The effects of losing

Can you blame him: Buffalo Bills CB Vontae Davis retires from professional football – during halftime of a game in which he started

This is pretty much the greatest year of NFL in recent years.  Two weeks in and we’ve got two tie games, and guys retiring in the midst of the season, but in the middle of a game.  Much to the bewilderment of fans and teammates alike, Bills CB Vontae Davis just up and decides that he’s had enough, and calls it a career, during halftime of an actual, meaningful game.

I mean, it’s almost the plot of Bernie Mac’s Mr. 3,000 where Bernie Mac’s character collects his 3,000th hit and then abruptly stops everything and declares his retirement in the middle of a baseball game, except that this is real.

Sure, there are lots of jokes and commentary that could be made about the whole situation, and it’s really not that hard to find gobs of it floating all over the internet.  But I was thinking about the situation, and figured to try and look at it in a different perspective that might be able to shed a little bit of light to how this happened.

Frankly, Vontae Davis is simply a guy that’s tired of losing, and probably didn’t see a scenario where it was going to get any better, and before suffering through another indignity of another loss-filled season, he just decided to call it early and save himself the trouble as well as the physical toll of playing futbol americano.

After all, he was on the Buffalo Bills, which is pretty much the living embodiment of a white flag.  And they were playing against the San Diego Los Angeles Chargers which is another team that’s basically reverted back to pathetic status, and being surrounded by all this failure probably weighed heavily on his conscience, and it was the perfect storm of conditions that his frail psyche was unable to endure, and surrender was the only option.

But really, let’s look at Vontae Davis’s career, which spanned an excruciating nine years, leading him to decide retirement at the ancient age of 30.  He started his pro career with the Miami Dolphins, which everyone knows is one of the most losing-est franchises in modern history, and Davis’s contributions didn’t exactly get them over the hump, as the Dolphins won 7, 7 and 6 games during his tenure there.

Things looked like they might have gotten better when Davis was traded to the Indianapolis Colts, but it should be pointed out that Davis’s arrival coincided with the departure of Peyton Manning.  This is like the equivalent of Toni Kukoc joining the Chicago Bulls right when Michael Jordan was suspended retired.

Fortunately for Vontae, Andrew Luck turned out to be pretty good at football, and the Colts won 11 and 11 games in the first of his two seasons with the Colts, and he extended with the team for several more years.  Unfortuantely for Vontae, the Colts played in the AFC where basically if your name wasn’t Tom Brady or Bill Belichick, success was not guaranteed, and despite the fact that only once in five years did the Colts not finish .500 or above, the end of every season was the same: losing.

And since football is an ever-moving beast of a machine that chews up players and spits them out and declares them old, busted and obsolete in their late-twenties, Vontae Davis had a little bit of a struggle to even get signed by the Buffalo Bills for a single year.  But by this point, all the losing seemed to have weighed down old Vontae, and it was hilariously in the middle of a game in which he himself came to the revelation that he simply did not need this game anymore.

Obviously, this wouldn’t really be so much of a story if it didn’t happen in the middle of a game, as players have on numerous occasions called it quits in the middle of seasons.  But Davis simply had had enough, and this goes to show the mental strain that constantly losing can do to a professional athlete.  Frankly, the rubric of constant losses was best exemplified by the former Baltimore Oriole Robert Andino’s profile picture timeline, in which the effects of nearly 200 losses in two seasons manifested in the physical deterioration of a man’s smile

But I think Vontae Davis has raised the bar on what boiling over really is now, and until a professional athlete retires in the middle of a play, inning, sequence or while a game is actively active, then I don’t think we’re going to see this get one-upped.  Hey, may as well make a little bit of history on the way out, negative connotation be damned.

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