Friday, February 8, 2008

Chad Johnson doesn't seem so lovable anymore

Chad Johnson doesn't seem so lovable anymore
Remember not too long ago, when Chad Johnson was the media darling of the world, and he could do no wrong? He'd get fined for a celebration, and everyone would stand up for him and say, "Oh, he's just having fun! The league is so mean! Let Chad be Chad! He's such a great guy!"

These days ... not so much.

Alex Marvez of Fox Sports (via ProFootballTalk) reports that Johnson shoved an NFL media guy on his way out of an NFL Network interview. According to Marvez, the NFL employee tried to stop Johnson a couple of times to answer a question, and Johnson ended up shoving the guy and staring him down.

It's hard to judge a situation like this, because in this context, a "shove" could mean anything from rudely brushing up against a guy to slamming his head into a wall, and a "staring someone down" could be anything from a dirty look to a prolonged Ivan Drago "I must break you" stare.

But either way, the days of Chad Johnson being a media darling are gone, and with each incident like this, and each repeated trade demand, he becomes less like the old Chad Johnson and more like the new Terrell Owens.

It was fun while it lasted, though.

• Johnson still making news for wrong reasons / Fox Sports
• Ocho Stinko Shoves League Employee / Pro Football Talk

Crazy guy wanted to shoot up the Super Bowl
And here, I thought that Ray Lewis was the greatest threat to my safety during Super Bowl week.

As it turned out, a fellow name Kurt William Havelock came way closer to actually killing people last week. He loaded up an AR-15 assault rifle, had 200 rounds of ammunition, and contemplated a shooting spree near a stadium parking lot on gameday.�

Thankfully, the whackjob changed his mind at the last minute and couldn't go through with it.

The guy was upset because he couldn't get a liquor license for a bar he wanted to open. And just to let you in on what type of crazy we're dealing with here, take a look at some snippets from an eight-page manifesto he wrote:

"I will test the theory that bullets speak louder than words. Perhaps the blood of the inculpable will cause a paradigm shift. ... Someone has to start the revolution but no one wants to be first."

"How many dollars will you lose? And all because you took my right to own a business from me."

"I will not be bullied by the financial institutions and their puppet politicians."

"No one destroys my dream."

And now Mr. Havelock is going to prison, where his rectal cavity, much like his dream, will be destroyed.

• Feds: Man denied liquor license planned Super Bowl gunfire, changed mind in parking lot / Yahoo! Sports

Eli Manning's Super Bowl XLII co-MVP: Tiki Barber
That's how Tiki Barber sees things, anyway. I was wondering when Tiki would get around to taking credit for the Giants Super Bowl win.�

From this William C. Rhoden article in the New York Times:

Retiring star players often set the foundation for future success. In Barber’s case, his criticism of Coach Tom Coughlin and of Manning might have paid dividends this season. You can argue that Barber’s tactics became too public. But often, the only way to bring about change is to confront — sometimes embarrass — authority. Barber laid the foundation for what happened this season, from taking on Coughlin, to challenging Manning to step up, to tutoring Brandon Jacobs.

“I feel great joy for them because I know in a lot of ways I helped a lot of guys on that team,” Barber said. “I know Brandon was someone who benefited from me being there; even criticizing someone is a way of getting them to think about themselves.”

I asked Barber if he thought his criticism of Manning helped prod him out of a shell. “I don’t know, cause Eli doesn’t pay attention, ” Barber said laughing. “In this case, it made him stand up and I guess become aware.”

How magnanimous! What a swell guy, that Tiki Barber. He had all these special and insightful ways to help the New York Giants, but he chose not to help them while he was there, but he waited until after he quit on them, and then went of his way to offer the expert critiques (and not bitter criticism) that would spur the team to greatness. It's the most selfless thing I've ever heard. Tiki Barber is a friend to the Giants!

Either that, or he was a whiny little skirt on the way out the door, and when he quit, a once-divided locker room was able to come together. I somehow doubt that Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning heard Tiki's critiques and said, "You know, Tiki's right, and we should be thankful for his guidance." More likely is that they heard his bitching and everyone came together in a spirit of "Screw that guy, we're better off without him."

But if that counts as helping, then yeah, Tiki Barber was a great help. The guy's a damn saint.

• For Barber and Giants, a Parting, Then an Embrace / New York Times

Great moments in Pro Bowl history
There are certain headlines that you see, and you think immediately to yourself, "Well, this is going to be a short post." This qualifies as one of them.

I can think of three.

1. Peyton Manning addresses Mike Vanderjagt. This was probably the most noteworthy thing to ever happen at the Pro Bowl. Unfortunately, I can't find video of it anywhere, but here was Peyton's quote from the sidelines, after Vanderjagt had been critical of Manning and head coach Tony Dungy days before:

"Here we are. I'm out at my third Pro Bowl, I'm about to go in and throw a touchdown to Jerry Rice, we're honoring the Hall of Fame, and we're talking about our idiot kicker who got liquored up and ran his mouth off. The sad thing is, he's a good kicker. He's a good kicker. But he's an idiot."

2. Sean Taylor obliterates Brian Moorman. Sadly, this one's taken on greater significance this year as we mourn the loss of Sean Taylor. I'd put it at the #1 spot, but I think it's way more significant as a remembrance of Sean Taylor than it is a celebration of the Pro Bowl.

3. Chris Berman introducing The Backstreet Boys. For better or worse (and I think we all have to go with "worse" on this one), Chris Berman introducing The Backstreet Boys to a chorus of boos, followed by the that stunningly masculine performance, captures the Pro Bowl experience quite well. I don't know if it's a sign of professionalism of complete obliviousness that Berman doesn't seem the least bit embarrassed about what he's doing.

More on the Pro Bowl in a bit. If you can stand the excitement.

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