Monday, January 15, 2007

This weekend has given us all a lot to think about as the playoffs come to an end. I think the Verve said it best when they sang: "It's a bittersweet symphony, that's life." Unfortunately it turned out to be a very bittersweet symphony for the Verve when it turned out that they had sampled a symphonic version of "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones. That's a little bit ironic, when you lose the rights to your breakout song, it gets used in a Nike commercial even though your band was rabidly opposed to corporations. It's just a bittersweet symphony of not getting what you want. But anyway...

First and foremost, I spent today riveted to ESPN News awaiting the firestorm of consequences to catch up with LaDainian Tomlinson for impugning the class of the New England Patriots and their wily supergenius of a head coach. The blogosphere has been burning LT for his "sour grapes" attitude. But the mainstream media has yet to call for his deportation, deactivation or any other punishment that would fit his heinous crime.

The nerve of some people. It's not as if Bill Belichick has been mentioned as a home wrecker in divorce proceedings in New Jersey, after all. Oh wait, I'm sorry. He has. Plus he looks like an unmade bed on the sidelines and has a long track record of being a total douche. Let's not forget that he gave Magini the silent treatment (a gesture so immature that even I, the least mature person my age I know, think it's immature) for bailing out to coach the Jets when he pulled the same move in abandoning the Jets to coach the Pats. And of course there was the shove he gave a photographer, which I didn't really care about because it was kind of funny.

I don't have a problem with what LT said. In part, it's because I don't like the Patriots. Actually, I'm starting to hate the Patriots nearly as much as I hate the Danny Ainge Celtics, but that's a story for another day. Also, I don't think a guy who submitted a first rate offensive performance can be considered a whiner. It's not his fault that Shawmne Merriman has a foolish dance and a strange sense of timing. LaDainian Tomlinson did every thing he could to help his team win, he just needed a bit more help than he got.

I am the guy who got mad at the Michigan State players who got into an altercation with players from Illinois who were celebrating their first win in Spartan Stadium since 1994 at the fifty yard line. I also criticized the New York Giants and their fans when they complained that Mario Williams and David Carr dared imitate the "ballin'" jump shot celebration. Believe it or not, there is a difference as far as I'm concerned.

LaDainian Tomlinson played a great game, he could not have done more to defend his turf and his team's honor. The Giants and Spartans cannot make the same claim. Neither can Shaun Phillips who made the same sort of comment as LT today. Maybe it's hard to have a consistent reaction as a fan because the athletes and situations involved change so much over the course of a season and a career.

I have not been a big LT fan up till now. He's a great talent, he certainly deserves all the praise he has gotten to this point in his career based upon his numbers. He was the best player in the NFL this year, and, unlike some other MVPs in recent memory, he did not submit a disappointing individual effort in his lone playoff game.

More than anything else, I think LaDainian Tomlinson's comments did not bother me because it was his honest emotional reaction to a heartbreaking defeat. As Mike Holmgren said following the loss in Chicago, everything a player or coach has done over the last eight months was building to the one moment when a playoff game can be won or lost. And all of a sudden, it's over. And for the Chargers it was a shockingly abrupt and baffling ending. Every thing that could have gone wrong in the fourth quarter seemd to go wrong. A game that they dominated in the murky recesses of statistics went tragically wrong in the material sphere.

In all of that, frustrated, hurt and confused, LaDainian came right out and said what he felt. He was mad as hell, and he wasn't going to take it any more. Like Faith Hill's reaction after finding out that Carrie Underwood was female artist of the year at this past fall's Country Music Awards, LT's tirade shocked a lot of people who only knew him as the mild mannered back who scored a league record 31 TDs and never even spiked the ball. But the minute he said anything negative about the single most impressive dynasty of the last 5 years and the greatest coach of all time, then he was a selfish crybaby.

In case you care, I didn't have a problem with Faith Hill's negative reaction to the award going to Carrie Underwood. It seems every single person in America is so image conscious that they are terrified of showing any genuine emotional reaction to a disappointment. I am tired of good losers. You show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser as the saying goes.

That said, I don't want to see more Peyton Mannings, either. Last year it was the protection, earlier this season it was the defense. Who knows who will be responsible this time around should the Colts fall victim to the Patriots? It surely can't be the quarterback. That much is clear. I only wonder if the fans in Indianapolis will be yelling "movers" should the breaks start beating the boys in Indy this weekend.

If you are a somewhat less than gracious loser once in a while, but you don't point the finger at people on your own side (unless you're TO), that's fine. If you keep going there, then you're Peyton Manning. After three or four centuries of going there, then you're French. The real tragedy of the Chargers falling this week is that I now must root for the Patriots this week. And after that, who knows? I guess there's always the NFC Champions. I want the Bears to win, since I held the bandwagon together in spite of some long odds and shoddy play from Rex Grossman. But I can live with the Saints far more easily than I could with the balding metrosexual and his mentor in the hack-a-hoodie. God forbid it be the Colts.

1 comment:

jimmyc said...

Tomlinson is a fool. Merriman's dance isn't any more classy when Merriman does it than when people do it to mock him. As for his idea that Superbowl champs should be more reserved, remember that most of the Pats' recievers are rookies.

I don't get that it's okay to be a sore loser but not okay to be excited about winning. If TO did the Merriman dance the cincinnati kid would have loved it.

jimmyc