Thursday, September 4, 2014

FMTMQR: NFL returns // I'm sick of it already // Fuck Gregg Easterbrook

It's time for the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE OF FOOTBALL TEAMS to resume play.  Thus, I will resume torturing myself by trying to get through Easterbrook's columns without descending into a fitful rage of all caps internet yelling.  This column is particularly fun (read: goddamn infuriating) because of his continued misunderstanding as to whether people want to read haikus when they're looking for sports analysis.  He thinks they do, but little does he know, haikus are enjoyed only by serious poetry academics, 4th graders learning poetry and cleft-assholed writers.

America's original all-haiku NFL season predictions! 

I hate this article already!

This is the 15th year, the crystal anniversary -- Bristol, I'd like a dilithium crystal, please. 

Would a swift kick in the cunt work instead?

Below find a haiku, with predicted record, for each of the NFL's 32 teams. Allowing you casually to say to friends and romantic interests, "Hey, I was reading poetry today."

And if they sincerely respond with "That's very interesting," then fuck you and fuck them.

First, one of those serious topics that comes before fun. 

WHY ARE THE JEWS MAKING SO MANY VIOLENT MOVIES?  It's a new season, so I get to break that reference out again.  And hell, I might break it out in every TMQR.  Who's going to stop me?

There's progress at the intersection of sports and society -- especially, of football and society. In just the past five years, a bleak picture has improved. 

Uh... barely?  Negligibly?

So -- is victory won?


• Emphasis on reducing deliberate helmet-to-helmet contact at all levels of football -- pro, college, high school and youth.

The NFL insists that rule changes aimed in this direction have nothing to do with concussion prevention, because football does not cause concussions, and even if it did, it would be the fault of the players who agreed to play the sport, not of the NFL or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates.

• Emphasis at all levels on teaching heads-up tackling form, something many coaches didn't even know about not long ago.

Yeah fucking right.  Coaches used to tell kids that leading with the head was perfectly acceptable--in fact, it was preferred, because it's easier to not see where you're going when you're trying to spear a guy in the sternum!

• Reduced contact time in practice -- more concussions happen in practice than in games -- in the NFL and NCAA. The defending champion Seahawks were just zinged by the league for not adhering to the less-contact rule.

I'm real sure these rules will be taken very seriously, especially at the NCAA level, where the average coach falls somewhere between "Ted Bundy" and "Timothy McVeigh" on the sociopath scale.

• The Ed O'Bannon and Power Five decisions, which may lead either to less inequity in the financial situations of big-college athletes or to the collapse of the NCAA. Either would be preferable to the current arrangement.

I'm happy about the O'Bannon decision (haven't read Power Five yet), but I am pretty sure that for fans of the sport of football, the collapse of the NCAA is not preferable to the current system, no matter how much said system eats butthole.

• ESPN put its weight and brand behind adding graduation rates to the ranking of college teams.

The latest sensation that's sweeping the nation!  ESPN Grade (that's really what it's called), the sports world's newest ranking system that is definitely going to change the way fans look at top 25 football programs!

Most important because of the large numbers involved at the prep level -- never forget most serious football is played in high school, and it's played by people who, legally, are children -- are two huge reforms:

I'll bet you thought most football was played by 57 year olds, but you're wrong.  Only Gregggggg has the intellectual capacity to understand that a time-consuming and athletically demanding sport is mostly played by the section of society with the most free time and spare energy.

• State laws requiring youth and high school coaches to get training in diagnosing and managing concussions have gone from unknown to almost universal. Rules regarding summer two-a-days heat acclimation have gone from rare to common. In 2011, on the same August day two prep football players died in Georgia of heat stroke. Then, Georgia had no meaningful rules about heat and hydration. Now, Georgia follows the National Athletic Trainers' Association guidelines. Many states do, and soon most or all will.

I don't want to shit on anyone's safety parade, but let's call a spade a spade: these rules change due to liability worries on the part of school districts and schools, not because they're good ideas from a safety perspective.  High school football is slowly but surely becoming big business, especially in states like Georgia, and you can be sure that the only thing that will stop schools from DOIN' FOOTBAWL PRACTICE THE WAY MY PAPPY DID AND THE WAY HIS PAPPY DID BEFORE HIM is a lawsuit.  Just sayin'.

• States are beginning to restrict high school football contact time. California, the most populous state, just enacted a law that soon will limit full contact in practice to three hours a week during the summer and season and prohibit offseason contact. Texas, ground zero of prep football culture, already limits full contact to 90 minutes a week.

OK, fine, I'll can the cynicism regarding serious topics and get back to the dumb stuff.  Right after this.

These are movements in the right direction. 


Your columnist has been pounding the table about athletic reform for years, and many times expressed cynicism regarding whether there would ever be positive change.  Now there has been. 


Now -- America's original all-haiku NFL season predictions.
AFC East

Brady's last hurrah?
Modeling career beckons.
The New England Pats.
Forecast finish: 11-5

A smoking wreckage
of Jeff Ireland era.
Miami Dolphins.
Forecast finish: 6-10

"I am the greatest!"
Ali boast seems mild to Jets.
The Jersey/B Jets.
Forecast finish: 6-10

Foolish Club loses
Ralph Wilson, last of his time.
The Buffalo Bills.
Forecast finish: 5-11

Is there any good reason to pay this man to write this garbage?  Any reason at all?  Do his pageviews justify whatever ESPN pays him?  Is he bringing a core demographic to their site that otherwise wouldn't click there?  This guy is a fucking intellectual pissant.  I hope he regularly shits his pants when he's nowhere near a bathroom.  What a fucking waste of letters this is.

Department Of Redundancy Department: Ferrari's new $1.6 million, 950-horsepower supercar is named LaFerrari. Calling it "the LaFerrari" would become "the The Ferrari." Oprah has an endorsement deal for chai tea. Perhaps the tea should be branded Oprah Winfrey's Oprah Chai Tea Powered by Oprah Winfrey. "Chai" in Eurasian languages simply means tea. So "chai tea" is "tea with tea."

And what's the deal with airplane food?

Public Subsidies For Private Profit: New York state taxpayers just invested $90 million in upgrades to Ralph Wilson Stadium, mainly to increase Bills team revenue by making the concession areas more appealing. Reader Jim Medwid of Alden, New York, attended a recent Bills preseason game and reports: "The concourses are now wider, but all drinking fountains have been removed from the stadium, which prohibits bringing in any kind of bottle, even clear-sided water bottles." So taxpayers paid $90 million for renovations that force Bills ticket holders to buy $5 water bottles from the concession stands, and guess who keeps the profit.

Frank Stallone!  No, but seriously, fuck NFL owners in their fucking eye sockets.  Sometimes I think they pay Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones to be huge assholes in very public ways, so the rest of them can also be huge assholes without attracting the negative attention they deserve.

NFC East

Warp speed does not help
if the shields (defense) no good.
The Philly Eagles.
Forecast finish: 10-6

Volunteers from the
audience playing OL.
Jersey/A Giants.
Forecast finish: 9-7

Start fast, then brace for
annual December swoon.
The Dallas Cowboys
Forecast finish: 8-8

NEVER says Dan of
name change. CERTAIN say we all.
Washington R*dsk*s.
Forecast finish: 5-11

Normally I would remove this kind of garbage from my posts, but I'm leaving all 32 of these in.  Bask in their worthlessness.  Revel in their uncleverness.  For fucking Christ's sake, he shoehorns the team name into the last five syllable line for each of them, meaning he's only actually writing two thirds of a haiku for each team.  I hate him and I hate that I'm even bothering to analyze this crap.

New York Times Corrections On Fast Forward: During the past six months, the Paper of Record, according to its corrections page:

[List of like 25 things the NYT corrected that are kind of weird and in some cases probably didn't warrant a correction, which is the kind of thing that is interesting to people who enjoy the smell of their own farts.  But I left this one:]

• Corrected a correction;


AFC North

Took Lombardi, then
missed playoffs. Win some, lose some.
Bal'amer Ravens.
Forecast finish: 10-6

Marvin Lewis can't shake curse.
The Cincy Bengals.
Forecast finish: 8-8

Graying defense, no
run game. Still -- watch out for them.
The Pittsburgh Steelers.
Forecast finish: 8-8

Johnny, LBJ,
GOP: Cleveland does rock.
The Browns (2.0).
Forecast finish: 7-9

The Steelers one is just fucking terrible.  The Browns one is somehow worse.  I'd rather watch six hours of CBS's pregame show than think about these.

Another NFL Abuse Of Taxpayers Continues: The FCC has begun its review of the proposed AT&T-DirecTV merger. Your columnist thinks this creates an opportunity for either the FCC or the Justice Department to end the arrangement in which only subscribers of DirecTV can purchase NFL Sunday Ticket.

I'm with him on this, and his points are pretty fair and reasonable, but I had to leave this in:

DirecTV is a great service if you can get it, but millions cannot -- clear line of sight to the sky above Texas is required. Trees? Live in an urban apartment building? Fuhgedabout DirecTV. 

Why in fuck's name are you doing an Italian mobster bit in the middle of explaining why the DirecTV/Sunday Ticket partnership is bad for consumers?

NFC North

Bears: high-scoring team
with no defense. Yes, the Bears.
The Chicago Bears.
Forecast finish: 10-6

Pack, Favre reach peace deal.
Brett: Give pointers to Putin.
The Green Bay Packers.
Forecast finish: 9-7

AAU football:
Superstars but poor results.
The Detroit Lions.
Forecast finish: 6-10

Breathe sigh of relief:
Broncs now more S. Bowl losses.
Minnesota Vikes.
Forecast finish: 4-12

I am slowly developing Stockholm Syndrome.  I kind of like the Bears one.  I'll admit it.  I kind of like that.  They had a bad offense and a good defense for so long!  Now it's reversed!  The world is a funny place.  Here, someone hand me that bottle of pills so I can knock myself unconscious.

Bad Isn't Good Enough; The 76ers Hope To Be Horrible: Two weeks ago, TMQ declared the Philadelphia 76ers have become "Zen masters" of the NBA art of getting rid of players in order to lose deliberately. I noted that in the past 12 months they'd traded away their three best performers, mostly for benchwarmers with expiring contracts, then used not one, not two, not three, but four choices in the June 2014 draft on gents who are either injured or have existing contracts with European teams. Drafting them ensured more losing!

Please don't try to understand or write about other sports!  You're bad enough when it comes to football!  Thanks!

Unified Field Theory of Creep: 

Yep, he's still going back to that well.

AFC South

Hardly seems as though
Peyton departed, does it?
Indy Lucky Charms.
Forecast finish: 10-6

Fisher shown the door
after 16: downhill since.
Tennessee Titans.
Forecast finish: 7-9

Kirk, Spock both yelled KHANNNNNNNNNNNNNN!
How long 'til Jax fans yell same?
Jacksonville Jaguars.
Forecast finish: 6-10

Texans last season,
Three Mile Island: two meltdowns.
The Houston Texans.
Forecast finish: 6-10

The Lucky Charms!  A terrible new nickname!  Has he been using this all these years, and I just failed to notice?  And look at the Texans one--don't tell me he's retiring "Moo Cows."  THAT'S GOLD, JERRY!  GOLD!  Their mascot looks like a cow, so he calls them the cows, plus adds the sound cows make.  Why isn't he editor in chief of Harper's yet?

Harvard's endowment is sufficient that every undergraduate could attend free, but instead university insiders live in luxury while alums are dunned for more donations, a topic this column will return to later this autumn with my annual endowment-abuse item.

Honestly the only part of any of his columns I actively enjoy.  Big private universities with huge endowments that beg and beg and beg their alums relentlessly are fucking awful.  

Hedge funds are consistently effective at one thing -- enriching their own top management. Bernard Madoff ran a hedge fund. 

Haha, look, I hate big time Wall Street investment bankers and fund managers as much as the next working stiff, but those two sentences next to each other are pretty fucking ludicrous.  You might as well say "Governments are terrible.  Pol Pot ran a government."

NFC South

Gave Seahawks better
playoff game than Broncos did.
New Orleans Saints.
Forecast finish: 12-4

League's only team with
a Director of Mascots.
Carolina Cats.
Forecast finish: 12-4

Bad-sport Schiano
replaced by nice guy Lovie.
Tampa Buccaneers.
Forecast finish: 6-10

NFC title
game seems very long ago.
Atlanta Falcons.
Forecast finish: 6-10

Look, Greg Schiano is a gaping asshole, but we don't need to keep talking about him, do we?  I think he has successfully eliminated himself from the NFL head coaching pool (non-Raiders division) for life.  The BROWNS wouldn't hire him this offseason.  The fucking Browns.  Let's let him fade into obscurity, shall we?

AFC West

Scoreboard was spinning
'til met the Bluish Men Group.
The Denver Broncos.
Forecast finish: 11-5

Made it to nine-oh;
do not talk about the rest.
Kansas City Chiefs.
Forecast finish: 10-6

Dude, let's hit the beach.
Whoa, we have a game today?
San Diego Bolts.
Forecast finish: 9-7

Soon may have no home.
Then San Antonio bound?
The Oakland Raiders.
Forecast finish: 3-13

The Chargers one is probably as bad as these could possibly get.  Right?  Jesus, Mary and fucking Joseph, I hope so.

Exhaust On The Car Pages: This column has noted that newspapers long have had a touchy relationship with auto reviewing. Auto dealers are major advertisers, so reviewers tend to praise all marques. Reviewers tend to extol maximum horsepower, regardless of cost, environmental impact or the relationship between horsepower and road rage -- after all, they don't fuel or insure the cars they test-drive. The terrific 2002 book "High and Mighty" by Keith Bradsher detailed the ways in which automakers all but bribe newspaper reviewers.

Dude, it's 2014, not 1987.  Fuel economy has been a large concern for like 99% of car buyers for more than a decade now.  This is not exactly a timely news item.  You think newspaper car columnists were busy talking about 0 to 60 times and number of cupholders in the middle of post-mortgage crisis recession five years ago?  Get fucking real.  The exception would be, of course, publications aimed at readers who want to buy super high end high performance cars with bad gas mileage, and who have lots of money, and don't care about fuel economy, and make up a small portion of the population, and are mostly assholes who aren't worth complaining about.

[Three paragraphs of complaining deleted]

Of course the New York Times has wealthy readers who want news about products for the 1 percent: the paper touts expensive fashion and high-end restaurants, too. 

He figured it out!  

But a designer cocktail dress or $300 meal don't have public-policy implications. 

First of all, they kind of do.  Second of all, good fucking luck getting a publication that caters to wealthy readers to try to tell the wealthy readers to stop enjoying the kinds of things wealthy people enjoy.  Let me know how that works out.

New Cognomen: Reader Damon Spear of Seattle argues, "If you're going to use Jersey/A, Jersey/B and City of Tampa, you should call Colin Kaepernick's team the Santa Clara 49ers." Mr. Data, make it so!

I'm going to fucking cry.  I'm going to fucking cry.

NFC West

Second-best for two
straight years. This year may be best?
Santa Clara team.
Forecast finish: 12-4

West Coast offense steps
back, West Coast defense steps up.
Seattle Seahawks.
Forecast finish: 11-5

Won 10, went home: League
needs seeded playoff format.
The AZ Cardinals.
Forecast finish: 9-7

Chose Bradford over
Griffin: Regrets begin now.
The St. Louis Rams.
Forecast finish: 4-12

Solid analysis on the Rams one.  The decision was definitely that simple: either Bradford, or Griffin.  That's all it came down to.  And to be sure, while Bradford's career is now completely off track. Griffin has zero injury issues and at this point is guaranteed to be much better than Bradford will be if and when Bradford's body stops falling apart.

Sports Economics Watch: Two weeks ago TMQ noted that Tony Romo and Andy Dalton, a combined 1-6 in the postseason, have richer contracts than Tom Brady, whose 18 playoff victories are the most ever. 

Record in seven preseason games (during which the guys named probably played a combined total of like 100 snaps) vs. number of playoff wins, 80% of which were accumulated before Barack Obama was elected.  That's some gooooood analyzin' right there.  How about you just say that Romo is getting old and getting terrible, and Dalton is young and will probably never be better than mediocre, and Brady, even though he's old, is better than both of them?  Would that maybe be a better way to illustrate this TRAVESTY that is pro athlete pay not perfectly tracking to players' relative levels of skill?

Next Week: During the preseason, Tuesday Morning Quarterback uses "vanilla" items designed to confuse scouts from other sports columns. Starting next week as the football artificial universe resumes, TMQ will come at readers from all directions with obscure references, recondite analogies and unorthodox fact packages. I'll employ an up-tempo format in which each new item begins before the previous one ends.

And I'll be right here the whole way, pointing out what a dipshit you are.


Anonymous said...

Here's my favorite part of the column:

• Reduced contact time in practice -- more concussions happen in practice than in games -- in the NFL and NCAA. The defending champion Seahawks were just zinged by the league for not adhering to the less-contact rule.

He says this as though he's got some great insight and we should be nodding our heads about how dangerous practices are. Hey, asshole, a team plays 16 games a season -- how many practices does it have? Here's a hint, more than 16.


Hopefully, that sixers section is a harbinger of more painfully obvious takes on sports he doesn’t watch. “So this Ovechkin fellow on the Maryland/Northern Virginia Capitals sure has a nice, hard slapshot. [Unfunny and irrelevant joke about Ukraine crisis].”

tony harding said...

He's used the Lucky Charms nickname before. He doesn't use it as often as some of his other terrible nicknames (Moo Cows, Squared Sevens), but I remember seeing it before in his columns.

Did you see Billy Boy threw out his "Gambling Manifesto?". Now he's using more objective methods for choosing his godawful NFL picks. My favorite one is the "Are you sure about that pick?" method. Apparently, this method is only used by "smart" gamblers.