Handing out Christmas Gifts to 15 NFL Stars
Christmas is the season of giving, so why should the NFL stars that make our Autumn Sundays so awesome be any exception?
As with anybody else, it is sometimes easy to figure out exactly the right gift while other times it seems like an impossible task. That’s the fun part of gift giving, though: putting your mind to the task of coming up with something that special someone either wants or needs.
In the spirit of the holidays, I therefore present the gifts that I would choose for these NFL stars. There’s a little bit of everything, so read on and then chime in with some gift ideas for your favorite NFL players.
Tarvaris Jackson: Another Week of Rest
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After suffering a strained pectoral muscle in October, Tarvaris Jackson has polarized the already divergent opinions about his play. Some seem to think that he has the potential to be pretty good, while others think that he’s a backup quarterback masquerading as a starter.
It seems that the key to getting Jackson back in the game is to give him a break, which happens to be my chosen gift. If he’s going to play, limiting his throws so that he is not overexerting his injury is the best compromise available. With Marshawn Lynch running like a beast on the field, there’s a great option to hand off offensive touches.
Aaron Rodgers: MVP Award
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There are arguments that Peyton Manning or Tim Tebow deserves the league’s Most Valuable Player award. While both camps have legitimate arguments based on the spirit of the award, the fact is that in reality the award goes to the statistical best and neither of those men fits the bill.
If we’re being honest, though, the guy who deserves it most at this point in the season is still Aaron Rodgers. He’s come back down to earth from his unbelievable start to the season, but he’s still playing on another level that has him on course to break several NFL records. Let’s give the man his due this holiday season.
Chris Johnson: Some Fashion Sense
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The first time I saw Chris Johnson’s smile, I was horrified. I thought the gold grill was the real color of his teeth. Even though I know it’s just a grill, every time he smiles I cringe a little bit.
He may think he’s cool and showing off his cash, but come on—almost nobody wants to look at that. There are better ways to show off your wealth than wearing an obnoxious covering over your teeth. Chris Johnson needs some fashion sense for the holidays.
Larry Fitzgerald: A Better Quarterback
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Poor Larry Fitzgerald. Back at the beginning of the year, Coach Ken Whisenhunt promised that he’d bring in a new quarterback to throw to him instead of the quarterback roulette that the team went through last season.
He brought in Kevin Kolb. That’s like promising your kid a car and then buying him a Hot Wheels.
This holiday season, Larry Fitzgerald really deserves a quarterback who can take advantage of his excellence at wide receiver.
Brandon Lloyd: A Winning Team
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Speaking of poor players, let’s talk about Brandon Lloyd for a second. He’s a Pro Bowl caliber wide receiver who has been passed around the league from one losing team to another.
His trade this year is no exception, as he went from the flailing Broncos to the hopeless Rams. It must really sting that the Broncos started winning soon after his departure.
Lloyd has certainly paid his dues. Perhaps Santa can help him find his way to a 2012 contender.
Ray Lewis: A Spa Day
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There are some guys who really need to relax, and Ray Lewis is one of them. There’s no doubt that he’s fiercely intimidating on the field, and that he’s a giving man off the field.
Somewhere in his busy schedule he needs to find some time for himself. A spa day will be the perfect way for Lewis to get away from it all and get some much needed R&R.
Jared Allen: Some Tact
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There are some gifts that aren’t tangible, but they are important nonetheless. Jared Allen could use someone in his life to teach him some tact when he’s talking to the press.
He’s never been a particularly quiet guy, but now that he’s evolved into a team leader he should perhaps rein in his thoughtless comments, like this one.
Ndamukong Suh: A Muzzle
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Here’s another guy who could use some tact, but that’s probably not taking it far enough. He’s a jerk on the field, which seems to be a pretty good reflection of his conduct off the field as well. Listening to him defend himself to the media is embarrassing.
In lieu of trying to teach tact to someone who will never have any use for it, let’s do Suh a favor and give him a muzzle. Who knows, that might be a gift to the whole Lions team if it means he stops drawing ugly unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
Roddy White and the Entire Cleveland Browns Receiving Corps: Sticky Gloves
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Dropped passes are unspeakably frustrating in any situation. They’re one of those football mistakes that the receiver could have easily prevented, harm a receiver’s credibility, and directly harm the team. Nobody wants any of that.
So far this year, Roddy White of the Atlanta Falcons has been the number one individual culprit in dropped passes with 12. On a team level, the entire Cleveland Browns receiving corps has dropped 35 and counting.
What better stocking stuffer for all of these guys than a pair of sticky gloves to wear on the field?
Peyton Manning: A Magic 8 Ball
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Oh Magic 8 Ball, will Peyton Manning play this season?
Reply hazy, try again.
Was the surgery successful to repair his neck?
Signs point to yes.
Will the Colts put Manning on injured reserve?
My sources say no.
Well, that’s basically a recap of what fans have been subjected to this season regarding Peyton Manning’s status. Let’s give him a memento of this memorable season.
Tyler Palko: A Trip to the Bench
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Putting Tyler Palko in was clearly a last-ditch move by the Kansas City Chiefs, and it really shows. In just a couple of outings Palko has thrown six interceptions compared to just one touchdown—and that touchdown came on a Hail Mary.
It is clear that Palko is not ready to lead an NFL team quite yet. The kindest gift the coaches could give him this Christmas is to bench him.
Ray Rice: Pay Day
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It seems that we’re constantly inundated with stories about NFL players who expect, nay demand, to get paid when their contract expires.
Ray Rice has done the opposite of his free agent brethren. Instead of making a stink about how much money he should be making, he has stayed relatively quiet and has demonstrated why he deserves to earn more than $550,000 next year.
He wants to stay in Baltimore, and the coaching staff should be eager to comply. Pay the man this holiday season.
Clay Matthews: WWE Tickets
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There are plenty of people out there who love professional wrestling. Clay Matthews made it clear last year that he was one of them. What better way to show some love for the Claymaker than to give him a night on the town watching grown men perform scripted fighting?
Andy Dalton or A. J. Green: NFL Rookie of the Year Award
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Lost in the spectacle that has been Cam Newton are some of the other rookies who are vastly exceeding expectations in their NFL debut.
Andy Dalton and A. J. Green have teamed up to bring the Cincinnati Bengals out of the depth of mediocrity and put together a surprisingly exciting year. They might even make the playoffs.
Cam Newton, on the other hand, has led his team to a 4-8 record despite his exciting play on the field. That’s probably not the kind of value the Panthers were hoping for.
It’s hard to tell whether either Dalton or Green would have enjoyed quite so much success without the other, so I’ll leave this one up to Santa to decide.
Matthew Stafford: A Bubble
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How many injuries can one quarterback suffer and still hope to keep an NFL career alive? It seems as though Matthew Stafford is determined to find out.
Despite having all the potential in the world, Stafford can’t seem to put together an entire healthy season. The Lions win with him when he’s healthy, and struggle without him when he’s injured.
Stafford will therefore be thrilled with the gift of a bubble that should help him stop getting hurt quite so often. We’ll get him the deluxe model that has a hole at the top so he can still throw passes to his receivers.