Monday, October 22, 2007

According To The Mini Biography That Appears At The End Of Everything He Writes, Gene Wojciechowski Is The Senior National Columnist For ESPN.com

But why? Someone down at the World Wide Leader needs to start asking some questions as to how this guy has a job at all, let alone a job as "the senior national columnist" for their website. Next to Gregg Easterbrook and Bill Simmons, there isn't a more annoying idiot writing there. It's columns like this one that really separate Gene from the pack when it comes to not knowing anything about sports despite being paid to analyze them.

Even in victory, Broncos can't hide flaws

DENVER -- About the nicest thing you can say about the Denver Broncos is that their uniforms make them look like very large traffic cones. Otherwise, there's no reason to pay attention to this team.

Not yet, at least.

Traffic cones? Either Gene hasn't watched a Broncos game since they changed uniform designs in the mid 90s or the department of transportation where he lives uses blue cones. I'd imagine those would be hard to see at night, but I guess it's possible.

Yes, I know, they upset the sluggish Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-28, on a meat-freezer-cold Sunday night at Invesco Field. Thing is, you couldn't tell who was more surprised by the outcome, the Steelers or the Broncos.

OK, that's not exactly true. The Broncos insist that the last-second victory was no accident, that they were never as crummy as their 2-3 record and three-game losing streak made them look.

"I kept telling you guys we were confident in the locker room," said quarterback Jay Cutler, who remains a work in progress. "We had a bye week. We knew we were a good team. We just weren't playing up to our potential."

So: we have a strong statement of opinion from Gene about game. Followed immediately by quote from a player that directly contradicts said statement. Now that's journalism. "I had a hamburger for lunch today. Well, that's not exactly true. I actually had some pizza."

Cutler wasn't the only one to chide reporters about their lack of faith in the Broncos. Cornerback Dre Bly, whose injured right shoulder featured a puncture mark from a pain-killing shot, happily provided the obligatory cliché.

"Nobody was giving us any shot to win this game," Bly said.

Maybe that's because the Broncos hadn't earned the benefit of the doubt. With the exception of Jason Elam (Is it a good thing when the best player on your team is the place-kicker?), nobody on this team had played exceptionally or consistently well.

Obviously the term "best player" is being applied loosely here. A kicker is like a closer; they don't get into games very often relative to the rest of the players on their team, but when they do it's often in high-leverage situations. So simple minded fans might be tempted to think when they play well, as Elam has, they are their squad's best player. In reality, it's incredibly difficult to measure their abilities against those of other players, but it's probably a huge reach to say that anyone on Denver's roster not named "Champ Bailey" is the best player on the team.

Sheesh, where are my manners, listen to me ramble on and on like a cocaine addict... what I'm trying to say is that Gene is a travesty of a writer.

Also, let's look his main point so far, which is: the Broncos won, but they shouldn't be happy about it. That's right. They should not claim that their previous losses were caused by them failing to playing up to their potential, or be excited about the fact that they beat a favored Pittsburgh team. No. Instead, they should tell the media "We wanted to lose. We expected to lose. We are ashamed to have won. More than anything we'd like to thank the Steelers for graciously handing us this victory, which was 100% due to their lack of execution and 0% due to our own good play." Sounds about right.

Elam's 49-yard walk-off field goal as time expired was his third game-winner of the season. Without him, the Broncos don't beat Buffalo on the road, don't beat Oakland in overtime and don't beat Pittsburgh. '

Well yeah. I guess. Assuming Elam wasn't there, and the Broncos didn't have anyone else try to kick the ball during the last play of those games and instead just snapped the ball to the holder so he could sit there like an idiot until he got tackled... you're right, they would have lost all three. But if they had a different kicker attempt the same plays, who knows what the outcome would have been? This is like saying "without David Eckstein, the Cardinals would never have won the World Series last year." Um, what if they replaced him with someone else who also played pretty well? The "without him" argument should only apply to ridiculous all-time greats like Michael Jordan.

"We'll take it if we can get it," Elam said. "If we can get 20 of 21, we will take it."

Elam was talking about the World Series-bound Colorado Rockies, who actually have won 21 of their past 22 games. If Elam thinks this team is going on some sort of Rockies-like miracle run, he's mildly nuts or oxygen-deprived. These Broncos have too many flaws to overcome. You can't keep winning on inside straights forever.


Apparently playing your opponent evenly all game, and then winning on a field goal as time expires, is the same as winning on an unlikely inside straight in poker.

Cutler completed 22 of 29 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns. But he also threw two interceptions, including one on which the Steelers had a team photo shoot going around intended receiver Brandon Marshall.

Two? TWO? Fucking two fucking interceptions? What a piece of shit quarterback that guy is! I can't believe the game was even close at halftime! I mean, how many times has a team thrown two interceptions and gone on to win? What a miracle. They must've converted 100% of their third downs and averaged 8 yards per carry on the ground to overcome that Ryan Leaf-like performace.

"They kind of fooled me," Cutler said.

Obviously. Otherwise you wouldn't have thrown those two picks, like the total waste of a person you are.

Cutler is getting better. He did lead the Broncos from their own 20 to the Steelers' 31 in the last 70 seconds of the game, just close enough for Elam to do the hero thing again. Of course, it helped that Steelers linebacker James Harrison was nice enough to line up offsides on a third-and-1 play earlier in the drive. The mistake handed Denver a first down.

On that play, Cutler snuck for the first down anyways. But nice try. (And no, the three extra yards they gained due to the penalty didn't affect the field goal; it would have been good from at least 5 yards further back.)

"It's still early in the season, and we've got a lot of talent on this team," wide receiver Brandon Stokley said. "I think everybody around the league knows what we're capable of … The sky's the limit for us."

If the sky is the AFC West lead, then, yes, the Broncos have an outside chance at that. Otherwise, they're not going to reach playoff altitude. And even if they do sneak in somehow, does anyone really think they could beat the New England Patriots, the Indianapolis Colts or even these same Steelers again?

$%*# the heck? No one is touting the Broncos as some kind of championship caliber team... no one. Preseason, a handful of analysts picked them to win the AFC West. None that I heard claimed they were going to high-step to the Super Bowl. No one even implied they were on the level of the Colts or Patriots. And they certainly aren't doing now just because of this one close win. This is what we call a straw man argument. It's like saying "Sure, the Washington Nationals weren't as bad as people thought they would be last season. But I'm tired of everyone saying they're going to win the World Series next year."

Since losing to the Steelers in the 2005 playoffs, the Broncos have bordered on postseason irrelevancy.

Since that loss, there has been one postseason. The Broncos did not participate. That's not bordering on irrelevancy, that's being irrelevant. It's also a sample size of one. I can't tell which of those angles better proves that Gene is a moron.

Something happened to this franchise. It lost its mojo, and the rest of the NFL noticed.

Oh my God... I can't believe he set me up like this... maybe they should enlist Austin Powers to help them get it back! LOLOLOL! (I'm embarrassed. It's because of jokes like these that I'm writing this on a dusty old PC from my parents' basement while professional journalists like Gene write their articles on golden typewriters from their mansions on the moon.)

"You show any weakness in this league, and people stop fearing you," said veteran safety John Lynch. "The nature of this league is scoreboard, and we've struggled at home of late, in particular. The only way to change that is do something about it. And I think we took a step toward that tonight in beating a very good football team. Ever since they beat us in the championship game, we kind of lost that dominance at home."

There's a big difference between a step and a leap. The Broncos are 3-3, but four of their next six games are on the road. The two home games are against the Packers and Tennessee. So good luck with that.

Ha! Gene scoffs at your ambitions, Broncos. Why even show up for those games? Might as well save yourself the bumps, bruises, and airfare and just stay home.

"We know we're a championship-caliber team," Broncos linebacker D.J. Williams said. "Definitely a playoff team."

If that's a promise and a prediction, the Broncos need someone other than Elam to win games.

Lord knows no one else has helped them to those three victories. That's why they call football "the sport determined by kickers and kickers alone, unless you're the Patriots, in which case you're 53 guys working as one towards a common goal."

Otherwise, this city could become the unthinkable.

A Rockies town.

As if Gene cares which of their teams Denver residents like most at any given time.

Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com.

Again, why?

You can contact him at gene.wojciechowski@espn3.com. He co-authored Jerome Bettis' autobiography, "The Bus: My Life In and Out of a Helmet," which is available now.

Could this be the source of the sour grapes tone in this article? Because he wrote a biography of a former Steeler? I'd like to think so. The only other guess I can come up with is Gene was told by his editor on Sunday evening that he's not allowed to write anything about Lou Pinella for the next 5 months. This upset him, so as a result he decided to make himself feel better by journalistically shitting all over whichever team won the Sunday Night Football game that was happening when he received the news.

4 comments:

pnoles said...

The "real-life version of Michael Scott from The Office" comparison continues to hold water!

Chris Hart said...

Thanks Larry, that was one shitty article.

Anonymous said...

Larry's mini-biography says "Larry B doesn't like it when people pick on the Broncos for being bad at football."

Also, Gene Wojciechowski is the ESPN version of Scrappy Doo.

Larry said...

Walk off field goal is almost as bad as walk off home run. What ever happened to game winner?