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The term « groupthink » originated in the early 1950s shortly after George Orwell’s 1984 publication. Orwell’s work had coined the term « double thinking » and the thinker William H. . Whyte Jr. . a few years later, based on this idea with groupthink.
« Groupthink » has been refined over the years, but at the heart of it is when well-meaning and otherwise smart people work together to demand compliance when basic facts would suggest otherwise.
Example: New Orleans quarterback Taysom Hill. Drew Brees, a first-choice Hall of Famer, is out for at least three weeks with a bevy of broken ribs. Sean Payton, one of the best attackers of his generation, decided Hill would start against the Falcons on Sunday ahead of Jameis Winston, who completed 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions in nine career games against Atlanta.
Hill is the great unknown: a muscle-bound 6-foot-2 quarterback who was used primarily as a gadget player for New Orleans. Winston, despite his penchant for giving the ball away, is one of eight people ever to have a season of 5. 000 meters in this life course on this earth. When Brees couldn’t play at halftime last week, Payton turned to Winston. And conventional wisdom suggested that he would return to Winston against the Falcons.
But what I – and we – fell victim to is groupthink in its most classic form. Sure, not everyone thought Payton was making a mistake. But I feel comfortable saying that most people with a root interest either disagree or have hoped to prove wrong.
Then Hill went 18 for 23 for 233 yards with a passerby rating of 108. 9 in its very first launch. On the way to a 24-9 win over Atlanta, he lunged for 51 yards and two touchdowns. And somewhere on the list of awards, he earned a Mea Culpa from this reporter.
You see, Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis signed Hill back in 2017 when he was a 27-year-old rookie from BYU. Payton taught him the system for over three years by then. He kept putting Hill in the backfield to snap straight in crazy ways. We – and I mean myself and the majority of those reading this now – hated it, but there was a method for the perceived madness.
Hill spent most of the first half spending too much time proving that he was a real quarterback. He tried 13 passes and only rushed twice. He fumbled in the middle of the fourth quarter while scoring two points, which could have been a turning point for a team led by a former NFL MVP. But . . . nothing has happened. He didn’t throw the game away. He wasn’t incompetent like the quarterback.
We should be far from crowning Hill. This great experiment may have worked once, but that doesn’t make it a law. Even so, Payton and Hill deserve credit.
Twitter, a place where memes are shared, loudly announcing starting Hill would be a mistake. Talk Radio has teamed up with the social media app. We all laughed. If you’ve been on Twitter long enough, you disappoint yourself to believe it’s true.
But the coach, who knows the insult better than any of us, got the last laugh on Sunday. Hill turned out to be a worthy backup and capable NFL starter against the Falcons, and he’s getting the low Broncos next week ahead of a Falcons rematch in Week 13.
Tonight, the Saints can indulge in the season at 8-2. And Sean Payton can put his feet up and enjoy the greatest moment of the 2020 NFL season.
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New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Drew Brees, Taysom Hill, NFL, Jameis Winston, Sean Payton, Quarterback
World News – AU – Saints’ Taysom Hill proves Sean Payton is right has and ‘Groupthink’ wrong with great performance at first career start
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