Life Lessons from the NFL

Sports was my first love and something I learned while covering sports, especially professional football, is that there are images and reflections on life that you find at every game. I think that sometimes you learn more about life and people, and there are more life lessons at an NFL game than perhaps any place else in the world.

Take this weekend. I saw three things on the field Sunday which taught a lesson that I have subscribed to for years: act like you have been there before. A radio talk show host discussed these three topics as well — in not such a kind and gentle way – but he agreed with my point. Three players, in the course of play, showing what idiots they can be and how selfish they can be.

Case #1: Rams receiver Donnie Avery

The lowly Rams, who may not win a game all year, were trailing 31-to-3  late in the game when they finally got into the end zone. Receiver Donnie Avery made a great catch and slipped into the end zone. Fine, but Avery acted as if her had just won the game for St. Louis. He pushed  away a teammate coming to celebrate with him and decided to do an end zone dance which looked more like gyrations you would see between two people at some club.

Oh, by the way, after the dance the Vikings marched down the field and scored to go up by 28 points. Nice.

Case #2: Patriots defensive back Brian Merriweather

I will say this for the Patriots: their coach makes sure that they behave themselves and act like professionals. Occasionally, not everyone gets the message. Long after his teammates had tackled a Broncos receiver to the ground, Merriweather came calling. Remind you, he failed to get in on the tackle and didn’t arrive until the whistle had blown the play dead, but that did not stop him from standing over the received and taunting him like he had made some big hit.

Case #3: 49 ers Defensive Back Dre Bly

At least the previous two examples were of clowns waiting for the play to be over to make fools out of themselves. Not Dre Bly. The San Francisco defensive back picked off a pass and was headed to the end zone when he decided to go into that stupid high-step, put-the-hand-behind-the-head showboat move. He promptly fumbled and Atlanta recovered.

His excuse for acting like a fool? “Dre is going to be Dre”.

All three examples of people who put themselves ahead of their teammates and looked stupid doing it – or worse – cost their team because of their shenanigans. Life lesson for you and your young ones, courtesy of the NFL.

Before I go, just want to drop in one thought about this latest controversy in the NFL. Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh wants to buy a piece of the St. Louis Rams. The NFL Players Association and several African-American players have come out vocally against Limbaugh due to his comments of the past, including one that made the insinuation that Donovan McNabb of the Eagles was getting special treatment because the league wanted to see a black quarterback succeed.

All that said, does anybody really think Limbaugh wants to field an all-white team in St. Louis? He wants to make the Rams a winner and will go after the best players available. Does anybody really think African-American players won’t play in St. Louis because Limbaugh is owner? Last I checked, his money is as good as anyone’s and few players pass up big money based on principle.

We often hear about wanting the world to be on an equal playing field and that should mean equal for everyone … until they give us reason not to treat them as equal. Rush Limbaugh should be included in that. Frankly, the players in St. Louis can’t afford to be picky. They are 0-and-5.

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