By now, you’ve probably heard about Chargers RB LaDanian Tomlinson bemoaning the Patriots’ overzealous celebrations after New England won yesterday’s AFC Playoff over San Diego, 24-21. And while ESPN.com’s Mark Kreidler acknowledges the Pats were over the top (“since when do the Pats go ape at midfield after a conference semifinal? What happened to the part about acting like you’ve been there before?”), he’s not so sure L.T.’s the right guy to be making the point.
What the Chargers (LaDainian Tomlinson in particular) got so angry about was Patriots players doing a mocking version of the dance that Shawne Merriman does every time he records a sack — which is to say, the Chargers felt disrespected by someone doing an imitation of something that can be viewed as disrespectful every single time Merriman does it.
First rule of the field: When you give up the late lead and let it all slip away, you surrender your voice. I respect Tomlinson as much as I do any player in the NFL, but when he came out with, “They showed no class, and maybe that comes from the head coach,” he sounded like a wounded guy yelping out his frustration in a manner he’ll regret a week from now. This would have been an almost perfect time for LT to remain the top-shelf individual he has been, rather than roll in the muck. That’s the heat of the moment for you.
The Boston Herald’s Karen Guregan resists the urge to make excuses for the hometown team, nor does she quote from the Angry Samoans’ “Lights Out”.
Some may think Tomlinson, who refused to shake hands with the Patriots afterward, is a sore loser. But in many ways, he™s right; the Pats should act like they™ve been there before, just like Tomlinson does when he hands the ball to an official after scoring instead of showboating.
This franchise has won three Super Bowls. It™s been there, done that. Why start acting like children?
Sure, they were underdogs against the top-seeded Chargers. Sure, they felt disrespected during the week. And sure, Merriman is a bit over-the-top.
But that doesn™t mean they have to join him in the gutter.