This week two of the biggest Wide Receiver controversies in the NFL were resolved.
Perennial pain in the ass Cleveland Brown Braylon Edwards punched a friend of LeBron James outside a nightclub last Saturday, so 10 minutes later he was traded out of town. Wow, LeBron is REALLY the Man in Cleveland. He can get guys cut who aren’t even in his sport. Is it worth pointing out he was the most talented guy on the team? Edwards has gone to the excellent Jets, so it’s even a major bonus for him. We’re all happy now, yes?
And Micheal Crabtree, who was electric in college for Texas Tech, finally woke up and signed with the San Francisco 49ers. He was helped to that decision by renowned Bay Area negotiator MC Hammer who was brought in to mediate. I’m not making that up. PLEASE HAMMER DON’T HURT THEM.
The only person being hurt was Crabtree, who for insane ego reasons too boring to get into here was threatening to not take $15M odd in garunteed money, and instead get re-drafted next year when he would have been lucky to make $8-10M. I could explain all the reasons why that would be, but as mentioned above its kind of dull, and the point is its all the fault of the Oakland Raiders owner, the corpse of Al Davis. So, that information alone makes it all make sense. At the end of the day, a young kid gets to make a ton of money playing for a decent team in one of the greatest cities on Earth (meet you in North Beach for an awesome espresso ok?). We’re all happy now yes?
No. Probably not. Wide receivers are now addicted to being the most insane/loud/obnoxious guy on an NFL team. It’s now accepted as part of the position. Hey look, there’s our new star wide receiver; he’s nuts! He craaaaazy!!
Just as being a defensive stud in the NBA is now license to bring the crazy up the head (Dennis Rodman, Ron Artest etc) now being a star NFL Wide Receiver is akin to being the Flavor Flav of the NFL. Why is this? Twenty years ago the model of an NFL receiver was Jerry Rice or Lynn Swann. Stately, cool, friendly. Catch, score, stay classy. Apart from the freakishly nice Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona that’s now as rare as Favre-less sports radio in the US. Instead they have become the gonzo nutjobs of the sport, almost overshadowing the QBs and running backs in rock star wattage. In fact, that’s exactly what they’ve become: rock stars. Rock stars during the early Who/’80s Motley Crue stage of their career.
So, without further ado, here are the four craziest Wide Receivers in the NFL that got us here, and the older, white rock star nutter/addicts they most resemble (with highlights of both):
No 4: Chad Ocho Cinco
Chad would be higher on this list except for one thing. He may actually have genuine mental health issues. He changed his name by deed poll to a bad Spanish version of his jersey number, has been fined more often by the league for his pranky and inventive touchdown celebrations than anyone else (the league even changed the rules JUST FOR HIM), is fond of using twitter to spout the craziest stuff you’ve ever read and is brilliantly parodied by the guys at KSK (read one here). He’s also a terrific receiver when he’s on form. But with Chad you suspect the craziness may not all be for show or for attention, or drug related. Like Ron Artest’s it may be real. And, you know, that’s a bit of a concern.
His music match: Keith Moon.
This is the one where Keith’s little prank cost Pete Townsend 90% of his hearing in his left ear.
No 3: Terrell Owens
Let’s recap: Called his first QB gay, his second one a wimp, did the Jesus pose on the Cowboys star (and then BECAME a Dallas Cowboy), did a workout session in his driveway for the media during his holdout with the Eagles, wears rocks in his ears suitable for the Tiffany’s window while playing, is a reality TV fame whore despite having no discernible personality and is now marooned in the frozen north of Buffalo NY. That’s not a career, that’s a catastrophe.
His music counterpart: Robbie Williams. Has had more than a few brushes with gay insults (given and received), dissed his bandmates, took drugs, got fat, got super famous then decided he hated it, was terrifically overpaid for 5 of the dullest albums ever made that helped push his record company into the arms of an investment banker (anyone seen EMI lately?), became a bearded UFO expert scrambling around New Mexico, and is now marooned in a stately pile somewhere in Kent desperate for a comeback.
No 2: Randy Moss
Randy used to be the Allen Iverson of the NFL. Hard, street, and talented as fuck. He is really the model for the modern go-to receiver in the game. Very tall, great hands, ridiculously fast. When he arrived in Minnesota in the ’90s he ushered in the greatest era of throw-the-ball football the game had ever seen. He also was the first overtly ‘gangsta rap’ (how old does that term sound?) NFL star. Randy took no shit from anybody, and was very happy to tell you.
He was full of rage and petulance. If he thought he wasn’t getting enough attention, he’d sulk ON THE FIELD. He would often not bother running his route if he knew the play wasn’t to his side. And block? Or tackle? That shit’s for queers homie, I’m Randy Moss. He was surly to team-mates and fans, once left a game early the Vikings were losing, and has insulted everybody he’s worked with at some point publicly. Things reached their head during his bizarre stint in Oakland, where he became possibly the worst team-mate in the history of pro football and a public danger to meter-maids. However, in 2006 he became a New England Patriot and has become a model citizen. In 2007 he and Tom Brady broke almost every record for a QB and a WR. So it turned out to be true: he really did just wanted somebody good to throw him the damn ball, on a well-coached team, and he’d be happy. And he is. Randy Moss: mellow, happy.
His music counterpart: Eric Clapton. Supremely talented Clapton has always been a music mercenary, was a serious heroin and coke addict, a stealer of wives and an all-round bit of a nasty bastard to anyone close to him. However, he got clean, suffered a terrible tragedy and is now regarded as one of the nice old men of rock. It’s the grey hair and the glasses. They can reform anybody.
No 1. Michael Irvin
The original bad boy. Very small by today’s No 1 receiver standards, Irvin possessed a freakish single-mindedness about the ball that made up for his lack of pure skills. He was gonna get that ball, and he was going to score. There are SO MANY Irvin bad boy stories that I’m just going to tell you to go Google him and look them up yourself. He was part of a team that wrote the book on pro football excess at a time when all of it remained hidden from the public. I think Ben Roethlisberger would be wilder than all the ’80s Cowboys put together if he had the freedom from the press that these boys did, but Irvin would be with him stride for stride, or rather, stroke for stroke, line for line. Yet Irvin was also very loyal, and played every game hard. When the lights came up, no matter how much coke or alcohol was in him, or if he’d just stepped out from a 5 girl 2 guy orgy, he was ready to go. Even now in retirement, his craziness continues with his, ahem, chequered broadcasting career. Irvin, you the man.
“Only white folk write down everything……” Genius.
His music counterpart: All of Led Zeppelin.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES
Have we recovered from VIKINGS-PACKERS yet? It was the most watched piece of television in US cable TV history! 28 million people watched it. And they got a hell of a game. Put a ring around the rematch Nov 17 in Lambeau.
Also genius: this
Sadly nothing this week is anywhere near as mesmerising. Its a very soft week, a lot of very good teams meeting very bad teams.
REDSKINS v PANTHERS MONDAY SKY 2 4pm (Delayed)
Good god these teams are awful, but I see the Panthers turning it around faster than the Redskins. Or do I? Who knows with these guys. Both coaches are looking to be gone at the end of the year (if not sooner in Jim Zorn’s case), and both QBs too (unless Delhomme wakes up from his downward spiral). Ok, yeah, give it to the Panthers.
PS: Sky really know how to pick their games.
JETS v DOLPHINS
When did Miami rename their field Land Shark Stadium? Missed that completely. What the hell is it named after? A bar?
The Jets need a good win to get their mojo back, but Miami need a win even more. I say they throw the kitchen sink at Sanchez but Sanchez survives, and new guy Braylon Edwards is the reason. Jets by a smidge.
PATRIOTS v BRONCOS
The Broncos are at home, but this is their first real test of the season against a Patriots team that still has major weaknesses but is starting to jell. Why are these games all so tough to call this week? I’m not betting any of these suckers. I’m going to go with the thoroughbred here, New England, but if Denver win, and win well, don’t be shocked.
– Mark Tierney