Last week I posted about the annoying comparison of a football contract to a marriage. The AP continued that yesterday:

Favre retired in March, but then decided he still wanted to play. After a messy divorce with Green Bay, the Packers traded him to New York, where he’s going through his 18th training camp.

Our media culture can’t tell the difference between a sports contract and a marriage. No wonder the institution of marriage is in trouble. I think this comes from an emerging idea that marriage is nothing more than a civil contract to be dissolved when at least one party finds the continuation of the contract to be inconvenient.

So the question, is our society’s outlook of marriage to low, or our view of sports too high?

Football isn’t like marriage

This summer’s sports soap opera has finally ended with the Green Bay Packers trading their un-retiring and future hall of fame quarterback Brett Favre to the New York Jets.

Packers president Mark Murphy said, “It’s like a marriage that ends. It happens. Neither party is at fault.”

Now I’m a guy who views Superbowl Sunday as a holiday (albeit a secular one – like Labor Day). But even I do not confuse a business negotiation with a marriage.

Uh, Mr. Murphy? Football is not like marriage. Divorce is never no one’s fault. In marriage, two people take vows. These vows normally involve a lifetime commitment, unlike a football contract. Marriages the end in divorce are because one or both spouses don’t live up to those vows.

Marriage is in trouble when one of the greatest tragedies in society is equated with a football player leaving a team and no one notices.

Update 8/8:
I was watching ESPN “1st and 10” this morning and the host said that Brett Favre was coming off a 16 year divorce in Green Bay and moving into a home with his new wife in New York.

Sigh. No, ESPN. Brett Favre was only employed by the Packers, not married to them. Football is a great past-time and all, but it isn’t fundamental to a society like marriage is.


It’s halftime at the Superbowl. I love the Superbowl. Its truly a piece of Americana.

The Patriots are ahead 7 – 3. So far its been a good game. Right now I’m stuffed on ribs, chips, and about a gallon of soda pop. Mmmm. What a great day to be an American.

Update: The Giants beat the formerly undefeated Patriots. Good game even though I’m a little disappointed that the Pats couldn’t finish out their historic year.

World Cup….of what?

The World Cup of Soccer (misnamed “football” to the rest of the world) is taking place in Germany. In the U.S. the games are being shown on ESPN2. That means that the tape delayed World Championship of Poker on ESPN is more popular to Americans than live soccer.

NFL Commissioner

The NFL has “stepped up” its search for a commissioner to replace Paul Tagliabue.

Let me take this opportunity to announce my candidacy for NFL Commissioner. If offered the position I will make a few changes:

  1. The Denver Broncos will be allowed to use 12 players on the field.
  2. Dallas Cowboy uniforms will include a tutu.
  3. Any player who fails a drug test will immediately be given the offer of a contract extension with the Oakland Raiders. (In practice this already happens but I’ll just make it official).

Commissioner Jason. I like the sound of that.

The party Olympics

Bode Miller is proud of his accomplishments. Oh, not his accomplishments of downhill skiing in the 2006 Olympics (of which there were none).

Nope, he is proud of partying in Torrin.

“I just did it my way. I’m not a martyr, and I’m not a do-gooder. I just want to go out and rock. And man, I rocked here,” Miller said in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press soon after he skidded off the slalom course in his fifth and final race, completing an 0-for-the-Olympics.

Miller came to the Italian Alps cresting on a wave of expectations and was considered a medal threat in every Alpine event. But he failed to finish three of them and his best showing was fifth in the downhill — part of a games with few highlights for the U.S. Ski Team.

“The expectations were other people’s,” Miller said. “I’m comfortable with what I’ve accomplished, including at the Olympics. I came in here to race as hard as I could. That was my obligation to myself.”

Dude! He partied! What an inspiration. I remember a time when “I did it my way” meant achieving goals without going through conventional methods. Now it means not achieving goals because of not trying. Partying was more important. But that is OK. Better to party, than to try but lose, right Bode?

Miller said that while he might have prepared differently, he isn’t one to second guess and he started each race fully focused and determined to win.

Bode doesn’t know the difference between being determined to win and being prepared to win.

“Me, it’s been an awesome two weeks,” Miller said. “I got to party and socialize at an Olympic level.”

If there were a gold medal in underachievement, Bode would get it. But at least he has self-esteem. Which goes to show you self-esteem is worthless without accomplishment. I havent’ even trained for the Olympics and won just as many medals as he did. But that is all right because I was determined to win just like Bode was.
Bob Costas summed up it up best when talking about Bode Miller’s effort (or lack thereof):

If you don’t care enough to consistently give your best and at least sometimes do your best, then pretty soon nobody else will care either.

How am I supposed to drive?

The Daytona 500 was yesterday. This is one sport I don’t understand. In the 110th lap Tony Stewart was penalized for “aggressive driving”. Isn’t this a car race?

How exactly does one win a NASCAR race without driving aggressively?

I saw later the penalty was specifically for bumping. Maybe they should call it reckless instead of aggressive.

Kicked off Vick

Today, college star Marcus Vick was kicked off the Virginia Tech football team he led to the Gator Bowl this past season. The time cited his repeated legal (i.e. criminal) problems and his unsportmanslike conduct during the Gator Bowl when he stomped on an opposing player’s calf.

This story quickly follows the news the another former college star Maurice Clarett has been arrested for armed robbery.

I find stories like this fascinating. Marcus Vick is a young man who is following in his older brother’s footsteps – seemingly on a guaranteed track to a lucrative NFL contract. Yet he is self destructing similar to Terrell Owens. Maurice Clarett was a hot prospect who also seemed assured of a profitable NFL contract yet couldn’t keep himself out of trouble.

They have the ability, their failings can only be the result of flaws in their character. Shakespeare could have written plays about these guys.

How to self-destruct

Terrell Owens is arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL. Even so, the team he plays for suspended him indefinitely today because he just can’t help himself. His talent on the field is undeniable. Sadly, he just can’t keep his mouth shut off the field.

During the last off season, he criticized his teammate Donovan McNabb for the way he played in their Superbowl loss last season. Then he did not report to training camp in pre-season to try and get his contract re-negotiated. This past week he said his team would be undefeated if Brett Favre were the starting quarterback instead of McNabb.

It’s amazing watching someone like this. He seems to have everything going for him in talent and skill. His performance on the field is amazing, yet he just cannot control himself to be a team player. He alienates everyone around him. Why did the 49ers so willingly let him go to the Eagles? It seems now we know.

What will happen to T.O. now? He wanted more money. That dream is gone. He’s damaged goods now. One thing is sure, he won’t be with the Eagles much longer. He has pretty much secured the legacy of a problem player rather than a Hall of Fame contender.

I just find it strangely fascinating to watch a someone self-destruct. There aren’t many Shakespearean characters with more tragic flaws.