Really?! Did he do that for real? Game-changing mistakes on simple plays, brainless plays. Yes Lavonte David cost his team a win last week on the most harmless but thoughtless of actions.
You’ve all heard the story by now, David pushed quarterback Geno Smith out of bounds at the end of the game and received a penalty which led to a game-winning field goal for the Jets.
We’ve seen it over and over through the years. Plays or actions that are so simple to execute yet somehow in the height of the moment, a professional athlete does the unthinkable.
We remember Leon Lett’s gaffe in the Super Bowl, Bill Buckner’s dribbler between his legs, Neil O’Donnell of the Steelers who seemingly targeted cornerback Larry Brown of the Cowboys in the Super Bowl rewarding Dallas their 5th Super Bowl ring and gifting Larry Brown a Super Bowl MVP award.
Sunday’s play by Lavonte David added his name to that long list of athletic infamy.
No it wasn’t a world championship but it is the first game of a new season which sometimes dictates or creates the momentum for the rest of the year. Since 1978 only 23.8 percent of teams that started the season 0-1 made the playoffs. Just one simple loss. There’s something that it does to the psyche of a team to start the season off with a loss, and simple plays like David’s which essentially decide a game can actually influence the whole season.
This isn’t just about Lavonte David or even the team. This is the NFL, the land of right now. The Bucs had a difficult season last year, and these days you just don’t get 4-5 seasons to turn things around. You get one to maybe three to get it done.
Coach Greg Schiano seems like a good guy, hard worker but that doesn’t matter if you continue to lose. His Bucs struggled in his first year last season. Now already we see that season two could be a foregone conclusion, when if one play were reacted to differently things could be different. Not only that, this is definitely a make-or-break year for quarterback Josh Freeman. He has to win and show that he’s a franchise quarteback. Can you imagine his feeling when David committed that penalty now that he’s 0-1?
This isn’t an effort to vilify Lavonte David but it is a reality that these sort of plays can sometimes have a bigger effect than was ever thought possible by the individual. An athlete’s career after such mistakes can take some precarious turns.
The majority of the time it’s very hard to bounce back. Do you remember much about Neil O’Donnell or Bill Buckner after their big mistakes? My point exactly. They couldn’t really get anything else done. Leon Lett who was talented but even more so played on one of the most stacked teams in the history of the league did reasonably well.
But again, they were such a juggernaut that dominated the '90s. We’ll see if Lavonte David can get his career going in the right direction this week against the New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees. It will be a tough task for sure but it’s important for David and the Bucs to get going as more people than you think are being effected.