Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Scapegoating: The Sad Ballad of Matt Dodge

On a cold winter day they met upon the field of battle.
Within the final moments the decision went to one of foot fleet,
And the losing general and the rabid raucous fans
Put the lost not on themselves but at the kicker's feet.

Poor Matt Dodge.
Poor Matt Dodge,
It just isn't fair. 

It really isn't fair and it is a  symptom of our times. We don't have time for self-evaluation. We are never the one at fault. We always need our scapegoat, someone else to lay the blame upon. And then some people get ridiculous and don't want to stop at simple blame, but if they could have their way, it would be off with his head too. It is asinine that a rookie punter should be singled out as the culprit for the Giants lost to the Eagles last Sunday. So he supposedly made a mistake in kinking the ball to Jackson, so what? He is a rookie after all. Besides he should have never even been in that position where his punt should have mattered so much.

When your team is up 31 to 10 with eight minutes to play your team should win the game. How is it this rookie kicker's fault the Giants didn't?

So, is it Matt Dodge's fault that this powerhouse offense couldn't manage to score one touchdown in those last eight minutes, which probably would have crushed the spirit and hopes of the Eagles? Matt Dodge wasn't a running back or a wide receiver or a tight end or even an offensive linesmen.

So, is it Matt Dodge's fault that the quarterback couldn't put together a sustained drive down the field in the fourth quarter that would have eaten five of those eight minutes and made a comeback impossible? Matt Dodge wasn't the quarterback, Eli Manning was.

So, is it Matt Dodge's fault that a highly ranked (What were they ranked? Number one or two wasn't it?), that a highly ranked defense couldn't defend well enough to prevent four touchdowns and four extra points for eight minutes? Is it his fault nobody could sack Vick or stop the run or pick off a pass or force a fumble? Matt Dodge wasn't a linebacker or safety or cornerback or tackle?

So, is it Matt Dodge's fault that a stunning offensive play or a brilliant defensive maneuver couldn't be devised to stall the Eagle's with time running out?  Matt Dodge wasn't a couch or coordinator.

Matt Dodge was just a punter, and a rookie at that, and it is not his fault the fate of the game came down to a kick in the last few seconds. That should have never been the case. he shouldn't have had to make that punt with the game on the line.

And so what if he erred in not kicking out of bounds. The couch, who was blowing a gasket on the sidelines and who brooded in a dark room for two and a half hours after the game, has since said the snap was high forcing a hold that caused the ball to have to be kicked where it went. Well, Matt Dodge wasn't the long-snapper, who blew the hike, and he wasn't the holder who placed it wrong.

But so what if the snap had been perfect and the placement had been good? What if the couch is just trying to give the kid a break and take some heat off him? What if Matt Dodge did mess up and kick it straight down the field instead of out of bounds as ordered?

Is it his fault the Giants lost then?

The Eagle's receiver dropped the ball, for Pete's sake, DeSean Jackson muffed the catch, he fumbled the ball away and it rolled across the tuft from him. It was a live ball all alone out there on the ground.

Was Matt Dodge on the special teams covering punts? Was he the guy who should have been downfield by then recovering that fumble or knocking Jackson out of the way so DeSean couldn't?

Was Matt Dodge a cover guy who should have tackled Jackson when he did pick up that ball?

No, Matt Dodge was a rookie punter put in a position that never should have happened. A whole lot of players and couches should have went back to the locker room saying, "My bad. My bad. My bad." No one should have been pointing fingers, or threatening to point a gun, at Matt Dodge saying, "You did it."

If Jackson hadn't scored, would anyone have been clapping Matt Dodge on the back saying, "That was a great too-hard-to-handle punt you made, kid!"

No, Matt Dodge would have been forgotten in the euphoria of the win and Eagle fans would be tweeting nasty things to DeSean Jackson for losing the game. (Or at least forcing an overtime where they might have lost.)

So stop tweeting nasty things to Matt Dodge. It's only a game, folks.

1 comment:

Ron Tipton said...

Yep, it is "only a game." I remember when I used to get crazy about things like this. I'm glad those days are over. I think there is something in our psyche that requires "beating" the other guy. At least it's not war and they are killing and maiming one another. Good post.