WKUDuring the bowl season, there was the greatest single football play ever that sealed an incredible comeback. Except the comeback victory didn’t happen.

In another college football bowl game, there was also a dramatic comeback that did result in a victory. The difference was that The Hinge connected for one and it didn’t for another and there was a reason why.

Game 1: Bahamas Bowl: Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky

Read this insight from James Jimenez The greatest comeback that never happened

WKU was leading 49-14 in the fourth quarter. Central Michigan came back and was behind 49-42 with just one-second left. They then had the most remarkable pass play since The Play (see Cal vs. Stanford). From their own 20-yard line, and four laterals later, they scored a touchdown. The play made the score 49-48. It was a Hinge moment!

Coach Enos decided to go for a two-point conversion to win the game and an incomplete pass later the game was over. They lost.

Wait, what? The Hinge connects; it was supposed to provide Central Michigan with the win. What happened? Coach Dan Enos said he originally planned to kick the extra point. Someone yelled to go for it and he changed his mind, he called the extra point team back off of the field and went for the win.

Coach Enos didn’t trust his gut.

Game 2: Armed Forces Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Houston

Pitt was leading 31-6 in the fourth quarter. University of Houston was still behind 34-20 and then proceeded to get not only 1, but also 2 successful onside kicks. A Hinge moment! Houston scored on a 25-yard touchdown play to trail 34-33 with just 59 seconds remaining. Coach Gibbs went for a two-point conversion and they scored to take the lead and win the game 35-34. It became the largest 4th quarter comeback in Bowl history.

Coach Gibbs said, “We made a decision the 1st day of practice that if it came down to the end of the game, we were going for two, no matter what,” Gibbs said. “There was no decision. They knew three weeks ago.” Thus, coach Gibbs had prepared for the exact moment that occurred.

Why did Houston comeback and Central Michigan did not? Coach Gibbs trusted his gut, and when we trust our gut, the hinge connects. What we need to learn from this is that each of us needs to trust our gut, our intuition.

Our gut is our in-born GPS that we all have. We must trust it, it is extremely difficult, but it is also necessary for The Hinge to connect. We have no idea when our Hinge moment will occur, but we must prepare for it.

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kid: Build Their Mental Toughness   

Every one of us is getting ready for a hinge moment, event, or person that will make all the difference in our lives. However, we just don’t know when or who that will happen. In fact, we may not know the impact until weeks, months, or even years after.

We can’t connect the dots moving forward in life, we can only connect them looking backwards.- Steve Jobs 

The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness.

In order for our Hinge to connect, we need to keep giving ourselves opportunities. Hinge moments require that we stay confident in ourselves to keep connecting with others and striving to get better. However, when we isolate and lose confidence, the Hinge fails to connect.

As Gandhi said , “you may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing, there will be no result.” You must be ready because when your opportunity hits, it’s too late to prepare.

Since each of us will have opportunities, here are three (3) people who took advantage of their Hinge moment! 

1. John Brooks-  

hinge moment

His goal beat Ghana in the 1st round of the World Cup. He became the 1st ever substitute to ever score in a World Cup Match for the United States. He only entered the game at half-time because another player, Matt Besler, was injured. With only four minutes left in the game, it appeared the game was going to be a draw. John Brooks was even on the bubble for making the USA roster. However, he told his teammates, “ I actually dreamt about making a header on a corner kick in the 80th minute to win the game.”


2.  Linda Perry-

hinge moment

She was the lead singer of 90’s band, 4 Non-blondes, and they had their 15-minutes of fame with the hit, “What’s Going On.”

Often as it goes, the success did not last, and a few years later, Linda Perry was sunk….

She was completely broke for three weeks, when an unknown artist contacted her and told her how she admired Linda Perry’s earlier work. Linda Perry had just finished writing a song, titled “Get The Party Started.” You guessed it, the unknown artist was Pink and it launched her career.  Linda Perry thereafter has written tons of top songs for artists like Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, & Adam Lambert.

3. Vin Scully-

hinge momentVin Scully was the hall-of-fame announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The greatest of all-time has been announcing Dodger games for 65 straight years! He called his 19th no-hitter when Clayton Kershaw accomplished it.

His Hinge moment occurred when he returned from the Navy and was announcing games for Fordham University.  


He sent 150 letters to radio stations all along the east coast and received only 1 reply from CBS Sports Radio. He started working alongside Red Barber and called his 1st game for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1950.

Will Your Hinge Connect? 


top mental toughness coach

Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis.  Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent book on Mental Toughness- Don’t Should on Your Kid: Build Their Mental Toughness