There’s an age old adage in American football that goes: “Offense wins games. Defense wins championships.” Everyone loves the quarterback and the offensive skill positions. It’s sexy to run up the score with the touchdowns.
But the truth in football has always been that defenses are what wins championships. It’s held true throughout most of the history of the NFL. Offensive juggernauts routinely cruise into the playoffs with lofty records only to be knocked off by a potent defense. Look at what the Seattle Seahawks defense did to Peyton Manning in the Super Bowl. Offense wins game. Defense wins championships.
It’s sexy to go on offense and try to run the flea flickers and try to complete the 60 yard TD passes. But there are times that you need to settle for a field goal to pick up points and stay in the game. And when you don’t score, your defense needs to step up and make the stop and get the ball back. You win the game and you win championships by playing on both sides of the ball. It also doesn’t hurt to have outstanding special teams. A well placed punt pinning your opponent on the 2 yard line can change field position. A good kick return setting up good field position can ease the strain on a struggling offense.
So what does this have to do with politics? Well, politics needs to be played a lot like a football game. It helps to have a game plan. It helps to play well on both sides of the ball. It helps to perform in all phases of the game. Too many people just want to obsess on the quarterback and not build a complete team. Yes, the quarterback is an important position. But let’s be clear about it: The best quarterback in the world can’t complete a pass if he’s laying on his back buried underneath a blitzing linebacker. The offensive line has to give him time to complete the pass. The wide receiver has to get open and catch the pass.
Too many people will champion a single candidate for president and forget all about the down ticket. They’re too busy to vote in the off year elections. You want change, you have to vote in every election. You need to get good senators and House representatives on both the state and national level. You need to hire good mayors and governors as well as good council members. You need effective leadership on the local school board. Games are won in trenches. The president isn’t worth shit if the people down ticket can’t get the job done.
You can’t throw a hissy fit and walk away because your preferred presidential candidate didn’t get elected. Wallowing in self pity and crying about how unfair everything is doesn’t bring about change. You may have to play defense sometimes. You didn’t convert the third down conversion, you need a good punt to back the other team up. The defense needs to show up and make the stop.
To say it doesn’t matter just because your personal favorite didn’t win is asinine. Am I to believe that allowing companies to pollute the air and water is no different than continuing to disallow companies to pollute the air and water? That is fundamentally the result of this apathy and self pity. Wah, my favorite didn’t win. So fuck the environment! Fuck women’s right! If my person doesn’t win, I’m just going go on twitter rants about how unfair everything is. If there’s 100 problems in the world, wouldn’t it be better to solve 5 of them rather than create 10 new problems?
This really is the issue. Do you want real change? Or do you just want to wallow in self-pity? If you want real change, you have to develop a game plan. It also helps to have alternative plans because you might have to make half time adjustments. You may have to throw a block rather than carry the ball. You need a great defense and great special teams to complement the offense.
Are you really so selfish that you can’t celebrate if your teammate scores the touchdown rather than you? Are you going to lay down and pout because your teammate got the QB sack rather than you? If your teammate scores then your team has a better chance of winning. Yes, the quarterback is the sexy position and the offense makes most of the highlight reel but the teams that win the championships are the ones with a deep roster. Keep in mind that the quarterback may get the lion’s share of the glory but it’s the defense that brings home the ring.