At the end of the college football season, several Oklahoma fans got in touch with me. Their super successful coach Lincoln Riley decided to move on to the University of Southern California.
He’d accomplished almost everything a coach can do at OU including having 2 Heisman winners, 4 Big 12 Championships and made the college football playoffs 3 times, but never won a playoff game.. The loved him. And then he announced he was leaving before his contract expired in 2025. USC bought it out for $45 M. And gave him a contract worth approximately $110M which includes a big house and unlimited use of the school’s private jet.
OU fans felt betrayed and angry. And then there was the press conference. Was he really sad? Or was this a deceptive show?
My analysis: This is real emotion. Here’s how we know.
At :16 he talks about how people were tremendous to him as he looks down and takes a big breath out. Emption is starting to rise and he’s doing his best to keep it down
When people look down we get into negative emotions and clearly with that big breath out he’s fighting those emotions showing. He’s a football coach. And emotions aren’t cool. So this isn’t surprising.
Then he pauses and audibly taps his fingers on the side of the podium. This is impatience. He wants these emotions to go away. So he swallows them back with a big gulp.
He’s only released from the moment when the crowd starts clapping. But he’s still looking down trying to recover.
Emotions are caused by chemicals that fade gradually. If he had snapped right back to his normal state, I’d be very suspicious.
He gets back to his normal pattern of a gentle head shake which shows disbelief when he says he’s grateful for his time there. And at the end he looks down at his notes as he says it again.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find the truth, especially when you’re feeling hurt as many OU fans do. It’s really hard to fake holding back emotion and he did it in several ways here.