Thursday, November 15, 2007

Peter King vs. His Readers In a Terrible Mailbag Showdown

Gregg Easterbrook's TMQ column was surprisingly inoffensive this week, so I'm skipping it. Maybe he's been reading my angry diatribes and is changing his ways. Probably not. Anyways I'll check back with him in 6 days or so. For now, let's move on to something else.

Sometimes I feel like making fun of a mailbag column for a post is cheating. Instead of just dealing with a dumb journalist like Peter King, I get to shit all over both the journalist and his (usuall) even stupider readers. It's the closest thing there is to a guarantee in this hardcore anti-sports media blogging business. It's completely impossible for the column to not end up being a giant piece of crap. There are too many idiots involved. Because of this, are they really fair game for FireJay? I'm not sure. However: it's late, I know people will want to read something tomorrow, and TMQ let me down. Subsequently I need to find somebody to make fun of in a hurry. Peter/Peter's readers, thanks for being that somebody.

(Before he starts answering questions, King launches into a disaster of a mini-column about where teams should look for RB talent)

Did you notice the rushing leaderboard for Week 10? And did you notice the inactives last night for the Seahawks? There's a correlation. And the moral of the story is that running back is the last position I'd ever spend big free-agent money on if I ran an NFL franchise.

Check out the weekend's top five rushers, and how they entered the NFL:
1. Clinton Portis, Washington, second round.

2. Jesse Chatman, Miami, undrafted.
3. Ryan Grant, Green Bay, undrafted.
4. Selvin Young, Denver, undrafted.
5. Willie Parker, Pittsburgh, undrafted.

All this is mediocre (but not necessarily bad) analysis. Sure, it's interesting to note that some good NFL running backs have come from unlikely places. Same as some good QBs... or offensive linemen... or anyone from any position. So this is pretty vanilla but it's not stupid. I mean, I wouldn't spend a lot of money on a free agent RB. But King's also trying to make a point about RBs that are picked early in the draft. This is a problem.

Running backs are the curse of the NFL. Look at Chicago, which in the last 13 drafts has taken Rashaan Salaam, Curtis Enis and Cedric Benson in the first round and been disappointed by all three.

So 4 of the top 5 rushers from last weekend's games were undrafted? Awesome. Great. But one game seems like a pretty small sample size. What if we look at the top rushers from this entire season, and what round they were drafted in?

Peterson, 1
Parker, undrafted
Portis, 2
Addai, 1
Lynch, 1
McGahee, 1
Tomlinson, 1
Westbrook, 3
James, 1
L. White, 2
T. Jones, 1
R. Brown, 1

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Yeah, now things look a little different. Where's your Ryan Grant and Jesse Chatman now, Peter? Just to further prove my point, I went 5 years back (in order to allow for some turnover) and looked at the season rushing leaders in 2002 and their draft position.

R. Williams, 1
Tomlinson, 1
P. Holmes, undrafted
Portis, 2
T. Henry, 2
McAllister, 1
Barber, 2
J. Lewis, 1
Taylor, 1
Dillon, 2
Bennett, 1
A. Green, 3

In conclusion: shut up, Peter King. Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, but in general drafting a running back early looks like a pretty fucking good idea to me.

Parker, Chatman, Grant and Young are hungry. Downright starving, probably, after being stuck behind good backs like Jerome Bettis, Ronnie Brown and Tiki Barber. With the injuries that ravage teams every year, it's smart to have a good second and third back, but it's just as smart not to pay a first-teamer the big dough.

Paying "big dough" to big name free agent RBs like Edge James looks kind of silly, and King correctly says so a part of the column I haven't included here. But paying "big dough" to 1st round draft picks like Adrian Peterson or the 20 year old version of Edge James that the Colts took back in 1999 looks really, really smart. I mean, as long as you define "smart" in the game of football as "having guys on your team that play extremely well."

You can find guys on the NFL street to gain 1,200 yards for you. Happens every year.

Total 1,200 yard seasons in the NFL from 2002-2006: 59
Number of those compiled by players who were not drafted: 4 (2 by Priest Holmes, 2 by Willie Parker)
Number of those compiled by players who were drafted in the 4th round or later: 5 (1 by Chester Taylor, 1 by Stephen Davis, 3 by Rudi Johnson)
Number of those compiled by players who were drafted in the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd round: 50

You are wrong. Stop telling your readers lies. It didn't happen as recently as 2004. And the overwhelming majority of 1,200 rushers in today's NFL are not just draft picks (as opposed to "guys off the street"), but 1st or 2nd round draft picks.

The lesson should ring out in every front office in the league over the next few years: Don't pay big money for a back who's been a star in the league.

Again, fair enough. Free agent backs are not a good idea. BUT-

Instead, develop your own later-round finds.

As long as they are named Rudi Johnson, yeah, sure, go ahead and develop them. If they are named anything else, I don't like your odds.

They come in all shapes and sizes.

What the fuck does that even mean? They are NFL running backs. Almost every single one of them is between 5'10" and 6'2", and somewhere in the neighborhood of 220 lbs. This is like saying "If you're like me, you like cans of soda. They come in all shapes and sizes."

MCNABB'S FUTURE. From Peter Hale of Woburn, Mass.: "Two quarterback-related questions: Any chance Donovan McNabb goes to Baltimore, and would it be a waste if the growing consensus proves true and Brian Billick isn't back next year?

Here's where the readers start stepping up to the plate and competing with King in the dumbass department. I know how everyone likes to hype him up as an offensive "guru", but given what a disaster the Ravens' offense has been for Billick's entire tenure and that he's been unable to turn former 1st round pick Kyle Boller into anything that resembles a non shitty quarterback, I'd say it would be a waste if McNabb came to Baltimore and Billick was still there.

DOWN ON RIVERS. From Rick Betourne of Chesapeake, Va.: "The Chargers are toast. Even as emotional as they were Sunday, how can they legitimately be called a playoff team? Philip Rivers is AWFUL! I kept saying to my son, 'Who is he throwing to?'

"Consistently, he was throwing to receivers who were covered, double-covered, even triple-covered. People wonder why LT is not having the same year -- Philip Rivers."

First of all, Rick, the Chargers can be legitimately called a playoff team because they reside in the AFC West and the other three teams there are a collective joke this year. (I'm a Broncos fan, I would know.) Second, rather than just looking at LT's down season, maybe we should look at why neither LT nor Rivers is having the kind of year they expected. Hmmmm... what changed for the Chargers between 2006 and 2007? Were there any moves made regarding the coaching staff? Did they fire a coach with an excellent (regular season) track record and hire one who's never done anything but suck? Did they lose their offensive coordinator? Maybe we should look in that direction and see if we can figure out why both LT and Rivers are plummeting back to Earth, rather than simply pointing fingers at a one specific single cog in an underperforming offense.

MORE QB QUESTIONS. From Mike Kearney of Burlington, Ontario: "I raise my green tea to you this morning

I know green tea is good for you and all, but by putting that in your email you have identified yourself as a pretentious ass.

and ask "Who is the No. 3 NFC quarterback in the Pro Bowl?" Favre and Romo are one and two. For No. 3, is it Garcia, Brees or Hasselbeck? The whole world needs to know.

And by putting Hasselbeck on that list and omitting Jon Kitna, you have identified yourself as dumb.

VINATIERI FALL-OUT. From Jay of Trenton, N.J.: "Hey Peter, do you think Adam Vinatieri's missed "gimme" vs. San Diego tarnished his HOF resume at all?"

That might be the single worst question I have ever seen published in a mailbag column. Ever. This is the stuff of legends, folks. People as ignorant and clueless as Jay from Trenton don't just get their shitbag ideas published on a major sports website every day.

No. I respect the question.

Why? That question is so bad, I almost wonder if it was sent in as a joke. I really hope that's the case and that Jay in Trenton and his friends are laughing as hard as I am at King's answer. When is all is said and done, this one miss against the Chargers during a regular season game in November will have about as much impact on whether or not Vinatieri gets in to the HOF as who his favorite Spice Girl is. (Mine is Baby!)

But one blown regular-season game hardly tarnishes the resume of the best clutch kicker in NFL history.

This simple (and correct) answer is the opposite of respecting the question.

FAVRE-ULOUS. From Mark F. of Worcester, Mass.: "Saw Deanna Favre on last week's Monday Night Game. Is it bad form to note what a babe she is?"

I will relay the message and you can count on two things. One, she'll be very pleased. Two, she'll blush.

That is creepy. I think Eriz has done the best job around here of lampooning Peter's man-crush on Favre, so instead of writing my own material to make fun of it I'll just link to one of his posts. And to this Sports Pickle page (scroll about halfway down, in the middle). Who knew, though, that King also had such strong feelings for Mrs. Favre? I bet he loves them both so much that he'd hurt either if he had the chance.

TOUCHING STORY FROM A 49ERS FAN. From Phil of Toronto: "A story about Dick Nolan: I have been a Niners fan since I was 14, in 1965. In 1972, when the team made its first ever trip to nearby Buffalo following the NFL/AFL merger, I bought tickets. A couple of days prior I decided that it would be even better to drive in the day before and hopefully meet some players. Accordingly, I called the team's headquarters and asked to speak to Dick Nolan. They put me on hold and, a couple of minutes later, Dick was on the line (obviously, this is something that would never happen today).

Phil goes on to describe how Dick got him passes to the Niners' Saturday practice that weekend, and how the two of them met there and how Dick was a super nice guy. Peter, your thoughts?

I'm going to give you the biggest cliché in sports -- the apple does not fall very far from the tree.

Biggest cliche in sports? Oh, so close. Let me make like Bill Simmons and show you the "official" list of biggest sports cliches that I just made up. Then let me light myself on fire.

1. Take it one game at a time
2. Go out their and play their/our game
3. He/they just know(s) how to win
4. You can't say enough about him/this team
5. Go out there and make plays
6. It is what it is
7. They/we believe in their/ourselves and that's all that matters
8. No one believed in us/We shocked the world


693: The apple doesn't fall far from the tree

Hmmmmm. Maybe Peter was thinking of the biggest cliche in real life, rather than in sports. "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree" comes in at #28 on that list. So King is still wrong, but he's much less wrong.

That's all I've got. Feel free to submit any questions you'd like us here at FireJay to answer in the comments section, and we can make our own mailbag! Hooray! Or, just leave a comment and tell us who your favorite Spice Girl is/was.


Jeff said...

That's a nice list of cliches. I would add.

- It was a total team effort...all XX guys contributed.
- We brought our A-game.
- Guys need to step up. (guys stepped up)
- We kept our focus (gotta keep our focus).
- No lead is safe.
- Their hitting on all cylinders.

Seriously - how often does "the apple does not fall far from the tree" even apply in sports? When talking about Aaron Boone, Bob Boone, Brett Boone, Brett Hull, Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, Prince Fielder, etc.?

By the way I cheated for those cliches:

pnoles said...

And lets not forget, the ever-famous and Fire Jay Mariotti label...

"Playing the game the way it was meant to be played."

Chris said...

Dear Fire Jay Mariotti,

How is living in your parent's basement? Do they still buy you teddy grahams? If you could only pick one flavor pop tart for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Chris said...

Dear Fire Jay Mariotti,

How is living in your parent's basement? Do they still buy you teddy grahams? If you could only pick one flavor pop tart for the rest of your life, what would it be?

larry b said...

Thanks for the the question Chris. If enough people submit one (I know there are at least 5 more of you out there) I'm dead serious about turning them into a post.

JD said...

How about listing writers, analysts, play-by-play guys, and color commentators that you actually do enjoy? I can then use this information to determine whether I will still be one of the eleven loyal readers of your blog. Actually, your audience has quadrupled since I first started reading you on a daily basis.

Tonus said...

"It must have been a tainted supplement" has moved from #1016 to #238 on the sports cliche list.

jones said...

Where does "Hey, does this milk smell funny to you?" fit on that list?

eriz said...

How about listing writers, analysts, play-by-play guys, and color commentators that you actually do enjoy? I can then use this information to determine whether I will still be one of the eleven loyal readers of your blog. Actually, your audience has quadrupled since I first started reading you on a daily basis.

1. Rob Neyer
2. Dr. Z (but only when he talks about offensive linemen, and I'm being dead serious)
3. ----

Fuck well I guess that's it

eriz said...

and you know what pisses my off larry? That fake King post i wrote that you linked was meant to be a parody. But everything I wrote has come true!