Bryce Petty is a perfectionist.
That one lone characteristic is not a bad thing. In fact, being a perfectionist is often looked at as a positive trait. It can drive a player or a person in any walk of life to better them and take that skill or trait to a level that most others couldn't or simply don't want to. Perfectionists are scattered through history's most successful people.
But what happens if that trait causes you to press and try too hard at times? What if that drive to be perfect pushes you hard the other way? At times last year, it felt like Petty could have been pressing for perfection and thus, falling well short. The Baylor quarterback clearly felt that pressure and weight at times.
"He's harder on himself than the coaches are, he demands perfection," said Danny Spencer, Petty's junior high school coach told the Arkansas News in a recent profile about their ongoing relationship. Perfection is a fickle thing, and one that sometimes isn't needed. How often have you heard that a player was trying to make the perfect play instead of the right play and making a mistake?
In the Oklahoma State game, it was said during the broadcast that Petty told people around him that he felt he had to be perfect to win that game. In fact, it was something that stuck out to me as odd to say. The Bears were undefeated at the time and despite numerous injuries to players around him, Petty had played great. He wasn't perfect, but he was pretty good. To put the expectations of perfection on himself seemed to be a recipe for disaster, and it was. The Bears offense struggled to get anything going in the first half, and some uncharacteristic mistakes doomed them.
In the Bears only other loss, the perfection word was again uttered. Petty wanted to be perfect against UCF. He wasn't perfect, but he was pretty dang good. However, a pass into the endzone was intercepted, leaving the Bears in a bad position despite the defense forcing three turnovers back to back to back. The pass to me looked like a quarterback trying to make the perfect play, rather than a good one. It was a throw that had the right idea, just the wrong execution.
My main question is this. Can the search of perfection be hampering or holding the Bears signal caller back from actually attaining it? Perfection in any sport is nearly impossible. Even the perfect game in baseball isn't exactly perfect, just that the end results where. Every pitcher or player gets away with bad plays or gets breaks.
This is by no means a call for Petty to throw caution to the wind and start taking risks with the football that are too aggressive or damaging. This is simply a thought of the balance between perfection and great. One is not necessarily a requirement for the other. You can have the perfect play call, or the perfect throw and it still not work. I always like to say, just because a shot went in doesn't make it a good one, and just because it didn't go in is it all of a sudden a bad one. The process is just as important as or even more so than the actual result.
It is unfair for Petty, or anyone else, to demand perfection. This is an imperfect game. My hope is that Petty realizes the pressure he was putting on himself, and take a step back. Being good or even great is sometimes more effective than perfect.