The clock read 3:09 AM Monday night and I still hadn’t been able to go to sleep. I knew I had to try so that I wasn’t dead the next day at work, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I couldn’t help but replay the Steelers goal line stance over and over in my mind. “Second and one! It was second and one and we run 2 pass plays in a row?! Schottenheimer lost us the game! He lost us a chance at our first Super Bowl in over 40 years."
Now to those of you who don’t know me, it might seem like I am a crazy Jets fan who lives and dies by the team’s performance, but in truth I don’t get too low on the lows or too high on the highs. I’m generally pretty accepting of losses and pretty pleased with wins. For example, no more than three hours after last years AFC championship game against the Colts, I had already talked myself into being proud that my favorite team made the AFC championship game. Even after the brutal OT loss to the Steelers in 2005 I didn’t take it that bad. I punched a pillow, rationalized that we were not going to beat the Brady led Patriots the next round anyway and cooled down within two hours. This time was obviously different and it left me confused as to why I was so deeply affected.
After a few days of anguish and reflection, I realized that for the first time ever, I didn’t view the Jets lucky to be in the playoffs. They didn’t back into them like they did last year and they didn’t just make the playoffs like they do most years with a 10 win season. They deserved to be there as they were one of the more dominating teams in the NFL. For once in my life, I had confidence that the Jets had a terrific chance at winning the Super Bowl and I let down my guard so that I could fully take in their road to the championship. I wanted to remember every little part.
Looking back, my mistake was similar to the one a poker player would make if he went all in with a flush and straight draw. Sure he would have a good chance of winning, but when you go all in too early without being sure of the win, you are vulnerable to losing big.
Maybe it was the Patriots game that got me overzealous and made me think the Jets were a lock for the Super Bowl, but nonetheless, one has to avoid the thrill of getting too excited about something before the ultimate goal is reached. That’s where my mistake came from and it’s something I’m going to have to avoid from now on, because I KNOW the Jets will be in this same position soon enough.
Or am I getting too sure of myself again?