Below is this week's Oregon Sports News column. You can find my other OSN columns at http://www.oregonsportsnews.com/author/damian-oleksiuk/.
Every NFL quarterback’s success is heavily impacted by their relationship with the football. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning… they know how to treat a football, taking it out for fancy seafood dinners and throwing it to soft-handed receivers.
On the conch (short for contrary, will totally catch on), some younger QB/football relationships aren’t as solid. Take for instance Jay Cutler and his relationship with his football. They aren’t as established and allow the media to impact their relationship in a negative way like whoever Jen Aniston’s dating at the time and whoever is trying to steal away whoever Jen Aniston’s dating at the time. Too soon? Too late?!?! In some cases, relationships are given so much early praise and hype, ahem, Ryan Leaf, that the only place it can possibly go is down. Disaster ensues, deep scars are made, and the quarterback sometimes ends up never establishing a real, meaningful relationship with any number of different footballs.
Coming off an arguably successful season, the Seahawks decided to roll the dice, sparking a relationship between Tavaris Jackson and a Seahawk football, ending that football’s relationship with former Seattle signal-caller Matt Hasselbeck. For clarity’s sake, we’ll name this football “Ms. Pigskin.” Matt and Ms. Pigskin’s relationship wasn’t incredible, although it had its moments and was deemed “safe.”
After feeling out the change, Tavaris and Ms. Pigskin’s relationship hit rocky waters. As with any new quarterback/football couple, the QB usually needs at least a full training camp to create a good foundation for the relationship. Unfortunately, Tavaris and Ms. Pigskin had to rush into things, leaving opportunity for negativity to creep in. Cue image of an arranged marriage couple on their 10th anniversary… when they’re 17.
After Week 1
“Hey… Tavaris?” shakily said Ms. Pigskin.
“What’s up, sweetheart?” asked Tavaris.
Tavaris and Ms. Pigskin have had a tough go. The writing was on the wall for Ms. Pigskin. She needed to be frank.
“Tavaris, I have something to tell you.”
“Ok…” said Tavaris.
No answer from Ms. Pigskin.
“Well, what is it?” Tavaris asked, frustrated.
“Tavaris, do you promise you love me no matter what?”
“Umm… yeah? Why?”
“Well Tavaris, I’ve been thinking…”
“You know I hate it when you say that…”
“Stop it Tavaris. I have something to say – you make me… you… make me… Tavaris, you incomplete me.”
“Don’t say that,” Tavaris pouted.
“But Tavaris, it’s true. I knew it was bad, but until I looked up the stats, I just really had no idea how terrible things were.”
“You went behind my back and looked up my stats?”
“I did. You left them up on your laptop. I read them and there it was: You only complete me 59% of the time.”
“Ms. Pigskin, you’ve gotta understand what I’ve been going through.”
“I do understand, but I also know that sometimes… well… sometimes it’s time for a change.”
“No! Ms. Pigksin! Don’t say it. Don’t you dare say it.”
“I still have feelings for Matt. I know he moved off to Tennessee and all, but it wasn’t his choice, T. And then you stepped in, and it was a whirlwind of emotion, and I just haven’t been myself. I need a chance to breathe; I haven’t hit turf this much since I was with Charlie*.”
Tavaris stared blankly, dumbfounded. After a minute, he got up and poured himself a scotch.
*Mr. Whitehurst, of course
After Week 2
“So?” Tavaris asked.
“Football – I’m talking to you. So?”
“So what?” said Ms. Pigskin.
“So what did you think?”
“What do I think of what?”
“My completions. Last week you complained about my completions, and this week I completed you almost 70% of the time! That’s 10% higher than last week!”
“AND?!?!?! AND is all you have to say?”
“Well yeah, you made some completions, but they didn’t mean anything,” said a pretentious Ms. Pigskin.
“They didn’t mean anything?”
“Tavaris, I didn’t end up in the endzone once. It’s like you sent me a dozen wilted roses. It’s a nice gesture, but they’re all gross. They’re ugly. I appreciate the effort on your throws, but I wanna see more from you than that.”
“Ugh. I can never win with you…” mumbled Tavaris.
“What was that?” she snapped.
“I said ‘I’ll try’ honey. I’ll try.”
After Week 3
Ms. Pigskin is hastily preparing breakfast.
Tavaris is sitting hunched over the kitchen table, sipping an irish coffee, slowly swirling it with his spoon. The room was otherwise quiet.
“UGH!” grunts Ms. Pigskin and storms out of the kitchen.
After Week 4
Tavaris wakes up feeling like hell.
“Muhhh,” he mumbles. What happened last night? he thought.
Then, he flashed back: Plenty of completions, three touchdowns, a couple picks… overall Ms. Pigskin and I had some nice chemistry, proudly thought Jackson. But then… hmm… well… the team got sloppy drunk after that tough loss. I guess we needed to let off some steam, thought Jackson. Jameson, Jager, tequila… did I eat the worm? Man, my head is killing me, he thought. He could barely remember a thing.
Jackson rolled over and rubbed his eyes clear of gook and thought, “at least me and Ms. Pigskin got some really nice complet…” His pupils then focused, and he saw Ms. Pigskin spooning with Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin.