In this series, I will take an annoying sports cliché and explain exactly why it’s dumb and overused by sports writers who think they know sports, but in actuality, are clueless.
Today’s annoying sports cliché is: “They Wanted it More.”
This phrase is typically thrown out by broadcasters and writers in a game where one team completely outplays another. To the naked eye it appears that one team just wanted to win more than the other, that the losing team was woefully unprepared and did not give it 110% on every play. Meanwhile, the winning team fought like they were on the beaches of Normandy, playing every moment like it was a life-or-death situation.
This makes for an easy storyline the next day. Rather than taking the time to breakdown the intricacies of the game, the writer will take the easy way out and write a 1,000 word piece knocking the team for having “no heart” and playing “gutless.”
Case in Point #1: This past Sunday, my New York Jets played an awful game against the Green Bay Packers and lost 9-0 at home. During the game, the Jets Dustin Keller and Jerricho Cotchery each had a pass ripped from their hands which resulted in an interception.
The following day, I turned on the local sports radio station, as I do every day during my commute to and from work. Throughout the day, I heard three different ESPN radio personalities claim that those two plays proved that the Packers just wanted to win more than the Jets. If they really wanted to win, they wouldn’t have allowed for those passes to be ripped out of their hands.
Are you serious?
Obviously if Dustin Keller was a true warrior he would have summoned his inner Rocky Balboa and willed himself to not only catch the ball, but fight off the other ten defenders and score the go-ahead touchdown.
But he didn’t.
You know why? Because Dustin Keller is a gutless coward and should never be allowed to step foot on the hallowed grounds of East Rutherford, NJ ever again!
Case in Point #2: In the 2010 American League Division Series, the New York Yankees took on their whipping boys, the Minnesota Twins. They promptly disposed of the AL Central Champs in three games.
Following the series, many radio and TV personalities said it appeared that the Yankees just “wanted it more.”
Then a week later, the Yankees got their asses handed to them by the Texas Rangers and these same members of the media claimed the Yankees looked old and uninspired. The Texas Rangers simply just “wanted it more.”
WOW. A lot can happen in a week. The Yankees went from being destined for back-to-back titles, with their Jeter-esque intangibles and their Yankee Stadium mystique to lacking heart against an upstart Texas team that was just hungrier for victory…
Or maybe they just ran into a hot team… or perhaps the Rangers were just better?
As someone who has played baseball on a fairly high level, I can say that very rarely does one team just want to win more than the other.
I used to pitch in college and I had days where I gave up seven runs in the first inning and I’ve had other games where I’ve pitched two-hit shutouts. I wanted to win just as much in the game where I got bounced in the first inning. As I threw meatball after meatball in that game, I’m sure it appeared that I wasn’t into it that day, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Now…have there been times when one team plays uninspired and looks unprepared for a game? Of course. There are times when the “they wanted it more” phrase may be accurate. Yet no writer has any way of knowing this just by watching the game from the press box—and it is most certainly not the case in a playoff series.
What are your thoughts on this series? Did I give 110 percent or did I lack the fire to make this post enjoyable?
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