As a member of the media I try to stay even-keeled on the teams I cover. It’s journalism 101: leave the bias at home. But every so often there’s a moment that creates such a genuine, organic response where the journalist has no choice but to succumb to the grips of fanhood.
I was at a local sports bar, following my fantasy football team on their way to championship game appearance when the moment hit me in the face. It happened in the 45-19 drumming of the New York Jets in Philadelphia with 4:42 left in the first half. Mark Sanchez found a wide open Santonio Holmes for a 25-yard touchdown. Already down 28-3, most Jets fans were already drowning their sorrows in $10 Coors Light pitcher knowing the game was too far out of reach to celebrate the score.
One of the captains of the Jets, Holmes, did not have that same feeling. Following the score he did the “Flight Boy” soar before taunting the Eagles by imitating their infamous “Fly Eagles Fly” celebration. Holmes was penalized for excessive celebration, pushing the Jets back 15-yards on the ensuing kickoff.
That’s when I lost it. My friends, who were there only for the beer specials and free pool, didn’t pick up on the distasteful act but did notice my uproarious reaction to it. I slammed my fist on the wobbling table, spilling the beer over scattered remnants of buffalo wings while doing my best Seth Myers impression. “Really Santonio Holmes? Really?! You’re going to celebrate after only being 18 points down? Really?!!”
Think this is just a fabricated story just to support my case? Check my Twitter (@Wesley_Sykes). In fact, check any one of the many Jets Nation members on the social medium. It was a consensus #SMH moment. And as long as we’re being honest, honestly I’m a Patriots fan at heart. One would think I would revel in such a bone head play by my favorite team’s bitter rival. But I was infuriated by his selfishness.
The kicker of it all? For all intents and purposes, Holmes was the one of the big reasons the Jets lost the game. On the Jets first drive of the game, Sanchez found Holmes for a seven-yard gain before coughing up the ball and watching the robust Joqua Parker return it 47 yards for the first score of the game. On the following drive, after the Jets got a gift fumble recovery, Holmes tips a pass from Sanchez that was more than catchable only to have it fall in the hands of Asante Samuel. Two bad plays resulting in 14 points, and in return, sucking the life out of a Jets offense that has been rolling as of late.
Holmes wears the “C” on his chest, usually standing for captain. But on this day the “C” stood for conceited. Head coach Rex Ryan rewarded Holmes’ 2010 performance with giving him the leadership role, but still has yet to live up to his captain title. Earlier in the season he publicly bashed his teammates, questioning the offensive line, his coordinator and quarterback. Hardly a sign of a leader.
In an age where it seems more about the name of the back of the jersey than the front, Holmes needs to know that not every time is “Tone Time”.
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