When ESPN's Tom Jackson shot down Michael Irvin's "Manning vs. Manning" commentary last week with the moderately offensive "Are you retarded?" question, a few were a little taken aback.
Yes, Jackson could've been more sensitive by calling Irvin "mentally challenged," or "a mongoloid" or, even better, attempted to make his comment more complimentary, like, by calling him the much more inspirational "fat-tongued hero."
But, retard it was. And aside from The Internets, it seems to have been overlooked greatly by much of mainstream media. Maybe it was glanced over because of Jackson's quick and seemingly sincere apology — or maybe it was understood that his insensitive remark was merely playful banter. Or maybe, just maybe, the shackles of political correctness have finally been removed from NFL analytical debates. For the sake of this week's column, let's assume that's the case.
So, I'm ironing my Chris Burke jersey, strapping on my safety helmet and setting odds on the next exchange of thoughtless insults we're bound to see this season in upcoming weeks.
Steady your drool cups, it's time to jump.
Bob Costas insults Peter King: 8/1
Topic: Should Mike Shanahan bench Jake Plummer for Jay Cutler?
"I say, no, Bob, because remember that Plummer's the guy that led this team to the AFC championship last year. I say, if you bench Jake, you're pretty much sending a message to the team that you're folding up the tents on the season if you go to Cutler this early."
"Well, it's obvious, Peter, that your love for Jake Plummer is based solely on the fact that he's one of the only quarterbacks in the league that has yet to have sex with your daughter, Mary Beth."
"You heard me. I clicked on her My Space page and now my finger has Chlamydia. Onto the AFC North..."
Mike Golic insults Mark Schlereth: 6/1
Topic: Fact or Fiction: Is Reggie Bush a lock for rookie of the year?
"Fact. Charley Casserly single-handedly set this franchise back about 10 years when he picked Mario Williams. Reggie Bush is the most explosive offensive player to come into the league since Barry Sanders and could very well be the guy that makes the Saints a perennial Super Bowl contender for years to come."
"Fiction, you misguided Mexican. Reggie Bush has played exactly four games in the NFL and already people are making him out to be Jesus Christ. You've got burritos for brains if you think Bush will even be the best running back to come out of this year's rookies, let alone the best overall."
"Hey, I was born in Alaska..."
"Well, then, I'll personally take your mother on a dogsled ride in my pants if Bush wins Rookie of the Year, okay, Nanuk? FICTION."
Shannon Sharpe Insults Dan Marino: 4/1
Topic: Chad Johnson's End Zone Celebrations
"Hey, I'm all for having fun out there. It's just this 'Me, me, me' stuff that gets a little tired. It undermines the other 10 guys out on the field who busted their butts to get you in that end zone."
"Come on, Dan?! You Italian, right? You telling me Italians don't get excited? Tell me you didn't get excited when you was little and your Moms would come out with that big, ol' bowl of spaghetti and salami and shit for Sunday dinner?
"I don't understand what that has to do with anyth...?"
"I'm. Just. Saying. That. Italian. People. Like. To. Dance. Too. I betchoo if I had a tray of cannolis in front of me right now you'd be doing motherfuckin' back flips."
Sean Salisbury Insults Merril Hoge: 1/5
Topic: Who will win the NFC North?
"I know things aren't going well now, but if you put Aaron Rodgers under center, this is a team that could easily run the table. Rodgers might be the best kept secret in football and under the tutelage of Favre, he could do lots of things — especially with a deep threat like Koren Robinson and the addition of Vernand Morency in the backfield, this is a potent offensive team. And if they don't do it this year, my money's on the 2007 Packers to go 16 and 0 on the way to victory in Super Bowl 42."
"Exactly how much lead paint was in your mother's tit when she breast fed you?"
(Shakes head. Laughs.)
"Every time you speak, I take this pen and stab myself in the thigh underneath the desk to stop myself from choking you."
(Shakes head. Laughs.)
"Honestly, I hope you get face cancer and eaten by a rabid cheetah."