I love the audience and the audience loves me and we love loving each other because none of us got enough love in our childhoods—and that’s showbiz.
Roxie Hart, Chicago
How many NFL commentators do you know who quote show tunes? But doesn’t that really just about sum it up? As a whole, doesn’t this position shout “Love me, love me?”
What is it about catching a football that creates an ego equal to that of any People magazine cover celeb?
Admittedly, the position takes talent and amazing courage (I certainly wouldn’t be caught dead laying out over the middle with James Harrison bearing down on me). But all the positions on the football field require courage (okay, maybe not punter). Perhaps it’s the genuine fan awe generated by what is primarily a solo effort.
The only thing that a star WR needs is for the QB to “throw him the ^%$*# ball”—to quote another latter day ball-hogging Prima Donna. Receivers don’t need blockers on their blind side, a running back to streak through a hole they just opened or a bruising FB to lead them to the Promised Land. It’s a WR versus a CB, a Free Safety or (if they’re really lucky) a LB. Every time they run a route they have a chance to be a hero—seemingly all by themselves. Football is frequently called the ultimate team sport, but WRs are often independent operators and frequently legends in their own minds.
Remember when Chad Johnson was funny? When he Riverdanced his way into the highlights and our hearts? How about the Tiger Woods pylon putt? Ocho Cinco’s gold “teeth” and end zone antics were a weekly source of chuckles and bonhomie. He was harmless and fun.
Chad is still harmless. He takes Ochocinco fans to movies and Cleveland fans to dinner. He can still even be funny. But years of losing under the dictatorial, clueless and cheap Mike Brown have taken their toll. He’s older, slower, wiser and much more hurt by the criticism.
I’m also one of those who truly like Terrell Owens and wish him well. I hope (and expect) to see him playing football this year starting sometime in October. Football as entertainment will be all the better for it. (Besides, as a woman I cannot tell you how nice it is to watch him warm up—especially in the unitard, or bodysuit or whatever it is he calls it.)
Let’s be fair—Terrell has been a standup NFL citizen of late. According to everything I’ve seen, heard and read he is a generous teammate as well as a playmaker. Yes, he could absolutely use a lot of therapy—and a wife, but that is another article.
Progressing on up the WR distraction scale we land on Randy Moss, the prototypical selfish, entitled, spoiled, angry and constantly emotionally wounded super-talent. This man has tears streaming down his face when accepting a citizenship award in his hometown and then turns around and screams at a caterer in Minnesota. Speaking of therapy.
We all know that Owens was raised by a strict grandmother who essentially wouldn’t let him play with other kids. No wonder he has so few social skills. The Cowboys’ Dez Bryant’s personal history would permanently damage anyone. Brandon Marshall has recently been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Let’s not forget that Shannon and Sterling Sharpe weren’t exactly shrinking violets either and their background is similar to that of Owens and Moss.
Combine that kind of emotional health challenge with tremendous talent in a billion dollar business and you’re asking for trouble. Let’s remember that coaches have been telling these still very young men that they could do no wrong since their first Pop Warner snap. “Adults” looked the other way at every turn, high schools made them heroes, colleges turned them into household names and the NFL proceeded to make them multi-millionaires.
Is it any surprise that they’ve become the most difficult personalities: insecure narcissists? Built up as demigods on the one hand and now slapped down in the media for the same behavior that has made them so successful. Given their backgrounds, no wonder that they are confused!
So, is this really our fault as sports lovers? How about as all-too-often-greedy parents and coaches? Shark-like agents? Megalomaniacal owners? Well, partly. Isn’t there a legitimate argument to be made for “you created the monster; now live with it”? Somewhat.
But we have to remember the Andre Johnsons, Rod Smiths, Jerry Rices and Larry Fitzgeralds. Did they get enough love in their childhoods? I have no idea. Are there contributing brain chemistry imbalances with Moss, et. al.? Probably. Can parents and coaches and owners help young men develop more socially acceptable behaviors? Undoubtedly.
But Tedy—throttle back, dude. Let’s get a grip here. At this point I really must side with Buffalo diva, Stevie Johnson: “Why so serious?”
Have any of these guys broken the law? As far as we know have they dealt drugs, beat up women/children/animals, shot up a nightclub or contributed to a murder? No, I mean, seriously, folks. The worst that can be said for Randy Moss is that he abused a parking attendant. And if one more person lifts up Plaxico Burress as some kind of “Public Enemy”, I’m going to lose it. The man is guilty as hell: of self-inflicted stupidity.
Meanwhile, how about Vick, who spent less time in jail for torturing animals? How about Caruth or Fred Miller? Didn’t Cedric Benson just get locked up for assault? I’m sure that Pacman Jones is going to do years in prison before his life is over. Can we get a little perspective, here?
So, Chad and Terrell are loud-mouthed, attention grabbing and needy. So Moss is probably a jerk. Do I want them to marry my sister? No. Do I care as long as they catch footballs? No.
Lighten up, people.