Thursday, January 3, 2008

Presenting: Scoop Jackson Finishes Embarrassing Himself

Let's pick up where we left off on Wednesday. Scoop was trying to come to the right conclusion (Randy Moss won't win the NFL MVP this year) by citing all the wrong reasons (such as: Barry Bonds has shown us that jerks can't win MVPs).

Moss won't win the MVP award because as well as he's played -- and in some minds (including this one) he outplayed Brady this year -- MVPs are like NCAA teams trying to win the BCS: If you begin the season too far off the elite list or not ranked in the top 25, it's impossible (even if you go undefeated, like Hawaii this year or Boise State last year) to play for the national championship. In Moss' case, while there is no preseason "ranking" on this topic, he began the season too far off of everyone's list to be the MVP in the end.

Interesting. The "you can't win if no one expects anything from you when the season starts" theory. Yet earlier in this same article, Scoop wrote that:

His teammate, Tom Brady, will win that award and at least one other player, probably Brett Favre, will get more votes of recognition than Moss.

Is that the same Brett Favre who had a 1:1 TD/INT ratio in 2006? And a QB rating in the low 70s? Yeah, so given that Favre will probably get significant MVP consideration, we're going to go ahead and ditch that idea.

Moss won't win the MVP award because he's not a quarterback. Or a running back. The last non-QB/RB to win the AP MVP award was Lawrence Taylor in 1986. And no wide receiver has ever won it -- not even Jerry Rice in 1987, when he won the Pro Football Writers' award.

Remember this; it's actually the real reason why Moss won't win. Good for Scoop for stumbling into it. Bad for Scoop for failing to realizing that this is the case is because WR performance is so incredibly dependent on QB and OL performance. Was Moss ineffective in Oakland simply because he didn't care? Really? He looked pretty deflated at times, but he obviously still had his physical tools. You think he was being that lethargic, every down, every game? Or could it maybe be the case that with shitty QBs behind a shitty OL throwing to him during 2005 and 2006, he was simply unable to rack up any decent numbers? It was probably a combination of apathy and supporting cast, but the second is far more significant than the first. I'm not saying WRs are 110% dependant on their QBs/OLs, and can't do anything to affect the outcome of a game on their own. But QBs/OLs help WRs look good a whole lot more often than the other way around.

Small sample size alert, but I'm going to make my point anyways. On Moss's 60 yard-plus TD against the Giants in the 4th quarter last Saturday, he simply ran a fly route. The corner on his side of the field let him go after 10 yards, presumably expecting safety help. That help came extremely late (almost as if the coverage was blown), and Moss caught the ball ran untouched for the TD. I know he's fast, but lots of guys are fast. At least 40 or 50 other wideouts in the league could have scored that TD. The reason that play and many other Brady to Moss plays this season worked like it/they did was because Brady had his usual 15 seconds in the pocket to allow things to develop, and he throws a good deep ball. The end.

Even though breaking Rice's season record for TD catches is just as impressive and significant as Brady breaking Manning's mark for TD passes, Moss won't get the MVP because he won't get the same recognition. In any other season, what he accomplished would have been more recognized and honored, but with Brady having his best statistical season, we didn't necessarily realize Moss' domination. That's not wrong, that's just human nature.

This doesn't carry much water. And by doesn't carry much water, I mean is complete nonsense. Pundits have been tripping over themselves to ass pat both players pretty equally this year. Brady might have an edge, but if he does it's pretty slight. I don't think Moss's hype would suffer much had he only finished with 20 TDs, nor would he eclipse Brady if Brady had only thrown 45 TDs. People don't care all that much about football records. Shouldn't all time passing TDs represent the rough equivalent of baseball's all time home run record? Compare the buildup and reaction Favre and Bonds each got during the past year. It's not much of a contest. Therefore- football records aren't that big of a deal.

Moss won't win the MVP award because he's been too perfect. For most players this would be a gift not a curse, but for him it's too distant from the picture that has been painted of him since he was drafted in 1998. The sullenness, the sulking, the walking off of the field with time left on the clock, playing only on certain downs, the Raiders experience -- all of this represents how the public sees Moss, defines who he is in our minds. But this year he's almost been angelic. And instead of giving him sole credit for changing and maturing, we will say it was the Patriots organization that changed him. Even though he had more of an effect on them than they did on him.

Moss won't win the MVP award because we don't want to honor that truth. The truth that the main reason the Patriots were able to go undefeated is because of the attitude change the team inherited from him. We see Spygate as the reason for the anger or "chippiness," as Tom Jackson calls it. But it was Moss who helped the Patriots get hard.

That's a load of anecdotal bullshit so massive, I surprised my computer didn't "poop out" trying to put it on the screen! (See, I said I was going to use more bad jokes and exclamation points this year.) Seriously though, wow. Where did this come from? How can a guy who gets paid to write about his opinions gets away with something like this?

See if you can follow Scoop's logic here. Moss has been a total dick and bad teammate several times during his career. It's fair to say he has a reputation for assholism. He also put up relatively poor numbers on the field during the two years before he came to New England. Bill Belichick also has an assholish rep, but he's got three Super Bowl rings. He clearly knows how to be angry and remain effective as a coach. Moss goes to New England and stops being a dick. He also starts putting up great numbers. Belichick continues to be a dick. The team continues to enjoy success. Clearly, this is all due to... Moss? I got myself lost somewhere in there, but that's Scoop's fault. How exactly the fuck we're supposed to buy into what he just wrote is anyone's guess.

It reminds me of a half-assed English paper, the likes of which I would have written in high school. I would just state conclusions left and right without justifying them and hope the teacher didn't bother to think while reading the essay. Replace "I would" with "Scoop is", "teacher" with "reader", change the verb tenses, and that's pretty much what seems to have happened here.

Moss won't win the MVP award because of his braids,

Pretty unlikely.

because he publicly admitted that he smokes weed,

That was like four years ago. I don't think the media cares that much any more. And again, when it comes to drugged up athletes and MVPs, see Bonds comma Barry.

because he's unapologetic about his West Virginia roots and doesn't mask who he really is,

The key to Peyton Manning's MVP awards: being very apologetic about his Louisiana roots, and constantly masking who he really is. Doesn't the guy just seem like a great big fake? I'll bet he doesn't even like most of those products he endorses. Same for Brett Favre and Steve McNair with Mississippi. And Shaun Alexander with Kentucky.

and because he's never been ashamed of how the world sees him.

Lawrence Taylor was clearly very ashamed of how the world saw him. That's how he was able to drag an award home.

Moss won't win the MVP award because of that beard. (Anyone who can make Ricky Williams' old facial hair look groomed doesn't stand a chance.)

I know I'm taking this too seriously. That's what we do here at FireJay. But Kurt Warner won an MVP with a trashy-ass beard and a wife that looks like an alien.

I'm just saying is all.

Moss won't win the MVP award because all of those unbelievable catches he made this season (remember the one-handed grab against the Colts or the one-handed, double-covered, over-the-shoulder catch in the corner of the end zone against the Dolphins in Week 7?) tend to have people thinking that Brady's accuracy is what is making Moss look good, when actually Moss has made bad passes by Brady look like genius decisions.

More anecdotal bullshit. Also, for every bad Brady pass Moss has turned into a catch, there are probably like 15 good, accurate passes that were served up on a platter for Moss. When Brady has all damn day to throw in the pocket (easily the most frustrating part of watching Patriots games when you hate them), most passes are going to end up right on target. Thanks, offensive line!

Which brings us back to the beginning. The reason Randy Moss will not win the MVP award is because of this: He's Randy Moss. And a lot of people simply can't get past that.

I am past it. I was never hindered by it in the first place. I think most MVP voters can probably honestly say the same. Here's the deal: WRs just aren't that valuable in an offense relative to QBs, RBs, and OLs (not that the latter is in the voting discussion). It's not that WRs don't matter, or that they're all interchangeable with each other, but they simply don't matter to the same extent everyone else on the offense does. That's why Moss looked so bad in Oakland; he didn't have anyone helping him out, and simply couldn't amass good numbers or make a significant difference on the field all by himself. That's also the reason Brady was effective for years while throwing to unheralded WRs; a good QB can put up good numbers and make a significant difference on the field all by himself. Scoop himself touched on this earlier in the article so I give him credit for that. It's just sad he couldn't take the idea all the way to completion, and instead wrote the rest of the crap in this article.

In summary-

Actual reasons Moss will not win:
WRs almost never do, because they almost never realistically deserve to

Not actual reasons Moss will not win:
Voters don't notice players who had low expectations placed upon them coming into the season
Moss is a jerk and jerks never win MVPs
No one noticed his WR TD record because of Brady's QB TD record
Moss's attitude is totally the reason the Patriots played well this year
He has braids
He is from West Virginia
He once admitted he smokes weed
He's not ashamed of the way the world sees him
He is Randy Moss, and people just can't deal with that

Give Scoop credit for this: he didn't play the race card.

That's how far my standards have fallen for ESPN's writers. I now applaud them simply for not saying things that are horribly and flagrantly wrong.


Tonus said...

Did Scoop Jackson actually imply that the Patriots played so well this year because his attitude was contagious? Really? Randy "I play when I want to" Moss turned the Patriots into winners?

Nice. Maybe he can take home the inaugural "Darrin Erstad" award, given annually to the player who infects his team with a "play the game the right way" attitude!

Sorry, it's just mind-bogglingly stupid. Randy Moss taught the Patriots toughness and turned them into winners. Stupid. Stupid!

Jeff said...

Wow that was terrible terrible analysis (by Scoop, not Larry).

I would love Scoop to write a follow-up telling me why he SHOULD win MVP. That would have been much more effective, and presumably not as loaded with anectdotal bullshit. Just kidding.

Andrew said...

Maybe people are making a bigger deal of Brady breaking Manning's record cause they both happened in 16 game seasons?

Maybe the fact that it took Moss 16 games to do what Rice did in 12 is something Scoop should address.

At the end of the day, who the fuck really cares about an award they once gave to a freakin kicker anyway.

Anonymous said...

"But Kurt Warner won an MVP with a trashy-ass beard and a wife that looks like an alien."

I'm pretty sure she had cancer or something, but still quite hilarious.