Marcus Williams had a great season and a great game for the New Orleans Saints in their Divisional Round matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, except for one play that he hopes won’t define his career.
Chances are you’ve seen the play a dozen times now. A dozen times you think the outcome may be different this time. There’s no way the Saints would let a receiver get behind them with a trip to the NFC Championship Game on the line. No matter how many times you rewind the Miracle in Minneapolis, Stephon Diggs makes the catch, Marcus Williams misses the tackle and the Vikings won as time expired to stun the Saints and exercise their playoff demons.
The reactions ran the gammut from disbelief that the Vikings actually came back with a 61-yard touchdown as time expired to the other end of the spectrum with people calling for Wiliams’ head.
First things first, you’re being a prisoner of the moment, irrational and above all else, foolish if you think the Saints are better off without Williams. Without him, the Saints don’t have a chance in that game. He had 13 tackles and a game-saving interception to breathe life into a stagnant offense. Sports provide vivid examples of success and failure. The thrills of victory and the agony of defeat. Williams was on the wrong side of that on Sunday night, but he’s not going to let one bad play define his career.
Williams met the media after the game and took accountability for his missed tackle. On Monday, Williams posted a message on Twitter to thank his friends, real fans, family and team for all their support and he won’t let that play define the man or player he is or will be.
I applaud Williams for this professional and measured response. It would be easy to duck and hide until training camp opens next spring when the heat isn’t so intense. He took the criticism with the utmost professionalism and is not going to let it bring him down and derail his promising career.
I was critical of his missed tackle in the moment, just as I’m sure his teammates and coaches were critical. He had his head down and he had to show more awareness for the situation. This stuff happens all the time. People make mistakes. I’ve made them. You’ve made them. But those who let their mistakes define them are the weak ones. Those, like Williams, who use this as a teaching moment and as a source to light the fire that will burn all offseason and likely for the rest of his career, that’s the type of person I want on my team.
Kudos to you Mr. Williams for turning a negative into a chance for a positive. I’m sure it hurts really bad right now, but it will get better and you have a new fan in me who will be cheering you along the way.