CSNNE's segment, "The One", asked: What Athlete do you enjoy watching fail the most?
Asking me this question isnt grooving a 3-0 Beckett meatball, its basically putting the ball on a tee for me to hit. If the good people at Comcast Sports Net New England are going to toss me literary BP, the least I can do is take a Rob Deer sized cut right?
In case you havent noticed by now, I tend to extract great joy from the athletic failures of those I find objectionable. So as someone who basically possesses an honorary Ph.D. in Sports Schadenfreude, its my distinct pleasure to offer my thesis on what professional athletes failings I treasure the most.
There are lots of ways to go here. Almost anyone in a Montreal Canadiens sweater, Laker yellow or Yankee pinstripes would be perfectly acceptable responses. LeBron James is almost too easy an answer. Im not quite sure if the New York Jets are a sports franchise or a National Lampoons script treatment so theyll have to be disqualified. And being the consummate patriot, as much as I enjoy his failings in Majors, I can only harvest frustration from Tiger Woods impotent international efforts.
If I am going to be your Sommelier of Suck I must fetch you the finest vintage of failure the world of sports can provide.
And for me, the ecstasy of fail is at its finest when its etched on Peyton Mannings giant bulbous melon.
The Manning face. Its a mask of mishap and a thing of beauty. Nowhere in the world of sports can one find a face so deliciously dejected as that of Peytons after one of his post season offerings is gently nestled in the bosom of an opposing defensive back.
There have been players that have failed famously in the clutchpost season before. There are some, like Tony Romo and Greg Norman, who repeatedly and consistently find ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. But in my opinion, there has never been a player to achieve more in the regular season and less in the postseason than Manning. The only times in his career that hes escaped gut wrenching post season defeat is when his defense corrected his mistakes at a historic level, and when the vertebrae in his neck collapsed under the combined weight of 80 lbs of cranium and a career of disappointment.
One would also be hard pressed to find a more consistent cartel of calamity than Peyton. Out of eleven post season appearances, ten have resulted in the Manning face breaching from a womb of defeat. Of those ten loses, seven of them have been of the one and done variety. When it comes to the post season, Peyton Manning has less staying power than Damone did with Stacey in the Pool house.
Sure you might have pity on Peyton given his cheery off field demeanor and everyman image. I however refuse to forgive him for his part in subverting the once great NFL. Mannings repeated failings at the hands of the Patriots were the impetus for Bill Polians bitching and moaning to the competition committee. The rule changes Polian instigated set off a chain reaction that has emasculated defensive players and changed the NFL for the worse. The likelihood of seeing a defensively dominant team like the 1985 Bears or 2000 Baltimore Ravens obliterate and pillage their way to a Lombardi trophy is almost non-existent now because Peyton Mannings sphincter needed to be defibrillated every time he put his hands under center in January.
You want to experience Nirvana? You want earthly bliss? Watch Peyton Manning get picked off and taken to the house by the Saints Tracey Porter in Super Bowl XLIV (forty four for you non Romans). Not only was it an old testament choke job, but it was precisely the kind of athletic bedwetting that the Colts were trying to prevent when they let Curtis Painter Kevorkian end their perfect season in week fourteen. The Colts knew Manning would fill his depends in the Super Bowl warm ups with the weight of an undefeated season on his shoulders. They did everything in their power to keep Peyton from imploding. But when the Saints pulled ahead late in the 4th quarter, it took less than three minutes for Mannings colon to reach DefCon 1.
It was everything a Manning hater could ask for and more. Not only did you get repeated, multiple angle, high definition Manning face as the Saints celebration began, but you got special directors cut bonus failure as Peyton botched multiple attempts to salvage a garbage time score inside the New Orleans ten yard line. This was nothing less than first ballot, Hall of Fame shrinkage.
This season, Manning is leading Denver to the postseason and once again is an MVP candidate. The recent loss to the San Francisco 49ers has virtually assured that a fourth New Orleans Super Bowl appearance by the Patriots goes through Denver and Peytons Broncos. I couldnt think of a better holiday gift than watching the Patriots march victoriously through Mile High as Peyton and is enormous gourd mope dejectedly to the offseason after once again devolving into a playoff invertebrate.