When You’re a Pro, You Play to Win

How about them Chiefs?!?!

Did you see that game with Denver this past Sunday?  If not, you missed a classic.  I’m not a huge NFL fan, but that game was outstanding with Kansas City pulling out an amazing 30-27 win in overtime.

Following the game Denver Head Coach Gary Kubiak took some heat for a decision he made late in overtime.  And what was Kubiak’s “sin”?  He played to win.

The situation was this:  Tie score.  Broncos ball, 4th and 10 near midfield with a little over a minute left in overtime.  Kubiak could do one of three things:  1)  He could go for the win with a 62 yard field goal attempt.  2)  He could run a play in hopes of picking up the first down.  3)  He could punt the ball away.

Kubiak took the first option.

The field goal attempt was well short, the Chiefs got the ball with great field position, drove about 25 yards and kicked the winner as time ran out.

And the second guessing immediately began.  Why didn’t he punt?  Why did he risk losing on a long shot field goal attempt?  I’ll tell you why.  He was playing to win.

I liked the call.  I would have been fine if he had run a play trying to get 10 yards.  As far as I’m concerned, punting was out of the question.  If you punt, you are playing for a tie.  At the professional level, you play to win.  That’s the reason I have zero use for pre-season games.  Nobody is playing to win.  I get what they are trying to accomplish, but when you are ready to play to win that’s when I’ll get interested.

When asked if winning was everything, legendary coach Vince Lombardi famously responded, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”  When you’re a professional, that is 100% right.