Wednesday, February 10, 2010

20 comments TMQ: Fortune Favors the Bold But Good Sports Journalism Doesn't Favor Gregg

As everyone knows by now, and it appears over 100+ million people watched so I am assuming a lot of people know, the New Orleans Saints won Super Bowl 44 by defeating the Indianapolis Colts. Did the Saints beat the Colts because of Tracy Porter's timely interception, Drew Brees' impressive performance, the ability of the Saints to put pressure on Manning, or because they took risks in order to get an advantage in the game? "Of course not," says Gregg Easterbrook, it was the football gods that smiled on them and allowed them to win the game. How can a person reasonably expect the Saints to have won the game because of football prowess? It's clearly the gods who did it. Let's allow Gregg to explain.

Fortune favors the bold! The Saints had nothing to lose in the 44th Super Bowl, since their season was already a success regardless of the outcome.

The Saints had nothing to lose, other than the hopes of an entire city and the one chance many of the players on the Saints team had to make it to, and win, a Super Bowl. This is probably the only chance for many of these players to win a Super Bowl. Other than that, no pressure.

The Saints were loose and spontaneous, the Colts were stiff and mechanical.

The Colts looked bored and the Saints looked motivated. I don't know if this was true, but it certainly looked that way.

Boldness was the key to the New Orleans victory -- not just the onside kick to open the second half, but also Sean Payton's decision to try for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal at the Colts' 1-yard line, trailing 10-3. Though that play failed, the failure was a tremendous success -- fortune favors the bold!

This is one of the reasons I just don't like Gregg Easterbrook's TMQ. He thinks the fact the Saints went for it on fourth down on the Colts 1-yard line led them to success later in the Super Bowl. This makes really no logical sense.

How was the failed fourth-and-goal try a success? Short-term, by improving the New Orleans situation at the end of the first half.

I get it. So the Saints situation improved through passing up a field goal opportunity that was a chip shot and they were then able to help themselves by later kicking a longer field goal. I get it. They passed up short term success of getting a field goal before the end of the half for the longer term success of getting a field goal before the end of the half.

Using the timeouts, the Saints preserved enough time to launch a field goal as the first half ended, making it 10-6 at intermission. Thus New Orleans got the three points it would have gotten anyway had Sean Payton sent in the place-kicker on fourth-and-goal.

It's amazing how the Saints managed to get a longer field goal than they would have normally gotten. Brilliant move! I am sure this pleased the gods.

Payton knew that if his fourth-and-goal attempt failed, Indianapolis would be pinned against its own goal line with the clock ticking and the Saints holding three timeouts. The Saints were better off going for it and failing on fourth-and-goal than kicking a field goal. Fortune favors the bold!

So if the Saints were in a better position in going for it than kicking the field goal, was this really a bold move? Wouldn't the bold move have been to kick the field goal, stop the Colts on three downs and try to get the ball back to take the lead before halftime?

So fortune favors the person who uses logical and well-thought out reasoning!

The long-term impact of the successful failure? Here are New Orleans' offensive possession results from the point of the failed fourth-and-goal: field goal, touchdown, field goal, touchdown, touchdown, kneel-down to conclude the NFL season.

And it was all because the Saints went for it on fourth down. It had nothing to do with strategy by the Saints or the team's performance from the 2nd quarter through the rest of the game. The Saints comeback was simply because of a failed fourth-down attempt.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback favors the fourth-down try because when a coach goes for it on fourth down, he is challenging his players to win the game.

When a fourth-down try fails, it gets the other team motivated and challenges them to stop the opposing team from winning the game. Somehow in Gregg's world a defense can't get motivated from stopping a team on fourth down, but an offense can get motivated by a failed fourth down attempt. It's not logical or smart, it's just Gregg Easterbrook.

Fortune also favors a good game plan!

If a team has a good game plan, that team doesn't need a whole hell of a lot of fortune.

Peyton Manning loves to be blitzed; he has an offensive line that picks up the blitz better than any other line in the league; surely the Colts spent two weeks practicing to face constant blitzing. But on Sunday, the Saints hardly ever blitzed.

I am sure at that point the Colts offensive line was so confused because they aren't used to only having 4 guys to block. I am sure that is exactly what happened.

Often Williams sent only three rushers as the Saints used a lot of 3-3-5 formations, a look they had not shown this season. This appeared to be the last thing Manning expected -- it worked like a charm,

THIS is a much better reason to think the Colts had trouble against the Saints defense...the fact the Saints used a different defensive strategy. I don't think it has to do with the Colts offensive line being unable to adapt to the fact they had less defensive players to block.

Stats of the Super Bowl No. 9: Discounting games it made no attempt to win, Indianapolis is on a 23-0 streak in the regular season and a 2-2 stretch in the postseason.

I love it when Gregg makes up some statistics that are supposed to mean something by just randomly discounting games he doesn't want to include to try and prove a point. The Colts are 23-2 over the last 25 regular season games. Is that any less impressive than the statistic Gregg put together? I don't think it is that much less impressive personally and I didn't have to discount the two games the Colts lost where Manning didn't play an entire game.

If you're ever driving a vehicle that keeps accelerating when you lift your foot from the gas pedal, turning off the engine is not the best response, because that also turns off the steering and brakes and may lock the steering column. Put it in neutral! Shift an automatic to the "N" position, or throw a manual into the center position.

I have a manual car and it is a Toyota. Should I trust Gregg Easterbrook to take his advice in an emergency like this? This is the same guy who believes in football gods and doesn't understand how hundredths of seconds are pertinent in sports, so you can excuse me for questioning his knowledge.

yet most NFL teams have more fancy titles than entire European governments. Here is a sampling, based on directories in the league's current Record and Fact Book: Buffalo has a vice president for stadium operations, though the Bills do not own their stadium,

Does this mean Gregg believes because the Bills don't own their stadium there is no need to hire someone to manage the stadium operations during a game? If so, who the hell does he think is going to manage a stadium's operations?

Miami has an owner/chairman of the board, a CEO, a "president and COO," an executive vice president/ football operations (that's Bill Parcells), a general counsel for football operations (Parcells has his own full-time lawyer), a general manager, three senior vice presidents, a regular vice president, a senior director, nine regular directors and a team security investigator -- which sounds like someone whose job is to investigate all the other guys just mentioned.

A team security investigator is clearly a guy who is responsible for investigating the background of the football players currently on an NFL team, potential draft picks and anyone else associated with the team that needs to be investigated.

Then Gregg goes on and on about the titles that each team has for the executives on that team. Essentially he is just wasting space at this point because he doesn't have anything else to write about. It is the old Bill Simmons rule. When in doubt start making a list to kill space and time. It makes it seem like you are writing more than you actually are.

In 2005, ESPN had 6 Executive Vice-Presidents, 7 Senior Vice-Presidents, and 4 Vice-Presidents. So NFL teams aren't the only organizations that have a ton of titles that may or may not mean anything. I would assume as ESPN has grown over the past 5 years, this number of VP titles has grown as well. Of course Gregg would not even pay attention to the numerous VP titles his own company has given their employees while criticizing NFL teams for "excess" when they do the same thing.

The expected onside kick only succeeds about 10 percent of the time. But since 2000, slightly more than 60 percent of unexpected onside kicks have been successful. If it works, you've created a turnover -- if it fails, you've surrendered about 30 yards of field position. Thus, the unexpected onside is not a "huge gamble," it is a percentage play -- in most game circumstances, a turnover is worth a lot more than 30 yards of field position.

Using this line of thought, if a teams began to more often try onside kicks then opposing teams would start to expect onside kicks and the 60% ratio would inevitably begin to trend down towards the 10% average rate of onside kick success. So in order to keep the unexpected onside kick trend at 60% I would think teams need to try onside kicks in unexpected situations as they do now at about the same rate they try unexpected onside kicks now...or else opposing teams will start expecting the kicks and the success rate will decline...at least I believe this to be true.

Since Indianapolis never does anything it hasn't done in prior weeks, the Colts seemed to make the mistake of assuming this must be true of New Orleans, too.

I am sure that is exactly what happened. The Colts assumed because they didn't change their game plan, the Saints wouldn't do it either. OR maybe the Colts just couldn't stop the Saints offense from scoring points. That could be a reason the Colts lost as well.

The Who's 20-plus-piece stage set was still being rolled off as the Colts' receiving team lined up for the second-half kickoff, and the pieces were rolling out the tunnel end -- the same end as where the Colts were. Several Indianapolis players seemed idly to be watching the final pieces of the stage and the large stage crew -- things they never see in a regular game -- rather than paying attention to the opposing kick unit. Suddenly it's an onside kick -- blame The Who!

I don't care if this is tongue-in-cheek, it is too stupid to even be considered tongue-in-cheek. I am pretty sure the Colts players in at the front of their kick return team wasn't paying attention to equipment being rolled off the field. I think it had more to do with the Saints kicked a good onside kick and then got lucky that Hank Baskett couldn't catch/hold on to the ball.

Williams also had his linebackers wait until Manning finished his chicken dance and made his calls at the line of scrimmage; then the linebackers quickly changed positions. This is a tactic the Washington Redskins used to defeat the no-huddle Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI, and Williams surely recalled that, too.

I bet Williams recalled this because he has coached for both the Bills and Redskins and he paid attention to those team's history when he coached there, which is why he used this defensive tactic! I bet Gregg actually believes this.

Manning was doubly to blame on this play, because not only did he telegraph the pass to Wayne, he never looked toward Dallas Clark down the seam -- with the strong safety up at the line, Clark was open for a long gain and maybe a touchdown.

Oh yeah, I am sure it would have been a touchdown. That's just the probable outcome for this pass down the middle to Dallas Clark. The Colts passed up an easy touchdown that may or may not have happened! What were they thinking?

For that matter, why didn't Manning audible to a run? New Orleans nose tackle Anthony Hargrove went out injured before this down, making a rush attractive.

Manning probably didn't audible to a run because he wanted to avoid a fourth down and was trying to get the 1st down.

Indianapolis averaged 5.2 yards per rush attempt; gaining even, say, 3 yards here would have made it a very manageable fourth-and-2 on the New Orleans 28-yard line.

Manageable or not, not getting a first down would have resulted in a 4th down, which is not a position the Colts or Manning wanted to be in. I think Manning was smart to take his chances on two pass attempts that would gain 5 yards, but obviously Gregg disagrees and thinks the Colts should have tried to convert this "manageable" fourth down.

Manning might still someday be considered the best QB of all time, but this Super Bowl loss, and his current postseason record of 9-9, make that a lot less likely.

As I discussed on Monday, this game was lost by the Colts due to several things, only one of which Peyton Manning was responsible for firsthand. So I don't put a whole lot of stock his postseason record due to the fact there are other variables that determine whether a team wins or loses a playoff game...though I do think it is interesting he has lost a lot of important games.

Again the Saints had wrinkles they hadn't shown, in this case an unbalanced line plus an extra offensive lineman in the backfield. Twice the extra lineman, Zach Strief, not only went in motion but in spin motion, starting in one direction and then spinning back the other way.

Strief had gone in "spin motion" against the Vikings several times on running plays. This wasn't a new wrinkle that Saints showed the Colts. I remember this because the Saints ran behind him on a couple of their failed third/fourth-and-short plays.

Despite its pass-happy reputation, New Orleans is among the league's best rushing teams, and Indianapolis did well to hold New Orleans to 51 yards on the ground.

New Orleans is a great running team because all year they have been able to run the ball in the 2nd half of games when they had a lead. When they don't have a lead, hence the Super Bowl, they only end up with 51 yards rushing. Therefore I submit the Saints aren't a great rushing team because it seems like they generally need a lead to run the ball well. That being said, it doesn't really matter anymore because they are Super Bowl champs.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback's annual State Standings are based on the states in which teams actually play -- so the Maryland teams are the Ravens and Redskins, and so on. Note California, Florida and Ohio, traditional football hotbed states, finished a combined 54-76-1.

Those are traditional football hotbed states in COLLEGE FOOTBALL. This is the NFL, which in case Gregg hasn't noticed, isn't college football. This statement doesn't even begin to make sense. There is no correlation between states that have good recruits in college football coming out of the state and how well the NFL team does in that state.

Not counting graduate assistants and office assistants, the football staff is 22. There are 42 people on the faculty of the English Department at the University of Georgia. The school has about 100 football players and about 34,000 undergrads and graduates. This means that in football, the ratio of staff to student is 1-to-5. In English, the ratio of staff to student is 1-to-800.

This "interesting" statistics Gregg puts together are intriguing and all, but what he fails to also realize is that the Georgia football team has brought in enough income to the school to where they can hire 22 people to be on the football staff. No offense to the English Department at UGA, but I don't think they bring in enough money to the school to justify a 1-to-5 staff to student ratio.

Gregg is also attempting to mislead his reading audience. He takes the total students on the football team and then divides it by 22 people on the coaching staff to get the 1-to-5 ratio, but he takes the total students in the ENTIRE school to get the ratio of 1-to-800 for staff to student for the English Department. Every student in the school is not currently taking English so he should either take the number of students currently taking English classes and divide by the number of staff or take the number of English majors at the school and divide by the number of staff. He is getting a larger staff to student ratio by adding people who aren't currently students or currently taking any classes in the English Department.

I don't know how much lower the staff to student ratio would be if Gregg made this change, but I know it would be lower because every student does not require access to an English teacher every single semester.

Ryan Anderson of Seattle reports, "I was searching for art supplies online, and couldn't believe what I saw: a 2010 pre-Christmas sale."

It's a PRE-CHRISTMAS SALE. Not a Christmas sale. Hence the prefix "PRE-" in front of "Christmas" acknowledging the sale takes place before Christmas. So as stated in the name, the sale is supposed to take place before Christmas 2010, which it does. Therefore Ryan Anderson has no point.

Does anyone seriously think Lane "One Step Ahead of the Posse" Kiffin still will be coaching the Trojans by the time this boy enrolls in college? The story made me feel sad, thinking what terrible pressure the young man in question will be under through his high school years.

I am not in favor of this kid being recruited so young, but is he really going to be under less pressure than another high school football player who has yet to get a scholarship offer and be accepted into a school? Wouldn't that player have more pressure since his future in playing football is more unknown?

Return man Chad Simpson made an awful mental mistake, taking a kickoff 4 yards deep in the end zone, hesitating, then bringing it out to the 11. He who hesitates loses the Super Bowl! Plus Simpson isn't a speed merchant. He has no business bringing a kick out of the end zone.

Gregg needs to check his facts. Regardless of whether Simpson should have taken the ball out of the end zone, he is a speed merchant. At the 2008 combine, Simpson was the 5th fastest running back and the 11th fastest offensive player.

I think I would call a player with 4.42 40 yard sprint running ability to be a "speed merchant."

Tuesday Morning Quarterback Non-Quarterback Non-Running Back NFL MVP: I gave up complaining that the MVP award always goes to a quarterback or running back -- 90 percent of football action occurs away from the ball!

Under this theory, in baseball a pitcher would always be MVP and a hitter like Albert Pujols could never win because he doesn't touch the baseball enough.

This year's finalists were Gary Brackett and Dallas Clark of Indianapolis, Jahri Evans and Darren Sharper of New Orleans; Nick Mangold and Darrelle Revis of Jersey/B; and Sidney Rice and Kevin Williams of Minnesota. Only players from the championship round were eligible: My reasoning is that if you would wear the mantle of Most Valuable, you better have created some value.

Sorry Patrick Willis, Andre Johnson, Josh Cribbs, and DeMarcus Ware, you added no value to your team. These players should have their contracts restructured to reflect they aren't impact players.

I hope everyone sees how insane this statement by Gregg Easterbrook is. Only players who are on teams that were on teams in the championship round added value to their respective teams. This is just plain idiocy.

This season, Clark had 118 receptions for 1,286 yards and 11 touchdowns, with 10.9 yards per reception, high for a tight end (all stats include the postseason).

This is more plain idiocy. Of course Dallas Clark's numbers are all highs for tight ends, they include three extra games that he got to play which other tight ends did not get to play. I recognize Gregg wants to choose a player that had an "impact" on his team and made it to the championship round, but it is not very fair to compare Clark's numbers to other tight ends who play fewer games and give Clark the benefit of 3 extra games.

If Gregg had taken the regular season statistics for Clark he would see Clark ranked #1 in catches, 2nd in reception yards, and 3rd in TDs. So there was no need for Gregg to add the postseason into Dallas Clark's numbers, they are just fine without Gregg giving him extra games to look more impressive.

Give Clark the award, that's fine, just don't compare his statistics to other NFL tight ends when they didn't have the chance to play 3 extra games like he did because Clark's TEAM was better than most other NFL teams.

As middle-class taxes are being eliminated, the top 20 percent of filers -- the well-off -- pay for a steadily higher share of federal government, last year paying 70 percent of total federal taxes. The well-off are financing most of the federal government, and that will intensify next year as taxes go up on household income above $250,000.

Everyone hates rich people, because they are rich, but they have always paid the majority of federal taxes. What I think should happen is the rich people of the United States should buy out Gregg Easterbrook's contract with ESPN and hire a good columnist to write TMQ every single week. THAT is exactly what I want to see happen.

Cheerleaders from the opposing teams ended up standing next to each other in the main tunnel for a good 10 minutes awaiting their signal to enter the field. They smiled politely -- why didn't they trash-talk? It should have been, "Your moves aren't fresh!" "Your makeup runs!" "My high school had better-looking cheerleaders than you!" "Want some? Come over here! What's the matter, afraid I'll muss your hair?" The cheerleaders should have started butting heads and fighting.

Oh Jesus. I knew someone was writing the sequels to all of those shitty "Bring it On" movies. I guess I have finally realized it is the guys like Gregg Easterbrook who aren't funny, worship cheerleaders, and are pretty much white nerds who are doing the writing of these crappy movies.

Hidden Play of the Super Bowl: Hidden plays are ones that never make highlight reels, but stop or sustain drives. Colts leading 10-3 midway through the second quarter, facing third-and-4, Peyton Manning laid a perfect pass into the hands of Division III's Pierre Garçon for a first down.

This was in NO WAY a hidden play. This was marked by Tony Dungy as the turning point in the game and was a situation where the Colts not only lost a long gain, but also had to punt because the drop happened on third down. In fact, I would argue this drop was the turning point in the game. So it was in no way "hidden."

With a minute remaining, Reggie Wayne dropped a touchdown pass on fourth down that would have pulled Indianapolis within seven.

A dropped touchdown pass is not a hidden play.

On the snap before the Indianapolis missed field goal, with the Colts leading 17-16, Manning had Austin Collie open on the deep post and missed him;

A missed deep completion that would have put the Colts in the red zone was also NOT a hidden play.

Adventures in Officiating: Zebras on the field called the New Orleans deuce attempt incomplete, then during a TV timeout, reversed it. Lance Moore was juggling the ball and never seemed to control it, then the ball bounced when he hit the ground. NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira (who recently announced his retirement) said afterward the two points should have been scored because once there is any possession in the end zone or above the white line, the play ends, so it doesn't matter if the receiver loses the ball as he hits the ground, which normally means incompletion. That's not how I read the rule --

I am not always up-to-date on the rules in the NFL, but I am pretty sure there was possession across the goal line, which means regardless if the ball hit the ground or not, as long as the ball passes the goal line with the receiver having possession it is a touchdown. I think the NFL got this call right.

Xing Li of Boise, Idaho, nominates Jefferson Starship: "Not only was their 1985 'We Built This City' album voted the worst record ever, they shuffle members in and out of their lineup, leading to more configurations than Sean Payton's offense."

Xing Li can kiss my ass for stealing my band idea. That was my suggestion to Gregg as well and my comment to Gregg was much more quote worthy. I have lost my one chance at appearing in TMQ, my life is over!

My submission:

I think Jefferson Starship should play halftime of the Super Bowl. They still have original members and they are still touring. They are even going to be on the "Heroes of Woodstock" tour even though they didn't even play at Woodstock!

I thought that comment was very TMQ-worthy personally.

The Challenge -- and a signed copy of "Sonic Boom" -- goes to Sharon McCall of Nashville, Tenn., who proposed Simon and Garfunkel. They made their first 45 RPM single -- remember singles? -- in 1957, and both will be 69 in February 2010. McCall notes, "Paul Simon and Art [Garfunkel] could stay in separate hotels to maintain total isolation from each other until show time. There could be a bonus clause in the contract if they make eye contact at any point. The halftime show could be sponsored by eHarmony.com."

Boooooooooooooooooooo!!!! I got robbed. Simon and Garfunkel is such an obvious suggestion, I can't believe Gregg chose them as the winners.

But one act of the NFL season remains: the annual Tuesday Morning Quarterback Bad Predictions Review. Here's a sneak preview: Everyone was wrong about everything, except me!

Gregg doesn't need predictions to be wrong, he is wrong every single week that he writes TMQ.

I can't believe the TMQ season is almost over. If I wasn't so excited, I would be depressed about it.

20 comments:

RuleBook said...

NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira (who recently announced his retirement) said afterward the two points should have been scored because once there is any possession in the end zone or above the white line, the play ends, so it doesn't matter if the receiver loses the ball as he hits the ground, which normally means incompletion.

What Pereira didn't say (or what Easterbrook left out) was the caveat that most people that I've spoken with don't know.

When a player is falling to the ground as part of a catch, he must maintain possession even after he hits the ground in order to get credited for a reception.

However, if after a player initially catches the ball, he makes a move to exhibit control of the football (such as trying to stretch the ball over the goal line), the possession is then established. The fact that Moore caught the ball behind the goal line and stretched it to the goal line exhibited this possession, at which point the play was dead as of the ball crossing the goal line. Surprisingly enough, the announcers during the game were correct when referring to the "second act" which established completion.

(This is the same explanation given by Mike Pereira for why a TD by Dante Rosario was ruled a catch rather than an incompletion in week 2)

Bengoodfella said...

Rulebook, I didn't know about that caveat. I knew about the 1st part but I didn't know about the part where the football player has to make a move that exhibits control of the football.

I like how you said the announcers were surprisingly correct. It's funny but true that it is a shock they were right.

I still have people tell me that Rosario TD catch wasn't a catch. Regardless of my bias I disagree.

Martin said...

How many Saints games did Gregg see? My guess is not many. The Saints didn't just bust out the 3-3-5 for this game, it was part of their nickel package group they ran this year. They ran it against the Patriots, which I saw, so the only new thing about it was perhaps they were running it more often then usual. This would account for the fact that the Colts called a lot of draw plays and rushing audibles, which worked pretty well.


I should trust the word of a writer who calls the guy with 4.42 speed not fast? Who had no idea that the Zach Strief play had been run the previous game and was not brand new? Who's favorite Div 3 football player had two important drops, yet failed to mention how the pressure of the big game got to the small school player not used to the big time pressure of the Super Bowl? Thinks Austin Collie was open on the deep post? (seriously, the guy RAN INTO Vilma...how open could he be when he runs into a player from the other team? Maybe open at the very front, a short 7 yard post...but not the deep post.) Who didn't know that once Moore hit the ground, and had control of the ball, the play was over, and it wasn't the ground that caused the ball to come loose, it was the Colts db who kicked the ball about a second after he hit the ground. I should trust this guy making any statements about the economy, when he can't even get basic facts right in his own football column? Using Gregg logic, since the top what, 80% of the income earned is by the top 12% or some such, shouldn't they be paying 80% of the income taxes? Sounds like maybe they are getting off cheap, if one wants to use Gregg logic.

If one counts his Georgia football staff, I only come up with 17 or 19, depending if you count two guys who are "Director of Football Operations" and "Director of Player Development". Since this is college, I'm not exactly sure what the hell these two guys do. It's not like the Bulldogs have a minor league team that the Development guy goes around and scouts and tells the managers how the big league club wants them instructed. I'm guessing the Football Operations guy is the Athletic Directors football guy, making sure that the team has blocking sleds, uniforms, that kind of thing. I don't know if he should be counted as part o the "football staff". It did shock me to find that they have 5 strength and conditioning coaches. 1 trainer, but 5 S&C guys. They only have 10 coaches on staff, but they need 5 guys for strength and conditioning? Now that does seem like overkill. I want to know how many graduate assistants the English dept has though. They have to be counted the same as assistant coaches. They teach classes, grade papers, so they have to be counted as part of the English faculty. It's got to be an average of 1 per professor right? I know when I was in school, that some professors had 2 or 3, and some had none, so that would double the faculty up to 84. I see the point Gregg is trying to make, but his argument becomes pissing in the wind when he purposely distorts numbers.

HH said...

Verizon ads say a new wireless phone works in "more than 220 countries." The United Nations has 192 member states.

Yeah, Gregg, turns out you can be a country without being in the UN. Switzerland, for example, didn't join the UN until 2002. There are plenty of countries that haven't joined yet, and many political units that may not be bona-fide countries but are called so in ordinary language. Western Sahara, for example, issues its own passports.

I hate you, Gregg Easterbrook.

KentAllard said...

Too much Easterbrookian idiocy to even comment, but for a change it's not the dumbest column of the week. That goes to The Bleacher Report where someone wrote an entire column to explain the Saints cheated when they tried the onside kick. Seriously.

HH said...

Single Worst Play of the Season: Coaches have dominated Single Worst Play this season. Indianapolis leading 17-16 early in the fourth quarter, the Lucky Charms faced fourth-and-11 on the New Orleans 33. A punt is hardly appealing, since it will probably roll into the end zone. But 42-year-old place-kicker Matt Stover, the oldest player to appear in a Super Bowl, had essentially no chance of hitting from 51 yards. His longest field goal of the season was from 43 yards; the last time Stover hit from beyond 50 yards was Sept. 24, 2006.

No option available to Jim Caldwell was especially attractive on this play, but the correct call was to leave the offense on the field and try for the first down. That might have worked -- putting Indianapolis in position for a touchdown and an eight-point fourth-quarter lead.


Way to contradict yourself in the same section. Let me emphasize your own words, TMQ:

No option available to Jim Caldwell was especially attractive on this play.

Simply put, choosing one of two [or three] bad choices cannot POSSIBLY be the single worst play of the year. A bad play is one where a player/coach does something that is so obviously a bad call beforehand because there is a clearly superior option available. Caldwell had two almost equally bad choices, meaning neither one could be THAT wrong. Choosing a low-percentage play over another low-percentage play simply cannot be the worst play of this game, let alone the season.

I continue to hate you, TMQ.

ivn said...

The UN has 192 member states? That seems needlessly exact. Why not just 190? Everything needs to be in perfectly round numbers.

The single worst play is wrong too. That was all the way back in Week 1, Rams vs. Seahawks. The Rams blocked a field goal and ran it in for a TD but it got called back b/c the Rams had 12 men on the field. Not someone caught running off the field when the ball was snapped, mind you. The Rams actually lined up 12 guys in their FG block formation with none of their players or coaches noticing. Still blows my mind to this day. And you wonder why the Rams won one game this year.

I'm stunned that he didn't bemoan the Saints' lack of misdirection when they got stuffed at the goal line. Shouldn't that anger the Football Gods? I'm so confused. Unless that 4th down play was a counter (I don't remember exactly) in which case I'm not surprised he didn't mention it. Either way the Saints definitely won because they failed a 4th and goal.

TheDood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"Discounting games it made no attempt to win, Indianapolis is on a 23-0 streak in the regular season and a 2-2 stretch in the postseason."

Didn't KSK include a phony quote resembling the above in its parody of this dork?

TheDood said...

You know the reason why "TMQ" didn't even hint at Tracy Porter's game-icing pick-six in his column? Because the Saints blitzed on the play!

After reading the "South Florida Atmospherics" section, I'm reminded that Gregg Easterbrook may not actually be 57 years old like his Wikipedia page says (hell, he may have written it.) While his comments about the cheerleaders were probably (hopefully) tongue-in-cheek, they were pretty horny teenagerish.

He also mentions in his section about Toyota that no driver's ed. teachers say that if the throttle of your car is stuck to put it neutral. Well, I can attest that they do, because when I took driver's ed. two summers ago, our class was told to either put the car in neutral or try and put a foot under the gas pedal if the throttle was stuck open. Now, I realize that my case may be unique, but it doesn't never happen, like "TMQ" implies.

The "tastefully named" Gregg Williams got his big-blitzing reputation from the tastefully named Gregg Easterbrook when Williams' defenses with the Titans and the Bills employed the 46, with lots of seven and eight-man fronts, and lots of blitzing. With the Bills, where Williams was actually the head coach, not the defensive coordinator, they punted a lot in opposition territory, among other things, leading toward more animosity for Easterbrook. To be honest, I'm really not sure how "blitz-wacky" Williams was with Easterbrook's hometown Redskins or the Jaguars because he didn't seem to get very much exposure in "TMQ" during that time.

Bengoodfella said...

I saw several Saints games and I have to say I didn't notice the Saints running a 3-3-5, but I can imagine they probably did that against the Patriots or the Eagles as well.

Nice paragraph Martin. I have to say I don't think we can trust Gregg, especially when Garcon sort of choked in the big game and he doesn't mention this at all...like it never occurred. He doesn't even bring up the point maybe Garcon got nervous on the big stage.

I wouldn't doubt college programs have big staffs but they also bring a lot of money in. It is overkill, but it's not like other organizations don't have overkill as well. Good call on graduate assistants, I didn't even think about those. Either way, I think those numbers are distorted in some fashion.

Oh no, HH, if you aren't in the UN then you don't count as a country in Gregg's world. Also, if Caldwell is in a no win situation with poor choices available to him, you are right it is tough to criticize him for making a bad play. Gregg has no point.

Kent, I will have to find that Bleacher Report article. No offense to anyone that writes for BR but sometimes I question how those who write have the authority to write there. Sometimes the articles aren't great.

Ivn, I know. What is with all this exactness when it comes to countries. 192 or 200...does it make a difference. It was definitely the lack of misdirection that caused the Saints to fail on the 4th and goal, but fortunately the gods smiled regardless and let the Saints win the game. I feel drunk when I am talking about this stuff like Gregg does.

That play by the Rams could very well be the worst play of the season. I will accept other nominations but that was terrible.

Anon, I don't know. That very well could be true though. I will have to go back and check. KSK nailed Easterbrook with that parody though. Great job by them.

The Dood, dammit! I should have been all over the fact the Saints went with a blitz and then criticized Easterbrook for hating blitzing. I missed that one. Good catch. Hey, everyone loves cheerleaders to an extent, but Easterbrook loves cheerleaders a little too much to the point of me wondering if he still dreams of touching a cheerleader's breast under the bleachers.

I will put my car in neutral then if I get in that situation. It makes sense but I can't ever really trust TMQ for factual information so I had to wonder.

I didn't mean to say Williams was D-coordinator in Buffalo, I knew he was coach. My bad there. I do recall Williams being criticized by TMQ. In fact here is an exact quote with the link:


"Great Moments in Management: Buffalo's rookie coach, the tastefully named Gregg Williams, inherited a team that had finished No. 1 and No. 3 in the NFL in defense over the past two seasons. Williams promptly cut four veteran defensive starters, publicly criticizing them, and junked the Bills defensive system for an all-new scheme.

Result? Buffalo is now dead-last in the league in defense, surrendering more than 400 yards per game, and has yielded the most points of any team."

http://www.slate.com/id/116144/

So while Gregg Easterbrook loves him now for his defensive schemes, he didn't love Williams when his teams weren't winning.

Dylan Murphy said...

There are too many problems with this page to even mention. But was anyone else mortified when Gene Wojciechowski appeared on the front page of ESPN earlier today. It actually took a minute for me to even muster up the courage to read the article. It will be a travesty if this is not your next blog post, or at least commented on by someone besides me.

Martin said...

Ohhh, remember that bad Clayton article about Top 10 QB's? Yeah, he just had a mailbag with a question about how could he rate Super Bowl wins and wins as so important in rating quarterbacks, when football is such a team game. His response starts off with a quote by Wade Phillips.

Yes, Wade Phillips, long known as one of the all time coaching legends and deep thinkers in football. "Wins and losses are attached to coaches and quarterbacks."

Other gems are "Sure it's a team game, but it's evolved into a quarterbacks league. The better the quarterback, the better the record. While you can look at stats, stats are meaningless unless the team gets the victory."

He doesn't address the issue that if the league has evolved into this, then shouldn't the old time qb's be rated even higher for what they did without favorable rules?

I'm glad to know that in his heart he knows that Trent Dilfer and Jim McMahon are better quarterbacks then Dan "Never won a Super Bowl" Marino, and that Terry Bradshaw is better then Steve Young. Also good to know that the article that he wrote wasn't a one shot deal, but that John is sailing on into senility with a smile on his face.

Bengoodfella said...

Dylan, are you talking about the lockout column Gene did or the predictions column Gene did? I haven't read either.

Martin, I may have to check out that Clayton article. I do like doing requests but sometimes others can be more creative than me when making fun of the columns in the comments.

Martin said...

Oh it's not an article. It's like two small paragraphs from his mailbag. You totally have the main gist of it from what I typed, though you might want to read it on your own, it's not worth a write up.

天天夜餮 said...

這麼優的部落格一定要持續下去! ..................................................

KBilly said...

I agree with 天天夜餮...

Dylan Murphy said...

The prediction column. Here it is. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=wojciechowski_gene&page=wojciechowski/100209&sportCat=nfl

KentAllard said...

It took me forever to find it again, but here's the Bleacher report article. http://bleacherreport.com/articles/342457-onside-kick-was-dirty-pool It is one for the ages, and I'd like to note the same author misspelled "Indianapolis" in the title of his other Super Bowl article.

Bengoodfella said...

Thanks for the links, I will check those out. I don't want to disappoint anyone if I don't write about them though.

Fortunately, usually Gene is usually pretty poor and Bleacher Report ain't great either.