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.
PS- NO ONE WHO PLAYS FOR THE COLTS OR SAINTS HAS PARTIED AT ANY TIME DURING THIS SEASON!
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:
PLAYING THROUGH PAIN MEANS YOU'RE TOUGH
PLAYING WITH A CONCUSSION MEANS YOU'RE STUPID
BE SMART -- IF YOU HAVE CONCUSSION SYMPTOMS, SAY SO
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.
NEVER BEFORE IN THE HISTORY OF FOOTBALL HAS A SUCCESSFUL TEAM CALLED A DEFENSIVE PACKAGE WHICH RESULTED IN A LINEBACKER COVERING A WIDE RECEIVER. STOP THE PRESSES AND DISBAND THE FALCONS FRANCHISE.
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.