Scoot: The Saints lost the emotional battle with the Cowboys!

November 30, 2018 - 12:02 pm

When the first quarter ended and the Cowboys led the Saints 10 - 0 on the Thursday Night Football game from “Jerry World” in Arlington, TX, I was never more afraid of being right about something. My fear of the Saints not winning, what I thought was the most important battle in the game grew deeper when the first half ended with the Cowboys leading 13 - 0 and the shocking reality that the Saints’ potent had not been shut out in the first half in 72 consecutive games.

I warned on my radio show that the Dallas Cowboys would be emotionally high riding three consecutive wins into AT&T Stadium against the hottest team in the NFL on the national stage of Thursday Night Football on Fox and that the Saints needed to be as emotionally charged of the Cowboys would win.  I did say that I thought the Saints would ultimately beat the Cowboys, but I felt there was not enough attention being paid to the emotional aspect of that game.

One text I received on the show yesterday said that Saints don’t have to make a statement because they are 10 - 1.  Other texts and calls from listeners questioned my concern and boasted of a blow-out by the Saints.  There was a sense of “we got this - we’re the Saints - we’ve won 10 in a row.”  I just didn’t expect the team to go into the game with that attitude; and while words and actions may have depicted a team focused on the game, there could have been a collective deep subconscious confidence that the Saints would easily take care of business in the game against the Cowboys.

The Saints are 10 - 2 now and lead the division; but if the Saints blow a chance at winning home field advantage throughout the playoffs, they only make the road through the playoffs rougher to navigate.

The most discouraging aspect of the loss to the Cowboys was the idea that it could have been avoided.  The Saints have more talent than the Cowboys and that’s why I was criticized for even suggesting that this would not be a rout by the Saints.  But I was haunted by the possibility that emotion would play a major role and the team that had the greatest emotion would win, and that’s exactly what happened last night.

And for those who discredit the importance of the element of emotion, I remind you that sports history is covered with great victories that were inspired by emotion of a team with greater talent.  Remember the Miracle On Ice?  At the Winter Olympics in 1980, a young, amateur U.S. hockey team did the unthinkable - they beat a Russian team that would be equivalent to the NHL Stanley Cup champions.  The U.S. didn’t win that game because they were bigger and more talented - the U.S. won that game because of their emotion.

There was a lot to play for last night against the Cowboys because a win would have clinched a playoff berth for the Saints and a win combined with a loss by the Panthers this weekend would have clinched the division title for the Saints.  No one should freak out that the Saints lost to the Cowboys last night, but that loss was a stark reminder that it is always wise to consider the element of emotion in football and in life.

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