USC quarterback Caleb Williams is going to enter the NFL Draft after this season. Some team is going to draft him with a Top 5, likely Top 3, pick. And it’s going to ruin the career of both the coach and the GM.
Because Caleb Williams isn’t ready for the NFL, but he’ll never get blamed for any failures. Williams is the perfect encapsulation of the Gen Z athlete. He’s extremely talented, but also incredibly self-centered and entitled.
Nothing showcased this more than his display after USC lost to Washington on Saturday night. Williams sought out his mother in the stands and openly wept in her arms.
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Nov 4, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) runs towards the bench after a touchdown is scored during the first quarter against the Washington Huskies at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Jessica Alcheh-USA TODAY Sports)
He followed that performance with a news conference quote for the ages.
“I want to go home and cuddle with my dog and watch some shows,” Williams said.
Media members rushed to Williams’ defense, saying he’s human and he has emotions. If anything, they said, it showed that he cares MORE than other people and that’s a GOOD sign.
There is no world in which a potential No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick and franchise quarterback sobbing into his mother’s arms after a regular season loss is a good sign for his football future.
The media is going to LOVE Caleb Williams. It already does. And, therein lies the problem. He’s not like other “toxically masculine” football players. No, he’s the NEW generation of athlete.
There’s a rather large difference between crying and sobbing. And Williams SOBBED.
The Los Angeles Times described his postgame blubbering this way: “The 21-year-old climbed onto a ledge into the first row of stands, buried his head into his mother’s shoulder and cried. His whole body shook as he held her arm. She held a sign close to cover his face.”
It’s not about Caleb Williams crying after the USC loss, it’s about how he did it
Caleb Williams #13 of the USC Trojans shakes hands with Milton Hopkins Jr. #14 of the Washington Huskies after a game at United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 04, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
I spoke to a close friend, a former NFL player. He said that athletes cry all the time after games and he had no problem with Williams’ behavior.
True, athletes cry after losses. But, I’ve never seen one openly weep — after a regular season loss, no less — in the arms of his mother in the stands. Excusing this behavior is one thing. Applauding it feels incredibly strange.
So, after a USC loss, Caleb Williams immediately seeks to retreat into his “safe spaces.” He started in his mother’s arms and then said he’s going to cuddle his dogs.
Does that sound like the type of man who’s ready to lead an NFL franchise?
Of course not.
Neither does painting “f*ck Utah” on his nails. If he wore a shirt under his jersey that said that, people would be angry. But, paint it on your nails and you’re a hero.
Why? Because masculine men typically don’t paint their finger nails. Which is why the media loves him. We’re right back to him as the poster child for this new era of American male. The one who embraces femininity.
After all, there’s no such thing as “toxic femininity.”
Actually, that’s not correct. Apparently, there is a such thing as “toxic femininity” (I looked it up after writing that it doesn’t exist). And guess what? It blames male behavior, also.
According to a medically-reviewed article, “Toxic femininity posits that women are without agency and exist to be defined and judged of their value by a male in their life such as a father or a husband.”
Toxic masculinity = men are the problem.
Toxic femininity = men are the problem.
I think we’ve found a theme here. Men are the problem.
USC’S CALEB WILLIAMS JUMPING INTO STANDS TO CRY WITH FAMILY ‘IN THE SOFT CATEGORY,’ EX-NFL STAR SAYS
Media protection for Williams will aim blame at the team that drafts him
Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams, left, gets away from Washington defensive end Bralen Trice during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)
The problem with drafting Caleb Williams with a high pick in the NFL Draft is that the team that takes him isn’t going to be very good. Plus, he’s a young quarterback, bound to go through the ups-and-downs of an NFL season. Add in the fact that Williams never takes responsibility and there’s a recipe for disaster.
In a Sports Illustrated article about Williams’ crying episode, the writer commented that the Trojans QB should just want to cuddle with his dogs after a tough loss.
“There’s not a soul alive who hasn’t had the same reaction after a rough day at work. And just like so many in the workforce, this particular bad day wasn’t his fault,” the writer said.
There’s that victim mentality that today’s media loves.
“This particular bad day wasn’t his fault.”
This is not to say that Caleb Williams didn’t play well against Washington. He did. Was he perfect? No, he lost a critical fumble just before halftime that led to a Washington touchdown.
Could he have been better? Of course. People can always be better. Was it all his fault? No. But shifting all of the responsibility onto others is exactly the problem with Gen Z’s general attitude.
That’s what the media is going to do to the coach and general manager that take Caleb Williams. Struggles will fall on the offensive line, the play-calling, the coaching, and everything except Williams.
And because Williams agrees with that narrative, he’s never going to stop them from doing it. The media did the same thing with Justin Fields until it reached the breaking point.
Interestingly enough, many people believe the Chicago Bears are in a position to land Williams in the NFL Draft. Some teams just never learn.
Caleb Williams is just like everyone else, and that’s the problem
Many pundits made this argument after the Williams episode. He is a human being, a 21-year-old kid and he’s allowed to have moments that show his immature side.
That’s true. Here’s the problem: we’re not talking about a regular 21-year-old college student. We’re talking about someone expected to lead an NFL franchise in less than one year.
Why do people think it’s great that he’s “just like everyone else”? NFL quarterbacks don’t get nine-figure contracts for being like everyone else. Teams don’t draft players in the Top 5 of the NFL Draft because they’re “just like everyone else.”
No, those players need to be SPECIAL. That’s the entire point. Everyone is upset when their team loses. Most people just want to go home and watch TV.
But, those who are elite don’t. They control their emotions, channel them into getting better. How can Williams get better by sulking and allowing the defense and the head coach to take all the blame while he sits on his couch and watches TV?
Think about the stories around the truly great athletes. Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, guys like that. Sure, we talk about their talent. But what really makes them stand out is that incredible competitive edge and ability to control their emotions in big moments.
Caleb Williams doesn’t display any of that. Is he going to be a good NFL quarterback? He could be.
But, talent evaluators say this kid has some of the most special talent of any quarterback prospect of the last 20 years.
I agree with that. However, to truly be the “special” NFL player that Williams want to be — and the one the media desperately wants him to be — requires more than just talent.
Caleb Williams is a special talent. I’m just not sure he’s a special athlete.
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There’s a difference and it matters.