“You complete me”. The year was 1996 and I was fifteen years old when Jerry stood in front of Dorothy and said those three magic words. Now though, I have my own thoughts about whether or not Jerry Maguire (or any Tom Cruise movie beyond Top Gun for that matter) is any good, I do have to admit that quote was an unforgettable expression about finding one’s soul mate. Which naturally, made me think about football.
If Dorothy completed Jerry, isn’t it possible that some wide receivers or running backs or tight ends or offensive linemen complete some quarterbacks? What happens when their better half goes missing, goes injured, goes to another team? I think we’ve seen it all this year….
2009-2010 Sidney Rice/Brett Favre bromance: It was about week 3 or 4 of last season and Favre threw a perfect spiral towards the back o the end-zone, effortlessly caught by the lanky Sidney Rice. Rice gave Favre the perfect target, a big guy who can fight for jump balls, fast enough to beat out single man coverage, yet without compromising an ounce of athleticism. It was a match made in football heaven and the world watched as Favre revived himself, his career, in an amazing season with the Vikings. It may not have ended the way he would have liked, but after (much) deliberation, he returned for another season. Sidney Rice had other plans. He elected to get hip surgery (which he probably would have needed at some point this season anyways) which took him out of commission and on the PUP list for most of the season. I don’t know if Favre knew, but whatever the case, Favre has not been able to recreate that chemistry with any other receiver. They though Shiancoe would be it, then he wasn’t. They brought in Randy Moss, who didn’t work out, then let him go. Percy Harvin has been hot and cold and Favre can’t get into the groove. The Viking’s season (and Brett Favre’s twilight years) are spiraling out of control at this point. They say Rice will be back mid-November, and it may be too late to rekindle the flame.
Jerry Rice and Joe Montana/Steve Young: Need I say more? Jerry Rice, arguably one of the best receivers ever to play in the NFL seemed to just make everyone around him better. He and Joe Montana had amazing stats and no one though it could get any better. Then he and Steve Young also brought amazing chemistry to the field. Maybe it’s because Joe Montana and Steve Young were amazing in and of themselves. But it says something for a receiver to not only improve late in his career, but seamlessly transition from one QB to the other with only a bright future ahead of him. Montana was already a star when Jerry Rice arrived, but there is no doubt that the pair helped each other reach that higher level of play and fame.
Tom Brady and every New England receiver: I blame the hair, but the Pats and Brady are not clicking this season. First, it was the hype of Wes Welker, coming back from ACL/MCL surgery weeks sooner than most, starting off strong, now just trickling off in terms of yardage and especially yards after the catch. Then it was Randy Moss (see above), who just refused to click with Brady this season, barely catching anything compared to seasons past (and was then released). Then they brought in Deion Branch, which seemed to work out for about two weeks, but Branch has now faded a little too. And lastly, the Pats said they had all these bright shining new stars to groom into a team. Well, that might be true, but the frustration on Brady’s face during the Browns/Patriots game last week was the picture of hell. A quarterback, whose poorly thrown passes were bouncing off of his receivers’ hands and chests like they were coated in teflon. It wasn’t pretty. Tom Brady has gone from superstar athlete to barely acceptable QB on a mediocre AFC team, mostly because of the inconsistent play at receiver. And naturally, I blame the hair.
Larry Fitzgerald and Derek Anderson: It just isn’t clicking. Larry Fitzgerald started this season as one of the most hyped up athletes, with hands so good they made an ESPN Sportscenter commercial based around him catching uncatchable things around the office and he appeared on ESPN hanging upside down catching balls to prove he was healthy and ready to go (youtube that one if you haven’t seen it). But Fitzgerald has fizzled this season, most would agree, due to the swap from Kurt Warner to Derek Anderson. Fitzgerald no longer catches passes like he used to. The Cardinals are miserable and everyone is pointing the finger at the lack of chemistry between Fitzgerald and Anderson. Maybe Fitzgerald SHOULD be SO good that he can catch any meatball Anderson throws him, no matter how off-base or high or low. Maybe that’s what we expect from the NFL’s best. But this just goes to show you how weakness at QB can really affect a receiver’s value, and image.
None of this should be shocking to you…there are plenty more examples.
So here I am, sitting in a hotel in Pittsburgh getting ready to watch a good friend from college get married to the man she loves. I look at them and they’re very different, inside and out. But something tells me they are a perfect match (just too bad she’s a Steeler’s fan).