate, they’ll touch the ball first, which gives them the best chance to catch it.
But there’s always a chance the kicking team recovers. Seattle knew that, Green Bay knew that, and the Seahawks recovered. Get over it and give Brandon Bostick a break.
Fortune didn’t intervene on that kick, but it certainly intervened a couple minutes later when Russell Wilson – who had been chased, harassed, and brutalized all day long – skied a hopeless pass on a two-point conversion try and Luke Willson plucked it from the heavens. What’s weirder is that Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix just let the ball fall to Willson, even after a studly day with two back-breaking interceptions, one of them a Jim Edmonds-like catch in centre field.
The Seahawks obviously had fortune to win the coin toss – duh. It’s quite literally a 50-50 toss.
And they were fortunate, in a way, that Green Bay played so poor yesterday.
Russell Wilson had three interceptions – two of them idiotic to his fault, one of them at fault to Jermaine Kearse – and threw for eight yards in the first half. Every time the Seahawks had a chance to shove it down Green Bay’s throat, they either turned it over or they waited to get down the field and then turned it over.
But Green Bay was awful, too. Wilson’s four interceptions and eight first-half yards turned into 209 and a touchdown, while Aaron Rodgers stalled out and finished with just 178.
(In the fourth quarter, just before the Packers tied it 22-22 and sent it to overtime, it seemed like Green Bay hadn’t scored since Singles was released.)
The Pack started with a 16-0 lead, only putting points on the board because they never had to march downfield.
And the Packers were gutless. They had a chance to go up 7-0 early and head coach Mike McCarthy settled for a field goal… with the ball on 4th-and-1 on Seattle’s one-yard line. Like, WTF. This is the NFC Championship, Mike. Go for the damn score!
But is this Seattle’s fortune or is it Green Bay’s miss?
It’s a little bit of both, of course. It’s always a bit of both. And that’s the point.
The Packers had all the luck early, all the snake bites late. And so the story of the game is, Seattle was down and out and (a) they got lucky or (b) Green Bay let them back into it. Because we don’t remember when McCarthy and Rodgers chickened out early, or when Wilson couldn’t find a second or a spare inch of field to think and throw. All we remember is, this poor scapegoat named Brandon Bostick bobbled a bouncing ball. Green Bay lost because the Seahawks are just so lucky. But what would Seattle have been saying if – after 36 months of watching their team play excellent football – the Seahawks had waited until the worst possible moment to lay an egg?
They would be saying exactly what all of Wisconsin is saying right now – that they had the better team, that they deserved to win the game, but they were unlucky.
Luck helps everyone and it screws over everyone. It doesn’t discriminate. The best take it and abuse it when they get it, and they roll as best they can without it.
Seattle did that yesterday. Green Bay didn’t. That’s why the Packers lost.