I wasn’t surprised when Cardinals’ QB Derek Anderson got defensive Monday night.
NFL players and coaches are wound-up tight, especially on game-day.
Unfortunate for them, the collective bargaining agreement requires they make themselves available for questions after a game, sometimes half-dressed in front of their lockers. What a joy that must be for players after a tough loss.
And it’s a good thing because I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through the night if that brave reporter hadn’t put Anderson on the spot about his sideline behavior. I would’ve tossed & turned all night long wondering why Anderson and teammate Deuce Lutui were laughing briefly late in their game against the 49ers.
In seriousness, it was a fair enough question given the circumstances.
While no one in their right mind really believes Derek & Deuce were oblivious to the scoreboard, every player knows: winning isn’t everything…but you better act like it is.
It’s called putting on your game face.
Athletes do it, as do teachers, students, doctors, lawyers, bakers and bankers. Cannot tell a lie? Okay, but you better get good at faking-it or you’ll be friend-less and out of a job.
No NFL team has had more game-face greats than George Halas and his Chicago Bears. Halas had the patented snarl while Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary have become staples on NFL Films. Today, it’s Brian Urlacher who carries on the menacing glare.
What surprises me is that Anderson was caught off guard during the press conference. That’s what agents and team PR people get paid to prevent. He may not have expected the question on his sideline chuckle but he should’ve known how to handle it.
If I had clients who stepped in front of the mike every week I’d be in their ear all the time, reminding them about keeping their cool. When you’re on the sidelines it’s game-face time. When you’re on the record with the press, honesty is still the best policy.
Psychology of Sport
About the Author
Written by Steven Keys
A native of the old Northwest Territory (IL), my wife and I have lived in four Midwestern states and Arizona. Today we live in Duluth, Georgia. I have a history / legal background.