One play, one simple play, often determines whether coaches, players and organizations endure a week of praise or criticism.
If Packers kicker Mason Crosby nails the 52-yard, game-winning field goal attempt he missed Sunday against the Vikings, then Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy is applauded for leading his team into Minnesota and showing the necessary grit to win in one of the NFL’s toughest venues.
Instead, McCarthy is grilled for his play calling at his Monday press conference and his team is not criticized for falling another game back in the NFC North.
If 49ers running back Frank Gore is not grazed on his back before he slips and falls in the closing seconds of Monday night’s game, then San Francisco coach Mike Singeltary is saluted for rallying his team and winning a game nobody outside his organzation thought it could.
Instead, Singletary is questioned about the final play calls and 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Martz is blamed for making the run-play call that never found a cavity but did hit a nerve.
It has always been this way in football, it always will be. The Buffalo Bills are the greatest losers, instead of remarkable champions for one slightly off-line kick.
Tones for weeks and ages often are established from one play. Those in the game know it’s no grand revelation, but it is a tremendous fascination. One play can make or break coaches, teams and organizations.