by Ryan Duvall ’21
Recently, the NFL is starting to resemble a different sports league, the NBA. Star players in both leagues have reached the “diva” status. Now, you can’t help but compare the past 20 years of the NBA to the NFL. There have been so many similarities, from the divorce of Shaq and Kobe, to the resurgence of trade demands with stars such as Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard doing so in recent years. And worst of all, the new era of players like Kevin Durant leaving the team that drafted them to make superteams. There is a part of this that is a misconception however, as this trend may have been started by the NFL, not the NBA.
It all started in the 1983 NFL Draft. Future Hall-of-Fame quarterback John Elway was the consensus number one pick coming out of Staford. There was only one problem. The Baltimore Colts held the first overall pick and selected Elway after he repeatedly said he wanted to go somewhere else. So, to get his way, Elway threatened to go play baseball in the Major Leagues where he was an early round pick. Finally, the Colts gave in and traded the all-time great to Denver, where he would go on to have success. Now, jump to 2004, when a quarterback coming out of The University of Mississippi is in the same situation as Elway, as Eli Manning is the prime quarterback of this year’s draft. This time, the whole sports world is aware that Manning does not want to be selected by the San Diego Chargers, but the Chargers decide to take him anyways. It proves to be a mistake, as Manning practically weeps his way out of San Diego when he could’ve been happy to be selected. Manning got traded to the New York Giants and is know winding up a Hall-of-Fame caliber career.
And now, in present day we seem to have more of these “divas” than ever before, especially in Pittsburgh. This past season, two of the three members of the Steelers “Killer B’s”, decided to give up on the historic team due to off the field issues. It all started with star running back Le’Veon Bell in the last offseason, when he wasn’t given the amount of money he desired and decided to sit out the entire season. This cost the Steelers a playoff spot for a team that looked like a Super Bowl contender with Bell by their side. The second star, Antonio Brown, who already established himself as an all time great, has recently demanded a trade. The wideout is unhappy with Pittsburgh and reportedly wants out.
It seems like the athletes of our favorite teams have accepted the easy way of doing things, instead of battling it out for championships and staying loyal to their teams and fans.