Nate Burleson: "We're going to win."
Posted by Danny O'Neil
In summary, Burleson appeared on "Q It Up Sports" with Aaron Levine on FOX 13. Here's a link to the video:
"I don't want to give anybody bulletin board material, but I do believe it was Herman Edwards: We play to win the game. Period. So, we're going on the road to play a football game, and we're gonna win. I don't care what you say. People can print in the paper, they can send it to the team's we're playing. But they know just like we know, we're going to win the game. I'm not taking away anything from the team's we're going to play on the road the next few weeks, but we're gonna get on the plane with the mindset that we're going to win, and we need to win."
I chose not to address this because Aaron Levine is someone who is very earnest about his job, hard working and someone who has been nothing but nice to me and I worried that my assessment of Burleson's statements would be construed as a commentary on his work. It's not. He does a great job and I want to be unequivocal that nothing that follows should be construed as a commentary on his work, the questions he asked or his show.
This critique is solely about what I consider to be one of the single dumbest ongoing storylines in sports journalism, which is the whole idea of a "guaranteed" victory. It is the very definition of idle talk. What does it mean? That a player expects to win? Shocking. Absolutely shocking.
What are the consequences of it? Well, perhaps it motivates the opponent. Perhaps it fires up the team. Maybe it's just a bunch of meaningless banter that becomes irrelevant the moment the ball is kicked.
But here's what is very clear. There is absolutely nothing at stake. This isn't pro wrestling. There's no loser-leaves-town stipulations that can be enacted. The loser won't have to bow down and kiss the opponent's feet or otherwise acknowledge the foe's greatness or the inadequacy of the victory guarantee.
And now, finally, we finally get to this whole idea of whether Burleson even did guarantee a victory. He said we're going to win. Did he mean we're going with the intention of winning? Did he mean we're going to try and win? Did he mean we're going to definitely win? All are plausible parsings of what he said. The fact that it was preceded by his mention of Herm Edwards quote while he was Jets' coach famously saying, "You play to win the game," leads me to believe that he was talking about the approach of the team, the goal, and I think anyone can agree that if I player doesn't prepare for a game with the intention of winning, he might as well not even take the field.
I felt the same when people talked about Quentin Richardson said the Huskies "expected" to win and entered every game with that mindset. Every game included USC. Was it a guarantee? Some may say so. Did it mean anything? I don't think so. He didn't get a ribbon when Washington won. He wasn't appointed Nostradamus or anything like that.
So you can decide for yourself what Burleson meant. I don't find the discussion all that helpful in analyzing what will happen in Sunday's game.
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