Wednesday, September 16, 2009

21 comments TMQ: Retro-Edition

I have not intended to make TMQ a weekly post, like I do with Peter King's MMQB. I probably will not make an effort to cover it every week but I do plan on covering it when there isn't anything else I would rather cover. Basically what I am saying, if you hate it, don't expect it to be posted every week, and if you like it, because I say I won't post it every week I probably will end up posting it every week. I don't like to be predictable, but TMQ is chock full of bad journalism and misconceptions so it can't be ignored.

Without further exposition, here is the retro-TMQ. What makes it "retro" you may ask? Well because Gregg Easterbrook writes the first couple of paragraphs like he is stuck in 1959 of course. Don't worry, it's actually much worse than it sounds. Before you read below, imagine first how bad Easterbrook writing like he is from 1959 could be and then read some samples of what he wrote below.

Kookie! Against the Rams, the Giants just passed as many times as they rushed. Have they no sense of tradition, of the essence of football? The Giants and Rams combined for 210 yards rushing,and 574 yards passing. Talk about pass-wacky! What's next, indoor football? Guys in the barbershop are gassing about quarterback Charlie Conerly as if some skinny cat tossing the pigskin is more important than a fullback going straight up the middle.

Three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust always will dominate football. Still, the very idea of four wide receivers is upsetting to Tuesday Morning Quarterback -- which now arrives in the mail on Saturday afternoon. You dig me, Daddy-O?

See? It's worse than you thought isn't it? He uses words like "Daddy-O" and "Kookie." I feel like I am watching Mad Men if the show was about a guy who owned a barbershop, the dialogue consisted mostly of stereotypical catch phrases which may or may not have actually been said in 1959, and if Don Draper was the Fonz.

In political news, congratulations to Fidel Castro. The United States just recognized his new government; Cuba is sure to prosper and U.S.-Cuba relations will be swell. Congratulations to Hawaii, which has achieved statehood. Though let's be realistic -- it is inconceivable there will ever be a president from Hawaii.

This must be Gregg's 1959 form of irony.

Really, the violence in "Ben Hur" is so graphic, how could Hollywood go any lower? There's a lot happening in technology -- the Soviet probe Luna 1 just hit the moon, Explorer 6 just took the first photo of Earth from space, and the monkeys Able and Baker just came back from space unharmed. But men in space? Come on, get real.

Oh I get it! Ben Hur was graphic for that time but it is no longer graphic due to today's standards! More irony! And we DID put a man in space unharmed (and harmed). So that's more delicious irony!

I can do this too!

"Newspapers are going to be around forever because there is no other way for people to get information about what is going on in the world. Sports reporting is always going to be just a niche market and will never catch on to where pretty much anyone can talk about a sport with real knowledge, but it will take someone who truly understands sports to report on what is happening on the fields of play. It's not like anyone can just go hire an ex-bartender or an economist who doesn't use real team names and knows very little about football to write about sports and expect the public to take them seriously."

See the irony? I am talking about Gregg Easterbrook, the newspaper industry and that Simmons fellow! I don't feel lame at all for doing this and neither should Gregg!

Thankfully, Easterbrook doesn't do the entire TMQ this way and we get his typical modern day idiocy.

Traditionally, Tuesday Morning Quarterback proposes that the team goin' to Disney World will be one that does not appear on "Monday Night Football." This year's Monday night shutouts are Cincinnati, Detroit, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Seattle, St. Louis and Tampa.

I will write a 10,000 word post about how smart Gregg Easterbrook is and not deconstruct a TMQ for an entire year if any of these teams win the Super Bowl. That is my vow to you. There is absolutely no correlation between a team not being on MNF and a team winning the Super Bowl.

I am 2-for-9 on this prediction so far -- the Rams and Patriots won in seasons they did not play on Monday night.

Wow, 22.22% being correct with this prediction is pretty impressive...or not. Those are some odds that Easterbrook needs to take to Vegas and gamble using this theory RIGHT NOW...assuming he wants to lose money of course. Apparently a "theory" doesn't even need to occur commonly for Easterbrook to believe it is true. It just needs to happen once, or twice in this case, for Easterbrook to believe it is true.

MNF tends to pick teams to play that get high ratings and had a good record last year. So if a team missed the playoffs last year and doesn't traditionally grab high ratings for the network, that team won't be on MNF. Sometimes those teams do well and win the Super Bowl despite not being on national television. It just happens, there should really not be a theory to accompany the fact this happens.

Sweet Sequence of the Week: In one sequence in the Steelers-Flaming Thumbtacks collision, Ben Roethlisberger pumped hard left, the safeties bit, and the result was a 29-yard completion deep to Hines Ward. On the next snap, Roethlisberger pumped hard left, the safeties bit, and Roethlisberger connected with Santonio Holmes for a 34-yard touchdown. Two snaps later: Kerry Collins pumped hard left, the Pittsburgh safeties bit, and Collins had a 57-yard completion to Kenny Britt.

Oh yes, so very sweet but really what's the point here? Is the point that it is always good for the quarterback to pump hard left and then the quarterback will be able to complete a long pass? Or is the point that both the Pittsburgh and Tennessee safeties bite on hard pump fakes to the left quite frequently?

Then Easterbrook goes on and on about really cool plays this week where one team did something right and the other team did something wrong. Really you have to be a fan of the team being mentioned or easily amused to enjoy this part.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences -- what a name, there is a science to making a buddy road flick -- just expanded the Oscar nominees category for Best Picture from five to 10...Studios want any excuse to slap the words "Best Picture" on movie adverts, even if "nominated for" must appear underneath in six-point type; now twice as many flicks will be promoted in this manner. The proximate cause of the expansion was that many complained "Wall-E" and "The Dark Knight" were not Best Picture nominees in 2008.

Or it could be the "Best Picture" winners of the past have really not been good movies in retrospect and the Academy figures if they open up the field to more movies so voters can have more movies to choose from. I actually despise award shows, so I don't give a shit...but that's not going to stop me from discussing it of course.

Awards shows are situations where a select group of people get together and celebrate the best things they have done over the past year. Seriously, could it be a more self involved process? Studio A makes a movie, tells everyone what a great job they did in making and casting the movie, then has the actors/actresses/director/everyone involved nominate THEMSELVES by sending in a clip of the performance, if they are chosen then they attend an award ceremony where they decide who did the best job of pretending to be someone else in front of a camera. I am not against Hollywood or anything like that but I just find award ceremonies to be self serving and I am in the mood to rant about it.

Back to what I was previously discussing...something had to be done, the following movies have been nominated for Best Picture over the last 10 years:

Erin Brockovich, Moulin Rouge, Gangs of New York, Master and Commander: Far Side of the World, Michael Clayton, Atonement, and the Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

These are just a sample of movies that have been nominated for Best Picture. Not that these are bad movies necessarily but they are also not the best pictures of the year. The Best Picture category primarily consists of movies that are overly long, boring, "well acted," and have a major studio with money behind them to pimp the movie to the Academy. I actually liked a couple of the movies above, but there is no way I would consider them to be the best picture of the year. Easterbrook just hates the Dark Knight so that is why he is railing against it even being remotely considered last year for a Best Picture nomination.

"Wall-E" was a terrific flick, the finest Hollywood romance in years, despite starring two mute robots; "The Dark Knight" was a terrible film. People felt "The Dark Knight" had to be praised owing to the death of Heath Ledger; that movie was terrible.

The Dark Knight was also praised because it was a great movie. That had something to do with it as well.

The big chase scene at its center made absolutely no sense -- no matter what street the van turned down, the Joker's tractor-trailer truck was already on that street and approaching from the opposite direction. Huh? The Joker made no sense. How did he know where everyone in Gotham City was at every moment? How did he enter guarded buildings without being detected? How did he command an army of super-competent ultra-loyal henchmen, including engineers and surgeons, despite having no money and boasting of murdering his own assistants for amusement? And that scene of gibberish pseudo-philosophizing about society by the Joker, puh-leeze.

I believe J.S. covered this pretty well last summer when Easterbrook was making the exact same points. I will let you read (it's about 3/4 of the way down) what he wrote and let you know that goes for me as well. Trust me, it's worth the read and personally I believe one of J.S.'s finest moments...outside of his Scoop Jackson "crack/golf" post of course.

I would like to add that Gregg Easterbrook can buy the realism in an animated movie about two robots that can FALL IN LOVE (how the absolute hell can they have human feelings, they are robots, but this doesn't bother Easterbrook at all...and why??????). Yet, he can't buy certain aspects of The Dark Knight because he can't believe a crowd of people would follow a madman no matter how illogical, cruel and harebrained his scheme seemed to be, but they follow simply because they believe in what he is trying to do and are afraid of him. I can't think of any real life examples..........wait, I just thought of much of what led to WWII and anything involving Saddam Hussein as great examples. I am sure there are more but I am lowering myself to Gregg's level at this point. Time to rise above...

Sure, the Buffalo "hands""team was in, so McKelvin had no wedge, but he's a good return man. The killer mistake was when McKelvin struggled to try to gain an extra yard after he was under tackle by two Patriots. Get on the ground! He'd brought the ball back to the 31-yard line -- reaching the 32 was completely irrelevant. He's a super-highly-paid first-round-drafted NFL player -- doesn't he know the desperate Patriots will try to strip the ball? Get on the ground!

Martin pointed this out in the comments on Tuesday. This is a part where Easterbrook is correct. Players need to learn when to just hit the ground and not fight for extra yardage. There is a time and place to fight for extra yardage and having a lead with less than 6 minutes to play is not that time or place. Easterbrook is right about this.

The problem is that NFL players are taught to never give up and fight for all the yardage possible. Except for Marvin Harrison who went out of bounds at every available opportunity, which in retrospect was a good move for everyone, we wouldn't want him to start fighting for extra yardage, get pissed off at a defender who pushed him out of bounds and like in "The Last Boy Scout," pull a gun and start capping people while still on the field. This would obviously throw off Peyton Manning's precision timing in the passing game if he had to avoid blood spots on the turf from an angry Marvin Harrison gun massacre. What am I talking about again? Oh yes, Marvin Harrison tended to run out of bounds instead of fighting for extra yardage and it could very well be true he has pent up aggression.

My point is that NFL players are not taught to hit the ground, which is a smart move at times, they are taught to get every available yard. The Patriots are a smart team and would probably hit the deck when necessary. Brian Westbrook and Brandon Stokley were smart as well and had previously dove on the ground and wasted time running around the goal line respectively to run more clock and not give the other team more time to score. Good players are smart, bad players value 2 more yards over possession of the football in certain situations. Really, really bad players commit 11 turnovers in 2 home.

The Bills' no-huddle offense only resulted in the Patriots running 29 more offensive plays and holding a 14-minute edge in time of possession. Predictably, this caused the Buffalo defense to tire at the end; Buffalo's defenders played well for the first 55 minutes, then in the final five minutes they surrendered 112 yards and 12 points. The no-huddle is supposed to make the opposing defense tired -- but often it makes your own defense tired, because quick three-and-outs send the defense back onto the field.

I think I have Stockholm Syndrome because this whole passage made complete sense to me.

Tom Brady returned to his 2007 form in the fourth quarter and did what smart quarterbacks do -- he took what the defense offered. Buffalo was blitzing linebackers but keeping its safeties deep to prevent a long strike to Randy Moss. That meant the short throws had to be open, and here are the completions by Brady on the Flying Elvii's final two drives: 18 yards, 16, 13, 10, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 6, 5 and 4.

Because when a team blitzes the short throws are always open? I think this would go the same for when a team is playing "soft" and staying in front of the offensive player.

And when he recognized that Buffalo blitzing meant tight end Ben Watson was covered by a linebacker, he looked to Watson for both last-minute touchdowns.

I don't mean to nitpick but just because Buffalo blitzed didn't necessarily mean Ben Watson was always covered by a linebacker. Buffalo runs the 4-3 defense, so when they blitz that mean they are probably blitzing a linebacker, which means the safety may end up having to cover the tight end or the tight end will remain uncovered. There are dozens of situations that could occur but I get tired of Easterbrook's black/white outlook at everything involving what happens on the football field. He seems to think when "A" happens, "B" will always follow, which isn't always true.

When the Bolts reached the Raiders' 10 with 46 seconds remaining and a timeout, trailing by three, it was Darren Sproles, not LaDainian Tomlinson, on the field for the deciding plays.

Probably because Tomlinson was injured. This is a small piece of information that makes the difference when inferring Tomlinson is less effective than Darren Sproles so the Chargers rely on Sproles in the closing minutes of a game.

Sproles carried the ball to the Oakland 5, and then the Raiders, with 21 ticks showing, inexplicably called timeout, in effect granting the Chargers an extra snap. (San Diego needed to conserve its own timeout for a field goal attempt to tie and force overtime.) On the bonus snap, Sproles ran for the winning touchdown.

On it's face, this doesn't seem to make a whole hell of a lot of sense for the Raiders to do. I will play devil's advocate for a second here. Knowing the Chargers were gashing the Raider defense at this point, maybe the Raiders wanted to make sure the defense was going to be set for what the Chargers were going to run on the next play? I think at this point, with the Chargers close to the goal line and having Nate Kaeding, a fairly reliable kicker well within field goal range, the Raiders figured the game would go to overtime so they wanted to prevent the defense from being on its heels and giving up a touchdown. I don't really know, but every decision that turns out badly was not made because a team was stupid (though the Raiders usually are), but may have some logic behind it.

Stop Me Before I Blitz Again! The gruntled Jay Cutler's 68-yard pass to rookie Johnny Knox of Division II Abilene Christian came against a blitz, with no safety in sight. Mark Sanchez's first NFL touchdown pass, 30 yards to Chansi Stuckey, came against a six-blitz -- Stuckey was so open there was no safety to be seen anywhere in the television tetragon. New Orleans had Detroit on the ropes at 28-10 and facing third-and-6; a six-blitz allowed a 64-yard completion to Calvin Johnson and a Detroit touchdown on the series...TMQ's point is that it backfires just as often, especially on long-yardage downs, when blitzing is expected.

I like how Easterbrook conveniently ignores the fact the blitzes the Packers brought against Cutler also helped lead him to throw 4 interceptions and the blitzes the Eagles threw on the Panthers led to a forced fumble and 4 interceptions for Jake Del-Whom? If he included those then his point would be diminished.

There are always going to be situations where blitzing backfires but a well timed blitz is also the key to a strong defense that forces turnovers. I don't have any numbers or statistics to back this up, but I would actually think blitzing on long-yardage downs makes perfect sense...assuming the offensive line doesn't pick up the blitz. If it is 3rd-and-11 and the Seahawks blitz 1 of their linebackers (except Aaron Curry, who as Peter King always points out can't sack the quarterback) and drop one LB into coverage in the middle of the field with two safeties and three corners, the quarterback may end up going with his hot read which could ensure the quarterback gets rid of the ball quickly and the ball carrier gets tackled quickly. Basically a good blitz on third and long can prevent an offense from having the chance to make the necessary yardage because the QB has to get rid of the ball before the receiver can get the necessary yardage. I hate talking strategy but I feel like TMQ forces me to.

On the next snap, from the Saints' 1, Kevin Smith of the Lions ran straight ahead, was stood up and stopped advancing. A Saints player ripped the ball out of Smith's hands, and officials ruled that when Smith's forward progress stopped, the play was over. Doesn't forward progress always stop exactly at the instant a ballcarrier loses possession of the ball?

I don't know exactly about forward progress all the time but in this situation in the Lions and Saints game, I think it depends on when the official blows the whistle. I am sure if I am wrong, someone will inform me, but in the case of this non-fumble, forward progress had stopped and I would bet the official had blown the whistle. So to answer Gregg's question, I think the officials need there to be a second or two of forward progress to be stopped before actually deciding forward progress has stopped, and then when it is stopped, they blow the whistle. It took me maybe 2 seconds to think of this reasoning, I am not sure why Gregg is in such disbelief.

Overtime is also a good moment to go no-huddle because by then the defense is tired. Starting a game no-huddle, as Buffalo did at New England, doesn't accomplish much because the defense is not tired.

So the best time for a team to go no-huddle is at the end of a game when the defense (and offense) is tired? Ok, I can accept this. Let's let Gregg contradict himself now...

Michigan surprised Notre Dame by going no-huddle for the entire game, but the key word is surprised.

They surprised Notre Dame for the ENTIRE game by going no-huddle? Somehow this doesn't make sense to me. Notre Dame can't be such a bad team they were fooled for an entire game by the no-huddle offense. Why doesn't this fit under Easterbrook's "the no-huddle makes the defense tired" theory? He says Buffalo's defense was tired because the offense of New England was on the field for so long, then how come Michigan's offense wasn't tired?

Michigan had a time of possession of 28 minutes while Notre Dame had time of possession of 32 minutes. That's a lot closer than the time of possession in the Buffalo-New England game but under Gregg's theory of the no-huddle causing time of possession to be lopsided, and therefore the team running the no-huddle will have it's defense get tired, Michigan should have lost this game because their defense was tired. I also really don't get how he thinks Michigan fooled Notre Dame the entire game with the no-huddle offense.

See what talking at length about Easterbrook and TMQ does to me? I am rambling, ranting and repeating myself.

Buck-Buck-Brawckkkkkkk No. 2: Trailing 31-7, Carolina faced fourth-and-goal on the Philadelphia 4 with 1:45 remaining before intermission. That can't be the field goal unit! You can't be serious! A touchdown here is the only hope of getting back into the game! If you're going to kick you might as well quit and go have blueberry-almond martinis. Carolina kicked, and went on to a 38-10 defeat.

So the best thing to do at this point is to give the ball to Jake Del-Whom? who had three turnovers at this point so he can throw another interception or turn the ball over again? If you watched the game, nearly everyone in the stadium and anyone watching the game thought a field goal was perhaps the best idea EVER in this situation. Also, I don't like it when Easterbrook gives the situation and follows it up with "and Team X lost 31-3" like making that one move would have made all the difference in the game. The Panthers were down 24 points at this time in the game and they ended up losing by 28 points. Going for the touchdown here would have made ZERO difference in the outcome of the game.

So it was a smart move at the time and a smart (or at least inconsequential) move in retrospect.

Gruntled Quarterback Update:

On Cutler's second pick, guard Frank Omiyale did an olé on Clay Matthews, practically stepping out of the rusher's way; Matthews hammered Cutler as he threw.

Jay Cutler threw an interception when he was hit by Clay Matthews? Isn't Clay Matthews a linebacker? So he must have come on a blitz of some sort, so this is an example of when a blitz worked. Again, blitzes are not always bad. Easterbrook would much rather cherry pick times blitzes did not work to show they don't work to fit his picture of how football should be.

Bonus Obscure College Score of the Week: Birmingham-Southern 35, Campbell 28 (overtime).

First Easterbrook makes fun of Elon University in North Carolina for being a "cupcake" and now he makes fun of my graduate school Campbell University who is in it's second year of having a football program. Let me tell you something about Campbell...don't ever fucking go to school there unless you enjoy being bored and like being trapped in a hell-like city. The city it is located in doesn't sell beer, because that is the devil's fuel, but is glad to sell cigarettes in the city because apparently it wants everyone to die of lung cancer.

In the Clemson-Georgia Tech game, Clemson botched a fake field goal attempt, and Georgia Tech returned the ball for a touchdown. On the next Georgia Tech possession, the Yellow Jackets ran a fake field goal attempt, and Clemson was caught unsuspecting; no one covered the target, and the Yellow Jackets scored a touchdown. You just ran a fake field goal, and were tricked by a fake field goal!

Holy shit! How unbelievable! You would expect every team that runs a fake field goal to always expect the other team to run a fake field goal!

Leading 34-31, Notre Dame had second-and-10 on its own 29-yard line with 2:29 remaining and Michigan holding two timeouts. Notre Dame twice threw incomplete, politely stopping the clock; the Wolverines scored the winning touchdown with 11 seconds remaining. Had Notre Dame simply run up the middle for no gain on each of its final two snaps, the action most likely would have come down to Michigan attempting a long field goal to force overtime. Instead, the Irish let Michigan preserve its timeouts, which proved critical during the final minute. In the endgame, run to advance the clock!

I would like to add if Notre Dame had run the ball twice, punted the ball and Michigan scored a touchdown to win the game anyway, Easterbrook would give Notre Dame the "Buck-Buck-Brawwwwwwwwwwwck" award for the week. Search yourselves, you know this to be true.

Reaching fourth-and-goal on the Ohio State 2, USC did the manly-man thing, went for it, and scored a touchdown. Reaching fourth-and-goal on the USC 2, Ohio State did the fraidy-cat thing and launched a field goal. These decisions were the key to a game won 18-15 by the Trojans; had the Buckeyes gone for it, Ohio State likely would have prevailed.

How he knows for a fact Ohio State would have likely prevailed is beyond me. There is also a chance USC would have stopped Ohio State and they would have ended up losing when USC only needed a field goal to win the game. Again, everything in football is not black and white. You can't just assume something will happen and second guess a team based on your assumption. I know it sounds ironic for me, a person who criticizes sportswriting, to criticize him for this...but I am not guessing at what he might write, I am criticizing what he actually wrote. I am rambling again...

Note that in the pros the following day, Chicago went for it on fourth-and-1 and scored a touchdown on the drive. Jacksonville went for it on fourth-and-2 and scored a touchdown. Indianapolis went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Jaguars' 35 at the two-minute warning and failed, but still won the game;

I am sure the fact Indianapolis went for it on fourth-and-1 was the reason the Colts won the football game, and the reason wasn't because their quarterback is Peyton Manning and THE COLTS WERE WINNING THE GAME AT THAT POINT ANYWAY!

The Colts went for it because if they had missed the field goal it would have required the Jaguars to go 10 less yards to get in position for a touchdown of field goal. In this case, going for it on fourth-and-1 is playing conservatively. It's the safe choice because a field goal attempt made would put the Jaguars in much worse position because they have to get a touchdown to win the game, but if the Colts had missed the field goal, the Jaguars only had to go about 25 yards to get a reasonable shot at a field goal attempt to win the game.

Jonathan Nixon of Newport, N.C., writes, "College Gameday just posted Ohio State's record of 44-10 over the last 4 seasons. Against teams that played in BCS bowl games, they are 2-10; against everyone else, they are 42-0. That's a lot of cupcakes."

Yes, because every other team they have played in conference is a "cupcake." The entire Big 10 is a "cupcake" conference according to Jonathan Nixon from North Carolina. Simply because a better team beats an inferior team doesn't make the inferior team a "cupcake." Is Ohio State a "cupcake" for the BCS teams it lost to?

Ohio State has pretty much shown they are having a tough time beating highly ranked BCS teams but that doesn't mean the teams they beat are all "cupcakes."

What Blount did is not hugely different from what Williams did. Yet she is slapped on the wrist while he is severely punished.

Those two situations are so different. One situation involved a verbal threat and the other situation involved actual physical violence.

I think I am done here. I even laid off some stuff he wrote.


AJ said...

I have no idea how anyone can read that crap. Not just because of the sure stupidity of it, but because of how ridiculously long it is. I stopped reading 25% of the way in I think, i mean I give you huge props if you actually read it all. The guy is an idiot and how he still writes for any publication is beyond me. I mean I can write stupid crap as well, but I don't get paid for it. I mean you can't expect to be a respected journalist is you write crap like that (you know, leaving out key details, and generally making stuff up).

Dark Knight grosses over $500 million in the US last year, over $200 million more then the 2nd highest. I think that says all you need to know about what people think is a great movie.

Oh and the reason some things don't make sense in the movie is because its a MOVIE...its not real life. And you know what else, its a COMIC BOOK movie. I am willing to bet my box of hot dogs that a movie he thinks is great has at least one moment where you go "huh, that doesn't make sense"...

Movies are entertainment, the best picture should be the most entertaining film, the one people want to see. Forst/Nixon? Milk? The Reader? Zzzzzzz. You know how much The Reader grossed? $34M.

Well enough movie ranting...I'm not even sure what to say on his football crap since i skipped most of it. His column is way to hard to read. I think I'll just wait for other comments so that I can comment along with them.

KentAllard said...

I've been trying hard to forget the Great Football Disaster of 2009 (not helped by one of the Michigan grads here walking by my office once an hour and screaming "Fucking Catholic CUNTS!"), but of the 10,000,000 problems the destined to be 5-7 Notre Dame team had on Saturday, I really don't remember any problems caused by the hurry-up offense. I don't think the ND defense paid any attention to the Michigan offense, anyway.

I hate myself for asking, but why does Easterbutt call the Patriots the Flying Elvii? I'm slow and I don't get it.

Fred Trigger said...


"Flying Elvii" is, I assume, his nickname for the Patriots because their symbol on the helmet is referred to as the "flying elvis", so I guess thats his way of making it plural, and trying to sound clever with the nickname. I dont know, hes dumb like that.

Fred Trigger said...


By your logic, Transformers 2 should've been in the running for Best Picture.

KentAllard said...

Thanks, Fred. I understand it, even if I don't appreciate the avant-garde humor of "The Flying Elvii."

By the way, I went back and read J.S.' evisceration of TMQ last year, and it was amazing how many things Easterbrook got wrong. The Falcons were doomed, it wouldn't be the Cardinals year, etc.

Bengoodfella said...

AJ, I read the column twice. Once to make sure there was enough material for a massively long post that no one can read all the way through and once to actually highlighted the passages I wanted to include in my post.

His ability to see everything as just black and white drives me crazy. He always like, "when X happens, then Y happens, so I don't understand why the coaching staff did that." He makes hard and fast rules for the NFL, when part of the draw is that there are no hard and fast rules.

The Dark Knight was a great movie that grossed well at the box office. I have to agree with Fred, I can't be having Transformers 2 win a Best Picture Oscar, but I am sure there are other movies that were great and also got a good box office draw. Not that the Best Picture would have to be a complete mix of the two, but I have to agree Frost/Nixon was only good and The Reader drug for me. I thought Gran Torino should have been nominated because it was a good movie. Apparently it wasn't boring enough.

I know you are not necessarily saying the top grossing movie of every year should be the Best Picture Winner but there have to be more choices.

Kent, I watched the game and don't remember there being a whole lot of no-huddle offense that bothered the Irish. I don't know if they will be as bad as 5-7 but Michigan played a good game and probably deserved to win. If you ask Gregg, it was all the no-huddle offense...though I don't know how the Michigan defense wasn't tired under his previous theory.

Fred, you are exactly right about that. I think I wondered about that previously and someone answered it for me. I don't know why he can't just refer to teams by their actual names.

Bengoodfella said...

Kent, I know. I always want to go back and highlight stuff people said and show how wrong they were, but that takes a lot of effort. I would need to hire a research department because I am too lazy to do it.

J.S. did that TMQ pretty well. That may have been the only one he did last year. He seems to muster outrage for an entire column that I can only keep going for a little bit.

Victor said...

Well, at least Gregg didn't bring the Jews into the movie talk this time.

He is a worse film critic than a football analyst. He has a real bug up his ass about fake movie violence, yet will spend thousands of words extolling real life violence in football. Bengoodfella has mentioned some of his "zingers," like wondering about MPAA distinctions beween realistic and fantasy violence. (Real simple: MPAA ratings were originally set up for parents to determine if the content was OK for their kids. Parents that might be OK with Transformers giant robot violence might not be OK with The Accused or Silence of the Lambs sexual violence. It's really not hard.)

But, since his movie review of Kill Bill resulted in a three year ESPN "hiatus," maybe we can all hope he keeps it up. Gregg, how was GI Joe?

Victor said...

Sorry to rant about Gregg and his movie idiocy, but the Oscars are the only awards show I actually care about.

The AMPAS/Oscars Best Picture thing is not hard to figure out.

- They sell the Broadcast rights to ABC for a pile of money.

- ABC sells ads for a pile of money, based on projected ratings.

- If the Oscars do not match the ratings ABC projects, ABC has to refund money or offer "make good" ads on other programs.

- Last year's ratings were middling. They were up from 2008, but that's nothing to brag about since 2008 had the worst ratings ever. The combined box office of the five nominees was still $150 million shy of The Dark Knight.

- The Oscars have higher ratings in years popular films are nominated. The highest ever ratings were in 1998 (Titanic).

- Ergo, if there are more Best Picture slots, there is a greater chance that a crowd pleaser like "Up" or "Star Trek" might get nominated. ABC will make more money and then AMPAS can sell next year's broadcast for more money.

It is a business decision. You know, last I checked ESPN had some kind of relationship with ABC. Maybe Gregg could, I don't know, research some stuff?

Also, his little dig about the "science" of the movies is an insult to the thousands of people who work in the technical fields, like cinematography, special effects, and editing. You think Pixar makes all those movies on an etch-a-sketch?

Bengoodfella said...

Somebody took a long look at the Gregg Easterbrook wikipedia page I linked last week, or you at least had prior knowledge of Gregg's actions in regard to the movie industry and "the Jews."

He really is not a good film critic, partially because he expects there to be realism in the movie, which pretty much will never happen. Nothing that comes from Hollywood is ever realistic, even "real life" stories are not realistic.

He does fail to understand the reasoning behind the ratings board and why there is a difference in cartoon violence and more graphic violence. I understand he hates movie violence and he is not the only one who feels this way but nobody is making him go see the movies that are being made.

I think he should give another controversial movie review. That's a great idea, then ESPN will suspend him again and my blood pressure won't rise every Tuesday evening/Wednesday morning when I read his column.

I still don't know how he has a pulpit to talk about sports (and now movies). He is clearly not an expert.

Bengoodfella said...

Its ok to go off on the movies. I didn't realize all that stuff you just typed about how the ads work and the fact ABC has to refund the money.

I don't think it is the end of the world if the nominations are opened to more movies because there are more than 10 "good" movies every year. I still would take Gran Torino over almost anything nominated this year.

I guess we have to understand that Gregg is too busy sharing his vast knowledge on everything, including the US space program, that he has no time to respect others and their technical achievements. I don't know about the acting but there is definite science to the behind the scenes work.

RuleBook said...

I have to give Easterbrook props for at least being smarter than most other people I've read. McKelvin was dumb to try for the extra yard. He made the correct decision by bringing it out of the end zone. There was 2:06 left on the clock, and if he had taken a knee, he effectively gave the Patriots 4 timeouts rather than 3. By running it out, he drained the clock past 2:00. However, most writers that I've read claim that he should have taken a knee. At least Easterbrook realized that the mistake was the attempt to gain extra yards, not taking it out of the end zone.

Victor said...

That's the thing that really bugs me about Easterbrook, aside from his being wrong about everything. He has a prime weekly column on that most bloggers would kill for. He probably gets, what $1-$2K per column? WHY DOES HE HAVE IT? What are his football qualifications? Bill Simmons whole gimmick was being "The Voice of The Fan," with no more behind the scenes access than the reader has. Easterbrook is trying to write like The Football Professor, but aside from a mention of coaching his son's Pop Warner team he has no relevant football knowledge.

Also, it's not like he is a respected man of letters in other fields and you could excuse a quirk or two in the column (like if, say, Stephen Hawking were writing a column for ESPN). He is terrible at writing anything. He write science columns the same way he writes football: he cherry picks factoids to bolster his point and ignores evidence t the contrary. One blog I read suggested he had to have a twin brother named "Westerbrook" that was right about everthing, since Easterbrook is wrong all the time.

It blows my mind that ESPN will pay Scoop Jackson and Easterbrook money to write for them, when they could get better writing by just reprinting stuff from various sports blogs.

AJ said...

I never said the highest grossing film should be the best picture...i was saying that the best pitcures are films people go see. Are they the best ever, tell the best stories, and have the best acting...of course not. Thats not the point.

The awards are stupid, thats the bottom line. The only thing that matters is what people go see. People would rather spend their money and time on entertaining films (which are not always the best films, like Transformers 2). The awards are based on a small amount of self important know it alls that think they know a great film from a very good film. There is no difference between them. The difference between The Dark Knight and say a more serious film like Frost/Nixon is the difference between each indivdual person who watches them (some like action movies, some like slow boring ones, some like chick movies, etc).

You cannot judge a movie and say its great. Everyone has a different take.

Of course, we can all agree that Easterbrook sucks...NO ONE DENIES THIS!

Bengoodfella said...

I don't know how much Easterbrook gets but I would imagine it could actually be more than 1K-2K per column. He has absolutely no football qualifications and that may have been the draw of having him write the article. He could be a voice of the ignorant fan. I have to admit the column seems like it takes a lot of research to do every week, so I would imagine he gets paid better than 2K per week. I could be wrong though.

You are right that he seems to dabble in everything but never really actually KNOW something about anything he writes about in his TMQ. He takes 1-2 facts and then just comes to a conclusion based on those facts, when they may be misleading. He is an expert of nothing he writes in TMQ. I could forgive him if he didn't make constant misconceptions and not look at all sides of a football issue, but he doesn't do this.

Rulebook, as Martin said and you do too, I do have to give him credit because he realized it was smart to take it out of the end zone but there is a time to fight for yardage and a time when not to fight for yardage. At that point, holding on to the ball is more important than another yard or two. You take it out of the end zone and then run out of bounds/go down the second you are tackled or about to get tackled to get past the 2 minute warning.

Maybe Gregg Westerbrook wrote that part of the column for him. I am at the point where I am not sure ESPN actually cares about the credibility of its writers, it just wants to be an entertainment company that involves sports...and they are doing that. They don't have to have experts or anything but they don't seem interested in even acknowledging many of the "experts" don't really know what they are talking about. Easterbrook is a fine example. He never swallows his pride and says he knows he isn't an expert because he has no football background, other than having a television set. He entertains, that's all ESPN cares about.

AJ, I went back and saw what you wrote, so yes you didn't say it had to be the highest grossing movie. I just think the Best Picture should end up being the best movie of the past year, not the most artistic or where the acting was the best, but the best movie. "Benjamin Button" sort of bored me, I was shocked it got a nomination for Best Picture.

I am with you on the awards thing. I find them to be self involved, but I know others feel differently. It really does depend on the viewer as to what that person would consider to be the movie of the year. You can't please everyone, but nearly everyone I know liked the Dark matter what kind of movies they like to watch. It was just a good movie in my opinion that was in no way based in reality. Because we all have opinions, I think opening up the nominations to 10 movies isn't a horrible idea to try.

Yes, we can agree Easterbrook sucks!

KentAllard said...

Victor has a good point about GE's sneer at the "Arts & Sciences" part of his column. There is an amazing number of talented people needed to create any movie, even a low-budget one, and for Easterbrook to look down hi nose at them is as stupid as...everything else Easterbrook does.

And I thought I was being a homer with 5-7. Could be 3-9.

Bengoodfella said...

Yeah, that was a good point. I do have a lot of respect for the behind the scenes people on movie sets and there is A LOT of science that is behind it.

Easterbrook really strikes me as the elitist type person, where he finds it easy to look down on others. I may be wrong but I think part of the reason he thinks he is right about football is because he thinks he is right about a lot of things because he always feels like he is the smartest person in the room.

I think 5-7 is a little low. I can see Notre Dame going 9-3 this year. Mark them down for that in my book.

Martin said...

Easterbrook is an elitist fuck, you are correct!

My neighbor has worked in lighting and sound production in Hollywood for years. These guys are very talented and provide the science of which Gregg so utterly lacks any understanding. One wonders if Gregg has ANY kind of technical skills. I for one doubt it.

Gregg also completely misses, to the point he had to be NOT paying attention, that the Bills were NOT running a Two Minute or Hurry Up offense, which he alludes to by talking about "quick 3 and outs". They were running a No Huddle, which was using the same amount of time off the clock as the Pats and their regular huddle offense. The big thing is that by not huddling, it forced the Pats to keep the same players on the field for their defense. The quick three and outs were caused by incomplete passes and the fact that ANY three and out is quick, no matter the offensive style.

Gregg misses the fact that it was two deep passes, that exploited a weakness in the defensive scheme (cover the wide outs double deep, give up the middle), and not a tired defense that lead to the Pats scoring. I might be wrong, but it was like two consecutive throws, wasn't it? the Bills never had a chance to adjust, so they got beat because of a schemetatic choice in the defense, not a tired D caused by a No Huddle offense. He's such an asshat.

Bengoodfella said...

I regret calling Peter King elitist because I believe Easterbrook can be much worse. He obviously doesn't see the science in the technological advances that have been made in movie making...or at least he doesn't respect what has been done.

That's awesome your neighbor has worked in lighting and sound for years, my neighbors are mostly retired or policemen.

I think it is a more time of possession problem and not a no-huddle problem. You are exactly right in that any time a team goes three and out they are going to have some problems with the defense being tired. It doesn't matter whether there is a huddle or a no-huddle being run. In theory a good no-huddle will tire out the defense for the opposing team more than the defense for your team. Three and outs are generally pretty quick, so it is more of a time of possession problem than a no-huddle problem.

I don't remember the exact problem or passes at the end of the game, suffice to say the Bills defensive scheme probably wasn't sound if they had shut the Patriots down for a good portion of the game and then gave up two late touchdowns. I am not sure how much it had to do with being tired and how much it had to do with the Patriots were just playing better.

Jeff said...

My problem with Easterbrook (I actually broke out the old keyboard and blogged about this week's column) is that he lies or exaggerates without explanation. The examples from this column are his incredulous questions about how the Joker can have certain attributes that the movie doesn't purport him to have. Also, the Single Worst Play of the Season So Far is a distortion of the truth. If I knew anything about the galaxy I could probably poke holes at the rest of his bullshit.

Also, I hate his forced love or cheerleaders. No, you're not just one of the guys.

This is a good blog, I always forget to come here.

Bengoodfella said...

I noticed that you had blogged about this week. I even remember the post you did last year about the Dark Knight because you and J.S. did one at the same time about it.

He DOES exaggerate or lie without explaining. He takes one tiny little bit of a situation or a truth and tries to make it a hard and fast rule. Like his example of how it doesn't always benefit a team to blitz on third and long and then he takes 4 examples from one week's games as if these are the ultimate proof.

The Single Worst Play of the Year was a distortion of the truth and I was writing part of that on my lunch break at work and they have YouTube blocked so I couldn't really pick on that because I didn't have the exact video to show how he was wrong. I could have embedded it and let everyone decide but I couldn't recall the play well enough. As a general rule, it does pay to hustle but if I remember correctly Stokley was so far ahead of everyone they would have to run a 2.4 40 yard dash to catch him.

The cheerleader stuff kills me also. I know he is trying to be a red blooded male, but he is not. It does come off as forced.

It's ok if you forget about this blog. We have really had to cut our advertising budget. We had a prime spot during The Office tonight but they backed out when they learned we could only pay them in food.