There'll be no end of reasons for Jamaica's unsuccessful World Cup Qualifying campaign. Some will be philosophical. Some will cut to the quick. Others will blame the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), the coaching staff and perhaps the players.
As summaries often do, important turning points could be obscured in the interest of brevity.
The Reggae Boyz were riding high early in the campaign. An unprecedented point won away in Mexico had us all booking our tickets to Rio for the 2014 World Cup.
Staggeringly, as I write, the Mexicans need to win a two-way play-off with Oceania champions New Zealand to get to Rio. That's where many of us hoped Jamaica would be. Mexico, kingpins of CONACAF, have been shown not to be the marauding champions of old.
Even though Jamaica's Donovan Ricketts was the busier of the two goalkeepers on that Mexican night in February, conversion of a rebounded half chance by Jobi McAnuff might have made all the difference. It wasn't a big deal at the time. A point in Mexico was historic, but now three points instead of one would have been a big help.
The next big turning point came a month later. Commanding central defender Nyron Nosworthy fell to injury. That eliminated a strong and safe defensive leader. That was critical.
Some of the replacements, like Germany-bred Daniel Gordon, were good, but Nosworthy was the glue that held the defence together. With him gone, the Boyz fell asleep at the wrong time in home games against Mexico and the USA in June, and conceded crushing goals. The points lost at home in those games were never regained.
Ricketts wasn't missed when injury claimed him ... until a hard-luck error by Dwayne Miller cost a soft goal, a major turning point when we hosted Costa Rica in September. Less than a fortnight after the expenses of the back-to-school period, the JFF priced the National Stadium bleachers at $1,500 a seat. Made fickle by a string of dodgy results and worried about the threat of rain, local fans stayed away. When the visitors, all 2,500 of them, came in boat loads, the fixture became a virtual home match for the red-clad Costa Ricans.
Had they come into a stadium full of yellow shirts, things might have been different.
The whole campaign was like that. If only McAnuff had scored in Mexico. If only Nosworthy had stayed fit. If only the Costa Rica bleachers ticket had gone for $500 and not $1,500.
Most fans will add the persistent non-selection of Jermaine 'Tuffy' Anderson to this list of 'what-ifs'. With Marlon King still good, but obviously not fit, and goals at a premium, Tuffy, Jermaine Beckford and Darren Mattocks might have been better options than King and Ryan Johnson.
It's the stuff on endless circular verandah talk or rum-bar reasoning because you can't rewind history. Fortunately, you can plan ahead.
Jamaica's lack of success in football is constrained by several factors. Poor field conditions and modest grass roots coaching mean that youngsters learn football fundamentals more slowly than their age-group counterparts elsewhere. That forces the national coach to select Jamaican players who grow up elsewhere. Often, that gives the Boyz a disjointed look, because the two or three days the team has to blend isn't enough.
The partial solution has been proposed in the space before - the use of the Internet to 'teach' newcomers their roles in the national team through distance coaching.
There is work under way now to improve the grass roots and to better equip coaches. That needs to be wrapped with a Jamaican playing philosophy that would make it easy for graduates from national junior teams to step into the senior team seamlessly. Perhaps the use of native Jamaican speed in a hold and counterattack style might be the starting point.
Whether or not the JFF leadership remains the same as we head for the 2018 World Cup, these questions must be answered. Jamaica has recently played in youth World Cups, so there is some player potential. If we answer the key questions, success is possible.
We're not the only country seeking answers. In England, the Football Association has just opened a new centre as part of a thrust to evolve the nation's game. The talk is about merging the traditional English hard running and passion with the skills seen in other countries. The FA has been able to make a huge investment because of windfalls from the wonderfully successful Premier League. Jamaican football has less money, but must answer the same questions.
For now, our collective heads hurt. It's clear that no one has a reserved spot on the sport's top table, but the elimination of the Boyz annoys nevertheless. The football fraternity knows that with a little luck here, a fit Nosworthy and a couple of breaks there, things might have been different.
My worry is that such consideration will be on hold until the JFF elections. It would be better for football if a broad-based think tank, perhaps led by current coach Winfried Schäfer, started the work now. That might give a fighting chance to reach the World Cup in 2018.
HUBERT LAWRENCE has made notes at track side since 1980.