Tuesday, September 13, 2011

WMTMQR: In which Gregg admits that he's a dope

I mean, he admits it really really really really indirectly. But we'll take what we can get. First: an extended metaphor that football fans can surely appreciate.

"In the last days of Narnia..."

So begins the final book of "The Chronicles of Narnia" --

Are you sure that wasn't the opening sentence of "The Old Man and the Sea?" This can only go good places. Hopefully he breaks down how scientifically unrealistic the Narnia series is.

a volume that's unlikely to become a big-budget Hollywood movie, since all the children and the cute talking animals are slaughtered by a hideous demon named Tash.

How is that different than Toy Story 3?

Which sounds a little like Texans.

Yes, they both start with the same letter.

The Indianapolis Colts under Peyton Manning have been the Narnia of the NFL. Everything's always sunny. Manning always starts: opening day was the first time he didn't start since 1997.

Strrrretching the metaphor

The seasons are always good: The Colts have made the playoffs a record-tying nine straight seasons.


Players and coaches are composed, behaving with dignity.

Except when Tony Dungy claims that homosexuals will burn in hell forever.

The crowd is orderly.

And fat.

The two domed stadia in which Manning toiled have been the gleaming Cair Paravel of pro football. And like all great champions in mythology, Manning wears a special ring.


The primary hero in the C.S. Lewis books is an English schoolboy who becomes Peter the High King -- tall, brave and humble, just like Manning.

Tall, brave, and fetus-headed.

(A standard literary criticism of Lewis' creation is that the strange races of Narnia need a white male to lead them.)

Just another reason Avatar is fucking stupid.

For more than a decade, Manning has been Peyton the High King to the NFL.

Tony Dungy, the Colts' coach for most of the Manning years, and for their Super Bowl win, has been the NFL's Aslan, a superpowered being. Even today, having left the game, Dungy is turned to for wisdom more than any other figure in football.

And thrusts his self-righteous wisdom upon those who don't ask. "If I'm [name of player who is in trouble with Goodell for being photographed having a beer], here's what I do now: donate a game's paycheck to Focus on the Family. Then..."

If he took over the reins in Indianapolis again, he would be greeted like Aslan returning to end the perpetual winter of the second Narnia volume.

Nah, things have been going just great under Jim Caldwell.

/imagines Caldwell stand expressionless on the sideline during another Colts playoff loss

And Dwight Freeney is the Reepicheep of the NFL, far more powerful than his modest stature -- OK, enough with this metaphor.

Yeah, you think? And then he went on for two more paragraphs, which I didn't bother to copy and paste. If nothing else, Greggggggg has his finger squarely on the comedic pulse of his readers.

Ivy League quarterback note: Fight Fiercely Harvard! Ryan Fitzpatrick, Harvard '05 -- married to Liza Barber, Harvard '05, a former Crimson soccer star -- threw four touchdown passes and no interceptions on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs, a 2010 playoff team. Pip pip! Right you are! Buffalo Bills teammates kept Fitzpatrick fired up by singing on the sidelines, "Come on chaps, fight for Harvard's glorious name/won't it be peachy if we win the game!" Fitzpatrick has asked Bills' management to institute a postgame sherry hour.

Oh yeah, assuming his readers are pretentious wine-sipping twats, he definitely has his finger squarely on their comedic pulse.

Sweet Play of the Week: TMQ's immutable law holds: Rush Eight If You Want to Block That Punt. NFL coaches rarely send a big rush after the punter, fearing a roughing call and generally being hyper-conservative.

This happens like three or four times every game.

Trailing 24-17 midway through the fourth quarter, Jersey/B forced a Dallas punt: and shocked the visiting Cowboys with an all-out eight-man rush.

It wasn't so much "shock" as "a shitty blocking scheme" (Cris Collinsworth broke it down beautifully on SNF) that caused the block.

Speaking of nutty, the Ryan brothers ran every funky defensive front in the book against each other. My favorite was a Dallas defensive snap with three down linemen and both corners blitzing. Yet the result of all the funky defensive tactics was a 27-24 final score with 390 offensive yards gained by one team and 360 yards gained by the other. That's a pretty conventional outcome. Maybe one of the Ryans should try a standard 4-3.

/head asplodes

This just in, people: if an unconventional scheme produces an outcome that isn't weird or wildly successful, there was no point in instituting it.

Sweet 'N' Sour Play of the Week: In the season opener, the count was Green Bay 42, New Orleans 34, Saints on the Packers' 1 for an untimed down following a penalty in the end zone as time expired. The Saints employed a heavy package with six offensive linemen and three tight ends. Power back Mark Ingram went straight up the middle, run stuffed, game over. That was sweet for fans of the defending champion, and in this game, a rare play that looked like old-fashioned football (see more below).

Where the fuck were the Football Gods? Shouldn't they have been rewarding the Saints for playing old skool hardnose smashmouth three yards and a cloud of dust in your face cliche cliche cliche football?

Sour for Saints' fans was a bland call from usually daring Sean Payton.

Just like the Immutable Law of Cold Coach states "cold coach equals victory unless the more warmly dressed coach wins in which case don't write about it," the Football Gods only reward smashmouth play calls when those calls work. It's quite the feedback loop.

Maybe It's an Amateurs League: Entering the 2011 season, 16 of the 32 NFL head coaches have never won a playoff game.

Well, every year there are 11 playoff games. There will be between 4 and 8 teams that win those 11 games, usually probably either 6 or 7 (considering the wild card winners rarely fare well against the top 2 seeds who had a first round bye). Many teams do well season after season (such as the Colts, or should I say the Aslans) so over the course of any 5 year stretch you might have.... geez, I don't know, somewhere around 20 different teams that win playoff games (none of which are the Bills). Coaches turn over pretty quickly. So what I'm trying to say is that if you're shocked that half of all coaches have never won a playoff game at any certain point in time, you're a fucking dope.

Sci-Fi Update:


The science fiction scene on television remains weak. The "Star Trek" and "Stargate" franchises are no more, "Fringe" has veered into the silly, and TNT's "Falling Skies" is so lame in plot and dialogue it doesn't even merit an insult. Will Steven Spielberg put his name on anything?

Well, he put it on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. So I'm not sure there's much he WON'T put his name on.

"Stargate Universe" ended in May, concluding the run of "Stargate" serials. "Universe" was poorly written in its first season, canceled early in its second. Then a surprise: Midway through the second season, the writing improved noticeably. But the first season lost the audience, and by the time quality improved, nobody was watching. The last few episodes were terrific, building to a series finale that numbers among the best in television annals.


In the finale, the starship crew decides to attempt something dangerous and noble. The characters make sentimental promises to each other, then the ship disappears into the distance. The last frame is a character admiring the grandeur of the cosmos. Viewers never find out the ship's fate.

Sounds riveting. Move over, M*A*S*H and Newhart. There's a new contender in town for best finale ever.

The premise of "Stargate Universe" was that a wormhole accident put a group of present-day soldiers and civilians aboard a million-year-old automated starship built by an extinct civilization. Though the vessel had been exploring the universe on its own for a million years,


Then Baltimore went for two out of a PAT kicking formation -- a tactic TMQ has always thought should be used more often, given most defenders nap through the PAT attempt.

And if that tactic were used more often, defenders would definitely not change their behavior on conversions at all.

Holder Sam Koch ran for two untouched. The surprise deuce essentially ended the game, putting Baltimore ahead 29-7.

28-7 late in the 3rd? Still a game. 29-7? Warm up the bus.

And there was a psychological component: The deuce said to Pittsburgh, "You have toyed with us, now watch us toy with you."

Also: where were the Football Gods when they were supposed to be punishing the Ravens for running up the score? It's classless, sets a bad example for the millions of youthy youths who play football, etc. It's almost as if Gregg is wildly inconsistent in the way in which he applies ideas. Geez, if I weren't crazy, I'd go a step further and say it's almost like Gregg has no fucking idea what he's talking about at any point in time.

Rick Perry Was Once a Male Cheerleader, As Was Woodrow Wilson: Mark Sanchez just posed shirtless for GQ. With scantily clad cheer-babes part of marketing throughout the NFL, and increasing women's interest in football, TMQ continues to believe the league is missing an opportunity by not fielding shirtless male cheer-hunks.

I bet Gregg is one of those people who thinks women are the primary audience for Playgirl. Having shirtless male cheer-hunks on the sideline might increase the NFL's appeal with a certain demographic, but I doubt they're doing too bad with that demographic right now anyways considering that demographic consists of males.

Monday Night Doubleheader, Oakland at Denver: As the home Denver crowd chanted for Tim Tebow, Oakland won its eighth straight within the division. The Raiders will become a contender if they show they can prevail outside the AFC West. Oakland's Ryan-brothers-flavored defensive game plan of frequent safety blitzing did not stop Kyle Orton.

/remembers watching Orton constantly run from pressure, throw a pick, lose a critical fumble, completely barely 50% of his passes, and not throw a TD until late in the 4th quarter

Yup. Neckbeard was in the zone last night.

But the Broncos stopped themselves by rushing for a paltry 38 yards on just 13 attempts. Nobody wins at home with those kinds of stats.

Except the Jets, who ran for 45 yards on 16 attempts.

Now it's the fourth quarter, New England leading 31-17 with possession on its own 1 -- after a terribly shaggy failed fade by Miami on fourth-and-goal from the 1. (Can't anybody run up the middle anymore?)

But don't forget- the Saints were morons for running up the middle on their game's final play. Can't anyone call imaginative short yardage plays anymore?

In the heat of the moment, it's not realistic to expect that players will calculate that the team is better off with them not scoring. This responsibility falls to their coaches. Yet after the game, new Maryland coach Randy Edsall criticized Chism for not realizing the scoreboard situation and getting on the ground following the interception.

Maryland has 10 full-time football coaches and apparently not a one of them realized they were facing a "knock it down" snap. Thus the endgame error was by the Maryland coaches, not by a Maryland player -- yet the head coach criticized a player.

And we know for a fact that the coaches did not instruct the defenders to knock down 4th down passes instead of intercepting them or take a knee rather than returning them for a TD when doing so would actually help the team win. Since we know that unassailable fact, it's right for us to criticize the coach for criticizing his player.

Obscure College Score of the Week: Elizabeth City 49, Limestone 7. In 2000, when yours truly started writing TMQ, I worried about running out of things to say. That didn't seem to happen.

If only you had worried about possessing the analytical abilities of a turtle while not running out of things to say.

In 2002, when I started Obscure College Score, I worried about running out of obscure colleges. That hasn't happened either.

And we're all ecstatic that you're still running this exhilarating item.

Let's conclude with Gregg's semi-quasi admission of imperfection. I mean it barely counts. You be judge.

TMQ Readers Know Too Much (New Running Item): A couple weeks ago, a picture of a mouflon appeared next to an explanation of the TMQ cognomen "Les Mouflons." Striving to be erudite, Page 2 captioned the photo, "Une mouflon." Readers, including Caroline Stevenson of Austin, Texas, wrote to note that the sheep was male (horns) and therefore the caption should have read "Un mouflon." This caused your columnist to exclaim, "TMQ readers know too much."

Last week's column had a raven saying "you can quoth me" about Baltimore's need to beat the Steelers. Jeffrey Roth of Davidson, N.C., writes, "The pictured bird is not a raven, rather, a Daurian Jackdaw. Yes, it's another type of corvid, but an entirely different genus." TMQ readers know too much! If you know too much, show off by sending an esoteric comment to TMQ_ESPN@yahoo.com.

Notice how he won't admit that he's full of shit- the problem is that the readers are not full of enough shit. Still, I'll take it. And while I won't email trivial corrections to him, you'd better believe I'm sending him a strongly worded letter next time he breaks out his "tenths of a second don't exist" or "if they had run up the middle at some point in the 3rd quarter, the clock would have run out before the game winning field goal attempt" bits. Oh please believe.


Chris W said...

Also, quoth is not a present tense verb. This is an absurdly nitpicky thing to point out and a sensible rebuttal would be that the poor grammar is an intentional mistake in order to access a literary reference--in fact the only reason the word quote/quoth would appear. Or rather it would be an absurdly nitpicky thing if we weren't talking about the shit eater who insists on pointing out errors in tv shows, that the giants don't play in New York, and that Tampa Bay is not a city in every single column he writes.

Thank God fuckface doesn't cover basketball. I would hate to see his head explode contemplating that LA doesn't have lakes, Utah doesn't have Jazz and just the whole Golden State thing in general

jacktotherack said...

"Rick Perry Was Once a Male Cheerleader, As Was Woodrow Wilson: Mark Sanchez just posed shirtless for GQ. With scantily clad cheer-babes part of marketing throughout the NFL, and increasing women's interest in football, TMQ continues to believe the league is missing an opportunity by not fielding shirtless male cheer-hunks."

So, so much wrong with this. First off, how is the fact that Rick Perry and fucking Woodrow Wilson were male cheerleaders relevant in any way to the need for "shirtless male cheer-hunks"? Am I missing something here?

I know this whole "ga-ga look at the purty cheerleader" thing is part of Greggggggg's schtick, but my God it always makes me feel uncomfortbale, especially when he refers to them as "scantily clad cheer-babes." Who the fuck does he think he is, Bill & Ted?

It just always makes me feel icky, like I am being talked to by a pretentious fuckhead who thinks he is smarter than everyone in the room and he wants to make sure that I know just how much he likes girls so I don't get the wrong impression of him...That's how it always makes me feel

Chris W said...


It is time for you to grow up and come to terms with the fact that Gregg Easterbrook despite looking like Al Franken after being struck by lightning is simply a sexual animal whose machismo oozes out his pores like pus. The sooner you come to grips with this, the faster we as Americans can enter a utopian plane of existence where all babies are fathered by guys with three g's in their first names

jacktotherack said...

Thanks for showing me the light Chris, that's great.

Chris W said...

I am considering adding three g's to my name so I will be ready

Adam said...

The Chicago Bulls are named in part due to the Union Stock Yards near the original home of the Bulls, the International Ampitheater. Little does the team know however that meat from bulls is inferior grade to cows and steers. Therefore, they will be henceforth known as the Chicago Steers.

Frigidevil said...

Of course greggggg thinks anyone who's smarter than him knows too much, this is the same guy who thinks fractions of a second aren't real.