Monday, August 31, 2009

14 comments MMQB Review: Welcome Back Cutler Edition

I am not going to turn this into a Fantasy recruiting site or anything, but I have a College Football Pick 'Em league that I am running also and for whatever reason I haven't been able to get people from some of my other leagues to play, so I thought I would see if anyone here wanted to play. It's more fun when there are a lot of people playing. The College Football Pick 'Em is probably my second favorite fantasy sport because it is like gambling but without any real money. If you like college football, or even if you don't, I encourage you to sign up. Basically what you do is use the gambling line of the week to pick the winner of each game for the Top 25 teams. It's a lot of fun in my opinion and makes the college football weekend a little more fun for me because I have a semi-stake in the Top 25 games played, so sign up if you would like. The first games are this weekend and it only takes a few minutes to make your choices, plus there is no limit on how many people can join. The ID is 2980 and the password is "asu." I sent an invitation to everyone in the Yahoo Football League already in case anyone from there wanted to join.

Monday morning brings us another edition of Peter King and his MMQB, where he enthralls us all with menial conversations he has with players and coaches and then spouts off incredibly wrong opinions about baseball. I don't know if Peter can top last week's proclamation that Derek Jeter was the best baseball player he has seen in his lifetime, (which he said began somewhere in the 1970's for some reason)...but I am sure he will try.

For those that weren't able to attend the fantasy draft this weekend and ended up with shitty defensive players, don't worry about it, you can raid the waiver wire and get guys who are good. It's a lot different than choosing offensive players because there are tons of defensive players in the I would just hit the waiver wire hard and not worry about it too much.

We'll get to everything in the league pre-8 p.m. Sunday in a minute. And there's a lot to get to. But first, there's the exhibition game that was no exhibition game. I wasn't in Denver, but I watched Bears-Broncos on TV.

Yes friends, our crack NFL reporter has never experienced such a highly competitive game and he is reporting on it first his living room. So basically, any of the millions of people who watched the game could report on the tenacity and competitiveness of the game just like Peter, because we watched it on television just like Peter.

It was a tale of two teams. Chicago, the team on the rise with the petulant franchise quarterback, Jay Cutler, who forced a trade from the Broncos. Denver, the team on the stumble that let the franchise quarterback go and dealt for Chicago's retread Kyle Orton. Chicago rising. Denver on the ropes.

Ok, I realize the Bears got Cutler and the Broncos lost Cutler, but how do we know the Bears are on the rise and the Broncos are on the decline? There have been no regular season games played yet. I realize it looks like on paper that is the case for each respective franchise but until there are actual freaking games played, its a bit premature to start making proclamations such as this.

Uh-oh. Now there's something new for the Broncos: Storm clouds, the kind that roll in over the Rockies many afternoons and drench the plains.

What the hell he is writing about when he talks about "storm clouds" and "drench the plains?" Does he think he is writing for National Geographic?

Bowlen shows no signs of wavering on McDaniels, no matter how many things keep going maddeningly wrong,

Is there anyone in the world, except for Peter King, that thinks Pat Bowlen may end up wavering on Josh McDaniels before an entire regular season game has begun? I know there has been some crazy shit going on out there in Denver but it is THE THIRD PRESEASON GAME. As much as I love a good panic, it's a bit early to start judging McDaniels for his on the field coaching ability.

I mentioned to him that Cris Collinsworth made a good point on the telecast, saying he felt sorry for Orton, because Orton had nothing to do with this Cutler/Denver/McDaniels war and yet would probably be identified with it for the rest of his career.

"Well, I can tell you that certainly I don't feel sorry for Kyle Orton,'' said McDaniels, his voice rising an octave or two. "Kyle Orton is one tough son of a bitch. Kyle Orton doesn't feel sorry for himself, and no one feels sorry for him in our locker room. What he has here, both with the coaching staff and in the locker room, is a tremendous amount of respect.''

"So quit asking me stupid questions about Kyle Orton's legacy and start asking me questions about the football game that was just played or hang up the phone and get back to eating your jelly donut and watching Gran Torino for the 9th time. Hey Peter look, it's Brett Favre over there!"

Ask Chicago GM Jerry Angelo this morning, and he'll tell you that two first-rounders, a third- and Orton was pretty cheap for the guy he saw Sunday night.

Anytime a player can play well against a beast of a defense like the Broncos for a little over a half in a preseason game, I guess you really have to say immediately after that game it was officially worth the price they paid for him. I think this pretty much means the Bears are going to win the Super Bowl. Like last season never happened because Tom Brady got injured in the first week, this season is already over. Crown the Bears Super Bowl champs now.

Tedy Bruschi retires. Does anybody realize Bruschi has been around through the regimes of Bill Parcells (1996), Pete Carroll (1997-99) and Bill Belichick (2000-present)? Amazing that a battering-ram inside 'backer always battling the too-small prejudice could last that long with so many different coaches.

It's not amazing he made it through those regimes and didn't get cut. Bill Parcells drafted Bruschi in the 3rd round and since Bill Belichick is the mastermind behind many of Parcells' defenses and was on the Parcells staff when Bruschi was drafted, I am assuming when he took over as coach he understood the type of player Bruschi was. There is the three year period when Pete Carroll was coaching that Bruschi really "survived" but other than that, it's not so amazing. Besides Bruschi is a great player, so I am sure that helps.

We know you like him Peter personally, don't go too overboard.

Bruschi was the defensive guy who never hesitated to get in mates' grills

What is up with Peter today? First the National Geographic sounding sentence about Denver and now Peter is talking like an Australian gangsta rapper?

The league ruled Friday that despite a punt hitting the video board 90 feet above the field in a preseason game 10 days ago, it would not authorize the board to be raised 15 or 20 feet higher to make sure it is not struck again during a game. Instead, if the board is struck again, the play will be re-played and time put back on the clock.

I know Rulebook explained the Cowboys punter couldn't hit the scoreboard in practice in the comments to MMQB last week but I am with Peter on not agreeing with this decision. I can't help but feel like this is going to come into play at some point this year...whether it be intentionally or unintentionally. I felt like the NFL should have made the Cowboys raise it.

It's wrong to think it's going to be one and done. In today's game, every NFL punter can boot a ball 90 feet into the air.

Well, now Peter undermines his point. I don't know if every punter can do that in a game situation and hit the scoreboard, which is the issue. I wish he would have just left it at the idea the good punters will be able to hit it. Basically the NFL screwed up by agreeing to the height, and rather than admit they made a mistake, they will just change the rules.

Cassel, meanwhile, told a friend he'd suffered a grade-two sprain of the medial collateral ligament Saturday night against Seattle. It's a two-week injury, so it's unknown if he'll face the Ravens at Baltimore in the season opener. Then again, it's probably best if he doesn't face the Ravens. Give that one to Brodie Croyle or Tyler Thigpen, then have Cassel ready to beat the Raiders in a winnable game in Week 2.

Not Matty Iceeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee2! He can't get hurt...and right when he was going to start his assault on many NFL single season records for a quarterback.

It's always a good thing when a sports columnist talks about it being a good thing a team's starting quarterback is injured so he doesn't have to face a good defense. It sure seems like a smart person to spend $60 million dollars on, I will tell you that. It's best to keep Cassel out of the game against the Ravens no matter what, we don't want to hurt his confidence by making him earn the massive amount of money he is making by playing well against a good defense.

Cassel's agent should get an "agent of the year" award for turning one year of starting, going 11-5 with a team that went 16-0 the year before, into a $60 million dollar contract. That's magic. Even Scott Boras was impressed.

Regarding the Packers, their first unit has had 12 possessions this summer and hasn't punted. Sixty-six points in 12 possessions ... just sick.

What makes
Mike McCarthy happy is that a year after L'Affair Favre, Rodgers seems to have the team in his hands. "It's clearly Aaron's team,'' McCarthy said Sunday.

Oh, how Green Bay has struggled without Lord Favre around. I am not sure how they will recover from this.....

Just think if Favre had his way, and he was successful in bullying the Packers last summer into giving him the starting job back, the team would have been starting him at quarterback this year. Peter should be giving Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy credit for sticking to their guns AND making the team better at the same time. Of course he will never do that.

Enjoyable/Aggravating Travel Note of the Week

You Know You Live In Boston Sign of the Times Dept: Across from each other in Terminal A at Logan International Airport are a Dunkin Donuts and a Starbucks. Last Monday at 5:55 a.m., 17 people were in line at Dunkin Donuts and two at Starbucks.

Boston: The only city in the world that has a Dunkin Donuts and a Starbucks near to each other.

I think this may say something about the quality of Dunkin Donuts coffee more than it says anything about the fact people in Boston like to eat donuts. Starbucks coffee is critically overrated and Dunkin Donuts serves coffee AND donuts, so it actually seems like an easy decision to make. I don't get the big deal here.

Tweets of the Week

"Just got a call back from Tom Brady, says he's fine and there's nothing to worry about ... I'm the insider now.''
--@OGOchoCinco, Chad Ochocinco of the Bengals, just after midnight Friday.

Somewhere in the New England area Bill Belichick is plotting the "accidental" death of Chad Ochocinco. He doesn't take too kindly to anyone releasing information on the health of his players.

c. If I know Detroit coach Jim Schwartz, I'd bet he'll flip a coin at quarterback because he's confident in both Daunte Culpepper and Matthew Stafford. He wanted Stafford to win the competition this summer, but it's been a downright draw.

If it is really a draw, go with Matthew Stafford. If you don't, then you are an idiot. Of course the Lions have a tendency to be idiots in the past so it wouldn't shock me if they went with Culpepper for the same reasons the Yankees are still "saving" Joba Chamberlain by having him start games but only pitch 3 innings...they are idiots too.

d. No
Reggie Bush. No Pierre Thomas. New Orleans rushers at Oakland: 46 carries, 232 yards.

(A) It's preseason and (B) It's the Raiders. Don't get too excited Peter, Drew Brees will not be your next white quarterback crush.

e. ESPN must be really excited about that San Diego-Oakland season opener two weeks from tonight. All I can say is [Mike]Greenberg and Co. better get their second-half filler material stocked up before kickoff.

See ESPN, this is why Peter only pays attention to East Coast teams in the Northeast, they are much more exciting.

h. Can't imagine what Turk Schonert is thinking today. The Buffalo offensive coordinator watched Trent Edwards, Marshawn Lynch and Dominic Rhodes combine for 52 yards in seven drives. I mean, even without T.O., that's grim.

Am I the only one excited for the first T.O. blowup?

i. Just from the highlights, Brady Quinn looked less frenetic than he did a year ago against Tennessee on Saturday.

Thanks Peter, you moron. I am glad you watched those highlights and were able to make this great analysis. I watched some highlights of Mark Buerhle's perfect game a few weeks ago and damn if Dwayne Wise doesn't deserve a Gold know, based on a 2 minute highlight shown.

2. I think, if I had to guess, that Kevin O'Connell will be claimed by the Broncos. Stunning news Sunday that the Patriots cut their third-round pick of a year ago, the man I assumed would be the backup to Tom Brady. It's surprising that New England gives up on the 94th pick in the draft after just 16 months. Three quick thoughts:

a. Maybe if Josh McDaniels were still in the building, he'd have championed the cause for keeping O'Connell.

b. Scott Pioli, now the Chiefs' GM, was never afraid of going at it with Belichick if he thought the coach was making a mistake. Now there's no one in the building in Foxboro with the same juice as Pioli, so when Belichick is of the mind to cut O'Connell and no one's there asking him if he's nuts, he's more inclined to do it.

c. Maybe O'Connell just can't do it. And if that's the case, Belichick is doing the smart thing to cut the cord now and go with either Andrew Walter or someone the team will pick up or deal for in the next couple of weeks.

I get why many readers accuse Peter of favoring the New England Patriots, like you get the distinct impression he watches every game, he analyzed the Matt Cassel situation in his MMQB nearly every week in the offseason and he idolizes Bill Belichick. He just did four (relatively short) paragraphs on the New England Patriots cutting their backup quarterback, the reasoning behind it, where he may end up, and whether it was a smart move or not. He doesn't do this for every team, so it does look a little bit suspiciously like Peter loves his hometown team.

I don't care if Peter likes them honestly, but if he wants to stop the insinuation of his readers that he is a closet Patriots fan he should stop analyzing the team's moves so carefully when he doesn't do this for even his other "favorite" teams.

4. I think Donovan McNabb can't have it both ways. He can't advocate for Michael Vick to be signed, as he did, and then complain about the offense being out of rhythm, in part because of the insertion of Vick with the regular offense.

Maybe, like I have suggested previously, McNabb really wasn't advocating the signing of Mike Vick and that was just a line the Eagles fed the gullible and child-like Peter King. Has Peter ever thought about that? Probably not. I still say I can't see McNabb signing off on the signing of Vick and I especially mean that after the game this week when he complained a little bit about the offense's rhythm.

If only there was an NFL Insider who get access to the real story concerning Vick and the Eagles...maybe Jay Glazer can do it.

Watching JaMarcus Russell, I think the thing that worries me is his lack of pocket awareness.

How about his weight management issues, his lack of commitment becoming a better QB, and the fact his backup is a better quarterback than Russell now and better than he will ever be? Oh yeah, throw in the fact he plays for a completely dysfunctional organization...I don't think it is too early to call him a bust.

It's going to be an interesting vote. Remember when John Madden got in three years ago? He was first eligible in 1984, and his resume (10 coaching seasons only, but very good ones, and two Super Bowl titles) hadn't changed since his retirement after the 1978 season. What did change, however, is that he became the best football colorman of all time, and his video game got millions of kids into the game when otherwise they might have skipped over football and gone to Grand Theft Auto or some other thing.

Not to sound like a blogger/dork, but the first Madden NFL game came out way before Grand Theft Auto came out. Want to know something else? Fine, you got it out of me. I always enjoyed the ESPN football games more than Madden. There I said it. I was pissed off when ESPN discontinued the game in 2005 or 2006. I have Madden but much prefer the ESPN football game. The one with T.O. on the cover in an Eagles uniform is the best one of that series too.

9. I think Ron Jaworski, advancing tonight's Minnesota-Houston game on ESPN, came away very impressed from watching Brett Favre throw the ball over the weekend.

Come on, you really thought we could go an entire MMQB without a mention of Favre by Peter King? And a positive mention that props Favre up as a good QB? We know Peter better than that. How many other times has Peter talked about who the ESPN crew thinks looks good? I am going to go with zero for the answer to that question. Some things change, but Peter King will always defend and be a Brett Favre supporter/apologist. Brett Favre doesn't need a publicist because of the existence of Peter King.

c. Saw Billy Wagner's first American League appearance after 15 years in the National League on Sunday at Fenway. Not bad: strikeout, double, strikeout, strikeout. When you get a guy who throws 95 with five weeks left in the season, and he doesn't have to close, it's a pretty big bonus for your team.

I guess he is not a NL-only pitcher like that bum John Smoltz.

d. I hate that Tampa Bay traded Scott Kazmir to the Angels. It's bad for baseball. The Rays were one of the feel-good stories of any baseball season last year, and to think they're going to start to get ripped apart because of finances -- in the middle of a pennant race -- is a crime.

Really Peter? This doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot coming from a guy who cheers for the team that has the second highest payroll in baseball. If you don't want finances to rip baseball apart then maybe you shouldn't cheer for a team that is financially capable of taking chances on players like Brad Penny and John Smoltz and get rid of them when they don't perform and can add payroll to get Billy Wagner anytime they want.

I know Peter nor the Red Sox are not personally responsible for the finances of baseball and the Red Sox should be able to sign who the hell they want to sign, it just sounds odd to hear a fan of a large market team complaining about this. Kazmir was a little overpaid anyway and it was probably a smart long term move to get rid of him at this point since they have guys who can put up similar numbers for less.

I don't think it is unfair, it just sounds really stupid for Peter to be complaining the Rays couldn't keep Kazmir since he cheers for a team that can afford to make financial risks and not have it screw up the direction of the franchise for the year. I'm not going to bash the Red Sox for being able to do this

e. Coffeenerdness: I continue to be amazed at the lack of attention paid to coffee at hotels and restaurants. Do the people who run these hotels -- these Marriotts, these Days Inns, these Comfort Inns -- even taste the coffee they put out? This is not snobbery, but reality: Most of American coffee is swill.

It's a hotel, not a fucking coffee shop. If you don't like the FREE coffee, don't drink it and quit bitching...and yes it is snobbery. Peter's reality consists primarily of snobbery...and framed pictures of Brett Favre.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

12 comments This Simmons Mailbag Just Feels Half-Assed

Bill Simmons has a mailbag up. I wrote this entire post on it and then something struck me funny and I couldn't shake the feeling. I read what I had written and wondered if what I wrote was shit, but I didn't think that was it. So I went to Sons of the Sports Guy for the first time in my life and wanted to read what they wrote. The first two comments shed light on it for was half-assed. It still had all the makings of a Simmons mailbag with his annoying "real" readers and his annoying opinion. I still had to skip parts or else the post would be of epic length, but I felt like he just did it because he had nothing else to write about and had no other column he just put a mailbag up with what good emails he could find.

The Simmons mailbag is the Saturday treat for this week, unless you like our short Saturday posts, in which case you are probably already skipping parts. I don't even count a mailbag as a "column" for Bill either. I am sure it takes some work to do but it really shouldn't require that much thought and action on his part like a column does. For a guy who likes to joke about how long his columns are, to the point people take them to the toilet to read them in peace and for a guy who talks about how people read them at work, he sure does a lot of Podcasts, which from my understanding are difficult to listen to at work and in the bathroom. Just thought I would mention that.

I also want to remind everyone we have the BoTB Yahoo Fantasy Draft at 1pm on Sunday. We'll see how many of those involved will be able to attend. Live drafts are always fun because I get so caught up in talking I sometimes neglect to see it is my turn to pick soon. So if I draft Donte Stallworth, you will know why. There is a special prize if someone selects Mike Vick AND Brett Favre on their team and then drafts Donovan McNabb and Tavaris Jackson as their handcuffs. That would be great.

As I predicted a few months ago, the next city ESPN is doing the local ESPN site for (like they created for ESPNChicago) is Boston. I did predict this a few months ago but for the life of me I can't find it. I say a lot of stuff and I say it in long, drawn out posts, so it's really hard for me to find this...but rest assured I said Boston would be next.

Bill made clear on his Twitter he will NOT be writing for this new site.

Clarification on ESPNBoston launch: I'm not writing new material for 'em. If I write a Boston-related column, it'll just run there as well.

Great, just what we needed. More motivation for Bill to talk about Boston and his favorite sports teams from that area because he will have a specific audience. Can't we just put his Podcasts on and let his Boston Sports Guy columns go to the ESPN Boston site? Are we still pretending if he doesn't write about the NBA for one of his bi-annual columns, he won't write about a Boston team or player for his bi-annual column? Why do we still have to pretend this? He's a columnist who writes mostly Boston-oriented material. His name used to be the Boston Sports Guy until ESPN dropped the "Boston" from it in an attempt to convince the world he focuses on other teams, which failed.

Enough ranting on to the mailbag with "real" questions and examine Bill slow's decline from the 1999 "He writes like a fan of sports" Bill Simmons to the 2009 "He has to be the funniest, smartest, and wittiest person in the room at all times" Bill Simmons. Think about it, it's true.

Q: What happened to the Summer of Mailbag??? I hate you. Seriously.-- Mark, Walpole, Mass.

SG: Give me one more chance and 7,000 words. There's still time. We can work this out.

Of the 7,000 words probably 2,000 of them are written by the people who write into Bill's mailbag. Bill seems to be taking credit for words he hasn't written.

Q: Is there any way you could provide a larger, higher resolution version of your picture? I'd really like to Photoshop all the film credits around it so it looks even more like Steve Carell's picture on the "The 40 Year Old Virgin" poster. I mean really, the lighting is perfect.-- Teja, Hyderabad, India

SG: Yup, even people in India are making fun of my new photo.

People in India are making fun of him. How bad is that? I mean they don't even speak English, have no idea how many Hollywood friends Bill has and they all work for Dell in the customer service department...and they are making fun of Bill?

Q: Thanks for the post-Collector's Convention picture at the airport. You look like a bowl of oatmeal.-- Greg A., Birmingham, Ala.

SG: And people in Alabama are making fun of my pasty skin. This is great. No wonder I cut the Summer of Mailbag short.

And now people in Alabama are making fun of him? I bet they don't even understand half the references to the movie industry on "Entourage," and they are making fun of Bill? I bet Bill is surprised this person can even read. Do they have schools in Alabama or do they just cut the crap and send everyone to work in the fields after kindergarten?

Very few people can do veiled condescension in response to a reader's mailbag question quite like Bill can. Seriously, he lives in California where there are beaches everywhere, don't be an ass, and get a tan if you don't want people joking about you.

Q: You don't like soccer. You are just bored because the Sox aren't that good, and football hasn't started. Also, you are trying to see if you can be influential enough to make other people like soccer. You can't. Stop. Write a mailbag.-- Chris, Wilmington, Del.


SG: What do you think I'm doing? By the way, "you're just trying to see if you can be influential enough to make other people like soccer" is my second favorite conspiracy about my summer crush on soccer behind "you're only writing about soccer because ESPN made you because they invested so much money in the World Cup." It's always funny when people think ESPN operates like the Nixon White House.

ESPN would never operate like the Nixon White House. You know doing stuff like not reporting a major story about a major athlete who was accused of a crime, preventing it's employees from talking to the public about breaking stories on Twitter because it's not affiliated with ESPN or attempting to create a story and not report on certain stories by framing the public discussion through blanket coverage of an event.

Wait...they did, and continue to do, all of that.

In fact, I e-mailed these theories to John Skipper, the guy in charge of all creative content for ESPN, and here's how he responded:

"Do you still work for us?"

Here goes Bill again, relaying conversations that may or may not happen as proof of something he wants to prove. There is a guy named "Skipper" in charge of all creative content?This is the guy responsible for Easterbrook?

Q: If there was a drink called the "Bill Simmons" what would it be? First off, we can ask girls at the bar, "Hey, Can I buy you a Bill Simmons?" and of course "Hey who wants to buy the next round of Bill Simmons?"-- John T, Tempe, Ariz.

John T. from Arizona, if you do in fact exist, you should be punched in the face for massaging Bill Simmons' ego like this. Now he is going to be infatuated with having a drink named after him. Bill is like a 4 year old child that gets infatuated with something for a period of time and then forgets about it later.

Remember the Sports Czar campaign? He has dropped that because he was the only one into it.

Remember him picking out an English League soccer team? He picked a loser so he quit paying attention until this summer, when enough time had passed everyone forgot what crappy team he picked and he could latch on to a winning team.

Remember his need to become an NBA GM? Well, that actually hasn't been dropped. I am sure he will bring that up again.

My point is that now he will want a drink named after him and he will probably go to a bar and order this drink and then watch the bartender look at him like he is crazy and urge his SimmonsClones to do the same. Then there will be a drink named after Bill and his massive ego will have had it's fill of self indulgent love for the day...but it will always need more.

Q: Seattle has a mayoral candidate named Jan Drago. I am thinking of voting for her just based on her name or the chance that, when debating the city's proposed plastic bag tax/fee (which she is against), she will say "If it dies, it dies." Or should I read the voter pamphlet and make an informed decision?-- Dave S., Seattle, Wash.

SG: I received this e-mail before Jan Drago failed to make the final three for November's election, which raises the question, how could you not vote for Mayor Drago???

Bill Simmons, never one to worry about a joke or comment seeming old, has finally hit rock bottom. He is pulling emails from prior to November 2008 to comment on in this mailbag. It's not like this email is even more relevant now than it was in November or any other time he did a mailbag since then. It's about Rocky IV, not shockingly, so he could have used this email at any point over the past year, but he chose now. I have no idea why he chose now for this email to appear in a mailbag. I can't even focus right now on the rest of this mailbag. This email could have been written a year ago! Is he this hard up for material to write about in a mailbag?

Here's my question: Are we happy with these matches of sport and celebration? For instance, I'd love to see baseball players adopt the tennis celebration: hit a homer and just sink to your knees in complete shock for five seconds as everyone angrily stares at you. Wouldn't it be more fun if the winning tennis player sprinted 40 yards like a soccer player and acted like a crazy person? What if a golfer and caddy did a two-man jump-up-and-down celebration like baseball players after a walk-off?

I am hard on Bill Simmons usually but I have to say I would like to see this and have always wondered why players don't do this. My friends and I used to joke about this type stuff. In fact, back in 2002, I once did the Antoine Walker shimmy dance while celebrating in another sport. It was ugly and I probably had a little alcohol in me, which is no excuse, so I think it is safe to say I hate the 2002 version of myself for doing something Bill Simmons in 2009 would think to be clever. On a related note, I am sure if you asked Bill he thought of it WAY before I did.

That reminds me, my favorite moment of the 2009 Red Sox season happened after Big Papi's walk-off homer at Fenway on Wednesday night -- Papi crossed home plate, everyone celebrated, then they started heading back to the dugout when new teammate and special handshake aficionado Victor Martinez suddenly came roaring in from behind -- seriously, he almost bowled Papi over -- to rope him into what could only be described as a "Our very special walk-off home run handshake that we've been practicing for weeks and I can't believe you forgot about it!" moment...Classic. Maybe we should make Victor the Tsar of Celebrations.

Is there another sportswriter that can make you hate the favorite team you both share as much as Bill Simmons? As I have said before, I am actually embarrassed to share a favorite team with him. It's fucking brutal. I feel like my house pops up on the "Boston fan" locator like a person who has a sexual offense on his/her record pops up on the National Sexual Offender Registry and you can locate these people. I almost feel like I should register sometimes and provide a full explanation so people will understand/forgive me and not compare me to Bill Simmons in any fashion. I feel sympathy for Red Sox/Patriots/Celtics fans in this way. Somehow Bill being a fan of a team you are also a fan almost sucks the fun out of cheering for that team.

(Great, now my mention of the Sexual Offender Registry will give me hits for people looking for that or something else that may not be as kosher. It's crazy how things like this happen. In Google Analytics it shows people have found this site by Googling "Hiel Hitler." Thanks JemeHill.)

Q: Have you ever tried out the carts at Ikea? All four wheels turn, and the floors have practically been buffed with a Zamboni. I feel like Tony freakin Hawk hitting 720s in the pillow aisle. This needs to be an X-Games event.-- Brian, Eugene, Ore.

SG: You just broached on an idea that's going to be the linchpin of my campaign to take over ESPN6: The Self-Created Olympics.

This is actually one of Bill's few ideas, being the head of ESPN6, that he has stuck with and not forgotten over the years. Otherwise it would be on my "Remember when" list for ideas he had and mentioned every five minutes but then apparently forgot about. Don't get me wrong, I am not unhappy he forgot about them, quite the opposite. He is never going to run a network and I used to think he was joking about I am not so sure.

Q: What current NBA player would best fit in with the NBA drug era of the late-70s? (Picking Ron Artest or the Birdman is prohibited)--Nick B., Centreville, Va.

SG: I have been working on this mailbag off and on for two weeks. It's a long process that involves sorting through multiple word docs of questions, narrowing them down, printing them out, going to a coffee place, jotting down notes or possible riffs for each question, then proceeding with the process of actually writing the column.

Really? That much work goes into a mailbag like this? I will usually give credit where credit is due, I even defended Peter King one time when another writer insulted him (which again I can't find because I write a lot of shit and can't remember when, where or who did it), but these mailbags should not take one to two weeks on and off to write. You have half the material already in the form of questions.

Of course it would help if Bill actually answered the question and didn't feel the need to "riff" on them. Hence this is why I think the 2009 version of Bill Simmons feels the need to be smartest and wittiest person in the room. He used to just be able to write what he thought and it was fairly entertaining, but now he has his "I am always right and the wittiest person" act to keep up, so he has to do more work to keep it up and impress everyone. I was shocked this mailbag took him so much work. I know my writing is not up to par with his but I can't imagine it would take a lot of work to answer these questions.

Q: So me and about 15 buddies are taking a train down to Chicago to go watch a WNBA game between the Sky and the Mercury. We need ideas for t-shirts because we plan on creating a scene ... so far a couple ideas are "Score three for feminism" and "0.17" in honor of Diana Taurasi. We hope to make it until at least halftime before getting kicked out. --Joel, Racine, Wis.

Remember this.

Q: Look I enjoy the soccer commentary and I really want to jump on the bandwagon but I just can't. The reason, every soccer player I've ever met is a total d-bag. How can I like a sport where every person who plays it drinks flavored vodka and attempts to screw every girl who walks by?-- Ryan, Atlanta

(Me attempting to not offend a soccer player who may read this)

I agree. Maybe Bill has one intelligent reader. Half the soccer guys at the grad school I went to thought they were hot shit, until the time they almost got beat by the intermural law school team. It went to penalty kicks...and actually they still thought they were hot shit after that too.

Q: In the spirit of "Athlete Funny," how about a ratings system for "Celebrity Sports Smart." E.g., Affleck appears to be a 10/10 when it comes to baseball, Seth Meyers seems like about an 8, anybody on a Fox show that gets free tickets to the post-season is a -10. -- Michael K., Spokane, Wash.

Bill loves it when his readers refer to his jokes and his ideas. It feeds his ego. So if you want to get published in Bill's mailbag, either reference Rocky IV or reference one of Bill's own ideas.

I have to say Seth Meyers may be an 8 on the "Celebrity Sports Smart" scale but he also seems like the kind of guy I would want to punch in the face. Even when he tells a joke on Weekend Update on SNL, he looks at the camera like "I just said something funny, you know you want to laugh at how funny I am...and I KNOW I am funny and impressive. I dare you to love me as much as I love myself." Just thought I would mention this.

Just for fun, I thought I'd ask Red Sox fan Ben Affleck (who vacillates between Category 5 or Category 6 depending on how busy he is) for his take on the whole thing. Here's what he wrote back:

"Just for fun" meaning "just to be a complete douche and show everyone how many celebrity friends I have now, I am going to be an asshole and have one of my awesome Hollywood friends write in my mailbag."

I am not printing what Ben Affleck wrote. He still owes me $7.50 for "Daredevil."

Q: My buddy and I were talking the other day, and we came up upon the subject of women shaving their legs. We decided that whoever started this brilliant tradition should be honored in some way. We decided to start the Smartest People Ever Hall Of Fame. Our first entry is the woman/person who came up with the idea for women to shave their legs. Second entry: us for coming up with this idea. Third: the guy who invented toilet paper. Who do you think should be added to our Hall?-- Chris F., Boston, Mass.

SG: First, you have to explain why this differs from Bud Light's "Real Men of Genius" campaign. It's basically the same thing. So I'm knocking you out of your own Hall of Fame for not acknowledging this.

Bill just feels the need to be a complete asshole to his readers every once in a while. Bill also has failed to explain how every "theory" he has ever had has been pretty much derivative of his "Ewing Theory," which if I am not wrong, Bill did not even think of originally. He just made it popular.

With that said, maybe there should be a Real Men of Genius Hall of Fame. With that said, maybe there should be a Real Men of Genius Hall of Fame. Our first draft class could include, the guy who came up with the idea for women to shave their legs;

Let's sum it up with what Bill believes. He believes it's not ok to think of a Hall of Fame that is "like" the Real Men of Genius Campaign, because that is stealing the idea, but it is perfectly fine to think of a Real Men of Genius Hall of Fame stealing ideas from the reader who thought of the idea for Smartest People Ever Hall of Fame and stealing from the Real Men of Genius Campaign. Basically, Bill thinks he can steal anything he wants and be a hypocrite at the same time. It's like an advanced form of multi-tasking.

Q: Can we have a "signs of too much time at work" list? I'd like to inaugurate it with "reading steve blake's wikipedia."--@sdotsom (via Twitter)

4. You have a Google alert for your own name even though you're not a celebrity.

Because it is less pathetic to be a celebrity and put a Google alert out for your own name? Why can't everyone see what an elitist asshole Bill Simmons is? He name drops celebrities that he knows, he accuses others of stealing ideas and then steals that person's idea, and he thinks only celebrities are important enough to put a Google alert up for their name...because non-celebrities aren't important enough to do this.

Q: I recently emailed you about me and buddies going to a game and heckling Diana Taurasi. Well, we did it. The Chicago Daily Herald focused on us for a good part of the article on the game and I thought you'd be interested.-- Joel, Racine, Wis.

Remember that idiot who wrote to Bill earlier in this mailbag and I told you to remember him? This is why. This SimmonsClone and his friends actually did what they told Bill they were going to do. Is it possible Bill's readers are becoming even bigger losers and more desperate to get his attention and approval?

You know how I always joke that Bill's target demographic is 18-25 white males...well from the article Joel linked...

Eight young men, who appeared to be college-aged, spent the better part of Tuesday's Chicago Sky game relentlessly heckling and chanting at Phoenix Mercury star guard Diana Taurasi.

Did we really expect him to not be within the age range? Who goes to an WNBA game to heckle a basketball player? It's actually one of those things that is more sad than funny.

(Bill talking about John Hughes)

I mean, I follow the movie world as diligently as anyone and was still learning things about him after he died.

What he means by this is that he desperately wants to be in a movie and know people who are famous in Hollywood. Bill desperately wants to know and be able to talk about knowing people who are famous. He used to write for a third rate talk show you know...he could be a star!

Then he writes about 750 words breaking down the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Again, ESPN loves to hire writers who don't either (a) have a lot to do with sports or (b) don't want to talk about sports.

Q: Hey Bill, want to laugh for 20 minutes? Put "Butt" in front of all sports team nicknames. "Pirates", "Chargers", etc. Friggin hilarious ...--Beau, Miami, Fla.

As someone on Sons of the Sports Guy said, how about the Butt Pats?

I do like Butt Panthers though. It sounds pretty tough.

I am not even going to let Bill end this column with his "yup these are my readers." We know they can write some wild and crazy stuff that is probably fake, I don't need proof of a "real" email that was originally sent to Bill Simmons as a joke to see if it will get published to know how crazy his readers are. The odds of the emails being real AND being true are approximately 3.2%.

Friday, August 28, 2009

3 comments You Can Always Count On Plaschke

I was struggling to find something to post about this week because it has been busy and there hasnt been too many articles that made my head hurt. Thank god for my man Bill Plascke, though. That man always comes through in the clutch. You know, even when the subject he is writing on isnt annoying, the way he writes it just rubs me the wrong way.

Bill makes a lot of money.

I do not.

He spends countless hours counting it.

I do not.

See? I can do that, too. Now where is my 6 figure contract to write for the LA Times? Its just not fair, I tell you.

On to the more pressing matter at hand. The latest (and by latest, I mean August 23rd.) is a nice "lets suck off Joe Torre for his managerial genius." piece. It was written the day after Torre got all "unconventional" on everybody and switched Broxton and Sherril, thus causing everyones head to explode, for some reason. Lets dive in, shall we?

Eighth inning, Dodgers leading Chicago Cubs by two swings, phone rings in the Dodgers' bullpen for their setup reliever.

Hello? Is turmoil home?

"I started taking my stuff off," George Sherrill said, "then somebody said, 'It's Brox,' and I'm like, 'Ohh.' "

For those scoring at home, thats 3 one sentence paragraphs in a row. Whoever passed this man in his college english class needs to be tarred and feathered for unleashing this menace on society.


Oh. My. Fucking. God......Who does this? Thats one fucking word and hes using it as a paragraph. You know, I remember a few years ago Bill held a chat and multiple chatters asked him if he read FJM and went into detail about how they constantly make fun of his writing style, and his response was "Well, I'm still here, so I guess its still working.". NO! NO IT IS NOT WORKING! YOU ARE CONSIDERED A JOKE! HOW HE WON WRITER OF THE YEAR IS BEYOND ME. Okay, time to calm down and take a deep breath. *(taking deep breath) okay, now I'm good.

So went the three-letter theme to the two-run Dodgers victory over the Cubs on Saturday, a 2-0 decision that featured a bullpen shake-up that could not have been more pronounced if the pen were actually inhabited by a bull.

That is pulitzer material right there. "Ohh" was the theme. Do tell more about this supposed "theme", because it has only been mentioned once by a seemingly not so shocked George Sherill. Whats the big deal? All he said was "ohh" when he thought he was getting called to warm up. Its not like his reaction was "OMFG, I cant believe I'm not going in to pitch the eighth?! That wiley Joe Torre has tricked me with his genius!"

Jonathan Broxton, the struggling All-Star closer, was used as a setup man.

Okay, so your best reliever was brought in to face the 3-4-5 hitters, that makes sense to me.

George Sherrill, the hot All-Star setup man, was used as a closer.

While the lesser talented one, albeit hot right now, is brought in to face the weaker portion of the lineup. Again, that doesnt sound too bad to me.

Roles were reversed, egos were tested, questions were raised, long-term implications were considered.

This really sounds like, the plot to, a really shitty movie, written by, Bill Plaschke.

It looked unusual. It felt unsettled.

It looked so unusual and unsettled that THEY WON THE FUCKING GAME!!!!!!!!!

Fans gave Broxton a ninth-inning standing ovation in the eighth. Teammates gave Sherrill an eighth-inning embrace in the ninth.

Someone please explain to me the difference between a "ninth inning standing ovation" and an "eighth inning embrace" is. How many fans actually stand when the closer comes in? I mean, unless its the playoffs or a really important game. So, did Broxton get this huge rocking ovation and all George Sherill got was a golf clap? Whatever.....NEXT!

On a team fighting for pitching stability at the start of a stretch run, it seemed just plain wacky.

They are both pretty good pitchers. I dont see how it matters what inning they are pitched in. I guess I see why people think its weird (thanks Tony Larussa for inventing the modern closer) but is this really such a big deal? Its not like they had some scrub closing out the game or anything.

But it worked. And in the end, the real save went to neither pitcher, but to Joe Torre, the old-fashioned manager unafraid to make a new-age decision.

Okay, first off, this is not a new age decision. Before Larussa revived Dennis Eckersly's career by inventing the one inning closer. Managers always brought in their best relievers to get the toughest outs, often going multiple innings. If Bill paid any attention to Joe Torre, he did it all the time in New York. He would often bring in Rivera to get 2 inning saves. He would also bring him in to keep tie games tied. The most famous example would be, oh, I dont 7 of the 2003 ALCS, where Mo pitched, I think it was, 3 scoreless innings to keep the game tied leading to the Yankees eventual win.

"I don't think I've ever done that before," Torre admitted later in his office. "But it's all about winning."

ha, even Joe doesnt remember how he used Rivera.

Even if winning means temporarily changing the two most defined pitching roles on a first-place team on the 22nd day of August?

I dont buy the bullshit that closers dont have the mentality to pitch the eight inning because there is no "pressure" and they "just dont feel the same". I think thats a way of them saying "hey, now I cant pad my save total and get a big contract."

Only a manager with Torre's credentials could have tried to sell this.

Really? Only Torre could have sold this? So, fuck Cox, Larussa, Francona, Leyland, and Gardenhire. Their credentials are shit compared to Torre's.

Only a team that has total belief in that manager would have bought it.

You pretty much just said the same thing only changed a few words to try to make it sounds different.

While Broxton wore a weary grimace afterward, he said he understood.

"We won, so it didn't matter," he said.

he said this while silently thinking "Damn. Now I'm losing saves to pad my stats. Ugh, I'm going to get raped in arbitration if this keeps up."

While Sherrill wore a shocked stare, he said he could also adjust.

"You try not to think about anything, you just go out there and pitch," he said.

He said this while silently thinking "Sweet! Now I'm getting more saves to increase my total. I'm totally going to kick ass in arbitration!"

A journeyman knuckleballer named Charlie Haeger gave up three hits in seven innings against mindless Cubs hackers.

hmph. Never thought I'd see the day where a 25 year old is referred to as a journeyman. I know its his 3rd team, but to be a Journeyman, in my mind, you have to play for at least 5 teams and be a minimum of 30 years old.

Sherrill and Broxton finished it up.

I mean, Broxton and Sherrill.

hahaha, I get it. Because it was so wacky, confusing and unconventional, right?

"Today was the team concept that Joe has created around here," pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said. "This is why Torre was brought here, this is what he does."

Where is the evidence anywhere that suggests that Torre switching his relievers roles was a "team concept" that Joe "created"? That doesnt even make sense.

Torre said the change was not permanent, nor based on recent performance, but simply a matter of matchups.

"We're not as concerned about who gets the stat as much as the only stat that is important is that 'W' on the left-hand side," Torre said.

Joe Torre is making an awful lot of sense that Plaschke is not.

After Haeger started the eighth inning by walking Sam Fuld, the heart of the Cubs' order was due up, and a right-hander was needed.

Milton Bradley, a switch-hitter, hits nearly 100 points worse against righties, while Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez hit right-handed

Broxton: Very effective right handed pitcher.

Sherill: Not right handed.

I'm going to parrot what I said about Tomase's Varitek article: WAY TO UNDERMINE YOUR FUCKING POINT, PLASCKE!!!

Torre said Broxton was a better bet in that situation, so he was brought into the game, thrilling all those baseball thinkers who believe that a closer should pitch the most important inning of the game, not necessarily the last inning of the game.

Once again, Joe Torre: Making sense.

So how do they act now? What happens next?

Battle Royale?

More than any other player, relief pitchers hunger for defined roles. They set their minds to it. They base their routines on it.

Like I said before, I dont buy this argument. Its all about getting their stats up so they can score a big contract in free agency and win at arbitration.

This is particularly true for relatively inexperienced relievers such as Broxton and Sherrill, and even though Torre said the switch was temporary, you know they are both thinking about it this very minute.

Of course he just makes a statement, but doesnt back it up with any facts. Is there any evidence? Will their psyche be completely destroyed? You know what really kills his argument is that Sherill was the Orioles closer and he seems to be doing fine in the setup role right now. Broxton didnt pitch too horribly the other night, either. (note: I dont know how he has done since then, or even if they are still doing this experiment.)

Was this really just about matchups, or was this a possible test for the rest of the season? If Broxton is as tired as he seems -- he ranks second among National League closers in innings pitched -- could this be the first step in a full-time switch?

Torre was correct in making the move Saturday, and any other time that it makes sense.

But is he correct in his assumption that Broxton and Sherrill can handle the uncertainty?

If they can't, then he has to pick a guy and stick with him, because even the soundest of baseball strategy cannot overcome the frailty of human nature.

Dude, relax, they are big boys. They can handle it, I assure you.

"I don't think it will be an issue," Torre said. "If somebody gets offended by pitching to the 3-4-5 hitters in the eighth inning, they're not the person I think they are."

(Slow Clapping and nod of approval) Thank you, Joe Torre, for being the only thing in this godawful article that makes any kind of sense. We here at BotB salute you, and David Eckstein.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

9 comments Karma Is a Bitch

I have talked at way too much length about Brett Favre, so I will make it short today. I almost feel like I am ESPN in the way I talk about him so much, but I have such a strong opinion on him and everything he does. That's why I keep talking about him.

Karma can be a bitch. For further proof that karma is a bitch comes the report that Brett Favre's newest retirement/unretirement has caused a problem in the Vikings locker room.

Sources with knowledge of the Vikings locker-room dynamics say some players believe Tarvaris Jackson gives the Vikings the best chance to win, while other players believe Sage Rosenfels gives the team the best chance to win -- which is one of the new twists to this storyline. In the words of one NFL source, Favre has "little support" in the locker room as Minnesota prepares for its Monday night preseason game against the Houston Texans.

That is pretty much the problem in a nutshell and is it really a surprise at all? Try to relate this to your personal life the best you can. Would you support a Brett Favre-type person who just arrives at your job one day (I know we are bloggers but someone has to have a job who reads this...maybe one person has one) and has things handed to him at work that many others had to work hard for? You would probably have harsh feelings towards this person. What shocks me the most is that Brad Childress did not expect this to happen.

Childress should actually be fired for thinking this quarterback bait-and-switch with the team could work. It's ridiculous. Tarvaris Jackson has been on the team for several years now and probably has built up some respect in the locker room for the way he has handled being yanked in and out of the starting lineup and the criticism he has received from fans and media alike. Sage Rosenfels has not been with the team for a long time but it seems like he has already received some respect from his teammates because they see him as a solid quarterback that could win games if given the chance.

All of a sudden a guy who wasn't with the team in July sweating through training camp and bonding with the team just waltzes into camp and four days later starts the second preseason game and never has to compete for the starting quarterback job. How are there not going to be ill feelings on the part of the Vikings players? Many of them had to work hard to get where they were and while they respect what Brett Favre was at one time, they don't respect how he acts and how he is treated like he is above competing for a starting job.

"I've seen the same reports you've seen," Childress said. "Those are opinions. It's hard to shoot holes in an opinion. It's just that -- an opinion. I certainly don't see it."

If Brad Childress doesn't see the locker room divided over this situation then he should be fired because it is obvious he has lost this team. He is the one who caused this situation and I don't think there is anything he can really do about it now. He can't bench Brett Favre at this point because Favre would pout like a three year old who got his favorite toy taken away, so he has to take the risk that Favre performs well and that earns Favre respect in the locker room...which would make the opposition to Favre starting settle down.

If Favre plays well, it's possible the issue could be silenced and the schism could evaporate.

The bottom line is that Brett Favre is going to throw a stupid interception this year, he is going to have a bad game or two and he probably is going to wear down at the end of the year. Every time Favre throws an interception the opposition to him is only going to strengthen. I don't think the fact the Vikings have an easy beginning to their schedule this year will help because those opposed to Favre being the starter will know Jackson or Rosenfels could have won those games also.

NFL players can respect players who compete and win a job, they can't respect a player who is given special treatment and feels like he is above the rest of those on the roster...which is how Brett Favre acts. Don't think the Vikings players haven't asked the Jets players from last year how Favre acts, they know already. Karma is a bitch and I am glad this move looks like it will blow up in Brad Childress and Brett Favre's face. It should happen that way because the world has a way of working itself out and eventually people end up getting treated the way they treat other people.

Brad Childress has been too focused on keeping his job and Brett Favre has been too focused on making sure he gets the proper revenge on the Green Bay Packers to care about the fact the rest of the members of the Vikings organization just want to win football games.

-Here is more of karma being a bitch. Finally those who seized and made public the list of 104 PED users from 2003 have been properly bitch slapped by a court.

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said the players' union had good reason to want to keep the list under wraps, citing leaks of players purportedly on the list.

I am not advocating PED use and those names on the list are cheaters but that making any name on that list was a clear invasion of privacy. The MLB union only agreed to testing on the basis it was private and anonymous...neither of which ended up being true.

"The leaks were crimes," Peters said. "The people who committed the crimes should be investigated and punished."

Yes, though the victims in this situation were not completely innocent, they still had their privacy, invaded not only by the seizing of the list and test results, but also with the unlawful leak to the press. Who really thought the government could be trusted to keep the test results confidential anyway?

Karma didn't hit those who leaked the list of 104 names that hard in this case but at least there is now public recognition that although those people named on the list tainted the game of baseball, the public never had a right to know the names of any of those people on the list. On and on goes the neverending story of PEDs in baseball...

-The Pete Rose situation in baseball has caused a lot of different opinions when it comes to whether he should be in the Hall of Fame or not. I think he has caused many of his own problems by lying and never appearing to completely come clean about his gambling.

Jayson Stark seems to somewhat agree with me on this. He explains why he thinks Pete Rose will never be in the Hall of Fame. He also explains why Pete Rose has always, and will always reaps what he sows.

Twenty years ago Monday, I sat in that ballroom in Manhattan, listening to Bart Giamatti explain why he was banning "Mr. Rose" from baseball for life.

What people tend to forget is that Pete Rose agreed to this lifetime ban from baseball. He didn't fight it at the time and signed whatever documentation that needed to be signed in this case to agree to a lifetime ban from baseball.

But even if Selig somehow changes his mind, even if some future commissioner reopens this case, the living Hall of Famers who make up the Veterans Committee aren't ever electing Pete Rose. Ever.

It's sad that Pete Rose may never make the Hall of Fame because he is one of the better baseball players of the past 30 years, (not THE best or even the second best according to Peter King, that would be his one time teammate Johnny Bench), but Pete Rose caused this situation by gambling on baseball and never really coming clean about what he bet on.

These people haven't elected Ron Santo. Haven't elected Gil Hodges.

I believe they haven't been voted in because they do not deserve it. If you are going to elect Gil Hodges and Ron Santo, you may as well go ahead and elect Dale Murphy, Dave Parker and any other almost-elite player right behind these two. That's a completely different story from Pete Rose because Rose actually deserves to be in the Hall of Fame based on his performance on the baseball field, not based on the fact he played for a large market team and was an excellent player, but not one of the best ever. Yes, I am talking to you Ron Santo and Gil Hodges.

Me, personally? I would vote for Pete Rose -- Pete Rose the baseball player -- for the Hall of Fame. I try to remind people all the time that the Hall's a museum. It's not the Vatican. So I wouldn't nominate the Hit King for sainthood.

I am torn on this issue. There are cheaters, racists, and overall bad people recognized in the Hall of Fame for playing great baseball...despite the fact there is a character clause in the Hall of Fame language necessary for induction. So as a person, I don't really care if Pete Rose makes it or not.

Rose's situation is not a measure of whether he is a nice guy or not, it is a measure of whether he compromised his team's ability to win games by gambling and whether his gambling affected the way he played and managed the game. It goes to the integrity of baseball.

Sure, Gaylord Perry's blatant cheating got him in the Hall of Fame and I am sure there are other players who cheated and were honored by being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Sadly, the fact Gaylord Perry probably threw spitballs and other doctored pitches to the plate doesn't disturb as many people because he was doing that for the benefit of his team. In sports, cheating for your team, while still seen as cheating, is not considered nearly as bad as cheating/betting against your team.

When Gaylord Perry throws a spitball he is cheating, but he is also doing everything he can to make sure his team wins. When Pete Rose gambled on baseball as a manager, we don't know if that affected his team's chances of winning, so he very well could have been betting against his team. We would ask him, but he has lied so many times before and then later changed his story, there is no way we could believe him in my mind.

But it seems absurd to me that the man who got the most hits in the history of baseball doesn't have a plaque with his name on it in the ultimate baseball museum.

I have changed my mind on whether Pete Rose deserves to be in the Hall of Fame several times. Right now, my mind has centered on the idea he doesn't deserve to make it. He accepted his lifetime ban from the game in return for Major League Baseball making no formal finding with regard to the allegations of gambling. He obviously deserves to make the Hall of Fame based on his statistics but he accepted his punishment 20 years ago that made him ineligible for the Hall of Fame today.

For me, it's not even about whether Pete Rose gambled or not, but the fact he denied it for a period of time and then eventually admitted he did gamble when he was trying to sell a book...that's what gets me. He has never been completely honest and has always tried to use his name as "The Hit King" to get the fan support on his side. I don't even believe him when he says he never bet against the Reds. John Dowd, the gentleman who led the investigation into Pete Rose in 1989, did not believe Pete Rose either when he said he did not bet against the Reds, but he had no proof so the report says there is no proof of Rose betting against the team he managed.

This thing Jayson Stark has about feeling odd the all-time hit king is not in the Hall of Fame is slightly annoying. I get a little tired of Pete Rose and everyone else talking about him as the all-time Hit King. It's tedious and annoys me. I am not arguing he is not the all-time hit king but when you look at the statistics for his career, he was in the top 10 in plate appearances and at bats nearly every year. He's a great hitter who got tons of plate appearances every year. I am not saying this to demean him, I am just commenting he played for a long time and was a great hitter. The hits record is really more about prolonged longevity and batting at the top of the order and there is nothing wrong with that. I just get tired of the media adding in he is the all-time hit king when talking about him.

I don't know why it annoys me when Rose refers to himself as "The Hit King," but it does. Here are some numbers I find as impressive. He had 19 straight years he walked more than he struck out, he wasn't just a singles hitter and had 746 career doubles and 136 career triples, and he had a career batting average of .303 and a OBP of .375. Those are good numbers as well. The "Hit King" thing to be is just a measure of longevity. He was a great hitter and stuck around long enough to get more base hits than anyone else in the history of Major League Baseball.

My friend Willie Weinbaum produced a brilliant piece on Rose for "Outside the Lines" this weekend. In the course of working on that piece, he had long, fascinating, startlingly candid conversations with both Schmidt and Morgan about how hard they worked to get Rose a face-to-face meeting with Selig in 2003.

As dumb as this may sound, this is another reason I don't think Pete Rose should make the Hall of Fame. Pete Rose has had chances to kiss ass, make amends and get back in baseball's good graces but constantly refuses to do so. If he doesn't want it bad enough to make amends, why should he deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? He lied continuously in the beginning about his involvement with gambling and only told the truth to sell books and make himself more money. He wants to be in the Hall of Fame on his terms and that's never happening.

"If it were me," Schmidt said, "and I had lived a lie for 14 years, and I went up to tell the commissioner that I was sincerely sorry for what I've done to my family, to the sport, etc., I probably would be back in baseball now and in the Hall of Fame -- because I would have been a tremendously remorseful individual...My lifestyle would have changed. I would have felt an obligation to change and to become someone that the baseball world would once again learn to love after forgiving me. I would have been that guy. And I don't think Pete has been."

It is not even about learning to love him again. It's about showing remorse and realizing his mistakes. Pete Rose sits back, refuses to apologize or throw himself on the mercy of the Commissioner and uses his good friends Joe Morgan and Mike Schmidt to do the begging for him. It's too much for him to do because it would involve "Charlie Hustle" and "The Hit King" to be at the mercy of someone else, which he absolutely refuses to do. The Commissioner and some of the public need to see he is sorry or at least know the entire truth, which I don't think we still know.

I still don't believe he didn't bet against the Reds. I think he did. He was a gambler and the Reds victories and losses is something he could control as the manager, so why would he not affect the outcome in a few games every once in a while? The answer is he would and probably did.

The men in that room actually talked informally, he said, about how Rose should go about holding a news conference to admit what he never could admit all those years: that he'd bet on baseball.

He never held that press conference. He wrote a book instead.

But the men in that meeting also talked about the changes in lifestyle Rose was going to have to make. No more trips to Vegas. No more hanging out at the racetrack. That was going to have to stop.
And, of course, none of it ever stopped. Not then. Not now.

If this is true and Pete Rose is still gambling, this is exactly what I am talking about when it comes to him not being remorseful and not wanting to be in the Hall of Fame enough to earn the honor. He won't change and those against his induction need to see that change.

People in the commissioner's office are still muttering that Rose's first public stop after leaving Selig's office was an appearance at a Vegas sports book. It wasn't quite the reconfiguration of Pete Rose's life they had in mind.

I am repeating myself but Pete Rose won't change, so why should MLB and the Commissioner change their minds? They don't want blood from Pete Rose or for him to sacrifice his first born, they just want to see remorse and know he is changing his ways...which he isn't doing.

"He's being prevented from earning a living in the industry in which he became a king. It would be almost akin to an actor being blackballed."

Yeah, Mike Schmidt, it's not all like that. It's like an athlete being banned from his sport for betting on games while he was a manager, that's what it is like. Being blackballed infers there is no reasoning behind the banning, when there is actual reasoning behind this. Pete Rose could have compromised the integrity of his own team's win-loss record by shaping games to meet his gambling interests. Mike Schmidt should know better than to say a dumbass thing like this.

Instead of a bare-his-soul news conference, Rose couldn't resist the sound of that cash register ringing. When he "told all" in a book, released it on Hall of Fame election week and launched into a book tour instead of a news conference, he was cooked. Forever.

I think that is pretty much the story of Pete Rose and his ban from baseball. He was caught gambling on baseball and when given the chance to tell the truth, he accepted his ban from the game, and when given a chance to come clean and show he had changed, he chose to make some money off his confession. Everytime he has been given a chance to show he has changed as a person and build up goodwill, he has refused to do so.

The Pete Rose situation was never about his performance on the field so the arguments about him being "The Hit King" and all of that don't even matter. It is about:

1. The fact he bet on baseball while managing the Reds.

2. Lied about betting on the Reds while he managed them until he could make a profit at which point he admitted it.

3. Accepted his sentence in the beginning when originally caught gambling.

4. Has never shown remorse and refuses to meet baseball's terms to get back in their good graces.

5. Uses his friends to do his begging for him because he is pride won't let him beg.

6. He still not quit gambling, despite the fact this would really help his case to get back involved with baseball and possibly make the Hall of Fame.

7. All of these things lead many to believe he doesn't really care about making the Hall of Fame or being involved with baseball again.

All 7 of those things are what the Pete Rose discussion is about.

The Hall of Fame really doesn't have a morality clause because of the other shady characters who have been voted in, but being recognized for making the Hall of Fame is an honor any baseball players should want, and Pete Rose hasn't shown he wants it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

19 comments TMQ: A Re-Introduction Into Football Ignorance - AFC Edition

I did not have the energy last week to tackle the first TMQ of the new football year, but I think I have that energy today. It actually makes me ill to read what Gregg Easterbrook writes sometimes. You may ask why I do cover it then? For you guys/girl(s)'s all for you. That was our Full House moment of the day, let's get to being haters.

players who produce touchdowns would seem to have value. Yet of the top 10 active NFL touchdown producers, six (Terrell Owens, Marvin Harrison, Edgerrin James, Joey Galloway, Tony Gonzalez and Torry Holt) were waived or traded in the offseason, while a seventh (LaDainian Tomlinson) was told to take a pay cut or hit the road. Only three of the top 10 active touchdown producers (Randy Moss, Isaac Bruce and Clinton Portis) were asked back without reservation by their teams.

(The headache begins)

What could we assume the top 10 active NFL touchdown producers have in common? They have played in the league long enough to be in the top 10 of active NFL touchdown producers. That also tells us these players probably have a few years on their tires already and can't contribute as much to teams as they used to. Just for shits and giggles, and because Easterbrook is too lazy to do this, let's see why these players were traded or cut...

Owens- he is a problem child, Buffalo was the only team that wanted him
Harrison- injury problems, wants too much money to sign with a team, could be a murderer
James- he's done as a running back
Galloway- injury problems
Gonzalez- requested trade
Holt- he requested his release
Tomlinson- made too much money for his production from last year, took pay cut to stay with team

Instead of just saying, "these guys have a lot of touchdowns, why don't teams want them," and making a blanket statement that each player was unwanted by his team, why doesn't Easterbrook look at each individual player and see if there were circumstances other than production that lead to the player's release? Is that too easy?

Four of the top five active sack producers were waived: Jason Taylor, Kevin Carter, Willie McGinest and La'Roi Glover.

Combined sacks last year? 9 sacks. That's why they got waived. It's called research.

As always, I will ask does this guy get to write an NFL column? Is it to torture me?

And Marty Schottenheimer and Mike Shanahan have more career wins than any active NFL coach, yet neither wears a headset, while Dick Jauron (55-77 career), Marvin Lewis (46-50) and Gary Kubiak (22-26) are employed as NFL head coaches, along with seven gents (Jim Caldwell, Todd Haley, Josh McDaniels, Raheem Morris, Rex Ryan, Jim Schwartz and Steve Spagnuolo) who have combined for zero career NFL head coaching wins.

Maybe those guys have zero NFL head coaching wins because THEY HAVE NEVER COACHED AN NFL GAME IN THEIR ENTIRE LIVES? COULD THAT BE A FUCKING REASON??? MAYBE??????????

I have no idea how you can hold the fact these 7 guys are all 1st year coaches against them. If people who had zero career wins could never be NFL coaches then there would never be new NFL head coaches because they have to start at zero and could never get a job based on this. I don't even know why I am explaining this.

Of course, aging athletes often lose their ability to gain yards and score points -- though something tells me several mentioned in the above paragraphs will end up with more productive 2009 seasons than the younger players who got their roster slots.

Will they make as much money as the older players? If not, their production may not be worth the salary. There is a thing called a "salary cap," at least there will be until 2010.

Another question that needs to be asked is what production will the team get out of the younger player in 1-2 years? If that player getting playing time will get the team good production 0-2 years down the road, then getting rid of an older player makes sense. Gregg Easterbrook sees things in black and white and tends to make blanket statements that cover whatever he is trying to talk about. He is never interested in actually looking at the reason behind why NFL players, coaches, and executives make decisions. That's too much work for him.

You can sign up to follow TMQESPN on Twitter and receive an early peak at my upcoming throwback column logo.

It's "peek" not "peak." Yeah sure, I will edit your column for you.

In political news, what huge obstacle to a successful Barack Obama presidency is about to emerge?

The Idiot Army led by Gregg Easterbrook will try to overtake Washington?

In 2008, Baltimore had a great season despite a rookie Division I-AA quarterback and a head coach who had never been a head coach at any level. Maybe both will suffer a sophomore slump, but the more likely outcome would seem to be a monster 2009 for the Nevermores.

One minute he is bemoaning the fact coaches get hired who have zero coaching wins, the next minute he is lauding a coach who had zero lifetime coaching wins when he took his first job for coaching well in his first year. I can't even pretend to understand TMQ/Gregg Easterbrook, so I don't even try.

The only puzzling decision was letting center Jason Brown -- an undrafted TMQ favorite -- go in favor of bringing in Matt Birk, who's on the downhill side of his career.

Matt Birk is in the downside of his career? Just a few paragraphs ago Easterbrook was bitching about why teams let productive veterans go and he acted like he couldn't understand it. The Ravens sign a productive veteran and Easterbrook thinks it was a bad move. He just contradicts himself many times in his columns and needs to quit writing about football.

Apparently he believes Terrell Owens, Torry Holt, Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison, LT, Joey Galloway, and Tony Gonzalez are all on the upside of their careers. At least that is what I can assume...if you don't sign Matt Birk, a veteran player on the downside of his career according to Gregg Easterbrook, then you do sign a guy like Marvin Harrison, a veteran player, because he is on the upside of his career. In Gregg's mind, you don't sign a veteran on the downside of his career, so Marvin Harrison would not be considered by Gregg Easterbrook as on the downside of his career.

This further cements Easterbrook's reputation in my mind as not knowing anything about football.

In the past two seasons, Buffalo had 15 touchdown receptions by wide receivers; during the same period, Owens had 25 touchdown receptions -- almost twice as many as the entire receiving corps of the team he's joined!

I am sure this had nothing to do with the quarterback that was throwing the passes. The fact Trent Edwards/J.P. Losman were throwing these passes for Buffalo and Tony Romo was throwing them for Dallas had nothing to do with this I am sure. It's all Lee Evans, Roscoe Parrish, and Josh Reed's fault they didn't catch more touchdown passes.

This will be Owens' first season playing with a quarterback who has never made the Pro Bowl. We'll see how that goes. This is, of course, the honeymoon year for the Bills and T.O. but when you combine the fact T.O. loves negative/positive attention and Trent Edwards is the worst quarterback he has ever played with...

Excellent special teams have become a Buffalo hallmark -- Bobby April is the league's best special teams coach -- but this only proves special teams matter a lot less than offense and defense, or the Bills would be in the playoffs.

This is so obvious yet so ignorant. Obviously a team could not make the playoffs if they only had strong special teams. If a team had a great offense but stunk on defense and special teams they probably would not make the playoffs just the same. I am not sure it needed to be proven good special teams only can get a team in the playoffs, I thought it was pretty standard knowledge you need a good offense and/or defense as well.

The Trick-or-Treats recorded just 20 touchdowns in 2008, a wretched number, and just 17 from the offense. Is there reason to think Cincinnati won't have the league's worst offense again in 2009?

Yes, there is a reason. His name is Carson Palmer, he is a great QB and he is actually going to play more than a few games for the Bengals this year. I, along with pretty much everyone else who knows anything about football, think this will be the major difference.

You shouldn't even make stupid statements like "is there reason to think Cincinnati won't have the league's worst offense again in 2009" when the team was missing their starting QB almost the entire year last year. Does he not pay attention to the NFL? How can he forget the Bengals were so bad offensively because they did not have one of the league's best quarterbacks?

"Slotting" dictates 95 percent of a first-round pick's contract, so Smith's holdout can impact only 5 percent of his deal, while dramatically increasing the odds he will become a bust, and thus lose significant future income.

He is talking about Andre Smith. I am not for holding out but what the hell is Gregg talking about here? There is slotting in the NFL but I didn't think it was official to the point 95% of the salary is already made up. I always thought the slotting in the NFL was more of an agreement between teams to keep salaries in a certain range rather than an actual policy. I may be wrong, but I have a feeling he made this up.

What did Cleveland get for the fifth choice in the draft? Veterans Kenyon Coleman (defensive end), Abram Elam (safety) and Brett Ratliff (quarterback), and rookies Alex Mack (center), David Veikune (linebacker), Coye Francies (cornerback) and James Davis (running back). A no-name group to be sure.

Unless of course you watch college football or have in-depth knowledge of the NFL, in which case these are not no-name players. I know, I know...this excludes Gregg Easterbrook so I should excuse him for calling them no-name players.

Only at ESPN could a columnist write a column about a sport he/she doesn't have in-depth knowledge about. No seriously, only ESPN hires sportswriters who don't have experience in the field they are covering. It's like if I got hired to cover dog shows.

But through multiple trade-downs, the fifth overall choice was turned into seven players, several of whom should be legit contributors -- and all of whom, combined, will play for less than what the Jets gave Mark Sanchez, chosen with that fifth slot. Will the Browns end up wishing they'd simply taken Sanchez? There's a good chance.

So does Easterbrook think this was a good move to get these seven players? It seems that way, but then he says they are going to wish they had taken Mark Sanchez. Why again is there a good chance they will wish they had drafted Sanchez? They have Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson already and Mark Sanchez hasn't even played a regular season game yet. It's a little early to throw "a good chance" into a sentence involving the Browns regret for the Mark Sanchez trade.

Jacksonville: Nobody's had more high-profile personnel blunders lately than Jax.

Really? Have we already forgotten about the Raiders? Trading for DeAngelo Hall only to only cut him after one season, giving a ton of money to Tommy Kelly, drafting JaMarcus Russell, letting Tom Cable be the head coach, the way Lane Kiffin left the team after being the head coach, drafting Heyward-Bey and Mitchell this year, signing Gibril Wilson only to cut him after one season, or signing Dominic Rhodes only to cut him after one season. I am sure I forgot something as well that has happened over the past 3 seasons.

I think that list beats Jacksonville's list personally.

And what was the point of throwing Fred Taylor overboard? Sure, his career nears its end. Taylor's 11,271 yards with Jacksonville ranks fifth in yards by a player with the same team; keep him around for sentimental reasons!

Which is the worst reason to keep a player and a sure fire way to make sure the team continues to struggle. Just brilliant line of thinking Easterbrook, just brilliant.

Kansas City: What's the deal with Kansas City giving up on Tyler Thigpen?

That sound you hear is me banging my head against the wall realizing Gregg Easterbrook and I have made the same point when it comes to Tyler Thigpen. This will never happen again, I can guarantee that to you all.

Recently, the Dolphins have sunk five second-round draft choices into quarterbacks -- John Beck, Daunte Culpepper, A.J. Feeley, Chad Henne and White. Why did they waive Beck this spring -- he's now the backup in Baltimore -- rather than try to get something for him?

The same reason every team trades a second-round draft choice and not get any compensation for other team wanted him. In Beck's case, who wouldn't want a quarterback who is 28 years old, was drafted when he was 25 years old, and has played in a total of 5 NFL games? I am surprised the offers didn't just come flowing in for him.

In the past quarter-century, New England has spent only two first-round choices (Bledsoe, 1993; Tony Eason, 1983) and no second-round choices on quarterbacks. All those picks not expended on quarterbacks mean lots of defensive backs, guards, tight ends and other less glamorous players drafted, and a team with a deep, quality roster. For instance, the entire center of the New England defensive front -- Jerod Mayo, Ty Warren, Richard Seymour and Vince Wilfork -- is made up of high-first-round picks.

In all seriousness, I think this is the best and smartest way to build an NFL team. I know there are teams that didn't necessarily do this and were successful but I really believe this is a great blueprint to use.

That's the only thing I will say nice about the New England Patriots for another week.

Even those who don't like the Pats must admit that it was unfair they did not advance to the postseason despite an 11-5 record, while 8-8 San Diego did.

Actually I won't. It sucks and I would hate it if this happened to my favorite NFL team but it's the rules. I have said one nice thing about the Patriots, I can't defend them immediately after that. Yes, I am still bitter about the 2004 Super Bowl and no one can take my bitterness away from me.

Through a double trade-down, New England ended up with cornerbacks Darius Butler and Derek Cox plus wide receiver Brandon Tate.

Someone needs to tell Derek Cox he got drafted by the Patriots. He and nearly everyone else seems to think the Jaguars drafted him. Only in TMQ can you get such blatantly wrong facts.

Since Easterbrook is so clearly wrong about this, you may be asking what he was really thinking whgen he wrote the Patriots drafted Derek Cox...I have no idea. The Patriots only drafted one cornerback, maybe he thinks Patrick Chung goes by the name Derek Cox in order to prevent people from stereotyping him because he has an Asian-American last name?...but even then Patrick Chung is a safety. More likely, Gregg Easterbrook just doesn't do any research and his editor has given up on correcting him.

Oakland made so many subsequent trades with the picks, the answer isn't simple, but as you can see here, overall the swap was a fiasco for the Raiders. Fiascos, of course, have become standard operating procedure in Oakland. For example, the Raiders gave up a second-round draft choice for DeAngelo Hall, and got eight games from him before waiving him.

I still don't see how Easterbrook doesn't think the Raiders are the team with the worst/most questionable personnel decisions over the past several years. Jacksonville doesn't seem to have much on Oakland.

It must stink to be a Raiders fan, here is the link Gregg shared and it is sad to look at. What a mismanaged franchise.

Last season, Pittsburgh allowed 49 sacks -- only Cincinnati, Detroit and San Francisco were worse. Yet oft-sacked Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl, while two of the three least-sacked teams, New Orleans and Denver, did not make the playoffs. This is the kind of hidden indicator that must mean something -- if only TMQ knew what.

My initial reaction would be to say it indicates you shouldn't look too much into this and you are an idiot for doing so.

Upon further inspection I think this indicates the playoffs are a small sample size, the Steelers had a really good defense that was able to bail out the offense at critical times last year and the Steelers may have even won a Super Bowl with one of the worst Super Bowl winning offensive lines in recent memory.

The Steelers' defense of 2008 numbers among the best ever -- just 14 points and 15 first downs per game allowed. Yet the unit is not stacked with high draft choices. Only Casey Hampton, Troy Polamalu and Lawrence Timmons are first-round draft choices. Aaron Smith and LaMarr Woodley were second-round picks.

There are 11 players on defense and if 5 of them were high draft picks that means nearly half the defense was 1st or 2nd round picks. Throw in the fact James Farrior was a first round pick also (its called research and Easterbrook should do some) and over half the defense is first round draft picks.

It's still impressive but I would guess this is somewhat on par with several other NFL teams. I would actually do research on this but it's very time consuming. Just think about your favorite team and how many players on the defense were high picks (1st-3rd round) and how many were not. I would bet it is somewhat comparable to the Steelers. Of course the Steelers won the Super Bowl, so it is impressive, I am just saying...

Sports writers want a justification for an expense-account trip to San Diego, so they extol the Chargers.

Yes, because if a sportswriter says positive things about the Chargers then that sportswriter immediately will get a trip to San Diego to cover the Chargers. That happens all the time.

For those writers who do get this wonderful benefit for talking nicely about the Chargers make sure you don't stay at the Westin in San Diego! I hear they don't save your reservation and you may not have a room to stay in if you arrive a little before midnight to claim your room! Beware the Westin's overt attempts to make a profit.

Here is a tough question: If you could only fire one person involved with TMQ who would it be? Would you fire Gregg Easterbrook for writing this crappy fiction filled column, his editor for allowing his football ignorance to continue unchecked, or the person at ESPN who originally hired him to write the column? You can only fire one person...who is it?

I think I would fire Gregg Easterbrook because I think the whole deck of cards falls with him gone. There would be no need to edit his column and maybe the ESPN executive who hired him would learn better for next time.

Trailing 10-7 with 4:26 remaining, Tennessee faced fourth-and-inches on the Baltimore 10. Fisher sent in the field goal unit. It didn't matter that a fourth-down attempt in the first half had failed -- what happened before had nothing to do with this down. At home, with the crowd roaring, needing less than a yard -- this was what TMQ calls a "go win the game" moment. Instead, Tennessee kicked a field goal for a tie, and eventually lost.

I don't even know what to say to this. Tennessee had a great defense and Baltimore had an average offense, so I can see why Jeff Fisher would have thought he could have gotten the ball back or at least the game would have gone to overtime. To try and get a yard at that point, especially against a Ravens defense that is incredibly good, not to mention when you are in a situation where you can kick a field goal and tie the game is just pure insanity. It's just a dumb, dumb risk that doesn't need to be taken...especially in the playoffs.

Here's what I said when TMQ first criticized this move:

Yet the Titans' defense played well throughout, and trailing 10-7, the home team reached fourth-and-inches on the visitors' 10 with 4:26 remaining. Tennessee had the home-crowd energy and, to that point, 116 yards rushing. Go for it! Jeff Fisher sent out the field-goal team, no doubt thinking he could not bear another trip into Baltimore territory without points.

There is no way in hell you can criticize a coach for deciding to tie a ball game with 4:26 left in the fourth quarter. To go for it would be absolute coaching malpractice. You can't criticize h--

Yet he would have been better off to go for it and miss than to kick! By taking the field goal, Tennessee only tied the game, leaving Baltimore 4:23 and a timeout to try to win.

No, no, no, no. By not getting the first down, it would mean Baltimore only has to bleed the clock out and they win the game. That's it. Coach Fisher had faith in his defense at home, which is absolutely what you are supposed to do. ESPN should not allow TMQ to criticize this decision because it shows that Gregg does not even begin to understand football strategy.

But if Tennessee had gone for it and missed, his defense still would have needed a stop -- and Baltimore would have been pinned deep in its own end of the field.

If Tennessee did not get a stop then the Ravens win the game with it not being a tied game. I am not arguing this. To leave 3 points on the board in a 10-7 game is worth being fired immediately after the game or possibly before the next kick off.

If Tennessee went for it and made the first down, chances were good for a touchdown to take the lead while grinding clock, so the slow-moving Baltimore offense would have little time to reply.

If they did not make it, chances are good Baltimore bleeds the clock and wins. If you can't see this, then please never question any coach's strategy ever again.

To go for it on 4th down in this situation would have been absolutely stupid. In a close game at home I think every coach in the NFL rightfully kicks the field goal...especially when trying to run against the Ravens defense in the red zone.

Do NFL coaches make super-conservative decisions in part owing to media pressure? Coaches know if they make conservative decisions they won't be criticized; if they gamble and fail, they will be denounced.

No, that is not it. If a coach does something smart but still loses the game there is no need to criticize the coach...but if the coach does something stupid, like go for it on fourth down in the 4th quarter of a playoff game against a great run defense when a field goal will tie the game, then he knows he screwed up his job and should be criticized. Coaches want to put their team in a position to win, they don't care about being criticized...or at least shouldn't care about being criticized. TMQ is obsessed with thinking NFL head coaches care that they get criticized.

As Fisher sent in the field goal unit on this fateful play, CBS announcer Dan Dierdorf declared, "This is a no-brainer, they absolutely must kick here." When later this decision turned out desperately wrong, the announcers, of course, said nothing about their own previous advice.

Because there is nothing to be said, it is still good advice. It turns out the team lost the game but not because of that certain decision, that certain decision was smart. If I advise someone to not jump off a 200 foot cliff into a pile of rocks and they do it anyway but don't get hurt, it doesn't mean my advice was bad.

Dig this: If Collins throws for 3,159 yards this season -- he threw for 2,676 a season ago -- he would pass Joe Montana on the all-time passing list.

I bet he never makes it. I am not kidding. If I was Pete Rose, I would bet big money on this.

Next Week: NFC preview

I can't wait. Really this wasn't an AFC preview but more of an AFC Review from last year. There was almost no previewing done here, just talk about what happened last year. There are no predictions or even a preview of what may happen this year really, just Easterbrook talking about last year's statistics and team. Not only can I not understand the columns Easterbrook writes but the title of this TMQ doesn't make sense to me because it is not even an AFC Preview.