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Until You Win A Ring, The Critics Will Sing

Ronald Martinez, Getty Images

Over the last 24 hours, I’ve watched everyone hammer LeBron James for having a bad NBA Finals series against Dallas.

I’ve also watched everyone praise Dirk Nowitzki for his MVP performance. 

Does anyone remember Dirk’s clutch skills prior to the 2011 post-season?

Neither do I.

And that’s my point here.  Winning a championship ring gives you a free pass for having a bad game or season.

Tom Brady hasn’t won a playoff game in 3 years (since the Patriots Super Bowl run in 2007) but because he’s won 3 Super Bowl rings, he’s still the best QB in the NFL.  He was horrible in his last two playoff losses (to the Ravens and the Patriots).

Derek Jeter is having a sub-par year and has been on the decline for a few years. He’s also getting older. But because he’s got 5 World Series rings, it’s sac-religious to talk negatively about the Captain.

Winning a ring erases all previous poor performances.

No one remembers Dirk Nowitzki’s 2006 NBA Finals no-show. For 5 years, he had a reputation of a soft player that couldn’t get it done in the clutch.  He goes off in the 2011 NBA Playoffs, wins a title and is named MVP and he’s now being compared to Larry Bird!  6 months ago, did you think that?

Peyton Manning has gone 2-4 in the playoffs over the last 4 years. He was pretty bad in all 4 of those losses. But because he won the Super Bowl in 2006, all is forgotten.

Winning a title also gives you the benefit of the doubt – both on and off the field.

Al Bello, Getty Images

After Ben Rothlesburger’s first rape accusation, people though, “Oh, she was crazy”.  But two rape accusations, “Ok, MAYBE” he did it”.  But he still was the starting quarterback for the Steelers.  He still was welcome back to Pittsburgh because he won a ring.  Ben was one win away from being forgiven for everything because he nearly won a Super Bowl.

The fact of the matter is: guys that win a title oftentimes have more bad seasons than good ones but the ring blinds that fact.

Most Giants fans are so blinded by the fact that Eli Manning won a Super Bowl, they don’t realize he’s nothing more than an above-average QB at best.  But the Eli defenders will say, “Yeah….but he won a Super Bowl”. 

Brett Favre is the poster child for this theory.  Let’s see – that guy was addicted to pills, lied to 2 teams about retiring, completely tore a teams’ chemistry apart several times, set every bad record a QB can have (fumbles, INT’s), allegedly sexually harassed multiple women (some of which were co-workers), his sister was arrested for running a meth lab in her condo. Oh yeah, he was awful on the field this year too.  But because he won a title back in the mid-90’s, it’s all good.

Wake up people! Don’t be blinded by the bling!

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