Yes, perhaps that hulking linebacker can run 40 yards like a cheetah, and yes, perhaps the dexterity and agility of that wide receiver might make a hummingbird hang its head in embarrassed remorse, but the owners of the Jacksonville Jaguars want more important and substantive information about the free agents they scout for positions on their team: “Do they help with the dishes?” The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the new plan of considering free agents’ marriages at signing time is the brainchild of the Jaguars’ new owner, Shadid Khan (the expansiveness of whose vision for the team is rivaled only by the expansiveness of his imposing moustache) who “figured some of the things needed to be a solid player – like staying after practice or putting in extra work – require a stable home environment.”
So the Jaguars are interested in players who are dedicated, mature, responsible, and less likely to be filmed running away from a police car in the middle of the night, not simply more boring denizens of the boring locale of Jacksonville (as some confused and contrarian commentators have cynically said). Yet it must be admitted that since no real studies have ever been done to prove whether married athletes actually do perform better than single players on the ball field, this new tactic is a gambit. Nevertheless, if NFL athletes are at all like other employees (or indeed, like other men), then the gambit may actually pay off. The wealth of marriage literature shows that married men work longer hours, demonstrate more responsible behavior, earn more wages, and are significantly less likely to commit crime or abuse illegal substances than are single men. Therefore don’t be surprised if you begin to see more wedding rings and super bowl rings on the same hands.