Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Do you like cherry picked anecodtes to prove a thesis?

Then you'll love Gregg Easterbrook's latest bon mot. As we all know, Greggggggg hates kicking the ball no matter what the circumstances and likes to educate us on why field goals and punts are only part of the stratagem for coaches who want to look good at one of their many winter banquets. Watch as he gallantly ignores context while knocking over straw men.

Buck-Buck-Brawckkkkkkk No. 1: Reaching fourth-and-inches on the Cincinnati 1-yard line in the first quarter, defending champion Pittsburgh launched a passive kick -- and needless to say, went on to lose.

The New Orleans Saints, they of the highest powered offense coming into Week 3, reached 4th and 3 on the Buffalo 3 before launching a passive kick through the uprights. Needless to say, they went on to win by double digits.

[1]The defending Super Bowl champion is afraid to try to gain a few inches? [2]Nor did Pittsburgh simply power-rush at the goal line: [3]Later, reaching second-and-goal on the Cincinnati 6, Pittsburgh went incompletion, incompletion, kick.

1. No, it just didn't work. (From ESPN's Play by Play: 3rd and 1 at CIN 1(7:40) W.Parker left tackle to CIN 1 for no gain (R.Williams; J.Fanene).)
2. Because it didn't work on 3rd down.
3. Explained by 1 & 2.

Buck-Buck-Brawckkkkkkk No. 2: Trailing the hapless Lions 13-7 in the fourth quarter, facing fourth-and-3 at midfield, Jim "Dan Snyder Hasn't Fired Me Quite Just Yet" Zorn ordered a punt. Needless to say, Washington went on to lose to a team on a 0-19 streak. So what if a fourth-and-goal attempt failed in the first quarter. That was then, this is now! Fortune favors the bold!

Yes, of course, Gregg. Ignore the fact that the Redskins failed to score on 4th and Inches and and certainly don't mention that the Skins were in a position to win the game late in the 4th quarter even though they punted on 4th and 3. The average play gains 5 yards, so mathetically speaking, the Redskins were guaranteed to gain 10 yards on that play and win the game.

Now I'd like to introduce the tastefully named Jack Easterbrook (who hates running the ball, thinks playing conservative is the only strategy for winning, and knocks over straw men like it's his job) to analyze the Redskins failed 4th and inches attempt in the first quarter:

Stop Me Before I Rush Again!: With the score tied 0-0 in the first quarter, The Washington Redskins faced fourth and inches on the Detroit goal line. "Detroit has lost the last 19 games; take the easy 3!" JMQ shouted as the power rush formation trotted onto the field. Needless to say the attempt fell hopelessly short, and the Redskins went on to lose. Had Washington kicked the field goal, they would have only trailed by only 2 late in the 4th quarter, and could have won the game on a short kick.


Elliot said...

Thanks for making me vomit all over my keyboard dan-bob. I forgot that reading the stupidity that is TMQ

Obviously the reason that Mike Tomlin, Ben Roethlisberger, and the rest of the Steelers are 1-2 is because they are a bunch of cowards.

Who is Gregg supposed to be trying to call out here anyway? Marty McCfly?

I think it's high time for Gregg to make some vaguely anti-Semitic comments about Michael Eisner and get fired again. It would be for the good of all mankind.

Angelo said...

I like how he says "Later, reaching second and goal on the Cincinnati 6, Pittsburgh went incompletion,incompletion, kick." Being too lazy to actually research it, this makes me assume that Pittsburgh had 1st and goal from the 7 +/- 1, but Gregg didn't want to mention that first down run explicitly. And it's inconceivable that someone would try to gain 6 yards on two downs by passing- that's why every team in the national football league rushes every down. Each play averages 5 yards, so if you just rush for 5 yards every play you will score every possession. It's so simple!!! Why don't coaches understand? Those mincing Nellies just want to keep the score close so they don't get fired.

I'm pretty sure I hate TMQ more than any other writer.

Adam said...

I like how Easterbrook touts himself as some great intellectual; yet he writes one of the worst constructed, most intellectually dishonest, and logically false columns on a site full of them.

dan-bob said...

I like how Elliot gave me credit for a post I didn't write.

Jack M said...

You would.

Elliot said...

@ dan-bob: reading comprehension fail on my part.

@ Jack M: what I said earlier in this thread, but directed at you.

Jeff said...

Jack. The JMQ portion is spot on - perfect example of how you can take what happened and make up reasons for it all day. That is the Easterbrook/Simmons method of writing. Hey X happened! Let me make up some anecdotal shit to tell you why!

JMQ = Jack Morning Quarterback? That part I'm fuzzy on.

Dafe said...

To prevent ire, I will firstsay that I agree with the general sentiment in regards TMQ, he is a douche. But a broken clock is right twice a day and there is a logical and mathematical argument for going for it consistently on 4th down.

By David Romer (UC Berkeley econ prof)

And it has been tried, and shown to be successful (albeit in high school)