Monday, November 30, 2009

12 comments MMQB Review: All Hail The Titans Edition

This morning when I clicked on the link to MMQB I noticed in Peter King's biography it said the following words:

Senior writer Peter King is one of America's premier pro football writers and his Monday Morning Quarterback column on, which began in 1997, has become a must-read for fans, league insiders and anyone who loves the NFL. On some weeks the column generates more than 1,000 e-mails.

I have acquired a new fascination with how short Peter's Tuesday mail bag is, and I am wondering why it is that way? Some weeks the column generates more than 1,000 e-mails? Maybe I have a skewed perspective of the sportswriting world but that doesn't sound like a lot of emails for a 5-6 page column every week from a premier sportswriter on a major sports website. Even though Peter doesn't seem to get a lot of email, I still don't get why the mailbag is only one page and only has 3-4 email questions in it per week. I would think he could get more mail out of the MMQB than just a couple. "Some weeks" generating 1,000 emails (I refuse to hyphenate the word "email") just doesn't seem like a lot to me.

Regardless of his mailbag, let's see what declarations and inside knowledge on the NFL Peter can provide for us this week. More importantly, will he keep the streak of "mentioning Brett Favre in every column" alive? It's not even a real question because we know the answer.

There's much to dissect this morning. Concussions, Canton, Jim Caldwell, Colts, Bill Cowher, and later in the alphabet, Vince Young's drive, Dennis Dixon's mistake, Rex Ryan's challenge, San Diego's streak, the MVP storm and the latest Game of the Year tonight in New Orleans.

Oh goodie. It sounds like another MMQB I am going to be completely not interested in reading. Maybe that is why Peter doesn't get much mail, his topics aren't exactly normally that riveting and diverse.

And the Miraculous Bra, of course.

It's always sad to see a man have to start wearing a bra. Save yourself some dignity Peter and just go to the gym 4-5 times a week if you have time.

My starting point is the parking lot outside LP Field in Nashville.

Whenever Peter starts a story like this I normally automatically assume it is a story about how he lost his car in the parking lot after the game and couldn't find it so he is going to bitch about it for a while. Fortunately, there is no way that is the case because Peter would NEVER actually go to a game in Tennessee, so there is no way he was in the parking lot to even lose his car.

"I've got the ball in my hands,'' said Britt, speaking of the ball he caught to beat Arizona Sunday at the final gun in Nashville, speaking from the parking lot outside the stadium. "I don't want to let it go.''

Peter isn't exactly in the parking lot outside LP Field in Nashville right now. Kenny Britt is in the parking lot, but Peter is still in a studio in New York or in his living room at this point talking to Kenny Britt on the phone. Sometimes Peter likes to infer that he is actually where the person he is interviewing is located but that's simply not true. When I talk to someone on the phone in Atlanta during the morning, it doesn't mean I am starting the day in Atlanta. Yes, I am being nitpicky with Peter today.

Oddest thing about the catch you've all seen 10 times by now: "I never knew I got hit for a half-hour or so after it happened,'' Britt told me.

I liked Kenny Britt at Rutgers and thought he was a good receiver, so I know he could be a good receiver in the NFL and he is not dumb...and I don't play NFL football, but I don't understand how Britt didn't know he got hit in the end zone. That seems like something Kenny Britt should know. I want to call him stupid or oblivious for this.

'How'd that get there?' '' then he reconstructed the play, and people told him he got the crap beat out of him in the end zone. Cool stuff.

Cool stuff? Peter has an entire section on concussions after this and I can't help but wonder if maybe if Britt can't remember or for some reason his brain had forgotten from the impact when he got hit? Maybe I am crazy...I probably am. I just think it is interesting Peter talks about concussions directly below this story about the Titans and Kenny Britt can't remember getting hit on the play that won the game.

There's something about the Titans that speaks to exactly why the NFL is so popular.

Because contrary to what Peter seems to believe they are an actual NFL team with a fan base who likes the team?

"I saw Vince scramble. Sometimes in practice he throws it sidearm, so you know you have to be ready for anything.

Sometimes Vince Young also throws like he is flinging shit off his hand...but at least he is flinging the shit to the right team so that definitely counts for something.

Seems like we're making head-trauma news almost by the week now. A top league source insisted to me Sunday that the Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner benchings Sunday due to mild head-trauma residual effects are not the beginning of a sea change with how individual teams deal with brain injuries. But it sure seemed that way.

By the way, both teams lost games by close margins. Would having Warner or Roethlisberger in those games have made the difference? Quite possibly. I am not saying both these guys should have played in the game, but I don't believe the NFL is going to undergo a huge realization and start to deal with the injuries differently. If a team believes the quarterback of their team can play and win the game, and the quarterback doesn't pull himself from the game, then he will probably be in the game. Warner probably would have played if he hadn't told the Cardinals coaching staff that he woke up and wasn't comfortable.

Don't think both Pittsburgh and Arizona aren't fully aware they lost close games in a playoff chase without their starting quarterbacks. It just so happened two guys sat out one week because of concussion-related symptoms. I see it as more of a coincidence than a rising tide proving the NFL finally "gets it" on how concussions affect players.

Now, Jay Glazer reported on FOX Sunday, comes word that commissioner Roger Goodell is on the verge of toughening up the restrictions about dinged players returning to games.

I can confirm Glazer's report -- in the next week or so, the league will have a policy in place that if a player has any symptoms of memory loss or amnesia, or any foggy incident that shows a player clearly has lost his bearings for even a few moments, he won't be able to return to the game that day.

I can confirm Peter and Jay Glazer's report that the NFL is going to toughen up on restrictions and if a player seems to have lost consciousness of his surroundings he will not be able to return to the game.

See? I can be just like Peter King. Take another reporter's story and then add different words to it to make it seem like I know a lot and have learned something about the story myself. I can be an NFL insider just like Peter.

Also, if the NFL does tighten restrictions on when players can return to the game, then that will mean teams are going to hide whether a player has any symptoms during the game so that he can still be available to return to the game. I don't know if anyone believes me or not, but it's going to happen. There is going to be a rash of injuries where players are on the sidelines where no one really knows what is happening because the NFL teams don't want to affect their player's availability for the rest of the game.

Now the big question is whether players will self-report and be honest about headaches and things that may be signs of brain trauma --

No they won't.

So far, the new Caldwell is much like the old Tony Dungy. He's plain-spoken. Players thought he might be a little more fiery, but they've found him to be as thoughtful as Dungy and maybe slightly louder. But not much. When he spoke at halftime in Houston, his team down 20-7, all he talked about was an old football bromide: "We have to take back both lines of scrimmage.'' No screaming. Just a statement of fact. The Colts proceeded to reel off the next 28 points.

I hate to be a bummer in this Jim Caldwell love-fest we are all having right now, but it really, really, really, really helps that his quarterback is Peyton Manning.

It always helps to have Peyton Manning on your side.

Yes it does. Considering Manning is like an offensive head coach that means Caldwell only really has to worry about the defense of the Colts during a game normally.

But what the Colts have done is put a system in place, from the front office on down, that ensures a smooth passage from one year to the next.

That system is called "Let's continue to keep Peyton Manning as our starting quarterback."

That's the reason the Colts will prosper for as long as Manning is playing.

"As long as Manning is playing?" So basically there is no system in the front office that ensures smooth passage from one year to the next, there is just a system that has Peyton Manning as the quarterback. Once he retires, the system goes all to shit. Peter is trying to mislead his readers into believing the Colts have this great system in the front office set up from year-to-year, but really the entire system would fall apart if Peyton Manning didn't play for the Colts at the quarterback position. He is pretty much the guy that makes the system work very well for the Colts. This doesn't sound like much of a system in the front office.

That's one reason owner Jim Irsay signed Bill Polian's son Chris to be the long-term general manager the other day while Bill was still in place as franchise architect. Irsay didn't want the younger Polian to leave the Colts without a logical successor when Bill Polian steps away from the team in two or three or four years. "We'll continue to build the team with the same kind of philosophy and core values,'' Chris Polian told me.

Those core values? Peyton Manning is a good quarterback.

The philosophy? Keep Peyton Manning healthy.

The Colts have done a good job of finding competent defensive players who are cheap, whether it be in the draft or in free agency, but it is easy to talk about "the system" and the "core values" of a team when they have one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. Manning makes every player on the offense better and wins games because he works so hard with his receivers to get on the same page. It's not so easy to win games when Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie are being thrown the ball by an average quarterback. Of course the Colts could probably afford better receivers if they only had to pay for an average quarterback, but that is beside the point.

The Colts won't be known as the team of the decade because of their middling playoff success. Eight times since 2000 they've made the playoffs; five times they've lost their first game.

But Peyton Manning didn't even get to touch the ball in overtime last year!!! But.....that's not fair to count this against him....

The 2010 Hall of Fame Class will disappoint a lot of people.

Freaking great. You know, no one HAS to elect new guys into the Hall of Fame if they don't deserve it right?

Of the offensive players next up, I'd say Russ Grimm has the best shot, in part because the celebrated Washington offensive line doesn't have a player in.

Well that's a perfectly good reason to vote a player into the Hall of Fame. Because "the celebrated Washington offensive line doesn't have a player in." Who cares if Grimm is not one of the best players in the history of the NFL, that doesn't matter, we need to make sure the Washington Redskins have one of their offensive linemen in the Hall of Fame regardless of whether any of them deserve it or not.

Who "celebrated" the Washington offensive line? The media and the Redskins fans. So Russ Grimm should essentially be voted into the Hall of Fame because the media and fans of the team really liked the offensive line for the Redskins that he played on and the team was successful. If he deserves it, that's fine, but Grimm shouldn't be elected to the Hall of Fame for just the shitty reason that someone from the popular Redskins offensive line should be in there.

Wolf traded for an overweight party boy, Brett Favre,

There's the Brett Favre mention of the week...but it won't be the last.

But as for offensive coordinator possibilities for Weis, I'd list five teams:

This list is just pure speculation by Peter and it makes absolutely no sense. You will see.

1. New England, obviously. Bill Belichick hasn't given the offensive coordinator's title to Bill O'Brien this year, even though O'Brien has done a good play-calling job lately. Weis was vital to Tom Brady in his formative years, but Brady's all grown up now, so it's reasonable to wonder if Belichick would view Brady as needing Weis after five seasons without him.

I doubt it and Peter explained why.

2. Carolina. Weis and John Fox are close friends and current Panthers offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson worked under Weis in New England.

No, the problem in Carolina isn't Jeff Davidson, the problem is a shitty, shitty quarterback and Davidson has to call simple high school plays because Delhomme is too shitty to actually run the offense effectively. Now if Weis can play quarterback...

3. Kansas City. The Chiefs don't have a coordinator in the wake of the midseason departure of Chan Gailey. GM Scott Pioli and Weis worked together with the Jets and Pats. Not sure if Todd Haley and Weis, both strong personalities, would be oil and water.

I actually laughed at this. Weis and Haley are two men with huge egos. This would probably not work unless the goal was to have a fight to the death between these two men.

4. Indianapolis. Surprised? I don't see it happening, but it's intriguing.

I like how Peter lists 5 teams who Weis could become the offensive coordinator for and then Peter immediately dismisses the idea of one of the teams, but he wanted to mention it because he thought it would be really neat.

What's the point of conveying information if you aren't going to convey relevant information? If Peter is making a list of teams Charlie Weis could be hired as the offensive coordinator, it should be a real list, not a dreamy-fantasy list that Peter wants to see. What story has Peter King broken in the past 3 years? Does anyone at NBC or really know how worthless this man is? He is friends with the players, that's pretty much his only asset.

He is beyond best friends with Brett Favre and STILL got scooped on Favre announcing his unretirement from retirement. Seriously, how does Peter King miss that story? Earlier in this column he just basically restated a scoop on concussions that Jay Glazer got and then tried to pass it off like he was adding additional information. I am sure Peter is a nice guy, but shouldn't he have knowledge to give to his readers about the going-ons in the NFL, since that is the sport he covers?

5. Chicago. If Lovie Smith returns in Chicago, he may have to sacrifice offensive coordinator Ron Turner to shake up a bad team. Weis would be a candidate.

Maybe, but Chicago is probably too near Notre Dame and there are Notre Dame fans who are Bears fans. I am not saying the Bears should do whatever the fans want them to do, I am saying the Bears would have to at least think about this.

The weird first year (a trial run, really) of the four-team United Football League ended Friday with Jim Fassel's Las Vegas Locos besting Jim Haslett's Florida Tuskers for the first league title. Cool twist: The game ended in overtime, with the OT rule I love in force. Each team gets at least one possession, and once the second team gets the ball either on a turnover or on a regular possession, the game is in sudden death.

I call this the "pointless overtime" because the teams have already been playing like this for an entire game, why should one more possession in overtime make a difference? Especially when after one possession the game reverts to the shitty overtime rules everyone hates. This doesn't make any sense to me, so naturally Peter King loves it.

2. Indianapolis (11-0). We're watching an amazing season. I don't know how it'll end, but when you win five games in a row that you've trailed in the fourth quarter, you're having one of the most compelling seasons a team's had in years.

The Colts have won 5 games in a row when they have trailed in the fourth quarter. Peter can call it compelling but I call it pretty lucky.

Quote of the Week II

"Not even close.''
-- Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme after his second four-interception game of the year cost the Panthers in a 17-6 loss to the Jets, on whether he's ever had a season this frustrating.

Everybody feel bad for him starting right now. Poor guy. No one gives a shit about the defense of the team playing well yesterday (or most of the year) or the fact with an average quarterback Carolina is in the middle of the playoff hunt, we have to forget this because little Jake is frustrated with his performance. All he has to do is be average and he can't even do that.

Offensive Players of the Week

Kenny Britt, WR, and Vince Young, QB, Tennessee.

And I love the fact that Britt could have been the goat of the game after fumbling at the end of a 51-yard reception from Young on the previous drive in the fourth quarter. With 4:55 left in the game, he lost the ball, and it appeared the Titans had lost the game. But here came Young on a 99-yard drive, and here came Britt with the biggest catch of his life.

So Kenny Britt gets to be offensive player of the week with Vince Young because Britt almost blew the game with a crucial fumble? But because Vince Young saved his ass with a long drive and Britt finally did his job and caught the ball, he is rewarded for this? This is not a good reason to make Britt co-offensive player of the week.

MVP Watch

1. Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis. It's now very close between Manning and Favre, but it's still Manning, to me, because of all the new pieces the Colts had to put in place on offense this year, and because Indy's 11-0.

I still don't know exactly why or how Brett Favre is as valuable to the Vikings as Peyton Manning is to the Colts. Favre is having a great year, but if you put an average quarterback on that team, they still make the playoffs (like last year) and that's not the case if you took Manning off the Colts.

2. Brett Favre, QB, Minnesota. Last season after Thanksgiving, playing with a sore arm, Favre went 1-4 with two touchdowns and nine picks. In one game -- Sunday's rout of the Bears --Favre equaled his 2008 post-Turkey wins and exceeded his touchdown throws. Clearly, Favre enters December in far better shape this year than last, which means he might make a good run for his fourth MVP.

Clearly he is in better shape because he skipped training camp and all. I am serious and trying to be unbiased when I say there is no way Brett Favre should win MVP.

3. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans. It's going to be hard, but not impossible, for Brees to propel himself past Manning and Favre because the Saints' running game is such a prominent part of their offensive success.

What about Adrian Peterson for the Vikings? How much of a part of their success is he? I would say he a bigger part of the Vikings success than the three headed monster down in New Orleans. This is retarded analysis. Peter King downgrades Brees in the MVP race because the running game is so prominent for the Saints, but upgrades Favre in the MVP race even though he has a better running game (and running back) than Brees. Just stupid.

4. Tom Brady, QB, New England.

Whatever it is, Brady could have fewer TD throws -- and wins -- than Manning, Favre and Brees, which would leave him trailing in the MVP race.

Wins? So it is Tom Brady's fault he can't control how well the special teams and defense plays for the Patriots?

Stat of the Week

Or as I often call it in my head "The New England Patriots Stat of the Week." I called the "Stat of the Week" this moniker in my head last year when Peter King broke down the Matt Cassel situation what felt like every single week and when he broke down how Cassel was doing compared to Brady in 2007.

Back in the spring, Belichick called
Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Brady on the carpet for their comments -- Moss' and Welker's, really -- that the New England offense should be more explosive than in its 589-point 2007 season. Sounded far-fetched at the time, and even through the first month or so of this season. But the Patriots have averaged 37.2 points per game in their last five outings; the 2007 teams averaged 36.8.

You probably know what I want to say here. Just say it Peter. I know I harp on this but when given the chance Peter King will break down a New England Patriots situation with statistics in a heartbeat. It's ok for them to be his favorite team, I just don't like his indignant reply when he gets accused of it.

Quite a nice midseason refresher trip to Seattle for Thanksgiving. It's hard to imagine a prettier American city -- when it's not raining, of course. But a Friday noonish walk around Green Lake, just north of the city, was a 3.2-mile slice of heaven, with about a dozen different pines and other trees with late-turning leaves ringing a pristine lake. There's something very different about cities like Seattle, Portland, Spokane and Salt Lake City, from my experience in the last 10 or 15 years. They're less electronic. People read. People walk. People talk. People are outside a lot more, doing things that require less human-tethering to the almighty Blackberry.

People are so simple out West. I bet Peter wonders when there is going to be an NFL team in Seattle. I am kidding of course, he knows there is a team in Seattle because his daughter works for the Seahawks. There would only be a conflict of interest if Peter actually covered teams on the West Coast.

3. I think the demotion of Kerry Rhodes has mostly to do with work ethic and commitment, and some to do with Ryan wanting him to be more physical. "I got the message. The message was sent,'' Rhodes said after picking off two passes against Carolina. What I liked about the move was Ryan was blunt about it and sent a message to his team as well as to Rhodes. The message was: When we're losing, I'm going to shake things up-- and I'll have no sacred cows.''

It also helped the Jets played the white JaMarcus Russell. I think even I could pick off a few Jake Delhomme passes if given the opportunity.

b. So Aaron Rodgers is being left in the dust this fall by Brett Favre. What quarterback isn't? Rodgers (348 yards, though against Detroit) is still a commanding presence for the Packers.

That statement is about the only compliment that Peter King will give Aaron Rodgers. The more Peter says positive things about Rodgers the more it may seem like the Packers didn't make a mistake in keeping him over Favre...and Peter can't have that happen.

Rodgers: 22 TD, 5 INT, 3136 yards passing, 104.9 rating.
Favre: 24 TD, 3 INT, 2874 yards passing, 112.1 rating.

I just felt like pointing that out.

8. I think I'm doing the same thing if I'm Mike Shanahan: waiting for the end of the year and surveying the field. Because I want to see what the Bears do. I want to see what a lot of teams do -- Dallas, Washington, Carolina. Why jump at the first team with an opening? How much would Shanahan kick himself if he commits to the Bills and then in a month his old friend Jay Cutler is coachless and it could have been Shanahan's gig?

Take it from me (because I am an expert and all), Carolina doesn't need a new head coach, they need a freaking competent quarterback. Of course I also thought George Seifert would get one more year in 2001. I know I am in the minority on this, but I don't think Dallas needs a new head coach necessarily. Maybe they need new coordinators but Phillips isn't that bad is he?

a. Rest in peace, Mike Penner. I didn't know you, but everyone who did said you were a gem.

Peter should go to the funeral or perhaps not make comments to people he never even knew. First, off Mike Penner seems to have passed away, so there is no way he can read this, and second off, his family doesn't know Peter and Peter doesn't know them. A private phone call would be better and a hell of a lot more thoughtful.

f. Can you please speak, Tiger? Say something. Anything.

It's his private life, if he doesn't want to say anything just to make the media feel better then he doesn't have to. I am not saying it is smart, but really he doesn't have to comment if he doesn't want to. Anything Tiger Woods says will either be lies or covering up some truth anyway, so it's not like we would learn anything really exciting for a few more weeks.

h. How great would a Boise-TCU national championship be?

About as great as a Florida-Cincinnati, Texas-Florida, or Boise State-Alabama national championship might be. They are all undefeated. Cue the calls for a playoff system and the bashing of the BCS...

Though I've written about it a few times, and others have done so before and after that, you're making a big mistake if you view the 10-0 Saints as a team that has to throw for 350 yards to win. New Orleans ran on 38 percent of its offensive snaps last year. This year, it's 49 percent rushing.

This is kind of a misleading statistic that sportswriters are just loving printing this year...showing how much the Saints run the ball this year compared to last year. The reason the Saints are running the ball more this year is because they have the lead in the fourth quarter and they don't have to throw the ball to try and come back. It's not that Saints are a better running team, because they were good last year as well (Top 5 in the NFL if I am not wrong), they just have the lead and don't have to throw to try and catch up to teams who have a lead.

How can sportswriters not understand this idea? It's pretty obvious teams run the ball in the fourth quarter with a lead, which is something the Saints have had this year. It just seems too simple for Peter to not realize this.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

3 comments I Found It!!!

Since I joined this blog, I swore that I would find this audio clip to post on because it is funny as ahit. Heres the backstory to set it up:

WEEI is the biggest sports station in the country. In the afternoon, on weekdays, they have "The Big Show". In the last 15 minutes of the show, they have "The Whiner Line" where callers call in and basically just say funny shit. One of my favorites was when someone called in and said this after Antoine Walker got his DUI: "When asked by police to walk the line, Antoine Walked stepped behind it and took a 3."

Anyways, one of the members of the show, pete shepperd, had an insane mancrush at the time with tom brady during his 2007 season, and a caller took him to task. I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

6 comments Going Fishing

We have had some visitors come to this blog to defend themselves. Jeff Pearlman, Cliff Corcoran, The Professor, and a Grizzlies fan. So today, on this wonderful Saturday, I think I'm just going to try to bait people and see if they come to defend themselves. Why? Well, heck, why the hell not?

First up, we have Jeff Pearlman and his HOF ballot for this year.

Roberto Alomar—Yes. Absolutely. Without question.

No arguments with this one. Alomar is one of the greatest 2nd baseman of all time, both defensively and offensively.

Kevin Appier—Nice pitcher. But a big NO.

Harold Baines—Very good player. But not great.

Again, no arguments from me.

Bert Blyleven—Yes. Was a better pitcher than Don Sutton, but lacks the magic 300. Deserves a spot.

I'm very impressed that Pearlman included Bert here. Most writers cite his lack of a Cy Young and hold it against him. I'm glad Jeff didnt do that here.

Fred McGriff—No. But a case can be made: Nobody I know thinks McGriff used PEDs. He was a dominant power hitter in an era of cheats and frauds. He carried Toronto and, for a brief time, Atlanta and San Diego.

Nobody I knew thought AROD did steroids, but we all know how that turned out. We dont know who did and didnt take steroids, I hate when people just assume that because someone is skinny they never took anything. A) Not all steroids make you bigger. B) Again, look at the list of people that did actually take them. Not everyone looked like a freaking bodybuilder.

On a side note: I would give anything if it was found out that Derek Jeter took a banned substance. I think the world might end from all the sportwriters around the States heads exploding simutaneously. I dont have anything against Captain Calm Eyes, I just think it would be funny because no one would know what to do with themselves. It would be like when a little kid finds out Santa doesnt exist.

Mark McGwire—N.F.W.

Guilty until proven innoncent. Man, ever since that day in 2005, you would think that Mark McGwire molested little kids for a living. Why all the hate for Big Mac? He only saved the sport, along with Sammy Sosa.

Jack Morris—Yes, yes, yes. Should have made it eons ago.

No, no, no. NO, he should not have. His argument is based around one game. Other than that one game, he really didnt have a very impressive postseason resume. At least he voted for Morris and Blyleven, and not just for Morris like so many idiot sportswriters do.

Dave Parker—Sans the drug problems and weight gains, woulda had a chance. Side note: A female reporter who covered the Pirates back in the day told me Parker was a real pig. Once, he went up to her in the clubhouse, butt naked, and said, “I bet you want some of this.” while pointing to his penis. Reporter replied, “First I’d have to find it under all your fat.”

heh. Well, she didnt say no, did she?

Tim Raines—Without question. He and Rickey were the two most dominant table setters the game ever saw. And yes, that includes Lou Brock. Brock was a first-ballot enshrinee, Raines has better numbers.

This is absolutely correct. If there is no Rickey Henderson, Rock is in the HOF already.

Alan Trammell

He said no, but I think its criminal that Trammell and Sweet Lou get no love from Hall voters. I mean, Lou fell off after only one year. Thats messed up.

There was a recent post up over at our friends website Respect Jeters Gangster that asks the question of would you trade Robinson Cano for Felix Hernandez? Straight up. Guys, I love you but A)That would never happen and B) The yankees would have to be idiots of the highest level not to pull the trigger on that deal. Cmon, really? You would have to think about making that deal? Shit, I wouldnt even think twice about giving them Pedroia straight up for King Felix.

Oh my god, I am going to hell for this one. I was just clicking around the internet and came upon this article written by a then 16 year old kid. Ah, fuck it, I wont be that hard on it. Its from 2002, so its a little old, but I figure "why not?", I dont have anything better to do today since its shitty out.

A week ago, the Baseball Union set a strike date for the end of the month. The baseball players have shown that they're not playing around when they vow to strike, because there have been eight strikes in baseball in the past 30 years.

When the players have gone on strike, it has been for a good reason. It usually involves the owners crying poor and trying to implement a salary cap. Which is, of course, ridiculous, being as all the owners are billionaires.

This has to do with, of course, money. A new economic system is being proposed for Major League Baseball, but the players are worried about their salaries being cut if this system is put in place. Presto, the automatic solution is to quit working.

Right, because thats the only kind of leverage the players have against the owners.

Sadly, the game has come from a time where players were loyal to their managers, teams and teammates, to a day and age of greed – and it has nearly come to a point where money is the only tangible factor that comes into play when players makes decisions on which team to play.

Is anyone else perplexed that the owners get all the sympathy from the fans, while the players are looked upon as being greedy? In what other industry is everyone anti union? Certainly people dont sympathize with presidents of large corporations. What is it about sports that puts people on the owners side?

The blessings that they have received are all from the baseball fans. Therefore, they owe it to the fans to do whatever it takes to prevent a strike. But money is everything to these guys.

Okay, kid. I know your about 23 now, but think back to when you were 16. If you parents were getting shortchanged at work and threatening to go on strike would you just tell them to give in and take a pay cut? Its basically the same thing with ballplayers. Yes, they make a shit ton of money, but who in their right mind would ever just agree to take a paycut? You would have to be stupid. And then if you do agree to said paycut, where does it end? Once you give in, people are only going to try and take more, its human nature.

Greed has taken over the game and it's a sad sight.

Greed has always been a part of the game. It used to be the players that got the shortend of the stick, but now it has changed to the owners. Jimmy Foxx won the triple crown one year and they tried to cut his salary because he didnt hit as many home runs as the previous year. He ended up holding out just to get paid the same amount as the previous year. Are players greedy? Sure. But so arent the owners.

Well, thats about it. I guess I didnt really bait anyone since I wasnt really feeling snarky or drinking haterade today. Oh well, what can you do?

Friday, November 27, 2009

12 comments Bill Simmons Thanks Us With A Mailbag

I have set up a Yahoo College Bowl Pick 'Em league for the upcoming bowl season. Everyone who wants to should feel free to sign up. The group ID is "3711" and the password is "jamarcus." I don't think there is a limit on how many can sign up.

As I have described many times before, I have a love/hate relationship with Bill Simmons. I bought his new book and I have generally enjoyed it, but at the same time many of his comments and other things he does/says/thinks annoys the heck out of me. A great example of this is that I was cruising through his book actually enjoying some of his "what-if" scenarios (which is surprising in itself) when I ran into his question of "What If the Hawks Had Taken Chris Paul?" I agree, the Hawks should have taken Paul, but in his criticism of the Hawks choosing Marvin Williams he said (paraphrasing), "When Marvin Williams played for UNC, he didn't start for them. I took that as a bad sign."

I am not arguing with the conclusion Bill came to that Paul should have been drafted by the Hawks, but I am arguing with this reasoning. Marvin Williams played one year in college with a North Carolina Tar Heels team that won the National Championship. It was a loaded team. Check out the roster. Marvin Williams did not start because he was a bad basketball player or because he wasn't worthy of starting, but he was the 6th man for that team because he was stuck behind Jawad Williams, a senior, at the Power Forward position. There were upperclassmen blocking him at every starting position and anyone who knows one of the traditions in college basketball (and especially UNC) knows it is not often a skilled upperclassman will be benched for a freshmen (for a variety of reasons that are basketball related and non-basketball related. For another example, super-freshmen Ed Davis did not start over Deon Thompson last year). It seemed to work out well for UNC that year because they won the National Championship. Bill seemed to miss this idea a little bit in his explanation of why Marvin Williams was a bad pick at #2, which he was.

Enough rambling, let's get on to Bill's mailbag. Peter King could learn a little bit from Bill Simmons on how much mail to put in a mailbag.

I just wanted to thank everyone who came out for my book signings in Washington, Philly, New York, Boston, San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Chicago and Phoenix. Yes, I have regained some feeling in my right thumb. Yes, I would do it again. Everyone could not have been nicer. In their honor, I'm breaking out a special holiday mailbag. As always, these are actual e-mails from actual readers.

As was stated previously by Jeremy Conlin in the comments here, Bill Simmons seems to actually appreciate and enjoy his fans. He doesn't seem like he is too good for them or talk down to them while up high on his pedestal (ok maybe Bill has done this sometimes), like maybe a Peter King would do. That's my touchy-feeling nice Bill Simmons comment for the day.

What if LeBron announces he will pick his 2010-11 team live on ABC on a certain date for a show called "LeBron's Choice?" What type of crazy ratings would that get?-- Drew, Columbus, Ohio

SG: "LeBron's Choice" sounds too much like a Lifetime movie -- like, he became the first NBA player to make himself pregnant and now he can't decide whether to give up the baby for adoption or not.

Drew, your idea sucks. Bill Simmons will now improve upon your idea changing the name and proclaiming his new name change for this event is better.

If people were willing to pay $44.99 for a UFC 106 card headlined by Jenna Jameson's washed-up husband fighting a guy who hadn't won in two years, I'm pretty sure they'll pony up $44.99 for "Decision 2010: LeBron's Verdict."

Because "Decision 2010: LeBron's Verdict" doesn't sound like a bad "Daily Show" feature or a Nancy Grace special or anything. I think this is a draw, while "LeBron's Choice" does sound like a bad television movie, Bill's title that he thinks is better "Decision 2010: LeBron's Verdict" sounds like a bad special featuring attorneys.

Q: What is the "30 for 30" documentary you wish was made that wasn't?-- Tyler, Seattle

SG: Andre the Giant. Hands down. It never got past the discussion stage because the WWE owns the key footage and would have wanted to produce it; we would have wanted an elite filmmaker.

Not to quibble, but have all the "30 for 30" documentaries been by "elite" filmmakers so far? They have been fairly accomplished filmmakers, except for Kirk Fraser, the guy behind the Len Bias documentary, which was essentially a rehashing of an already existing documentary. Fraser had executively produced the first documentary and he directed the "30 for 30" episode. I don't know if I would call him elite. But I don't think they have all been elite so far. Bill is using the word "elite" a little too loosely here.

So that's No. 1 for me. My runners-up: Tim Richmond, the Clippers, the Artest melee and how Rocky Balboa ended the Cold War.

I am not a big NASCAR fan at all, but a Tim Richmond documentary would have been fantastic. He was a riveting person and it would have been a riveting documentary. Check out his wikipedia biography and tell me I am wrong, if you dare. I hate NASCAR but would have watched this documentary.

Oh, and if you think Bill was kidding about the Rocky Balboa thing...sadly, he wasn't.

(Note on the Rocky idea: I really did want to do that one. My plan was to shoot it like a real documentary -- like it actually happened -- and interview the "Rocky IV" actors today but in character, then stage some fake news footage from the time, then have current media people talking about it like everything was real: Rocky climbing the mountain in snow boots, the Drago-Balboa fight, Apollo dying, everything.

So in the middle of real documentaries by "elite" filmmakers about real life events covered from a different angle, Bill Simmons wanted to include a fake documentary about one of his favorite movies...and he wanted to do this by pretending this fake event was a real event and create a documentary about the fake event? This would have fit into the "30 for 30" format how again?

Also, nobody but me liked the idea. That was another problem. My question is this: Would you have turned the channel if "Burning Hearts: How Rocky Ended The Cold War" was on? No way. I refuse to believe it.)

There is a reason no one else liked the idea. It stinks. Maybe someone would have watched this documentary, but how are we supposed to take "30 for 30" seriously at all if there is a documentary about a fake sporting event included? I wonder if Bill thinks this is another idea the "old and non-relevant" documentaries HBO put out completely overlooked...doing a fake documentary on a 23 year old movie.

Somehow I can't believe Bill was serious about doing this. Why am I shocked by this?

Q: Are you not completely shocked after finding out that Andre Agassi's amazing mohawk mullet after all these years was a wig? Forget that he was doing a year of meth with an assistant named "Slim." The fact that one of my all-time favorite sports hairstyles was synthetically made is the most unbelievable revelation from his or any book, right?-- Ben B., Charlottesville, Va.

Somewhere in 1989 a distraught young Bengoodfella is clutching his Andre Agassi "Hit the Ball As Loud As You Can Shirt" and wondering how Agassi's hair can't be real.

Agassi's revelations made me like him compared to Pete Sampras even more. I was always Team Agassi because I didn't like Sampras and thought he came off as fake. While Agassi was doing crystal meth with an assistant named "Slim," I know Pete Sampras was doing something equally as worse. He had to be, he can't be as boring as he seems. I just know Pete Sampras was doing lines of coke off a hooker's stomach, he just needs to write about it.

SG: I couldn't agree more. I was flabbergasted. If there were a Hall of Fame for memorable sports hairdos and facial hair decisions, my first-ballot inductions would be Agassi's mohawk mullet, Barry Melrose's mullet, Barry Sanders' helmet Afro, Rollie Fingers' mustache, Dr. J's ABA Afro, Baron Davis' beard, Al Hrabosky's Fu Manchu, Ray Bourque's playoff beard, Jake Sikma's blonde permafro, Shawn Michaels' extended uber-mullet, everything that was happening with Larry Bird's face and hair in 1986, and two other slam dunks I know I forgot (and I know you'll remind me).

I hope everyone likes how Bill Simmons just threw in "...and two other slam dunks I know I forgot" just in case there were other immortal hair styles he didn't know of or remember but he wanted to make sure everyone knew that HE KNEW what they are, but he just forgot. It's not that Bill doesn't have knowledge of these hairdos or facial hair decisions, it's just that he "forgot" two of them and can't seem to remember them right now. As soon as a reader chimes in with a couple more Bill will "remember" the other two like he had known them all along.

Bill always has knowledge of everything, sometimes he just needs someone to remind him how much he actually's not that he doesn't know some things, he just needs to be reminded that he remembers.

Q: Bill Belichick just got outcoached by an unblinking mannequin. Excuse me while I go vomit "Exorcist"-style and gouge my eyes out with a blowtorch. I will sell my soul for this never to happen again.-- Alex, Warwick, R.I.'s kind of nice to see Alex from Warwick, Rhode Island try to write a sentence exactly like Bill Simmons does. Just to guarantee Alex writes in here and calls me a jackass, I am going to keep ripping him a little here. This is exactly why I call some of Bill's fans "Simmons Clones" because this is exactly like a sentence Bill Simmons would write. It has absolutely no original thoughts. It's just a game of "Bill Simmons Mad Libs" where you state what happened and then threaten to do things to yourself while referencing pop culture.

Example: Peyton Manning has beaten Tom Brady twice in a row. I feel like the Sterling Cooper employees did on "Mad Men" after the British guy got run over by the lawnmower more amazed at what is happening while wiping blood off me. Excuse me while I go floss with razor blades. This would never have happened if Bill Belichick was still alive.

SG: Reading that e-mail doubled as the only time I cracked a smile for six hours after the Pats-Colts game. And it lasted only 0.43 seconds.

It's the journalistic equivalent of a tribute band. Of course Bill liked it.

SG: I never wanted to do a book on tape because the footnotes were such a big part of the book. Just couldn't imagine how they would translate to tape. Then a writer interviewed me for Entertainment Weekly and gave me the greatest idea ever:

I don't know if everyone just read that sentence but Bill wants us to know that he got interviewed by Entertainment Weekly. He's a pretty big deal. People know him.

Q: Today is Saturday, aka College Football Day. I am pretty sure I have heard the word "arguably" said at least 15 times on the studio show I am watching. By them saying "Florida is ARGUABLY the best team in college football," are they actually making an argument?-- Josh, Wilmington, Del.

SG: Either you think Florida is the best team in college football or you don't. By declaring the Gators are "arguably" the best, all you're really saying is that someone could argue they are the best -- which makes no sense, because anyone could argue anything and that doesn't have to mean it's true...So "arguably" is a word that means nothing other than, "I don't really believe this, but I'm throwing it out anyway."

I can see Bill's problem with the word "arguably," but I think he has what it means completely wrong. When someone writes/says "arguably" that person is saying he/she believes something to be true, but he/she can understand that others may not hold the same opinion. It isn't a sign that someone doesn't really believe what he/she says, it's a sign that person knows the opinion may not be widely held.

For example, I would say, "I arguably think that Aaron Rodgers is a better quarterback right now than Brett Favre," because I know it is an arguable statement because my belief is not widely held. This is the entire purpose of saying "arguably" though the phrase is overused at this point in time.

Q: Did Marv really fight with Fiddy's posse at Kimmel's show? I never know what to believe on the Internet these days. -- Katie B., Dallas

SG: Me, neither. Although I'm fired up that it led to multiple readers sending me an e-mail with subject headings like, "50 Cent/Marv Albert brawl?" Had it really happened, we definitely should have thrown the grainy security camera footage into the "2012" trailer. Sadly, it did not happen. My old boss Jimmy Kimmel explains:

Bill's old boss Jimmy Kimmel? I didn't know that Bill Simmons used to work for a mediocre late night show. He hasn't mentioned this in at least two weeks so I had completely forgotten.

"The original L.A. Times story in no way suggests that there was any interaction between Marv and 50 Cent or Marv and anyone. I don't know where that came from. I am starting to fear that some Web site journalists don't always check facts. Sorry to ruin the fun. In the meantime, I am now carrying a gun just to be safe."

Oh that Jimmy Kimmel, what a funny guy. I think if I had to choose between whether he or Adam Carrolla were funnier, I would throw myself off a bridge.

(Now someone is going to comment that I just threatened to hurt myself like Bill Simmons does and I am hypocrite. Because we should all just assume Bill Simmons is the first and only person ever who used the "I am going to hurt myself in anger" joke, which clearly he isn't.)

Q: How could you forget Joakim Noah in your "Sports Hate" column? How? I thought we had something special! I don't think I know you anymore. -- Justin, Minneapolis

There is one idea the entire sports universe can get behind and that idea is that Joakim Noah is a freaking asshole that no one in their right mind should ever like. This one idea binds us all together. Men, women, children and even potentially extra-terrestrials hate Joakim Noah. I am not being hyperbolic, I know University of Florida fans who don't like him that much. No one likes Joakim Noah.

Q: This one is a little serious, but please don't mistake the note for being preachy or abrasive. We've known Donald Sterling to be a shady character for some time, but those recent allegations and subsequent settlements are rather tough to stomach. Housing discrimination is a particularly nasty form of racism, don't you think? Seeing as your season-ticket money pads the man's wallet, do you plan to continue supporting the Clippers in light of their owner's legal settlement with the federal government? If so, where do you draw the line?-- Ben, Brooklyn

Let's get to Bill's explanation. Line by line.

SG: Good timing. I have been thinking about this a lot. You're right, he was revealed to be a relatively vile human being. And you're right, it feels weird to put money in his pocket. On the flip side, I get material from those Clipper games that helps my column,

Donald Sterling helps Bill make money by putting out good columns for ESPN. It is ok to make money off of a person who was found guilty of housing discrimination, it's just not ok to make money off housing discrimination. Hey, Bill's not discriminating he's just using the person who does the discriminating to make some money himself.

I don't think I would have as big of a problem if Bill had said he gets to make fun of Sterling in his columns as sort of a payback, but Bill framed the sentence like it's ok to put money in Sterling's pocket because it helps Bill out personally. Bill draws the line at the point where it doesn't help him write columns apparently.

I don't personally think Bill should sell his tickets because the owner of the Clippers is an asshole, but I think Bill should just say he doesn't want to sell the tickets and not try to explain.

and it's my only chance to see NBA basketball in quality seats on a regular basis.

He can't afford Lakers tickets. I can see that. So Bill's need to make money and see good NBA basketball is more important to him than knowing he puts money in the pocket of a person who had to settle a lawsuit for discrimination.

So here's my uneasy compromise: keep the seats, but don't forget to mention every once in awhile that the owner of the Clippers recently settled a $2.7 million housing discrimination

Because nothing is going to embarrass Donald Sterling more than an ESPN writer mentioning a couple times a year what a bad person he is. That will be what will teach Sterling a lesson, having a season ticket holder who Sterling is probably not aware of bad mouth him. I think Sterling would be more shocked if a season ticket holder didn't bad mouth him. This is Bill's payback, reminding everyone what a bad person Donald Sterling is.

(Just remind me to mention this every so often. I won't forget, but if I do, remind me.)

That's his payback, unless he forgets of course.

Q: I'll make it simple. Miguel Cabrera: Yes or no?-- Patrick, Weymouth, Mass.

SG: Yes. Yes. And yes. For three reasons ...

1. He's only 26, which makes the 0.26 blood-alcohol thing much more defensible to me. Look, I am ashamed of at least 50 things that I did in my mid-20s. You don't know any better in your mid-20s, only you kinda do, but not totally. You don't appreciate anything. You're supposed to start growing up, but you're not quite ready yet. You can keep acting like an ass and keep assuming that someone will always give you a second chance, whether it's with a job, a woman or whatever. If you're 29 and things like the 0.26 are still happening during the biggest weekend of your team's season? Yeah. That's a problem. I am willing to forgive the 25-26 range.

Bill is willing to forgive players who make mistakes in the 25-26 year old range? If anyone has read his latest book or read any of Bill's columns you would find it ironic it doesn't sound like he has forgiven Kobe Bryant for the sexual allegations against him in Colorado in 2003.

Kobe was 24 years old at the time.

Q: With the benefit of a little hindsight, how do you think the top-10 of the 2009 NBA draft would look if it went down today?-- Michael McNamara, Jacksonville

Remember back in May and June when Bill Simmons said this NBA Draft was weak and there didn't seem to be many good players in the draft? I do. Now certainly the 2009 NBA Draft isn't the strongest of all-time but I don't think it is as weak as Bill Simmons claimed it was. There may not be a ton of star players that come out of the draft, but it's been stronger so far than Bill gave it credit for. Which is not shocking since he has only a passing interest in college basketball. We won't hear Bill say he was even 10% wrong about this draft though.'s Jonathan Givony was the only one I can remember last June even attempting the "Jennings has a chance to be awesome" case. My friend Hirschy was the only New Yorker I knew who thought the Knicks should have drafted him at No. 8.

I don't like to toot my own horn and I also realize it is really, really early in the NBA season, but here is what I said about Jennings on May 22 of this year.

At #6 I said the Timberwolves should choose Brandon Jennings:

This would be a good fit for a point guard and to me, Brandon Jennings fits in perfectly well at this spot. I have a feeling that either the Knicks or the Wolves are going to take DeRozan though. It is just a feeling I have. I think Jennings would be perfect to put together with Love and Jefferson, but I think the Wolves are going to look for a big time athletic scorer,

I was wrong about the T-Wolves looking for a big time athletic scorer, they were looking to draft two guys at the same position and ensure the franchise stays screwed up. Still, I thought Brandon Jennings should go #6 in the draft.

At #7 I had the Warriors taking Jennings and I said:

This makes sense to me. I don't know what else to say really. If Jennings is available he should be the pick for Nelson's offense. I would say Lawson but he is a reach at this point and really Jennings could be a special player.

It's not like I "called it" or anything, but I thought Jennings could be a special player and I still obviously think this. Believe it or not, I am not writing this to let everyone know I am right, but to show that not everyone had Jennings going past the #8 pick in the NBA Draft. There were some people who Bill is not aware of in the world, shocking this could happen, who would have had Jennings go to New York at #8.

Everyone else (like me) fell into the whole "bad attitude, immature, couldn't get big minutes in Italy, can't shoot, hit-or-miss pick" trap with Jennings.

That is not true. I am not the only one who believed in Brandon Jennings. Because Bill fell into this trap he just assumes that everyone else did as well, which is not true. I had questions about Jennings because he didn't exactly light up Europe, but I had seen him play a little bit when he was in high school and knew he had talent. Bill is just lumping everyone else in with himself regarding Jennings and he only does this because he assumes because he was wrong other people were as well...which isn't necessarily true. So no, everyone didn't fall into that trap Bill is describing here. Due to the fact Bill sees himself as an NBA expert (which to an extent he is), I think he believes others make mistakes like this if he does.

Can you blame us? What signs were there that this kid had a chance to be great other than the fact that he was the best high schooler a year earlier?

Other than the fact he was the best high school player a year earlier, I guess there were no other signs he could be a good NBA player.

He seemed like a total head case.

He did seem like a total head case playing basketball in Europe. If we put most 18 year olds in Europe to play professional basketball then they would seem like head cases also. Jeremy Tyler is currently falling apart overseas, that's what can happen when you put teenagers overseas to play professional basketball.

Jennings is a lefty Chris Paul, only if Paul could shoot 20-footers and threes with a hand in his face. More importantly, his teammates love him. And he has a wonderful sense of The Moment already. I can't say enough about him. He's a superstar in training. He's the first Buck in 25 years who could actually sell tickets and jerseys there. Amazing. He will save basketball in Milwaukee, as long as this early start doesn't go to his head. And it might.

Ok, simmer down now. I don't want to overreact too much to his hot start. He looks like he will be good, but it is still very, very early in the NBA season.

so let's pay tribute for once to someone who absolutely crushed a decision: Bucks GM John Hammond. It's one of the best draft picks ever. A franchise-alterer.

I wonder who Bill Simmons would have picked if he had been named the Bucks GM like he wanted to be?

Q: So I thought that as an avid "Rocky IV" fan, you would appreciate this. I went to the doctor the other day to get my flu shot. I asked the nurse if I could blast "Hearts on Fire" on my iPhone and look up to the left with a stoic look on my face as she administered the shot into my arm. She didn't get the reference, and had a puzzled look on her face, but all my friends have gotten a good chuckle out of the story. Your thoughts?-- Josh, Chicago

Josh, I am sure all your co-workers at Applebee's are still going to be enjoying that story five years from now.

Q: After listening to the Mike and the Mad Dog "reunion" show, my friend and I started talking about how we feel like kids of divorced parents at this point (with Mike and Dog as the parents). I thought I would share with you the top five moments of my short life thus far:

1. Losing my virginity.
2. Playing in the U.S. (golf) Amateur.
3. Making a game-winning shot in a basketball game when I was 10.
4. Getting a "That's a good job there, Jason" from Dog the only time I called into the show as a cracked-voice 17-year-old.
5. Seeing Wake Forest play in the Orange Bowl.

That's it, that's the list.-- Jason, Winston-Salem

Bill's readers are so wild and crazy! I hope he enjoyed watching Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl because it doesn't look like it is going to happen again anytime soon.

SG: Yup, these are my readers.

And Bill is bragging about this.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

15 comments Faceoff or...Flashoff...or Faceback

Wellity, wellity, wellity. As prophecised in last week's Faceoff commentary, Clark Judge is finally going to have to bite the bulet on that Kyle Orton sloppy blowjob that he posted and I linked to. They're falling off a cliff, they got mauled by 29 points at home for crying out loud. It's over. Orton is over (at least that version of Orton as half-man half-God) and finally Clark Judge is going to have to take responsibility for his reckless, Orton loving comments both at the time and his self serving praise through the season.


Oh, I am looking forward to this.

You're the GM of the Bears. Which issue has you the most disappointed or flummoxed: Jay Cutler, Lovie Smith or the defense?

what? Why the hell are we talking about the Bears? They are done. Done. They are in a reasonable division that is eating them alive and I like the Bears. They don't bear discussing. This week we have Norlans and New England! We've got the lurking Minnesota (who fit the run the ball, stop the run mould for Dec and we have the meltdown (I was on the fence last week but after that mauling and the schedule ahead, there's no way back) of Denver. And you choose the Bears? The Bears CBS? A pox on you.

Anyway, it's obviously Cutler. Look; the Bears were gashed up the middle like a $2 hooker on Sunday night, I grant you. But they are a not horrible 13th in total D, considering their drop off the last two years and their lack of Urlacher and not adding significant defensive starters for some time, this is no dissapointment. Chicago also has an equally slightly above average 18 takeaways. The superficial glance says the Bears defense is alright - unremarkable, not what it used to be, but considering age and injury, you could do worse. Certainly doesn't explain the 4-6 start.

Nor does Lovie really - I mean how much can a coach be blamed. Maybe in the playoffs with that hyper intensity and magnifying glass on every call, and I certainly am no Lovie apologist, but c'mon guys. He's been there when they win and lose, he's a garden ornament basically.

No, for the real crime here, you have to point the accusatory finger at Matt Forte (22nd in total yards, 3.3ypa!, 91.5 yards from scrimmage a game this year vs 107.2 last year) and of coure, Jay Cutler, the obviously correct answer to this question. That's the shock, that's the dissapointment, and that's also the most pronounced failure.

Cutler has been terrible, obviously, just watch the games, but in case you don't - Cutler's 10th rank in passing yards is deceptive. He ranks 20th in YPA, leads the league in interceptions and his QB rating is just 0.4 higher than Trent Edwards. All this speaks of, yes, poor playcalling - the Bears are among the league leaders in passing on first down, but I guess when your running back is getting 3.3 yards a whirl, you'd pass too.

Anyone who knew football knew that Jay Cutler should have been worth two wins to this team, enough to punch them a playoff ticket.

Oh my God...anyone who knows football...Clark Judge...




JUDGE: Lovie Smith and the defense. I already knew about Cutler, and what I knew was that the guy can't win, is not my idea of a leader and was not a good fit for this team. So I would not have brought him in. But the Bears did, and Cutler is what he is -- Jeff George in a Bears uniform. Where's the surprise?

NO. NO. This isn't fair! You said Orton would be great *wiping tears away from face* you promiseded. You said he'd be fantastic and took all the glory when they won, and now, with Orton leading and winninging his team to a collective scoreline of 37-117 in the last four weeks. Orton has completed 59% of his passes in this time, thrown 4 INT's and 2 TD's. Barely averaging six yards a throw (making Cutler's 7 a throw look Herculean).

You bastard Judge. You unapologetic bastard. You're dispicable! How do you live with yourself, misleading people like this?

l tell you where: The other side of the ball with a defense that Smith took over before this season. He was supposed to make it better, but the Bears aren't better.

2008 total yards against: 334.7
2009 total yards against: 320.1

and what about Brian Urlacher you disingenuous soul? What about one of the best defensive players of our generation huh? WHAT ABOUT THAT JUDGE?

They're awful, and I say that after watching them disintegrate in first halves of losses to Cincinnati and Arizona -- games where each opponent scored touchdowns on its first four possessions. Someone explain that to me.

what do you mean "explain it to you"? You write about football. How hard can it be to understand? Teams score touchdowns when they legally advance it into the endzone and control possession. Consider it explained.


Lovie explain it. It's his defense. He makes the calls. He devises the scheme. And don't tell me about injuries. Everyone has them now.

I remember it like it was just yesterday, just yesterday, just yesterday...

Faceoff (18/11/2009) JUDGE: The clincher, though, is Miami's loss
of Ronnie Brown. You can beat Carolina on the ground, but the Panthers' pass defense is effective. Losing Brown puts undue pressure on Chad Henne, and he doesn't need it.
I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.

Which is more troubling: Bengals losing to the Raiders, Steelers losing to Chiefs or the Cowboys hanging seven on the lowly Washington Redskins?

time for "one of these doesn't belong".

So, is it "still not sold on team loses to team with JaMarcus Russell"?

Is it "playoff hangover, no offensive line, injury issues with it's two best players still hasn't figured their rushing game out losing to the a team who lost to a team with JaMarcus Russell"?

Or, finally and rather obviously, is it "one of the hottest teams in the NFL who just beat a division rival to consolidate a division lead and said rival, while abysmal offensively, is quietly one of the better defensive teams in the NFL (4th in total yards against, 6th in scoring defense, surrendering least amount of first downs, 10th in third down % against, T-8th in sacks) and who gets a disproportionate amount of hateration from the media because they are in one of the "significant" media markets?

Hmm? If you've been reading my posts here, you already know the tragic ending.

JUDGE: Dallas putting up seven on Washington because it tells me the Cowboys are getting ready to go into the fetal position for December.

fucking research your columns.

The Bengals losing to Oakland was bad, but the Raiders are capable of dialing up upsets at home. Ask Philadelphia.

what is the logic here? Washington and Oakland have identical records, like...what the fuck is going on? Oakland are allowed to win with no ramifications on the rest of the league but Washington aren't? Oakland are worse than the Redskins. They just are. Everyone knows this. Everyone. The difference may not be huge but it's apparent. I don't understand...the Bengals still are a bit of a cloudy one...I don't think there's a single soul that thinks they can win their conference, I'm not sure the same is true of Dallas, who have had a winning record in four straight seasons and are two wins away from making it five.

Why are the Raiders capable of winning but the Redskins are not? Tell me. And may I remind you, they didn't fucking win.

The Steelers losing to K.C. was bad, too, but the Chiefs are beginning to get their act together.

what are you basing this on? Beating Oakland? By six? After trailing at the half? With -1 give/take? A thirty point loss to San Diego three weeks ago at home? Again down -3 in give/take? Why do you get to write for CBS and I do not? I mean it's not like you're Joe Montana. Who the hell is this Clark Judge anyway...does he exist? He really writes this stuff?

So I'll excuse that with, "It happens," especially with the Steelers operating without Troy Polamalu.

*rubs chin, looking upward, rippling spacetime*

Faceoff (6 lines ago) JUDGE: And don't tell me about injuries. Everyone has them now.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

11 comments TMQ: Easterbrook's Passing Fancy

Gregg Easterbrook loves to convey theories to his readers for why football-related things happen. Many of these make little to no sense to me, such as the "when a team goes for it on fourth down it means something good will happen to that team down the road" and "if a coach tries to score points at the end of the game it is because he is concerned with making the score seem close to keep his job and not concerned with actually trying to win the game." Most of his theories can be explained by other means and not just by the conclusion he comes to. Today's column introduction theory falls in this category.

Kerry Collins goes out, Vince Young comes in, and immediately the Titans snap to life, winning four straight games. JaMarcus Russell goes out, Bruce Gradkowski comes in, and immediately the Raiders snap to life, with a major win.

Quarterback changes can change the momentum of a team. This isn't anything newly learned by anyone who follows the NFL on a regular basis. The same thing can happen when a team changes head coaches. Sometimes a different voice in the huddle or the locker room can change things around for a team. More often, not having JaMarcus Russell as the starting quarterback for a team helps more than anything else.

In Young's case, he does have a good sense of the field and leadership skills -- it's no coincidence Young is 22-11 as an NFL starter. Football is a team game, and there's always a lot more going on than who lines up at quarterback.

I am hard on Vince Young and will give him credit in some areas of his game like his elusiveness...but Gregg thinks leadership is one of his strengths? I know I am potentially "wrong" about Young, but I have seen him play well for a few games in a row before and then he went back to being an inconsistent passer and a moody guy. I want to see more of Young and one of those things I want to see if being a team leader is a strength for him. I don't think this is true, at least from an outsider's perspective. I'm not in the locker room, so I don't have first hand experience so I could be wrong, but I don't know if he has good leadership skills.

These past two paragraphs are what a person who has never read TMQ before should read to know what kind of writer Gregg Easterbrook is. In the first paragraph Gregg attributes the Titans turnaround to changing quarterbacks, and in the second paragraph he again states Vince Young is a good quarterback and that is why he has a good record as an NFL starter...but then states in the NFL winning has more to do with just the quarterback, which sort of discredits the Titans turnaround solely to Vince Young being named the team's starting quarterback.

But...........I thought the Titans turned the season around because of that quarterback change? You don't think the turnaround has anything to do with the fact Chris Johnson is getting more touches now that Young has been named QB do you? Look at Johnson's numbers before and after the bye when Young got named starter. That has to have something to do with the Titans turnaround also right?

Gregg writing sentences that don't make a whole lot of sense and sort of contradict each other when side-by-side is a TMQ staple.

The relationship between quarterback effectiveness and victory underscores the pre-eminence of the pass in the NFL. None of the top four rushing teams in the NFL this season (Tennessee, N.Y. Jets, Carolina and Miami) has a winning record.

Here goes one of Gregg's crazy theories. He thinks passing the football well means that a team will be successful and he bases it on the fact all the good rushing teams in the NFL don't have winning records. Because Gregg is stupid and fails to focus on what else these four teams have in common, I reject his theory. I am not saying teams that throw the ball well aren't necessarily teams that do well in the NFL, I just think it is dumb to use this season as evidence teams who throw the ball well will always have good win-loss records.

What else do the Titans, Jets, Panthers and Dolphins have in common? Either poor quarterback play or a quarterback that is injured. I would argue the reason the teams are leading the league in rushing and not winning is because they haven't thrown the ball well this year, so they have focused on running the ball well. The Jets, Titans, and Panthers have been plagued by inconsistent quarterback play, while the Dolphins lost their starter Chad Pennington and are now relying on Chad Henne, who has been a starting quarterback starting this year. It's true you have to pass the ball well to win in the NFL, but rushing the ball is still important. Teams that don't have reliable quarterbacks tend to run the ball more because they don't throw the ball effectively. Any team that doesn't have a good run/pass balance (in regard to being effective) is going to struggle to win football games.

So basically the genius theory Gregg is propagating here is that a team needs a good quarterback to be a good team. Well, no shit.

Right now there are 14 NFL teams with winning records, and only three of those clubs are in the lower half of the league in terms of passing yards.

Generally good passing teams have good quarterbacks and teams with good quarterbacks tend to do better than teams with crappy quarterbacks. This isn't science. This is something NFL/AFL teams have known for going on 40 years now.

NFL teams should pass more often on first down than they do. The indicators are strong. Yet, week in and week out, many NFL teams predictably rush on first down.

Last week Gregg Easterbrook wondered in TMQ if the spread offense was dead. I just want to throw that in there for everyone to think about when Gregg talks about how great teams pass the ball. I can't lose focus on what Gregg is talking about here and bust his ass for something he said previously because I have to focus on this week's idiocy.

These "indicators" Gregg is talking about, let's see what they looked like last year.

Last season, the teams that passed most on first down were New Orleans (58 percent), Denver, (58), Arizona (58) and Houston (54).

New Orleans, Denver, and Houston all missed the playoffs last year and Arizona only went 9-7 until they got crazy hot in the playoffs and made the Super Bowl. It's all well and good for a team to want to be ranked high in offensive categories in the NFL, but teams also have to win for the season to be a success. This theory teams should pass more on 1st down to win games looks kind of faulty right now because it generally didn't lead to teams winning games last year.

But in general last season, throwing frequency on first down directly correlated with offensive success.

But not team success. The top rushing teams in the NFL last year were Tennessee, NY Jets, Carolina, Miami, and New Orleans. Three of those teams made the playoffs and the other two teams did not have a sub .500 record. This is just food for thought.

This season, the case for throwing on first down remains. Here are the 10 teams that pass most often on first down: Chicago (60 percent), Seattle (60), Philadelphia (59), Tampa (55), Arizona (54), New England (54), San Francisco (53), Indianapolis (52), Green Bay (51) and Houston (51).

How many of these 10 teams have winning records? 5 of these teams. This isn't exactly the best proof that throwing on first down is a great idea. I think Gregg's brain is confusing him. The purpose of a team in the NFL is not to be in the Top 10 in offense during a year, but to win football games during the year. So it's nice to be in the Top 10 in offense for a team, but that team also has to win games for Gregg's theory that "good teams throw the ball on first down" to work. Gregg and I are talking about two different things. He is talking about what it takes to have a good offense and I am talking about what it takes to win football games.

Combined record of these teams: 53-43. The only teams in this category that have inconsistent or bad quarterback play are Chicago and Tampa.

On the opposite side of the coin, here are the 10 teams that run most often on first down: N.Y. Jets (72 percent), St. Louis (61), Tennessee (59), Cincinnati (59), Minnesota (58), Cleveland (57), Carolina (57), Buffalo (56) and San Diego (56). Only three of the teams most likely to run on first down have winning records, and only one (Minnesota) is in the top 10 in total offense.

Again, the Top 10 in offense doesn't mean a team is going to win games. Plus, this is 9 teams, not 10 teams. Math is FUNdamental.

Combined records of these teams: 40-50.

Maybe Gregg has a point or maybe the fact every single one of these teams have quarterback problems except Cincinnati, Minnesota, and San Diego shows that good quarterback play means a team is more likely to run the ball because the coaching staff doesn't trust the quarterback to throw the ball as often. I like this theory better.

Most of the time, NFL defensive coordinators put out a rush defense on first down.
Does Gregg have any proof of this? Nope. He doesn't need "proof" or any type of "evidence" when making blanket statements like this. I think it is in his ESPN contract that he never use any type of evidential backing for his claims. He wouldn't want to show up any of the other Page 2 writers ESPN has.

Considering first down is when defenses are most likely to assume run, why not feature the pass then?

Because not every team has a quarterback good enough to complete a pass on first down and then if the pass falls incomplete the team is stuck in a second-and-10 situation, which is a situation teams generally try to avoid. Throw in the fact the defense will eventually figure out a team is only passing on first down and plan accordingly, and this is why some teams don't throw all the time on first down. It takes a team with a good quarterback to throw a lot on first down. I am not saying it is a bad idea, but if you are a team with a strong running game it may not make total sense to throw on first down the majority of the time.

In Christmas-is-coming news, man of the worldly mind, do you believe in the Crabtree Curse? San Francisco was 3-1 before signing Michael Crabtree and is 1-5 since.

No, I don't believe in the Crabtree Curse. It's kind of funny that Easterbrook was completely quiet and didn't mention the Crabtree Curse last week when the 49ers won their game. So what happened to the Crabtree Curse last week? Once the 49ers lose again this moron starts piping up again about fake curses. It drives me crazy how he only brings attention to his theories when they work. You rarely hear Gregg Easterbrook talk about his theories when they fail, which they do often, but we only hear from him when he is proven correct. He tries to fool his readers into believing the crap he is selling.

In college football news, even TMQ would have punted! Leading Harvard 10-7 with 3:24 remaining in the fourth quarter, Yale faced fourth-and-22 on its own 25-yard line -- and went for it! The call was a fake punt. Fake kicks are most attractive when only a few yards are needed for the first down. The fake gained 15 yards, but that still handed Harvard the ball on the Yale 40-yard line; Harvard scored the game-winning touchdown four snaps later.

I thought fortune favored the bold? Isn't this bold call going to pay off for Yale down the road because the team is going to know that the head coach will do anything in his power to win the game? Wasn't the team supposed to be pumped up that the team was trying to bury their rival? Why is that not the case here? Any other time Easterbrook would have said this would all be the case but not here...

Indianapolis stopped a third-and-1 rush for a loss -- undrafted free agent signee Daniel Muir made the tackle. Baltimore reached first-and-goal on the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter, and Indianapolis stuffed three consecutive rushes before the Nevermores settled for a field goal -- Muir had a tackle on that series, as did undrafted free agent signee Gray Brackett.

Joseph Addai, who is a first round pick, scored a touchdown in this game.

(Undrafted free agent signee Melvin Bullitt made the tackle that stopped New England in the final minute last week.)

1st round pick Peyton Manning threw the game winning touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne, another 1st round draft pick, after 1st round draft pick Joseph Addai ran the ball to the 1-yard line. See, two can play at this game. Don't let Gregg Easterbrook fool you into thinking the entire NFL consists of undrafted free agents who are better than 1st round draft picks.

A bit of misdirection is essential for success on short-yardage downs, since the defense is cranked to go straight ahead.

Gregg Easterbrook always says stuff like this with no proof. I try to disprove him every week and yet he just cut and pastes the same damn sentence in his column every week. Why do I make myself suffer by having to read TMQ every week?

It's cheerio to Dick "Cheerio, Chaps" Jauron. What in tarnation was the point of retaining Cheerio Chaps last offseason only to fire him midway through this season -- did Buffalo management suddenly discover that he was Dick Jauron? Buffalo's recent blown first-round draft picks (J.P. Losman, Mike Williams, John McCargo, Donte Whitner, perhaps Aaron Maybin) and disastrous player-management decisions (megabucks for Langston Walker, who two years later was waived and out of the league, while Jason Peters, Pat Williams, Jim Leonhard, Mario Haggan, Justin Bannan and Jabari Greer were shown the door and all are now starters for better teams than the Bills) were front-office decisions, not head coach decisions.

All year Gregg Easterbrook has been wondering when Dick Jauron will be fired for his coaching ineffectiveness and every week TMQ has contained parts where Jauron is made fun of for his coaching decisions. Now Jauron gets fired and Easterbrook blames the Bills' troubles on the General Manager and not Jauron. It's all madness.

John Marx of Scranton, Pa., writes, "On November 18, a Lego catalog arrived at my house titled Late Holiday 2009. Apparently the week before Thanksgiving is now late in the holiday season."

When should the Lego catalog for the Christmas season arrive? A week before Christmas? Two weeks before Christmas? That wouldn't be a whole hell of a lot of time for parents to pick out and order gifts for their children would it? Let's quit focusing on the title of the catalog in regard to when it appears in the mailboxes of America and start focusing on why it actually makes sense to call it "Late Holiday" since most of the Lego structures will be Christmas gifts which take time to freaking ship in time for Christmas.

Ersal Aslam of New Milford, N.J., notes the Telegraph of London has already named "Avatar" one of the top 100 movies of the past decade -- though no one's seen the film, which opens next month.

Both Ersal and Gregg need to learn to read. (Now Ersal will write in the comments on this blog defending what he sent Gregg and I will feel 15% bad for telling him to learn to read) Click on that link and you can learn the Telegraph did not name "Avatar" as one of the top 100 movies of the past decade but one of the top 100 movies that DEFINED the decade. There is a huge, massive difference. The technology used in the movie defines the technological advances over the past 10 years in movies. Gregg didn't even read the damn article in the link that was sent to him, he just saw what was written in his email and blindly linked it in his TMQ. Well the joke is on him because this article never says "Avatar" is one of the best movies of the past decade.

Andy Studebaker, out of Division III Wheaton, ran an interception back 94 yards against Pittsburgh, setting up a score in Kansas City's huge upset. Now a linebacker, Studebaker was a defensive end in Division III; on the play, he outran several highly drafted Division I gentlemen.

So there was one play in the NFL this week where a player who played in Division III football outran players who played Division I football? Obviously this means all Division III players are better than Division I players. Since I assume Gregg is not an idiot outside of writing his weekly TMQ, he probably knows one piece of data doesn't prove a trend...yet he ignores this.

Adventures in Officiating: In the Washington-at-Dallas contest, there was an eight-minute stoppage in play while officials and coaches argued about whether the Redskins should be called for … delay of game.

Haha! Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?????????????

Last week, TMQ supposed of Bill Belichick's failed fourth-and-2 attempt from his own 28, "Though the fourth-down try failed to defeat Indianapolis, Belichick might still profit down the road. By being hyper-aggressive, he challenged his young Patriots offense to show it can finish games." On Sunday, New England delivered an excellent offensive performance.

Clearly these two events are completely related. If Belichick had punted against the Colts, then the Patriots would have lost to the Jets I am sure.

Had one of the football gods appeared to Belichick two weeks ago and said, "You may beat either the Colts or the Jets, now choose," Belichick would have answered the Jets without hesitation, since division games are more important to most playoff calculations.

Absolutely not. By losing to the Colts, the Patriots essentially gave up their chance to get homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Belichick would probably have chosen the Colts to beat for this reason because the Colts would be 9-1 now and the Patriots would have been 8-2. The Patriots would have had a shot at homefield advantage in the playoffs. Maybe Gregg should stop speaking for other people.

Kevin Boss of Jersey/A -- an afterthought in the 2007 draft, when he was chosen late out of Division II Western Oregon -- caught two touchdown passes, and now may be the NFL's best tight end.

Oh sweet Jesus, please tell me Gregg is kidding.

Let's look at the numbers:

Kevin Boss- 24 catches, 359 yards, 4 TDs
Antonio Gates- 52 catches, 709 yards, 2 TDs
Tony Gonzalez- 52 catches, 583 yards, 5 TDs
Dallas Clark- 65 catches, 771 yards, 4 TDs
Jason Witten- 54 catches, 481 yards, 1 TD

Just compare Kevin Boss to other great tight ends in the NFL, not even including Owen Daniels in my short study, and it is clear that Boss isn't even the best tight end in the NFC East, much less the NFL. This is just another case of Gregg Easterbrook writing words down that have no factual basis. Even if this is an opinion, it's a wrong opinion.

Dallas Clark and Tony Gonzalez are better pass-catchers, but Boss is the better blocker:

No amount of run blocking can make for the difference in the numbers between Kevin Boss and the other NFL tight ends.

If NFL general managers held a draft of tight ends, I bet Boss would be the first selection.

I would bet Gregg Easterbrook is an idiot for saying this. Here is how this hypothetical tight end draft would go:

1. Dallas Clark
2. Antonio Gates
3. Owen Daniels
4. Jason Witten
5. Tony Gonzalez (it's the age thing that makes him go behind these other guys)
10. Kevin Boss (at the earliest)

I respect Kevin Boss but Gregg Easterbrook is absolutely wrong that he would be the first tight end drafted in a tight end draft.

Hidden plays are ones which never make highlight reels, but stop or sustain drives. Jersey/A leading 24-14, Michael Jenkins of Atlanta dropped a perfectly thrown pass in the end zone on the snap before the Falcons settled for a field goal. Ultimately, the Giants won in overtime; had Jenkins caught the pass, the fourth quarter of this game would have been very different.

This was not a hidden play, this was a very important play in regard to this game. VERY important.

Gradkowski's four final pass attempts were directed to the unknown Schilens or the little-known Murphy, who were single-covered as Cincinnati doubled up on the mega-hyped, mega-bucks, underachieving Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Who the hell is "mega-hyping" Darrius Heyward-Bey? Is anyone doing this? In fact, if anything no one is hyping Heyward-Bey up because it is recognized he was drafted too early this past year. Gregg just assumes any 1st round draft choice is mega-hyped. Louis Murphy was also not "little-known," he played for the Florida Gators last year and was their second best receiver to Percy Harvin. Maybe he was little-known to Gregg, but we have already established I think he is an idiot, so that doesn't shock me he doesn't know who Murphy is.

Mark LeVoir, New England's third-string left tackle, was pressed into service in the second quarter against Jersey/B, and mainly played well, though the Patriots' offensive scheme does not give help to the left tackle.

Bart Scott burned him badly on a swim move and hit Tom Brady as Brady released the ball. On the next snap, LeVoir had help blocking Scott; New England coaches reacted immediately to indication of a problem.

And here I thought Gregg had just said the New England offensive scheme did not give help to the left tackle, yet on the very next play LeVoir got help. I guess they make exceptions.

As for the Texans, this is the franchise's eighth season, and it has yet to win a high-profile game.

Other than their nationally televised franchise opener in 2002 against Dallas of course.

Monday night should have been their coming-out party, considering it was "Monday Night Football" at home.

A coming-out party even though the team has been around for about eight years now. That makes sense.

But they run when they need to. Indianapolis picked up a power-rush touchdown against Baltimore, after winning on a power-rush touchdown the week before.

Really? I am 95% positive the Colts beat the Patriots on a touchdown pass to Reggie Wayne. I am pretty sure a slant is not a power-rush.

(Everytime I point out something obviously wrong that was written by a sportswriter, I re-read the statement several times to make sure I didn't misunderstand what was said. I don't think I did misunderstood this last sentence by Gregg.)

TMQ contends NFL coaches don't try to block punts as often as they should. Use your DVR, and observe that usually only three or four men rush the punter; most of the time, most are peeling back to set up the return. But a punt block, which is as good as a turnover, is more likely than a monster return.

I searched the Internet for this information and couldn't come up with any good data, but I am pretty sure there is a better chance of a punt being returned for a touchdown than a punt being blocked. I feel very sure about this. Of course Gregg Easterbrook doesn't give any data when he made the proclamation (based on no facts), so I guess I shouldn't have to give any evidence either to say I think he is wrong.

But if the season ended today, Favre might best Brees and Peyton Manning for MVP.

As I described on Monday, this would be pure lunacy if this happened. Brett Favre is on a team that went to the playoffs without him last year. I don't think the Colts or the Saints would go to the playoffs without Manning and Brees, respectively.

Oprah Creep: As many readers, including Grace Leon of Lincoln Park, Ill., noted, Oprah said goodbye to her viewers almost two years before she actually plans to leave.

When is Oprah supposed to announce her departure from the television show? A month before it ends, maybe at the end of her last episode? She probably announced the end of her show so early so everyone involved could find other jobs or plan for their future...or because it is her fucking television show she just wanted to announce it early. Gregg is always criticizing people/places/things for happening too early and says they "creep," so I wonder when the proper time for these people/places/things to occur would be? Gregg never tells us, he just keeps bitching about them.

Buck-Buck-Brawckkkkkkk No. 2: Trailing San Diego 13-0 in the third quarter, Denver's Josh "When Does the Frat Party Start?" McDaniels sent the kicking unit onto the field on fourth-and-goal from the Bolts' 5. Needless to say, Denver went on to lose, by a final of 32-3.

Apparently that four point swing from a field goal to a touchdown would have made up 29 points in the final score of the game. Logically this would happen of course. It makes total and complete sense.

In the endgame, trailing 26-3 and facing fourth-and-15 on the San Diego 19, then McDaniels went for it. This is the classic example of the football coach who does the conservative thing when a gamble might still win the game, then gambles when it makes no difference.

Now Gregg is bitching when teams do exactly what he wants them to do, but not exactly when he wants them to do it. I would love to see Gregg Easterbrook coach a football team. He is the worst kind of second guesser. The kind who bases his second guessing on the outcome of the game and not whether the decision made sense at the time or not. I would have probably gone for it on the fourth-and-goal on the 5 yard line but I can understand why a coach would not go for the touchdown in this situation.

Buck-Buck-Brawckkkkkkk No. 3: Leading 3-0 in the third quarter, Washington punted from the Dallas 38. Knowing only this fact, which team do you think won the game?

The team with the most points at the end of the game?

And, as noted by reader Lee Albacker of Boston, after furiously running up the score to 63-6 against Division I-AA Delaware State -- including continuing to throw passes when ahead by 50 points in the fourth quarter -- Michigan went on to lose its next five games and drop out of bowl contention.

I am sure running up the score against Delaware State is the exact reason Michigan went on to lose their next five games. That has to be the exact reason.

Single Worst Play of the Season -- So Far: Chambers caught for what looked like a short gain: He was surrounded by Steelers, and the Steelers tackle better than any other NFL team. Then he started to motor up the right sideline, and Pittsburgh defenders Ryan Clark, Tyrone Carter and Super Bowl MVP James Harrison all quit on the play...All three jog rather than sprint after Chambers, each assuming somebody else will get him. But wait, Kansas City tight end Leonard Pope also quit on the play -- he's on the same sideline as his teammate but makes no attempt to block or hustle into the action; he just stands there watching. Chambers himself quits on the play! Reaching the Steelers' 4, Chambers simply steps out of bounds, rather than cut back, though there's only one man left to beat. Kansas City kicked the winning field goal on the next snap, but why didn't Chambers try to get into the end zone and conclude the matter? Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs, you are both guilty of the single worst play of the season -- so far.

So Gregg Easterbrook's "worst play of the season--so far" is a play where a wide receiver went out of bounds to ensure his team could kick the game-winning touchdown and clinch an upset over the Super Bowl Champions? That doesn't sound like a very bad play. Maybe Chambers was afraid he would have the ball stripped by the player he had left to beat and didn't want to take the chance, so he just went out of bounds. Either way, the Chiefs won the game so the single worst play also clinched a win for the Chiefs.

I am not being hyperbolic when I say I have a headache right now. My head really hurts.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone and thanks for reading our drivel.