Welcome to Seaside Heights, New Jersey; home of the Najeh Davenport Memorial Tournament championship game.
Well folks, you knew it'd be this way. All along, you just knew that the chase for the coveted Jeff Reed Trophy would come down to these two rascals. Sure, you may have voted for one of their opponents just to try and make it close, but if I asked you to choose who the worst two roommates in the NFL would be and gave you the following eight players to choose from (Tim Tebow, Richie Incognito, Cortland Finnegan, Adam Jones, Terrell Owens, Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler, and James Harrison) you'd pick Finnegan and Harrison. Perhaps if T.O. was still on a team and more culturally relevant than he is now, he'd have a shot, but the people have spoken.
For those who missed it the first time around, here's a primer on how this works:
In 2002, Green Bay Packer Najeh Davenport snuck into a woman's apartment and pooped in her closet. I don't care what the context was; none is necessary for one human pooping in another human's closet. It is, however, my favorite athlete arrest of all time and it's high time it was honored as such. Closet-crapping is a lot funnier when it happens to someone else, however, and if Najeh is davenporting on other people's floors, one can only imagine how often he's done it at his own place. He would have to be among the worst NFL players to ever have to share a living space with.
So, it is with Davenport's fecal felony in mind that I present you -- the sophisticated, intellectually-elite readers of Field Gulls -- with the chance to vote in the NFL's Worst Roommate Tournament.
I believe that I am uniquely qualified to govern this tourney*, as my college years (and post-college "find myself" years) saw me share houses with over 30 different people. While the overwhelming majority of my roommates have been great to live with, my sample-size is large enough to have seen just about everything when it comes to irksome domestic characteristics. I am not exempt from some of those characteristics myself, but that doesn't mean I don't know a bad roommate when I see one.
*I believe I'm uniquely qualified to govern most things.
Now, some parameters: This tournament is limited to players who are currently active, which eliminates would-be contenders like Ryan Leaf, Keyshawn Johnson, and Mike Vanderjagt. Current free agents like Terrell Owens are eligible, however. Also, the reasons for inclusion in this tournament are open, so it's not limited to criminals or tools or whatever else immediately jumps to mind as a qualification. Lastly, this will be an eight-player bracket, to be voted on one match-up at a time. The winner receives the Jeff Reed Trophy, which is just a bottle of Smirnoff Ice.
The choices have been whittled to this pair of curmudgeonly rapscallions whose on-field talents serve as a barely acceptable treatise for their off-putting behavior and general douchery.
An Encapsulated Overview of the Tourament
Cortland Finnegan - 69%
Jay Cutler - 31%
Terrell Owens - 62%
Tim Tebow - 38%
James Harrison - 67%
Ben Roethlisberger - 33%
Richie Incognito - 64%
Adam "Pacman" Jones - 36%
Cortland Finnegan - 52%
Terrell Owens - 48%
James Harrison - 57%
Richie Incognito - 43%
You know these two too well by now.
From their profiles:
Cortland Finnegan (CB, Tennessee Titans) -- I once lived with a guy who was pretty fun, outgoing, etc. He was also the roommate that not only knew what everyone else's buttons were, but reveled in pushing them. Accidentally use the wrong preposition? He'd bring it up to try and prove your intellectual inferiority the next time you had a disagreement. Insecure around girls? He'd ask you about it when a girl was over. Shit like that. He was just the kind of guy who you could never let your guard down around and that makes for a tense household. I mean, you'd still go pick him up if his car broke down, but only because he's your roommate, not because you're inclined to help him out. Finnegan would be that guy.
James Harrison (LB, Pittsburgh Steelers) --
Harrison: You gon' do these dishes or what, bro?
Me: Yeah, as soon as --
JH: Soon as what?
Me: As soon as Wipeout is over.
JH: Today's your day for dishes, ain't it?
Me: We both know it is, and I'll do them in a second. Besides, there's just a couple of cereal bowls in there.
JH: Nah man, you got these ravioli plates too.
Me: Ravioli? You mean from when you made dinner two weeks ago?
JH: Yeah, they've been under my bed. And now they're in the sink.
Me: Hey James, I got a couple friends coming over to watch the M's game.
JH: ~looking at himself in the mirror while holding hand gun~ No you don't.
Me: Yeah I do. Caleb, Kyle, and Jared, remember them?
JH: I'm sure they remember me, but they still ain't coming over.
Me: Why the hell not?
JH: Cuz I don't remember you asking me.
Me: Uh, James. Why do you have that gun?
JH: ~clicking off the safety~ Why you asking so many questions?
JH: The Mariners suck!
Me: ~mumbling~ I know.
JH: Hey man, you the one who left these shoes in the hallway?
JH: It best not have been you.
JH: James Harrison ain't having no white boy leaving his broke ass kicks around the house. You best hope it wasn't you.
Me: James, I --
JH: Tell me it wasn't you, and everything's gonna be okay. ~stands up menacingly~
Me: James, I'm literally the only other person living here. Those are my only pair of shoes. You know they're mine.
JH: ~steps towards me~
Me: I'll go move them, alright?
JH: ~body-slams me through the coffee table~
JH: Now you done broke my mothafuckin' coffee table.
Me: ~spends rest of the day whimpering and attempting to fix the table~
JH: You better not be bleeding on my carpet.
For the last two weeks, both Finnegan and Harrison have been preparing for their showdown, albeit in very different ways. Finnegan arrived in Seaside via cab, reportedly without tipping the driver. Sideline reporter Pam Oliver tracked down the cabbie, 42 year-old Benjamin DeVincenzo, who said this when asked about the exchange, "Yeah, I did drive him all the way here from his airport, which, with traffic is like four hours. I figured since he's a pro football player and all that he'd be able to handle his own luggage but when I picked him up, he just turned up his nose in the direction of his stuff and played Angry Birds while I loaded it." And the tip? "Nah, he didn't tip me. It looked like he was going to for a second when he grabbed a five from his wallet, but I think he remembered it was game day so he put it back. Kid's in the zone, that's for sure."
When Ms. Oliver asked Finnegan about it, he declined to address the issue, instead responding, "Damn Pam, don't you ever blink?"
Harrison, for his part, showed up in a limo and got out wearing only a baggy pair of JNCO jean shorts and loaded over-the-shoulder double gun holster. His arrival was incident free, but his status for today's match-up was in doubt when he was arrested the following day for dangling a man over the edge of his hotel by his ankles. Harrison served several hours in jail before his coach, UFC fighter Josh Koscheck, convinced police that Harrison was merely training for the biggest game of his life.
Media Day was as eventful as you'd expect, with both contestants in top form. Finnegan steadfastly ignored most of the questions he was asked and when he did respond, it was either to suggest something that the particular interviewer should be self-conscious about or to tell his coach, Spencer Pratt, to fetch him another Fiji water. Finnegan only showed one moment of weakness, which came when Perez Hilton asked him why he's never been seen in the same place as loaded-gun-enthusiast / NBA-player Delonte West, to which Finnegan responded by stammering for about ten seconds before saying, "next question."
Harrison had to be physically restrained on numerous occasions during his Media Day session, his pent up rage spilling over at the slightest provocation. When asked about his previous match-ups, Harrison was quick to act the part. Regarding his beating Steelers teammate Roethlisberger in Round One, Harrison replied "it was payback for costing me last year's Super Bowl," and called his second-round opponent Incognito "lucky to be alive" after he was finished with him. The real fireworks went off when he spotted Finnegan walking by with his lady. Here's footage of the interaction:
The two meatbags were forcibly separated and ever since that altercation, the buzz for this showdown has been building steadily. The only thing left is for you to decide who the worst roommate would be.