Someday, if you live long enough and save wisely and manage not to collapse wheezily onto your keyboard under the weight of a corporate jackboot, you will get to retire. It will be announced in an email with your name in the subject line, or maybe a Snapchat story shot by the social media intern with you waving and not quite looking at the camera and BYYYYEEEEE THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHI written sideways across it because there wasn’t enough room. Your coworkers will bring in a sheet cake and hand over a card that they not-very-furtively passed around for everyone to sign, even Jackie, who just started and has never talked to you and never will. Then maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll go home and your family will take you out to dinner somewhere nice but reasonable, and then you’ll settle into your La-Z-Boy and commence getting soft around the edges. Maybe you’ll get a time-share in Florida. It will be nice.
NFL players do things differently. Since the 2015 regular season came to a close, a number of players have announced that they are bidding farewell to the league and to us. They have done so with everything from official statements to live interviews to carefully (?) crafted videos, as Dolphins wide receiver Greg Jennings did Monday.
Below, a review of some of the offseason’s more notable goodbyes, ranked from best to worst.
The greatest thing about Lynch’s extremely great retirement announcement was that nobody knew if it was a retirement announcement. He posted it in the middle of the Super Bowl — the middle of the Super Bowl — and just … a blurry picture of shoes? A blurry picture of shoes hanging on telephone wire in the middle of the night? A blurry picture of shoes upstaged the goddamn Super Bowl.
Here we have 20 seconds of perfection. Jared Allen. A horse. A snowy field. A cowboy hat. The Ikea monkey’s coat. “This was the part where I was gonna ride off into the sunset,” says Allen. “But seeing as how there’s no sunset, I’m just gonna ride off.” And he does! It’s the NFL equivalent of the Mike Gravel rock ad. It is a masterpiece.
Greg Jennings looks so happy to be retiring. He plays Jenga. He braids his daughter’s hair. He goes to daddy-daughter dances. He goes behind the scenes of Ballers!!!! But he earns a demerit for one thing alone: Saying, “This is not just a Greg step. This is a Jennings journey,” and not even bothering to try to complete the alliteration. What about a Greg growth? A Greg graduation? A Greg grid? We’ll workshop it.
I imagine Peanut Tillman going down to a local high school and hiring a bunch of 10th-graders to produce this video for him. Sudden cuts? Check. Copious sound effects? Check. Awkward extras? Check. White Castle? Check. Literally punching out of the NFL? Check.
Mathis announced his retirement via a video interview with the Lions, giving a thoughtful and eloquent explanation of his decision and a heartfelt account of his career … while standing on a golf course in Jacksonville. I’m not mad. I’m just confused.
Calvin Johnson, gentleman and scholar, retired quietly, via a team statement from the Lions. This would be fine, except that whatever video he might have produced instead would have been so much better. Like, just use the first half of your Acura commercial! Done.
Justin Tuck set his farewell video to Coldplay.
There are two ways to think about Peyton Manning closing his farewell press conference with one last “Omaha!” The first is: “What a guy, that Peyton, one of the finest quarterbacks there ever was.” The second is: “That motherfucker.”
Grade: A- / D