- Family Features
- Business Directory
- Gallery Of Homes
- Subscribe Now!
- Place A Classified Ad
- New! Digital e-Edition
Saturday Morning Quarterback
Dec 12, 2006 12:00 am
When the Titans reached the Super Bowl, I heard someone, who is not a football fan, say they'd better win it.
I thought that was a dumb thing to say. What was going to happen if they didn't?
It's been nearly seven years since Kevin Dyson's outstretched arm came up one yard short at the Georgia Dome and the republic is still standing, the earth is still spinning.
Coming up a yard short did leave something of an empty feeling. And since the Titans have yet to return to the "big game", there is the sense of a job left undone.
But whenever I hear someone say the team can't win the "big game", I've always taken it that they meant that team (or person) was a failure.
Well, I have news for them. Those who say such things have probably never won the big game because they've never been in one to start with.
To get to the Super Bowl, NCAA final or the BlueCross Bowl, a team has to win many big games. In this era of elongated playoffs, a team has to win several elimination games to even reach the big enchilada. The major exception is the BCS, but Ohio State and Florida both had to all but run the table to reach that title game.
Dean Smith was labeled as a coach who couldn't win the big one until Michael Jordan did it for him. But his North Carolina teams had to get past countless must-win games in order to "lose" the big one. Don Shula had the same albatross around his neck until the '72 Dolphins didn't lose any – big or small – games. No one calls them chokers anymore.
The aforementioned Titans had to pull off the Music City Miracle before going on the road to beat Indianapolis and Jacksonville.
When last we saw Jon Miller on the football field, the Friendship Christian quarterback was throwing six interceptions in the state championship game a week ago. But to even get to that game, he first had to engineer a come-from-behind win over Gordonsville with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter of the second round, a comeback which would have done Joe Montana and John Elway (he couldn't win the big one either until he ended his career doing just that – twice) proud.
Cumberland pitcher Adam Tomlinson walked in the go-ahead run in the 11th inning of the NAIA baseball final last spring. But how many pressure-packed situations did he get the Bulldogs out of along the way, including that Friday night in Idaho, to even reach that point?
Miller's younger brother, Mitch, was the losing pitcher in a Dixie Youth state baseball final a few years ago.
You have to be pretty good to lose a championship game because you have to be good to get to a title game. And if you're an individual placed in that position, it has to be because your coach believes you can get the job done under the toughest of circumstances.
Six picks in a game, walking in the winning run: Those things happen sometimes when you turn the ball loose. Miller and Tomlinson (ironically an FCS grad) were thrown into the fire. They rolled the dice and performed admirably.
A lot of guys were sitting at home or shivering in the stands wearing their school's letter jackets watching and wishing it was them on the field.
It's a law of sports that for every winner, there's a loser.
But the ones who don't win the "big one" aren't really failures. They've proven they're winners.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 17 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.