Sunday, October 23, 2011

8 comments My Larger Point Is To Show Rick Reilly Is Terrible

Rick Reilly isn't a very good writer. I say this as a person who reads a lot of sportswriting. Like a lot. I read much more bad sportswriting than good sportswriting and I do this intentionally. So this makes me an idiot I would guess. What I have learned is what Reilly writes is neither funny, interesting, insightful, original, creative, or worth the amount of money he gets paid to write. Rick has written an ode to the next great quarterback in the NFL, Andrew Luck. Rick becomes the 900th person to handicap which team will end up with the next greatest Hall of Fame quarterback in the history of the NFL of all-time the greatest quarterback ever who is so good we ignore he has a horrific neck beard, otherwise known by mortals as Andrew Luck. Nothing you will read here is original, except it has Rick's own brand terrible writing, which I guess makes it original in its own way.

On a side note, I personally believe Andrew Luck will succeed in the NFL. Many sportswriters are very, very, very sure Andrew Luck will succeed. Insanely confident. It is the type of confidence that essentially screams, "I have seen one quarter of a Stanford game and everyone seems pretty sure Andrew Luck will be great so I am really sure too." If Luck busts I can't wait for the "We all thought he would be so great in the NFL, boy were we all wrong" articles from sportswriters. The problem is these same sportswriters are the ones saying Luck will be a great NFL quarterback, but they will assume everyone else makes the same assumption of Luck's future greatness like they have. I'm not sure that's true. I've watched a few Andrew Luck games and he seems like he could be the next Peyton Manning or he could just be a very good NFL quarterback. I think Luck could also bust in the NFL, it seems highly unlikely, but let's wait until he gets drafted first before preparing to write about his NFL legacy. Rick Reilly is incapable of doing this.

Because if you really love your NFL team, you want it to lose this season like a Jenny Craig class.

Mostly in this post I am going to spend my time angrily bashing Rick Reilly for these types of shitty analogies. Rick Reilly's humor is what happened when one person told him they laughed at one of his jokes when he was a 15-year old kid. Later some editor saw that Rick played well with the same demographic I will never understand and then eventually for some reason he got his column at the back of Sports Illustrated. Some people don’t need positive reinforcement or self-esteem because they then begin to believe they are more funny and special than they really are. It’s unfathomable in my mind that Rick Reilly wrote the sentence above and thought this was amusing, funny or inventive. He’s just collecting his paycheck and writing his weekly 500 word column at this point.

That's because the worst team gets to draft the best quarterback to come along since Peyton Manning himself -- Andrew Luck of Stanford.

Apparently Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Phillip Rivers and Drew Brees don’t exist in Rick Reilly’s world. They both came along after Peyton Manning did. What Rick really meant to write was Luck is “the most hyped college quarterback to come along since Peyton Manning.” There’s a difference and Rick Reilly is too lazy to understand the difference or care about the difference. He’s counting his cash right now.

Luck is so indescribably good, I fully expect somebody to lose in their bye week.

Don't get crazy. Luck is being projected to be indescribably good in the NFL because he is a very good college quarterback. Whatever team that drafts him will probably be very happy with him, but Luck's greatness is very describable. Let's hold the hyperbole for at least another year until Peter King adopts Luck as the next white quarterback to win his heart over.

He's such a lock NFL star that,

No, he’s not a lock NFL star.

as this season wears on, you will see more tanks than in an episode of "Jersey Shore."

What irritates people the most about Rick Reilly and how much he gets paid is that any 10th grade remedial English student could write like he does. There’s not nothing special about him. He writes something like, “Putting John Elway in charge of the Broncos is like letting the captain of the Titanic be Commander of the US Navy,” and then begins counting his dollars. His writing is overly lazy.

That’s why the initial comparisons of a feud between Bill Simmons and him were intriguing to me. I would be pissed if I were Simmons and ESPN backed a Brinks truck up to Reilly's door. This is because Rick's writing is uninspired and not at all creative or special. He doesn’t even try to be creative or special in his writing because he’s already set for life and there is a certain sub-set of the population (most likely those same people who watch “Two and Half Men,” buy Kenny G albums, and go to see “Twilight” movies…I have never met any of these people) who enjoys what he writes no matter how much the quality declines.


1. Faking injuries during plays.

2. Betty White really is your flanker.

3. Stud running back keeps pretending he has strep throat.

4. Quick-kicking every third down.

5. Starting Tebow.

Not hilarious. Not funny. Not amusing. Not insightful.

On a side note, Rick Reilly has buried Tim Tebow in at least one of his columns, so I can’t wait for him to suck up to Tebow if he ever becomes an NFL-caliber starting quarterback. This is part of the problem with completely burying a player, you look like an ass when you are wrong. I still don’t think Tebow is necessarily ready to be the Broncos starter, but I will enjoy the dynamics of watching him run John Fox’s offense. Fox’s idea of offensive creativity is throwing a pass after running the ball six straight times. To see a marginally NFL-ready quarterback in his system is going to be fun to watch.

The Race To Last Place has been fierce so far. Four teams have managed to go the entire season defeated at 0-4, while seven others have only one blemish on their records at 1-3.

Maybe part of the reason Reilly’s writing doesn’t go over well with me is because he writes about sports in a desperate attempt to be cute and funny and isn't as concerned with accuracy. I don’t appreciate this and would like a little accuracy. For example, in this case Rick Reilly is pretending these teams are trying to lose games so they can draft Andrew Luck. It is not entirely true for the teams Rick lists. I can handle a little bit of humor, but my literal-mindedness has to point out some of these teams are not only trying to win games, but they probably wouldn’t draft (or draft him and trade him) Andrew Luck if given the #1 overall pick. I know, imagine the horror that a team may pass on or trade the greatest neck-bearded quarterback to come along since Kyle Orton.

There haven't been this many dedicated losers in one place since Comic Con.

Or at a Reilly family reunion! Zing!

Everybody has to be sure not to do their part.

Here's the way I see Luckapalooza right now:

This is where I get annoyed with Reilly’s attempts to be cute. His jokes aren’t even funny and some of these teams probably would trade the pick if they got the #1 overall pick. Basically, some of these teams aren’t losing to get Andrew Luck on their team and Rick’s attempts to be funny fail…which leads to my annoyance. If a sportswriter is going to write an article that isn’t factually accurate and is supposed to be amusing, for God’s sake make it amusing at least.


“Suck for Luck?” I bet Rick Reilly thinks he created this term.

10. Carolina Panthers (1-3): Unless Alabama's lawyers can get all Panthers wins vacated, it's going to be difficult.

They would have no interest in drafting Andrew Luck. They believe they have their franchise quarterback already on the roster. This is one of the teams Rick will list that are “Sucking for Luck” which probably would trade the #1 overall pick if they got it.

8. Denver Broncos (1-3): Slim. John Elway is calling the shots now and Elway would sell his mother to the North Koreans for a win. Tough break for Broncos fans.

This would be the ultimate showdown. Tim Tebow v. Andrew Luck. Which media-hyped quarterback would it be?

7. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3): Trending happily down. Players know a horrible season might get the whole team moved to L.A. Where would you rather live?

In a world where Rick Reilly doesn’t get paid a lot of money to write columns like this one. The Jaguars also drafted a quarterback in the Top 15 this past year, so they may or may not have interest in getting the #1 overall pick.

6. Minnesota Vikings (0-4): Have you ever played the card game Hearts?

No one but you has ever played the game of Hearts, Rick. You are the only one to ever have played a game of Hearts. Please do enlighten us all.

Donovan McNabb is the Queen of Hearts of the NFL. He's worth minus-13 points to any team that starts him.

HAHA!! Good one! This took, what, 10-15 seconds to think about and write down. Great work.

Christian Ponder. That's my response to Rick Reilly saying the Vikings are playing poorly to get Andrew Luck. What would the Vikings do if they could get Luck and already had Ponder on the roster? These are the in-depth questions that Rick's attempts to be cute while making this list don't answer.

4. St. Louis Rams (0-4): This week they lost their best pass defender, Bradley Fletcher, and their best receiver, Danny Amendola, for the year. So things are going their way. They don't need Luck, but they could get two No. 1s, two 2s and Ozzie Guillen in a trade for him.

Ozzie Guillen! Get it? The Rams would get Ozzie Guillen because the White Sox didn’t want him anymore and they traded him to the Marlins! I wonder if Terry Francona would be thrown in as a Manager to be Named Later?

3. Indianapolis Colts (0-4): Rest your starters now, Colts. Forget what your 35-year-old superstar quarterback, Peyton Manning, said Thursday about coming back in December. Don't let him!

This is my not-so-secret wish. I want the Colts to get Luck so that way Peyton Manning can pull a Brett Favre and refuse to tutor, mentor or even work with Luck because his ego won’t accept that he can be replaced. Actually, I want the Colts to trade the pick to another team because Peyton Manning tells them he plans on playing for 3-4 more years and has no intention of giving up the starting quarterback position.

He has a spinal injury that doctors say is 50/50 career-ending. And it might take two years to know. Draft Luck and he'll be your starter until 2027.

I still enjoy how Rick is assuming Luck is going to be a franchise NFL quarterback. It’s not like it is hard to tell which college quarterbacks will perform well in the NFL or anything. I am sure Peyton Manning will handle the news well that he isn’t really in charge of his career and the Colts are planning on him being out for two years, even though this isn’t his plan, and they are going to replace him immediately. That should go over well.

The only problem is how would Manning take it?

The “only” problem is the Hall of Fame quarterback who still wants to be the starter for the Colts. Other than that, drafting Luck and immediately installing him as the starter should go as smoothly as giving JaMarcus Russell a free meal at Golden Corral.

(See what I did there? Anyone can write like Rick Reilly)

But if you think Manning would be happy with Luck waiting for him to screw up, you don't know Manning. He might never speak to the kid, much less give him a single practice rep. To avoid all that mess, the Colts could (gasp) waive Manning -- they have an out clause on Manning's contract in 2012 that would save them most of the $90 million deal they signed with him.

Rick really struggles when he starts talking more in-depth about the NFL. There are quite a few issues Rick presents here which Rick brings up but doesn't address at all:

1. Waiving Peyton Manning so they can go with the rookie quarterback definitely seems like the way for the Colts to go? Really? Not trying to trade Mannings? Teams just don’t waive quality NFL quarterbacks, even in this situation when Manning has come off major neck surgery.

2. So Rick Reilly knows Peyton Manning and knows he would basically freeze Andrew Luck out. Isn’t this a huge dick move by Manning? I find it hard to believe Manning could be so threatened by Luck he would resort to these measures. Of course, I don’t know Peyton Manning and apparently he is a much bigger asshole than I ever thought he was.

3. Rick Reilly is so convinced Andrew Luck is going to be a great NFL quarterback he thinks in order to avoid any potential distractions with Peyton Manning, the Colts should just waive Manning? Manning isn’t in his prime, but it takes balls to just cut Manning from the roster. This is especially true with the current roster the Colts have, which we have come to learn has relied an incredible, incredible amount on Manning to play well and win games.

Yes, all this would be ugly and dramatic and Manning would deserve better

You, Rick Reilly, are the one suggesting this as a solution. You can decide in your hypothetical fake situation if Manning deserves better or not and decide whether to give him better. You say the solution is to waive Manning to get his contract off the books, but then you say Manning deserves better. In reality, if Manning would essentially be a terrible teammate to Luck than maybe he doesn’t really deserve better.

1. Miami Dolphins (0-4): They have a real chance to pull off the Sweet 16. Their only decent player, QB Chad Henne, is out for the year with a shoulder injury.

Chad Henne is the Dolphins only decent player, as long as you ignore Cameron Wake, Brandon Marshall, Jake Long, Daniel Thomas and a couple other players on the team. Other than that, losing Chad Henne is the Dolphins losing their only decent player.

If the Dolphins can keep from doing something stupid -- like signing former Jags QB David Garrard -- Hurricane Andrew can be theirs.

David Garrard is the type of quarterback who can lead teams to wins immediately, which is why he is still a free agent. Teams aren’t exactly falling over themselves to give him their starting quarterback job. Note to Rick Reilly: It isn't 2008 anymore and David Garrard isn't seen as a quarterback that win games immediately for a team.

5 -- Kansas City: Four games left against teams with a combined 2-14 record to this point. They need to be careful. If they just play as a team, they could find themselves completely out of Luck.

“Out of Luck!” Not only does it mean something in the context of the sentence, but it is also a play on words! You’ve just earned your money Rick Reilly, sleep well tonight knowing you have done a thoroughly average job.

Remember, people, if it's broke, don't fix it.

No truer words about Rick Reilly’s writing have ever been spoken.

The way to greatness is backwards.

I take that back. No truer words about Rick Reilly’s writing have ever been spoken with this sentence.


Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure that in the card game Hearts, the Queen of Spades is the one that is worth minus 13. All the hearts (including the Queen of Hearts) is worth minus one.

R. Rayner said...

Since you failed to respond to my second email last week I was crushed. I realize it was not funny,interesting, insightful, original or creative but I thought since I was an obvious fan of yours you would humor me and pretend otherwise. I was wrong. I feel like Rick Reilly minus his paycheck. Good job on this post though.

Martin F. said...

After having seen 3 Dolphins games this season (God knows why since I live in Los Angeles) I'm not so sure Brandon Marshall is a good player. The stat that I think I read this week is that while targeted 13 times in the red zone, he hasn't caught a single pass. That ain't all on Henne or Moore. To be a #1 receiver, much less elite, dude has got to make some plays. He doesn't seem interested in going to get the ball near the goal line.

Anonymous said...

Just to remind everybody. Rick Reilly has made more money writing this kind of moose shit than any cop, firefighter, teacher, nurse, airline pilot, or military service member is ever going to make in their careers.

And people wonder why the rest of the world hates America so much.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I would have caught that but I'm not very good at cards...minus the drinking games I know how to play. I guess Rick should have gotten that one right so those who know cards don't think he is stupid.

Robert, I'm sorry. I do try to respond to every email I get. Maybe it was that your second email was so creative, insightful and interesting there was nothing positive I could add? So rather than reveal myself to be the uncreative, boring person I truly am I conceded your writing was more interesting than mine and didn't attempt to match wits with you. That's a possibility too. Thanks for liking the post and never feel like Rick Reilly. Your will never be that bad.

Martin, I have to admit I have only seen one Dolphins game and a part of another. So I see Marshall's stats and I have him on a fantasy team, but that's not the best way to get an opinion of him I would imagine.

So he has 13 targets in the red zone and has zero catches? Really?

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, very true. You would think those who have an actual skill or help the world in some fashion would make all the money. All I can think of for Reilly is him publicizing the "Nothing but Nets" movement in Africa.

Anonymous said...

Why do you begrudge Reilly making money?

So ESPN values writers enough to pay them well. So what? Reilly might not be your favorite writer, but isn't a writer making a good living a good thing from the perspective of any writer?

Why does his salary irk you? If you're a writer, which you are, don't you want writers to be well paid? Don't you want Reilly to be paid a lot and then Simmons and Klosterman and all of ESPN's signature writers to have their salaries raised to compete with Reilly's, in the hope that journalists at all levels will someday be better compensated than they are?

It seems like you're rooting against your own self-interest.

It's not like ESPN is your favorite team, and they're trying to stay under the salary cap.

Let them spend millions on a writer they like. It's not like it hurts you. In fact, Reilly's salary might tangentially raise the value of all writing. His salary is much more likely to help you than to hurt you in the long run.

If you don't like Reilly's funny columns, don't read them. But don't try to say he's not a great writer. Here's a classic ...

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, you have valid arguments. I don't intend to focus so much on how much money Reilly makes, but I feel like if he wasn't given front page status at ESPN I could handle what I see as crummy and schticky writing.

I don't begrudge Reilly making money. It isn't about making money that bothers me. Obviously he needs to be paid. It is about the enormous amount of money he makes compared to the quality of material he produces. I think he writes terribly. That article you linked wasn't a bad article, but it was also from 15 years ago and also wasn't one of his typical 500 word columns. It was a longer, more in-depth article, the kind he doesn't even come close to producing for ESPN. So the longer, more in-depth article wasn't bad. I think the fact you pulled an article from 15 years ago that was good, but that's not representative of the length and quality of his writing in the present day. You are confusing my criticism of his writing and his salary for me not wanting him to make money at all. That's true. He has a right to earn a living, but he gets paid way too much for the crap he pushes out.

I do not consider myself a writer. I write here and that's pretty much the only place I ever write. I have chosen not to write for a living, so upward mobility in terms of salary for sportswriters doesn't affect me. I want people to be paid what they are worth and I just don't believe Reilly is worth that much money, even when the market (I would not doubt ESPN was bidding against themselves in some ways) says he is. So I'm not really rooting against my own self-interest since I don't write for a living. I feel like the amount of money he makes doesn't reflect the amount of talent he has. There are numerous better writers out there and nearly all of them will never reach the heights Reilly has managed to achieve.

I am not sure if Reilly's salary tangentially raises the value of all writing, but I could be wrong. I don't know if writers are getting paid more b/c Reilly got X amount of dollars.

His current writing has very little value in terms of creativity, insight, or effort. I feel like he mails them in. He blatantly re-writes his old columns at times too, which is inexcusable. I just know few writers will ever get paid as much as he does, regardless of how much he makes, so there are very few writers that would even benefit from ESPN's cash giveaway to Reilly.

As far as the whole "If you don't like him, don't read him comments go," they are valid. Unfortunately, I write here about sportswriting I don't like, so I end up covering what I don't like. I do think you will be hard-pressed to find many others who feel as positively about Reilly's writing as you do. I am sure there are others who enjoy his writing, but I haven't run into too many of these people.