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Setting the Tone

We've sorta had this discussion before, but it's a slow day (Knick spies are not surprising nor interesting to me), and I really enjoyed this TrueHoop piece. An excerpt:

I think the psyche of a franchise -- the fans, the players, the coaches, the team employees, and everyone else -- really can play into game results.

In some cities, at some times, you get a feeling that when a team plays well they are doing what they do. If the Pistons, for instance, come back from a big deficit, they don't exactly throw a party on the air. That's what the Pistons doing what they do. Same thing goes if they have a nice lead against a quality opponent at halftime: been there, done that. Save your ticker tape for when we win our next title.

Sure, most of that comes from the team earning fans and broadcasters' trust with their sustained excellent play. But that's not all. I think broadcasters and fans who exude that kind of attitude really do help their team. They change the meaning of the uniform. They define the franchise. They set expectations. And they make big challenges seem like acceptable ones.

It's an awesome thing to be in a confident arena. Your team is down 18 in the third quarter, and they score four straight, and the whole place comes alive. As in yup, here they come. You knew it was coming.

For the road team, it has to suck to hear that. And for the home team, it can't hurt your play to hear that you are expected to make a stop right now, and then hit a high-percentage shot. If 20,000 fans are telling you it's time to do it, who needs a sports psychologist? You have the finest motivation on the planet.

Naturally, I apply this to the Knicks. It's sort of a chicken-and-the-egg scenario, really. The Knicks suck, we boo and chant "Fire Isiah", and they suck more. The potential of a vocally dissatisfied audience probably informs a lot of the decision-making and motivation of the players and coaches. They know we're ready to boo, and so does the opposition. Does expecting the worst and voicing displeasure and sarcasm actually accomplish anything?

I don't know exactly where I'm going with this, but I do recommend reading the whole article and posting your thoughts in the comments.