Monday, February 14, 2011

14 comments Gregg Easterbrook Discusses the Super Bowl And It Isn't So Super

Gregg Easterbrook had a few problems last week with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers not publicly disclosing what type of helmet he used to help prevent future concussions. Gregg glossed over the fact Rodgers isn't a doctor, the NFL has a helmet contract with Riddell, and there may be legal guidelines in regard to Rodgers essentially (directly or indirectly) endorsing the use of a particular helmet. This is all typical though. Gregg tends to gloss over the depth of an issue and merely criticizes the issue on a "black and white" level. Naturally, he does this same thing this week yet again.

There were three interceptions returned for touchdowns in the 2011 postseason, all by Green Bay, and the playoffs end with the Packers as champions. That is no coincidence -- because the pick-six is the most devastating play in football.

Gregg starts the column off with a comment I can partially agree with him upon. A pick-six can be such a devastating play for the opposing team. The most devastating? Maybe, it depends on the situation. This will be the last time we even somewhat agree with each other after this week. As devastating as this pick-six was the for the Steelers, they had other chances to score and the pick-six happened in the first quarter of the Super Bowl. The Steelers scored 25 points after this, so they weren't terribly devastated by it, other than the fact it made the difference in the outcome of the game they lost by six points.

But the interception-return touchdown has psychological impact: The offense has worked, worked, for field position and, suddenly, a defensive player is sprinting in the opposite direction to the end zone.

The play where this pick-six occurred was the very first play of the drive. So the Steelers didn't really work, work for field position at this point. I'm picking nits because TMQ is almost over for the season and I like to pick nits with Gregg Easterbrook.

And a fumble returned for a touchdown has great impact. But football players and coaches know that fumbles occur largely by chance -- even the best players fumble -- while an interception returned for a touchdown signals a break down of performance and tactics.

Not always. An interception can be a result of a tipped pass or a bad bounce off the receivers hands. A fumble can signal the breakdown of the ball carrier's ability to carry the football in the correct position to prevent a fumble.

So while I am not arguing the emotional impact of a pick-six, a fumble occurs by chance so this could be even more soul-destroying than interception because it is a game-changing play that happens sometimes purely by chance. So what's worse, knowing a Super Bowl was lost by chance or knowing a Super Bowl was lost by poor execution? I would argue losing a Super Bowl by chance is worse.

The quarterback should not put the ball where it can be intercepted.

Which doesn't happen when a ball is tipped or the receiver runs the wrong route. Let's not blame it all on the quarterback. There are more things that go into an interception other than whether the quarterback put the ball where it could be intercepted.

The coaches should not draw up plays that are vulnerable not just to interceptions but to the intercepting player having an open field.

What the hell? Does Gregg really expect a coach to draw up a play and then look at the play and nix it based on the fact if the ball is intercepted the intercepting player would have an open field? Nearly every passing play couldn't be run if the the stipulation was added that the defensive player will never get an open field if the ball is intercepted. A screen pass, a slant, a quick out, a go route, and any other passing play could potentially give the intercepting player an open field depending on when the ball is intercepted. This is a unjustified criticism from someone, Gregg Easterbrook, who clearly doesn't care to understand football and just wants to be as critical as possible without reason for doing so. There are very few ways to draw up a passing play and never have the opposing team get an open field and a chance to return it for a touchdown.

A fumble returned for a touchdown may only mean bad luck: an interception return touchdown always means a serious screw-up by the offense.

A tipped pass argues differently.

A fumble caused by the ball carrier holding the ball in the wrong arm along the sidelines. That is a situation where the fumble was a screw-up by the offense.

Potential contradiction alert: Also, it is interesting that Gregg calls the pick-six interception the most devastating turnover when just this past October he called the kickoff fumble, which is a turnover, the worst possible turnover. In fact, I will quote Gregg from four months ago exactly:

Then Arizona "krumbled" -- fumbled the ensuing kickoff. And the krumble, or kickoff fumble, is the worst turnover, since the team that just scored immediately gets the ball back.

So both the kickoff fumble and the pick-six are turnovers, while the pick-six is the most devastating turnover, the kickoff fumble is the worst turnover. I guess in Gregg's world "worst" doesn't mean "most devastating." I get the feeling Gregg doesn't ever proofread or recall what he has written before.

And Green Bay's result raises the question of whether coaches should be less concerned with sacks on defense, more concerned with creating interception opportunities as a matter of game-planning.

This sentence raises the question of whether ESPN should hire someone else to talk about the NFL. Any idiot, and I mean pretty much any idiot that watches football, knows the best way to create interceptions or bad passes is to pressure the quarterback. A quarterback who has all day to sit back in the pocket and isn't concerned about being sacked will find an open receiver. This is true from the best quarterback in the NFL to the worst quarterback in the NFL.

Quite simply, you create interception opportunities by pressuring the quarterback and trying to create sacks. Sacks go hand-in-hand with interceptions. Gregg should really, really, really know this...yet it doesn't seem like he does. How sad.

Last week, TMQ asked why the Packers would not reveal the helmet type that Aaron Rodgers says has protected him against another concussion. Now I've got the details.

Yet Gregg doesn't immediately give us details and makes us read the rest of his abhorrent column. Not only is this Aaron Rodgers Helmet Creep, but he is also ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands of millions of billions of high school football players whose lives are at risk RIGHT NOW without this information. Gregg is withholding proprietary information so we have to read his entire column. How shameful.

Cheerleader of the Super Bowl: Crystal of the New York Jets, the only team of the final four that brought cheer-babes to the championship round. According to her team bio, Crystal would "rather watch a documentary than a reality TV show," and can dunk a basketball.

That's not really what she said. I wouldn't expect to get this 100% factually correct because that's not what he is about. I checked the link out and Crystal actually said the following:

I used to be on a dunking team & specialty dunk was the “tomahawk”

So she didn't say she could dunk a basketball. She said she was on a dunking team. It's nitpick day with TMQ and what Gregg says Crystal says isn't accurate. It is like a bio of me saying I can make a field goal from midfield, when in actuality I can do this on an Arena League Football field.

Now it's the Super Bowl. Trailing by six points, the Steelers take possession on their 13 at the two-minute warning. The situation is all but identical to when the teams last played. On Pittsburgh's first snap, the Packers showed a three-man rush, Roethlisberger had plenty of time in the pocket and threw for 15 yards. "Uh-oh," yours truly thought. Then I thought, "There's my lead for Tuesday, the Packers lose by repeating their 2009 mistake."

I would bet $200 that Gregg Easterbrook wrote in his notebook, "Game Over," but he won't mention this because he doesn't want us to know he is often wrong when he writes that in his notebook. Gregg probably writes "Game Over" in his notebook a couple of times a week, but only tells us he wrote this when it actually comes true.

On each of the remaining four Pittsburgh snaps, the Packers rushed five. Fortune favors the bold!

If fortune favors the bold then why does Gregg have a sub-topic in TMQ called "Stop Me Before I Blitz Again." Isn't blitzing a lot being bold, so naturally fortune should favor that team? The lesson we learn is that blitzing is not good in the opinion of Gregg Easterbrook unless it works, in which case it is great. As always, he makes judgments based solely on the outcome of the event. For a writer that makes up hard-and-fast rules on a weekly basis, he sure plays loose with them when he needs to.

Four straight blitz downs is obviously risky. But Roethlisberger never seemed to realize what was happening, and adjust by throwing slants or goes. Pittsburgh had a timeout but never used it -- Steelers coaches could have stopped the action to ensure Roethlisberger realized what was happening.

Yes, because that is the perfect use of the clock and your only remaining timeout. Instead of using the timeout when they are closer to the end zone or while the clock is running, the Steelers should use the timeout when the clock isn't running or the Steeles haven't gained significant yardage. Also, with only having one timeout a quick slant would not get very much yardage required the a short amount of time the Steelers had. I'm not sure that would have been the best pass pattern to run. Plus, the Bears tried to run a quick slant and the ball was intercepted by B.J. Raji and he had a clear path to the end zone. So a slant should never even be a play that is run by an offense because it gives a defender a clear path to the end zone if intercepted.

As far "goes" go, I'm pretty sure the Packers had two safeties back so the only wide receiver of the Steelers that could have had a chance to get behind the Packers defense is Mike Wallace, which is why the last two passes of the game were thrown to him. So the Packers did blitz, but they still had 6 guys in coverage and it isn't like there was a huge space in the middle of the field wide open. Simply calling a timeout and only throwing "goes" or slants would not have been effective strategy.

Twice when Pittsburgh faced second-and-6 -- hardly an automatic passing down -- the Packers lined up in a 2-4-5 as though it was third-and-long. Considering Pittsburgh rushed for 126 yards on an average gain of 5.5 yards, and Green Bay kept offering a light front of only two defensive linemen, it's hard to understand why the Steelers did not run more. No wait, it's easy to understand -- this is 2011.

The Steelers were down 21-3 at one point during the game. they were playing catch-up a good amount of the game. They ran the ball 23 times and I am sure they wanted to run the ball more, but once they were down 11 points in the 4th quarter it didn't make sense to run the ball and burn clock.

Steelers coaches made many curious calls. Pittsburgh down 21-17 late in the third quarter, facing third-and-2, the Steelers threw incomplete -- though Green Bay was in a two-man front, which is good to run against. And the pass wasn't an attempt for a home run, just a dinky short thing.

"A dinky short thing" otherwise known as a "high percentage pass," which is not a terrible play on third-and-short. Green Bay routinely plays a two-man front and is able to stop the run effectively with this front. Possibly the Steelers thought they would be able to better move the ball through the air in this situation.

Down 28-17 and taking possession with 11 minutes remaining, the Steelers did not no-huddle. At the end, they were desperate for clock.

Which is why running the ball more than 23 times just may not have been possible.

The Steelers' deuce play sure was sweet; fake up the middle, then Roethlisberger sprints left and pitches an option pitch to Antwaan Randle El. He proceeded to celebrate wildly, though the Steelers still trailed -- one of many indications Pittsburgh's heads weren't in the game.

This is also an indication the Steelers had just made it a one-possession game and Randle El had scored a touchdown in the Super Bowl, both events are a cause for celebration.

Check any NFL game program, any NFL media guide, any NFL roster on anywhere including on -- every player's name is followed by the name of a college or university. True, it's biographical information, but the impression is given that the player is a graduate of the school.

The impression is given only if you want to get that impression. If a person assumes a player is a college graduate simply because his biography says that's where he went to school long enough to qualify to play in the NFL, then that's fine. It is not misleading information because most NFL players have to play in college for at least two years before they can play in the NFL, so the biography of that player simply lists what school that player attended. If a person wants to think the player graduated, that's up to that person.

Yet only "half of the NFL's players have college degrees." So why is a college or university listed after every player, if only 50 percent graduated?

Which is the highest percentage among the three major sports leagues, meaning the NBA, NFL and MLB. So, relatively speaking the NFL does well in regard to this issue.

When NFL game announcers, including on ESPN, talk on television about a player's college, viewers could infer the player is a graduate of the college. Roughly half the time this isn't so.

Viewers are free to infer this. Much like the concussion issue, simply because a person is too lazy to research a topic and assumes something is true doesn't mean anyone is being misleading them. Gregg gives out half-truthful or biased information on nearly a weekly basis and I do the research to show he is wrong. I call him out on it because he gives enough information to lead the reader to believe something is true. The NFL doesn't try to mislead the viewers, but simply states the college a player attended. Whether that player graduated is not even relevant and generally isn't even public information.

On "Sunday Night Football," Trent Williams of the Redskins introduced himself as from Longview High in Texas; Robert Mathis of the Colts introduced himself as from McNair High in Atlanta; Greg Jennings of the Packers introduced himself as from Kalamazoo Central High of Michigan; Aaron Curry of the Seahawks introduced himself as from Smith High in Fayetteville, N.C.; Miles Austin of the Cowboys introduced himself as from Garfield High in Garfield, N.J.; there are many similar examples.

Except this theory goes up in smoke because Greg Jennings graduated, as did Aaron Curry, and Robert Mathis. I couldn't find information on Trent Williams and Miles Austin, though both players stayed all four years in college. So a player doesn't say his high school simply because he isn't a college graduate, he may have another reason to do this.

Were they shouting out their hometowns -- or being honest, where other NFL players deceptively create the impression they are college graduates?

A little research would show they were giving out shout outs to their hometowns because at least 3 of the 5 players are college graduates. It's called research and those who do the research, rather than ask idiotic questions in the hopes the reader will assume these players didn't graduate college, will be able to find out the answer. Gregg complains the NFL doesn't give the appropriate information about NFL players who are college graduates and then he assumes five NFL players aren't college graduates when three of them definitely are. Gregg's entire complaint could be solved by the one thing he apparently isn't capable of, which is doing some research. His failure to do research on these players brings up my main point. If a person wants the information on whether a player is a graduate or not, they can easily look it up to find out.

Myron Rolle of the Tennessee Titans holds a master's in medical anthropology from Oxford University. On television, he can identify himself as from Oxford, rather than from Florida State, since Oxford is his highest degree. But if you attended college and never graduated, then high school is your highest degree -- and the honest thing to do is to introduce yourself by your high school.

On the biography information it routinely says "College:" and doesn't indicate whether the player graduated or not, so there is no misleading going on. Rolle CAN identify himself as being from Oxford, but he doesn't have to, so the players who didn't graduate college can identify themselves by their high school, but don't have to.

So here is the simple, practical idea TMQ advocates: On NFL rosters and in NFL media guides, players should be listed only by the highest school they graduated from.

Nobody cares but you, Gregg.

National Football League -- stop deceiving the public by making it appear that all your players are college graduates. If they've only graduated from high school, this list them in that way.

Nobody cares where a player last graduated from. We want to know where that player last played competitive football. Where the player graduated from doesn't matter to me, and I would guess it doesn't matter to others either.

If NFL players listed only the schools from which they actually graduated, game programs and media guides would be full of high school listings -- rather the college illusions presented today. Many teams, and many players, would feel embarrassed. That would lead to positive reforms.

This effect of positive reform caused by embarrassment can be seen by college graduates listing their high school as where they graduated from during pregame introductions on television. If NFL players were embarrassed by not graduating from college, why would they voluntarily list their high school as where they went to school when they are a college graduate?

When Deion Sanders was chosen on Saturday for the Hall of Fame, he made a great show of
being at a youth football game, declaring his youth team meant more to him than Canton. This was intended to cause Sanders to come across as aw-shucks sincere -- to me, he came across as incredibly phony, pretending he was so intent on coaching young boys that he'd forgotten what day it was. That aside -- youth football in February?

I know! What a selfish, "it's all about me" prick. Let's see what kind of youth football game he was at:

When he learned the news via phone call, Sanders was at a charity event at Lancaster Recreation Park, having spent most of the day coaching youth football games against squads coached by rapper Snoop Dogg.

A charity event? That's even more selfish. What a phony to coach a youth football game for charity. I bet "Charity" is actually a stripper.

I guess Gregg thinks it would have been less selfish and phony of Sanders to decline participation in the charity event because he wanted to sit by the phone and wait for the call from the Hall of Fame. If he had done this, Gregg would have criticized him.

Here, gleaned from the NFL's official Record and Fact Book, is TMQ's annual Super Bowl look at NFL overstaffing -- organizational charts that would make the HMS Pinafore seem a lean, well-run ship.

This is the annual space killing feature Gregg does which I would guess 75% of his readers completely skip over. If Gregg really wants to talk about bloated organizations, why does ESPN need two "draft experts" and require what seems to be countless NFL analysts? Why? Because they can, which is why NFL teams have people with similar titles in their organization. Does ESPN really need a football non-expert to write a weekly column using his limited football knowledge to second-guess what teams did during games in the past week and give the readers information about their government? I am guessing they do not. Yet, they have one.

For that matter the public needed to know what the other starting quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, would wear -- Roethlisberger switched helmet types last spring, hoping to avoid another concussion.In the Super Bowl, Rodgers wore the Schutt Air XP and Roethlisberger wore the Riddell Revo Speed. Both helmets have advanced features that reduce -- but surely do not eliminate -- concussion incidence.

Gregg made a big show last week out of not being able to find out this information. One week later he gets the information, but he never tells his readers exactly how the hell he found this out. So when Aaron Rodgers and the Packers don't reveal the kind of helmet Rodgers is wearing it is a disgrace to the NFL and thousands of people's lives are put at risk. Once Gregg Easterbrook found out what helmet Rodgers was wearing, he declines to tell us how he found this information out. He wanted this information to be public last week, this week he makes the information public, but fails to tell others how to ascertain this information for themselves. Thanks for nothing Gregg.

High schools now have the information, but under Gregg's theory of "every high school and college is too helpless to find out information for themselves" they would not know how exactly to find this information concerning a different NFL player.

As for Roethlisberger, after having concussion problems in 2009, he switched in 2010 from the VSR-4 to the Revo Speed. He's had no problems since.

Of course Gregg knows he hasn't had concussion problems then because he is in Ben Roethlisberger's head and knows Roethlisberger hasn't suffered a concussion and then covered up the fact he suffered one to continue playing. Gregg Easterbrook can read minds and thoughts.

If the NFL switched to mandating that players wear the safest headgear, this would set a positive example for the high school ranks. Far too many high schools buy whatever helmet's cheapest, in part because equipment salesmen can say, truthfully, that the NFL doesn't mandate helmet safety.

So Gregg believes high schools buy the cheapest helmet available because equipment salesmen tell the high school the NFL doesn't mandate helmet safety? He really thinks this? I would think budgetary concerns would be the biggest reason high schools buy the cheapest helmet available. One of the big budgetary concerns being public high schools tend to be fairly poor right now. Naturally, I wouldn't expect Gregg Easterbrook with his upper crust of society life to understand this, so I will help him. High schools are having major budget problems right now and more expensive helmets for the football team isn't a high priority budgetary item for many school systems. They are focused on the less important things for students, like teacher's salaries and education-related expenses.

Parents of football players -- the Riddell Revo and Revo Speed, the Schutt DNA, Ion and Air XP, the Xenith X1 and the forthcoming Rawlings Quantum are designed to reduce the chance of concussions. Other helmets are not. What more do you need to know?

How does Gregg propose this all gets paid for? I would like to know that.

This silly rule was put in place to stop the electric-worm celebrations of a decade ago. Like all celebration rules, it's silly. Taunting should draw a flag. But why not bounce around happily after a touchdown? At all levels of football, the celebration rule needs revision.

Gregg from earlier in this exact column:

The Steelers' deuce play sure was sweet; fake up the middle, then Roethlisberger sprints left and pitches an option pitch to Antwaan Randle El. He proceeded to celebrate wildly, though the Steelers still trailed -- one of many indications Pittsburgh's heads weren't in the game.

Whatever happened to "why not bounce around happily after a touchdown?" Randle El shouldn't do that because his two point conversion didn't put his team in the lead? If anything is silly, it is the reasoning by Gregg that this two point conversion should not have been celebrated.

Next Week: The stadium lights are turned off, the film rooms are dark and the cheerleaders have put their miniskirts away in very small drawers. But one act of the NFL season remains -- the annual Tuesday Morning Quarterback Bad Predictions Review. Here's a preview: Everyone was wrong about everything, except me!

I hate to see TMQ come to an end soon...yet I won't miss it at all.


KentAllard said...

Wasn't Roethlisberger's arm hit by a lineman on the pick six?

Bengoodfella said...

Kent, yes it was. I believe it was Howard Green who hit his arm. Still, the play should not have been drawn up to where the defensive lineman could have hit his arm. That is Gregg's position.

Brizzle said...

In every previouse column year, five times a column(Easterbrook makes up his facts, I feel like I can too), Easterbrook claims that only selfish, me first stat hounds go after the interception. If the player truly cared about his team, he would play careful defense and limit the big play.

Gregg is such a piece of crap. Each and every week praises what works and ingores what he says the weeks before.

Pat said...

Seeing how Gregg just trumpeted the helmets he claims are the safest and admonished the NFL and the Packers for not being forthright about this for fear of lawsuits, I assume we can all sue Gregg Easterbrook if one of us were to get a concussion while wearing one of those specific helmets, no? I also assume he would have no problem with this?

rich said...

because the pick-six is the most devastating play in football.

Most devastating play in football? I think an injury to a key player is more devastating than a pick six.

If fortune favors the bold then why does Gregg have a sub-topic in TMQ called "Stop Me Before I Blitz Again."


::collapses on floor::

Steelers coaches could have stopped the action to ensure Roethlisberger realized what was happening.

Yes, every fan watching the game knew what was happening, but a very good NFL QB didn't.

Gregg is just so smart!

Also, with only having one timeout a quick slant would not get very much yardage required the a short amount of time the Steelers had. I'm not sure that would have been the best pass pattern to run.

This. They were at the 28 and had 72 yards to go in under 2 minutes. If you kept running slants when the Packers blitzed...guess what? The Packers are going to blitz every down, then what? They couldn't keep running slants with only 1 TO and 70 yards to go.

didn't make sense to run the ball and burn clock.

You're on fire BGF. With an 18 point lead, the Packers were more then happy to let the Steelers run the ball every down and keep the clock running.

But if you attended college and never graduated, then high school is your highest degree -- and the honest thing to do is to introduce yourself by your high school.

How elitist is this? "You can't say you're from LSU because you never graduated!"

The players who didn't graduated got drafted. Meaning they left school to get a high paying job. If you go to school and leave after 2 or 3 years, you still put it on your resume, so why the anger at the players saying they attended a particular college?

That would lead to positive reforms.

Huh? Positive reforms? What? He acts like these kids left college b/c they couldn't hack it academically. The "positive reform" would be that colleges would create a BS degree program that could be done in 3 years. Then players leaving early could still graduate!

Parents of football players -- the Riddell Revo and Revo Speed, the Schutt DNA, Ion and Air XP, the Xenith X1 and the forthcoming Rawlings Quantum are designed to reduce the chance of concussions. Other helmets are not. What more do you need to know?

Well what helmet does Eli Manning wear?

I love how his crusade for an answer about which helmet was being worn by Rodgers came to an end and then Gregg's ultimate point is that which helmet Rodgers worn was meaningless...

koleslaw said...

Haha, I tweeted the exact same thing about the pick six that Kent said.

So, let me get this straight:

Interceptions are the worst except when fumbles on kickoffs are the worse, and all fumbles are just luck. So blitzing is good when it works but it's bad when it doesn't. A quick pass on 3rd and 2 is bad if it's incomplete, but not as bad as if a run on 3rd and 2 is stopped. After each play, you count how many people rushed the passer and then decide what you should've done the play before. Punting is bad because fortune favors the bold, except when fake punts fail, then they should've just punted.

Wow, I can think about football just like Gregg!

Bengoodfella said...

Brizzle, that pretty much sums it up. He is not consistent from week to week. I can handle it when a writer is wrong, that happens. I've been wrong a lot, but at least been consistent with your own rules.

Pat, absolutely. I think if someone goes and plays with the helmet that Gregg has advocated using and gets a concussion, then Gregg can pick up any medical bills that person has. That would never happen because Gregg would say you get get a concussion with one of these anti-concussion helmets too, which is true, but he acts like Aaron Rodgers committed a crime by not revealing the kind of helmet he uses.

Rich, Gregg always feels like he has the answer to any type of problem. When he sees the Packers blitzing then he just assumes throwing slants will fix this problem. He doesn't think that maybe this is exactly what the Packers want them to do. Burn clock on shorter plays. Of course I guess if the Steelers are only going to have passing plays that can never allow a defender to have a clear path to the end zone then the options are limited.

That's a great example. I can say I went to X college if I leave college for a high paying job somewhere. I did go to school there. Maybe it is semantics but I don't see the big deal. They left college for a high paying job and I don't care what HS that player went to.

It is much like Gregg's idea about graduation rates. If players HAD to graduate then the classes would be easier for the illusion of progress.

Koleslaw, you should have your own column. Everything is good, unless it is bad, in which case it is good. If the Steelers had run the ball on third and 2 then Gregg would have complained they didn't use enough motion or something like that. He always has a reason why it fails.

Martin F. said...

I know that I've read statistical analysis that stated a return for touchdown was the single biggest swing in game deciding plays, and that interception was slightly more important then fumble, I think it was because of the longer distance traveled by an interception return. I think what Gregg is confusing is that fumbles in general are not as bad for the psyche because they usually are not advanced. Also, I still don't think Wallace did nearly enough on the 2nd interception to grab the ball or knock it out of the defenders hands. He has to make that play and keep it from being an interception.

So by Gregg's reasoning, no out pattern will ever be thrown because they almost always have a clear field for a return. Man, that makes the 2 Minute Drill a bitch. I will say that I've never understood the risk/reward of the Hitch Pass though. It seems that about 1 out of 10 makes more then 4 yards, and the rest aren't more then a waste of a play.

the way he was able to figure out what helmets were being worn was 200 people told which helmets they were in his comments section on ESPN. It's funny to go read the comments because it is jsut a weekly evisceration of what he writes by people. His defenders try and portray him as some Common Man just writing about football, and attack his detractors with things such as "You don't have to read it." The Anti-Gregg comments though have gone far beyond "We don't like him" and into the "This fact is wrong, this thing is wrong.." area. When he can't get basic ideas and facts correct, who needs to attack his moronic opinions?

Martin F. said...

Oh, and also, some of the players are still attending those colleges, earning their degrees in the offseason. What do we do about them?

Also, one doesn't graduate with a Masters. It is a post-graduate degree.

Bengoodfella said...

Martin F, I would think an interception for a TD is a big game changing play. It is funny Gregg said a fumble was the most devastating, but I think the INT for a TD is worse because it leads directly to a TD (hence the phrase). I am like you though, I don't have to argue against his opinion being wrong when he can't even get his own previous opinion consistent with his new one.

Maybe a hitch route sets up another route or something. I am not sure. I know the Panthers have used it just as a way of getting Steve Smith the ball so they could ignore him the rest of the game, but other than that it isn't terribly useful, unless you want to fake a hitch and run a go route.

Gregg doesn't get it. He just doesn't. You can't design passing plays that don't ever give the possibility of a INT return for a TD.

I have read some of the comments. I didn't know that is where Gregg figured out what kind of helmet Rodgers used. He didn't attribute it to anyone, he just sort of knew which one it was this week. I don't have to attack the guy personally because I have plenty of ammo just in some of the inconsistent things he says from week to week.

Martin F. said...

I'm not positive he got his information from the comments. Unlike Gregg, I have zero clue where Gregg gets his info, but when I glanced through the comments a couple weeks ago, it seemed about every other comment was "Oh and Gregg, in 2 minutes research, I found out that Aaron is wearing a blah blah helmet." He may have had to do some investigative research, but all he really needed to do was read his comments section.

Bengoodfella said...

Martin F, I need to quit reading so fast. I think the key point is we don't know where the hell Gregg got his information from. He wouldn't tell us, so he is withholding information from us. This is the same thing he hated that Aaron Rodgers did.

I think Gregg should answer every comment in his comments section. That would be interesting.

Anonymous said...

The most aggravating sports writer ever not named Bill Simmons. (I noticed in a recent BS column, he said something to the effect that he was now watching OKC Thunder even though he hated their move from Seattle because he is a whore for basketball. How does that analogy even make sense? Did OKC pay him to watch with money? They paid him with basketball to watch basketball? Just Bill continuing his columns with pointlessly sexist comments streak, trailing only his shoehorning exhausted cultural references streak, which is the Cal Ripken streak of sports writing at this point.)

Anyway, the point is that I'd love a Gregg Easterbrook book on playing poker, with advice all based on one night of having a hot hand and all based on outcomes from hands he's played. "Always draw to an insight straight no matter what the pot odds, fortune favors the bold!" "Never play a hand like three of a kind - especially if there are 8s - your opponent could hold a straight!"

Lastly, you wrote something in the beginning about the pick 6 being the margin of victory. This is something that is always treated kind of simplistically because teams change playing style and strategy based on score and time remaining, which influences the final score. Teams protecting a big lead slow down and try to run out the clock. Teams protecting a small lead that don't feel like it is safe are going to be more aggressive to expand it. So, if they didn't get that pick 6 earlier, they may have still won by 6 by being more aggressive in a tighter game in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Small nit to pick, but people always do that.


Bengoodfella said...

JWM, that analogy does not make sense. Maybe he is saying that he will do anything to watch basketball? I am not sure. What it really means is that he likes watching Kevin Durant play basketball, which there is nothing wrong with. Don't get me started on his sexist comments and all of that. I enjoyed his Book of Basketball, but there were so many porn references and references to women in a somewhat negative manner that I didn't know if he was trying to be "cool" or thought that's what his target audience wants so he wrote like that.

You make a very valid point. If the pick-six had not been returned for a TD, then the game would have played out differently. Different plays would have been run and the Steelers and Packers could have changed strategies. Really, if the Packers caught one of the couple of passes that could have gone for touchdowns or big gains it would have been a much larger blowout.