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What is Monday Morning Quarterbacking?

Following his defeat in Superbowl XLVIII, many "monday morning quarterbacks" questioned Peyton Manning's use of audibles in the game.
Monday morning quarterbacks are usually avid fans of a team, and have an emotional response to a loss.
An American football player.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
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  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2014
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Monday morning quarterbacking refers to the process of passing judgment when one has hindsight. In some ways the phrase morning quarterbacking is uniquely connected to sports fans. It is certainly common watercooler talk to discuss how a football team might have improved in their most recent game, how the quarterback should have thrown more, or the defense should have been better at intercepting passes. Usually Monday morning quarterbacking contains a somewhat critical, negative, aspect, and is most often applied to teams that exhibited poor performance.

Of course, Monday morning quarterbacking in its strictest sense takes place on Monday after Sunday games played by professional football teams. Criticism after Monday, or now Thursday night football is still called Monday morning quarterbacking. Further, teams do use review of their games to improve future performances, so the practice is common to both professionals and armchair athletes alike.

However, teams may accuse the armchair athlete of being a bit too critical in their Monday morning quarterbacking. Hindsight is a great gift for improving performances, but it matters little what “woulda, shoulda, coulda” happen after a game is over. Monday morning quarterbacking can be quite bitter among disappointed fans, and criticism that is not really deserved can run high.

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In more common usage, Monday morning quarterbacking applies to anyone who uses hindsight to judge a person’s actions. Naturally, from a removed position, it is often easier to see what someone “should” have done or said. It is also relatively negative, and often quite unhelpful to tell someone how he or she erred or what should have been done.

Sometimes, however, Monday morning quarterbacking is a way of improving the manner in which one lives. For example, looking at past mistakes can help one avoid behaving in a manner that would cause similar mistakes in the future. It just is not very pleasant when someone else does this analysis without one asking for the person’s advice or opinion.

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