In honor of the NFL Draft happening this week, this week’s Lighthearted Saturday Infographic is all about past NFL Mr. Irrelevants. Check out which final draft picks didn’t play in any NFL games and which have Superbowl rings!
Oh Kanye. You’ve gotten so good at embarrassing white folks on stage. And I’m so glad you did it again this week, to ceremonially kick off the football season – a season where embarrassment is sure to be one of the most important topics. And boy did the season start off strong for that.
1. Bad News – Long snappers are like third base coaches. You don’t ever want them in the news. Bears LSer Patrick Mannelly decided to overstep his responsibilities in humiliating fashion by calling a direct snap to the fullback on 4th-and-long in Bears territory. Perhaps he saw a hole in the Packers front (there wasn’t one) or that a twelfth man was on the field (there was almost one… but there wasn’t one). Either way, everyone knows your name now, Patrick. And from what I hear, Chicago isn’t a friendly town.
2. See You In My Nightmares – The Richard Seymour trade fiasco was profoundly embarrassing, to be sure. But not in the way one would initially think. Richard Seymour has nothing to be embarrassed about; he was smart and avoided the media completely until everything came to rest. The Patriots have nothing to be embarrassed about, since they weren’t going to sign him next year anyway, and they were able to get a first rounder in 2011 for him. No, the shame here falls like an unforgiving spotlight on the Oakland Raiders. In the wake of reports that Oakland Coach Tom Cable put a great form tackle on an assistant, we now had a story about someone refusing to show up to work in the Black Hole even though he had to. There was rampant speculation that Seymour didn’t want to head to the Raiders because the place was a toxic environment. Media pundits took their obligatory shots at owner (and ) Al Davis for paying out the nose for a past-his-prime defensive end for a team with no playoff hopes. I’ve listened to at least three different radio sports duos talk about how wretched it must be to be a fan of the Raiders. That right there is embarrassment.
3. Coldest Winter– My boss is beating me by a solid 100 points in Fantasy Football this week, thanks to Drew Brees (his QB) throwing for six touchdowns, the Philly Defense (his D) destroying Carolina, and Donovan McNabb (my QB) cracking a rib. I’ve never seen a pounding like this in fantasy. This is savage. My co-workers offered me condolences, and they were serious. There’s nothing worse in fantasy sports than to be pitied. And this week, I am pitied.
4. Welcome to Heartbreak– Who Dey? The Denver Broncos. The Cincinnati Bengals were humbled this week by the last minute and totally unexpected heroics of Brandon “He’s Still On A Roster” Stokley. The Denver wideout caught a tip and then had the brains to run out the clock a bit before stepping into the end zone. Hateful, Brandon. Hateful. Since America got such a hearty (and heartfelt) dose of the Bengals during Hard Knocks, I think the last minute loss was felt a bit more personally. The viewing public knows (as much as you can know someone on reality TV) these guys, and they’re got to feel that thick, chunky kind of embarrassment you feel for a friend.
5. Paranoid – Despite winning a SuperBowl, no one in New York trusts Eli Manning. Not to helm a football team, not to mow a lawn, not to drive to Newark Airport from the Meadowlands. Every diehard Giants fan I know tends to think he could Delhomme with very little warning. That’s got to be a scary and unfortunate way to live. And even though he had a decent stat line in Week 1, I do not believe Eli is ever capable of fully securing the trust of the ancient and noble Giants Season Ticket Holders. How embarrassing for him.
Watching the SuperBowl is a privilege, not a right. You need to earn the invitation to a party by being a good friend, showering with regularity, and making sure people know you like football. The enjoyment associated with the Mardi Gras of the pro sports can be taken away as freely as it can be given to you. As such, when you’re at the party (wherever that party is), there are rules you need to follow. And that goes beyond the obvious ones like “wipe your feet before entering” or “figure out who’s playing.” I call these rules the “Don’t’s.” And I’m going to share them with you so that you don’t embarass yourself and ruin what, for many, is the most fun day of their year.
DON’T be late. If so, you’ll miss the pre-game gambling grids, the prime seating and the first round of chili. Also, there is not more horrendous than the suspence of an opening drive interrupted by the sound of someone buzzing into your apartment. Just budget an extra ten minutes for the trip. Everyone will thank you.
DON’T show up empty-handed. This is common courtesy, but it must be mentioned in the context of the Big Game. To host a SuperBowl party is to lay out $100 in food and booze and know, for a fact, that this food and booze will wind up all over your floor. SuperBowl parties aren’t clean and classy affairs. They’re messy and loud and result in an environment that needs a wet-dry vac to correct. Hosts are saints, and you should make a sacrifice of smoked meats, a cheese tray or a case of domestic beer to honor their divinity.
DON’T be contrary. We’ve all seen it. That random girlfriend of friend of a friend that shows up and immediately begins rooting for the other team. Not because they’re a fan, or because they even know anything about football, but because they want to “be funny” or “give everyone a hard time.” These people are soul-sucking leeches, put on this Earth to bother the rest of us. They’re the same people that wore zany neckties in high school, or carried a tie-dyed purse. They just want attention, and they don’t care if that attention is laced with murderous hatred. There is nothing more infuriating than a non-fan cheering in mock enthusiasm when your team gets scored on. It’s the only thing worse than stunned silence. Just imagine you’re a Buffalo fan, and your cousin’s new girlfriend came over your house eighteen years ago wearing a $5 Giants shirt she bought “just for fun.” Now imagine her cheering when Norwood’s kick went wide. Now, take a breath and imagine the statewide search for the body. Be kind and, if you don’t know the sport, stay quiet until those catchy commercials start playing. Which reminds me…
DON’T feel bad about enjoying the commercials. Enough effort has been put into them over the years that it’s ok for the die-hards to laugh at them. It’s not like doing the wave. It’s totally fine. Don’t feel bad. Laugh when something funny happens.
DON’T ask if anyone wants the last cocktail weiner. Just take it. No one cares.
DON’T use ESPN pre-game analysis as the source of your opinions. Yes, the temptation is there to opine on why Larry Fitzgerald will dominate or why Willie Parker will get stuffed at the line. But if you haven’t seen any Steelers or Cardinals games this season, what you heard Cris Carter say before you drove to your buddy’s house IS NOT a valid substitute for silence. If you don’t have an opinion of your own, don’t offer someone else’s to look cool. Everyone there knows where you got it from.
And finally, DON’T leave until it’s over. These people are your friends. There is nowhere else you should be.