Thanks to Jay Weston for sending me a link to this Bob Costas rant, which I missed on Sunday night. In it, Costas goes after all the classless NFL buffoons who over-celebrate whenever they score a touchdown, sometimes to the detriment of their team when they’re penalized by the officials. What he didn’t mention are the guys who act like this at inappropriate times, like a defensive end who gets a sack in the fourth quarter of a game his team is losing by three touchdowns, yet still celebrates as if he’s won the Super Bowl…
Updated 10:29am…The video I originally embedded was removed from YouTube, so I substituted another one, but I don’t know how long it will remain available. Unfortunately, NBC doesn’t have the video — embeddable or otherwise — on any of their sites, so I’m adding the text of Costas’ comments below. It’s not quite as good as seeing the accompanying images, but it still gets his point across:
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 (imagine video of excessive celebrations here).
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.