Wednesday, September 9, 2009

7 comments What's Irritating Me Today

I think one of the biggest things that irritates me about the beginning of every sports year is when columnists start to write their "here is who is going to have a breakout season" columns. Though I almost dare not to link to my early posts on this site, this is one of the first issues I tackled on this blog. (Bengoodfella shivers at reading some of his earlier work) For me, it's an issue where the columnist is using his own opinion to decide who has "broken out" and who has not...and usually he is wrong in my mind. Tom Verducci in that article said Pedro Martinez and Felix Hernandez were going to break out, which was absurd in 2008. Hernandez was already broken out and Pedro was 36 years old. When these type columns come out there are invariably players who are already great players included as "breaking out."

Tom Curran does a similar thing today. He chooses the 5 guys in the NFL poised for "superstardom" this year. He creates little sub-categories for "stars" and "STARS" where the only difference is...............I don't even really understand or know. The sub-headline, which Curran may or may not be responsible for, says "Peterson, Rivers, Ryan, Andre, and Calvin Johnson Will Be Household Names." That's right, Tom Curran looked into his crystal ball and decided Adrian Peterson, Matt Ryan, Phillip Rivers, Andre Johnson and Calvin Johnson are going to have great years this year and become household names. Unfortunately his crystal ball may be dated 2007 or 2008 because these guys are already stars. The only way these five players aren't household names right now to someone is if that person doesn't follow the NFL. Everyone who watches the NFL knows the names of these 5 players. Everyone.

This is absurd. I know it is a subjective thing but it just sounds stupid to say these are the 5 guys who are going to become stars this year. Imagine how incredibly stupid someone would sound if they came by your office, or basement/attic as the case may be, and told you here are five players I think are going to break out and become superstars this year...then listed these 5 players. I would dare you to not call this person an idiot, because it is so very obvious these players are already superstars. I just love it when the media starts annointing players "superstars" like they can't be considered that until there is an official acknowledgement from a sportswriter.

Let's see what Tom Curran has to say for himself about these picks...

There are stars and then there are STARS.

There are words and then there are WORDS. The difference in these two categories? Caps lock.

And trying to put a player into one category or the other is a subjective thing.

Absolutely, it is purely subjective and I subjectively say last year's leading rusher and quite possibly best running back Adrian Peterson is already a superstar. Ask any defensive coordinator who has to gameplan around him. I am sure defensive coordinators feel the same about Andre Johnson.

Sometimes subjective things can still be wrong.

For instance, Carson Palmer … star. Tony Romo … STAR. Agree? Maybe, maybe not. Palmer’s every bit as talented as Romo. If you asked a dozen GMs, more than half would lean toward starting their team with Palmer.

All talent aside...really? Palmer has had some injury issues in the past that may cause me to not go with him. I think I may actually choose Romo, but it's a hard choice. You know what, I am not getting unfocused, back to the task at hand...

But if Tony Romo and Carson Palmer walked side-by-side through, say, O’Hare International Airport, who would be more widely recognized?

I think Tom Curran is getting the football side of being a football star and the US Weekly side of being a football star a little bit confused. The fact that "tweens" can spot Tony Romo in an airport doesn't mean that he is a superstar in football and Carson Palmer is not. Tony Romo may be a superstar outside of football because he likes to try and bag untalented actresses/singers/fame whores but that doesn't mean when it comes time to write an article about 5 football players poised to reach superstardom you can compare the players to him.

I am getting off my point but if Tony Romo is the starting point as an example because he has crossed over to the non-NFL side of fame, then Tom Curran is basically predicting these 5 NFL athletes are going to start dating other famous people that will turn them into (cue jazz hands) "STARS" (Actually by having an altercation with the female rat looking creature that is Tila "The Odds of Me Having Herpes is 60%" Tequila, Shawne Merriman is now a "STAR." Congratulations Shawn, Tom Curran is proud of you).

What I am saying is we should just stick to discussing players who are stars in the realm of football and these 5 guys are clearly superstars when it comes to the NFL.

And yet at this time three years ago, Romo was known by nobody outside of NFL personnel and the people who follow the league closely.

He's killing me. He still compares these players to Romo, saying no one knew who Romo was a few years ago, and then chooses 5 guys who were all chosen in the Top 10 of the NFL Draft as being on the same track as Romo. By being picked in the top 10 of the NFL Draft they are pretty much expected to be stars at this point, which these guys are. I just don't see the parallel.

So we wondered: Who’s going to blow up in 2009? Which players who are already stars are ready to walk over the threshold and become STARS?

I would think to fit this category you couldn't have made an All-Pro or Pro Bowl team or led the league in any type of statistical category. Which would pretty much preclude everyone on this list of 5 from being on this list except for Calvin Johnson.

All are known. None are known so well they’d be mobbed in an airport, recognized in New York City or be readily identifiable by a nickname.

LaDainian Tomlinson has probably been the best running back in the NFL over the last 8 years, he is a superstar, but he would never be mobbed in any airport outside of San Diego. I guess he fits Curran's criteria by having a nickname of LT. Regardless, these 5 players are already stars and I think it is stupid to tie in their NFL stardom in with the general public knowing who they are. Most of the players who are mobbed in an airport or can get recognized in New York City are also guys who go looking for that type of fame but may not be superstars when it comes to football (Chad Johnson, I am looking at you) or guys who do a lot of commercials so they have a higher Q rating among the public (Donovan McNabb) but that doesn't make this player a superstar in my mind.

I just don't like articles that predict "break out" players or some bizarre subjective difference in a "star" and a "STAR."

-After my whining yesterday with Peter King's inaccuracies in his MMQB-Tuesday mail bag it appears, as usual, the inaccuracy was quietly edited out.

When I picked the Falcons to win the NFC South, I did it because of faith in three people --

I always found it ironic the profession of sportswriting covered sports, where an athlete's mistakes are there for every one to see and comment on, but a sportswriter can cover up his/her mistakes with simple editing and no one may ever know he/she made a mistake.

When covering a player, a sportswriter can talk about what a bonehead move a player may have made on the field, but when that sportswriter makes a mistake, it is easy to cover up. Oh, the irony.

-Jay Mariotti chimes in on the LeGarrette Blount punch to the face of a Boise State player. As is typical for him, he is wrong when he chimes in.

He thinks Blount should go to jail for the punch, which is absurd. Yes, in a typical societal setting he would go to jail for punching someone but in a typical societal setting pretty much anything that happens on the football field would cause the players to go to jail. It is accepted because it happens on the football field. I can't just run up and tackle an unsuspecting person on the street carrying a loaf of bread, but I can tackle a ball carrier on the football field carrying a football.

Then, in what nearly became collegiate sport's version of Malice at the Palace, Blount tried to scuffle with Boise fans who were taunting him from the stands.

Ok, Jay is getting a little carried away here. It wasn't very much like the incident in Detroit. The incident in Detroit was actually started by a fan, here the fans were just taunting the visiting player, which happens all the time. There have been plenty of other cases where fans have thrown things at players in college football (snowballs, etc), so this isn't the only case where players and fans alike have gotten riled up. Let's not go crazy over this.

Oh, but it will be. This reminded me of an out-of-control hockey fight that should involve legal repercussions. If Blount walks down the street in Boise, Eugene or any American city and starts hauling off on people, he'd be arrested. Why should he be immune from the law because he's in a football uniform?

Decent enough point, but the reason is the incident happened on the football field after a football game. There different standards for violence when it comes to what happens on a sports field and what happens in public. It shouldn't really matter whether the game was over or not, meaning there is no difference in two hockey players fighting during or after the game, generally if it happens on the field of play there are no charges pressed. I think that should be the case here as well.

Society, and probably I, would see it differently if Blount found Hout in a bar and just proceeded to beat the crap out of him. That would not happen on the football field, where a certain amount of violence and anger is expected, so criminal charges would not and should not be pressed.

Blount is gone for the rest of the year. That was a pretty stiff punishment. The public is also being punished with the media's response to this incident. I can't remember if it was Todd McShay or Adam Schefter who came on ESPN Friday and said in one NFL GM's mind this has taken Blount from a 2nd round pick to being undrafted.

Lo and behold Sunday morning on Outside the Lines Bob Ley said, "Blount's punch has taken him from being a top rated NFL prospect to possibly not being drafted," as if the one GM's opinion is now exactly what is going to happen. I hate it when the media takes one quote and just runs with it like that one opinionated quote has now become fact or is the overriding opinion.

The bottom line is Blount will be drafted. Someone is going to take a chance on him in the draft because he is too talented to pass up and not draft at all. I just don't see that happening.

Back to Jay...

So much for Heisman Trophy consideration. So much for going in the first two rounds of the NFL draft.

I still think Jay is being a little dramatic about Blount's draft stock. Brandon Meriweather was drafted in the first round in 2007 and he was a part of the University of Miami-Florida International brawl a few years ago and was seen stomping on players who were on the ground...which I am pretty sure would get you jail time if done in public. His stock did drop but not out of the 1st round. I think Blount will be the same. He doesn't deserve jail, he made a stupid mistake and is paying a penalty for the mistake by having to miss the entire college football season.

He did. And his life never will be the same.

Not true. He will get past this.

-Bill Simmons has a comment about the US Open up on his Twitter:

Monfils-Nadal on ESPN2: a must watch if you've ever been remotely interested by tennis. Monfils with a big crowd = electric.

Combine his excitement for that match with one of the greatest matches ever being played two Julys ago at Wimbledon between Nadal and Federer and I wonder when Bill is going to come out and say he was wrong about this article?

You know, the one where he basically says tennis sucks and it is not interesting anymore? I know saying he was wrong is not Bill's forte, but come on, read that article again and everyone pretty much knows Bill Simmons was wrong about that. Tennis is alive and well, America just has to get used to having American male tennis players that are choke artists like Andy Roddick tends to be, which means not having any American male tennis players go far in major tournaments. I think America has gotten used to that by now.

Bill is never shy to tell us when he is right about something, just once I want to read him saying he was wrong about his tennis article. Just once.


KentAllard said...

To clarify a point that hasn't been made in many articles, Shawn Merriman was not arrested for strangling Tila Tequila. He was arrested for stopping before he finished the job.

RuleBook said...

I think these Tom Brady and Peyton Manning guys might finally start getting some recognition this season, too. They are perfectly poised for breakout seasons...

Bengoodfella said...

I am glad we clarified that. Though I think we should help clear his name and say that he only started choking her because he didn't want her to leave intoxicated. Apparently the man can play professional football and get around massive 300 pound blockers and tackle the ball carrier but the only way he can stop his 105 lb "girlfriend" from leaving is to strangle her.

If he was still able to use PED's he would have had enough strength to stop her from leaving. I think it's the NFL's fault.

Actually Peyton Manning is not quite a superstar yet. I am sure there is someone who mistakens him for Eli Manning. I do think this is the breakout year for Drew Brees. I see him completely breaking out this year and people will start recognizing him in public.

Martin said...

Actually, Simmons did come out on his podcast after the final with Federer and Nadal and say he blew that one, that he was wrong on so many levels. Since it's Bill, saying it on one media platform for him is the same as saying it on all of them.

Bengoodfella said...

There we go, the Liason to the Podcast has cleared everything up for me. I take it back, Bill Simmons did take it back, though maybe just not in print...which is the only thing that I end up reading of his.

Martin said...

Hehe yeah, it's like a little kid saying "But I had my fingers crossed".

Bengoodfella said...

Yeah I know, but I can deal with him saying he was wrong from the podcast. I knew when I read the article originally he was wrong and I bet he did too. He was just trying to write something controversial and it sort of worked.

Two of the best players of the past 50 years are playing tennis right now and he is saying the sport is dead. He was just wrong.