The new year is time to reflect on the year that was, but more importantly, purge ourselves of all the filthy habits that ruined 2008. And oh there are plenty. Especially in the world of sports.
Ideally, we as a nation could resolve to slap on a giant crap-otine patch and ween ourselves off of Hollywood starlet stories, “Who’s Now” features and Andy Katz’s “sources close to the team.” But maybe more than any of those, I’m personally calling for a halt on all mentions of “bulletin boards.” I put it in quotes because they don’t even, actually, exist. Which leads me to my list of reasons for this resolution:
1. Bulletin boards don’t really exist
– Aside from 1st grade classrooms, Town Hall lobbies and the occasional college dorm, the bulletin board is an endangered species. White boards — maybe. Plain white walls with stuff taped up — sure. But no bulletin boards. Especially in locker rooms. What, are the Patriots are going to post negative comments in between Teddy Bruschi’s “used snow blower” flyer and Wes Welker’s offer for $50 piano lessons?
2. 99% of players could care less
– Look no further than the litany of Patriot interviews featuring quotes ranging from, “I don’t pay attention to that stuff” to “I could care less.” And all that despite the obvious reason to be dreadfully upset and motivated. How obvious, you ask? ESPN obvious. Just two days ago the headline was right there: “Spicer gives Pats bulletin board material.” I mean, what’s more worthy of the bulletin board than something with “bulletin board” right there in the title? And on top of that, there is a semi-agitating quote, only two graphs in, that is only 17 weeks old! How dare somebody verbally attack their opponent four months before a game. What has this league come to?
3. The players that do care, don’t even know what they’re doing
– Case in point: Plaxico Burress. Last week, before the Tampa game, he posted a sheet of paper above his locker (on a wall, not a bulletin board, cork board or board of any kind, mind you) with a quote from Buc’s corner Ronde Barber. I’m sure you saw it on the news cuz they love shots of printed paper in lockers. Anyway, Plax had two out of three lines of text highlighted in size 36 font. They read:
“Plax is kind of a special athlete. Not that he’s overly fast or real, like Randy Moss, athletic, because that’s just not his game.”
On the trash talk scale, that alone would be about a 3.5, especially considering the first sentence is a compliment. But then, just below the highlighted, size 36 font was a non-highlighted, regular-sized sentence reading: But he’s a [beast] to deal with. Plax, please, if you’re going to post something for effect, at least take it out of context. The media has done it for years, really, it’s OK.
4. Even if they do care, nobody’s going to say anything
– Short of the Shawne Merrimans and Joey Porters of this world, players are smart enough to know that commenting on how much a quote bothers them only accomplishes two things — proving they are mentally weak enough to let words affect their approach and generating an even bigger media stir/distraction. Neither of which is desired by any player or team.
So let’s retire the “bulletin board” for 2009 — especially for the playoffs — and leave this entire brand of quotes where they belong. In pregame pep talks and bad news stories.