The disrespect card has been played so often in sports over the past decade. While the us vs. the world mindset has an obvious benefit of rallying teams together, it’s wreaked havoc on the English language, forcing the word “disrespect” to rapidly adapt its meaning to include anything done by anyone.
Disrespect can happen anywhere, at any time. Even seemingly innocuous events –like a football team choosing what to do after winning a coin toss — must be studied intently to find any seeds of it.
Darian Stewart was on the case yesterday. The Denver Broncos safety noticed the micro-aggression committed by the New England Patriots when they opted to start on offense at the onset of the AFC Championship Game.
"He admitted that the Patriots’ surprise decision to take the ball instead of deferring after winning the opening coin toss had given the Broncos extra motivational ammunition. “Without a doubt,” Stewart said. “That was disrespectful. We knew that going in we felt disrespected. We knew what we had to get done, we wanted to play this game two days ago. We had the fire. “Our reaction was just like ‘really? Ok.’ That’s the way we were. You can get riled up for these games.”"
How dare Bill Belichick opt to put the football directly in the hands of his four-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. How dare he try to jump out to an early lead on the road.
Silencing the haters remained a major incentive foe the Broncos defense as the contest went on because advancing to the biggest football game in the world just wasn’t enough reason to win.
"Denver’s defensive backs coach Joe Woods constantly reminded his group that they had been dismissed by the critics throughout a second half where Tom Brady and company attempted to engineer a spirited fightback. “Coach Woods had (the comments of doubters) in his pocket the whole game, just to keep reminding us that you cant sleep on this team, we are going to rise up every time,” added Stewart, who also weighed in on colleague Derek Wolfe’s comments from last week that he “hates” everything about the Patriots."
Hope the Carolina Panthers see these comments and think twice about winning the coin toss in two weeks. Really more of a burden than a reward when feelings this fragile are involved.
Image via USA Today Sports