The NBA All Star Game Can’t Properly Honor Kobe Bryant if Players Don’t Care About Effort

We need to talk about what Adam Silver can do to fix the NBA All-Star Game.

The answer is simple. Adam Silver can’t do a damn thing. This is on the players. 

We had a great dunk contest thanks to Mac McClung, and Dame Lillard gave us a show in the three point shootout. Only to have All-Star Weekend ruined by the actual All-Star game?

If fans loved layup lines, every seat in every NBA city would be filled an hour before gametime. 

But nobody outside of young kids and enterprising Instagram models care about layup lines. 

So why should anyone build their day around watching a defenseless “All-Star” game where everyone acts like a Harlem Globetrotter when they have the ball, and a Washington General when they don’t?

Before you think I’m some crotchety old man shouting “get off my lawn,” ask yourself if your time is valuable. You have a finite amount of minutes on this earth, and when you sit down to be entertained, do you want to watch people give minimal effort? 

When you’re at an Avengers movie do you want the actors forgetting lines and the special effects to be unfinished?

When you save up to go out to a nice steak dinner do you want them bringing your medium rare filet mignon to you on a paper towel?

The All-Star game is supposed to be a special occasion, where the best of the best show you WHY they’re the best of the best. 

It’s in the middle of the season because it’s supposed to be something that motivates players toward excellence in the first half of the year, and so that the athletes come into the break in peak physical condition so they can put on a show for the fans. 

Somewhere along the way, the players got it into their heads that the NBA All-Star game is equivalent to the NFL’s Pro Bowl, a reward for a full season of excellence to players that deserve a vacation.

20 years ago, the All Star game had one injury replacement, and despite going to double overtime, had 47 combined three-pointers attempted. This last weekend, several players either opted out or acted like no-shows on the court, and the teams combined to launch 126 combined three pointers, with Pandemic Paul George missing all nine of his attempts. 

You can change as many details as you want about the game, but that will only get you so far. Team Captains, and the Elam ending have both been pleasant surprises, and one of the only compelling things about this game was whether LeBron would keep his undefeated streak going. 

But no cosmetic action can replace individual effort from the players. And for the players that do want to take this game seriously, we’re de-incentivizing their desire to participate. Nikola Jokic is on the verge of his third consecutive NBA MVP award, and is telling media members that he wouldn’t draft himself because the All-Star game doesn’t suit his skillset. 

The NBA has established that it wants this weekend to annually honor and reflect on the memory of Kobe Bryant, but the way things are trending, this would be like honoring your mother’s cooking by going out to eat. 

Are we to believe that the same Kobe Bryant that got hyped up about Dwyane Wade accidentally breaking his nose in the All-Star game wants to see defensive specialist Bam Adebayo pull down zero rebounds in 24 minutes?

Do we really think the Mamba would have respected the seven combined personal fouls last night when in three separate All-Star games he committed five fouls by himself?

If Kobe Bryant’s name is going to be on that MVP trophy, the least these players could do is pretend to care.

Let that sink in.

Fans Blaming The Refs For the Correct Call Takes Away From a Near-Perfect Super Bowl

We need to talk about the spoiled fans still finding ways to complain about a near-perfect Super Bowl.

With the game tied at 35 and under two minutes remaining, the Chiefs had a third-and-8 from the Eagles 15. JuJu Smith-Schuster attempted to release to the outside, but James Bradberry had a handful of jersey. The refs threw a flag. Bradberry admitted he got caught after the game. Case closed. 
What’s so hard about that? 

I’m a person who has criticized referees. I’m a Pac-12 fan, so it comes with the territory. But this game ended with the correct call. Despite not having slow motion super zoomed 4k replay from 30 different angles, they nailed it. 

Now, if you’re an Eagles fan, and you just need something to direct your frustration toward instead of climbing light poles and flipping cars, I get it. And I feel for you that James Bradberry decided to tell the truth and take away your primary non-inward accountability gripe. 
But if you’re a fan of any other NFL franchise, and you’re complaining that the game didn’t have the storybook ending of a two-minute drive attempt by Jalen Hurts to win or tie the game, you’re letting your fantasy get in the way of a fantastic reality. 

This game had four different occasions where the score was tied, and five different lead changes. It had a missed field goal, a defensive touchdown, a tied record for rushin touchdowns by a single player in Jalen Hurts, and Patrick Mahomes came back from re-aggravating his ankle to play a perfect second half. 

Sheryl Lee Ralph absolutely killed Lift Every Voice and Sing. We got to see Babyface sing America the Beautiful. Chris Stapleton should sing every National Anthem from here on out, and Rihanna? Hit after hit after hit. 

Despite Arian Foster’s joke, the beauty of live sports is that there is no script. This isn’t Star Wars or Batman. We don’t need the toxic fandom that comes with science fiction and fantasy movies just because we didn’t find every moment pleasing. 

Now, you can say you wished the game had ended differently, but if you spend too much time focused on your unmet expectations, you lose that gratitude that comes with focusing on the fact that Jalen Hurts had the game of his life, and Patrick Mahomes added to a legacy that is already better than maybe all but five quarterbacks ever by the age of 27.

This game was as good as a game can get. Let that sink in. Even if you have to get out of your own way to do it. 

What Two Black Quarterbacks Starting in the Super Bowl Means to a Father of Two Black Quarterbacks

We need to talk about the significance of two black quarterbacks going head to head in the Super Bowl.

For so long, black quarterbacks weren’t even given the opportunity to sink or swim at their chosen position. And in a way, that’s still true, because I’m sitting here talking about the best of the best. One of which, Jalen Hurts, was asked at the NFL Combine just a handful of years ago if he’d consider switching positions, and had articles written about him saying a position switch was the only way he’d make an impact in the NFL. 

Now it’s true that every so often a white quarterback will make that type of transition from college to the NFL. Julian Edelman did it. I had a teammate in Jacksonville do it. Matt Jones. And we all remember Tim Tebow getting charity reps at Tight End last year. 

And I’ll admit that I spent the first two years of Josh Allen’s career calling him a running back. I got a lot of pushback on that. And while this was one of the RARE occasions that I was wrong, it was interesting to see predominantly white fans get in their feelings about my perceived mischaracterization of Allen’s abilities. Now if I can only get them to make the connection that the emotion they felt in defense of Josh Allen is something we have to go through almost every single time, as people continue to fail to see past the athleticism of someone with dark skin. Lamar Jackson. Justin Fields. Jalen Hurts. The list goes on.

Jalen Hurts vs Patrick Mahomes is another milestone of progress, but it shouldn’t always be about excellence. True equality looks like a mid-round black quarterback throwing five interceptions in a single half and still being a backup in the league four years later. But I digress.

Now, none of this means black quarterbacks can’t be criticized. I interviewed Jalen Hurts and his father, Averion, and even they’ll tell you a lot of progress had to be made as a passer to get the Eagles offense where it is today. And that brings me to the part of being a black quarterback that doesn’t get talked about- the energy and resources that are put into developing young black men as passers, instead of coaches relying upon these players to “athlete” their way to wins. A big part of development is patience. Maybe the biggest part. 

There is no Peyton Manning without the patience to ride out his record-setting 28 interception rookie season. And before you say to yourself, Peyton Manning is one of one, let me hit you with this interesting statistic:

Since Peyton Manning’s rookie season, there have been eight quarterbacks to come into the NFL as rookies and throw at least 18 interceptions in their first year. On one side of that statistic, you have Carson Palmer, Matt Stafford, Andrew Luck, and Mark Sanchez. Every single one of them was given a multitude of chances to figure it out. On the other side, you have DeShone Kizer, Josh Freeman and Geno Smith. Kizer never started a single game after his rookie season. Freeman ended up out of the league at 27-years old in large part thanks to Greg Schiano, and Geno Smith had to wait six years to prove himself again after the Jets gave up on him. If you’re a black QB with a high draft grade that comes in and struggles early, you might as well come into the league at 29-years old, which was the age of the only white QB on this list who wasn’t given a long leash to prove himself.

Shout out to Chris Weinke.

Look at the JETS and Zach Wilson, and all the “we aren’t giving up on him” talk.

As a parent of quarterbacks, I want my sons to absorb all of the lessons this Super Bowl has to offer. I want them to understand that development matters over the logo on the side of the helmet, and I want them to value coaches and organizations that show patience. Neither the Chiefs nor the Eagles put the entire weight of their franchise on these guys as rookies. 

More than anything, I just want my sons to see two black quarterbacks on the field, because for most of us, seeing is believing. 

I’ve had a black teammate tell me they prefer white quarterbacks for the simple reason that he hadn’t seen enough successful black quarterbacks. 

If we’re thinking that way in our own communities, it goes a long way to explain how people that aren’t in our communities view what we’re capable of. 

But on Sunday, a hundred million people are going to see something new. And that means a good portion of them are going to believe something new. 

And belief is the start of change. 

So for every black father of sons out there. For every football coach of any race:

Let *this* sink in.

As an aside, I want to Shack Harris, Marlin Briscoe, Doug Williams, Fritz Pollard, George Taliaferro, Willie Thrower, Charlie Brakins, Warren Moon, Rodney Peete, Mike Vick, Randall Cunningham and all the other black quarterbacks that made this historic moment possible.

LeBron James Passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Is Just More Proof he’s the GOAT

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers

We need to talk about the greatest basketball player to ever lace up, the King, LeBron James.

Last night, LeBron put up 38-points to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time points leader. A record that stood for almost 40 years. Yeah, he did it in an era with the three pointer, but he did it in 150 fewer games.

How many points do we think LeBron is going to have 150 games from now? 42,000? At that point you could make every three LeBron ever made worth two and he’d still have the record. 

And anyone who knows ball is hyper-aware that LeBron never prioritized scoring the way that some of the NBA’s greatest talents did. Believe it or not, this year is only the fourth time in LeBron’s career that he’s averaged at least 30 points a game during the regular season, meaning there are at least 14 seasons where LeBron could have averaged 30, but instead played within the rhythm of the game to ensure his team’s maximum opportunity for success. 

This man has been under the most intense scrutiny any American athlete has ever faced for over half his life, starting with his teenage years. He’s been the lifeblood of corporations. Media empires and personal fortunes have been built on attempting, without success, to tear away every piece of his legacy in real time. 

LeBron James literally made it possible to accumulate wealth just by saying you don’t like LeBron James. 

And you didn’t even have to be honest in your criticism. You could lie on this man’s name and your personal brand would grow. You could say he wasn’t clutch, even though as JJ Reddick pointed out he might be the most clutch player of all time. You could call him selfish, even though he’s the only player in the top 32 all-time assist leaders that isn’t a point guard. You could call him a loser, even though he’s the only player in NBA history to be an all-star on three separate NBA title franchises.

You could bash him for leaving Cleveland to chase a championship, even though the measurement of greatness in Michael Jordan’s shadow was and still is rings and rings alone.

And feel free to ask those same Cavs fans that burned his jersey over “the decision” how they feel about him now.

You could bash him for the Super Team era, but what he started let us know which NBA owners were actually serious about giving their fans something to cheer for. 

You can bash him for the bubble title, but the same man who had his family courtside and called for them to be by his side the moment he passed Kareem, left the people he loved behind to help the NBA restore its product and give us all something to cheer for while stuck at home.

You can always bash LeBron James, and many of you have. But what makes him so great is that for the past two decades he’s absorbed every verbal brick thrown his way and remained focused on the task at hand- giving us all the show of a lifetime. 

So today, I salute the greatest scorer of all time. The most durable athlete of all time. The best passing forward of all time. The man that made his haters angry and rich and his supporters joyful and rich in spirit.

The Goat. LeBron James.

Let that sink in. Or don’t. The record’s still his either way. 

Kyrie Irving to Dallas Proves LeBron James and the Lakers are Still the NBA’s Most Hated

kyrie lebron

I have some things to say about Kyrie Irving to the Mavericks.

First thing, the only thing it seems like executives around the league hate more than LeBron James and the way he pioneered stars dictating where they spend their prime, is the Los Angeles Lakers organization. 

Put the two of them together, and some franchises are more concerned with keeping the Lakers down than elevating their own teams. That’s loser hater behavior. 

I saw a tweet that said the Lakers front office might not see heaven for what they’ve done with this roster, and that might be true, but if Rob Pelinka is locked outside the pearly gates, he might have company in Nets owner Joe Tsai.

Which brings me to my second point, the Brooklyn Nets are a completely unserious franchise. 

Kyrie Irving was willing to stick out the rest of the year, and the Nets are in fourth place in a stacked Eastern conference despite Kevin Durant being out for the last month! Why not be buyers at the deadline and chase the ring instead of worrying about what draft picks they’re able to secure seven years from now? 

Championships are forever, and no, you don’t get a trophy for gifting the Dallas Mavericks a potential championship. Now the Nets are faced with the decision whether or not to ship Kevin Durant back to Golden State, or his preferred preseason destination of Phoenix, or see if Durant is ready to pursue a championship with Spencer Dinwiddie as his sidekick.

Third, it looks like we are going to finally figure out what Luka Doncic is made of. Luka’s usage rates are off the charts, and the addition of Kyrie Irving means we’re going to get to find out if Luka is willing to take a step back for the sake of building something special, or if filling up the stat sheet is the thing he loves above all else. 

And what makes us think that the combination of Luka and Kyrie will work? Didn’t we just have a version of this in Brooklyn with Kyrie and James Harden? And how did that work out? 

Is Luka Doncic not just a more likeable version of James Harden, who keeps his propensity to make it rain on the hardwood and out of the strip clubs? On some level, I like Mark Cuban putting his franchise superstar into this type of pressure cooker situation this early in his career. 

I like Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie, but assuming Kyrie Irving actually shows up for games and doesn’t lock himself in the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository demanding answers about the JFK assassination, he’s going to be the best teammate Luka has ever had, by far. The “Luka never had any help” narrative has officially gone out the window.

At the end of the day, I still don’t think Dallas has enough depth or dependability to win a championship. I still think the Nets were more concerned with Kyrie not getting what he wanted than they were worried about making their team better. I still think the Suns know their aging and infighting roster has closed their championship window. And I don’t think, I KNOW, the Clippers only tried to get involved here because they are fully aware of their status as pretenders. 

So for everyone out there involved in this trade that was simply trying to keep LeBron and the Lakers down, make sure you keep that same energy when you’re all face to face in Cancun this summer. 

Let that sink in. 

No, Steph Curry Doesn’t Hate Poor People.

Steph Curry Warriors Man NBA

We need to talk about the reaction to Steph Curry opposing a proposal to build condos behind his Atherton, California home.

It’s easy to want to turn this into a class issue. 

And there are plenty of conservatives out there that have all the incentive in the world to paint Steph and Aisha Curry as hypocritical Democrats that hate the poor. 

But I still live in a world where facts matter over politics, so let’s take a look at the facts.

Steph Curry has dedicated his time, energy, and finances to a multitude of causes that help those in lower income communities have better access to education, health care, nutrition, fitness and more. 

Steph Curry puts his money where his mouth is more than he puts his mouthguard where his mouth is. The world is an objectively better place with Steph Curry in it, no matter how you feel about the man’s politics.

This is a legitimate privacy and safety issue for his family. And anyone who tells you it’s about Steph Curry wanting to exclude low income people from being his neighbors needs to explain to you exactly how they define the term “low income.”

The proposed property that is supposed to hold the 16 three-story townhomes is a 1.5 acre plot of land valued at around $12 million dollars. So right there you’re looking at $750,000 per home without even factoring in building costs. Most homes that sold in Atherton last year were closing at over $3500 per square foot.

How many low income people do you know paying thousands of dollars per square foot?

This is about the extremely affluent community of Atherton trying to find a way to comply with California’s new affordable housing plan, which seeks to develop 348 units in communities across different income levels over the next eight years.

Steph Curry overpaid for a house in Atherton, in part for the privacy of having the empty lot next door. He’s one of the most photographed people in the world. So what if he doesn’t want the neighbors staring at his kids from their third story window. Is that a thing you’d want if you could afford to opt out of it? Be honest.

If you were the one of the most famous people in the country, and you moved to a town that at the time, had an ordinance that any dwelling had to be on a minimum of an acre of land, would you be cool with your next door neighbor putting up 16 three-story condos that overlooked your property?

If wanting privacy and safety for your kids makes you a hypocrite because of all the charity you do for other people’s kids, we should all want to be hypocrites. 

The dumbest thing about this fake gotcha controversy is that unlike many others in Atherton, Steph and Aisha Curry actually want the condos built. And even in their protest of the condos going up next door, they simply requested that if the construction takes place, it includes sufficient barriers to retain the privacy they were seeking when they originally bought the property. 

This whole “controversy” comes off as a desperation play by think tanks and political grifters to try and drive a wedge between Steph Curry and the voting block they believe keeps them out of accumulating power- poor black and brown people. 

It’s not going to work. 

Can I recommend a better strategy to my Conservative friends?

Get little Buckley out in the driveway and have him put in enough work to shoot 43% percent from three off of screens. 

When he makes the league, have him travel Africa to deliver malaria nets. When a natural disaster strikes, have him donate six figures to help get poor people back on their feet. And after little Buckley has a couple of championship rings, help him and his wife launch a foundation that delivers tens of millions of meals to needy families in Oakland, and provides the funding to re-open shuttered school libraries

Then, when someone comes along and asks if they can put sixteen millionaire families on the property next door to his, have him say yes. 

It might sound like a far-fetched plan, but it’ll go a lot further in creating young conservatives than what y’all tried to do with this hit job of a story. 

Let that sink in. 

A Message To Everyone That Thinks Damar Hamlin Is A Clone

damar hamlin

We need to talk about these weirdos out here speculating that Damar Hamlin is a clone.

If you’ve been living under a rock, first of all, congratulations for not having to put up with this nonsense, but in case you don’t know, ever since Damar Hamlin’s appearance at the Bills/Bengals Divisional Round playoff game, the same people that swing from conspiracy vine to conspiracy vine have concluded that because you didn’t see Damar Hamlin’s face on the television broadcast, that he must have died on the field back on January 2nd, and pharmaceutical companies have produced either a clone or an actor to take his place and alleviate fears about vaccine side effects.

That’s right. The same people that believe that the pharmaceutical companies didn’t have the skill to craft a functional vaccine want you to believe that they do have the ability to produce a 24-year-old human clone on two weeks’ notice.

Damar Hamlin needing his heart restarted on the field was terrifying, and we don’t have a full explanation for what happened to him. It’s natural when people are afraid, and they don’t have all of the answers, to grasp at straws to find meaning or fill in the blanks. 

That’s a completely natural reaction. 

What’s not natural is being a huge dummy, or being an easy mark for grifters. You can easily seek an explanation to a never-before-seen scenario without checking your brain at the door.

The worst thing about this “Damar Hamlin is a clone” theory, aside from the fact that you’re disrespecting him, his loved ones, and his teammates, is that the entire idea of cloning an adult football player that dies on the field is lifted from the plot of a 23-year-old Arnold Schwarzeneggar movie called The 6th Day.

Not only are you ridiculous, you’re unoriginal. 

I’m going to let you in on a little secret that hopefully slams the door on the possibility that the Damar Hamlin you saw during the broadcast, the same one all the players claimed to have hung out with in the locker room, isn’t really Damar Hamlin.

The next athlete or coach to keep a secret from anyone else in this industry would be the first.

You’d have an easier time selling me on the idea that Damar Hamlin is a clone than the idea that a few hundred football players and staffers could keep it under wraps.

Like, do we really think Cole Beasley would almost get himself run out of the NFL over refusing to take the vaccine, only to have his worst fears realized, then react by becoming some type of shadowy illuminati defender of vaccines?

And now that Damar Hamlin has released a six-minute video of himself thanking everyone for their thoughts and prayers, and has begun teasing the people that think he’s dead on his TikTok, the lengths you have to go to convince yourself that you weren’t duped are bordering on irredeemable.  

Look, sometimes entertaining conspiracies is harmless. 

Sometimes a conspiracy has enough merit that it opens an individual up to the possibilities that other conspiracies might be partly true as well. 

Companies lie. Governments lie. When some people discover that everything you see might not be everything there is, they skip the idea of practicing caution, critical thinking and discernment, and go right to outrageous speculation.

If any part of you believes that Damar Hamlin is a clone or a body double, I want you to pay very close attention to what I say next.

The same way that you lost faith in institutions when you found out they aren’t always truthful, is how the people in your life lose faith in you when you excitedly spread very stupid and scientifically impossible ideas.

By pushing the idea that Josh Allen and his teammates are in on a “Big Pharma” plot to cover up the death of their teammate, you’re telling the people in your life that you can’t be trusted to handle and process difficult information. 

Maybe YOU can move on when you find out that Comet Pizza doesn’t have a basement, or when you ultimately are forced to admit that Damar Hamlin is indeed alive, but in the meantime, to everyone around you who haven’t surrendered their cognitive abilities to the algorithm, you’ve become the thing you hate.

A pathetic liar. 

Let that sink in.

The Dallas Cowboys Social Media Team Did The Players Dirty After Their Playoff Loss

2020 NFL Week Five Recap: Dak, Four Up Four Down, Top Game Week 6

We need to talk about the way the Dallas Cowboys are throwing Dak Prescott and Trevon Diggs under the bus for their Divisional Round loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

As social media has evolved to become the dominant way that sports fans get their news, teams have figured out that the best way to align the public’s desire for content with the team’s desire to control the message, was to hire journalists to create in-house content. 

Some of the best content out there comes directly from the teams themselves, but anyone that pays attention to the professional sports media landscape knows that in-house media’s job can be summed up in one phrase:

“promote, and don’t rock the boat.”

That’s why it was so shocking to so many around the league to see the Dallas Cowboys official Twitter account lay the blame for their 19-12 defeat at the hands of the 49ers squarely at the feet of franchise quarterback Dak Prescott and pro bowl defensive back Trevon Diggs.

Immediately after the game, writer Patrik Walker posted an article titled “Dak on Loss to 49ers: ‘Unacceptable, 100% On Me’, ” which was then tweeted out by the Cowboys official Twitter account with the caption “Dak Prescott gave away the ball twice in the narrow loss to the 49ers, in a matchup the Cowboys had a chance to win if they didn’t again generate self-inflicted wounds.”

They immediately followed that with another article from Walker that called this Cowboys season “anything but special.”

The Cowboys social media team also emptied the clip on Trevon Diggs with a post that stated “Diggs can’t snag key INT,” and they didn’t even bother to include an author’s name on that article. 

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “none of these are hit jobs, they’re just harsh facts.”

But in-house media doesn’t deal in harsh facts. They embrace discourse and analysis insofar as it keeps your time and attention squarely within their boundaries.

And they go a long way to make sure that franchise players are insulated from the type of criticism that comes from outside media critics.

For an example of how far they go, look no further than the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers Twitter account has never once included a photo of LeBron James in any final score tweet after a loss. 

Even if a loss has nothing to do with LeBron James, the Lakers don’t want you to associate an image of the NBA’s most famous player with losing.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys are over here like “look at these losers Dak and Trevon.”

Before you go pat the Cowboys on the back for journalistic integrity, let’s wait and see if they post anything critical of the person responsible who paid Dak Prescott, or who hired a head coach that had a six-playoff trip streak of getting bounced before the Super Bowl, or who didn’t replace Brett Maher after four missed extra points, which led to Mike McCarthy hesitating to attempt a 52-yard field goal before halftime.

Had the Cowboys kicked a field goal there, Dak has one less interception, and Tony Pollard doesn’t break his leg right before he hits free agency. 

But you won’t see anything on the Dallas Cowboys social media about that.

Because it’s not about the Dallas Cowboys in-house media team suddenly channeling the journalistic spirit of Walter Cronkite. 

It’s about pointing the finger for nearly three decades of failure in any direction other than the one it should go.

Toward the owner, Jerry Jones.

Let that sink in.

Joseph Ossai’s Mistake Reveals Who The True Cincinnati Bengals Fans Are

We need to talk about Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Joseph Ossai.

In the last minute of the AFC Championship, with the game tied at 20, and the Kansas City Chiefs needing 10-15 yards to put Harrison Butker in position to kick a field goal that would send the Chiefs to the Super Bowl, the game’s best passer, on a busted ankle, broke toward the sideline to pick up a first down and stop the clock. 

Joseph Ossai sprinted toward the sideline as if the entire season depended on it, and got a hand on Patrick Mahomes, pushing him into the Bengals bench.

The problem? Ossai was late, and the ensuing 15-yard penalty gave the Chiefs exactly what they needed. 

As the confetti dropped in Arrowhead stadium, Ossai sat on the bench, sobbing. Some teammates attempted to console him. Many others, wrapped up in their own emotions of disappointment, did not. 

Every game has a hero, every game has a goat. That’s the beauty of sport. It’s a different formula of our favorite narrative. A winner and a loser. Gratitude and grief. Elation and sorrow. 

Small minds often get lost in the simplicity of the narrative, and are consumed with what it means for them. 

Let’s get into the complexity of the story of last night’s “villain.”

Joseph Ossai came to this country at the age of 10. He picked up football in high school, and became good enough to have every school in Texas fighting over him. His mother, praying over his future, had a dream where he became a Longhorn. Trusting the faith of his mother, he chose Austin

Three years later he’d be hearing his name called in the NFL Draft, spending his rookie season watching his teammates come up just short in the Super Bowl because of a knee injury.

Last night was his chance to make sure his team went back. And for 59 minutes and 50 seconds, anyone who knows ball will tell you he was one of the best players on a field that includes more than a few future Hall of Fame players. 

On one play, he wasn’t the best version of himself, and he’s paying the price for that. Not only in the media and in the locker room, but he injured his knee on the play as well.

Some of you are mad at Joseph Ossai for his mistake. Being upset is natural. His own teammate, Germaine Pratt, was caught screaming “why would you touch the quarterback?” in the tunnel

But some of you decided his error was a license for sending him messages, and calling him every name in the book, and wishing harm to his career, or even his body, for how his play affected you.

So let’s talk about you- the person who didn’t see the irony in lashing out at Joseph Ossai after the game was over, for his hit after the play was over. 

How are you going to wish harm on somebody for their inability to handle the moment when YOU can’t? 

And it’s not even your moment. He was the Man in the Arena. Not you.

While he sobbed on the sideline, and faced reporters in the locker room after the game, you were in your mom’s basement shouting so loud that she probably had flashbacks to the time you got in her face for not cutting the crust off your PB&J.

Championship sports is a high wire act. The amount that has to go right for someone to be in a position to make a mistake on this large of a stage is mind-boggling. And forget what has to go right, think about what had to go wrong.

Buffalo Bills GM Brandon Beane recently said that he doesn’t want to have to suck bad enough to end up with a guy like Ja’Marr Chase falling to him in the draft. And he brings up a good point. Think about everything that had to go wrong in the Bengals organization for things to start going right. The real fans of this team understand that, and know that the possibilities for redemption for a still 22-year old Joseph Ossai are plenty. 

And those fans, those good and faithful Bengals fans that suffered through decades of lean years, will be there to lift Joseph Ossai up as they move into the future. 

I feel sorry for the ones that are stuck in the emotion of the moment, that lashed out and said hateful things. Because for most Bengal fans, the sweet moments will be that much sweeter because of the times that were sour. 

But when it’s the person that’s sour? Nothing will ever be sweet. 

Let that sink in.

Is The New York Jets Hiring Nathaniel Hackett Enough To Lure Aaron Rodgers To The Big Apple?

We need to talk about the Jets trying to lure Aaron Roders to New York.

Robert Saleh says he interviewed over 15 candidates for the open offensive coordinator position for the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets. He used to work alongside the NFL’s most innovative offensive mind in Kyle Shanahan. So surely this hire was going to be based on what’s best for the offense with the personnel they currently have in place, right? 

Wrong. The New York Jets hired Nathaniel Hackett, also known as the only head coach besides Urban Meyer in the last 45 years to be fired before the completion of his first season as an NFL Head Coach. 

And why would they bring in someone fresh off a 4-11 run that had people wondering if the MonStars stole Russell Wilson’s talent?

Well, before he stunk things up in Denver, Hackett was responsible for calling the league’s top scoring offense in 2020, and two consecutive top ten yardage seasons, with none other than the perpetually disgruntled Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. 

That’s right, the New York Jets are trying to do the same thing the Denver Broncos failed to do last offseason- use Nathaniel Hackett to entice Aaron Rodgers to request a trade. 

Why else would they make this hire?

Granted, as bad as the Broncos offense was in 2022, producing just 14 passing touchdowns in Hackett’s 15 games, Denver’s production last year would actually be an upgrade over 11 of the last 12 sorry excuses for an offense that the New York Jets have rolled out. 

The Jets have had a bottom quarter offense since before Donald Trump was elected president, and a move like this shows that they’re desperate for a change. 

But is Aaron Rodgers the answer? He’s definitely an improvement, but we saw this past season that the Packers didn’t have enough talent surrounding Rodgers to even capture a playoff spot. The Jets are going to have to give up this year’s #13 overall pick, and perhaps a lot more since the Packers have every ability to hold the Jets hostage for being this transparent. 

What is going to be left on this roster for Aaron Rodgers to try and take on one of the best divisions in football?

Breece Hall coming off a torn ACL? Mekhi Becton coming off of two consecutive missed seasons? A permanently pissed off Elijah Moore?

And what if the Packers ask for rookie sensation Garrett Wilson in addition to this year’s first round pick in exchange for A-Aron? Can the Jets afford to say no?

I respect that the Jets are being decisive about not thinking Zach Wilson is the guy, and not letting it drag on for a third year like they did with Sam Darnold. 

We all remember Wilson refusing to accept responsibility for letting the NFL’s #4 ranked defense down with his play, or the rumors that were spread about his dating preferences.

But if you’re trying to change the culture away from people that don’t point the finger at themselves, or have endless articles written about their personal life and dating preferences…

Is Aaron Rodgers the guy you want?

I guess we’ll find out.

Let that sink in.