By DJ Moore
It’s an eerie feeling being on a team when you know your coaches’ jobs are on the line. At the start of the 2012 season, we were very optimistic. We had finished a great training camp, and the defense looked good as usual. We came out of the gate immediately beating the Colts. Then we lost to Green Bay, as we often did during the time I was in Chicago. From there, we went on a six-game winning streak.
Every year it seemed we started hot and then something went wrong and we ended up 9-7 to miss the playoffs. The coaches needed to do better because if we didn’t make the playoffs, and maybe even if we did, they were in danger of being fired. After the streak we subsequently lost back-to-back games to the Texans and the Niners before beating the Vikings. We sat at 8-3 – in prime position to make a playoff run.
Then the wheels started to wobble. After that Vikings win, we lost three games in a row. Two of those were at the hands of division foes Minnesota and Green Bay, which was a costly scenario for our playoffs hopes. Rear ends started to get tight. We finished up with two wins against the Lions and Cardinals, which brought our record to 10-6. Typically, 10-6 gets you a playoff berth, but not that year.
I remember walking into the meeting room soon after we found we were out of the playoffs. Lovie was at the door, greeting the players and saying thank you. Hugs for everybody and wishing each other good luck. It felt like a funeral. As a player, you felt terrible because, ultimately, it was your job to make plays for your coach.
At times during the season, the writing is on the wall. You want to keep a positive attitude, but it is difficult to not think about the future when it’s so close. I wonder how other athletes, mostly viewed as highly talented and masculine, deal with the heavy toll this emotionally brutal sport takes on them.
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