In recent years the NFL has captivated audiences with shoot-interviews and rants that would make Vince McMahon proud. Not because McMahon first picked up on the countries obsession with "athletes behaving badly" when he formed the (awful) XFL (which I can happily state I did attend a game of), but because the NFL has so much turned into the WWE that it wasn't even a huge deal when Ben Roethlisberger decided to "host" an episode of WWE Raw.
Some classic football fans, like myself, who yearn for the days of games on Sunday and nothing but strategy during the week have been sucked into this world of the NFL being nothing more than an abridged version of the WWE cycle, with each Sunday being the Pay-Per-View event where feuds are resolved.
On Monday the players begin to open their mouth, and on Tuesday their wide open. By Wednesday big words are flung around, and on Thursday someone gets arrested. On Friday "everything's cool" and "nothing is personal," and on Saturday the parting shots are made. What happens on Sunday rarely matters.
But here's the thing; in the WWE the crappy wrestlers are rarely given time to talk. It's one thing if Triple H, John Cena, Stone Cold, Sgt Slaughter, or Bret Hart wanna take the mic, they've earned it. But when people like Prince Albert and Maven tried to get a rise out of another superstar, audiences tend to tune it out, or change the channel.
Here's a list of Prince Albert's and Maven's.
10. Reggie Bush - Seriously, Reggie Bush is the Saint to proclaim they're going undefeated? The same Reggie Bush who did that cool flip in the 2006 NFC Championship Game? Man, that flip was awesome. But seriously, what has this guy done since 2006 to warrant opening his mouth about going undefeated? Even Jeremy Shockey wasn't that dumb. It's a shame because this team has a lot of players with class on it; Vilma, Brees, Sharper, Coltson; guys who know what to say and when to say it. Unfortunately Bush, who is a good person, wasn't briefed on the memo that "only critical players should comment on a teams success."
09. Joey Porter - Porter could easily be number one on this list, but in the past he's backed up his words with performance. This year has been a different story, and it looks as if Porter is nearing the end of his career. To be honest, I can't wait.
08. Terrell Owens - The king of smack talk in the NFL, it's hard to put T.O on this list because he's been so good. I also think the media taunt him so much that there's so little Owens can do not to flap his gums. But sometimes he takes it too far, and complaining while in Buffalo is like the homeless guy complaining about the sheets he has to sleep on at the homeless shelter. We all know the reason Owens ended up in Buffalo was because no other attractive offers came across the table, and no attractive offers look to come across his table again. Can't wait until his Hall of Fame speech though.
07. Philip Rivers - If it weren't for his two playoff wins against the Colts he'd be number one. For a quarterback this guy opens his mouth way too much, and eventually he's going to pay for it. His own fans love the way he talks smack to opponents, yells at referees, picks fights with opposing players, and pouts on the sideline after a bad game, but Rivers should take a page out of theElway-Manning-Montana-Favre-Staubach-Aikman-Unitas-Young book of Championship QB's who play the sport with tremendous competitiveness and class.
06. Roy Williams - The Cowboys receiver is honestly becoming the biggest punchline in the NFL. I hate to say it because I do like this player, bur whenever we've heard him talk since coming to Dallas, all we hear are excuses. The guys a clown right now; hopefully he pulls himself together.
05. Jeremy Shockey - Just when you thought he was humbled by the Giants success without him Jeremy Shockey returned from hell to remind us all just how he once turned himself into a huge joke. There's no denying that Shockey is a talented tight end, there's also no denying that he's the Bob Sanders of tight ends (once again, not in the good way). Every time Shockey opens his mouth this season I've wondered whether or not he'd break his arm, or sprain his MCL, or dislocate something. When you consider yourself the best offensive weapon on a team, and that team gets much better without you, you need to shut up until you win. And week 7 regular season games don't count.
04. Aaron Rodgers - I don't want to hear him anymore. He's always saying the most generic things a QB can utter; He makes 2006 Eli Manning look charismatic. Even worse the media continues to defend this guy like he's a great QB; obviously they only follow fantasy QB because as a pro he's been very pedestrian. Don't forget; it's not like he's Alex Smith and took over an awful team; he took over a team that went into over time in the NFC Championship game 8 months before his first start. Start winning and then you can be proud of yourself, mad at the refs, or whatever you wish.
03. Larry Johnson - Though I understand where his frustration is coming from, and LJ has done a lot for the Chiefs franchise, the guy needs to shut up. Since 2006 he has barely been "adequate," and let's not get into the numbers he put up in the 2006 playoffs. He may have one or two good seasons left in his tank if some team wants to give him a chance, but chances are Johnson has not only damaged his playing career, but any career he planned on having after football.
02. Vernon Davis - For a guy who spent the first three years of his career as a disappointment, he sure has a lot to say; especially when his team is one of this seasons biggest disappointments. It makes you really start to feel bad for Frank Gore; what did that guy do to deserve what he's been given?
01. LaDanian Tomlinson - I guess there's a reason he's earned the name Complainian. I've never seen winning kill someone as much as winning at the meadowlands killed LT on Sunday; or how much beating Indianapolis killed LT in both 07 and 08. I think you have to concede that Tomlinson is one of the best running backs in the leagues history, and perhaps the last of a dying breed of every down backs. You just wish that Tomlinson would have the same class that players like Walter Payton, Curtis Martin, Emmitt Smith, and Jerome Bettis had. Maybe class isn't the right word, after all Tomlinson once used the floor of a postgame conference after a loss to New England to remind us how classy he was. The right word is grace, and in the waning moments of his career Tomlinson has shown absolutely no grace, and thus needs to shut up, because LT, if you ever want to get a ring it's going to have to be this year, and if you want to win this year, you're going to have to take a minimal role in the offense.
Oh, and Mr. Tomlinson, playing in a playoff game would actually help. Riding the sidelines on a bicycle while your backup does all the dirty work doesn't count. And I don't want to hear injury excuses because your quarterback played in 07 with an injury that'd put the average QB out of commission.
Ok, so there you have it. The list of players who really need to shut up and stop turning the NFL into a classless sports league. It's a shame that the sport has gotten so popular thanks in large part to this drama, because after all, most of us stopped watching Pro Wrestling by the time we hit puberty.