It's not a new concept. Trash-talkin' has been with us a long time, but it seems to increase with each season and, in this, the year of the "Playmakers," it appears as though it will reach unbearable limits.
Who invented it? No, it wasn't the Miami Hurricanes; the origins of trash-talkin' date back to the days when the Hurricanes were one of college football's perennial losers.
We could blame a lot of people for this tasteless behavior. You know who they are. But the bigger question is this: Why does the NFL continue to allow it?
A couple of years ago the league announced a major crackdown on taunting. The league's officials sternly warned taunting would not be tolerated, and it was expected flags would fly like hot dog wrappers on a windy day. But flags didn't fly nearly as often. It was all bluster; the league beating its chest like the players the league said it would penalize.
Now, it's gone beyond tolerance. This year, the league's stance on such pop-culture misbehavior borders on endorsement and promotion.
How else do you describe the new-found tolerance for Ray Lewis? Two years ago, after Lewis was the MVP of the Super Bowl, the league refused to put him on the cover of the NFL's "Record and Fact Book," though it had become somewhat a tradition for the Super Bowl MVP to be so honored. Lewis was involved in a murder trial and the league decided he wasn't the guy they wanted to prop up.
But that was then. This year, Lewis has become somewhat of an NFL poster child, and it is his trash-talkin', bad-mouthin', blusterin' ways that are being used to sell everything from NFL-licensed video games to workout gear.
So Lewis strolls into Heinz Field last Sunday and puts on a display of tastelessness that might've caused Vince Lombardi to turn over in his grave. And it was allowed.
Flagged for taunting? Are you kidding? The guy's behavior bordered on threatening. It made you want to turn off your TV.
Never mind that Lewis did next to nothing in a 34-15 loss that really wasn't that close. On one play early in the game, Steelers guard Alan Faneca planted Lewis in the turf for all to see, causing Lewis to come up off the ground in full demonstration. Shortly after that, Lewis assisted on a tackle and leaped from the ground doing the Joey Porter "boot."
That little number sent Lewis and Porter into personal postgame blusters that dominated the next day's sports pages. They were two men -- Porter didn't play because he had been shot in the leg two weeks earlier -- popularizing the modern game by screaming obscenities at each other.
Is that what we want?