I know it's stupidly obvious to say that celebrity followers love a scandal, but the thing is, there are so many scandals these days that they've got to have that extra layer of stupid to get any attention. Like finding out that Jersey Shore's stereotyped Italians aren't even Italian.
Yeah, Chilean. I know, the once proud nation of Chile can't believe it either.
But the NFL has the best scandals. The best. And here "best" means "most ridiculous." Just when you've decided you don't want to read about any more football players running over people, buying hookers, or being arrested for drugs, someone like Plaxico Burress draws you in by getting shot in the leg. Oh no, not by someone else, you see, he was at a nightclub, and he of course had a gun in his sweatpants. It started to slip down his leg. So he had to catch it. And it went off while pointed at his leg. You know how it is. Could happen to anyone.
Even this level-headed fellow.
He learned his lesson: Don't wear sweatpants to a nightclub, you lazy slob. But he also had to serve time for carrying an unlicensed gun, and everyone knows prison can be tough, so he hired a prison coach to get him up to speed. Seriously.
But of course the real gold in the world of celebrity scandals is the sex scandal, and holy shit does the NFL deliver. You may remember the 2005 Minnesota Vikings "Sex Boat" (also a 1980 movie). The title is a little inaccurate, there were actually two boats. Seventeen Vikings players rented two boats and a metric ton of hookers, took the hookers on the boats and had a lot of sex. It was a simple plan.
The police first heard of it when a nearby homeowner called to say that "seven black men" were urinating in her yard. The team and NFL yelled at them a lot but all that came out of it was some fines and misdemeanor charges.
And then you have the lovely sideline reporters. Now, I'd never suggest that the NFL employs these women purely to facilitate sexy scandals, but it certainly hasn't hurt.
Sideline reporters are mostly women because football watchers are mostly men. Sideline reporters stand on the field near the players and ask them insightful questions during the game, like "How does it feel to be winning?" or "How does it feel to not be winning?"
Worst case scenario: male viewers have a nice-looking lady to look at. Best case scenario: a drunken NFL legend tries to kiss the reporter.
More recently, former sideline reporter Jenn Sterger was allegedly the victim of Brett Favre sexting, which blew up big time despite fairly sketchy evidence, because there was a sexy lady (yay), there was Brett Favre (boo) and there was the thought of someone sending someone else pictures of their dong while wearing nothing but Crocs (haha).
I bet you'd want to send a text message to that, amirite? I don't know. I'm just guessing here, I'm not a guy.
3Seeing Spoiled Rich Kids Get their Comeuppance
Deep down, we are all terrible people and love to see highly touted stars taken down a peg. That's why people love watching talent shows like American Idol where contestants who think they are God's gift to pop music get ripped a new "competitor" by a bitter Englishman.
"But... all my friends loved my Chewbacca impression!"
It only gets better the farther they have to fall, and as far as hype goes, it's hard to beat a #1 NFL draft pick. Even though #1 picks tend to fizzle about as often as they pan out, they're given guaranteed contracts in the tens of millions of dollars and the media pretends every year that the first chosen player is going to be awesome and change history.
The disappointing Tony Mandarich was called "The Incredible Bulk," originally as a compliment.
Note that even though the draft takes place over three days, the circus leading up to the draft goes for weeks or months, including the six-day NFL scouting combine, where potential draftees perform meaningless physical and mental tests while reporters and team officials nod knowledgeably at them.
I don't know why they all have to take their shirts off but I'm not arguing.
There is so much time spent building expectations that fans are prepared to literally crucify anyone who doesn't live up to them.
Former #1 pick Heath Shuler failed so terribly in the NFL that he was forced to go into politics.
For years, the draft bust poster boy was Ryan Leaf. He was actually a #2 (insert your own joke) but most people considered it a toss-up between him and #1 pick Peyton Manning, whom, if you follow football, commercials or cereal at all, you know to be a ridiculously successful player with a funny face.
Manning revolutionizes cereal boxes.
Long story short: Leaf did not wait for the pressures of success to cause him to flame out, but began to flame out immediately, before the season even began.
Not only did he have the attitude of a spoiled kindergartener, which is honestly par for the course in the NFL, but even worse, he couldn't play. After a couple more teams tried him out and confirmed that he was indeed broken, he was put out to pasture at age 26. Last year--11 years after standing on top of the world--he was arrested for breaking into someone's house.