People Are Crazy

The world is coming to an end in 2012. The Mayans were right and I have the evidence to prove it.

Matt Barkley has chosen to return to USC to play quarterback for one more season. He has decided that the NFL and the millions of dollars that go along with it can wait. This is the 3rd year in a row that a top quarterback prospect has put the NFL on hold for the opportunity to immortalize themselves in their respective school’s history. First it was Jake Locker and then it was can’t miss prospect Andrew Luck. Oh, and how can we forget about Matt Leinart all the way back in 2004.

This year’s April fool happens to be Matt Barkley.

What is this world coming to? Where’s the greed? Actually, never mind that, where’s the common sense? The end of the world must be upon us. There is no other way to explain the topsy-turvy nature of these potentially life-altering choices. Men in their early 20’s are willingly turning down the chance to join the exclusive 1%. Delayed gratification at its finest. Matt Barkley’s family may be closer to the 1% than most of us but the point is still valid.

In all seriousness though, I feel sorry for these guys. The people they are surrounded by must be feeding them some grade A bologna.

The coaches who tell them it is in their best interests to get another year’s experience under their belt only have their own selfish interests in mind. The family members and friends who tell them that going back for a national championship to, in Barkley’s own words, “finish what [they] started, don’t understand the possible implications that returning for another year of school could have. The people who tell them to look into their hearts to find the answer don’t realize the follies that accompany decisions made emotionally.

Matt Barkley thinks he has unfinished business at USC. He doesn’t want to leave his national championship calibre team hanging out to dry. It’s good that Matt Barkley experienced those feelings because that’s what a leader is supposed to feel. Those are the qualities that bode well for his NFL career.

Of course, every sentence containing Matt Barkley and the NFL will, once again, be preceded by the word ‘if.’ By choosing to go back to USC there is no guarantee that he will even become an NFL quarterback. I already went through all the ‘if’s’ for Andrew Luck in early January prior to his similarly foolish decision to postpone his NFL career: The risk of a career-ending injury, losing lifetime financial security, exposing previously undiscovered flaws and, most importantly, being unable to fulfill the childhood dream of playing quarterback in the NFL.

The chances of any of those things happening are indeed quite low but the risk is still there. It hurts me to see young men time after time follow in the footsteps of their peers’ illogical decisions. It will hurt Matt Barkley a whole lot more if something tragic should happen to him in the next year.

Heck, after the Indianapolis Colts’ dramatic victory last night against the Texans, it is possible that Andrew Luck could end up falling from his seemingly locked up first overall slot in the 2012 draft. The Rams and Vikings are stuck at 2 wins but both teams believe they have their franchise quarterback already on their roster. It is unlikely that either would take Luck. The dream of being a 1st overall pick, which no doubt played a part in Barkley’s decision, could stay a dream for Andrew Luck.

The chances of a 0-13 team winning their final 3 games to finish out the season can’t be very high but it is becoming all too real for Andrew Luck who appeared destined for Indianapolis less than 2 weeks ago. If a 0-13 team can win 3 consecutive games, there’s no reason that something just as improbable could happen in the next calendar year that negatively affects Barkley’s NFL career.

Now, Matt Barkley’s puzzling choice may not signal the end of the world but it’s very possible that the only thing to stop these quarterbacks from continually choosing to play an unnecessary season of College football is an apocalypse.

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will happily return the favour.

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18 Responses to People Are Crazy

  1. brief22 says:

    Matt Barkley definitely made the right decision to stay in school. He came to USC to do 2 things: 1) Get his degree 2) Win a National Championship

    Looks like Mr. Barkley has some unfinished business.

    Check out my latest post at

  2. Jsportsfan says:

    I’m OK with Barkley staying another year. I see him as the future quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks. After all Pete Carroll did recruit him at USC. Good post as always.

  3. CR…

    I’m assuming there’s at least a touch of sarcasm in your post.

    Look, we can’t criticize guys for coming out early, then blast them when they decide to stay in school.

    I actually wouldn’t be surprised if we see a lot more student athletes stay put these days. Luck did, Tebow did, Barkley is. The money isn’t there, at least at first signing, like it used to be.

    Barkley’s living in LA, is a huge celebrity and promises to be more so next year. He has unfinished business.

    He understands the risks but I have a feeling the kid will be just fine… and will likely become a better pro quarterback, and perhaps even person, for the experience.

  4. chrisuscfan says:

    Next year will be another great one for Trojan football.

  5. capers8 says:

    I like Barkley’s decision, but this was a good read so I linked it at my site

  6. Dennis says:

    I respect your opinion, but the language in your piece is a bit too harsh for my taste. Consider this slant: last year’s number one overall pick, Cam Newton, received a 4 year 22 million dollar contract (correct me if I’m wrong). By coming back for his senior year, Barkley ensures that he will be the consensus number one overall pick, and he’ll probably make more money. This year he has to compete with Luck, and RGIII. Barkley could easily slide beyond the top five picks, and at that point, his rookie contract is a pittance, similar to what Locker received.

    That, and the whole “dream devastated by not being picked number one overall” argument is trending more towards rhetoric than reason. Luck is a Stanford graduate, with a father who was a former NFL executive. I highly doubt money is the issue, and there have been postulations that Luck and daddy Luck could hold teams hostage a la Eli Manning.

    Honestly, this piece reeks more of invective, and just makes you look like a sore loser. More often than not, we outsiders tend to criticize people for not taking the money and running. But I think it’s necessary to step back and take in all the perspectives; your postulations of “selfishness” could be true for all I care, but I on the other hand am genuinely convinced that Barkley isn’t being fed bologna, but truly feels a connection to not only his teammates and coaching staff, but USC.

    Barkley isn’t a fool. He’s a straight class act who wants to win a championship. Sure, that may be selfish, and that may be a foolish career move, but I don’t have the balls to fling crap at this kid.

  7. Kevin Blocker says:

    Well articulated points; however, consider this: This is Andrew Luck’s draft and has been since he declared that he was returning to Stanford.

    Next year, the same fanfare will be extended to Barkley – minus Luck AND Robert Griffin III – who it could be argued has put himself in the same class as Barkley, if not from a public relations perspective, and could land ahead of Barkley if he had chosen to come out in the ’12 draft.

    Barkley will be all the more coveted come this time next year, and even more rich than he would be if he were to come out now.

    • JW says:

      Kevin hits the other possible nail on the head. There’s another factor in play here. While it is true Barkley was likely a first-round pick, it is also true that this class might be bit crowded. There’s no guarantee that his stock doesn’t slip between now and draft day as there are at least six QBs who could be in the running by the time we get to a draft. Considering there is a big difference in top 10 vs. bottom of the first round money, Barkley might be taking his chances with a thinner QB class next year.

    • JW says:

      Oh, and one other point. The “loss of future earnings” argument doens’t hold any water because guys like Barkley can buy insurance for injuries vs. future earnings.

  8. Anthony says:

    You forgot to mention Sam Bradford among the QBs that passed up NFL money to stay one more year. Of all those mentioned, Locker, Luck, Leinart, and Bradford, only Leinart failed to retain his value. Bradford signed a record breaking rookie contract, when he finally entered the league as the No. 1 overall pick, and this came despite spending much of his senior season on the OU sideline with injury. Bradford made an additional $8.3 million by returning to school, being that he eventually signed for $50 million guaranteed, whereas Matthew Stafford’s guaranteed money was $41.7 million as the No. 1 overall pick the year prior.

    Of course, there’s now a rookie salary cap in place, so we won’t see that kind of money again. But it also means more than ever that you want to be the top selection, which was doubtful for Barkley. Cam Newton earned $22 million guaranteed as the first overall pick this year. Blaine Gabbert, the third QB off the board, signed for $12 million guaranteed. Depending on Robert Griffin III’s decision, and how much NFL scouts love him, Barkley could have fallen to third. So basically, he would be risking $10 million by entering with this class, when you can stay in school and begin as the clear cut No. 1 for 2013. It’s a $10 million difference.

  9. Hey, Chris, good write up. The thing that is different about Barkley is Lane Kiffin. CLK is a tremendous qb coach. If you listened closely to the press conference yesterday, Kiffin did not hold back anything. He is going to work Barkley and push him until he is the complete NFL qb. Barkley will make his own decision at the line. The game will be in his hands.

    I think it all depends on who is coaching the guy in college. If it’s Kiffin or Harbaugh, great. The guy should come back. He will learn a lot more, become a lot more decisive. I think if Harbaugh had remained at Stanford, Andrew Luck would have won the Heisman hands down. He would not have had such a poor game against Oregon. They would have played for the NC if they had beaten Oregon.

    It also depends on who they have around them receiving. Barkley’s receivers right now are better than the ones you will find on several of the NFL basement dwellers.

    The other thing about Luck dropping to #3. I don’t think it will happen. If St. Louis has the pick and they want to keep Bradford, they will trade down and get 2 or more picks from a team that desperately needs that #1 qb, and there are quite a few of them.

  10. Bobby Charts says:

    People think money and fame is all that matters in life, Matt sees it like most people don’t. People look at life in different ways. Right or wrong it’s his life!

  11. Matt Barkley has improved immensley in his junior year compared to his sophomore year. He threw 13 more touchdowns and 5 less interceptions, completed 7% more of his passes, and threw for over 750 yards more in 2011 compared to 2010. Why not return for his senior season, refine his skills, become a more complete quarterback and enter the draft as the favorite to be the top pick. You could argue that Barkley had a better season than Andrew Luck, but Luck has the size advantage that Barkely doesn’t. Luck is 6’4 and Barkley is 6’2. Luck is also a lot better athlete than Barkley.It’s wise for Barkley to stay in school, get his degree, win more games, and have a chance to win the Heisman. The money will always be there for him, even if it’s a lot less nowadays compared to a few years ago. Rookies need to EARN their money

  12. tophatal says:

    Chris Barkley remains in school for another season . Oh well , let’s hope that there’s room for him in that needle point or ballroom dancing class . Recent USC qb’s such as Leinart and Palmer are currently struggling to make their presence felt in the NFL . And neither has yet to live up to the preconceived perceptions as to their alleged greatness . ‘nough said ! The caveat here is ” buyer beware ” !

    tophatal ..

  13. buddad1957 says:

    Matt made a choice not based on what Lane Kiffin wanted him to do, we all know what that would be, and while Lane is not one to put a teams well-being in front of $’s, he would surely be happy to have Matt back. Matt has a future in the NFL, though he’s not quite as polished as he can be. He still makes decisions that don’t work out well for the team, so he is still learning. His future in the NFL could be cut short, or become non-existent if he has a debilitating injury. That is also true when he plays in the NFL. Getting cut to save money is a business decision the NFL makes all the time. His guaranteed money is not going to be what Sam Bradford got, and had he come out this year, may not be what RGIII and Luck will receive.

    A college player has four years of eligibility. When they are gone, they are gone for good. There is no going back. He has a lot of support from family, friends and teammates. It is my belief he sought a higher power to make his decision. Mr. Barkley is anchored in his faith and I would believe he turned to it to help him make his decision. Tim Tebow is vilified for his faith, rightly or wrongly. Matt assuredly didn’t make the decision lightly, certainly not based on money alone. I applaud him for taking this step, (despite it potentially bringing unhappiness on my Huskies). Jake Locker has done okay despite a rough senior year. His decision to stay at the UW was courageous and he dropped from a top five pick downwards. He will still be a good NFL QB. Matt has a chance to be a very good NFL QB and one more year of seasoning at USC will not hurt this.

  14. Major thanks for the article.Really looking forward to read more. Great.

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