Jan 6, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) sacked by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger (99) during the AFC Wild Card playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
As seasoned, and no doubt well-read, members of the NFL fan community, we have all likely heard the term “sophomore slump” bandied about in football discussions amongst so-called analysts and sports radio rhetoricians (just yesterday Dan Hope of Bleacher Report posted an article which has a Luck sophomore slump as the Colts' "nightmare scenario"). In certain circles it’s a phenomenon that’s reached near axiomatic-like reverence, an expectation rather than a potentiality.
The term “sophomore slump” is a clever alliterative turn of phrase used to illustrate the difficulty inherent in following up a solid performance. Success leads to heightened, often unrealistic, expectations which in turn frequently lead to disappointment.
In music, a sophomore slump refers to an artist or band that fails to back up a good first album with a second, in higher education, as many of us undoubtedly know, it’s common to have a significant dip in GPA from year one to two, and in football the term is generally used to describe a drop in production that a second year QB experiences as they transition from a learner in year one (with room to make mistakes) to a leader in year two (and all the responsibility and pressure that entails), or so the story goes.
In a recent conference call with season ticket holders, Colts’ head coach, Chuck Pagano, fielded a question from a concerned patron on this very issue. Chuck dismissed the notion as unworthy of consideration, at least as it pertains to Andrew Luck:
“We don’t talk about a sophomore slump at West 56th Street, believe me. Nobody is harder on themselves than Andrew. This guy’s a tireless, tireless worker.”
Traditional coach-speak platitudes or genuine lack of concern?
Being the dogged seeker of truth that I am, I decided to investigate. The results might surprise you.no comments