A healthy mix of first-hand experiences and personal observations as a player and a fan come together in this slideshow, detailing the worst excuses I've heard over the course of my football career.
Heck, I even had to include myself in the "guilty column" for dishing out some poor excuses over the years. Let's hope I'm not the worst of the offenders.
The worst excuse for losing a game in my career came while I was in high school, when a group of key players for our team decided to get drunk and smoke pot right before pregame warm-ups.
That night we were playing an undefeated rival on Halloween night. Apparently, a large group of guys thought it would be smart to celebrate a little early.
Surprisingly, these misguided teammates of mine actually thought they’d be better athletes by drinking alcohol and smoking pot before a game. Perhaps this erroneous concept derived from their frequent experience with heightened success with women while under these intoxicants.
Whatever the reason may be, one thing’s for sure: There’s nothing beneficial about being drunk or stoned while competing in a football game. It obviously makes for the worst excuse to lose a game I’ve ever heard.
Any athlete who thinks he won a football game because either God or Jesus wanted his team to win is simply naïve. Whether you believe in God or not is beside the point here. Thinking God has any stake in the outcome of a football game is simply a ridiculous notion.
Victories on the football field are not awarded to the morally elite, nor to the team that prayed the hardest the night before. Victories go to the team that outworked, out-coached and outperformed its opponent.
You would think God's priorities for the universe wouldn't include fixing the outcome of sporting events. Think of it this way: To say God wanted you to win a game would then imply God wanted the other team to lose the game. What reasons would God have for wanting one team to fail and another to succeed?
Besides, it’s not like we ever hear athletes blaming God for their failures on the field.
Well…um…actually, let’s go to the next slide, shall we?
So, God has no stake in the outcome of a sporting event. Nor does God play any part in Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson dropping five balls in an overtime loss to the Steelers nearly two years ago. Unless, of course, you believe in the authenticity of this video, which, admittedly, is rather convincing.
Following the game, Johnson took to Twitter and posted this statement seemingly blaming God for making him drop those passes:
I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO...
If we can agree that Stevie Johnson is fully to blame for dropping his passes, then we should also agree that God is equally absent in a player's triumphs.
Sorry, Stevie, but your excuse for dropping balls is a pretty bad one. But is it the worst I've ever heard when it comes to dropping balls? You be the judge.
While at El Camino College in Torrance, Calif., I was having a conversation with our starting receiver, who was having a lot of trouble with dropped passes. He proceeded to tell me that he was not being treated fairly by the head coach and that the coach was also a racist. Somehow he found a way to connect this opinion of our coach with why he was dropping passes.
I understand that as an athlete, when you lose confidence in your ability, things can spiral downward rather quickly. But we shouldn't forget that we have the power to flip that momentum and make things better. That starts by assuming responsibility.
Claiming our coach is a racist who doesn't give you an opportunity to succeed may in some way have validity, but dropping balls during games is a reflection of your own lack of concentration and/or hand-eye coordination.
Joe Haden was a big name player who recently blamed his positive drug test on Adderall.
Maybe this excuse was acceptable the first couple of times a player was suspended for using Adderall, but now things are starting to get ridiculous.
The Giants alone have already had three players suspended for Adderall use. The Buccaneers have at least two players who claim to be suspended for the same reason.
To provide a little background here, the NFL policy on substance abuse violations prohibits the league from disclosing the banned drug that was detected. Thus, it really is up to the player to tell the media whatever he wants, and the NFL is forced to keep its mouth shut.
Furthermore, the NFL does allow for the use of Adderall as long as the player has a valid prescription for the drug. It's a fairly simple process for any player really interested and in need of such medication.
So at this point, with so many players reportedly blaming their positive drug tests on Adderall, it's beginning to seem more like a PR stunt than coincidental carelessness by one player after another.
Do we have an Adderall epidemic in the NFL, or are players exploiting an innocent-sounding excuse for failing drug tests?
It seems by now every NFL player should be well informed about the proper use of this drug.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t use being broke as an excuse for buying cheap suits that didn’t fit me while on the Jets. I had to go with the excuse that I was "living out of my suitcase," considering I hadn’t had a chance to fly home since the day of my tryout. I had to just grab something last-minute at the store.
In reality, the obvious truth here was I had no idea what the heck I was doing when it came to buying suits, plus I needed a suit by the next day, so I couldn’t get it tailored or anything.
I just had to wear a crappy suit that didn’t fit me as part of a welcoming to a team with a rich tradition of roasting guys with the worst game-day attire on the team. Luckily, there were a few “pimptastic” suits worn that first week loud enough to take some of the attention away from my makeshift outfit.
Nonetheless, I had no excuse for looking so terrible other than ignorance and apathy.
And so I must hang my head in shame.
Shortly after I was released for the final time in my NFL career, a friend of mine thought it would be a good idea to drive to Mexico for the night, which was only a two-and-a-half hour drive from Los Angeles. Needing an obvious distraction from my disappointing NFL career, I cautiously agreed.
To my surprise, in the middle of night, at an extremely racy Tijuana club (yeah, I had a stereotypical NFL night out, leave me alone), I ran into a former NFL coach of mine, who currently is a household name but at the time was relatively unknown to the general public.
He happened to be coaching in a game against the Chargers the very next day, yet he was actually in a club partying it up the night before a big, season-opening NFL game.
When the coach recognized me, he was clearly embarrassed and noticeably nervous. He was with a friend as well, whom he claimed dragged him here without him knowing he'd ever end up in a place like this. Yeah, me too.
We both just unwittingly stumbled into a Mexican strip cub, blindfolded by our friends as we held the Bible in one hand and our innocence in the other.
That’s our story, and we’re sticking to it!
One important difference between us that night was that I had nothing important to do the next day, while he had 53 men relying heavily on his preparation and focus for a nationally televised game.
Not a very good excuse for NFL-caliber preparation.