No joy in football

One bit of hiatus news: the football league that gives way to the basketball league that birthed FreeDarko had its draft yesterday. The Recluse struck one for the cause by selecting Chad Johnson in Round One, but looking over the rosters after the smoke had cleared, I can't say anyone's bit me as an embodiment of style. You all remember, of course, the promising but ultimately abysmal cast we put together for our entry in the blogger basketball league; honestly, I would've had a hard time making something this perfect even if I'd had my choice of players.

Over the course of things, though, I was making a mental list of a team that it would at least be whoppingly fun to call my own. About all I could come up with before spiralling off into dismality was:

Portis, Clinton (always my favorite, and I just found out that myself and Kid Bro Sweets call the same special candy home) (thanks to Just Sayin' for leading me to look that way)

Smith, Steve

Gates, Antonio

Bush, Reggie

Johnson, Andre

Jones, Matt

. . . none of which found their way onto my somber, if effective, end result. If anyone's wondering, I ended up with some combination of Alexander, Holt (now boof-ready), Ronnie Brown, Bulger, Javon Walker, Crumpler, Lee Evans, Eddie Kennison, and those later rounds that hardly exist. I've apparently decided to save my devilish streak for hoops, but should at least be marginally competitive all season. And within the maddeningly intense halls of fantasy football, that is the flame that burns so brightly the whole stretch through.

All of this might just be a roundabout way of asking the age-old question: are any football players FreeDarko? Or are they so much the exception to the rule, their FreeDarko-ness so much an accessory to some other, alien craft, that to harp on the few who exhibit it is to more or less avoid the sport as it's naturally constructed.


At 8/10/2006 1:53 PM, Blogger T. said...

sorry to hijack your post shoals, but i thought there'd be some interest in the blogs of the players who participated in seeds of peace.


etan thomas, holding it down.

to make it slightly relevant - Celebration TO (not villian TO) is pretty FreeDarko. But I think there's a lot less FreeDarkoness in football, simply because there aren't very many Europeans. (Sebastian Janikowski being the foremost exception)

cbxupapr - Chauncey Billups crosses up a Puerto Rican - previews of Beijing '08? or just Pistons practice from two years ago?

At 8/10/2006 6:48 PM, Anonymous donnn nelson said...

I'd say Mike Vick is pretty FD, given the heat he's been known to take for not being a Right Way quarterback. Possibly Randy Moss, definitely Julius Peppers, maybe even Ricky Williams if we want to get goofy with it, but QB seems like the only position where players have the latitude to express style at all on a regular basis.

Another threadjack, but also in the "is X FreeDarko" vein, going back to a comment on another thread: The New Pornographers are FD to the extent that the Mavericks are. (And given the posts this summer, I got the sense the Mavs are mostly FD.) The NPs embody the Mavs philosophy like no other band in that they take turns carrying the load, they're all capable of doing so, and they're fine with that arrangement (Bejar's their third option! and I think their drummer is Stackhouse.) They're subject to a certain Right Way-ism (Avery's coaching, Carl Newman's songwriting) but it's Right Way with a twist and thus the end result is far from rigid/boring.

WV - nrmrem = nevermind, R.E.M.

At 8/10/2006 8:50 PM, Blogger Captain Caveman said...

Football and FreeDarko: what a magnificent union. Still, what a travesty that the NFL and FD join hands ever so briefly, and the first two commenters try to steer the conversation elsewhere?

Reggie Bush, Portis, Steve Smith, and Mike Vick are all obviously FD, and I like the inclusion of Matt Jones as "stereotypically and ideally tall and fast receiver who happens to be white."

It's certainly not limited to quarterbacks; I'd posit that any player whose excess of athleticism allows him to transcend or redefine his position qualifies as a FreeDarko athlete. Barry Sanders. Walter Payton. Donnn's call of Julius Peppers falls here; I would add Julian Peterson to this list and keep an eye on Vernon Davis. And there's a case for Sean Taylor as the player who could become one of the best safeties ever, as long as he stays out of jail.

At 8/10/2006 10:18 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

it's weird, in basketball i balk at simply calling every really "black" and/or flashy and/or dominant and/or hyper-athletic player FD. mostly because there's such a complicated, tawdry conversation surrounding that in the realm of nba criticism. when it comes to the nfl, though, i'll be as vulgar and simplistic about it as is mortally possible. . .and spend the whole season feeling all the better for it.

btw i have liked about two new pornographers songs in my entire life. and destroyer is done, too, as far as this once-obsessive fan is concerned.

At 8/10/2006 10:18 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

oh and vernon davis is the fucking truth

At 8/10/2006 10:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Rams (neƩ Harvard) QB
Byron Leftwich
Onterrio Smith (wonder if he and Troubled Griffin ever crossed paths in Minny?)
Vince Young
Freddie Mitchell
The 49ers coach who wanted to wear a suit on the sidelines but couldn't because it wasn't made by Reebok

At 8/10/2006 11:17 PM, Blogger O.D.B. said...

So why not create your own FD fantasy system: points for touchdown dances, stylish cleats, hair styles, relevant fines from the league, press conferences as Sly and The Family Stone...the NFL's so not FD that I can't think of many, but maybe you could come up with something.

At 8/10/2006 11:21 PM, Anonymous donnn nelson said...

Another problem with FDizing the NFL is that not only are there no Euros, there are no HS players. The 3-year rule and lack of alternatives to the NCAA pretty much guarantee that anyone coming into the NFL is more of a known commodity than the most intriguing NBA prospects have been of late. This is the opposite of a league of potential.

Since the entries so far had been more in the "Amare" category, I tried to think of who the J.R. Smiths would be, but it's hard to say. Philip Rivers? that was just a matter of time and contract. And we saw enough of him in college to have an idea of what to expect.

Is there an NFLer who obviously ought to be turned loose or Diaw'd into a system that knows how to use his talents?

At 8/11/2006 12:24 AM, Blogger Captain Caveman said...

Is there an NFLer who obviously ought to be turned loose or Diaw'd into a system that knows how to use his talents?

We witnessed it last year a little when Gibbs realized Portis wasn't John Riggins; however, we'd already seen what Portis was capable of in Denver, so I'm sure that negates the effect somewhat. I think that because of the more specialized positions in football, any J.R. Smithism is going to be subtle. (Bear with me as I cite Seahawks; I go with what I know.) For example -- torn Achilles notwithstanding -- San Francisco's new, more restrictive 3-4 would have inhibited Julian Peterson's ability to use his speed to play all over field; Seattle's 4-3 puts that to better use. Similarly, Bobby Engram, a largely unimpressive #2 WR, excels from the slot. Nothing too mind-blowing in those revelations. I think the specificity of football's positions largely eliminates the possibility of "backup for the Hawks becomes All-Star-caliber player on the Suns."

However, this does remind me of one Diaw who was never set free until he'd lost a step: John Elway. Fucking Dan Reeves kept the magic locked up.

At 8/11/2006 12:29 AM, Blogger T. said...

the problem with trying to fit the Diaw tag in the No-Fun-League is that you inevitably end up with the conclusion that Kurt Warner fits the model best.

And Kurt Warner is Larry Brown to the actual Darko Milicic.

Here's a revolutionary thought - I know college hoops has never been the favorite of the FD universe - but what about college gridiron?

Marshawn Lynch - hyphy, gives interviews in his GRILL, attends Berkeley (and is reportedly at least an average student), well spoken, well liked. I know if he had a car, he'd be ghostriding at a sideshow.

At 8/11/2006 12:58 AM, Blogger skinny said...

football and FD...hines ward? converted qb, unconventionally physical for a wr, spends 6 nights a week at bare elegance?

At 8/11/2006 1:13 AM, Anonymous Aaron said...

Let's face it. Deion was the only FD football player and he will remain that way forever. Nobody was ever like Deion and nobody ever will be.

At 8/11/2006 2:02 AM, Blogger Dan Laugharn said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8/11/2006 2:05 AM, Blogger Dan Laugharn said...

The '85 Bears were FD. Winning, rapping, dancing, and playing the saxophone.

At 8/11/2006 7:44 AM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

no, no, no. deion and the '85 bears are not freedarko. not at all. to suggest so indicates a severe misunderstanding of the freedarko mission.

i don't really follow the NFL, but i'm glad to hear hines ward and phillip rivers's names come up in this thread, as they're both on my fantasy team. rivers was like my second to last pick, so i figured why not take a chance on the kid?

this marshawn character intrigues me.

also, i never thought i'd say this, but i like the most recent new pornographers a lot more than the most recent destroyer.

At 8/11/2006 7:53 AM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

all right, jim mcmahon might have been freedarko, and i guess sweetness, too. but, not the whole team. they were too, i don't know, mainstream to be freedarko.

given the nature of freedarko's individuals rather than team brand of fandom, it's hard for entire teams to be freedarko, but i think the obvious touchstone for all of us is the fab five.

mv: mqzacc = marquis, zaza, chris crawford

At 8/11/2006 10:27 AM, Blogger GentleWhoadie9000 said...

god, peyton manning is such an asshole

At 8/11/2006 10:30 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i'm ambivalent about vick's FD-ness the same way i am iverson's. too obvious, too easy, and sticking up for him as a player gets indefensible and tedious a lot of the time. and, as someone who has spent a ton of time watching both, there's something vaguely disappointing about them: vick makes so many errors that are neither grandioise nor tragic, just plain incompetent; iverson takes at least 8 shots a game that are petty and stubborn.

At 8/11/2006 10:33 AM, Anonymous nitro said...

What about Bo Jackson?

At 8/11/2006 10:40 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

VY=when and what if.

WV=fxkai (sexy white trombonist)

At 8/11/2006 11:23 AM, Anonymous tieguy said...

Surely Barry Sanders was FD, no? The potential that any touch would turn into a work of art... the individual brilliance (despite the hindrance of being in such a team sport)... the sheer Barry-ness of it in his prime. Maybe Marino/Duper/Clayton in their prime, too- no motion from Marion, but the arm was so pure and spectacular, and the recievers so good that you never knew what was going to come out of it.

At 8/11/2006 11:30 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i wasn't even touching history, but yeah, sanders, sayers, jim brown, deacon jones, and LT

At 8/11/2006 11:30 AM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

i'm voting YES for barry sanders. my favorite running back of all time.

At 8/11/2006 12:56 PM, Blogger R.G. said...

What about the early 90s Run and Shoot Houston Oilers as the poster team of FD, NFL? Think about it, you had an offensive system that basically turned the NFL on it's head and a (Hall of Fame) qb that distributed the rock with reckless abandon.

At 8/11/2006 1:10 PM, Blogger skinny said...

the 85 bears are to legendary wacky football teams what paul wall is to texas rap.

At 8/11/2006 1:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok i apologize for bringing up a sore subject, off-topic, but maybe it relates to what is or is not FD. maybe someone caught this earlier, but reading a back issue of TIME, d-wade listened to em's 'lose yourself' before finals game 6.

not FD.

At 8/11/2006 1:19 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

part of me has always believed that players i like are the kind that you don't have to know basketball to appreciate; even more true for football, and ten thousand times more true for sanders.

and that's not because i don't understand the game (football, less so) but because the phrase CHANGE THE GAME still means something around me


At 8/11/2006 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brett Favre is NFL's Gilbert Arenas.

At 8/11/2006 4:13 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

that had better not be the last comment anyone leaves before the weekend starts.

At 8/11/2006 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, smelled the rage boiling as soon as that post dropped.

Brett Favre is like the NFL's Timmy D - all Right Way, no soul. Any empathy I might have felt for Favre's game left this earth with his dad. Sorry dude.

Wouldn't presume to name an NFL-equivalent Arenas. Though I get something of the same vibe from TJ Houshmanzadeh.

At 8/11/2006 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, finally understood what wv - ptztggn is all about!!

At 8/11/2006 6:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't agree anon5:00. There's few players in pro sports, much less the NFL, that are more thoughtful and candid about their sport than Favre. I guess the Arenas comparison is a bit weak but an AI comparison is reasonable.

At 8/11/2006 7:11 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

yes, favre is not the company man. but comparing him to iverson? that's like saying that patton and eldridge cleaver are both great american outlaws.

At 8/12/2006 3:11 AM, Anonymous spider said...

85 Bears, Walter Payton, LT ... the common thread to some of you may be "These guys are freedarko", but my immediate reaction is "All of these guys later got involved with the World Wrestling Federation." Maybe that confirms their freedarko-ness?

At 8/12/2006 11:12 AM, Anonymous tieguy said...

I am seeking further FD enlightenment, so I must ask the gurus: is Chad Johnson FD?

At 8/12/2006 11:57 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

first image in post: chad johnson in front of the lambo

first player mentioned in post: chad johnson

i'd say that's a yes

At 8/12/2006 11:41 PM, Anonymous Carlos Destrroyo said...

Mike McMahon as a darkhorse FD candidate? The guy comes in as a 5th round pick, has a cannon, no accuracy, and is willing to run on every play and take a big hit.

I say he's the Stro Swift of football, minus high draft position; he's always seemed like a good idea, but he gets worse every year he plays.

At 8/13/2006 10:40 AM, Blogger Sparkles*_* said...

Peep game: The Inaugural Psychedelic Kimchi Posse Draft:




At 8/14/2006 12:11 AM, Anonymous throwawayidentity said...

Any nerd who that's into football should wander over to footballoutsiders.com.

Secondly, Portis is very much freedarko. Anyone hear about those news-conferences he did in character last season. I remember finding some footage of him in some sort of shaft-ish costume refusing to answer to any other name than the character. He did this for half of last season with 3-5 completely different characters. The man is a bit (just a bit) Something.

As far as taking FD to football, it's harder than I thought it would be. I was going to try to come up with a FD fantasy team, but had trouble. Not really sure why. Vick does seem too easy, and I'm still (after some time reading FD) a little unsure about what it means.

At this point, does anyone, including shoals, even know what FD is anymore? It seems like the more it's been discussed, the murkier it's become. I feel the same way when I babble philosophy with my fellow over-educated drunks. Discussion only blurs what was obvious from the beginning. The farther we get down the road, the less we know where we're going.

That said, I think that Portis is certainly FD. I would add Steve Smith and Troy Polamalu to the NFL FD list.

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