He's still wrting. I'm still furious about it.
What jumps off the page about postseason stats? Pittsburgh's rushing defense. The Hypocycloids have given up just 44 rushing yards per game.
Sample size: two games. Both played at home. In bad weather. One against an OK offensive team (#11 during the regular season in yardage), the other against a sub-mediocre one (#18). Conclusion: DOMINANCE.
And though divisional-round opponent San Diego was down big in the second half and abandoned the run, the Pittsburgh-Baltimore AFC Championship Game was close until midway through the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh also was the second-best team in the NFL against the run in the regular season.
Much more relevant, although it's worth noting that there are no good offensive teams in the AFC North. In any case, it's cited four sentences later.
The Steelers' defense can bring a rushing game to a halt, and against Pittsburgh, staying with the run and continuing to pound the ball doesn't seem to work. Unless Arizona breaks a couple of runs in the first half, the Cardinals may have little choice but to go pass-wacky. Pittsburgh is also first in the postseason against the pass.
Again. Sample size: two games. Both played at home. In bad weather. One against an OK offensive team (#11 during the regular season in yardage), the other against a sub-mediocre one (#18). Conclusion: DOMINANCE.
With Warner, Arizona has often been careless with the football; Warner threw four interceptions and fumbled twice in the Cards' losses to the Eagles and Giants during the regular season, for instance. In the current postseason, Arizona is plus-11 in turnovers. Being plus-11 is a big reason for the Cards' surprise Super Bowl run. But luck is a huge factor in turnovers, and luck has a way of changing.
I mean... yeah. Recovering fumbles and intercepting tipped passes has an element of luck to it. On the other hand, forcing fumbles and intercepting non-tipped passes that come as a result of pressuring the quarterback has much less luck. I doubt the Cardinals will force 3.75 turnovers this game, because their pace so far in the playoffs is pretty ridiculous. Luck is "a huge factor" in winning at bingo and choosing the toll booth line that will move the fastest. Calling luck "a huge factor" in turnovers is bad analysis.
In the conference championship round, three of the four teams-- Arizona, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh -- employed the shotgun spread on third-and-1. All three did not rush. All three did not swing for the fence -- as the 1966 Packers showed, the best time to throw deep is third-and-1 -- rather, they attempted some dinky-dunky 5-yard junk passes. Tuesday Morning Quarterback finds it hard to believe the majority of teams in the NFL championship round felt they needed to go shotgun spread in order to gain 1 yard. But there it is.
What? You can gain positive yardage on low-risk passing plays out of the shotgun spread? What crazy world are we living in?!?!
TMQ believes the farther in the playoffs you go, the more important game-planning, coaching and psychological preparation become -- because at each stage, the pressure increases.
While the pressure in the Super Bowl may slightly exceed the pressure in the conference championship and divisional rounds, I have a really hard time believing that any team's game-planning, coaching, and psychological preparation can in any way get more intense or thorough as the playoffs progress. What are coaches saying during the divisional round- "Well, we don't need to prepare THAT thoroughly. Need to save some thoroughness for if we make it all the way to the Super Bowl." In other words: Gregg Easterbrook is a zilcheroo.
As the pressure increases, so too does the temptation to escape pressure. Tampa has a renowned late-night topless-club social scene, which some say is even better than the scene in Vegas. If any player from either team is out club-hopping Saturday night rather than back at the hotel playing Yahtzee and drinking milk shakes, that team is finished.
Tell that to Eugene Robinson, almost exactly ten years ago! HEY-OHHHHHHHHHHH!
Moving on to another douchechill-inducing Easterbrook skt, this time revolving around Lybian leader Muammar Qaddafi, who just had a piece about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict publised in the New York Times.
As a Christian, I believe in redemptive power, so I am willing to believe Qaddafi has changed. Still, encountering the jarring sight of an op-ed by Muammar Qaddafi, I envisioned this scene:
FACTOTUM: (Trembling.) Brotherly Leader, we have received the read-back from the Times copy editor.
QADDAFI: Did it come on purest vellum?
FACTOTUM: Not exactly. Staples fax paper, I used an Internet coupon. (Hesitates.) The Times copy editor -- she changed a semicolon.
QADDAFI: Infidel! She will die for this! Have her buried in sand up to her head in the village quad, then let loose the scorpions!
FACTOTUM: (Shaking.) If you would deign to cast your magnificent gaze upon this PDF …
QADDAFI: (Takes the edited copy, reads.) Hey, she's right -- the sentence flows better now. Forget what I said. Send her a thousand red roses. Name a school after her.
FACTOTUM: (Immensely relieved.) Of course!
QADDAFI: Buy the entire day's press run. Also, tell the Times editors if they don't want anything to happen to their fancy new building, give me the crossword puzzle answers in advance. I like to dazzle people by doing the crossword really fast.
FACTOTUM: (Bows.) By your command.Who keeps telling him to write skits? I would rather watch My Name Is Earl than continue to be subjected to this garbage.
Re: The Hall of Fame credentials of former Bills WR Andre Reed:
Reed's accomplishment were compiled despite playing for a cold-weather team -- and during the no-huddle period, Jim Kelly's Bills actually rushed more often than they passed --
They were still running the no-huddle, genius.
while Rice played for a warm-weather passing team
Have you ever been to San Francisco (specifically the location of Monster Park/Candlestick Park, which has some of the worst weather in the whole Bay Area) in November and December? It's harder to catch a ball in rain than cold, and it is almost always raining there at that time of the year.
and Carter played most of his career indoors with a dome team. Today with spread offenses putting up pinball numbers, Reed has slipped to the lower part of the career statistical top 10, and is sure to slip further as the years pass, though he still trails only Rice in postseason catches.
And this is why we should put everyone who has played for the Yankees in the last 15 years or so in the baseball HOF; they lead pretty much everyone in postseason counting stats. That's the true measure of HOF worthiness.
The NFL is an entertainment organization; its players are paid millions of dollars for chasing a ball. That's fine, but NFL performance should never be confused with any kind of heroism. Tillman was a patriot, motivated by love of country. He expressed strong misgivings about the Iraq war, but had no misgivings about the US of A, and unlike the many "chicken hawks" in politics and the media who pound the table about how somebody else should go fight, Tillman was willing to offer himself. That made him heroic in the everlasting sense: a hero is someone who takes risks, or endures sacrifice, in order to serve others. Tillman walked away from money -- what I believe the NFL is "about" -- to pursue something much higher. Perhaps Tillman and Kalsu should have their images in Canton; in an age that has devalued honor, they were men of honor. But each of these men made a difficult choice that had nothing to do with football. It would be offensive if pro football, through the Hall of Fame, pretended its players and coaches, paid vast amounts of money for making no sacrifice of any kind, could claim the reflected glory of two departed war heroes.
I'm sort of undecided about whether or not Tillman was a cool guy or not (there are certainly rumors that he was killed by intentional friendly fire, for what those are worth). But to decry the NFL for thinking about honoring him in Canton is fucking ridiculous. They're not "claiming reflected glory," they're honoring a guy who made an unselfish decision that almost no one would make. I don't want to get all political or anything, but Christ, honoring someone who quit your league to go into the army is not "claiming their reflected glory." Easy now.
Popcorn Optional: Planning to watch this Sunday? Of the 17 most-watched television events ever, 17 were Super Bowls. In 2008, 13 of the 15 most-watched network broadcasts and 14 of the 15 most-watched cable broadcasts were NFL games.
It's not totally wrong, but this is an exaggeration. Adjusting for population growth by using percentage of US households watching rather than total worldwide households, the most-watched Super Bowl of all time comes in at number four and Super Bowls as a whole only account for four of the top ten. Just saying.
Leftover US Airways Question: In the harrowing four minutes between when US Airways Flight 1549 lost power and its successful splashdown in the Hudson River, experienced glider pilot Chesley Sullenberger flew the plane while first officer Jeffrey Skiles tried to work through a three-page checklist of steps required for in-flight restart of the engines. Obviously, Skiles had no hope of completing the task in time. But why were there instructions at all -- to say nothing of three pages? Aircraft flight-management computers could be loaded with software that immediately diagnoses the condition of the engines and performs the restart sequence whenever the flight deck sends an engine-restart command. No pilot could trust his memory on a three-page set of steps, but no pilot should have to: This is the kind of job that electronics do better than people. In distressing respects, today's cockpits apparently are often behind the curve of the chip-based technology in a typical teenager's pocket.
Gregg's solution for everything: computers! Robots operating computers! Tiny computers, which do everything for you! Computers never make mistakes or fail- this idea is foolproof! I mean, they work pretty well in iPods and cell phones, right? There is never a situation, such as during an in-flight emergency, when a job is better suited for a human than a computer! Let's put microchips in footballs so we can tell if they break the plane of the goal line! Fuck it, let's just run the whole country with computers! COMPUTERS!
What a fucking moron.
Leftover Curse Points: [M]any readers, including Clara Parke of Portland, Ore., noted that Brett Favre staged an embarrassing late-season meltdown in the same season in which his visage appeared on the cover of the new Madden game.
Favre's season ended horribly not because he is old, or not nearly as good at football as people think, but because he endorsed a product back in the summer of 2008. It's science.
The 2008 Tuesday Morning Quarterback All-Unwanted All-Pros: Each year, TMQ honors those gentlemen who became NFL success stories despite going undrafted, or being waived, or both.
Please enjoy my analysis of the following picks for the team.
Kevin Mawae*, Tennessee (let go by two NFL teams)
Cut by the Jets for salary cap reasons.
Antonio Gates, San Diego (undrafted, did not play college football)
Probably the best pick on the list- how dare no NFL team draft a guy who didn't play NCAA football! What were they thinking?
Kevin Curtis, Philadelphia (walk-on at Utah State)
He wasn't good at football at age 18, but is good now. Therefore: unwanted.
Derrick Ward*, Giants (signed off the crosstown rival Jets' practice squad)
Clearly nobody wanted him, certainly not the Jets, who had him on their practice squad.
Antonio Winfield, Minnesota
The Vikings signed him to a 6 year, $34 million free agent contract.
Wes Welker*, New England (undrafted despite numerous collegiate records at Texas Tech)
Setting records at Texas Tech guarantees NFL success. Just look at Cliff Kingsbury.
Fred Jackson*, Buffalo (undrafted from academics-oriented Division III Coe College, played for Sioux City Bandits of the United Indoor Football League)
Same story as Gates, essentially. What? No one drafted a D-III guy? Who'd have guessed?
Kerry Collins*, Tennessee (released by three NFL teams)
Released by all of those teams for sucking, he magically had a sort of good season while running a stripped-down offense for a team with a great defense and great running game.
Clinton Hart*, San Diego (undrafted out of Central Florida Community College, played in the Arena League)
Another guy who didn't get drafted because he played against nobodies in college. Compelling.
Kyle Larson, Cincinnati (undrafted, and owing to the awful Bengals offense, boomed a league-high 100 punts in 2008)
An undrafted punter? Knock me over with a feather.
Wedge blocker: Darrell Reid, Indianapolis (undrafted)
And you've got an undrafted guy blocking on special teams. Go figure.
Nick Ferguson of Denver, undrafted, was waived by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, did not get his first NFL start until age 28
As a Broncos fan, I can promise you that this guy is terrible. He should be unwanted by the Broncos, as well as every other team in the league, but Denver is so bad on defense that he's basically a warm body filling space for them until they get some real players.
Only two (I think) more TMQs left until August, people. Hold on tight.