Lesson learned: Stay off the “party boat”

By Miles McPherson

After this weekend’s AFC and NFC Championship games, we’ve learned that Super Bowl LI will feature the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots, but there’s another playoff storyline that I don’t think should be quickly forgotten.

On January 8th, the New York Giants lost to the Green Bay Packers in embarrassing fashion during wild card week. The final score was 38-13, and the Giant’s normally spectacular aerial attack was uninspiring. All pro Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, and rookie sensation Sterling Sheppard combined for 11 receptions, 121 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 4 drops—and the Giants couldn’t overcome the lack of production in their passing game.

Just one week before the humiliating outing, those same guys—Beckham Jr., Cruz, and Sheppard—traveled to Miami, FL and celebrated making the playoffs by clubbing Sunday night with Justin Bieber and Trey Songz. The festivities extended into Monday morning, which resulted in the famed “party boat” picture.

The photo sparked a ton of media attention. It was the players’ day off—so they weren’t skipping practice or team meetings. But still, we all wondered, “is this how a playoff-bound team should spend their day off?”

When asked about it, Giant’s star quarterback and two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning said he was disappointed—though probably not for the reason you’re thinking:

“As a team, we kind of always pride ourselves on being well prepared, so when I saw some of those pictures, I was a little disappointed because obviously they didn’t pack accordingly. They didn’t have any shirts, all long pants, no shorts, no flip-flops or anything. So I was disappointed in their packing and not being prepared for that situation,” he said with a smirk.

Many within the Giants’ organization voiced their support for the receivers, and the questions calmed a bit throughout the week. But after struggling mightily against the Packers, the questions returned with a fury. In fact, the whole boat escapade became a joke. Don’t believe me? Check out this list of the best boat memes put together by the Daily News.

Now, there isn’t necessarily a connection between going on a party boat and playing poorly—but nobody can say for certain! What we do know is that, if those guys hadn’t been on the party boat, they wouldn’t have been roasted so viciously.

How do I know that? Well, because nobody is roasting the Giant’s defensive backs. Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a field day at their expense, throwing for 362 yards and 4 touchdowns, including a 42-yard, Hail Mary TD to Randall Cobb at the end of the first half. They too had a bad game, but they weren’t on the party boat—even though they were invited.

All-pro safety Landon Collins told SportsCenter that the DBs were invited, but they “decided to do something different.” Whatever that was, it didn’t end up on social media, and thus they weren’t the butt of the joke.

In Hebrews 12:1, the apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”

Though few of us are as visible and scrutinized as the NFL players, we all have people watching us—a “great cloud if witnesses.” Even if you just look like you’ve messed up, you can easily become ensnared in all the drama of sin. So take a lesson from the New York Giants: If you want to avoid criticism and drama—on the gridiron or in life—stay off the “party boat.”

Follow Miles on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.