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How to Win

Making Excuses

Pity the poor Cleveland Browns. Not only did they lose to the Detroit Lions, but their coach is making excuses about it.

After Sunday’s last-second loss to Detroit, Cleveland Coach Eric Mangini suggested that the Lions faked injuries to slow his team’s no-huddle offense.

“There were multiple, multiple, multiple injuries throughout our no-huddle process,” Mangini said.

Whether he’s correct or not — and the Lions deny it — you wonder if Mangini should be spending time on this issue. It doesn’t sound good. You can bet that Mangini says he doesn’t want to hear excuses from his players.

Henry Ward Beecher said, “Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you, never excuse yourself.”

Even from a pure football perspective, Mangini’s comment don’t make sense. If the Lions were cheating to slow down Cleveland’s offense, they didn’t do a very good job — Cleveland scored 37 points! Unfortunately, the Browns allowed 38. What’s the excuse for that?

Hockey Hall of Famer Mark Messier said, “The minute you start making excuses, you’ve got one foot in the grave.”

Benjamin Franklin was even more blunt: “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”

Pat Summitt, head coach of the University of Tennessee women’s basketball program, has compiled a Definite Dozen principles for building a successful program.

No. 2 on her list, right after “Respect yourself and others,” is “Take full responsibility.”

The list is available here.

Every coach should read it.


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