Call it what you will. Luck. Fate. Preparation. Karma. Destiny. A certain feeling that your actions are in some ways altered or influenced by a power that is beyond your control.
I don’t know what the correct term is, but I see its influence all around me.
I was moved to ponder these questions of a collective destiny while I watched the fourth quarter of the Buffalo/New England game.
I wasn’t going to watch either game tonight because, frankly, I felt that both would be very lopsided and dull. But when I logged onto cbs sportsline and saw that Buffalo was leading the Pats deep into the fourth quarter I felt compelled to watch.
I really wanted to see the Bills pull off a stunner, but deep down I knew they would blow it. I tuned in to witness the manner in which they would blow it.
They didn’t disappoint.
Down 11 points with 5:25 left in the fourth quarter, Tom Brady started doing what Tom Brady does best, methodically leading his team to a touchdown drive. When the two point conversion attempt failed I felt a little more hope for the Bills, but with over two minutes left and three Patriot timeouts left I knew that there was just too much time.
On the ensuing kickoff Leodis McKelvin became a full fledged member of the tragedy that is the Bills when he fumbled and gave Brady the ball right back with only 33 yards to go.
You know the rest of the story.
Witnessing this cruel but inevitable twist of irony has led me to ponder the importance of team karma, and how a team that has proven that it was born to fail can change its mindset and shake off the curses.
Buffalo is no stranger to results like this. They pulled a similar choke job against Dallas in one of their most recent primetime appearances. Of course these regular season games pale in comparison to their most stunning choke job in the 1991 Super bowl when their kicker shanked a very make able kick wide right to lose the game for them.
Their ineptitude has even inspired the film industry to make a movie about that Super bowl (the great Buffalo 66 starring Vincent Gallo).
This loser karma was also on display on Sunday. Detroit kept playing its role as NFL doormat. The Redskins invented new and interesting ways to lose to the Giants But the most blatant example of maintaining a losing tradition has to go to the Bengals.
In a game where Cincinnati outplayed the Denver Broncos for 59 minutes, a freak deflection to a wide open Brandon Stokely proved to be the Bungles’ unlikely but inevitable undoing.
Fans of these teams have it very hard. They are always waiting for the other shoe to drop. But sometimes the unthinkable happens: a team actually defies logic and karma and changes its own fate.
Take Arizona for example. They were the brunt of probably the most memorable choke jobs in Monday Night Football history (honorable mention goes to the Dolphins against the Jets). How many ring tones and Coors Light commercials have resulted from coach Denny Green’s post game press conference?
But was anyone surprised? NO. This was the Cardinal way.
Yet despite these years of manifested negative energy Arizona was somehow able to overcome its collective demons and rally from a fourth quarter choke job to get to the Super bowl.
Manning and the Colts were in mid fold form in 2006 when the improbable happened. Manning suddenly caught fire and rallied his team to the most stunning comeback victory in Colts history. What made it even more stunning was that it came against Tom Brady and the Patriots.
I am pondering these questions to seek an answer to why certain teams become doomed to failure, or blessed with resilient success. But I am also doing this to talk Buffalo coaches, players, and fans down off the ledge.
No matter how bleak the situation there is always hope. Every once in a while karma gets tired of relieving itself on a certain team and gets off the pot in search of a new victim.
While tonight’s predestined debacle is proof that karma is still in mid stream, please take heart that even a drunk Patriot fan at Foxboro has to stop peeing sometime.
Keep hope alive.