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Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda.
January 16, 2004

by Bill Hogan



It occurs to me, as I remove the bandage from the bottom of my left foot, that I should have put my shoes on before searching the living room floor for remnants of a broken Christmas tree ornament. The tree has been down for a couple of weeks, the foot is just now beginning to heal.

Next time I'll know better. Next time I'll be more careful. Of course, if I knew I was going to cut my foot, I would have taken better precaution in the first place. I am a wiser man thanks to the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.


Looking back on the ordeal, there are a number of things I would have done differently – not the least of which is slipping on a pair of sneakers. I'd have used a broom and dustpan to collect the serrated pieces of decorative glass instead of my bare hands. Come to think of it, I could have opened the blinds to shed a little more light on the subject.

There's no better way to demonstrate your intelligence than assuming the role of Monday morning quarterback. After all, you will never have a greater understanding of a particular event than you do after the outcome has been determined.

And when the result is less than desirable, there is plenty of room for second guessing. It's easy to lay claim to the perfect solution after all the facts are in. Like explaining to my wife the usefulness of a potholder while she's running her scalded fingers under cold water.

The current MasterCard commercial featuring Brett Favre is hilarious. Some poor schlemiel walks out of the market, his groceries fall through the bottom of a paper sack onto the sidewalk and Brett says "I'd have double bagged it."

Just the kind of comment one wants to hear while trying to corral the runaway tangerines and the extra-large tube of Preparation H. Personally, I would have had a few choice words for Brett about what to do with his hind-sighted advice.

In real life, Favre's coach Mike Sherman was criticized after the Packers' 20-17 overtime playoff loss to the Eagles for a decision he made late in the game. Up 17-14 with 2:30 remaining, Sherman decided to punt on fourth-and-1 from the Philadelphia 41-yard line.

Had he gone for, and made, a first down, the Packers could have run out the clock. Then again, had his offense been stopped on fouth-and-1, the Eagles would have gotten the ball back in great field position. In hindsight, he should have gone for it since the Packers lost the game anyway.

In St. Louis, Rams coach Mike Martz was scorched by the Monday morning media for not trying to score a last-second, game-winning touchdown against the Carolina Panthers. Instead, Martz elected to kick a game-tying field goal. The Rams lost in overtime, so hindsight would dictate that he should have made an attempt to get the ball into the end zone.

Not only was Martz' football intelligence called into question, but his manhood as well. What would the pundits have said had Martz called for a game-winning pass play and the Panthers intercepted?

For NFL head coaches, it's always a case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't." At some point in a game, they have to make decision that will inevitably affect the outcome. If the team wins, you're a genius. But if the team winds up losing, you're a dunce.

I don't think anyone would dispute the fact that Vince Lombardi was football genius. In nine years with the Green Bay Packers, Lombardi won five NFL Championships and the first two Super Bowls.

He was on the sideline for one of football's greatest post-season games - the 1967 NFL Championship against the Dallas Cowboys. Better known as the Ice Bowl because the game-time temperature reached minus-13 degrees, Lombardi and the Packers beat the Cowboys 21-17.

The Packers were down 17-14 with 13 seconds left and no time outs. Lombardi called for Bart Starr to run a quarterback sneak from the 1-yard line. Had Starr not made it over the goal line, time would have expired and the Cowboys would have been off to Super Bowl II.

The Monday morning quarterbacks would have had a field day with the league's premier coach for passing up the opportunity to tie the game with a chip-shot field goal. I can see the headlines: Lombardi Shoulda…


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