Showing posts with label dumb ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dumb ideas. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bill's Guide to Gambling (alternate title: How to Lose Money By Being Stupid), Part 1


[DISCLAIMER: I'm about to write a lot about NFL gambling, and criticize Bill heavily for his gambling analysis and picks.  I enjoy gambling on the NFL.  I am also terrible at it, and freely admit this.  I would never pretend otherwise.  I would never tell anyone, whether in person or in writing, that I had some kind of a system or set of rules that was going to help me win this season or ever.  I will always happily talk about what I think are good bets to make for the coming weekend's games.  I will always admit as part of that discussion that my advice is probably terrible and should not be followed by anyone.  Now that I have that out of the way, let's begin.]

Bill makes no secret about how much he loves gambling, and he probably writes about gambling on the NFL more than anything else these days.  (A close 2nd: speculation as to how we will look back in ten years on certain regular season NBA games that were kind of exciting.)  However, despite his passion for it, Bill is objectively goddamn treefuckingly awful at picking NFL games.  That's where the rest of us get to have some fun.  


Since 2010, and through 3 weeks of the 2014 season, Bill is 516-529 picking against the spread.  (He has a number of pushes as well, of course, which I'm not going to list because fuck you I don't want to.  This is why the season totals below add up to fewer than the 256 regular season games that make up an NFL season.)  That means that if you had followed his picks and put down $10 on every single game, and the payout was -110, as it almost always is for an NFL ATS pick, you would have lost just under $600 over that period of time.  The numbers break down like this:

2010: 131-119.  Bill's picks broke almost exactly dead even for the season; after factoring in the house edge (explained below if you don't know about it), betting $10 a game would have left you up $0.91 at season's end.
2011: 120-127.  Betting $10 a game would have left you down $179.
2012: 132-120.  Betting $10 a game would have left you exactly spot on dead even.
2013: 108-140, yes that's right, he was 108-140.  Betting $10 a game would have left you down $418.
2014: So far, he's 25-23.  Betting $10 a game would have left you down $2.72 so far.

(For those of you who don't have experience losing money on sports gambling like I do, -110 means you have to bet $110 to win $100, or $11 to win $10, etc.  In other words if you bet wins, you don't double your money--you win about 90% of the amount of the bet, on top of getting your original bet back.  This is how the house makes money on sports gambling--they set/adjust lines to get an even amount of money on each side of the spread, and the winning side gets less than double their money back, leaving the casino with a small profit.  Anyone who tells you sports books try to operate in any other fashion is a fucking moron.)  

Now, for the average person, there is no shame in this.  It's hard to pick games consistently.  While theoretically a monkey flipping a coin should pick 50% of game correctly over a large enough sample size of games, and Bill has only picked 49.4% of them correctly since 2010, that's not a big deal.  Then you factor in the -110 house edge, and it gets extremely hard to beat the house consistently.  The vast vast majority of gamblers don't beat the house in the long term, which is why casinos and bookies exist.  If your friend is down $600 on football bets in the last few seasons, you should not automatically give that friend a bunch of shit about it unless they hold themselves out as some wunderkind gambling expert.  

And that's the problem with Bill: he absolutely holds himself out, in a very public forum, as a wunderkind gambling expert.  He very, very, VERY clearly is not.  Even in his best years, he's picking 52.5ish% of games correctly, and breaking even on money.  This does not stop him from 1) talking about NFL gambling all the time, including running his picks column every week every year, 2) but more obnoxiously, regularly publishing "manifestos" and other articles that claim to have cracked some kind of secret code such that following the advice therein should lead to fabulous riches, and most obnoxiously, 3) throwing arrogant little quips to the effect of "THIS LINE IS THREE POINTS TOO HIGH, THANKS FOR THE FREE MONEY VEGAS" into his columns left and right.  It would be one thing if he was a self-professed gambling enthusiast who loves picking NFL games, but had the self-awareness to acknowledge that he wasn't very good at it.  But as anyone who has read him since about 2002 knows, "Bill Simmons" and "self-awareness" are two things that do not exist together.  

So, enough blabbing and introducing.  Let's get to the meat.  What follows is Bill's latest example of #2 in the list in the previous paragraph; here we have the official, top secret, no holds barred Bill Simmons 2014 NFL Gambling Guide.  If the breakdown of his success rate above wasn't enough to make you want to find him and try to become his personal bookie, this article should push you over the edge.

Football, football, football, football!

FOOTBALL!!!!!!!!

Superb exposition from America's most popular "sports" "writer."

If you missed my Thursday column about Roger Goodell’s NFL That Never Sleeps (featuring my winning Seahawks minus-6 pick!), here’s the link.

Sure won't be clicking on that.  Thanks for the offer though!  Also, most people with brains have known for years that Roger Goodell is a complete shithead with no redeeming qualities.  In that "NFL That Never Sleeps" column (which was published on September 5, just a few days before the Ray Rice inside the elevator video dropped), Bill does jump on Goodell for several things, including his fumbling of the Rice suspension proceedings.  But then Bill decides that ol' Rog does have several things going for him.  First among those:

First, his multi-scene cameo in Draft Day was fantastic. I loved his chemistry with Frank Langella.

DIE.   
If you want to send along a mailbag question for my Friday NFL Picks column this season (and I’m going to need good ones as always), here’s the link.

Don't bother--he's just going to make them up and assign them to fictitious fans (most of them women) anyways.

If you want to listen to my Guess the Lines podcasts with Cousin Sal every Monday, here’s the link.

I would rather listen to 45 minutes of a squeaky ceiling fan.

If you want to make fun of my five weekly LVH Supercontest Picks on my Facebook page, here’s the link.

A shred of self awareness!  We will touch on this later, because he does make a couple other cracks at his own expense.  Don't worry (and I know you weren't), it's not going to ruin the line of thought behind this blog post.

If you want to pick games against me, Ian Ziering, David Hasselhoff, Gary Busey, Mark McGrath and other well-known celebs in the 2014 Celebrity Picks Challenge Presented by Fireball Whisky, here’s the link.

"Ian Ziering" "Mark McGrath" "well-known celebs"

OK.

Here’s the good news: My Friday picks column is now old enough to vote for president, fight for our country and maybe even be someone’s freshman roommate in college. That’s right … it’s Year 18. And you think so little of me at this point that you clicked on the link in the previous paragraph. 

HE'S CALLING YOU OUT, READERS.  PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS, AND DO YOUR BEST TO TAKE ON THIS GUY WHO IS NOT AS GOOD AT PICKING GAMES AGAINST THE SPREAD AS PAUL THE OCTOPUS WOULD HAVE BEEN (R.I.P, Paul the Octopus).

Now you have that detestable “Rude” song running through your head for the rest of the day. 

Now he's just going out of his way to be annoying to his readers.  But I certainly do agree with him.  That song is ass herpes in audio form.

And you deserve it. I thought we had something. I hope you feel bad.

I feel bad that I'm still blogging about how dumb you are, seven years into this blog's existence.  Mariotti got fired (more than once).  Rick Reilly stepped down/was quietly fired.  Joe Morgan got fired.  Why are you still there?

Anyway, way back in September of 1997, I was living in Boston and writing for my self-created “Boston’s Sports Guy” website for millions and millions of readers. Fine, it was hundreds and hundreds. 

#humblebrag

But that was the year I unleashed my first batch of mostly mediocre picks on an unsuspecting America. It’s been trial and error ever since. Mostly error. 

Again, some humility/self awareness.  Let's see how quickly he can reverse course and set flame to any goodwill those last few sentences might have generated with unassuming readers who think Bill is anything but a self-absorbed know-it-all asshole.

I juggled a handful of handicapping laws before eventually settling for the Gambling Manifesto That’s In My Head.

First of all, before we get to the substance of this, don't use the word "manifesto."  It generally has a negative/terroristic connotation, and even when it doesn't, if you suck at the thing about which you're writing some kind of master plan, it's super embarrassing.

Why abandon a tried-and-true manifesto? 

Because it never worked, was never going to work, and had no utility whatsoever?

I learned the hard way that football changes too much from year to year to survive too many enduring rules. 

Bill, for 17 years: "I have it all figured out!  The magic formula that leads to NFL gambling success!  THIS season it's going to be different!"
Bill, year 18: "I have come to the conclusion that football changes from year to year.  Therefore, I have a whole NEW magic formula that will lead to NFL gambling success!  THIS season, it's going to be different!"

For instance, the gambling gods conspired in 2013 to ruin everyone who fancied himself a handicapping expert. 

No, they didn't.  There are no gambling gods.  You just had a shitty season.  Like you did in 2011.  And probably many, many other seasons since 1997.

Every sharp and every degenerate will remember the devastating Great Gambling Train Wreck of 2013 years and years from now, 

HOW WILL WE LOOK BACK ON THIS MOMENT IN THE FUTURE WHEN WE ARE WONDERING WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO CONTEMPLATE WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO LOOK BACK ON A PARTICULAR MOMENT MAN I AM SO DEEP.

the same way we’ll remember earthquakes, political scandals and unauthorized Saved by the Bell movies. 

Dude, you're like 45.  You were too old for Saved by the Bell during its original run.  You don't get to complain about its direction since.

My B.S. Report buddy and future Gamblers Anonymous roommate, Cousin Sal, 

I hate Cousin Sal.  I have never once listened to a B.S. Report or Pick the Lines podcast and I still hate him with all my heart.  Cousin Sal sucks.

recently sent me an invaluable link from The Sporting News. The three most relevant quotes from that piece, along with my notes in parentheses.

I'm leaving that link in, because even if it just says "pick the team that seems to you like it probably will do better," it is more helpful to prospective NFL gamblers than anything Bill has to say.

“In 2013, NFL favorites covered the spread at a 52.2 percent clip, the highest rate since 2005 and the third highest in the last 25 years … since 1990, NFL favorites covered an average of just 48.7 percent of games.”

Right, so, last year was a good year for favorites.  Better than any year since... not that long ago.  In other words, it wasn't some kind of unprecedented catastrophe for underdogs.  Weren't we just hearing about how GAMBLERS WILL TALK ABOUT THE GREAT UNDERDOG SLAUGHTER OF 2013 WHILE GAMBLING ON MOON FOOTBALL FROM THEIR MOON BASES?  Why don't we hear anything about the GREAT UNDERDOG SLAUGHTER OF 2005 today?  Most likely this is became Bill Simmons is a fucking dunderhead.

Anyways, brace yourself for what comes next.  This is one for the record books, folks.  It doesn't get much better than this.

(That’s bad. That’s very, very, very bad. Every “smart” gambler is trained to grab the points and go against the public as much as we possibly can. That’s how we butter our bread. Swing our luck by 3.5 percentage points and we’re in major trouble ranging from “Crap, I have to reload my off-shore betting account for the third time this month?” to “If I don’t meet some guy named Big Al in the parking lot behind Target on Main Street by 7:30 on Wednesday night, I’m gonna be walking with a limp.”)

DIE
DIE
DIE

Not sure which is worse--his conflation of "going against the public" with taking underdogs, or his use of "we" after referring to "smart gamblers," because hey, what says "smart" like beating the house once (by a minuscule amount) once every five seasons?  And yes, I understand that there's a kernel of truth to the taking the points/going against the house part, as nobodies who gamble once a year when they happen to be in Vegas for a business conference are probably slightly more likely to bet good/favored teams; but first of all the house will adjust the line accordingly, second of all the amount of action coming from people with such an unsophisticated view of a game is going to be pretty low unless it's a playoff game, a Thanksgiving game, etc., and third of all, seriously, read that paragraph again and see if you can talk yourself into thinking Bill even understands that much.  I sure can't.

“(For) seasons in which NFL favorites covered more than 51.5 percent (since 1990) … the average for those five seasons was 53.3 percent. In years following those seasons (highlighted in green), favorites covered, on average, just 47 percent of games. That’s a 6.3 percent swing (from 53.3 percent to 47 percent).”

(Wait, this is good! Is that why The Sporting News made the real headline for this column “The Year of the Dog”? I think it is!)

Any evidence that trend is somehow a result of causation (maybe some quote from a guy who runs a book about how the casinos then to overcorrect after a particularly favorite heavy year, or something)?  Because if there isn't any such evidence, then basically, the "swing back" phenomenon to heavy underdog wins the year after heavy favorite wins is no more reliable than saying "Hey look!  After this roulette wheel hits three black numbers in a row, a red number usually comes next!  TIME TO TAKE OUT A SECOND MORTGAGE!"  I mean, I could totally see it being causal, rather than random chance.  But it's good to see Bill isn't thinking that far.  HE'S JUST LOOKING FOR TRENDS, GANG.  GOTTA FOLLOW THE TRENDS.  THAT'S HOW "SMART" GAMBLERS BUTTER THEIR BREAD.

“In 2006, the year after the best NFL season for favorites in the last 25 years (57.8 percent of favorites covered in 2005), 

I STILL REMEMBER THOSE DAYS.  THOSE WERE DARK DAYS FOR J-HENCH AND I.  WE LOST EVERYTHING BETTING ON DOGS THAT FALL.  EVERYTHING.  CARS, WATCHES, KIDS.  IT WAS A BLOODBATH.

dogs ruled, with favorites covering just 44.6 percent. After the second best season for favorites (52.9 percent in 1998), dogs again cleaned up, as favorites went just 46.5 percent ATS. The third best year for NFL favorites was last season.”

(Translation: Year of the Dog, Part Three!!!!!!!)

IT'S FREE MONEYYYYYYY!  As noted above, Bill is 25-23 so far this season.  He has picked 21 dogs and 26 favorites (1 game has been a pick 'em).  To his credit, his dog picks are 13-8!  That's good!  Dogs are 27-20 overall!  IT'S THE YEAR OF THE DOG!  (Note: this probably will not continue, and even if it does, only Bill would be stupid enough to write a column about what a good idea it is to take dogs and then only take dogs 45% of the time.)

So let’s make that one of our 2014 rules: “When in doubt, always, always, ALWAYS take the points.”

I mean, through three weeks, that's actually great advice.  Unfortunately he's been unable to follow it.

Some other rules that I plan on abiding by in 2014 …

Rule: Diligently avoid taking shaky QBs on the road, bad coaches against good coaches, and, especially, bad coaches coaching shaky QBs against good coaches on the road.

WOWIE ZOWIE.  This is groundbreaking strategy, ladies and germs.  No gambler has ever been so bold as to theorize that when a bad QB backed up by a bad coach goes on the road to face a team with a good coach, you might want to gamble on the good team.  IT'S SO CRAZY IT MIGHT WORK.

This year’s group of shaky QBs in no particular order: EJ Manuel–Kyle Orton; Geno Smith; Johnny Football; Jake Locker Unless He Shows Us Something Early; Chad Henne; Ryan Fitzpatrick; Derek Carr–Matt Schaub; Matt Schaub A Second Time; Robert Griffin III (sorry, D.C. fans, but it’s true and you know it); Tony Romo During Any Week In Which He’s Just Had An Epidural; Matt Cassel; Shaun Hill; Carson Palmer; Just About Any Shaky Backup.

Games so far this year that implicated this rule to some extent:

Week 1
BUF at CHI (Bill went with the rule and lost)
JAX at PHI (Bill went against the rule and lost)

Week 2
JAX at WAS (Bill went against the rule and lost)
ARI at NYG (Bill went with the rule and lost)
NYJ at GB (Bill went with the rule and lost)

Week 3
HOU at NYG (Bill went with the rule and lost)
OAK at NE (Bill went with the rule and lost)

I barely need to summarize that data.  It speaks for itself.  The rule was right 2 out of 7 times.  Bill couldn't even track that, because none of these rules matter and they all contradict themselves so fuck everything.  Bill was right 0 out of 7 times.  (Note: I excluded games where the Titans went on the road because Jake Locker had a great Week 1; then again, he's been crappy since.  But I think he reached Showed Us Something Early status by clobbering the not-bad Chiefs at Arrowhead.  I also counted the OAK at NE game even though Derek Carr is mentioned both here and below, since NE is theoretically good at home.  I did not count the OAK at NYJ game because the Jets are terrible.  Bill did pick that one right, but only by going against his rule, which adds to the comedy.  Anyways, why is Carr on both the "I don't trust" and the "I do trust" lists?  Because Bill refuses to be edited, because he is a colossal prick.)

Not on that list for now: Brian Hoyer (I’m a semi-fan); 

Quasi-support.

Josh McCown (I’m a believer); 

You're an idiot.

Kirk Cousins (I’m a fan); 

You're an idiot, as we will see in coming weeks.

Teddy Bridgewater (I’m a HUGE fan); 

You're a HUGE idiot, as we will see in coming weeks.

Blake Bortles or Derek Carr Unless They’re Playing Somewhere Scary Like Seattle (I don’t mind either of them); 

Is Gillette Stadium Somewhere Scary Like Seattle?  Carr covered there.  In any case, he's on the other list too, so fuck you, Bill.

and Jimmy Garoppolo (my son’s first future football hero).

With the way Brady is playing, we just might see him make some starts before the season is over.

Anyways, verdict on this rule: it's dumb, and Bill is dumb.

Rule: Don’t go against Seattle, Denver, New Orleans, Green Bay or New England at home with a spread under 8½.

Games so far this year that implicated this rule:

Week 1
GB at SEA (Bill went with the rule and won)
IND at DEN (Bill went with the rule and lost)

Week 2
(GB and DEN both played home games, but had spreads over 8.5; Bill went against the Broncos and won, and with the Packers and lost)

Week 3
DEN at SEA (Bill went with the rule and won)
(NO and NE both played home games, but had spreads over 8.5; Bill went with the Patriots and lost, and against the Saints and lost)

Well, unless you have an amazing reason on the level of “Sports Illustrated just put Aaron Rodgers on the cover holding 10 black cats while standing under a ladder and posing with his new girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki.”

Verdict on this rule: not enough data yet.  Odds are it's a pretty good rule to follow, which is something a 9 year old with a vague interest in football could have told you.

Rule: Don’t go against the Pats after a loss and/or when they’re getting points.

After the Pats lost to Miami in week 1, they walloped the Vikings in week 2, covering easily.  I'm pretty sure the University of Minnesota could give the Vikings a game this year.

We have a 13-year Belichick-Brady track record at this point. In the situation I just described, they are 97,567-2 against the spread (all numbers approximate).

And then the following week, the Raiders came into Gillette and covered, and damn near forced overtime (having a game tying TD in the final minutes called back for holding, and then throwing an interception that was the receiver's fault a few plays later).  Verdict on this rule: DURRRRRRR BILLY B TOM TERRIFIC GREATRIOTS YAY!  I hope the Pats finish 2-14 and Jimmy Garopollo retires after the season is over.

More later.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Some jackass wrote a puff piece about Simmons for Rolling Stone, and it's horrible (part 4 of 4)


Quick update before I get going: the NBA draft lottery was tonight, and the Celtics moved down one spot from 5th to 6th.  Bill was on the NBA Countdown set and had to comment on what the ping pong balls did (including giving the Cavs the #1 overall pick for the third time in four years, to which he said "The system is broken and we need a new one;" IT'S NAWT FAY-UH!!!!) just minutes after the coverage of the lottery ended.  It was wonderful.  It was beautiful.  At this point, we can just skip ahead to next Monday.  My week is already made.

Whew.  This article has been exhausting.  What's next?

No sportswriter has ever had as much success as Simmons, 


Perhaps true, although not in the way you want it to be true--Simmons is not a sportswriter.  I will agree, however, that he is richer and possibly more well-known than any sportswriter ever.  If money and exposure are your criteria for success, sure.  But I don't know why we're comparing him to Hunter S. Thompson and Grantland Rice (who did not suck, regardless of what some twat at Deadspin has to say about it) or Joe Posnanski before he went full retard for JoePa a few years ago.  Those guys don't practice the same trade as Bill.

partly because sports is now inseparable from pop culture. 

That is not true, and is something only a dipshit Simmons fanboy would say.

Even if you don't care about football, you know Peyton Manning from his ads for Buick. Or DirecTV. Or Gatorade. 

Yes, it's true.  Prior to Peyton Manning, no athlete has ever endorsed a product or crossed over into the entertainment business.  He's the first guy ever.  Other than OJ, or Bruce Jenner (I'm referring to CHiPs, not his reality work), or Alex Karras, or Kareem, or Shaq, or any of the dozens of others who have acted, not to mention the thousands of others who have pitched products.  Nope.  It's a 21st century phenomenon for sure.

By integrating with television, digital media, and Madison Avenue, sports has shifted from a pastime to a conglomerate: according to Forbes, the four major professional leagues are worth a combined $91.2 billion. 

This has nothing to do with "sports [being] now inseparable from pop culture."  This is because of cable, and more recently TiVo/DVR, which have caused sports TV contracts to go through the roof.  Sports are more commercialized now than they were 25 or 50 or 75 years ago, but that's true with most things in America.  The real reason for the explosion in franchise values and player contracts is TV money, and the reason for the TV money explosion is accessibility and the fact that most people watch sports live.  Don't be fucking dense.

This makes it harder to care about sports — who roots for Comcast, or Chevron? — 

What the fuck are you talking about?  It's harder to get excited about sports because the teams and players have more money?  

but the enthusiasm of Simmons' columns and podcasts return fans to the spirit of the pre-show-me-the-money era.

That could not be further from the truth.  Unless he's discussing a Boston team, Simmons doesn't write or speak about sports, not in the way a sports fan does.  I don't need to return to the pre-Jerry Maguire era.  I'm just old enough to remember what it was like.  It sucked, relative to today's world of sports, where I can watch my team on my phone from anywhere I have a signal.  I could care less how much money is involved.  Sports are fun because they are sports, not because aw shucks these fellas are just like regular guys!  They work in factories in the offseason!  Sports in 2014 kicks the shit out of sports in 1964.  Sorry, old people.

ESPN has both enabled this growth and benefitted from it, and is now worth $50.8 billion, making it the most valuable media brand in the world, according to Forbes, with 7 domestic and 24 international TV networks, radio networks, a weekly magazine and websites. That's a staggering sum for a network that launched in 1979 with a lineup of college soccer, wrestling, and slow-pitch softball.

Look, I'm the first person to admit that Bill has been very successful, but ESPN's meteoric rise, especially during the last ten years, is about 0.1% due to him.  Let's not trip over our dicks trying to give him credit.  In any case, speaking of the early days of ESPN, read Those Guys Have All the Fun (or at least first 300 or so pages) at some point.  Pretty interesting how it all came together, and sad/predictable that the guy who founded it got fucked out of all his potential money by scummy investors.  (To his credit, he's not mad about it.  Seems like a free-spirited kind of guy.)

Tony Kornheiser, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his sportswriting, 

Tony Kornheiser, a contrarian know-nothing piece of smug human garbage, has somehow almost won a Pulitzer.  That might be even more flabbergasting than Rick Reilly's 15 AP Sportswriter of the Year awards or whatever the fuck he has.

and a host of ESPN's lively Pardon the Interruption, calls this "a Golden Age for sportswriters," though not a Golden Age for sportswriting. 

"Those damn bloggers and their hippity hop music why back in my day only REAL sportswriters were allowed to make up bullshit and pass it off as presentable content blah blah blah condescend condescend condescend"

In spite of all these opportunities — or maybe because of them — sportswriters have never seemed more unhappy. They bicker like Real World cast members, and beef like gangsta rappers in the Nineties. 

Sweet analogies, diddley-dawg.

And Simmons is often in the middle of these tiffs, partly because people only beef up, and partly because Simmons' name guarantees website traffic, especially if he replies.

Simmons is a thin-skinned baby who is incapable of letting anything roll off his back.  He's a fool.  I'm glad he doesn't "beef" more often, because watching his sycophants defend him is the only thing more painful than reading his writing.

Deadspin is to mocking Simmons what Michael Jordan is to basketball, 

Huh?  How often do they pick on him these days?  Deadspin is the Michael Jordan of a lot of things--you might be able to say they're that good at antagonizing sportswriters in general--but I'm pretty sure Simmons isn't exactly high on their list.

so I asked Tommy Craggs, the site's editor, to summarize the case against him. Craggs denounced Simmons' "chuckling, incurious, cleverest-guy-standing-around-the-Phi-Delt-keg writing voice," and dismissed him as "nothing more than a dispenser of dull, honkified conventional wisdom about sports." He also said Simmons had been smart in not hiring Bill-Jr. clones at Grantland, adding that a site full of Simmons-ish prose "would suck."

Craggs is kind of a turd, but I can pretty much co-sign everything said there.

What is it with these guys? They're nearly as bad as Sports Twitter. Charles Pierce of Esquire wrote a snarlish review of Simmons' Book of Basketball (on Deadspin, of course), mocking his frequent digressions into gambling, movies, his friends, and strip clubs, and concluding with the words, "Get the fuck over yourself." This lead to an angry exchange of emails and posts, during which Pierce called Simmons a "mendacious, whiny little thin-skinned bag of breeze." Several months later, Simmons hired Pierce as a staff writer, so presumably, all has been forgiven. Also: Tommy Craggs, Simmons' chief tormenter, was set to take a job at Grantland in 2011, before he shit-talked an ESPN.com writer and the new job fell apart. Why do even Simmons' most severe critics want to work with him?

First of all, let's get a source on that last part.  Could be true but I've never heard it before.  Second of all, I love the idea that because someone thinks Simmons is a dunce (or that ESPN sucks in general), they should never take at Grantland (or ESPN), which comes with what is almost certainly higher pay and an unquestionably awesome support network/platform.  Old media is dying--short of Sports Illustrated, I can't think of a print journalism sportswriting job that sounds glamorous.  If you're going to get a new media job, why not swing with the big boys?  I don't begrudge anyone who does that.  "IF U NO LIKE HIM DEN HOW COME U WANT TO BEE HIM LOL" is the argument of a mouth breather.

For an impartial opinion, I asked a younger journalist who works for one of ESPN's competitors if he thought Simmons is a good writer. "As far as craft? No. His pieces are too long, there's too much I in them, and he goes on too many tangents. 

All true.  Also, he has nothing interesting to say and a 9th grade vocabulary.

But he's very smart, 

Well, we can write whoever this person is off as an idiot themselves.

he's wittier than all the people who imitate him, 

Lulz

and he has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the NBA. 

And that's what you're looking for in a sportswriter with a huge national profile--no knowledge about most sports, and a lot of knowledge about one sport, which is projected through so many layers of fuckass whining/preening homerism that it's barely even worth reading.

The Internet made Bill Simmons, and it also produced all the people who like to tear him down. 

OH THE CRUEL CRUEL IRONING!  POOR BILL!  CAN'T THE GUY CATCH A BREAK????

That's the thing about the Internet — it makes its own gravy, over and over again."

Yeah, whoever this anonymous source is, they're a fucking moron.

Once Simmons got an ESPN assignment, he quickly found an audience. But just as immediately, his relationship with the Worldwide Leader in Sports was full of conflict. "ESPN was idiotic," says Simmons, who can match any athlete for self-confidence. 

Douchechills.

"They fucked with my column for the first year, taking out jokes, and I was pissed off. 

Douchechills, douchechills, douchechills.

They were rebuilding their site around me, 

No.  No they were not.  Not even years and years later, when you had enough clout to get Grantland and the budget that comes along with it, was the country's #1 sports media company building anything around you.  Get over yourself, you pathetic horse's ass.

but they were paying me nothing. So I had a meltdown: I didn't turn in a column. I was like, 'Attica! Attica!' " He laughs. "I was probably smoking too much pot."

WHOA!  PRETTY EXTREME, DUDE!  CAN'T WAIT UNTIL YOU TURN 16 AND GET YOUR DRIVER'S LICENSE, YOU'LL BE A REAL REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE!

ESPN rewarded his work strike with a raise. "Bill likes to be in control," an insider says. 

This insider's name: Sill Bimmons.

"In the early days, he was very upset about where they placed his column, versus where other columnists were. He's a great advocate for himself and his brand."

Ah shit, OK, it was Darren Rovell.  I should have guessed.  Man that guy is a dickhead.  I hope he gets fired soon.

It wasn't Simmons' last fight with his bosses. They've suspended him from Twitter twice for tweets: for referring to Boston sports-radio hosts who worked for an ESPN affiliate as "deceitful scumbags," 

Captain tinydick strikes again.  Not that WEEI DJs are probably any less horrible.

and also for saying an interview that aired on ESPN was "awful and embarrassing." Does he think they were right to suspend him? "No, I don't."

/"tiniest violin in the world" finger rubbing motion

ESPN is owned by the Walt Disney Company, and some of Simmons' behavior — like, say, calling soccer "gay" or mocking people for being fat — makes him a far more troublesome employee than Mickey Mouse. 

The author of this piece is somehow a more worthless writer than Simmons himself.  Jesus that's bad.

Periodically, the two parties get annoyed at one another. ESPN president John Skipper once said working with Simmons was "about 99.8 percent great." ("Working with ESPN is 99.1 percent great," Simmons counters.) 

Zing?  What?

Convincing the network to do 30 For 30 required "a year of arm-twisting," he says. When it was a success, and his basketball book had been a big hit, his contract was up for renewal. "I had a little leverage." He told ESPN that he wanted his own site, or he'd leave and do it elsewhere.

Spoken with all the cunning and accomplishment of a man born on third base who believes he hit a triple.

Grantland's success, like Simmons', has resulted from good fortune as well as talent. Since 2002, Boston teams have dominated pro sports, tallying eight titles in twelve calendar years, including baseball, basketball, hockey, and football. No other city has ever had that kind of success, and it brought a lot of attention to Simmons. No wonder he loves Tom Brady so much.

What?  1) Grantland launched in 2011--Boston has won two championships since, and one happened like a week after the launch--it's not like it's been around since the days of NOMAHHHHH; but more importantly, 2) Grantland has nothing to do with Boston in the first place, other than being affiliated with Simmons.  What the fuck is going on in that paragraph?  Can anyone parse it for me?

"When we were launching, we didn't realize technology advances would help us so much." GIFs, Instapaper, wi-fi, embeddable links — all foster the ease of promoting a digital magazine. 

Again... 2011.  As in three years ago.  What the fuck are they talking about?  Wi-fi?  They started installing it on fucking airplanes three years ago.  Christ, it was available in subway tunnels like eight years ago.  It's been available in coffee shops and residences since the turn of the century.

"The iPad has been a godsend — it's probably the greatest thing that's' happened to Grantland. Nobody knew the fucking iPad was coming. I didn't. We hit at the right time."

I promise you, the iPad has about as much to do with the success of Grantland as Bill has to do with the rise of ESPN.  Christ, what a moron.

In a recent month, Grantland, according to comScore, had 4.7 million unique visitors, which represents just a sliver of ESPN's 62 million unique visitors 

YA DON'T SAY!  I could swear we were just talking about how Bill was ESPN and ESPN was Bill.

and pales compared to Yahoo Sports' 57.9 million. (Even Deadspin, the Johnny Lawrence to Simmons’ Daniel LaRusso, had 13.8 million.) 

But you can subtract 13.7 million of those, because secretly everyone who works there wants to be best friends with Bill!!!!!

But the site's balance sheet isn't the point. ESPN likely pays him more than $5 million a year, the insider estimates — not because of Grantland, but because Simmons is a guy with big ideas, a one-man vertical-integration engine.

Barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf barf

Now that he oversees an empire, Simmons says he doesn't care as much about Boston teams. "It's not life-or-death anymore," he says with a shrug. 

Wrong.  Wrong.  Lies.  According to his ESPN co-anchors (who announced this live on the air tonight, so it's probably more good-natured ribbing that anything else, but I still believe there's real emotion behind it), when he saw that the Celtics didn't move up via the lottery tonight, he said "This is murder" or "This is torture."  (I forget which but it was one of the two.)  IT'S THE DRAFT LOTTERY, YOU DUNCE.  IT'S NOT EVEN THE DRAFT ITSELF.  FUCK YOU.

But that might not be true. His daughter loves L.A.'s hockey team, the Kings, so he took her to see them play his team, the Bruins. "Boston won, and I taunted her on the way home. 

Awesome.

She started crying. She was, like, six years old." A few years later, they went to another Kings-Bruins game, and this time her team won. "She was yelling and high-fiving everyone," Simmons says, "and she taunted me." Of course she did. It's in the bloodline.

What an uninspiring choice for an anecdote that's supposed to wrap up the whole article.  All I learned from it is that Bill is a asshole and his kids will probably grow up to be mean.  This has been uninformative to say the least.  Rolling Stone sucks ass and I hope it goes out of business soon.  Good night and God bless.  SMH.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Guess who has some bad ideas and unfunny jokes to share? (Part 4)


Still working on his April 11 mailbag.  No others have been published since then, although by saying that I'm probably reverse double inverted triple jinxing him into publishing one tomorrow.  When we last left him, he was practicing his always-insufferable false humility by publishing letters containing bad predictions he had made in the past.  Let's continue.

Q: Remember this? You wrote …

“THE WHATEVER-THE-HELL-U2’S-LAST-ALBUM-WAS-CALLED AWARD FOR ‘MOST ABRUPT END TO A PHENOMENAL RUN’ — To the Duncan-era Spurs: 


He wrote that in 2010.  Pretty timely to make U2 the comparison for an entity that stopped being good abruptly.  While they continue to sell like gangbusters, including a chart-topping album from 2009 that I sure as hell am not familiar with (Bill is wrong part 1), they also haven't really released anything that is musically notable since like 1991 (Bill is nineteen years late and wrong part 2).  Always nice to see a good, solid double wrong.

Four titles, 13 straight 50-win seasons (I’m including the stupid lockout season) and a boatload of fantastic memories. OK, not really. 

What?  Like they weren't fun to watch?  I despise the Spurs, but they've always been entertaining during the Popovich era.  

But we got to watch Duncan (the best power forward ever), Ginobili (the best international guard ever if you’re not counting Nash, and you shouldn’t, since Canada isn’t really ‘international’), 

So, Ginobili is the second best international guard ever, then.

Parker (who perfected the celebrity relationship), 

Yeah, that marriage went really well for the first three years.  After that (six months after Bill wrote this), it kind of exploded because Parker was ALLEGEDLY fucking Brent Barry's wife.  Tough break, Brent.

Popovich (the best coach of the past 15 years), 

I love the not-that-subtle dig at Phil Jackson, who is pretty overrated, but also beat Popovich in the playoffs four out of the five times their teams met (18-8 overall record edge in the playoffs for Jackson).

and two really fun rivalries (Spurs-Suns, Spurs-Mavs). 

I thought we agreed that the Spurs really didn't generate many good memories.

Look, you can’t stay on top for more than a decade without getting a top-three lottery pick or having Chris Wallace trade you a top-three lottery pick. That’s just the way this league works. 

This is the man who should definitely be an NBA GM.

So hold your head up high, Spurs. Fantastic run. When players are bawling in their locker room because they finally beat you (like Nash did after Game 4), you know you accomplished something great. And you did.”

What a dipshit.

That’s dated May, 2010.
—Bernie, Washington, D.C.

Good for Bernie.  No herpes or hepatitis for him.

SG: The lesson, as always: I’m REALLY an idiot.

Love his shoveling of dirt on the Spurs because they got swept in the second round of the playoffs that year.  Duncan was 33; Ginobili was 32; Parker was 27.  Most of their important role players were in their 20s.  THEY'RE DONE.  FINISHED.  END OF AN ERA.

Q: Any thoughts on the NBA creating the equivalent to a Senior Tour for older players? With well documented retirement planning issues, wouldn’t this be a no brainer? 

No, it wouldn't, because no one would watch it, and even the good players who wanted to participate (like maybe Jordan, if you gave him enough money) would get hurt constantly.  This is a dumb idea and this guy should feel bad about it.  We're back on the herpes + hepatitis train.

Players would have to be retired for at least two years. Could Michael dunk on Patrick Ewing at 50? 

Sure.  Could you get them both to participate?  I'm betting you couldn't.

How much would Shawn Kemp or Antione Walker take to play in this league? 100K a year?

That might actually do it for those two, but they're pretty much the far far end of the spectrum in terms of former players who are possibly in financial trouble, and almost certainly are both completely incapable of staying in game shape.

—Sherif Elmazi, Hong Kong

Fuck you.

SG: I stumbled upon the answer to this question during my All-Star Weekend podcast with Dirk Nowitzki. We’d been talking about how long Dirk could play, conceivably, and whether he could spend his late thirties and early forties spreading the floor as a late-career Sam Perkins–type weapon for a contender. And Dirk said that it wasn’t about the still-being-able-to-play part, but the doing-everything-it-takes-to-be-able-to-play part.

No way.  Is he actually going to answer this logically?  Where is the THIS IS LITERALLY THE GREATEST IDEA EVER WHO SAYS NO sentiment?

That’s the part we always forget, as well as the most illuminating part of Steve Nash’s The Finish Line series for Grantland. When they get older, WE don’t realize how much it takes for THEM to play. So even if the Senior Tour is a fantastic idea on paper, 

It's really not.  Maybe a once-a-year senior game during all star weekend or something.

the amount of work it would take for ex-players with crazy NBA miles on them already to play basketball regularly, stay relatively healthy, avoid debilitating injuries … it’s just not realistic.

Knock me over with a feather.  Mostly sensible.

(Unless we make all PEDs legal. Then? Totally realistic!)

LOLOLOLOL GOOD ONE

Q: So another Wednesday has come and gone without an NBA Mailbag from the Sports Guy as we were all promised. I wonder what other job somebody could have where you could promises with no intention of keeping them..WAIT A MINUTE. THE PRESIDENT. BILL YOU SHOULD BE PRESIDENT!
—Aaron, Arvada, CO

Oh snap!  Take that, OBUMMER!!!!!!!!111  This is probably a reference to something specific, but I'm not sure what.  Obama did a podcast with Bill in 2012, and was scheduled to do another in 2008 before ESPN pulled the plug.  He also, of course, did a March Madness bracket this year with ESPN, so it can't be a reference to that.  Either Bill published an unclever PoFlaWa email from some turd, or I missed the joke.  In the event that it's the latter, I'm sure the joke was bad.

SG: I didn’t know whether to go with “Too soon” or “Words hurt” for this answer.

How about you just don't publish it?  Or any of the rest of these?  Or anything else, ever?

Q: No Wednesday mailbag again. There’s not a day goes by I don’t feel regret. Not because I’m in here, because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try to talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can’t. That kid’s long gone, and this old man is all that’s left. I got to live with that. Rehabilitated? It’s just a bullshit word. So you go on and stamp your form, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don’t give a shit. But I’ll read it anyway when it comes out.
—Ted Yates, Denver

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION IS TOTALLY A GREAT MOVIE THAT IS STILL TOTALLY WORTH REFERENCING IN 2014!

SG: And you’re reading it right now! See, this all worked out. You didn’t even have to crawl through 500 yards of shit-smelling foulness the likes of which you couldn’t imagine to get here.

DO TEEN WOLF NEXT!

Q: Just read your Letterman column. If you want to show the differences between Letterman and Jimmy Fallon, just show people the video of Dave interviewing Paris Hilton in 2007.
—Jake, Fort Bragg

Jimmy Fallon is horrendous.  I will give Jake that.  I'm annoyed that he brought up Letterman though, not because I dislike Letterman, but because it reminds me of the way Bill managed to turn Letterman's retirement into an essay about how Bill will look back on Letterman and the way Bill's career was shaped by Bill's fandom Bill Bill Bill Bill is at the center of the universe.

SG: An all-timer.

He posted the video.  I've deleted it from the post-Youtube it if you want to watch it.  It's got nothing on the Joaquin Phoenix interview though.

Q: Where does The Undertaker’s loss to Brock Lesnar at WM rank on the Levels of Losing scale? I’m thinking it has to be either “Stomach Punch” or “Wait, This Wasn’t the Plan.”
—Tom, Simi Valley

I'm thinking it's probably "The Levels of Losing scale is only referenced by people who should be thrown into nuclear power plant cooling towers."

SG: That was definitely a 

Response deleted.  No one cares.

Q: What’s your opinion on Rondo and Boston’s 1st round pick for Kyrie?
—William Demitro, Chicago


SG: I just hung up the phone on William Demitro. Slammed it down, actually. 

Despite my defense of Irving in part 2 of this series, I reluctantly agree with Bill's assessment.

You’re not getting my top-five pick unless it’s for Kyrie straight up. And even then, I’m not that excited. Do I really want to give up Jabari, Wiggins or Embiid for someone who’s giving off major Steve Francis/Steph Marbury fumes? 

Yeah!  Great point!  He totally is definitely going to be like those guys, because his year three season was a lot like their year three seasons.  I mean, it was a lot like many awesome point guards' year three seasons, but what fun is sports "analysis" if you can't just construct whatever narrative you feel like and then push it for all it's worth in order to try to make yourself sound smart?

And then I have to throw in Rondo, too? 

Again, I agree with Bill that it wouldn't be a good trade for Boston, but let's not pretend like Rondo is totally free of question marks.  He can't shoot, never has been able to shoot, depends heavily on his quickness and just turned 28.  Not like he's suddenly going to start being terrible, but his best days are probably behind him.  Boston is going to have to rebuild mighty quickly for him to be a major player on their next upswing.

Even the New Orleans GM wouldn’t do that! (Thinking.) You’re right, he’d totally do that. 

IF I WERE A GM I WOULD OUTSMART HIM!  I WOULD ASK HIM WHICH ONE OF US SAYS NO!

But I’d trade Rondo for whatever and pursue Kyrie in a separate deal.

Huh?  "I would never trade Boston's only real player asset and their 1st round pick for Irving.  Instead I'd trade the player for 'whatever' and try to trade for Irving with something else, maybe the pick but probably not."

Here’s the problem with trading Rondo — he’s never re-signing in Sacramento, Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland or wherever. None of those teams are overpaying to rent Rondo for a year. Boston’s best chance on decent value: If Houston flames out in Round 1, maybe send Rondo there for Jeremy Lin’s expiring deal, Chandler Parsons and Houston’s first-rounder. 

Yeah, that's a great idea, but there's no way Houston is doing that.  

I can’t see them doing better, especially with how Rondo has looked lately — he’s been their best tanking asset down the stretch, hands down. Nobody else comes close. Shitty attitude, sloppy ballhandling, horrific defense, inexplicable decision-making, ugly shooting … he’s doing it all. Down the stretch, it’s like he studied tape of the game Tony threw in Blue Chips, then said, “I’m gonna throw in Brandon Jennings’s shot selection for good measure.” If we get the no. 1 pick, they should retire Rondo’s number next October.

Yeah, why WOULDN'T the Rockets want him in exchange for their first rounder in an excellent draft, a rotation PG who is 75% as good as Rondo, and a young SF who averaged 16/6/5 this year?  HOUSTON SAYS NO.

Q: As a Brooklyn Nets and New York Football Giants fan, I have a quick parallel for you …

Tom Terrific — Jaunary 30, 2008  (video of Brady laughing at the idea that the GREATRIOTS would only score 17 points in Super Bowl XLII)

King James — April 8, 2014 (video of LeBron telling a writer who asked if the Nets were the Heat's biggest challenge in the conference to "Get out of here")

These clips pretty much confirm that the Nets will beat the Heat in the greatest playoff series of all time. All that’s left is who’s gonna play the roles of Eli and Tyree in a Hill-Laettner kind of play?
—Eli, Chatham, NJ

That's some good trolling.  Eli can stay disease free.  Well done.

SG: I vote for Paul Pierce as Eli/Hill and and Joe Johnson as Tyree/Laettner. Also, I vote that I start drinking for the rest of this mailbag. JESUS. I clicked on that stupid Tom Terrific clip thinking it was something with Tom Seaver. It’s becoming increasingly clear that I will never get over that game.

And we're all better off for that.  Also, the video, like any Youtube video that hasn't been clicked on yet, starts with an image of what's in it.  It was a big picture of Tom Brady at a podium.  He doesn't look much like Tom Seaver.

Q: With the NBA regular season winding down, my gambling side is rearing its ugly face. Give me your best bets/longshots for the playoffs.
—Gavin, Omaha


SG: Don’t you want to get in early on Helmet Catch II, Gavin? Take Brooklyn +1200 to win the East. Actually, parlay that with +500 on me FedExing three days of dog poop to Eli from Chatham. I’m rattled.

Watch out, Vegas!  Bill "Sam Rothstein" Simmons is giving out free tips!

Q: When I watch Kevin Durant play, it always reminds me of something that I can never quite put my finger on. The other night it hit me: the smoke monster on Lost! Can we call him “Smoke?”
—Scott Herbst, Chicago

You're a fucking idiot.

SG: I think you’re late both with the nickname push and the pop-culture reference. (Wait, what? I dropped a Lost reference 2,000 words ago? You’re right, my bad.) 

You did, and it wasn't even among the top fifty worst dated/dumb pop culture references you've made in the last twelve months.  Don't sweat it too much.

But I went to Wednesday’s Clips-OKC game, in which Westbrook looked like RUSSELL THE BADASS ATHLETE/FREAK/DYNAMO/FORCE OF NATURE guy for the first time in 11 months. 

This is classic "the world is lit with sunshine because I cast my eyes upon it" Simmons.  He saw Westbrook go for 30/11/6 on 50% shooting.  FIRST TIME HE'S BEEN ON IN THIS SEASON.  Nevermind that he went for 33/4/8 on 46% shooting two nights earlier, or that he went for 36/9/9 on 59% shooting in early March, and a triple double the game before that.  Bill didn't see any of those games personally, so April 9 was Westbrook's welcome back game.  

Durant dropped a quiet 27, including a backbreaking double step-back 3 that was right out of Larry Legend’s playbook for dagger 3s. 

It was semi Antoine Walker-esque!  No, wait, Ray Allen in his 30s!  FACK YOU!  That's what everyone who was watching thought--"Yep, that Durant, he must study hours of Larry Bird game footage every night.  HEY!  I wonder if the Celtics are on right now?!"

And this was an average Durant game. He was fine. This season, his “fine” is an A-minus. Anyway, when you see this dude in person, you never feel like he needs a nickname. He’s just KD. He’s one of the 10 natural wonders of the world right now — a 6-foot-11 scoring machine with absolutely no historical parallel. It’s like saying, “I just went to the Grand Canyon — it wasn’t memorable enough, we need to nickname that thing!”

Yeah, Bill would never do something as worthless as waste time contemplating the question of a great player's nickname.

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.

YOU TEASE.

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!

Embarrassing.

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),

Huh?

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

HO HO HO! SPICY!

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.

TELL ME THE DOWNSIDE!?
— 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.