On Tuesday, the Broncos sent home one of their players after he was questioned in a prostitution sting.
On Wednesday, the New York Times reported that tests showed another deceased NFL player had suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease linked to repeated head trauma.
Welcome to the Super Bowl.
What, you thought it was about football?
Neither of these items is a coincidence. Something happens to players’ inhibitions at the Super Bowl. And the media’s antennae are up during the week. Stories that will make a splash sometimes are held weeks for the Super Bowl.
So, a typical two days:
— Broncos practice squad player Ryan Murphy was detained and questioned at a motel by Santa Clara County (Calif.) police. He was not charged, but his brother was cited for solicitation. The Broncos sent Murphy home, presumably for being an idiot.
— Former Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler had CTE throughout his brain, according to Boston University professor Ann McKee. It’s possible that the timing of the release of Stabler’s test results is innocent, but I would doubt it. If you want to draw attention to a cause, you wait for the Super Bowl.
The worst thing that can happen for the media during Super Bowl week is to have to talk about offensive-line play. The best thing that can happen is Spygate. If you understand this, you understand everything.
The most famous tale of inhibitions run amok is that of Falcons safety Eugene Robinson, who was charged with soliciting an undercover police officer the night before Robinson was to play in the Super Bowl in 1999. Earlier in the day, he had won the NFL’s Bart Starr Award for outstanding leadership and character. Oops.
Bengals running back Stanley Wilson had a drug relapse hours before Super Bowl XXIII and didn’t play. Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was arrested in a case involving the murders of two men at an Atlanta nightclub after Super Bowl XXXIV. His team didn’t play in the game. (The controversy over Jim McMahon’s mooning of a TV helicopter in the run-up to Super Bowl XX looks as innocent a glee club now, doesn’t it?)
Former Tampa Bay defensive lineman Warren Sapp was arrested for domestic battery while working as a TV analyst during the 2010 Super Bowl week. Five years later, he was arrested on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute and assault. That happened the day after the Super Bowl.
You might think there’s no way any of this can be topped, but Johnny Manziel is out there somewhere, waiting his turn.