There has been a massive shift in the conversation around New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones. Former Miami Dolphins linebacker and current sports personality on “The Pivot” podcast, Channing Crowder, is the latest well-known person to take a shot at Jones.
During Jones’ rookie season in 2021, most of the narrative centered around the first-year signal-caller leading his team to the postseason. Mac finished runner-up to the Cincinnati Bengals’ Jamarr Chase for Offensive Rookie of the Year, and it appeared he was on his way.
Fast forward to the 2022 season, one that has him attempting to navigate the normal impediments facing a young quarterback and a possibly ill-equipped offensive coaching staff, and the tide has turned dramatically. Jones is struggling to maintain the momentum he established as a rookie.
Jones’ numbers are down across the board, and more importantly, the Patriots are dangerously close to missing the postseason. While he did miss three games with a high-ankle sprain, Jones has thrown only 11 TD passes compared to 22 last season, per Pro Football Reference. His completion percentage is down to 65.2% compared to 67% as a rookie. Jones’ yards per game are down as well.
In 2021, Jones was lauded for his intangibles, but in year two, the focus shifted to his physical limitations, poor body language, and controversial on-field behavior.
Jones might be considered unlikeable to fans, and when coupled with an underwhelming on-field product, there are legitimate concerns.
Channing Crowder Takes Aim at Mac Jones
Crowder, who played for the Dolphins from 2005 to 2010, is known for being a straight-shooter, and he honed in on Jones as a target in a January 4 interview on FS1’s “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd.
Crowder accused Jones of suffering from Affluenza, implying that his issues and behavior are linked to his entitlement dating back to his childhood.
Here is Crowder’s quote, which also aims at a few other big-name quarterbacks.
“I heard you talking earlier [in the show] about the Mac Jones body language,” Crowder said to Cowherd. “It’s called Affluenza. [If] you’ve been given too much, you have too much money, you’re a little different. I was around a bunch of rich dudes growing up and I played with rich guys. They just have this little demeanor and you know it gets to you. You brought up Jay Cutler. I would bring up Josh Allen in this conversation. Kyler Murray was a trust fund baby.”
It appears in the clip below. The segment starts at the 3:35 mark.
The definition of Affluenza, according to Merriam-Webster is, “The unhealthy and unwelcome psychological and social effects of affluence regarded especially as a widespread societal problem: such as: feelings of guilt, lack of motivation, and social isolation experienced by wealthy people.”
Affluenza is not a medically recognized mental disorder and was called “junk science” by Time’s Christopher J. Ferguson, an associate professor and department chair of psychology at Stetson University.
While some will discredit Crowder’s take because of his reference to a non-official psychological issue, Jones’ behavior on the field has been a hot topic for his peers and other analysts.
A Slew of People Are Criticizing Patriots QB Mac Jones
Jones does appear to go off the rails when things don’t go his way. His questionable decisions, or as some would describe as “dirty plays,” mostly happen after interceptions, fumbles, or when he is frustrated.
There is a strong Grayson-Allen quality (controversial Milwaukee Bucks player) present and a startling lack of self-control. He also has a history of tantrums on the field dating back to his days in youth sports, per his Pop Warner coach Ed Yost, who appeared on WEEI’s the Fitz and Mego Show in May 2021.
Another of Crowder’s co-stars, Fred Taylor, called him “a repeat offender.”
Taylor is referring to Jones’ history of questionable plays dating back to his rookie season when he grabbed Brian Burns’ ankle against the Carolina Panthers after he was stripped and sacked.
This season against the Chicago Bears, in a game Jones was benched for poor play, he slid to avoid a tackle during a scramble but raised his foot in the air to kick safety Jaquan Brisker in the private area.
The latest example is Jones seemingly appearing to take out the knee of Cincinnati Bengals defensive back Eli Apple after he’d thrown an interception. In each instance, Burns, Brisker, and Apple, the victims of Jones’ actions, took umbrage with the Patriots quarterback.
The NFL fined Jones nearly $24,000 for the play against Apple and another relatively egregious play in the fourth quarter.
Jones’ on-field bickering and tantrums aimed at defacto offensive coordinator Matt Patricia aren’t inherently positive. They would probably be less acceptable if the coordinator had proven to be more competent in his current role.
Still, Patriots legend Julian Edelman called the quarterback out for his “little pissy faces” after Jones’ subpar effort to tackle Chandler Jones on the ill-fated final play of the Patriots’ crushing loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on December 18.
Former NFL MVP Boomer Esiason recently cited Jones’ douchiness while appearing as a guest on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show.
In college, his coach at Alabama, Nick Saban, nicknamed him John McEnroe because of his emotional outbursts and what he called “a tennis player’s mentality.” Saban said he tried to impress upon Jones how much his behavior impacted the rest of his team.
In the team sport of football, that’s a real impediment to overcome, and it appears Jones is still fighting that battle.