12 Depressing Signs You're No Longer 'The Man'
Robert Griffin III was the man in Washington, but now? Not so much.
After years of turmoil in the national's capital, it's safe to say RGIII's days as "the man" are officially over. The final straw might've been his benching, or it might've been the Maryland store owner putting his jerseys on the sale rack. Either way, it's over.
What does it mean to be "the man," anyway? You know, you're the man, man. It's hard to describe, but "the man" is the leader, the savior, the golden boy. (Yes, Tom Brady is still the man in New England.) No one wants to lose "the man" label—it's sad, depressing and certainly wildly disappointing.
Some of the following athletes' tenures as "the man" were longer than others, and some have been over for a while now. But in case there's any doubt regarding status, read on for clarification—12 surefire signs you're no longer the man.
A Rookie Takes Your Place
New York Giants Pro Bowl wide receiver Victor Cruz has had a tough year. After all, when your teammate can do this, you might not be the man anymore.
But you know what? It's not Cruz's fault he suffered a season-ending injury in 2014. It's also not his fault teammate and rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. turned out to be such a stud. Seriously, Beckham caught 91 balls for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in just 12 games and was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
At least the two can laugh about it, though.
Your Own Fans Boo You
Unfortunately, this happens quite a bit when poor play is involved. Still, it's not a good sign to be booed by your own fans.
French striker Olivier Giroud joined Arsenal in 2012 and eventually became the team's leading scorer. His performance earned him a new three-year deal worth over $200,000 per week (yes, week). The man, right?
Wrong. According to Matt Morlidge of Mail Online, Giroud has had a tough few weeks for Arsenal. And in a recent international game against Serbia, Giroud was booed by his own fans.
France won the game, 2-1, but Giroud failed to convert on several goal-scoring opportunities and was replaced altogether in the second half.
Anything Involving Tim Tebow's NFL Career
Poor Tim Tebow. His latest NFL setback just might be, mercifully, his last. After five years of uncertainty and four pro teams, the Heisman Trophy winner was released by the Philadelphia Eagles prior to the season's kickoff.
Truth be told, Tebow hasn't been the man for a while now, really since his Florida days. Short of a few, brief shining moments (that game-winning overtime touchdown pass in the playoffs, for instance), Tebow's pro career has been spent trying to prove he can still contribute at the quarterback position. It's also been spent accepting disappointing news.
His most recent release may have been the final, depressing sign that his "the man" days are over for good.
You're Left off the Team You Made Famous
Let's be clear: Landon Donovan will always be the man in the hearts and minds of U.S. soccer fans. He is the U.S. men's national team's all-time leading scorer and one of the most famous American soccer players in history.
However, in 2014, the first sign came that Donovan might not be the man on the actual field anymore. Much to the dismay of fans, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann left Donovan off the national team roster heading into the World Cup.
Your Coach Says You're Done with the Team
In December, All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo was traded from the Boston Celtics to the Dallas Mavericks in a move that was meant to boost the Mavs' title chances. Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons even said on 103.3 FM ESPN, "To be able to get a guy like Rondo, it's unbelievable. It's not every day that you can get a point guard of his status."
Right. Well, to say things went badly would be a gross understatement. Rondo's numbers with Dallas were underwhelming—28.7 minutes and 9.3 points per game in 46 games—and he reportedly had trouble getting along with the coaching staff.
Rondo was all but done before the season was even over. According to the Associated Press (via Fox Sports), when asked in April if he thought Rondo would ever wear a Mavs uniform again, head coach Rick Carlisle said, "No, I don't."
Your Team Says Your Achievements Are Not 'Marketable'
There have been many signs over the years that Alex Rodriguez is not, in fact, the man. The first came when he voluntarily switched positions to play for the New York Yankees, a team that already had their man, Derek Jeter, at shortstop.
And though A-Rod is having a resurgent year for the Yankees following a year-long performance-enhancing drugs suspension, he's still not the man. As if you need a reason, a recent sign involved his performance incentives. The Yankees refused to pay a $6 million bonus attached to A-Rod's 660th home run.
The team said the achievement was no longer "commercially marketable," according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Burn.
Your Team Is so Bad, No One Is 'The Man'
Carmelo Anthony is an eight-time NBA All-Star. When he came over to the New York Knicks from the Denver Nuggets in 2011, it was definitely to be "the man" in New York.
Unfortunately for the Knicks, things have gone from bad to worse in the last two seasons. Anthony decided against joining a new team in free agency, only to be rewarded with a 17-win season in 2014-15.
He's the best player on a bad team—not exactly conducive to being the man.
Your Jersey Is Discounted
Robert Griffin III was the man. He won a Heisman as the quarterback at Baylor University, went No. 2 overall in the 2012 NFL draft and was hailed as a potential savior for the Washington Redskins.
But after injuries and several disappointing seasons, it appears RGIII has hit rock bottom. The most recent benching hurt, but it wasn't even the most depressing sign of the young quarterback's fall from the top.
No, that came in the form of discount tags at a Maryland sports store. If anyone is selling your jersey at a markdown, for any reason, you're not the man.
Speaking of Robert Griffin III, getting benched is also an extremely depressing way to realize you're not the man.
J.T. Barrett is an elite college quarterback, no doubt about it. He finished fifth in the Heisman voting a year ago without even completing the season.
So Barrett is a man, just not the man at Ohio State. After starting Cardale Jones over Barrett in Week 1, head coach Urban Meyer said, "The way I looked at it, Cardale finished the season as the starter and that kind of started the thinking that he had to get beat out and he wasn't beat out, it was very close," according to Laken Litman of For The Win.
Barrett did get some playing time late in that first game (a win over Virginia Tech), but at least for now, he's just an incredibly talented athlete riding the pine when the game starts.
Your Team Is (Probably) Actively Trying to Trade You
Sure, it's debatable whether Jay Cutler has ever really been "the man" in Chicago. If you remember, though, people were pretty jazzed about him when he first came over from the Denver Broncos in 2009.
This is mere conjecture, but maybe he was never traded because no one wanted him. And that, folks, would be even more depressing.
Your New Team Gave You Back to Your Old One
Josh Hamilton spent much of his early MLB career with the Texas Rangers. However, after becoming a coveted free agent (aka "the man") in 2012, he signed a lucrative deal with the Los Angeles Angels worth $125 million over five years.
Unfortunately, Hamilton struggled on his new team. In two years with L.A., he didn't make an All-Star team and batted just .255/.316/.426.
In April, the Angels decided to essentially give him back. The team executed a trade that would send Hamilton back to Texas, though the Angels agreed to eat most of his remaining owed salary.
You're Just Not
Tiger Woods hasn't won a major since 2008 and shot the worst round of his career this year—an 85 at the Memorial Tournament in June.
Woods still gets a lot of press, but these days, it's more about injuries and poor performances than heroics or prowess.
With the likes of Rory McIlroy and young phenom Jordan Spieth taking over the mindshare among golf fans, Woods is no longer the best, or even most relevant, golfer in the world.
Is he done winning majors? Maybe, maybe not. But at least for now, Woods' days of being the man are simply over.