During halftime of last night’s Steelers-Chiefs game, NBC’s Bob Costas addressed the issue of players who put themselves ahead of their teams via celebrations that result in the loss of 45 feet of field position.
I’ve received many emails expressing support for those views, and dozens of similar comments appeared last night in the neverending stream of questions and comments from the SNF Extra live chat.
Of course, not everyone agrees with the sentiments expressed. Patriots receiver Chad Ochocinco, who has run afoul of the rules regarding celebrations on several occasions (but who has had nothing to celebrate this year), said on Twitter that the “monologue sounded like a sermon at a funeral.”
I thought it made sense given the reaction to Stevie Johnson’s homage to Plaxico Burress to post it here.
And so here’s the full text of the Costas essay. Feel free to post your own views in the comments. . . .
For those of you too busy keeping up with the Kardashians to notice, we live in a culture that in many ways grows more stupid and graceless by the moment. Sports both reflects and influences that sorry trend, so on playing fields everywhere, true style is in decline, while mindless exhibitionism abounds.
In the late sixties, the Giants had a receiver named Homer Jones. He invented the spike — and it was great; a simple, elegant punctuation that somehow has devolved into this. . . . (Video of excessive celebrations was displayed.)
Given the tone of the times, it’s probably too much to expect that most players would appreciate that back in the day, this guy (Barry Sanders) was much cooler than this guy (Mark Gastineau), or that there is a difference between spontaneous and/or good-natured displays of enthusiasm and calculated displays of obnoxious self-indulgence. No, that train has already gone so far down the wrong track, there’s probably no turning back.
So our suggestion here is a more modest one: Hey, knuckleheads, is it too much to ask that you confine your buffoonery to situations that don’t directly damage your team? Week after week, game after game, we see guys who think nothing of incurring penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct, costing their teams valuable yardage, even late in close games.
Today’s most conspicuous culprit: Buffalo’s Stevie Johnson, who after a TD catch versus the Jets, thought it would be a good idea to go Marcel Marceau, pantomiming, among other things, Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg. But in this case, it was Johnson who shot himself in the foot, as his display cost his team a 15-yard penalty on the ensuing kickoff. And given a short field, the Jets proceeded to score in a critical game that wound up 28-24, New York.
Which raises this question: Where are the coaches in all this? Guys are routinely benched or called out for blown assignments. When is a coach going to make an overdue statement and sit a guy down on the grounds of pure selfishness and unprofessionalism detrimental to his team?
By the way, late in the loss to the Jets, Johnson dropped a pass that could have led to a Buffalo win. Shockingly, he didn’t follow it with a rehearsed “my bad” dance of apology. Maybe he just forgot.