Part of me wanted to begin this article with the time-honored cliché of the dictionary quote to define "media darling." We all know what the term means, but there's one key aspect of it that completely changes the types of players I'll be looking at.
Am I simply looking at a list of players that the media will obsess over all season, or does the nature and tone of that coverage matter—is it necessary for that coverage to be favorable?
Well, given that the term is media darling and not simply media obsession, we'll assume that it does, and that takes out the standard soap-opera wide receivers like T.O. (should he ever worm his way back onto an NFL roster), Chad Johnson and Randy Moss.
They may be great players, or at least may have all once been, but they aren't going to garner favorable media coverage without supplying the local press corps with free doughnuts and hoping word of mouth filters along to the national stage.
Instead we've got to look a little deeper and find some players that the media will obsess over and give legitimate favorable coverage to, regardless of whether they earn it on the field or not.
It happens every year, and if you look at the trends, you can spot some of them coming.
Let's see how well we can do this time.