Thursday, September 18, 2014

2 comments Mike Lupica Encourages Matt Harvey to Come Sit on His Lap, For There Is a Lecture He Must Hear

The picture accompanying this article by Mike Lupica has a Photoshopped picture of Matt Harvey with a pacifier in his mouth. That about sums up the journalistic integrity of this column. I can see Lupica being irate at the fact there was no Photoshopped picture of Matt Harvey accompanying his article, so he runs around the newsroom---I'm just kidding, Mike Lupica believes himself to be above his co-workers so he would never lower himself to the level of being present in the newsroom---I can imagine Lupica writing an angry email about how his article is about to be posted in 20 MINUTES and there is NO PICTURE OF MATT HARVEY WITH THE ARTICLE? THIS ISN'T HOW JOURNALISM SHOULD BE DONE ON A DEADLINE! So Lupica gets his picture and writes about how Matt Harvey should trust the doctors and stop trying to work his way back to play for the Mets this year. Even though Derek Jeter would be canonized for doing the same thing, it's bad when someone the New York media doesn't like tries to work his way back from injury sooner than he should.

This isn't the first time the New York media has picked nits with Matt Harvey. Bob Klapisch interviewed Ron Darling about how Matt Harvey should not tempt the ladies with his sexiness. Of course Ron Darling was on the cover of a magazine showing off his sexiness when he played for the Mets, but that's not at all hypocrisy.

Anthony Rieber was angry that Matt Harvey flipped off the camera with his middle finger prior to his Tommy John surgery.

It's like the New York media takes non-stories around Matt Harvey and desperately tries to turn them into stories. Never one to miss out, Mike Lupica has joined the chorus of New York media members who nit-pick Matt Harvey. I imagine Lupica is sitting on the edge of his seat while he writes this column, disappointed he has no one to interrupt in order to help get his point across.

I know you are saying, Ben, what on Earth could Matt Harvey have done? Well, he is trying to use aggressive rehab to come back and pitch for the Mets this season. Quite frankly, that's unacceptable. Matt Harvey should not be risking his future to help the Mets this season, even though there seems to be nothing wrong with trying to come back and help the team.

One of these days, Matt Harvey needs to remember — and that probably means before he hurts his arm again — that his job is to be a star young baseball pitcher, not some sort of needy celebrity who acts as if he gets the bends when he is out of the spotlight for very long.

And this is coming from a sportswriter who has spent most of his career trying to be a celebrity who writes instead of a sportswriter, until he has slowly turned himself into a talentless shrill little man who prefers to lecture others on what they do wrong as he sits on the edge of his seat, imposing his viewpoint and will on anyone and everyone who will listen. It's funny to me that Mike Lupica would lecture someone about getting the bends if he is out of the spotlight for very long. Lupica craves the spotlight and you don't have to search hard to find examples of fellow sportswriters who simply don't like him and think he's an asshole. So if Mike Lupica were an athlete, he would probably be one of those athletes that Mike Lupica the sportswriter would lecture about growing up and being a team player in one of his columns. 

Understand something: The Mets need Harvey a lot more than he needs them, as long as he comes all the way back from Tommy John surgery and pitches for them the way Stephen Strasburg is now pitching for the Washington Nationals, a team in the NL East that treats the Mets like they’re a farm team.

Great, I understand that. Mike Lupica should understand something: If Matt Harvey took too long (as perceived by Mike Lupica of course...Lupica tells Matt Harvey to trust the doctors, but if Mike Lupica doesn't like the slow rehab progress Harvey is making then I'm sure Mike would question Harvey's motivation and the doctor(s) who suggested this slow rehab), then you know Mike Lupica would criticize Harvey for taking too long in his recovery. There is an appropriate time to come back from Tommy John surgery that only Mike Lupica is privy to. Coming back to help a team whose season is lost is not acceptable. Coming back slowly and not feeling 100% in late February is unacceptable. Matt Harvey MUST be 100% in November and feel great for Spring Training. There is no moving up or back this timetable that Dr. Mike Lupica has set for Matt Harvey. 

It is why the Mets, and that means ownership and general manager Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins, still have to be as careful handling Harvey right now as Harvey should be with a right arm that still could make him a couple of hundred million dollars before he is through.

Thank God that Mike Lupica is looking out for Matt Harvey. Every athlete needs a sportswriter telling him what to and not to do with his career and life. Of course, when it comes to telling others what they should or should not be doing, Mike Lupica is eager to take on this role. 

But he really needs to stop acting like a spoiled child, even if he believes — because he absolutely has that right — to think he knows more about his arm than anybody else except his doctors; and that it is his arm, not theirs.

Let's go through some Lupica logic here: 

-Matt Harvey needs to be careful with his arm, because it will help him earn millions of dollars in the future. 

-Matt Harvey should stop acting like a spoiled child for believing he knows more about his arm than anyone else except his doctors. 

-Matt Harvey has the right to believe he knows more about his arm than anyone else except his doctors. 

-It is Matt Harvey's arm, so he has the right to do what he wants with it. 

-Matt Harvey should make a decision based on what anybody else except he and his doctors think is the right decision for his arm. 

-Matt Harvey is a spoiled child for following an aggressive rehab schedule his doctors don't seem to be against and instead should be following what anybody else thinks is the right decision for his arm. 

So Matt Harvey has the right to do what he wants with his arm, except he doesn't have the right in Mike Lupica's opinion, and Lupica believes he is acting like a spoiled child for exercising that right that Mike Lupica believes he has. 

maybe the kid thinks he knows more than the doctors, too.


But one of these days he really does need to get it through his head that his job, even rehabbing from surgery, is baseball pitcher, and not celebrity.

I don't understand this "celebrity" thing. I feel like Lupica has latched on to the idea Harvey wants to be a celebrity and he refuses to give up on this idea, even when it isn't relevant. Harvey is trying to come back and pitch one inning during the 2014 season. This goal has seemingly nothing to do with being a celebrity.

Maybe some of this is our fault, because it seems in a very short period of time, we’ve convinced Harvey that we are hanging on his every word, and his next move, even when he isn’t pitching for the Mets.

This is sort of like how Mike Lupica has become convinced the world is hanging on every word he says and writes? Or is it different in that Lupica has such a huge ego, the fact he became successful in his career path only served to further prove to Lupica the truth of his own greatness? 

I understand that there are Mets fans that will feel better about everything, about Matt Harvey and his future and the future of the Mets and next season, if he does get back on the mound this season.

I realize Lupica is so far up his own butt that he didn't think about this, but maybe Matt Harvey will feel better getting back on the mound this year? Could this not be about celebrity, but about Harvey making himself feel better about his rehab?

There is just no point to this. If you are a Mets fan, do you really need to hear that Harvey is throwing the ball 90 miles per hour these days, and putting it where he wants to, which means he is throwing for real?

Yes, as a Mets fan I would absolutely need to hear this. Hearing Harvey is throwing the ball well and where he wants to would allow me to know as a Mets fan that the franchise pitcher seems to be making a complete comeback from major elbow surgery. The fact Mike Lupica can't understand why Mets fans are interested in knowing how Matt Harvey is throwing the baseball only serves to show just how out of touch he is with the very same fans who read his columns and Lupica claims to understand. 

Maybe if he could come riding over the hill like the First Army in a real division race, and a real wild-card race, and be the hero of September, you could start to wrap your mind around him moving up the timetable of his return.

So it is only worth coming back and pitching if there is something to pitch for? I can understand this point of view, but the issue is that Harvey isn't wanting to pitch 100 innings, he wants to pitch a few innings and prove to himself that he can pitch. The Mets are within their right to not allow this, but it doesn't make Harvey a spoiled child for requesting it. 

The Mets aren’t going to get a wild-card, either. So we are talking about 2015 already. Maybe the conversation has really been about 2015 since Harvey got hurt last summer.

The conversation was about 2015 even if Harvey was healthy all season. He would not have made such a massive difference in the Mets' record that they would have made the playoffs with him being healthy. 

Give him all benefits of the doubt here. Harvey, in so many ways, feels like Mets fans, the ones who still care and the ones who still come to Citi Field:

Wait, so Mike Lupica writes a column calling Matt Harvey a "spoiled child," features a Photoshopped picture of Harvey with a pacifier in his mouth, and states Harvey should grow up, but then he writes that Harvey should be given "all benefits of the doubt here." This makes not of sense. You can't bash the guy, say Harvey has a right to do what he wants, bash Harvey for exercising this right, and then say Harvey should get the benefit of the doubt. If anyone isn't giving Harvey the benefit of the doubt, it is Mike Lupica. Of course Lupica is the lecturer, not the lecturee. That's not how his ego works. 

There is a baseball season going on and he doesn’t want to sit the whole thing out. That is why he pretty much does everything besides hire a skywriter to tell the world he is fired up and ready to go.

Right, and you have called him a "spoiled child" for not wanting to sit the baseball season out. Find a mirror, look in it and see the person looking back at you. THAT is the person criticizing Matt Harvey for wanting to come back this season. Yell at him. 

But Terry Collins, who may or may not get to manage Harvey next season, is absolutely right to tell Harvey to back off. It is a polite way of telling the kid to shut up and pitch. Next season.

The Mets are within their right to say this to Harvey. 

And to get over himself while this season plays out.

Yes, Harvey should get over himself by exercising his right to know what's best for his arm and for attempting to come back and pitch this season. Harvey shouldn't try to be a celebrity by moving up the timetable for his rehab and trying to pitch this season. Mike Lupica hates people who try to compete with him for celebrity in the New York sports world. 
From this same article: 

Next Thursday night on Randall’s Island, I will be the chair umpire for a doubles match between the team of John McEnroe and Henrik Lundqvist and Novak Djokovic and actor Edward Norton to benefit the Johnny Mac Tennis Project.

Matt Harvey, THAT is how you become a celebrity. Name-drop athletes and actors in a rambling column where you call out a 25 year old from the safety of a computer for being a spoiled child and wanna-be celebrity by trying an aggressive rehab approach in order to re-join his team as soon as possible.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

7 comments MMQB Review: Roger Goodell Probably Lied, Though You Wouldn't Know It From MMQB Edition

Peter King continued his shit-show coverage of the Ray Rice situation last week, though most of it happened after he had posted MMQB. In MMQB last week, Peter told us how all of "our" assumptions about the season turned out to be completely wrong after one week of NFL action. So Peter went about making all new assumptions that will undoubtedly end up being wrong and then "we" will be wrong once again. This week Peter asks if we should still love football (which is a pretty overdramatic statement coming from a guy who is the editor-in-chief of a football-only website), a further discussion about domestic violence and how the NFL handles players accused of this crime, and how all of "our" preconceived notions about what teams would be good this year are STILL wrong. It's been a rough week in the NFL.

So, should we still like football? I’ve asked myself that a few times over the past week. I think we all have.

First off, Peter is being overdramatic. He runs a football website as the editor-in-chief and if no one liked football anymore it would affect his paycheck and his livelihood. So yes, Peter should still like football. I won't allow a few bad players to make me forget the good players who don't hit women and children. I won't allow Greg Hardy, and whatever the fuck he did, make me forget that I like it when Cam Newton hands a football to a child after scoring a touchdown. I won't let bad people make me stop loving things I enjoy. It's a personal decision. It's not a matter of whether "we" should still like football, as if I am a bad person for choosing to. Stop making it seem that way you self-righteous, sanctimonious drama queen. I didn't think about not liking football this past week.

It’s a personal decision. I can’t tell you to feel better about the gutter the NFL has fallen into, or to spend your money on one more NFL jersey or hat or Red Zone channel. It has to be your decision.

Oh great! Peter King won't force everyone to hate football and he'll give us the option of liking the sport. Thanks so much for this wonderful gift, oh great Peter King! Your many blessings have us thanking you!

If you think the NFL is so full of greed and Roger Goodell so consumed with the bottom line that human decency is way down the league’s list of priorities, walk away.

Guess what, Peter? Nobody needs your permission to walk away from the sport. Here is what is so sanctimonious about the "Should we love the NFL still?" takes the high road to the point of being judgmental. I'm not saying Hardy, McDonald, or Rice don't deserve to be judged. They absolutely do, if for even putting themselves in that position, but it takes the road that you yourself are infallible in some way that the sport of football, where 95% of the athletes are not bad people, is below you in some way. In life, bad people can't make you stop enjoying the things you love. You can't let it happen. And being sanctimonious isn't the way to fix the NFL's problems.

If you think the NFL is just too dangerous, and you read in the New York Times last week that the league, by its own admission, acknowledged that one in three former players will have some sort of cognitive problem long before an average person in the general population would, stop watching. It’s your call. No one can make it for you.

I think the NFL and football in general is dangerous, but it is improving. They are working on it. I won't judge or blame a person who stops watching the sport, but I will not stop watching at this point in time.

No one will blame you for walking away.


As the day went on, some of the best players—Gerald McCoy, Charles Tillman, Vernon Davis, Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, Vontaze Burfict, Ryan Mathews, Tavon Austin, Eric Decker—couldn’t finish. Last weekend, 55 players left games and didn’t return. I daresay this week’s number might be higher, once all the injury stats are in. Atlanta is on its third left tackle, St. Louis on its third quarterback, Kansas City on its third right tackle. Someone’s got to figure out why there’s an injury epidemic—wimpier off-season work?—and how to stem it.

Gee, how could the players be getting bigger, stronger, faster and tackle harder? How could that be happening? I'll let you figure that one out for yourself, Peter. If Peter can't figure out how the human body can't take the beating that NFL players have started dishing out then that's his own fault. He covers the league. I think the increase in knowledge about concussions and other ailments plays into more injuries. With more knowledge of concussions comes better awareness, which means more players will be diagnosed with a concussion. Otherwise, how are the players so big, strong and tackle so hard? Maybe Peter can find a way to wrap his brain around that one and then when the first big scandal breaks he'll act like "we" didn't know the whole time.

I’ll reserve judgment on Goodell until all the facts are in—though I join the chorus that thinks he has to be held responsible for the chaos in the Rice case. I’ll be troubled by the violence of the game, which may eventually drive me from it. But I can’t demonize all the players. There are 1,696 active players in the league this morning. Peterson, Rice and Hardy are three.

Notice how Peter is reserving judgment for Roger Goodell, but he wants Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson punished before all of the facts come in. I won't defend those two players, but this is typical. Peter wants all the facts to come in on Goodell, but he's fine with the facts he knows to make a judgment on two NFL players. I'm not talking about the act of lying or hitting a woman, but I'm talking about reserving judgment. Peter reserves judgment unless he thinks he knows enough facts not to reserve judgment. Goodell gets more of a pass from Peter. It's not like Goodell just started lying and covering up things over the past week. Think of all the concussion information the NFL willingly ignored and chose not to act on in the past. The Ray Race video isn't the first time Goodell has decided to withhold information. He even destroyed the Spygate tapes. Goodell had a chance to get Rice out of the NFL for year and he gave him two games. This past week isn't the first week that Goodell's judgment has sucked or he has lied. Yet, let's reserve judgment.

For now, I’m in Hoyer’s camp. I still really like the game, and I can accept the zits on it. I just saw on Twitter overnight that a fantasy football league disbanded because of the mayhem of the past week, and the members gave their fees to charity. That’s cool, and I understand the feeling. But I don’t have the same feeling. Yet.

Please. Peter has over a million reasons (or whatever he gets paid) not to give up on the NFL.

The five things that made Week 2 compelling:

You cannot name, and almost certainly haven’t heard of, the Browns who beat New Orleans.

Yes, I can, and yes, I have.

Only in New York, kiddies, only in New York, can a timeout lose a game.

Unless Peter wants to count the times a team has used a timeout to ice the kicker (and the kicker missed the field goal attempt), followed by the kicker making the attempt after the timeout. But yeah, only in New York.

What would you do with Adrian Peterson if you ran the Vikings?

Do what any other employer would do with an employee who has gotten in some sort of trouble that would affect his job status. Prevent him from playing, but keep paying him, until more facts are known or some legal conclusion has been drawn.

Problems. All week, problems. Center Nick Hardwick, 33, the soul of the offensive line, was lost for the year at Arizona with a neck stinger. He was crucial to the line and is Philip Rivers’ best friend on the team. Big blow. On Wednesday, coach Mike McCoy caught a bug that was going around the team. He felt awful.

What kind of bug was it? And McCoy could have just let the bug go rather than kill the bug. Now NFL head coaches are killing bugs. Does this mean locker rooms have insect infestations? How could this affect the fans attending games? Was it right to kill the bug? IS IT WORTH WATCHING THE NFL IF HEAD COACHES ARE GOING TO MURDER ANIMALS?????????

What McCoy couldn’t anticipate was this generation’s Fouts-to-Winslow winning the game for him. Philip Rivers to Antonio Gates. Of all the stories in Week 2, the chemistry between these two men makes Rivers-to-Gates the story of the week. Rivers threw three touchdown passes Sunday, all to Gates. He threw seven passes to Gates, who caught them all.

“I am serious about this,” McCoy told me Sunday night. “They could wear blindfolds and complete passes.”

I'm serious about this, no they could not. Not during a game. I don't mind a little hyperbole, but when it begins with "I'm serious about this" it's no longer hyperbole. The hypercritical, completely literal me will be here all day to tear apart useless hyperbole.

Over the weekend, I spoke with both Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman, and I got the distinct feeling they were so deep in uncharted water they had no idea how they’d navigate their way out.

Can you blame them? How many times has an NFL player been arrested for beating his child with a switch? But Peter King's intuitive reporter skills told him that the Vikings may not have handled this situation very often. This is why he gets paid the big bucks, you guys.

“There’s a lot of speculation out there,’’ Spielman told me late Sunday afternoon before going into meetings with club officials to discuss what to do with Peterson, the greatest running back in a half-century of Vikings history.

Robert Smith smiles sadly sitting in a chair. Agreeing, but wondering what would have happened if he had decided to play a few more years.

The Vikings have four choices:


Cut Peterson immediately, which is unlikely—not only because he still can play at a very high level, but because he’s been great for the franchise, on- and (before last week) off-the-field, since being drafted.

Suspend him for conduct detrimental to the team, but that can last only four weeks, and then the Vikings would have to either take him back or release him.

Then the Vikings would have bought themselves four weeks to make a decision. Why would they choose to hold Peterson out why waiting for more information so they can make an informed decision? That would be crazy. 

Play him.

Which I am sure Peter thinks is a bad decision. After all, why withhold judgment? This isn't Roger Goodell, but an NFL player who got in trouble with the law. 

Trade him before the Oct. 28 deadline. Not easy, because of his current baggage and because he’s 29, old for a back.

If only an NFL owner/GM had expressed interest in Peterson playing for his team in the last few months. That would be really nice for the Vikings, but unfortunately no NFL owner/GM has expressed this type of interest, nor has this NFL owner/GM had a history of not caring how much attention is lavished on his team. Oh well.

I was prepared this morning to be quite opinionated on Greg Hardy playing football for the Carolina Panthers. Except he didn’t play football, so I’m tempted to say, “Never mind.” But I won’t, because a couple of things need to be said.

Peter wants to keep an open mind about Roger Goodell, what he knew, when he knew it and whether he lied repeatedly or not because he doesn't know all of the facts, but he's ready to be really fucking opinionated about Greg Hardy. After all, this is low hanging fruit for Peter to prove how much he really cares about domestic violence. It's a gimme!

By the way, before anyone says I will defend Hardy because he plays for Carolina, I could give two shits if he ever plays a down for the Panthers again for quite a few reasons. I won't defend his actions and he wasn't going to be re-signed after this season anyway. He can go away for all I care. The Panthers can be fine without him and he wasn't an important part of the Charlotte community anyway. Go way, Greg, go away.

But read the trial testimony, and pore over the guilty verdict, and you’ll understand why so many people are outraged that Hardy played in Week 1, or will play at all for Carolina this season.

These people have a point, but they also don't understand the weird laws that North Carolina has on the books which have prevented the NFL from punishing Hardy because he's not been 100% "convicted" yet. The Panthers, obviously, could do whatever they want. Which means the NFLPA could do whatever they want and prior to the outrage over Ray Rice and his video means they would have flown off the handle for an NFL team suspending a player without an actual guilty verdict or conviction. I understand the view that Carolina didn't do anything until the Ray Rice video came out and there was pressure to deactivate Hardy. Prior to the NFL taking a hard line stance against domestic violence and public opinion going hard against letting those NFL players arrested for domestic violence even play until they have been cleared of the charges (if cleared at all), the NFLPA could easily have filed a grievance (and they still can) if Carolina had punished Hardy for three reasons:

1. There was no precedence for this. Ray Rice got two games and Carolina won't allow Hardy to play at all when he hasn't been convicted in the eyes of the North Carolina legal system? Back in June or July, the NFLPA could have easily filed a grievance.

2. The NFL had not acted on Hardy yet. Believe it or not, it's a lot easier to justify a player's suspension from the point of view of an NFL team if the NFL acts first. It's a lot easier for the NFL to go up against the player's union when they have made a ruling on a player's eligibility to play, as opposed to a team suspending a player indefinitely first.

3. Would the NFL even have Carolina's back if they suspended Hardy for the season? I have zero idea if this idea was floated, but the NFL didn't exactly throw the hammer down on Ray Rice, so a few months ago it wasn't as easy to justify harsh action against Hardy.

The Ray Rice video and subsequent season-long suspension opened up Carolina to new opportunities to punish Hardy, because it provided a harsh sentence on Rice and proved the NFL takes domestic violence issues seriously. The move was easy and they did play "follow the leader," but suspending a player indefinitely isn't exactly a move that comes without it's own distracting challenges. It's easy to forget now, but remember the media wasn't talking about Greg Hardy in any serious tones regarding him not playing this season until recently and there is a reason for that. The reason is when teams go too activist before the NFL hands down their punishment, it opens up an opportunity for a grievance on behalf of that player. The Greg Hardy situation also has a lot of "He said, she said" about it. Teams wait for the NFL to act, because that's how the NFL wants it, and it gives them backing if they decide to make their own decision about the player's future with that team.

First, understand that in North Carolina, defendants in criminal trials are eligible to have two cases—one before a judge, and one before a jury. Hardy had a trial this summer in Mecklenburg County (N.C.) Court before Judge Rebecca Thorn-Tin and on July 15 was found guilty of assaulting a female and making threats to her. Thorn-Tin sentenced Hardy to 18 months probation and a suspended 60-day jail sentence. Hardy then chose a jury trial, which was scheduled to begin in November. Conveniently, it’s likely Hardy would have been able to delay the trial or find a way to finish earning his $13.1 million salary in 2014 before the jury rendered any verdict in his case; a guilty verdict would certainly have resulted in a suspension without pay for some length of games in the NFL.

The NFL did nothing to Hardy. The league viewed the jury trial as an integral part of Hardy’s due process. This is where I absolutely disagree. Hardy was found guilty by a judge who ruled, “The court is entirely convinced Hardy is guilty of assault on a female and communicating threats.’’

Fine, disagree. The NFL needs to take action then. It pisses me off a little bit that the NFL is forcing NFL teams to make hard decisions the NFL isn't willing to make. It would be nice if Roger Goodell, who cares so much about domestic violence, would not leave the 49ers dick hanging in the wind and force THEM to be the one to make a hard decision without knowing if the NFL will support that decision. I think the tide has turned at this point, so unilateral action by a team is very much more probable, but the NFL clearly has no interest in doing anything but wait for a guilty verdict. The NFL wants to wait for all the facts, but fans of the 49ers, Panthers and Vikings don't want to wait, and the media certainly won't wait.

During the trial, former Hardy girlfriend Nicole Holder alleged that Hardy threw her in a bathtub, tossed her on a futon full of automatic weapons that he claimed were loaded, and dragged her across the floor of his apartment by the hair. “He looked me in my eyes and told me he was going to kill me.”

Please read this. I've made my stance on Hardy clear, that I don't mind if he is suspended for the season, but there is nuance in this situation because there isn't a video of what happened. Holder was admittedly on cocaine at the time of the confrontation with Hardy. That doesn't mean she deserves to be beaten, but when a witness is on cocaine, then that person doesn't make for a very good witness. That column is from Bill Voth, who was in the courtroom for the 10 hours of testimony. He heard the transcript of testimony that isn't public. It's a shitty situation and Hardy doesn't look very good no matter what. It's just that Peter (especially THE MMQB and haven't reported other parts of each side's testimony that gives the situation nuance. I wish there were video or public pictures of each party's injuries, but there isn't. I've been dreading the public moving on from Ray Rice to Greg Hardy because it's not the same kind of case (though Hardy deserves the same penalty if found guilty) and it was going to be treated as such.

That is not a domestic violence offense fit for NFL discipline?

I can't disagree. But then the media is like, "Why doesn't Team X suspend the player then?" Maybe this should happen, but the NFL is so fucking gung-ho about their personal conduct policy until hard decisions have to be made. At that point, they leave the decision up to the team as they want a "conviction." That is, until the NFL doesn't give a shit about a conviction, like when they suspended Ben Roethlisberger for six games (down to four on appeal) for actions unbecoming of an NFL player, yet he wasn't convicted of anything.

Hardy is one of the league’s best pass-rushers. My question: If Hardy were an average player, or a backup player, how slow to act would the Panthers have been? How long before they cut him, to rid themselves of the headline-causing headache?

This is how the media works. As I said, I am fine with Hardy being suspended all season. The media wants their punishment when they want their punishment in the manner they want the punishment. They didn't give a shit about Greg Hardy prior to a few weeks ago, but now the media is super-serious about domestic violence issues and wonders why the Panthers weren't acting on Hardy long before this past week. The media has decided they want a judgment on Hardy NOW, and by God, why aren't the Panthers doing exactly what the media wants them to do? The media wants movement on this issue, despite the fact they didn't care about movement a month ago, but now THEY CARE so NFL teams need to do what the media wants them to do. The media only sort of cared about Ray Rice hitting his girlfriend (and now wife) until his punishment came down. All of a sudden, Rice's punishment came down and the sports media was OUTRAGED that the NFL wouldn't take stronger action. Prior to that, eh, shit happened on the elevator and it was serious, but there wasn't a great story as of yet.

So the right thing was done Sunday when coach Ron Rivera de-activated Hardy. And the Panthers should not play him again, until or if he’s found innocent.

Which I am perfectly fine with happening. At some point, maybe Peter King can draw his ire away from NFL teams and aim it towards the NFL and why they won't take action in situations like this. I guess Peter is still withholding judgment on the NFL and Roger Goodell, so he expects NFL teams to make the hard decisions the NFL cares so much about but won't choose to take on. After the NFL took action on Ray Rice, how long did it take the Ravens to take action on him? It's easier when the Shield decides to make the hard decisions and avoids any issues with the NFLPA.

Kaplan, who went to the Panthers game against Detroit in Charlotte on Sunday, filed this report from the scene:

If you came to Bank of America Stadium on Sunday afternoon looking for an outpouring of support for Greg Hardy, you weren’t going to find it. If you thought there would be protests or flyovers or even an ounce of unrest, you would have to search pretty hard. Instead, on an overcast yet steamy morning in Charlotte, the mood was indifferent.

Yep, that's my feeling. I just want someone to do something about the situation or stop talking about it.

I lapped the stadium and spoke to nearly three dozen fans before word spread that Hardy would be inactive. By rough estimate, the ratio of Luke Kuechly jerseys to Greg Hardy jerseys: 40-to-1. The ratio of Steve Smith jerseys to Greg Hardy jerseys: 16-to-1. (Smith, in case you missed the news, departed the Panthers six months ago.)

Though, as veteran Panthers scribe David Newton pointed out, not many fans own Hardy jerseys anyway.

I'm ready to talk about football again. In regard to the question of whether Hardy would be suspended if there were video, yes. This is natural. If I am accused of robbing a bank, doesn't the fact you have me on tape robbing a bank help the case that I indeed did the crime? So the video of Ray Rice shouldn't affect how one thinks about domestic violence when it comes to what he admitted to doing, but seeing pictures of him actually committing the crime goes to prove exactly what happened. It's great evidence that leaves little to the imagination. It would be a hell of a lot easier to say Ray McDonald hit his girlfriend if there was a video of it happening.

The following players caught passes on the game-winning drive, starting at the Browns’ four-yard line, that sent the New Orleans Saints down the 0-2 hole Sunday in Cleveland

Miles Austin, the former Cowboy who was jettisoned by Dallas because he couldn’t stay healthy.

Taylor Gabriel, a 5-7 ½ undrafted rookie free-agent wide receiver from Abilene Christian.

Gary Barnidge, a fifth-round pick of Carolina six years ago, from Louisville.

Andrew Hawkins, the 5-7 restricted free-agent wideout the Browns stole from the Bengals in the offseason.

I had heard of all these players except Taylor Gabriel. Peter said "we" wouldn't know these players.

Amazing: I’m writing about the Browns, and the passing game, and Johnny Manziel is not in the story. Hoyer is going to be able to hold Manziel off as long as he keeps making 80- and 85-yard drives (as he did in the second half Sunday) as efficiently as he did Sunday.

Yes, it is amazing you shut up about Johnny Manziel. It's also amazing that if Brian Hoyer keeps playing well at quarterback he won't get benched. Who would have thought that to be true?

We hear a lot of clichés in this business. In fact, most of what comes out of post-game mouths, collectively, is one giant cliché. Even though what you’re about to read (or watch) stems from a cliché, I think it’s well worth your time—particularly if you are a coach or mentor with young athletes or students trying to improve their games or lives.

I always like to seek answers to how really good players try to get better, and I asked J.J. Watt that question:

His answer:

“Well, the first thing I’ll say is the reason clichés become clichés is because they’re true. They hold some truth in their words. People talk all the time about work ethic, working hard, dedication and commitment, and sometimes people write those answers off because they do seem cliché. But the honest-to-God truth is if you put in the time and you put in the effort, and you watch the film and you study and you work out, and you treat your off-season the right way, and you treat every single practice the right way, you truly can be great.

Most quotes Peter hears from an athlete is a cliche, but listen to this cliche because it came from J.J. Watt. He's like the Chip Kelly of NFL players.

I consider this the ultimate compliment for an NFL Films piece: “I wish Steve Sabol were alive to see it.” That’s what went through my mind after watching Brandon Marshall: A Football Life, which debuts this week on NFL Network. Producers Shannon Furman and James Weiner got Marshall (and, surprisingly, Jay Cutler) to open up on things that surprised me. Marshall is candid about everything else in his life, including his mental illness. Much of it is painful. I would have liked to have seen more, however, on the disturbing 2011 stabbing incident in South Florida—Marshall and wife Michi Nogami-Marshall had a domestic violence incident that resulted in Marshall being hospitalized with a stomach wound, and the details in this show are unfortunately lacking.

I can't imagine why Brandon Marshall wouldn't want to talk about this more.

This show is worth an hour of your life. It airs during an interesting week, and NFL Films will get criticized some for soft-pedaling the domestic violence piece of his life, and rightfully so. But overall, it’s still a very good tale, told in the Sabol way.

See, the media wasn't as serious about domestic violence back then, so they didn't try to strong arm NFL teams into taking action regarding NFL players accused of domestic violence, while giving the NFL a pass for not taking on a leadership role. It's always "let's withhold judgment" when it comes to the NFL and Roger Goodell, but that same withholding of judgment doesn't apply to NFL teams who are supposed to punish their players unilaterally while the NFL sits on their hands wondering how they can weasel out of the lies they have told. If it tells you anything, there is very little in this MMQB about Roger Goodell or whether he really lied repeatedly about the Ray Rice video. Peter has no interest in that. Let someone else figure out what happened.

The bottom line is it's a lot easier for NFL teams to be hard on domestic violence when the NFL takes the lead. I absolutely believe teams can or should take action if the NFL doesn't. The NFL wants to be the ones to punish a player. They prefer a top-down approach to punishing a player. Still, it seems at this point Roger Goodell is more focused on covering up his lies about what he knew or didn't know about an act of domestic violence caught on video than he is about taking the lead to ensure guys like Peterson, Hardy and McDonald are punished.

It's just funny to me how Peter is fine with the NFL waiting around for a conviction, but he thinks NFL teams should not wait for this conviction. Why hold NFL teams to a standard that he won't hold the NFL to? Yes, these NFL players are employees of NFL organizations, but it seems the NFL loves stepping in and telling NFL teams how to run their organizations until they decide it's not convenient to do so.

Fine Fifteen

2. Denver (2-0). Wonder if anyone will notice this week that there’s a Super Bowl rematch at CenturyLink on Sunday afternoon at 1:25 Pacific Time. My early prediction: Denver will not lose to Seattle by 35 again.

Whoa, don't go so far out on that limb there Peter.

5. New England (1-1). It helped that Adrian Peterson didn’t play, but the Pats would have creamed the Vikes anyway, as long as Matt Cassel turned it over the way he did.

Yes, but to be fair, Cassel wouldn't have had as many chances to turn it over if Adrian Peterson had been playing. So there is that.

6. San Francisco (1-1). When Colin Kaepernick turns it over four times and the Niners commit 16 penalties for 118 yards, well, a 28-20 loss to a beleaguered Chicago team should be expected.

Lose a home game, get to be 9 spots better than the team that beat you. Peter's "Fine Fifteen" doesn't make that much sense. Chicago is #15 on this list. Even if this is a list of who Peter thinks the best teams are, shouldn't Chicago be a little further up since the only team they lost to was the #10 Bills?

10. Buffalo (2-0). Bills 56, Foes 30. E.J. Manuel’s completing 67 percent. Two statoids I never thought I’d be writing after two weeks.

Who knew preseason wasn't exactly like the regular season games? This comes as a shock to Peter too!

13. Baltimore (1-1). You know who’s playing great?

Steve Smith, Sr?

Left guard Kelechi Osemele. Even without Ray Rice, the running game will be solid because of interior line play, led by Osemele, and Justin Forsett’s emergence.

Even without their starting running back, the Ravens will have a good running game because they have good offensive line play and the backup running back is playing well. So basically, the Ravens running game will be solid even without Ray Rice because the Ravens have a good running game?

The Award Section
So a few years ago, my friend Len Pasquarelli said to me, “Just my two cents, but you shouldn’t have three or four or five players of the week in one category. It kind of cheapens it.” Last Monday, when I gave out about 39 of these things, column editor Dom Bonvissuto told me to settle down and cut out the mega-multiple award winners. They’re right … so my goal moving forward will be to keep it to two max in each category.

My only question is what these people have to say about the "Adieu Haiku?" Can they make Peter stop writing it?

As I wrote last week, it's silly to have 3-4 winners for each category and cheapens the award.

“We started the week with players beating up women, and we ended it with players beating up children. We are in a very serious state here in the National Football League.”
—ESPN’s Tom Jackson, on the network’s Sunday pre-game show

Crazy to think these athletes who play a violent game sometimes have difficulty not allowing this violence to extend off the field.

“People need to understand, the choice was not PTI [pre-trial intervention] versus five years’ state prison. The choice was not PTI versus the no-early-release act on a 10-year sentence. The parameters as they existed were, ‘Is this a PTI case or a probation case?’ ”
—Atlantic County prosecutor Jim McClain, explaining one of the most incredible factoids of a crazy week of news: Under the laws of the county in which Atlantic City sits, a first-time domestic-violence offender, if convicted, would never go to jail. That seems beyond unbelievable to me. Who makes laws like that? ESPN found late in the week that only 1% of those charged with domestic violence get the pre-trial option, but still, to have no chance for jail is just wrong.

Don't you love how the media covers the news sometimes? It's react, react, react (Ray Rice should be in jail!) and then later find out the facts that prevent the reaction from being a reality. I think Ray Rice should not play another down in the NFL this year, but first-time offenders of domestic violence don't often get the book thrown at them. So the idea the Atlantic City prosecutor was in some way in the NFL's pocket was ridiculous. He dropped the ball probably in not explaining this earlier than last week, but there is a good example of where a reaction like "Rice should be in jail" isn't realistic given the legal circumstances.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Notes of the Week

A couple of New York stories:
Wednesday, midday, walking down East 52nd Street in Manhattan. Fairly crowded. I look ahead at the people walking toward me, and everyone, and I mean everyone, is walking while staring down at their phones.
How many is “everyone”? I counted. Thirteen in a row passed me with head down, checking their smartphones.

So more than 13 people were minding their own damn business as you went down the street and stared at people in order to determine how many of these people were on their cell phone? They are certainly the ones with problem, because they are going around not worried about what everyone else is doing, while you are staring at these people and standing in judgment.

This is embarrassing to hear about as a Panthers fan. This guy deserves a punch to the kidney though. It's not like he can't support Hardy in his mind, but wearing that shirt is being brazen about wanting attention, almost challenging others to say something to him. What an ass.

Dammit, can we not just hold out judgment on whether Roger Goodell lied or not?

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 2:
a. Owen Daniels can sell a fake.

Maybe Roger Goodell can hire Owen Daniels to sell Goodell to the general public then. 

e. Matt Cassel, 4 of 4 for 75 yards on the opening drive, without you-know-who.

Without David Yankey, who was inactive on Sunday?

l. Joe Theismann’s omniscience.
m. Which, of course, is tied into his Kirk-Cousins-would-win-the-job-in-an-open-competition comment from training camp. Cousins’ first three series of the season, in relief of RG3: 8 of 8, three touchdown drives.

This should be one letter in Peter's outline, first off. Second, it's been one game against the Jacksonville defense that is rebuilding. So let's keep some perspective before announcing Cousins would win the job in an open competition.

5. I think Ray Rice is not a perfect man. He was not good to Robert Klemko of The MMQB when Klemko, then with USA Today, asked Ray Lewis a question about the Atlanta murders a couple of years ago in the Ravens’ locker room. And “not good” is an understatement; Rice was rude and immature. But in all the calls I made and all the reporting I did on Rice in the last seven days, this is what interested me the most: A Baltimore teammate, a player who played more than a decade in the league, said, “He was the greatest teammate I ever had.” Ever? I mean, ever? “The front office could come to him and ask him to do something on off day and he’d do it. The coaching staff would come and tell him someone was screwing up in the locker room, and he’d try to help. Never was he selfish, on the field or in the locker room.”

6. I think that’s not meant to say, Hey, Ray Rice got railroaded. He didn’t. It’s meant to say, Let’s not lock Ray Rice up and throw away the key.

This should all be under #5, but I'm just repeating myself at this point on that issue. I don't think Rice should be locked up and have the key thrown away, but yes, let's not lock up Ray Rice and throw away the key using Peter's reasoning. After all, Rice was nice to his teammates and would do anything the coaching staff or front office wanted him to do, so that should be taken into account in this situation. While Peter asked the following question earlier (and rightfully I think):

My question: If Hardy were an average player, or a backup player, how slow to act would the Panthers have been? How long before they cut him, to rid themselves of the headline-causing headache?

He now is using the fact Ray Rice was a great teammate as a reason to not lock up and throw away the key. It's not fine for NFL teams to factor in whether a player is a great player and teammate when evaluating his suspension for being arrested, but when Peter King evaluates that player and how long he should be suspended it's perfectly fine for him to incorporate how good of a guy that player was in the locker room. Got it.

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

d. Four questions for college football-philes. One: Ohio State 66, Kent State 0. Hope you enjoyed that game, Buckeye fans. When will garbage games in early September get killed off by athletic directors?

Perhaps as soon as college football teams don't need the revenue from home games to run their program and quality teams are willing to come to Ohio State and play the Buckeyes. While no one enjoys watching a team get beaten up, it's not always easy to convince a good college football team to play a road game, thereby taking revenue away from a potential home game, against a very good football team. Two things college football programs don't like, losing games and losing revenue. An away football game against Ohio State could result in both for a quality college football team.

g. Four: Any logical reason why USC would lose at Boston College?

Because Boston College played a better game at home than USC played while on the road?

m. Things can only get better (I think), Allen Craig: 10 for 95 (.109) since the trade from Boston to St. Louis, with 24 strikeouts.

When did the Red Sox trade Allen Craig back to the Cardinals? I must have missed that trade.

p. Watched Philomena for the second time over the weekend. If you haven’t seen it, you must. It borders on my top 20 all time.

No Philip Seymour Hoffman? No top 20 movie.

q. Greatest movie of all time: North By Northwest.

How can a movie without Meryl Streep AND Phillip Seymour Hoffman, the two greatest actors of our generation be in the greatest movie of all-time? If U2 scored a movie with these two actors in it, Peter may have a heart attack simply out of excitement.

Philadelphia 23, Indianapolis 21. News Item of the Week That Got Absolutely No Attention: The 2013 NFL sack leader, Robert Mathis, suspended for the first four games of the season for a PED violation, will miss the entire year with a torn Achilles. That’s a huge blow to the Colts’ chances to win their division, particularly with the Texans rising and the Titans showing life.

There was no time to actually cover the NFL this week, because NFL writers were too busy moralizing and telling NFL teams what they should and should not be doing. Why cover the NFL or any major injuries like this if there's no hot sports take to be had?

The Adieu Haiku

NFL on fire.
Worst week I’ve seen for the league
in my 30 years.

This haiku was so informative to me. I can't wait until MMQB is about football again. Well, MMQB never really about football, but I can't wait until the parts that are about football (approximately 50% or so, depending on what the Quotes of the Week and Tweets of the Week are about) are about football again and not discussions about domestic violence.

Monday, September 15, 2014

3 comments The Idea of Derek Jeter Not Being in the Playoffs During His Final Season Sends Kevin Kernan Into an Emo-Depression

There has been a lot of gritting of teeth and overall sadness among sportswriters that the 2014 season is Derek Jeter's last season. There has been a lot of commenting about how the game won't find another anti-PED face of baseball, the Yankee dynasty is over, and various other complaints about how baseball will never be the same again until it is the same again. Kevin Kernan takes a different approach. He tries a little emo-whining about how it JUST CAN'T end like this for Derek Jeter. It's not possible (kicks a wall), it's not fair (grits his teeth while fighting back tears) and this just can't be the end (puts on a Cure shirt and lights up a cheap cigarette while smoking silently on the curb).


It can’t end like this for Derek Jeter.

IT CAN'T! This isn't right.

Why God, why???????

The way the Yankees are playing, there will be no October in Jeter’s final season.

Cancel the upcoming MLB season. It's bad enough Jeter isn't playing baseball for the Yankees anymore after this season, but for Jeter to not make the playoffs in his last season? It's like God has punched Kevin Kernan in the balls and then torn up all the Derek Jeter posters that line the poorly-lit room that no one knows about behind Kernan's study, which has a bookcase sitting in front of it in order to block anyone from seeing there is a false wall there. It feels not good, like all of Kernan's dreams have been cruelly mocked.

The Yankees have lost four straight heading into Friday night’s game against the Rays at Tropicana Field. In those losses, they’ve managed to score seven runs.

Derek Jeter was 2 for 16 in those four games with two strikeouts and zero walks. I can't imagine how it could be partly his fault the Yankees had lost four straight games. It can't end like this. Jeter's teammates need to pick him up and help him make one last postseason. How can they let Jeter down like this while he's out there grinding and having the worst statistical year of his career? IT CAN'T END LIKE THIS! Kevin Kernan craves more Jeter mediocrity.

They are the world’s most expensive mediocre baseball team.

Led by their mediocre hitting shortstop who Kernan is bemoaning won't get an opportunity to play in one last postseason. Of course, through this entire article where Kernan bemoans how the Yankees won't make one last playoffs with Jeter as the starting shortstop, at no point does he point to Jeter's own performance as a possible reason for this. The Jeter is to be praised, not criticized.

They are eight games back of the Orioles in the AL East, that race is over. In the watered-down wild card, the Yankees are 4 behind and must jump three teams to make it to the “survivor’’ version of playoff baseball.

And of course, where does the blame lie? With Jeter's teammates who aren't doing a good job of playing well enough to get Jeter into the postseason one last time. If this article were about the unfortunate nature of Jeter's career ending like it is ending statistically, it would make sense. Unfortunately, it's an article of emo-whining about what a great player Jeter is in the playoffs and how he needs one last chance to be the ultimate October (and November, don't forget November!) hero.

Jeter has played 16 Octobers and knows something about November baseball as well. October is his time. In his first five Octobers the Yankees won four World Series championships, and Jeter was the MVP of the 2000 World Series win over the Mets.

Much like a pro-Jack Morris for the Hall of Fame article, a "Derek Jeter is retiring" article has to have the same key elements every time. It must mention The Flip, it must mention how super-clutchy great he was in the World Series, it must mention what a great guy he is, must bemoan he is leaving as if his performance hasn't declined, and it must completely ignore saying anything negative about Jeter in any fashion.

Not that I expect an article about Jeter retiring to be negative throughout it's entire contents. Any "Chipper Jones is retiring" article left out his rendezvous with a Hooters waitress in Michigan, but at least that's an off-the-field thing, while any article on Jeter doesn't seem to contain the truth that it's probably good he's leaving after this year if his on-the-field performance is any indication.

The Captain is at his best in October, where he carries a lifetime .308 postseason batting average.

Yes, but unfortunately The Captain and his team have to play well enough during the regular season to be in the postseason.

The Flip was made on Oct. 13, 2001. No play better exemplifies Jeter’s winning approach, his creativeness and his ability to be in the right place at the right time.

What if Jeter was planning on creating The Flip 2 in the 2014 playoffs? THIS CAN'T BE ALL THERE IS!

Instead of The Flip, here in 2014, the Yankees are giving us The Flop.

They can’t stand up to the challenge.

The challenge of what? Making the playoffs? The challenge of supporting a shortstop who may have made a great baseball play 13 years ago, but is now just a singles hitter who doesn't hit as many singles as he used to? The Yankees didn't make the playoffs during Mariano Rivera's last season either. Somehow, the world continued turning.

At the age of 40, Jeter was supposed to go out the right way, playing October baseball and letting the chips fall where they may.

So many emotions. That's how Kevin Kernan feels right now. It's turning him into a sad little Derek Jeter fan-boy. Jeter was supposed to go out the right way, with his team being eliminated by a superior team in the Wild Card playoff (which I still hate) or during the ALDS. No other legend, unless you want to count the majority of Hall of Famers, went out not being at the top of their game and winning a World Series. Derek Jeter deserves better than the fate he laid out for himself by choosing to play one more season for the Yankees.

Yankees fans dreamed of him going out the way he came in — his first full season in 1996 — a champion.

Very astute observation by Kernan. Yankees fans dreamed of winning the World Series this year. This is very different from past seasons when they didn't care if the Yankees won the World Series or not.

The Steinbrenners put a fortune on the table this past offseason to try to bring the Yankees and Jeter one more October after the lost season of 2013.


Jeter has played in 158 postseason games, essentially another entire season, and has accumulated 650 at-bats and a nice round Jeterian number of hits, 200, and a .374 on-base percentage in the biggest games of them all.

I've never seen Jeter's statistics recited before. How come no other sportswriter has ever done this? But wait, there's more! Jeter isn't just about tangibles, he's also completely about intangibles. Those things you can't measure that he has more of than other baseball players. Those immeasurable attributes the sportswriters find a way to measure and explain Jeter has more of than others.

His game, though, always has been about heart and hustle and finding ways to win, not cold numbers. As he said last week, it’s not about “formula baseball,” it’s about winning.

Except, maybe not ironically, Jeter is all about winning and this entire column is written about how Jeter can't win enough to make the playoffs in his final year. So maybe Jeter is about the statistics he has put up and his team as a whole is about winning. But that's right, sportswriters manage to give Jeter credit for the Yankees winning games, but dismiss the idea any credit should be taken away from Jeter when the Yankees lose games. He's a winner, but this whole column is based on him not being enough of a winner this year to make the playoffs one last time.

It can’t end like this for Derek Jeter.


Jeter has been at his best in the ALDS, where he has a lifetime .343 average over 66 games. In seven World Series, he has hit .321.

Boy, for someone who doesn't think Jeter has always been about cold numbers, Kevin Kernan sure is reciting a lot of cold numbers that Jeter has accumulated through the years.

Will Jeter suffer the same fate as Mariano Rivera, who did not have one final October last season, when the Yankees finished third in the AL East?

If there is a God or any spiritual being watching over the world, then no, it will not end that way. By the way, Chipper Jones' career ended (partly) on an infield fly that was a routine Texas Leaguer to left field in a one game Wild Card playoff after the Braves had a better record over 162 games than the Cardinals (the team they were playing). I guess Jones was such a piece of shit and wasn't enough about winning that this doesn't really matter nor does it serve as evidence Hall of Famers don't always have their career end in fairly tale fashion.

Rivera had his long goodbye that night. He did not bother to pick up a baseball that final series in Houston.

It was over for Mo.

Exactly, Derek Jeter isn't above Mariano Rivera and there is no grand law that says Derek Jeter must be granted one last playoff appearance before he retires.

After Jeter played in just 17 games last season, this year was supposed to be different — with the addition of expensive bats of Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran, plus the monster signing of Masahiro Tanaka and the re-signing of Hiroki Kuroda. Brian Cashman spent $465 million on those parts.

Tanaka went down with an elbow injury and the punchless Yankees have managed to win just three more games than they have lost.

Tanaka was really, really good when he was healthy. Ellsbury hasn't been terrible. Otherwise, I think there is plenty of information that says signing players on the wrong side of 30 to long-term contracts isn't the most brilliant idea (McCann) and Carlos Beltran is 37 years old. Three years and $45 million for a 36 year old, how could that not work out?

I would also add once again that Derek Jeter isn't exactly hitting the cover off the ball and he's making $12 million this year.

The last October memory of Jeter is a painful one, his left ankle breaking as he screamed out on the infield dirt at Yankee Stadium. Jeter had to be carried off the field that night by trainer Steve Donohue and manager Joe Girardi in the 12th inning of Game 1 of the ALCS, a 6-4 loss to the Tigers.

Well, then don't remember Jeter's postseason career that way. Remember him as the guy who helped (and that's the key word, "helped") his team win five World Series. It's not hard, you just have to be less of a fan-boy about it.

That was Oct. 13, 2012. Exactly 11 years to the day of The Flip.

What symmetry! This must mean something! If not, let's make it mean something.

As Jeter was helped off, fans began to chant his name, making it the saddest of chants.

That is the final memory of Jeter and October baseball.

Would Kevin Kernan rather the final memory of Derek Jeter be him sitting in his dugout or standing on the edge of the railing in the dugout as the Yankees lose their final game in the playoffs? Would it better for that to be the final memory of Jeter in the postseason? I'm betting Kevin Kernan doesn't want Jeter's career to end, no matter what...well, unless Jeter's career ended with the Yankees winning the World Series.

It can’t end like this for Derek Jeter.

IT CAN'T END LIKE THIS! It isn't fair!

This article just felt like it was worthy of a gif-heavy post to me. A sportswriter acting like a fan-boy throwing a tantrum that Derek Jeter may end up retiring without making one last playoff appearance. One would think a professional writer would be above this, but Kevin Kernan proves me wrong. He states multiple times that "it can't end like this" referencing Derek Jeter. There has to be more to this article than some whiny fan-boy writing. This article can't end like this.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

2 comments Columnist Says Dodgers Need to Win Now, So They Should Start a Player That Won't Allow Them To Do That

Steve Dilbeck of the "Los Angeles Times" has had enough of this Yasiel Puig guy bringing the Dodgers down. Puig is slumping terribly since July 31 and so Dilbeck thinks the Dodgers should start Andre Ethier because "he has got a history" you know. Of course history refers to the past, but Dilbeck doesn't care. Anything has to be better than putting the struggling Puig in the lineup. Granted, Puig was hitting .293 and getting on-base a .381 clip even with his slump, while Ethier was hitting .248 and getting on-base at a .319 clip. Sure, Dilbeck points out that Puig hasn't hit a home run since July 31, but his slugging percentage is still .476 compared to Ethier's .368 slugging percentage. It doesn't matter, because "history," guys. History. In reality, this article isn't entirely about Yasiel Puig, but about Don Mattingly's lineup and pinch-hitting choices. Of course putting "Puig" in the title gets more pageviews.

OK, enough. Enough waiting for the Golden Boy to become an overnight sensation or last year’s overnight sensation to get going again.

Absolutely. When a team has a transcendent talent that can carry a team then why wait for him to break out of a slump? Bench him immediately for a struggling veteran who may be a slightly above average hitter if all goes well. It's a pennant race, everyone! No time for struggling at the plate, but if someone is going to struggle at the plate, let's make it a veteran.

The idea is to win right now. In September with a pennant on the line. It’s not time to experiment.

No time to experiment, which is why changing the lineup and pulling Puig out of that lineup totally makes sense. It's not experimenting, it's doing what is right because Ethier has been through a playoff race. The only playoff race Puig has been through is the one last year where his talent helped carry a struggling Dodgers team to the playoffs and the NLCS. That's all Puig has done.

You don’t keep sending out Yasiel Puig every night when he’s hit .209 since July 31, which also happens to be the last time he hit a home run.

No, you don't. You send out Andre Ethier, who hasn't hit a home run June 29. That's a MUCH better option for the Dodgers with a pennant on the line.

Now I know what many of you are going to say. You watch Ethier play this year? Looked at his numbers?

As of this column's printing they were .248/.319/.368 in 362 plate appearances with 4 home runs and 48 RBI. His OPS+ is 94 too. Sure, his numbers aren't great, but these facts aren't a good retort to the idea Ethier is not a better option than a struggling Puig. After all, Ethier has history in a playoff race while Dilbeck doesn't want you to pay attention to what Puig did leading up to and in the playoffs last year.

And, sure, he has career-lows going in almost every offensive category. But at least he has a history.

Last I checked "history" isn't going to impact how Ethier will perform if given the everyday center field job. The fact Ethier has career-lows in almost every offensive category will impact how Ethier performs if given the everyday center field job.

He’s been through the playoff wars. He’s responded under pressure.

Andre Ethier in 99 postseason plate appearances: .

230/.323/.402 with 3 home runs, 6 RBI, 11 walks and 24 strikeouts.

Yasiel Puig in 41 postseason plate appearances:

.333/.366/.410 with 0 home runs, 4 RBI, 1 walk and 14 strikeouts.

See, Puig has struck out a lot and hit fewer home runs, but he has a higher batting average and gets on-base at a higher clip than Ethier has in the postseason. If Dilbeck wants to talk responding under pressure we can talk about Ethier's career line of .213/.273/.295 in the NLCS. Puig isn't much better at .227/.261/.318, but the fact Puig isn't much better goes to prove the point. The point being Etheir hasn't responded under pressure in the playoff wars he's been a part of. Another point being that the 2013 NLDS proved Puig has transcendent talent when he is hitting the baseball well. 

He’s also hit .324 in his career against the right-handed Kennedy with a pair of home runs. Puig’s is 3-for-16 (.167) against Kennedy.

So send him out there and see what happens. He can’t do much worse than Puig, who’s driven in one run in his last 18 games.

Yes, but his season-long statistics show that he can't do much better than Puig either. So the fact Ethier isn't a much worse option than Puig isn't a reason to replace Puig with Ethier.

Yet the Dodgers continue to diminish Ethier, which is puzzling,

Ethier is 32 years old and having the worst year of his career and it's puzzling as to why the Dodgers are diminishing him? Isn't it obvious that Ethier is the fourth-best outfielder and doesn't have the skill set potential that Yasiel Puig has? Heck, Ethier doesn't have the all-around game of Matt Kemp and the speed of Carl Crawford, so as the fourth-best outfielder he doesn't get as many at-bats. What Ethier has done in those at-bats hasn't been impressive, so he gets diminished. No puzzlement required.

and long term, potentially troubling.

No, long term it makes sense because Yasiel Puig is an All-Star with a ton of talent. Andre Ethier is no longer the hitter he was from 2007-2012. If he is, he certainly hasn't shown it at the plate this season.

Tuesday night the Dodgers trailed the Padres 5-2 in the seventh and had runners on first and second with one out and the pitcher’s spot up against right-hander Andrew Cashner.

And Manager Don Mattingly sent up Pederson to pinch hit?

That's crazy! It also has nothing to do with why Andre Ethier should replace Yasiel Puig in center field.

“It’s like you’d rather have Andre up with the game on the line in the ninth than Joc,” Mattingly said. “That’s kind of the thinking there. You save for the biggest at-bat in the ninth.”

Eh, I'm not sure I agree with this move by Mattingly. Regardless, it still has nothing to do with why Andre Ethier should replace Yasiel Puig.

What? You may never get another chance like that. You try to win the game when you can, you don’t save bullets you may get to fire.

This makes not of sense. "You don't save bullets you may get to fire."

I think in his rage at Yasiel Puig slumping and staying in the Dodgers' lineup, Steve Dilbeck has started leaving out some words and his editor didn't seem to catch it. Because actually, you do save bullets that you may get to fire.

Pederson flied out to left and the Dodgers failed to score. In the ninth, Mattingly pinch hit Ethier in what was now a 6-2 game with one out and a runner on first. Not exactly the same RBI opportunity. He was hit by a pitch.

Hit by a pitch? How can a guy who has been through playoff wars and responded under pressure get hit by a pitch in this situation? Where's the home run at? Ethier did get on-base though, which shows Mattingly that if he would just start Ethier in place of Puig, then Ethier would get hit by a pitch at every plate appearance. He's been in playoff wars and knows how it works.

“That’s a manager’s job, plain and simple,” Ethier said.

“I’m doing whatever he tells me to do and be ready. It’s easy for anyone to sit back later on and say that stuff and play what-ifs, but I’m ready for that opportunity there or in the ninth.”

See, what's really happening in this article is that Steve Dilbeck is trolling for pageviews by putting Yasiel Puig's name in the title of the column. He figures that if he puts Puig's name in the title then people (like me) will click on the column and read it. I'm surprised he didn't slip "Johnny Manziel" or "LeBron James" into the title in order to maximize his pageviews.

Hey, I have nothing against Pederson. Maybe he becomes a superstar or just a really good player, or maybe he never replicates what he did at triple-A. We don’t know. But asking him to do it now, in a pennant race, just isn’t fair. He’s 2-for-15 with seven strikeouts.

That's true. Plus writing "Joc Pederson should not have pinch-hit in the 7th inning on Tuesday and the pinch hitter should have been Andre Ethier" as the byline just doesn't have the same impact.

Sitting Puig and his potential power, and returning to an Ethier/Scott Van Slyke combo in center is a tougher call, particularly with all that territory in AT&T Park awaiting this weekend.

Plus, Yasiel Puig is a better baseball player than both of these guys when he isn't struggling...and Puig isn't going to struggle for the rest of his career. Seriously, he can carry the Dodgers with his bat when he gets hot. When he's cold, he isn't great, but he also isn't too much worse than Andre Ethier at that point.

But the Dodgers just can’t keep waiting and hoping for Puig to get it going. He’s batting .151 (10 for 66) in his last 18 games. This is his first full season in the majors and he’s going through the worst slump of his career.

Puig has been very bad, but slumps don't last forever. That's why Puig's struggles are referred to as a "slump" while Ethier isn't referred to as being in a slump by Dilbeck. He's just not hitting well. One is temporary, the other might not be.

Maybe he’ll respond to some time off.

Maybe. Maybe he'll get hot and start to carry the Dodgers. I don't know if pulling Puig is the best option in a pennant race when the other option is a guy who may be more steadily slightly below average, but doesn't have the skill set that Puig has. It's a matter of opinion, but it's an opinion based on Puig's current struggles, not based on Ethier having "history" or been in playoff wars. That argument doesn't hold water.

I know Mattingly prefers a set outfield but right now it’s not working. And right now is when it needs to work.

And Andre Ethier would make it work because he's been there. He's got history. Granted, it's not a wonderful history of great playoff hitting, but it's "history" dammit!

Friday, September 12, 2014

6 comments Gregg Easterbrook Continues Repeating Topics From Past TMQ's

Gregg Easterbrook did his annual all-haiku NFL preview in last week's TMQ. It was as bad as I imagined it might be. Gregg alerted the world to the prevalence of newspapers saying positive things about new cars due to car companies buying advertising in these newspapers. I never knew it was such a problem. Gregg also copied his closing paragraph in this year's all-haiku preview from the closing paragraph in last year's all-haiku preview. I should never accuse Gregg of not being lazy. This week Gregg talks (yet again) about how NFL teams borrow tactics from high school and college football teams. Gregg rotates the same topics over and over in TMQ. What a waste. Oh, and Gregg criticizes "Godzilla" for lacking accuracy because he has no shame and somehow manages to think a movie about a giant dinosaur-looking monster created by radioactive waste (haven't seen the movie yet, so excuse this vague description) needs to be as realistic as possible.

Want to know what trends will dominate the NFL in five years?

Trick question. There will be no NFL in five years because of lawsuits from concussions.

Attend a high school or small-college football game. Because tactics on display during the NFL's opening weekend were high school and small college all the way.

And we all know given Gregg's propensity for creepily ogling cheerleaders who are 1/3 to 1/2 of his age that Gregg will sometimes try to lower that percentage to ogling cheerleaders close to 1/4 his age at a high school or maybe even junior high game. He's there to see the tactics. That's his story. Tactics are his concern, not the cheerleaders.

Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly's Blur Offense, which scored 34 unanswered points in its Sunday comeback, owes more to high school theory than NFL experience. The Seattle Seahawks' zone-read, which just helped them win the Super Bowl, owes more to college play than pro results.

The 3-4 defense, you know that "fad" defense Gregg talks about, originated in the NFL I believe.

The very fast pace, on the other hand, was tried by Buffalo during the 1991 and 1992 seasons, then dropped.

So it doesn't count, because the Bills dropped the fast paced offense, and Jerry Glanville certainly never ran the run-and-shoot in Houston or Atlanta. If a team stops using an offensive or defensive tactic then that team doesn't get credit for creating that least in Gregg's world.

About 15 years ago, high school coaches began to revive the idea -- especially coaches with skinny players who couldn't execute a traditional high school power-I.

Gregg Easterbrook: "Offensive linemen are getting so big and fat in high school and college compared to how big and fat they used to be!"

Gregg Easterbrook: "Some high school and college coaches don't have fat enough offensive linemen to run a power-I offense, so that's why these teams use a faster paced offense!"

Pro coaches, including Bill Belichick, the winningest active NFL coach, noticed that hurry-up football was working below the pro level -- including at Troy University, where Franklin's system converted a perennial also-ran into a conference contender. Belichick was attracted to no-huddle tactics because they usually increase the number of snaps a team gets. More snaps, more yards gained.

This is typical Gregg Easterbrook. When discussing a fast paced offense, what element does he leave out that contributes to the success of this fast paced offense? Don't worry, no hint needed. Gregg provides the answer by not providing the answer.

By 2013, the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and other NFL teams were quick-snap.

As usual, Gregg Easterbrook sort of misses the point. The point isn't these teams run a fast paced offense soohmygodwhydoesn'teveryteamdothis? The point is these teams all have a quarterback that can handle running a fast paced offense and have the ability to audible, change a play call and execute the offense at a fast pace.

These teams have Jay Cutler, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger...along with the quarterbacks on the mysterious "other NFL teams" Gregg knows about but doesn't mention. Think that has something to do with the success of this fast paced offense succeeding? It's hard to be effective without a quarterback to run the offense.

Success has many fathers: The zone-read's parentage is disputed. Just one example: Appalachian State employed the zone-read en route to an FCS title three-peat from 2005 to 2007, and perhaps you've heard about the game the Mountaineers played in 2007 at Michigan. At Florida with Tim Tebow, Urban Meyer merged zone-read rushing and multiple-receiver sets into the spread-option. NFL coaches noticed.

These sentences don't make sense together. Gregg mentions the zone-read's parentage is disputed and then mentions how Appalachian State used the zone-read to win three straight Division I-AA (not FCS at the time) titles, but then mentions a different offense that Urban Meyer ran at Florida with Tim Tebow as the quarterback. So the mention of these two offenses isn't a dispute of the zone-read's parentage. It's a mention of two different types of zone-read offenses, not a dispute over which offense came first. Gregg never elaborates on the disputed parentage of the zone-read.

The Miami Dolphins defeated the favored Patriots partly by faking a zone-read rush one way, then throwing the other way for a touchdown. (New England fears this action because the Dolphins' 2008 use of the Wildcat formation, which involves a zone-read between the tackles, led to a memorable Miami win.)

And of course the Patriots defenders, most of which did not play in the 2008 game against the Dolphins, were thinking of the Wildcat formation and that's why they fell for the zone-read fake. See, the Patriots defense was thinking of a game few of them played in six years ago and that's why they fell for the fake. In Gregg's world, NFL teams are still very concerned about the opposing team using the Wildcat formation. That tells you all you would need to know about Gregg.

The Buffalo Bills' first touchdown in its upset of the Bears came when the Bills faked a zone-read right, then their quarterback bootlegged left. Consecutive zone-read runs in the final minute of the first half had the San Francisco 49ers ahead 28-3 at the intermission in Dallas.

Hey, that reminds me! Now that Gregg is talking about the evolution of high school and college tactics to the NFL, remember the time long ago (I'm just kidding, it was less than a year ago) when Gregg declared the zone-read dead? It's over! Teams have caught on! Now less than a year later Gregg is writing TMQ around examples of teams running the zone-read to score touchdowns and win games. Gregg Easterbrook is so full of shit and so incapable of not contradicting himself it's almost funny. He can declare a tactic dead, and then without mentioning the words that would hurt his ego "I was wrong," show examples of teams using this tactic to win football games. Less than a year earlier he had written this tactic off, now it's an important part of a team's game plan.

There's so much pressure and money on the line in the NFL, coaches are reluctant to try an untested tactic. So they scan the prep and college ranks, looking for ideas that someone else has already ironed out. What new offenses are being tested at the prep level right now? If you've seen one, let me know @EasterbrookG.

Checking out Gregg's mentions on Twitter, it's shocking to me how many people like to read TMQ and think it's a good place to find NFL news. That's like relying on "E! Television" for your current events.

So my Super Bowl pick is Denver over New Orleans.

So this is Peter's Super Bowl pick. His only pick? Not at all. He makes two Super Bowl picks of course.

My alternative-jersey pick is Seattle over Indianapolis. Just remember this column's motto: All Predictions Wrong or Your Money Back.

Two Super Bowl picks from Gregg. Perhaps the motto of TMQ should be: I Will Make Predictions Until One of Them is Correct Then Want My Readers to Forget I Made Multiple Predictions so I Can Provide a Link to My Correct Prediction As Proof of How Right I Was.

It's a long motto, but very accurate.

It was dark -- and late -- in Arizona for the second game of the "Monday Night Football" doubleheader. San Diego isn't a night-life town, not like Los Angeles or San Francisco. San Diego has a huge Navy facility where people keep regular hours, and has the surf scene, which starts at dawn then shuts down at dark. Maybe that's why the Chargers cannot handle MNF.

The Arizona-San Diego game began at 7:20pm local time and ended 10:30pm local time. Those aren't regular hours, but I'm not sure they are night-life hours either. Mostly, this is a stupid theory and Gregg should be embarrassed for writing it.

A big factor was the injury to star center Nick Hardwick. Twice in the fourth quarter, his backup, Rich Ohrnberger, was guilty of bad snaps on third down: one pushing the Bolts out of field goal position, another messing up a makeable third-and-2. Why didn't San Diego coaches put Philip Rivers under center rather than ask the backup to make lots of shotgun snaps? Arizona saw the substitution and blitzed over center often in the second half. Ohrnberger was concerned about blocking the blitzers, and botched snaps. Coaches failed to provide the tactics change that was needed.

Great idea, Gregg! Rather than have Rivers taking shotgun snaps and avoiding the blitzers over the center in the second half, the Chargers should have adjusted and had Rivers taking snaps from under center with the blitzers closer to him. This not only would have given him less of an opportunity to survey the defense, but would also give him less time to react to the blitzers over the center that are in his face because he's having to spend time dropping back. Brilliant.

Arizona's college-themed winning touchdown came with 2:32 remaining and the Cactus Wrens on the Bolts' 13. The call was the "smoke" variation of the hitch screen -- wide receiver John Brown stepped backward as blockers went downfield in front of him, then took a sideways pass and skedaddled to the end zone. Nice play, but the smoke variation of the hitch screen, which is legal in the NCAA, isn't legal in the NFL. In college an offensive lineman may be downfield if the pass is caught behind the line of scrimmage; in the NFL, that's not the case. Arizona left tackle Jared Veldheer was downfield before Brown made the catch. It wasn't exactly the sequel to the Fail Mary, but once again, a "Monday Night Football" contest was decided by a late bad officiating call.

I suspect that Gregg may be incorrect about this NFL rule. I did a search for whether others thought John Brown's TD catch should have counted and didn't see any Chargers fans complaining about the illegality of the play. NFL fans love to point out how they get screwed by the officials (actually, fans of all sports love this), so I would suspect if a penalty really should have been called I could have found something about this in my search. I suspect Gregg may be incorrectly interpreting this rule.

Stats of the Week #5: In their past two outings, the St. Louis Rams have been outscored 61-15.

Gregg is stretching this statistic for two games over two separate seasons. While this isn't a misleading statistic, it's fairly meaningless due to the fact it encompasses two games that were played 8 months apart.

Seattle faked a zone-read run going right; split left, Ricardo Lockette made the traditional NFL wide receiver's half-hearted attempt to block, then Lockette shot downfield and Russell Wilson lofted him a touchdown pass. Lockette deliberately looked like a lazy blocker because that's what NFL defensive backs expect to see from prima donna receivers! Sweet.

I can't stand Gregg's interpretation of plays that happened the previous week in the NFL. Green Bay wasn't faked out by Lockette pretending to be lazy, they were faked out by the fact this looked like a typical zone-read play. Seattle completely stole this play from Auburn. Auburn used it in the National Championship Game against Florida State.

More importantly, if the Packers really were fooled by Lockette pretending to be a prima donna, then is Gregg saying that undrafted Ricardo Lockette from a non-football factory college is a prima donna receiver? After all, how could the Packers be fooled by a receiver who isn't known as a prima donna? They couldn't! Gregg just called an undrafted player from a non-football factory a "prima donna" and can't take it back.

After barely blitzing in the Super Bowl, the Bluish Men Group barely blitzed again: just once in the first half. The sack of Aaron Rodgers on fourth-and-5 and the Green Bay safety both resulted from a conventional four-man rush.

This is not an indication that not blitzing is the preferred defensive tactic. This simply means the Seahawks can get pressure on a quarterback by only rushing four players. If they couldn't get pressure by rushing four players, then they would need to blitz. It's not that the Seahawks don't blitz, it's that they don't have to blitz because they have a strong front four and a strong secondary who can cover the opposing team's receivers. As always, Gregg watches an NFL game and comes away with the incorrect conclusion as to what happened and why, but then insists on creating a rule out of his misconception about what happened in the game.

With the game tied at 17 in the fourth quarter, the Bears had third-and-1 on the Buffalo 34. Jay Cutler faked a toss left against a defense overstacked anticipating a run, then rolled right, hoping for a home run. The Bills had the intended receiver covered. Rather than try to run for the first, or simply throw the ball away, Cutler heave-hoed a crazy across-the-body pass that was intercepted by defensive tackle Kyle Williams. Very sour.

This was a terrible throw by Cutler, but I feel it is important to mention that if Cutler had thrown the ball away then Gregg would criticize Cutler for throwing the ball away on a third-and-1 rather than trying to run for the first down. So Gregg's suggestion to Cutler of throwing the ball away would only result in Gregg criticizing Cutler for doing so.

Rice, a first-time offender, bears guilt but is not a criminal in legal terms. He was placed into a pretrial diversion program by a New Jersey judge. Legal thinking has long held that first-time offenders should be treated leniently. Perhaps the judge gave Rice special treatment because he's a football star. 

Or perhaps, because Gregg states that legal thinking has long held that first-time offenders should be treated leniently, the judge was lenient because it was Rice's first-time committing a crime. This is an example of one of the many annoying things about Gregg Easterbrook's writing. He posits a reasonable theory as to why Rice was placed in a pretrial diversion program, but then randomly posits the judge gave Rice special treatment because he was a football star. I can't read the judge's mind, but if there is a long held legal thought of leniency towards first-time offenders, couldn't that be the reason Rice was treated with leniency? Maybe not, but Gregg is essentially just speculating.

If so, that is a condemnation of society, not of Rice. If pretrial diversion is a common outcome for first-time domestic offenders in New Jersey, then the legal part of the decision was appropriate.

Much like his fellow haiku writer, Peter King, Gregg has no interest in getting to the bottom of this and would like for someone else to do the research on this topic. Gregg is just here to throw out random theories without any factual backing, then call for someone else to find out the facts.

For the proof, one need only go to Canton, Ohio, where O.J. Simpson's bust is on display. Simpson currently sits in prison for armed robbery; a California civil jury found him liable in the wrongful death of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

A few weeks ago, Gregg referred to O.J. Simpson as "guilty" of wrongful death. Notice how he made this little correction without actually mentioning he used the wrong verbiage. Quick, cover up your mistakes and then point out where news outlets like the "New York Times" makes errors and corrects them publicly. Keep throwing rocks in a glass house by pretending you don't make mistakes while calling out others who have the audacity to acknowledge their mistakes.

His Hall of Fame bio says a lot about rushing yards -- doesn't get around to mentioning that the California jury deemed him a woman killer.

His Hall of Fame bio also doesn't mention he was in the "Naked Gun" movies because it's not relevant to his NFL career. The Hall of Fame isn't trying to cover up that O.J. Simpson was in these three movies, they just don't find it relevant to his playing career, much like his being liable for wrongful death isn't relevant to his playing career.

O.J.'s name also remains on the Wall of Fame at Ralph Wilson Stadium, a publicly owned facility. Will the Bills' new owner leave the name of someone everyone believes is a woman-killer on the stadium wall? Since Wilson Stadium is owned by Erie County, New York, and financed largely by New York State, where is the Erie County legislature? Where is Gov. Andrew Cuomo?

Probably in the governor's mansion?

Perhaps the whole message of the NFL's treatment of Ray Rice is that people at the top of the football establishment in fact think that character does not matter so long as the money is flowing.

I'll never accuse Gregg Easterbrook of being slow on the uptake. The NFL's message is also that they have done whatever the hell they wanted to do when it came to punishing their players in the past, so nothing will change in this situation.

Denver almost always had five receivers in the pattern. The five-receiver action is vulnerable to the blitzer who comes through unblocked, and that happened three times, including a third-and-6 sack of Manning late during the Indianapolis comeback attempt. Since Indianapolis showed this can work, Gase should be alert for "green dog" blitzing this season -- if a linebacker sees that it's a five-man pattern and there is a lane to Manning, he charges.

Yeah, Adam Gase should be careful to look out for this. You know, because he's the real offensive coordinator of the Broncos and all. The real offensive coordinator, Peyton Manning, should look out for this and realize that if there is a linebacker on the field he needs to find a favorable matchup with that linebacker or get the ball out quickly to take advantage of the space the linebacker left when he blitzed. Is this Gregg advocating blitzing? As usual in regard to blitzing, Gregg's rule about football tactics are "If it ends up working then it was the right tactic. If it didn't work, then that team shouldn't have used that tactic."

The latest "Godzilla" -- a reboot of a remake of an adaptation of a sequel -- is out on DVD this week.

It's on DVD? Wow, is it 2004 and Blu-Ray hasn't been invented yet?

You can now watch online the original Japanese version, not the Americanized variant into which Raymond Burr was spliced to create an English-speaking authority figure. Here is what struck me about the original "Godzilla":

Oh, do tell! Was there a trash can shown on a certain street corner in the movie at a spot where that street corner doesn't really have a trash can in reality?

Though it's only a decade after Japan was laid waste by World War II, Tokyo is gleaming. Everyone's well-dressed, prosperous and attending swell parties.

Yeah, Japanese citizens had no business being prosperous and attending parties. Go back to taking care of your mutated children while wearing rags you Nazi-loving assholes or else the United States will come back to kick your ass again! America, hell yeah! (high-fives a bald eagle)

The film contains hardly any references to the war or politics. No one mentions America. No one says, "Maybe if we hadn't thrown away our navy, we could deal with a sea monster." Aircraft from around the world land in Tokyo with emergency supplies. But no nation's military appears, and none is summoned.

Maybe it's because Japan was laid to waste by World War II and had not had a chance to rebuild their military?

In "Gojira," the monster is said to be 165 feet tall. In "Godzilla" 2014, the titular character is said by a military analyst to be 350 feet tall. But when Zilla stands next to the Golden Gate Bridge, his chest and head are above the bridge travel lanes. Since the bridge clearance is 220 feet and the Golden Gate Strait is about 300 feet deep, to stand in his manner, Godzilla would need to be about 700 feet tall.

Maybe he is standing on his tip-toes or maybe it's a fucking movie so just watch it and stop criticizing how tall Godzilla is, as if it matters to enjoy the film.

Ads for the flick show Godzilla twice the height of San Francisco's Transamerica Pyramid, which is 853 feet, rendering the monster at least 1,500 feet. Just how tall is this guy?

I don't know, Gregg. Maybe you should take a five year break from writing TMQ to find out exactly how tall Godzilla is.

Computer-generated special effects ought to be consistent.

Or you could just enjoy the movie. You know, either way.

At one point, a paratrooper confidently cocks a sidearm to go into battle with a 500-foot-tall radioactive freak of nature.

Or a 350-foot-tall radioactive freak of nature. Or a 1500-foot-tall radioactive freak of nature. We don't know because the special effects are so inconsistent!

Perhaps a dozen times in the flick, a character turns around to realize in horror that Godzilla or one of the MUTOs is standing right there. How does a million-ton creature sneak up on someone?

Because it's really loud due to all the explosions and weaponry and the MUTO is wearing slippers that prevent him/her from making noise. Or maybe the MUTO is on this tippy-toes in order to sneak up on these characters. Again, it's a movie. It's supposed to be enjoyable, not 100% accurate. Godzilla is a radioactive monster, so anyone going into the movie expecting any sort of realism has absurdly ridiculous expectations to begin with.

Favored Stanford lost to USC on turnovers and missed field goals. Or was the reason punting? Reader Andy Korger of Madison, Wisconsin, was among many to note the Cardinal punted from the USC 32 and USC 29. In college ball, that's the Maroon Zone -- where it's too far for a field goal but too close to punt. Each case was fourth-and-long, but what difference does that make?

It makes a difference because the chances of converting fourth-and-long are not very high. Stanford trusted their special teams to pin USC deep and give them good field position after forcing a punt. I'm in favor of going for it on fourth down, but on fourth-and-long it's a different story. It's not easy to convert fourth-and-long, so it may be easier to just trust your defense and special teams to do their job.

Better to try than passively surrender possession.

Easy to say sitting on the couch and not having to worry about giving USC decent field position if the fourth-and-long attempt fails.

In the 2013 NFC Championship Game, the Seahawks scored a touchdown on fourth-and-long from the Santa Clara 35.

Well if one team one time converted fourth-and-long then I don't see why Stanford can't convert fourth-and-long twice in a game. Hey, it happened once, so it must happen a lot, right?

During the contest Saturday, USC athletic director Pat Haden came onto the sideline to remonstrate with the referee. ESPN devoted a chunk of airtime to debating Haden's action -- an action that was odd but ultimately trivial. Why didn't they talk about USC's 53 percent football graduation rate?

As usual, Gregg misses the point. It wasn't trivial in that Pat Haden is on the playoff selection committee. That gave his arguing with the referee some sort of significance. Also, USC is 20th on ESPN Grade. They are the 20th best college at combining academics and sports, which is better than many non-football factory colleges can say. Maybe ESPN should have bragged about that, since ESPN Grade is such a great metric.

This is a great example of the bullshit metric that is ESPN Grade. Gregg has trumped up ESPN Grade, and USC is 20th in these rankings, but then Gregg talks about how bad USC's 53% graduation rate is. So if USC is so bad at graduating players then wouldn't a ranking of 20th in ESPN Grade seems a bit misleading? It seems Gregg wants it both ways. He wants to brag about the effectiveness of ESPN Grade, while criticizing USC's graduation rate and ignoring the other metrics ESPN Grade uses.

Buck-Buck-Brawkkkkkk (Pro Edition): In the Washington-at-Houston collision, sure-to-be-former R*dsk*ns coach Jay Gruden had the choice of accepting a penalty to make it Houston third-and-11 or declining to make it Houston fourth-and-1 at midfield. Gruden declined the penalty, secure in the belief that a punt would boom, as it did.

I'm being picky, but every NFL coach will at some point be a former coach of the team they are currently coaching. I don't think Bill Belichick is immortal yet, so at some point he is going to be the former coach of the Patriots. So saying Jay Gruden is the sure-to-be-former coach of the Redskins is accurate, but pretty obvious.

Still, the game came down to a hidden play. Hidden plays are ones that never make highlight reels but sustain or stop drives. Cats ahead 17-14 and facing third-and-9 with 1:52 remaining, Carolina emergency quarterback Derek Anderson, making his first start since Dec. 5, 2010, threw the ball directly into the hands of Bucs' safety Dashon Goldson at the Panthers' 30. Goldson dropped it.

For any Buccaneers fan, this was not a hidden play. Also, Gregg describes a hidden play as "one that never makes the highlight reel but sustain or stop drives." It's not entirely true in this case. This dropped interception didn't sustain the Panthers drive because they punted on the very next play and the dropped interception certainly didn't stop the drive. So it wasn't a hidden play and doesn't exactly meet Gregg's definition of a hidden play anyway.

Saints Gain 472 Yards, Lose: In 2012, the New Orleans defense allowed the worst yardage total in NFL annals. Last year, the Saints' defense rose to fourth overall. Maybe 2013 was a misprint! Sunday, New Orleans was torched for 568 yards by the Atlanta offense.

Of course Gregg fails to mention just a few weeks ago he was talking about how the Saints have improved under Rob Ryan, but now he thinks they are a terrible defense again. Gregg is so reactive.

Holding a lead late in the fourth quarter, the Saints did the unthinkable and shifted to a "prevent" defense, with safety Jairus Byrd so deep he looked like he expected to receive a kickoff. The only thing the "prevent" defense prevents is punts: You don't need to know anything else about the contest except that New Orleans switched to the prevent defense. 

So frustrating. If the Saints had blitzed then Gregg would talk about how Rob Ryan took too many chances and probably include any Saints blitz under a "Stop Me Before I Blitz Again" heading. If the Saints don't blitz and play a traditional defense with four pass rushers Gregg bitches they weren't aggressive enough. The rule, as always, Gregg thinks NFL teams should use tactics that end up working. If a tactic didn't work, then that team shouldn't have used that tactic. Gregg's criticisms are mostly outcome-based. Blitzing is bad, a four man pass rush is good, unless a team uses a four man pass rush in a method that Gregg doesn't like.

The Falcons put consistent pressure on Brees, seeming to rattle him. If Matt Ryan's crew returns to its winning ways in Georgia, the Falcons could be a contender.

If the Falcons win enough games, they have a good chance of advancing far in the playoffs. Yes Gregg, that's generally how it works.

Reader Bryan Mercer of Queens, New York, reports that not only did Dunkin Donuts begin selling pumpkin donuts, pumpkin muffins and pumpkin lattes on Labor Day , but on Sept. 2, he heard a Dunkin Donuts radio ad proclaiming: "Apple cider is back, get some before fall is over." Fall, Mercer notes, hasn't even started. This year's autumnal equinox is Sept. 22.

Brandon White of Ashland, Oregon, notes Subway began selling its "fall special" submarine -- turkey with cranberry sauce -- on Sept. 1, three weeks before fall.

Learn how marketing, advertising and sales work. That's all I ask. These companies want to create interest or awareness about a product so they can sell that product for a certain period of time. And guess what? It worked. See, that's how it works. Bryan Mercer of Queens, New York knows where to find a pumpkin muffin so he's more likely to go purchase one at Dunkin' Donuts if he wants a pumpkin muffin.

Chuck Todd had a busy week, what with interviewing both Obama and yours truly.

Todd also had this to say: "Nothing causes me to miss more meetings and phone calls than reading Tuesday Morning Quarterback."

How slow does Chuck Todd read? Did he graduate high school reading at a high school level? TMQ is long, but it's not long enough to miss multiple meetings and phone calls. More importantly, how does anyone like TMQ? I take that back. How does any football fan with a functioning brain who isn't too lazy to look into Gregg's assertions enjoy TMQ?

The Law Of Comebacks: TMQ's Law of Comebacks holds: Defense starts comebacks, offense stops them. 

Bengoodfella's Law of No-Shit, This is Obvious holds: Of course a defense starts a comeback since a team can't actually start coming back until they stop the other team from scoring. And yes, if the opposing offense scores points then it prevents the other team from coming back. The amount of obviousness in this "Law of Comebacks" is startling to me.

Trailing visiting Michigan State 27-18 in the third quarter, the Oregon Ducks began a defense-led comeback, holding the Spartans scoreless for the remainder of the contest. Trailing the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars 17-0 in the third quarter, the Philadelphia Eagles began a defense-led comeback, holding the Jaguars scoreless for the remainder of the contest. Since the Ducks and the Eagles are football's Blur Offense teams, watching them win using defense must have been a strange feeling for the home crowds.

These teams didn't really win because of defense, they won because their defense showed up while the offense continued/started scoring points. The Eagles and Ducks won because they scored 34 and 46 points respectively, while their defense didn't give up that many points. I would say offense still won the game for these two teams, with periodic help from the defense.

MIT and Pomona-Pitzer, two academics-oriented colleges -- actually three, since Pomona College and Pitzer College combine their NCAA programs -- completed a home-and-home. Last year, MIT went to California to play Pomona-Pitzer; this year Pomona-Pitzer brought its angry sailor bird to Massachusetts. Since all are Division III schools that don't emphasize sports, why the cross-country flying?

Because it would take two or three days to drive to California or Massachusetts. Because these student-athletes that Gregg wants so badly to brag about being student-athletes compared to football factory colleges would miss almost a week of class just for a football game. So Gregg is fine with these schools driving across country and missing more school than they have to?

See, Gregg doesn't always think before he criticizes. He's like "Why the cross-country flying?" without considering the other ways these teams could travel to play their game and how this would impact these student-athletes going to class. Flying may be more expensive, but it also helps these students miss as little class as possible.

Leading lower-division cupcake Lamar 45-3 at the start of the fourth quarter, Texas A&M shamelessly ran up the score, continuing to launch passes and going for it on fourth down with a 59-3 lead. Reaching first down with a 66-3 lead and 3:40 remaining, Texas A&M didn't kneel, rather kept calling plays to push the final to 73-3.

It was just two short years ago that Gregg would follow the weekly exploits of a high school football team who refused to punt and would often run up the score on opposing teams. Never punting is a great thing until Gregg decides he doesn't like it anymore.

Romo forced the ball to him anyway, interception, the Niners would lead 28-3 at the half.

Boys trailing 28-10 at the end of the third quarter, some dim-bulb in the Dallas organization had the team kick away rather than onside kick. (Indianapolis onside-kicked in a nearly identical situation at Denver, and it helped the Colts come within shouting distance of a dramatic comeback.)

While I'm not against an onside kick in this situation, notice that the Cowboys defense had prevented the 49ers from scoring in the third quarter. In fact, the Cowboys defense also prevented the 49ers from scoring when they kicked away in the fourth quarter in this situation rather than try an onside kick. So the fact another NFL team recovered an onside kick later in the day (because you know, the Cowboys should know that five hours from now another NFL team will try an onside kick and succeed...because everyone can predict the future like Gregg can through the use of hindsight), is irrelevant and it seems Jason Garrett had good reason to believe his defense could hold the 49ers without points. In fact, the Cowboys defense did hold the 49ers without points in this situation after kicking away.

Game tied with 20 seconds remaining in what the Browns seemed to assume was regulation, the Steelers faced first down on the Cleveland 44, out of timeouts. Cleveland needs to hold Pittsburgh to a short gain -- the Condiment Coliseum is the hardest place in the NFL to kick a long field goal.

Is Heinz Field the hardest place in the NFL to kick a long field goal? Does Gregg have facts that support this contention or is he just making shit up and misleading his readers like he routinely enjoys doing? Gregg could be right, but since I know he enjoys lying to his readers then it would help to have some proof this contention is correct.

Instead, it's a blitz! Twenty-yard completion down the middle, Ben Roethlisberger spikes the ball and soon Roethlisberger is 10-0 at home versus the Browns.

The Saints should have blitzed, the Browns shouldn't have blitzed. Whatever ends up working, THAT is what the team should have done. Gregg is fantastic at criticizing a team using hindsight.

Earlier, facing fourth-and-10 on their own 20, the Steelers ran a fake punt. Cleveland inexplicably lined up no one across from the left gunner. The slot man called an "automatic" -- an audible that's automatic if the defense does a particular thing -- and lobbed the ball to the gunner, who made the first down. Pittsburgh did not score on the possession, but the play set an upbeat tone.

And that upbeat tone is what helped the Steelers almost blow the lead they had and win the game when time expired?

Kansas City has nose-dived in a major way. Apparent season-ending injuries to two starters versus Tennessee are the Chiefs' latest problems, but TMQ traces it back to the end of Week 3 of the 2013 season. Chiefs' players dumped Gatorade on the head of coach Andy Reid -- for a routine September victory. This tempted the football gods.

And the football gods were so angered they let the Chiefs win six more games in a row and make the playoffs. Sure, makes sense.

It's only Week 1 and already there is a finalist. Green Bay offensive tackle Derek Sherrod, a 2011 first-round draft selection, has struggled in the pros -- he's never started a game, despite Green Bay's offensive line woes. 

Part of the reason he has never started a game in the NFL is that he was injured for the entire 2012 season and wasn't taken off the PUP list until November 2013.

Sherrod entered the season opener at Seattle to replace an injured Packer. Not long after coming in, he gave up a sack on fourth-and-5; on the Packers' next snap, he gave up a safety. Ye gods. In Sherrod's defense, everyone knows he has been struggling, so why didn't the Packers alter their protection to slide him some help?

This could be entirely possible for the Packers to do, but when a team "slides their protection," as Gregg states it, it takes protection away from another part of the Packers offensive line. So sliding the protection in this situation could easily have just left another part of the Packers line exposed to the Seahawks pass rush. Everything is not as black and white as Gregg wants it to be.

Next Week: Godzilla makes the Cowboys' practice squad, is told he needs to get bigger.

You are the worst.