Watching ESPN College Football Live a few days ago, Mark May was on the screen blabbering on about stuff. The subject went from who had surprising seasons and who had disappointing seasons.
Needless to say, the disappointing seasons part turned towards Cal.
Mark May mentioned how we were #2 and could have been #1 (and a side note, Cal was NEVER #1 this season. Not even for 15 minutes. Let’s stop saying that).
Of course the topic turned to the Oregon State game and umm… Riley’s little brain fart at the end of the game.
Well, like most people have described Riley’s mistake, Mark May called it a "bone-headed mistake" with an emphasis on bone-headed.
The point of this post is to really question why people use the term "bone-headed." A little unsure about what a "bone-head" is, I consulted the never wrong urban dictionary. The definition of "bone-headed" can be seen here. As you can see, the more popular definition is: An poorly behaved, asinine person (usually male) who lacks consideration for others and possesses zero potential for character growth.
Okay, sooo… I don’t quite think that definition really fits the situation. I think most people just use the word "bone-headed" to employ that he’s some dumb jock who can’t think. Or at least an idiot.
But come on. That’s not really fair. Surely Riley isn’t an idiot. He goes to Cal - that’s gotta mean something. His mistake was merely a brain fart. It was a genuine honest mistake. We all make mistakes. Even the best players.
The fan favoritism is very apparent when a Cal star does something wrong compared to a Cal player with no resume of big plays or top performances to fall back on. Think of when Marshawn Lynch fumbled. Or this year when Hawk dropped crucial passes. Those guys got passes ("passes" as in like a sideline pass and not a ball thrown at them). I heard tons of comments along the lines of "oh, it’s okay that Hawk dropped a few, he’s made so many other clutch catches." But then when Riley made an equally egregious mistake he gets thrown under the bus. Now don’t start with the whole "but Riley’s mistake cost us the national championship game" stuff. A mistake is a mistake. Whether the result of the mistake is losing a chance at the national championship game or merely losing another game in a meaningless season, the mistake is just as bad.
My point here is that I think we fans need to be careful with our criticism because it is often filled with favoritism.
How come nobody calls Hawk’s drops "bone-headed?" Or how Marshawn wasn’t an idiot for not protecting the ball when he fumbled it? Just like Riley should have known to throw the ball away, Marshawn should have known to use 6 points of pressure, and Hawk should have known to watch the ball into his hands.
The mistakes are equally egregious but one player gets the "bone-head" label merely because he hasn’t established his star label and the resulting mistake-passes which also come with the star label. I know this is how our brains work but I don’t think it makes it okay.
Anyways. We all make mistakes. Riley’s mistake did result in us probably losing the game and a #1 ranking (I say probably because we still would have needed to make the field goal and win in overtime). But Riley’s mistake wasn’t any worse than a false start or pass interference. It certainly wasn’t bone-headed - whatever that means. So can we please stop calling him a bone-head?