BOSTON (CBS) – From now on, in honor of beleaguered Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano, we’ll call it “Pagano’s Law” – everyone makes mistakes, but some mistakes are more enduring than others.
On Saturday, a fumbled snap on what should have been a game-ending punt in the big Michigan vs. Michigan State college football game led to a game-winning touchdown for State, and set the sports world buzzing over what was widely described as the gaffe of the season. But that notoriety didn’t last 36 hours, as the farcical trick play botched by the Colts during Sunday’s game against the Patriots has relegated it to the dustbin of sports history.
Pagano’s ill-fated, poorly-coached trick play immediately went virulently viral (my favorite: the one showing Beavis and Butthead lining up for the snap), a sure sign of trouble. But even though it wasn’t as immediately damaging as Michigan’s gaffe, it’ll surely haunt Pagano far more profoundly.
Anyone can make a mistake once in awhile. It’s the unforced but humiliating gaffes that can hang the stooge label on coaches, athletes or politicians.
Some embarrassing mega-bloopers are worse than others. Just ask Bill Buckner.
Texas Governor Rick Perry was still a contender when he suffered brain lock in a 2011 debate and after citing three federal agencies he’d shutter if elected, couldn’t name all three. As Perry put it back then: “Oops.”
Howard Dean was just being exuberant to boost his young backers on Iowa caucus night in 2004 when he unleashed the infamous “Dean Scream” that struck too many as unpresidential.
And what, exactly, was wrong with Michael Dukakis taking a ride in that tank in 1988 as he tried to bolster his commander-in-chief credentials? On the surface, nothing. But sometimes it’s the little things that become disqualifyingly ludicrous in the public mind.
And as Chuck Pagano is now learning, once they stick, you’re stuck.