Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Human Error: The Driving Force of Interest in Sports

     If it wasn't hard to make it in professional sports, every two-bit athlete would get their 15 minutes of fame. Although it is tougher in some sports than it is in others, consistency is hard to achieve in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, PGA, and every other sports league out there. Personally, I believe that it is the most important factor in achieving greatness. However, human error effects our consistency, and creates parity within each respective league. The most insignificant changes,  can have a "butterfly effect" on players, coaches, and teams, and it shows most clearly when the competition is at its peak.

Parity within the Leagues
     In many of the professional leagues around the world, the hardest thing for players and teams to do is be consistent. This is most common in MLB, NHL, and PGA. Player and team statistics can vary greatly from game to game, tournament to tournament, and season to season. The Boston Red Sox are consistently one of the biggest spenders in the MLBs. Last year, they had a 9 game lead in the playoff race, but failed to make the playoffs after going 7-20 in their last 27 games. In the NHL, the Bruins are a great example. After winning the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011, they were unable to defeat the Washington Capitals in the first round of this year's playoffs. Rory McIlroy is ranked the #1 golfer in the world, but he failed to make the cut at the player's championship this past weekend. The margin of error for these players and teams is so small that they can miss out on championships and cause players to miss out on individual accolades.

 Injuries to top performers
     In basketball and football, there are less problems with consistency for the best in the game, but more with injuries. Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Peyton Manning, and Adrian Peterson are just a few of the All-Pro athletes that suffered major injuries and had to miss time during their respective seasons. Their teams took hits because of it, and they all face tough roads to recovery. With players taking shots at other players, anything can happen on the injury front. Players need protection, but to be honest, the unpredictable nature of the competition helps add to the excitement. If Gronkowski were healthy in the Superbowl, the Giants wouldn't have stood a chance against the Patriots offense. If the Red Sox weren't eating fried chicken and drinking beer in the dugout, they could have been good enough to win the World Series. If Tiger Wood's wife wouldn't have attacked him with a golf club, he may have broken Jack Nicholas' record by now. However, those events did happen, and had a major impact on the world of sports today.

The Funny Stuff
     In essence, human error is an intricate part of professional sports. The "holy roller", "wide right", and many other plays. In the '99 US open, all Jean Van De Velde had to do was double bogey the 18th hole to win: he triple bogeyed and later lost the tournament in a playoff. In the '06 Winter Olympics, Lindsey Jacobellis had ALMOST sealed the gold medal in the snowboarding finals, but a distasteful taunt led to a fall and a silver medal. In the '72 Summer Olympics, Rey Robinson and Eddie Hart were co-favorites to win the 100 meter dash: both runners missed the race due to a mix-up with the starting time for the race. Chris Webber called a timeout when his team had none left in a one possession game with less than 20 seconds to go in the '93 NCAA Tournament: his team lost. Mike Tyson vs. Evander Holyfield. Floyd Mayweather vs Victor Ortiz. Vikings with 12 men on the field in the '10 NFC Championship. The Play. Steve Bartman interferes with a ball that would have gotten his team a critical out. Fred Brown passes the ball to James Worthy in the '82 NCAA Title.Tony Romo drops the hold in the '07 NFC Wildcard game. Bill Buckner lets the ball roll through his legs.These major gaffes go down in history as some of the biggest moments in sports history, and help build our love for the game.


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    1. He is posting links to all his stories on SBNation. Never noticed until you said it. That's OK though. I enjoy some of his posts really.