By now most folks have seen Terrell Owens’ post-game “act” in which he cried as if he were running for President of the United States of America following the Cowboys big choke job in their first playoff game.
For those that haven’t seen Terrell Owens’ post-game drama, here it is:
For the most part the T.O. video has been posted, talked about and then shrugged off as if it were a another bad episode in the most banal sitcom. Most folks don’t even really think it was funny or even surprising that a professional football player with diva-like tendencies would cry during a post-game press conference following a loss in the playoffs when asked about the poor play of his quarterback, Tony Romo. The reason why it wasn’t a big deal compared to when Hillary Clinton supposedly cried in New Hampshire is because there doesn’t seem to be anything remotely authentic about Owens. Owens is a drama queen so when he pretends to emote, it’s a yawn fest. Conversely, Ms. Clinton has been accused of not having a soul, so when she allegedly cried during the last days of the campaign in New Hampshire it was monumental.
But as far as Owens goes his ex-teammate Jon Runyan said it best during his appearance on Daily News Live: “That wasn’t about Tony [Romo] it was about T.O. It’s always about T.O. …”
After another choke, watching T.O. was more like that crying Britney fan video that made its way through the Internets. It wasn’t funny, sad or interesting – it was just bizarre.
Really, really bizarre.
When Mike Schmidt retired and broke down blubbering and crying midway through his announcement – now that was funny. There he was with his Flock of Seagulls ‘do and up-to-the-second ‘80s style and the most composed player ever to wear the Phillies’ uniform couldn’t get through a sentence without the water works.
Bret Boone bawling after his ouster from Seattle was a good one, too, and Fred Couples falling apart following a tournament victory is spit-take worthy. Likewise, anything with the emoting Jim Mora is hilarious simply because he always tries so hard to remain as sullen and composed as if he were General Douglas MacArthur delivering his farewell address to Congress on April 19, 1951.
But instead of getting, “I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barrack ballads of that day which proclaimed most proudly that "old soldiers never die; they just fade away…” as with General MacArthur, we get “Playoffs!”
As for Dick Vermeil – that’s not even a contest. In fact, let’s just turn it over to the great Jeff Johnson and his old NFL writing for Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern:
The first time I saw Dick Vermeil cry, I thought: What a jagoff. What is an adult man doing crying about football? The second time I saw Dick Vermeil cry, I thought: Okay, Vermeil. Calm down. And also, what a jagoff. The third time I saw Dick Vermeil cry, I thought: The problem is with you, Johnson. You're the one who has to loosen up. Vermeil is in touch with his feelings. Vermeil has a ring, you don't. Let Vermeil cry. The eighth time I saw Dick Vermeil cry, I thought: Okay, Vermeil. Get on some meds, amigo. Take a deep breath. Let it go. The fourteenth time I saw Dick Vermeil cry, I thought: This is getting weird. The thirty-ninth time I saw Dick Vermeil cry: I had just gotten done polishing off a bottle of Drambuie with him. We were at a golf tournament outside Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He told me he wasn't sure if he'd ever eaten a better salad than the one we'd had at dinner. "Those farmers," he wailed, "who are they? The romaine was exquisite. What are you looking at? If you can't—if a grown man can't enjoy a leaf of lettuce—"
The eighty-first time I saw Dick Vermeil cry: It was back on TV. The folks at UW-River Falls, where the Chiefs spend preseason, hadn't followed through on a team-catering request for Rice Krispies. Vermeil was melting down. "Just how tough is it? I'm sorry. I gotta go public with this," the waterworks were on. "My men love their cereal. And now, I don't know what kinda season we're gonna have." The three hundred and fifteenth time I saw Dick Vermeil cry: It was because of a traffic light that he thought was on the verge of burning itself out. I was on a three-speed in Locust Valley, MO, and I saw him pointing and howling from the driver's seat of his Lincoln. "Some family's gonna get killed!" Several cars honked behind him, but he wasn't budging. The nine hundred forty-first time I saw Dick Vermeil cry: I was on a cruise ship. Vermeil was at a press conference. One of his kick-returners kept an adult video late and there was a fine. Vermeil, to that day, was unaware of a phenomenon known as porn. It did not make him happy. The 33,872nd time I saw Dick Vermeil cry: I didn't. It was just an editorial that he wrote for USA Today about the dangers of using magic markers to write kids' names on athletic tape to identify them on football helmets. I assumed he cried the whole time he wrote it. He thought the markers were a bit toxic, that an addiction could develop. The 198,440th time I saw Dick Vermeil cry: It was an Arby's. A packet of Horsey sauce dared him to open it. He could not. The 708,814th time I saw Dick Vermeil cry: He said six words and broke down, "Oh, the majesty of a sauna." The 1,933,336th time I saw Dick Vermeil cry: I only sensed it. God had begun wiping out whole cities with His own vomit. Vermeil's crying caused it. I was in Murfreesboro, TN. We were covered in slime. God had registered his disgust. Vermeil was somewhere, bawling with joy about microwave technology. He stopped abruptly and ate a corn muffin before it cooled. The 174,999,044th time I saw Dick Vermeil cry: He was dead. Vermeil was a damn ghost and he still would not quit crying. He'd met up with Tony Franklin, the old Eagles place-kicker. "How could you have possibly gone through life so darn short, Tony? It just is not fair." The 12,000,000,000th time I saw Vermeil cry: I got a lousy T-shirt. The 38,555,400,093rd time I saw Dick Vermeil cry: It wasn't so much Vermeil as the whole world. A book had been written about Vermeil's penchant for tears. It was called The Vermeil Approach. A religion was involved. Millions of people wept. Of course, looking down and seeing this, Vermeil wept.
Why is it that I find the crying of sports figures so funny? That’s simple – because it’s easy to laugh at things that don’t matter. No, I don’t doubt the sincerity of the sadness in dealing with a retirement, a victory or a 2-2 circle change up, it’s just that people without real problems have lousy perspective. At some point we all had to quit playing sports, but did you cry after the last game of the 10th grade JV basketball season? As far as we can tell Mike Schmidt did not cry when announcing his retirement all those years ago because he was sick or injured and forced out of the game. Nor was anyone in his immediate family facing some sort of hardship that required his immediate attention. In fact, there was no real sadness involved at all. All Mike Schmidt cried about was that he was lucky enough to have a great baseball career.
If that’s not funny I don’t know what is.