â†µâ‡¥“The advice that I would give them is that the season is not defined by going 16-0 or 18-0. Ask the New England Patriots about that from a couple of years ago. The thing that I would recommend is this: keep your practice schedules the same, keep your game schedules the same, and if you do anything different, pull the starters after the first quarter or before the first half. But the bigger advice that I would say: lose a game before the end of the season. You’re team will go into the playoffs and have the best of chance of winning because that monkey won’t be on their back.” â†µâ†µ
â†µTank a game on purpose? That sounds like a marvelous idea. That's the first message you want to get inside your player's minds -- that losing is acceptable. Here's a better approach: keep doing things as you've been doing them. â†µ
â†µAs for using the Patriots as a cautionary tale -- I suppose you could argue that the Patriots may have been better off not showing their full game plan to the Giants in the final week of the 2007 regular season, though hardly any observers would have guessed at that point that the Giants would have met them in the Super Bowl a month later. Still, the Pats didn't lose because they finished 16-0 as opposed to 15-1. Teams found flaws in their gameplan, and somebody finally put it all together and beat them at the perfect time. The Colts and the Saints are capable of losing any game in the postseason. They're not juggernauts. Both teams have had a few scares and narrow victories this year. Getting a loss out of the way now doesn't make that fact any less true or the pressure to win a title any less extreme. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.