Dave Spadaro recently wrote a piece in which he talked about the new phenomenon where wide receivers have turned into ultra-high maintenance players that seem to have a ton of baggage. It is a frustrating trend. We all know about it from the Terrell Owens situation back in 2005.
I watched Joe Buck's new HBO show recently. It was dreadful, but there was one crazy moment. Chad Johnson (I refuse to call him by his desired name) was answering a question about whether his antics overshadowed what a good player he was. Johnson answered that there had been Pro Bowl players before him and would be Pro Bowl players after him. He didn't want to be remembered as a good player. He wanted to be known for something else.
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My jaw hit the floor as I heard that. A player doesn't want to be known for what he did on the field? This is where sports and show business have crossed in a bad, bad way. Ronnie Lott once had part of a finger removed so he wouldn't miss a regular season game. Donovan McNabb once played on a broken leg. Johnson wants to be known for his celebrations and zany interviews more than his playing ability. I find that notion sickening. Vince Lombardi isn't just rolling around in his grave. He's crawling out and he's got a chainsaw.
Every player's focus should be on winning. You win by playing well and working your tail off. The recent Super Bowls have been won by overachievers. The Patriots weren't a flashy team in 2004. The Steelers didn't have the best record either year they won the title. Each time they had to overcome weaknesses. The Colts didn't look like a juggernaut team in 2006. The Giants pulled off a miracle when they won in 2007.
This is a league of parity. The winning team is talented, but normally wins because they took advantage of a break or two and made timely plays. Do the Steelers win last year without James Harrison's crazy interception before halftime? Do the Giants win without David Tyree's crazy catch? Does the Patriots dynasty even exist without the "tuck rule" play in 2001? These teams were focused on football. When an opportunity presented itself they jumped on it and took advantage. I don't know if you can do that if you have a team where the best player has Johnson's mentality. Good luck to the Bengals this year. We'll see what the ratio of celebrations to wins is.