Extreme Weather Exposure

The autumn wind is a pirate. Blustering in from sea with a rollicking song he sweeps along swaggering boisterously. His face is weather beaten, he wears a hooded sash with a silver hat about his head… The autumn wind is a Raider, pillaging just for fun.

Steve Sabol, former president and co- founder of NFL Films

Football is celebrated for being played in any weather — rain or shine, fog, ice, blizzards, wind, or whatever. Steve Sabol’s lines, a slightly veiled reference to the Oakland Raiders and their silver helmets, extol their ability to wreak havoc like a storm. However, when the Raiders blew into Foxboro to face the New England Patriots the weather was less than fare and in the end they felt they were treated less than fair.

This 2002 divisional AFC playoff game is known by two names, the “Snow Bowl” and the “Tuck Rule Game.” The conditions were a miserable 19 degrees Fahrenheit with heavy snow. In the fourth quarter Patriots quarterback Tom Brady lost control of the ball when sacked by Oakland’s Charles Woodson. The ball was recovered by the Raiders; or so it appeared. Upon further review, the call on the field was overturned by the “Tuck Rule.”

The “Tuck Rule,” an obscure regulation installed in 1999, states that if a quarterback is trying to bring the ball back into his body, after deciding not to release it for a pass, it counts as an incomplete pass.

This reversal meant that Brady and the Patriots kept possession and they went on to kick the game tying field goal. The Patriots went on to win the game 16–13 in overtime, and this win helped propel them to their first Super Bowl victory.

The Raider faithful still complain about the outcome believing that they would have been Super Bowl XXXVI champs if not for the rough weather and the tough judgment call.

On the field of life the circumstances we face are like the weather. Sometimes judgment calls are part of the conditions. Everyone seems to play well when the weather is favorable, but when the storm clouds begin to roll in the players separate from the pretenders.

Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.

1 Corinthians 16:13 (NLT)

Players compete and the pretenders retreat. While it’s not easy, players compete by choosing to embrace their new style of play, facing the conditions, attacking the opposition, standing firm in their faith, trusting the Coach, listening for His signals, doing right and resisting the enemy. Pretenders retreat by reverting to their old style of play, choosing to face the conditions in one or more of the following ways, anger, frustration, cynicism, criticism, irresponsibility, indifference, blame shifting, or simply running away.

Be prepared. Conditions on the field of life are not always optimal and sometimes they are down right horrible. But the game is still winnable if you will choose to compete and not retreat.

You can’t control the weather — but you can control the atmosphere of your mind.

John Maxwell

Coach Strap

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