Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Bill Simmons Went Through the Trouble to Write Something

Is he sure he couldn't just handle this with a podcast? He could get Klosterman AND Seth Meyers on it. And maybe Cousin Sal, the only person in the world worse at gambling on football than Bill himself.

When I was falling in love with football in the mid-'70s,

When I was busy only paying attention to the Patriots if they were undefeated, the Red Sox were out of contention, and the Celtics hadn't started their season yet,

my beloved Patriots

Careful Patriots! Make sure to always have interesting players- otherwise Bill will start ignoring you for not being compelling, like he did with the 2010 Red Sox who just happened to also not be in playoff contention.

played in the AFC East. There were 28 teams and six divisions by 1976, which meant one division in each league had just four teams instead of five. Teams earned a playoff spot by winning their division or grabbing the one wild-card slot, which eliminated the '77 Pats: they finished 9-5, one game behind division rivals Miami and Baltimore. Meanwhile, the AFC Central shook out like this:

Pittsburgh, 9-5
Cincinnati, 8-6
Houston, 8-6
Cleveland, 6-8

I remember bristling at the standings. Wait a second. We finished 9-5 and the Steelers finished 9-5. We were in a more difficult division

Already debunked over on KSK- the East had two 3-10 teams that year. BUT WE WAR TOUGHAH! SOUTHIE TOUGH!

with more teams.


But THEY made the playoffs???


Granted, I probably would have loved it had the Patriots not been stuck in the AFC East. The Dolphins kicked our butts through the '70s (the Griese/Shula Era) and '80s (when Dan Marino showed up), which was especially galling because Miami is located in Florida ... which, of course, is nowhere near Massachusetts.

Massachusetts, of course, being the very definition of "east." If you're not near it, you're not in the east. South Carolina? Out. Newfoundland? Nice try!

Buffalo eventually assumed control of the division, ripping off 124 wins from 1988 to 1999 -- let's take a break while the tortured Bills fans solemnly pour a 40 on the ground -- and just as they were fading, Peyton Manning's Colts jelled into a contender. My Pats finally caught a break before the 2002 season,

Fresh off of catching one of the greatest breaks in NFL playoff history in the famous tuck rule game (January 2002). Of course, the guys on the bad side of that break were the Raiders, and fuck the Raiders in the face, so I'm fine with it. I'm just saying.

when the league expanded and realigned to eight divisions (sending Indy to the AFC South).

Well that makes so much more geographical sense than having a team in Miami in the eastern division.

The playing field finally seemed fair: 32 teams, four teams per division. What could go wrong?

Classic Simmons. Are you ready for him to knock you over with a feather? The answer to his question: EVERYTHING.

Fast-forward to 2010: Have you checked out the NFC West lately?

By my calculations, San Francisco (I have them ranked 23rd), Seattle (25th), Arizona (27th) and St. Louis (30th) are four of the league's worst 10 teams.

I love the logic here. Bill's power rankings show that these are four of the ten worst teams in the league: therefore, they are four of the ten worst teams in the league. Put logically: A. Therefore, A. Larry B's magic computer machine shows that Bill Simmons is 54% more of a doucheknob than the average sportswriter. Therefore, we can objectively conclude that you get the idea.

So far, their only victories have come against one another.

At the time this was written, yes. Then the four teams in the division went 3-1 last Sunday against teams from other divisions. Lolz.

Seahawks (1-1): Won nine games total in 2008 and 2009, overpaid a college coach, gutted their team and somehow ended up with the league's fifth-highest payroll ($138.8 million). Throw in a general Washington sports malaise -- the Mariners might lose 100 games, the Zombie Sonics look like a title contender,

It's been two and a half years. I don't think the success of the Thunder is ruining many days in Seattle anymore. BUT BILL TOOK UP THAT CAUSE AND HE'LL BE DAMNED IF HE'S GOING TO GIVE IT UP. BUCKY FACKIN' DENT IS A CUNTNOZZLE AND I'LL NEVAH FOHGIVE HIM!

Kevin Durant flashed GOAT potential in Turkey, the Jake Locker Heisman Bandwagon careened off I-5 and flipped 35 times and the state's two biggest sports highlights of the past three years involved the WNBA and MLS -- and it's hard to imagine the Hawks winning more than six games.

They're now 2-1, and their fans were going batshit during their win against the Chargers on Sunday. A fanbase with nothing else to cheer for is MORE likely to get behind a mediocre NFL team, not less. Just ask Texans fans.

You can't overstate how devastating the Sonics/Durant double whammy has been for Seattle fans.

You do. All the time.

Rams (0-2): Losers of 15 straight NFC West games, 11 straight divisional home games and 44 of their past 50 games.

Winners against a half-decent Redskins team on Sunday.

Cardinals (1-1):

Beating the Raiders at home on a last second missed field goal is nothing to write home about, but 2-1 is 2-1. And this is the part where my hardnosed sidekick Mike Ditka says IN THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE YOU ARE WHAT KIND OF FOOTBALL TEAM YOUR FOOTBALL RECORD SAYS YOU ARE.

(Quick tangent: Kurt Warner's new TV career led to the funniest subplot of the 2010 season, when Cardinals fans subjected themselves to "Dancing With the Stars" and prayed that Warner would be the worst star -- that way, he'd get voted off first and might get talked into a comeback -- only Margaret Cho, David Hasselhoff and The Situation were

Too long, didn't read. Probably not in the top 50 funniest subplots of the 2010 season. #1 is Ocho Cinco and T.O. playing on the same team. #2 is everything Rex Ryan does. Nice of Bill to plug his boss's boss's show, though.

Niners (0-2):

OK, they're fucking terrible. Fine.

We may end up considering San Fran's 0-2 start an unfortunate hiccup. Then again, that scenario includes the Niners growing up into a real football team,

Oh God, now the football this/football that thing is happening in writing. You usually don't see that- it's mostly just Trent Dilfer and other dumbfucks on TV saying it out loud. It's spreading.

The 2010 NFC West could break the record for "fewest wins by a four-team division" (22 wins, previously held by the 2008 NFC West) and "lowest average wins per division team in NFL history" (5.5, also held by the NFC West).

I'm going to go way out on a limb with my math skills and say that if they break one of those records, they will break the other.

How pathetic would that be? Breaking your own record of historic incompetence?

More or less pathetic than breaking someone else's? Is that supposed to be obvious? Is there extra shame for breaking your own record? Does Mark Reynolds care? Sometimes rhetorical questions don't work when you're trying to make a non-obvious point?

Here's my question: Why create the potential of a 10-win team missing the playoffs just because we were obligated to include a sub-.500 team? The easiest solution: Any division champ that doesn't win eight games loses its guaranteed playoff spot. If you go 7-8-1, 7-7-2, 7-6-3, 6-6-4, whatever ... you're out.

Which has never happened. But OK.

I want eight victories. Minimum.

OK Dad. I'll be sure to help mom with the chores before I play video games.

Then again, you shouldn't sneak into the playoffs with eight wins just because you lucked out with a crappy division.

Nor should you get six free wins if you're the only good team in your crappy division when other teams in competitive divisions have to scrap for every single win. Bill often struggles with the idea that life isn't fair though, so I suppose it's no surprise he's on his soapbox about this.

A more radical (and fairer) solution: We shake things up starting in 2011 and create four eight-team divisions ...

AFC East: New England, New York, New York, Buffalo, Philly, Baltimore, Washington, Carolina.

AFC West: Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Denver, Arizona, Kansas City, St. Louis.

NFC Central: Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, Cincinnati, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Chicago, Minnesota.

NFC South: Miami, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Tennessee, Atlanta, Jacksonville.


Geographically? Makes total sense. Finally. (Is there anything dumber than Baltimore being in the AFC Central but Miami being in the AFC East?)

I think I just answered that, Mr. Smarty Pants. Also, is Miami more central than Baltimore? Also, you know there's no AFC Central division, right?

For my revamped playoffs, the four division champs would earn byes for Round 1. Everything else would play out like it does now: 12 playoff teams, four rounds, winner takes all. And we'd never have to worry about a sub-.500 team getting 10-plus points at home in a first-round playoff game ever again.

That has never happened, but sure, I'm all for it never happening again.

(On second thought, it would be kinda fun to wager against Alex Smith or Derek Anderson in a playoff game.)

(Especially in a two-team teaser.)

(Forget I brought this up.)

You have spent much of the last four or five years showing all of America that you're fucking terrible at gambling on the NFL. Please don't end your only written column of the past six months with a "clever" gambling punchline. People picking winners would be better off flipping a coin than taking your advice.

To his credit, I looked at his week 3 picks and he cleaned up. Which, based on precedent, means he's due for a few 2-14ish weeks reeeeeeeeal soon.


Chris W said...

If you don't like it, don't read it, dick.

Cs said...

I'm thinking this column was really written in late December '08 when the pats went 11-5 and didn't make the playoffs

Adam said...

One other really dumb thing I noticed about this Simmons column is he wants an uneven divisional schedule. Since like forever in the NFL every team played every other team in its division twice - home and road.

Simmons wants each team to play three teams from the division twice per year and the other four teams once per year. Not very even. For one, there will be the scenario that a team loses out on a playoff spot to the team they only played once on the road.

All of these crazy league realignment schemes are always thought up by the guy whose team got screwed once and the new system will avoid that but leave other more obvious and inevitable weaknesses.

Venezuelan Beaver Cheese said...

The Oklahoma City Thunder a title contender? Somewhere Tim Donaghy is laughing.

Adam said...

Cs - ha you are probably right. I just looked and the Chargers made the playoffs that year (8-8).

Larry B said...

Don't you guys agree that Miami is not in the east? It's not even within three states of Massachusetts.

rich said...

I enjoy how he knocks the NFC West for sucking after a long diatribe about how good Buffalo and Miami were back in the day.

He does realize SF won a shitton of Super Bowls in the past 25 years, the Rams won one in the past decade and appeared in another. Seattle and Arizona have appeared in SBs in the past 5.

Ya, their division sucks ass now, but wasn't the AFC East a complete joke for a while?

I could also spew an 2500 words comparing his new superdivisions to George Lucas' thinking that the prequels would be awesome. Instead I'll say only this:

You are not moving the Eagles, Redskins and Giants away from Dallas. Those are three of the biggest fucking rivalries in sports. It'd be like if some chick in some movie dumped the main character to bang the janitor of the local HS.

I'd also like to point out (I lied) that his AFC West... Blows major amounts of ass. He took the two worst divisions in football (one of which he just bitched about sucking) and combined them to make a super division of suck. Genius!

Biggus Rickus said...

I'd also like to point out that the year New England almost went undefeated, the second best team in the division was Buffalo at 7-9. The Jets (4-12) and Dolphins (1-15) were fucking horrible.

Tonus said...

Was 2002 the year that the Pats lucked out because their starting QB was injured and they were forced to play backup QB Tom Brady?

Also, it's amusing that in his realignment, Indy and Pittsburgh get moved to the NFC. Maybe he could get them to take the Yankees and Rays, while they're at it.

Jack M said...

For a guy who complains that no one watches the NHL because there aren't any good rivalries, he's pretty cavalier about dismantling all of Dallas, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Miami, and Carolina's established rivalries.

Also, this shit about sports teams from the same city having an effect on one another needs to stop yesterday. It's just as ridiculous and stupid as any of Easterbrook's theories.

Elliot said...

The comments in this thread are about a million times more thought out and coherent than Bill's article.

Why does everything Bill says revolve around ways that it would make it more likely that a Boston sports team would do better that particular year?

Adam said...

Don't you mean nobody watches the NHL because the Bruins are mediocre?

Bengoodfella said...

Basically it boils down to Bill thinking the Patriots didn't get in the playoffs one year when they should have, so naturally the entire divisional alignment of the NFL has to change to fix this problem.

Jack, there are no rivalries that are worth keeping around if the Patriots can't get in the playoffs when they "deserve" to.

Larry's Dad said...

I just don't understand the snide comment about helping with the dishes before you retire back into the basement so you can play around instead of getting a real job and moving out. What the heck that has to do with Mr. Simmons' article is beyond me. Is it too much to ask that you help out a little around the house? You don't mind the free meals I notice.

Larry's Dad said...

And while I am at it, your comment about "fuck the Raiders in the face" is also disappointing. Is that the kind of language that we use in this house when we talk about the Raiders? It certainly is not! If you can't come up with something a LOT more disparaging than that about those disgusting excuses for subhuman piles of shit from Oakland, then I just wonder if you have been paying attention around here at all for the last 20 years.

Anonymous said...

Is it obvious to anyone else that Bill has no idea where Miami is located?

dan-bob said...

Mr. B, you need to comment more often.