Saturday, October 17, 2009

9 comments It's Simmons Saturday!

This has been a pretty crazy week at work for me (we all know "work" means "in my mom's attic playing video games"), so I figured the only way my week could end on a good note is if I post a Bill Simmons column for Saturday. Though I use words as if I don't like Bill Simmons at all and he frustrates the hell out of me with his incessant Boston-centricism and need to be the funniest person in the room, if I had to choose a mock draft for columnists who I could only read their columns for the rest of my life, I would eventually choose him in the draft. Eventually. He doesn't always have bad ideas. Today's column wasn't one of his worst, but I do have a tendency to find some disagreements with him in his columns and this one isn't different.

If he would ever stop having a career year at picking NFL games, I may have a chance to beat him by the end of the year. I am still confident.

Here's the difference: Carson Palmer has been thriving in crunch time, whereas Matt Schaub always looks like he was just forced to watch a "Survivor" sex tape starring Shambo.

I just want to start off positive today. This is a relevant pop culture reference. I give Bill props for making it modern this one time.

So here's my question: We're 5-for-5 with memorable Bengals games. Gus Johnson called two of them. Clearly, SOMETHING is happening here. Why not just assign Gus to the Bengals until they play a blowout? I say we ride this like a hot blackjack table.

The reason Gus is not assigned to every Bengals game is because CBS probably doesn't share the same infatuation with Gus Johnson that Bill Simmons seems to have started among journalists and fans. Every exciting game Gus Johnson calls it seems like his call of the game ends up on the Internet somewhere as an example of what a good announcer does. He is like the anti-Chip Caray.

VINNY SALVUCCI (-4.5) over Chris Brown

Bill is rating the line for other events, outside of NFL games, this week. At least it is a creative idea, even if it is not terribly entertaining. By the way, Vinny Salvucci is from the movie "All The Right Moves," which was made over 25 years ago. Bill regressed on the pop culture references in a matter of a couple paragraphs.

Salvucci was the guy from "All the Right Moves" who fumbled in his own end zone in the pouring rain and cost Ampipe High the game -- although it wasn't his fault because his idiot coach should have taken a safety -- then couldn't stop sobbing in the locker room, leading to that same idiot coach (played by Craig T. Nelson) to belittle him in front of everyone, prompting Tom Cruise to do the "He didn't quit, you quit!" intervention and get kicked off the team (which nearly cost Cruise a college scholarship but enabled him to have "I feel sorry for you" sex with Lea Thompson), with everything ending when Salvucci was arrested in class for armed robbery.

Thanks Bill, I really appreciate the plot summary of the movie. This is why I call the idea Bill had as not terribly entertaining. If you have to spend 100 words explaining the person in the fake gambling line you just created, it's time to go back to the drawing board for column ideas...or leave this gambling line out of the column.

LIONS (-1) over the Other Eight Crappy Teams

Those teams: St. Louis (The King of Crappy); Oakland (Queen Crappy); Cleveland and Buffalo (the Duke and Duchess of Crappy); and Kansas City, Carolina, Washington, Tennessee (the Lords of Crappy). On a neutral field, if Calvin Johnson was healthy (and right now, he's not), I'd take the Lions over any of them.

This has been a tough year to not be a homer for me. It's easy to not be a homer when your team does well, at least it is for me, but when everyone is taking shots at your favorite NFL team, it's hard not to defend them and stay detached about it. So I won't defend my favorite team on this list because they are 1-3 and a crappy team.

But...I will say that if the Lions were to play my favorite NFL team on a neutral field, I would put $100 on the fact my favorite team would win the game. Especially considering the teams they have lost to this year are a combined 9-4. I'm not going to say they are a good team but I honestly believe two teams on this list, the Titans and Panthers, would beat the Lions this year and I say so with $100 behind that statement...if they really played on a neutral field. Bill is wrong about this.

Also, how the hell does Bill not have the Browns on the same level as Oakland? The Browns are horrible and managing to get worse as the year goes along. I think they are as bad as the Rams and the Raiders.

YANKEES (-7) over Angels
DODGERS (-2.5) over Phillies

My predictions: Yanks in four, Dodgers in seven, setting up the monster matchup to end all baseball matchups.

The Yanks in four games? I sometimes wish Bill would take his predictions a little bit more seriously and not try to reverse jinx teams. Even if the Yankees sweep the Angels, Bill does not actually mean this prediction, he is just trying to reverse jinx the Yankees. He is so obvious at times with his intentions.

Of all the juicy subplots -- West Coast versus East Coast; Joe Torre facing his old team; two steroid guys (Manny and A-Rod) looking for redemption; late-'70s flashbacks to Mr. October and Bob Welch; late-'40s and '50s flashbacks to Bronx-Brooklyn; the two biggest TV markets;

Again, this is the type of thing I hate...when sports journalists or sports semi-journalists start talking about all the sub-plots and stories for a series that will make the series exciting. I could give a crap about stories the media will be able to write about the World Series, I want the most exciting World Series to watch if my favorite team is not in the series. I could seriously give a shit about how exciting the matchup looks on paper, I want the best games. I know the media finds it more exciting to have juicy sub-plots to hype but I don't want a Dodgers-Yankees World Series if it isn't the best potential matchup. It just frustrates me the idea of a great baseball series is not the complete motivation for two teams to meet. At some point the networks try to make these sub-plots become the story instead of the game being the story.

This is the difference in sports journalists and real sports fans in my mind. Real fans want to see the best set of games possible, while journalists want the best set of games that provides them with more fodder to hype the series and write columns about the series. The less thinking needed to write "storylines," the better the series is in their eyes. It's annoying. Who should really care about sub-plots or which matchup is easier to hype? Unaffiliated baseball fans should think about what the best series will be, and that is the series we should all be rooting for.

I don't give a shit about the history of the teams that have a sexier matchup, the history of the teams isn't going to guarantee a good series. Joe Torre isn't playing the series, the Dodgers players are. Sports journalists or sports semi-journalists need to quit cheering for hype and start cheering for a good potential World Series matchup. Not that Dodgers-Yankees aren't a good matchup, but cheer for that matchup because of the baseball that could be played, not the outside stories involved.

Besides, just like Mike Celizic thinks, the ALCS is the real World Series right? It's all a forgone conclusion after that according to him.

(Of course, I probably just jinxed it and headed us toward Angels-Phillies, or as Fox calls it, "The Ratings Apocalypse of 2009."

If that is a good series then I will be happy. I don't give a crap if Fox likes the matchup or not.

Derek Anderson's Week 5 Performance (+5.5) over A TIPPED-OVER PORT-O-JOHN

Sure, Anderson finished 2-for-17 for 23 yards and 15.1 QB rating. But did you notice the Browns won? The man knows how to win ugly. Literally. We just saw it. You might think, "How can I pick this guy against the defending champs?" I am thinking, "Bad weather, ugly game, dead crowd, flat Steelers team ... these are Derek Anderson conditions, baby!"

There is no way in hell I can pick Derek Anderson on the road against anyone at this point. There is no excuse for the way he played last week. I know the Browns won the game last week but they won 6-3 against the Bills. In my mind, Brady Quinn needs to be starting the rest of the year just to see if there is any chance he might be a good quarterback in Cleveland. What's the point in trying to win games with Derek Anderson if you are planning on getting a new QB in the draft? May as well get the first pick if you want a QB, especially since the Rams are headed for a 1-15 year, the Browns have to step up their game and start losing or show the fans they may win in the future. Start Quinn, if you wins games with him, at least you know he could be a good QB or can get some trade value out of him. If you lose, well you were going to do that with Derek Anderson anyway.

Mean JaMarcus Russell E-Mails/Tweets (+3) over MEAN BRAD CHILDRESS E-MAILS/TWEETS

This wasn't bold typed in Bill's column to show this sentence, he accidentally didn't bold it (even though I did), so it didn't stand out. I know it's not easy to be an editor, but if you have your site's most popular columnist putting out a column, wouldn't you make sure there were approximately zero errors in that column? Especially something simple to catch like this.

A dramatic shift over the past seven days once everyone ran out of ways to make jokes about Childress' creepy beard.

I am proud to say this blog has already been making fun of JaMarcus Russell since Week 1. We are ahead of the curve, culminating with the semi-proving that Russell is on pace to have the worst year a QB has ever had in the modern era and calling him the worst Top 5 QB pick ever. 7 days? We have been talking about his crappiness for almost 7 weeks.

Well, here are the 2009 quarterbacks below the Trudeau Line:

Brady Quinn, 62.9
Jake Delhomme, 60.3
Josh Johnson, 57.1
JaMarcus Russell, 47.1
Derek Anderson, 39.1

I realize Bill is trying to crack a joke here and think of something creative and funny to say, but this list of quarterbacks who are below the Trudeau Line is a bit misleading. It's a joke, I get it, but at least acknowledge two of these guys (Quinn and Johnson) haven't gotten a far shot to show what they can do in my mind.

(Its Sunday at 3:38pm. I am about to defend Jake Delhomme below. I knew this would happen. He is currently single handedly giving the game back to the Buccaneers at this moment. This is why I need to learn to not defend players.) Again, I am not defending his crappiness but I am going to say Delhomme has two 82.2 ratings and a 70.3 rating this year, which is crappy I admit, but he is being dragged down by his first game with a rating of 14.7. I can't believe I am making excuses for him.

I am also going to defend Brady Quinn. He hasn't completely been given a chance to be the QB for the Cleveland Browns yet. He's always had Derek Anderson over his shoulder, so I am sure that is affecting his numbers in some fashion. Give the guy and a real 6-7 game chance and then if he keeps sucking I can accept knocking him.

As far as Josh Johnson goes, here is what Bill said earlier in the column:

Josh Johnson (+8.5) over YOUR EXPECTATIONS

He's not awful. I'm telling you. There's a little Willie Beamen in him. Just a little. A tinge. A splash. A dusting.

For a guy who thinks Josh Johnson isn't awful, it sure is bizarre to put him below the Trudeau line and not put a disclaimer in there that Johnson has only started 2 games in the NFL. Again, give the guy more time before you start mocking him. I don't mind the fact Bill puts guys below the Trudeau line, but at least mention caveats these players haven't played much. I know that reality would get in the way of making fun of the player, but come on.

I can't defend Derek Anderson and JaMarcus Russell. They deserve their spot on Bill's fake Trudeau Line list.

(Could you measure the excitement in Week 17 as Delhomme needs to complete his last five passes to avoid a Trudeau for the season?

(Again, I semi-defend Delhomme here. It doesn't matter how many completions he has if he insists on throwing interceptions every possession.) Good grief. I have no problem with someone knocking a player, just get your facts straight, that's all. Delhomme has a completion percentage on the year of 60.3%, which is good for only 20th in the NFL, but completing 5 passes in a row isn't his problem for him, it's throwing interceptions and fumbling the ball. He's a turnover machine. I can't defend him anymore because he stinks, but if you are going to make a joke about a quarterback not being able to complete passes at least make sure he is at the very bottom of the league in completion percentage and not ahead of guys like Philip Rivers and Tony Romo.

In the past few months, I have flown on airplanes that had Wi-Fi; my favorite lunch place to do work added Wi-Fi; and news leaked that Apple's tablet (the iPad, a curved, handheld computer) will launch next year. Well, I think we need to establish some rules. Like, right now. Working on Wednesday at my lunch place, the dude next to me was going through e-mails and watching clips for two hours; one time I glanced over and he was examining professionally done, shirtless photos of himself that looked like they were ready to be shipped off to Blueboy magazine.

I agree, something is going to need to be done by all this Wi-Fi use in public. The more people get used to it, the more comfortable with the idea they become...and then all of a sudden a child is walking by a table in a coffeehouse and sees a man going at an animal (or even a man/woman) in a sexual fashion on a computer screen. Bad things will occur. Rules are needed.

Also, I am reminded with that last sentence of when I found out my college roommate freshman year was gay. I opened a drawer to find a paperclip and there was a nudie men's magazine staring back at me. Awesome. I don't really care, I just needs a heads up on this stuff before I innocently try to find a paperclip or he just should hide it better. The same thing goes for public Wi-Fi, I don't care, I just don't want to be walking by a table and something you are looking at in public you should be looking at in private.

(I am just excited when someone types in "men's nudie magazine" or "man going at an animal in a sexual fashion" somewhere in that search will be this blog. Along with the searches we get for "Nazi" and "Hiel Hitler" that lead to this blog (thanks again JemeHill), I bet a lot of people get disappointed when they read what we talk about here.)

The Bowels of Hell (+4) over RICHARD SEYMOUR

Had the parallels kept going, the week he got traded to the Raiders, ESPN would have traded me to ... I mean ... is there a comparable sports Web site to the Raiders?

In my mind? ESPN is the Cowboys where I keep hearing about how good they are supposed to be with all their talent but they don't seem to make the most of it. AOL Fanhouse is the Raiders because there are some decent parts there but you know they are just waiting until their contracts run out to jet ASAP. FoxSports is the Colts because they have are loaded in some aspects of the site, but really weak in my opinion on other parts of the site. CBSSportsline is the Steelers because I always feel like it shouldn't be one of the better sports sites but then I read it and find out it's a little better than I thought. are the Patriots because it doesn't seem like there is a whole lot there when you look at it but when I looked at their lineup they really should be in contention for my favorite major sports website because they have Joe Posnanski, Jeff Pearlman, and Stewart Mandel, all of whom I enjoy a good percentage of the time.

Basically I think AOL feels like the Raiders to me so can you imagine Mariotti and Simmons on the same page? The parallels for Bill and Richard Seymour he detailed in his column don't end there. I didn't like Seymour and now feel bad for him...and the same thing may happen to me if I knew Bill had to write columns next to Jay Mariotti's columns.

What are the odds defenders of some of those sites are going to write me and tell me what an idiot I am? 70%? Just to let you know, I am confident now I chose correctly, but I didn't think about it all day or anything...but I am confident they are good comparisons.

If there was, I'd give you the link, followed by the site repeatedly crashing. Sorry, Richard Seymour.

This is Bill's reminder to us all that he is popular as a columnist and his SimmonsClones do what he says. If you don't believe me, let him link a YouTube video on his Twitter, and see how many have comments below the video saying Bill sent them.

Let's see what Bill's dad has to say:

Dad: "Look, the guy we need is Marvin Harrison. We need a third receiver. He used to kill us."

Me: "But Dad, supposedly he's a bad guy."

Dad: "We've had plenty of bad guys."

Me: "I don't think they want to go near him. Nobody does. Remember? The shooting thing?"

Dad (quickly): "He was never convicted."

(Translation? The Pats fans are getting a little edgy.)

I guess Bill's dad speaks for Pats fans everywhere. I wouldn't say this if Bill had any proof other than what his dad said here that Pats fans are getting edgy, but Bill lets this one example represent all Pats fans and their feelings. This is one of many reasons why native New Englanders don't like Bill that much. He comes off as representing them, which they sometimes resent.

(Like how I just spoke for New England fans? Ironic when you compare it to me accusing Bill of speaking for Patriots fans, huh?)

Then Bill recreates a new "All-Star team" so that his fans can add it to his Wikipedia page and make it even longer. Then Bill will read his Wikipedia page and think about how awesome and creative he is. That's what I want to believe happens.

Josh McDaniels & Mike Nolan (-10) over NORV TURNER & RON RIVERA

Remember when Ron Rivera was a semi-hot head coaching candidate? Other than he quit/got fired from the Bears, what happened?

The big question that seems to keep coming up on me...should I purchase Bill's book or not? As you can see, the odds of me being interested and enjoying the book during certain chapters are as good as me despising and wanting to burn the book during certain chapters. Tough decisions...

If anyone is looking for my team on the Yahoo Fantasy Football standings, look towards the bottom. It's just pathetic.


Edward said...

"Of course, I probably just jinxed it and headed us toward Angels-Phillies, or as Fox calls it, 'The Ratings Apocalypse of 2009.'"

Yes, I'm sure Fox would hate to have a team from the second-largest market face off against a team from the fourth-largest market (Source).

RuleBook said...

Apparently the Panthers figured out how to win...take the ball out of Delhomme's hands. I didn't even know it was possible to get 48 RB carries in a game.

Bengoodfella said...

Haha...Edward thanks for pointing that out. I was too busy being on my soap box to pay attention to that fact. What he meant was, "it's not two teams that are considered a sexy team by Fox so they don't want the series...even though the Phillies won the World Series last year."

Rulebook, I had to edit my update in there simply because I had defended him too much. He really singlehandedly gave the game up today. Last drive was 15 runs on 16 plays and it worked. I'm telling you, if Carolina played in a larger market, more people would be all over the offensive play calling and Delhomme. I would take Tony Romo in a heartbeat.

RuleBook said...

Prediction: Peter King is going to be insufferable tomorrow with Favre and with the Patriots (even more so than normal)

Gene said...

Well, this seems like a good time for my review of Marching Band Mania or whatever Simmons latest 30x30 was called.

I would say it was a little better than the first. Some good old Colt footage, some great footage of owner Irsay being a lying drunk. Really showed the passion of this group of musicians.

Cons: They kept talking about how great the fight song was and I never heard it all the way through. They also basically gavie the band credit for returning football to Baltimore, but the new owners would not even return the band's calls the first year after the announcement was made. It could not have been a big factor. In fact, the band did not even get the gig until the owners were cornered on a local tv show.

Bottom line: Better directeing due to barry levinson, kind of an unusual story, a little slow at times and probably did not appeal to Simmons 25 year old fan base.

I am looking forward to the one on Steve Bartman. That is modern and I have never seen an update on him.

Bengoodfella said...

Rulebook, I am afraid your prediction is going to come true. I can't wait to read it...wait, yes I can.

Gene, I enjoyed it. I am not a band guy so I wasn't sure if I would like it. Regardless we didn't hear the fight song all the way through and I like how the band didn't give up, but it did drag for me at a certain point.

One point I wanted to see hammered home more and instead of being just mentioned for more than a minute is how Baltimore was the beneficiary of a Irsay-ish owner in Art Modell leaving Cleveland for Baltimore. I am sure some Browns fans feel Baltimore stole their team.

Also, I didn't like how they dumped on Jacksonville, right or wrong, when they got their expansion team. The band members seemed like jerks for saying they deserved a team in the 1993 expansion. It may have been true Jacksonville hasn't turned out to be a NFL mecca but there is no need to come off like they did.

It was an older storyline and I would like to see some more modern stories but I felt like it was an upgrade from the Gretzky one.

Gene said...


I agree both episodes have been very black and white good guy/bad guy and had little of the shades of gray that is almost always inherent in these situations. Your Modell comment is right on the mark on this point. Only difference is he did not sneak out on a moving van in the middle of the night.

KentAllard said...

I think sportswriters pursue the "story line" because they are bored with writing about sports itself, and would rather chase another angle. It's easier, too.

As far as Stuart Mandel goes, I responded to a twitter post of his with "Fuck you" this weekend, so I imagine I'll make his next column.

Bengoodfella said...

Modell was not quite as bad as Irsay, don't get me wrong, but the city of Baltimore benefitted from an owner leaving a football tradition heavy makes the parallels between Baltimore and Cleveland eerie to me.

I don't hate sportswriting angles but sportswriters tend to openly root for certain teams to do well because it makes their job easier. It's annoying because generally the public and fans of the sport just want to be entertained.

I don't hate Mandel. I don't know why because there is a lot about him I see I could dislike, but I haven't gotten to that point quite yet.