As an NFL player playing in the biggest football game known to the free world, the last thing you want to do during Super Bowl week is give your opponent any bulletin board material. Trash talk is not highly recommended.
This year, perhaps because (more likely, in spite of) the two head coaches are brothers, the Ravens and the 49ers managed to do a pretty good job of keeping the other team's bulletin board clean.
Ironically, the 49ers managed to be the first team in the history of the Super Bowl to agitate and troll its own fan base during Super Bowl media sessions.
That's not so good.
It started on Media Day, when 49ers wide receiver and future Hall of Famer (whether you like it or not) Randy Moss decided to opine on his place in wide receiver history, and decided to drag a direct comparison to Jerry Rice into the mix:
Okay, let's start off with the veracity, or lack thereof, of Moss' statement. Jerry Rice is not only the best wide receiver of all time, but he's the only wide receiver who can put together an argument that he is the greatest NFL player of all time. Rice easily wins the "Wikipedia style" argument against Moss, meaning if both guys were to print out and plunk down their respective Wikipedia pages on the table, one can win in a knockout.
Yes. Rice. Checkmate.
That said, Moss is probably the most talented wide receiver of all time. No wide receiver (or perhaps player) has been blessed with the physical gifts of Randy Moss, and this manifested itself going all the way back to high school in West Virginia, when he was a five-star recruit in football and a damn good one in basketball.
When you consider that Moss was so troubled before the NFL that he was committed to or attended three different schools before leaving college early, fell like a stone to 21st in the 1998 draft, and has fallen off the map three different times in his career, the fact that he is still such a statistical beast (2nd in touchdowns, 6th in receiving yards), in a twisted way, speaks to his greatness.
That said, Moss would have been better served taking out a Joe Montana jersey and urinating on it in the middle of his press conference than saying (not even implying, he outright said it) he is a greater player than Jerry Rice.
So there you had it, a Media Day interview where a 49er player inexplicably trolled San Francisco. When would we eve see this happen again?
Well, the answer came 24 hours later.
Backup 49er defensive back Chris Culliver got loose on a show with comedian Artie Lange, and when asked about gay players in NFL locker rooms, he had this to say:
I mean....WOW. In a 54-second span, Chris Culliver managed to secure monster-heel status in San Francisco for the remainder of his career. His point of view, intolerable as it was, was bad enough, but the fact that he plays in SAN FRANCISCO? It was bad enough that you could almost sense Lange's co-host or producer wanting to tackle him.
Unfortunately for Culliver, he followed up his mindless statements with an even worse apology:
"The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel," Culliver said in a statement released by the team. "It has taken me seeing them in print to realize that they are hurtful and ugly. Those discriminating feelings are truly not in my heart. Further, I apologize to those who I have hurt and offended, and I pledge to learn and grow from this experience."
I never knew that there was a distinction between the thoughts in one's head and how that person feels. I thought they were one and the same. So from now on, anytime I say something stupid, I'll attribute it to selecting the "wrong thought that was in my head." I meant to choose a different one to reflect "how I feel."
And if that doesn't work, apparently, I can ask someone to write down what I just said to really gauge the insensitivity. Because seeing it in writing clarifies. If nothing else, Chris Culliver has given husbands and boyfriends a whole new line of excuses to use when we say something insensitive to our significant others.
So as we head to Sunday, the two players 49er fans will hate the most are actually 49ers, and the only groups with bulletin board material are Jerry Rice and the gay community.
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Definitely an odd year for trash talk.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.