Last football season, we were inundated with hyperbole aggrandizing Baker Mayfield's toughness. He was, as we were so often reminded, playing through a hurt shoulder and, by gawd, what a guttsy performance it was, as his teammate Case Keenum so eloquently stated.
Turns out Baker Mayfield, the fighter, the tough guy, the gutsy gunslinger, is as soft as warm butter, because, while he can play through what no doubt was a painful injury, he can't take a few boo birds from the crowd.
Yes sir, our modern-day Dirty Harry went on a podcast the other day and said he wants to go and boo people at their work and watch them crumble, which is about the weakest shit I've ever heard because if I got paid millions of dollars to blog, you could come and boo me anytime you want Baker. Hell, give me $100,000 and you can boo me for an entire week.
That statement tells you more about Mayfield than him playing through a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, an injury he caused, by the way, while foolishly trying to tackle a DB who intercepted one of his many wayward passes. If you can't take the boo birds taking flight because your team isn't winning and you're throwing up ducks for the opposing team to pluck out of the air, pro football ain't for you bud. There's no sensitivity in this sport. Only results. If you don't get them, you deserve to get booed.
Ironically, this came just days after Sam Darnold said, "What if I was like, 'The house you just worked on, piece of shit. You're so bad at tiling. You should really go get another job. Really think about your profession.' Sometimes you want to say stuff like that, but you can't."
Uh, you just did Sam.
Much like Mayfield walking it back in the audio above, Darnold tried to thread the needle with this analogy and, like most times he tries to thread the needle, missed badly. Do you think your local tile guy would care if you said his work sucked if he got paid the $18.8 million Darnold will make this year? No. They'd get back to work and try to improve their product. They wouldn't bitch about getting exactly what they signed up for and are paid handsomely for when they started the job.
I have no doubt both Mayfield and Darnold are physically tough humans. You have to be to stand in the pocket and get crushed by physical freaks of nature like Aaron Donald. But these crybabies whining in public illuminates more about their true character than all the times they dust themselves off ever will.
It tells you they listen too much and can't take the justifiable criticism coming their way from fans. It also tells you they don't trust their process as much as someone like Tom Brady. That man welcomes boos, he welcomes criticism, he welcomes it all. Because that the end of the day, Brady doesn't care what I think or what you think or what anyone thinks. He knows he's put the work in to succeed and if people don't like that it's their problem.
Mayfield and Darnold don't have that mentality, at least not yet. They're vainer. They're egotistical. And when a fan questions their ability, they believe they have the right to do the same. Only difference is one person is being paid millions and the other is a blue-collar worker. I'd take the latter over the former in a toughness competition any day of the week.