Booger McFarland is an ESPN college football analyst with a bizarre nickname, a former LSU defensive tackle who became a first-round draft pick and played on two Super Bowl champions.
But Booger’s hot take Thursday about former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield couldn’t have been more wrong.
“To me,” McFarland said during an ESPN morning segment, “his talent level will keep him in the league a long time. Because I think his talent level is that good. Is he ever going to be the guy that you can put your franchise on his back and he will take you to the promised land? I just think you have to have a certain character, a certain personality to do that. And in my opinion, I just don’t think he has it. I could be wrong. I just don’t think he has that.”
McFarland is 100 percent right: he could be wrong. Because he is wrong.
This isn’t to say Mayfield has the arm strength and the moxie and the instincts and the footwork and the mindset and the work ethic to lead an NFL team to “the promised land,” which for the purposes of this discussion we’ll call the Super Bowl. Because Mayfield just finished college. The only “NFL” on his resume at this point is the fact that he played in the Senior Bowl for NFL coaches and he’s training for the NFL combine. We can’t yet say Mayfield has what it takes to win a Super Bowl title — because he hasn’t even begun his NFL career yet.
We’ll need more time to know if Booger is right about Baker.
Where McFarland’s take is 100 percent wrong: since when do Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks need to be choir boys?
The Eagles just won their first Super Bowl, but does that mean Nick Foles is an Eagle Scout?
Sure, some of the NFL’s greatest, most revered field generals were quarterbacks who drank milk, ate their vegetables, went to church and married their high school sweetheart.
But some Super Bowl champion QBs also drank whiskey, smoked pot, caroused, gambled, slept around, mooned reporters, drove drunk, played drunk, publicly derided the commissioner’s stuck-up rules, got addicted to painkillers, sent pictures of their private parts to women, threatened to play baseball rather than sign with the team that drafted them, were suspended by the NFL for multiple rape accusations or were accused of sexual assault in college.
We’ll let you figure out which is which. But 10 Super Bowl trophies were won by quarterbacks from that group: John Elway, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Jim McMahon, Joe Namath, Ben Roethlisberger and Ken Stabler.
(Does Elway even belong on this list? After Baltimore drafted Elway No. 1, the Stanford QB said he’d rather play baseball with the Yankees than sign with the Colts; he was soon traded to Denver. He pouted, power-played his employer and got his way, but that was a business decision.)
Even one of Booger’s own Super Bowl winning quarterbacks — Brad Johnson, who helped lead Tampa Bay to the title in 2002-03 — admitted he paid $7,500 to have the footballs for Super Bowl 37 manipulated to his liking, which was against NFL rules. Oh, the humanity.
(Speaking of which, shall we add Tom Brady and Deflategate to this list?)
We’re not saying it’s OK to be a jerk or a degenerate as long as you win a Super Bowl. We’re not saying all champion quarterbacks are party animals, or that all party animals can win Super Bowls. And we’re not excusing bad behavior.
And we’re certainly not equating Mayfield’s escapades in Fayetteville, Arkansas, or Lawrence, Kansas, or anywhere else to accusations of rape in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, or Milledgeville, Georgia. Compared to some who made this list, Mayfield’s college antics are pretty tame.
But we are saying that it doesn’t take a “certain character, a certain personality” to quarterback a Super Bowl champion.
And we are unequivocally saying that Mayfield’s stunts, such as they are, absolutely will not be what hold him back from ever winning a Super Bowl.
Columnist John E. Hoover is co-host of “Further Review with Hoover & Rew” and can be heard every weekday on The Franchise in Tulsa from noon to 3 p.m. with co-host Lauren Rew. In Oklahoma City, catch him Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings at 10:25 and every Friday afternoon at 4:05. Listen at fm107.7 in OKC, fm107.9/am1270 in Tulsa, on The Franchise app, or click the “Listen” tab on The Franchise home page. Visit his personal page at johnehoover.com.