After months of standing outside the NFL’s house, throwing pebbles at the window at 3am in the pouring rain screaming “I don’t want to live without you in my life! I’M NOTHING WITHOUT YOU!” Joy has finally returned to the barren emotional wasteland that is the average life of an NFL fan. Well, some NFL fans. Okay fine just me and Fireman Ed.
The players and owners finally reached an agreement on a new CBA, which guarantees health care for retired players, increases revenue sharing and…you know what I don’t even care- FOOTBALL IS BACK BABY. HAIL MARYS, GOAL LINE STANDS, THAT RETARDED FOX ROBOT! It’s all BACK.
Now if you’re like me, you spent the offseason locked in an abandoned nuclear fallout shelter with a cyanide capsule in your cheek, waiting for the worst. Therefore, you may have missed out on all the non-lockout NFL news that happened during the offseason. With that in mind, here are some stories you might have missed while watching Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith battle to see who can wear a different business suit for the most consecutive days in a row:
Hines Ward won ABC’s 243rd installment of Dancing with the Stars, and the city of Pittsburgh held a rally downtown, because they are Pittsburgh and that’s what people from Pittsburgh do. Ward’s Dancing win may have been more impressive were he not a 35-year old professional athlete and man of color, and the runner-up a 60-year-old white Scientologist whose career peaked two decades ago. That being said, it was remarkable that Ward went the entire season without a single dirty hit, I fully expected Hines to cut block Wendy Williams in the first episode..which would have been amazing. Ward followed up his Stars win with a trip behind bars (HAYO!) after he got arrested for DUI outside Atlanta, which is by far the worst criminal incident in Georgia by a Steelers player, ever.
In a totally unrelated story, Ben Roethlisberger tied the knot with Ashley Harlan, a physician’s assistant from outside Pittsburgh, in a ceremony that undoubtedly made Prince William and Kate Middleton look like Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra. Said Roethlisberger of his soul mate, “We were kind of on and off for five years – almost six years now – so I’ve known her for a while. It’s not like a random new person.” Wow. What incredible prose. That sounds like something torn from the pages of a Nicholas Sparks novel.
In other matrimony news, Jay Cutler and Laguna Beach
star, personality, wet blanket Kristin Cavallari called off their engagement. Cutler is said to be suffering from a broken heart, although most people around the league think that it’s only a mild sprain of the heart and that he just doesn’t want to go back in the dating game.
Cutler wasn’t the only one with relationship issues this offseason, new Bears wide receiver Roy Williams simultaneously discovered the peaks of the United States Postal Service’s…um…services and the depths of human nature when he mailed a $76,000 engagement ring to his girlfriend, who turned down his proposal but kept the ring. Now I know most people feel bad for Roy, but let’s be honest here- can you really blame the girlfriend for turning down the chance to marry a guy whose idea of “romantic” is mailing a ring and a videotape of him proposing? I’d like to think that after days of careful deliberation by Williams, sending the ring through the mail won out over proposing via Twitpic or at halftime of a D-League basketball game.
Chivalry is not dead, but Brandon Marshall nearly was. The Dolphins receiver got into an argument with his wife and ended up in emergency surgery after he was stabbed in the abdomen with a kitchen knife. Marshall, however, is adamant that his wife was not the culprit, despite the inconvenient fact that she was the only other person present that night. This story is so ridiculous that it feels like it should be a riddle. I’m not sure how yet, but I bet the answer is an icicle. Either that or Marshall is simply the latest in a long line of NFL stars to attempt ritualistic Japanese suicide.
Count Bears RB Garrett Wolfe as a victim of preacher Harold Camping’s doomsday prophecy. Wolfe attended an end-of-the-world party in Miami and, presumably because he thought that the apocalypse was mere minutes away, refused to pay his $1,600 tab. Seems logical. Well, as you may know the rapture did not happen. What did happen was that Wolfe then tried to fight a bouncer, got his ass kicked, was charged with theft, assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest, and spent the weekend in jail. Wolfe should have known that if Camping was truly a divine prophet, he’d have a 51.5 quarterback rating and be playing for the Broncos.
Ray Lewis made headlines when he said that crime would rise if the NFL season was cancelled and the Internet proceeded to explode with the same stupid joke about Ray Lewis committing crimes. But Lewis may not have been wrong. Javarris James got arrested for marijuana possession. Mario Henderson got arrested for gun possession. Jonny Jolly got arrested for possession of Codeine (again), and Raiders WR Louis Murphy got arrested for possession of….Viagra. I’m no sentencing expert, but I think probation seems appropriate for James and Henderson, but Murphy is definitely looking at hard time (sorry, that was horrible).
Speaking of prison, Plaxico Burress was released from jail after serving roughly 23 more months than Leonard Little did for killing a guy, or Donte Stallworth did for killing a guy, or anyone on Wall Street did for making the dollar less valuable than Pogs. Good job justice system! Burress was signed by Rex Ryan’s Jets, who presumably wanted to find the only gunslinger in the league less accurate than Mark Sanchez.
Bucs corner Aqib Talib was arrested after allegedly shooting at his sister’s boyfriend in March. According to the arrest warrants, Talib’s mother first tried to shoot the man, then passed the gun to her son, who also shot at him. It’s just like the Blind Side! (Note: I’ve never seen The Blind Side).
Dez Bryant had a very Dez Bryant-y offseason. He got kicked out of and temporarily banned from a Dallas mall, then got sued for over $850,000- money that he allegedly borrowed before he signed his Cowboys contract and never paid back. Among the items Dez purchased bought with the cash- nine watches, a $65,000 cross, two other diamond crosses, a Jesus medallion and a rosary made of palladium. In a related story, Tim Tebow’s Jesus piece is his mouth.
In other wildly unsurprising news, Pacman Jones was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest outside a Cincinnati bar. The oft-detained corner maintained his innocence, saying that he couldn’t have been resisting arrest seeing as he had recently had surgery and was even wearing a neck brace in his mug shot. I’d like to think that Pacman didn’t have surgery and instead just goes out every night with a neck brace on so that he has an alibi when he inevitably gets arrested. And it wouldn’t be the offseason if Cedric “the Misdemeanor” Benson didn’t get arrested. This time, the free agent running back was picked up for assault after beating up his former roommate in the middle of an Austin street. His record now includes a boating while intoxicated charge, a DWI, assault charges for two different fights that occurred in Austin, three unrelated alcohol and drug charges and a trespassing charge when from he kicked down an apartment door claiming he was trying to recover a TV that was stolen from him. At this point, Benson and Pacman should just be automatically considered suspects in every open case on record shouldn’t they? Has anyone considered that the D.B. in D.B. Cooper could stand for defensive back? Where was Benson during the Zodiac killings? Pacman was already involved in one shooting on the Vegas strip, who says he didn’t kill Tupac?
Tiki Barber, who left his pregnant wife for a 20-year old intern, announced that he plans on making a comeback and compared himself to Anne Frank. I’m not sure which part of that sentence is most deplorable, actually, yes I do, that’s going to be the worst comeback attempt since This is It.
While we’re on the subject of distasteful comments, the debate over who “America’s Team” is officially died and Rashard Mendenhall killed it. First, the Steelers running back tweeted that “Anyone with knowledge of the slave trade and the NFL could say that these two parallel each other.” Really? I must have missed that deleted scene in Amistad when the slaves go to college then make $10 million dollars to play a game for six months out of the year. Give us us free college education, Rashard.
But Mendenhall wasn’t done. Not by a long shot. He took to Twitter after Osama bin Laden’s death saying, “What kind of person celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side…”
One, we have heard him speak, numerous times actually, so you’re wrong there, Rashard. Two, we’ve also heard his side, which involved a lot of “death to America” and “kill the infidels”, so I think you’re off base on that one too. But everyone’s entitled to their opinion and perhaps you…what’s that? You’re not done?
“We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take down a skyscraper demolition style.” Oh now you’re just trolling, Rashard. You watched Loose Change this offseason, WE GET IT.
Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt was arrested while waiting in line at a car wash in Hoboken, New Jersey after a police officer smelled marijuana and noticed a joint in his hand. Look I get that Britt is still young and immature, but getting baked and going to a car wash on a Thursday afternoon is something that a 19-year old University of Vermont student would do. If Britt was blasting Dispatch’s The General, this would officially be the whitest crime in NFL history. Hey Kenny, you ever go through a car wash…on weed?
In reality TV news, Brett Lockett, who was allegedly a member of the New England Patriots, claimed he had an affair with Kim Kardashian (The Heir of Derrière having sex with a huge black man? That’s not the Kim Kardashian I know!) and Terrell Owens, who spent the better part of two decades dodging 220 pound safeties, tore his ACL while filming The T.O. Show on VH1. If you wrote that sentence 50 years ago Chuck Bednarik’s head would have exploded.
T.O.’s reality partner in crime, Chad OchoCinco tried out for an MLS team, rode a bull and changed his name back to Chad Johnson. I kind of wish the lockout didn’t end, if only to see what else Ocho would do to keep making headlines. Has anyone noticed though that whether bull riding, hosting a reality show or doing Dancing with the Stars, Chad hasn’t actually come close to succeeding at any of these stunts? Don’t get me wrong, I love Ocho, but he may have jumped the shark with his latest attention-grabbing antics, which is ironic, because if the lockout continued I have no doubt that he would have actually tried to jump a shark during the 7th inning stretch of a minor league baseball game.
In April, EA Sports announced that in their latest version of Madden if a player suffers a concussion during play, he will be forced to sit out the rest of the game. I get that Madden is trying to be realistic and current and everything, but it strikes me the same way “fatigue” does in video games- if I wanted to deal with fatigue, I would be playing sports in real life, instead, I’m sitting on a couch eating corn chips and playing Madden for hours at a time. Seeing a winded virtual DeSean Jackson with his hands on his knees makes me feel like even more of a piece of shit than I currently am. World of Warcraft characters aren’t fat and Second Life avatars don’t masturbate- the point is, sometimes fantasy and reality are best kept separate. Relax with that, Madden.
They should have learned their lesson when they let America decide the athlete on Madden 12’s cover and the people picked Peyton “I led the league in fumbles” Hillis. Hillis rushed for 1,177 yards, 4.4 yds/a, 11 touchdowns with 8 fumbles. Jamaal Charles, ran for 1,467 yards, 6.4yds/a, 5 TDs and 2 fumbles. Yet Hillis crushed Charles by 20 percentage points. If only…there was variable…that would explain why America would pick Hillis over Charles. Now before I go Jesse Jackson on everyone’s ass, let’s see if this was just some statistical phenomenon. (Checks voting brackets). Let’s see…Sam Bradford over Larry Fitzgerald…Danny Woodhead over Hakeem Nicks…YOU CRACKERS! Besides Adrian Peterson’s wins over the universally disliked Phil Rivers and last year’s cover boy Drew Brees, the only other win by a black player over a white player was Charles over Tim Tebow, which may have resulted in Rodney King-level riots had it gone the other way. Besides that, white players only lost to other white players throughout the tournament which is…interesting. Now, because the Seahawks are utterly broken and devoid of marketable talent, Madden did include Seattle’s “12th man” as a candidate and, to be fair, they should probably be considered white since the only tall black thing to come out of Seattle since Hendrix is served by baristas. And yet, Seattle’s fan base only lost to Patrick Willis by EIGHT POINTS. Hines Ward lost to Willis by TWENTY. The democratizing of Madden proved that either America is racist or that people know nothing about anything.
Finally, Roger Goodell lowered his salary to just $1 during the NFL lockout, which was apparently not enough to prevent James Harrison from calling him “the devil”. Harrison also used some homophobic slurs, called out his quarterback and running back, and posed shirtless holding guns in a national magazine. And yet he is still somehow only the third biggest asshole on the Steelers. But I have to agree with Harrison on one thing, if the NFL lockout continued and the season was lost, I would be referring to Roger Goodell only as Satan. Not only that, but I would have lit myself on fire like a Buddhist monk outside the nearest NFL stadium on Opening Day as s sign of protest.
Why? Because football is not only touchdowns, facepaint and localized xenophobia. It’s fantasy drafts, Scott Hanson and his Double Box, Clay Matthews and Peter King talking about something other than the best coffee shop in the Hartford train station. It’s Al Michaels, the Wildcat offense, zombie Al Davis, and watching Jay Cutler get destroyed by Ndomukong Suh. It’s getting irrationally drunk on Sundays, Mondays and/or select Thursdays, betting $10 to win $100k on a 12-team parlay, and filling up thousands of hours that were previously occupied by relationships, work and self-mutilation. And most importantly, it’s back baby…It’s back.