JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Me to Athletes: Are you 12?

So I was watching ESPN the other day (I know, bad idea), and the reporter was doing a piece on the Baltimore Ravens and their renewed commitment to winning. To drive home the point, Ravens coach John Harbaugh has created T-shirts that read W.I.N.

If you’re curious, W.I.N. stands for, well, crap, I forgot. But it’s some stupid slogan about winning and intensity and now and power and hope and … uh … yeah.

To be blunt, I hate this stuff. Every team in every college and professional sport inevitably comes up with some slogan, and every time this happens I think to myself, “Are you all fucking 12?” What I mean is, when I was a kid, playing youth sports, we’d try and rally ourselves with ludicrous notions like PRIDE ALL THE WAY and FIGHT TO THE END and NOBODY RUNS LIKE MAHOPAC. It always looked good on shirts, and we said the lines over and over and over again. But, truth be told, slogans are best served as marketing devices. There’s no professional athete who truly performs better because his T-shirt reads BELIEVE IN THE POWER.

But, then again, sports isn’t always logical. Or intellectual. It relies on emotion before thought; on instict before intellect. You are supposed to hear/read—then do. So maybe guys like Harbaugh are on to something, in their belief that these dolts need some catchy slogan to keep their attentions.

Or they can just show them porn.