Ndamukong Suh. This Detroit Lions’ defensive tackle is the NFL’s least liked player. Aaron Rodgers. The Packers’ quarterback is one of the league’s most liked players. This, according to a 2012 Nielsen poll. So it isn’t too far-fetched to say the altercation between Suh and Rodgers in last week’s NFC North championship game was a collision between football’s most infamous villain and one of its most adored heroes.
Originally slapped with a one-game suspension for stepping on the calf of a wounded Aaron Rodgers, Suh won his appeal Tuesday afternoon to have his punishment reduced to a $70,000 fine — which means that Detroit won’t have to be without its star defensive tackle at this Sunday’s wild-card game in Dallas.
Fans, even Lions fans, were mad at Suh from the moment he committed the allegedly intentional transgression at Lambeau Field. He is considered by many to be the team’s MVP during a season that owes its success to a dominant defense, one particularly effective against the rush. To deliberately inflict an illegal strike in the way he was accused could have cost the Lions big when they face Cowboys’ DeMarco Murray, who is the year’s most explosive running back.
But in addition to not being very well-liked by football fans, Suh is also considered “the dirtiest player in the NFL,” even according to his peers, and has held this reputation since basically the beginning of his career.
The “dirtiest player in the game” moniker is meant to insult Suh. But there’s another professional entertainer with that moniker who has embraced the label. “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair, arguably one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all-time, earned the designation for constant, sneaky in-ring rule breaking (read: cheating) similar to Suh’s gimmick. And like Suh, Flair always insisted he was misunderstood by officials when he’d be scolded for his mischievous methods.
What would professional wrestling’s most devious heel Ric Flair think of football’s most notorious rule-breaker Ndamukong Suh? Sadly, the real Ric Flair could not be reached; so special thanks to Detroit’s own wrestling superstar “The Zombie Princess” Jimmy Jacobs for playing the role of Flair in this “interview,” meant for entertainment purposes only.
First off, thank you for taking the time to talk, Mr. Flair. What have you been up to lately?
Little lady, the Nature Boy is stylin’ and profilin’. A limousine-riding, jet-flying, kiss-stealing, wheeling, dealing, son of a gun. That’s what I’ve been up to as of late, and that’s what I’ve been up to since the day God put me on His green earth.
Of course. Did you have a chance to take a break from your jet-setting ways to catch the NFC North title game between the Lions and Packers?
Every Sunday, I sit down in front of my 85-inch television with a six-pack, a few kamikaze shots, and a handful of beautiful ladies to relax and watch the best gridiron warriors go to battle. Like the Lions. Woooo! Versus the Packers. Woooo! Woooo! Woooo!
What did you think about Ndamukong Suh’s alleged intentional step on Aaron Rodgers’ injured calf?
Darling, the Nature Boy has stomped enough calves, setting up for the WOOOO! Figure Four. I know what it looks like to stomp on a man’s leg. Suh stomped Aaron Rodgers’ calf so hard, he was ready to take him to school like I did to Lex Lugar at Wrestlewar 1990. But it was definitely an accident!
Do you believe Suh is deserving of the “dirtiest player in the game” moniker? Or is he just a misunderstood talent, perhaps like yourself during the twilight of your career?
Ric Flair is known as the dirtiest player in the game, and sweetheart, that’s a name I earned. Suh has earned the name as well in the NFL.There’s nothing to misunderstand. Men like Ric Flair and Ndamukong Suh do whatever it takes to be the best. These kind of tactics are what separates the men that will do whatever it takes to win and will be great from those who walk the straight line and accept losing as an option. Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat.
If you want to be a goodie-goodie, say your prayers, and eat your vitamins, you can be like Hulk Hogan or your hero Aaron Rodgers. But if you want to be baaaaaaaaaaaad, the Nature Boy and the Boy Named Suh are so bad, it’s good.
Is it fair to judge a player in a position like a defensive tackle in the NFL for engaging in such tactics? It’s not like he gave him a low blow or anything.
If you have to go low, you have to go low. Men like Ric Flair, the greatest professional wrestler of all time, played defensive tackle, tight end, quarterback. I played all positions in that squared circle. Haha!
In what ways is the NFL comparable to professional wrestling?
Just like when the Horsemen broke the leg of Dusty Rhodes in the Omni in 1985, Ndamukong Suh knows that a man is only one bad wheel away from not being able to play. We’ve had many successful football players go from the gridiron to the squared circle. They’re some tough men. And Ndamukong is just doing the job that the Nature Boy did for years in the ring, because if the fans don’t have Suh to boo, they won’t have Rodgers to cheer. You understand?
Any final thoughts you’d like to add?
To be the man, you gotta beat the man. And Diana, WOOOOO, you’re looking at the man, darling. And you can look at the MAAAN all night long. WOOOO! WOOOO! WOOOO!
The NFL is a spectacle. Yes, it’s a real sport and definitely not comparable to professional wrestling in a scripted regard. But in the same way wrestling is sports entertainment, so is the NFL.
When a player that fans love to hate like Suh carries out his villainous acts against a beloved hero like Aaron Rodgers, it provides football fans an opportunity to engage in a debate on the ethics of the game. The matchup between a defensive talent like Suh and an offensive star like Murray couldn’t have been written any better by the NFL if it actually were scripted entertainment.
Instead of huffing and puffing about how Suh should be banned for life, let’s just enjoy this exciting storyline of heroes and villains, drama and heartbreak, controversy and comeuppance. Because as “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair’s protégé, WWE Superstar Triple H would say, “That’s what’s best for business.”