I’ve been thinking a lot this week about meat and potatoes. Am I that hungry? No (But that does sound good, doesn’t it, Mrs. Hays?). I’m not talking about meat and potatoes as a hearty meal, I’ve been thinking a lot about football meat and potatoes.
It’s post-Super Bowl week. Usually, in post-Super Bowl week, I rarely think about football. The season is over. Time to take a little break and get ready for the baseball season.
Not this year.
Super Bowl XLIX happened. An uber-exciting game with the best two teams in the league participating. A game where the outcome came down to one final play. And THAT final play is what has been bugging the heck out of me all week.
Meat and potatoes.
In the ultimate game on the ultimate stage and at the very pinnacle of their sport, one team had a chance to win the Vince Lombardi trophy for the second year in a row but had their hopes dashed at the goal line with an interception. The team came up short due in large part to choosing to go with a cute, trickster play call instead of their meat and potatoes play call.
Meat and potatoes?
It’s the play your team runs best. It’s the play you hang the personality of the whole team on. It’s the play your players believe in and trust above all others. Coach Eric Burks taught me this in my first year of coaching freshman football. Our best play, the one all our kids trusted and executed above all others was 34 Power.
34 Power was a run play. An in-your-face running play, in fact. We double-team blocked the point of attack, led the lead blocking back through the hole to block the first threat, and handed the ball to the tailback, who followed the blocking back into the hole and broke to daylight.
It was a good play. We ran it well. We had confidence in it as a team. It was who we were. Coach Burks called 34 Power whenever we need to gain important yardage, like 4th and short or on the goal line. He called it our meat and potatoes play—our staple play. The kids caught on to the meat and potatoes concept. They caught on so well and became so confident in the 34 Power, Coach Burks just started calling the play “Meat & Potatoes”.
If we were behind in the 4th quarter and stuck in an do-or-die fourth and short at midfield, he would send in the play call with the WR. Meat & Potatoes. Everybody knew what it meant, everybody knew what their job was, and everybody (usually) got the job done.
That’s what’s been bugging me all week. The Seattle Seahawks, with the game on the line, got too cute. They skipped their meat and potatoes and went straight for the all-you-can eat dessert bar. Instead of running the football with the best short yardage, touchdown scoring, legs always churning forward running back, they passed the ball. They turned their back on everything they built their success on and failed.
They ate too many chocolate fudge sundaes and got an upset stomach.
The Seahawks skipped the most important part of their Super Bowl meal. They skipped their Meat & Potatoes.
It was a great game. One of the most entertaining Super Bowls ever.
I just can’t get the meat and potatoes mistake out of my mind.
Hurry up baseball, save me from this strategic football dilemma that haunts me.
Meat and potatoes…