High stakes and publicity has lot to do with it.
When it gets down to two in the big arena, you have 50% chance to win, which is terrific. Everyone wants to be in that position to have a chance to win it all.
There is so much publicity that if you lose, no one will remembers how tough it was to get there. Most people never will care how long and how hard you have worked to get to the pinnacle in your field. All they will remember is that you lost in the most public way.
You are a loser.
Americans are forgiving to cheaters, but not losers. You are now going to be the butt of jokes on late night TV, talk shows and social media for a long time, if not forever.
Isn't that little unfair? Welcome to the NFL!
Also the other reason is the whole expectation game when the stakes are so high. The only expectation that matter is to "Just Win Baby!". There is no way to manage an expected loss. You are all in to win, and when you don't, you are a loser.
Often it is better to lose early than to lose late. No one will remember that you lost. You are not a loser, but were not good enough. Losing at the end stage is very devastating; it is "sudden death.". It is often very hard to recover from this type of a loss, since you were so close to winning, but now you will always be on video as the one that lost to the eventual winner. They get the glory, girl and immortality, and what do the losers get? Hashtag on Twitter, perhaps.
How do you survive this?
In the high stakes game, you either get a one way ticket to Mount Olympus or a one way ticket to Palookaville.
Jay Oza is a founder and principal innovation development consultant at 5ToolGroup, a company that specializes in helping startups and established firms bring innovation to market within 90 days through our unique 5Tool Methodology that integrates sales, marketing, partnerships, customer development and agile/lean methodology to enable frugal or ("Jugaad") innovation. We believe that to succeed today, you have to continuously look for ways to do lot more with lot less. This is the only way to win today!