Thursday, February 10, 2005

Oh, shut UP!

Two football-related instances of people who really need to shut up catch my attention today.

First is Bills safety Lawyer Milloy, who decided to gripe about his former team, the New England Stupid Patriots:

It's always been a team thing getting thrown around there, but if some of those guys would test the market, being a champion that they've been, they could really go out there and make top dollar. But for some reason, they want to stay. And that's good. But the other part is (making sure) your family is stable after football is all done. You can't feed your family off of Super Bowl rings.

Boy, that last sentence is a killer, isn't it? "You can't feed your family off of Super Bowl rings." Well, crap. And here I thought that a Super Bowl ring was something edible, like those sour candy-ring things. Too bad Milloy's not a hockey player, because you certainly could feed your family from the Stanley Cup. Just make sure you're serving soup.

But seriously, the StuPats' formula has proven remarkably successful, and there's a reason for that: they've figure out a way, for now, to make the salary-cap era work for them. Now, it remains to be seen how long their system of "Keep a couple of stars and surround them with really motivated no-names" can be sustained. (I suspect it will be a shorter time than many think.) But does that mean that the StuPats are somehow cheating their players? I doubt that. Nobody's holding a gun to anyone's head and saying, "Sign this contract that's less money than you'd get if you signed with Baltimore."

And besides, I don't care that Milloy left the StuPats under less-than-ideal circumstances and joined my beloved Bills. I really don't. I have little interest in hearing any professional athlete who plays in a league where a freshly-drafted rookie is guaranteed to make at least $230,000 this year, complain about feeding his family. My wife and I make a fraction of that amount, and we're feeding our family just fine. "You can't feed your family off of Super Bowl rings"?!

Lawyer, shut up.

As for the other one, since Lawyer Milloy has forced me to actually say something moderately nice about the StuPats in the paragraph above, let me bash this guy who insists they're the best team ever. God, what overinflated rubbish this is. And if there's one football meme I'm tired of, it's the old "You can't be great for long because of the salary cap" thing.

The truth is, with the cap being what it is, you can be competitive for four or even five years, if you pick the right talent (a matter of a lot of luck) and you have decent coaching (a lot of skill). Consider: the Rams have been in the playoffs at least four times since 1999, and been to two Super Bowls. The Steelers are perennial contenders, with a couple of losing years tossed in there. The Eagles have made it at least as far as the NFC Championship Game four years in a row. The cap era began with the Cowboys winning three Super Bowls in four years. The Packers became very competitive at the outset of the cap era as well, and their heyday culminated in two Super Bowl appearances (with one win). Ditto the Denver Broncos, who I suspect might well have posted another Super Bowl win had their rise not also coincided with the end of John Elways career (as well as the injury-termination of Terrell Davis's career).

So the StuPats won three Super Bowls in four years. Is it an impressive accomplishment? Yes. But the existence of the salary cap does not automatically make them the greatest team of all time.

Here's another dumb statement from this article:

They say the true champions are those who win when they don’t have their best stuff, and the Patriots didn’t have nearly their “A” game in Jacksonville, Fla., on Sunday. True champions make sure they have their best stuff when they're on the field in a championship game. I sure never saw the 49ers play a bad game in a Super Bowl. Ditto those Cowboys.

Shut up.

OK, I'm done.

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