Friday, August 13, 2010

Five Drool Covered NFL Players

Ah, welcome back NFL. Welcome back to all the training camp inanity signifying that the folks at the NFL Network can show something other than Super Bowl XXXIX (that's 39 for normal people) over and over and over again and get back to that hard, investigative journalism we've come to expect from them. I enjoy the silliness of the requisite camp phenoms, camp busts, overweight veterans, and maybe notable holdouts.

As much fun as all that it, the nationally televised pre-season games take it to a whole new level. You betcha. It's not the action on the field that's so great, but the action in the booth, the party of overwrought hyperbole, this festival of drool, lavished by announcers on a select few annointed players. It'll only get worse from here, so watching the pre-season helps me to inure myself to the gushing that will ramp itself up into the stratosphere during the regular season, as rapt announcers, man-crushes audibly tumescent, say things like, "This guy right here, this guy is a football player."

[Um, yes, yes he is a football player. You can tell because he's in a uniform on a football field during an officially sanctioned NFL game.]

The following are the most fawned over players in the NFL:

1. Ray Lewis.
Never in the history of the NFL has there been a more inspirational player than Ray Lewis. Yea verily, for decades, NFL players apathetically muddled through games, looking like helmet and cleat clad zombies sleep-walking toward the endzone. Enter one Ray Anthony Lewis. More graceful than Michael Jackson, more inspirational than George Washington, braver than Sully Sullenberger, more eloquent than Martin Luther King, Jr., he saved the league from indifference and lassitude. The NFL, formerly a league with as much personality as instant mashed potatoes, has been transformed by Lewis' extraordinary love of the game. Thank you. Thank you, Ray Lewis.

2. Tom Brady. You want to see a quarterback who competes, take a look at this guy. Nobody has a hotter fire burning inside than Tom Terrific. Nobody has ever lead so many come from behind to tie drives in the history of the universe. He's like having a coach on the field. No, he's better than that, because he's like a coach, only he's dreamy. And he sleeps with super models. Why? Because he himself is a model -- a model of NFL Quarterback perfection.

3. Peyton Manning. Work ethic, thy name is Peyton Manning. Manning can breakdown NFL game film like Stephen Hawking parsing gravitational singularity theorems. He has thrown approximately 4,785,243,298,161,547 out-pattern passes. And that's just in practices, not in live action. He has an encyclopedic memory of every offensive schemes ever deployed from 1919 to three years in the present. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame at the moment he was conceived. And rightly so.

4. Brett Favre. Why, he's just a big kid. Just a big, overgrown, graybearded, can't-get-out-of-bed-without-a-walker-but-you-can't-keep-him-out-of-the-game, kid. Despite all the hits along the way, he plays with a simple joy. He's like that labrador retriever who keeps running into the lake after a stick (a stick!), no matter how many times you toss it in there. He lets it all hang out, does Brett Favre. He plays the game the right way. The only guy who wants Favre to come back more than Brad Childress does is Phil Simms.

5. Brian Urlacher. See, the thing about Urlacher is that he is a whole defense unto himself. Without him on the field, the Bears D is tough as tapioca pudding. With him on the field, why, they are eerily reminiscent of the spartans in "300." He can do so much. He causes fumbles and returns fumbles, creates havoc in the backfield and goes out in coverage. Why, he'd even punt if Lovie Smith would let him. Nobody wants to win more than this guy. Nobody.

Honorable Mention: Hines Ward. Tony Romo.