The Voice: Overreacting? Don't over-do it

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The_Voice_Matt_Lepay_200.jpgAfter last weekend, Wisconsin has clear-cut bragging rights on the state of Illinois. The women's basketball team beat the Illini and the men's squad dismantled Northwestern, with Josh Gasser becoming the first Badger to record a triple-double. Then there was the NFC title game at Soldier Field, where the Packers held off the Bears, 21-14.  

Wisconsin sports fans are in a state of euphoria, while in the Land of Lincoln, there is despair and disgust. And with it comes the predictable overreaction from fans, some media and even some current and former players.  

To some, quarterback Jay Cutler has become the poster child for punching out when the going gets tough. Some "fans" were photographed burning a Cutler jersey, all because he missed most of the second half with a knee injury. It is obvious some in Bears Nation want a new quarterback right now.

In the course of a year, or maybe even a few weeks, coach Lovie Smith (a former UW assistant) went from a lousy coach to a pretty good coach to a lousy coach again. Isn't Bill Cowher available?

It will be interesting to see how the Bears move forward. Earlier in the week a longtime NFL employee who knows the landscape of the Packers-Bears rivalry suggested to me that it could be very difficult for the loser of that game to recover anytime soon.

It might be worthwhile for those folks to take a look at their neighbors to the north, and note the value of not overreacting.

This time last year, or maybe even this time last month, fans and some in the media were highly critical of Packers general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy. These are the two who ran Brett Favre out of town. These are the two who refused to find a suitable replacement for injured running back Ryan Grant.

Really? Maybe in retrospect they just stayed the course and survived to play in the fifth Super Bowl in franchise history.

Sound familiar?

A couple of years ago, some in Badger country wanted Bret Bielema to take the next train out of town. He can't coach. He can't recruit. He lost control of the program.  

Two years later he led the Badgers to their first Big Ten title in 11 years. While the Rose Bowl did not go the way fans wanted, I think it is safe to say many of those who wanted Bielema out of here have a different opinion today.

Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don't make. Take a look at some of the more successful teams, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots. Pretty stable, and they tend to stay that way even in difficult times.

On the other hand, take a look at struggling franchises, such as the Washington Redskins or the Dallas Cowboys. Not so much stability in recent years.

It appears to be a similar story in the Big Ten. Some programs have scuffled for years, and seem to change coaches and administrators on a regular basis. Wisconsin has been lucky in that regard.

Barry Alvarez coached for 16 years. Bielema has had a very impressive five-year run, with hopefully many more on the way. Bo Ryan is in year number 10. There are other coaches who fit that description, such as Ed Nuttycombe and Barry Davis -- hopefully you get the idea.

Fans can become impatient in a hurry. However, while teams always have to tweak some areas, the better squads can go extended periods avoiding the drastic changes, despite the cries of angry callers, bloggers and anyone else who cares to make public his or her opinion.

So what is the moral of the story?

Overreaction can be the easy way out, but often times it is far from the best way out.

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