Is he capable of complaining about Christmas creep less than a week before Christmas? Read on to find out.
Ho ho ho! Here's what TMQ has asked Santa to leave each NFL team under its tree for Christmas morning:
Ho ho ho! Here's a series of lame jokes:
Atlanta -- An identity. The Falcons are on a blazing 15-2 run, yet are known for what, exactly?
The only reason other teams are known for something, like Pittsburgh for its NASTY (steroid-fueled) DEFENSE and New England for its gritty white receivers, is because those teams have large national fan bases. Atlanta is a horrible sports town and no one gives a shit about the Falcons. If they had bandwagoners from coast to coast hooked on their success, you'd hear a ton about their #5 scoring offense and how Matt Ryan is the next Roethlisberger.
Buffalo -- A complete set of jerseys from the 1990s Super Bowl run. It's no coincidence the Bills have not made the playoffs since switching to the league's ugliest uniforms.
Their new uniforms are essentially the same as their old ones. The title for league's ugliest uniforms resides safely with the Seahawks.
Chicago -- A game in Florida.
Because they lost one game to the league's best team when it was snowing.
Cleveland -- A dawg who can play football: "Fetch the pass!" Ideal marketing gimmick.
Detroit -- A Rand McNally road atlas with all NFL cities except Detroit missing. If the Lions can't find the road games, they won't have to play them.
This was written about 24 hours after the Lions won on the road against a non-horrible team.
Green Bay -- A water slide so Aaron Rodgers can practice sliding.
Jersey/B -- A recording of Ronald Reagan saying, "Tear down this wall!"
Maybe it makes me an idiot, but I'm lost here.
Minnesota -- Brett Favre plays until eligible for membership in AARP.
Philadelphia -- DeSean Jackson cast as the lead in a revival of the musical "Show Boat."
Seattle -- No restrictions on phone calls, official visits and scholarships when Pete Carroll goes recruiting in the upcoming free-agency period.
OK, see that's actually funny.
In other football news, if it has come to pass that Favre will tape his ankles no more, consider how his final seasons concluded. Last play of 2007 season for the Packers: interception. Second-to-last play of 2008 season for the Jets: interception. Last play of 2009 season for the Vikings: interception. Last play of 2010 season for the Vikings: sack. All's well that ends well!
Agreed, although his last play in 2008 wasn't an interception. He completed a pass, then received a lateral from the receiver (desperation time), then was absolutely CRUSHED while trying to throw another lateral and drew a penalty for illegal forward pass in the process. So really it's better to think of it as: 2007 interception, 2008 penalty + JACKED UP, 2009 interception, 2010 sack + JACKED UP.
In other news, Tuesday Morning Quarterback sends holiday good wishes to all space aliens, mega-babes and football enthusiasts. Bells are ringing all across the local star cluster!
What. The fuck. Are you talking about? /insert Chris W's jpeg from last post here
Sweet Quarter of the Season After being down 31-10 on the road at Jersey/A with 8:17 remaining, the Eagles won. This comeback ranks with Buffalo's comeback from 35-3 against the old Houston Oilers in 1993. That comeback took an entire half; Philadelphia's warp-speed comeback happened in eight minutes.
Buffalo's was in the playoffs, with Frank Reich at QB. Point: 1992 Bills. Not that what Philly did wasn't amazing.
Jackson is electrifying. But when he broke into the clear for the touchdown that would make this the first NFL game won by a punt return on the final play, he began waving the ball in the air at the G-Men 30-yard line even though he had already lost a fumble earlier in the quarter. Stop showboating! Dance after you score, not before. If Jackson
Tl;dr. As we've known for years, TMQ hates flashy players. Especially if they were drafted in the first round like Jackson was. But yeah, let's make sure to spend a whole paragraph complaining about Jackson celebrating that incredible moment.
As for the Giants' coaching: Has any coaching staff ever had a worse quarter? Ahead 31-10 with eight minutes remaining against the top big-play combination the NFL -- Michael Vick and Jackson -- if the Giants had gone to backed-off shell coverage and forced the Nesharim to nickel-and-dime their way down the field, the clock would have run out on any comeback.
The Giants are on national TV often enough (after all, they play in the most important and exciting division ever, a division which has produced a whole one Super Bowl winner and three NFC champs in the last 15 years; a division that surely deserves to be on national fucking TV every single fucking time any two of its fucking teams play a fucking meaningless game against one another, fuck you very much FOX) that I've seen them quite a bit this year. My roommate is also a diehard Giants fan. As such, I know for a fact that blitzing is one thing their defense does well. They often succeed when they get pressure on the QB and often fail when they don't. I'm not sure whether or not the Eagles could have scored 3 TDs in 8 minutes against base coverage, but I guarantee they would have moved the ball very quickly and effectively against it.
With the Eagles trailing 31-10, first-and-10 on their 35 with 7:43 remaining, Fewell called a safety blitz, resulting in a 65-yard touchdown pass to Brent Celek. On the play, deep safety Kenny Phillips whiffed so badly that he air tackled. The morning of the game, The New York Times ran an article lavishly praising the Giants' secondary -- guess those players read the article. "We're never out of position," Phillips was quoted as boasting.
Ah, welcome to the wonderful world of TMQ, where everything is nice and simple and can be explained by a single convenient little rule. When a play turns out poorly for a team, it's because several of its players were standing around doing nothing. Going for it on 4th down always leads to victory, no matter the result of the 4th down play; punting always leads to losing. Undrafted players are hardworking success stories, high drafted players are lazy assholes who expect the game to come to them with no effort. (I'm surprised TMQ didn't mention here that Phillips was a 1st round pick.) And of course, teams that say anything good about themselves and then subsequently lose must have lost because they have big egos. Guess what? Phillips was probably asked by a reporter to explain why the Giants have the 2nd best passing defense in the league, and he answered with something fairly innocuous (in terms of how braggy it was). It's not like he said "We're the best secondary in the history of organized football, take that to the bank, and fuck orphans and people with terminal diseases because they suck." Christ. Why do we need to crucify him because he gave an interview and then made a bad play? I hate TMQ more than anything in the world, including baseball writers.
Why safety blitz with a three-touchdown lead and less than eight minutes? Unless the plan was to humiliate the Eagles and then boast to the New York media.
Which it wasn't. Probably the most preposterous assumption/accusation I've ever seen TMQ make, which is saying something. Let's go to our old friend Occam's Razor and assume the plan was to, uh, WIN.
Humiliating an opponent is totally irrelevant; keep your focus on winning.
/Larry B frustratedly holds head in hands
Sweet Stat of the Week: The Flying Elvii have gone an NFL-record six games without a turnover -- very sweet -- and lead the league with a plus-20 turnover margin. In a league in which megabucks stars wave the rock around asking for turnovers, the Patriots protect the football. This must have something to do with their no-name, egoless offense. Big-ego players with big contracts, such as Roy Williams of Dallas, commit careless fumbles because they figure they will never be benched no matter what.
Roy Williams fumbles all the time for exactly three reasons: 1) he sucks 2) he's got a relatively weak and lanky upper body and 3) NFL DBs are really good at stripping the ball. Would he like to fumble less frequently (or preferably not at all)? Of course. Has there ever been a single moment at which he said to himself "Hey, I might as well keep fumbling- they're not going to cut me?" FUCKING N FUCKING O.
The undrafted free agents of the New England offense know they must perform to stay on the field. So they protect the football.
I like how the GREATRIOTS are being lauded for employing hardworking, egoless WRs. Meanwhile their coach and QB have two of the largest egos in football. Why does Roy Williams's ego drag him down, but Belichick's and Brady's egos result in only success? See my point 1) above as to why Williams fumbles, and also understand that Belichick and Brady definitely do not suck. Christ. I hate Gregg Easterbrook more than anything on this earth, including jewelry commercials.
Now let's enter the segment of the column where Gregg makes up facts to fit the explanations he wants to use. I'll provide video and other info where appropriate, so that you can see what actually happened rather than accepting Gregg's made up version of what happened.
Sour Pair of Plays: Pittsburgh and Denver both surrendered safeties in close fourth-quarter situations. The Steelers were attempting a slow-developing sweep from their end zone. Don't sweep from your end zone!
If you think the play call here was a sweep, you know nothing about football. (To be fair, the play definitely was slow-developing. But still.)
Sour Play of the Week: TMQ notes the distressing number of downs on which highly paid NFL performers simply stand around doing nothing or simply brush their men and then stand watching. New England leading 31-27, Green Bay had possession at the Patriots' 15 with five seconds remaining -- with one play to win or lose. The Flying Elvii rushed three; Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga, a first-round pick this year who recently cashed a huge bonus check, brushed his man, then, doing nothing, turned around to see what was happening on the play.
If I were Bryan Bulaga, I would literally take a dump in a FedEx box and mail it to Easterbrook for that ridiculously inaccurate description of what happened on the play. This (start at the 3:30 mark), apparently, is what brushing your man and then standing around doing nothing looks like. Weird. There doesn't seem to be much brushing, just a regular block that was beaten thanks to some good DE play and bad luck as to where the QB moved in the pocket. And I certainly don't see any standing around or doing of nothing. But then again, what do I know? I'm someone who stands up for high drafted players who are obviously lazy shitheads who don't know how to play football. That's why they were all such failures at the college level.
Were those the Baltimore Ravens or the Wisconsin Badgers? Ravens coaches called 39 rushing plays and 23 passes, outrushing the defending champions by 181 yards. Vince Lombardi would have felt right at home at that contest. Let's hope his ghost wasn't watching the Packers-Patriots game, in which the Packers, yet again, went five-wide on first-and-goal at point-blank range.
OK, we get it, you don't have to bring it up every fucking week (which he does). Back in Lombardi's day teams ran a lot. Now they throw a lot (pass wacky!), sometimes when they only need a single yard. Will the wonders of the universe ever cease?
As for the Ming Ding Xiong ("Bears whose outcomes are decided by fate" in Chinese),
Probably the most annoying/least funny of all Easterbrook's team nicknames. It's a dead heat between this and Squared Sevens.
Devin Hester is back in business, which means the Bears are back in business. In 2006, Hester had five kick return touchdowns and Chicago reached the Super Bowl. In 2007, Hester had six kick return touchdowns but the Bears didn't make the postseason.
Well that leads us to conclude... uh...
In 2008 and 2009, no return touchdowns for Hester, no playoffs for Chicago. This year, Hester has three kick return touchdowns and the Bears are division champs. So when Hester doesn't run back a kick for six, the Bears do not make the playoffs; when he does, they are 2-for-3 in reaching the postseason.
Such valuable insight can only be gained by reading the musings of a man who knows absolutely nothing about football.
Pregame, viewers saw that Ron Jaworski was wearing an elaborate zoot-suit-inspired heavy coat with gloves and Mike Tirico wore a sportcoat, sweater vest and no gloves. Immediately I knew that Tirico would have a better game, which he did. Cold Broadcaster = Victory.
Worst bit ever.
TMQ's Law of the Obvious Holds: Sometimes All a Team Needs to Do is Run Up the Middle: Was that really the Pittsburgh Steelers in a shotgun spread on third-and-2 at home in bad weather? Jersey/B snapped out of its funk and won on the strength of two terrific special-teams plays in the fourth quarter -- punts downed on the Hypocycloids' 1 and 8. But even in victory, the Jets' offense seemed fouled up. Thrice in the final three minutes, holding the lead in a kill-the-clock situation, Brian Schottenheimer called a passing play. Thrice the result was an incompletion that stopped the clock. Had the Jets simply run up the middle for no gain, there would not have been enough time left for the home team's almost-comeback.
I did a Youtube search for "wrong," hoping to find a clip of Charlie Murphy on Chapelle's show yelling "WRONG. WRONG." during the Rick James sketch. It wasn't there. There was a kind of funny clip of Dr. Cox from Scrubs singing "wrong" over and over but it wouldn't quite create the effect I wanted so I decided to link to nothing. Instead I will just say that as usual, Gregg is 100% wrong.
Check this out: presumably the three plays he's referring to are the two pass plays on 2nd and 5 and 3rd and 5 that ended the Jets' drive that started at 7:09, and the pass on 3rd and 3 that ended their final drive of the game. As of the first of those plays, the Steelers had all three timeouts. That means that even if we switch the 2nd and 5 and 3rd and 5 plays from the 7:09 mark to runs of 0 yards, the Steelers still get the ball back for their 2:45 drive (the one play drive that ended with a safety) at the same time but with just one timeout. Then, after the safety, when the Jets get the ball back at 2:38, assume they ran for zero yards three times in a row before punting. After the first, the Steelers call a timeout. After the second, the clock runs down to the two minute warning. And after the third, the Jets punt with about 1:20 left. Sure, the Steelers' last drive becomes a lot more difficult; they have about 50 fewer seconds, no timeouts, and no two minute warning. But Gregg isn't capable of that level of thought (which took me about 30 seconds to research and 2 minutes to write out). To him it's DERP DERP THREE RUNS UP THE MIDDLE EQUALS TWO MINUTES OFF THE CLOCK, STEELERS GOT THE BALL FOR THEIR FINAL DRIVE WITH 2:08 LEFT, BORK BORK BORK. I hate Gregg Easterbrook more than People and Us Weekly.
As Tuesday Morning Quarterback noted of Shanahan this past summer, "His big seasons all came with John Elway: in his non-Elway years, Shanahan's results are pedestrian." Left on his own without Elway, Shanahan is somewhere between average and a bumbler.
Left on his own without Elway, Shanahan made four playoff appearances in ten years with Denver. His record from 1999 until his firing was 91-69. Sure, he only won one game during those four playoff appearances and made a number of shitty personnel decisions. But he also won 57% of his regular season games. If that's average at best, who qualifies as a "good" NFL coach? Sure, the Redskins blow this year. Even TMQ has to admit that has a lot more to do with their ownership than with Shanahan.
The Curse of the Holiday Letter: Don't you hate boastful holidays letters about other people's fascinating lives and perfect children? Below is one Nan and I received last week.
What a lucky break the CEO sent his personal jet to pick me up from Istanbul; there's plenty of room, since I have the entire aircraft to myself, to take out the laptop and write our annual holiday letter. Just let me ask the attendant for a better vintage of champagne, and I'll begin.
It's been another utterly hectic year for Chad and I and our remarkable children, yet nurturing and horizon-expanding. It's hard to know
Tl;dr. Where is this going? It's obviously not a real letter but doesn't relate to anything else in the column and the only setup he provided is copied and pasted above. The fuck is going on here?
in Maine, and before we know it, we will be packing two cars to drive Rachel's things to college. And of course I don't count Davos or Sundance or all the routine excursions.
I hope your year has been as interesting as ours.
Jennifer, Chad, Rachel, Nicholas & Emily
(The above is inspired by a satirical Christmas letter I did for The New Republic a decade ago. I figure it's OK to recycle a joke once every 10 years.)
It is, as long as the joke is funny and you provide some context for it. Neither of those requirements were met here.
NFL teams might invest $20 million to $50 million in the starting quarterback -- you don't want a $50 million investment going off tackle. Colleges, by contrast, invest almost no money in their quarterbacks -- Newton got the same amount of scholarship funds as Auburn's third-stringers.
Or did he? *rimshot* TOPICAL!
With the Bolts leading 7-0, the Squared Sevens
Ugh. Yeah, definitely worse than Ming Ding Xiong.
kicked a field goal. San Diego was called for "leveraging," the second time in three weeks this unusual call has been made. Accepting the penalty took points off the board but gave San Francisco first-and-goal at the 10. Three snaps later, Alex Smith ran for what officials signaled was a touchdown, but San Diego challenged and the six points came off the board, too. Mike Singletary went for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1. High first-round draft choice guard Mike Iupati air-blocked -- he made contact with no one -- as undrafted Bolts defensive tackle Ogemdi Nwagbuo shot into the backfield to drop the runner for a loss, San Diego ball and zero points for San Francisco.
But... but... going for it on 4th and 1! Letting your team know you believe in them and you're in it to win it! Being a manly man! Not launching a fraidy-cat field goal/trying to reduce the margin of defeat rather than going for the win! What did Singletary do wrong? Someone, anyone, please make sense of this. If Singletary had elected to keep the initial field goal on the board or kicked after the successful challenge, what would TMQ have written about it? Yeah, I think we both know what he'd have said. What a self-contradicting asshole.
That's the kind of moment that makes TMQ love sports -- undrafted unknown gets the best of megabucks glory boy.
Oh brother, don't we ever know.
Mike Singletary wore dark glasses on the sideline for a night game -- Does he have any idea how ridiculous that looked? (Tony Sparano of the Dolphins wears dark glasses at all times because of an eye injury he suffered in youth; that's different.)
Right, a practice TMQ mocked Sparano for last season without knowing about the medical condition. Smooth move Gregg. I wonder if he makes fun of Michael J. Fox for not being able to keep his hands still. I hope Singletary's glasses were also medically necessary and another printed apology is in order. That shit never gets old.
Reader Stephen Levy of Washington, D.C., reports the annual Winter Concert at Nottingham Elementary in Arlington, Va., which was scheduled for Dec. 16 -- six days before winter begins --
WHY DIDN'T THEY CALL IT THE LATE LATE LATE FALL CONCERT? THAT WOULD MAKE SO MUCH MORE SENSE.
was "canceled due to wintery weather."
Hilarious. Almost like a beach closing down for a day because the sand is too hot! WHO SAW THAT COMING?
Manly-Man Play of the Week: The Chiefs continue to be a team after TMQ's heart, having gone for it on fourth down 21 times this season, including on fourth-and-1 at midfield against St. Louis on Sunday, converting.
When the 49ers do something similar, they're dumbasses.
The Jaguars lead the league with 22 fourth-down attempts, and, at Indianapolis, they went for it on fourth-and-1 from their own 39 on the first series of the third quarter. The result was a busted play -- fumbled pitch -- and a quick Colts touchdown in the other direction. But the idea was the right one.
Always, even though it led to a Colts touchdown in a game the Jaguars would go on to lose.
Jacksonville and Kansas City, both going for it on fourth down much more often than common in the NFL, both have winning records.
The 49ers continue to be run by idiots who go for it on 4th and 1 as if that's ever a good idea.
Bonus Obscure College Score of the Week: Wisconsin-Whitewater 31, Mount Union 21 (Division III championship). Five-foot-8, 170-pound Levell Coppage rushed for 299 yards -- mostly on power runs between the tackles -- as Whitewater took the Division III title from Mount Union for the second straight year.
Wow- can you believe it? A successful running back at that size, busting it up between the tackles? He's the next Woodhead! He's even better! He must be the greatest athlete of all time to succeed in the trenches against NFL competition at that size! Oh, you said college Division III? Well it makes much more sense now.