If I am fortune enough to cover a Monday Night football game, I always try to watch NFL Primetime to catch up on some aspect of the games I have missed. They do a good job of answering the question of who won and, of equal importance, why.
Every time they isolate a player as to why a team lost on a particular play as the main reason, I think back to the difficulty of watching your mistakes the next day in the video analysis of the game with the coaches and peers. Ben Roethlisberger has the relive the interception to Brandon Carr. The Patriots offensive line will have to watch over and over the protection problems that were evident in the game against San Francisco. And the Bills defence will have to visually watch and answer why Seattle scored 50 points at the Rogers Centre.
In the extreme opposite, Atlanta will relive all the good that goes with a 34-O victory. After a slow start, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins moves and explodes for 329 passing yards and will watch every yard Monday morning. Adrian Peterson is only 294 yards away from the all-time single season record and I am sure that he will enjoy watching what he accomplished on Sunday.
The only way you improve in football is to limit or eliminate your mistakes and revisit your successes to enhance confidence. But watching the mistakes is tough to do. Watching the success is what you are paid to do.
There are always two games you live every NFL week. The first is the actual game, the second is the next day, watching the game a second time and trying to learn. I can't say the same for other sports as I have not played but resisting a difficult game is high stress. Monday morning is the first thing you think about until it is over. You know when it is going to happen and you sit and wait, ready to be critiqued and, in many ways, confronted.
Every player is graded on every play in every game. The results of the grades are not made public but they are the #1 evaluation point of whether a player is progressing, regressing or staying the same. And that grade and accumulation of the grade influences your next contract more than any other aspect of football. It is the time where the coaches have a bigger influence over your football life than anyone else.
It is true that football is a tough business for tough people, and Monday's film session is as tough a test as Sunday's game.