Second-guessing ESPN columnists is more Erik’s thing, but I couldn’t resist this. In his NFC preview, Gregg “Tuesday Morning Quarterback” Easterbrook blasts John Fox for blaspheming:
“We’re owed a little bit of luck by the football gods, if there is such a thing,” Panthers coach John Fox told Sports Illustrated during training camp. Fox doubts the existence of the football gods? He lacks faith, despite their many signs and wonders? Maybe Fox has been reading historical revisionism that claims folklore stories about football gods are just sociological accretions from prescientific times. But to start off the season questioning the existence of the football gods! Oh, they shall smite down the Carolina Panthers. Yea, verily, the Panthers shall be smote.
Apparently Easterbrook can’t disentangle basic syntax. Let’s rewind the tape. Here’s what Fox said:
“We’re owed a little bit of luck by the football gods, if there is such a thing,”
Fox here disputes the existence of *luck*, not “the football gods.” Had he been denying the existence of the gods, he would have said, “if they exist.” But it’s customary for coaches and other control freaks to look skeptically at luck, which tends to favor the well-prepared. (Even Obi-Wan said, “In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck.”)
I’ll concede that, in a perfect world, “if there is such a thing” would follow “luck,” but not many people would do that when speaking off-the-cuff.