Tuesday, December 20, 2005

TAKING DEFEAT POSITIVELY

Losing isn't everything, but accepting it gracefully is the only thing. For an awful lot of coaches, in football and in every other sport, dealing with defeat is a big part of the job. And most of the coaches earn the name when they lose. This gives a rise to a question that can losing be good for a team? If it's only occasional and takes places at the right time. The subject seems chiefly significant in our day, for two reasons. The Indianapolis Colts lost their first game of the season on Sunday, after starting 13-0 and stirring the ghosts of the 1972 Miami Dolphins. And in the other case the Eagles are getting a big dose of losing after five consecutive playoff years, four appearances in the league's final four, and one trip to the Super Bowl. So, can losing benefit these teams in the long run?

For the Colts, this little arrest will helps fix them, mentally and physically, for the playoffs. Especially if they have to face their archrival, the New England Patriots, sometime in January. For the Eagles, it is more or less a one-year sabbatical from winning that will help the entire team to refocus, bring some perspective, and imply some changes that were delayed while the team was winning.

Had the Colts finished the regular season at 16-0 and then lost in the playoffs, it would have been one of the hollowest achievements in the history of the NFL. Now Dungy can rest his starters, get everyone fresh and ready at the risk of a 14-2 or 13-3 record, and try to win that Lombardi Trophy. In case of the Eagles cruising during the regular season, losing becomes sarcastic, so the Eagles must respond to this misfortune quickly and decisively. As painful as it is to look back to September and early October, the Eagles have to do it. And they have to see that, too often, their opponents took the field better prepared and with far more intensity than the Eagles did. This year will only serve the Eagles well in the future if they face what happened head on and if they take the appropriate action.

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