Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes Are Huge Names, But Lamar Jackson Remains The NFL’s Most Polarizing Figure 

There’s no player in the NFL whose mere existence incites as much criticism, praise and aggressive conversation as Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. 

After Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens lost to Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs 17-10 in the AFC Championship Game, the LJ8 haters came out of the woodwork, ready to declare him a loser, who can’t win the big game. 

Lamar Jackson Loses AFC Championship Game

Jackson didn’t have an exceptional performance against the Chiefs, who boast one of the best defenses in the league when it comes to limiting the big plays. The NFL front-runner for MVP completed 20 of 37 passes for 272 yards and a touchdown. He also added 54 rushing yards and threw a crucial end zone pick in the waning moments of the game. 

His regular-season stats are undeniably impressive: 3,678 passing yards, 24 touchdowns, and seven interceptions, with 821 rushing yards and five additional touchdowns. But he didn’t get the job done in the defining moment of his career and the fans let the $260 million man feel it all over social media. 

Social Media Shreds Lamar Jackson

So Jackson has to deal with heat from NFL fans who base their entire emotional existence on whether or not his team wins the game. He also has to deal with the fans of other quarterbacks who Jackson was deemed superior to throughout the season.

Stephen A. Smith called it a straight choke job.

The Dak Prescott and Jalen Hurts apologists came out swinging. 

Lamar Jackson Remains NFL’s Most Polarizing Figure

As great as Patrick Mahomes is and as much as Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s love connection is getting all of the credit for the NFL’s popularity and the Chiefs’ success, it’s Lamar Jackson who remains the most polarizing figure. 

There are football purists that simply don’t want Jackson to win a Super Bowl because he isn’t the traditional quarterback and he’s found a way to perfectly blend his athletic advantage with his passing game. 

The way he refused to go the traditional route with his finances and chose to use his mother to negotiate the bulk of his record contract, rather than an agent, also caught him some flak.

His supporters are those who have been defending him ever since he was disrespected in the 2018 draft, the fifth and final quarterback chosen in the first round. 

Lamar Jackson debates shatter friendships like when the name Donald Trump comes up in casual conversation. He creates such a divide that transcends the football field. He’s a gold mine for social media and in his failures his dynamism still shined, and he probably gained another 100,000 fans and another 100,000 haters. 

Lamar Jackson Is The Hood’s Champ

Patrick Mahomes is the safe bet for America. When fans look at Patrick Mahomes, they see a quarterback they are familiar with. Insanely talented, his dad was a Major League pitcher and in the mold of a pocket passer. Jackson can operate in the pocket, but his entire game is based on improvisation and superior raw talent driven by his legs. 

He represents the future of the NFL, and the kind of quarterback teams are increasingly pursuing, which is much different than the traditional quarterback. Which leads to the debate about pocket passers vs dual-threat quarterbacks and which style is most conducive for winning a Super Bowl ring. 

L For The Dual-Threat QB?

Lamar was supposed to put that to bed with a knockout performance, culminating in the first Super Bowl victory for a quarterback of his nature. It didn’t happen this season, but to confidently say he will never win a Super Bowl is pure haterade.  

Taking shots at his character by saying he doesn’t have the emotional control to elevate when the situations get tight is also a prisoner-of-the moment comment. 

John Elway Won Super Bowls Last Two Season Of Career

We have seen this narrative before. They did it to John Elway throughout his career. His early playoff failures changed with the emergence of superstar running back Terell Davis. Elway was able to win two Super Bowls in the last two years of his illustrious 16-year career and solidify his legacy as a champion. He won Super Bowl XXXII (1998) and Super Bowl XXXIII (1999).

It’s called patience. Team building. 

Social media makes every moment seem like the last sentence to a novel when it’s just a line on a page toward an ending that is unwritten. The Baltimore Ravens organization needs to find Jackson’s Terrell Davis. Another Hall of Fame playmaker on offense to take the pressure off. You can’t blame Jackson for Zay Flowers making several crucial rookie mistakes, including a fumble into the end zone that resulted in a touchback. 

That’s destiny. Right now Mahomes is the chosen one by the football gods. Four Super Bowls in five seasons suggests that. 

The unpredictability of sports is exactly why we know Lamar Jackson will get another crack at this.  What happened on Sunday isn’t guaranteed to happen again – ever. So, despite the magnitude of the loss and how poorly it reflects on Lamar’s legacy at this moment, he still has a decade to get the job done and make all of these early trials, tribulations and triumphs just a memory.  

Jackson should use this moment as motivation to improve and chase the trophy again next season. Right now he has to take the L and be gracious, and he did that in his postgame Tweet. 

Jackson has proved that he deserves every penny he’s gotten. There are lesser quarterbacks who were rewarded handsomely and didn’t have to threaten to sit out the season to get paid. They didn’t run through the league like Lamar and the Ravens did this season and didn’t fall one game short of the Super Bowl. There’s plenty of positives to build on, including the fact that Lamar made it through the entire season.

The saga continues for LJ8, and so will the opinions, praise and insane commentary on the most polarizing person in the NFL. 

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