NFL 2011

The New York Jets Are Out-Lupica-Ing Mike Lupica
The stadium scene.
Jan. 5 2012 5:33 PM

NFL 2011


The New York Jets are out-Lupica-ing Mike Lupica.

Santonio Holmes
Santonio Holmes looks on during the Jets' Week 17 game against the Miami Dolphins.

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.

Have you heard? The Jets' locker room has a "corrupt mindset." I know this because the team's injured fourth-string quarterback said so

"It's definitely not a fun place to be, I can assure you. It's the first time I've ever been around extremely selfish individuals. And I think that's maybe the nature of the NFL, but there were people within our locker room that didn't care whether we won or lost as long as they got their—they really had good games individually. And that's the disappointing thing. It's going to take a lot to come together next year, and I think the fact we struggled at times this year really led to a really, uh—this corrupt mindset within the locker room. But I think we're going to regroup. I think we'll be a better team because of the trials and tribulations this year."

That's Greg McElroy, talking to a Birmingham radio station on Wednesday. What kills me about that quote isn't just the breathtaking presumptuousness of it—the fact that the guy holding the clipboard for the guy holding the clipboard for the guy holding the clipboard is raining judgment on the souls of his teammates. What kills me is that he sounds so much like, well, a pundit.


Nate, you write a lot about the distorting influence of the media on the game itself. What's happening here feels like the next step: Players have so internalized the stovepiped moralizing and ex post facto scapegoating of the press that they now inflict this stuff on each other. The locker room was "corrupt," says one player. Santonio Holmes was a “cancer,” says another. He wasn't enough of a “leader,” says yet another. You know who they all sound like? Mike Lupica, that's who.

I really don't get all this caterwauling and garment-rending over a perfectly ordinary team like the Jets, anyway. This was a so-so bunch with a so-so-at-best quarterback that had the so-so year a lot of people figured they would have; if the ball bounces the other way a couple times, they go 10-6 and make the playoffs, and everyone calls it a nice season, and no one is delivering encyclicals on Birmingham radio. Do people really think this team is a leader and a couple trust-falls shy of greatness? The Jets are squarely in the NFL's middle class. They have an excellent defense and a smart coach who knows how to use it, and they have way too many defects on the other side of the ball to even approach the Patriots' or the Packers' level. (And for the record, that cancerous wide receiver is better at his job than the quarterback he snubbed, Mark Sanchez.) That sort of team will go 8-8 from time to time; you don't need any metaphysical explanations for that. And yet here we are, talking about "corrupt mindsets." What Nate said about quarterbacks goes for the NFL as a whole. A sport dedicated to the proposition that anyone could go 8-8 in any given season has totally lost the capacity to deal with averageness.

Tommy Craggs is the editor-in-chief of Deadspin.


Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Republicans Like Scott Walker Are Building Campaigns Around Problems That Don’t Exist

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

The Best Way to Organize Your Fridge

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter


Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

Subtle cues from FedEx, Amazon, and others.

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

A No-Brainer Approach to Fighting Poverty: Better Birth Control

  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 16 2014 11:56 AM Iran and the U.S. Are Allies Against ISIS but Aren’t Ready to Admit It Yet
Sept. 16 2014 12:22 PM Poverty Rates Falls for First Time Since 2006, Remains Way Too High
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
Sept. 16 2014 12:05 PM Slim Pickings at the Network TV Bazaar Three talented actresses in three terrible shows.
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 12:01 PM More Than 3 Million Told the FCC What They Think About Net Neutrality. Why Hasn't Obama?
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 16 2014 7:30 AM A Galaxy of Tatooines
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.