Tuesday, November 30, 2010

10 comments The Interwebs Is Full Of Bullies

Murray Chass has an apology to make today. Unfortunately, he doesn't apologize for being wrong about saying Felix Hernandez does not deserve to win the Cy Young Award in the American League. He apologizes for getting his information wrong on who the next Mets manager will be. So he isn't sorry for being factually wrong, but being wrong in his speculation. Murray does have an idea of how Hernandez won the Cy Young in the AL though. It was through bullying. Bullying isn't just an issue in schools now, but we are apparently to believe sports journalists suffer from bullying from their fellow sports journalists as well.

Those remarks are my reaction to my last column, which turned out to be my fantasy tale of the year. I have spent my entire career believing that the best way to deal with a mistake is acknowledging it and correcting it, both as quickly as possible.

Murray owes us 100,000 words on the greatness of Felix Hernandez then.

Contrary to what the last column said, Ms. Latella, Bob Melvin will not be the Mets’ next manager; Terry Collins will be. Collins, as it turned out, had better connections than Melvin.

In the Melvin column, I reported that my information came from a person close to the Mets. I guess that person wasn’t as close to the team as I would have liked.

I thought Murray's sources were only the finest and most well-informed secretaries. Looks like Miss Pennington in the Assistant GM's office isn't getting a Christmas fruitcake this year from Murray.

In writing about what turned out to be an erroneous decision, I concocted an entire scenario that also wasn’t correct. I wrote that Commissioner Bud Selig had influenced the Mets’ hiring because he liked Melvin from the four years he worked for Selig’s Milwaukee Brewers in the late 1990s.

Murray is sorry for stating that the Mets next manager would be Bob Melvin, but he isn't sorry for suggesting the Commissioner of MLB influences hiring decisions for important positions like on a team like the manager.

The 61-year-old Collins, who never played major league baseball,

Well then, he'll never understand the game of baseball well enough to manage effectively. It takes years to learn the art of watching a baseball player and willfully ignoring any statistics about that player to determine his value to the team. Murray has spent years honing this craft.

Collins, an intense, feisty guy, has been compared in some ways to Bobby Valentine, which doesn’t make for a good recommendation. Valentine was a good field manager but, like Collins, incurred the wrath of his players.

If I remember, Bobby Valentine was fairly successful as the Mets manager. Why would the Mets want to repeat that? Success is overrated. Baseball is about making sure your players really, really like you in Murray Chass' opinion.

Baseball is also about winning. When teams win, the players are happy and generally like the manager.

Now Murray responds to Felix Hernandez winning the AL Cy Young award. Naturally, he doesn't believe the voters made the right decision. Murray can't just disagree with those that voted for Felix, he suspects shenanigans, because no person in their right mind would think differently from Murray would they?

This is the epitome of elitist, ignorant sports journalism. Those who disagree with Murray don't disagree for any real factual based reason that may show Murray is wrong, but because there is something fundamentally wrong with them that causes them to have an incorrect opinion.

So Felix Hernandez, as expected, won the American League Cy Young award, and he won it handily. I don’t have a problem with Hernandez.

Other than his people are taking all of our jobs...right Murray?

I think he is the best pitcher in the league,

There's an award for the best pitcher in the league. It's called the AL Cy Young award and Felix Hernandez won it. So to believe Hernandez is the best pitcher in the AL would mean to also believe he deserved to win the AL Cy Young award. Of that's only if you think logically about it. Murray doesn't like logic. He likes using wins as the sole category that determines if a pitcher should win an individual award or not.

My problem is with Hernandez winning the award with 13 wins. I am not alone in that view. Four writers voted for David Price (19 wins) and three voted for CC Sabathia (21).

Seven other people are as willfully as ignorant as I am! This makes our point of view correct!

Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune voted for Price because, he said, Hernandez’s 13 wins didn’t merit the award and Price was a dominant pitcher in his own right.

That makes Phil Rogers a moron as well. Wins is an individual statistic that is based on the talent and skill level of an entire team. It's an individual statistic based that is based on how the team as a whole did. It's fine that Price was dominant, but Hernandez was more dominant than Price. Simply because Price was dominant and has the only category that seems to count, wins, doesn't make him a better pitcher than Felix Hernandez.

Speaking of the one-sided outcome of the vote, Rogers added, “I wonder how much of it was bullying on the Internet.

This is really the only explanation for Felix Hernandez winning the award. It's not possible that the voters thought through their vote logically to disagree with Phil Rogers. Only the impact of bullying on the Internet between sportswriters can explain this clearly wrong result...because clearly no one could ever disagree with a clear thinking and open minded person like Murray Chass and Phil Rogers.

I wonder how much of Phil Rogers inability to see how wins are a team award results from a fear that his baseball knowledge is being surpassed and he is too old to keep up?

There were a lot of columns written in September saying no one should be stupid enough not to vote for Felix. Maybe that’s what happened, but I hope not.”

So bullying is now defined as, "making a persuasive argument that convinces a person of an argument's merit." I always thought bullying included some sort of physical or emotional threat towards a person. No wonder there is all this bullying in America's schools, school administrators don't understand what bullying is.

Persuasive papers that English teachers make their students write about a topic should now count as papers that are used as a means to bully others in Phil Rogers' world.

Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun noted that the difference between the leaders in wins last year was three (Zack Greene 16, Hernandez 19) and this year was eight (Hernandez 13, Sabathia 21.)

Who said they don't teach math in Canada? Bob Elliott can subtract and he's not afraid to do so in an attempt to prove a not-so-clear point. So is Elliott's point that at some point a pitcher with zero wins will win the Cy Young award? What is his point by showing us the differential in wins between the pitcher that had the most wins in the AL and the pitcher that won the Cy Young in 2009 and 2010? More importantly than his point, what is this supposed to prove will eventually happen?

“I asked a bunch of players on both teams I saw the last weekend of the season and it came out 9-1 or 10-1 for CC,” Elliott said.

11 people agree with Bob Elliott! That's 18 people now who agree with Murray Chass. That's almost .0000000000000000000001% of the people who can form an opinion on this matter. Who said Murray's opinion is part of the minority?

Does Bob Elliott really believe the players for the Blue Jays and the Twins are the best people to ask about which pitcher should win the Cy Young award? These teams are so busy playing actual baseball games I can't help but wonder how many games they got to see Sabathia and Hernandez pitch.

Winning is still the name of the game, Elliott added, uttering a view I agree with wholeheartedly.

If you are a team, that's the name of the game. If you are a pitcher, giving your team a chance to win the game is the name of the game. No pitcher in the American League did that better than Felix Hernandez.

“If a general manager has been out of touch for a weekend and comes home,” Elliott added, “he says did we win. He doesn’t ask did the starter have a quality start or strike out 10.”

He also doesn't ask how many home runs a certain player hit or if the manager of the team ran the team well. Yet, we still have the MVP and Manager of the Year award categories that are voted on. The General Manager also doesn't ask about the fielding percentages of each player on his team. Does this mean no attention should be paid to who wins the Gold Glove at each position after the year is over?

If a GM is out of town for the weekend, he better know how his team is doing. He can't be that out of touch and not know if his team won or not. What GM would be so out of touch that he didn't know how his team did? Also, a GM could very well ask how the pitcher on his team pitched. I think this is a reasonable question to ask.

Tracy Ringolsby, a long-time baseball writer but not a voter in this election, offered a theory about the Hernandez vote,

“It’s the trendy thing to do,” he said, “and everybody wants to be part of the trend.”

So it is the "cool" thing to do to have an open mind and base who should win the Cy Young on every other pitching category and not base it entirely on wins? Or is it the bullying from the blogs and other Interwebs writers?

I am sure Murray isn't worried. In a few years, this trend will pass, and the voters for the Cy Young will not base the award on which pitcher was the best pitcher, but on which pitcher was on the best team. That's how the award is supposed to be decided. It's not like the whole part about choosing the best pitcher in each league is true. That's just a guideline to be used.

What good in Murray's mind is a pitcher that is the best pitcher in his league but doesn't have a good offense to win him games? Who cares Felix Hernandez would have had more wins on any other team in the majors? It's his fault his offense sucks.

Soon this whole trend of not basing the entire Cy Young voting process on win totals will end. That'll be the day.

Then a few days later, Murray wrote again about this controversy (in his head of course) with Felix getting the Cy Young award:

I expected to hear from a lot of readers who disagreed with me, and I did. In a record response to a column in the nearly two and a half years I have been writing on this Web site, 82.7 percent disagreed with me, saying the writers selected the right winner. Only 12 percent agreed with me while the remaining 5.3 percent took no position on the Hernandez question but offered comment on other aspects of the column.

Naturally, Murray still feels he was right. I mean, I can see why...he's an idiot.

What was slightly surprising in the email responses was, with some exceptions, their civility. I have found that, in the Internet age, when readers disagree with an opinion expressed in a column, some of them react indecently, as if they are letting out their pent-up rage at the writer.

When a writer like Murray has been writing uninformed opinions for so long, the readers are naturally going to have some pent-up anger. It's like if a writer started spewing racial slurs in a column. Murray's reasoning is the sports equivalent to slurs used against an individual (obviously they are not comparable in real life). It's going to get a strong reaction.

For the most part, however, the responses were not only civil but also intelligent. The point that seemed to be made by most readers was that, as Randy put it succinctly, “Pitchers don’t win games, teams do.”

Great, and true, point.

As much as I might understand the thinking behind that view, I am not prepared to write off wins for starting pitchers. Developments in baseball have made it more difficult for starters to gain victories; they come out of games earlier, for example, leaving more time for bad relievers to relinquish leads. But starters have long had to deal with bad relievers; weak run-producing teams, like Hernandez this year;

People used to have to travel across town by horse and buggy, but that doesn't mean I can't make fun of a Dodge Neon for having a shitty top speed. Progress brings higher expectations and there has been progress in the realm of statistical analysis, so we as readers and fans expect for the sportswriters to progress with us.

porous defenses and small ball parks, and some of them have managed to win games. They were not accidentally good.

In the past, this has happened. But simply because it happened in the past doesn't mean it has to happen in the future. Hernandez was the best pitcher in the American League on the worst offensive team in MLB. It doesn't happen by accident either that he only has 13 wins.

“I also am not a huge fan of the newer stats,” one reader wrote. “However, you don’t need new stats to vote Hernandez to a Cy Young Award. All you need to do is look at the statistics you yourself cited in the piece. OPBA, ERA, IP and K’s. These are not new statistics and they are significant enough to give him the award.”

I acknowledge that maybe I over did the impact of new statistics. I anticipated – incorrectly, as it turned out – that they would be used.

Which means pure stubbornness is what keeps Hernandez from winning the Cy Young award in Murray's mind. I chastise him for this stubbornness.

But some good pitchers pitch to the score, giving up runs if they have a big lead but giving up nothing if their team has not scored.

Or some pitchers actually pitch better when their team scores more runs, like Felix Hernandez did. What the fuck does "pitching to the score" mean other than being some stupid nonsensical saying? So a pitcher is a good pitcher if he gives up 5 runs but his team scores 6 runs, while a pitcher that gives up 1 run when his team doesn't score isn't "pitching to the score" enough? You must quit writing about sports if this really makes sense to you.

Jack Morris was that kind of pitcher, and he was good enough to be in the Hall of Fame, in my opinion (yes, that opinion has also invited critics to write). But his pitching style has cost him because those who don’t think he belongs in the Hall cite his 3.90 earned run average.

HE DOESN'T HAVE ENOUGH WINS EITHER! Why aren't those people who LOVE using wins for everything pointing this out. Probably because Morris' hyperbole rating, which is used by those to support his Hall of Fame case, is 6,792.56...the highest among current candidates. His candidacy over candidates is supported by hyperbole mostly.

Hernandez’s supporters cite his low run support (3.06 runs a game, lowest in the majors) to explain his having only 13 wins. But he pitched some games that he could have won had he allowed fewer runs.

Two examples:

There are 2 times Felix could have won a game this year and he didn't. He could have had 15 wins, but blew it. Of course if he had won 15 games, Murray Chass would still bitch about his low win total.

That’s not to say that Hernandez should have been perfect, but he cost himself some games that would have improved his won-lost record. And don’t forget his eight-start stretch from May 1 through June 8 in which he allowed 27 earned runs in 49 2/3 innings for a 4.89 e.r.a.

He also had wins taken from him by poor run support. Many, many more games were taken from him than he could have earned and blew. So Felix had a bad month and still ended up with the best ERA in the American League...and this is proof he is a bad pitcher? Imagine his ERA before and after the arbitrarily picked eight-start streak!

But nobody’s perfect.

So in conclusion, if Felix Hernandez had not had that bad streak, then Murray Chass would have voted for him. A pitcher has to have an ERA of within, what 0.50, of his ending ERA to be considered for the Cy Young award? When will the arbitrary and meaningless ways to determine that Felix Hernandez was not the best pitcher in the American League end?

Monday, November 29, 2010

10 comments LeBron and Dwyane Need to Harness Their Inner T.C. Williams

Who is this new writer for BotB, you ask? I used to write my own blog, Pardon The Opinion, which housed my biased ramblings on various sports topics (for my complete archive, clink on the link to check it out). Unlike Bengoodfella, I am not a media critic. That is not to say that I do not criticize the media, but I will not provide the line by line thrashing of the worst of sports journalism. Instead, I will present completely subjective opinions in an attempt to synthesize the many goings on of the sports world. From where does my subjectivity originate? The city of New York. I am unequivocally devoted to the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and Rangers.

A few more random thoughts:

1. I know pictures are not the norm around here, but I think they spruce things up a bit. Weren't picture books better than all the books you read now?

2. I am very opinionated. Criticism, therefore, comes with the territory. But don't worry, I can handle it. That said, please explain why you think I'm wrong instead of simply subjecting me to your cruelty. I am always looking to improve and enjoy heated debate.

3. For those of you who remember, Bengoodfella and I previewed the NFL season with a series of podcasts. We plan on continuing podcasts at some point. When that moment arrives, let us know how we're doing. It's always difficult to self-evaluate.


Chris Broussard wrote today that Heat players are not pleased with Erik Spoelstra. This article is the official signal for the beginning of Spoelstra-watch (depending on your perspective, it may have started with LeBron's signing with the Heat). I, for one, refuse to believe that the problem begins and ends with Spoelstra. Nor does it have to do with their lack of inside play, leadership or any other conceivable issue that the media has concocted. The problem lies at the core of the LeBron/Wade friendship.

As Broussard points out, Heat players are afraid to step on each other's toes. Truth be told, winning pickup games with your friends as teammates is very satisfying. But what happens when you start losing? Nothing. Ultimately, the importance of the friendship outweighs the importance of victory. If LeBron and Wade hope to find joint success, they should emulate the Julius Campbell/Gerry Bertier relationship in "Remember The Titans." They were friends and they won, you say. Yes and No. Their friendship, unlike LeBron and Dwyane, maintained a united front within the racial divides of the team. Although they were friends, Bertier lead the white Titans and Julius the black. Under their supervision and example of friendship, the Titans found success. But in the end, Bertier was the unquestioned leader whom Julius supported. LeBron and Wade need to find this balance. Both are, without question, alpha dogs. However, their offense either resembles hot potato until the shot clock forces someone to heave a brick or LeBron James circa 2002 (before he realized that the paint was his friend).

But neither has the mentality that winning trumps friendship. Their belief that it can coexist will continue to impede their success. Yet no basketball duo can remain true friends when one man does not share the glory. Every championship team has had that one player to whom others deferred. Whether it was the end of the shot clock, end of the game or simply the attitude of "I don't know what to do with the ball so I'm giving it to my alpha dog and hoping that he can create something," the alpha dog must be defined. While Kevin Garnett may provide the emotional leadership and Ray Allen the leadership by example, Paul Pierce is the man, plain and simple. So was Tim Duncan on the all the Spurs' championship teams. Same with Kobe Bryant. As great as Pau is, the Lakers are Kobe's team.

All these team leaders have one key characteristic that separates them from their pack of coexisting superstars: they are both the best on their team and the longest tenured star. Clearly it takes more than one to win an NBA title. But those other pieces cannot be greater than the centerpiece (unless there was no previous centerpiece, as with the Knicks and Amar'e. He is clearly that player as of now). Wade, obviously, is that centerpiece for Miami. It will always be his team, despite LeBron's attempts to make it his own. But we cannot kid ourselves into thinking that Wade is better than LeBron. Miami's importing of a superstar greater in caliber than it's already established star upset the natural order. LeBron's departure to South Beach clouded the question of team leader. Had Wade and Bosh gone to Cleveland instead, both would have fallen in line behind LeBron. He's the best player, he's been there for 7 years. But Miami does not have that luxury and will falter unless LeBron seizes the mantle and truly subjugates Wade to secondary status. An unlikely scenario, I know.

A second, non related leadership issue. Is it not amazing that most did not foresee this problem? We all assumed their talent would smooth over any issues and allow them to defeat teams by 30 on a nightly basis. Looking back, they signed two men who have the exact same game. LeBron and Dwyane both have, at best, mediocre jump shots and an uncanny ability to get to the bucket. Yet the evolution of the hybrid player, one who can score, rebound and dish the ball, has become the norm. No longer do teams sport players each with a defined role. Even the idea of a center has disappeared into the complex black hole of "big man." The formula now has become to find this hybrid player in whatever form he exists and surround him with shooters and one big man. Put the ball in this hybrid's hands and let the rest take care of itself. But Dwyane and LeBron are both hybrids. They both demand the ball. Their whole basketball careers have evolved around their penetrating and everyone else watching. So what happens when they don't have the ball? They watch, like everyone else. They neutralize their superstar status every time they give up the ball.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

8 comments Kobe Bryant Needs To Stop Murdering Teenagers

Tim Keown has a great concern. His great concern is that teenagers in Oakland are dying in violent shooting deaths. Kobe Bryant is at fault (naturally) for this occurring. See, Kobe is in the commercial for the new game "Call of Duty: Black Ops" and he is seen shooting a gun in the commercial. It's probably not the best move for Kobe, simply because Kobe shooting a gun doesn't seem to match up with his personality. It is only a commercial after all though. For those teenagers (all three of them) that pattern their life after Kobe and will go shoot someone because they saw Kobe played a violent video game this is a great day. Kobe has now murdered teenagers in Oakland in the opinion of Tim Keown. It's much like how Tiger Woods is going to be responsible for a generation of kids who think it is fine to cheat on their Swedish model wife.

Todd Walker was working in the mortuary Monday, preparing the body of a 14-year-old boy, a kid he'd coached in youth football for five years, for a funeral later this week. Larry Malik Grayson was shot in the head two days after his last freshman football game at Berkeley (Calif.) High School.

This is sad. Let's get that out of the way. I don't condone violence and I can't imagine the pain that must be felt seeing a kid you coached lying on your table. That being said, I can't imagine this kid is dead because another kid was emulating Kobe Bryant shooting a gun in a commercial. "Call of Duty: Kobe Bryant Caps Some Motherfuckers" never made it to production fortunately.

I find it funny that Tim Keown is concerned Kobe will be emulated by kids when he plays a violent video game...if kids were that concerned with emulating Kobe off the court shouldn't we be concerned with how they treat women in hotel rooms or that Kobe's great work ethic may rub off on them? It's not a cheap shot at Kobe, but a real question.

It happened at a friend's house. Somehow a gun appeared and Malik died.

"Somehow a gun appeared..."

I will tell you how the gun appeared. In "Call of Duty" once you beat the Vietnam War level a gun appears in your living room. It's not just an ordinary gun that appears out of thin air once you beat the level, but a fully loaded gun. This gun that appears in a room after this level is defeated. who puts it there? Kobe Bryant. So that's how the gun "appeared" in the room. None of the kids in the room planned on shooting the gun, that would never happen, there was no previous forethought on the part of the kid, he just did it because the gun "appeared" there.

The shooting may have been accidental. The details seem unimportant, but the senselessness isn't and neither is the frequency.

It may have been an accidental shooting or it may not have been. The details of WHY this kid was killed don't matter. The details are only what give the reasoning for the murder. Who needs details and reasons for a murder when you are writing an article trying to tie the reason into Kobe Bryant in a commercial for a violent video game?

Wouldn't the details be super important when accusing Kobe Bryant of perpetuating gun violence?

Too many lives are being lost or changed because of guns. Too many kids -- good kids, kids who play football or baseball or basketball, kids who go to school and try to do right -- are dying on the streets of places like Berkeley and Oakland.

It's sad...yet has nothing to do with sports really.

Walker's heart breaks and his anger rises. As a youth football coach and funeral-home worker, he fights the gun culture and the death culture. He fights the pervasiveness that threatens to turn youth gun violence into just another annoyance of modern life, along the lines of a dropped phone call or a pothole. He tries to use sports to create a positive alternative.

It's a great idea to create sports as a positive alternative. Unfortunately not every youth chooses this alternative.

And then last week, he went home and was watching a game when a new commercial for "Call of Duty: Black Ops" came on his television. Seen through Walker's eyes, the content was bad enough. A woman in high heels, a hotel concierge, a guy in a fast-food worker's outfit -- they're all shooting automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades in an urban warfare setting.

Not to sound like a self-important talk show host, but this is where the parents come in. A parent can't always watch their child, but they should be able to know enough about them to know they don't own a game that parent doesn't want the child to own.

He was already disgusted, but about halfway through the spot, Walker did a double take: Wait! Wasn't that Kobe Bryant?

Seriously, is that really Kobe Bryant carrying an assault weapon with the word "MAMBA" on the barrel?

Yes it is. The music is "Gimme Shelter" by the Rolling Stones. They are equally to blame for the gun culture. How many times has that song been played during a scene showing a war? Give me their heads on a stick!

Look at the commercial. It is clearly showing a fake war setting. I know all kids may not get this, but these people in the commercial are clearly fighting a fake war against an unknown enemy. Does Tim Keown expect Army enlistments to increase as well because of the commercial? This commercial is no less dangerous to the public than any athlete who does a commercial for fast food or any other high calorie/high fat brand. Obesity is a huge (pardon the pun) issue among youth in America as well.

None of his people, not his wife or his agent or someone in the NBA offices, advised him against this?

"I couldn't believe it was him," Walker says. "What's wrong with him?"

Clearly Kobe doesn't care about any of the kids in Oakland dying of gun violence. Let's look at this logically...are there really kids who think because they see Kobe Bryant with a gun in a commercial for "Call of Duty" that are going to believe it is now fine to go purchase a gun and murder someone? Most likely, these kids will be motivated to go purchase the game. I guess that is the slippery slope Tim Keown is worried about. Once they buy the game they will go shoot someone with a real gun. This never would have happened if Kobe Bryant wasn't in the commercial for the game. That's just a lot of causation to go through in order to blame Kobe. A kid has to see the commercial and want to play the game, which will cause him to think it is fine to shoot someone, and then when he has a chance to do so he will...all because he saw Kobe Bryant in the commercial for "Call of Duty: Black Ops."

Kobe Bryant also sells basketball shoes. We are all aware of the labor issues that go into the manufacturing of basketball shoes overseas. Is he to blame for that as well?

Those responses might be coping mechanisms or a natural defense against the reality of a situation that some deem hopeless, but Walker fights anyway. The glamorization troubles him.

I wonder if it troubles him that he has to be the one to talk to the kids on his team about these issues? I am sure it does, but rather than blame a parent he knows and probably likes for violence, it is easier to blame Kobe Bryant.

And then he sees Kobe shooting an assault weapon on TV, along with Jimmy Kimmel and those other "ordinary" people, including an overweight girl wearing glasses and a revenge-is-mine smile as she fires into a building. (She's apparently in the throes of a self-esteem bump, but it doesn't take much of a leap to see her as a geek settling things with a gun.)

Or she could be a female who is playing a video game about war. Nah, that's too obvious.

At the end of the spot, the tag line -- "There's a soldier in all of us" -- manages to diminish and trivialize the work of real soldiers while sending one of the most irresponsible messages in the history of advertising.

I don't think the game trivializes the work of real soldiers at all. This is just a weak attempt by Tim Keown to feel morally justified at knocking the gun culture of America while still giving credit to soldiers who fight for America overseas. It's like the adage that "guns are bad, unless the right people have them." Unfortunately, you can't differentiate in who should and who does get a gun.

"This is exactly what we're trying to fight," Walker says. "I'm looking at a 14-year-old boy right now who got shot in the head, and then I see Kobe get on TV looking like a damned fool, holding an assault weapon and wearing the same stuff the kids are wearing when they kill somebody. The look on his face -- all smiling and happy. This is the attitude we're trying to get away from. It's OK for him, though, because he's never had to worry about going home to the ghetto. That ain't his world."

So if Allen Iverson or any other NBA player who is on record as having grown up in the "ghetto," was holding a gun in the commercial then it would be perfectly fine because they have enough street cred to be in the commercial? If another NBA player who had a tough upbringing is holding a gun and smiling then there would be no problem because that was his world at one time?

The NBA has a dress code. Break it and get fined. The NBA has a code of conduct. Break it and get fined or suspended. The NBA made an example out of Gilbert Arenas when he brought a gun to work.

He brought a REAL gun to his work, which just happens to be a locker room in an arena owned by an NBA team. If you don't get the difference in Arenas' situation and this Kobe commercial then you probably shouldn't be writing columns about America's gun culture.

Walker asks, "Where's the NBA on this one? What the hell is this guy doing? He needs to explain his reasons for that."

The NBA isn't going to regulate what a player does outside of his job that isn't against the law. The NBA does not have the authority to confiscate a player's legally registered weapons or regulate their lives outside of the NBA...as long as that life stays within the confines of the law.

It is Kobe Bryant. He had to get a tattoo on his arm and call himself "The Black Mamba" to even begin to get some sort of street cred. I don't think this is a guy that kids look up to when it comes to how to live a rough life in the streets. Maybe I'm wrong.

It's well known that Bryant is involved in military charities and feels a kinship with American soldiers. He reportedly trained with actual black ops soldiers to prepare for the commercial. At the game's launch, Bryant helped present a check for $1 million to the Call of Duty Endowment for returning soldiers.

Tim Keown thinks he is still a murderer.

Robert Kotick, the CEO of Activision, which makes "Call of Duty," considers his game a tribute to the military. It's a claim that's undercut by a commercial that makes its "heroes" appear to be regular people using their lunch break to take down a helicopter and fire a few rounds into a building.

So if the commercial featured soldiers that were doing the exact same thing that regular people were doing, then there would be no problem? So the fact American soldiers are idolized and considered in high regard by American citizens, wouldn't that have an impact positively or negatively on a kid's idea that carrying a gun and killing another kid is wrong? I would think if a kid thinks Kobe Bryant carrying a gun makes it fine to shoot another kid then that same kid would see a soldier carrying a gun and also think it is fine to shoot another kid. Sure, maybe kids like Kobe Bryant more, but I would find it hard to believe a kid could be naive to the high esteem American soldiers are held in.

We're trying to send a message that guns aren't the answer, and we've got an NBA player on television shooting that big-ass gun with a stupid-ass look on his face. We can't win."

I can't help but feel like this would make a kid want to buy the game, not commit a murder.

Walker has an idea he knows will never happen. He wants to give Kobe the same tour he gives his young football players.

"I'd like him to come in here and see what I see," Walker says. "The bodies, the tools, the chemicals -- he needs to see it and smell it. He damned sure needs to see it."

So is Todd Walker railing against Kobe Bryant being in a commercial for "Call of Duty" or is he railing against the existence of the very game "Call of Duty?" I wonder because I think it makes more sense to rail against the existence of the game more than Kobe Bryant being in a commercial for the game.

Walker had to get off the phone. He had to go back to work. The Lakers come to Oakland to play the Warriors on Jan. 12.

The offer stands.

Yes, gun violence is terrible. Kobe Bryant in the commercial for "Call of Duty" was almost funny to me. I found it hard to take him seriously as he was shooting the gun because that didn't seem in line with who he is as a person. I don't know if kids will grab a gun and shoot someone because they saw Kobe in this commercial. Most likely, there is another reason a kid would shoot someone, and there is someone else to blame for this happening. It's easier to blame Kobe Bryant than to blame a parent.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

16 comments Gregg Easterbrook Makes the Starting Discovery NFL Players Have To Work Hard To Be Successful

Gregg Easterbrook is at it again with talking about how great undrafted NFL players are. Yes, there are many successful undrafted free agents in the NFL, but Gregg is out of control about the entire issue. Gregg thinks highly drafted wide receivers aren't as successful on the whole as undrafted free agent wide receivers.

Undrafted wide receiver Blair White, a walk-on in college, caught two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter of Sunday's tense Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots game, both times beating high-drafted safety Pat Chung. Also on Sunday, wide receiver Stevie Johnson, a seventh-round pick, caught three touchdown passes in the Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals game, twice beating corner Leon Hall, a former first-rounder. Earlier in the season, Pierre Garcon of the Colts, a sixth-round choice from Division III Mount Union, sprinted through the Washington Redskins secondary for a 57-yard touchdown reception, past defensive backs DeAngelo Hall and LaRon Landry, both high first-round choices from football-factory colleges.

All players get beat at some point in their career. Hall, Chung, Landry, and Hall are all good NFL players. It is ludicrous to take these certain plays and make it look like these guys aren't good players. I hate it when Gregg Easterbrook does this shit.

These plays, in a nutshell, summarize a core fact of NFL life: Receivers who were unknowns early in their NFL careers often outperform megabucks glory-boy high-drafted types.

Absolutely untrue. Possibly over small sample sizes undrafted players may beat higher drafted players, but on the whole highly drafted players are better wide receivers than undrafted wide receivers. Higher drafted players tend to be better performers than undrafted free agents on defense. Yes, there are outliers, but as a rule this is true. Just look at any list of the best players at each position in the NFL and you will see more high draft picks than undrafted free agents. Gregg is lying and misleading his readers...again.

Among NFL receivers having fine seasons are Danny Amendola, Anthony Armstrong, Miles Austin, Davone Bess, Malcom Floyd, Antonio Gates, Lance Moore and Wes Welker, all undrafted. Other top receivers include Marques Colston, Donald Driver, Garcon, Johnny Knox and Kevin Walter, all late-round draft choices from below-the-radar colleges.

Let's take a look at the list of receiving yardage leaders in the NFL right now and note where they were drafted. My readers are smart so I will just let the evidence explain itself without (much) comment:

1. Brandon Lloyd: 4th round
2. Roddy White: 1st round
3. Terrell Owens: 3rd round
4. Reggie Wayne: 1st round
5. Andre Johnson: 1st round
6. Hakeem Nicks: 1st round
7. Mike Wallace: 3rd round
8. Santana Moss: 1st round
9. Miles Austin: undrafted
10. Steve Johnson: 7th round
11. Calvin Johnson: 1st round
12. Dwayne Bowe: 1st round
13. Marques Colston: 7th round
14. Jeremy Maclin: 1st round
15. Greg Jennings: 2nd round

There is one undrafted player in the Top 15 and eight 1st round players. "Often" isn't how often undrafted players outperform highly drafted players. The same goes for defensive players. Look at the leaderboard in regard to statistical categories. Highly drafted players are all over the leaderboard in every category.

By contrast, you'd quickly run out of fingers counting recent first-round football-factory receivers who either were busts or failed to live up to their billing. Charles Rogers, Troy Williamson, Matt Jones, David Terrell, Ted Ginn Jr., Michael Clayton, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Ashley Lelie, Reggie Williams, Koren Robinson -- not even TMQ has room for a full accounting.

How many undrafted players didn't make it in the NFL? How many undrafted players get a shot and don't make it. Yes, higher drafted players get more chances, but that's beside my point. The list of undrafted players who don't make an impact in the NFL is in the upper hundreds to early thousands. Gregg has no point. There are wide receiver 1st round busts, no one would argue otherwise.

Why do small-school and low-drafted NFL receivers excel where glory boys falter? In most cases, the answer is ego and work ethic.

Right. Everyone has to work hard in the NFL. Why do highly drafted players succeed more often than undrafted players? Gregg can't answer this question because he doesn't believe the question is even true.

And in the NFL, if a receiver doesn't block, he doesn't play. In college, glory-boy receivers often take running downs off.

Yet another misleading lie. In college, the "glory-boy" receivers are in the game most of the time. I would love for Gregg to attempt to present evidence to the contrary, which I would accept, but he doesn't do this, as usual. He makes a blanket statement that, if true, he makes no attempt to back up.

The "TM" in TMQ must stand for "Totally misleading."

In the NFL, only Randy Moss gets away with this. And Moss, a high-drafted megabucks type, hasn't exactly had a positive effect at New England, Minnesota or Tennessee this season.

Moss was very successful in New England this year until he got traded.

At Buffalo, Johnson beat out high-drafted football-factory wide receiver James Hardy, who was waived.

The football factory James Hardy is from Indiana University. The same Indiana University that is currently 4-7 and this "football factory" has been to 9 bowl games since 1968.

If you were an NFL coach and saw two receivers on your sideline -- one a high-drafted complainer who expects a limo waiting for him, the other an undrafted guy who works, works, works -- who would you send in?

Obviously you would send in the player who works hard. There's nothing like Gregg taking two extremes to try and prove his point. Gregg works in using generalizations. All undrafted players work hard while all highly drafted players are lazy. Sadly, 10% of his readers fall for his bullshit on a weekly basis.

Williams is in shape, working hard and saying "Yes sir, no sir" to coaches. He's becoming the player he might always have been -- if he'd attended Mount Union and been drafted late. Williams provides further evidence that how hard a player works -- not how much hype he receives -- is the secret to success as an NFL receiver.

Gregg Easterbrook is an absolute idiot. He is pretending as if he discovered the biggest secret in the history of the NFL. Yes, the players that work the hardest AND have the most talent will do the best. This is painfully obvious.

Favre leads the league with 17 interceptions -- and maybe he wouldn't be throwing to the wrong place so often if he'd bothered to attend training camp for the past two seasons. Favre also has lost five fumbles; 22 turnovers in 10 games by the starting quarterback would doom any NFL team. The Vikings are last in the NFL in turnover differential -- and Adrian Peterson hasn't fumbled this season! Yet Childress is scapegoated while Favre floats above it all. The Metrodome crowd chanted, "FIRE CHILDRESS!" They should have chanted, "PROTECT THE FOOTBALL!"

Gregg has a good point here. I have to acknowledge it when it actually happens.

In December, the Bengals were among the league's power teams: now they are on a 2-10 streak and continue to expend more energy boasting than performing.

The Bengals were 10-6 in 2009 and had a weak offense. They were easily knocked out of the playoffs by the Jets. I wouldn't call them a power team last December.

With Cincinnati leading 21-7 in the second quarter, the Bengals' Johnathan Joseph intercepted Fitzpatrick and had a clear path for the pick-six that made the lead 28-7. Joseph began celebrating wildly at the Buffalo 15, waving his arms and strutting. The game is far from over, your team is mired deep in a losing streak, and you're celebrating wildly?

Gregg bitches when a player celebrates after scoring a touchdown while being down 28-7 or after scoring a touchdown to put his team up 28-7. Every week he complains a team that is losing celebrates after scoring a touchdown too, so he doesn't believe a player should ever celebrate a touchdown. That's the only conclusion I can come to.

Celebrate after you win, not in the second quarter. The football gods retaliate against this sort of thing. After the point that Joseph taunted the Bills, Buffalo outscored the home team 42-3.

No word from Gregg on why the Bills weren't punished for Steve Johnson celebrating a touchdown by pulling his uniform up to display a quote from the movie "The Dark Knight." Apparently the football gods don't mind this type of celebrating at all. Plus, Johnson is an undrafted free agent, so he can do whatever the hell he wants and Gregg won't criticize him.

In other football news, the San Diego Chargers are ranked first in offense and first in defense, yet their record is 5-5...What have these clubs done to earn the wrath of the football gods? The Giants don't have cheerleaders, so we know what their transgression is. The Chargers … you tell me.

Special teams. That's the problem with the Chargers. This has been documented probably 1,000 times this year. I don't see why this is even a question for Gregg. I guess he just doesn't pay attention enough to what is going on. It's a simple answer for the Chargers struggles. Special. Teams.

Hosting Indianapolis and the game scoreless, Bill Belichick -- the Patriots have no offensive coordinator -- sent Welker down the middle for a 22-yard touchdown catch. Welker never goes deep; the Colts were so surprised, Welker was covered by only the middle linebacker. Sweet.

Never. Wes Welker NEVER goes deep. This is the first time he has ever run a deep route. This column should be called "NFL Generalizations" because that's all it really ever consists of.

Once 5-3, Tennessee has lost its past two games; Jeff Fisher and Vince Young are arguing openly; this sudden negative energy field around the Titans can't have anything to do with Randy Moss arriving, can it?

Yes, Randy Moss has fucked up the aura of the Titans. It has nothing to do with the football games being played but it is the ch'i of Randy Moss, the same Randy Moss that helped lead the Patriots to an 18-1 record in 2007, that has fucked the team up and could not possibly be anything else.

Everyone knows a player wearing 70, Penn's number, cannot line up in an end's position and then catch a pass first without reporting eligible. But it's perfectly legal for a player wearing 70 -- or any number from 50 to 79 -- to line up as an end, and then block. An offense could field an entire seven-man line consisting of players wearing numbers from 50 to 79 and they would not need to report to officials, so long as they only blocked for rushes. That Penn went to the officials to report as eligible -- something unnecessary if the play was a power rush -- should have cued San Francisco that the call was a trick play to Penn. The Forty-Niners were clueless, which was sour.

Perhaps, just maybe, the 49ers thought the Bucs had reported Penn as an eligible receiver to confuse them and make them believe it was a throw and not a rush. It's called strategy and if the Bucs didn't report Penn as eligible, it would have stated exactly what the play was going to be. Common sense and strategy dictate they should report Penn as eligible to confuse the 49ers.

As Jersey/B lined up from the Houston 48, Texans' cornerbacks, knowing the Jets had no timeouts, should have played on the outside shoulders of Jersey/B wide receivers, to keep them away from the sidelines. Forcing any action to the center of the field, where the clock would keep ticking, would doom the host's comeback. Yet not only did Houston corner Jason Allen line up right across from Edwards as though this were a standard down -- Allen, busy making the high-school mistake of "looking into the backfield" trying to guess the play, let Edwards roar past him on a go route.

Maybe it was a zone defense? Has Gregg never heard of a zone defense? NFL teams don't play man-to-man on every snap. Why does this man get paid to write about the NFL and he doesn't seem to understand it completely? WHY?????

Just a thought -- what if the Eagles tried running Oregon's blur offense with Michael Vick?

Just an answer/question--why would the Eagles run a different offense when the one they are currently running with Vick is working? Just another answer/question--why would the Eagles want Vick running the ball more and increasing his chance of injury?

Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl has been suspended for eight games and docked $300,000 per year in salary. His offense: "Pearl acknowledged in September that he misled investigators about photos taken of him and recruit Aaron Craft, when Pearl improperly hosted the prospect at his home in 2008. Tennessee also revealed Pearl and his staff made excessive calls to recruits." Phone calls! Had his picture taken! Oh my god!

There are rules for a reason. When a coach breaks those rules then it may give him an unfair advantage. Gregg has to see how this makes sense.

The Tennessee Board of Trustees doesn't seem to care, the SEC doesn't seem to care, the Tennessee boosters don't seem to care and the NCAA doesn't seem to care. Why should public universities or the NCAA care about education? But recruiting violations are serious stuff, since they could interfere with Tennessee's ability to win games and make money.

Tennessee funds other sports at the school with the money received from the football and basketball programs. So making money is good for the whole school. Gregg is confusing his arguments by saying schools should care more about grades rather than recruiting violations. Schools can do both. Punishing Pearl for violating recruiting guidelines doesn't mean no one cares about education. It's not an "either/or" situation.

While other teams spread the field, Stanford showed a double tight end triple-back I-formation on some key downs Saturday, while Wisconsin ran behind the tackles the way Oregon throws the bubble hitch. The Badgers blew Michigan off its own field using conventional tactics; the Cardinal blew Cal off its own field in the same fashion.

Maybe this tells us that players are more important than schemes.

Maybe? Players are as important as a scheme. They go hand-in-hand. There isn't a hell of a lot of "maybe" about this. Players running the scheme well is uber-important. Again, this isn't a great revelation.

The blur offense works because Ducks players are so fast, the Wisconsin offense works because the Badger offensive line is the nation's best, the Stanford offense works because the Cardinal players have an excellent overall mix of strength and skill. Football coaches mystify themselves by suggesting that esoteric knowledge of tactical details is the key to victory. Good players are the key to victory. Would you rather have the best scheme or the best players?

Honestly, I would rather not even have to discuss this. It just seems so elementary to me. Football coaches do need to use strategy, but the right players to carry out that strategy is important as well. Teams that have a great scheme and players to execute that scheme well can succeed. Good players and a good scheme are essential for a good team. The fact Gregg feels the need to point this out worries me about his football knowledge.

The final season has begun on DirecTV, migrating to NBC in the spring. Perpetual seniors Julie and Landry finally graduated,

Anyone who watches the show knows that Julie and Landry were sophomores when the series began and the series chronology matches up with them graduating in the 5th season and going to college. The seasons of Friday Night Lights aren't actual different football seasons on the show.

Then Gregg complains about Friday Night Lights some more and doesn't seem to realize it is a fictional show.

TMQ tracks the Crabtree Curse: Mike Singletary is 8-5 without Michael Crabtree and 8-14 with him. Matt Kerr of Adelaide, Australia, asks, "What about the Dez Dilemma? Without Dez Bryant at Dallas, Wade Phillips was 33-15 and earned the Cowboys' first postseason victory in 15 years. With Dez Bryant, Philips was 1-7 and fired. When Bryant came to the Cowboys and started getting away with little things like refusing to carry a vet's shoulder pads because he thinks he is above this, that had to harm team chemistry."

Is Gregg going to ignore that Dez Bryant has had something to do with the Cowboys 2-0 record since Jason Garrett took over?

The Cowboys are 2-0 under Acting Temporary Interim Provisional Semi-Coach Jason Garrett. How long until a Dez Dilemma sets in?

I guess Gregg will ignore that Dez Bryant had something to do with those victories. The only Dez Dilemma should be how to get him the ball more often. Mostly, Gregg shouldn't make up fake theories and then ignore that his fake theories are not only fake, but false.

Bachman and Turner -- combined age 134 -- sing at halftime of the Grey Cup, making recent geriatric Super Bowl halftime rock acts seem spry by comparison.

I still can't believe ESPN pays him to write this column every week.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

4 comments Frank Deford Must Not Understand What Child Abuse Is

Frank Deford wants to talk to everyone about child abuse. There are thousands of children every day who are affected by child abuse because of adults who should know better and the results of this abuse could affect them for the rest of their life. The children are being pawns in the adults plan to help these children lose their innocence. Yes, there are thousands of children out there who are being subjected to having to run trick plays on the football field at the insistence of their coach. That's Frank Deford's point of view.

I thought the same thing...what the hell Frank Deford he talking about? This column could not have been written by anyone under the age of 50. There's no way it is humanely possible for a person under 50 to have such a crazy and off-the-wall viewpoint. Only a person over the age of 50 years old would be crazy enough to equate a trick play to child abuse.

The title is "Trickery on the Football Field: Like Child Abuse?"

The answer is, "no."

This article was found on the NPR site, which based on some of the articles I have found there may be now doing ironic journalism like the Onion does. I'm not sure exactly, but from the content of some of the articles I've seen on it seems they leaning that way.

By now, you may be among the millions of people who've seen on YouTube the trick football play pulled off by the Driscoll Middle School of Corpus Christi, Texas.

I have. It's one of the worst displays of child abu---I mean it was a classic trick play.

If you've been watching President Obama abroad or otherwise wasting your time, here's what happens: Driscoll breaks out of the huddle, and the quarterback lines up over the ball. From the sideline, the assistant coach calls out that Driscoll deserves a five-yard penalty.

This story contains child abuse AND adults who lie to other adults in order to further the team's ability to win? The real question I have is whether this team from Driscoll is backed up by a group of uber-liberals who intend to turn our nation's morals inside out by showing children it is perfectly fine to deceive others. If we find this to be true, I'm telling Glen Beck about it immediately.

I bet this team from Driscoll also advocates the pump fake in basketball. If you are going to shoot the ball, shoot the ball...don't lie and deceive the other team in order to gain an advantage. Pump fakes are child abuse and the crossover dribble is a tool only pedophiles could love.

(Google analytics says people find this blog by doing a search for the specific words and people find this blog searching for the following words..."Nazi" after a JemeHill post I did, "crack" after a great post J.S. did, and now "pedophile" because of what I just wrote. There are a lot of disappointed people when they find a 10,000 word screed against Peter King on Mondays when they think they are getting pictures of crackheads)

At this point, the Driscoll center casually hands the ball over his shoulder to the quarterback. This is perfectly acceptable, even though we know that the center invariably delivers the ball through his legs.

Handing the ball to the quarterback over the shoulder is perfectly acceptable. Good to know. I feel like I am reading a parody of an old Furman Bisher column. I almost want to just re-print the article here and say nothing. The words are the joke.

The quarterback then takes the ball and starts to walk off five yards himself, as the opponents look on, confused. Then, clear of the opposition, the quarterback suddenly breaks into a run and dashes 67 yards for a touchdown.

Frank Deford forgets the child abuse part of this. This quarterback's head coach was chasing him with a grenade he would lob into the crowd in the direction of the child's parents if he didn't run this play and an assistant coach had the quarterback's dog held at knifepoint at home as a fail-safe option. This deception was going to be completed, no matter who had to pay with their life.

Well, it isn't funny, and it isn't right.

No, it's not funny. It is completely right and within the rules though. Now whether the play was overly deceptive is a debate for another day. I will say any defensive football player who sees that video will never relax in the future when the quarterback gets handed the ball with the idea the ball is not in play for fear the quarterback will take off with it.

Sure, athletes often employ gamesmanship, and I will now give you a lecture on situational ethics.

Sure, Frank Deford has no point in this column, but his grandchildren wouldn't listen to him when he tells them any Will Farrell move is NOT REAL COMEDY compared to anything Charlie Chaplin ever did, so he's pretty testy today. Young people don't ever listen to what the elderly have to say and it pisses Frank off.

Mostly people don't listen to crazy people who have lost some of what made them sane and write bizarre columns, like when Frank Deford says trickery in sports is akin to child abuse.

Remember this summer, when Derek Jeter, the all-American boy, idol of millions, faked getting hit by a pitch and his acting was so good he was awarded first base?

I do. This image of Jeter pretending to be hit by a pitch has caused me multiple nightmares. I think the most egregious part of this story is when Derek Jeter immediately won a Nobel Peace Prize after being awarded first base.

Well, Jeter is a grown-up, playing other grown-ups, in a game umpired by grown-ups. So are wide receivers who pretend to catch a pass that really hit the ground first, and basketball players who flop back as if they were fouled.

So it is fine for a grown-up to trick another grown-up, but not fine for a grown-up to trick a team of children who are coached by a grown-up in a game umpired by grown-ups? I guess my real question is...how the hell is this child abuse?

Just like the Driscoll Middle School quarterback, it is perfectly legal to act in a game. But the players who do that in the pros are not embarrassing the opposition.

Yes, they are embarrassing the competition in the pros. If that same move had been pulled in an NFL game the team that was on defense would be really, really embarrassed. In fact, a professional team would probably be more embarrassed than any other group that this trick got pulled on them.

They're just trying to con the umpire.

I get it. Because the grown-ups know exactly what they are doing then all bets are off and it is fine to run trick plays on the opposition.

What I don't get is how when grown-ups run trick plays they are only conning the umpire and not the other team. The team running the trick play IS conning the other team as well.

But the Driscoll team didn't act instinctively to try to put one over on a ref. The middle schoolers didn't even come up with the ruse.

These kids don't design, call and run their own plays? I bet this middle-school quarterback doesn't even have the ability to audible or change the play at the line of scrimmage. That's child abuse.

Their coach dreamed up the play, and even participated in it, hollering from the sideline.

The head coach of the team running the trick play was tricking the head coach for the other team. This play was really well-thought and may be on the line as far as sportsmanship goes, but I don't think it goes over that line.

The referees weren't victimized. In fact, they had to play along.

You mean the referees allowed a completely legal play to continue? Shouldn't they have put a stop to a completely legal trick play like this? If the referees aren't there to oversee exactly what legal plays the teams run against each other and stop those they don't agree with, then I ask, what is the point of even having officials on the field?

No, it was only the other team's kids who were embarrassed and belittled by a children's coach being a wise guy, a bully of sorts.

The kids who were "victimized" got to be on YouTube and around the Internet, I am sure they found that to be really neat.

It wasn't genius at all; rather, it was a form of child abuse.

No, it wasn't child abuse. To say this trick play is child abuse is to not only misunderstand what true child abuse is, but also a slap in the face to anyone who may have been abused as a child. A little embarrassment on a sports field is not child abuse.

Sure, it was legal, but it wasn't fair.

Which makes it child abuse? Is Frank Deford crazy?

Laugh at kids being outslicked by a grown-up, and you're cruel.

No one is laughing at the kids on the defense. Those people who watch the play are marveling at how well this trick play was conceived and executed. I have watched the video a few times and it is clear the opposing team was tricked, but I don't think it was overly embarrassing or scarring for them.

That isn't sport.

Nor is it child abuse. I hear there's a "Matlock" re-run on. Go and run off to watch it now.

Monday, November 22, 2010

7 comments MMQB Review: Now There Is A Clear Best Team in the NFL Edition

I know I keep bringing it up every single week, but when is Peter King going to suggest that the Vikings would be better off not starting Brett Favre anymore? What kills me is experts like Troy Aikman still insist, even when broadcasting a game and seeing firsthand evidence to the contrary, that Favre gives the Vikings the best chance to win a game over Tarvaris Jackson. I just feel like Peter King should be smart enough to see the Favre doesn't give the Vikings the best chance to win at this point.

Today, Peter has big news for us...he has blown up his Fine Fifteen. So instead of the randomly placed order he usually places his Fine Fifteen in, the order is now more random and even features the NFL's best team...despite Peter saying a week ago there wasn't a best team in the NFL. So really nothing has changed, but Peter finds it revolutionary.

Are you ready for your closeups, Jason Garrett and Leslie Frazier?

How can Leslie Frazier coach the Vikings this year when he will be the Panthers coach next year? When he does well in Minnesota he will get hired for the job on a permanent basis...so I think it is best if he isn't a head coach this year.

(and naturally after I wrote this, Leslie Frazier is named interim Viking coach)

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead and James Sanders just beat Peyton Manning. What a country.

There was also a guy by the name "Tom Brady" that had something to do with the Patriots beating Peyton Manning.

You'll never guess who's using Slingbox.

I'll never guess because I don't give a shit.

"You'll never guess who loves toast in the morning. Scroll down to the bottom of the page 5 to find out and be shocked. I'll give you a hint...he does not like key lime pie."

It's hard to not have great admiration for Aaron Rodgers. After the Packers embarrassed the Vikings Sunday at the Metrodome, Rodgers made a beeline for Brett Favre at midfield, and they embraced for a good 20 seconds, both whispering into each other's earholes.

(Peter crying alone in the dark after he sees this) "Why can't it be my earhole, Brett? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?"

Here is how I imagine the conversation went:

(Rodgers) "You should have stayed retired shithead. I respect you and all of that, but I could not be happier I beat your ass twice this year. You were a douche then and you are a douche now."

(Favre) "I'm a legend, you are a nobody. Look at my grizzled beard. I have an injury, do you have a second for me to describe it to you?"

(Rodgers) "I'm playing with a sprained ankle and a broken ring finger. Go buy some balls. Good luck plowing the land this next fall Brett, you know what, I'll even let you do my Hall of Fame induction speech."

Somewhere, in some deep place, Rodgers had to be feeling some measure of tremendous satisfaction, but he wasn't going to show it in that embrace, and no matter what he thought of Favre, he realized the moment and knew it was only right to treat Favre with the dignity he hoped one day the man who vanquished him would treat him. Maybe sometime around 2024.

Hearing my question about what went on between he and Favre, Rodgers said, "I'd rather keep that private. I don't think it'd be right to share it.''

Yep, that's how the conversation went. I don't know if this has been official yet or not, but can we get an official decree from the President that the Packers did the absolute right thing in keeping Rodgers over Favre three years ago? Is there even a question anymore? Even with Favre having a great year in 2009, Rodgers' numbers weren't terribly much worse and Rodgers is younger than Favre.

The Packers, for what it's worth, look like the best team in the league to me after 10 games

So the Packers are the best team in the NFL? Glad we've decided this since it doesn't make a difference at all in what will happen for the rest of the NFL season.

(and if you want to say it's the Patriots, I couldn't argue much, or the Eagles or Falcons or Jets or even the Saints)

Or they may not be. Thanks for the help. It is always nice to get the completely hedged opinion of a paid expert.

The defense has gotten early instability settled; coordinator Dom Capers has figured out the right personnel combinations, and the corner combo or Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson -- who has turned into the kind of leader a head coach dreams of -- is playing as well as any corner tandem in the league. Green Bay's allowed 10 points in the past 12 quarters. The Packers shut out the Jets at the Meadowlands. In the past two weeks, they didn't let two bad teams breathe.

You mean the "fad" 3-4 defense actually works when the right personnel is used? What would Gregg Easterbrook think about this?

3. The big-name coaches -- Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden -- will be in play. But will you want to lock them in at a big number for 2011 if you're not sure when or if you'll be playing football?

No, you won't. Cowher has coached in the most stable organization in the NFL for nearly his entire coaching career, so I have questions on whether he is a great coach or just fit the Steelers organization very well. Jon Gruden...maybe. He is like Mike Shanahan in that he likes veterans too much for my taste and is he really worth that much more money compared to another head coach?

In Minnesota, if Zygi Wilf succumbs to the masses and fires Brad Childress, he's got a reasonably priced defensive coordinator in place, Leslie Frazier, who's already a go-to confidant for many of the players, and the offense would be in good shape with coordinator Darrell Bevell keeping the reins.

But Leslie Frazier is coaching in Carolina next year. He can't coach two teams at one time.

(I wanted Leslie Frazier. I don't think I will get it now.)

In Carolina, there's not an obvious guy in-house, though owner Jerry Richardson wants to keep the coaching payroll down, so he could think of promoting from within.

Peter King is a moron. He has speculated Bill Cowher and Marty Schottenheimer will coach in Carolina next year. This could not be more off-base. The Panthers suck so Peter doesn't pay attention to them and I understand that. When Peter has answered the question about who will be in Carolina next year, he would be better off throwing darts at a board. There's a good in-house candidate, Peter just doesn't seem to care to look. Brian Baker is an obvious guy if the Panthers stay in-house.

I'm hearing more and more that Gruden could live with another year at ESPN -- he has one hard-and-fast year left on his contract there -- but would love to be in play for the right job. I think Cowher would go only to a place where the circumstances were right, and that job might not exist this year.

The circumstances haven't been right for four years now. When will the circumstances be right for him?

The third-most desirable guy (unless John Fox's star is not totally tarnished by this awful season in Carolina) might be Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh,

John Fox has essentially given up on the year and has spent the past three weeks making personnel moves that don't give his team the best chance to win. Tom Sorenson of the Charlotte Observer accused him of mutiny. If an owner is looking for a guy who will be passive aggressive when he isn't happy that he wasn't given a team full of veterans to coach then Fox is the guy. To be successful, Fox needs a team full of veterans.

As I said on NBC last night, this is bound to be an incendiary topic between the team and Young, and probably between the coaching staff and owner Bud Adams. Young is a 9-to-5 quarterback who doesn't work at his craft enough, either in the classroom or in rehabbing injuries. His leadership is poor because he doesn't show the commitment of many of his teammates.

I was hard on Vince Young last year, and have gone easier on him this year, but this is the problem with quarterbacks who have been able to coast on their talent for long periods of time. Just ask Mike Vick, it seems he has learned. When a quarterback has been able to coast on his talent, he doesn't have to do the work others put in. Unfortunately, practice habits and commitment to the team is more public when a player is the quarterback because it has a trickle-down effect on the team.

And though he's played better this year (10 touchdown, three interceptions), I get the sense the coaching staff has tired of spoonfeeding Young a version of the offense and not the whole thing, which makes Collins a more desirable option at this point, despite his age and creakiness.

Young really doesn't know the whole offense? He's been there five years and doesn't know the entire offense? Is this a joke?

I'm told Adams still views Young as the franchise star, which is part of the problem. The Longhorn Vince Young is not the Titan Vince Young. He's not the leader or player he was in college; is the petulant Iversonian figure who throws his uniform into the stands after a tough game the guy you build your franchise around? Adams would be foolish to think he is. Adams, I believe, is in love with a player who doesn't exist.

Peter King knows how this feels. He's in love with a quarterback that doesn't exist anymore too...not the way Peter used to remember him .

(Peter begins tearing up)

For now, the Titans, only a game out of first place in the AFC South, will go with sixth-round prospect Rusty Smith as quarterback entering a crucial stretch of four straight division games. It's not looking like their year. The worst decision they could make is going forward with Young into 2011 and beyond. Tennessee needs to cut its losses. Now.

To sum up Peter King's opinion...he thinks the Titans should cut Vince Young off their roster right now because of this incident and his lack of commitment to the team. Young is having a pretty good year in regard to performance and was removed from the game because he was injured and then threw a temper tantrum. Young is still performing at a fairly high level, so cutting him may seem a bit extreme. On the other hand, Peter does not believe Brett Favre (as stated in his MMQB last week) should even be benched, even though he is on the sidelines arguing with his coach, has shown a lack of commitment to the team by showing up in August over the past couple of summers, has a history of changing the play from what the coach wants run, and is not performing at a high level at all. I don't see how Peter can justify these two positions.

I bet Michael Vick hurts this morning. Justin Tuck sacked Vick three times Sunday in Philadelphia's 27-17 win over the Giants, and the Giants hit Vick another five times behind the line, and he exposed himself to more punishment in 11 rushes. Twice on the NBC telecast I heard the kind of audible hits that the announcers ooh and aah at, where shoulder pads meet shoulder pads or helmets. This is the torment coaches over the years have had when Vick plays: How much punishment can he take? He's already missed four starts this year, three after getting violently sandwiched by the Redskins on a run.

This is the problem with many running quarterbacks. Unfortunately, what makes Vick so difficult to defend also subjects him to a lot of hard hits. A team that signs him has to have a good backup quarterback who can enter the game when needed. Of course that team also needs a good backup quarterback to run the team when Vick decides he has gotten his long-term contract and doesn't have to work as hard anymore. Vick is in a contract year remember. It's possible he could tank after this year and not work as hard as he has lately.

I know, I know. You can't trust Parcells on this. When he took the Patriots job in 1993, he said, "This is my last job.'' When he quit the Jets after the 1999 season, he said, "This is definitely the end of my coaching career.'' When he turned down the Bucs' job in 2002, he said: "Write this on your little chalkboard -- I'm not coaching again.'' And here was are, almost nine years later, and I'm believing him?

You believed Brett Favre a few years ago when he told you the same thing. Peter basically tends to believe whatever people tell him, or at least that's how it seems at times.

The Fine Fifteen

Can you feel the drama?

1. Green Bay (7-3). Revolutionary move.

No, it's not. It is a power poll based on personal opinion. I could name San Francisco as the best team in the NFL and then say how revolutionary I am, but it isn't revolutionary because it's my FREAKING OPINION...not a fact.

2. New England (8-2). Tom Brady said he wishes he could have done more in the fourth quarter to help the Patriots win. Admirable, but 31 points is a good day's work in that rivalry.

The Colts almost came back and won the game. I'm not saying Tom Brady should be criticized, but if the Colts had come back to win the game then I think the Patriots offense should have gotten some minor amounts of criticism for not scoring again in the 4th quarter. God knows Bill Simmons would criticize Peyton Manning as a choker if the roles were reversed and the Patriots came back on the Colts in the 4th quarter and Manning couldn't score again to increase the Colts lead.

So 31 points is great but don't bail Brady out, because he sort of has a point.

5. Atlanta (8-2). Matt Ryan's back to rookie-phenom levels: 18 touchdowns, five picks, four wins in a row, by a total of 35 points.

Atlanta is 8-2, which is a better record than any other NFL team, but is #5 in Peter's power poll. I guess if a team beats Brett Favre it is much more impressive than anything a team from Atlanta (is that even a real city?) can do.

8. Pittsburgh (7-3). Embarrassed by the Pats. Embarrassed the Raiders. Not sure what this team is with all the injuries.

Every week Peter makes excuses for the Steelers about their injuries. Stop it. Other teams have injuries too and Peter doesn't make excuses for them. Why does he do this every single damn week with the Steelers?

MVP Watch

4. Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets. In the Jets' past three pulse-pounding wins, Sanchez has had the three most productive passing days of his career. A valuable player is one who plays great when the important games matter, and that's exactly what Sanchez is doing.

Peter has Sanchez over Drew Brees as the MVP. I say switch these two quarterbacks around and put Brees on the Jets and put Sanchez on the Saints. Peter really thinks Brees wouldn't have a better record than Sanchez if you switch those quarterbacks on their respective teams? Brees is more valuable.

Quote of the Week III

"I've tasted the caviar now, so eating out of the garbage is not where I want to be.''
-- Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, on the current quarterback-troubled, Kurt Warner-free days with the Cardinals, to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic.

I have one compound word for you Cardinal fans: Uh-oh.

At least Larry Fitzgerald doesn't have Brian St. Pierre throwing him passes. He needs to be thankful for that.

Defensive Players of the Week

Julius Peppers, DE, Chicago.

The force behind the Bears' beatdown of Miami quarterback Tyler Thigpen Thursday night, Peppers had six tackles and three sacks (for 14 yards of losses), leading Chicago to a 16-0 win over the feeble Fish. Peppers' sacks came in a 26-minute span starting late in the second quarter, and snuffed out three drives. Chicago is paying Peppers a million bucks a game, on average, and on Thursday, he played like a million bucks.

Remember that great game Peppers had last year against the Vikings on Sunday Night Football? Isn't it weird how Peppers always has a good game when it is nationally televised? In games that are locally or regionally televised he just doesn't seem to play as well. It's almost like he can play really well when he wants to or something. He's only been doing this since 2002 and no one has really noticed, so that's good for him.

Vick has played 58 percent of the Eagles' offensive football this year -- 23 quarters to Kevin Kolb's 17.

Vick has thrown 55.5 percent of the Eagles' passes this year and started six of Philly's 10 games. (He is 5-1.) Four other candidates for MVP have started all of their teams games and have these comparable numbers: Drew Brees, 100 percent of his team's passes; Peyton Manning, 100 percent; Philip Rivers, 99.7 percent; Tom Brady 99.4 percent.

Notice how Peter doesn't put Mark Sanchez on this list of MVP candidates, but he put Sanchez 4th in his MVP watch. He can't even be consistent in his own opinion.

I have never liked JFK Airport in New York. It's hard to get to (except at 2 a.m.) because of traffic. Its eight terminals are spread out, making connections on different airlines a royal pain. The modernization of some of the terminals (like the one with JetBlue in it) helps, but, in general, you have to allow for so much more time flying out of there that I avoid it whenever possible.

Last Wednesday, it was not possible. I spoke to SI writer Jon Wertheim's class at Princeton at 2, then attended a program of Write On Sports, the invaluable New Jersey youth writing and mentoring program run by former Associated Press editor Byron Yake, in downtown Newark at 6:30. I had a 10:30 p.m. American flight back to Boston, so I figured if I left Newark around 8:15 and returned my rental car, I should make it just fine.

Bad misjudgment.

Then Peter goes into a loooooooooooooooooooooooooong story about how he cut it close to his flight and then, get this, things went wrong. Granted, some of these things were the fault of the airport, but Peter should just assume that everyone is an idiot, rather than believing airport employees' main reason for existence is to cater to his own every little question or need when he is in a hurry.

9:45. We leave. He would have had to be parked to be driving any slower. After five minutes of him meandering toward the terminals, with me as the only passenger on board, I said, "Can we go straight to Terminal 8? Flight leaves at 10:30.'' He said no, we had to go to every terminal, in order. I asked if he could make an exception.

"You wanna get me fired?'' he said. "You gonna find me another job?''

9:51. Terminal 1. "I'll get off here,'' I said, and jumped off, and ran to the taxi line.

Peter's an athlete. He ran a marathon. He can run.

The rule for this story is to get to your flight as early as possible. I thought most travelers knew this rule...especially in New York.

a. Cameron Wake, the Miami outside linebacker, who rushes the passer the way Pete Rose ran the bases. Irrepressible.

The rushes the passer by running around the field like he is running the bases on a baseball diamond? This may be the worst analogy ever.

h. Tony Dungy on what the Titans should do with their dissatisfied quarterback: "I think you've got to cut ties with Vince Young.'' Bold. Beautiful.

Tony Dungy is the moral authority on everything. Just ask him, he will tell you just how perfect he truly is.

d. Ridiculous Carolina secondary play, letting the moderately speedy (which is to say, fairly slow for a wideout) T.J. Houshmandzadeh get behind it for an easy 56-yard TD throw from Joe Flacco, early in the first quarter.

e. 1:07 p.m. Baltimore 7, Carolina 0. Game over.

I can't defend a terrible team, but it was 20-13 in the 4th quarter. The Panthers had the ball down 7 points and couldn't get a first down. So, it was not "game over" at 7-0 at all.

i. GRAHAM GANO! THREE YARDS SHORT on a 47-yard field goal that would have defused all of the debate that Donovan McNabb can't win the close games inside the two-minute warning! Short?!

Yes, why did you intentionally miss that kick? I wonder if Peter has a complaint about the overtime kick that Gano hit to win the game?

9. I think, as I did a month ago, that a fine is more likely for Brett Favre than a suspension. Nothing has changed my mind on this, basically because of his 14 years with a clean record (since the Vicodin rehab in 1996), and no prior violations of the league's personal conduct policy. Usually -- and I have to stress that word, usually -- the league doesn't whack a guy with a suspension on his first personal-conduct violation.

It's just boys being boys. No big deal, nothing to see here. Who hasn't sent text message pictures to a co-worker and then called that person on the phone asking for a date while married? Doesn't everyone do this?

h. Who's that Westbrook guy for Oklahoma City? What a basketball player.

What do you know, Peter only notices an athlete when he plays against his favorite team. He just sounds stupid saying shit like this. It just makes Peter sound ignorant about the NBA and seems like a feeble attempt to pretend he is keeping up with the sport. It's like my father asking me what Pearl Jam is up to these days.

l. Happy Thanksgiving, one and all. My favorite holiday of the year. You didn't know? I love to eat, and there's nothing on the Thanksgiving table I won't touch -- as you can probably tell.

It also gives Peter a chance to see that LeBron James fellow. Boy, he and Dwight Howard have some broad shoulders. Peter sees some All-Star game appearances in their future.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

0 comments Woody Paige Does It Again

You're tired of it. I'm tired of it. Yet I keep writing about it because Woody Paige keeps writing about it. Woody Paige doesn't like Kyle Orton. He has no other solution for the Broncos, but that can't stop him from not liking Orton because Orton is a "loser." Sure, Orton has thrown for a ton of yards this year, but that doesn't tell the whole truth like Woody Paige does. He is the bringer-of-truth for all things quarterback-related for the Broncos.

Kyle Orton — we're informed, ad infinitum — is on pace to challenge Dan Marino's all-time, NFL single-season passing record of 5,084 yards.

This is the first time I have heard about this. Of course I am not paying attention to how many yards Orton is throwing for, but I still wasn't aware of this.

Kyle Orton — I'm here to notify you — also is on pace to become the only quarterback among the top 10 all-time single-season passing leaders in league history to finish with a losing record.

All Orton's fault. I know it certainly isn't the 25th ranked defense's fault. The same defense that is 30th in rushing yards allowed per game this year. It is also not the running game's fault. Just because the Broncos are averaging 76.8 yards per game on the ground doesn't mean the running game isn't doing its part. Orton is just being a selfish prick by throwing the ball too much.

At the midpoint of the 2010 season, and 24 games into his term as the Broncos' quarterback, Orton has proved he is a passer — and a loser.

It is really weird how Orton is now a quarterback that is a loser. When he was with the Bears and went 10-5 in his rookie season he was seen as a quarterback who was a winner and managed the game well. I wonder what the difference in Orton being a winner in Chicago and a loser in Denver, even though he is playing much better in Denver?

(Woody Paige sits down and thinks about this for 17 hours, can't figure it out, so he blames Kyle Orton anyway)

I'll give a hint in what makes the difference in a quarterback that is a winner and a loser. The team around him. Like Orton had a good one in Chicago and he doesn't in Denver.

Just before the season, some rich yahoo who claimed to be one of Orton's closest friends stopped me at a local golf course and shrieked: "When you gonna give Kyle Orton credit?"

My answer: "Not today. When he deserves it."

When does he deserve it? Never, as long as Tim Tebow is on the roster. As long as there is a Tebow in existence, Kyle Orton has no business taking his rightful spot as the starting quarterback for the Broncos.

I don't generally like rookie quarterbacks starting for an NFL team unless they are absolutely ready to do so. Rookies that are forced into starting before they are ready seem like they would have a high probability of flaming out of the league. Tebow isn't ready. It is fine to use him some during a game, but Orton has played well and is the best option for the Broncos.

Kyle Orton does deserve credit for fooling the Broncos into extending his contract to two years for $11.4 million ($8.1 mil guaranteed).

Orton's average. There is no doubt about that. Dude is slinging the ball around well this year though. He has no running game, very little defense, and he needs help around him for the Broncos team to have any sort of success.

Jay Cutler established the Broncos' single-season passing mark at 4,526 yards in 2008. The Broncos were 8-8. So much for that stat.

So is Woody Paige suggesting a quarterback who throws for a lot of yardage will be on a team that doesn't win a lot of games? I think 2008 Tom Brady would have something to say about that.

It's amazing to me certain sportswriters can't understand the concept that there is more than one phase to the game of football and all of the phases of football are combined together to determine whether a team is successful or not. Orton is an average quarterback, but he has no running game, and Tim Tebow isn't the guy to help the Broncos with that. He can only run the ball so many times until the defense no longer gets fooled.

(Jake Plummer is No. 2, and where's he?)

Nice completely flawed reasoning. Plummer is retired and this has nothing to do with this discussion. The idea Plummer should still be playing or in the Hall of Fame because he is 2nd in passing yards in a season for the Broncos is idiocy.

"Joe Montana won a lot of Super Bowls, but where's he at now?"

Coach Josh McDaniels, The QB Maker, was being prodded by the media early in the season to compliment Orton's impressive statistical start. McDaniels replied that he judged quarterbacks on victories, third- and fourth-down conversions and scoring inside the 20-yard line.

He should have added success in the fourth quarter.

Because Josh McDaniels needs to know the exact statistics to cherry pick in order to make Kyle Orton look bad.

"Josh McDaniels says Kyle Orton is playing well this year and should have more victories if he could just get a running game and convert more fourth downs. But what about his cooking skills? Kyle Orton is a terrible cook. No one wants to come to his house to eat dinner. Josh McDaniels forgets this little fact."

So, using McDaniels' three criteria, and my additional measure of goodness:

The Broncos are 2-6, with four consecutive losses.

I'm pretty sure I write this every week, but here goes again. The Broncos defense has given up 31, 24, 59, and 24 points in these games. They gave up 29 points on Sunday to the Chiefs. For the third time, Orton is completely average, but you can't pin the Broncos record on him.

The Broncos are 22nd overall in the league in third- down conversions — 36.6 percent — and have made first downs on fourth downs 27.3 percent of the time (3-of-11), 26th in the NFL.

I don't have the statistics to prove or disprove this, but I wonder how far the Broncos have on-average to go on third down? Considering they are averaging 76 rushing yards per game I will assume they have long third down conversions they have to convert. I've seen first hand how a team that can't run the ball can't convert third downs as easily.

The Broncos are 20th in red-zone scoring (41.3 percent), or 1.5 touchdowns or field goals for every 3.6 trips to the red zone.

I hate to sound like a broken record, though this entire post probably feels that way, but it is hard to score when the defense knows you can't run the ball.

(Opponents have scored 69.5 percent.)

Dammit Kyle Orton! Learn to play linebacker better to prevent the other team from scoring!

In fourth quarters, the Broncos have managed four touchdowns and four field goals. They also have eight punts, two fumbles, three interceptions, four lame efforts on fourth down, one Kyle Orton kneel down (in a victory) and one game in which the clock ran out on the Broncos. In 26 fourth- quarter possessions when the Broncos tried to score, they had a success rate of 30.8 percent.

So not only is Kyle Orton a loser, but he is also a choker. Maybe the Broncos should see if Derek Jeter could play some quarterback. I hear he is a free agent and is available. He's so clutch.

Examine the fourth quarter offensive possessions game-by-game (backward):

The 24-16 loss to the 49ers — field goal, punt, fumble by Orton, touchdown pass by Orton, interception.

So of the 16 points the Broncos scored 10 of them were in the fourth quarter? What a pathetic loser!

The 59-14 loss to the Raiders — punt, punt, turnover on downs.

Really? Were the Broncos going to come back in this game or something during the fourth quarter down by thirty points?

The 31-17 loss to the Ravens — field goal, punt, touchdown.

So the Broncos scored 10 of their 17 points in the fourth quarter? That sounds like it is pretty good.

In fact, Denver has scored 154 points this year (as of the time Woody wrote this column) and if the Broncos have scored 4 touchdowns and 4 field goals in the fourth quarter this year like Woody Paige says then that means they have scored 40 points in the 4th quarter. That's a little bit below 26% of their points coming in this quarter. It doesn't seem like scoring in the 4th quarter is a huge issue for the Broncos.

Very ugly. Four of those games may have been won without fourth-quarter interceptions, fumbles and mistakes, and a pass interference call at the goal line (vs. the Jets).

So it hasn't been the overall incompetence of the quarterbacking that has been the problem, but mistakes by the team? Orton is certainly at fault, but saying his passing statistics are misleading is misleading in itself. The Broncos have to gain yardage on offense in some manner and they haven't been able to do it on the ground.

It must be brought up again that in those eight games, the Broncos have scored one touchdown (against the Seahawks) in the opening quarter. They are averaging fewer than three points for the combined first and fourth quarters this season.

Orton will never star in a movie titled "A Man For All Quarters."

Then what is the answer? Other than taking time out of his busy schedule making bad puns for his articles, I wonder if Woody Paige can give us the solution to this problem? Is it to put Tebow in the starting quarterback position? If so, I want to see that and then compare how he does to Orton.

He certainly isn't completely to blame for a season gone in the tank. McDaniels, the offensive line, the entire defense and multiple injuries share in the responsibility, but the quarterback is the Most Important Man.

Plus he is the guy blocking the God of Gods, the Men of all Men, the Inspirational Virgin Leader...Tim Tebow. Woody Paige would throw John Elway under the bus if it meant getting Tebow some playing time.

Orton has been able to throw up and down the field, but he's not engineering victories.

Yes, he needs to "engineer victories"...whatever the hell this actually entails. My guess would be this involves having a better defense and running game. Orton isn't a guy who can carry a team on his back. I don't know at what point it was assumed he could do this. There are maybe 5-6 quarterbacks that could win 10+ games with this Broncos team and Orton isn't one of them. To act like he is a quarterback who doesn't need help from his defense or a running game is just not true. Of course painting Orton as a quarterback who isn't up to the task of winning games around a bad time is what gets Woody Paige off...when Orton NEVER has been a quarterback who can do it on his own.

Woody is accusing a career supporting actor of not being able to carry a movie franchise.

Orton just might set the record for most passing yards by season's end, or he might just end up on the bench at the end of the season. Either way, how hollow.

Does Woody Paige think Drew Brees was a loser when he almost broke the passing yards record going 8-8 with the Saints in 2008? I doubt he thinks that Brees was a loser for almost breaking the passing yards record and not having a winning record.

He's holding Orton up to a standard that Orton doesn't have the skill to match. Why isn't Orton winning more games? Because the team around him isn't good enough for him to win more games. He's not a guy who can win games with a shitty team around him.