From the Press Box: The movement to be player-friendly is sweeping professional sports

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Call it generational, but the movement away from “shut up and play ball” is sweeping professional sports and I can’t say it’s a bad thing.

I love the idea and dream of players spending their entire careers with one team.

I look at guys like Broncos quarterback John Elway, Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman and Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino. Those were the guys that I grew up watching and elevated each of those franchises to a level of league reputation that only the New England Patriots have been able to capture since.

They were for-lifers. With Aikman, you think of his head coach Jimmy Johnson hugging him after their first championship. Elway, you think of the 37-year-old making the helicopter dive for the first down in hopes to win the Super Bowl.

But with Dan Marino, where is that Super Bowl memory? A 38-16 thrashing at the hands of Joe Montana and the San Francisco 49ers.

After that loss, everyone thought for sure Marino would be back in the Super Bowl. He never was.

If not for Elway’s last two Super Bowls when the pieces were finally around him, Elway and Marino could sit at a bar somewhere and talk about what might have been.

What if Elway and Marino had pulled what guys like Matthew Stafford, DeShaun Watson and Russell Wilson are doing now? 

Wilson at least has a Super Bowl victory under his belt. Watson is still young in his career. While Stafford is 33, he probably only has five years left in his career.

Depending on what drives a player, if it’s championships instead of money, can you blame a player for wanting to leave his team? 

Especially in the case of Stafford and Watson, who have seen their franchises continuously make moves that look more like rebuilds rather than reloads?

Loyalty is important and is an admirable quality in a player. But considering teams move on from players after one down year most of the time, I would say loyalty doesn’t exist in professional sports.

By the way, a quarterback in 2020 left his franchise of 20 years because he didn’t like what he saw going on around him and hoisted his seventh Lombardi Trophy this past weekend, cementing his legacy as the Greatest of All Time. His name is Tom Brady.

John Lee is the editor of The Pampa News and can be reached at pampanewseditor@gmail.com or find him on Twitter: @jcl1987.

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