Thursday, December 01, 2011


A while back I complained here about the idiotic antics of professional athletes, especially football playes, and said this:

"Now let me throw in one more rant - what is with all of the 'look at me' gyrations and histrionics that seem to come after almost every play in the NFL? These dolts are being paid millions of dollars to make great plays and one would think that they had cured cancer rather than making a tackle or scoring a touchdown."

Thus it was nice to hear Bob Costas go on a similar rant during the halftime of a recent Steelers-Chiefs game:

"For those of you too busy keeping up with the Kardashians to notice, we live in a culture that in many ways grows more stupid and graceless by the moment. Sports both reflects and influences that sorry trend, so on playing fields everywhere, true style is in decline, while mindless exhibitionism abounds.

In the late sixties, the Giants had a receiver named Homer Jones. He invented the spike — and it was great; a simple, elegant punctuation that somehow has devolved into this. . . . (Video of excessive celebrations was displayed.)

Given the tone of the times, it’s probably too much to expect that most players would appreciate that back in the day, this guy (Barry Sanders) was much cooler than this guy (Mark Gastineau), or that there is a difference between spontaneous and/or good-natured displays of enthusiasm and calculated displays of obnoxious self-indulgence. No, that train has already gone so far down the wrong track, there’s probably no turning back.

So our suggestion here is a more modest one: Hey, knuckleheads, is it too much to ask that you confine your buffoonery to situations that don’t directly damage your team? Week after week, game after game, we see guys who think nothing of incurring penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct, costing their teams valuable yardage, even late in close games.

Today’s most conspicuous culprit: Buffalo’s Stevie Johnson, who after a TD catch versus the Jets, thought it would be a good idea to go Marcel Marceau, pantomiming, among other things, Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg. But in this case, it was Johnson who shot himself in the foot, as his display cost his team a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kickoff. And given a short field, the Jets proceeded to score in a critical game that wound up 28-24, New York.

Which raises this question: Where are the coaches in all this? Guys are routinely benched or called out for blown assignments. When is a coach going to make an overdue statement and sit a guy down on the grounds of pure selfishness and unprofessionalism detrimental to his team?

By the way, late in the loss to the Jets, Johnson dropped a pass that could have led to a Buffalo win. Shockingly, he didn’t follow it with a rehearsed “my bad” dance of apology. Maybe he just forgot."

Nicely said Bob, nicely said.


Steve Heller said...

The camaraderie of post-TD chest bumps, back slaps, and fanny pats is often replaced by the star performing his gyrations. Teammates are left out of the equation and jog back to the bench without joining in the celebration. In hockey, after a goal, the teammates rush to the scorer and express jubilation in unity, such as huddling closely together and thrusting sticks in the air. Can you imagine a hockey player doing a one man show after scoring? It would look ridiculous, not to mention the player would likely get mercilessly pummeled by the opponents at first chance. I suppose it will come down to the football teammates themselves putting an end to the one man showing off.

Dr S said...

Steve - good observations, especially about hockey :-) I also have to think about baseball - I watch the Rockies and Troy Tulowitzki is one of the best shortstops in the game. He makes spectacular plays and simply trots off of the field, perhaps occasionally subtly acknowledging the roaring fans. If he followed the NFL model, he would be kicking dirt, writing his initials on the field, dancing to the dugout, and signing the ball before he throws it into the crowd.

Phil L. said...

Speaking of hockey celebrations, I viewed a clip of a hockey player scoring a goal on an unexpected opportunity, and in his excitement hugged the nearest player, an opposing defenseman, who promptly slugged him in the mouth.