Paying Attention to Team

Recently I’ve been writing about Team and I’ve been writing about Attention.  I suppose they’re connected, because I seem to be interested in both… I’m certainly paying attention to how a team is a team.

I watched the Giants – vs Cowboys football game yesterday.  I’ve been watching the Giants since before the NFL existed, when there were teams called the Yankees and Brooklyn, so I know something about the game.  I thought the difference yeaterday was in the nature of team. 

It could be said that there were two penalties that may have cost the Giants the game.  They were ‘delay of game’ penalties, both occuring on the same drive, so the Giants had to go 10 yards further and had to give the ball up.  Delay of game is caused be the inability of the team to line up appropriately and get ready for the next play.They have a total of maybe 20 seconds. those One of the fascinating things about football is that 11 men have to be trained to think of themselves as one — They all have to be coordinated on every play.  Not easy, particularly when there’s a dynamic between how you line up on offense and the other team suddenly changes how they line up on defense.  You have to change in an instant and when you can’t, it’s delay of  game.

The same sort of thing happened going the other way, but it happened differently and was amazingly costly.  In this 11 vs 11 game it often comes down to one on one, but that happens in the context of team.  Dallas has a big, fast receiver (Terril Owens).  He is generally faster than any one Giant defender.  So the way the Giant team calls its defensive alignment affects how Owens is covered.  Now, one of the teams changed how that would happen in the 4th quarter, the end of the game.  And it ended up that twice, the Giants had only one admittedly slower man on Owens.  Owens caught two touchdown passes.  This, it seemed to me was a team mismatch – a wrong defensive alignment was called for —and the team could not adjust fast enough. 

When an important game ends — this one was important – most people watch highlights, individual accomplishments.  What was decisive in this game was Team play.

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