The New York Giants’ defensive corps have engaged in their own brand of sac(k) dancing, and for Newsday’s aspiring Mushnick Shaun Powell, it’s all a little too much.
In the video for “We Fly High,” hardcore rapper Jim Jones (above) shouts “just ballin” and shoots an imaginary jump shot. It touched Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora. After Strahan sacked Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell the next game, he took a running start, jumped into the air and flicked his wrist. Strahan later explained the Giants weren’t just playing football, they were “just ballin’.” The jump shot immediately became his sack celebration of choice, replacing the muscle flex.
Umenyiora made a sack and he, too, took a jumper. Then everyone on defense started shooting more airballs than the Knicks. There were fadeaways, bank shots, you name it. A cult was born. This celebration became mandatory, even in the first quarter of a scoreless game. But: What’s amazing is nobody thought this wrong, because after all, this was the NFL.
Adults act like kids.
Meanwhile, kids act like adults.
“If anybody on my team ever took a jump shot after they scored,” said North Babylon High School football coach Terry Manning, “by the time their feet hit the ground, their ass would be on the bench. In the pros, it’s expected, and it’s kind of bush. On the high school level, you’re not looking to embarrass anybody.”
The week following the Redskins game, the Giants were eager to slow Michael Vick. Sure enough, on a blitz, Strahan, Umenyiora and Jason Bell clobbered the Falcons’ quarterback, then took a jumper. This drew the attention of NFL officials, who told the Giants to cease … with the group celebration. Solo jumpers were OK. Later, Umenyiora added some attitude: He pretended to dribble between his legs before taking the shot.
“I don’t let our players do anything that reflects badly on the game,” Roosevelt coach Joe Vito said. “We try to do everything with class. I tell our guys to go back into the huddle and let your teammates tell you how good you were.”
“High school coaches are educators first,” Freeport’s Russ Cellan said. “We tell our kids that there’s no place for that in the game.”
Much as I enjoy Powell’s take on how to fix the No Fun League, should Newsday really be holding Long Island’s scholastic football up as any sort of standard bearer?