In major sports these days, there is only one guarantee, and that is that there are no guarantees. So why is everybody running their mouths? Anthony Smith sat in the Pittsburgh Steeler’s locker room early in the week, preparing for one of the biggest games of his young career. Forced into the starting lineup after a Troy Polomalu injury, Smith was faced with the daunting task of filling in for the Pro Bowl safety and help the proven Steeler secondary stop the likes of Wes Welker, Dontè Stallworth, and of course, Randy Moss.
Unknown to most sports fans outside of Pittsburgh, Smith could have taken the easy road. He could have complimented Tom Brady’s ability and his core of receivers. He could have said that Polomalu’s shoes would be tough to fill. He could have said this defense picks their teammates up when they get down. But he didn’t. What Smith said was simple; “We’re going to win, I can guarantee a win.”
Looking back on it Sunday night, after a 34-13 loss to the undefeated Patriots, and a miserable performance by Anthony Smith, it made me think about this attention grabbing bold statement, the guarantee.
In 1962, a man by the name of Muhammad Ali came onto the scene as the self affirmed greatest. Then known as Cassius Clay, Ali guaranteed a victory over then champion Sonny Liston and won the heavyweight championship in one of the greatest upsets of all time.
A few years and a few beers later, Joe Namath, quarterback for the Jets, continued the trend that Clay had set. The heavy underdogs in the Super Bowl, Namath proceeded to guarantee a victory over the star studded Baltimore Colts. Namath certainly made good on his word as he lifted the team to a 16-7 victory and made the Jets the winners of Super Bowl III.
Most of the time, however, guarantees aren’t so peachy. In fact, I think the word “guarantee” is one of Rasheed Wallace’s favorite words, ranking just slightly behind many expletives that have led him to be ejected more than any man in history. As many would say, if Joe Namath established the guarantee, Rasheed Wallace beat it to death. Not surprisingly, it has been noted that Wallace guaranteed yesterday he would have Lucky Charms for breakfast this morning. He had Frosted Flakes.
Jerramy Stevens came into the Super Bowl against the Pittsburgh Steelers guaranteeing a victory. He told reporters that the Jerome Bettis and his return to Detroit was a great story, but he wouldn’t be leaving with the trophy. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think Jerome Bettis left with the trophy. We may have given some pity to Stevens if he at least put on a good show, but Stevens dropped four crucial passes in the game, one a wide open touchdown.
So what exactly is the point of a guarantee? Is it to motivate your team in a big game? Can’t be. Most of the time, you are just angering the opposition and in turn, motivating them. Is it to show off your incredible knowledge and mind reading ability? Doubt it. If you were so smart, then show me where Serbia is on a map.
This, of course, leads me to my conclusion. There is no point of making guarantees, even if you do prove to be correct. Congratulations, you are the next ghost whisperer, now shut up and play the game.
So what have we learned? If you make a guarantee, more times than not, you are going to regret it.
I guarantee it.
One reply on “I Guarantee it!”
guarantee I completely agree with how much guarantee’s have been dumbed down into almost everyday words, as if they have no real meaning or definition.
And we have people like Rasheed Wallace and Chad Johnson to thank for that, and of course most notably, Anthony Smith.
But it’s not just that they come up short and incorrect. It’s when and why they do it. Rasheed has guaranteed victories for games that aren’t even big games. Chad Johnsons, the same.
Ali’s guarantee was worth while. So was Namath’s. If Boomer Esiason would have guaranteed a Super Bowl win over the 49ers, I would have listened.
Because a gaurantee is not a lofty or hopeful prediction. It is a promise. It is saying that you and your team are so sure you’re going to win, but on top of that confidence, you are going to show up and play your best.
It’s this easy: guarantees have become lazy and ill-timed. And they’ve continued to be made by people who don’t really have the power in their hands.
Anthony Smith? What the hell was he thinking? He’s a back-up on a team that lost to the Jets. I will channel Charlie Brown now. Good grief.