Sunday, October 19, 2014

0 comments Now That Derek Jeter is Retired, Wallace Matthews Wants Joe Girardi to Play A-Rod at Third Base Often, So He Can Inevitably Complain about A-Rod

Sportswriters often don't see athletes as human beings, they see these athletes as walking narratives. Walking narratives that can help that sportswriter with a column idea or even as a means to expound upon that narrative in a column. The New York media has missed Alex Rodriguez this season. They miss bashing him and talking about what a hypocritical, self-involved, cheating asshole he is. So naturally, Wallace Matthews misses A-Rod and can't wait for him to come back and play for the Yankees next season. It will make Wallace happy to know he can have A-Rod to kick around again. But first, Joe Girardi has to go ahead and hand A-Rod the starting third base job before the World Series is even over. So it turns out A-Rod won't be getting the Jeter treatment, because Girardi won't name A-Rod the starting third baseman in 2015. Just in case the zero people who thought Girardi might were confused.

Joe Girardi is about to go from the Farewell Tour to the Circus Parade. 

And the New York media could not be happier. They were tired of all this happiness and positivity surrounding Derek Jeter's retirement. Finally, they can get pageviews using negativity.

Girardi took a lot of heat this season for managing what some believed was a Derek Jeter Farewell Tour rather than a baseball season, and put forth the dubious proposition that this was the reason the Yankees missed the playoffs for the second straight year.

(New York media to each other) "We are going to saturate the coverage of the Yankees' season with talk about Derek Jeter and his impending retirement. We will make this our sole focus."

(New York media to Joe Girardi) "Why did you manage this season like it was a Derek Jeter Farewell Tour? That's the only story we heard about this season. Was that your only focus?"

While Girardi certainly deferred to Jeter all season, continuing to play him at shortstop and bat him second, despite sometime shrill calls from many corners claiming this was the reason the Yankees stunk in 2014, Alex Rodriguez cannot hope to enjoy the same level of respect. 

This disputes the claim of absolutely nobody that A-Rod was going to be treated like Derek Jeter was during his final year in the majors. Sure, a lot of nobody thought that A-Rod would be immediately handed the starting third baseman job before the World Series ended and the MLB offseason has begun, but these people, of which there were none, will be shocked to find out this isn't happening. Joe Girardi isn't going to cater to Alex Rodriguez like he did Derek Jeter. And here I thought Jeter and A-Rod would be treated the same, especially since the legacy each will leave with the Yankees isn't similar at all.  

And no, the reason the Yankees stunk in 2014 is not solely because Derek Jeter batted 2nd. The Yankees had injuries to their pitching staff, (predictably) the free agents they signed didn't entirely live up to their contract for a variety of reasons and the farm system isn't built up enough to withstand these two issues. But yeah, blame Girardi for playing Jeter, though the New York media would have had a heart attack had Girardi put Jeter 8th/9th in the batting order and sat him more than two games in a row.

That much was clear from Girardi's postseason wrap-up news conference at Yankee Stadium on Monday, in which he refused to guarantee A-Rod his old job back, despite being given several opportunities to say so. 

What kind of idiot manager would guarantee A-Rod his old job back for the upcoming season as early as late September? Girardi has no idea who the Yankees will sign in the offseason, no idea what kind of playing shape A-Rod is in, and Rodriguez wasn't exactly tearing the cover off the ball during the 2013 season. It would be the height of stupidity to guarantee A-Rod his old job back, so naturally the mouth-breathing idiots in the New York media ask Girardi to do so.

And I know if Girardi had said, "Of course A-Rod will have his job back when he returns" then this column by Wallace would go in a completely different direction. It would be, "I can't believe Girardi guaranteed A-Rod's job at third base this early in the offseason."

Asked directly, twice, on Monday if A-Rod was returning as the Yankees' starting third baseman, Girardi hedged. 

I don't want to spoil it, but Girardi's "hedge" is acknowledging that A-Rod will be playing third base when he returns. This further removes any confusion that A-Rod will be moving to the outfield or to shortstop. I'm sure the same subset of zero people who also thought A-Rod would get the Jeter treatment during the 2015 season thought A-Rod might play shortstop when he returned to the Yankees team. These zero people are now even less confused than they never were.

"He hasn’t played in a year," Girardi said. "That’s not easy to do, to sit out a year. I've got to see where he’s physically at, I’ve got to see from a playing standpoint where he’s at. Do we expect him to be a player on our team? Absolutely. Do we expect him to play third base? Yes. But in fairness, I think you have to see where he’s at." 

So A-Rod will play third base when he returns? Look at Girardi hedging on whether A-Rod will be the regular third baseman for the Yankees by acknowledging that A-Rod will be playing third base.

Which raises the bizarre and tantalizing prospect that Alex Rodriguez could be returning to the Yankees as a part-time player, or worse, a bench player.

Which is pretty much what the New York media has wanted A-Rod to be for a few seasons now. Of course, if A-Rod is a part-time player the New York media will take one of two roads:

1. State A-Rod isn't playing well enough to deserve to be a full-time player and then call him "an expensive pinch-hitter" in some fashion, while baiting A-Rod to second-guess Girardi's decision by firing a series of leading questions at him all in an effort to drum up controversy.

2. Claim that A-Rod should be starting because he makes enough money that he needs the opportunity to contribute and then blame A-Rod for Girardi refusing to pull him from the lineup. I don't know how, but the media will try to blame A-Rod for this.

Funny, Girardi showed no similar hesitation when asked similar questions about Jeter a year ago, even though Jeter was a year older than Rodriguez and coming off a similar yearlong layoff, having played in just 17 games scattered throughout the 2013 season.

That is because it was Jeter's last season and Girardi had never pulled Jeter from the lineup for performance-related reasons. Girardi has pulled A-Rod for performance-related reasons, and A-Rod has been out of baseball for an entire year, while Jeter was rehabbing an injury during much of the 2013 season. There's no way Jeter wasn't going to be the Yankees starting shortstop coming into the 2014 season for a variety of reasons. Just like A-Rod is not being handed the starting third base job for a variety of reasons.

No matter by what illicit means he achieved it, Rodriguez was always a better player than Jeter, if not nearly as much of a winner or so good a teammate. 

And those are part of the reasons why Rodriguez isn't being handed the third base job and Jeter was assumed to be the Yankees' starting shortstop during the 2014 season. Being a good teammate is always nice to see and much of A-Rod's value lies in his power, so it remains to be seen what remains of that power.

It is easy to argue that he doesn't deserve it, for transgressions both on the field and off. 

Ah yes, so basically Wallace Matthews is asking questions and then answering his own questions. Essentially, this entire column could have been a conversation instead Wallace's head instead of a column.

Without even trying, A-Rod is going to cause Girardi the kind of headaches that Jeter never did, and he does not appear to be relishing the prospect, even five months removed from the start of spring training.

It seems that Wallace has broached the question of A-Rod's starting status simply so he can rehash the same talking points about what a pain in the ass A-Rod is. Wallace acts surprised Girardi hasn't named A-Rod the starting third baseman (did you know A-Rod isn't on the same level as Derek Jeter?) in late September and then begins to list the reasons why Girardi wouldn't do this.

Although the manager went out of his way to mention, "I have a good relationship with Alex," he was unable to give a precise date of the last time he and his erstwhile third baseman actually spoke. 

GIVE WALLACE MATTHEWS THE PRECISE TIME THAT YOU LAST SPOKE WITH A-ROD! ALSO, HOW MANY EMOTICONS WERE USED?

"We've talked more about how he’s just doing and his family, mostly through texting," Girardi said. "Obviously that will pick up now that we’re through the season and I don’t have nearly as much to do, just to see where he is at physically and encouraging him and see what his thoughts are."

Now that Joe Girardi has stopped managing the Derek Jeter Farewell Tour, he can focus more on the Alex Rodriguez Redemption Tour. At some point, probably the beginning of each month during the season, he will put the Yankees lineup, pitching rotation, and bullpen usage charts together so he can spend the rest of that month focused on A-Rod as much as he solely focused on Derek Jeter.

All indications are that he expects to come back to the Yankees in all of his former capacities, as the everyday third baseman and a middle-of-the-order hitter, as well as a possible new capacity -- as a team leader now that Jeter will no longer be in the clubhouse.

How did Wallace get these indications? Why is Wallace unable to give a precise date of the last time he got an indication this is true?

Joe Girardi isn't allowed to talk to A-Rod during the season without every discussion notated and archived for the public's perusal, but Wallace Matthews is all, "I know that A-Rod thinks he is coming back to play third base everyday and hit in the middle of the order," and he just wants his readers to nod their head as if this is true and possibly isn't just an assumption Wallace wants to make for the purposes of writing a column.

Without mentioning names, Girardi spoke in general terms about the likelihood that several current Yankees could step up next year to fill the leadership void Jeter leaves behind. And from what I know about Alex, I can tell you he considers himself one of those candidates, if not the only legitimate one.

Brian McCann is going to stand in the baseline and yell at A-Rod for believing he is the only legitimate leadership candidate. There is an unwritten rule that says you have to get past Brian McCann first before you can be the leader of any team.

But it is just as likely that his return will be seen by some in the Yankees clubhouse as a burden, because at least for the beginning of spring training, the camp is likely to be crawling with even more media than usual, poking and prodding A-Rod for his daily thoughts and charting his every move on and off the field. 

Of course, the New York media could ensure the Yankees clubhouse don't see A-Rod as a burden by not poking and prodding A-Rod for his daily thoughts and charting his move on and off the field, but apparently that isn't even close to being option. Not that the New York media has an obligation to help the Yankees have a lesser burden, but Wallace Matthews is basically saying he and his media friends will make the Yankees clubhouse a living hell if they damn well want to.

Girardi acknowledged the coming circus could serve as a camp distraction, but said: "I think our players will handle it fine. The first couple of days in spring training there will be more attention, and that will die down. That's the nature of sports too. Something’s gonna happen that the focus will be off of him again."

Joe Girardi is going to have Francisco Cervelli murdered so the focus will be off A-Rod and on Cervelli's untimely death. I'm just kidding of course, the New York media would recognize that Cervelli is dead so there's no reason to immediately cover a story that isn't going anywhere, and then continue to focus on asking A-Rod for for the millionth time whether he considers himself the leader of the Yankees now and how much he'll miss Derek Jeter.

the spotlight will be on him again as he faces a likely procession of hostile crowds, perhaps even in his own ballpark. 

So why not announce A-Rod has the starting third base job in late September when he hasn't proven he deserves it, the fans hate him, and it will only put more pressure on him to produce immediately? Joe Girardi has really missed a chance to give New York sportswriters a great story to write.

"His teammates enjoy Alex," Girardi said. "His presence in the clubhouse, the way he likes to teach the game and talk about the game, so I don’t think that will be an issue. Will he have to deal with some angry fans? Yeah. But we’ll help him get through that. And when’s the last time Alex hasn’t had to deal with that?

Stop it! Stop being reasonable about Alex Rodriguez and how hostile crowds will affect him. Just pretend that A-Rod has never faced a hostile crowd before. It's a lot more fun that way.

If he's even 75 percent of the player he was before he was suspended, A-Rod can help the Yankees too, especially the offensively challenged Yankees of 2014.

Considering he is being paid $21 million next season, that's good to hear. I'm not going to mention that as much of a douchebag asshole as A-Rod has been through the years, it's funny how once the Yankees offense starts stumbling sportswriters start talking about him in a positive fashion as someone who can help the team. Wait, I did just mention it. It's almost like A-Rod is overpaid, but still a reasonably useful baseball player.

But there's no guarantee that when he comes back to the Yankees -- and his yearlong suspension ends as soon as the World Series is over -- that aside from his lavish paycheck, Rodriguez will enjoy any of the perks he did before he was set down, or any of the deference the manager showed to Jeter. 

Again, no one thought Alex Rodriguez would be treated in the same way that Derek Jeter was treated during his final season in the majors. Anyone who thought A-Rod would be treated as a conquering hero upon being reinstated is an idiot or simply stuck in 2002.

Which sets up a mouthwatering question for Girardi's postseason news conference a year from now:

After being accused in 2014 of playing Derek Jeter too much, will Girardi in 2015 face charges that he didn't play Alex Rodriguez enough?


My mouth is officially watered. Tell you what, if Alex Rodriguez plays well enough to play third base a lot during the 2015 season then I am betting Joe Girardi will play A-Rod a lot. Girardi won't reasonably know if A-Rod will play well enough until five months from now in spring training. Hence, he doesn't name A-Rod the starting third baseman yet. Somehow it makes sense if you just take the time to think about it. He won't be treated like Derek Jeter and I doubt anyone thought he would be treated in a similar fashion. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

4 comments Gregg Easterbrook Thinks the Scoring Increase in College Football That Isn't Happening This Year Might Make Football Boring Because Concussions, Tension, Defense and Other Things

Gregg Easterbrook listed the teams he thought would be in the Super Bowl come February, but didn't go quite as far as make his third prediction at which two teams will actually represent the AFC and NFC in the Super Bowl. A third prediction is coming though, it's only a matter of time. Gregg also continued making up reasons why the 49ers can't win games while they continue to win games (which of course Gregg doesn't mention...the 49ers are winning and Gregg is silent, they lose a game and he starts crowing again) and told his readers that turmoil can make a team play better in the long-run or it may not help the team at all in the long run. You know, either way. This week Gregg, after spending the past few years discussing how college and NFL teams are scoring points at a rapid pace and how exciting this is, wonders if high-scoring games in high school are a bad thing and (of course) does his typical criticism of television shows and movies for lacking realism. Oh, and his "Worst play of the season" isn't the inability of Cortland Finnegan to get Davante Adams out of bounds as I predicted. He can't let his readers on to the fact his "undrafted players work harder and are smarter than highly-drafted glory boys" narrative might not totally be true.

The scoreboard is spinning like never before. NFL point production is the highest ever. Baylor and TCU just played the highest scoring game ever between two Top 10 college football teams. In the NCAA, a hard-to-believe 63 college teams scored at least 50 points in the past week's action.
 
Is this too much of a good thing?

Baseball teams aren't scoring enough runs, football teams are scoring too many points. At this point the only thing that is spinning is my head from trying to figure out whether sportswriters will ever be happy with how many runs or points are scored in a sporting event. If there aren't enough points scored, nobody is interested, if there are too many points scored then it's a bad thing because it ruins the tension of the sport.

Most audiences would rather watch a 38-35 game than a 10-7 contest. But if scoring keeps rising, and football becomes perceived as basketball on grass, will the dramatic tension of the sport be reduced?

Was the Baylor-TCU game unexciting? I think anyone who watched that game (it seems Gregg didn't watch the game) can answer the question there. Dramatic tension won't be reduced if the games are still exciting. A 60-53 game is still exciting because it is close, just like a 10-7 game can be exciting even if there isn't "enough" scoring.

Through Week Six, NFL teams are averaging 23.4 points per game. That's the highest Week 6 number ever.

But as Gregg has pointed out in the past and always seems to forget at beginning of the season, defenses tend to catch up with offense more as the weather grows colder and the season progresses.

FBS college teams are averaging 30.2 points per game, down slightly from the record 30.4 average at the same juncture in 2013.

Scoring was out of control last season and is leveling off this year! Oh no!

The box score looks like some kind of college prank. The 93 points in the Notre Dame-UNC game were most ever at Notre Dame Stadium, which has been hosting football since Herbert Hoover was president.

Hosting Montana State, Cal-Davis had what only a few years ago would have been considered a spectacular day -- 610 offensive yards and five touchdowns. But Cal-Davis lost by 40 points because Montana State spun the scoreboard with a hard-to-believe 11 touchdowns.

But on the flip side, Alabama-Arkansas played a 14-13 game, Clemson-Louisville played a 23-17 game, Oklahoma State-Kansas played a 27-20 game, and Michigan-Penn State played a 18-13 game. That doesn't include the games played between ranked teams which involved the winning team scoring around 30 points. Gregg only mentions the high-scoring games because what fits the point he is trying to prove. College games are high-scoring, but not every game involves a scoring record being broken.

Scoreboards are spinning under the Friday night lights, too. A generation ago, Texas, the center of prep football culture, was home to lots of low-scoring defensive struggles.

I really have no way of proving this pretty generic statement as correct or incorrect, but I would guess this is the result of how football has changed at all levels from a running game to more of a passing game.

High-scoring games actually can be boring; John Carroll 69, Wilmington 0 must have been painful to sit through.

Nope. That's not a high-scoring game, that is a blowout. There is a difference, Gregg. A high-scoring game would involve both teams scoring a lot of points, while a game where only one team scores a lot of points is a blowout and not a high-scoring game. If the score of this game were 69-66 then it wouldn't have painful to sit through and it would have been a high-scoring game.

Higher scores derive in part from quick-snap, no-huddle tactics that increase the number of scrimmage downs. The more snaps, the more chance of injury. Quick-tempo football hasn't existed long enough to determine whether more snaps increase the degree of long-term neurological harm. But there's a worry here.

"There's no proof my assertion is correct, but let's pretend my assertion is correct because I have to pump out a weekly column and this week's topic in rotation is a discussion about concussions combined with a topic of quick scoring by football teams. Next week's topic is just going to be about concussions, followed by a topic on how the zone-read is dead, and then another discussion of high-scoring football games."

If hitting long touchdown passes becomes perceived as easy -- whether owing to tactics or rule changes intended to promote scoring -- the dynamism of the sport might be diluted.

If you notice, Gregg lacks focus on exactly why high-scoring games are bad. He's shotgunning reasons and hopes that eventually one of his explanations will hit the mark. High-scoring games are bad because of concussions. No wait, they are bad because high-scoring games are boring. No, that's not it. High-scoring games are bad because the sport may not be as exciting with too much scoring. Wait, what about high-scoring games being bad because fans will miss all the defense teams play? Nevermind, high-scoring games are bad because it dilutes NFL records. Yeah, that could be the reason.

At some point, Gregg will be able to look back and see that maybe one of these reasons he has mentioned turned out to be correct and he will be so proud of himself for correctly guessing why high-scoring games are so bad. 

The best football game your columnist has ever attended, and perhaps the best ever played, was the 2008 Super Bowl between the Giants and Patriots. That contest ended 17-14. Every yard was struggled over, and every play was electric. Each of the four touchdowns was exciting. What if instead there'd been nine or 10 touchdowns?

If the game was still close, then yes, the game would still have been exciting.

In good manners news, Brett Favre has been saying nice things about the likelihood Peyton Manning will break Favre's record for most touchdown passes in a career. Sports etiquette dictates that record-holders pretend to be cheering for those who may leap-frog their names in the record books. For instance three years ago as Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees all were assaulting Dan Marino's decades-old record for passing yards in a season, Marino politely said he was rooting for them.

Hey look, five great quarterbacks are being discussed. Four of them are either first or second round picks. Interesting how that works.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback thinks record-holders should root against their competition. Two years ago when Adrian Peterson drew close to surpassing Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record, Dickerson said he hoped that Peterson would not. It worked! Peterson was stopped eight yards shy. If Favre truly wishes his record broken, that's one thing. Odds are he does not. So be honest!

Great, I'm glad time has been taken to discuss whether athletes should be polite or not when one of his record is about to be broken.

Stats Of The Week No. 3: Quarterbacks Cam Newton and Andy Dalton, 2011 high draft choices who faced off at Cincinnati, are a combined 60-44-2 in the regular season and 0-4 in the postseason.

I think Gregg means they faced off "in" Cincinnati. And no, neither quarterback won a playoff game this past weekend, so they will continue to be losers who can't win a playoff game. By the way, Matt Ryan is 1-4 in the playoffs. He lost his first three playoff games before winning one. It's not really relevant, but goes to show even good quarterbacks lose playoff games.

Stats Of The Week No. 6: Even after defeating Pittsburgh, the Browns are on a 4-25 streak versus the Steelers.

What? You mean that victory this past weekend didn't count as 22 victories? So this means the Browns still have a losing record against the Steelers "even after" beating Pittsburgh this past weekend? And here I thought that record would be flipped around to where the Browns have a winning record against the Steelers after one victory.

Dallas scored to take a 27-23 lead with 3:16 remaining at Seattle, where the defending champions entered on a 19-1 run. The Seattle crowd was roaring at military-afterburner decibels. In the Bluish Men Group's previous home game, Russell Wilson ruled this situation, marching his charges the length of the field for a touchdown to win in overtime. Instead against Dallas, the defending champions went short gain, incompletion, incompletion, incompletion, Dallas ball. No mega blitzes, no funky fronts, just tight coverage -- like the Seattle defense played last season. 

Blitzing has never won games for an NFL team. The only way to win in the NFL is to not blitz or show any wacky defensive fronts. It's why a Dick LeBeau-led defense has never won a Super Bowl and no team has won a Super Bowl by blitzing.

Now the Packers are on the Miami 4 with six ticks remaining, out of time outs. Green Bay lines up with 6-4 tight end Andrew Quarless, who's spent most of the contest as an inline blocker, split out far to the right. Weakside linebacker Philip Wheeler, who is not accustomed to being one-on-one in space, trotted over to cover him.

Philip Wheeler is not used to being one-on-one in space. Sure, whatever. In fact, he's never played linebacker before. In reality, he was a fan pulled from the stands for this very play. The honest truth is that Philip Wheeler is a 10 year old boy from Afghanistan who hasn't ever seen a football before. 

Sweet-N-Sour Bonus: Before the touchdown play, Green Bay rushed to the line seemingly to spike to stop the clock. Instead Rodgers threw a 12-yard completion to position the Packers at the 4. Announcers said Rodgers faked a spike, as Dan Marino famously once did. But Rodgers did not -- he simply took the snap and hesitated an instant.

Gregg, he did make a downward motion like he was spiking the ball. He didn't fake the spike, but Rodgers clearly wanted to make it seem like he would be spiking the football.

Having the offensive linemen not move was a sweet variation on the expected spike. Sour: on the not-faked-spike play, Green Bay receiver Davante Adams was hemmed in at the 4 by Miami defensive backs Cortland Finnegan and Jamar Taylor. Instead of dragging him down on the field of play, which almost certainly would have ended the game, they shoved Adams out-of-bounds, stopping the clock.

Do you like how Gregg dragged the second round pick Jamar Taylor into the discussion just so the blame wouldn't all be on the 7th round pick Cortland Finnegan? If Gregg watched the game or replay, which he undoubtedly did not, he would see this mistake was all on Finnegan. Jamar Taylor had no chance to keep Adams in bounds. In fact, if he had tried to keep Adams in bounds then Adams would have walked into the end zone.

Gregg leaves out the draft position of each player because he doesn't want to say a first and second round pick caught a hard-working 7th round pick unaware. Rest assured, if the roles were reversed and a 7th round pick threw the ball to an undrafted free agent who was tackled by a 2nd round pick, the draft position of these players would be mentioned by Gregg.

Recently, an international team of astronomers recorded an extremely strong, brief radio signal that appeared to emanate from another galaxy. To travel such distance, the signal must be more than a million years old -- from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

"Exactly what may be causing such radio bursts represents a major new enigma for astrophysicists," McGill University said. As TMQ has noted about gamma-ray bursts from deep space, scientists assume any unexplained interstellar phenomena are natural in origin. Why assume that? Gamma-ray bursts may be the muzzle flashes of doomsday weapons built by other civilizations. Perhaps the extremely strong radio burst was cosmic social networking bouncing off an intergalactic cell tower.

Gregg Easterbrook is the same guy who complains when a television show uses a battleship that was retired a decade ago and treats it as if it were still an active battleship. His speculation for the cause of gamma-ray bursts are doomsday weapons built by other civilizations. Surely, if a movie portrayed a gamma-ray burst as a doomsday weapon built by other civilizations then Gregg would spend 500 words explaining how this is stupid and unrealistic.

Why Certain Teams Have Lost Nine Straight: Trailing 16-14, Jacksonville had possession on the Flaming Thumbtacks' 37 with 12 seconds remaining, out of time outs. At third-and-2, rather than try a quick sideline pass to improve field position -- 12 seconds is sufficient clock for that -- Gus Bradley sent in the field goal unit to attempt from 55 yards. Needless to say, no points.

As I wrote in MMQB this week, Gus Bradley would have to potentially rely on two rookies to run a play and get out of bounds with 12 seconds remaining. It's a judgment call, not a bad decision. Jacksonville very easily could have tried a pass and Bortles could have gotten sacked or the receiver didn't get out of bounds on a pass play. If that had happened then Gregg would have criticized Bradley for not kicking the field goal.

New England leading 23-14 early in the fourth quarter, the Flying Elvii faced third-and-12 on the Buffalo 18. Presnap, the Buffalo secondary was confused -- players were pointing at each other and shouting. Nickle safety Duke Williams turned his back to the opponents in order to argue with a teammate. Word to the wise: do not turn your back on Tom Brady. He immediately signaled for the snap and threw an easy touchdown pass to the man Williams should have guarded, turning a tight contest into a walkover. 

This is something that Gregg consistently does which annoys me. He says Williams should have been "guarding" his man. This isn't basketball where defenses run man-to-man defense most of the time (except for that ninny Jim Boeheim of course). It's football where a secondary runs zone coverage, man coverage and even a mix of both. Jim Schwartz runs a shell Cover-2 a lot of times, so there isn't necessarily a man that Duke Williams was "guarding." It doesn't make this play by Williams any smarter, but simply points out a fallacy Gregg consistently believes that each member of the secondary has a player they are supposed to "guard," as if a secondary is only playing man coverage at all times.

Last week at Detroit, Buffalo defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz not only was carried off the field, celebrating extravagantly as if he'd just cured cancer or brought peace to the Middle East -- the embarrassing spectacle was staged because Schwartz instructed players to carry him off the field. Reader Jeff Yang of Bethesda, Maryland suggests the football gods punished this effrontery by causing Schwartz's defense to allow 37 points and get no takeaways at home versus the Bills' most important rival.

Two things:

1. Buffalo is not the Patriots' rival. Any suggestion they are is ridiculous.

2. Readers like Jeff Yang are who make Gregg Easterbrook popular, which means I don't like Jeff Yang. Please don't encourage Gregg's stupidity in citing football gods.

Now In Development, X-Men: Cash Cow: "X-Men: Days of Future Past" is out on DVD and home video this week. To watch any sci-fi action movie, one must accept the premise.

To watch any movie or television show, one must accept the premise. Carry on...

In the latest X-flick, audiences were required to accept a premise that included mutant superheroes, time travel and gigantic flying robots built by the Nixon Administration. One also had to accept the premise that nine years from today, in 2023, the Pentagon will possess antigravity technology and indestructible self-aware morphing cyborgs.

To watch a sci-fi action movie, one must not be difficult and understand the term stands for "Science-Fiction." Fiction. Fiction. Not real. Continuing carrying on...

Okay, that's the premise, no more improbable than a James Bond movie or "Veronica Mars" episode, for that matter. Yet within the premise, action should make sense. In the flick, as the world is about to end in 2023, the handful of surviving X-Men realize Armageddon was set in motion by a mistake made on January 27, 1973. Wolverine is sent back in time to correct the mistake. But he's sent back only a few days prior to the event, requiring a furious race to head off disaster. If it was possible to move half a century backward in time, why not send him a bit earlier and make the mission more practical?

Because it would not have made an interesting movie. See, the purpose of a movie is to entertain the audience using tension, comedy, drama, etc. So giving a tighter window to accomplish the mission makes the movie more exciting.

I am sure Gregg Easterbrook would ask, "If a movie had too much tension, is that a bad thing? What if the audience gets bored because there is too much excitement in the movie?"

Then there's Shadowcat. In "X-Men: The Last Stand," set in the year 2006, she is said to be 20 years old. That would make her 37 years old in "Days of Future Past." Ellen Page, who plays the character, was 26 years of age during filming, and clearly is in her 20s, not her late 30s. Maybe she uses time travel to stay young.

Guess what else? Ellen Page isn't even a mutant. In fact, ZERO real mutants are in any of the "X-Men" movies. I can't believe it either. How unrealistic.

This happens constantly on celluloid. In real life, how often do people walk in on their love interests smooching the wrong person?

16 times. It has happened 16 times in real life and has happened one time to me.

Leading 10-0, Chip Kelly lined up little-used reserve tight end James Casey in a flex left; showed screen pass left as Casey dragged to the right "low," close to the defensive line so the safeties wouldn't notice him; 26-yard touchdown. Sweet.

This is not entirely true. James Casey isn't always little-used. He was in for 5% of snaps during Week 4 and 34% during Week 5. It all depends on the week. Casey was in for 17% of the snaps during Week 6.

The Cardinals play stout West Coast Defense but are low-voltage on offense, with just three touchdowns on 15 red zone possessions. On the other hand, they are the sole NFL team that has not thrown an interception. Suddenly their Nov. 2 date at Dallas looks like one of the season's monster games. Don't be surprised if their regular-season finale pairing at Santa Clara is a win-and-you're-in, loser-goes-home contest.

You may not believe this, but Gregg is lying here. This stout West Coast defense that Gregg has previously described as not involving a lot of blitzing? Well, about that...Yep, it turns out the Cardinals turned the game against the Redskins around by disguising seven man fronts and blitzing Kirk Cousins. And of course Gregg won't mention this because he wants his readers to believe blitzing is a strategy that rarely works and playing a stout defense by only rushing four men is the way to win football games. So any evidence that blitzing works will immediately be ignored or simply not discussed by Gregg Easterbrook. He will just hope none of his readers actually look into any of his assertions.

Upping the ante, on "Justified," a bad guy hit by a shotgun shell not only is lifted into the air but also he flies backward across a room. For the shell to convey enough energy for this to happen, the shooter would have to fly an equal distance in the opposite direction. Unless he was using a recoilless rifle, a type of antitank weapon that, despite the name, is a cannon. But the weapon shown was a standard shotgun.

This "Justified" episode aired over six months ago and Gregg is still focused on just how unrealistic this scene was. I have a feeling Gregg writes these scenes down as they happen, probably in the same Selena Gomez Trapper Keeper notebook he keeps his "Game Over" mentions in, so he can write about them in TMQ.

Buck-Buck-Brawkkkkkk No. 2: Vikings trailing 17-0 in the fourth quarter, coach Mike Zimmer sent the punt unit in on fourth-and-1. Just to prove it was no fluke, still trailing 17-0 with less than five minutes remaining, Zimmer sent the field goal unit in.

Yeah, it sounds like a chicken move, but this was a three possession game with five minutes remaining anyway. At some point the Vikings had to kick a field goal. I won't defend Zimmer's decision to not go for it on fourth down earlier in the fourth quarter though.

Last week, when the Supreme Court declined to hear petitions from those seeking to prevent Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin from legalizing gay marriage, conservative Sen. Ted Cruz called this "judicial activism at its worst." Federal courts don't interfere with state autonomy -- that's "judicial activism?"

I missed this the first two times I read this column until it was pointed out to me on Twitter. I didn't pass the bar, but I know a little bit. I know that federal courts do interfere with state autonomy. I know that part of the purpose of the federal courts (and the Supreme Court) is to strike down any laws they see as unconstitutional, which obviously would include state laws that interfere with federal laws. So federal courts do interfere with state autonomy. If Nevada states that a person must have a driver's license and be of the Christian faith in order to vote in statewide and local elections, then a federal court can hear an appeal or case based on the violation of religious freedom. So yes, federal courts interfere with state autonomy all the time as long as it is a federal law that is being challenged. This seems like quite the lie from Gregg Easterbrook, especially from someone whose brother is a judge. 

Usually, conservatives praise states' rights -- but when Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin decided to recognize gay unions (civil marriage has always originated at the state or local, not federal, level), conservatives went ballistic. Why don't those unelected federal judges step in!

Actually, conservatives also would try and get a statewide referendum to change the state constitution specifically stating marriage as between a man and a woman. That happened too.

But Gregg, why would conservatives want an unelected federal judge to step in when everyone knows that federal courts don't interfere with state autonomy? A federal court would NEVER step in on the issue of state autonomy to recognize gay unions, mostly because federal courts just let states do whatever they want. Right?

Liberals are just as bad. Normally, the song they sing is "think globally, act locally." But when local sentiment in Alaska favors a copper-and-gold mine, liberals demand the EPA invoke federal power to block the project.

What a nice way of saying normally liberals "think globally, act locally" and pretty much stereotyping millions of people as all having one specific belief. Welcome to Gregg Easterbrook's America, where there is no nuance and all liberals think one thing and all conservatives think another.

Success of the latest Hillary Clinton tome raises again this question: Why do Americans spend so much money on "books" that are "by" politicians -- whether Clinton or Rick Perry or Leon Panetta or any other -- when most such volumes consist of self-flattery and statements of the obvious?
 
Maybe for the same reason people choose to buy your books. Just because they want to.

The cover of Panetta's new book says "with Jim Newton." By contrast, Perry campaigned for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination by pretending to be the author of "Fed Up," which was actually written by Chip Roy. Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook travels about claiming to be an accomplished author, when Nell Scovell actually wrote "Lean In." Scovell is noted on the book's title page but not on the cover, which warrants to the buyer that Sandberg is the author.

Clinton claims to be the author of three best sellers, none of which lists actual authors on the cover or the title page. In fact if Clinton had written "Living History," that in itself would have been a scandal since she was at the time a United States senator and would have had to neglect her duties to research and compose a 592-page book.

This is as opposed to Gregg Easterbrook who writes TMQ himself, but doesn't want to neglect his other duties, so he doesn't do much research on all of the claims and assertions he makes in the weekly football column.

One of the worst things about important people is insatiable ego. By pretending to be authors, politicians and executives place ego gratification above honesty. They devalue real writing in the process.

Yes, placing ego gratification over honestly. Now who should have kept Davante Adams in bounds again? Cortland Finnegan or Jamar Taylor? Does harping on something like how an NFL team won a game without blitzing, while not mentioning another NFL team won a game by blitzing count as being honest? Or is that just a case of intentionally leaving something out that hurts a narrative and wouldn't count as dishonesty?

Needless to say, Hollywood celebs use ghostwriters -- but celebs are airheads and no one expects their books to be anything other than brightly packaged junk. Readers reasonably expect integrity in books presented to the public as "by" a former secretary of state or "by" a former secretary of the Treasury.

Perhaps the expectations should be lowered then. Politicians routinely aren't the most honest people around.

Geithner postscript: It might be weasel behavior for him to make the rounds of TV talk shows, presenting himself as the author of a book he didn't write. But Geithner is one of the good guys in the bizarre AIG trial, testifying the purpose of the tough terms imposed on that company in 2008 was to discourage other firms from replicating AIG's behavior.

So because Geithner was a good guy in that situation, it's okay with Gregg if he pretends to have written a book that he didn't actually write? I guess that is supposed to be my takeaway here.

College Football's Monster Weekend: There were so many monster contests in big-college football Saturday that not even BMOC could take them all in. Here are some notes from channel-hopping:

But some of the games were high-scoring, which means they were inevitably boring because all the tension was out of the game. I learn so much reading TMQ.

Sportscasters noted Texas lost the Red River game despite an edge of 250 offensive yards. But Oklahoma had a big edge in return yardage, which is just as important.

This is #analysis.

Oregon leading 8-3, facing third-and-10 on the UCLA 21. Oregon lined up trips left and unbalanced right. At the snap, the right tackle pulled left while the tailback counterstepped left to create misdirection. Then the play became a screen right with three offensive linemen hustling downfield -- untouched for a touchdown. It was after this play UCLA coach Jim Mora (Mora the Younger to this column) got into a heated sideline argument with his defensive coordinator. Surely the Bruins had never seen a trips on one side with an unbalanced line on the other side and should have called timeout.

This is another annoying feature of TMQ. Gregg always wants a coach to call timeout the second something confusing happens on the field. A head coach can't call timeout every time a different offensive alignment is shown by the opposing team or it looks like there may be confusion among his team. Each team only has three timeouts per half.

UCLA ran the trick play in which a back walks toward his sideline as if he's leaving the game, gesturing wildly at his coaches as if angry that he's been yanked -- but actually is a man in motion who stops just before going out of bounds and gets the pass. The Bruins gained only 12 yards with this action. Pretending to leave the game -- or the similar "this is the wrong ball" trick play often seen in high school -- shouldn't be legal. It's cheesy.

Yeah, well encouraging players to "do a little dance" to gain a first down on fourth down is cheesy too, but it doesn't stop Gregg from claiming that's the only way to get a first down on fourth-and-short.

Mississippi State leading Auburn 21-0, ran a fake punt from its own 28, resulting in a shaggy looking turnover. Auburn had lined up in a "safe" set, expecting a fake. Now with possession, Auburn reached third-and-goal at the 5. The Tigers ran a tight end end-around trick-play pass -- the tight end had lined up off the line of scrimmage -- that never stood a chance, then settled for a field goal. Gus Malzahn can draw up plays with the best of 'em, but sometimes, gets too cute for his own good.

Mississippi State, leading 28-20 in the early fourth quarter, goes for it on fourth-and-8 from the Auburn 26 and converts. The drive concluded with a field goal anyway, but the call set an aggressive tone for the final stage of the game.

Going for it on fourth down sets an aggressive tone for the game, while attempting a fake punt is getting "too cute" and obviously shouldn't be construed as trying to set an aggressive tone. As always, it's the result of the play that determines for Gregg Easterbrook what the correct play call was in the situation. As long as Gregg knows the outcome, he can tell you if the play call was correct or not.

Leading 58-44 at Baylor, TCU took possession at 10:39 of the fourth quarter and, rather than huddle up to grind the clock, stayed in its super-quick-snap tempo. Rather than run to grind the clock, TCU attempted three passes in six downs, two falling incomplete, which was like giving Baylor two free timeouts. The Horned Frogs punted back after burning just 2:39. This sequence would have been the worst coaching moment of the weekend had it not paled before ...

TCU got the ball back leading 58-51 with 6:39 remaining. Once again, the Horned Frogs used quick-snap rather than clock-killer tactics, and then the possession included: incompletion, quick-snap rush, incompletion, punt. TCU handed Baylor two more free timeouts, then handed back the ball after using up just 58 seconds. Baylor's winning field goal split the uprights as the clock expired. This possession was arguably the worst college football series of all time.

I understand Gregg's criticism, but TCU had scored 58 points using their quick-snap tactics. Is it really smart to back away from those tactics late in the game? Obviously the outcome of the game showed that TCU should have burned more clock, but if TCU scores any more points on this drive using the same tactics that got them 58 points early in the fourth quarter then Gregg wouldn't be criticizing the quick-snap tactics.

If TCU had run the ball and tried to kill clock, why do I feel like Gregg would have criticized them for going away from their quick-snap tactics and blame that slowdown strategy for the loss?

TMQ's Law of Comebacks holds: Defense starts comebacks, offense stops them. When the Texans played better defense in the second half, they came back.

Of all of Gregg Easterbrook's ridiculous laws, I think I hate this one the most. It's so obvious that it actually hurts me to explain it. Of course defense starts comebacks, because a team can't actually start coming back until the opposing team is no longer scoring points. It's hard to comeback when the other team keeps scoring. When one team stops the other team from scoring, then yes, they can start coming back. It's so obvious that this law has absolutely no meaning.

I can't believe that the Texans started to come back in the second half when they played better defense. Who would have thought they could start coming back once they stopped the Colts from scoring? 

The Football Gods Chortled: Indianapolis leading 27-14 just before intermission, the Texans lined up to punt. With three seconds left on the clock, the Colts called timeout -- the first known instance of icing the punter.

Or the Colts stopped the clock in the hopes their punt returner got a chance to return it, hopefully for a touchdown.

Do a Little Dance! TMQ's Law of Short Yardage holds: Do a little dance if you want to gain that yard. Green Bay leading 7-0, Miami decided to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the Packers' 1. No shift, no misdirection -- just a handoff straight ahead, stuffed.

I hope Gregg realizes that when a quarterback sneaks for the first down on a fourth-and-goal try there often isn't misdirection or a shift. He probably doesn't care even if he did know this.

The 600 Club: Hosting Liberty, Appalachian State gained 628 yards and lost.

Sad face.

Single Worst Play Of The Season -- So Far: Opening the season 1-3 and looking shaky, the St. Louis Rams were hosting the heavily favored Santa Clara 49ers on "Monday Night Football." The home crowd was raucous. With undrafted unknown Austin Davis performing well at quarterback,

Austin Davis is performing well, so naturally Peter will mention his draft position. Gotta keep that narrative going. By the way, second round pick and highly-paid glory boy Colin Kaepernick was the winning quarterback. He won by using some of the offensive techniques that Gregg stated a year ago may not work in the NFL anymore.

St. Louis coaches did not send a dime onto the field, or even a nickel. Facing a situation in which the long pass was the only threat, St. Louis coaches sent out their standard 4-3-4 with Cover 2. Presnap, middle linebacker James Laurinaitis backed up to position himself as a third safety. Why wasn't there an actual third safety in the game?

Don't question Jeff Fisher.

Across from Niners wideout Brandon Lloyd, corner Janoris Jenkins lined up in press coverage, right in Lloyd's face. What's the point of press coverage when the opposition must go the length of the field in 27 seconds?

To stop the receiver from catching the ball? That seems to be the point to me.

As Lloyd accelerated up the sideline, Jenkins then made the high school mistake of looking into the backfield trying to guess the play, rather than stick to his man.

I can't stand it when Gregg claims a cornerback is staring in the backfield trying to guess the play. It doesn't make sense. Why would a cornerback stare in the backfield when it's clearly a pass? He knows the play, it's a pass. Jenkins didn't stare in the backfield, he bit on a double move and that's how he got beaten.

So let me clear up two things:

1. Brandon Lloyd did not run a stop-and-go as Gregg claims. It was a double move. There is a difference. On a stop-and-go, the receiver actually stops and then runs up the field. On a double move, the receiver will make two moves and hope the cornerback bites on the first one. That is what happened here. Looking at the play, one can clearly see Brandon Lloyd did not stop, he made a move to the inside and then continued running straight. Jenkins bit on the first move and the touchdown was a result. I would think since Gregg writes a football column and loves to throw around football terminology that he would take the time to understand the correct football terminology he should use. Much like asking him to read the links he puts in TMQ, it seems this is too much to ask.

2. Let me re-clear up that Jenkins wasn't trying to guess the play by looking the backfield. He quite obviously bit for the first move on the double move that Brandon Lloyd ran. I wish Gregg would stop writing that cornerbacks "try to guess the play" when they are actually biting on a fake or running zone coverage.

The worst play came from the St. Louis safeties, Rodney McLeod and T.J. McDonald (McLeod was ultimately the goat on this play, completely out of position). At the snap both came forward, as if expecting something super-short. Both were running toward the Santa Clara end of the field as Lloyd was streaking toward the St. Louis end.

And notice immediately after announcing that undrafted free agent Austin Davis was playing well, Gregg states that Rodney McLeod was the ultimate goat on the worst play of the game. What Gregg leaves out is that McLeod is an undrafted free agent. It's always interesting to see Gregg mention when a player is an undrafted free agent and when he fails to mention this. It usually comes off as a desperate attempt to shield information from his readers in order for them to believe the narrative he wants to prove about lowly-drafted and undrafted free agents. It never fails, Gregg only mentions a player's draft position if he does something negative and is a highly-drafted player or does something positive and is an undrafted free agent. He rarely mentions draft position when an undrafted free agent does something negative or a highly-drafted player does something positive. He's gotta keep misleading his audience into believing what he says is true. If he can't do it with the truth, just lie a little or hold back the truth, and trust the people are too stupid to catch on.

As Colin Kaepernick released his pass, McLeod, who had responsibility for the side Lloyd was on, simply came to a halt and watched, not attempting to chase the man whose 80-yard touchdown seconds before halftime changed the complexion of the contest.

As second round pick and highly-paid glory boy Kaepernick released the ball, fourth round pick and once highly-paid glory boy Brandon Lloyd beat second round pick Janoris Jenkins and undrafted free agent Rodney McLeod for an 80-yard touchdown.

Afterward, Les Mouflons coach Jeff Fisher made lame excuses about a bad call on a different down. It was a bad call. Don't give me your excuses -- go win the game!

Look, Jeff "8-8" Fisher is working on turning the Rams around. It can't just happen overnight. No NFL team has ever been turned around in 2-3 years. Just give Fisher a contract extension and there will be a winning season in there somewhere for the Rams. Meanwhile, he'll waste the team's time not coaching with urgency and trusting his reputation will continue to buy him time.

Next Week: The annual Tuesday Morning Quarterback Obscure College Game of the Year -- Indiana of Pennsylvania versus California of Pennsylvania at Hepner-Bailey Field at Adamson Stadium in California, Pennsylvania.

I'll be sure not to look forward to it.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

2 comments The Mayor of St. Louis Needs to Hire a Better Intern to Write Columns for Him

I tried to ignore this response from the St. Louis mayor to the idea the Cardinals are the most hateable team in the 2014 MLB playoffs. I tried. The response from the St. Louis mayor just sat there in my Bookmarks staring at me everyday, wondering why I can't muster up a response to that response. I have a hard time not responding when I disagree with someone. It's a flaw of mine. On Twitter if someone Tweets something stupid at me I usually make a joke back or ignore it completely. It's a lot harder for me to ignore it completely, because as I'm told on a weekly basis, "You don't have to respond, just let it go." I can not. So I sit and stew over a Tweet sent my direction that is an obvious troll attempt and I know if I respond then I am just buying into the troll game. It's not that I am argumentative, it is more like I can't let someone who has stated something factually incorrectly stand uncorrected.

I had a sportswriter email me one time about something I had written here about something he had written (you know, like I do all the time) and we went back and forth over email for an entire Saturday. I had to make him see my point, which wasn't going to happen. He didn't want to see my point, he wanted to point out what he really meant to write even though he didn't write what he meant to write. I kept pointing out he didn't write what he claims he meant to write, so my criticism was fair. He kept pointing out what he MEANT to write, so my criticism was unfair. But that's not what he wrote...and so it went on and on. I had a hard time pulling myself from that conversation.

So anyway, this response from the St. Louis mayor has been sitting there, just begging me to post something about it. I have given in. I can't ignore this troll attempt by the St. Louis mayor (or by whoever really wrote this response). It's impossible for me to do.

The Wall Street Journal recently released its second-annual Major League Baseball Hateability Index in which it ranked the 10 playoff teams for 2014 “in order of general loathsomeness.” The rankings were based on 10 essential categories to haters including drug suspensions, “ridiculous beards” and, of course, the time-honored crime of winning too much.

Unfortunately what comes with "winning too much" is the fan base believing their team is more special and unique than any other team simply because their team wins a lot of games. Winning breeds cockiness and cockiness breeds loathsomeness.

On the strength of its pennant collection and rabid fan base, which both travels to opposing stadiums and refers to itself as a “nation,” my hometown St. Louis Cardinals came in first.

As I have said before regarding other situations like this one, it's not that the Cardinals necessarily travel to opposing stadiums, it's that there are fans of the Cardinals who live in the same city or area where the opposing stadium is located. Thousands of Red Sox fans don't travel to Atlanta to come to a Red Sox-Braves game, these people often live in the city of Atlanta and want to cheer for the Red Sox team they don't get to see play very often.

You see, while you might think of St. Louis as flyover country and not pay us much due, we’re kind of a big deal come October on Major League Baseball diamonds.

See, this is overly-douchey and is a great example of why some people find the Cardinals loathsome. It's cockiness dressed up as false modesty. Because St. Louis is known as flyover country and that's why it's not a tourist attraction at all. No one comes to see the Gateway Arch or anything. You see, the Cardinals get their due. They get a lot of due. The public is aware the Cardinals get their due because douchey Cardinals fans like the mayor of St. Louis are constantly reminding everyone just how great the Cardinals and their fan base are.

In fact, we’re kind of a big deal for a number of reasons.

This sentence is a great example of why the Cardinals came in first in the hateability index. Nobody said the Cardinals weren't a good team, but in response to a hateability index that partly factors in how many pennants that team has won over the past 10 years, the mayor of St. Louis refutes this index by reminding readers how many pennants the Cardinals have won. His response to "we shouldn't be hated" is reminding readers of exactly why the Cardinals tend to be hated. It seems like the mayor of St. Louis doesn't have a firm grasp on exactly why the Cardinals are hated. This. This writing is why the Cardinals are seen as hated. Nobody likes false modesty and refuting the Cardinals' fans think too much of themselves by saying "scoreboard" only serves to prove the point of the hateability index results.

Thus, I feel compelled to deliver a simple message to America: We’re sorry.

Sure, we’re sorry the Cardinals have won 11 World Series championships, two since 2006.

No, we are sorry you are coming off like a smarmy braggart. You know, essentially what you are writing this column to prove you as a Cardinals fan are not.

Indeed, we’re sorry that New York and San Francisco are 2.3 times and 1.7 times respectively more expensive to live in than the St. Louis metro area.

Just don't be black and live in the St. Louis metro area or else one of two things will happen. You will get shot by a police officer or you will be quarantined in East St. Louis where the city prefers to keep their unwanted citizens. Also, how expensive it is to live in St. Louis has nothing to do with sports or why the the Cardinals are at the top of the hateability index. Whichever department in the city of St. Louis gave you this information for the purposes of this column probably didn't know you were going to use it to make a strawman argument like this.

We’re sorry for producing one of the world’s best-selling batteries (Energizer)

Oh, I didn't know St. Louis produced one of the world's best-selling batteries. How can anyone hate a city that produces so many batteries which take up landfill space and don't decompose? Not to mention, Town and Country, Missouri is actually where the Energizer headquarters are. It is a suburb of St. Louis, so I guess if I can make a reference to Ferguson, Missouri then I can let this one go.

and two of the 10 best-selling beers in the world—Budweiser and Bud Light.

Which is the beer that should only be used to put in the cups during beer pong to punish your opponent when you land a ping-pong ball in one of their cups. But no, congratulations on producing one of the 10 best-selling beers that is losing market share to craft beers and other beers that don't taste like watered down Sprite with a slight twist of cat urine.

We’re sorry that the four largest metro areas in the nation lost nearly 25,000 financial-service jobs between January 2007 and September 2012, while St. Louis added more than 5,500 in the sector.

(Mayor of St. Louis calls his Economic Development Director) "Find me some jobs that we have gained and other cities have lost."

(Economic Development Director) "We have a lot more police now and military supply sales have gone up in the past month due to Fer---"

(Mayor of St. Louis) "No, I want gains in jobs that people like."

(Economic Development Director) "We have gained jobs in the financial services sector over the past five years."

(Mayor of St. Louis) "Shoot that information to my intern so he can include it in this letter I am writing that he is actually writing for me. Everyone loves people who work in the financial services sector of the economy. America doesn't feel at all like these people make huge income and profits on the back of working class Americans through shady deals and investments."

That guy Jon Hamm? Yeah, we’re sorry for raising him here and sending him out into the world for your entertainment delight.

That's weak. Where does Jon Hamm live now, at least when he isn't being trotted out like a mascot to some St. Louis sporting event? Oh yeah, he has moved the hell out of St. Louis and lives in California now. A lot of cities can take credit for celebrities who were born there, but don't live there anymore. The key to proving your city isn't shitty is if the celebrity still lives there. The Charlotte area can take credit for K-Ci and JoJo, but I'm not sure anyone wants to do that.

We’re sorry for our diverse community in that more Bosnians—over 60,000—call St. Louis home than anywhere outside of Bosnia.

Whoops, that's 59,999 Bosnians. Someone just got shot for carrying a pack of gum that a St. Louis police officer thought was a pipe bomb.

But seriously, who the hell writes, "You can't hate our baseball team because we have a lot of Bosnians who live here"? What is that? So far, the mayor of St. Louis has said, "Scoreboard" and "Look at all our Bosnians" as to why St. Louis shouldn't be hated. I would venture the mayor can count the number of these Bosnians he really knows on one hand.

We’re sorry for Forest Park, our beautiful 1,300-acre urban park comprises an award-winning zoo, science center, art and history museums, golf courses, ice rink and green space.

This has nothing to do with sports. Clearly the mayor was too busy doing other shit and didn't understand the hateability index had to do with sports. Bringing up points that have nothing to do with sports is stupid and proves the mayor of St. Louis doesn't really understand what's supposed to be refuted.

We’re sorry for not only being home to 18 Fortune 1000 companies, but for developing one of the most promising and fastest-growing ecosystems for startups and entrepreneurs, delivering innovations that are being used by businesses and consumers world-wide. You know, like that pesky social-media platform Twitter (St. Louisan Jack Dorsey )

Lives in San Francisco and graduated college in New York.

or credit-card processing device Square (St. Louisan Jim McKelvey).

Which is a company based on St. Louis. McKelvey does have several businesses in St. Louis though, so in terms of proving the Cardinals shouldn't be hated because a rich dude owns businesses in the city of St. Louis, this is a big win for the mayor.

We’re sorry that at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Richard Blechynden served tea with ice, thus inventing iced tea (although not the rapper/actor Ice-T).

Well, the intern who did the research on this one probably should be reprimanded. Blechynden probably didn't invent iced tea.

The point is that we here in the Midwest are not a boastful people. 

Except you just spent the entirety of this response to the hateability index bragging about how great St. Louis is and randomly bringing up famous people who hail from the city even though that has nothing to do with sports. Other than all your bragging, you are not a boastful people. 60,000 Bosnians would agree.

We’re humble

Nope, a listing of the team's and city's achievements is not being humble. Might want to call the intern to get you a dictionary to look up the word "humble."

and quietly go about our business, inventing the things you use every day, entertaining you, finding employment for your citizens and handing you losses on the baseball field regularly.

Yep, this sentence isn't "quietly going about our business." It's an example of bragging and then desperately trying to bring the discussion back around to sports when that's not at all what this entire response was about. The hateability index was not about not hating St. Louis for non-sports related reasons, which seems to be the point the mayor of St. Louis has missed entirely.

(We’re especially sorry to Chicago.)

This is why you are #1. Exactly why.

Don’t hate us because we’re beautiful here in St. Louis. But if you do, just know that we’re sorry. Go Cards!

The intern who did all the research, wrote and proofread this response, and then emailed it to the mayor certainly needs to step it up a notch and work on his/her reading comprehension skills. Either that or this is a huge troll job by the intern who wanted to prove exactly why the Cardinals ended up #1 on the hateability index by bringing up the points that were made in this insufferable, strawman introducing, "best fans in baseball so who can hate us?" response. 

Very poor showing here by the intern.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

9 comments MMQB Review: It's a New Week With No Outcomes For "Us" To Overreact To Edition

Peter King seemed to have Bill Simmons ghostwrite MMQB last week. He was using many of Bill's techniques (saying "we," gushing about Tom Brady, using overly-specific percentages) that he often uses in his writing. Maybe during his three week vacation Bill decided he would try to spice up MMQB. Peter also told us that "we" overreacted in burying the Patriots and that Russell Wilson not only used to be a bully and was in fact the John Stockton of bullying in high school. This week Peter officially permits Cleveland to get excited, is shocked by who he puts at #1 in his Fine Fifteen (only Peter King could be douchy enough to be shocked at his personal choices...I imagine he sits at the dinner table staring at his food sometimes saying, "I am in disbelief I ordered the chicken tonight. I don't know what happened that caused this."), and marvels over the genius of Aaron Rodgers. Oh, and Peter found a really good pumpkin ale. So alert the authorities and tell breweries they are now officially allowed to keep brewing pumpkin ale now that Peter has found one he enjoys.

And also, there was a tie game in the NFL on Sunday. It's not terribly interesting, but since they don't happen that often it deserves maybe more than a passing mention, no? Apparently not. Peter is going to talk about that game in the Tuesday mailbag. This is one of the issues that plagues MMQB. It's a bloated column that isn't about the NFL. It's about Peter King. As he has done multiple times before, Peter leaves out coverage of some NFL games or events that happened on the weekend in favor of quotes, Tweets and an entire page of Peter's personal thoughts. MMQB is about Peter King, not the NFL.

I’ve got a lot to say about the insanity of this season,

This is the craziest NFL season since the last NFL season and there probably won't be another INSANE NFL season like this one until next year.

But the top of the Week 6 column belongs to the Cleveland Browns.

What a privilege for the Browns. They take the top of the Week 6 column in MMQB. Peter ever-so-briefly has stopped discussing the coffee-related issues involved with traveling and giving his readers great Tweets from the past week to do his job and write about the NFL. AND he is writing about the Browns first. He deserves a thank you note, Browns fans.

The contending, competent, fun, just-might-be-for-real Cleveland Browns.

I really liked the Browns coming into this season. I didn't think they would be this good, but they are a team...wait for it...here it comes...on the rise! I've always thought Brian Hoyer was competent at playing quarterback and it's amazing how a decent team with a competent quarterback can win games.

One factoid before I go there, to tell you that no matter how much you know about football, you actually do not know jack.

Neither do you, big boy. This would be a good time to say "we" don't know much about football, but as usual like Bill Simmons, when Peter is wrong "we" are wrong, but when he doesn't want to be seen as wrong it's just "us" who are wrong. Also, no one knows anything about any sport because human beings are incapable of predicting the future. So yes, no one knows anything. Glad you get paid seven figures to state the obvious.

Remember opening night, Sept. 4?

I don't Peter, only you are smart enough to recall events from over a month ago. We will find out in a bit that Peter can't recall events from two years ago, but events from a month ago are fresh in Peter's mind.

Seahawks 36, Packers 16, and the story line for the next week was something like this: Yeah, we know no one ever repeats in the NFL, but this year’s different. Seattle’s unstoppable. No weaknesses. Everyone who didn’t pick Seattle to repeat, change your picks now.

What's ironic about Peter talking about everyone overreacting to Seattle's win over the Packers on opening night is that he is now overreacting to a loss by the Seahawks at home against the Cowboys. Yes, the storyline about how Seattle looks good to repeat isn't necessarily dead. They are a good team. They could go 7-1 at home, and then if they go 5-3 on the road, then that is a 12-4 record which gives them a chance of homefield advantage in the playoffs. All is not lost, don't overreact.

Seattle since the opener:

Record: 2-2.
Points scored: 97.
Points allowed: 97.


Five weeks from now Peter is going to be writing, "Remember when we all thought the Seahawks were going to go 8-8 and miss the playoffs? Well, they are 8-2 now and have the best record in the NFC." The Seahawks' next five games are against the Raiders, Panthers, Chiefs, Rams, and Giants. Two of those games are at home and three are on the road. All is not lost. Peter should not start rubbing it in his readers' faces that they thought Seattle could repeat quite yet.

When’s the last time things broke right for the Browns? I mean, really broke right. And 2007, when the Browns won 10 games, really doesn’t count, because it was a fool’s gold kind of season; the Browns won 4, 5, 5, 4, 5 and 4 games in the six seasons to follow.

So doesn't that mean things broke right for the Browns on that season because a team that shouldn't have won 10 games did win 10 games and made the playoffs? Isn't that how something "breaking right" works? Things go right and allow a team to do better than they should be doing?

Not to say this 3-2 start signals anything permanent, or that Brian Hoyer is Kurt Warner reincarnated. But it’s going to take some getting used to, the Browns looking like a respectable NFL franchise.

"Not that the 3-2 record means anything at all, but here is the conclusion I am jumping to and then will accuse my readers of jumping to the conclusion when it ends up wrong." 

As he spoke, Pettine was parked outside defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil’s house. Seems that O’Neil has a newly constructed bar in the home he’s recently moved into. “I’m going to help him break in that bar tonight,” Pettine said. Deservedly so. But he didn’t seem in any rush to get off the phone.

It's because you are such a good conversationalist, Peter.

Brian Hoyer, the native son, had another efficient game, and it’s becoming clear the Browns are comfortable with him managing the game because he doesn’t make the kind of killer decisions that most inexperienced passers do.

Again, like I feel about Kyle Orton, it's amazing how a competent quarterback can help a team stay in games and even win a few games.

Northern teams have to be able to run to win, and this one can. Hoyer’s running the ship so well that the immense story of the summer—When will Johnny Manziel take over the starting job?—has turned into an afterthought now.

All teams need to run the ball, not just Northern teams. Also, it was Peter and his friends in the media who were pushing that "When will Manziel take over?" story. Few others who aren't infatuated with covering Manziel cared.

“Brian is the best example of a guy who’s confident because of his preparation,” said Pettine. “He learned in the Tom Brady school of preparation. [Hoyer was a New England backup from 2009 to ’11.] I doubt there’s a better person to learn from.

Well, he could learn better from Mike Vick if he did the opposite of everything Vick does to prepare for a game.

“The big part of the success for me is that the success we’re having now cements the buy-in by the players. When I got here, when this new staff got here, these guys didn’t have a lot of reasons to trust us. New staff. Not a very well-known head coach. Radical change on both sides of the ball. 

If anything, I would think because there are big chances on both sides of the ball, the Browns players would trust the new coaching staff more. It's not like there was a history of success that Pettine was ruining or anything like that. No offense to Browns fans, and I think they would agree, not continuing the same path that has led to failure is a good thing.

The injuries: defensive lineman Armonty Bryant suffered a knee injury, and Pettine said he’s likely gone for the year. Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, an ironman of the highest order, 

And the same player who Peter worked really hard to get out of Cleveland this past offseason by using his relationship with Marvin Demoff to lay out nearly the exact contract a team would have to offer in order to get the Browns to not match. It's one of Peter's more shameless moments over the past year. He used his connections to pimp out one of his agent's clients on behalf of that agent.

Not having Mack at center was a culture shock for the Browns. Since being drafted in 2009, Mack had played every snap of every Browns game—4,556 offensive plays—until the injury in the middle of the second quarter.

So perspective suitors, start lining up for Mack now just in case the Browns ever release him! Peter will have the exact details of the next contract Mack will want in a MMQB during the offseason, just as soon as Marvin Demoff provides the information and orders Peter help drum up interest in the market for Mack.

Now, about things breaking right … check out the schedule Cleveland has before a Thursday night date at Cincinnati in early November that could have quite a bit of playoff meaning:

Sun., Oct. 19: at Jacksonville (0-6)
Sun, Oct. 26: vs. Oakland (0-5)
Sun, Nov. 2: vs. Tampa Bay  (1-5)


Again, the schedule breaking right is another reason the Browns' 2007 season involved things breaking right for the team. 2007 does count.

But if you thought LeBron coming home was going to be the only bit of good Cleveland sports news this year, it looks like you’d be wrong.

Yes, "we" would be wrong! I'm so glad Peter knows what "we" are thinking about the Browns and how because he didn't think the team would be competitive no else thought they would be competitive either. How could anyone have knowledge of anything NFL-related without Peter having that knowledge as well? If Peter is wrong, "we" are all wrong too.

The greatest workhorse back in NFL history is Emmitt Smith, who had nearly 600 carries more than any other player in history when he retired in 2004. So it seemed sensible to compare one workhorse Cowboy to another in the wake of Murray’s sixth straight 100-yard game to start the season, a 115-yard job against the best rush defense in the league, Seattle.

There's symmetry here! Quick, create a narrative! Sure, DeMarco Murray has never had more than 217 carries in a season or participated in 16 games in a season, but he's a workhorse back now just like Emmitt Smith. I can't wait three weeks from now when Peter tells "us" that "we" thought Murray could last the whole season, but "we" were wrong to compare him to Emmitt Smith.

Through six weeks, Murray has 159 carries, 43 more than any other back in football. I thought I’d compare his first six games to the back with the most carries ever, just to see how close he is to a truly historic workload.

I don't mean to be negative, but for a running back who has never had more than 217 carries in a season and has a history of injuries, isn't this huge workload more of a red flag than something Peter should be celebrating? Obviously Murray has played very well, but it's not like he has a history of carrying the load for a full season.

The Cowboys never handed it to Smith as much as these Cowboys are handing it to Murray. I asked Murray last week if he thought he could keep up the crazy pace, and he said, “I think I can. I’m in the cold tub right now.” Well, what else would he say?

I don't know, Peter. You are the dumbass who asked the question, not me.

The big workload is what caused coach Jason Garrett the other day to say he planned to cut down on the Murray reliance. That’s easy to say on a Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday in a nice football office. It’s another thing to get in the mayhem of a game against the Super Bowl champs, at their place, and stick with the conservative plan.

I don't know if I would call it a conservative plan to cut down on the NFL running back with the most carries on the season. It's sort of common sense more than anything else.

The Dallas defense deserves credit for the win too.

Why on Earth would the Dallas defense deserve credit? That's crazy talk.

It’s hard to make Russell Wilson inefficient. This was only the third time in his young career that Wilson had a passer rating under 50 and completed 50 percent or less of his throws. 

It definitely helps when the offense holds the ball for nearly 38 minutes and the Seahawks run the ball only 18 times in the game. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense isn't built to throw the ball 28 times and run the ball 18 times in a game while only holding possession a little over 22 minutes. Not a lot of teams are built to do that. I guess the answer Peter posed a few weeks ago to whether Russell Wilson ever sweats is "Yes, he does."

“You understand what people are saying about you—that you guys will be one of the worst teams in the league?” I asked.
“I’ve heard it,’’ he said, and thought for a moment how to respond. Tactfully. “Quite candidly … they’ll be wrong. You just watch: We’re going to be a lot better on defense than anybody thinks.”
Look who’s laughing now.

I mean, you say a lot of things and eventually you will be right. Jerry Jones certainly isn't going to say his defense stinks before even one game is played during the season. I hope Peter didn't expect him to say anything like that.

“On the line! On the line! Clock! Clock! Clock!”
Aaron Rodgers throttled his hand in a pass-spiking motion one, two, three times, looking over the Miami defense as the seconds ticked away in the final minute in Miami.
:18 … :17 … :16 …

“I was looking at Davante Adams,’’ he said from the Packers’ bus, on the way to the Fort Lauderdale airport late Sunday afternoon, “but he wasn’t looking at me.

Peter King knows the opposite of that feeling. The feeling of him looking at a Packers quarterback, but that Packers quarterback isn't looking at him. He knows that feeling all too well. It hurts. Still. It hurts so badly still. Just look at Peter once in the same way he looks at you, Brett. Just once.

In a situation like that, you want to make eye-contact so he knows something might be coming.

Peter knows that feeling with a Packers quarterback too. Nothing ever came of it though. Nothing but careless whispers and meaningless promises to hang out again on the front porch of a farm in Mississippi sometime in the near future.

“I saw the corner on that side [Cortland Finnegan], at the last second, back off to about 12 yards off Davante. And I’m thinking there, ‘They’re giving us free yards.’ ” Actually, Finnegan was about eight yards off to start, then walked back to make it about 11. The cushion was just too tempting.

Hey, Finnegan would fit in great with the Panthers defense. Play as far off the receiver as possible and just concede passing yards.

But Rodgers knew if he threw to Adams, and Adams didn’t get out of bounds, the game’s over. Did Adams know? You’d think he would, but a rookie?

Gregg Easterbrook would argue because Davante Adams is a highly-paid, highly-drafted glory boy he would have no idea what to do in this situation. All Adams cares about is putting up big numbers and I am sure Gregg would call him a "diva" for some reason as well.

“How about that!’’ John Lynch, the FOX announcer, says on TV. “In the home of Dan Marino, he pulls the Marino!”

Then John Lynch continued to repeat things about Dan Marino until the viewer realized he isn't a very good analyst and has no idea what else to say in this situation.

Dan Marino once fake-spiked and threw a touchdown pass to Mark Ingram (the dad, not the son)

Thanks for clearing up that it was Mark Ingram's father who caught the pass, because I'm sure Peter's readers thought Mark Ingram the Saints' running back was playing wide receiver in the NFL when he was four years old.

Adams and Finnegan met at about the 11, and Adams, smartly, was already making tracks for the sideline. But all Finnegan had to do was tackle Adams in-bounds. He could have walled him from the sideline and forced him to stay in. But no. The veteran failed to make a veteran move.

In Finnegan's somewhat defense, forcing Adams out of bounds may have seemed like a better option at the time then to push Adams towards the middle of the field where he could conceivably score a touchdown against a shocked Dolphins defense. I agree, Finnegan should have tackled Adams inbounds of course, but in his shock it made more sense to ensure Adams didn't get around him. I'm sure Gregg Easterbrook will have this as the worst play of the season so far while forgetting to mention Finnegan's draft position.

What receiver wouldn’t want to play with Aaron Rodgers?

Greg Jennings apparently. 

Then Peter talks about J.J. Watt having to help the Texans make the playoffs in order to be considered the MVP of the NFL. Since it is Week 6, I have no idea how I feel about Watt being considered a front-runner for the MVP and it's way too early to start talking about these things. But hey, have to kill some space in MMQB before Peter gets to the meat of the column, which of course are his personal thoughts on beer and baseball.

The assistant coach of the year so far? San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is in the discussion. 

Fangio is in the discussion for assistant coach of the year because he is an assistant coach for an NFL team. Deep thoughts of the day from Peter King that sounded deeper than they really are based on how Peter phrased this sentence.

The Fine Fifteen

Fifteen teams placed in random order of strength and ability to win games.

1. Dallas (5-1). In Fine Fifteen history, I have to say this is one of the biggest surprises I ever recall: the Dallas Cowboys being number one.

How in the hell can it be a surprise? YOU are the one who is placing the Cowboys as #1 in the Fine Fifteen? You have control over your thoughts, so you shouldn't be surprised by your own thoughts nor how you rank NFL teams based on perceived strength.

Only Peter King can be surprised about how he subjectively ranks each NFL team.

3. Seattle (3-2). Since opening night, mortality.

The Seahawks have played the teams that are #1, #2, #4, and #9 on this list. They beat two of those teams. So I don't know if it is "mortality" any more than it is a really difficult opening schedule.

6. Arizona (4-1). As Mike Florio said in our little NBC den Sunday night: “Why’d the Steelers ever let Bruce Arians go?” Good question, Mike. Very good question.

Because Bruce Arians "retired" from coaching. It's kind of hard to keep a guy who doesn't want to be kept isn't it? I would never expect Peter King or Mike Florio to remember something that happened two years ago when there are so many coffee anecdotes to be shared and legal cases broken down in 200 words or less. So I guess "Why did the Steelers let Arians go?" may eventually become the "Why did the Dolphins not want Drew Brees?" for a new generation.

8. New England (4-2). The loss of Jerod Mayo hurts. Hurts bad. But consecutive 26- and 15-point season-saving wins are a good salve.

Yes, the Patriots will feel much better about losing one of their best defensive players for the season when they recall how they were 4-2 and only had 10 games left in the season to play. I mean, the season is almost over and the Patriots won this past weekend. Who needs Jerod Mayo? Or is it Jerrod Majo? Either way, the Patriots don't care because they won a football this week with 10 games left to play.

9. Green Bay (4-2). The 19-7 loss at Detroit doesn’t seem like it was three weeks ago.

It doesn't feel like it was three weeks ago? What do you mean? Consider me intrigued.

More like three months.

You got me again, Peter! It felt more like three years ago. Of course, we know from Peter not recalling that Bruce Arians "retired" from coaching two years ago that if the 19-7 loss at Detroit was three years ago then Peter wouldn't remember it at all. So yes, it was definitely three weeks ago. 

12. Cleveland (3-2). Lots of reasons to like the Browns right now. Quarterback playing well, never out of games, good running game, and a total buy-in to a good coaching staff. They are not going away.

Four weeks from now in MMQB: "Remember when we thought the Browns had everything going their way? Well..."

15. New York Giants (3-3). Those Giants-offense-has-arrived stories can be put away for a while.

Yep, that's a link to a THE MMQB column. Sometimes I think Peter should have named THE MMQB as "The Site Where Conclusions Are Jumped To and Then Taken Back While Overreacting and Jumping To Another Conclusion." He would call it "The SWCAJTATTBWOAJTAC." It's not quite as catchy though.

Coach of the Week
Rod Marinelli, defensive coordinator, Dallas. Playing in the toughest place to play in the NFL, the Dallas defense shut down Russell Wilson’s improvisation, limited Marshawn Lynch to one impact play in four quarters, and frustrated Seattle all day. What Marinelli’s game plan did to Percy Harvin was particularly stifling (six touches, minus-one yard). A tremendous coaching job by Marinelli.

Someone get this man a head coaching job somewhere! Wait, nevermind.

Goats of the Week

Gus Bradley, head coach, Jacksonville. With 12 seconds left, and no timeouts left, trailing by two at Tennessee, the Jags had a third-and-two at the Tennessee 37. The Jaguars had just been handed a gain of eight yards on a sideline-route to put the ball at the 37. And Bradley, instead of taking six or eight more free yards on another sideline route, chose to put Josh Scobee on the field for the 55-yard field goal try. Now, there’s no guarantee Blake Bortles completes a ball on third-and-two. But why not try? Why settle for a 55-yard attempt when you’ve got a chance to get six or eight yards closer? Bradley needs to help his kicker there, and he didn’t.

This is a very Gregg Easterbrookian criticism (which he also made). It's easy to criticize Gus Bradley for this decision. Having a rookie quarterback making one of his few NFL starts and a pretty young group of receivers makes me think kicking the field goal may have been the right decision. Peter didn't know if a rookie wide receiver (Davante Adams) could be trusted to get out of bounds earlier in this column with around the same amount of time left in the game, what about a rookie quarterback throwing the football to a rookie wide receiver like Allen Robinson or Allen Hurns? Can they be trusted to go out of bounds? It's obviously a judgment call, but based on Peter's concern that a rookie wide receiver couldn't get out of bounds with Aaron Rodgers throwing passes, can two rookies be trusted to stop the clock in a similar situation? I'm not sure.

What you need to know about the new Bills owner, Terry Pegula, 63, who also owns the National Hockey League’s Buffalo Sabres:

He likes sports quite a bit.

You mean the guy who owns an NFL and NHL team likes sports a lot? What a shock to my system to hear this. The next thing Peter will tell me is that Pegula is actually quite wealthy compared to most Americans.

Josh Beckett retired the other day. Very quietly, the way he would like it,

Peter wants to know why no one noticed that Josh Beckett was retiring? Who is here to eulogize Josh Beckett's career as Peter King does a one page memorial to Derek Jeter's career? Why isn't ANYONE paying attention to Josh Beckett and Paul Konerko? The same person who gets to the bottom of whether Roger Goodell lied or not can also figure out who should be eulogizing Josh Beckett's career. It's certainly not anything Peter is capable of doing.




Todd Haley has never been very good. He kept failing upwards while he was pissing off his players. It's good to see he is finally be called out for the coach that he is. He isn't so good at his job, but in the NFL being the son of Dick Haley really pays off in getting multiple chances to piss your players off and generally not being great at your job without a Hall of Fame quarterback running the offense.

I heard an interesting and not surprising story about Todd Haley this past summer. I was in Ocean City, Maryland vacationing and spent some time at a local bar. My wife and I were chatting up the bartender, as I am want to do, and the bartender mentioned that a certain liquor (I can't remember which one) was a favorite of an NFL coach (and yes, I can't remember which). I then asked if they got a lot of NFL coaches in there and he said they had a few come by over the past year. The bartender then said one of the coaches for the Pittsburgh Steelers came in one time and was a complete jerk. I asked, "Was it Todd Haley?" and showed him a picture of Todd Haley. He said that was the guy. Apparently Todd Haley had called ahead and alerted the restaurant that he would be gracing them with his presence in a couple of days and wanted a specific bottle of expensive wine purchased for his dinner at the restaurant. If he did not have this wine, he would not be eating at the restaurant. So the restaurant acquired this difficult-to-get (for them) bottle of wine and had it ready for him when the red carpet was rolled out and Todd Haley would enter the building. So Todd Haley arrived with his wife. Long story short, they stood at the bar for about five minutes, the wine was presented to them, and they continued to stand there and left the restaurant a few minutes later never to be seen again without touching the wine. So in summary, Todd Haley is a dick and if he gets fired it's good for everyone.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 6:

c. A receiver for the Raiders whom America hadn’t heard of until about 4:30 ET Sunday afternoon—Andre Holmes, who had two touchdown catches (one a 77-yarder) to help Oakland nearly stun the Chargers.

Some people in America had heard of Andre Holmes because they play fantasy sports and Holmes was a guy who got picked up every once in a while off the waiver wire last year. But no, because Peter hasn't really heard of Holmes that means no one else had either.

f. Tony Sparano. I knew he’d get the Raiders to play harder.

Trying really, really hard can only get you so far. If the Raiders had given up on Dennis Allen and weren't trying hard for him, that brings into question what kind of players are on the Raiders team. So they had just sort of quit playing hard?

g. Ryan Kerrigan, who makes about five big plays a week for Washington. He’s no J.J. Watt in terms of impact, but he should be more famous.

If only there were sportswriters who covered the NFL who could use their weekly columns to focus on Ryan Kerrigan's great plays during the week in order to make him more famous. Oh well, nothing Peter can do about it.

n. Good baiting-of-Teddy Bridgewater pick in the end zone by Detroit safety Glover Quin.

Mike Mayock knew all along that Teddy Bridgewater was a terrible quarterback. This interception just goes to prove it. Norv Turner set Bridgewater up for all the success he will have and now because Bridgewater sucks so badly not even Norv can help him.

w. Line judge Mark Perlman with a tremendous call on the ridiculous catch-and-two-feet-dragging-on-the-sidelines play by Dallas wideout Terrance Williams. We criticize officials often enough and should praise them for a brilliant call—which this was.

Yes, "we" do. I'm always criticizing the officials in my weekly national football column. I can't believe I am so thoughtless as to criticize the officials and never praise them in my widely-read NFL column. I will be sure not to make that mistake again.

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 6:


b. The Kirk Cousins interception to close the 30-20 loss to Arizona. He threw directly to a wide-open Arizona safety, Rashad Johnson.

But Kirk Cousins is better than Robert Griffin by a long shot. Because after all, Cousins was the backup quarterback and the backup is always better than the starter.

g. Cincinnati linebacker Rey Maualuga, in celebration, head-butting his teammate, Vontaze Burfict, who just returned from a concussion. Head-butting is a terrible way to celebrate in football anyway, given what we know about concussions. To head-butt a fellow football player is not smart. To head-butt a recently concussed one is really not smart.

You mean the same Vontaze Burfict that got a concussion and was back in the game a series later? The NFL is very concerned about concussions and concussion protocol, which is why Burfict recovered from what looked like a concussion in a matter of minutes.

j. Raiders fans, for egging the Chargers’ team buses heading into O.co Coliseum Sunday. What are you guys, in third grade?

Very odd name, the "O.co Coliseum." It looks like a misprint.

4. I think you cannot overpay football players. That’s what I thought after seeing the Victor Cruz injury.

This is pointless hyperbole. That's what I think after reading this sentence. Yes, football players can be overpaid for choosing to participate in a sport that they know is very physical and causes harm to their bodies. It's still possible to be overpaid.

6. I think the best point made about Jets quarterback Geno Smith in the past week came from Jon Gruden, after Smith somehow got the time wrong and missed a meeting the night before the Week 5 31-0 debacle of a loss at San Diego. “You’re playing Philip Rivers, and then Peyton Manning and Tom Brady,” said Gruden, referring to Smith’s foes in Weeks 5-7. “Those guys don’t miss meetings. They run meetings.”

In Geno Smith's defense, his role models at the quarterback position have been Mark Sanchez and Mike Vick. I am only guessing about Sanchez's work ethic, but it's not like Smith had a veteran quarterback to show him how to prepare for a game in the NFL and help set an example.

8. I think Roger Goodell should give his testimony in the Ray Rice appeal. I don’t understand why he wouldn’t. This case should be about absolute transparency. I want to know what Goodell remembers about his June 16 hearing with Rice. I don’t believe this should be the province of Robert Mueller exclusively; the sun should shine in on this process from all angles.

The investigation is slowly being forgotten or put on the back burner in the minds of the general public. It's almost like there was a plan put into action by the NFL and Roger Goodell or something. A plan to basically wait the outrage out and wait for the public fervor to die down or get focused on a new issue.

9. I think I marvel at Alex Mack, never missing a snap for five-and-a-third years at the center position. His absence will be felt heavily by the Browns, as our Greg Bedard explains today at The MMQB.

Oh, so now Peter has employed Greg Bedard to do some PR for Marvin Demoff and his clients. I like that Mack is getting some press for being such a consistent player, but I never trust Peter's motives when it comes to Marvin Demoff clients...especially when Peter has already written a piece this past summer basically laying out the details on how a team could present an offer sheet to Mack that the Browns wouldn't match.

10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:

e. Now that I’m a boss, I don’t feel great about assigning Vrentas to work on her 30th birthday. But hey, it was the Giants-Eagles, Sunday night, at the Linc.

Peter, you have always been a boss...at least in your own mind.

g. Wow. How great has this baseball postseason been?

It's been the greatest postseason in Peter's lifetime. By which Peter means that this has been the greatest postseason in the last five years.

j. The Royals are marvels. Lorenzo Cain is playing like Willie Mays in his prime.

Okay Peter, I'm going to need you to calm the fuck down. I think Lorenzo Cain has played great, but "Willie Mays in his prime"? Maybe move the hyperbole scale down a notch or two and just enjoy the games rather than saying some outrageous shit out of excitement. It's a small sample size and it's just as accurate to say Cain has played fantastic baseball over the last couple of weeks.

k. It rained in New York on Saturday morning, so I was stranded on a treadmill.

You know, you can pull the red cord out and the treadmill will stop. You don't have to stand on the treadmill and wait for it to stop moving.

I can picture Peter furious on a treadmill standing there and throwing his hands up in the air as he is confused and disappointed that the treadmill just won't stop because it doesn't feel his body weight on it anymore.

m. Coffeenerdness: Good job with that Anniversary Blend, Starbucks.

Yeah, great job Starbucks. You get a high-five from Peter, you very wealthy corporation that makes money off selling coffee. Good job making coffee. I'm sure the kudos from Peter King means more than the millions upon millions you will reap in profits this year.

n. Beernerdness: I have found the ideal pumpkin beer, thanks to so many of you recommending it. The Southern Tier Imperial Pumking Ale is terrific—sweet but not overly so, with the perfect, non-overpowering taste of pumpkin in the brew, and a bit of vanilla (not sure, but that’s what it tastes like).

Okay everyone, the world can continue spinning because Peter King has found a pumpkin beer that he enjoys drinking. Carry on as you normally would had the world just not changed dramatically.

I’ve always liked the pumpkin brews, but I’d say two-thirds of them disappoint because they’re either overbearing or too mild.

So that means youuuuuuuuuuuuuu...don't like pumpkin brews? Peter says he likes pumpkin brews but is disappointed by two-thirds of them, then that means Peter doesn't generally like them, right? If I say, "I like coffee, but most of the cups of coffee have are too dull and lack taste to me," then doesn't that mean I generally don't like coffee?

Who I Like Tonight

San Francisco 27, St. Louis 24. Someone, somewhere, just doesn’t like the Rams. For the second straight year they play their most attractive home game of the season—a Monday nighter versus one of the league’s marquee teams—in the middle of the baseball playoffs with the wildly popular crosstown Cardinals involved.

Hey, it's the Cardinal Way to shit on other St. Louis teams during their big chance in the spotlight. Don't question the Cardinal Way.

In his three starts, Sam Bradford’s replacement has averaged 312 passing yards, completed 67.5 percent of his throws and had a rating of 100.6. The Rams need a stronger run defense (and should have one, with all those high picks on the defensive front) than the one they’ve shown so far. Frank Gore’s going to be a very big factor tonight.

So Frank Gore, who plays for a team that likes to run the football, is going to play a very big factor in the game? No way.

The Adieu Haiku

It has to be said,
Though it will make some vomit.
“How ’bout them Cowboys!”

But at least Peter isn't reading too much into the Cowboys success early in the season, as compared to the Seahawks "only" having a 3-2 record, and then overreacting to the Cowboys' success while there is still a lot of the NFL season left to be played.