As sports fans, I think we probably let single events define players and
coaches more than we should. In this era where we want to evaluate things
quickly and neatly, it's always easier (and oftentimes, lazier) to just let
one play on a big stage define somebody. It's clear, it's concise, it's
also often incorrect, but it allows us to move on.
A last-second field goal sailing wide left or sneaking just inside the upright is the difference between Hunter Lawrence getting death threats and Hunter Lawrence never having to pay for a meal on 6th Street ever again.
Just ask Scott Norwood.
Certainly, there are different flavors of these defining moments. There are the "routine task" defining moments whereby you simply need to execute your job and doing so (or not doing so) will forever alter your existence -- kicking a field goal inside 45 yards, knocking down free throws in the waning moments of a basketball game, getting three batters out in the ninth inning of a playoff game. You're either a hero or a goat. Do your job, you become an icon. Fail at your job, you enter the witness protection program. No worries, right?