Matt Leinart is a Jerk
Here’s the bottom line about Matt Leinart: If that cornerback from Notre Dame had put his damn hands up when Hollywood Matt tossed a 4th and 9 pass down the sideline to New Brunswick (NJ) native Dwayne Jarrett that essentially won SC the biggest game of their season, then I might not be writing this article. Forget the National Championship Game, because Leinart actually had a hell of a performance in that one. I don’t think Joe Montana could have won that game with the way Vince Young was playing. The real game for USC this year was the ND game; if they had lost that then they wouldn’t have been in the Rose Bowl anyway. It is quite likely that a loss there could have forced Leinart’s stock to drop even further, and he could have been picked even later then 10th in the NFL Draft. Are you following this?
Despite being the 10th pick in the draft, Hollywood Matt Leinart and his agent thought that they deserved top pick money. Head coach Dennis Green had this to say of Leinart’s holdout, which was longer than any other 1st round pick:
“When you put $14 million dollars on the table for the tenth pick – that is a lot more than you’ve ever heard of anybody (getting) as the tenth pick of the Draft.”
Green went on to pepper his commentary with some more direct language; it doesn’t really come off in print, but trust me: big Denny Green was not happy with his prima donna quarterback. The problem with a guy like Hollywood Matt Leinart, and- for the record- he has recently signed and played in one preseason game, is his attitude. He’s a Heisman trophy winner, readymade marketing machine, but in the NFL that doesn’t mean shit. He’s just another rookie until he proves otherwise. Personally, and I could be dead wrong, I don’t think that Leinart will be a star in the NFL. He’s too immobile and soft and his arm is way overrated. But that’s beside the point; I’m not a scout.
The whole “I’m cooler than everyone” routine has only worked for a select few in the NFL; this isn’t the NBA where everyone is expected to act like that. Broadway Joe Nammath pulled it off and so did a host of crazy man defensive players (i.e. Lawrence Taylor, Dick Butkus, Ray Lewis, etc.). For the most part, workmanlike personas thrive in the NFL (See Jerry Rice, Joe Montana and Walter Payton). For a quarterback, its almost essential that you envelop a stern, almost solemn sense of selflessness; you can have some charisma (Tom Brady) but the showman antics will only take you so far at the QB position (Jim McMahon and Nammath both won Super Bowls but did have long and prolific careers).
“So what,” you say. “Leinart signed and he’s going to be fine.” That might be true, who knows? Matt Leinart is an asshole; that’s all I’m saying. Is part of me saying this because I love Notre Dame and loathe USC: you fucking bet. However, despite my rooting interests, I feel that A) Hollywood got too much money (who can refute that?) and B) He’s going to be an NFL bust (sure, he might be okay, if you think Sean Salisbury was okay). Realistically, he’ll probably have some ups and downs, and in five years he’ll be settling into his career as a permanent backup.
And whenever he decides to hang up the cleats he’s got a prime role in a ripened Paris Hilton sex tape, assuming that her vow of celibacy has ended (wink).