Sunday, November 04, 2007

What in the hell was he thinking? | by Jay

(Warning: bad language follows. This is an R-rated post -- please skip it if you are sensitive. If you choose to read it, please picture Chevy Chase in Vacation, or Steve Martin at the rental car counter in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and you should get the sense and tone of my exasperation here. Mom, I'm sorry.) 

BUG-EYED mad. Pissed off. Spitting bullets. Even after a night of sleeping on it, I wake up supremely angry. Maybe even angrier than when I went to sleep. So mad I can't even see straight. I can't figure it out. 

You have a chance to WIN THE GAME IN REGULATION and you just pass on it. You just waive it. It's the singular worst call of the Charlie Weis era. My foundation of trust is shaken to its core. Any slack Charlie had with me for this shitty season was just squandered and used up. I just can't wrap my head around it. It's the dumbest call I've seen in years. You might have to go back to Bob Davie at the end of the game versus Purdue when Jarious got sacked; at least then they called a play, and it looked like a miscommunication. 

This was ALL on Charlie. I never thought I would see the day where Charlie Weis would cost us a ballgame. Those kinds of meltdowns are reserved for gameday idiots like Davie and Willingham and Faust, aren't they? Not Charlie: master of the judicious timeout, ruler of the clock, player of the odds. Even when he made calls that blew up in his face, you sort of saw where he was coming from. Not this time. 

Who cares about the goddam streak. Hell, I'm HAPPY for the Navy players and fans. This has nothing to do with that. It's not just about losing the game (which, unbelievably, I had already mentally prepared myself for; this is how low this year has sunk - I'm girding myself to lose to Navy). It's about FOREGOING THE CHANCE TO KICK A FIELD GOAL TO WIN THE MOTHERFUCKING GAME. 

Did ANYONE with a Motorola headset question this decision? Latina, Haywood? Corwin, where the hell were you? Charlie Junior -- you wearing that thing for decoration? ANYONE? Ahh, hell, forget the headset -- he should have listened to the crowd. Fifty thousand people yelling "KICK IT YOU STUPID SON OF A BITCH!" 

And what did we do instead? A PASS ON 4TH AND 8? THAT'S a better option than a 41-yard try, with a guy with plenty of leg from that distance who has already booted a 48-yarder earlier this year? "We were kicking into the wind," Charlie said, "and we weren't hitting it before the game." SO FUCKING WHAT. You line it up and give it a shot. If you miss, you miss -- but at least you TRIED. AT LEAST YOU TRIED TO WIN THE GAME. 

I can't even start with the 4th AND FIFTEEN FAKE FIELD GOAL or the goddam screen passes that got blown up EVERY SINGLE TIME (and honestly, you knew they were going to suck, didn't you? Because we've been running them for EIGHT GAMES NOW and it's clear we can't execute them. WHY ARE THESE PAGES STILL IN OUR PLAYBOOK?) or the crucial moments when you put the game on the shoulders of Evan Sharpley (a game, but let's be honest, a flailing player who's more lucky than good) instead of trusting your rushing attack which had been eating up chunks of yards all game long. 

Instead, we play for OVERTIME. Now I don't know a team in the country that is better suited to play in overtime than Navy. YOU KICK THE BALL AND YOU TRY TO END IT IN REGULATION BECAUSE NAVY CAN GET 25 YARDS WHENEVER THEY GODDAM PLEASE. What are those rules again? Never get involved in a land war in Asia, and NEVER GO IN AGAINST NAVY WHEN OVERTIME IS ON THE LINE. I knew it. My friends I was sitting with knew it. Everybody in section 10 knew it. THE WHOLE GODDAM STADIUM KNEW IT, except for some idiot who calls himself the head coach. 

"We weren't hitting it before the game into the wind." Give me a break. 

You stupid goddam idiot. I'm talking to you, shithead. You just cost us a chance to win the game. Where did you learn your trade, you stupid goddam idiot. You Bob-Davie-versus-Nebraska motherfucker. What you are hired to do is to help us win. Not to FUCK US UP. 

And when we lost, I was...angry. You know what? I've never been ANGRY after a loss under Charlie. I have been variously deflated, humiliated, or resigned, but never really angry. The games we've lost we were either overmatched or a victim of our own mistakes. Have I questioned calls in various situations, questioned gameplans, questioned personnel decisions? Absolutely. But I never pinned a loss totally on Charlie until now. 

I stood in stunned silence. The entire stadium did. Absolutely stunned. Of all the losses in the last three years, this is the first one I hang on his head, and his head alone. After the game we choked down our anger and congratulated a nice Navy couple sitting in front of us (the older gent in his 70s was literally crying tears of joy) and you couldn't help but think what a great moment for those guys. Good for them. They deserved it. Hell, I'm even going to keep the ticket stub -- it'll probably be worth something someday. We shook their hands and wished them well, and congratulated them on a good game. After all, they outplayed us when it counted. 

We trundled out of the stadium and marched directly to the car. Stunned silence. Waves of people emptying out into the parking lots, and nobody saying a goddam thing. Seething. It wasn't the loss - hell, we've had seven of them already this year. Not because Navy outplayed us in overtime -- nope, you knew that was a losing matchup for us. We're seething because maybe, just maybe, it should have never come to that. 

We jumped in the car and turned on the postgame show, catching Jack Nolan sounding like he's under seige and barricading the door. "PLEASE, people, if you're going to call in you have to TONE IT DOWN. I know you're upset, but we can't put you on the air if you're going to curse." Fucking hell, Jack -- cursing is all we've got right now.