Commentary: Josh McDaniels’ Napoleon complex is nutty

I might lose you on this, as I’ve lost myself on it a few times, so stay with me.

A study funded by the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences in 2005 investigated the “Napoleon complex’” as a concept in nature.

The study found that “in contests between animals, the larger opponent is often victorious. However, counter intuitively, an individual that has little chance of winning (generally smaller individuals) sometimes initiate contests.”

One of the possible explanations for this behavior was that “likely losers attack due to an error in perception: they mistakenly perceive their chances of winning as being greater than they are.”

This study would seem to support a metaphor for a wide array of topics, including sports, and may bring new life to a tired old insult.

As a native Coloradoan who respects nature, I have one in mind I’d like to build on.

Let’s pretend Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels is a young squirrel.

Let’s say, for kicks, a cunning and ingenious raccoon named Bill Belichick raised McDaniels the squirrel, and now the squirrel mistakenly identifies himself as the raccoon’s son, and as a raccoon himself.

Now let’s pretend that both the squirrel and raccoon live in the same ecosystem — the NFL.

In this ecosystem, there are many predators. Common sense is a large predator — a fox. This predator devours the weakest creatures, the ones who display the least common sense.

Now let’s say that each squirrel in this habitat is afforded a variety of nuts to do with what each squirrel pleases, while the more advanced creatures like the raccoon are adapted to find more nuts and generally utilize nuts, among others resources, in more ways than the squirrel — who usually just eats them.

Let’s say that those nuts are draft picks and players.

This squirrel McDaniels traded with other, smarter squirrels for their nuts. This silly squirrel doesn’t know what to do with his nuts, for he thought that the nuts were supposed to idolize him, just like he idolized Belichick the raccoon.

The raccoon, who McDaniels thinks is his dad, Belichick, trades nuts too, but not for that reason. Sometimes, Belichick the raccoon traded nuts and talked about trading nuts with McDaniels the squirrel.

McDaniels didn’t quite get it, but he went along with the raccoon’s advice.

McDaniels the squirrel thought he learned from Belichick the raccoon that he didn’t have to be like other squirrels. He thought the raccoon showed him to do the opposite of what the other squirrels did so that he could get more and better nuts.

Sadly for the little squirrel McDaniels, he didn’t have the cognitive capabilities of the raccoon and he’d never be able to wrap his mind around the raccoon’s methods and reasoning, and how he improved his collection of nuts.

The little squirrel McDaniels didn’t care about the common sense fox. He’d draft a deformed nut, Tim Tebow, way before any other animal ever considered it. McDaniels fell in love with the Tebow nut, which talked and said all the things that pleased him, all the things he wanted to tell his raccoon daddy.

McDaniels was the joke of the other squirrels for wasting his nuts. When everyone else was getting the good nuts, McDaniels thought he was one cool squirrel.

McDaniels, the tiny squirrel, made a habit of confronting the common sense fox, initiating conflict with it where no potential benefit was apparent.

What McDaniels the squirrel didn’t know was that in all the time the raccoon Belichick talked and advised him about trading his nuts, he kept getting distracted further and further away from all the other squirrels’ habitat.

Belichick the raccoon was leading McDaniels the squirrel to a strange, noisy place.

Road kill.

Fire McDaniels.

Reach Nick at nruland@asu.edu