It is one of the most famous blunders in sports. Cowboy defensive tackle Leon Lett scoops up a fumble in Super Bowl XXVII and heads to the endzone for an easy touchdown. As he approaches the goal line he waves the ball with one hand as he celebrates his easy score.
Unfortunately, Bills WR Don Beebe was chasing the showboating Lett. He knocked the ball free and through the end zone. The easy TD became a touchback and the Bills took possession.
Watch the play here.
I became a big Don Beebe fan that day. It was late in the game and his team was losing 52-17 yet he did not quit on the play. That is pride and real professionalism.
Something the professionals in the GOP should learn.
Every day or two we are treated to another story about the looming Republican landslide. Functionaries and factotums leak plans of action that will be taken by the new Senate majority.
All this seven months before the election.
At this point, if the 2014 midterms are epic wins for the GOP no one should praise the RNC because they have already accepted their quota of congratulations.
The consultants have their polls and historical trends. They had the same thing in 1998 when the expected Republican wave never appeared.
Seven months is several lifetimes in politics.
And no opinion poll has ever pulled the lever on a voting machine.
When I hear some pundit declare that the President’s poor approval numbers mean the election outcome is a foregone conclusion, I am reminded of one of the greatest leadership and intelligence failures of World War Two.
After routing two German Army Groups and liberating France in a matter of weeks in 1944, the Allies knew that the German defeat was just a matter of time. They were completely surprised by the strategic counter attack we now call the Battle of the Bulge.
Hayek wrote that “without a theory, the facts are silent.” The same is true with intelligence. Adopt a wrong theory and the best intelligence in the world won’t warn you of disaster.
Maj. Gen. Kenneth Strong, bore a substantial share of responsibility for failing to recognize the signifcance of the German buildup in the Ardennes, which had been flagged by Ultra. Strong told the supreme commander that German formations identified in the area were merely resting and refitting. The fundamental failure, in which many senior American and British officers were complicit, was that they were convinced of their own mastery of the campaign and thus, discounted the possibility of a major German thrust.
Eisenhower, Montgomery, and Bradley had adopted the wrong theory. They were so convinced that the war was won that they never considered the possibility that the Germans would mount one more epic battle as a last throw of the dice.
They did not understand that a battered enemy will still fight, even fight desperately beyond all reason, before it accepts defeat and annihilation.