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Letter: Gov. Herbert’s Hail Mary

(Steve Griffin | Deseret News, pool) Gov. Gary Herbert provides updates on the ongoing pandemic in Utah during the weekly COVID-19 briefing at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.

Throwing a Hail Mary is an act of desperation, when, in the final seconds of a football game it’s the only possible way left to snatch victory out of the jaws of almost certain defeat. According to fascinating data provided by BYU’s Cougar Stats blog (“Hail Marys—Just How Improbable Are They?” Sept. 10, 2015), a Hail Mary is successful a meager 2.5% of the time.

So one must wonder, when it came to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic two months ago, why our state’s quarterback, Gov. Gary Herbert, and his phantom backup, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, opted to close their eyes and heave a Hail Mary when it wasn’t even halftime and we were winning the game. All along, a disciplined game plan that had proven successful elsewhere, of methodically marching down the field, of getting first downs one by one, of eroding the ability of the COVID opposition to go on the attack, was in their playbook. Nothing prevented them from calling for running plays and short passes, from being in control of the outcome.

Yet they eschewed it. Why? Because some of the rabid fans in the bleachers pressured them to throw the ball deep. Who wants to watch boring, clock-management football, right? It’s much more exciting to cross your fingers and pray. Roll the dice.

So now we pay the price for the fans dictating the game plan. And guess what? We’re losing the game. Time for new quarterbacks.

Gerald Elias, Salt Lake City
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