Already a Long Two Weeks and It's Only Been Two DaysAmericans lead sheltered lives, but not as in protected, I mean sheltered as in clinically removed from the evidence of their five senses. Otherwise, how could people be so startled to learn that important professional football games generate high levels of emotion and ill will among their participants?
Richard Sherman doesn't much care for Michael Crabtree. Bill Belichick has no use for Wes Welker. OK by me. They want to shout out their opinions to the entire world? I wouldn't, but I'm not them, am I. Go for it fellas. Shout bewildering abuse at poor (if not-so secretly delighted) Erin Andrews. Make a preposterous public charge of felonious assault easily disproven by two minutes or less of film study. Get it all off your chests. I hope it made you feel better.
It didn't make me feel anything, and I cannot see why it should. The Welker-Belichick feud is an old if mystifying one, and to see one participant on the losing side of the scoreboard lash out in frustration is no shock. If there's been an NFL game since oh, 1991 or thereabouts where receivers and defensive backs didn't engage in nonstop insult duels it's news to me. Sherman is known for maximum hyperosity on the field of play and for shrewd self-promotion. Notice how he used one to complement the other? When an athlete can subconsciously manipulate hype, that's All-Pro marketing.
Aqib Talib wasn't injured intentionally. He didn't have to be. The injuries in both the AFC and NFC championship games were constant and in the case of NaVarro Bowman, horrifying. This deplorable reality didn't get much post-game attention, because it's depressing. Offenses against the dead-for-several-centuries-now ideals of sportsmanship allow for outrage and weighty essays on the meaning of it all. Acknowledging that a sport built on violence and pain both attracts people who're somewhat out on the edge and keeps pushing them further out there as they pursue it spoils the fun.
Neither Belichick nor Sherman are wholly admirable individuals. Few of us are, me most definitely not. But they had the honesty to reveal one very human side of the NFL. It's no place for the ethos of the Victorian English public school. Its inhabitants have a harsher code. They must.
There's a lot of unseemly behavior in pro football. It's an unseemly sport. Those seeking decorum on and off the playing field are advised to spend the Sunday after next watching the Phoenix Open instead of the Super Bowl.