Sorry, everyone who don't care about sports, but here's another (long-ish) sports post.
One of the reasons I like NFL football more than other sports is this: The season is only 16 games long and the competition is so close that practically every moment, every play of every game can make the difference between a successful (making the playoffs), and a disappointing year. In hockey and baseball, where the season is so long, and where the game is so fluid, it’s hard to define specific moments in specific games that could be considered potential season-breaking plays. An individual mistake or bad play in a regular season game in these sports doesn’t have the same potential impact on a season that a bad or missed play in football can.
Case in point: With one regular season game still to play, my favourite team, the Miami Dolphins are now mathematcially eliminated from the playoffs. At the beginning of the year, the Dolphins were considered by many to be one of the teams expected to make it to the Super Bowl. The disappointment at them not making it to the playoffs is indeed huge, but is made even greater when one theorises that, if only one or two plays this season had different outcomes, the Dolphins probably would still now be favoured to get to the Super Bowl. That is how close the competition is in the NFL. That is how important every play of every game is for a team’s success or failure. In the NFL, one or two plays in the entire season can make the difference between winning it all, or going home early. That is what makes every game in the NFL so important, and therefore, so exciting.
In the Dolphins very first game of the year, late in the game, there was a penalty (which, by the way, NFL officials admitted afterwards was the wrong call) called on the Dolphins that changed the outcome of that game. It is not really a stretch to say that this one penalty played a major role in causing the Dolphins to lose that game. All things the same for the rest of the season, if that penalty wasn’t called, the Dolphins would now be in the playoffs.
In a mid-season game, the one game that, in my opinion, changed the course of the season for both the Dolphins (for the worse) and the New England Patriots (for the better), two totally unexpected and unusual field goal misses by the Dolphins caused them to lose the game. If either of those field goals were made, the Dolphins would have won that game, and most likely would now have a first week playoff bye, and have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. But they didn’t make either of those FG’s, and are now out of the playoffs.
(To take these suppositions even further, the reason the Dolphins missed those field goals is because the kicker had to kick from the dirt on the field, instead of from the natural grass. The reason there was dirt on the field is because the Florida Marlins [who share the stadium with the Dolphins] were still alive in the National League Championship Series. The reason the Marlins were still alive was because that guy in that game in Chicago reached out for the ball and kept Moises Alou from catching it. So, if Alou caught the ball, and the Cubs won that game, the baseball infield would have been removed from the playing field and Olindo Mare, the Dolphins very accurate field goal kicker, would have kicked at least one of those two field goals, and the Dolphins would have won that game, and would today have enough wins to be in the playoffs)
Of course, it’s all for nought, now. Woulda coulda shoulda means nothing. You are in a wheel-chair, Blanche, and the Dolphins are out of the playoffs.