So I'm sitting there, looking at LOLCats (and subsequently laughing out loud, just like the name promises), when I realize that I never finished this up. Everyone enjoy it- it's the last we'll hear from Mr. Young Joe Pesci Lookalike until August.
I also hope you don't take tenths or hundredths of a second seriously, though the draftnik system surely does.
I'm skipping his big intro about how the draft is a quasi-joke because no one really knows which players will be good and which won't. It's wrong, it's right, it's been done before. Let's instead jump to Gregg's completely asinine attempts to devalue modern timing systems. It's a continuous thread throughout the column, and gets stupider and stupider each time he brings it up. It's in the exact same vein as his refusal to understand that just because a team threw an incomplete pass while leading with 7 minutes left, and then lost on a last second field goal by the other team, that doesn't mean the first team would have won the game had they run up the middle instead of throwing that pass. You'll see what I mean. He's so tragically dumb I just can't explain it. What a lummox.
Aqib Talib went 20th, to the Bucs. Before the draft, the Houston Chronicle reported Talib's stock was rising because at his pro day he ran a Wright 40-yard dash, improving on the 4.46 he ran at the combine. Set aside that it is inconceivable the timing was accurate enough to make this a statistically significant difference. Suppose the timers were flawless -- 4.42 is 0.9 percent faster than 4.46. Vernon Gholston went sixth, to Jersey/B. Before the draft, Todd McShay reported that Chris Long looked slow at 4.75, but Gholston looked fast at 4.67. Assume it's 10 yards to the quarterback, considering forward and perpendicular movement. A defensive end who runs a 4.67 would get there 7 inches before a defensive end who runs a 4.75.
As odd as it seems to obsess over hundredths of a second, if you don't think that seven inches could matter to a pass rusher, or even that four or five inches could matter to a defensive back in deep coverage, you have probably not watched more than five football games in your entire life. How you can be Gregg Easterbrook, a (presumably) well-paid part-time pretentious NFL analyst, and make fun of the concept that teams might want a DE to get to the QB seven inches quicker, is beyond comprehension. Football being "a game of inches" might be the truest cliche of all time. That seven inches could be the difference between a TD pass and a forced fumble. The four or five inches Talib picked up could be the difference between a TD pass or a deflection that turns into a pick. Unbelievable. I hate the draft and draft hype as much as the next guy, but to mock this process is to basically claim that it doesn't matter how fast football players are. Fucking. Unbelievable.
Meaningless decimals have run wild throughout football scouting and commentary. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who went 16th to Arizona, ran the cone drill in 6.74 at the combine. Not in 6.73, not in 6.75 -- in 6.74.
Yes. That was his time. The world record in the 100 meter dash, held by Asafa Powell of Jamaica (glad I looked that up, I had no idea) is 9.74 seconds. Not 9.73. Not 9.75. You know why it's good to be that precise? I'm going to act like a caricature of an angry woman and not tell you why. You should already know.
Absurd hundredths were scattered throughout combine results. Last year on draft day, the ESPN broadcast crew debated whether Yamon Figurs runs a 4.29 or 4.3. A player running a 4.29 would complete a 40-yard dash 3 inches ahead of a player running a 4.3.
And that faster player would be able to make maybe a catch or two per season that the slower player wouldn't.
And this business of wanting to run on a "fast surface" for the best possible hundredths-of-a-second readout.
We've kind of gravitated away from picking on poor technical writing here at FJayM, but that's a sentence fragment. Just saying. And this idea that Gregg Easterbrook is really smart.
Malcolm Kelly of Oklahoma ran a 4.68 on FieldTurf at the University of Oklahoma, then arranged a retest during which he ran a 4.63 on AstroTurf. So the "fast surface" improved his time by 1 percent. And NFL scouts took this seriously.
Back when timing first became this precise, the scouts that laughed at this kind of precision were probably looking for new jobs relatively soon thereafter. This is like making fun of a company for keeping track of their accounting down to the penny and caring about a 1% gain in sales over the course of, say, a week. Haw haw! What a bunch of maroons! It's just a percent! We here at Eastercorp aren't worried about that kind of nitpicking! We only consider changes in sales significant if they're more or less 15%. That way, you know it's a big deal.
Absurd tenths in women's basketball: In the Tennessee versus Rutgers women's basketball game in Knoxville on Feb. 11, Tennessee won 59-58 when, according to The Associated Press, "the game clock appeared to pause for more than a second just before reaching zero, and Tennessee made a pair of foul shots with two-tenths of a second remaining." The speculation was that a homer clock operator helped the first-ranked Vols win the game. AP reported, "Television replays showed the game clock seemed to pause at two-tenths of a second for more than about 1.3 seconds" as Tennessee struggled for a last-gasp rebound and got the foul call. Thus The Associated Press has introduced the concept of "about 1.3 seconds." If not for the absurdity of tenths of seconds on the game clock, the clock would simply have ticked from one to zero and Rutgers would have won.
This is a nice little trick. You tell a story that has nothing to do with your awful argument, then act like the only logical conclusion of the story is something that reinforces said argument. Here's the thing, fucknuts- some things you can do on a basketball court take less than a second. Say there are ten seconds left in an imaginary game between the Jemeles and the Jaybirds. The Jemeles are leading by one. (This is starting to feel like the kind of rules quiz you'd see in Sports Illustrated for Kids. I don't have a problem with that, and you shouldn't either.) The Jaybirds have the ball. They inbound it, dribble around for a little bit, then put up a shot that gets blocked out of bounds. The whole process took 9.7 (how ridiculous of me to use such precision! but anyways) seconds. Since a full ten seconds didn't pass, however, and the clock doesn't measure tenths, it still shows a full second remaining. When it is restarted, it will take a full 1.0 seconds to expire. Suddenly you've extended the quarter by .7 seconds, and according to the NCAA and NBA, that's enough time to catch and shoot a jumper. The Jaybirds capitalize on this opportunity and hit a baseline turnaround to win the game. After the Jemeles are done claiming their defeat was somehow a product of racism, and switch over to blaming the timing system, what are you supposed to tell them? They got screwed, plain and simple. Going back to the real life example, say there hadn't been a mysterious clock stopping discrepancy and Tennessee had legitimately been fouled with 0.2 seconds remaining. Now what, Gregg? Can Rutgers blame their loss on the clock then? Yeah, I thought so. Go back to your tower.
Absurd tenths in men's basketball: In the 2007 NCAA men's Sweet 16, Southern Illinois trailed Kansas and had an inbounds play with 3.1 seconds remaining. The pass was deflected out of bounds by a Kansas player, and when the referee signaled Southern Illinois to try again, he noticed the clock erroneously still showed 3.1. As officials huddled around the replay monitor trying to decide how much time to take off, CBS color commentator Bill Raftery pronounced, "They should take two-tenths off, two-tenths is the correct number." CBS announcers can sense the fifths of seconds!
Raftery is a train wreck, but I don't think he was "sensing" it like a goddamn fortune teller. He was looking at the tape in slow motion and estimating how much time elapsed while the ball was in midair post-deflection.
Following inspections of the replay, officials ordered the game clock reset to two seconds. Verne Lundquist protested, "That's too many tenths of a second." CBS announcers can sense tenths of seconds!
In slow motion, they absolutely can. This is called looking at something and then processing the information you acquire. Many humans are very good at it.
Absurd Tenths in the NBA: In Game 4 of the 2007 NBA Finals, at the end of the second quarter, the ball careened out of bounds -- Cleveland possession with 0.2 seconds showing. Referee Bennett Salvatore confidently signaled the scorer's table to change the clock to 0.5 seconds, making it possible under NBA rules for the Cavs to attempt a catch-and-shoot. NBA referees can sense thirds of seconds!
I... I don't see what's so hard about this. Perhaps Gregg is unfamiliar with slow motion replays. That would fit with my earlier guess that based on his mockery of the scouting process, he must not have seen many football games. If he actually tunes in to check out a few contests this fall, man, he's in for a treat.
Better still was a Golden State-Washington regular-season game in 2007. The clock expired with the Warriors ahead by two points, and a Wizards player was fouled seemingly just after time expired. Officials looked at the replay and ordered one-tenth of a second put back on the clock, thus allowing two free throws and an opportunity for Washington to tie the contest. This ruling could have been correct only if basketball officials can sense a tenth of a second.
Or, alternatively, this could have been correct if the officials had magic powers (and capes!) and were capable of looking at a split-screen view of the clock and the on court action in slow motion and determining whether or not the foul occurred before time ran out.
When Golden State coach Don Nelson used profanity to protest the decision to restore one-tenth of a second, officials correctly signaled a technical foul on Nelson. Washington proceeded to hit all three free throws, winning the game. You don't often lose after being ahead when the clock expired!
Except that they weren't, because they fouled the other team before that happened.
NBA vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson reviewed the ending and declared, "The crew made the correct decision to conduct an instant replay review which ultimately resulted in putting one-tenth of a second back on the clock." Even NBA executives are now able to sense one single tenth of a second.
Using italics there makes you come across as even more of an ignorant horse's ass. I'm done repeating the same points over and over; like I said back at the beginning, this is just like his "if only [Team] had run the ball up the middle instead of throwing a clock-stopping incompletion with 11:32 remaining in the 4th, that field goal would have never been attempted!" garbage. How can someone not understand this? How? Get your head out of your rectum, Gregg, and go back to square one. Start with the concept that time can be divided into tenths of a second without using magical voodoo. Then consider that some things in sports take less than a second to do. Then try to move up to the idea that sometimes things happen between the point when there are 1.0 seconds left in a game and when there are 0.0 seconds left in a game. If you get there, but still can't figure out why these segments I've copied and pasted here are a pile of shit, email me and I'll cuss you out some more. Silly goose.
Record ratings for series finale of "Debate Friends": Jon Stewart says Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama debated so many times, their smackdown was a reality series. Now the 21-epsiode series has ended -- but without a series finale. Here is the tear-jerking series finale episode:
Shown: A familiar apartment. Scattered around are various sentimental objects: a foosball table, coffee cups from Central Perk, a deck of pinochle cards, bowling balls, travel brochures to Hawaii, Bibles, camouflage hunting suits and lots of shotguns. Hillary Clinton is seen dabbing back tears.HILLARY: I can't believe I went to the wrong airport! I thought he was arriving at Dulles, but it was Andrews Air Force Base. I went to the wrong airport and missed him! I was going to beg him not to take his new job as president, and just go on debating me forever. (Throws back a shot of Crown Royal.) Maybe I should shoot some ducks to take my mind off this. (Picks up a shotgun.) I wonder which end the bullets go in? (Pours another shot of whiskey and throws her head back.)
(Unseen by Hillary, Barack Obama has stepped into the doorway and has been standing behind her the entire time.)
BARACK: I can't leave you. I just gave my ticket on Air Force One to John McCain. He can be president -- that seems to be what the Democratic National Committee wants, anyway. We'll go on running against each other forever.
HILLARY: Are you bitter?
BARACK: There's a campaign bus outside waiting for us. I heard there's a primary in Manitoba. It's nonbinding -- but let's go!
HILLARY: Oh Barack, promise me there will be sniper fire!
(They leave hand in hand. Schmaltzy music plays, and we see the apartment door close.)
Absurd hundredths on NFL Network: As noted by many readers, including David Warder of Cumming, Ga., last season during the Saints-Falcons game on MNF, Ron Jaworski said quarterback Chris Redman of Atlanta was doing a good job because he was "making his three-step drops in 2.1 seconds." Warder adds, "If only he'd have shaved those drops down to 2.0 seconds, the Falcons might have won."
I haven't seen the segment in question, but if Redman got sacked or had his delivery badly altered several times just before he was about to unload the ball, that would be a perfectly fair bit of analysis.
The time sense possessed by the "Monday Night Football" booth crew turns out to be nothing compared to the perceptive powers at NFL Network. NFLN's Rich Eisen was narrating combine coverage when Darren McFadden ran his 40. McFadden hit the finish line, and before his number was flashed, Eisen pronounced, "I'm going to say that was a 4.38."
I'm not going to blame him. He was "announcing" probably the most useless sport-related event ever to be shown on television. He's got to fill up the airtime with something. Put anyone in that booth and make them watch 20 hours of guys lifting weights and sprinting and they'll probably start playing guessing games like Rich did. Hell, assuming the NFLN crew was on location, were I in their position eventually I'd just start asking the combine organizers if I could do the drills.
The last thing I wanted to share with you is from Gregg's team-by-team draft reviews. He managed to put a little something in the column for all 32 franchises. Some were detailed and analytically sound. Others were like this (reprinted in its entirety):
San Diego: The Bolts tabbed DeJaun Tribble in Round 6. Wasn't DeJaun a character in "Star Wars"?
You're a fucking embarrassment.