Chances are, if you are alive and breathing right now, you probably watched a few minutes of this year’s Super Bowl. In case you missed it, the Baltimore Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers, 34-31.
The MVP of the Super Bowl was none other than the embattled Ravens Quarterback Joe Flacco, one of the most polarizing sports figures in Baltimore history. Flacco had a record-tying postseason, throwing 11 touchdowns to zero interceptions, tying the great Joe Montana. Flacco followed up that performance this week by signing a $120.6 contract extension, the richest in NFL history.
Most people will say he doesn’t deserve it. They will look at his regular season stats and fantasy projections and dismiss him as average or above-average. He’s got a unibrow and is awkward and goofy on camera. He is usually quiet and reserved.
All he does is win games.
I’m about to take the “is beer pong a sport” to a whole new level. But at the end of the day, being a great quarterback is a lot like being a great beer pong player.
Bring up the topic of rankings and you will get a vicious debate no matter what the subject. What’s the best album? What’s the best movie? What’s the best food? Who’s the best quarterback? And my favorite: Who’s the best beer pong player?
Let’s take a look at some of the things that make a beer pong player (and quarterback) great:
A pong player has to have some kind of talent. Some people are naturals and need little to no practice at all. Some need to work harder at it, but with a certain amount of practice can shoot just as consistently as others. In comparison, a quarterback in the NFL needs to have the ability as well. Quickness, arm strength, quick decision making, etc.
Too many players are judged solely on stats. Sure, stats are important, but they aren’t the most important. On Day 3 of the World Series of Beer Pong, your 12 satellite victories don’t matter. In the NFL, your regular season passing records don’t matter. The most important stat is wins, not your shooting percentage.
On the football field, the quarterback needs to have chemistry with his offensive teammates. The offensive line needs to be in sync, the receivers need to be on the same page, and the running back needs to get involved. Knowing where and when to throw the ball is the same as knowing when to take the third shot and who takes the rebuttal. A great player speaks up for the shot when he’s feeling it, and knows when to pass it off when he’s not.
A great beer pong player can silence his opponent by staying focused on his shot. Trash talk and distractions rarely affect top players. In the NFL, a great quarterback drowns out the 12th man.
Great beer pong players and great quarterback have all the intangibles. The great ones know how to step it up for big shots and in big tournaments, just like a great quarterback knows how to win the game with two minutes left and the length of the field to drive. Great players feed off the intensity of the crowd and the magnitude of the game. Great players don’t throw their partners under the bus after poor shooting, or place the blame on the wide receiver that dropped the big pass.
Is there a magic formula that makes a great beer pong player? No. For now, the big money in beer pong comes from playing with someone else. No one is writing checks for $50,000 or $100,000 for singles players. You need a teammate and you need to play like a team. The two most talented players don’t win every time. Teams with character win championships and go far into tournaments. Beer pong is more than how many hundos you shot.