Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘Buffalo Bills

I’ve been following Vince Young’s career since his days at the University of Texas and always thought he would excel in the NFL. So it was quite a surprise to me to see where he had been released by the Buffalo Bills shortly after general manager Buddy Nix completed a trade with the Seattle Seahawks for quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. Young was the third overall pick in the 2006 draft by the Tennessee Titans. Since I’m not privy to what’s going on in Young’s personal life it’s possible he has some issues that are affecting his performance. But it’s also possible that he has a problem with one of his coaches, and since coaches seem to always have the last word, Vince’s days with the Bills were numbered. I recall that quote by former MLB manager Whitey Herzog who said that very often a team releases a player when they should have replaced the player’s coach. That’s why I believe the coaching staff with Kansas City Chiefs might be just what the doctor ordered if they were to sign Young as backup quarterback. And it wouldn’t surprise me to see him become the starting quarterback after a short time. He might be just what the Chiefs need.

Athletes who withhold (bottle-up) their feelings and emotions create psychological baggage for themselves that negatively affects their performance. For example, and I’m using this only as a hypothetical situation, let’s assume that just prior to the New England Patriots-Buffalo Bills game Monday night, September 14th, 2009, the Bills’ Leodis McKelvin had an argument with his girlfriend or a coach or his business agent but didn’t tell anyone about it. He chose to keep everything inside himself. With Buffalo leading 24-19 and just 1:58 remaining in the game, rather than taking a knee in the end zone he chose to return it instead and fumbled the ball around the 30 yard line, his second fumble of the game. New England then scored for what turned out to be the winning touchdown and won the game, 25-24. I’m not saying that McKelvin had issues, since I’m not privy to what goes on behind the scenes or in the Bills’ locker room, but his performance (two fumbles) was an indication that something was not right.leodis_mckelvin_inside
When athletes are not focused and are not thinking clearly, they are more prone to making mental errors. In the NFL this often shows up when a quarterback throws multiple interceptions (as Kurt Warner once did when his wife Brenda was having an ongoing argument with the St. Louis Rams’ then head coach Mike Martz), or a wide receiver dropping multiple passes that hit him on the numbers, or a lineman exploding in anger at the opposing player but when you scratch the surface you find that his anger had little or nothing to do with the game. A good example of this was what happened with Albert Haynesworth when he was playing for the Titians. As a result of his on-the-field behavior, he was not only fined but was also required to undergo extensive counseling and afterwards commented: “Honestly, it’s helping. I can actually talk about stuff. My wife likes it, too. I actually open up and talk about problems I have.” Today, Haynesworth is considered one of the top defensive linemen in the NFL.


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