In recent weeks, Keith has made the argument that sports very often hinges on luck, even more than practice and preparation. Whether or not it comes down to luck, I argue that, particularly in the NFL, it comes down to one play or a short sequence of plays that decisively swings momentum—“the big mo.” My analogy for analyzing NFL momentum shifts in this two-part series is, if you will, animalistic. I’ll start by looking at the five biggest “goats” and then next time the five “GOATs”. Later this year, I’ll do the same for the NBA as the playoffs start to heat up.
This week, I unveil what I believe to be the five big chokes, goats, worst plays, whatever you want to call them, that ended up costing teams games. The decisiveness of the play, the level of stupidity or mistake-making, and the magnitude of the game are all taken into account. A Week 1 goat, no matter how dramatic, won’t make the list. The referees who blew the Seattle-Green Bay game in 2012 don’t make the list—that was a Week 3 game that did not have a ton of bearing on the season. To paraphrase Shaq, I make my picks count. Here they are, accompanied by video and a little bit of analysis. Let me know what you think—agree, disagree, does it bring back bad memories of your team blowing a big one?