I was at Wembley last night for the first ever NFL game hosted outside the US and it got me thinking about competition. It was a tremendous occasion and thoroughly enjoyable. I guess the Dolphins, who are having a dire season, (an eight game losing streak keeping them firmly planted at the bottom of the AFC East 0-8), had little to lose by giving up home advantage.
In fact Miami were no pushover. Their opening drive, based almost exclusively on an aggressive running game, put them in a promising position only to run out of steam with a 48 yard field too much to ask in wet and windy conditions.
In my view both quarterbacks had stinkers. Miami in particular, whose QB was appropriately named “Lemon”, managed to oversee 4 consecutive penalties at one point in the game when the Dolphins were otherwise in control. Illegal receiver downfield; illegal substitution and (unbelievably) an illegal formation being amongst the crimes.
The Giants played none too well themselves with Eli Manning (QB) seemingly unable to hit the proverbial barn door with any form of stringed instrument.
It teemed with rain most of the match and even up in the second tier, we were getting wet. So using the conditions as an excuse is plausible, and I am certain this contributed to the score being as close as it was.
When you are leading a team in a competitive situation, you frequently encounter turbulence. Often it is the same for all sides. Being successful is not about being brilliant at all times. Sometimes it’s just about being better than your competitors, making small improvements and focussing on the apparently little things. All of which reminds me of the old joke about the grizzly bear chasing two hunters. One stops to put on his running shoes. The other hunter laughed “you are not going to outrun a bear in those”, to which the first hunter replied “I don’t need to outrun the bear, I just need to outrun you!”
The Giants were not great but they were better than the Dolphins by a small margin in most areas and this saw them through.
By the way, on a sporting note, as a former linebacker for the Stockport Falcons, I did like the look of No. 52 for Miami, Clam Chowder (or was it Channing Crowder). Sharp, energetic, aggressive, hard hitting and made a large portion of Miami’s tackles. Man of the match for me even though I was supporting the Giants.