Wednesday, January 27, 2010

5 comments TMQ: Gregg Easterbrook Piles On

In the past, Gregg Easterbrook and I have had similar attitudes towards Brett Favre. I know, it's a scary realization. We both think he does most of the things he does to satisfy his own ego and that no matter how much he claims it isn't true, he believes most things are about him (and his family). It's sad for me that a man I write a weekly post about concerning his lack of football knowledge is in nearly total agreement with me on a football issue. Don't think this hasn't kept me up at nights. So today, Gregg is vindicated and doesn't mind telling us all what he really thinks and he includes some bad football analysis in hit TMQ just to annoy me.

Hamartia. The "tragic flaw" described by Aristotle: A leader cannot control his own inner shortcoming, which causes him to achieve the reverse of what he desired.

Gregg Easterbrook's fatal flaw? He has two of them actually. The inability to understand basic football analysis and enough hubris to believe what he is saying in his weekly TMQ is factual without having to provide proof when necessary.

It was not enough for Favre's team to reach the Super Bowl -- he had to get the credit. Game tied with 19 seconds remaining, Favre scrambled at about the New Orleans 40-yard line, with open field ahead of him. All he needed to do was run a few yards, hook-slide, call timeout, and the Vikings' strong-legged kicker, Ryan Longwell, had a solid chance to win the NFC championship. But the credit had to go to Favre; he had to throw a spectacular pass at the end, so television announcers would swoon. So he heave-hoed a dramatic across-the-field pass.

I would like to think this isn't necessarily true, but I also think this could be a jaded, reasonably accurate explanation of why Favre didn't run a few yards instead of throw a dangerous pass. I personally believe Favre just likes to try to make a play, whereas his real reasoning I can't say for sure because I can't read minds...but Gregg may have it right.

Perhaps you are thinking, "It was just a dumb mistake, and the whole thing happened in a couple of seconds." No. Two years of Favre's life built up to that moment. For two years, Favre has insisted that entire NFL franchises, the Jets and the Vikings, become thralls to his celebrity.

I know I usually spend this space criticizing Gregg but what he is writing here is certainly fairly reasonable isn't it? Just a little bit?

He has used his stature to demand, demand, demand -- the crux of the demands are always attention and publicity for himself.

For fear of agreeing with Gregg...doesn't Favre have a fairly extensive recent history of getting publicity for himself and generally holding teams hostage with his demands and whether he will make a decision on an issue or not? Isn't it reasonable that someone, who in some ways feels teams revolve around him and when he makes a decision, would also want to be the one to make the great play and prove that it was worth it to have him on the team?

To a certain extent Favre needed to prove his two year trek over to the Vikings was worth the risk it took in regards to the Green Bay fans' response to him playing for the Vikings and for the effort it took to make it happen. It's only natural Favre wants to prove it was all worth it...and he isn't exactly known for making safe plays as it is, so as a result comes the untimely interception.

In two of the past three seasons, Favre has lost in the NFC Championship Game. Each time, his team seemed poised to win at the end; each time, Favre's final play was a disastrous interception. And each of those title losses eventually came in overtime -- to punish Favre for his hamartia, twice the football gods allowed him to come so close, so close, then denied him.

I am not a huge believer in karma, but karma is a bitch in this situation isn't it? Favre finally got what he wanted and got to play for the Vikings and then his season ended the same way his season ended when he originally wanted to retire. So if he retires now, he will retire with the same terrible feeling of having blown a close playoff game with an interception that would have led to his team making the Super Bowl. In essence, nothing has changed except for the fact 2 years have gone by and he has cemented his status as a great quarterback with this year in Minnesota.

In other football news, someone clever, handsome and irresistible to women predicted an Indianapolis-New Orleans Super Bowl. Why, that must have been me! At the season's start, yours truly said on "The Brian Kenny Show" that I liked the Colts and Saints to meet in Miami -- the clip is here, my prediction is toward the end. I repeated the prediction here on Sept. 15.

No, no, no. TMQ did not predict a New Orleans-Indianapolis Super Bowl in that TMQ. He originally did and then backed off of it...and I quote:

Last week on "The Brian Kenny Show," I said I like Colts versus Saints for the Super Bowl. (This season, TMQ will be on ESPN News on Tuesday afternoons and on Kenny's show Tuesday evenings.) That was my thinking-based prediction, and thus sure to be wrong. Traditionally, Tuesday Morning Quarterback proposes that the team goin' to Disney World will be one that does not appear on "Monday Night Football." This year's Monday night shutouts are Cincinnati, Detroit, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Seattle, St. Louis and Tampa. Therefore, once again, I predict the Super Bowl winner will come from among the teams not on "Monday Night Football." I am 2-for-9 on this prediction so far -- the Rams and Patriots won in seasons they did not play on Monday night.
So Gregg did predict the Saints and Colts would meet but took it back in his TMQ by saying he thinks the Super Bowl winner will come from a team that didn't appear on Monday Night Football. So either he is super stupid and thinks New Orleans and Indianapolis did not appear on Monday Night Football this year or he predicted the Super Bowl WOULDN'T contain either New Orleans or Indianapolis. So he didn't predict it correctly in my book.

Of the 88 players who started on championship Sunday, 19 were undrafted. Countless megabucks first-round draft choices sat at home drinking blueberry wheat microbrews and munching genetically modified maize chips while watching undrafted gentlemen perform on the big stage.

Meanwhile mega-bucks 1st round draft choices like Peyton Manning, Reggie Wayne, Joseph Addai, Donald Brown, Dallas Clark, Mark Sanchez, Thomas Jones, Braylon Edwards, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Steve Hutchinson, Darrelle Revis, Dustin Keller, Lito Sheppard, Robert Meachem, Reggie Bush, Jeremy Shockey, Sedrick Ellis, Will Smith, Jonathan Vilma, Adrian Peterson, Alan Faneca, Bryant McKinnie, Kevin Williams, and Chad Greenway played in these championship games as well. I am also sure I forgot someone who was a 1st round pick and played in the championship games this past weekend. So undrafted players aren't the only good players in the NFL. That's my point.

TMQ admires those players who excel despite being undrafted, waived, or both. Next week I will honor the best with my annual Tuesday Morning Quarterback All-Unwanted All-Pros.

This is my least favorite TMQ of the year. I have problems with nearly every single player and it took a while to research all the players he listed last year. So it combines a big headache for me in reading and some work in researching the players, but it does give me a good chance to rant, which is always a positive.

In cultural news, the other day I took a United Airlines flight from Toronto to Washington. Scheduled departure time was 10:03 a.m. -- not 10:00, 10:03.

Gregg is a complete moron. Departure times are specifically based upon when an airplane arrives and how long it will take to refuel the plane and turn it around. It would probably cost airlines millions of dollars every year to send flights out on the :00/:15/:30/:45 of every single hour only. Don't be an idiot Gregg.

Stats of the Championship Round No. 6: No head coach in the championship round had previously won a championship game.

Only one head coach had appeared in a championship game previously and two of the head coaches were in their 1st year as NFL head coaches. So this statistic isn't really that interesting or revealing.

Why do coaches only call the leap at the goal line? Because the most it can gain is 2 yards; the runner crosses the line of scrimmage, then slams to the ground. That's fine at the goal line, but in the middle of the field, coaches want to maintain the chance of a long run. But if you're going for it on fourth-and-1, all that really matters is gaining 1 yard. Tuesday Morning Quarterback long has wondered, why not call the goal-line leap for 1 yard in the middle of the field?

Well two reasons actually Gregg (I am glad the guy writing the column for ESPN can't figure this all out):

1. On the goal line, the second a player breaks the plane of the goal line it is a touchdown, regardless if the ball came loose after the player broke the plane, but I am pretty sure in the middle of the field if a player breaks the plane of the 1st down marker and then fumbles, it is a fumble...and Pierre Thomas almost fumbled that ball in overtime (it almost came out of his hand). Diving over the pile exposes a player in the air to a defender when the player may be better served by running behind his massive offensive line and not giving the defender a clean shot. So jumping for one yard in the middle of the field exposes the ball and the running back to a hard hit from the defense.

2. There are times the defense is so loaded up for the run, the running back may be able to get a touchdown if he gets past the first line of the defense that is all in the box. I am sure there are other reasons, but these are the only two I could think of right now. So by not diving, the team could have a chance to get a big running gain.

In mid-December, nfl-forecast.com declared New England had an "88.78 percent" chance of winning its division, while Minnesota had a "98.38 percent" chance and Buffalo clung to a "0.04 percent" chance. Dallas, meanwhile, had a "50.3 percent" chance of reaching the playoffs. Accuscore.com now predicts game results for the Wall Street Journal. For the NBA's opening day, it forecast -- I am not making this up -- a final score of Cleveland 92.6, Boston 90.4.

How hard is it for Gregg Easterbrook to understand percentages and averages? It's not fucking difficult to figure out Accuscore.com uses X amount of games (possibly 1,000) that were simulated and then takes the average score in those games to come up with what they think the score of the game will be. IT'S AN AVERAGE!

According to new reports from last summer, New England fourth-round draft choice Rich Ohrnberger got a $451,000 signing bonus, while Donovan McNabb received a $5.34 million raise. Why are oddly specific numbers common in NFL contracts?

Probably because of the salary cap and that is just how it was negotiated by McNabb and Ohrnberger's agent? More importantly, why is Gregg Easterbrook retarded when it comes to numbers? Does he call up the electric company when his bill is $123.45 and wonder why they can't just round to $123 and have to be so "oddly specific?" Why would anyone waste their time wondering why a player had a signing bonus of $451,000 instead of $450,000? It probably fit under the salary cap or was a compromise the two parties made for the signing bonus. It's not like it's an unexplainable event or anything.

The Vikings played a lot better than the Saints did -- except for putting the ball on the ground.

"They played better than the Saints other than the fact they turned the ball over 7 times...other than that, great game Vikings!"

The Minnesota offense wore earplugs. Plus-nine on turnovers in their first 17 contests, the earplug-wearing Vikings were minus-four in the title game...The sense of balance originates in the inner ear. Push earplugs into your ears and your balance may be subtly altered. And the Vikings looked off-balance all night.

I am sure it was the ear plugs that were causing the Vikings to keep fumbling the ball. That makes sense. I could understand maybe if there were a ton of offsides penalties or something similar that actually had to do with hearing, but I don't think fumbling the football could be because of ear plugs.

Minnesota called 50 passing plays and 35 rushing plays, with 150 yards gained by tailbacks Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor. Yes, the running game caused two turnovers, but the passing game caused three. Oh, what might have been had Minnesota mainly rushed against the Saints, whose weakness is run defense.

The running game LOST two turnovers, but the running game also caused 2 more fumbles (if I am not wrong) that were recovered by the Vikings. Four fumbles could be good reasoning to not trust your team to run the ball.

But Favre's hamartia is wanting all the glory for himself, and whether the pass calls were coming in from the sideline or Favre was making them, pass calls they were.

I would love to just rail Brett Favre and the Vikings for these play calls, but the Vikings kept fumbling the ball when they ran it and Favre was playing fairly well...so it made some sense to try and pass the ball rather than run it. Besides Gregg spends a good portion of this TMQ complaining about how the Saints were blitzing so much and it wasn't working...so it's a little odd he thought they should have run the ball more since he admits they were having success throwing.

Childress had his charges take their sweet time on two running plays; the clock ticked down to 19 seconds before a penalty made the situation third-and-15 from the 38. Childress seemed to think the game was already over -- but field goal kickers can miss!

There is no excuse for the poor clock management here, but I don't think Childress thought the game was over, he just didn't want to turn the ball over by passing it. This is ironic since the Vikings ended up turning the ball over anyway. Childress was trying to run the ball, which Gregg just a few lines above said he thought was a great idea, in order to set up a reliable kicker (which Longwell is) for a field goal kick that was in his range...or at worst on the edge of his range that he was making prior to the game.

The tastefully named Gregg Williams, the New Orleans defensive coordinator, used a Jets-like game plan of constant big blitzing on passing downs, combined with press coverage, a mix New Orleans had not shown this season. Just as it did for the Jets, this game plan backfired by allowing the opponent big play after big play, and a 7-of-12 third-down conversion rate.

Saints players came after Favre so hard -- four times slamming him in ways that invited late-hit or roughing penalties, only two of which were called -- that TMQ had the impression Williams told his charges something along the lines of, "Pound Favre every time you can; we will take a couple of roughing flags in return for making an old guy worry about the next hit."

Favre rolled right and might have run for at least 5 yards, then performed a hook slide and called the timeout, setting up a 50-yard field goal attempt (the Vikes have a good kicker in Longwell). Was it Favre's hamartia that made him throw that crazy cross-field pass -- or fear that he would be hammered again?

Let me go over Gregg contradictions in these paragraphs:

1. Gregg questioned Brad Childress for playing it safe and thinking the game was over by running the ball, yet he thinks Brett Favre should have run the ball because the Vikings have a good kicker. So either Gregg needs to believe setting Longwell up for the kick was a good idea in this situation or he doesn't. If setting up Longwell was a good idea then Favre should have tried to make a play and run for a few yards. But Gregg can't have both ways and it feels like that is what he wants.

I don't think the Vikings should have been so conservative, but I find it interesting that Gregg on one hand thinks the Vikings should have tried to get closer, but thinks Brett Favre was an idiot for trying a risky pass to get closer. It's a minor point, but one I felt the need to try and make in two paragraphs that made borderline sense.

2. He criticizes the Saints defensive game plan for blitzing too much and hitting Favre hard, but then thinks Favre may have partially thrown the key interception because of the blitzing and constant hitting he undertook during the game. Again, the blitzing was either bad or good in the end...and if it led to Favre throwing that key interception I would say it was good...yet Gregg still criticizes blitzing despite the fact he sees it might have rushed Favre in this situation.

In both situations Gregg is playing both sides, or at least not understanding that his criticism didn't make sense in each situation. Yes, Childress should not have played it safe (in retrospect), but Gregg can't criticize the Vikings for setting up Longwell for a long field goal attempt and then criticize Favre for not setting up Longwell for a long field goal attempt by running for the 1st down. Maybe he thinks on 1st and 2nd down the Vikings should have tried to advance the ball closer but on 3rd down settling for a long field goal attempt is fine. Then Gregg completely criticizes the Saints blitz and ignores the effects the blitz could have had on Favre throughout the game, except when he acknowledges it could have affected Favre on his crucial interception.

(I don't believe Favre rushed that pass because he was hit hard during the game)

New Orleans' blocking was generally good. Jahri Evans of Division II Bloomsburg pulled and wiped out two defenders on the 38-yard touchdown screen pass to Pierre Thomas.

Wow, another unwanted guy from a small school. I am sure he will make Gregg's unwanted/undrafted team even though he was a 4th round draft pick, has played for the Saints his entire career and made the All-Pro team this year.

On Thomas' 9-yard touchdown run, Evans threw Ticonderoga class Minnesota defensive tackle Pat Williams to the ground, one of the best blocks TMQ has ever seen.

You mean he threw the undrafted/unwanted (he became a free agent and the Bills didn't resign him, which makes him unwanted in Gregg's mind) Pat Williams to the ground? I wonder why Gregg didn't mention that Pat Williams was undrafted when he wrote this sentence? The guy has made 3 Pro Bowls, so he would be a good person to cite for Gregg to prove his point that unwanted players are the best. Could it be because he wants us all to believe undrafted players never make mistakes? Or is it because Gregg never mentions players are undrafted when they don't play well and this doesn't help him prove the point that undrafted players are better than highly drafted players?

Derek Knowlton of Syracuse, Utah, writes, "Watching the World Series, I noticed an instance of outlandish specificity by the Fox network. Every once in a while, they show speed of the pitched ball at the time of release and its speed at the time it crosses the plate. The third number they give us is the reaction time the batter has to hit the ball. The example I saw showed that a 96 mph fastball crossed the plate at 88 mph, and the batter had .354 seconds to react. They gauge this to the thousandth of a second?

Yes, they do gauge it to the thousandth of a second because there is a difference in .357 and .354 in reaction time, believe it or not. When you are dealing with something like a baseball being thrown to home plate and reaction time, thousandths of a second make a difference. I would love to know at what point it is no longer absurd to be overly specific with numbers? I don't think Gregg knows this answer either, he is just criticizing.

In Game 2 of the 2009 NBA Finals, time appeared to expire as the ball caromed out of bounds at the end of regulation. Officials Steve Javie, Tom Washington and Monty McCutchen huddled and put 0.6 of a second back on the clock, allowing Orlando a chance to win. NBA officials can sense three-fifths of a second!

No they can't dumbass. They can go look at the replay with the EXACT AMOUNT OF TIME in the lower right hand corner of the screen and then see when the ball went out of bounds and match it up with EXACTLY HOW MUCH TIME WAS LEFT ON THE CLOCK. It's not brain surgery or anything. It's a matter of looking at the clock and the play in slow motion a few times and seeing how much time was left. Officials don't have to sense anything since it's right on the screen for them to see when they go to the replay. Why is Gregg Easterbrook such a fucktard?

It's 2010 and we use thousands and hundredths of a second because we have the technology to do so. It's not absurd or stupid to do this.

Bills scout Tom Modrak told Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News that college shotgun spread offenses make it hard to evaluate the pass-blocking ability of offensive linemen because, "The quarterback always throws the ball in 1.7 seconds." College quarterbacks can sense tenths of seconds!

No they can't. The quarterbacks are not actively trying to throw the ball that fast, it just turns out that is how fast they do throw the ball. NFL scouts can sense tenths of seconds because they have fucking stopwatches and tons of data from quarterbacks throwing the ball in college out of the spread to come up with how fast the ball is thrown in the spread offense.

Doubting the technology to do this reveals Gregg as a person who is either an imbecile or doesn't WANT to understand how this can be done. There is a big difference in 1.7 seconds and 2.1 seconds when it comes to a defender getting to the quarterback, so rounding up from 1.7 seconds to 2 seconds and rounding down from 2.1 seconds to 2 seconds would make a huge difference in the time the quarterback has in the pocket.

An all-Wesleyan bracket of the 18 colleges with the word Wesleyan in their names. Saying, "I went to college at Wesleyan" doesn't tell much.

Actually it does, because depending on what state your are currently located in, the person you are talking to will probably assume it is the Wesleyan college in that current state. There is only one state on that list that has two "Wesleyan" colleges, Ohio, so most likely a person could refer to "Wesleyan" and the listener would know the exact college being spoken about.

Also, Gregg can't read very well, there are 19 colleges with the word "Wesleyan" in the name. So not only does he not understand thousandths of a second, he also can't read, because it clearly says 19 colleges on the site he linked.

Last week the Cleveland Orchestra, which performs beautifully, went on strike for a day. That is, the orchestra staged a strike to demand more charity -- considering most major urban symphonies rely on donations to exist...Orchestras striking to demand more charity will only hasten the demise of the resident urban orchestra. The silly strike also broadcasts this message about Cleveland itself: "Stay away, we are declining." Thanks a lot, Cleveland Orchestra.

Yeah, fuck you people of the Cleveland Orchestra! How dare you attempt to keep your current jobs by raising awareness that funding to the arts has declined! You should just gradually let your job slip away without a fight! Asshole orchestra people.

Aaron Maybin "shaved over .10 seconds off his 40 time." And if, like TMQ, you are tired of hearing 40 times discussed down to hundredths of seconds -- Maybin runs the 40 "somewhere between 4.59 and 4.64," according to Tucker -- the combine shuttle and cone-drill times are in hundredths too.

Again, in sports there is a big difference in a tenth of a second. Maybe 40 times are overrated to an extent, I won't argue that, but there is a difference in a running back who runs a 4.39 and a 4.49. As shown in the Olympics, in the case of world class athletes hundredths of a second can make a big difference in performance or in a game. I know this is hard for someone like Gregg Easterbrook to understand, but football many times is a game of hundredths of a second, so teams gravitate towards players who are faster.

TMQ has been warning all season that the big-blitz would come back to haunt the Jets, and at Lucas Oil Stadium, it did.

Oh yeah, that big blitz really backfired on the Jets. Other than the fact they were one win away from the Super Bowl and were the best defense in the NFL, they didn't really accomplish anything this year by blitzing so much. There are probably a lot of teams that would love for their defensive style to work all year and then have to worry about it haunting them in the AFC/NFC Championship Game.

Colts leading 27-17 and facing third-and-9 with 4:12 remaining, Jets down to their final gasp, Jersey/B called big-blitz with press coverage on Garçon -- 23-yard gain, and TMQ wrote the words "AFC Championship Game over" in his notebook.

Gregg is such a sage. He wrote "game over" in his notebook when the Colts were up 10 points with 4:12 left in the game and the Colts had the ball. I like how Gregg thinks this is a bold prediction and how he thinks the fact the game was over here would have been missed by the average fan...so he HAS to mention exactly when the game was over in his TMQ.

The Jersey/B big-blitz was so predictable that late in the first half and early in the second, as the Jets were losing their lead, the Colts were moving nearly at will. But Jersey/B never changed tactics, just continued to do exactly what Indianapolis expected.

In the second quarter, the Jets tried a two-man defensive line that was essentially a 2-4-5. Manning noticed this and began to hand off against the light front;

I am pretty sure this counts as "changing tactics." It didn't work, but the Jets did try something new.

The Colts, who mainly play straight defense, blitzed Sanchez on every third-and-long in the second half, and it worked, leading to incompletions. Sanchez lacks the polish to realize an opponent was changing defensive tactics in-game. He'll be able to pick those sorts of things up someday, but he couldn't this time.

A "straight defense?" What the hell is a "straight defense" exactly?

Supposedly the Colts' front seven is undersized; they played big against the Jets' power backs and three Pro Bowl offensive linemen.

The Colts front seven IS undersized, but this doesn't mean they aren't fast and can't stop the run. The Colts have definitely gotten bigger than they used to be under Ron Meeks' defense, but they are still kind of small in the front seven.

The Case-Shiller index is an approximation, yet is stated with absurd precision as "148.58." This approximation is derived by multiplying a series of estimates, then treating the result as meaningful to the second decimal place.

It's doesn't mean the approximation is more meaningful when it goes to the second decimal place, it just means it is a more accurate approximation. That's all. His constant criticizing of decimals in the hundredths and thousandths is just stupid.

The Michigan state personal income tax is now 3.95 percent -- it's certainly not 4 percent! The New Jersey top state tax rate is now 8.97 percent -- certainly not 9 percent! Where I live, in Montgomery County in Maryland, the top state-and-county combined tax rate is 9.45 percent -- certainly not 9.5 percent!

Oh my God, make this stop. There may not feel like a difference in these tax rates for the average person, but the top tax rate is for high earning people and to those people there is a difference when the tax rate isn't rounded up to the nearest tenth of a percent.

If Gregg goes to get gas and the price is $2.83 per gallon, does he expect to pay $2.8/gallon or does he round up to $2.9/gallon if the price is $2.87/gallon? Probably not, he is just being incredibly annoying here by trying to prove a point 99 out of 100 people don't get because it's a stupid point.

The New Yorker now retails for $4.99 -- it's certainly not $5! Amazon sells books for the Kindle at $9.99 -- they certainly don't cost $10!

It looks cheaper. It's just a marketing thing. If Gregg would shut the hell up for half a second (or .455 seconds) and think about it, it's not that a company doesn't want to round up or is trying to be extra fancy, $4.99 appears cheaper than $5. There is a reason women always round down when you ask them how much something cost.

(Me) "How much did that cost?"

(Her) "$14!"

(Me) "So it was $14.99?"

(Her) "Yes."

Listing the many collegiate weasel coaches, I praised David Cutcliffe of Duke for not walking out on his promises for a bigger payday at Tennessee.

Because Gregg absolutely refuses to do research, he doesn't know that Cutcliffe may have already learned his lesson about leaving a school for a big payday (or "being a weasel" according to Gregg Easterbrook). Cutcliffe already left Tennessee as offensive coordinator for a big payday at Ole Miss and then got wrongly fired, in my opinion, and then ended up back at Tennessee. Granted, it was a promotion so Cutcliffe wasn't incredibly weasely, but he did get paid more for the Ole Miss head coaching job.

I guess it is just easier to start writing than do any research. He got screwed over in a way at Ole Miss, so maybe instead of him not being a weasel coach, he just wants to stay at a place that appreciates him.

I said the Jets-at-Bengals playoff game was lost by the home team when Cincinnati linemen did not come out into the cold with bare arms, as Cincinnati linemen once did in a freezing-cold playoff game against San Diego. Steve Lieber of Cleveland notes, "I heard Steve Tasker said that when he played in Buffalo, [on] cold days the linemen would come out for warmups with bare arms, intimidating the visiting team. The other team's linemen would be embarrassed, change, and come out with bare arms for the game -- while the Bills linemen would be comfortable, having changed pregame into long sleeves."

I have always noticed when a reader writes in to prove what Gregg said as wrong, Gregg never actually says he was wrong. He just adds what the reader wrote in to say...but just can't say he was wrong.

Then a reader writes in speculating how old Jack Bauer on "24" is now, but he rounds up every single time span between each season. An example:

Season 3 was three years after season 2, making Jack about 47-48. Season 4 was 18 months after season 3, making Jack about 50.

About 50, but he could also be 49. We all know how Gregg is about rounding up and how he doesn't like exact numbers, so numbers being used like this is perfect for Gregg's TMQ. This rounding goes on for an entire paragraph and eventually it turns out Jack Bauer is 60 years old.

With Indianapolis leading 27-17 with 8:11 remaining, Jersey/B faced fourth-and-5 on its 25 -- and Rex Ryan sent in the punting unit

I knew Gregg Easterbrook would second guess this decision when I watched the game.

I don't care if it's fourth-and-99, this is the AFC championship -- there is no tomorrow! There is no BCS poll to confer style points for holding down the margin of defeat!

Rex Ryan should have gone for it here, I don't doubt that, but I will play Devil's Advocate for a second.

Rex Ryan's defense does have the #1 defense in the NFL and there was a fair chance (despite the Colts offensive dominance in the 2nd half) that the Jets may have been able to stop the Colts...maybe. So rather than have a rookie quarterback on the road try to convert a fourth down, he trusted his defense. I would have gone for it on fourth down, but Ryan chose to trust his defense. You know what? Either way he was going to lose the game, he just wanted to go down with his defense getting a chance to make a play rather than trusting his offense to do so.

They went undrafted, were waived or both, yet now are among football's top performers -- TMQ's annual All-Unwanted All-Pros. Plus, the Tuesday Morning Quarterback Unwanted Player of the Year.

The mere thought of this column next week gives me a headache because last year Gregg included guys who left as free agents and weren't unwanted, just too expensive to re-sign. I don't know how many times I am going to type "He was not unwanted!" but it will probably be a lot.

5 comments:

rich said...

But the credit had to go to Favre; he had to throw a spectacular pass at the end, so television announcers would swoon. So he heave-hoed a dramatic across-the-field pass.

I'm going to do something I don't want to do: defend Favre. Is it possible that he wanted the glory? Yes, absolutely. Was it an incredibly stupid throw? Yes. However, you're talking about a QB who has been very successful making poor decisions (throwing into tight coverage, etc.) and having it work out well. He's been programmed to think he can complete that pass. Also, this is the same QB who once threw a pass when he was 3-4 yards passed the line of scrimmage, so the thought to run probably doesn't cross his mind while that play is happening.

Push earplugs into your ears and your balance may be subtly altered.

May be and subtly kill that thought. It's why people can run with iPods and not trip over and fall every 10 feet. One of those turnovers was a terrible throw, one a botched handoff (to a fumble prone RB) and two more belonged to said fumble prone RB.

Sanchez lacks the polish to realize an opponent was changing defensive tactics in-game.

Two problems with this. First, this is why you have coaches. To point out things like this, especially to rookies. Second, if Sanchez couldn't figure out that the Colts were blitzing on third and long... then he shouldn't be an NFL QB.

I don't care if it's fourth-and-99, this is the AFC championship -- there is no tomorrow! There is no BCS poll to confer style points for holding down the margin of defeat!

Except he didn't write game over until 4 minutes later? So even he (implicitly) admits that he thought the Jets still had a chance by punting. Whereas, not making the first down would have been "game over."

HH said...

In cultural news, the other day I took a United Airlines flight from Toronto to Washington. Scheduled departure time was 10:03 a.m. -- not 10:00, 10:03.

Gregg, you don't know anything. Flights are staggered for a reason - two flights can't take off immediately back to because because it's unsafe to take off into the wake of a plane that just took off. (Air behind planes acts much like water behind speedboats and leaves a wake.)
The super-precise takeoff time is used to determine takeoff order in the airport - they can't all take off at 10:00. I guess airlines could approximate flight times for passengers while knowing the precise time internally, but that's more complicated than simply telling the passengers when the flight is scheduled to take off.

KentAllard said...

Since the Saints players have said in numerous interviews their plan was to pound Favre so he would play like a 40-year-old man at the end of the game, that's a bold analysis by ol' Gregg. "Kill the head and the body dies" was the quote the Saints kept using.

The Jets' blitzing certainly screwed them this year, as a team that seemed fairly middle-of-the-pack managed to get within one game of the Super Bowl.

Again with his hatred of decimal points. When the ball is in play for 6-8 seconds at a time, of course fractions are important. And it's been shown again and again a few extra tenths of a second are the key to great pass protection.

"Hubris" would have worked better than "hamartia", but I suppose the longer words make you appear smarter - which is why I try to work oogelly-googelly into every sentence.

RuleBook said...

You mentioned most of my problems, but I have one additional one. He criticized Denver for firing yet another defensive coordinator. In actuality, both Denver and Nolan had options in the contract. Nolan didn't want to exercise his, and Denver agreed not to exercise theirs. Thus, Nolan was not fired - his contract expired.

Also, since when is $5.34 million hyper-specific? $40,000 is a lot of money!

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, you very well could be right. Like I sort of stated, I don't exactly think this all went through Favre's head but I wouldn't put it past him. You are right that he is programmed to throw that pass.

Good call on the Ipod analogy to ear plugs. It sounds absurd to me to believe that they would cause the fumbles.

On that 4th down call, it is a tough call and that is why I don't think Ryan should be criticized for it. The game is over if your rookie QB doesn't get the 1st down and you have the best defense in the NFL. So at worst, it's a defensible call.

HH, I know very little about airplane flight but what you said makes sense. Plus, people aren't so stupid as to not understand 10:03 is when the flight leaves. Being hyper specific makes sense in the realm of airplane flights because, like you said, there is more than one plane that takes off.

Kent, I can't get how Gregg thinks the Jets blitzing hurt them this year. They stink on offense and came one game from the Super Bowl! He just hates blitzing.

He also hates hundredths of a second but he is a complete idiot if he can't understand how hundredths of a second can affect a play.

Rulebook, good point. We have to remember any time Gregg sees a player or coach leave a team he just assumes they were fired or unwanted. That's what happens when he refuses to do research or actually look into why a player/coach isn't with a team anymore.

$40,000 is a lot of money and I am sure it was a compromise of some sort. Again, this is over Gregg's head.