Jumping the Twitter Gun in Sports

Although I have touched on this subject from a much broader scope before, I wanted to take tonight to zero in on a more specific aspect of this principle. As everyone knows, social media is a very powerful tool that enables the most average of Joes to reach hundreds or thousands of people with just a simple click or tap. Unfortunately for us all, when we click the mouse or tap the “send” button on our iPhone, we don’t get a message that pops up and asks “Hey, do you want to wait a little while before you send that out?”

Although this has gone on since social media has been around, it seems like over the past several weeks I have seen Twitter users go completely off the deep end when it comes to hasty comments regarding sporting events. This college bowl season I couldn’t believe all the people who would leave teams for the dead who happened to fall behind. Looking at my Twitter feed while many of these games were still up for grabs I saw way too many people I follow tweet out things such as “Game over”, “ball game”, “It’s all over”, or “Next year.”

I don’t know why people do this. There is absolutely no honor in saying that a team is done for when they are behind a couple touchdowns. Statistically, that is a no-brainer. When a team spots another team points, more often than not that team will lose. Sending out a tweet reiterating this fact is just stating the obvious. So why should I get all worked up about Twitter users who feel they are smart when really they are just going along with common trends?

Because in sports nothing is set in stone and to count a team out early is disrespectful .

I got a few recent examples that inspired me to write this post. Last December, Arizona played Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl. Nevada built a 45-28 lead after the third quarter and led by double digits with less than a minute to go. Everyone crowned the Wolfpack the New Mexico Bowl champs, but as Lee Corso would say “Not so fast my friend!” Arizona staged a remarkable comeback and won the game 49-48. Lots of retractions that day on Twitter.

Last week during the BCS Championship, many people decided to call the game in the first quarter when Alabama got up on Notre Dame 14-0. Yes, Alabama went on to rout the Irish but how can you count a team out in the first quarter?! In yet another example of Twitter ignorance, everyone came unglued when Notre Dame seemed to have gotten robbed on a punt interference call. The Irish punted and the Alabama returner muffed the punt that Notre Dame recovered. However, the officials ruled fair catch interference. The officials and Pac-12 conference got crucified….yet after further review the officiating crew actually got the call right.

This past Sunday, in probably the most mind-blowing example, people across the nation mindlessly declared the end of the Seattle Seahawks’ season when they fell behind to the Atlanta Falcons at the half, 20-0. It seemed as if everyone forgot that just the week before, the Hawks fell behind to the Washington Redskins on the road in the first quarter, 14-0, before coming back and trouncing them. After Twitter Nation made their “bold predictions” about the demise of Seattle, the Seahawks came back to take a 28-27 lead with thirty second to go in the game.

Everyone needs to relax when it comes to watching sporting events on television. Don’t feel the need to make any declarations. I really think it helps to have played sports to really understand that a game is never over in the first quarter or at the half. Even in my bush league high school playing career I played on teams that came from behind to win games and I played on teams that got stunned after building up a sizeable lead. These teams that I participated on and these games that I played in taught me that really anything can happen.

Or maybe some of these people who like to make quick judgments about a game’s outcome just need to watch more sporting events in general. In my lifetime I have watched thousands upon thousands of games and have seen almost everything. I have seen amazing comeback after amazing comeback. I watched in person as my alma matter trailed 48-21 with just under 6 minutes to go in the third quarter to eventually win 61-48. After seeing something like this, overcoming a 14 point lead in the first quarter does not seem so far-fetched.

So do you see what I am saying? By tweeting that a game is over early on you just can’t win. If the team you declare the winner does happen to hold on, you made an assumption that even a monkey could make. But if you are wrong, you look like an absolute fool. However, no matter if you are right or wrong, by calling a game early you just ignore the rich tradition of sports, the basic principle that a game is not over until it’s over and that anything can happen. When you watch a game make sure to enjoy it, keep an open mind, and don’t call a game until it is absolutely over. Twitter will appreciate you more. Don’t Blink.