Baker Mayfield: Millennial Athlete
On the day Logan Paul became the internet’s biggest villain for showing a dead body, Baker Mayfield was feeling the hate on the internet as well. Sure he carved up Georgia’s defense, but he also emerged as college football’s biggest cheddar dick. As he walked off the Rose Bowl field dejected, a Georgia player yelled, “humble yourself.” He was speaking for a lot of us. Its always amazing how someone can become a sports villain. An athlete like Lebron James has plenty of haters, because of his greatness and that’s the time we live in. And then there are athletes who go out of their way to be hated. Mayfield is headed that way.
Everything started like a feel good Disney movie. Mayfield was an undersized walk on, who worked his way up to be starting quarterback for his childhood team Oklahoma. Not only did he become the starter, but his passion and exciting style of play made him an emerging star and a pro prospect. But then came the antics. Planting the flag at the horseshoe, the obscene gestures, and of course the arrest video.
Mayfield has been caught up with the world of athletes hamming it up for the camera. On Monday he showed up to the playoff game holding a giant sign that read “Pretender.” Does he really need to carry this around to motivate himself? Was this really going to help him? Or does this make great television? And every time he is shown on the sideline rallying his defense, it came off very insincere, just like Jameis Winston did during Hard Knocks and his bizarre "eat W’s" speech. He knew the camera was on him, and he needed to ham it up. Now he hasn’t reached "eating a W" status, but he’s certainly heading there.
I can’t take anything away from his playing. He put up 48 points against a top ten college Defense, and that was good enough to win. As of now, he is a great college football player. Ultimately he will be judged by his success in the NFL. As sports fans when we think of names Lienart, Manziel and Vince Young, we remember them as NFL busts. And Mayfield could certainly fall into that category.
As I watched him play, I was torn between enjoying his emerging talents and cringing by his aura and antics. But as sports fans, we have to realize sports is entertainment. On the off-hand that the New England Patriots lose a big game, you can be sure there will be a camera on Tom Brady pouting with the look of a child who didn’t get his ice cream. This will make most of America very happy and probably make one hell of a meme.
Not sure Mayfield will get to NFL star status. There is a better chance he will be washed out on a beach, skinny and high on ecstasy, Johnny Manziel style. Only time will tell.