Peyton Manning and the Most Boring Superstars Ever
Sports stars are responsible for some of the greatest excitement in our lives. But that same QB/power forward/halfback/first baseman/tennis champ, who has us leaping off our La-Z-Boy, flinging Doritos in the air, spraying mouthfuls of Budweiser across the carpet, that very same player—when stripped of ball/puck/helmet/stick/uniform can be...dull. Tediously so.
Click on to see 15 athletes who are inspiring heroes in the arena but snooze-inducers outside it.
Honorable Mention: Chris Paul
Off the court, Paul is just too wholesome to be interesting.
But wait! He has a cool nickname: CP3. There must be a story behind that, right? Does the 3 relate to his jersey? Is there some sort of Star Wars droid joke in there?
No, it's just part of a sweet family tradition; his father and older brother have the same initials, so they are CP1 and CP2.
10. Peyton Manning
The internet sizzles as this weathered hero looks ahead to his new home in Mile High City. On the turf, he electrifies, amazes, inspires.
But imagine Peyton in an alternate reality; imagine him as the guy in the cubicle next to yours. His drab, unimaginative style of dress, the monotone baritone of his droning voice, his innocent farm boy looks.
What do you think he'd have taped up on the wall of his cubicle? I'm guessing a JC Penney portrait of his wife in a gingham dress, and another of his son and daughter posing in front of a fake forest background.
What does he eat for lunch? Why an egg salad sandwich with the crusts cut off and a glass of milk.
Riveting fellow, isn't he?
9. Harmon Killebrew
An April 8, 1963 Sports Illustrated article called Killebrew "the loudest bat and quietest mouth in baseball."
Here was a guy one manager said "could hit the ball out of any park, including Yellowstone," a guy who—in the late 1960s—was closing in on Babe Ruth's career home run record, yet many people barely took notice.
8. Patrick Kaleta
Google Kaleta + pest and see for yourself how many articles vent their hatred of and/or love for Kaleta's on-ice antics.
An interesting player, for sure.
But, my God, Patrick, get a life off the ice.
First of all, you grew up, went to school and went pro all in Buffalo. Get out there and see the world a bit. There's more to it than chicken wings and Niagara Falls.
Second of all, Pat, we need to discuss this Lego hobby of yours.
Did you really have nothing better to do with your summer than build a Lego Taj Mahal?
7. Ben Crane
Here's a guy notorious for his dull, slow game. People have assumed that he's the same way off the green.
So Crane took desperate measures to prove to the world that he's got personality.
Watch the interpretative dance video, then decide for yourself: boring man trying too hard to be wacky, or fun guy to hang out and have a beer with.
6. Tim Duncan
Calling Duncan's famous vacant stare a game face is really not accurate. It's just his face. That's the whole repertoire right there.
He once said, "If you show excitement, then you also may show disappointment or frustration. If your opponent picks up on this frustration, you are at a disadvantage."
Or maybe he just doesn't show excitement because he never feels it.
At least he's aware of his humdrum-ness. He even gets paid to mock it as in this famous television spot.
Also, for a guy with a "dunk" in his name, he never dunks.
Speaking of dunks, ever check out www.slamduncan.com, his personal website? It has a dreary design with no digital bling whatsoever.
Lastly, check out this cut scene from the movie The Jane Austen Book Club that rips on Duncan's no-flash style of play.
5. Charlie Gehringer
Gehringer was so quiet and so consistent in his batting, that he was dubbed "mechanical man."
After baseball the so-called "silent marvel" went into the thrilling field of... wait for it, wait for it...fabric sales.
4. Wayne Gretzky
Just the mention of his name brings shivers of glory and admiration down the spines of hockey fans the world over.
But off the ice, "The Great One" is "The Dull One."
Take a look at the embedded video, for instance. What separates this ad out from other celebrity spots is that I actually believe Wayne here. Not because of his [ahem!] superb acting, but because he strikes me as the type of guy that really does consult with his mother about breakfast and carefully metes out his portions.
And did you ever hear the guy in an interview? Snooze-fest of the highest order.
Freelance broadcaster and sportswriter Jamie Fitzpatrick called Gretzky's descriptions of plays "hopelessly prosaic."
3. Jeremy Lin
We had lots of fun making "Lin" puns for about 20 minutes. Now what are we left with?
Please, don't say "his humility is refreshing." It may be admirable, but it's not refreshing or interesting. Especially when it's done in a robotic drone peppered with cliches.
And there's the whole education thing. What do Harvard econ majors do for fun, anyway? Wait, let me guess, play rousing Monopoly tournaments? Discuss marginal utility as they wait to harvest their crops on Farmville? No wait, I got it! They play Dungeons and Dragons and measure the GDP of their fictional realms.
2. Nikolai Valuev
The Soviet system robbed people of their sense of humor, and more than 20 years after the collapse, many still haven't reclaimed it.
Nikolai Valuev is one of those people.
No smiles. No hand gestures. No voice inflection. No jokes. No swagger.
But aside from his dreary persona, his title fight against David Haye pissed off fans around the world for its absolute lack of excitement.
Comments about the Valuev vs. Haye fight from a forum on eastsideboxing.com:
*..."that fight bottled would be the cure for insomnia."
* "Decent performance if you're having a drink...I haven't seen it since when I've been sober."
* "[One of] the two most boring title fights in modern history."
* "Very boring fight."
* "That was not a fight at all. It was so damned boring, just running and a very few punches thrown into the air."
1. Eli Manning
While talent runs in the Manning family, personality does not.
Bretzman points out that Manning is now one of just four elite quarterbacks who have won multiple Superbowl MVPs. Bretzman then writes:
"Yet if my grandkids ask “Wow, what was it like to watch Eli Manning play?” I’ll say he was mostly boring and bafflingly effective at the most opportune times."
But no other proof of Manning's tedium is needed than this video interview.
Notice how the interviewer, Lindsay Harbert, plays up the whole star struck thing for comedy (ala The Chris Farely Show) and how Eli has absolutely no idea how to play along.