Finals are still happening (BOO HOO! My life is so hard!), so I don't have a lot of spare time. Thus I will be keeping my commentary to a bare minimum. Hopefully I still get my intended point(s) across. As always, the main idea is that Gregg Easterbrook is an idiot.
In the NFL, by contrast, schedules are uniform and neutral. The much-claimed "parity scheduling" is a myth.
First of all, that link, which goes to a column you wrote, has nothing to do with scheduling. Way to misrepresent your own work. You're an idiot.
Second of all, NFL schedules are not uniform and neutral. Every team in a given division plays two games which are different than the rest of the teams in the division. For example, this year the Broncos got to play the Jaguars and Browns while the Chargers (because they won the division last year) had to play the Steelers and Colts. That's not uniform or neutral. You're an idiot.
On the Pittsburgh-Baltimore ending, it didn't matter whether Santonio Holmes' feet were in the end zone, the question is whether the ball crossed the white line: "A touchdown is the situation in which any part of the ball, legally in possession of a player inbounds, is on, above, or behind an opponent's goal line (plane), provided it is not a touchback." Referee Walt Coleman didn't help things -- in his explanation of the ruling, he seemed to say he thought what mattered was whether the feet were in the end zone. Come on NFL officials, memorize the rulebook! The whole controversy could have been avoided if, as TMQ has been campaigning for, the league would simply put a chip in the football. If NFL footballs contained tiny chips that triggered an electric-eye beam projected along the goal line, we wouldn't have these tedious discussions about whether the ball got in or not.
I already explained why this is a dumb/impractical idea which probably would cause more problems than it solved a few weeks ago. You're still an idiot.
Cheerleader of the Week: Kat of the Seattle Sea Gals, who according to her team bio holds a master's in mental health and works as a mental-health counselor. Also according to her team bio, her hobbies include barefoot water-skiing and trap shooting. Considering the Seahawks and the Huskies, many Washington state sports enthusiasts could use some mental-health counseling. (University of Washington fans, check this announcement of new coach Steve Sarkisian-- the football is way too big for his body.) Here is how a counseling session with Kat might sound:
KAT: So you are planning to attend the Jets at Seahawks game Sunday, even though the Seahawks are 3-11. Does that seem to you to be well-adjusted behavior?
FAN: Well, you'll be there.
KAT: Yes, but I have a professional obligation to dance half-naked in front of 67,000 people.
FAN: And we're glad for that.
KAT: Do you always paint your face blue in the middle of the week?
FAN: No. Sometimes green.
KAT: That dog of yours, the one you painted purple -- that's not a husky. That dog is a Pomeranian.
Stat of the Week No. 3: Detroit became the first NFL team to reach 0-14 in a 16-game season.
The Saints did this in 1980. ESPN presented a graphic showing this about 15 times between Sunday and Monday. You're an idiot. (It has since been corrected. He's still an idiot.)
The big play of Cincinnati's defeat of Washington was a 79-yard screen pass catch-and-run on second-and-19 by maybe-he's-not-a-bust-after-all Cedric Benson. No one touched Benson till he was almost 50 yards downfield, owing to perfect screen blocks by center Eric Ghiaciuc and guard Bobbie Williams.
Benson's yards per carry/yards per game/receiving yards per game by season:
He's still a bust, and you're an idiot.
Re: the fumble return for a touchdown late in the 4th quarter which cost Buffalo a win against the Jets on Sunday:
To top it off, Losman sprinted backward 10 yards and then waved the ball around in one hand before fumbling, instead of just throwing out of bounds. Ye gods. Ay caramba.
He did not sprint backwards 10 yards, he rolled to the right. He was not waving the ball around in one hand when the fumble happened, he was firmly holding it with both hands because he felt the sack coming. Jets S Abram Elam just happened to make a really nice play and knock it away. I wish I had NFL Sunday ticket- I'm willing to bet Gregg's characterization of the vast majority of plays he writes about is completely inaccurate, but I can't verify that because I'm stuck watching regular CBS/FOX coverage.
Sour Overall Performance of the Week: Playing at home, the division-winning Arizona Cardinals rushed for just 43 yards against Minnesota, and scored just one offensive touchdown in a 35-14 loss. Something tells me that because the dome roof was open and it was 54 degrees at kickoff, the Cards considered this "bad weather."
Something tells me Arizona said "Fuck it, we already clinched the division and we're not going to be able to catch Carolina for a first round bye. Let's take it easy on ourselves this week." Of course, there's no way to tell whether my analysis or Gregg's analysis is correct. But keep in mind that he's a pretty big idiot.
Sweet 'N' Sour Play No. 2: St. Louis ran a zany trick play on which wide receiver Dane Looker ended up throwing a pass to quarterback Marc Bulger. That was sweet. This being the Rams, the play only gained 11 yards. That was sour.
I wasn't aware every trick play was supposed to go for a 99 yard touchdown. Nice 11 yard gain, Rams. Losers.
Last week, TMQ noted that although a high school must win five playoff games to reach one of the multiple state championships in the 64-team Texas bracket- "Friday Night Lights" showed a 32-team bracket while the voiceover said the Panthers needed four wins to reach the title game. Now in the most recent episode, Dillon has two playoff victories, and the voiceover says the Panthers "need one more win" to reach the championship game. Wait, that would be possible only with a 16-team bracket! In Dillon, Texas, they're so obsessed with relationship talk and longing glances, they can't keep track of how many games they are required to play.
Holy fucking shit. Are you really still talking about this?
The series is down to its concluding episodes, yet central events remain completely unexplained. Last season, perpetual-senior Lyla Garrity became an evangelical Christian who spent every minute on church matters. This season she is a sex-crazed vixen type; the evangelical life has vanished and is never commented on. Did she undergo a reverse conversion? If you'd been an evangelical then changed your mind, your friends would sometimes mention that. On the show, it's as if her previous personality never existed.
But the real mystery is, where's the baby? At the end of Season 1, Tami Taylor, SuperWife of SuperCoach Eric Taylor, unexpectedly became pregnant. The baby was born in September 2007: The show's episodes are contemporaneous. During the second season, a running concern was adjusting to the baby and arranging child care for the baby. Now it's December 2008, the baby is 15 months old -- and the baby has vanished. Nobody in the Taylor family ever looks after little Grace or even mentions her. Tami Taylor is now principal of Dillon High, so the baby would need to be at a creche or the Taylors would need a nanny. But there's no nanny in their house. The baby is never going back and forth to child care -- indeed, never seen in either of their cars. In the Taylor kitchen, there's no baby stuff -- no rockers, bottles or high-chairs, and parents know that baby stuff totally takes over your life. The baby has vanished, and none of the characters have noticed she's gone.
This is the first TV show in the history of TV shows to encounter continuity issues like this. Completely unprecedented.
Last week in the Senate, it was clear Republicans wanted to shaft the United Auto Workers because the UAW almost always backs Democrats. It was clear, too, that Republicans who think it's fine for upper-crust males in suits to receive millions of dollars for sitting at a Wall Street desk and producing nothing were offended by the notion that factory workers who make tangible products people need should receive $50 an hour in wages and benefits. What's offensive is that all labor does not pay $50 an hour! If all labor paid $50 an hour, poverty would end.
Now, I'm not really going to claim that I know more about economics than Gregg. Adam Smith I am not. But I'm pretty sure paying everyone performing labor $50 an hour wouldn't work. Because, you know, a lot of companies which employ laborers might not be able to afford that.
Tennessee is 12-2, Carolina 11-3, and both have power-rush games, which would seem to bode well for both. But can either pass if the pressure is on? Houston stacked the box, daring the Flaming Thumbtacks to throw, and Kerry Collins had a bland game -- no touchdowns for the Titans.
Chicago, which has a better defense than Houston, also stacked the box against the Titans. The Bears held them to 20 yards rushing. Collins was 30 for 41 for 289 yards and Tennessee won. Doesn't disprove what Gregg is saying, but is worth noting.
The Titans also failed to convert a critical third-and-1, when LenDale White was stuffed for a loss.
This establishes nothing. Albert Pujols also struck out this one time. You're an idiot.
As for Carolina, overall they have only outgained opponents by 351 yards on the season, and starter Jake Delhomme has an 82 passer rating. The Panthers plod a lot on offense, then occasionally break a big play -- they lead the league in 40-plus-yard rushing plays and are second in 20-plus runs. Long runs are good, obviously, but does Carolina have the offensive balance to face a premium club in a pressure situation?
Only teams which consistently pick up exactly 4 yards per play can win in the playoffs. The rules change then, and teams are no longer allowed to break off long plays.
The Cats are 4-3 against teams with winning records.
The Giants are 5-2. The Steelers are 4-3. The Colts are 4-2. The Titans are 4-1. That stat sucks. And you are an idiot.
Adventures in Officiating: Officials deny they employ the makeup call -- but why not use makeup calls? If the zebras know they made an error in one team's favor, promptly making an equivalent error in the other team's favor has never sounded bad to me.
That's because you're an idiot. What a horrendous idea. I don't have time to explain why- the potential disasters this idea could lead to should be pretty apparent.
Reader John Walker reports that an estate trust established by Frank Doble, an electrical engineer who attended Tufts University and later was on the board of Lesley University, was dissolved last spring and the value ($272 million) evenly divided between the schools. Tufts is well-known but you've probably never heard of Lesley. The latter college's endowment was trebled by Doble's wonderful gift, making Lesley's future bright.
Using "trebled" instead of "tripled" makes you a grade "A" pretentious zilch.
But if Oklahoma beats Florida and Texas beats Ohio State in the Fiesta, my money will be on Texas as national champion. In that scenario, Oklahoma and Texas would be tied at 12-1, would have played nearly identical schedules, and Texas would have beaten Oklahoma head-to-head. How can Texas not be No. 1? You'd best believe the BCS organizers are hoping this scenario does not come to pass, because if it does and the BCS says Oklahoma is No. 1, the BCS will be roundly denounced yet again.
Good idea- in spite of Oklahoma beating an extremely impressive Florida team, let's give Texas the title after they beat a relatively shitty Ohio State team. Hey, after USC clobbers Penn State, why not give the title to them? You're an idiot.
Voorwerp Update: A few months ago TMQ noted that cosmologists could not explain the Voorwerp, a mysterious glowing deep-space cloud discovered by a Dutch schoolteacher. Reader Neal Gilbert of Grand Rapids, Mich., reports the science world now has a theory -- something about black holes and heated gases. Yeah, yeah. Astronomers don't want to be shown up by a Dutch schoolteacher, so they are pretending they know what the thing is.
Clearly, you know more about astronomy than professional astronomers. And you know for a fact that their explanation is purely a function of them trying not to be shown up, and not at all the result of effective research. You're an asshole.
Next Week: The Dillon Panthers score a final-play winning touchdown from outside the stadium.
Last line in the whole column, and the only one I actually enjoyed.
You're still an unfunny idiot though.