Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mini WMTMQR: Didn't You Forget Something Important?

Gregg has some thoughts about the semi-popular primetime drama "Friday Night Lights":

The Panthers are back in the Texas state championship, via yet another last-second touchdown -- Dillon blocked a punt with 34 seconds remaining, scored to draw within 14-13, then went for two and won. The episode included five crying scenes and four drinking scenes: Don't they do anything in Dillon, Texas, but cry and drink? A subplot involved redistricting Dillon to build a new high school because of population growth, which was puzzling because previously we have been told Dillon is a dying town that's so small it has only two motels. There are two more episodes in the "Friday Night Lights" series. Let's see whether the finale involves a game at Reliant Stadium, site of this year's actual Texas 5A championship. Dillon's 2006 fictional championship game was played at Texas Stadium, though the actual 2006 5A title game was in the Alamodome.

That's all well and good, but Gregg has skipped over a really important issue. And that is: the producers of FNL are so worried about creating characters and a story that will actually engage viewers that they've forgotten to have Dillon High play the correct number of games to get to the championship game! Yes, I'm afraid it's true. You just can't trust a fictional TV show to accurately reflect reality in every single possible way. Dillon has won four playoff games so far, but that should only put them in the semifinals, not the finals! Here, check out the official Texas 5A championship bracket for 2008 and you'll see what I mean.

Pretty disappointing, isn't it?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Two Sides of a Stupid Story

Being Great Americans, most of us like to argue about sports with our friends. Usually, sports stories have two sides to them. Usually, they are formed something like this:

Point: Notre Dame sucks! They haven't won anything in a million years!
Counter-point: Notre Dame rules! They've got a lot of national titles they won in football games!


Point: Statistics are stupid; the best way to know sports is to watch the players play the sports game!
Counter-point: Statistics are really useful; they let you measure how a player performs when you can't watch all the games even with the TiVo.

Something like that. Frequently, arguments are resolved through one side's careful use of logic and sports arguments frequently end in amiable agreement about the most sensible point of view. And this blog is designed to facilitate that process.

POINT: The Yankees are ruining baseball.

[Note: this article, though written by Phil Sheridan from the Philly Inquirer, is also published on The best part about Yankee news? Insecure Boston fans show their true bitchy natures]

The New York Yankees represent the very worst of America.

Surely, I am no Yankees fan, but I think O.J. Simpson's lawyers represent the very worst of America.

Overstatement? Consider the times. Cornerstone industries are faltering,

I blame the Yankees.

taxpayers are being asked to bail out mismanaged financial institutions and their overpaid CEOs,

I blame the Yankees.

and decent, hard-working men and women are being laid off or worrying that they could be next.

Fuck you, Yankees! Stop firing all those overpaid auto-workers whose own inflexible labor contracts have hurt them; stop firing all the excess middle management that isn't needed; stop firing all the hedge fund managers whose wealth-juggling games have finally hit the wall! Damn it, Cashman! Stop being such an asshole and actively hurting decent, hard-working men and women by trying to make your baseball team better!

Now consider the eight-year, $180 million contract the Yankees reportedly handed first baseman Mark Teixeira Tuesday. Stack it on top of the $161 million deal signed by pitcher CC Sabathia and the (relatively) modest $82.5 million promised to A.J. Burnett and you have the most egregious display of financial irresponsibility in the history of sports.

No, no, no. If you can PAY for it, and you MAKE billions of dollars, re-investing in your product is not a stupid or irresponsible at all. These decisions are much more egregious.

The Yanks’ insane overspending would be bad for baseball in the best of times. These are not the best of times.

As I've written before, the last few years have actually been some of the best times in baseball history, whether you consider attendance, profits, competitiveness for all teams not based in Pittsburgh. Mr. Sheridan, you can't just spout this with no basis and expect teh_blogorz not to call you on it!

If Major League Baseball had a commissioner — that is, an independent and strong-willed leader unafraid to do the right thing — the Teixeira and Sabathia deals would be nullified based on the commissioner’s sweeping "best interest of the game" powers.

What an awful idea. Is Mr. Sheridan really suggesting that anytime someone gets signed to a big contract, the commissioner should step in? Is Bud Selig's job to be a one-man salary cap, based on nullifying contracts approximately whenever he feels like it?

Up in Boston, where the Red Sox made a serious run at signing Teixeira, this deal is being rationally and calmly analyzed by baseball fans as if actual, flaming chunks of blue sky were crashing through the roofs of their homes.

Ah! I thought he was being serious! This was a joke! Whew. I thought for a minute there he was going to argue that Red Sox fans calmly and rationally analyzed something.

As one commenter on reasoned, "Dear God, please kill me now . . . " Another reflected, "OMG — I want to jump off a bridge . . . ! Yankees are instantly the favorites in the AL East for 2009 . . . ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Using comments from in your article: instant comedy.

Using comments from in your article: you're a doing a shit job of being a real journalist, and your whole argument is stupid.

COUNTER-POINT: The Yankees' spending is great for baseball! [Note: it is never a good thing for your side of an argument if you take a look around and notice that Richard Justice defends your viewpoint]

The Yankees are the gift that keeps on giving. We've just been guaranteed a great season no matter how it plays out.

No, real baseball fans have been guaranteed a season full of Yankee highlights every goddamn night - and Yankee subplots and sidebars all season long. Even Yankees fans aren't "guaranteed" a great season; the only people who are truly guaranteed a great season now are lazy, shitty sportswriters who will have tons of material.

Besides, if the Yankees win, how will their fans feel?

Pretty fucking good.

Will this be the kind of championship they're proud of?


Will it reflect the greatness of the Yankees, or the fact that the Yankees did it with a sledgehammer?

Sledgehammers are not allowed on the baseball field, Richard.

In some ways, the Yankees can't win no matter how much they win.


Isn't that a beautiful thing? And if they don't win, there'll be a firestorm to end all firestorms.

I, too, look forward to that. Residents of mountainous resort communities will be happy to know that all fire-storms will be ended if this takes place.

Regarding comments by the Brewers' owner:

This guy doesn't get it. If he owns the Brewers long enough, he'll understand that when the Yankees are really good, every other team benefits.

An implausible argument to say the least. But let's see how little Richard handles it:

What have the Yankees won anyway? How good are they? Have you checked out their outfield? Want to compare rotations? Which rotation do you like most? Which group has done more in October? Have they forgotten what a choking dog Alex Rodriguez is in the playoffs?

So wait.. you're saying that baseball is better off since the Yankees have become really good... but then you argue that they're NOT really good?

Also: A-Rod sucks, but not as bad as Richard Justice.


Actually, all this signing crap doesn't really affect the baseball world much at all. The Yankees are going to be better this season, but competitive balance will still prove that baseball's system isn't broken and doesn't need fixing. Sensible viewpoints (like this one which correctly pinpoints small-market teams as whiny and profit-hungry) must prevail, no matter the economic climate of the country. For pete's sake, even Dayn Perry realizes that this isn't that big a deal, and that salary caps " do nothing to promote competitive balance, and all they do is guarantee owner profits".

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dear Phil Simms, You Should Probably Just Stop Talking Now

Jets/Dolphins. Mid 2nd quarter. Brett Gunslinger drops back to pass, stands in the pocket, sees no receivers open, and heaves the ball down the field to an open area at least 25 yards from the nearest player in an attempt to avoid being sacked. The refs call intentional grounding. The following takes place:

Phil: And on the field, we have intentional grounding. Now that's a tough call. You know, what are you supposed to do? The receivers are covered! (incredulously) So now you've got to throw it "close" to the receiver? (screen cuts to replay) Nobody's open... here comes the receiver across the field who he wants to throw it to... so yes, he's avoiding the sack... but... everybody's covered!

Jim Nantz: Well, that's the rule about that, when you're between the tackles.

Phil: When you're between the tackles and throw the football away to avoid the sack, it is intentional grounding. I understand. But again... hey... (trails off)

Jim: Loss of down and 10 yards on top of it. Second and 20.

I know you said "I understand," Phil, but I think it's pretty obvious that you don't.

Son of a Monkey's Uncle, It Feels Good to be right

If you're a regular here, you might recall this post from about a month ago in which the douchily-named Gregg Easterbrook said this:

Sour Decision of the Week: With the score 13-13 in overtime, Philadelphia faced a fourth-and-1 on its own 22-yard line with 1:30 remaining in the fifth quarter and punted. But for the Eagles, wasn't a tie as bad as a loss? TMQ suspects that at the end of the season, that tie will effectively be a loss for the Nesharim.

And then I spent about 20 minutes explaining why this was stupid. Well well well, looky here. It's week 17, and the Eagles control their own destiny. Beating the Cowboys will give them a 9-6-1 record and a wild card berth. Just missing the playoffs would be the Cowboys and Bucaneers, both at 9-7. Now, had the Eagles gone for that 4th down in Cincinnati, missed it, and lost the game, they would be able to finish only 9-7 with a win today. And both Tampa and Dallas would still be 9-7 and both would have tiebreakers over them, meaning the Eagles would be unable to reach the playoffs. Meanwhile, had the Eagles gone for the 4th down, made it, and gone on to win the game, they would be... in exactly the same position they are now. What a sour decision!

Long story short: although things didn't work out exactly as I had predicted back then, Gregg was extremely wrong and I was mostly right. Nah nah nah nah nah. Just go back and read the middle part of that old post if you can't figure out what I'm talking about. Hot diggity damn, I am a genius.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Post-Holiday Bonus Bonanza Post

OK, I've been accumulating several things that need to get posted over the course of the past few days. Let's cut to the chase.

1. Buck Martinez, supposedly a baseball "expert" as he is employed by XM to comment on various baseball matters during its most listened-to timeslots, has this to say about the prospects of Pedro Martinez pitching anywhere this year.

Now this is a guy who I think still has a few starts under his belt.

You're right. As of the publishing of this post, he has exactly 400 of them "under his belt." And he will continue to have 400 or more of them, no matter how many years pass. If you're talking about his potential ability to pitching the majors in 2009, and referring to how many starts he has left in the tank, a figure of speech which is pretty common and should probably not be bungled by a guy employed in talk radio, that's up for debate. Please do not confuse "left in the tank" with "under his belt." It's not that hard.

2. ESPN's Doug Gottlieb, a guy who I usually like, lays a real egg in his summation of everything that's wrong with the media's interpretation of baseball in this soundbite re: Mark Teixeira (prior to his signing with the Yankees):

See, what I don't understand is why he would consider the Nationals or Orioles over the Red Sox. If you go to Baltimore, you're irrelevant. If you go to Washington, you're irrelevant.

This is, as I said above, exactly what's wrong with the media's interpretation of baseball today. According to Doug and the many writers and commentators who think exactly like him, if you don't play for the Yankees/Red Sox/Cubs/maybe the Dodgers or Mets, you might as well not be playing at all. And that's just fucking sad. What? Baltimore and DC each have millions of people, many of whom are fans of the hometown baseball team? Fuck it- if you're not playing for RED SOX NATION, you might as well be sitting at home and eating junk food.

Fucking gag me.

3. Here's a hot tip for all you announcers out there- puns are fucking lame. Don't use them. Ever. During Notre Dame's Christmas Eve win over Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl, ESPN's play-by-play guy (who will remain unnamed due to my laziness) dropped the following two lines after commercial breaks:

It's Jimmy "Santa" Clausen and Golden "Frankinscence and Myrrh" Tate who are the story for Notre Dame today!

For the Irish, it is indeed "A Wonderful Life" here in Honolulu!

To put it simply: STOP. NO. FUCK YOU. No one worth pandering to enjoys this kind of monkey shit.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Closed for the Holidays

Hello everyone. I'm here to announce that Fire Jay Mariotti is going on hiatus until December 26th. We're not planning on seeing any new bad examples of sports journalism until then. So, to all eleven of you reading, I apologize, you're not going to have any extra distraction to run off to on the computer while all your relatives are busy telling boring stories this holiday season. We're just not going to be there for yo--

Wait a second....


I can only assume this is your doing, Celizic.

Yankees have all the pieces of a new dynasty

They sure do! Brett Gardner is currently their starting center fielder! They've got possibly the two most well-constructed teams in the rest of the league (both now, and in the future) clogging up their division! They have the "best" defensive shortstop in the world!

Wait, wait.....these are bad things! What gives, Mike?

The Yankees just became the team to beat — and not just in the American League.

That's quite a claim. You're saying the Yankees are absolutely, without question the team to beat because they signed this guy. With all due respect to him, he's nowhere near as good as this guy (seriously, look at that WARP difference!). Yet you're acting like he is.

New York reportedly has landed first baseman Mark Teixeira, continuing one of the most profligate spending sprees in baseball history. If true, the team that has clearly not given up on the idea that champions are purchased, not born, has all the big pieces of a new dynasty in place.

Aging shortstop, aging catcher, aging closer, aging (albeit awesome) third baseman, aging....whatever you want to call Johnny Damon at this point. This is a fucking dynasty!

All the Boston Red Sox can do is watch and wonder what the Evil Empire will do next.

The Tampa Bay Rays apparently don't care about this at all.

And all indications are that there’s more to come. It could be Manny Ramirez, although he would strain even the Yankees' budget.

Probably not.

It could be another front-line pitcher.

There's only one left available, so you might as well be specific.

It could be center fielder Matt Kemp and more bullpen help in a trade with the Dodgers for second baseman Robinson Cano.

Hey, did you hear that everyone? Dave Littlefield somehow assumed control of the Los Angeles Dodgers!

The difference between this and previous spending sprees is that the Yankees so far have spent their money on players in their primes, and not on aging all-stars on the down slopes of their careers. They’ve also signed guys who should fit in well with their teammates.

There's something I feel like I should be saying about that last sentence, but I can't quite put my finger on it......

What’s most impressive with the normally impulsive Yankees is the methodical way that general manager Brian Cashman has gone about his off-season labors.

Step 1) Sign pitching.
Step 2) Sign hitting.

It wasn't all that complicated.

The Yankees’ first need was pitching, and that’s already been taken care of with the signings of CC Sabathia, the best free-agent pitcher on the market, and A.J. Burnett, arguably the second-best of the group. Those acquisitions alone propelled the Yankees into contender status in the AL East with Boston and the Rays.

Methodical. Not impulsive.

The next need was a big bat in the heart of the lineup to replace the power the team lost with the departures of Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi. Teixeira’s 162-game average over his six-year career is 121 RBI, 101 runs, 36 home runs and a .378 on-base percentage.

He’s a superior defensive first baseman and best of all, he’s a switch hitter.

Scott Boras: I think the Yankees need to sign Teixeira if they want to stay competitive.

Brian Cashman: Hmmm.....I dunno...what makes you think he'll help the squad for that astronomical sum you're asking?

Scott Boras: Well, he's a real run producer. He's driven in an average of 121 runs per season, and he's scored 101 himself!

Brian Cashman: Ehhh...tempting, tempting....what else ya got?

Scott Boras: Well...he's a real power threat. 36 homers per year, dontcha know!

Brian Cashman: see I'm still not sure he's worth the 8 years, $180M....

Scott Boras: He's also a pretty good on-base guy. You can't sneeze at a .378 OBP!

Brian Cashman: But I can be completely and utterly bored with it!

Scott Boras: UGH! Well, he's great with the glove, too, if you think that matters....

Brian Cashman: Ehh....that's good, but he's just a first bas-

Scott Boras: He's a switch hitter.

Brian Cashman: Sold.

Best of all, he’s no aging superstar.

You JUST SAID something else was "best of all". You can't do that twice, man! That's pure butchery of the English language!

They’re not a perfect team, and they’re still probably not the equal of the team that won four out of five World Series from 1996-2000. They’re weak in left field, where age and bad arms have caught up with Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui. New acquisition Nick Swisher has potential, but will be a downgrade if he is plugged in for Bobby Abreu in right.

Thanks for acknowledging this. You're a real sport, Mike.

Perhaps more importantly, we've just learned that yes, it is possible to will people out of existence through the power of ignorance.

Jorge Posada, a potent switch-hitter, will be back at catcher after losing most of 2008 with shoulder problems, but his skills as a catcher are beginning to erode. Center field is unsettled, with Swisher being a candidate to play there along with youngster Brett Gardner. Gardner is blessed with extraordinary speed, but he has yet to prove he can hit at the major league level. Melky Cabrera, once the center fielder of the future, fell so precipitously last year he was exiled to the Yankees’ Scranton farm club.

Hey, now careful, if you keep this shit up, your case for them being a dynasty may lose some momentum.....

Cano also took a huge step backwards last year, and needed a feverish run at the end of the season to get his average up to .271, more than 30 points below 2007. His RBIs were down to 72 from 97, and he had 15 fewer extra-base hits and scored 23 fewer runs than he had a year earlier. just listed legitimate problems at 5 of the 9 offensive positions! You know what word I'm thinking of when I hear stuff like that?


But the biggest parts of a contender are in place. The Yankees have a rotation that should stand up to Boston’s and Tampa’s. They have a lineup that will stand up to anyone.

"Stand up to" must now equal "dominate". Unless that's what dynasties do nowadays. They don't need to win, they just need to give the other guys a run for their money!

Now, starting at first base, they have the Teixeira, a great kid with a great bat and glove.

"The Teixeira". I smell a fucking SICK nickname for this guy catching on!

They’re back on top — on paper, at least.

Wrong. You, yourself have given at least 4 reasons why in this very article.

And all Boston and the rest of the league can do is sit back and wonder what they’ll do next. Because the Yankees aren’t done yet.

They...they might be done.

Dynasty, thy name is Teixeira.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Word on the street (PLEASE keep in mind that this has not officially been confirmed... it is only a rumor for the time being... that's my disclaimer) is that this man:

is at least in some part, way, form, function, or capacity, a bit fond of this man:

Further details as events warrant on this shocking story. If it turns out to be true, all I can say is wow. Who saw this coming?

Anonther idiotic trade Tom Brady article

This time coming from Dave Heuschkel at SI. I'm not going to go too deep into it, but here are a couple gems:

Cassel is in the final year of his contract. The Patriots could let him go or slap the franchise tag on him trade him [to the 49ers] for a first-round draft pick.

Yes, the mythical franchise tag and trade for the 49er's #1 draft pick idea that many people (including Bill Simmons) are latching on to. Of course, no one seems to consider any of the following factors that might dissuade the 49ers from eagerly handing their 2009 first round choice over for Cassel:

1. There's a good likelihood that the draft will be stacked with QBs.
2. San Francisco has been kinda decent with Shaun Hill.
3. Matt Cassel has been, shall we say, inconsistent against a cupcake schedule.
4. If the Patriots franchise Cassel, that will mean that they will have to pay him around $10 million for the 2009 season if they can't trade him. Cassel and Brady combined would be making around $25 million, or about 1/5 of the total salary cap. One would think the 49ers could used this to their advantage at the bargaining table.

Cassel's numbers in his first season as a starting quarterback are similar to Brady's stats in 2001 when he permanently replaced an injured Drew Bledsoe, who was the face of the franchise.

Cassel has completed 63.8 percent of his passes and thrown for 3,270 yards with 18 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and a QB rating of 87.1 In Brady's first season as a starter, he posted a 63.9 completion percentage and threw for 2,843 yards with 18 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and an 86.5 rating.

Peyton Manning's QB Rating his rookie year: 71.2
Does Peyton Manning have a lingering knee injury: Yes
Does Manning have a career 90+ QB Rating (like Brady): Yes
Why the Colts aren't tripping over themselves trying to get Matt Cassel: I don't know.

For the truly thick headed, I've made a logical flow chart to describe the situation:

IF Brady can play close to the level he did in 2007
THEN you don't trade him, unless you're a mouth breathing idiot

IF it is unclear whether or not Brady will ever return to form
THEN you wait until you're absolutely sure before considering a trade

IF Brady's health is still months away from being determined
THEN you don't write moronic articles about inane hypotheticals in the middle of one of the most exciting ends to the NFL regular season in years.

I will close with some of the comments from SI's commenters on this article (these are all from the first 20 out of 231 comments):

"What are you smoking?How did you get this job?"

"This is the dumbest thing I've ever read, or seen for that matter. Dumbest. Inexplicable. Indefensible. Just plain stupid."

"Does this guy usually cover Volleyball? Find a new line of work, you're bad at this one."


"How in the world do they let people like you write about sports? You should be ashamed and embarassed that the whole world gets to see your stupidity."

"[Who] the **** gave you a job? There are thousands of people looking for new jobs in these economic times and you got it?"

"This is hands down the stupidest thing I've read in 2008. And that includes my political news stories."

"Are you Matt Millen in disguise??"

Yup, those are his readers.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Michael Wilbon sounds like an idiot

On Wednesday, Kornheiser and Wilbon were discussing some of the Pro Bowl snubs. Some of this is word for word, other is paraphrasing.

Kornheiser: I like Brett Favre, but I think Pennington probably deserved to go over him.

Wilbon: Forget Pennington; I want to talk about two other guys: Kerry Collins and Matt Cassel. I don't want to hear about QB Rating or TD/INT ratio. They've led their teams. The best record in the league still belongs to Tennessee. Kerry Collins and Matt Cassel belong in the Pro Bowl ahead of Brett Favre.

Surprisingly, Michael Wilbon didn't cry at all last year about Adrain Peterson making the Pro Bowl, despite the Vikings going 8-8 and not making the playoffs.

Kornheiser: By the way, Matt Cassel's record is the same as Brett Favre's this year.

Wilbon: I don't care; he's had a better season than Favre this year.

So apparently stats do matter after you get facialed by Tony Kornheiser.

Korneiser: You see I'd put in Pennington over Favre because Pennington has a +8 TD/INT ratio to Favre's +4.

Wilbon: Would you put in Collins and Cassel?

Kornheiser: Collins: no. Cassel: Maybe.

Wilbon: How?

I know it's hard to believe, Mike, but it seems as if Kornheiser has (perhaps mistakenly) locked onto a rational thought process. Seriously though, what does it say about you when you're getting schooled in logic by Tony Kornheiser.

Kornheiser: You know who I would put in? PHILLIP RIVERS WHO HAS 28 TOUCHDOWN PASSES TO 11 INTERCEPTIONS!

Wilbon: STOP! Stop with the stats. Don't turn yourself into a stat geek. Phillip Rivers' team stinks and he is the leader of the offense. I don't care if he has 100 touchdown passes, he has failed in the clutch.

Whereas Kerry Collins has been decidedly awesome with his 78.7 QB Rating, sandwiching him in between Neckbeard and Tyler the Skeleton Fucker on the QB Rating list. The only thing that matters is the win/loss record, which in no way effected by variables such as the other 52 guys on the team, coaching, officiating, weather, dumb luck.

Yes, lets just throw out all the stats when deciding who goes to the Pro Bowl and just base it off win/loss record (which may or may not be a stat). If only there was some sort of Bowl game that was just the best team from the NFC vs. the best team from the AFC. Man, that'd be Super.


For those who don't know why I referred to Tyler Thigpen as "Tyler the Skeleton Fucker."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

TMTMQR: Miniamalist Edition Video Supplement

Larry B's post yesterday brought up a trick play that I want to delve into a little deeper.

Again, here's Larry B's post from yesterday:

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.

Now here's video of that play so that we can see if the analysis provided by Gregg was correct, or by Larry B.

It went for 11 yards because Marc Bulger didn't want to get driven into the ground after he caught the ball. So while it might be depressing that a trick play only gained 11 yards, it was 1st and 15 from the Seattle 34 and the pass led to a short 3rd and 4 conversion that set up the last Rams touchdown of the day. In the 2nd quarter. If you watch the video again, you'll see Bulger run like a priss down the near sideline under the Rams Weekly oval.

Also let the records show that because of this play, Marc Bulger has a new found respect for how fast his receivers have to run. After 6 NFL seasons.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

TMTMQR: Minimalist Edition

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.

    FAN: What!!!!!

Please do not try to write skits. Ever. You're unfunny.

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:

2006- 4.1/43.1/3.6
2007- 3.4/61.3/11.2
2008- 3.1/46.5/16.6

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.

Charles Barkley might mean well, but stop it

I should preface this by saying that I don't know the intricacies of SEC football, and I don't know much about the Auburn or Iowa State or Buffalo programs.

Charles Barkley made a big stink when he said the only reason Gene Chizik was hired at Auburn was because he's white and Turner Gil is black.

Barkley went on PTI this afternoon, presumably in an attempt to show he wasn't being a bumbling idiot when he suggested this.

I'm paraphrasing, because splurging for DVR didn't occur to me when I started law school. "Given Chizik's and Gill's resume and what they've done, it's impossible that anyone would hire Chizik over Gill unless race was a factor."

Kornheiser pointed out that Gill has gone on record saying that he felt he had a fair shot at winning the job, and they just chose to go in another direction.

Barkley was having none of it, saying (again, paraphrasing) that, "I don't really know anything about the search process, but since it didn't result in the hiring of Turner Gill, it wasn't a good one."

It's almost as if there's the chance that something other than a resume played into the hiring of a football coach. I don't know about you, but I think it's possible that Auburn chose to go another way because Chizik had either a wonderful interview, presented a better plan for reshaping the Auburn program, or meshed better with administrators than Gill did.

I wouldn't begin to suggest that race didn't play a role in the hiring of Gene Chizik, but suggesting that it was the only reason is incredibly dumb.

Yes, there are four black coaches of the 119 in the FBS subdivision. Yes, this is an indisputably low proportion, given the general population, not to mention proportion of black college football players. But, the way to solve this problem isn't to suggest that every time a white coach was hired over a black coach was strictly because his skin color matched that of the college president or athletic director.

Barkley should stick with basketball.

Note: I am not, by any means, suggesting that this is a good or that it was the right hire for Auburn. There are certainly a myriad of reasons to criticize it. My point is that those reasons do not include skin color, and to make this an issue of white vs. black, when it most likely isn't, is anything but helpful.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Very, Angry, Stupid, Boring, Statistical, Analytical, Don't-Even-Readal, Skip-Over-This-To-Other-More-Interesting-Thingsal Quickie

Richard Justice wrote an article explaining why the Yankees are still the third best team in the AL East (probably true). But I can't quite let things like this slide.....

Tampa Bay's outfield of Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton and Joyce might just be the best in baseball.

That is just plain fucking batshit crazy. I mean, defensively, sure. But plain ol' best?

The Yankees? How does an outfield of Xavier Nady, Brett Gardner and Johnny Damon ring your chime?

Not impressed? Didn't think so. Boston's is also better: Jason Bay, Jacoby Ellsbury, J.D. Drew.

You couldn't even go two paragraphs without naming a better outfield. But go ahead, you can keep Carl Crawford and his .318 OBP from last season (he's VERRRRRRRRRY overrated, folks!). And we don't have a clue what the fuck Matt Joyce is yet, but he's already part of the best outfield in baseball? Do you hear yourself talk?

It's also awesome to say things like this when guys like Adam Dunn, Pat Burrell, and Manny Ramirez haven't even been placed on teams yet.

Yet we've learned the last few years that chemistry and grit are as important as pure talent.

This is why it's been so hard to keep the Pittsburgh Pirates down.

This is why grit superstars Pat Burrell and Ryan Howard can with the World Series while chemistry stud Jimmy Rollins single-handedly denounces the entire phucking Philadelphia phan base.

This is why the White Sox edged out the Twins, because of gritty performances by key grit guys like Paul Konerko, Ken Griffey Jr, and Jim Thome. The supreme talent of Minnesota's Nick Punto, Carlos Gomez, and Alexei Casilla was no match for good ol' fashioned "grit", a word that as far as I can tell just means "trying his or her hardest", which 97% of the league does. Shut the fuck up, Richard Justice.

The Rays and Red Sox have a clubhouse chemistry that is impossible to overestimate.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, for the first time in the history of the universe.....THE IMPOSSIBLE!

They've got managers — Maddon and Terry Francona — brilliant at making the pieces fit and keeping the club headed in the right direction.

Talent, of course, is important, too, but in this era of parity, it's tougher and tougher to buy a championship.

Right, talent is important, too. You know, kind of like an afterthought.

The Yankees have spent more on payroll than any other team for several years. They haven't gotten out of the first round of the playoffs since 2004, haven't been to the World Series since 2003, haven't won a championship since 2000.

They tried buying a championship with Jason Giambi, Jaret Wright, Carl Pavano, etc. Never mind that chemistry and toughness were a huge part of how they won four World Series under Joe Torre.

Look guys, now we're trying to show chemistry's triumph over talent by using Jaret Wright as an example of "talent"!

Oh yeah, and that Carl Pavano......he totally played baseball the entire time he was on the team! And he played it every 5th day, with the highest level of talent. But he was no match for the chemistry of the opposing (Carl Pavano never got injured) hitters!

Jaret Wright sucks.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday Morning Bizarro QB

Contest: I give you two pieces of journalism, you tell me which was written by an angry sports blogger, and which was written by a fat, Brett Farve-loving columnist.

Sample A:
"This game showed what kind of a football team the Cowboys are, for going out with all their football players and making football plays on the football field to win this football game."

Sample B:
"Why does every announcer say "football game'' instead of "game'' or "field'' or "player'' over and over and over in the same sound bite? We know the sport is football. Does Joe Buck say, "The Cubs are playing a heck of a baseball game on this baseball field?'' Does Mike Breen say, "This is a basketball game for the ages, and these basketball players out on that basketball floor will remember it forever?''"


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Somehow, ESPN Has Messed Up the SportsCenter Formula

As I continue to live out my dream of one day studying law, I happen to be stuck in the middle of finals right now. Thus I have not been posting much. But I thought I would take a brief study break to bitch and moan for just a second.

Sunday nights in December are big for SportsCenter. The NFL is America's most popular sport, and there were 14 NFL games today and not much else going on in the world of sports. Many of these games were exciting and important. I have been watching tonight's SportsCenter for 26 minutes now- do you know how many games I've seen highlights from? Two. 2. The integer between 1 and 3. FUCKING TWO. (Dallas/New York and Indy/Detroit.) And why is that? What has ESPN been showing, instead of highlights from any of the twelve other games that happened today (including Pittsburgh/Baltimore, Buffalo/New York, and Atlanta/Tampa Bay, all of which had cool endings and playoff implications)? Because apparently it's absolutely critical that we watch each and every single fucking minute of Wade Phillips, TO, and Tony Romo's postgame press coferences. Of the (now) 28 minutes I've wasted watching this, about 16 of them have been spent watching reporters lob softball at those idiots, and then watching the idiots lob cliches right back. How compelling.

Fuck. This.

As far as I can tell, ESPN's line of thinking is as follows: there are two types of people who may watch SC. Those that are general sports fans, and those who are only fans of a certain team (relevant to their concerns, we're talking specifically about the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Cowboys, Lakers, Notre Dame, and maybe a couple others). Now, granted, that first group would be happiest if we spread our coverage around and actually showed highlights from a large variety of games. But the second group will lose interest unless we're talking about their teams. So here's the key: if we devote a painfully disproportionate amount of time to those "chosen" teams, we'll pick up a ton of viewers from that second group. And while that's happening... viewers from the first group will begrudgingly stick around. After all, they're sports fans! Even if they hate the Yankees, they'd rather watch 10 minutes of John Kruk talking about how C.C. Sabathia is a good pitcher who will help New York than change the channel. And you know what? At least in my case, they're right. I hate to admit it, but I'm a member of that first group and they have my preferences absolutely pegged. Good for them.

It's pretty sad, really. If my TV had a Nielsen ratings box, I'd have to change my viewing habits and stop playing along with their games. As things stand, I'll just have to get the anger out of my system by posting stuff like this on teh blogoblogs. Hopefully it's as therapeutic for you as it is for me.

Before I go- We're now at 35 minutes and counting. Still no new highlights, just four minutes of Trent Dilfer telling me why this game showed what kind of a football team the Cowboys are, for going out with all their football players and making football plays on the football field to win this football game. Oh, and I wish I were making this up, but they're also now showing the Cowboys/Giants highlights again... and... wait for it... recapping the TO interview footage.

Fuck you with the useful end of a rake, SportsCenter producers.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

We are now taking requests

Props to Fred Trigger and Frigidevil for pointing out this NFL article by Kevin Hench.

Sundays of our Lives: Week 15

Not a regular reader of Kevin Hench. The fact that this is the name of his weekly column goes a long way to explaining why.

Will no industry emerge unscathed from this recession?

The announcement that the NFL would be cutting 150 jobs made it clear that no business — no matter how well run — is impervious to this economic downturn.

That's clear how? I'm no expert on economic theory, but I don't think I'm totally exposing my ignorance when I say I don't subscribe to the "As goes the NFL, so goes the business world" school of Macroeconomics.

But I see his point. After all, major sports are universally tightening their belts.

With that in mind, here are some cost-cutting suggestions for the league, its teams and NFL-related employers. These are the budget-conscious Sundays of Our Lives.

Just a great concept for a column. I'm sure these are going to be feasible, reasonable cost-cutting suggestions, and not anecdotal, sentimental, high-horse grandstanding on the part of some middle-aged white guy NFL fan. Right?

From now on if an official's call costs a team the game he should not be receiving his paycheck.

Ed Hochuli's blown call in Week 2 seemed to set the tone for the Chargers' accursed season. But at least they've won five games. Field judge Mike Weir's bogus pass interference call cost the Lions their Week 6 game against the Vikings and those poor schlubs are going to go 0-16.

Swinging the outcome from one team to the other is pretty much the opposite of doing your job as an official and merits being docked a game check. A carpenter shouldn't expect to be paid for his impressive finish work if he burns down the house on his last day on the job.

Oh. Never mind.

By the way, this is the first year in the history of the NFL that officials have made bad calls that have cost teams games. Officials are understood to be perfect animals, incapable of making mistakes. As a sports fan you have the right to never have to see a bad call. If there is ever a bad call, ever, you ought to just throw your fucking remote through the TV. You got gypped.

After all, that Hochuli call, an unfortunate one to be sure, did EXPLICITLY cost the Chargers the game. After all, they didn't have a chance after that call to stop the Broncos from scoring a touchdown. And after that touchdown Ed Hochuli explicitly refused to let them play defense and stop the exact same play on the two point conversion.

And I'm sure earlier in the game there were exactly zero calls that went the Chargers's way. I mean, it's almost impossible to believe there was a single un-called hold against the Chargers's o-line that could have led to big yards. Or a single poorly called penalty against the Broncos that benefited the Chargers.

Nope. There was one bad call in that game and it led directly to the Chargers losing. Hochuli did nothing right. In fact he misread the scoreboard and gave the game DIRECTLY to the Broncos. The Chargers had actually scored more points.

So yeah, it makes sense. Dock him his whole paycheck.

From now until the economy brightens, NFL players should only be paid when they try. Sure, that would mean some empty stockings for the children of Jacksonville Jaguars, but when the old man hasn't broken a sweat in a month, well, the sins of the father are visited upon the young. Rarely do you get a public pronouncement that a team has quit, but that is essentially what Fred Taylor provided last month and he was right on the money. The Jags have lost four straight by an average of 13.5 points a game.

This is fucking stupid.

Why pay your employees for a whole day's work when the outcome is decided in the first quarter? Take the Thanksgiving Day Massacre as an example. The game was over in three possessions.

By the time the Titans had built a 35-3 second-quarter lead the crowd was filing out of Ford Field, wishing they were in a tryptophan coma (like the Lions appeared to be).

This would also save coaches like Jeff Fisher from the awkward choice of which is running it up more, going for it on fourth down or kicking field goals? Fisher opted for the FGs, sending Rod Bironas out to kick four second-half field goals in the 47-10 rout.

No team has ever come back from a large deficit in the history of the NFL.

I know that Hench is trying to be cutesy here, but I just don't get it. What's the fucking point. Is anyone who reads FoxSports entertained by this?

Christ. I need some goddamned coffee if I'm gonna make it through this article.

I don't know exactly which jobs they're cutting at NFL headquarters, but they can't be any more unnecessary than kickers.

I words.

Kickers have performed themselves into obsolescence. Nobody misses any more. Chip shots, bombs, tweeners. Everybody has a reliable kicker. Even the Lions (whose Jason Hanson is 7-for-7 beyond 50 and 13-for-13 beyond 40) have an excellent kicker.

The logic here is just so exquisite. "Kickers are irrelevant because they are very good at putting points on the board. If they missed more kicks they would be more relevant and necessary."

Mike Vanderjagt holds the NFL record for career accuracy at 86.47 percent. This season 17 kickers are knocking 'em through at a higher percentage. The league-wide percentage is 83.7. Artis Gilmore holds the NBA record with a 59.9 career field goal percentage. What's happening with kickers this season is the rough equivalent of the entire NBA shooting 57 percent.

Once again, the fact that they're performing incredibly well makes them expendable? Also, this NBA analogy is a fucking abortion. It is a motherfucking coathanger of an abortion.

On 50-yard-plus field goal attempts, they are making 66 percent. C'mon.

Cut Hench some slack kickers. Waddaya say? Can ya give him a break for once. Quit making so many difficult kicks!

By eliminating the increasingly ho-hum field goal attempt, teams will be forced to go for it more often on fourth down. This cost-cutting job elimination will save money and lead to a more exciting product.

Also, if we played every game indoors, there'd be more touchdown passes and big runs. Also, let's eliminate out of bounds. That will bring fans closer to the action, and promote big hits. One more thing--can we play with less people and on a smaller field? That would REALLY cut costs!!!

The plan at $1 billion-plus Dallas Cowboys Stadium is to install 60-foot plasma screens along the facing that separates the seating levels. That's foot. 60-foot screens. In an acknowledgement of tough times, Jerry Jones could scale back to 53-foot screens. Sure, fans might not be able to make out exactly what T.O. is screaming at wide receivers coach Ray Sherman, but we all have to make sacrifices.

This is the point in the article where I question whether Kevin Hench is a staff-writer for Jay Leno.

(nope: "Kevin Hench is a frequent contributor to An accomplished film and television writer, Hench's latest screenwriting credit is for The Hammer, which stars Adam Carolla and is now available on DVD." )

The honeymoon is clearly over for Jim Zorn. So when Daniel Snyder adds Zorn's pelt to his wall, he should cut costs by going without a head coach for a season.

Many of us have wondered what exactly it is a head coach does and this would be a great opportunity to find out if his absence matters. The offensive coordinator calls the plays, the defensive coordinator calls the blitzes, the special teams coach yells. For those few responsibilities that are purely the province of the head coach — replay challenges and fourth-down decisions — Snyder could get a knowledgeable fan to volunteer and come out ahead on both scores.

This is stupid.

The first four running backs taken in the 2008 draft — Darren McFadden, Jonathan Stewart, Felix Jones and Rashard Mendenhall — have combined for 1,428 rushing yards.

Chris Johnson (24th overall), Matt Forte (44th) and Steve Slaton (89th) have all gone over 1,000 yards and combined for 3,199 yards.

McFadden signed a six-year, $60M deal with $26M guaranteed. Kevin Smith, drafted by the Lions with the first pick of the third round and signed to a three-year, $1.79M deal, is one of five rookie running backs that have outgained McFadden. A sixth, Tim Hightower (5th round), has scored 10 touchdowns.

And while McFadden and Jones have showed flashes of brilliance worthy of first-rounders, their fellow Razorback (and former blocker) Peyton Hillis (7th round) was a much better bargain, averaging five yards a carry and scoring five touchdowns for the Broncos before getting hurt.

I love "rookie year hindsight." Seriously.

Look. I'm as big a proponent as anyone of not taking RB's in the first round. I think, by and large, you're better off filling the role of disposable punching bag with late round talent unless the first round talent is supremely excellent (a la ADP or, potentially McFadden).

But this is just jackassery.

a.) Using a rookie season as a measuring stick for a first round pick is fucking stupid

b.) Using the aggregate yard totals of a first round class that has suffered through injury all year is fucking stupid

c.) Using the YPC of backs running in the best system in the NFL (like Peyton Hillis) is fucking stupid

d.) It's not like Chris Johnson and Steve Slaton have been such no-doubt studs this year that it's worth mentioning. They've had solid rookie seasons. Great. That doesn't mean most teams in the NFL wouldn't prefer McFadden to Johnson going forward. Don't be fucking stupid.

"rookie year hindsight" is fucking stupid. Just ask Rick Mirer.

Every spring as the English Premier League soccer season is winding down, there are two races being followed feverishly: the battle for the top spot and the mad scramble to stay out of the bottom three.

The teams with the three worst records in the league are essentially sent down to the minors, replaced by the three best teams in the highest minor league. The fight for 17th place — teams 18, 19 and 20 get relegated — is sometimes followed more closely than the race for the crown.

You want to create some excitement (and paying customers) for the Bengals (1-11-1), Rams (2-11), Seahawks (2-11) and Chiefs (2-11) remaining three games, just have two of them joining the Lions in the Arena League next year.

What's your favorite minor league football team? Mine's the one that is made up of people who weren't good enough to be drafted by an NFL team! What's yours? Oh the other one made up of people who weren't good enough to be drafted by an NFL team? They're pretty good too. I think they could give that third team made up of people who weren't good enough to be drafted by an NFL team a real run for their money in the "real fucking mediocre Di-aa graduates" bowl of shitty players.

The only thing this column's missing is the claim that USC could beat the Lions. Come on Hench, humor me with that claim?

Well it's not there. Darn. Too bad. It could have been a brilliant swan song to an illustrious career.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

WNTMQR: My name is Asshat, Pretentious Asshat.

Writer and International Man of Douchbaggery, Gregg Easterbrook, weighs in on Week 14 of the NFL season:

Stat of the Week No. 2:
Since taking the field in January for the playoffs, Green Bay is 5-9 and Jacksonville is 4-10.

Wait, you mean to tell me that two playoff teams from last year ARE NOT having the same level of success this year? No, no I can't wrap my head around that; that's just too crazy to fathom. Next you'll be saying something crazy like in 2007, The Ravens were 5-11, and in 2008 they're 9-4.

Stat of the Week No. 10: The Giants lost, and made the playoffs. The Chargers won, and were all but mathematically eliminated.

Holy-fuck-a-mole. A team that drops to 11-2 is guaranteed a playoff spot while a team that improves to 5-8 will in all likelihood not make the playoffs. What a weird, wild, wacky world we live in.

Sweet Play of the Week: The Ravens offer a mix of great defense, a terrific Division I-AA rookie quarterback, glamorous cheer-babes and innovative play calling. In addition to numerous gadget plays, Baltimore is pulling linemen and emphasizing misdirection. With the game scoreless, Baltimore faced third-and-10 on the Washington 29. The Nevermores lined up trips left, showing pass. The trips receivers ran crossing patterns while tailback Ray Rice took a sprint-draw left -- into the area the trips receivers just cleared -- behind a great pulling block by right guard Chris Chester. A 21-yard gain set up a Baltimore touchdown, and the hosts never looked back.

More than likely, the Ravens ran that play with the hope to pick up at least a few yards to make a field goal more manageable, and if they happened to pick up a first down, then bully for that. What is assured though is if the Ravens get stopped short of the first down on the draw play and kick a field goal, TMQ writes about how stupid it is to run the ball on 3rd and 10.

When he left college, nobody wanted Pierre Thomas; now everybody does.

Pierre Thomas now has exactly 2 games with 100+ rushing yards to his name. I'm sure the Carolina Panthers are wishing right now that they hadn't bought into all that hype behind DeAngelo Williams and wasted a first round pick on him, when he could so easily be replaced by Pierre Thomas.

My Name is Blah, James Blah: We've now endured two movies of the rebooted, supposedly "realistic" James Bond franchise, and at this point I'd like to go back to supervillains controlling outer space death rays. Supposedly, "Quantum of Solace" is "realistic." This film has four scenes in which multiple foes fire machine guns at Bond at close range for extended sequences, and every one of hundreds of bullets misses. Bond in response kills many bad guys with super-accurate long-range single shots from his small-caliber pistol, always while running -- he isn't even bracing the gun with two hands. Though conveniently Bond's pistol is one of those movie guns that never has to be reloaded no matter how often it's fired. Dozens of guys with automatic weapons missing at close range is realism? CIA agents trying to kill an MI6 agent by chasing him in a public place while firing machine guns is realism?

When I go to the movies, I want to see long, drawn out gun battles, where all parties involved take good cover and don't waste ammo by firing while moving/when they're too far away for their weapons to actually be effective. If any gun fight lasts less than 90 minutes, and doesn't end with the losers slowly bleeding to death, and then soiling themselves in their death throes, I don't want to watch it.

In the movie's most absurd scene -- and by saying this I don't mean to take anything away from the other absurd scenes -- Bond is put into an elevator with two MI6 agents assigned to prevent his escape; in seconds, Bond knocks both unconscious on his first punch, and escapes. Prizefighters elaborately train to try to knock people unconscious with one punch

Yeah, that's true Prizefighters seem to have the damnedest time knocking their opponents out with one punch, but maybe it has something to with the fact that they're wearing fucking gloves and fighting against guys who "elaborately train" to not get knocked out from one punch. Also, might I add, it's A HOLLYWOOD MOVIE, YOU PRETENTIOUS ASSHAT.

Here's What Happens When You Don't Use Manly Man Tactics: Trailing 14-0 in the first half, Washington punted on fourth-and-2 at the Baltimore 43. After kicking a field goal to draw within 17-3 early in the fourth quarter, the Redskins did not onside kick; they kicked away. Washington was playing one of football's hottest teams. Victories don't come in the mail -- against a superior team, you must take chances!

Easterbrook conveniently forgets to mention that Baltimore immediately turned the ball over to Washington who then quickly scored a touchdown to make it a one score game. Seems as if the football gods (notice my lack of capitalization) favored the cowardly move on the Redskin's part.

"Friday Night Lights" Update: The series is down to its final episodes. In the latest, we see a high school playoff bracket with 32 teams while the voiceover says, "Dillon must win four games to reach the Texas championship." But the actual Texas 5A playoff bracket contains 64 teams; a team needs five postseason W's to reach the state championship. The "Friday Night Lights" gang is so obsessed with relationship talk and longing glances, they forgot to put enough teams in the playoffs!

I think my anonymous friend (let's just call him, Garry G.) sums up my thoughts best:

"This is now officially the worst fucking running item in the column. WE FUCKING GET IT, GREGG. THEY'RE NOT USING A REAL SCHEDULE. MOVE ON."

Well said, Garry.

All About Maddux

Gene Wojciechowski, ESPN's (The Worldwide Leader in Sports's) renowned senior writer, just wrote an homage to Greg Maddux in a very clever, hilarious and consistently relevant manner.

(Note: much in the style of the awesome article I'm about to tell you about, take the opposite of everything in italics as the truth.)

Everything Maddux wasn't

The rest of the article can just be assumed after this line. But I mean, yeah, he wrote it anyway.

Am I going to miss Greg Maddux? Are you kidding? I couldn't stand the guy.

WTF?!?!??!! You COULDN'T STAND Greg Maddux? Are you out of your mind? What kind of writer are you? Maddux is like a canary-red leaf wafting in the breeze on a cool spring day while the hummingbirds are singing and the wind is composing a soothing melody as it soars through the tree branches, overlooking the greenest field you've ever seen with the most refreshingly blue lake, complete with sparkling sunshine! He's fucking media poetry! There's no way anyone in the world could hate Gre-.......


I see what you're doing here Gene.

You had me going there.

You're a clever boy, aren't you? Saying the opposite of what's actually true like you did. Your keyboard just radiates the brilliance of the gods, doesn't it?

First of all, he wasn't greedy enough. He signed for only $75,000 after the Chicago Cubs selected him with the 31st pick of the 1984 amateur draft. No messy holdouts. No nothing. And get this: He actually reported to Pikeville of the Appalachian League that season. For $175 a week. Loser.

Anyone want to read a lot more paragraphs in the exact same style as this one? Great!

He wasn't brash enough. The guy made his major league starting debut near the end of the 1986 season. The Cubs stunk, but the 20-year-old Maddux threw a complete-game victory. Hadn't been done by a Cub that young since 1966. He also got two hits and ended a seven-game Cubs losing streak. Instead of popping off about his big day, Maddux told reporters, "I'm kind of awestruck now."

Melts my heart. Go on.....

He wasn't intimidating enough. When the dinky Maddux first reported from Triple-A Iowa, the Cubs didn't know whether he was a player or there for Father-Son Day. "He's a good competitor and he's fun to watch," minor league coach Jim Colborn told the Chicago Tribune, "especially knowing he's just finished his paper route a couple of years ago."

Not being intimidating isn't exactly a positive quality for pitchers.....

He wasn't quotable enough. You can list the number of great Maddux on-the-record quotes on the back of a Sweet'N Low packet. He was polite. He was pleasant. But mostly he shrugged his shoulders a lot.

...Sweet'N Low packet? Are you trying to get tomatoes thrown at you?

Like, because there's zeroes on the back of a Sweet'N Low packet, and Maddux has delivered zero great quotes?

Because you can fit a lot of digits on the back of one of those.

Chad Johnson has about 913204234203 great quotes. I could list that number on the back of a Sweet'N Low packet.

He wasn't controversial enough. Would it have killed him to get caught carrying, say, a semi-automatic weapon, just once? Some sort of drug charge would have been nice. And is it asking too much to maybe oversee a money-laundering ring? But, no, not Maddux.

Top 10 problems facing baseball today.

10) Someone is paying Jason Marquis money.
9) Kevin Mench isn't going to play in America next year.
8) Brian Sabean has a job.
7) Too many people think "leadoff hitter" is an actual position.
5) Ryan Howard doesn't get 1/100th of the credit he deserves.
4) The Red Sox make too many assholes happy.
3) The economy
2) PEDs
1) Too many players overseeing money laundering rings.

I can't remember what the point of all that was.

He wasn't narcissistic enough. Even when he was winning four Cy Young Awards in a row or walking into the clubhouse the day after his 300th career victory, you never saw Maddux with a posse, entourage or security detail. Wait! There were those times
when he brought his two kids to the ballpark.

Haha get it! That's his entourage! His kids! He's a family man....he's...he's the everyman, and he wears Wrangler-brand jeans!

Oh. My. God.

Greg Maddux is Brett Favre.

He wasn't ill-prepared enough. In 1996, just before Maddux and the Atlanta Braves faced the New York Yankees in the World Series, pitching coach Leo Mazzone met with his starters and relievers and read them the detailed scouting reports. Maddux raised his hand after Mazzone read the report on Yankees slugger Bernie Williams.

"He wasn't ill-prepared enough."

See how stupid you had to make that sound just to fit a compliment to Maddux's pre-game prep into this article?

"That report is not correct," Maddux said. "I've been watching film of Williams for two weeks, and that report is not correct."

"Did everybody hear that?" Mazzone said.

The Braves pitchers nodded.

"Well, then the hell with this report," Mazzone said. "We go with what Mad Dog says."

Williams hit .167 in the Series.

While leading the Yankees in RBI.

(Hey, if he can use a stat that doesn't tell the whole story, so can I!)

He wasn't serious enough. Jimmy Farrell, who was the longtime umpires room attendant at Wrigley Field, told me about the time he asked a young Maddux to wiggle his ear if he reached base on a hit. The Cubs went on the road, so Farrell and his wife, Eleanor, watched the game at home that night. Sure enough, Maddux got a hit.

"He's not gonna do it, Jimmy," Eleanor said.

"You watch," Farrell said.

Maddux stood at first base. And then wiggled his ear.

"We just about fell off the couch laughing," Farrell told me.

Please, please watch Nick Swisher play just one inning of baseball, then tell me you are still amused by this.

He wasn't aloof enough. You'd think a guy with more wins than any living player (355) would keep to himself. But when I saw him this past March at spring training with the San Diego Padres, Maddux was doing his usual thing: working the clubhouse, cracking wise with vets and rookies, recruiting players for one of his golf pools. Same sort of thing happened when I saw him near the end of the season. He was a Los Angeles Dodger by then, but he was sitting in the dugout trading jokes with teammate Derek Lowe.

Brett. Favre.

Here's the rest. Read it, and be sick of it. I sure am. I couldn't even make it through the entire damn article.

He wasn't one-dimensional enough. After a while you really got tired of watching him earn Gold Gloves (18 of them -- nobody has more), lay down perfect sacrifice bunts, or even steal bases. The nerve.

He didn't listen well enough. Colborn said back in 1986: "He's not a strikeout pitcher, and he probably won't ever win 25 or 30 games in the big leagues. But he should have a good big-league career." Maddux, who just had to make Colborn look bad, finished his career ranked 10th all-time in strikeouts.

He wasn't buff enough. Didn't he get the memo about steroids? Sammy Sosa had nose hairs with more muscle tone than Maddux. Maddux had a bit of a paunch. I'm not sure he could bench press a fungo bat.

He wasn't flashy enough. After Maddux won No. 300, reporters asked how he'd celebrate. "I don't know," he said. "I'll do something." What, take the family to Pizza Hut?

He wasn't into legacies enough. He once said he actually valued pitching 200-plus innings per season more than the wins. And if you asked him about the Hall of Fame, you usually wouldn't get much on the subject. But his former teammate Glendon Rusch once told me, "In my opinion, he's a first-ballot, 100-percent-of-the-votes Hall of Famer."

He wasn't unprofessional enough. Maddux probably could have squeezed another season and paycheck out of that 42-year-old right arm of his. Others would have taken the money. But not Mr. Integrity.

Nope. Won't miss him at all.

Until spring training 2009.

BOOM! That's the fantastic line at the end of the article that lets the reader know...."Hey, I was just joking about all that stuff before! I really think Greg Maddux is a great dude, and I have 37 posters of him hanging in my room!"

ESPN Senior Writer.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Terry Frei Defends Nashville

You know what I like about Terry Frei? Nothing.

In this, his most recent article, he whines about how Nashville is such a great hockey market but they're in danger of losing their franchise. The Predators are a team that I love to hate, and last night made it even easier for me.

NASHVILLE -- The advertising signs are painted onto the sidewalks on Nashville's Broadway, including in the block as you're approaching Jack's Bar-B-Que, several honky-tonks, and the statue of the crooning Elvis outside of the famous Legends Gift Shop.

See? Terry Frei doesn't just stay in Denver. If he hadn't been to Nashville, he wouldn't have known about all of these things.

Nashville defensemen Shea Weber, Dan Hamhuis, and Ryan Suter are pictured, arms crossed and looking appropriately solemn.

And you are told of Predators hockey:

Let's play FireJay's fastest growing quiz sensation - Finish the Tag Line!

(1) Predators Hockey - We Know What It's Like To Wait On Our Sister's Pregnancy Test, Too!
(2) Masturbate in Privacy in our New All Stall Men's Room!
(3) Buy Now, Settle SEC Fraud Charges Later!
(4) Because The Titans Game is Sold Out!

"It Stays With You."

What? It Stays With You? Like bad Chinese food and genital herpes? Or painful losses?

The same sign, in the form of a huge banner, is on the side of the nearby Sommet Center.

The issue, of course, is: "OK … but for how long?"

Right, the hockey team. Here's where we hear the soft SportsCenter piano playing over black and white photos of the players slowly being panned by a camera and spot light. Lay on the guilt trip of this horrible team.

The Predators, now in their 10th NHL season, have been an amazingly resilient operation, playing on -- and remaining surprisingly competitive -- through so much drama, a gifted and hockey-minded songwriter could come up with a CD full of songs about it all.

Nashville has singers! Gaw-haw! It's Music City! Stompin' Tom Connors is the only hockey-minded songwriter that should release a CD.

After managing to make the playoffs last season, despite what essentially was a clearance sale in the 2007 offseason, the Predators are off to a decent start again under coach Barry Trotz, and their 3-2 victory over Colorado on Thursday night got them to 13-10-2.

It's funny how every article Terry writes for ESPN relates to the Avalanche. Not that a lot of mine don't relate to my favorite hockey team, but I'm not paid to be unbiased. This article very easily could have been written without reference to the Avalanche.

Yet, after an official crowd of 12,717 against Colorado, the Predators are averaging 13,716 for their 10 home games, and that's 29th in the 30-team league -- ahead of only the New York Islanders.

Ah, but without the Avalanche, how are we supposed to gauge how poor the attendance figures are? If Nashville can't draw with a team like Colorado in town, how do they draw with somebody like the Red Wings or Sharks in town?

Said Suter, the 23-year-old Madison, Wis., native who is the son of 1980 U.S. Olympian Bob Suter: "Our fans are good fans. They're coming the best they can to support us. It's tough down there because the football team [Tennessee Titans] is doing so good. We're competing with them. We always have our base crowd. Some nights are more than others, but they're loud."

It's always fun to go see the bad team when the good team is very successful. All the really good seats are empty because the rich people that own them are watching the successful team play and win. The stands are filled with people wearing the successful team's jersey and listening to them on the radio or watching them play on the concourse. Cheers erupt at inappropriate times because of the successful team scoring.

I've always been scornful of the hockey media's tendency to make value judgments about consumers' prioritizing, and having double standards -- including the tendency to come up with excuses for falloffs at the box office in traditional markets, yet consider the same fluctuations in the "new" markets to be prima facie cases that they didn't deserve teams in the first place.

I've always been scornful of Terry Frei making no fucking sense. Fans have to prioritize because they can't be in two places at once. I can't think of reading an article where fans are ridiculed for choosing to attend one sporting event over another, regardless of which market they're in. This sounds like Terry wrote about it a few years ago, but recently went to Nashville and fell in love with it, so now he's calling for the heads of those that hate Nashville.

And what often is overlooked is how deflating it can be for ownership to have short pockets and inadvertently lean into the punch that the survival of the team is in question, which creates self-fulfilling prophecies. Why invest emotions and money in an enterprise that has one eye on the door?

How about why invest money in the first place when you're going to lose money? Life must suck so much for these MILLIONAIRES to be asked about their hockey team moving. Nashville's investors knew the situation was dire going in. I'm sure they had a team of advisers telling them not to do it. The question should have been "Why invest money in a failing investment?" I find it very hard to feel bad for any of these people.

But the facts can't be ignored: This is the franchise's 10th season. Hockey 101 should have been off the curriculum long ago, and the fact that many move into Nashville from other "traditional" hockey areas also added to the potential fan base, anyway.

Oh really, Terry? Transplant fans? Don't you hate transplant fans, you fucking hypocrite?

In this economy and these times, it's not shocking that other franchises -- including Colorado, where the 487-game sellout streak is in the nostalgia-drenched past -- are having problems at the gate, too.

There are other teams in the league than Colorado, I assure you. Yuppies would rather spend money on season lift tickets than watch a team not win their division. I wouldn't be surprised if that dog wearing a cape left for a better gig with the Rockies chasing Dinger around on the field.

So, no, the Predators are far from alone, but in so many ways, the savvy management of the franchise has been amazing. General manager David Poile and Trotz have been like golfers trying to putt with the gallery screaming, given all the potential distractions and disadvantages. But instead of throwing a golfer's fit, they just putt out and plow on.

Nashville has an attendance problem. So does Colorado. So Nashville, your team isn't moving anywhere, because with a sample size of two, all teams are having problems. Terry could have pointed to the Red Wings cutting ticket prices as a sign of bad things around the league. Canadian teams are halving ticket prices. Terry would rather stick to Colorado, because that's enough for his argument.

At some point, it's not a matter of a value judgment or placing blame, but an issue of wondering about whether it's going to work. No finger-pointing. No name-calling. No distasteful portraying of NHL patronage, or any sports patronage, as some sort of litmus test for the moral fiber of a market.

It either works or it doesn't.

The local ownership, albeit with Del Biaggio's 27 percent as an asterisk, has given the Predators a chance to prove their viability in Nashville. Or, more accurately, Nashville to prove its viability as a hockey market.

Terry already pointed out that Nashville has had 10 years. It should already have been proven if Nashville can prove they are a hockey market. What he hasn't done is shown us how to keep them in Nashville. That would be a very hard undertaking and would take millions of man hours and - - what's that? It's already been done on Puck Daddy? And every point has evidence? Well son of bitch, then how does Terry Frei still have a job?