Sunday, February 12, 2012

MMTMQR: Gregg ends the season about as well as Tom Brady did HEY-OHHH

A fair assessment of Brady's overall performance in the playoffs and the Super Bowl? A timely joke given that I'm finally getting around to writing this on Sunday night? No and no. Well, no and maybe. Also, before I dive into this crap, big ups to reader James B. He's one of the six people out there still regularly checking in (and sent me an email to that effect), so I owe him a shout out. Yes I know no one else reading this cares. Man, I feel like Peter King right now.

It would be easy to say New England's nemesis is the Giants -- but Lady Luck has been as big a factor for the most accomplished football team of the 21st century. Whenever a football game ends with a margin of less than a touchdown, the contest might have gone either way based on a bounce of the ball.

Worst possible starting point for analysis. Worst. Wurst. Blurst. Blurworst.

In New England's three Super Bowl victories, the critical bit of luck favored the Patriots. In New England's two Super Bowl loses, the critical bit of luck favored the Giants.

Put on your aluminum foil hats, everyone. Keep the brainwaves flowing so you can comprehend the nothingness coming off of this simpleton's keyboard. "If a game is close, basically we can just boil it down to luck and call it a day. ALSO, CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW UNREALISTIC BABYLON 5 WAS?"

Consider:

In the 2002 Super Bowl against the St. Louis Rams, New England was outgained by 160 yards. But Rams quarterback Kurt Warner had an unblocked rusher in his face and short-armed a pass that Ty Law cut in front of and returned for a touchdown. New England went on to a three-point victory.

Great defensive gameplanning and playcalling? Luck, because on this one specific play it just so happened that the right defenders were in the right places to generate a defensive TD. Another hugely lucky play from recent Super Bowl history: the pick six by Nick Collins in the first quarter of last year's Super Bowl (he just as easily could have run the wrong way for a safety after catching the Roethlisberger pass!).

In the 2004 Super Bowl against the Carolina Panthers, the Panthers tied the score with 1:08 remaining. But the Panthers' place-kicker honked the kickoff, which went out of bounds. Taking possession on their 40, the Patriots moved into position for the winning field goal just ere the clock struck midnight.

But the Patriots outgained the Panthers in that game. Those lucky Panthers were lucky they had a chance to win the luckiest game in the history of luck.

Midway through the 2005 Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles, New England safety Eugene Wilson went out injured, which sent a rookie into the game. But the Eagles' coaching staff did not realize there was a backup at safety until about five minutes remained.

And Reid? Shitty in-game coach? NEVER.

Then the Eagles, who had only one receiver per side most of the second half, lined up with double wides and ran a deep post at the new defender -- touchdown. The Patriots held on to win by three. Had Philadelphia attacked the novice safety earlier, the outcome could have been different.

Still not luck. Good fortune, perhaps, or more accurately a reflection of complete dumbassery on the part of your opponent. It's worth noting that he's probably completely bullshitting about this whole situation; sort of like how according to Gregg, if you watch any play in which someone scored a touchdown, there were AT LEAST seven defenders STANDING AROUND DOING NOTHING AT ALL!

In the 2008 Super Bowl versus the Giants, perhaps you have heard about a long catch a Jersey/A player made against his helmet. New England lost by three.

Yes, that is actually luck. Or at least a much better example of it than "the Patriots called a successful blitz which led to a duck of a pass which was picked off- it's just like winning the lottery!"

And with four minutes remaining in Sunday's Super Bowl, Wes Welker, among the most reliable receivers in football annals, dropped a pass that would have put New England in position to ice the game. New England went on to lose by four.

Welker's drop was 10% of the reason that play didn't work. Brady's awful throw was the other 90%. The dearth of analysts willing to confront that reality doesn't surprise me, but does disappoint me. One of the few I've seen who acknowledge it? None other than Simmons (probably because he's decided that Brady IS NAWT A TRUE BAWSTONIAN and used Brady as a whipping boy in his pity party wrap-up column).

In many aspects of life, luck is a bigger factor than we care to admit.

Watch out, here comes social scientist Gregg! He's only marginally less of a stumpfucker than football analyst Gregg.

We want to think some become rich and others poor based on merit, not luck.

And what's up with Jews getting rich off of violent movies? HAVE THEY NO SHAME?

We want to think some teams win and others lose because the winner "deserved" laurels.

Which is very, very often the case.

In a 20-point football win, the winner did deserve to win. In games that come down to the final snap, either team might have prevailed: luck calls the ultimate shot.

(Holding my head in my hands, considering pulling out my hair.)

TMQ praises the "all-unwanted NFL player who was undrafted or waived or both, yet never gives up. Eleven undrafted free agents started in the Super Bowl, versus 10 first-round draft choices.

Those GLORY BOY failures! Nevermind that at any given point in time, there are only maybe 150-200 1st round picks on rosters in the entire league, versus hundreds and hundreds more undrafted players. Titillating news flash for everyone, from the brain of football savant Gregg: sometimes, 1st round draft choices flame out. Other times guys who didn't get drafted, perhaps because they were injured their senior year of college, succeed in the NFL. You're welcome.

Undrafted Chase Blackburn made the game's most important play;

First overall pick Eli Manning and 3rd round draft choice Mario Manningham made the game's most important play.

Blackburn wasn't even on an NFL roster this season until Thanksgiving. Undrafted Victor Cruz from Division I-AA Massachusetts scored a touchdown,

He's now asking to be highly paid. TRAITOR!

undrafted Danny Woodhead from Division II Chadron State scored a touchdown. No first-round draft choice scored a touchdown.

Riveting stuff. Very valuable information, from which you can draw tons of non-worthless conclusions. Such as: getting rid of first round picks is the key to reaching the Super Bowl. And: Gregg Easterbrook's brain must rattle around the inside of his skull if he walks too quickly.

If not Lady Luck, did the football gods determine Sunday's outcome?

Nope!

This being the season of Roman numerals,

What?

I will state my view in the Roman tongue, with thanks to Josh Rasmussen, a Latin teacher at Bishop Dunne Catholic School in Dallas:

Caelicoli mortales puniunt, nam eos desidera paene adipisci sinunt; tum demum haec eripiunt. Di pilae calciatae New England Patriots semper punient, dum Bill Belichick se in Spygate fefellisse confiteatur.

Still not as pretentious as the "Wacky Wine of the Week" bit he ran a few times.

Brady looked deep and saw Rob Gronkowski, with the most touchdowns in the NFL this season, streaking deep with no safety in sight, covered only by undrafted linebacker Chase Blackburn. Watching at Lucas Oil, I thought when Brady escaped the rush and spied Gronkowski, the Patriots were about to make the deciding play. Brady heave-hoed -- just as Jason Pierre-Paul hit him hard. The ball was underthrown, Blackburn intercepted and the momentum swung to the Giants. Sweet.

LUCK! IT WAS ALL LUCK!

Think about the coaching situation. New England had a two-point lead and faced second-and-11 on the Jersey/A 44 with 4:06, the Giants already down to one timeout. Two straight incompletions stopped the clock, keeping Jersey/A alive. On the downs that became the Welker and Branch incompletions, had New England simply rushed for no gain, Jersey/A would have gotten the ball back on its 12 with one timeout and less than three minutes. Maybe the Giants would have won anyway,

Well yeah, seeing as how their game winning TD drive took 2:49, I'm pretty fucking sure the whole "just run up the middle for no gain!" thing wouldn't have made a difference here. Not that it ever does. How fast must Gregg's heart be pounding when a team runs up the middle with an undrafted/unwanted RB like Woodhead? I feel dirty just thinking about it.

but the situation on the Jersey/A sideline would have been more tense.

Yeah, it would have gone from a 9.7 to a 9.9 on a 1 to 10 scale.

Yes, the New England offense is good at completing passes. But Belichick's disdain for the rush

"Yes, this team has built its wildly successful offense around a historically great QB and his high percentage passing game for a decade now. BUT STILL, THREE YARDS AND A CLOUD OF DUST DERP DERPY DERP"

hurt the team in a Super Bowl clock-killer situation. The Giants' defense had its linebackers backed off, expecting pass, on both downs.

Shame on you, Perry Fewell! You should refuse your ring and give your SB bonus check to Victor Cruz!

And on procedurals, the police always catch the bad guy. Actually a significant number of homicides are never solved, while most burglaries never even lead to an arrest. Of course, procedurals are just Hollywood nonsense.

These are just three sentences from a 4000+ word rant (I copied and pasted it into Word just to verify the length) in this column about how unrealistic CSI-type shows are. Words fail me, and they will fail you should you choose to read it. He sounds like Keith Law complaining about Moneyball, noting that actual police work is much less exciting than it's portrayed on TV. Wouldn't advertisers line up around the block to sponsor a show that features cops mindlessly searching a crime scene for clues that probably don't exist, and then filling out mountains of paperwork?

Final State Standings: Tuesday Morning Quarterback's annual State Standings are based on the states in which teams actually play: Maryland teams are the Ravens and Redskins, and so on. California, Pennsylvania and Texas, traditional football hotbed states, finished a respectable 69-48; the other traditional football hotbed states, Florida and Ohio, limped in at 28-53. The year's Super Bowl was held in the state that finished last in the State Standings.

Wisconsin: 15-2

Massachusetts: 15-4

Louisiana: 14-4

Pennsylvania: 20-13

California: 30-20

New Jersey: 21-15

Georgia: 10-7

Michigan: 10-7

Texas: 19-15

Tennessee: 9-7

Maryland: 18-16

Colorado 9-9

Arizona 8-8

Illinois 8-8

Washington: 7-9

Ohio: 13-20

North Carolina: 6-10

New York: 6-10

Florida: 15-33

Missouri: 9-23

Minnesota: 3-13

Indiana: 2-14

Anybody learn anything from that? (Waits for nodding.) (Sees none.) (Nods in approval.)

Plus ca Change, Plus C'est la Meme Chose: Only 13 of the 44 starters were the same as when the Patriots and Giants met in the Super Bowl four years ago; three of the four coordinators had changed, too.

If you are surprised or fascinated by that, you either don't follow the NFL at all or are Peter King.

Super Bowl Postscripts: Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride elaborately warmed up on the field pregame, including doing standing and prone hurdlers' stretches. Do you need to be warm and loose to call passes?

How dare he enjoy that moment!

Reader Mike Jones of Indianapolis notes, "If Tom Brady's career was happening in reverse, the way Merlin lived going backward in time, the media would be saying right now that Brady just can't win the big game."

Someone in Indianapolis key that guy's car please.

New England was the home team of record, meaning its choice of what to wear. Belichick chose the teams' blues -- the same color New England was wearing when it lost to the Giants in their previous Super Bowl meeting. OK, sports superstitions lack a certain factual grounding.

You have to be fucking kidding me. You. Of all people. In this column. No fucking way.

But New England could have opted to wear its whites.

The Giants are super lucky they didn't!

As usual, I recommend you employ the offseason to engage in spiritual growth. Take long walks. Exercise more and eat less. Perform volunteer work. Appreciate the beauty of nature. Attend worship services of any faith. Read, mediate, serve others. Do these things, and you will feel justified in racing back to the remote, the swimsuit calendars and the microbrews when the football artificial universe resumes in the autumn.

First of all, I don't think anyone is racing (or racing back) to swimsuit calendars in August/September. That aside, I will agree to do all those things during the next six months as long as you agree to do one: try to learn a single fucking thing about how football is played. Kthx.

10 comments:

jacktotherack said...

"In the 2002 Super Bowl against the St. Louis Rams, New England was outgained by 160 yards. But Rams quarterback Kurt Warner had an unblocked rusher in his face and short-armed a pass that Ty Law cut in front of and returned for a touchdown. New England went on to a three-point victory."

Could that unblocked rusher have been caused by GASP...A MEGA BLITZ??

Biggus Rickus said...

I call it 50-50 on the Welker play. The pass wasn't great, but he went up and had both hands on it with nobody near him. But whatever. There were other much more egregious drops. Aside from the safety, I thought Brady played well. If that offense had any real weapons at receiver or running back they'd have probably won.

Jack M said...

In the 2004 Super Bowl against the Carolina Panthers, the Panthers tied the score with 1:08 remaining. But the Panthers' place-kicker honked the kickoff, which went out of bounds. Taking possession on their 40, the Patriots moved into position for the winning field goal just ere the clock struck midnight.

If the Panthers run up the middle for no-gain instead of throwing an incomplete pass during the 3rd quarter, the game goes to overtime.

Also, using Greggg's ever changing rubric for what constitutes "unwanted," Maningham could easily be labeled as such because he was one of the best wr's and went much later then he probably should have. Don't mind the fact that it had to do with a failed drug test or that Maningham went to football factory Michigan.

Tim N said...

I'm too lazy to check, but did Greggg actually recommend we "mediate" during the offseason?

Alex said...

Please can someone write about the stupidity of correlating and/or conflating "number of championships to Hall of Fame worthiness?" Anyone?

Absolute assfuckery if you ask me.

No fucking way is Eli better than Peyton (or Warner for that matter because he was right in his assessment about Eli) just because he won more titles.

Fucking makes me want to break my Whitney Houston records if I owned any.

Alex said...

Shoulda opened with "Can someone please..." Meh.

Biggus Rickus said...

I think titles should be taken into consideration for borderline cases, but they should definitely not be the focus for HOF worthiness. In Eli's case, if he keeps producing as he has for the last three years for another six or seven, he'll have a solid case, and the titles will probably push him over finish line.

CHart said...

Eli will never be an ELITE quarterback in the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE.

Alex said...

Those better be some monster seasons BR because an 82% passer rating just ain't good enough.

Larry B said...

Tim- anything you see in bold was copied and pasted, not transcribed. That is indeed a funny typo.