News broke Wednesday that only half of the Denver Broncos’ players attended Russell Wilson’s birthday party, allowing countless NFL analysts to make connections between the party and a highly anticipated locker room mutiny reportedly in the works for weeks. It didn’t take long for commenters to draw comparisons to the movie, Draft Day, which features a very similar plot point surrounding fictional quarterback Bo Callahan.

It was a naturally grabby story with an even more natural reaction for fans to latch on to and it quickly became the talking point of the day within the league. I’m sure the ad revenue was great.

In other news, Wilson completed 19 of 35 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. The painfully average 75.5 QBR he earned was one of his best this season, which isn’t saying much because he’s appeared hapless for most of it. The Broncos lost 23-10.

The birthday party’s a lot funnier to talk about though, right?

When everything’s going wrong for an individual in sports, it becomes much easier to attack their personal life. Tom Brady’s divorce would have been news in any case, but the narrative undoubtedly got a little juicier following a noticeable regression in his play on the field. Urban Meyer’s toxic coaching style suddenly became far more pressing last season with the lowly Jaguars than it ever was when he coached at Florida.

Now, Wilson’s laid-back, unavailable demeanor toward teammates has become a talking point as he goes from an MVP-caliber quarterback to a player past his prime. If his teammates and fans in Denver dislike him, it’s not because of his personality. It’s because his arrival gave them hope of a Super Bowl that he no longer seems capable of delivering.

Though there are exceptional cases that should be appreciated as such, the fact of the matter is that most people don’t change past a certain point in their lives. And in the world of sports, love for adult athletes is directly tied to their potential or present performance value, and that love warps or conceals weaknesses until it fades. Then these flaws suddenly become glaringly apparent and we regard them as shocking and new.

Wilson’s issue right now isn’t a scatter-shot attendance record at his birthday party. He’s reportedly always been a distant teammate. His issue is that the Broncos are 3-8, and his advanced age and a career’s worth of injuries have slowed him down and don’t allow him to escape the pocket or scramble anymore. Despite his immense accomplishments, he now appears to be little more than an overpaid pocket-passer with an average arm. That’s the only thing that’s changed.

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