Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This article is almost as stupid is Chris W's last post (and face)

Uh oh, Chris W got me good! Watch out! Here come the hypocrisy police! Almost as frightening as the cyber police! Simmons post coming tomorrow night. In the meantime enjoy this half-hearted effort.

Now that I'm done burning the hell out of Mr. Thinks-He-Can-Burn-But-Actually-Can't with the burniest of burnsauces, time to turn my attention to LZ Granderson. He wrote one of the most embarrassing examples I've ever seen of an article that 1) has just one point to make, a point which is brain-liquefyingly stupid; 2) the author realizes that fact; 3) which prompts the author to claim that they are in fact not making said brain-liquefyingly stupid point; 4) leaving the author with no point at all. It's a fantastic combination of WRONG and an article that didn't need to be written. Given the popularity of those two labels over there in our left hand sidebar, this seemed like a good article to bitch about while I work on this Simmons novel. Say what you will about how shitty that guy's writing is, but he's also very longwinded.

I will admit, as a lifelong Detroit Tigers fan, when I first heard we snagged Prince Fielder, I was ecstatic.

Victor Martinez had blown out his knee just days before -- lost for the upcoming season -- and replacing his offensive production wasn't going to be easy. A step back, after an amazing 2011, seemed inevitable. Then out of nowhere Detroit landed Fielder and life was good.

And I said to myself, what do you think the Tigers had to pay him to get him to sign? A couple hundred thousand a year? Couldn't be more than that, right? MAYBE THEY COULD PAY HIM WITH FOOD LOL

Then I saw the price tag and thought, "What the hell?"

He signed for about as much as he was expected to sign for when the offseason began! This is bananas!

All we hear about in the news these days is the struggling global economy, but in the middle of all this downbeat chatter a sports team bearing the name of one of the poorest cities in the country signs a baseball player to a nine-year deal worth $214 million.

How dare the Tigers ruin Detroit's reputation as a broke-ass city.

Talk about a disconnect.

Talk about the most worthless fucking article you could ever write. A thousand Jay Mariottis, confined to a warehouse, typing away on a thousand extra-smug typewriters, couldn't do any better. I'm pretty sure the "Isn't it WILD how much athletes are paid??? All for playing a ballgame!!! It ain't right I tell ya!!!" angle is the most played out, boring, unnewsworthy, uncommentaryworthy one in sports journalism. I'd rather read about Brett Favre. I'd rather read about how great Boston's sports scene is. Fuck it, I'd rather read about Simmons's most recent trip to Vegas.

Granted, the Tigers' budget and the city's budget are not related.

Admission #1 that this article should not exist.

But doesn't it bother you that the new first baseman will make more money this year ($23 million) than what's individually budgeted for all but one of the city's police precincts?

It does bother me that Detroit and many other cities have no money. It does not bother me that the market for baseball players has determined that a guy like Fielder is worth $23 million, because the private organization that is the Detroit Tigers has that money and is going to pay him that money.

Now I do not want to start an Occupy Comerica Park movement.

Fucking occupy references. Fucking dammit.

/waits for comment along the lines of "occupy Larry B's vagina harf harf harf"

I do not have a problem with the mechanics of capitalism nor do I begrudge Tigers owner Mike Illitch or anyone else for being rich and spending their money any way they want to.

Admissions #2 and #3 that this article should not exist.

In fact, I hope to join their exclusive club one day. Preferably with my crunchy granola idealism intact but who knows … I'm not making any promises.

You and me both. The difference is, I don't sit around saying/typing things like "Gee golly gosh, you know, garbagemen and crossing guards are the REAL heroes. Why don't we pay THEM $23 million a year?" I know it's fucking criminal how little teachers and social workers are paid in this country. I also know baseball salaries have not a fucking thing to do with that.

Anyway, my point:

My editor told me I had 8 minutes to come up with a new angle on the Fiedler signing and I'm high as hell as I'm typing this. How am I doing?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with Fielder's contract.

Admission #4.

he problem is the environment in which a $214 million contract in today's wider economic landscape is even possible. Why are we so crazy about our favorite teams that the demand for better schools or roads takes a backseat by fiscal comparison?

Like I said, he's fucking baked. Hey man, you ever thought about... what if ATHLETES paid to see US work? What if PETS owned US?

Sure, no one wants to hear and see and read about bad news all of the time. But is distracting ourselves from everyday life so critical that we'll ignore the financial solvency of the games we love is much stronger than many of the communities in which they are played?

God yes. Yes a million times. As soon as you have a way to fix the mind-bogglingly complex political, structural, monetary, racial, and sociological problems that cause cities, states, and entire countries to go broke, I'll happily tune out the sports and listen to you flap your gums. Until then shut up or write something else.

Yes, I recognize the inherent hypocrisy of a sportswriter complaining about the insane amount of money connected to the sports industry. But as I said earlier, I want to move on up like George and Weezy and cannot guarantee my crunchy granola idealism is going to make the trip. The reality is there is more than one reality. I want to make a good living so I need billions to continue to flow through sports. I also want the Tigers to continue to be successful and that comes at cost. In 2003, the Tigers lost an American League-record 119 games. This year, thanks to Fielder, we are World Series favorites.

That's probably the worst paragraph of sportswriting I've ever read. In case you couldn't identify it on your own, the worst part of all is the final sentence.

Blogger Big Shot is Huge Hypocrite.

Pic sez it all

Friday, January 27, 2012

Chairman of giant company shows JoePa mourners how giant companies placate the public after shit goes down

Nike's Phil Knight spoke at Paterno's memorial service. He delivered a message about where blame should go for the Sandusky debacle that's pure, sweet, delicious corporate PR bullshit. It's amazing.

Commenting on those events, Knight said, "it turns out (Paterno) gave full disclosure to his superiors, information that went up the chains to the head of the campus police and the president of the school.

And when they didn't do anything, Paterno's duty remained fulfilled. Nope, nothing else to do at that point. No reason to follow up , go to the cops, confront Sandusky or ban him from your facilities. Once you've talked to a few people about the problem it's time to sit back, pop a few cold ones, and unfurl the "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner.

The matter was in the hands of a world-class university, and by a president with an outstanding national reputation."

World-class universities being well known as the kind of entities that are outstanding at conducting internal investigations into important and respected members of the football program.

Knight added,

With all the empathy Tony Hayward used when discussing the Gulf oil spill,

"...this much is clear to me. If there is a villain in this tragedy, it lies in that investigation and not in Joe Paterno."

/standing ovation

You see everyone, there's no PERSON at fault here. Certainly not the person you're all here to celebrate today. No no no, this scandal is much bigger than any one identifiable human. The problem is with the system! It's the process that's really to blame for all the rape and continued enablement of rape that happened here! It's really all about the way stuff happened and specifically not the humans that let it happen. Put another way: mistakes were made, specifically not by your hero. But isn't it time for the healing to begin? Let's start that healing process by pretending like Paterno didn't do anything wrong. That'll make everyone (except the rape victims) feel better.

To be fair to Knight, he pretty much had to address the scandal in his speech at some point. And saying "Joe screwed up" would have been met with a loud barrage of gasps, boos and fainting women. But this is just comically brilliant message-shaping from a guy whose job demands that he excel at it. I hope the people in that crowd appreciate the magic they witnessed in that moment.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How about nobody writes about Joe Paterno for a while

There are way too many people out there acting like he endorsed child rape or something, people who want to brand him as only a half step worse than an actual pederast. Those tend to sensationalize the story of Paterno's passing by saying things like HOW CAN YOU CELEBRATE THE DEATH OF A GUY WHO WAS BASICALLY THE WORST PERSON EVER????? Those people are idiots.

On the other hand, people who insist that Paterno was a saint and that his gargantuan mistakes should not be held against him at all are equally idiotic and even more out of touch. Many of these people, like Ivan Maisel, have their fingers in their ears and are yelling LA LA LA 409 WINS LA LA LA CAN'T HEAR YOU. It's fucking sad.

A man's death demands that we look to his life -- not just the last 12 weeks, swollen and inflamed by the heat of the vengeful -- but 62 years of coaching young men at one university. A legacy covers more than 12 weeks.

Yeah. It covers all 62 years, the last 10 of which Paterno spent with direct knowledge of Sandusky's crimes. And yet Sandusky's access to PSU facilities was never revoked. Paterno never did more with what he was told than talk to some higher-ups and call it a day. Fuck you, Maisel, for trying to frame the problem as being one that only matters since it came to light 3 months ago. It's nearly an implication that the real tarnishing of JoePa's legacy is that Sandusky was eventually caught. "A legacy covers more than 12 weeks." Yeah, no shit it does. Fuck you.

The crimes at stake here are two clicks past heinous. Penn State, not to mention the entire State College community, mishandled the Sandusky case in a way that will haunt town and gown for many, many years. People are angry. They want a pound of flesh.

Sure. And some of that flesh should come from the guy who was in charge of the football program this whole time, don't you think?

And that anger has fueled the pumps that continue to spew vitriol at Paterno, even as the justice system in Pennsylvania continues to exonerate him.

This is the most laughable sentence in the whole article. "Has the justice system charged him with a crime? No. Conclusion: LEAVE JOE ALONE, HE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG!"

The Sandusky case has rubbed raw all of us who have children, or once were children. Paterno, the most powerful man on campus, is one more person who looked and did not see, who listened and failed to hear.

He's one of the three or four most important and powerful people who looked and did not see, who listened and failed to hear. He's not some campus security guard who heard a third hand rumor that child rape was happening somewhere on campus and failed to unearth it. He's the guy who was told who was raping someone when and didn't do anything about it. Don't try to blend everyone at PSU who isn't Sandusky into one amorphous blob of "aw shucks, we done goofed, too bad!" It's pathetic.

But it should not cancel all that came before it.

No one worth listening to is saying it should.

It should zero out neither Paterno's six decades of achievement at Penn State nor his lifetime of leadership and beneficence at the university.

Notice which one is listed first. Say Paterno is at the pearly gates right now (or whatever your mind's manifestation of a place where you get judged in some kind of afterlife is, I don't give a shit) and whoever's working the door is giving him a hard time about how he mishandled this debacle. Which do you think he's going to bring up first, that he was a good leader who shaped and improved a lot of lives, or that he was good at getting other people to be good at a fucking sport? I hate to be preachy about it. But if you're someone who's very pro Paterno and you want to defend him from his attackers/celebrate his life, you'd sure as fuckballs better not start by bringing up anything related to football.

Yet a legion of men, who know him much better than any of his critics, continues to defend him. Some are gray of hair and round of stomach, others are younger than Paterno's five children. All of them wore blue and white. They arose to stand by his side when Paterno no longer could stand up for himself. Paterno was the coach who molded them. He instilled a beacon of light to guide them in their lives. He was the man who made them men.

All of that is very good and important stuff, and it's the kind of stuff that makes Paterno someone who will probably one day be remembered more for good than bad. At the same time, no fucking shit his former players are defending him. It's not exactly a slam dunk argument-ending accomplishment to point out that the guys who were recruited by him and lived and died with him for 3 or 4 or 5 years think he's great. JUST SO YOU KNOW, HIS FAMILY KNOWS HIM BETTER THAN YOU DO AND THEY ALL STILL THINK HE'S SWELL! THAT OUGHTA TELL YOU SOMETHING RIGHT THERE!

The Sandusky scandal has revealed that Joe Paterno missed in real time what may be seen so plainly in hindsight.

It should have been plain as fucking day in real time. That's the problem here.

The scandal has cast a shadow over a brilliant coaching life.

Stop bringing that up.

The 409 victories, while record-setting, are not the full measure of the man.

Jesus fucking Christ.

The young men he left behind, the campus to which he devoted his life, a campus whose leaders shoved him aside in the panicky, feverish days after the scandal broke,

Great drive-by pot shot at those on campus who realized "Oh shit, our coach could and should have stopped a bunch of child rapes and didn't. We're going to have to fire him I think."

also give testimony to the life of Joseph Vincent Paterno.

The whole of his life renders the seismology of modern-day journalism moot.

No, it's not moot. It's one aspect of his legacy. All the good stuff he did is another aspect. As time goes on the media and public will balance them. Paterno fanboys and people who hate ugly truths can say that the pesky media's insistence on reporting the scandal is rendered moot by all the good stuff Paterno did, but fortunately they're completely wrong.

The facts of a 62-year coaching career


were shaken. They did not topple over.

No, they didn't and shouldn't topple over. On the other hand, to the extent that they were shaken, they will probably remain that way forever (as they should). And the Ivan Maisels of the world will keep sticking their heads in the sand like Bob Costas any time someone says something bad about Mickey Mantle. Fucking sad.

Wow, this was really just an angry downer of a post. Can't wait to see what Simmons writes about the Super Bowl this week. Maybe if I beg and plead with him he'll do a whole mailbag about it (and Tom Cruise, and how good he is at gambling, and how much his readers love him).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Simmons mailbag that was written a week ago? Don't mind if I do

I can't do any more TMQRs. Not this season. I'm done beating my face against that razor-sharp wall. (Sorry about the line spacing issues. Unlike Murray Chass I am not a professional blogger so I don't really know how to fix stuff like that in html.)

I wasn't planning on writing another all-NFL playoff mailbag until Nate in Phoenix sent me the following e-mail:

"Congrats on your great start in your eternal quest to go 11-0 against the spread in the playoffs. Of course, last weekend's success now means that you'll have to do a second straight all-NFL mailbag. Don't upset the applecart. You have been repeatedly warned."


Q: A thousand years from now, will people build scenes of the 2010 NFL-Draft in front of their houses just like they do with the nativity play now? In the Pittsburgh game, they played in the stadium that's closest to heaven (Mile High). Tebow threw for 316 yards. Rothlisberger's interception came on 3rd and 16. Pittsburgh's time of possession was 31 minutes and 6 seconds. Tebow's average yards per completion was 31.6. Someone named John told Tebow to pull trigger on the final TD. And Demaryius Thomas, the target for Tebow's game winner, was born on Christmas.
— Matthias Lahn, Germany

People who think like this and feel the need to point out their thoughts like this to others should be sterilized. We don't need more unclever people making unprofound observations about mildly interesting coincidences. The world is already stupid enough thanks to the [insert political party of your choice here]s!!!!!

Simmons's answer to that question is kind of funny, it's 600 words about how terrified he was of the Broncos. While it's easy for me to mock that viewpoint five days after the game took place, none of the Pats fans I know were even remotely worried about that game. I have no idea what that means but I suspect it has something to do with Simmons being a fuckass.

Q: The Saints/Lions game is happening as I'm writing this — in fact the Lions are up 14-7 with just under four minutes to play.


Game over, Saints win. Why? The camera just showed Stafford with his hat on backwards. Brim-to-the-Back Guy cannot win a Super Bowl, and I don't think there's any way Brim-to-the-Back Guy out-duels Drew Brees in the Superdome.

What a great Simmons premise. I'll bet he loves it. Hey, this has nothing to do with sports- let's break it down!

Has any Brim-to-the-Back Guy won the big game?

Roethlisberger, twice.

Some'll claim Big Ben,

They'll be right.

you can't exactly say he was the leader of those Super Bowl teams.

Aw, he already forgot his own question. Kinda feel sorry for the fella.

You've got your finger on the pulse; you've the mighty combined forces of Grantland and ESPN's crack research teams. What say you?
— Michael Keeney, Madison, WI

SG: This was such a brilliant observation


that, for about nine seconds, I thought about stealing the point entirely and pretending I never heard of Michael Keeney of Madison, Wisconsin. We don't need a crack research team for a verdict here: The only elite QB with less of a chance in a big game than Brim-to-the-Back Guy is Brim-to-the-Side Guy.

Marky Mark? Non-responsive answer that's even less interesting and relevant than the original question. Nnnnice. Quick, bring up Tom Brady!

In fact, the secret of Tom Brady's maturation into a franchise QB wasn't dropping to the sixth round; it was when he decided to stop being Brim-to-the-Back Guy, Your move, Matthew Stafford.

He's too busy banging sorority girls to care.

Q: Please stop referring to defensive backs as "d-backs." It's "db's" or "Defensive Backs." I'm sick and tired of listening to podcasts where you ramble on about how bad the "d-backs" are in the Patriots' secondary. On second thought … nevermind. Keep up the good work.
— Chris B., Sacramento

SG: Thanks, d-bag.

Pwned! Oh Chris B., how does that burn taste? Burny? It's cute how Bill flirts with his readers by making fun of them.

Q: I re-read your 2011 NFL Preview column and counted up your "Relatively Bold Predictions." You had at least one per game, and some with multiple parts, which I counted separately. By my math, you're currently 6 of 24. I'm naming you my "NFL Preseason Preview MVP."
— Alex, Centreville

SG: (Searching for a comeback.)

Oh my! Speaking of the burniest of burnsauce, there it is again! Kobe, Bill will not sleep until everyone out there realizes your probably-deserved 2010 finals MVP was not at all deserved. LOL 6 FOR 24 MORE LIKE ZERO FOR A MILLION

Q: Can we say that a top running back is no longer needed to win a Super Bowl? Here are the last 10 Super Bowl winners and their running backs:

It all adds up pretty reasonably. None of the past 10 winners had what you might call an elite RB except maybe the Patriots in 2004 with Corey Dillon or the Colts in 2006 with Joseph Addai. And Addai is a real stretch. Good point, emailer. Now quit while you're ahead.

Also, the Colts, Giants, Saints, and Packers all won the Super Bowl AFTER losing Edgerrin James, Tiki Barber, Deuce McAllister, and Ryan Grant. Does this make the case that having a top running back, if you are a contender for the Super Bowl, actually hurts your chances?
— Brian R, Dubai

You are the stupidest person alive and I hope you wander into the Arabian Desert and disappear forever.

Q: I just read your newest mailbag. I was disappointed because I spent most of it reading the bold text. You are an excellent and intelligent writer.

Heh heh heh

Your readers, typically, are not.

Boy, I'll say!

I would like to hear more from you and less from them.

Can I interest you in a podcast featuring Bill and his friends guessing point spreads?

Please consider my concerns.
Sincerely, Finney.
— Finney, Clemson

The ironing is delicious.

SG: I'm guessing Finney didn't enjoy the last few e-mails. And for the record — the mailbag is my favorite column to write and has been since 1997. So there.


Q: An idea for the 18-game schedule: each team plays 18 games, but (except for kickers and punters), no player can play in more than 16 games during the regular season. And this should be strongly enforced — if a player plays in even one play in a game, that [truncated for stupidity]

Your weekly solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

Q: Every mailbag I find myself hoping I can make it through without you incorporating the term "nodding" in some way, shape, or form into your response. I have yet to come across someone who overuses "nodding" as much as you. Perhaps for the new year you can find a new phrase to express yourself with (you used "nodding" in the the first mailbag of 2012 — i was holding out out hope it would be "nodding" free, but it's never too late to change, heck, just put it to bed for a month even!). If you do this, I will "nod approvingly." Thanks.
— Edward R., Washington DC

My God. This man needs a job, several hobbies, and some recreational drugs.

The mailbag ends after he makes his picks; no "Yup, these are my WACKY readers!" emails. While I think that probably makes the column better, I kind of missed reading some chode's sex story that almost certainly didn't happen. I WAS BANGING TWO MODELS, I LOOK OUT MY BEDROOM WINDOW, AND THAY-UH'S JON FACKIN' LESTAH, WALKIN' HIS UNICAWRN! I'm also worried about Amy from Jacksonville. How is that poor made-up woman going to know that the mailbag is over?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fucking idiot thinks Alex Smith should have made fucking idiotic play

Mike Florio, peddler of ridiculously misguided moral indignation, guy who has the reading comprehension skills of a 5th grader, the floor is yours.

While perusing Peter King’s always-indispensable Monday Morning Quarterback column,

MMQB is completely dispensable (unless you're looking for discussion of designer coffee, the Red Sox, fruit-flavored beer, and The Office). Big Daddy Drew's writeup of MMQB is indispensable (if you like to laugh).

I remembered a point that got lost in the frenzy of weekend football action.

This point got lost because anyone who tried to make it in front of the people they watched the game with was immediately laughed out of the room.

The thrilling finish we enjoyed on Saturday shouldn’t have happened.

In MMQB, King takes a great look at the bowling-ball block from 49ers tackle Joe Staley on Saints safety Isa Abdul-Quddus that cleared the final portion of Alex Smith’s path to the end zone for a 28-yard go-ahead touchdown run.

Really, King's writeup had little to do with the point Florio's trying to make. He just wanted to do some networking during his post by posting a link to King's column. Coincidentally (OR IRONICALLY?????), King himself constantly networks within his columns, although I can't recall him networking with Florio at any point. Probably because Florio stinks, big time.

But Smith arguably

Florio loves misusing "arguably." Unfortunately, there is nothing arguable about what Smith did on the play Florio's about to address.

should have gone Brian Westbrook, taking a knee at the one with 2:11 to play. (And, yes, 2:11 was left on the clock when Westbrook infamously sacrificed a touchdown.)


The clock would have trickled to two minutes, the Saints had only one timeout, and the Niners would have been able to milk the clock under 40 seconds before kicking what would have been the game-winning field goal.

Game winning field goal, huh? Well that settles it. Good thing that hypothetical field goal that would have gone through the uprights at :38ish would have won the game. The TD "drive" highlighted by the Jimmy Graham catch and run that the Saints put together in real life after the Smith TD took :34. But a game winning field goal is a game winning field goal, so I guess it wouldn't have mattered if the Saints had scored that TD or a similar one after the hypothetical FG. The game would already have been won.

Instead, the 49ers left the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees way too much time — and Brees took full advantage of it. Fortunately for the 49ers, Brees took too much advantage of it.

Looks like the Pro Football Talk editor had MLK day off.

Instead of having to pull the latest Dwight Clark/Terrell Owens rabbit out of their hats, the 49ers merely should have had to keep the Saints from scoring a field goal with roughly 30 seconds on the clock.

Something they doubtless would have done, except for the fact that the Saints scored a TD in roughly 30 seconds in that same situation in the real game. In a tie game, and if you're going to be able to run the clock down to :01 before the kick so that the worst case scenario is overtime, I say don't score the TD. In all other situations, you've got a lane to the end zone, fucking take it or risk being labeled the second biggest asshole in sports history after that one guy who returned the fumble the wrong direction and threw it out the side of the end zone.

Florio's post in its entirety should have read: "Remember that time Westbrook took a knee instead of scoring because doing so meant the game was over as long as Philly didn't fumble any of the next three snaps? Alex Smith wasn't in nearly that same situation on Saturday, but still, that Westbrook play was awesome."

PS- the Cardinals arguably should have let the Rangers score more runs in the game 7 of the WS, because then they could have produced a more memorable finish if they came back to win.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dear Bill, Please print my question, you're the best, I heart you, we're equally insufferable

I tried to use <3 instead of the word heart in the title, and Blogger thought I was trying to write in html and crashed. Well then. You learn something new every day. Anyways Bill did a mailbag last week. His mailbag columns are a special kind of Hindenberg, because they give him a chance to show off to his readers just how much his readers love him and think like him. I'm about to take several cheap shots at the people who had their emails published. I do this not because I think it's funny or worth my time to pick on these chuckleheads (although that may well be the case) but because their emails are just an extension of everything that makes Bill Bill. He has millions (or perhaps even thousands or hundreds) of emails from which to choose when he's throwing these things together. And he always picks people who write like him, think like him, and care more about which "The Bachelorette" contestant teams are like than what's actually going on in sports. Sure, a mailbag column looks a lot like a two way exchange, but in this case it's really just Bill talking to himself.

Ahhhhhh, Round 1 of the playoffs. My annual dream to finish 11-0 against the spread.

He's actually off to a 4-0 start (and correctly picked all four winners). He was also seven games under .500 during the regular season. Always sad when you're worse at picking against the spread than a round piece of metal with a president on one side and a building on the other.

My beloved Patriots getting a much-needed week off. Four games in 28 hours.

Madness! It's like a normal regular season Sunday-Monday, but a few hours shorter!

What's better than this?

Conference championship weekend? The first four days of March Madness? The MLB playoffs? The World Cup? Actually we shouldn't count the World Cup since it only happens every four years (BUT FIFA AND THE IOC ARE INSANE IF THEY DON'T CHANGE THAT TO EVERY THREE! JUST LOOK AT THE SITUATION NOW, IT'S BROKEN! MY DAUGHTER WANTS TO WATCH SPORTS SHE DOESN'T CARE ABOUT 33% MORE OFTEN!).

To celebrate, should we bang out an all-football mailbag before diving into the Week 1 playoff picks? I'm on the fence.

Should I spend a few hours fawning over myself, offering dumb ideas to fix things that aren't broken, and recycling the same jokes I've been using for a decade? I dunno, I've got a lot of other shit to do today.

Let's take one or two e-mails from readers and see how it goes.


Q: I was in a meeting this week where the head hancho wanted to chew some people out and burn them.

This email sounds shopped. Or written by a complete douchegobbler.

What did he say? He said, "Sit down fellas, it's about to get crispy!" can we turn "It's about to get crispy" into an everyday saying?
— Michael S., Chicago

Mmmm. Douchegobbler it is.

SG: Great start. Really strong. Just need a little more prodding and we should be good.

"That sounds like something obnoxiously unclever I would say."

Q: Heard you talking on your podcast about adding a second bye week in the NFL (instead of going to an 18-game schedule). Here's my twist: for both bye weeks, EVERY team would be off. Not only would it eliminate the advantage of some teams having better bye weeks than others, but we could call them "Save the Marriage" weekends. Or, we could make a mandatory rule that all weddings would have to be scheduled for those 2 weekends only.

— Mike T., Danville

I can't tell which aspect of Mike's email is more embarrassing: the "It's the end of my world when I can't watch football every Sunday" angle, or the "Wish us fellas could do something about these darn wives of ours, always nagging us and ruining our fun! We're totally incapable of simply talking it out with them and reaching a compromise, so excuse me while I propose a solution that involves NFL executives fixing the problem for us!" angle.

SG: As much as I love the idea of "Save the Marriage" weekend … I mean … no football on Sunday? Come on. That's a little overboard. Allow me to tweak your idea: 18-week schedule, two bye weeks per team … but we'd have to pick one Sunday in October, November and December with a shortened schedule (maybe 12 teams get a bye), then everyone else plays in games starting at 4 p.m. EST or later. Couldn't that work as three pseudo-"Save the Marriage" days? Hey honey, you have me until 3:45 today! What are we doing?

UH OH! THE OL' BALL AND CHAIN IS ON MY CASE AGAIN! Gonna have to spend some time with her I guess. Shucks! Marriage is hard! If only I had communication skills and the ability to stand up for myself!


Q: Doesn't Tim Tebow remind you of Tom Cruise? There's a hyper, uber-personality to both. They're both devoted to small, intense religions (Scientology and the Church of Bob Tebow),


yet we know very little about what goes on in both religions. Neither person seems quite "normal."

No celebrity seems normal, you fucking clod.

It's almost like both are acting and saying things that they expect real humans would do and say.

Tebow and the hype tornado that follows him everywhere he goes are a lot of things--(often) insufferable among them. But I really don't get a disingenuous vibe from him. Of course, Adam in Tampa's whole point here is not to say anything intelligent or profound but to get published in the mailbag. Accomplishing this goal sometimes requires a reader to write a question involving a celebrity and an athlete and just kind of making things up as he goes along. YUP THESE ARE BILL'S READERS.

Their careers don't really make any sense anymore, yet they're still considered successful.

In what way does Cruise's career not make sense? He was a sort of rich movie star. Now he's a really rich movie star. You are saying nothing at all while talking about famous people. This question sure as hell sounds shopped as well.

Their fans are cult-like in their devotion and their inability to question either.

Who are the cultishly devoted Cruise fans? Teenage girls in the late 80s?

Oh, and they're probably both repress—
— Adam, Tampa


SG: I'm stopping you right there. Great call with Tebow and Cruise, although you could have added that (a) they both have names that sound like they were made up in a Hollywood pitch meeting; (b) they make the same face when they're running; (c) Cruise's euphorically over-the-top performance as the cornerback in All the Right Moves was a dead ringer for Tebow's euphorically over-the-top performance for the 2011 Broncos;

Holy shit, how are we still talking about this? I would rather listen to Skip Bayless talk about Tebow for a day straight than keep reading this.

Q: We all know that Tom Cruise runs in all his movies.

Grantland: for people who can't get enough Tom Cruise.

He runs aggressively and earnestly. There are countless youtube montages of him running. In MI4:GP (Imax) he outran an exploding Kremlin. But, how fast is Tom Cruise? He's obviously in great shape and does his own stunts, so he can't be slow … but he's also 5'6", so he has short legs. Still, I argue that he's actually really fast. Like a former DI defensive back who's now 50 fast. Not necessarily NFL fast, but still fast. Is there an answer to this?

Code for "I'm as vapid as you are, can you publish this please?"

How disappointing would it be to find out he was actually just average speed?

Not disappointing in any way, shape, or form?

— Max, NYC

SG: You can't answer this question without stumbling into a larger debate that has vexed Cruise fans for decades …

Someone shoot me in the heart.

Is Tom Cruise a good athlete?

Yes, that's what those late 80s teen girls were all worried about.

Here's my take: You know those short guys in high school who stayed in great shape, played D-back in football, served as a co-captain for the wrestling team, tried really hard with everything they did … and yet, if you played hoops with them, they were all over the place?

YES! EXACTLY! No. He might as well have said "Did you go to high school with me? Remember Chas MacGonaghcle, the short athletic guy who wrestled and played football and tried hard but sucked at basketball? Threw up at that one dance? Him."

That's Cruise. That means he probably topped out at a 4.9 in high school, maybe a 4.85 in college, a 5.0 in his 30s, and now, probably something in the 5.3 range, only every time he finishes the 40, it seems like he did it faster than that (only he didn't).

This answer, I shit you not, goes on for three more paragraphs. It's the longest one in the mailbag. My brain is bleeding just from explaining to you that it exists.

Q: Is Tommy Boy more or less funny now because he was trying to save the town of Sandusky, OH? If find it less funny now, in light of the sullying of the name of Sandusky?

— Jeff H., Mableton, GA

Everyone who's seen the movie already made that connection. None except you asked whether it affected how funny the movie is, because that's idiotic.

SG: Here's how I know it's less funny — i am typing so fast tht i don't even care aobut misspellings b/c I wnt to get away from this qeustion so badly.

I love it when Bill meta-writes. Great bit. Lofty bit. Magical bit.

Not bothering to include the question for this one. The answer is all you need.

SG: I still can't believe the NBA failed in San Diego. If I were an evil kajillionaire, I'd build a state-of-the-art NBA arena downtown — only 10,000 seats, suited specifically for basketball — almost like a killer college hoops arena but with a few more suites —

Yeah, with as wild as Chargers and Padres fans are, I'm sure you'd have no trouble packing the place some of the time if the team was playing well.

and steal someone else's NBA team and rename it "The San Diego Zoo."

Oops, nevermind, that's a worse mascot than Padres.

What marquee free agent wouldn't want to play for the San Diego Zoo? Who has a better chance of getting Dwight Howard next summer — the Milwaukee Bucks or the San Diego Zoo?

Maybe the most Simmons thing Simmons has ever Simmonsed out of his Simmonshole.

Q: After watching my Broncos somehow (painfully) back into the playoffs, I had a thought: What if teams could trade their playoff spot? Here's how it would work: any team that makes it to the playoffs with a .500 record or worse would be eligible to trade their playoff spot to any team in their own conference in exchange for that team's first round pick. The cost of the spot goes up (truncated for dumbness)

This is the worst idea I've ever heard, and the NFL playoffs might be the Platonic ideal of something that is not broken and doesn't require fixing.

— Brett, Bentonville, Ar

Like I said, he chooses people who talk and think like him. "Lakers send Kobe to the Thunder. Thunder send Westbrook, cash, a protected first rounder in 2019 and some socks to the Hawks. Hawks send Josh Smith and some scratch tickets to Philly. Philly sends Iguodala and an unprotected first rounder in 2031 to the Lakers. WHO SAYS NO? WHO HANGS UP THE PHONE? I SPENT 45 MINUTES CONCOCTING THIS ON THE TRADE MACHINE, SOMEONE VALIDATE MY EXISTENCE NOW."

SG: I can't. I really love this idea,

Of course you do, you don't give a shit about sports.

If the Eagles want Denver's Round 1 AFC home game, they can trade for it.

Why not? WHO SAYS NO?

Anyway, I threw this idea at my buddy Gus — a lifelong Broncos fan — who texted me back in 1.993 seconds, "Yes. I make that trade. We have no chance this year but good pieces. Draft picks would help us build."

Surprise among surprises that Bill is friends with someone like Gus. I especially like his revelation that if this atrocious idea ever came to pass and the Broncos could obtain draft picks in exchange for their playoff spot, those draft picks, stay with me now, tell me to slow down if you need more explanation, would help the team build.

Q: The best part of reading your mailbags was scrolling to the bottom to see what nutjob earned the last place spot and was granted the infamous, "Yup, these are my readers!" tagline. Why did it randomly disappear? Has your new fancy website changed you that much already? How am I supposed to know when the mailbag is over now?
— Amy, Jacksonville

Well, a good hint might be if your browser window won't scroll down any further and you've already read all the words on the screen. Another indication that it's coming to an end is if the questions stop asking about Tom Cruise and start including obviously fabricated sex stories. Anyways, if it is seen here in its entirety, this is my favorite Simmons mailbag submission of all time. I doubt this could ever be topped. Look at it, it's perfect. It fawns over Simmons, references a lame bit of his, and contains a proclamation that the person who wrote it only ever read the mailbag to enjoy that bit. And then it ends. Just like my patience for this nonsense.