GLENDALE, AZ - In the NFL, close is good enough. Meaning, you are good if you win the close ones.
Why? Because, as we were reminded by the Cardinals' last second 20-16 win over the Seahawks, the majority of NFL games are tighter than my grip on a pale ale on a Friday night.
Need further proof? A season ago, no less than 13 of the Cards’ 16 games were decided by 7 points or fewer, the most in the NFL. All eight wins were decided by 7 points or fewer, including an NFL single-season record four games in overtime.
Why are we keeping score? Well, that’s easy. Not too long ago, the Big Red had a big problem in close games. If you rewind to the Dennis Green era, you’ll remember that we were actually more vexed by constantly losing close games than any other topic, which is saying something. Forget about winning the big one, the Cards couldn’t win the close ones.
The point being that NFL don’t just happen to win close games. You know, you win some (close games) and you lose some (close games), right? Uh, no. It’s a process. NFL teams must learn to win close games. It’s a skill set -- an acquired ability that can take many years.
The Cards currently possess this ability, while a team like the St. Louis Rams most definitely does not. On Sunday, the Rams led the Lions at halftime and still owned a 23-20 lead with 1:55 left. The Rams lost. Again. And the Detroit Lions, who until just recently had spent the past decade losing close games by the bushel, found a way to win a tight game. Again.
In the NFL it’s live by the close game or die by the close game. Right now, the Cardinals are living large (8-2 in last 10 regular season games) after spending the first half of last season on the wrong end (4 losses by a combined 11 points).
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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