Superstars rarely think that when things go wrong it could be
their fault, even partially. Who can blame them? They’re a
product of their
environment. Typically they’ve been coddled since kids, told
they’re the best player out there and recruited by everyone to be on
“their team.” But that perception can lead to problems,
serious problems for a team.
You see it every day in sports, the superstar who thinks
they’re above the rest. They are the teflon kings as they're called by
In the NFL you usually see the entitled superstar attitude with rookies
have no idea how much work it takes to make it in the league.
Afterall, many of them have relied on superior skills to the
competition; they come from winning college programs stocked with
talent that made their success seem more than it was. Many of them
think that they’re so good that they don’t have to work as hard as
everyone else because they’re “special.” Those are the
players who become “busts,” yhe Ryan Leafs of the world if
running back Chris
Johnson is rapidly falling into
that category. The category of a talented player who thinks
that their success was self-generated and they didn’t need a solid
supporting cast to attain it. It’s a trap that swallows careers and
spits out former NFLers with the term “Bust” or “Loser” attached to
them for the rest of their days.
Johnson is dealing with an astounding drop-off of production that has
seen his stock plummet from video game superstar to NFL
alsoran. After rushing for 5,645 yards his first four
seasons (1,411/ year) he’s on pace to net just 168 this
season… a drop of epic proportions.
rushed for 2,006 yards in 2009.
Yet, instead of accepting responsibility for the decline, or redoubling
his efforts to break out of that funk, Johnson has decided the drop-off
in production isn’t his fault. He’s telling anyone who will
listen that his decline from fantasy superstar to ‘Average Joe’ is
because the guys who are supposed to make his life easy aren’t doing a
“Even when I went for 2,000, I didn't think I was perfect, but I
wouldn't sit here and say I'm to blame,” Johnson said according to
TitansInsider Terry McCormick. “I'm only gonna be as good as
my line is going to be. We've got to work together and get better.”
The Patriots held Johnson to just four yards on 11 attempts (0.4 avg.)
in the Titans’ season opener. Many labeled that outing as an
anomaly, a Haley’s Comet if you will. When Johnson managed 17
yards on eight attempts (2.1 avg) vs San Diego in week two, Johnson’s
blame game accelerated.
"The run game ain't working," Johnson said Sunday following the Titans
loss to the Chargers. "We just aren't executing the plays. I don't know
why we're not.”
Given the chance to become a leader by example, Johnson instead
continued to try to deflect criticism onto others.
"People need to step up and do their job. They don't need to let people
beat them. It don't matter who the opposing defense is, you can't let
your guy beat you,” Johnson said after the game. “You just
can't give up plays. You have to make plays like they make plays. I
can't speak for the defense. I can only speak for the offense."
Can Johnson actually speak for anyone?
As a potential leader of the Titans when times are tough, it’s obvious
Johnson has no
concept of being a team leader. The same guys who
holes a Mack truck could drive through two seasons ago, are unable to
open the same size holes this season. Johnson obviously can’t
something out of nothing, but he doesn't need to blame his offensive
Johnson's decline could very well be due to changes in the offensive
line. Does that mean Johnson is less of a super star, or does
really mean he’s dealing with the same pressures as everyone else
(having to make something out of nothing every once in a while)?
We can all look like superstars when things are going well.
It’s the true superstars who overcome adversity when times are tough,
without blaming others. Such is the case in New England a
place that has no room for superstars
with super egos.
One look at Tom Brady
tells you all you need to know about how to be a leader. Perpetually
surrounded by units with less than stellar talent, Brady never throws a
teammate ‘under the bus.’ When the team succeeds, Brady credits the
guys up front, the guys making the catches, the guys running the ball,
even the guys on the defense stopping the other
team. When the team falters, Brady blames himself
for not doing a better job.
If there is anyone in the league deserving of the opportunity to blame
his supporting cast, it’s Brady. But, as with all true leaders, Brady
declines to fall into the blame game.
Johnson has a lot to learn about being a superstar, and this may be the
season that he gets his chance. He has a great example to
follow. Just take one look at Tom Brady and how he handles adversity,
from setting NFL records and winning Super Bowls to losing them or
falling short of expectations. Brady has been there and done
that. He is just one example Johnson could learn from.
The real question is, does Johnson want to?
By the sound of things in Tennessee, it’s not looking like he does.