- Carrie Bradshaw: Feminist, Chauvinist, and ... Indian Captive in Paris?
- The Anthropological Reason It Feels Weird to Dance to Brubeck's 'Take Five'
- 'The League': Fantasy-Football Hilarity or Commentary on Masculinity?
TO THE NAKED EYE, IT MAY APPEAR THAT: While it's still unclear whether Manti Te'o was the perpetrator or the victim of his dead-girlfriend hoax, there's little question that until Wednesday night, Te'o had what the seminal Deadspin article calls "the most heartbreaking and inspirational story of the college football season."
BUT ACCORDING TO SOME PEOPLE WHO THOUGHT REALLY HARD ABOUT THIS: Morbid as it sounds, the fact that people believed Manti Te'o had a girlfriend who died young of cancer may have been a crucial factor in how he got so popular in the first place.
While each of Notre Dame's how-did-they-pull-it-off wins further cemented Te'o's on-field legacy and ultimately put him on the Heisman shortlist, it was the uniquely heartbreaking aspect of his off-the-field story that turned him from a football prodigy to a legend. As NBC Sports gushed on Dec. 29:
In a 48 hour span, he lost his girlfriend to her battle with leukemia and his grandmother. Still, Te'o found strength with his teammates, and in retrospect the game he played against Michigan State—where he filled the stat sheet up with 12 tackles, one TFL, a fumble recovery and two pass breakups—was just tremendous.
Talented, morally upstanding linebacker leads old Notre Dame back to the pinnacle of football glory while still grieving over the death of his beloved? If it were a novel, Te'o's story would be eye-rollingly cheesy. But when the saga unfolded in news outlets nationwide, Te'o's harrowing yet inspiring tale became a real-life underdog story for the ages.