They say that there’s no such thing as a moral victory in professional sports, but that doesn’t stop coaches from praising their team’s hard work in the wake of losses.
It’s the sort of thing that sounds good, but doesn’t really mean anything. Trying hard is the very least you should do every single time you’re on the field. Calling out a lack of effort is fine, but praising it is sort of like praising your players for bothering to show up at the stadium on time.
Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson has a similar take. He appeared on the NFL Network Tuesday and said he was tired of hearing coach Chan Gailey give the team high marks in the effort department after they have failed to reach the real goal of the week. That’s a win, of course.
“Every week he’s saying that we have the effort, you know, that we’re playing hard. Which is obvious,” Johnson said. “At this point you can’t be a team that’s so-called turning the corner if you’re not winning games. We still have more work to do. We still have to learn how to finish these games to be a team that’s making a push for the playoffs.”
Playing hard is obviously important. When you see how often losing coaches are talking about how hard their team played, though, you start to wonder if maybe they are emphasizing the wrong things.