Monday, December 15, 2008

How a winning team differs from a losing one

The Buffalo Bills, after starting the season at 5-1, have lost eight of their last 10 games, including a loss yesterday to the Jets.

Despite the losses (and, according to this article, a team with no evident sense of urgency), there is one "solitary man going about his work in businesslike fashion."

Bills LB Kawika Mitchell "has something nobody in Buffalo's locker room owns: A Super Bowl ring."

According to Mitchell, the Giants' locker room differed from the Bills' in that "there wasn't as much management by coaches. We sort of policed ourselves. It's just a different kind of atmosphere here."

Mitchell contends that "while coach Tom Coughlin is a strong leader... it was the Giants players that set the tone in their locker room. Attitude — a burning urge to prove critics wrong — was everything."

Says Mitchell: "It is about 90 percent of the game." From his perspective, the players must take ownership:

"[In New York], the coaches gave us guidelines but we set the tone," Mitchell said. "On Sunday, what it comes down to is players got to play. I mean, of course they (management and coaches) all had something to do with it. But I think the players, in large, we didn't panic. We had a lot of confidence in what we could do and just kept on pushing."