Tuesday, February 3, 2009

WMTMQR: Gregg Easterbrook Should be Strapped to a Rocket and Blasted into Deep Space

Well, well, well. Look who has a bunch of bullshit and garbage to say about the Super Bowl.

Also, in the spirit of my occasional recommendation of funny non-sports blogs such as Marmaduke Explained (even though that guy is obviously a self-worshipping douche) and Garfiend Minus Garfield, I'd like to present You Will Not Be Dating Me. It's not a guffaw-inducing parade of laughter, but it does frequently use one technique that I have come to know and love over the course of my almost two years at FireJay- ending a post with an angry and critical one liner. Give them a shot.

The Super Bowl was fascinating from start to finish, and for the fourth quarter, both teams saved the best for last, reminding us of why we love sports.

We already know why we love sports. We don't need to be reminded of it. Sports aren't something that you might need a reminder about, like your occasionally annoying girlfriend or running long distances (if you're into that kind of thing). Leave the "why we love sports" nonsense to Rick Reilly, please. Not that he's any less infuriating.

Two years ago, when football pundits were forecasting a pass-wacky Indianapolis-Chicago Super Bowl, yours truly wrote a pregame column saying the Colts would win by running the ball. And verily, it came to pass. This year, with pundits forecasting a game decided by the hot Arizona offense against the No. 1 Pittsburgh defense, TMQ wrote a pregame column predicting, "Super Bowl XLIII will come down to how the Arizona defense performs against the Pittsburgh offense." Arizona had the lead with 2:24 remaining, the Steelers were stuck on their own 12-yard line; it came down to how the Arizona defense performed against the Pittsburgh offense, and the Pittsburgh offense carried the final two minutes.

What about how the Pittsburgh defense forced a fumble from the Arizona offense to end the game? Doesn't that mean TMQ was wrong? Even if you disagree, it's mind numbingly stupid to say that because the game was close and the Pittsburgh offense had the ball on what was essentially the game's final drive, therefore the whole game game down to that matchup. I think James Harrison might have something to say about that. Anyways, if the Cardinals had stopped the Steelers on that last Pittsburgh drive, he'd still obviously be tooting his own horn about his brilliant prediction. This is a clever trick by Gregggggggg: if the game is close in the 4th quarter, he has a 50/50 chance at being right with his bold prediction. Either the Steelers have the ball last and he's right, or Arizona has the ball last, in which case he will spin the facts to still insist that he's right.

"In past Super Bowls in which a great offense has been paired against a great defense … the great offense and great defense roughly neutralized each other, leaving the trophy to be decided by the lesser offense against the lesser defense," TMQ noted a week ago. And verily, it came to pass.

Fuck you.

The zone blitz is misnamed; announcers shout, "It's a blitz!" because six or seven gentlemen look like they're coming, but only four actually rush.

WRONG. If it looks like a bunch of guys are going to rush, but only four do, then it's just a disguised coverage. TMQ is correct that announcers often misidentify it, but he's misidentifying it too. If only four guys rush then by definition the defensive call was not a blitz.

And when Fitzgerald broke into the clear down the middle for the long score that might have proved to be the winning touchdown, who was the sole Steeler nipping at Fitzgerald's heels for the final 20 yards? James Harrison, a linebacker. The Pittsburgh speed guys had given up on the play, but Harrison did not.

WRONG. WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG. The final Steeler to give up pursuit was Ryan Clark. Harrison and Troy Polamalu gave up simultaneously about five yards before him. But then again, Polamalu was a high draft pick and Harrison went undrafted (AND played in NFL Europe! Don't forget! Actually, that's impossible, because if you do TMQ will remind you about two paragraphs later!) so Harrison is by default more interesting. Fun fact, however: Clark was also undrafted. If TMQ were aware of this his mouth would definitely be attached to Clark's nuts just like it is to Harrison's.

Now it's fourth-and-20 from the Pittsburgh 36, and TMQ's Law of the Preposterous Punt holds that the trailing team that punts in opposition territory in the fourth quarter will go on to lose. Arizona did punt and did lose, but considering it was fourth-and-20 and the Cards held three timeouts, punting made sense. The ball was downed on the Pittsburgh 1, which was sweet. Three plays later, holding in the end zone pulled the score to 20-16, and two snaps after the free kick, Arizona led 23-20 and the best quarter of the 2008 season was in full swing.

What a gigantic pie in Gregg's face it would have been had the game ended that way. This is how sad my life has become as a result of this blog: when Fitzgerald scored his long touchdown, one of the first thoughts to go through my mind was "I'm going to shit all over TMQ for this."

Often along the streets of Washington, TMQ observes SUVs and driver-service cars idling their engines for lengthy periods as the drivers wait for some government official or diplomat. This column has noted the trend toward government officials demanding bodyguards and private jets not to be safe but to feel more important. Perhaps somewhere some official has said, "My driver must keep the engine running for security against terrorism."

Perhaps. We don't know, but it's more fun to speculate than to rely on facts. That helps you make unsubstantiated points which sound really powerful.

Starting an engine takes five seconds! Computer-controlled engines of cars built since about 2000 do not require warm-up time, as they perform the same when they first light as they do after an hour of idling. Plus, so far as I could determine, there has never been an attack against a government official walking toward his or her car in the United States.

Hmmmm. You sure? Does the president count as a government official? It's OK, I understand how this slipped through the cracks. It's not like it was a major news story while Gregg was an adult.

Get Rid of the Penny! Four commemorative Lincoln cents will be released by the United States Mint in 2009. Why does the penny even exist anymore? One cent has no monetary meaning.

Actually, it's legal tender for all debts public and private in the United States. It's worth 1/100th of a dollar.

Pennies clog our national pockets and purses.

Sort of true. Change by its very nature tends to be a little bulky and annoying from time to time. I don't know if "clog" is the best word.

The cent forces clerks to waste time handing out hyper-specific sums of change,

$1.38 in change is a ridiculous amount! $1.35 or $1.40 is so much less specific.

which we must then lug around.

Are those twelve pennies in your purse hurting your back, Gregg? Give them to a homeless person or leave them at the counter. No one is forcing you to burden yourself with them. See, the thing is, I kind of agree. Maybe we should get rid of the penny. (Gregg makes some good points about how they cost more than a penny each to mint and distribute; thus, the treasury loses money when producing them.) But leave it to him to ruin the argument by being a moron.

In the first three quarters against Pittsburgh's standard defense, the Cardinals gained 127 net yards passing -- 27 net yards, if you subtract the 100-yard interception return for a touchdown. In the fourth quarter against the soft two-deep look, the Cardinals passed for 247 net yards and nearly won the Super Bowl. So from this, what do you conclude about the prevent defense? Plus, the one thing the soft two-deep zone "sells out" in order to stop -- the long touchdown -- it failed to stop.

WRONG. Refer back to the video above. On that play, the Steelers actually had eight guys on the line of scrimmage. Gregg is correct in that it was also a two deep look, but they weren't playing a soft zone or a prevent. In prevent you usually only have two or three downlinemen on the line of scrimmage, and you certainly don't play up on the receivers in most "soft" zones. This was just a great throw by Warner and a great run after the catch by Fitzgerald.

Harrison got TMQ's MVP vote despite no sacks and just three tackles. The Steelers' defense is a collaborative effort that is about results, not personal stats -- and note that after his 100-yard touchdown, Harrison did not dance around the field pointing at himself.

Because he had just sprinted, hurdled, and juked for more than 100 yards you fucking dummy. Very few 250 pound people, even elite athletes, can do that and still have energy to "dance around the field pointing at himself." Harrison may well be a relatively humble guy, but this is about the worse example you could choose to try to prove it.

On offense, Pittsburgh had a man in motion on almost every snap. Early on, Arizona defenders seemed confused about who had the motion man, especially when Hines Ward went in motion. Twice near the goal line, Pittsburgh sent Ward in motion inward, back toward the formation, then ran Willie Parker behind him the other way effectively.

With so much effectiveness that Parker didn't get into the end zone on either play.

Then on the game-winning play, Holmes lined up in the right slot and ran an out. No one covered him!

WRONG. Apparently TMQ is unfamiliar with how a zone defense works. I couldn't find a good camera angle to show it, but basically Holmes was "covered" by the zone about two steps after leaving the line of scrimmage. Sure, no one was manned up on him which might not have been the best idea. But saying "no one covered him!" is WRONG.

But could we clear something up here? No opponent of the Pittsburgh Steelers is afraid of towels. The Terrible Towel is a nice spectator tradition; it has no effect on the game. Mega-pumped football players in body armor are not afraid of towels.

This from a guy who talks incessantly about "the football gods" and the myriad of ways they affect the outcome of games.

And did Harrison get the ball across the goal line at the end of the first half? Maybe, but if the league would simply chip the football as TMQ keeps asking, we'd be sure.

You're outrageously stupid. This is the new "[Team X]'s linemen were literally standing around, doing nothing!" Stop bringing it up. You're embarrassing yourself.

Absurd Specificity Watch: The day before the Super Bowl, Weather.com forecast there would be a 1 percent chance of precipitation at 4 a.m., a 10 percent chance at 3 p.m., a 0 percent chance at kickoff and a 10 percent chance during the fourth quarter. Weather.com forecast that at kickoff, the temperature would be 62 degrees, the humidity 52 percent and the wind east-northeast at 4 mph. Reader Steve Whitlock of Atlanta reports he once noted Weather.com forecasting a 4 percent chance of rain at 9:30 a.m. Jon Blum of Citrus Springs, Fla., notes the Web site Weather Underground last week listed the temperature in his town at 73.4 degrees. Last week it snowed in Washington, D.C., and during the snow, Weather.com forecast the chance of precipitation would be 62 percent at 8 p.m., rising to 67 percent at 9 p.m.

I can't tell what his complaint is in items like this- if he's saying that there's no way we can measure things like the weather with this level of precision, or if he's saying that this level of precision is unnecessary when talking about thing like the weather. Either way, it's a gigantic waste of my time to read and not worth complaining about. (And if I say something isn't worth complaining about, then it really must not be worth complaining about.)

Next Week: The stadium lights are out, the film rooms have gone dark, and the cheerleaders have put their miniskirts away in very small drawers. But the final act of the 2008 NFL season remains: Tuesday Morning Quarterback's annual Bad Predictions Review. Here's a foretaste: Everyone was wrong about everything!

Whoa. That's a whoooooooooooooooooooole lotta irony right there.


Edward said...

What's hilarious is that Harrison really should have been ejected from the game for basically assaulting a Cardinals player in the fourth quarter. Doesn't TMQ incessantly talk about "sportsmanship"? And yet Harrison was his MVP.

I hate Gregg Easterbrook.

Dubs said...

Hey, let's not forget that Pittsburgh kicked a field goal from the one foot line after the first challenge!

Thanks to Gregggggg I stopped watching after that play, because surely Tomlin had just shown his team that he was afraid and had no faith in them, thus assuring that the Cardinals would win.

Seems I missed a pretty good ending. Thanks Greg, you asshat.

cs said...

The real reason Gregggg wants to eliminate the penny is that it represents Absurd Specificity. What's the point of spending 1.89 on something instead of 1.90? Can humans really detect a .01 difference in money? We're all fed up about this. Get rid of the penny! It means nothing doesn't exist!!!

cs said...

Uh...oops. "It means nothing AND doesn't exist."

Leaving that "and" out made that sentence insanely metaphysical.

Nothing does not exist.

anon19028309 said...

Hilarious that he commends Harrison for not celebrating. The return rendered him completely unable to move. He literally collapsed in the endzone and didn't budge for like 2 or 3 minutes. Give him a pat on the back for refraining from doing something that he was physically incapable of doing!

While we're at it, props to Terry Schiavo for remaining so calm and reserved in light of the controversy surrounding her coma.

Larry B said...

Not too soon for a Terry Schiavo joke! Not too soon!

Nice catch on the 19 yard field goal thing by Dubs. Just another reason I hope TMQ gets ebola.

Jarrett said...

anon19028309 wins best Terry Schiavo joke of the year (in a non-vegetable pun.) If we can get some Jeffery Dahmer Manwich jokes in here, I just might find another sport to post about.

I don't really think the game was fascinating at all. It was a pretty exciting game that was full of bad plays and bad officiating, which isn't fascinating to watch at all.

Martin said...

It seems like Greggg is more worried about justifying things he's said previously then about actually writing or commenting about the game itself. He's so worried about looking like a genius that he's forgotten what his column was actually about in the first place. A geeky fans view of football games from a non-traditional angle. He has now entered the zone of "Look at me!" that he so decries about players doing.

Martin said...

Oh and him and his goddamned microchip idea aren't going to help at all in figuring out if a knee was down or not. The problem wasn't where the football was at Greggg but if the knee was down. Maybe we could implant microchips or magnets in the players and put them on a giant magnetic sheet..and maybe we could get it to vibrate....and make a giant buzzing noise...

Chris W said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris W said...

ps: didn't you dorks realize that every day there's a 50% chance of rain?


anything beyond that is absurdly specific

Bengoodfella said...

Hasn't Gregg received one piece of email from a reader explaining the problem with the microchip planted in the football idea? You would think at some point he would get corrected as to why this idea is not good.

I really like anon19028309's screen name though. It is kind of hard for a linebacker, or anyone for that matter to sprint 100 yards and then start doing a touchdown dance.

Chris W said...

i hope that's his ssn

rondoman said...

Love the site guys!!!

I'm new to this site and am glad I am not the only one to despise TMQ with every fiber of my being!!!

Anonymous said...

Gregggggg actually posted a reader comment a few weeks ago explaining how rediculously complex the chipped ball would be, and all that would be required to do it. That makes all his chipped ball talk that much more absurd.

rondoman said...

I wouldn't say Harrison was exactly "nipping" at Fitzgeralds heels.

That's just Greg trying to add his B.S. spin on the story to try to make himself sound more intelligent.

Fitz had Harrison beat easily about 5 yards after he caught the ball.

Venezuelan Beaver Cheese said...

Larry, it took you this long to start hating the Steelers as much as the Cowboys and Patriots? The two weeks the media spent anointing them before the Super Bowl three years ago didn't do it for you? I'm glad you've finally seen the light.

On another note, how come Jarrett's "Guys with three G's" label never gets used when you rip on Easterbrook?

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't the Pittsburgh safeties playing deep throughout the game? He isn't just wrong about the defense being a prevent on that long touchdown. He's wrong about the whole fucking game.

rondoman said...

When since did anyone say that opposing players were supposed to be "afraid" of the terrible towels?

They are a way for fans to support their team more than anything.

I didn't didn't realize that the terrible towels had some kind of intimidation factor to the opposing players. . .

"Aw man, we studied the film, broke down the games, practiced are asses off and are fairly confident we can win this thing. The only thing that scares the crap out of us is if we can find an answer for those damn yellow towels that everyone is gonna be waving in the air!!!"

Dumbfuck. . .

rondoman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martin said...

Yeah the Steelers were pretty much playing a 2 Deep Zone the entire game.

Tonus said...

"This was just a great throw by Warner and a great run after the catch by Fitzgerald."

...and the Pittsburgh safeties both going for the out route at the same time, leaving Larry Fitzgerald an open middle of the field. The Steelers blew it, really.

Also, nice catch on the "there has never been an attack against a government official walking toward his or her car in the United States" bit. That's just embarrassing. GgregG is a retard.

dan-bob said...

Is it just me or is it pathetically stupid for Easterbrook to espouse:

1) an animosity towards over-specificity
2) "chipping" the football so we know - with MORE specificity - where it is at any given point?

big baby giv said...

favorite greggg easterbrookism:

when complaining about big blitzes on 3rd and whatever, he argues that "the average play in the NFL gains 6 yards."

What the fuck is the average play? What is the best defense for the average play?

He's a cherry-picking, tautologically arguing dipshit.