Wednesday, August 17, 2011

4 comments TMQ: Gregg Easterbrook is Back, But Not Better Than Ever

For the first time that I can recall in the history of Gregg Easterbrook's TMQ, he took the summer off from writing the weekly column and there was an actual reason to do so. There was a lockout, so there wasn't much NFL-related matters to discuss, so it made sense for their to be no TMQ. I always wondered why TMQ took the summer off. It isn't like nothing football-related happens or anything like that most summers. Usually, there is a lot of NFL-related news. I guess I should just be happy I give myself a break from the drivel Gregg writes on a weekly basis during the Fall and Winter. Anyway, Gregg Easterbrook and TMQ are back. You are not welcome.

Though commissioner Roger Goodell just led a collective-bargaining negotiation that resulted in NFL players being showered with money and benefits, according to Steelers Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison, Goodell is "a crook" and "the devil."

In this first sentence in talking about the 2011 NFL football season Gregg Easterbrook has, like always, played around with the facts. I don't agree with what James Harrison said but he made those statements BEFORE (this begins the start of me capitalizing the word "before" a lot in this post) the lockout was ended and BEFORE the NFL players were showered with money and benefits. Gregg structures the sentence to lead some casual observers of the NFL (and really, are there any people but casual NFL fans who enjoy TMQ?) to believe Harrison said this AFTER the CBA agreement was reached and the lockout ended. Gregg Easterbrook makes incorrect or misleading statements like this on a regular basis.

But there's a larger issue. Edwards complained of Goodell, "He came in trying to change the whole game around … I guess that's where a lot of the hatred comes from." Harrison says Goodell should leave the NFL and start "a flag football league." The assumption is that the kind of football that involves vicious hits -- the kind Harrison, Edwards and thousands of others grew up playing -- is the correct form. Changes would spoil the game.

Actually, at the time this quote was said the lockout was the larger issue, and the players feelings about how the game was played was probably the smaller issue.

So should touchdowns count for four points while a field goal is five points? Should face masks be banned, and the forward pass be illegal? Should clothesline hits and head slaps be allowed? Should the NFL have only eight teams? Water be forbidden during practice? All these were considered the "correct" forms of football at various years in the past.

How about if the league maximum bonus were $2.8 million? That's how much Joe Namath, football's first megabucks man, earned in 1964, again stated in today's dollars. Both those sums were once considered "correct." In 1964, traditionalist NFL players thought a pretty boy making $2.8 million would ruin the game.

Instead, the forward pass, the six-point touchdown, expansion, celebrity players -- all turned out to make professional football more popular.

Because I try to be as fair as possible, I will say I do agree with Gregg Easterbrook on this issue. I don't know if fewer padded practices or fines for violent hits will ruin football. Things have changed in the NFL and the NFL has gotten more popular as time went on. Not that this could continue forever, but I am not sure a less violent sport is a less popular sport.

Football will always be a fierce sport, but most viewers and ticket-buyers don't want to see helmet-to-helmet hits that cause players to drop to the ground, motionless.

I don't mind seeing this as long as no one gets hurt. Maybe the game should be played by robots who can never get injured, because THAT'S WHAT ALL THESE STATISTICS-LOVING BASEMENT DWELLERS WANT!

Sorry...wrong sport.

So football must evolve again. Strict enforcement of the unnecessary roughness rule; advanced helmets; medical supervision of practices; ejection of players for flagrant penalties.

I am not sure how I feel about automatic ejection of a player for a flagrant hit. I guess it depends on how flagrant the hit ends up being. Sometimes a player is already preparing to make a tackle and the receiver or ball-carrier moves to where it looks like the hit was flagrant or illegal when it was just bad luck. Other times a hit may look flagrant when it wasn't. Maybe instant replay is used in these circumstances. I think for an automatic ejection the flagrant penalty would have to be intentional and egregious.

If Harrison, Edwards and others don't like the new rules emphasis, nothing stops them from forming their own league with whatever rules they please. But then they'd be responsible for getting the stadia and selling the tickets and arranging the advertising.

I don't think Edwards and Harrison care to start their own league. They just want the NFL to relax the fines and ejections caused by hard hits. I don't have to agree with them, but seeing as they are participants in the sport of football I think they have the standing to give their opinion.

Being an NFL player is a privilege, not a right. Want the privilege? Abide by the rules.

I have no problem with Harrison or Edwards speaking their mind on the issue. They aren't saying they won't abide by the rules, they are just showing concern for where the NFL may be headed in the future. Yes, being an NFL player is a privilege, but freedom of speech is a right every player has (as long as it isn't about terrible officiating, in which case there is no freedom of speech for criticizing officials), especially when it comes to giving their opinion about the sport they play and love.

(Deposits an American flag in the ground and sets a bald eagle free)

Sign of the Apocalypse No. 1: In 2010, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said there was "no chance" Treasury bills would lose their AAA rating. Treasury bills just lost their AAA rating.

Apparently Gregg thinks the "Oh yeah, we're fucked" strategy would have helped to assure worried investors and prevented the bond rating from losing their AAA rating. Wouldn't the odds of the United States' AAA rating being downgraded increase if the Treasury Secretary said he expected this to happen?

"Harrods and Selfridges have opened their Yuletide sections, both saying it was the earliest they put winter products on display. Harrods has positioned an ice rink on the roof of its shop in Knightsbridge.

An ice rink! Ice most often is seen on the ground during winter, which is when Christmas occurs in most of the world, which happens in December and it is just late July! Christmas Creep!

I guess Gregg thinks anything related to ice or any sport or recreational activity played on ice is indelibly tied to Christmas and not just a recreational sport that can be played year-round. Ice-skating can only be done during Christmas in Gregg Easterbrook's world.

"Oh no, little Billy. Get the fuck off the baseball field! It is early winter and we can't play baseball because baseball is played only after opening day and no other times during the year!"

It Was That Bad? The "Wonder Woman" remake starring Adrianne Palicki was cancelled by NBC before that first episode aired.

It wasn't canceled. It was just not picked for the Fall lineup by NBC. This happens to dozens of shows every year. Now Gregg has conveyed this incorrect statement onto the world where it will be repeated by unknowing and trusting TMQ followers. I am against the spread of stupidity.

His NBA Finals wheeze-out shows it is no longer realistic to view LeBron James as a peer to Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird or Magic Johnson.

LeBron James is only 26 years old. Save the melodrama and premature announcements for another day. Gregg is going to look really stupid when the Heat win the NBA Title this upcoming NBA season (if there is an NBA season). Of course, Gregg won't mention he was wrong if the Heat do win the NBA Title and he would just hope we forget about this statement. James isn't on the level of Bryant, Jordan, Bird or Johnson in terms of winning NBA Titles, there's no doubt about that. He's 26 years old though.

In Game 6, Miami was minus-24 with James on the floor, compared with Dallas at plus-18 when Brian Cardinal was playing. That's right: In the deciding contest of the 2011 NBA season, Brian Cardinal outperformed LeBron James.

Oh sweet lord. This is why idiots should not have access to somewhat advanced statistics. The "+/-" score for a player means something, but you can't just make statements like this without some qualification. In the deciding game, Dirk was minus-4. So should Brian Cardinal have played more minutes than Dirk? He outperformed Dirk in 27 less minutes in one basketball game. Trade Dirk and give Brian Cardinal a new contract!

Brian Cardinal did "outplay" LeBron James given this metric, but that doesn't mean an extraordinary amount in the grand scheme of things.

Inspired by the undrafted J.J. Barea, Dallas focused on teamwork, and the AAU-style Heat were vanquished.

The Mavs had a great series, but this is still the laziest way to analyze and base a conclusion from the 2011 NBA Finals upon. It's always "Dallas Mavericks team basketball v. Heat one-on-one basketball" like the Mavericks don't have two future Hall of Fame players on their roster.

Had Miami simply gotten those rebounds, the outcome might have been different.

"Had the Oklahoma City Thunder not missed a shot in the second half against the Mavericks, they very well could have made the NBA Finals!"

"Had LeBron James been born as a horse instead of a human there's a good chance he never makes the NBA!"

After Tressel was tossed overboard, sports media outlets including ESPN and The Associated Press published sharply worded anti-Buckeyes commentary. Sports Illustrated declared, "Ohio State's disgraced ex-coach, once viewed as a model of probity, led a program rife with alleged rules violations dating back to 2002." When Tressel held the reins, ESPN, Sports Illustrated and other sports media praised him; once he was down, they kicked him.

Right. Far be it for me to defend the media, but when the media found out about the rules violations they began to kick him. Unlike Gregg Easterbrook, who apparently can tell the future, news organizations report and react to the news they see. So in 2002, ESPN and Sports Illustrated didn't praise Tressel fully knowing in 2011 he would be disgraced and eventually lose his job because of rules violations. They didn't know about the rules violations, so they based their opinion on him in 2002 on what they perceived that opinion should be with the current knowledge they had.

If Tressel's program was "rife" with problems since 2002, how come sportswriters and sportscasters didn't notice until the ax had fallen?

Because Sports Illustrated did an investigation and then a story where it turns out the problems had begun in 2002. They figured out Tressel had these "problems" since that time because they had done a story and an investigation in 2011. So they didn't notice in 2002 because they didn't know nor had they investigated Tressel or Ohio State as of yet. I am sure Gregg would argue they should have known OSU had violations prior to actually having this knowledge through some ability to know about violations without actually investigating for violations. Gregg is annoying in that way.

Jim Shomper of Philadelphia reports, "On July 17th, Target began running 'Back to School' TV ads in the Philadelphia market."

Do you know why this happens? Because Target wants you to buy the shit they sell to go back to school as soon as possible. Do Jim Shomper and Gregg Easterbrook not understand capitalism? You have to make the public aware of your sale or offer in order to give the public time to purchase materials at said sale. Target can't run a "Back to School" ad on the very day school starts. Kids need the supplies BEFORE they go to school, so they buy them BEFORE they go to school. Hence, the sale starts before school starts. It really makes sense if you think about it from the perspective that Target wants to make money and therefore give the public plenty of time to buy their products.

The Official Wife of TMQ reports the Land's End back-to-school catalog arrived at our house on June 15 -- a week before solstice and the start of summer.

So when you order an item from the Land's End catalog, does it immediately magically appear on your door step? No? Then that's why it comes out early, to give you time to purchase clothes, or get whatever the hell you are purchasing, through the mail. This makes sense because the mail takes time to get to a person and it takes a few weeks for an item to be ordered and sent out by a company. I know Gregg tries really hard to be cute and funny, but there's a limit where I can handle this stupidity.

S.I. Curse Lives: Jimmer Fredette was cover boy of the Sports Illustrated issue received by subscribers on March 24. That evening, BYU lost in the Sweet Sixteen as Fredette went 3-for-15 from beyond the arc.

Not only that, but get this...the March 24 issue of Sports Illustrated went out BEFORE MARCH 24! The horror that this could happen! It's Jimmer Creep!

Magazine articles are fact-checked; many newspaper stories are reviewed by researchers; much of what appears on is fact-checked.

"Much" of what appears on is fact-checked? "Much?" Maybe I am a stickler, but shouldn't everything that appears on be fact-checked in some way or another? I don't know, it just seems like good journalism to me...which is probably why ESPN doesn't fact-check everything.

The one term that seems a step backward is that a team's total bonus payments to undrafted free agents are now capped at $75,000 per season. TMQ thinks payments to undrafted players should rise.

Because, as everyone who reads TMQ is led to believe, undrafted players are usually better in the NFL than highly drafted glory-boy bonus babies. This is especially true and easy to believe if you don't look at the leader boards after each season nor pay attention to which players at each position are the best.

TMQ thinks it was the other way around. Jones, McNair, Snyder and a few others want to be viewed as business geniuses, but knew if the books were opened, people would realize the Redskins, Cowboys and other big-city teams earn only somewhat more than small-city franchises. TMQ suspects the teams perceived as poorly managed, such as Cincinnati, generate roughly the same returns as the teams run by people who want to be lauded as business geniuses. The Cowboys surely have higher revenue than the Bengals -- but mainly because Dallas is so much larger than Cincinnati. That's the secret the Jerry Jones types wanted to keep -- that an NFL franchise is such a license to print money, almost anyone could run one.

"Here is my assumption that large-market teams don't make much more money than small-market teams. Now I will base a conclusion that anyone can run an NFL team off my completely opinion-based, and not even close to being proven factually, thought. My name is Gregg Easterbrook and I can turn my opinion based on assumptions into fact."

Two months later in the NBA draft, Walker, a point guard, was chosen after point guards Kyrie Irving and Brandon Knight. Duke played better without Irving than with him, while Knight's Kentucky team faltered in the NCAA tournament despite being stacked with NBA-quality players.

I'm not even going to begin to try to explain this with any justifiable thoughts. Kentucky made the Final Four. They did not "falter" any more than every other team in the NCAA Tournament faltered by not making it to the National Championship game.

Also, Duke's loss to Arizona had nothing to do with the return of Kyrie Irving, unless you think a player who scores 28 points has hurt the team. This is such a simplistic point of view Gregg is espousing it hurts my head.

Word was that Walker slipped behind other point guards because he's only 6 feet tall.

Right, that is true. What other "word" is true is that Kemba Walker may not even be a point guard in the NBA. He may in fact be a shooting guard in a point guard's body. So 6 feet tall is sort of short for a shooting guard in the NBA. I am pretty sure that was the NBA's main concern about Walker. He "fell" in the draft to becoming a Top 10 pick. That's not much of a fall either.

God forbid a player who isn't a true point guard falls behind two younger players that are closer to being true point guards. Does Gregg even pay attention to sports enough to do some analysis or does he just comment by looking at every single sports-related item on its face without any further analysis?

Dallas had just won the NBA championship starting the 5-11 J.J. Barea at point guard -- call up Kobe Bryant and ask him if Barea can play. NBA teams downgraded Walker because he's the same size as a player at the same position who just won the NBA title.

Barea is a backup point guard. Teams generally don't like drafting backup point guards in the lottery. They are picky like that. Also, Barea is a point guard, which yet again, some NBA teams weren't sure is a position Kemba Walker was best suited for. I never thought I would say this...but Gregg needs to stick to politics and football.

NFL teams averaged 17 to 20 points per game in seasons before the rule changes, rising to 22 points per game last season. Just as the NFL wants to dial down vicious hits because they are bad for business, the NFL wanted to dial up offense because that's good for business. Tweaking the rules to increase scoring made the paying customers happy.

So with teams scoring more points and more rules being put in place to help NFL offenses, Gregg doesn't get why James Harrison and other defensive players may be a little pissed off? I don't necessarily agree with Harrison's position, but his job is to make sure the other team's offense doesn't score a lot of points. It probably frustrates him when rules are made which help the other team's offense score more points.

Until caught, the defense minister insisted he be addressed as "Doctor." This would have been pretentious even if he weren't a faker -- by degrees, I could call myself Dr. Easterbrook, but TMQ is a more fun title.

And yet for some reason it still sounds pretentious for Gregg to call himself "TMQ" just like Gregg calling himself "Doctor" would sound.

Next Week: Why Brady Quinn should switch to tight end, plus the rest of TMQ's AFC preview.

Oh yes, the AFC preview which really isn't a preview and instead is a regurgitation of facts from last year about each team. The preview contains no real "previewing," rather just talks about what the teams have already done and contains no predictions of any type that Gregg can be held to when he needs to contradict himself later in the year.

Needless to say, I can't wait for the AFC preview.


rich said...

Sign of the Apocalypse No. 1: In 2010, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said there was "no chance" Treasury bills would lose their AAA rating. Treasury bills just lost their AAA rating.

Again, only because Gregg holds himself as a smarter than thou elitist:

1) Saying that the country was going to lose the rating would have led to a horrible panic and caused massive damage to the country.
2) S&P is only one of several ratings organizations. At least one had already downgraded the US to AA+ rating before Geithner said that.
3) Along those same lines most credit ratings still have the US as AAA.

If Tressel's program was "rife" with problems since 2002, how come sportswriters and sportscasters didn't notice until the ax had fallen?

I'm going to quote someone who appeared on Penn and Teller Bullshit: "The stupidity of that comment can only be ascribed to higher education. You have to have gone to college to say something that dumb."

"On July 17th, Target began running 'Back to School' TV ads in the Philadelphia market."

This isn't that bad. Some schools start in early to mid August. Oh no, a month before hand? Everyone should be all their school supplies at the last minute and pray they don't run out of stuff.

The Official Wife of TMQ reports the Land's End back-to-school catalog arrived at our house on June 15 -- a week before solstice and the start of summer.

I'm going to show my age a bit, but when I was younger Land's End catalogs came out quarterly (at least I think they did)... So the next one would be in September, after school had started already. Hard to have a back to school issue when you're already back to school.

Maybe this has changed, but if it hasn't then Gregg is just making shit up.

TMQ thinks payments to undrafted players should rise.

Why? If a seventh round draft pick falls under the new rookie cap, then you have to ensure that the undrafted free agents don't make more money. There should be some benefit to being drafted in the seventh round.

"Oh shit, I got drafted by a team that I didn't want to go to and some asshole who didn't get drafted makes more money than I do and gets to choose his team"

Good idea Gregg...

starting the 5-11 J.J. Barea at point guard

Didn't Barea only start like two games the entire playoffs?

by degrees, I could call myself Dr. Easterbrook, but TMQ is a more fun title.

Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. You earn the title of Doctor, you don't sanctimoniously give it to yourself. It takes 10 years to become a PhD in a science field, it takes 8 to get your MD and then years of basically indentured servitude to become a medical doctor.

If you fucking write shitty ass articles about football, you don't get to call yourself a doctor. Go DIAF Gregg.

jacktotherack said...

My question is why is this man paid by ESPN to talk about anything sports-related? I understand that there are a number of ESPN personalities that display an alarming lack of knowledge about the sports they cover/discuss/write about, but fucking A, Gregggggggggggg takes the cake. This man is a no-nothing shithead who isn't funny and offers absolutely nothing to people unfortunate enough to read his column.

That shit about Kyrie Irving, his completely predictable backing of the commish in the Harrison stuff, his fetish for undrafted mediocre players, and the obsession with stores advertising products too early...FUCK, what is the point to any of this shit? Who reads this shit and is actually entertained by it? I MUST KNOW!!!

Arjun Chandrasekhar said...

"In team basketball, rebounding is critical; in AAU basketball, rebounding is somebody else's job."

ummmmmmmmm what the fuck? on what is this based? i agree that AAU tends to emphasize individual play...but since when does AAU deemphasize rebounding? it doesnt matter what style you want to play, YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO REBOUND AND AAU BALL IS NO EXCEPTION. also lebron and wade are among the best rebounders in the league for their positions but who am i to expect gregg to be informed on such matters.

In team basketball, rotating is critical; in AAU basketball, rotating is somebody else's job.

does greg know that miami's rotations throughout the season were pretty much the best in the league? they don't have a great defensive big man yet they were one of the best defensive teams because their speed and athleticism on the perimeter allowed them to rotate extremely aggressively. then again why am i surprised that greg cherry-picked one example and used it to draw out a bullshit generalization that supports his lazy analysis?

Duke played better without Irving than with him

except when they ran roughshod over everyone in maui and everyone was shitting his/her pants over how good duke could be

Knight's Kentucky team faltered in the NCAA tournament despite being stacked with NBA-quality players.

they faltered? they were a minute away from the title game. the list of freshman point guards who were the best player on a final four team is fairly slim. and loaded with future hall of nba players? terrence jones is a lottery prospect who played worse and worse as the season went on. technically josh harrelson and deandre liggins are nba players but they won't be in 3 years. this team wasn't even comparable to last year's UK team in terms of talent. but again, perhaps it's asking too much to expect gregg to not spout total bullshit.

gregg also forgets this: kemba is a senior, irving and knight are freshmen. was kemba this good four years ago? (no). it's actually a simple concept - freshman have room to improve, seniors do not, so there's more long term value in the former.

i love how gregg acts surprised that teams use kemba's height against him. because you know, it's not like there are advantages to being taller, to being able to see the floor better, to be able to not be pushed around on defense. the top point guards: chris paul (6'0), deron williams (6'3), derrick rose (6'3), russell westbrook (6'3), steve nash (6'2), tony parker (6'2), rajon rondo (6'2, but with his long arms he plays more like a 6'3 pr 6'4 guy) - so i think it's fair to say that the best point guards tend to be 6'2-6'3, no?

Dallas had just won the NBA championship starting the 5-11 J.J. Barea at point guard

except they started 6'4 jason kidd for the majority of the season, and in crunch time they almost always went with kidd and jason terry. barea played 18 minutes per game, i think their title had just a little bit more to do with that 7-foot german guy

call up Kobe Bryant and ask him if Barea can play.

not to take anything away from barea, but is there anyone who DOESN'T look good going up against derek fisher and steve blake?

NBA teams downgraded Walker because he's the same size as a player at the same position who just won the NBA title.

dallas never couldve won a title with a taller backup point guard; it is because of jj barea's 5-11 stature that they won, if he had been 6-3 they wouldve been fucked. the lesson: teams should always draft 5-11 players from now on.

im not saying that teams should automatically discard kemba walker solely due to his height, but that is a factor that should be taken into consideration. this is a legitimate concern with him, and his height can't be disregarded either. anyone with a brain can see why this should factor into the equation. all the rest are buying what easterbrook is selling.

Arjun Chandrasekhar said...

oh and by the way, i fucking hate gregg's clang clang clang section. he cherry picks games and stats to prove that basketball sucks - well fuck you gregg. here's my response:

yep, bert and ernie's favorite sport was basketball. and bert and ernie >>>>>>>>>>>>> gregg easterbrook so ummm fuck yeah