This past weekend was surely a highlight for not only local sports enthusiasts but across the country. Locally we saw the Missouri Tigers blow out the Florida Gators IN THE SWAMP. We witnessed the St. Louis Rams host the defending Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks and hand them their second consecutive loss. Nationally ESPN covered Peyton Manning’s record breaking day like fans blanketed in comforters from the chilly fall weather. But behind all of this coverage one thing was noticeable to me….The Prisoner of the Moment.
For those of you that may not know the phrase Prisoner of the Moment, it is a term to describe the reaction of the immediacy of an event. You get so caught up in a thrilling game you declare THIS IS THE BEST GAME EVER. Or rather than looking at a full body of work for a player you state BEST EVER. The Prisoner of the Moment often overtakes any knowledgeable person and their emotions take over.
I first noticed the weekend’s Prisoner of the Moment buildup on Saturday during the Mizzou-Florida game. It started with a bang as Mizzou took the opening kickoff back for a score. And the Tigers would continue to pour it on and put up points while shutting down the Gator offense. Don’t get me wrong it was great to see Mizzou go into The Swamp and roll the Gators in that fashion. But I was not oblivious to the fact that Mizzou had just 20 passing yards and for the third straight game the offense looked sluggish. Yes I know being up that big the Tigers didn’t need to open the playbook up but 6-of-18 passing, not very strong. And maybe with such a big lead you would want to work out the in-game kinks the offense has been having? But still the build up from Tigers fans, where a week earlier they were calling for heads and talk about the Tigers 2014 season in demise was in full roar. Now after the win Tigers fans were talking about running the schedule and a second SEC East title. As a certain ESPN college football analyst says “Not so fast”. Let’s just focus on getting the offense going once again and on a team in Vanderbilt this week the Tigers should put away with ease; wait we have seen that line before right Indiana?
Now we move into Sunday. St. Louis hosting Seattle. A team that had just one win, over the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers, against the defending champion looking to avenge a loss from the previous week. No contest right? Wrong. The Rams showed why divisional games in the NFL are always competitive and walked away with a 28-26 win. A great win for the Rams for sure and it should be enjoyed by the fans who have had little to cheer about over the last decade. But hearing the radio after talk of the Rams possible strong finish to the 2014 season feels a little much. The Rams under Jeff Fisher have typically been competitive so their win was no surprise, in fact I picked it. But the 2014 Rams are the same team that blew big leads at home against both Dallas and San Francisco and nearly did the same against Seattle. With Seahawks QB Russell Wilson carving up the Rams defense both through the air and on the ground it took a pass from their punter to secure a win. And even then they still nearly gave the Seahawks one last chance until a fumble was somehow pulled out of the pile by a member or two of the Rams. The Rams did not dominate this game (being outgained 463-275 in total yardage) and have yet to play a complete game for 60 minutes this season.
Splintering off from the Rams win has been the talk of quarterback Austin Davis. Davis, a fourth stringer at the start of camp this year, has had his moments. But now suddenly fans and media are talking of Davis being the Rams long searched for solution at QB. This is no doubt helped by Brett Favre’s comments that Davis could be the next Kurt Warner or Tom Brady. Well yes that is technically true, could is the important word though. Because I could become the next Rams GM as well, but doubtful. This is not to say that Davis does not have potential. He looks mobile and likes to take his shots downfield. He has shown an ability to improvise and is a fiery leader. But just like the Rams team, Davis has yet to put together a complete game. He has thrown for 300 yards in a game, he has thrown for three touchdowns in a game, and he has had a chance to lead the Rams to wins late in all of his games. However the game against Seattle I feel was his best performance and he had his lowest output in terms of statistics. We have seen QB’s flash in the NFL for short periods of times (Josh Freeman) but it is those QB’s that can adjust to defenses that get film on them that succeed. Let’s see Austin Davis have a complete game, followed by a full month of consistency before we anoint him the Rams savior.
Finally Peyton Manning, arguably the best quarterback in NFL history. But that is what made me laugh. The media went all Prisoner of the Moment this weekend. Just because Manning topped Favre’s all-time record for touchdowns the media crowned Manning the best of all time. And I am not saying that Manning doesn’t deserve to be considered the best ever, it is just the flip-flopping people do that amuses me. This is the same media that claimed he could never be considered the best because he so often came up short in the playoffs. The same Manning that was ridiculed this past February after his performance against Seattle in the Super Bowl. But now just eight weeks into the following season he is without a doubt the best ever? What changed? He didn’t win a Super Bowl in that time or make a deep playoff run. He simply broke a record. Prisoner of the Moment.
The Prisoner of the Moment effect stems from emotions. Sports itself is filled with emotions. That is what makes it so great. The passion from the fans, the highs and lows teams and players give us. The history in the making and the records that fall. Often times the media just needs to talk about something so they create these stories. Sometimes fans get overcome by their emotions. This is just a simple reminder to not be a Prisoner of the Moment. You can still enjoy the event, the game. Get emotionally involved, I still do. But enjoy the moment for what it is, enjoy the here and now. Not everything needs to be placed in a historical context. Don’t be a Prisoner of the Moment just be In the Moment.