I was facing two big problems earlier tonight.
1) I am tired
2) Gregg Easterbrook released a TMQ column this week that contains some absolutely wretched analysis
I mean, how was I supposed to reconcile these two with each other? If I go to bed, Easterbrook's turd of an article goes unchecked, probably forever. If I take a bunch of time to complain about the article, I go to bed late. Then I'll just be tired again tomorrow. And maybe Saturday too. What kind of bullshit life is that? How am I supposed to break that vicious cycle if I don't start tonight? But just as I was starting to panic, I had an idea. Let me lay it out for you slowly, so that by the end of the explanation you're so bored with what I'm saying that you have no interest in being a part of the idea.
Yesterday saw FireJay set another direct traffic record. Very exciting stuff. We also shattered our old record for being looked for on search engines; Google was overflowing with lovejuice for us. And the 34 comments (granted, like ten of them are from me, Chris W, and pnoles, but don't burst my bubble) on the Simmons piece has to be close to an all time record for the blog as well. So there's definitely a lot of you out there reading this drivel. I mean, shit, look at you right now. You could be doing anything on the internet. But you've chosen to be here.
Therefore, here's my idea: every Friday, we do a sort of play on those "You Write the Caption" competition magazines and blogs are always having. It used to be one of my favorite features in Sports Illustrated For Kids, even though most or all of the winning selections were probably written by kids' parents. But whatever. Anyways, for our little thingy I'm describing here, instead of a picture, we'll just present you with a handful of quotes from a terrible article and a theme for you to follow in your responses. Then you all just go buck wild making up jokes from the perspective of the author, which is sort of caption-ish in a way. Pow. Instant comedy. I mean, what better way to celebrate this windfall of new readers than by asking you to show us and each other how witty and snarky you can be? I hate the word snark, but I think its made-up definition applies nicely to what FireJay and blogs like it are all about. You wouldn't be here if you didn't like snark, and weren't pretty damn good at being snarky yourself. Hell, most of you are probably better at being snarky than I am. I'm really more angry/angsty. Snark snark snark. Fuck that word. See? I'm pissed now.
But seriously, you can see what I'm getting at here. I want you all to use your rapist's wits to help make the blog a funnier place. Some of you already do that in the comments section on a daily basis, but I want Friday to become a special day where you really focus and bring your A games. And on top of that, maybe some of you that read but don't comment will be inspired by this feature to make the plunge into commenting every once in a while.
This week will be the trial run. If it flops, we'll pretend it never happened. If it's even a mild success, which I define by having at least two commenters participate without making fun of me for thinking this would work, then we'll keep it going.
Easterbrook went like ten steps further than he usually does this week in terms of making shit up and passing it off as the truth. Here, he speculates as to why some of the NFL's divisional playoff games turned out the way they did.
Dallas took its regular-season finale off, then had the bye week, then honked at home. As you just might possibly have heard, certain Cowboys not only lost focus during the bye but treated the week as a vacation! Receiving millions of dollars per year for a part-time job, some Dallas players nevertheless felt they had to award themselves a vacation to get their minds off the playoffs -- and as we saw Sunday, the Cowboys' minds surely were off the playoffs!
Really? How did we see that? They piled up 11 penalties, but that alone isn't going to convince me. I'm going to need a little bit more explanation than "as we saw Sunday, [X], and that is that because I said so and I like science fiction a lot."
Romo kept trying to throw deep, rather than throwing slants, which are the standard counter to the big blitz. You sensed Romo wanted to hit a deep pass so everyone would credit him for winning the game.
Did I? I'm pretty sure I didn't. I mean, Romo's usually a spotlight hogging asshole, but- oh wait, no, that's someone else on his team. Nevermind.
Garrett never straightened Romo out in the fourth quarter -- perhaps because Garrett's head wasn't really in the game, either.
So I guess Gregg was either at the game, or has a magical TV feed that allows him to watch what's happening on the sidelines at all times.
In the fourth quarter, Dallas' offensive line play broke down. Could this have something to do with offensive line coach Tony Sparano not having his head in the game because he spent the bye week interviewing for head-coaching jobs?
Great theory. Totally unprovable and probably no more than 10% true. But it's cute. You know what will often cause offensive line play to break down? Being lined up opposite Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan all damn game.
Jacksonville trailed the highest-scoring team in football history by 11 points in the fourth quarter; reaching first-and-goal, the Jags absolutely had to score a touchdown. So why didn't the coaches assume they'd use all four downs and power-rush three times? Jacksonville had to get a touchdown. The mouselike field goal was all but running up a white flag. You could see at that point that Jack of the River had quit on the game. He wasn't going all-out to try to win, he was trying to hold down the margin of defeat so that on the banquet circuit in the offseason, people would say, "You gave the Patriots a good game."
Yep, I bet that's it. Why make decisions that you think give you the best chance at beating them, like kicking a field goal to get a one-score deficit? What's the glory in that? If you end up winning, no one's going to praise you for that on the offseason banquet circuit. Those banquet people are a tough to please crowd- they really only gravitate towards close losses.
Whoever coaches Indianapolis next season, if the Colts win a bye again, please, don't give the starters the season finale game off! Dungy has done this four times, and four times the result has been first-round home-field defeat for Indianapolis. Was the problem that the Colts defenders relaxed when LaDainian Tomlinson and Philip Rivers went out?
I'm glad this one is phrased as a rhetorical question rather than an outright true statement, but it's still stupid and wrong.
OK, so here's the theme for this week's Reader Participation Friday: given all these assessments Easterbrook makes about last weekend's games that range anywhere from "completely unprovable and unresearchable" to "batshit insane," please come up with some other explanations Gregg might formulate to explain occurrences in the world of sports. Write your response in the first person, as though you were him. Here, I'll do a couple examples to start things off.
"Maybe if Ohio State was more worried about preparing for LSU and less worried about visiting as many locations as possible in New Orleans that were portrayed in the movie JFK, they wouldn't have been blown out so badly in the National Championship Game."
"Jimmy Johnson just won his second straight NASCAR season championship. And it's no wonder, considering how much better he is at never letting any of the parts in his car break than the other drivers on the circuit."
"It's clear that the Colorado Rockies were swept in the 2007 World Series by the Boston Red Sox because the Rockies were too busy worrying about Drew Carey taking over hosting duties on 'The Price Is Right' to focus on the games."
"The secret to Tiger Woods's success lies in the fact that he never thinks about whether or not spectators are staring at his ass. John Daly, on the other hand, is particularly afflicted by this problem."
"Kobe Bryant is a dominant scorer in the NBA year in and year out for one reason: defenders refuse to guard him close due to his cripplingly bad breath."
Is this a good idea? It's a good idea, right? No? Well screw it, we're trying it this week anyways. I guess I'll find out when I wake up and check the comments in the morning. Come on, people. It's Friday. Nothing says "the weekend's almost here" like imitating Gregg Easterbrook.
(And of course, keep in mind that future installments of the feature will be much shorter because I won't have to laboriously explain my stupid thought process or anything.)
Friday, January 18, 2008
I was facing two big problems earlier tonight.