The Monday Morning Quarterback

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

24 June 2021

Have you ever read an article or watched a TV segment and proclaimed you would have done things differently from the way they were done in what you saw or read? Have you ever watched one of those real-life court programs or a Law & Order episode and wondered how or why the main character could have been so naive or unintelligent? It’s easy to sit in the comfort of our own homes and judge others or to proclaim ourselves to be more adept. But to do so is acting like a Monday Morning Quarterback.

A Monday Morning Quarterback is defined as a person who passes judgment on and criticizes something after the event. In my mind, it’s a humorous elaboration on hindsight. Once the outcome is known, of course it’s easier to understand how something happened and think you’d have reacted differently. But sometimes, when we’re in a particular moment and our emotions or other brain activities get the best of us, we simply react. Have you ever had a disagreement with someone and gone to bed thinking about what you should have said or done differently?

Hindsight can help us unpack what we’ve already done and understand it more fully. When we have that understanding, we begin to learn powerful lessons. We may not be able to put those lessons to good use in the past, but we can certainly remember them for our future encounters.

As Tayari Jones writes in An American Marriage, “The chilly rationale of hindsight is what exposes the how and why of something that once seemed supernatural. It’s the magician’s manual that shows you how the tricks are done, not with sorcery but with careful cues and mysterious devices.”

We might not have the magician’s manual to all of life’s problems. But we can use hindsight to remind us to look for the manual and to learn as much as we can to be better prepared for next time.  We can’t change the past, but we can learn from it and move forward with more educated intentions.

Life is tricky. We’re human. And one of the most beautiful things about being human is we’re rarely stuck. We can change our lives, learn our lessons, and move in the directions we choose.


All we need is a little hindsight and a whole lot of tenacity.