Syracuse’s bench slowly trudged onto the field, many with their heads down, despite the clock being frozen with seven seconds left in the game. Brisly Estime had tears in his eyes, though he said he wasn’t emotional. None of the players mentioned a bowl game anymore, just playing competitive against Pittsburgh next week — none even mentioned a win.SU head coach Dino Babers declared a week earlier that Syracuse was down to its last strike. “Now we can’t miss a pitch. It’s a full count and if it’s close, we’re going to have to swing at it.”And the Orange (4-7, 2-5 Atlantic Coast) followed it up with a 45-14 blowout loss to No. 17 Florida State (8-3, 5-3) in the Carrier Dome in SU’s final home game of the year. By Babers’ logic, Syracuse struck out. But even he backed away from his statement when asked directly what the count is following the loss, opting not to address it at all.“I think we didn’t play very well against a very, very good football team,” he said in response. “I thought the defense gave us turnovers. I mean those guys are hard to stop. And defense gave us a lot of turnovers. (Estime) did some nice jobs on the special teams trying to give us an opportunity. Sean (Riley) did some nice things in the opportunity. But offensively it was just very difficult to move the ball.”SU no longer controls its own destiny. A win against Pitt in its final game would put the Orange in position for a bowl game, but only if 5-7 teams are needed to fill the allotment and if SU’s academic progress rate is good enough to get a bid.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMORE COVERAGE:Dino Babers: Eric Dungey hasn’t received second opinion on injuryGrade SU’s performance against FSU and vote for player of the gameSee how Syracuse fans reacted to the game on social media Syracuse couldn’t replicate the improbable upset of then-No.17 Virginia Tech from a month earlier that led to students and fans storming the field. Instead, it had fans streaming out of the Dome before the fourth quarter as its bowl hopes were dealt a near-crushing blow.The Seminoles scored on their first two drives of the game, going a total of 131 yards in nine plays and under four minutes. FSU quarterback Deondre Francois found two receivers for scores of 15 and 16 yards, respectively, with the help of blown coverages by the Orange.Even when the defense buckled down, the offense couldn’t capitalize. Zack Mahoney threw two picks and SU totaled minus-seven yards on two drives in the first half that started in FSU territory.The Orange fouled off a few pitches by way of a 46-yard Hail Mary pass to Amba Etta-Tawo as time expired in the second quarter for SU’s only score of the half. And a touchdown pass to Ervin Philips after FSU muffed a punt at its own 22.But none of its positive plays could erase the beat down that was happening throughout the rest of the game or clear the count on the season.Mahoney threw two interceptions and was sacked eight times. FSU’s Dalvin Cook ran for 225 yards and four touchdowns — only eight fewer yards than SU’s entire offense.When Orange cornerback Chris Fredrick recovered a fumble with 13 minutes left in the game there was no reaction from the crowd or the players on the field. Fredrick just jogged to the sideline with the ball and high-fived one assistant coach. Most of the fans had already left the 42-14 game anyway.Leading up to the Florida State game, Babers was still talking about SU’s first bowl game in three years. With two wins, the Orange would have been guaranteed a spot. But with one win, which is still possible, SU had what Babers called “a chance,” that it was fortunate to have.Afterward, his tone changed.“The main thing is we’re trying to send the seniors out on a proper note,” Babers said. “We need to go out there, and we need to play a good football game — a competitive football game down to the fourth quarter when we have a chance to win. And I think that’s the key to bouncing back from all this stuff and trying to send the seniors out on a positive note.” Comments Published on November 19, 2016 at 7:10 pm Contact Jon: email@example.com | @jmettus Facebook Twitter Google+
There have been more stories written about how Reid “can’t win the big one” than there are treacly Hollywood romantic comedies. There were two tweets posted about this very subject by respected NFL journalists within minutes of the Chiefs’ 35-24 victory over the Titans in the AFC championship game, which advanced them to their first Super Bowl in 50 years, and Reid to the second of his remarkable career.HOW CHIEFS WON AFC TITLE: Live blog | Video highlightsMaybe he’ll win it. Maybe he won’t. What he certainly has done now is removed any reasonable cause to criticize his performance over two decades coaching the Chiefs and the Eagles.The list of coaches who have appeared in two Super Bowls is not long. It is longer and less prestigious than the list of those who’ve won more games than Reid, mostly guys whose first names aren’t even necessary in a football conversation: Shula, Halas, Belichick, Landry, Lambeau, Brown.Reid has coached in seven conference championship games, or one for every three years he has been in the league. He has produced three losing seasons. He achieved double-digit victories in each of the past five seasons with the Chiefs.This guy isn’t someone to be mocked. He’s someone to be revered.Those who have worked with him mostly do. Donovan McNabb, the starting quarterback for most of Reid’s time with the Eagles, tweeted his delight at seeing the Chiefs advance to the Super Bowl. (He also took a subtle swipe at the receiver who once was his teammate/nemesis, Terrell Owens, by stating, “That’s my coach.”)So happy for the guy. Best I ever had as a coach. That’s my coach 😂😂😂😀 congratulations Andy Reid.. pic.twitter.com/CZ4GPk4WZv— Donovan McNabb (@donovanjmcnabb) January 19, 2020Former Eagles players Jeremy Maclin, Trent Cole and Brian Westbrook expressed similar sentiments through Twitter. Westbrook last worked with Reid a decade ago. That’s how strong an impression Reid made on his men.It is weird that so many in the media — and now, through social media, the public — prefer to proclaim a particular coach “can’t win” the big one rather than “hasn’t won.” It seems the goal is not to evaluate, or even to predict, but rather to ridicule.MORE: Reid drafted Titans lineman who scored against Chiefs in title gameIn NCAA basketball, Jim Calhoun took over a Connecticut program that had been a perennial victim in the Big East since the league’s inception nearly a decade earlier. When he started getting to the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament regularly but never to the Final Four, he was charged with being unable to win the big one. When Mike Krzyzewski got Duke to four Final Fours in five years, though, the big one he failed to win was the championship game. It was the same for Bill Self when he reached the Elite Eight at Tulsa, Illinois and then twice more at Kansas before at last breaking through in 2008 and winning the title in overtime. All three are now enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.And sometimes it doesn’t even matter whether a coach wins a championship, or people wouldn’t still be mocking Barry Switzer’s work in Dallas a quarter-century later. Some Steelers fans choose to undermine the coach of their most recent Super Bowl champion by insisting Mike Tomlin got it done with his predecessor’s players.It has been 15 years since Reid last coached in the Super Bowl. It is the second-longest gap between appearances by a head coach, the difference being that Dick Vermeil went 19 years in part because he left coaching for nearly that long. Reid has been at it without interruption since 1999.He continued through personal tragedy — the death of his son by accidental overdose in in 2012 — and through relentless ridicule for having the nerve to excel consistently at his job without ever quite claiming the ultimate prize. Andy Reid has been an NFL head coach for 21 years. In this business, that is the equivalent of several lifetimes. He has lasted longer than John Madden and Bill Walsh — combined. He endured more seasons than either of the newly minted Pro Football Hall of Famers, Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson. He has won more games than all but a half dozen who have done the job, two of whom were so esteemed they had stadiums named in their honor.So why do so many make jokes about Reid? Why do so many define him by what he hasn’t achieved in the NFL, rather than all that he has? “I’m fired up, fired up to go to Miami,” Reid said following Sunday’s victory. “I need to go on a diet, so I can fit into my clothes. And we’ll go do our thing.”If Andy Reid wants to make Andy Reid jokes, that’s fine. He’s earned the right.The rest of you? Knock it off.