We turn now to Gregg's AFC preview. BUT WAIT! First, more anti-Christopher Nolan contrarianism from the sports media's most outspoken critic of a series of movies that's as universally loved by both audiences and critics as any in the last several decades. BUT THOSE MOVIES ARE SO UNREALISTIC (more on that later)!
There have been 11 Batman theatrical-release films, beginning in 1943 and ranging from super-straight to camp to semi-serious to preposterous to the recent dark, brooding iterations. At the end of last season, Tuesday Morning Quarterback promised to reveal his favorite Bat-flick.
What a tease that was! Holy shit, move over, "Who Shot J.R."
It's "Mask of the Phantasm," the sole theatrical-release cartoon in the series.
BWAHAHAHAHAH (not that I've seen it, but come the fuck on)
"Mask of the Phantasm" hit theaters on Christmas Day 1993, and promptly bombed, though it enjoyed a second life as a cult hit on VCR
Cartoons: known for their realistic and not at all fake or synthesized voices.
Other roles in "Mask of the Phantasm" are voiced by Dana Delaney, who in 1993 could smolder even if you couldn't actually see her,
Gregg thinks cartoon chicks are hot. Gross.
Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker),
Have you ever noticed how fake and synthesized Darth Vader's voice was? Dealbreaker for that whole
series of movies if you ask me. Also, we're just supposed to believe that spaceships can go faster than the speed of light? I'm pretty sure it's scientifically established that you can't do that. YOU SUCK GEORGE LUCAS BOOOOO
Stacy Keach, Efrem Zimbalist and Abe Vigoda. Delaney's character is first a love interest, then foe, then a vital ally for Batman: the formula for the Anne Hathaway character in "Dark Knight Rises."
And for like every chick in every Bond movie ever, and thousands of other mysterious female roles throughout movie history.
In Tuesday Morning Quarterback news, all good things must end. Two perennial items are being retired,
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! BRING BACK WACKY WINE OF THE WEEK!
or at least put into storage to be curated by future historians of sports columns: Christmas Creep
BUT IT HAD SO MUCH UTILITY! AND WAS NEVER REPETITIVE!
and Cheerleader of the Week.
WHERE ELSE ON THE INTERNET WILL I FIND PICTURES OF ATTRACTIVE WOMEN?
In a mere decade, Christmas creep as a social phenomenon has gone from outrageous to common to all but required by federal law.
Over that same span of time, the people who enjoy pointing it out have gone from not interesting to even less interestinger.
The amusement value of noting Christmas creep has
The Unified Field Theory of Creep item will continue.
Whew! I was worried we were getting rid of ALL the worthless horseshit clutter in this column!
A decade ago, when TMQ began the Cheerleader of the Week item, many people didn't realize that NFL team websites were posting photos of scantily clad gorgeous women,
The median age of this group of people was 84.
and selling bikini calendars. Now everyone knows that.
Everyone continues to be very uncomfortable with the mini-scripts Gregg likes to write in which the cheerleader of the week leads a cheer related to her full time profession. OOH HOW CLEVER! SHE'S A TEACHER, SO HE'S PRETENDING SHE IS CHEERING HER STUDENTS TO GOOD TEST RESULTS! (He also pointed out that by being a cheerleader and a teacher, she's fulfilling two common male fantasies! CHEEKY!)
But now that many sports websites run NFL cheerleader photos -- usually just cheesecake pics, with the woman not even identified --
FOR SHAME, BLEACHER REPORT! THESE WOMEN SHOULD BE TREATED WITH RESPECT! I DEMAND TO KNOW THEIR NAME, FAVORITE BAND, AND FAVORITE PART ABOUT BEING A BUFFALO JILL!
TMQ's take is no longer distinctive.
Holy shit, you thought that giving readers the cheerleader of the week's name and profession made your take "distinctive?" Gregg may be a dunce, but he's usually not noticeably full of himself like this.
That I did it better doesn't matter.
Since NFL cheerleaders are part of the entertainment -- pretty dancing girls have a long history in entertainment, at least as far back as vaudeville -- the cheerleaders will continue to be discussed and shown, as circumstances merit. Just no more regular items.
I like the way he's explaining this in explicit detail, let we really need to know the specifics of his "post pictures of cheerleaders" policy. Then again, people are fucking idiots, so I suppose if he said he was discontinuing cheerleader of the week but then posted a picture of a cheerleader in a subsequent column, he's get like 500 emails that said DUR U SAID NO MOAR CHEERBABEZ, U R A LYER and I can't fault him for wanting to avoid that.
Why do the Ravens sputter in January? TMQ's journalist pal Jim Fallows speaks of the Dull Ray, an evil ray gun that editors fire at interesting stories to make them dull.
Why do the Giants have New England's number in the Super Bowl? Let me tell you a story about my journalist friend and his vivid imagination.
Baltimore coaches seem to possess a Dull Ray, and they fire it at Ravens game plans in the postseason.
Baltimore's AFC title game loss last January: 36 passes and 31 runs.
During the fall, the Nevermores perform with swagger and take risks.
You know, having read his columns these last two weeks, I'm starting to feel like football season is here again. But it wasn't until I read that sentence and was reminded of his utterly thoughtless "taking more risks is always better for every team in every scenario ever" stance that I really could picture the leaves changing color and falling off the trees and imagine the crisp fall breeze blowing against my skin.
In the 2011 season opener versus Pittsburgh, gaining a 27-7 lead to start the third quarter, the Ravens went for the 2-point conversion and iced the contest.
That was the key to their victory! Not the 20 point lead they already had!
Fortune favors the bold!
It sure does, on occasion, and fortunate also sometimes favors playing conservatively!
But when January rolls around, Baltimore goes into a shell.
Examples? Support? No? Super.
Does Coach Harbaugh/East get the yips when the pressure is on?
I like how that's phrased as a question, in the same way tabloids phrase damaging accusations about celebrities as questions to avoid libel suits. Did Craig James kill five hookers while at SMU? (James, of course, being the least sympathetic "celebrity" to ever fall victim to that dirty tactic.)
Maybe a moved-franchise curse is at play.
Great point. Also, maybe a "teams that wear purple" curse is at play. Maybe a "teams that play in Maryland" curse is at play. Maybe I will start shitting gold bricks tomorrow. Let's not rule out any possibilities.
Reader Jay Lenrow of Baltimore notes, "The Baltimore Colts had an iconic quarterback named Johnny Unitas and the Indianapolis Colts had an iconic quarterback named Peyton Manning. Both were released by members of the Irsay family. The football gods don't like that sort of thing."
Except for the fact that the Baltimore Colts are not the same franchise as the Baltimore Ravens, and Indianapolis Colts won a Super Bowl after releasing Unitas, and Manning was released after the 2012 postseason so that wouldn't have anything to do with anything that has happened to the Ravens in the playoffs in the last 5 or so years if curses did exist, and to the extent that Baltimore Colts could have left behind a curse for the Ravens to assume, the Ravens have ALSO won a Super Bowl since Unitas, yeah, I think that guy might be onto something. He is onto one thing, though: in order to get published in a TMQ column, all you have to do is send him an email blaming something bad that happened to a team on a curse that is the result of a different team having done something 35 years earlier. Jay from Baltimore: throw yourself off the highest building you can find, please.
Buffalo Bills: The Bills may have paid too much for Mario Williams, who is good-not-great with 53 sacks in six seasons, and has not been a star since 2008.
He went to the Pro Bowl after the 2009 season. Not that Pro Bowls are the perfect indicator of stardom, but since Greggggg is the kind of guy who seems to place a pretty heavy emphasis on number of sacks (Williams was averaging one per game before getting hurt last season, btw, if you think sacks are the end all be all statistic for an OLB/DE), you'd think he'd also care a lot about Pro Bowl appearances.
But Buffalo may benefit from overpaying for Williams, because his signing added a sense of excitement to the season.
That's just good solid management right there. Team sucks? Fans disgruntled? Best thing to do:
overpay for a free agent! Also, let's not forget that Williams is a high-drafted GLOREE BOY who has NEVER BEEN CUT.
The Bills' run of 11 years without a playoff appearance is worst in the NFL, and during much of that time they seemed content to lose on the cheap, cutting costs and pocketing the guaranteed network money. This offseason, Buffalo spent freely on Williams and Mark Anderson. Plus late in the draft, the Bills chose the sole kickoff specialist selected this April. A kickoff specialist makes sense only for a team that expects to score a lot.
Well, with OLB/DE Mario Williams and DE Mark Anderson on board, shouldn't they?
Final Score: Ohio State Nil, Penn State Nil: Reader Andrew Fournaridis of Pittsburgh notes
something uninteresting that every college football fan has already had pointed out to them 100 times by various media outlets and coworkers in the last couple of months.
that last year when Ohio State vacated its 2010 victories owing to the Jim Tressel scandal, that made Penn State the winner of the 2010 Buckeyes-Nittany Lions contest, previously viewed as a 38-14 Ohio State win. But now Penn State has vacated all victories from 1999 to 2011, owing to the rape cover-up scandal. That, Fournaridis observes, "means no one won the 2010 Ohio State-Penn State game."
OMG FASCINATING! TELL ME, ANDREW, DID THE OLYMPICS PRODUCE ANY HEARTWARMING STORIES ABOUT DISABLED SPRINTERS FROM SOUTH AFRICA? I'D LOVE TO HEAR MORE, IF THAT IS SOMETHING THAT INDEED HAPPENED.
In the 2011 offseason, the Browns banked draft choices for the future, and the result was a 4-12 record.
[joke about how that's a good season in Cleveland here]
This offseason Cleveland spent its banked choices plus used the team's second-rounder in 2013 to get Josh Gordon, who did not play anywhere in 2011. Cleveland bid a second-round choice for Gordon in the supplemental draft. Adam Schefter reported the Browns were the sole team to offer a second-round pick, and that many teams bid nothing, meaning they thought Gordon was not worth a seventh-round selection.
Right, or they were already set at the WR position. If one team thinks a guy is worth a 2nd round choice, I think it's reasonable to think that the other 31 teams all think that guy is at least worth a 4th or 5th rounder. Then again, that one team is the Browns in this case, so maybe Gregg is right.
Denver Broncos: When the Packers made their wrenching decision to show Brett Favre the door, soon Green Bay was happy and the teams that snagged Favre were troubled. Post-Packers, Favre managed in three seasons to get two head coaches -- Eric Mangini and Brad Childress -- fired.
Both of those guys should have been fired years earlier. I hate giving Favre credit, but he was also the best or second best QB in the league in 2009. He got the Vikings within a play of the Super Bowl, and then spoiled the whole thing in typical Favreslinger fashion. Still, it's silly to say that Favre brought nothing but misery to the Jets and Vikings. Their other QB options at those times were Chad Pennington and Tavaris Jackson.
Will a similar scenario play out with the Broncos?
Probably! It's the curse of the HOF QB who switches teams! Also, I like how he pointed out that Green Bay was soon successful after getting rid of Favre without giving that fact any analysis. Hmm, wonder if things went down that way because of the presence of a more than capable successor waiting in the wings? Watch, Andrew Luck will be an All Pro within a couple of years, and Gregg (should he still be writing this column, God help us all) will be like LOOK AT GREEN BAY POST 2007 AND INDIANAPOLIS POST 2011, IT'S A SCIENCE FACT: CUTTING YOUR OLD QBS LEADS TO SUCCESS!
Now coaching the great Peyton Manning, John Fox will be expected to win big.
Whereas up until this point, Broncos fans were just hoping he could win 7 or 8 games a season and be
affable during his press conferences.
But Manning is on a 1-5 streak versus the Chargers, and now will face them twice a season.
He hasn't faced them since 2010, and they suck now. He'll be fine.
When the stats dust settled on the 2011 season, to TMQ one of the biggest questions was: Why did Denver, with the league's best rushing attack -- No. 1 in yards per game, the only NFL offense of 2011 with more net yards rushing than passing -- constantly punt on fourth-and-short?
Because like 30% of their rushing yards came on Tebow scrambles on passing downs, making that statistic a poor indicator of their likely ability to convert 4th and short?
Katie Sharp of ESPN's research desk reports the Broncs punted 23 times on fourth-and-2 or less, most in the league; their fourth-and-2 or less punt percentage of 72 percent also was highest in the league. Denver had an awesome running game, yet kept booming the ball back to the other side on fourth-and-short. Had Fox shown even a little guts on fourth-and-short, Denver's offense might have been more effective.
The fact that a team QBed by Kyle Orton and Tebow made the divisional round of the playoffs is sports miracle on par with the 1980 US Olympic hockey team. It's not that this what Gregg is saying is ridiculous or unfair criticism, but I think you could play the 2011 Broncos season out with that roster 100 times and they might make it as far as the divisional round once, lose in the wild card game twice, and miss the playoffs the other 97 times. Let's not get too picky about how they got where they went.
Houston Texans: The Texans jumped on teams early in 2011, with a 217-117 first half scoring edge. The Texans jumped on the season early, at one point being 10-3, then going 1-4 down the home stretch. Three of those four loses were close games, and of course Matt Schaub was injured.
DIAGNOSIS: NOT ENOUGH 4TH DOWN CONVERSION ATTEMPTS
There were times in 2011 when the Texans looked like Super Bowl contenders, and times when they looked like a team that lost to Indianapolis, which finished 2-14.
Yeah, like you already pointed out, there's a pretty strong correlation between that first set of games and Matt Schaub and Mario Williams being healthy.
So many Houston starters departed in free agency over the winter that it's hard to guess how the Moo Cows
Another season in the books and that's still hilarious!
will look in 2012.
That's the whole thing. Great season preview. Last year they played better when their best players were healthy, and this year they have some new players, so who the fuck knows what will happen?
Indianapolis Colts: The Colts did not just use the first overall choice of the 2012 draft on a player from Stanford University, they used the second overall choice of the 2012 second round on a player from Stanford University, too. Four of the first 42 players chosen in the draft were from Stanford, where 87 percent of football players graduate. Alabama, Auburn, LSU, South Carolina, other big football programs with atrocious graduation rates -- what's your excuse?
Those schools are just trying to make as much money as they can off their football program, and know their fans/alumni don't care how many players graduate? Is it that hard to figure out?
Hoping to discourage celebration penalties, coach Mike Mularkey announced he and the team would donate $500 to charity each time a Jacksonville player who scores a touchdown simply hands the ball to an official.
While that is the most disgustingly "crusty white coach who is trying to please crusty white fans" move of all time, I do have to give them a modicum of credit for making it into a charity thing. Might as well have something good come out of that dumbass policy. In a related story, REMEMBER WHEN JOHN WALL DID THE DOUGIE DURING PREGAME WARMUPS AND UNDID EVERYTHING MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. WORKED TO BUILD????
Taking into account that Jax recorded a league-low 12 touchdowns in 2011, had the offer then been in force and no celebrations occurred, the Jaguars would have donated $6,000 to charity, or about 0.0002 percent of a typical NFL team's annual revenue. Make that 0.00016 percent after the tax deduction.
I'm sure the Jaguars have other charity initiatives.
Considering that nearly everyone involved with the Jaguars as players, coaches and in ownership is a millionaire, an offer of a miniscule donation to the underprivileged seems more like self-promotion than altruism.
No, it's just Mularkey being a crusty obnoxious white guy. The charity aspect of it is kind of insidious, because it's like an enforcement mechanism; tell the players not to celebrate and some of them will celebrate anyways, but put charity money behind it and they probably won't lest they hear about it from fans and crusty white pundits. YOU JUST TOOK A MEAL AWAY FROM AN ORPHAN WITH THAT SPIKE, JUSTIN BLACKMON. HOW DO YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT? This is the kind of move that should thrill an asshole like Gregg, but I really don't think it's about self-promotion.
Jacksonville wants good publicity in return for doing just shy of nothing. Jags fans, get the message?
If you're not going to donate millions to charity, don't bother donating anything at all. That's the message I got.
Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs play three of their final four contests away, which, being on a 29-51 road streak, does not bode well for the season's home stretch. Then again since the 1970 merger, just four NFL clubs having winning records on the road -- Miami, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Dallas.
He added some other bullshit about their drafting habits, but really, this was somehow even less insightful than his Texans preview.
Miami Dolphins: The "authentic games" metric is not kind to the Marine Mammals either -- they went 0-4 in 2011 against teams that reached the postseason. Miami becomes the eighth "Hard Knocks" contestant, and no "Hard Knocks" team has made the Super Bowl that season.
CONCLUSION: CURSE OF HARD KNOCKS
And here's the good stuff. I'm not even going to add any analysis. I'll just let Gregg's asshattery and bizarre grudge against Christopher Nolan (Is Nolan a Jew? Is that where this comes from? I'm too lazy to Google whether he is or not) speak for itself.
Spoiler Alert: 3,000 Police Officers Were Held Prisoner in the Gotham Sewers for Months, and When They Escaped, Their Uniforms Were Clean:The Christopher Nolan Batman movies were overblown comic-book flicks plus faux-philosophizing, which obviously is a lot more popular than the serious kind of philosophy. But since these movies have been lauded as contributions to cinema, the enormous width of the plot holes bears mention.
Despite hours of exposition in episodes one and three of the trilogy, viewers never found out why the League of Shadows was obsessed with destroying Gotham City. To "restore balance"? There was no hint of why a small army of highly skilled, super-competent and, in a few cases, super-wealthy people believed that killing everyone in America's largest city would "restore balance." Audiences never found out why Bane and Talia al Ghul wanted to commit suicide by setting off a nuclear bomb in Gotham City while they themselves were there.
Audiences never found out how the League of Shadows could place hundreds of tons of explosives around Gotham without anyone noticing. A dozen long bridges into Gotham Island (roughly modeled on Manhattan) explode during the League's takeover. Since 153 pounds of blasting material were needed to take down this small bridge, huge amounts would have been required for what's shown in the movie, and the reference to a truck that pours "exploding concrete," whatever that is, is no explanation of how large quantities of munitions were hidden on bridges that were already built or underneath a stadium that was already built. Demolition of Three Rivers Stadium required 4,500 pounds of explosives. How could a similar amount have been hidden beneath Heinz Field, as depicted in the movie, without anyone noticing?
In all the Nolan movies, Batman gets to the roofs of skyscrapers, or the tops of communication spires, in mere seconds. Does he use the elevator? When daredevil Alain Robert climbed the outside of Portland House, a 29-story building in London, it took him 40 minutes; climbs of higher buildings have taken Robert an hour or more. In Nolan's flicks, Batman requires seconds to go from street level to the tops of skyscrapers, without explanation.
Then there's Miranda Tate plot hole. Bruce Wayne's love interest and seeming benevolent philanthropist trying to save Gotham, Tate is revealed in the last reel to be the sinister Talia al Ghul, leader of the League of Shadows. The big shock is that she has always hated Bruce and always been Bane's boss! But then why does Bane treat her as a captive until the final minutes of the movie? The League of Shadows is depicted as controlling Gotham in a reign of terror that lasts months, with the entire U.S. military suddenly unable to remember how its smart bombs work and Batman believed out of the picture. Yet rather than revel in her moment of control of the city she has plotted all her life to seize, Talia spends these months making it seem she is Bane's prisoner. In order to fool who? Like a lot of Hollywood last-reel surprise twists, once the secret villain's true motivation is revealed, her previous actions make no sense.
This goes one for like another 1,000 words. Is this guy not the biggest asshole of all time? AND WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH THE BAD GUYS? THEY SHOOT A LOT BUT NEVER SEEM TO HIT ANYONE!!!!
San Diego Chargers: Norv Turner is 111-117, the NFL's only active head coach who has coached at least 10 seasons and has a losing career record. What does this man have on Bolts' team ownership that he is still employed?
Mere sentences from the end of his column, Gregg finally stumbles into some correct analysis.
Marc Williams of Bloomsburg, Pa., writes, "You stated, 'Wall Street managers are about as ethical as sharks circling.' This is unfair to sharks. Sharks do not deceive, they make it abundantly clear that they are there to eat you."
In other words, besides being bad at analysis, you're also bad at writing.