UPDATE: Baker has gone to the Barstool Sports Instagram page to clarify his comments… (read above)
Here’s my take: who the fuck cares.
EDIT: I should have included the full quote. Baker’s main point about Jones is his record in college.
Near our booth, a SportsCenter segment about the New York Giants catches Mayfield’s eye. “I cannot believe the Giants took Daniel Jones,” Mayfield says, about New York’s much-maligned draft-day decision to spend the sixth pick on the quarterback from Duke (whose college record was a measly 17–19). “Blows my mind.”
I tell Mayfield that I’m mystified that so many supposedly expert quarterback scouts seem unable to predict what makes a good NFL quarterback.
“Some people overthink it,” Mayfield says. “That’s where people go wrong. They forget you’ve gotta win.”
It’s not hard to sense that Mayfield is reflecting on his own history now. Despite compiling a 39–9 record in college, he faced a chorus of criticism before the draft. Those past slights are buried in a shallow grave. (A Browns teammate, Joel Bitonio, tells me that Mayfield plays with “the mentality of proving everybody who’s ever said something negative about him wrong.”)
To Mayfield, the characteristics of a great quarterback are simple. “Either you have a history of winning and being that guy for your team,” he says, “or you don’t.” (via GQ)
If you don’t think this is Baker Mayfield playing chess right now to rile people up and stack the cards against him, then you haven’t been paying attention. He wants to be a lightning rod for attention and pit people against him.
He isn’t going to change, he literally said it. If you don’t like him, then that’s fine. You absolutely do not have to like Baker Mayfield. Quite frankly, I don’t want people to “pity like” the Browns anyway.
This is what Baker wants. Now, Cleveland fans complaining… shut up? After years of Charlie Frye, Johnny Manziel, Luke McCown, Bruce Gradkowski, Jake Delhomme, Thad Lewis, Bryan Shaw (was it Connor Shaw?), etc., who gives a shit what the guy says.
Baker has been the Browns’ best hope in over 20 years, if he wins, then why does any of this matter? If he loses, then we are just back to what we are used to. Rooting for and watching this team has been the saddest, most horrific chore. It literally can’t get more rock-bottom than 1-31 over the span of two seasons, or going 10-6 and not making the playoffs because Derek Anderson threw 100 interceptions against a crappy Bengals team.
Baker was an undersized walk-on who used doubt as his motivation. It led him to a Heisman and being the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Him thriving on “haters” and having people throw out the pressure of “you better win!” is exactly what he wants. This is a guy with an edge and a chip on his shoulder. If his confidence and drive are what makes him a good QB, then so be it.
We live in a world with sports where people talk about personality and the likes of someone like Mike Trout trying to be a star or Kevin Durant being more personable, we have a guy in Baker who engages and puts himself out there as an athlete. Whether it is through twitter, streaming on Twitch or quotes with the media, this what Baker and does and, honestly, you don’t have to like it. (Browns fans not liking it is, again, weird)
Glenny Balls actually just walked up to me and said, “Baker better live up to the hype!” That’s it, that’s what Baker wants. He thrives off the pressure and, as my team’s quarterback, if that works, then great.
People took big dumps on the Browns when they were bad and now people want to talk about tempering expectations and how they “better win.” Whatever, man, I am going to enjoy a sliver of fun with my football team for once.
If there’s anything to worry about for Browns fan, it’s the SI jinx.