What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
As the old adage goes, sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. Why? Because lucky guys do just what the tag decribes; they get lucky.
lucky – pronunciation: \ˈlə-kē\; function: adjective; inflected form(s): luck·i·er; luck·i·est
1 : having good luck
2 : happening by chance : fortuitous
3 : producing or resulting in good by chance : favorable
4 : seeming to bring good luck <a lucky rabbit’s foot>
5: Kyle Orton
But there is another key to luck that doesn’t lie in the definition, rather in the timing. It is one thing to “be in the right place at the right time;” you have to be at the building while it is burning in order to save the damsel in distress. It is a completely different neckbeard when you started the fire. The video above is a classic example. Thanks to the Youtube era, you can see here the few seconds of luck that bailed out the Broncos. What you don’t see is the set-up to the miracle; the reason why Denver needed it in the first place.
On the previous possession, the Broncos were ahead 6-0 nearing the end of the fourth quarter. Denver was in range to kick a game-sealing field goal, until Orton decided this was a great time to take a sack, pushing the Broncs too far back for the 3. After the resultant punt, Carson Palmer reminded us why he is a great quarterback languishing in the backwater of the NFL by engineering a long drive to take the lead 7-6 with less than a minute to play.
I’ve often wondered if this is what they really mean by “making your own luck.” Guys like Orton get “lucky” because they gamble. They get themselves into jams, then somehow get out of it. Whether they are betting that long pony, drawing to a gutshot straight, or just flinging that football downfield, they are unshakeable in the belief the miracle will come.
What are the traits of a man like this? Above all else, they must have that special sort of selective memory that allows a gambler to focus on the triumphs rather than the defeats. Hunches are the life-blood of the gambler; they flow through the veins as if inspired by some sort of divine indulgence. Focusing on the defeats leads to the inability to trust hunches. In order to achieve this nirvana-like state of awareness, the gambler must have the ability to let criticism flow by like a side-stepped blitz.
Go ahead, call Kyle Orton a game manager. He relishes, even loves, the somewhat dubious title. Tell him he doesn’t have a strong arm. He’ll laugh it off, and tell you he can make any throw that’s needed. Boo him when he throws an interception in a training camp scrimmage. Orton won’t flinch, because he’s heard worse — much worse — in Chicago, where he went from starter to third-string clipboard holder, and back again.
Orton is going to need that skill in Denver. He’s dealing with a fan base that believes they traded a future hall-of-famer for a sack full of magic neckbeards. Orton was was booed loudly by Broncos fans for throwing two interceptions in a scrimmage. The local talk radio was ablaze after he tossed three more picks the next week in San Francisco. The low point likely came on another Orton gamble, the bizarre left-handed interception in Seattle.
We all know for what “game-manager” is a code word. It means “not a game winner.” It means Orton is seen as one of the “Mediocre Presidents” as told by the school musical of Simpsons lore.
“I’m not worried about struggles in the preseason I came into the preseason knowing there would be struggles. So, a few interceptions? That’s nothing.” Orton said. “I learned early on in my career that you can’t take anything for granted in this league. I had gone from my true freshman year in college starting all four years to starting my first year in the league, and I thought, this was easy, this is how it’s going to be for 15 years. You go from that to not even having the chance to compete for the job. It was a frustrating couple of years. It took me a while to get back to work and to really appreciate the game. I was disgruntled. I was very upset about it. But I worked my way back, I got the job again and tried to make the most of it.”
In football terms, he’s not the guy with the Joe Namath swagger, he’s not the guy with the Peyton Manning fantasy-nut-buster stats, nor is he the guy with John Elway gravity-piercing, lighting-infused shoulder cannon. He’s actually more like a drunk Ben Roethlisberger.
Like Orton, “Big Ben” is another guy who plays like a backyard quarterback well into his second six-pack, yet manages to win games. Like Orton, “Big Ben” has a tendency every once in a while to just chuck it up and see what happens. Like Orton, “Big Ben” also knows how to bounce back, and most importantly, how to sidestep the slings and arrows.
Perhaps you hadn’t noticed yet in Denver, but that formula has worked twice in Pittsburgh. It’s gotta be the neckbeard.