Albert Einstein is often credited with the saying, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” The adage could also be applied to football fans and analysts that annually “go insane” about any positive thing that happens during a meaningless preseason game.
But, on Tuesday morning, former NFLer and current ESPN analyst Harry Douglas took the cake during a segment on First Take, as the discussion was about Jameis Winston’s Monday night performance, in which he appeared to lock up the Saints starting quarterback job by going 9-for-10 for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
Douglas: “But, Max (Kellerman), you should have never doubted him in the first place.”
Kellerman: “You should never compare him to Peyton Manning.”
Douglas: “How do you know? How do you know what Jameis Winston is going to be down the line?”
After 15 minutes of football, Douglas is speaking this way about a 27-year-old quarterback that didn’t start a game last season. The year prior, he ended his tenure with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with his 30th interception: a game- and season-ending pick-six.
Talent has never been the issue when it comes to Winston, as he finished the 2019 season with 33 passing touchdowns and 5,000 yards. And if we’re being honest, his numbers from his first five years in the league are similar to Manning’s, as Chuck Modiano pointed out for Deadspin last year:
Peyton vs. Jameis Stats first 5 years:
Peyton: 20,618 passing yards; 138 TDs, 100 INTs, 62.1 Completion percentage.; 85.9 QB rating; 4.9 TD rate; 3.5 INT rate
Jameis: 19,737 passing yards; 121 TDs, 88 INTs, 61.3 Completion percentage 86.9 QB rating; 4.7 TD rate; 3.5 INT rate
Just because a kitten and a lion are both in the feline family, it doesn’t mean they’re the same animal. If you want to understand why Winston has been doubted, it’s because of all the questions he has caused us to ask about him.
Are we supposed to forget about the crab leg situation in college that led us to wonder about his leadership?
Or what about the federal lawsuit he decided to settle after he was accused of sexual assault at Florida State?
Remember the three-game suspension he served with the Bucs for violating the league’s personal conduct policy after he groped a female Uber driver and had to apologize for it?
And are we just supposed to act like Winston didn’t do one of the dumbest things we’ve ever seen when he tried to “Eat a W” to inspire his teammates?
Now, that’s not to say that Manning is a choir boy, as he’s still been able to avoid discussing the sexual harassment allegations against him from his time in college at Tennessee.
But, in terms of having a hot take when it comes football – on a show that’s all about having hot takes – Harry Douglas’ assertion that “Jameis Winston should never have been doubted” is one of the worst stances a person could have when discussing a guy that had to play the best quarter of his life to beat out Taysom Hill, in a conversation in which he tried to compare him to one of the three greatest quarterbacks of all time.
Now, that’s insane.