When politicians venture into sports pandering, they do so at their own peril. Done right, a photo-op with a pro sports team fosters a little of that “hey, I could have a beer with that guy” just-folks appeal that every pol wishes they could have. Done wrong, the politician just looks that much more out of touch with the common Joe Sixpack than they already are. Right now, everyone is bagging on Paul Ryan because he made an appearance at Browns practice and confused quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy. C’mon, Congressman. Colt is the one who looks like he’s 12 and Doopy Pantz… well, who doesn’t know Doopy Pantz?
Of course, this kind of gaffe is hardly unique to Paul Ryan. During last season’s playoffs, Joe Biden tried to reassure 49ers fans by saying before the NFC Championship Game that the Giants were going to the Super Bowl. Though prescient, he had confused the 49ers with San Francisco’s baseball team. There was also the time in 2004 that John Kerry referred to the Packers’ stadium as “Lambert Field”. There are probably more notable examples, but I’m not really interested in chronicling the complete history of politician NFL gaffes.
The point is, most politicians don’t give a sh*t about sports. Nor should they, really. But come election season, pretending that they do is a cheap and easy way to pander to lots of voters at once. Gaffes are inevitable and sometimes they are hilarious. Here are some we would like to see.
Visit to Jacksonville: “What is Los Angeles’ team doing in Florida?”
Visit to Philly: “Coach, I’m so sorry about what happened to young Britt.”
Visit Ravens practice and wish them well on their search for an elite quarterback.
At Colts practice, give a show of support for Bruce Arians’ fight against cancer. When told he’s not the one with cancer, exclaim, “Is that right?”
Bring a binder full of quarterbacks to Chiefs practice.
Confuse the Steelers defense with the local seniors home.
Mistake Drew Brees for Russell Wilson. It’s okay, Breesus knows they’re both short. He doesn’t mind.
Tell Chargers fans the team should think about firing Marty Schottenheimer.
Thank Peyton Manning for one of his free two million Pizza Hut pizzas.
Give the Packers a hard time because the scab refs gave them a win they didn’t deserve.