By Brian Cullen
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Quick thought exercise: when I say “professional athlete,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? LeBron doing that chalky clap thing? Tom Brady’s long, flowing locks? Peyton Manning yukking it up in all the commercials? Ray Lewis giving some kind of nonsensical pre-game speech? All acceptable answers. That’s because, in a society that sees athletes as role models, we’re trained to look for athletes whose personalities match their physical skill. Each of the above accomplishes this with gusto.
But what happens when you have an incredibly gifted athlete who’s just kinda… boring? We don’t know how to handle it. So we watch these athletes rack up championships and we feel ok for them. But we’re never really “passionate” one way or the other. That said: here are our top 5 crazy successful boring athletes.
5. Eli Manning
Full disclosure here: I’m a Patriots fan. So I’m inclined to dislike the Giants after suffering two Super Bowl defeats. (The notable exception is Justin Pugh, who is an awesome fella.) Now, what especially bugged me about the 2012 Super Bowl wasn’t that the Pats lost. That happens. But if they lost to the Saints, 49ers or Packers, I would have said that was a hell of a football season. But instead, they lost to the lifeless Giants, led by Eli “Aw, huckleberries” Manning.
To be perfectly clear, this isn’t Manning sour grapes. I think Peyton Manning is one of the most entertaining quarterbacks to watch – not to mention one of the best players in NFL history. His comedic timing is surprisingly good, as is his business savvy. Buying Papa John’s in a state that just essentially legalized a drug that gives you the munchies is a stroke of genius. But Eli? He’s got a stupid name, he always looks sad, and he’s listless by every definition of the word. By the by, as I write this, the former 0-6 Giants are now 4-6 and I just KNOW they’re going to beat the Pats again in another Super Bowl. Where’s my gin?