Rush Limbaugh, who died on Wednesday at the age of 70, was a terrible human being whose hate the world is better off not having in it. That includes the sports world, which at least did its best to expel Limbaugh years before the physical world finally did.
It was way back in 2003 that Limbaugh had an extremely short run on ESPN’s NFL pregame show, a run that ended, predictably, after comments about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb that weren’t just racist, but remarkably stupid football analysis.
“I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL,” Limbaugh said. “The media has been very desirous that a Black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve. The defense carried this team.”
At the time of those comments, McNabb was at the beginning of his fourth of five consecutive Pro Bowl seasons. While it’s true that in those five years, the Eagles did have an excellent defense, ranking in the Top 10 for fewest points allowed each season, they also were in the Top 10 in scoring offense three of those years, and never lower than 12th. And during that time, McNabb was the offense. He was the Eagles’ leading rusher in 2000, when Chad Lewis was Philadelphia’s top receiver. The offense got a bit better when Duce Staley ran effectively for two years, followed by Brian Westbrook, but even then, McNabb’s top passing targets were James Thrash in 2001, and Todd Pinkston in 2002 and 2003, before Terrell Owens finally arrived in 2004… and with an actual NFL-level receiver to catch his passes, McNabb and the Eagles went to the Super Bowl.
Limbaugh lasted only four weeks on ESPN.
In 2007, on his own radio show, Limbaugh bemoaned the “classless” state of pro football, saying, “The NFL all-too-often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it.”
That nonsense was enough that, two years later, when Limbaugh reportedly was seeking to become part of a new St. Louis Rams ownership group, Roger Goodell preemptively scuttled it at the NFL’s ownership meeting.
“I would not want to see those kind of comments from people who are in a responsible position within the NFL,” Goodell said. “Absolutely not.”
Limbaugh never did get into a responsible position within the NFL, but he did keep talking about it. In 2015, Limbaugh, who Donald Trump awarded the Medal of Freedom, found the real culprit behind a couple of players traded by the Eagles being willing to talk about then-Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly maybe not understanding Black players: Barack Obama.
Well, a year later, Kelly was coaching the San Francisco 49ers, and that meant he was coaching Colin Kaepernick. And right before the season started, there was Limbaugh, talking about “the folly and selfishness of Colin Kaepernick.”
“The American people are not going to sit by idly and watch the stage of the National Football League stolen and used for personal political purposes,” Limbaugh said. Perhaps this is because the stage of the National Football League was being used by the government for its own political purposes?
Limbaugh referenced Kaepernick plenty in subsequent years, but revealed himself once again to be a Sports Moron on top of everything else in November of 2019, after the NFL’s goofy showcase for the quarterback.
“Apparently, NFL teams are not clamoring to offer Colin Kaepernick a job,” Limbaugh said. “The sports drive-by media is devastated. They think the Steelers should be on the phone to Kaepernick right now.”
This was one day after the Steelers benched Mason Rudolph for ineffectiveness, turning to Devlin “Duck” Hodges as their quarterback. Pittsburgh did manage to squeak past a trash Browns team and an even more trash Cardinals team the following two weeks, but lost to the Bills, Jets, and Ravens to finish 8-8 and miss the playoffs.
Could a team that ranked fifth in the NFL in scoring defense have made the postseason if it had been able to manage even 200 passing yards in a game any time in the final seven weeks of the season? Maybe!
The underrated great part of this is that Limbaugh was a Steelers fan, and what was it again about the National Football League and personal political purposes? And advocating for your favorite team to use shitty quarterbacks who cost you a playoff spot, over a guy whose politics you don’t like, but can actually play… how would this fit into such a worldview?
It wouldn’t unless you recognize that the entire thing is a fraud, which is exactly what Limbaugh was, and exactly what he showed himself to be in March of 2020.
In one breath on March 12, Limbaugh said, “It’ll be very, very, very, very interesting to see if they do the (NFL) draft. Because, you know, Las Vegas expects to double or triple the number of people usually visiting on a week because of the NFL Draft.”
If that sounded borderline responsible, moments later, Limbaugh came right off that track, saying: “Now, here comes the NFL. The NFL doesn’t start playing ‘til September — well, preseason games in August — but they can’t appear to be insensitive and left out. So they’re closing whatever they’ve got to close, which is nothing. Nobody goes to the NFL facilities (except) team executives. So they’re shutting those down. … We have 1,200 cases (of COVID-19) in America with 39 deaths, and we’re doing all of this? We’ve literally become a culture of a bunch of followers.”
Less than three weeks later, Limbaugh was saying, “(People) want things back the way they were. They want the baseball season back. They want the NFL kicking off on time. They want to be able to go outside. They want to be able to congregate once again. … I don’t know how confident the medical people are gonna be when they say we’re past the worst of it. You know, there’s just too much unknown.”
Nearly a year later, America fast approaches 500,000 deaths due to COVID-19.
What was known by the “medical people” at the time of Limbaugh’s previous remarks was that having people continue to gather for sporting events and other activities was a terrible idea that would only lead to furthering the spread of coronavirus — which is why the leagues shut down and the NFL closed facilities.
Only, at the time, the same Limbaugh who was so smart that he could tell seven years in advance that Obama’s election would lead to NFL players talking openly about race… the same Limbaugh had said of sports shutting down. “It’s a sad, sad thing, and it’s because of the politicization of so much and it’s because of the dominance of wimp politics — which is liberalism — that is infecting everything. A bunch of wimps disguised as compassionate, concerned, sensitive people is simplifying practically everything they can get their political hands on.”
Limbaugh, whose politics helped lead to hundreds of thousands of Americans’ deaths, thankfully can’t get his political hands on anything now.
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