Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Shameless Homerism

The yearly posts about 'Is ____ a Hall of Famer?' are out. The results will be in January 6th. We've covered a bunch of these in the past, and they're usually good for a debate. But the purpose of this brief post is to link to an article supporting the candidacy of the second-most-famous baseball player named Barry in the 1990s.

Ladies and gentlemen, wearing #11 and captain of your Cincinnati Reds, Barry Larkin.

Given that, over the last few years, the Reds have been a much poorer baseball team than the favorite teams of the other writers on this blog (White Sox, Rockies, Cardinals, etc)... this is about all I can get excited about lately.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Crush of Something

Does anybody ever go to FOX Sports for sports news? I tend to only go there when I'm looking for a softball of an article (see below), but they have a ticker-like bar at the bottom to tell you what games are being played today. Because you can't just click on "Schedule" and open in a new tab? Anyways, FOX Sports on MSN Presenting The Hockey News gave me Edward Fraser's list of four names that aren't all correct. Let's see if I can remember to copy, paste, bold and swear.

Before the lockout, you could forgive a player who was overpaid because it didn't really affect the team; you could simply throw more money at the problem, filling the hole left by the underperformer.

It's so hard to remember the halcyon days of hockey without a salary cap, but I'm pretty sure fans and management alike used to bitch about players not playing to match the amount of money being paid. Just like any other fan has said in any other sport, salary caps be damned. Poor play while being paid millions has always been deemed as unforgivable, and then the player gets a significant pay cut. It happens in sports and everyday life, but let's write a boring article about it.

But nowadays, and it has been an issue that has grown year after year since 2005-06 as more teams gravitate to the salary-cap ceiling and space becomes increasingly precious, being overpaid is a crime.

I guess I'll have to pretend that this is a new issue.

If a player is heaped a handsome sum, he is expected to maintain or elevate his play, even though his best years may have gone by or were never even possible.

Isn't your beef with the GM that throws him the money? It's hard to fault a player for signing a contract that he is offered if the player knows he isn't going to be good. If came to me tomorrow and offered me money to write this bullshit, I'd take it. My integrity can disappear if I can work and wear this shirt at the same time.

That has been the case with the following four. Not a soul among this quartet has played overly poorly, but the grand expectations placed upon them based on their stipends have resulted in unrealistic goals.

So this article exists... why? Instead of trying to delve into why contracts are so much, maybe use press access to talk to GMs and scouts, we're going to see four players - that may be very good - and roast them for not asking for less money. Outstanding.

Brad Richards, C, Dallas Stars ($7.8 million cap hit)

The league's fifth-highest cap hit and 12th-highest salary (also $7.8 million), Richards was rewarded for his brilliant 91-point effort and two-way play in 2005-06.

It was a steady decline in production from that point on, however, with seasons of 70, 62, 51 and 48 points. His plus-minus suffered as well — though that's as much a product of a shaky team in Tampa — going minus-46 in the 144 games after inking the deal.

Good thing he repeated that salary number. Almost forgot it in the 58 characters between them.

So Brad Richards played for a shitty team in Tampa, huh? Well now that he plays in Dallas, his numbers must still suck. After all, the article is about players that can't perform to match their salaries. What would you say, Mr. Fraser, if I told you that Brad Richards was having a great year?

The 29-year-old is generating top-notch numbers this season and is on pace for 23 goals and 93 points, but replicating this effort next season will be a must if he hopes to prove he is in fact a true No. 1 pivot and deserving of such dough.

Oh, it was the very next paragraph of your article? Good thing you included him in this. To recap, Brad Richards was signed to a contract for scoring 91 points in a season, and is on pace to score 93 points in a season and this is a problem.

Scott Gomez, C, Montreal Canadiens ($7.3 million cap hit)

Perhaps Gomez doesn't belong on this list,

Two players in and we have 0 players that belong on this list. What's worse is that I'm not the one saying that they don't belong here, it's the author of the list. What's worse than that is that he finished.

as he arguably hasn't lived up to even what he should be — a second-line center. But I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and suggest if he was making $5 million the collective complaints wouldn't be nearly as loud.

In his two seasons in New York, the skilled setup man had seasons of 54 and 42 assists to go along with 16 goals in each campaign. The numbers weren't bad, but the Broadway masses expected him to immediately gel with Jaromir Jagr and create instant magic. We know how that turned out.

What a great chance to make a Jaromir Jagr gambling joke. Something like "...Broadway masses could have put money on him to gel..." There, a gambling and hair product joke.

Now, he's on pace for his worst season ever, making Habs GM Bob Gainey look terrible in the process. If he doesn't bounce back in the second half, he'd be overpaid at half price.

To clarify, Bob Gainey looks terrible because he traded to get Scott Gomez and his contract, not because he signed him to it.

Brian Campbell, D, Chicago Blackhawks ($7.1 million cap hit)

Oh, how the Blackhawks wish they could turn back the clock and avoid doling out $57 million to the mobile defenseman. Then-GM Dale Tallon should have had the foresight to see his own cadre of blueliners would develop into a formidable corps, but instead Campbell has become cap enemy No. 1 (after Cristobal Huet stepped up his game this season) on a team that will be in dire straits this summer.

It's fairly obvious that Dale Tallon had no foresight, and is thus out of a job as GM. (And with a name like Hjalmarsson, it has to be good!)

The Hawks' highest-paid player is third on their defenseman depth chart and in average time-on-ice (behind Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook), but would be a top-pair blueliner on 80 percent of the league's clubs. Even so, few of that 80 percent would find it worth spending 12.5 percent of available cap space on a single, one-dimensional defender.

Brian Campbell would be a top defenseman, but some GM that isn't a GM anymore spent too much money on him. Good thing this article was written.

Players named: 3. Players that suck: 1.

Chris Drury, C, New York Rangers ($7 million cap hit)

Blueshirts GM Glen Sather must have thought Drury was the second coming of Mark Messier when he doled out more than $35 million for seven seasons to a player who had never topped the 70-point mark.

Damn, he got one.

Leadership is an intangible that doesn't show up on the scoresheet and Drury certainly has that trait in spades,

And combined with Chris Drury's grit and determiniation, makes him worth $7 million. Just kidding, he sucks and shouldn't be playing.

but the 33-year-old was and is better suited for second-line duty. With that in mind, his performance (22-plus goals and 56-plus points in each of his first two years on Broadway) would reap positive reviews.

But like his brethren on this list, his egregious contract will always be his millstone.

If he had used the "on pace to" numbers, he'd have Chris Drury dead to rights for this season. 11 goals, 21 assists for 32 points in 77 games. For whatever reason, that was glossed over so that all four players in this article look like they may or may not be overpaid. What a waste of time. But at least I can feel better about myself for posting since Terry Frei no longer supplies article to ESPN, and isn't that really what I'm being paid to do?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Post-Christmas Odds and Ends

A few things of note:

Simulated Bowl Games:

1. ESPN is continuing their trend of simulating bowl games on video game platforms. Here are some of their simulations for some of the average bowl games. I kind of bitched about this before the season started... and I really haven't formulated a coherent thought on this... but how many people confuse the categories of "Actual College Football News" with "A Couple of Interns in Bristol Jacking Around"?

Do they have a one-time official simulation? Do you think corn-fed Lincoln-educated interns re-run the game till the Huskers pull it out?

Simmons and Reilly:

From the ombudsman's most recent column over at the "WWL" regarding two of our favorite FJayM whipping boys:

The mailbag also received a number of inquiries concerning the absence of Conversation pages on columns by two of ESPN's most widely read writers, Rick Reilly and Bill Simmons. These pages allow readers to comment, compliment, disagree with or even disparage the writer's work and are linked directly from the column page.

Observed Brian from Rockville, Md., "It gives the impression that they are somehow beyond commentary by the fans, which I find troubling given the opinionated stances they take on issues. What does ESPN risk by not allowing dialogue and debate to accompany their work?"

What's ESPN's rationale?

"We encourage user interaction in many forms across," said Patrick Stiegman, vice president and executive editor & producer for "In the case of Bill Simmons and Rick Reilly, based on the volume of comments, we channel feedback via heavily trafficked venues such as writer mailbags, live chats and -- in the case of Simmons -- a tremendously popular Twitter feed. Both also have distinct sections within the site (Sports Guy's World for Simmons, Go Fish for Reilly) through which fans can correspond."

Seems like one strong opinion deserves another, and it seems that's possible even without a Conversation page.

Reilly also provoked some angry feedback from readers concerning an article that appeared in ESPN The Magazine and later on Some of you, as well as some bloggers, accused him of plagiarizing a column he had written earlier in his career while at Sports Illustrated. Even though it seems difficult to plagiarize yourself, a response was still in order.

Rob King, vice president and editor-in-chief, said he and Gary Belsky, editor of ESPN The Magazine, "looked into this immediately" and concluded that the column -- headlined "Why I love sports" -- was a case of "uncharacteristic carelessness." "Rick, who is noodling with column ideas all the time, keeps an ongoing file of works in progress, some more fully fleshed-out than others," King said. "In this instance, Rick, seeking an evergreen idea for an upcoming issue of The Magazine, inadvertently chose a set of notes he'd forgotten he'd used in a previous assignment. Rick expressed no small degree of embarrassment, and I can assure you we will put more rigorous checks in place to ensure that this won't happen again."

1. Reilly and Simmons' lack of conversation pages is simply due to volume? I smell a rat.

2. That Simmons has a widely popular Twitter feed seems appropriate: most of his thoughts aren't suited to the complexities of real life but rather to the quick-burst-inanities of the 140-characters or less.

Simmons' future columns could just be published on The Bottom Line during NBA telecasts.

3. I don't know how complex Reilly's notes are, but a column of his titled "Why I love sports" can't be that complex. He should just consult my notes on the subject of why Rick Reilly loves sports.

Either way, when you're a journalist in the Reilly ilk, it becomes pretty damn hard not to repeat yourself, since you don't go out and actually learn about sports but rather sit back and comment on them without doing the work of a journalist.

Must be Winter:

In nosing around for bad journalism, I trundled over to NBCSports (OK! I admit it! I was looking for HatGuy since I hadn't posted!). I found someone named (really) Justice B. Hill. I wonder if he is related to Jemele Hill. His articles aren't good or bad in quality, they're just overly simplistic and sentimental in topic:

Think you can hit a baseball? Think again.


Love for glove is baseball's first bond.

Also, Bert Blyleven writes for NBCSports. I think I'm going to see if he's written anything stupid lately.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Matthew Berry is Atrocious at His Job, Don't Ever Listen to a Single Word He Says

Berry, aka ESPN's "Talented Mr. Roto," presumably has been a successful fantasy sports GM in the past. I mean, I won't speculate as to exactly how he got his nickname, or exactly how he acquired his position at ESPN. But I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume he has won/fared well in numerous fantasy football and baseball leagues. Probably.

Now, HAVING SAID THAT, this guy is a fucking idiot. Here's the thing- I've known this for a looonnnnnnnnng time. A long time. And I came to know it by seeing his televised fantasy blurbs on various terrible ESPN programs. But until today, I had never bothered to read anything he wrote. And having finally done so, I have no choice but to make this post.

Before I begin, let me clarify "fucking idiot." Berry's problem is not lack of knowledge. (Well, actually, as you'll see below, that is in fact his problem some of the time. But not all the time.) His real problem is his inability to apply that knowledge. He knows the stats. He obviously does his research. He just can't take those stats and that knowledge and use it to offer any kind of meaningful advice. Don't believe me? Of course you do. All eight of you who read this blog seem to pretty much take my word on everything. But just in case you don't believe me, read on. His week 15 NFL "Players I Love"/"Players I Hate" column is a great example of his incompetence. I'll provide some analysis of his analysis, and then list the relevant stats his recommendations/non-recommendations piled up last weekend. At the end, I'll total everything up for both groups. I'm writing this before looking up the stats, but based on what I know offhand, I'm fairly certain the players he hated did better than the players he loved. When your whole job is giving people fantasy advice... that means you're a fucking idiot.

Week 15 Players I Love:

Pierre Garcon, WR, Colts: Jaguars give up the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and I have Garcon ahead of Reggie Wayne in my rankings. He's healthier, he will see fewer double-teams, he's been the better fantasy wide receiver the past six weeks, he has a French first name, he's nice to children and pets, there are only two games all year where Jacksonville has not given up at least one touchdown to an opposing wide receiver, even with his poor game last week, Garcon still leads the Colts in targets, Rashean Mathis probably isn't going to play and I play softball with a guy who played college football with Garcon and says he's a really nice guy. At least some of these reasons are relevant.

Hilarious. And insightful. Not terrible analysis (far from the worst you'll read here), but Wayne went off (more on that below) and Garcon went for a whole 2 catches and 16 yards.

Robert Meachem, WR, Saints: Even without scoring last week, Meachem still has seven touchdowns in his past six games. Cowboys are 21st against the pass and Drew Brees looks for Meachem often; he's second on the Saints in targets over the past six weeks.

Hmmm. Meachem went for 5 catches and 43 yards. He was targeted fewer times than either Marques Colston or Devery Henderson.

Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush, RB, Saints: Pierre has four scores in his past three home games, Bush will be a good outlet for Brees when the Cowboys try to blitz, and I don't think Mike Bell plays. If he does, I'm not as excited about Bush.

Bell: only Saints RB to score a touchdown during the game. Thomas and Bush combined: 116 total yards of rushing and receiving.

Laurence Maroney, RB, Patriots: A podcast listener came up with the term "Fantasy Zombie."

A pox on that asshole.

As in ... a guy left for dead who has somehow risen from the grave to actually have real, legit fantasy value. And backing up Cedric Benson in the backfield for the Fightin' Fantasy Zombies is Laurence Maroney. With Brady banged up, I expect the Patriots to rely on the run even more, especially considering how bad the Bills' rush defense is.

Shitty analysis, considering the Bills are bad at everything. Maroney is Berry's first pretty decent recommendation, with 81 yards and a TD.

In fact, I even like Sammy Morris to get four or five points in this game, useful if you are in a deep league.

NO! Quit while you're ahead! Don't say extra stuff when you don't have to- it's almost definitely going to be wrong. Morris: 15 total yards, no TDs.

Terrell Owens, WR, Bills: Speaking of Zombies, Owens makes my flesh crawl. But the Patriots have given up 10 touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in the past five games and Owens has scores in three of his past four games (the one exception being the game he was out on Revis Island).

Hooooo boy. The first of many times Berry will bumblefuck his way through the whole "this team has a good pass (or rush) defense!" thing. Yeah, you know what feeds into those numbers? Whether or not you're a good team or not, or more accurately, whether you're usually playing with a lead or not. It doesn't often speak to the defensive talent the team he's evaluating has. The Patriots gave up 10 pass TDs in their last 5 games for two reasons: 1) they played the Saints, in the Superdome, and 2) they're a good team, having won 3 of the other 4 games, and thus causing the other team to throw to try to catch up. This isn't the worst example of this mistake, but it's certainly one example. Oh yeah- Owens: 2 catches 20 yards, no TDs.

Beanie Wells, RB, Cardinals: Wells has gotten at least 13 touches in five of his past six games. Against the Lions, 13 touches might be enough.

His first truly successful pick: 123 yards and a TD.

Early Doucet, WR, Cardinals: Especially if Larry Fitzgerald doesn't play for some reason, this is a gut call more than anything.

A "gut call." You're fucking awful at your job. I sure hope Ben Bernanke doesn't make decisions about the economy on his "gut." Insert political joke here.

But he's been involved more recently and I could see him getting four or five points for those in super-deep leagues.

Thrown to once. No catches. No yards. Three TDs. Just kidding, zero TDs.

Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions: Scores in three of his past four, in each of his past two home games and in five of his past six games in December.

Monthly stats, especially those reaching back into previous seasons, are completely and totally useless. Three caches, 35 yards, no TDs.

Chris Jennings, RB, Browns: I can't believe I am recommending a Browns running back. Again. Hey Lucy, hold the football. I want to try and kick it. Good grief.

Way to recommend a Browns RB. Unfortunately you recommended the one who ran for 18 yards and no TDs, instead of the one who ran for 286 yards and 3 TDs.

Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs: First! I was, too.

A second good call (not that it was a tough one to make- gee, you think you want to start KC's only good RB against the fucking Browns?)- 170 yards and a TD.

Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs: Welcome back. We missed you. OK, "we" does not include Chris Chambers. He's sulking a bit. But the rest of us? Very excited.

Sulky McChambers went for 114 and a TD. Bowe went for 56 and no TDs. Look, you'd think he'd get ONE of these right, huh?

Arian Foster, RB, Texans: Like the upside, the matchup against the Rams and that Gary Kubiak has said they are going to give him a long look. Just realize you are playing with fire.

In other words: Start him! Except be careful! And maybe don't start him! But I "Love" him this week! So start him! I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about!

This coach pulled Steve Slaton after one play (albeit a fumble) and let Ryan Moats play all game in Week 8, a juicy, tender matchup against the Bills.


Houston Texans D/ST: This is what I wrote in my pickups column earlier this week ... "A week after scoring 15 fantasy points against Seattle, Houston, a team that is still in the hunt and desperately needs a win, visits St. Louis. That would be for a matchup with a Rams' team featuring a banged-up Steven Jackson and a third-string quarterback. It's a squad that just gave up 21 points to the Titans' defense. In fact, no team gives up more fantasy points to opposing defenses than the Rams. The defense facing them has scored at least nine fantasy points in five straight weeks."

Start the defense playing against the Rams? Crazy talk! And yet, a very middling performance. Two turnovers forced, 3 sacks, 13 points allowed. Nothing to write home about.

Braylon Edwards and Jerricho Cotchery, WR, Jets: Falcons have given up at least 17 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers each of the past five weeks. I have decided I like that fact more than I hate Kellen Clemens. Wow. This is one ugly week.

Edwards accounted for the Jets' only TD with a 65 yard catch. Without that this would be a horrendous recommendation. As things happened: these two combined for 154 receiving yards and a TD. Mediocre at best. Look, it doesn't take a fucking guru to figure out that offense would be in short supply in the Meadowlands, in December, after a gigantic snowstorm, with Mark "Holy Balls it's Cold Out Here, Where the Fuck am I?" Sanchez starting. But Berry doesn't think about stuff like that, I guess.

Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers: A score in four straight games, Eagles give up the most points to opposing tight ends and clearly, Davis is the starting tight end on our fantasy zombie team.

I detest the idea of this zombie thing, but how the fuck would Davis even qualify? This is only his 4th season in the league, and his first full season with a competent coach. Anyone who completely wrote him off after three "meh" seasons is an idiot. In any case: 43 yards, no TDs.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos: Without Correll Buckhalter in the lineup, Moreno will touch the ball plenty enough against the Raiders to have perhaps his best week yet.

Oh, he got his touches. This is the kind of analysis which forces me to give Berry credit for knowing what he's talking about. But the Raiders have a decent rush defense (in spite of the fact that they suck, and thus usually trail late in games, causing other teams to run against them more than usual) and Moreno hasn't been that good. So of course he came up with just 42 yards rushing on 19 carriers, and 81 total yards.

Denver Broncos D/ST: Happiness is being at home against Charlie Frye.

Sadness is losing to Frye/JaMarcus Russell and the Raiders at home, giving up 20 points while getting 2 turnovers but just 1 sack. Can't blame Berry too much here, though. This was a good pick in theory.

Heath Miller, TE, Steelers: More of a gut call than anything here, but the Packers do give up the 11th-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

Fine, good call. Decent analysis.

Hines Ward is still a bit banged up and I expect Charles Woodson to be all up in Santonio Holmes' business.

Holmes had 77 yards and Ward led the team with 126 yards. So... no so decent analysis. But Miller did have 118 yards, so I'll give Berry his third good recommendation here.

Justin Forsett, RB, Seahawks: I also like Julius Jones in this matchup against the Bucs, but I'm putting Forsett here because he is a part of the pass game, Seattle wants (needs) to get him even more involved to see what they have. Obviously, from my ranking of Forsett above, I believe he will be the starting running back next year and I am a huge fan of his skills. And by the way, he has five scores in his past five games. Regardless, the Bucs give up the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs and have allowed five scores to them in their past four road games. This is a bad team on a long trip and both Seahawks running backs will have nice games.

I like what he's saying about Forsett here, generally. He'll probably be a legit fantasy starter next year. However, again we see a failure to realize why a team gives up lots of points to either RBs or QBs/HBs. The Bucs are terrible. That's why RBs pick up good stats against them. Is it that hard to figure out? Since Seattle's anemic offense prevented them from getting a substantial lead, and thus focusing on the ground game, this pick failed miserably. Sixty nine total yards and no TDs for Forsett. (65 total yards and no TDs for Jones.)

Deion Branch, WR, Seahawks: Nate Burleson won't play and it's not like the Bucs' pass defense is all that. Branch actually showed signs of life on Sunday with five receptions on seven targets. The targets were second-most on the team. I ranked him 42nd, incidentally, and will move him up on Friday following the official news that Burleson is out.

Branch was targeted ten times, leading the team. Awesome. The result? Four catches, 28 yards. The only talented WR the Seahawks have on their roster, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, had 73 yards.

Seattle Seahawks D/ST: What? Really? They are bottom 10 in total points allowed. Yes, but they are at home to Tampa Bay. Bucs allow the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing defenses. The defense facing them has scored at least 15 points in three of the past four. They average more than 12 points a game at home and they are available in more than 80 percent of leagues. I'm not saying it'll be pretty but if you're stuck, it will do in a pinch.

Then why is it on your "Love" list?

It's kind of like the Perkins waitress in the Tiger story.


You're surprised to see her there but some days, there's just not a lot else around. If Laurence Maroney is a fantasy zombie, the Seahawks' defense is a fantasy Perkins waitress.

They gave up 24 points, forced 1 turnover, and had 0 sacks. Hope that worked in a pinch for someone out there, but I doubt it.

Jason Campbell, QB, Redskins: Has outscored Tom Brady each of the past three weeks. Just saying. The Giants, by the way, have given up at least 17 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in five of their past six.

The Giants' last 6- Eagles x2, Chargers, Broncos, Falcons, and Cowboys. Soooooo... 5 games against good QBs, 3 against "elite" (or close to it) QBs. You know, QBs who are way way way better than Jason Fucking Campbell. Maybe not a stat worth investing in. And of course, Campbell came up with a stellar 15/28, 1 TD, 2 INT night. One of the picks was the worst I've seen in the NFL this season; the Redskins called a TE screen, and Campbell, under only minimal pressure, threw the pass 10 feet over the head of a wide ope Fred Davis for a pick six.

Quinton Ganther, RB, Redskins: Giants have given up 17 rushing touchdowns this year, third most in the NFL.

Forty total yards and a TD. Shrug.

Fred Davis, TE, Redskins: I admit to being a Redskins homer but I like teams at home on "Monday Night Football."

GREAT ANALYSIS. STELLAR ANALYSIS. After Washington's blowout loss, MNF home teams are 8-8 this year.

National audience under the lights and all that. Plus, Davis has four scores in his past three games and New York gives up the second most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

Fine. A tepid thumbs up, for Davis's 65 yards and a TD.

So let's total it up: 26 players (including defenses). One QB who had a terrible night. A total 1292 yards and 5 TDs from his 22 RBs, WRs, and TEs. (I'm pretty sure that math is right. If it is, that's 59 yards per player. Meaning, not a total which will help you win.) Three defenses, none of whom had good days. At least two players with marginal roles and questionable skills which he recommended "on a hunch." Berry, you are an assclown. And your analysis only gets worse.

Week 15 Players I Hate:

Reggie Wayne, WR, Colts: It will not surprise me in the least to wake up Friday morning to see that Wayne has gone off (just like he did in Week 1 against the Jags).

I hate him. But if he succeeds DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU!

He certainly has the skill and Jacksonville is terrible against the pass. But as I wrote to Tristan Cockcroft for his "Called Out!" column, Wayne has single-digit fantasy points in five of his past six games and last week,

Fine, fair enough.

Pierre Garcon, Dallas Clark and Joseph Addai ALL had more targets than him. He's banged up and there's no motivation to play Wayne the whole game. I have him outside my top 20 and feel he's a flex play at best.

I don't disagree with the thinking here. But Wayne went for 132 yards and a TD. A better day than any HB, WR, or TE on the "Love" list. After one entry on the "Hate" list.

Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Jaguars: Same thing here as with Wayne. Could he explode? Sure.

Will he? Don't ask me, this is only my job!

But something's not right and frankly, I just don't trust him.

My gut says don't start him! Just a hunch.

Single-digit fantasy points in three straight games, including a total of 18 yards receiving in his past two home games.

Sort of like Deion Branch. And so of course Sims-Walker goes for 64 yards and a TD.

Randy Moss, WR, Patriots: He was in this list last week and I'm by far the lowest on him (I have him 19) this week. My reasoning is this: He had less than 70 yards for four straight weeks,

He stink! Ask Chris Gamble, authority on everything.

the Bills are fifth best against the pass,

Because no one needs to pass on them, because their opponents are always beating them. I already asked, but I will again: how hard is this to figure out?

allow the second fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers

Correlation? Causation? Don't ask Berry, he's busy having hunches and telling you to start Arian Foster.

and Brady ain't right. I bet they do everything in their power to get Moss a score after all the media attention this past week, but his yardage total won't be high and counting on TDs is like chasing wins in baseball.

Oh, please believe I will be reading your baseball advice when April rolls around. Could it be worse than this? Hopefully, for the sake of the blog. Meanwhile, Moss led all WRs in this game with 70 yards. He also had a TD. If chasing TDs in football is like chasing wins in baseball, chasing them with Moss is like chasing wins with Tim Lincecum.

Maurice Morris, RB, Detroit: There's Perkins waitresses and then there's "Come on, man, what are you doing? Seriously. Go home."

Wow. 161 total yards and a TD.

Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs: Don't get cute because you see the Browns on the schedule and Dwayne Bowe is back.


He has zero fantasy points for two straight weeks and while I think Bowe has a good game, it won't be enough to lift Cassel.

22/40, 331 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs. I mean, he's no Jason Campbell, playing at home on a Monday night. But realizing that a QB playing the Browns is probably going to have a good game (see Matt Stafford) shouldn't be too difficult.

Any Falcons Running Back: I don't know if Michael Turner is playing as of this writing, but it's a muddled mess that I don't trust regardless of who is or is not playing.

Fair enough, the Falcons only ran for 86 yards against the Jets. Jason Snelling had 59, I'll count that towards my total at the end of the post.

Roddy White, WR, Falcons: Insert "stud facing Darrelle Revis" here.

Yeah fine blah blah whatever.

Alex Smith and Michael Crabtree, 49ers: Short week, on the road, Eagles very tough. No thanks.

Smith basically played like Campbell, with an extra INT. Who the fuck would even have Smith on their team in the first place? This is like saying "Don't start Kyle Boller!" But Crabtree (he carries a curse!) did have a shit game. Berry's on a roll!

LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles: Don't trust any Philly running back, especially him.

Except when he goes for 56 yards and a TD.

Matt Forte, RB, Bears: As someone who owns Forte in a league, I'd like to request Forte also post a message to his Web site apologizing for his transgressions.

Pretty glad I didn't end up with this guy on my team. He did end up with 69 total yards, though, which is just as many as "Love" guy Forsett. But it doesn't take a huge brain to tell owners not to start Forte, who hasn't done anything in weeks, against the Ravens.

Jay Cutler, QB, Bears: New mystery book racing up the best seller charts: The Cutler Did It!

Horrendous joke. The recommendation, though, was correct. A little surprising given how bad Baltimore's secondary has been, but I'm sure resident FJayM Ravens fan Jack is OK with the way things turned out.

Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals: Single-digit fantasy points in four of his past five games, the Chargers are top 10 in the NFL in both passing yards allowed per game and fewest fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. In fact, they've been even better at home; opposing quarterbacks are averaging just 11 fantasy points a game at San Diego this year. Plus, the Bengals are running a lot more than passing these days.

Reasonable analysis, but Palmer went for 27/40, 314 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT.

Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers: Chances are, if you have him, you're in a deep hole in the playoffs this week, thanks to last week's brutal performance against Cleveland. But if you managed to survive, I got sour news for you, Jack. Packers have not allowed a 100-yard rusher since Week 3. They've given up just four rushing touchdowns all season, they give up the second fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs and I expect Green Bay to score a lot of points against a reeling Steelers defense, meaning Pittsburgh will be playing from behind.

Nice sentence. Mendenhall went for 111 total yards and a (GASP!) rushing TD.

Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers: Four points or less in his past three games with DeAngelo Williams ... maybe he gets a score, but I don't trust him against the Vikings.

DeAngelo Williams has been hurt for the past month. He got hurt again early in this game. (WHO COULD HAVE SEEN IT COMING?) And Stewart went for 123 totals yards and 2 TDs.

Kevin Boss, TE, Giants: Redskins allow the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

Boss goes for 57 yards. Shrug.

So let's total it up. Four QBs, one of whom was Alex Smith, who isn't on anyone's roster. So I'll total up the other 3- 739 yards, 4 TDs, and 4 INTs (3 of which were Cutler's). Nothing to write home about, but in general more effective than Jason Campbell. Twelve RB/WR/TEs- 962 total yards, 8 TDs. Ten fewer players of this type than those he "Loved," and yet 3 more TDs. That's incredible. An average of 80 yards per player, 21 more than the "Love" guys. It's mind-boggling. Take out one or two of the successful "Love" guys, like Charles or Wells, and a team made out of these 12 "Hate" guys beats a team made out of those 20 or so "Love" guys. How awful is that? The performance of the two groups wasn't even roughly similar on a per-player basis. And this is why Matthew Berry is a useless cockbucket. Don't listen to him, not that you were in the first place. You could make better decisions about starting or sitting players by flipping a coin.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Currently Advertised on's Front Page:

Hooray! It's a podcast!

Simmons! Klosterman!

Fucking stab me in the eardrums with an infected needle!

Bill and Chuck Klosterman talk Tiger,

Bill's angle (my guess): the only athletes whose personal life is fair game for judgment for fair game are Kobe Bryant, Roger Clemens, anyone else he personally dislikes! Everyone else should be left alone!

albums of the decade,

Klosterman's angle (my guess): there were no albums released this decade, or at least, not albums in the traditional sense! We should really be worried about the best non-albums of the decade!


I can't guess what their angles on this long-irrelevant band are, nor would I care to! (I hope their angles are not that U2 has long been irrelevant... that'll really make me feel like a toolbox.)

college vs. pro football

Bill's angle: ever since the NFL decided to script Super Bowl XLII so the Patriots would lose (because it's obvious the league hates the Patriots), he's really only been paying attention to Colonial League NCAA football!

and more!

What more is there to cover? Besides some gratuitous whoring of their books!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

And I Can Make a Free Throw at 4:30 AM- So What?

Watching the NFL's RedZone channel, which is so worth the $50 it cost me for the season. So worth it. It's highly recommended. Anyways, at one point they cut to the Cardinals/Lions game, where the announcers had this to say about Daunte Culpepper:

I mean, the Cardinals have been saying all week that Culpepper is a guy who can make every throw. I mean, he can wake up at 3 AM and throw a spiral.

The fuck does that mean? Is it a figure of speech anyone uses to describe a talented QB? ("Talented" being used loosely in the case of Culpepper, of course.) I sure hope not.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

WMTMQR: Somehow, Gregg Actually Understands Less about NCAA Football than NFL Football

And that's really saying something. Hooooooooooooooo BOY. This one is a DOOZY.

Charlie Weis and Bobby Bowden had to go -- Notre Dame and Florida State weren't winning every game! Get rid of the bums! All we heard from sports commentators, and from alums and boosters, was get rid of the bums, we gotta win, win, win.

Well yeah. When you have plenty of talent, as FSU and ND did, winning is certainly expected. Both teams went 6-6 this year. Notre Dame lost its last four games, and had embarrassing close call wins over a few bad teams. Florida State opened 2-4, and eked out wins over a couple terrible teams.

Sorry to interject,

You're not. You're writing this column.

but why? Why does Notre Dame or Florida State or any university need to win every game?

They don't need to win every game. They need to win more than 6 of their games. They need to beat Navy, UConn, and South Florida. They need to not almost lose to Maryland, NC State, and Purdue. It's not asking too much of teams that consistently have top 20 recruiting classes to do so.

Is it now official that big colleges care more about sports than education?

No. It might appear that way if your only analysis of big colleges came from a sports website. But to suggest that the firings of 105 year old Bobby Bowden and can't-coach-his-way-out-of-a-wet-paper-bag Charlie Weis are a result of that made up phenomenon would be dumb.

Don't get me wrong. I attend way too many college football games, and I always like it when the school I'm rooting for wins. But I am not so misguided as to think that a college's winning games means more than a college's educating students, including athletes.

Let's start by getting a good chuckle at the straw man TMQ has built here. Let's build up to a mild laugh by considering his assertion that schools can't care more about educating their students than winning games, and still want to win a lot of games. And then let's just go ahead and let all our inhibitions go, laughing at the idea that firing a bad coach means a school cares more about winning games than educating its students.

Maybe the sports artificial universe won't face the uncomfortable reality that the NCAA system uses football and men's basketball players to generate revenue and great games -- then tosses way too many of these players aside uneducated.

That's very true. That's a real problem; something worth writing about. Unlike, say, complaining about schools which fire their coaches are somehow betraying their students by doing so.

Perhaps you're thinking, first, football players at big colleges are not being taken advantage of because they are being prepped for the NFL; and second, academics-oriented "smart schools" don't do well in sports, so if a college wants to win, standards must be low.

No one with a brain is thinking either of those things. No one. In fact, Notre Dame is specifically not thinking the second one. They want something which is very difficult to obtain- winning a lot, while staying academics-oriented. It's going to be hard to get that, especially in the current era of college football. But should they be criticized for trying? Fuuuuuuuuuuck no. As for FSU, it's a little less serious about its academic standards. But whatever, you can tell TMQ is mostly attacking ND here.

This generated a recruiting disadvantage -- and a recruiting disadvantage caused by high standards, not Weis suddenly forgetting how to coach, is the reason for the recent records of Notre Dame football. Notre Dame alums and boosters should have been proud that high standards keep the school from going 12-0!

OK. Everyone take note of this claim- that ND's recent lack of success is not due to Charlie Weis's lack of coaching ability, but their recruiting disadvantage (which is only a disadvantage against big football schools like Texas, USC, Florida, etc.; ND still has a huge recruiting advantage over 95% of the rest of the FBS). Now, take a deep breath. And read this:

What about the other commonly heard claim -- that "smart schools" can't win in football and men's basketball? Cal, Georgia Tech, Navy, Nebraska, Northwestern, Stanford and TCU -- all academics-first colleges where football players are more likely to attend class -- are on their way to bowl games. Most of them have been in the top 20 nationally this season, and Georgia Tech and TCU even made BCS bowls.



Notre Dame would be headed for a bowl game too, if it weren't for athletic director Jack Swarbrick's bizarre notion that winning "only" six games is something to be embarrassed about.

Notre Dame would be heading to a bowl game, barely, if its own players hadn't voted to not attend one. And yeah, when you have arguably the best QB, two of the ten best WRs, one of the best TEs, an experienced OL filled with heralded recruits, a defense which returned six starters from 2008 and is also filled with heralded recruits, and a fairly soft schedule, winning six games is something to be embarrassed about. At least in an athletic context.

Smart schools dominate the Directors' Cup standings of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. For Division I sports, Stanford has won the Cup 14 times;

No one is arguing that it's hard to get athletes who play volleyball, water polo, cross country, tennis, field hockey, etc., and also want to go to class and get a good degree. No one.

A college can field winning football teams and still have strict academic standards for players;


Why does the sports universe shy away from discussing these core points?

Because, right or wrong, the sports universe (and media) only really cares about sports on the field. The NCAA is a terrible organization; many schools exploit their athletes, no question; college sports has a large number of problems which should be addressed immediately before they spin even further out of control. Bringing these issues to the attention of the sports universe is an important pursuit. But it's probably not going to happen anytime soon.

We're supposed to believe that every year for 75 years, the best player in college has been a quarterback or running back -- that a lineman has never been the best player?

This is from a section complaining about the Heisman. And while his general point is correct, even casual NCAAF fans know that Charles Woodson won the award primarily as a CB and KR. (Note: this is something that even casual fans know, or would say "Hey, yeah, that's right!" if they didn't know offhand but were reminded of. Unlike which bowl Notre Dame attended in 1993. Dan-Bob, looking at you.)

And speaking of TV ratings records, what if 18-0 Indianapolis meets 18-0 New Orleans in the Super Bowl? A few people would watch. Tuesday Morning Quarterback continues to think both teams are better off losing a regular-season game -- getting the monkey off their backs, while renewing their competitive drive. A Colts loss could give the starters something to play for down the stretch -- otherwise it'll be a month before the next Indianapolis game that means anything to the Colts.

They have homefield advantage locked up for the AFC playoffs. How does a loss "give them something to play for?" It certainly gives them nothing tangible to play for, which would be the case if they hadn't clinched yet. And I think that they have a lot more to play for at 15-0 trying to go 16-0 than they would at 14-1 trying to go 15-1.

For the final Indianapolis touchdown, also from in close, the Colts had linebackers Glenn and Gary Brackett in as extra blockers. The result was a play-fake, and again no one covered Clark on a simple down-and-out.

When a talented, quick, tough-to-cover player like DeSean Jackson or Dallas Clark gets open, it doesn't mean no one tried to cover them. It means they got open. Which is what happened on this play. But don't tell Gregg that- he's busy trying to establish that everyone in the league (or THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE, for all you Dilfer/Jaworski enthusiasts out there) except guys who were undrafted out of D-III schools are too dumb to play.

The CBS announcers gushed about the tackles made by San Diego linebacker Brandon Siler, a well-known player who went to Florida, a glamour college.

They did. Because on San Diego's goal line stand against Dallas, he made some great tackles right at the goal line.

The key to the three stops was that undrafted defensive tackle Jacques Cesaire of Southern Connecticut State perfectly "submarined" the Dallas offensive line, driving underneath to knock down blockers so the linebackers could move in.

That was one of the keys. The other key was the tackling of guys like Siler. It's not that hard to understand.

As for Dallas -- the same play was called four consecutive times.

No. It was not. There were four runs called for Marion Barber, but all four were different plays. All had some kind of misdirection (which Gregg has been claiming for weeks is the key to picking up 3rd and shorts or 4th and shorts), including the 4th and goal play where Barber lined up at fullback and was given a quick handoff as Tony Romo faked a pitch to the guy lined up at halfback. Why do I know so much about this sequence of plays? Because that useless piece of shit Barber is on my fantasy team, and hasn't done shit in about seven weeks. AND I'M UPSET ABOUT IT.

On the San Francisco side, the Squared Sevens tried an interesting defensive trick -- barely rushing the passer.

They also rushed the passer pretty intensely on several downs, bringing five or six guys. But blitzing is always bad (except when it works, and then Gregg doesn't write about it), so Gregg didn't write about it.

many of the NFL's officials, who unlike MLB and NBA officials are not full-time, haven't memorized the rulebook.

They may interpret the rulebook oddly at times, but on the whole they're miles ahead of MLB and NBA officials in terms of quality. The favoritism shown by both those groups to star players is flat out embarrassing at times. Oh yeah, and isn't there some kind of gambling problem swirling around the NBA officials these days? I feel like I've heard something about that.

Shameless Self-Promotion: My next book, "Sonic Boom," about the pluses and minuses of the evolving global economy, is in stores on Dec. 29.

Buy it any of your friends who happen to be both braindead and huge elitists.

Robert Goetz of Bend, Ore., notes Major League Baseball's annual winter meetings ended on Dec. 10 -- 11 days before the solstice that marks the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere.

CREEP! SUCH CREEP! They should be called the late fall meetings! That's so much more accurate, we should totally change it. Actually- better yet- let's call them the Christmas meetings.

Football snobs may look down their noses at the Wildcat -- it's not "real" offense like constant passing!

No one looks down their nose at the Wildcat. No one. No one on TV, no one on local sports radio, no one in the blogosphere, no one I've talked football with in the last year. No one. It seems Gregg's stupidity is in part fueled by his vivid imagination.

Buck-Buck-Brawckkkkkkk: Trailing Baltimore 10-0, and coming into the contest on a 2-26 stretch, Detroit faced fourth-and-goal on the Ravens' 3. Detroit coach Jim Schwartz sent in the field goal unit, and TMQ wrote the words "game over" in his notebook -- even though it was the second quarter.

Ah, interesting. Trailing San Diego 10-3 late in the second quarter, Dallas went for it on 4th and goal from the 1. As described above, they failed (BECAUSE OF A GUY FROM SOUTHEAST RHODE ISLAND STATE! ONLY BECAUSE OF THAT ONE GUY! NOT BECAUSE OF ANYONE ELSE ON THE DEFENSE!), and went on to lose by 3. Hmmmmmm. Innnnnnteresting.

Trailing 19-0 in the third quarter, City of Tampa punted from the Jersey/B 42. Still trailing 19-0 in the third quarter, City of Tampa kicked a field goal on fourth-and-5 from the Jersey/B 25. The Bucs went on to lose 26-3 -- but kept a shutout off the résumé of Raheem Morris.

It's back! Yes! He must've noticed I complained about this a couple weeks ago! The accusation that coaches kick field goals when they're being shut out stictly to "keep shutouts off their resume"- as if anyone cares how many times their team has been shut out vs. how many times they've been held to three points- is back! Finally! I may be wrong but I don't think he's used it this season until now.

I derided LaRon Landry for wearing a wristwatch on the field -- the zebras should make him take it off, and how can the Redskins' countless assistant coaches not have noticed that he wears a watch on the field? John Martin of Dallas reports that the Redskins' many assistant coaches not only know Landry wears a watch, they encourage this. Supposedly the watch reminds him that "it's time to shine." After the New Orleans game, he should wear a wristband that says in bright letters, "It's time to cover the deep man."

No sarcasm- probably the best line I've ever seen from Gregg. Just wanted to give some credit where credit is due.

There can be fantastically well-played, hard-hitting football games in which no harm occurs to any player. Boxing is about causing harm. The sport is barbaric, and the sooner it's banned the better.

Hooray for paternalism! Also to be banned when Gregg takes over as Supreme Commander- rugby, cigarettes, alcohol, fast food, staying up late, and watching TV.

The Lakers (a Division II NCAA football team, not the NBA team) exchanged a roughly 50 percent chance of a touchdown (at the fourth-and-2 point) for a roughly 10 percent chance of recovering an expected onside kick. Football coaches at all levels typically make the wrong decision in this situation, kicking from point-blank range and then facing a length-of-the-field problem at the end. TMQ thinks coaches do this -- even in championship games! -- because they are more concerned about being able to say the final score was close than going all-out to win.

Right. Coaches in championship games, with their legacies and pride on the line, not to mention potential contract extensions or more lucrative jobs, are more concerned with the potential margin of defeat than winning. Winning a championship game. Welcome to the mind of TMQ. It's like smoking peyote while eating asbestos.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Brian Kelly Aside - Is this Laziness or Stupidity?'s front page article about the biggest move in sports today:

With Kelly coming off a 12-win season, it bears mentioning that the last time Notre Dame won 11 games in a season was in 1993 when it went 11-1 and won the Independence Bowl.

Say what you want about the hire (blah), it bears mentioning that Notre Dame won the Cotton Bowl in 1993.

I think it's just laziness.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

TMTMQR: Same Shit, Different Week

He's really getting lazy. Same outrageous claims, time after time after time. How many of the complaints I make in response could pretty much have been copied and pasted from previous TMQRs? In fact, for all you know, I did copy and paste them. Because I'm that calculating.

New Orleans' players are saying they are psyched to go for 16-0; coach Sean Payton seems psyched, too. But would you really want to enter the Super Bowl at 18-0? Only one team ever did, and the weight of those undefeated expectations helped defeat the Patriots.

Classic TMQ. Quick, focus as much as possible on the intangibles! Fuck the performance of the players- let's dial in on purely conceptual things which can't be disproved! I'm not saying the pressure of going undefeated didn't play ANY factor in the game. I am saying it probably played almost no factor. But again, this is Easterbrook we're talking about here. He's fairly certain that the outcomes of many games are determined by football deities.

Tony Romo and Miles Austin -- who jetted to Las Vegas for a midnight party after their Thanksgiving Day game rather than keep their minds on football -- had good numbers Sunday, but compiled some of them in garbage time after the game was pretty much lost. When the game was still close, Romo badly missed on an easy throw for six points to Roy Williams, whose man had fallen down; when the game was still close, Austin was chased down in the flat and stopped short of a critical first down by backup defensive end Dave Tollefson. Star wide receivers are not supposed to be caught from behind by backup defensive ends! Austin seems to be such an appealing story, undrafted out of Monmouth University -- if he keeps hanging with Romo on the party scene, how long will it be until he is yet another underachieving Cowboys malcontent?

Even when Gregg's undrafted heroes from no-name universities fail, he's got a clever way to pin the blame on something other than their credentials. He's smart like that. Also I like the chain of logic that goes Miles Austin got tackled by a DE this one time (I'm guessing it was on a bubble screen covered by a zone blitz or something) => therefore, this was caused by the fact that Austin went to a party 8 days earlier.


In Christmas-is-coming news, man of the worldly mind, do you believe in the Crabtree Curse?

No. And neither should anyone with a brain.

As snow begins to fall, TMQ's immutable law, Cold Coach = Victory, comes into play.

The actual law, in full, reads: "If the team with the less warmly dressed coach wins, then cold coach = victory. If the team with the less warmly dressed coach loses, do not mention in column."

The previous Seattle drive had ended when mega-bucks, underachieving wide receiver Deion Branch dropped a perfect pass in field-goal range. Now Branch was out, and the unknown Deon Butler -- who had seven career receptions entering the game -- was in. And what did we see? A deep pass to Butler! TMQ loves the ploy of sending in a guy who rarely plays, then giving him the ball in a pressure situation.

Good for the Seahawks for making it work here. In general, that's a horrible way to call plays in crunch time. The difference between Deion Branch and Deon Butler probably isn't very big, because Branch is aging and overrated. But the difference between, for example, Hines Ward or Santonio Holmes and Pittsburgh's 5th WR, Shitty McNoHands, is probably really large. The Steelers are going to go to Ward and Holmes when the game is on the line. As they should. As should every other team with c#1 and #2 receivers who are clearly better than everyone else on the team. (Actual reason the tactic succeeded in this game- Seattle was playing the 49ers! Hello Crabtree Curse!)

With the Saints having the ball at midfield with one minute to go, you know they're going to throw deep. There is no mystery. Robert Meachem ran a deep route -- that's what they would do, every ankle-biter-league player knew this! Yet the Redskins acted surprised. Megabucks Washington cornerback Fred Smoot let Meachem run right past him -- Smoot basically covered no one at all on the play.

That's called zone coverage, Gregg. I'm sure Wikipedia has a very informative page on it which might be able to help you better understand its intricacies.

Megabucks Washington safety LaRon Landry bit badly on a Drew Brees pump-fake to the flat, then let Meachem run right past him.

Well, Landry sucks. But pinning that play on Smoot is ridiculous.

TMQ suggests this sign should hang in every football locker room:


Really rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? Ad agencies of America- HIRE THIS MAN!

Yes, Baltimore has injuries, but in the NFL every team has injuries -- you don't hear the Indianapolis Colts cryin' about injuries.

Yeah! Nevermind that every team's injury situation varies, and that a team missing several important starters has a little more to complain about than a team which is only missing one or two! I'm not aware of the disparity between these two teams- I know Bob Sanders is hurt again, but I also know that Ed Reed didn't play on Monday night against the Packers, that Terrell Suggs has been hurt ever since Brady Quinn hit him dirty and low (innuendo intended), and that the Ravens have had OL problems all year. My sense is that the Ravens do have significant injury problems while the Colts do not. In any case, saying "Don't complain about your injuries- EVERYONE has injuries!" to any team with a disproportionate number of them is like telling the GM of the Florida Marlins "Don't complain to me about payroll restrictions- EVERYONE has payroll restrictions!" Yes, it's technically true. No, it does not have analytical value of any kind. It's something a coach should say to an injury-ravaged team behind closed doors. Not something that should be written in a column written by a guy who presents himself as a smart, deep thinking fan. Speaking of shit that shouldn't be in this column-

Your Christmas List: My next book, "Sonic Boom," will be published the week after Christmas. It has nothing to do with sports or space aliens -- it's a nonfiction work about the good and bad of global economic trends. I have my fingers crossed, because the pre-publication notices so far are very good. Eric Schmidt, the CEO of Google, said "Sonic Boom" is "the business book you must read," while Gary Becker of the University of Chicago, a winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, has said, "I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants deep insights into the future."

Listen, you fucking hack, I come here to read your football-related mindfarts and make fun of you. You're not Bill Simmons, or at least shouldn't be. Pimp your stupid book somewhere else.

Buck-Buck-Brawckkkkkkk: Washington leading undefeated New Orleans 27-20 in the fourth quarter, the Redskins faced fourth-and-1 on the Saints' 3. Touchdown! You need a touchdown! A 10-point lead is not safe against football's highest-scoring team.

Going for it there would be the dumbest thing Jim Zorn has done all year. Which, of course, is really saying something. I don't care if you're playing the 2007 Patriots, a two score lead in the 4th quarter is always very desirable. The difference between 10 and 14 points there is not nearly as big as the difference between 7 and 14 points. It's not like a TD in that situation ices away the game or something. But a turnover on downs is crippling.

Christmas 2010 Creep: Mike Kowalski of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., writes, "Went to Disneyland on November 24, in search of, among other things, Disney-themed Christmas ornaments for 2009. Alas, none could be found. But there were plenty of Christmas ornaments with the date 2010."

Probably intended to be given as gifts during Christmas 2009. Creep alert! I'd like to point out an interesting trend of reverse creep- I used to write TMQR posts no later than Wednesday night. Recently I've done them as late as the following Monday night. This proves that Gregg is wrong about everything, ever.

It seems unlikely the Falcons will record their first back-to-back winning seasons. On Sunday, Atlanta had linebacker Curtis Lofton covering Philadelphia speed receiver Jeremy Maclin deep, and you can imagine how well that worked out.


Minnesota boasts about its defensive line, but against Arizona, the front four were getting little pressure on Kurt Warner, so defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier started calling blitzes. The result: Touchdown passes to Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald against the blitz, with safeties nowhere to be seen.

The unsurprisingly omitted story from this game: the Cardinals consistently blitzed throughout the game, on every down, with many different looks. And Favre responded with a terrible game and 2 INTs. (He was just having fun out there! Just throwing the ball around! Didn't even know what the score was!) So, like with the Cold Coach = Victory thing, we need to write out the full version of Gregg's anti-blitz catchphrase thing. "Stop me before I blitz again, unless it works, in which case don't mention it in the column!"

Halfway through his first season as Notre Dame coach, Charlie Weis had a 5-2 record and immediately was offered a 10-year contract extension containing guaranteed payments that the school and its athletic donors now regret. Less than halfway through the 2008 NFL season, Dick "Cheerio, Chaps" Jauron had a 5-1 record and immediately was offered a three-year contract extension containing guaranteed payments that Bills owner Ralph Wilson now regrets. What's going on here? Why grant coaches extensions when they are already under contract, only to fire them later and be stuck with paying off the rest of the deal?

What's going on is that the general manager or athletic director, by offering an extension when the team is winning, essentially says to the world, "I am a genius for picking this guy." Later, when the same coach becomes a flop, the same front office spins things as, "We gave him everything he wanted and he still failed -- this guy is a failure." The extensions are all about the athletic director's, or general manager's, ego.

You're a fucking idiot. There's no way anyone who comes up with this ridiculous explanation for the described phenomenon could ever write a coherent book about economics. But hey, he got positive quotes about it from not one but TWO different people! BUY BUY BUY BUY! And just to spite Gregg, buy it with the intent of giving it to someone for Christmas 2010. Now that's Christmas creep.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Bud Selig has failed at many things during his time as commissioner of MLB. (His response to steroids being the most obvious example; I'm also not happy with his handling of parity-related issues.) He has also succeeded at many things, but the article I'm about to highlight is supposedly about his failures so I just wanted to establish up front that I'm not a Selig apologist. I'm generally on board with this guy's premise. However: what?

The thought of major league baseball without Bud Selig as commissioner? I'm absolutely giddy.

Sure. I wouldn't say I'm giddy, but I do think it's time for a change.

Replacing Selig is the only way that major league baseball can really get their house in order.

OK... fine. I think it's hyperbolic to say that MLB's "house" is "out of order," or whatever, but fine.

Yes, Selig has done a number of positive things during his reign; having said that, he's missed the boat on other opportunities.

Hear hear! Such as...

Perhaps a new commissioner will embrace the concept of two 15-team leagues, and schedule one interleague game every day, rather than 2 dedicated interleague periods, leaving a lone NL game on the schedule.


Maybe he'll recongize the necessity to go back to the balanced schedule, if for no other reason than to help the have-nots in the AL East have a fighting chance.


The travesty of the whole "contraction" issue - a total red herring - and the "this time it counts" nonsense surrounding the All- Star Game are just two of the strikes against Selig.

Two of the least significant ones. People need to shut the fuck up about the All Star Game. Immediately.

Avoiding a work stoppage for 15-plus years is a genuine accomplishment.

What? Weren't we just talking about...



"Missed the boat" on the "opportunity" to fuck around with scheduling? Is this clown seriously bothered by the idea that two NL teams have to play each other during weeks when everyone else is involved in interleague? Is anyone out there- anyone at all- clamoring for fewer intradivisional games?

You know what, fuck it. Let's just keep Selig. I'd hate to have him replaced by a guy who has the same shortcomings, but also thinks it's a great idea to have at least one interleague series happening at all times.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bill Simmons - Fibber

Bill Simmons is currently in a bit of a tiff with Sports by Brooks over whether he stole an SBNation Blogger's idea about how Chris Johnson needed a better name in order to become an iconic player. The answer: it doesn't matter; KSK beat them both to the punch by a couple days.

What I (and perhaps the rest of the sports blogging world should) take umbrage with is this tweet from Simmons on the matter:

I don't read sports blogs. Sorry. Swear on my daughter's life - not true. RT @utep4321 SBB reporting your a thief!

This is a rather bold claim, coming from Simmons, who a few months ago had this to tweet:

"AJ, the emails are coming from inside the house. GET OUT, NOW!" is my single favorite sports message board comment ever.

However, that's not actually a "sports message board" comment, that's a comment on this Deadspin post.
So, in fact, Bill Simmons does read sports blogs because Deadspin is most certainly sports blog. I don't think Bill Simmons is ripping off bloggers ideas (or at least any of the good ones, ZING), and maybe his ESPN overlords don't want him acknowledging Deadspin, but still...c'mon, Bill.

Hey want to see an example of terrible logic? Reader participation Friday edition!

This will be brief. In Jeff Pearlman's article about Hofstra canceling their football program because they can't afford it anymore (an event Pearlman associates not with Hofstra's football program's failure to be profitable but rather with what he perceives to be their shifting of priority from sports to academics) he closes with this fucking gem:

At Notre Dame last week, Jack Swarbrick, the overwhelmed athletic director, said in a statement that, "We have great expectations for our football program, and we have not been able to meet those expectations." Hence, he was firing his coach.

At Hofstra yesterday, Rabinowitz said in a statement that, "If we are to continue our momentum and strive to become one of the nation's best institutions of higher education, standing for excellence in every way, we must invest in academics and programs in which we can compete at the highest level." Hence, he was ending his program.

Now ask yourself this: Which school would you pick?

Reader participation alert! Best snarky answer wins a hallmark e-card from me!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

This is one of the worst articles I've ever read

Christine Brennan is her name

We've learned an awful lot about Tiger Woods in the past six days, perhaps much more than we ever really wanted to know.

We've learned, for instance, that the image Tiger has so carefully presented to us on his website, that of the ultimate family man with those beautiful photos of his wife and two children, is a charade. We know this because he has now admitted that he has cheated on his wife and those young children.


We also know that Tiger is furious that the world now knows what he had hoped to keep secret. We can tell that from the carefully crafted statement he put on his website Wednesday morning.

No. We don't fucking know that. Not from his "carefully crafted statement" we don't. We know from that statement that Tiger's upset that his privacy has been violated w/r/t to he and his wife's domestic disturbance--one that at the end of the day really isn't any of our business. He has said nothing about that he is upset that his infidelity has been leaked to the public.

You can infer that if you want, but we certainly don't "know" it. Jesus fuck.

In it, Woods starts off with a paragraph talking about his "personal failings," saying he let his family down and that he regrets "those transgressions with all of my heart."

Coming from one of the world's most intensely private public men, a guy who almost never lets anyone know what he's truly feeling, those words are quite remarkable — and totally necessary, of course, considering he's trapped in the midst of a scandal of his own making.

Then, however, Tiger spends the next two paragraphs basically attacking everyone and anyone who he somehow thinks is responsible for his do-it-yourself fall from grace — everyone except the one truly guilty party, which would be Tiger himself. He lambastes the tabloids and news media for having the audacity to invade his privacy, as if to say, How dare you do this to me?

No. That is not what happened in Woods's statement. This article is accusing him of attacking "everyone and anyone who he somehow thinks is responsible for his fall from grace" and "blaming them for his misfortune." Here is who Tiger Woods attacks: The paparazzi and celebrity journalism circles. Here is what he attacks them for: Invading his home life with relentless "scoop please!" conjecture involving a private incident between him and his wife.

Christine Brennan wants to take Tiger to task for refusing to accept responsibility for his actions. Read his "apology". That's not what he's doing at all. You can take issue for him using the platform of his apology to shift focus away from his indiscretion. You can take issue with his refusal to pay the price of the vast wealth and prestige his fame allows by complaining about the celebrity scrutiny that accompanies it. But if you read that apology you will see the one thing he does not do is blame anyone but himself for his indiscretions.

He doesn't "attack everyone and anyone he thinks is to blame for his problems." He attacks a very specific aspect of celebrity culture. One most anyone with any sense of reason would recognize as at least partially problematic. Even if you are unable to resist trying to pry into the details of celebrities' personal life by reading things like TMZ and Perez Hilton or whatever the fuck, if you're a halfway worthwhile human being you recognize that there is something partially flawed about being obsessed with the private details of the life of the famous.

The question of whether Tiger is within his rights to complain about this set-in-its-way aspect of our culture is a worthwhile one. There are strong arguments to be made on either side. But that's not a question Christine Brennan wants to make. She's more interested in this sort of wastewater:

When you've been exhibited on national TV at the age of 2 and told by your beloved father that you're going to be the next Gandhi or Mandela, as the late Earl Woods said of his son, this is the way you think. If you're on top of your game, that can work wonders, creating an air of invincibility that can lead to 14 major golf titles before you turn 34.

What is the way you think? That just because you're famous, an early morning accident shouldn't explode in a frenzy of conjecture, rumors, hearsay, and scandal? And this is somehow because of how his father raised him?

What an odd axe this writer has to grind.

But today, with Tiger at the nadir of his life, it makes him sound like a man who is more sorry about being caught than he is about cheating on his wife.

Gee, you think? This is different from every celebrity scandal how?

Let's hope that isn't true, but make no mistake, the word choices that were made in that statement provide a revealing window into the way this man thinks.

Sure they will, so long as you distort their meaning and invest your own significance into a mildly innocuous invective against a parasitic tabloid industry. But go ahead, Brennan. Show us what words exactly are so revealing. I'm excited to see how you show us the actual words in his statement in order to show us what's so disturbing about the way Tiger thinks*

*spoiler alert: She's not going to do this

My, what we've come to find out about Tiger Woods since we sat down to Thanksgiving dinner just a week ago.

We've learned that his brilliance on the golf course is exceeded only by his recklessness off it. Reasonable people might have wanted to avoid the tabloid and Internet speculation about Woods the past few days, but there was no ignoring the tape of his damning voice-mail message when it played on the news Wednesday morning. That was Tiger's voice, all right, and he was busted.

"Tiger's brilliance on the golf course is exceeded only by his recklessness off it."

Are you fucking motherfucking kidding me? I'm not going to even dignify this with a response. A guy has one infidelity scandal and all of a sudden he's playing bongos in strangers' houses with Matthew MacConaughey

I'm sorry, I can't do this anymore. This article disgusts me. I'm tired and I'm fucking fed up with this situation and the fucking people soapboxing as if infidelity--a terrible thing to be sure--is the most horrible thing in the world.

This Tiger Woods incident is a great episode because it shows us many important things about ourselves, our culture, and our heroes. It is an opportunity for great debate and discourse over the fallibility of those who seem most infallible. About what we as a public can, should, and will expect for our celebrities. About the potential perils, tenuous ethics, and value of celebrity journalism, tabloids and paparazzi.

I am no Tiger Woods apologist and I don't think he's necessarily entitled to any semblance of privacy. Really I don't. And I think his statement shows a certain measure of misdirected frustration since a man in his position should damn well know better than to expect any semblance of privacy or freedom from an intrusive press.

I think there's a plethora of things of value to say about this situation. That it's a complex, layered issue that resists easy classification and seems to demand intelligent discourse and thought.

Instead we get this:

We've learned that Tiger and his management team, the sports world's ultimate control freaks the past dozen years, have turned into stumbling, bumbling amateurs when trying to stare down the scary tabloids. That said, Tiger's endorsements are not believed to be in any jeopardy at the moment; he is likely to keep most if not all of his sponsors, Madison Avenue never having been known for having much of a moral compass.

What's more, everyone loves a tale of redemption, which is exactly how 2010 will be branded by Team Tiger. His return to the golf course, whenever that will be, will create huge TV ratings. If some are turned off by Tiger's philandering, others will be drawn to him because of it.

We might never look at Tiger in the same way again, but we'll certainly still look at him.

We've also learned that for all of the hype about Tiger's love of the personally demanding game of golf, a sport in which the athletes call penalties on themselves, and for all of his praise of those in positions of authority — his Washington, D.C., tournament honors the military — he certainly didn't have much use for the Florida Highway Patrol, did he? Three times he snubbed them when they just wanted to do their job and talk to him about his bizarre car accident. As a role model, Tiger completely failed the kids who look up to him on this one.

We've learned much about Tiger in the past week, little of it good. We've learned he wants all of your attention when he's playing golf, or trying to sell you something, but then gets angry when you want to know any more about him. We've learned that in many ways, he's just another outrageously rich, self-centered jock.

The past six days definitely have been illuminating for millions of Tiger's fans.

Let's hope they've been eye-opening for him, too.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Ugh, Jeter

So apparently Jeter won the SI "Sportsman of the Year Award. It could be worse. I mean, he did have an excellent year playing baseball. But the worst part of it is the rationales given by SI Group Editor Terry McDonnell. Here are a few of the highlights:

"This verifies my idea that he is on the level of Ruth and Gehrig," McDonell said. "He's the greatest shortstop in the history of the game."

No, the greatest shortstop in the history of the game currently plays third base for the Yankees.

Jeter is not on the level of Ruth and Gehrig. He's just not. You can't just SAY that.

"He's so classy," McDonell said. "He brings a dignity and elegance to the game."


"It's about the manner of the striving and the quality of the effort, too," McDonell said. "Off the field he has grown so much as a member of the community."

If this award was really about the manner of the striving and the quality of the effort, they'd have to give it to Eckstein every year.

McDonell was impressed by Jeter's leadership, how he "stepped in and molded a team" this spring with the arrival of three expensive free agents, and Alex Rodriguez's admission to using steroids from 2001-03 and then having hip surgery that kept him out until May.

Jeter molded the team! Why didn't he mold any of the 2002-2008 Yankees into World Series Champs?

I like how A-Rod's hip surgery somehow becomes a reason for Jeter winning an award.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Let the Weis-bashing commence! But my goodness, please, if you say anything like this in the process, you will, and I do mean will, sound like an inconceivable jackass. You know, kind of like David Haugh.

Notre Dame lost Charlie Weis's final game to Stanford, for those who haven't seen. Stanford was driving with little time left in a tie game, 38-38. They were down at ND's 4 yard line with just over a minute to play. First and goal.

The first came with 1 minute, 3 seconds left and the game tied 38-38 with Stanford at the Notre Dame 4. During a timeout, Weis told his players to let the Cardinal score to get the ball back with enough time to drive. On the next play, Toby Gerhart walked in untouched as one Irish defender didn't even move his hands off his knees.

Even if the call could be defended strategically, any time a coach of a bunch of 18- to 22-year-olds tells his team to lie down -- to quit -- it offends the sportsman in all of us. Weis first quit on his players last Sunday when he publicly acknowledged athletic director Jack Swarbrick had reason to fire him and again Saturday night with the game on the line.

What happened to the fight in Fighting Irish?

I'm near speechless, but I'm sure I can work up a tirade for this.

Stanford could have downed the ball three times and kicked a last-second field goal to win the game. Instead, they offer a GIFT, and try to score 7 points, which would give ND's offense a chance to retaliate in the final minute. And you are criticizing Charlie Weis for not vomiting the gift back in Stanford's face for some misconstrued sense of horseshit pride and "the sportsman in all of us". You literally just said that Weis told his players to "quit" in TAKING THE ONLY FUCKING CONCEIVABLE CHANCE THAT ND HAD TO WIN THE GAME.

I love this qualifier: Even if the call could be defended strategically

You are a football coach. As long as you are following the rules, that is THE ONLY THING THAT FUCKING MATTERS.

In reality, the only real mistake was that Weis didn't "quit" one play earlier. Why tackle them on the 4 yard line? That costed a timeout and about 10 seconds (because for whatever reason, Weis wasn't feeling the need to call timeouts as fast as possible yesterday).

I am not a Weis supporter. But as for writing crap like this in one of the nation's major newspapers: It is ignorant, it is lazy, it is stupid. Get a new job, you suck at yours.

Monday, November 23, 2009

TMTMQR: I am a Lazy/Busy Doucheplatter

Never did get around to the TMQR, did I? Or... DID I? No, I definitely didn't. But since the holidays are coming up and no one will probably be posting here later this week (which will be a big departure from the way things normally work around here, what with all the posting from all of the blog's named authors going on all of the time), I figured I should toss something up there. And so, I bring to you, the dumbest thing Easterbrook has said about college football this year... so far.

Non-Obscure College News: Sportstalk radio continues to call for the head of Charlie Weis of Notre Dame, whose team is "only" 6-4 after close losses to power schools.

In college football, 6-4 is not good. It's certainly not good enough to justify the use of sarcastic "only" quotes. As in, Bill Simmons is such a gambling expert he has "only" lost to his wife in a season-long ATS NFL pick 'em twice. Also: Navy (this was written before the UConn loss, unfortunately, so I can't include them in this) is apparently now a power school.

Must be that when Weis got to South Bend, immediately he forgot how to coach.

No one really knew for sure that he knew how to coach in the first place. He had a very good first two seasons, winning 19 games, but only one of those wins was against a team which finished the season ranked. He lost in a BCS bowl game both years, neither time in a game which was particularly close. Anyways, what is going on with this bizarre straw man? Who said that Weis was a great coach before he got to South Bend? He was acknowledged as a great coordinator, sure. But even with his early success, no one whose opinion matters thought he was being hired as a great head coach. They might have gotten a little carried away and said he was a great coach after his first two seasons, I guess. But that's not what Easterbrook wrote here. I suppose that analysis would have been too hyper-specific.

Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham, his predecessors, saw their coaching careers hit the rocks, too, upon arrival at South Bend, followed by boosters' demands that it become 1966 again and Notre Dame roll over opponents.

Davie was never a head coach before picking up the job at ND. He clearly wasn't right for the job, which is why he was fired and has worked in broadcasting since. Willingham flat out wasn't any good. He went 44-36 during his time at Stanford. The fact that he went 21-15 at Notre Dame isn't surprising at all. Oh, and he ran Washington into the ground after that. This isn't an issue of perception or unrealistic expectations. Neither of these guys were good head coaches. Sure, expectations at a place like Notre Dame are often unrealistic. But these guys sucked. And Weis has been bad this year too, given the talent he's brought it.

TMQ thinks Notre Dame alums should be proud of the football program's recent struggles --

That's dumb.

because the reason for the struggles is that Notre Dame still requires football players to attend class.

Even with that explanation.

Over the past couple of decades, increasingly most top 20 football schools have discarded any pretense of education.

Sure, but ND is still bringing in great recruiting classes. Weis should have won 9 or 10 games this year with the talent he's assembled, and he didn't. The fact that ND's players actually sometimes go to class is not relevant to that discussion. It may be relevant to a discussion about the long-term goals and aspirations of the program. Wait, what were we talking about?

With a 94 percent football graduation rate, Notre Dame is competing against programs with a 68 percent football graduation rate (Florida), a 55 percent graduation rate (Alabama) and a 50 percent graduation rate (Texas); other football power schools have similarly miserable grad rates.

I'm totally down with the idea that this is a massive problem. But it doesn't really have anything to do with Weis's poor game plans, complete inability to make halftime adjustments (ND has been outscored by like 500 points in the third quarter this season), terrible defense, and horrific special teams. This year. In 2009. Unrelated to whether or not the school is perceived by top recruits as a place where they can go and not have to do any work in the classroom.

Low graduation rates at big football schools mean players cut class to concentrate on sports, being pros in all but pay. "Don't go to Notre Dame, they make you study there, come to our college and party, party, party" has become a recruiting pitch that undercuts the Fighting Irish.

Like I was saying.

It is extremely cynical of other football powers not to educate their players; Notre Dame is among the few football powers (others are Boston College, Nebraska and Stanford)

Stanford and Boston College are "football powers" like Notre Dame and Nebraska are basketball powers.

to refuse to give in to such cynicism.

Which is great. But doesn't really help them win more games.

Want the Irish to win more games?

Yes. Like any rational fan of any team anywhere.

If the school stopped making football players do term papers, results would improve. That would hardly be in the best interest of the players -- or of Notre Dame.

Very true. But the best result would be for the team to keep its current policies, and not lose to Navy, and most importantly not lose in the ways they've been losing. By which I mean with crappy preparation, crappy game planning, and a complete lack of discipline on defense.

Two weeks ago, when Navy defeated Norte Dame in the closing seconds at South Bend,

Perennial power team Navy!

both teams and 80,795 people stood quietly and respectfully in the twilight as "Blue and Gold," the Navy alma mater song, was played -- only a genuine institution of learning like Notre Dame could produce such a moment. Wasn't it worth more than a victory?

I mean, yeah. But when you take that perspective you make sports pointless. Which is more worthy of making me upset- the fact that my favorite baseball team lost in the first round of the playoffs, or that there are homeless people starving to death in the streets? Which is a more worthwhile moment- my favorite NBA team winning on a buzzer beater, or a soldier in Afghanistan giving his life for his country? Fuck, man. We like sports because they let us escape from the real world and give us something to care about that's not really that important but still captivates and intrigues us. Saying "Hey, stop worrying about whether your team wins and loses and start being happy that they're friendly to the service academies!" is fucking pointless.

Wasn't it far more impressive than the mindless fist-shaking exhibited by some big-deal football programs after 40-point wins against cupcakes?

Saying that is also fucking pointless. OK, if there's anything really awesome in today's TMQ, I'll try to get to it before 1 AM on Tuesday 12/1. Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Or as I call it: "Are you fucking kidding me? Raiders/Cowboys and Lions/Packers? Seriously? That's what they scheduled?" day.