LOS ANGELES — One theme of this NFL offseason (aside from dudes getting arrested – though that seems to be a yearly tradition) is quarterbacks taking their teams to the woodshed for contract extensions. You can blame Joe Flacco for this. In fact, I’m going to start blaming Mr. Delaware Blue Hen for most of the league’s problems – blackouts, high-concession prices, Jon Gruden. (Maybe I’ll stretch this blame game into my personal life, too, but that’s another column.)
When Flacco decided to play out the the 2012 season without signing an extension it reminded me of Rod Tidwell in “Jerry Maguire” playing out his crappy contract at the behest of his wife, Marcy. She convinced Rod it his only move and the loudmouthed receiver hence told Jerry, “you bet on me like I bet on you.” Flacco bet on himself and cashed the biggest poker chip the table allows. He won the whole damn thing, which forced Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to open up his wallet and Cut The Check (Rasheed voice). Nine figures later the Ravens locked up their Super Bowl MVP quarterback (though probably at the expense of their other free agents).
That was the first domino which has since seen Tony Romo and Aaron Rodgers sign monster nine-figure extensions of their own; Matt Ryan should get his soon. Rodgers is himself a Super Bowl MVP, and everyone in the free NFL world can see why he’s max player, but Romo? There’s not enough words to explain why his $100 million man is a bad move, but I’ll let Cowboys fans justify it to themselves all they want. “Look at the stats!” they all say. Sure, Romo might win you a few fantasy games, but he only has one playoff win in his career. That’s it. One.
If one playoff win gets you Scrooge McDuck money, complete with a vault and diving board, then zero playoff wins and a lifetime winning percentage of .378 gets you $76.5 million, which is like a Scrooge hot tub. That’s what Lions doughboy quarterback Matthew Stafford signed for on Wednesday, inking a three-year, $53-million extension with $41.5 million in guaranteed cashola. Add that to the $41.7 million he received when he was the top overall pick in 2009 (the penultimate year of the crazy money given to untested and unproven first round picks) and that puts $83.2 million in his bank.
And do you know how many games he’ won for the Lions in his four-year stint as their starting quarterback? Here’s a hint: Justin Bieber has more speeding tickets and Amanda Bynes has had more nose jobs. OK, now I’m just being silly.
I’ll tell you how many wins: Seventeen.
Seventeen whopping wins in four seasons. Sure, he led them to a playoff appearance in 2011 and even threw for 41 touchdowns that year, but they got shellacked by the Saints. At the risk of sounding like Darren Rovell, that’s $4.89 million per win and $1.04 million per touchdown pass (80 career TDs). Awesome. Now can you please shave, get a hair cut, and stop wearing baseball caps and shopping at Ross.
With the extension, Stafford becomes the 7th highest paid quarterback in the NFL, cashing a check for a little over 15 million per season. Here’s who he trails on that list:
- Joe Flacco 20,100,000
- Drew Brees 20,000,000
- Peyton Manning 19,200,000
- Aaron Rodgers 18,678,571
- Tony Romo 17,071,429
- Eli manning 15,280,000
Here’s a fun game; look at that list: would you take Stafford over any of those quarterbacks? Maybe Romo but definitely not any of the others. Now run through the league and look at each team’s starting quarterback; where does Stafford rank for you? Depending on your personal preference, you could have last season’s standouts Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III ahead of the Georgia bulldog. (It should never be a question if Andrew Luck is ahead; he is.)
By my accounts, I’d rather have 14 other quarterbacks than Stafford (which is different than calling him the 15th best QB in the league). Sure, he has a big arm, but how many times does he throw off his back foot Jay Cutler style? Far too many for my liking. Yeah, he throws for a lot of yards, but Calvin Johnson can salvage a lot of poor throws. Is he ahead of Cutler? Philip Rivers? Romo? Sam Bradford? Eh. They’re all the same player. None will ultimately win because they can’t be counted on with the game on the line. Games are won in the 4th quarter and these guys don’t deliver. If you’re starting a franchise today, perhaps you’d change your tune because Stafford is only 25. Again, another debate.
Notice someone you didn’t see on that list above: Tom Brady. And all he’s done is lead the Patriots to 5 Super Bowls in 11 full years starting for New England (he played 1 game in 2000 and 2008). And while both Mannings and Brees are among the highest paid quarterbacks in the league, those teams chose to reward them handsomely at the expense of letting other pieces to their championship teams go. Brady routinely takes less money so that the Patriots can build around him to continue their winning tradition (136 career wins).
Because in the end, you play to win the game, but unfortunately a lot of these signal callers play to get paid.
LOS ANGELES — This week, another professional athlete joined the not-so exclusive, moronic but ever-growing club of celebrity DUIers; you know, the ones too dumb to call a cab, limo, school bus, agent, bicycle, hipster with a skateboard, groupie, team mascot, SOMEONE to drive them home after a night of boozing.
Justin Blackmon, newly drafted of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Adonis-like wide receiver from Oklahoma St., recently blew a .24 (three times rhe legal limit) while driving home early last Sunday morning in Oklahoma from wherever he thought was a better place to drink than his couch. It’s Blackmon’s second arrest in the last 20 months and puts the spotlight on himself and a team in much need of a turn in the right direction after an abysmal 5-11 campaign in 2011 for all the wrong reasons. Blackmon was (and still is) supposed to be the new focal point of the Jags’ passing attack with whomever new head coach Mike Mularkey decides to trot out there at quarterback for Week 1 at Minnesota.
The Jaguars, as @AndrewPerloff of the Dan Patrick Show predicted they would on this week’s Rich Eisen Podcast, have a chance to make the playoffs in the AFC South with the Texans weaker, the Colts starting a rookie QB and Titans doing little to improve themselves this offseason. Unfortunately, it all hinges on who wins that starting QB job. It could be Blaine Gabbert, who couldn’t start in my flag football league after his performance last season, or perhaps former Dolphins starter Chad Henne, who’s coming off a season-ending injury a year ago. No matter who it is, they’re going to need Blackmon, as well as Maurice Jones-Drew, who took a beating last year and still managed to lead the NFL in rushing by over 200 yards (and he’s one of my fantasy team’s keepers next year. Cha-ching!)
Blackmon has a chance to be an immediate impact receiver but not if he keeps doing bonehead things off the field. He’ll find himself Charles Rogers’d in no time. For this latest incident he could be fined, though he’s yet to even sign his rookie contract, but it sounds like he won’t be subject to the league’s personal conduct policy. We’ll see.
But this goes to the larger point with celebrities and athletes (we sort of expect this behavior from rock stars, right? how preposterous is that?); why do they routinely get behind the wheel intoxicated when they clearly have the means to avoid situations such as these? Seriously, how stupid are these people? How many before them need to get arrested and have their reputations ruined before someone wisely decides an alternative means? I’m not saying that there aren’t some who probably do this; there might be many and we only hear about the doofuses, but come on. Former NFLer Leonard Little killed someone doing it, then went out and did it AGAIN. Same with ex-MLBer Jim Leyritz.
Just in the last month, actress Amanda Bynes got busted TWICE! And she even Tweeted to President Obama to have the arresting officer fired. Charlie Sheen. Lindsay Lohan. And on and on. That’s what’s wrong with these people; the sense of entitlement. It’s the only explanation on why it keeps happening. Look, Joe Shmoes get hammered at their local watering hole, do drugs, whatever and then drive home all the time, all over the country. It’s reckless, irresponsible and beyond dangerous. But they can’t afford car services or have “people” and “handlers” to see to their every need to ensure it doesn’t happen. So why does it?
The guise of invincibility that’s come from years and years and being told how great you are and how everything is taken care of and nothing wrong will ever happen has these people believing it, that’s why. Look, if I was one of those guys and my life was pearls and caviar for me from a very young age, once I got to be somewhat of an adult I’d pretty much do whatever the fuck I wanted, too. But I hope I’d have the wherewithal to not drive myself anywhere while and after I did it. I don’t even drink and I’d have someone drive me all over creation, even when I was bored. My gym is literally a half mile from my house and I’d call a service to take me there.
It’s hilarious to me when the public gets shocked Ashton Kutcher had sex with some 20-something, that Allen Iverson is broke and Axl Rose flips out at a show. Why do we think virtually all of celebrity relationships are dysfunctional and fail, or they go broke when their playing days or acting days or rocker days are over or have substance abuse problems? They think the party never ends and nothing sticks to them. They are never told “no” because those who should be doing the telling are invested in their success.
Only John Gotti was the Teflon Don but even he went to jail. And died there. Unfortunately, I don’t think even that will slow this culture down.