Sunday, January 17, 2010
It's so frustrating to see athletes complaining of the perceived lack of integrity that is running up the score. If you feel disrespected by another team putting up an additional 7 on you, stop it. As one cohesive unit, prevent it. You hear these stories annually in virtually every sport that keeps recorded stats.
Look no further than the 2007 Patriots as a prime example. Ruthless, aggressive calls in the fourth when the games were out of reach, going for it on fourth down when leads were insurmountable, and throwing the ball when pounding the rock was the conventional call. Teams were upset. This is excusable as the irrevocable damage was done early, but is mercilessly violating the Bills in the wrong? Simply, no. If the offense is out there to make you out as fools, don't let them. Defend that down. If the Patriots decided to go for it on fourth and the Bills managed to stop them, move on, you got the ball. It's a legal football call but is it immoral? Demoralizing a team like that? Hardly. Do your job as a defense; it's a football call.
What's the defense's argument here? That they were humbled to the point where another 7 on the stat-sheet would be uncalled for? The Browns endure this kind of suffering on a weekly basis. Get over yourselves.
If the score is 42-3, and the Saints are throwing in the fourth quarter, how is this disrespectful to your defense? Your defense just allowed 42 points.
This is professional sports. The reasons for piling on the points include: tiebreaker advancement (in tournament hockey, for example), sending a deafening message to the rest of the league (to gain a psychological edge), experimenting with play calls, the competitive nature of the game, among others. Among others, the competitive nature of the game. I play essentially every sport out there and if I felt that my opponent(s) were mailing it in, even in a decisive match, I'd question their competitiveness. I wouldn't want pity. I'm better than that.
In fantasy it's entirely different, though. I have seen close match-ups, where Team A benches their RB, for example, because they have already ensured victory. Different context here. I would feel disrespectful in this case study as Team B. Benching a guy should be frowned upon in fantasy etiquette. It gives off the impression that you've won, the match-up's over, and that that Monday start is unnecessary. Logically speaking, that's true, but it appears arrogant beyond comprehension, at least in my opinion. The other part to this is that you're playing for overall points scored in the standings. You don't want to lose a tiebreaker because you benched a starter in Week 4 because you had that week wrapped up.
Ask yourself, Brooking: how did you get to the point (i.e. trailing 27-3) where running up the score even becomes an issue? The questions shouldn't revolve around morality and sportsmanship; what's relevant is that your defense can't stop their offense.