Thursday, October 27, 2011

2 comments TMQ: Because You Haven't Gotten Enough Tebow In Your Weekly Diet

Don't worry, I go light on the Tebow talk in this TMQ. I just used the title in an effort to get from seven pageviews to ten pageviews per day. It is a little test I am doing to see the power of Tebow. Ok, not really...I just couldn't think of a catchier title. Anyway...

It doesn't take much for me to get riled up at Gregg Easterbrook. What really irks me is when he somewhat contradicts himself and acts like he hasn't done this. This week's column is a great example. Gregg says Tim Tebow didn't rally to victory alone, which is very true, but the officials and Miami helped the Broncos win the game. Regardless of whether one thinks this is true or not, on October 4 Gregg wrote an entire column about how teams don't blow the lead, but the team that comes back deserves to win the game. It sure doesn't sound like Gregg thinks the Broncos deserved to win the game since he chalks the victory up to blown calls and the Dolphins ineptitude.

Gregg's October 4 column included quotes like:

Comebacks are sheer excitement. But please don't say they happen because the vanquished team "blew the lead." A football game lasts 60 minutes. Who's ahead early, and by how much, is irrelevant to the outcome. All that matters is who's ahead on the final play.

The loser didn't blow the game, the victor won.

Plus bear in mind -- often when a team jumps to a big lead, the opponent has just as much time available to reply.

It is a very thin line Gregg treads because he never actually comes out and say the Dolphins blew the game against the Broncos, but says the Dolphins made bad plays, coached terribly and the title of this TMQ is "Tim Tebow might have won a game, but the hapless Dolphins helped."

So the Dolphins didn't blow the lead, they just lost the game, and I guess blaming the Dolphins for making bad plays in losing the game isn't saying they blew the game. Regardless, Gregg has turned me into a person arguing semantics right now and I don't like him for it.

Attention, Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio: Prepare to receive Tim Tebow's sweatbands from the Denver at Miami game. His admission to the Hall of Fame surely is a mere formality.

But football is a team game. Tebow didn't launch the onside kick or recover the onside kick.

Regardless, he willed these positive things to happen. Haven't you heard? The rest of the Broncos stood around with their thumbs up their butts doing nothing watching Tebow do all the work.

He was just one of many Broncos on the field, yet is receiving all the attention.

So Tebow made a few good plays, but he is the only one getting credit for the good play. So this is sort of like when Gregg credits an undrafted free agent for catching a pass or having a good game as if the passes weren't thrown by a highly drafted quarterback and highly drafted players weren't doing the blocking for the quarterback?

The fan base of the South Florida Dolphins is so dispirited that Sun Life Stadium was half empty when the Denver comeback began.

To be fair to the crowd in Miami, it was the day the Dolphins were honoring the Florida Gators football team. So many of the early departures were Broncos/Gators fans who didn't think the Broncos would win the game. To be even more fair to the crowd in Miami, the Dolphins are terrible and there is no reason to pay money to watch them play.

Tebow staged a comeback against what a military historian would call "light resistance."

Don't criticize the Dolphins for losing the lead, when you should credit the Broncos with winning the game. Remember? Teams don't blow leads.

True, there were some sharp plays. On the all-important deuce try with 25 seconds showing in regulation, the Broncos came out five-wide and Miami took the field in a dime. Tebow noticed nobody behind the defensive linemen on the offensive right and audibled to a quarterback sneak right,

"True, the Broncos may have done something to win the game, but let's not contradict my point of view and pretend this play didn't occur."

But Miami, and the officials, aided the comeback.

Impossible. The Broncos won the game and Miami did nothing to lose the game.

After the first Miami touchdown, Dolphins coach-for-a-few-more-weeks Tony Sparano called timeout to prepare his hands team for an onside kick -- and Denver recovered the onside anyway.

Again, Gregg struggles with the idea an NFL team may know what play is coming but is still not able to stop the play because the other team executes the play exceptionally well. Most teams know when an onside kick is coming, but that doesn't stop them from being executed successfully.

With 25 seconds remaining in regulation, Tebow hit a well-executed throwback screen to tight end Daniel Fells for a touchdown. Zebras cooperated by failing to notice Denver linemen Chris Kuper and Orlando Franklin downfield before the pass.

This is the first blown call of this type in NFL history. It's never happened before.

The fact that Tebow is religious had nothing to do with the outcome.

Untrue. Tebow willed this win to occur, so it did. That's what I am to believe from all the articles I read.

It's just a testament to God. A play like that can't be explained any other way." After Brett Favre made his first start as Minnesota's quarterback against the Packers, he said he prayed to God for victory and the "good Lord answered my prayers."

Then Brett Favre accidentally texted pictures of his penis to God, which did not go over well with Him.

For commentators to imply the presence of supernatural forces in sports flies in the face of not only the unaddresed tragedies of the world, but this unsettling fact specific to sports: The 2011 season is not yet at the halfway mark, and already at least four football players have died as the direct result of high school or college games or practices.

So God doesn't care about sports. If we need further proof of this statement being true, then in Gregg's opinion that proof is shown by the fact bad things happen to players who play sports. Not to get in a theological argument, but couldn't you use this same reasoning to say God doesn't care about the world as a whole because bad things happen to people in the world?

Actually, I'm just kidding about Gregg starting a theological discussion. This wasn't even his intent in writing these two sentences above. It seems Gregg's intent was to write the worst transition sentence ever created in order to delve into the topic of concussions and injuries in high school football. He goes from a a discussion about God's relationship to unaddressed tragedies around the world to injuries in high school football in a matter of two sentences in one paragraph.

(Gregg Easterbrook speaking on television) "Some people question when militants behead American journalists on television whether this does this do more to help the cause the militants are fighting to achieve or the beheadings show the extent to which their barbaric methods are capable of reaching. For Americans to say this helps the militant cause to see a beheading on television flies in the face of common sense, since Americans see visually how far the militants are willing to go to fight for their cause: Speaking of head injuries and faces flying off, how about all those concussions in football?"

There have been deaths from heat stroke, from accumulated brain trauma and, last week, from seemingly routine game contact.

No athletic contest is worth any person's life. Do these deaths mean young people should not play football? See below.

What helmet should football players wear to prevent concussions? Check below where I don't answer this question, but will tell you "Terra Nova" is incredibly unrealistic and CAN YOU BELIEVE THE WRITERS ARE TALKING ABOUT PORTALS TO THE PAST THAT ARE ONLY SHOWN AS ONE-WAY BUT COULD CONCEIVABLY BE USED AS A TWO-WAY PORTAL?

Stats of the Week No. 6: New Orleans possession results against Indianapolis: touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, field goal, field goal, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, punt with 2:56 remaining.

Shouldn't Gregg be talking about the Saints running up the score on the Colts and how the Football Gods that don't exist when Gregg doesn't want them to exist will be angered by this?

Sour Quarter of the Week: Sometimes you learn a lot about a team when nothing is on the line. With New Orleans leading 41-7 at the end of the third quarter, the Saints pulled Drew Brees and other starters, and did not attempt another pass in the contest. Indianapolis allowed a touchdown drive of six consecutive rushing plays.

I guess not. I am sure in a month after the Saints lose their next four games, Gregg will attribute the losing streak to bad karma caused by running up the score. He will say at that point the Saints should have just kneeled the ball down and punted on every possession.

With the London game scoreless, Mike "What The!" Martz put undrafted fullback Tyler Clutts, a former CFL player, into the game. Clutts split wide; when a fullback splits wide, defenses assume something is up.

This is analysis by Gregg Easterbrook. "Something is up" means "the defense should know their defensive line isn't going to stop the running back and the fullback split wide is going to make a downfield block once the running back evades all of the other defenders and reaches the secondary."

Wilson York of Atlanta writes, "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a section of its website currently dedicated to 'Atlanta's Year in Review.' This has been up since October 18, when there were 73 days remaining in 2011, fully 20 percent of the calendar."

The horror! The site reviews celebrities that died in each month of the 2011 year and which child stars turn 30 in 2011. The year doesn't have to officially be over in order for either of these topics to be relevant.

Included are the "15 hottest toys for 2011 holidays" for a toy-buying season that does not begin for another month.

Because NO ONE buys presents until November 25. I'm pretty sure there is a law against shopping before the "toy-buying season" Gregg has arbitrarily just chosen. So it is ridiculous to have an idea of what toys a child may want at any point before November 25.

How did San Diego finish first in offense and first in defense in 2010, and yet miss the playoffs? The answer is low football IQ.

No. The answer is special teams. I'm guessing Gregg will recognize the importance of special teams around the year 2018. It has taken him twenty years to recognize the importance of the tight end, so it may end up being later than 2018 when realizes how important special teams can be to a team's win-loss record.

Falcons say Suh and teammate Cliff Avril mocked Ryan after he fell to the ground injured, which Suh has denied.

But even though Gregg had no proof this claim was true at the time he wrote this, he'll just go ahead and get on his moral high horse and act as if the claim was true. In the absence of evidence, let's lean towards the story that gives us the better narrative to write.

In football, hitting is admirable; applauding harm is shameful. No person of character mocks an injured man. If the taunting claim is true, why would the city of Detroit want to be associated with the Lions' malicious behavior? Why would any advertiser want a spiteful figure such as Suh associated with its products? Dirty play by Detroit defenders not only should be drawing ejections or suspensions -- it is rapidly eroding any feel-good associated with the Lions' season.

Assuming the claim is true of course, which apparently has already been decided by Gregg.

Green Bay leading 33-27 with 2:37 remaining, the Vikings punted -- and I scarcely need to tell you Minnesota never touched the ball again. So what if it was fourth-and-10?

I talked about this punt in MMQB and it was a tough call. Of course, based on the outcome Gregg will completely ignore the fact this was a tough call and chastise the Vikings because they never got the ball back. What Gregg fails to mention is the Vikings had a rookie quarterback, so while I think the Vikings possibly should have gone for it, I can see kind of see why the Vikings didn't. I think it was a mistake not go for it, but I'm not Gregg Easterbrook and looking to thrash an NFL head coach because a judgment call turned out badly.

Frazier knew that if he went for it on fourth down and failed, he would be blamed for the loss;

What Gregg conveniently leaves out is Frazier also knew he had a rookie quarterback in his first career start being asked to get 10 yards against a tough defense. The decision was at least defensible in that way.

if he ordered a mincing, fraidy-cat punt, the defense would be blamed for failing to get the ball back. Blame-shifting is a huge factor in NFL coaching decisions.

Since Frazier is the head coach and an ex-defensive coordinator he is also getting blame for the loss and the Vikings inability to stop the Packers. Gregg acts as if Frazier has completely avoided any criticism so he can further his narrative that NFL head coaches love to blame-shift. Frazier has gotten a lot of criticism so far this year.

Kolb is becoming a favorite of the Hell's sports bar crowd. In the past five years, he is 4-9 as a starter with more interceptions (21) than touchdown passes (18), yet recently was the subject of a major trade, receiving a huge signing bonus in the process.

Gregg is getting his timeline all screwed up in an effort to mislead his audience. Kolb has accumulated much of that record as a starter, the touchdown passes and interceptions, this year as a member of the Arizona Cardinals. In other words, he has been terrible AFTER he was part of the major trade and received the huge signing bonus. This is like saying JaMarcus Russell threw more interceptions (18) than touchdowns (23), showed up out of shape to training camp, and had a terrible record as a starter (7-18), yet he was the first overall draft pick in 2007 and was made one of the highest paid players in the NFL.

Jacksonville's front seven performed well against the makeshift Baltimore offensive line. Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome has a sterling reputation -- how could he have allowed the team's O-line to enter such a state of decay?

The Ravens offensive line has been pretty good so far this year. The Ravens are 4-2 and they just had a horrific game for some reason against Jacksonville. Gregg watches one Ravens game and then claims the Ravens' offensive line is in decay. I think more research is required.

The Jaguars, a Cover 2 (that is, zone) defense, surprised Baltimore by playing man-to-man coverage.

Gregg is wrong about this. Cover 2 is not always a zone defense. A team can play a Cover 2 man defense. I love how he talks down to his audience by specifying the Cover 2 defense is a zone defense, when he is wrong about that. Maybe the Jags play a zone Cover 2, but a Cover 2 isn't specifically a zone-only defense and teams can play man out of it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I have seen the Jags play man-to-man coverage out of the Cover 2 this year, so I'm not even sure this surprised the Ravens if they watched tape of prior Jags games.

The Jaguars had to win, or their season was over. The Ravens knew they could lose, and by December, no one will even remember this game occurred.

If the Ravens miss the playoffs by one game, people will remember that game occurred.

Early in the season, TMQ noted this was a good year to be terrible, as two franchise-quality quarterbacks, Andrew Luck and Landry Jones, will be available in the draft. There's a chance of three franchise quarterbacks,

If Matt Barkley or Robert Griffin III come out into the draft, right?

depending on what transpires with Russell Wilson.

I like Russell Wilson, I really do. He is 5 foot 11 inches and isn't a franchise quarterback. This is the first, and hopefully the last, time I hear Russell Wilson being mentioned as a franchise quarterback. I hate to play the "he's too short" card, but he's too short and probably not a franchise quarterback even if he was a little taller.

The last time quarterbacks went 1, 2, 3 in the NFL draft was 1999.

We all know how well that turned out.

In 1968 alone, 26 high school players died as a direct result of football; last year, the number was two. Table 3 of the report shows the direct fatality rate from high school football peaked at 2.6 deaths per 100,000 players in 1969 and declined steadily to 0.13 deaths per 100,000 in 2010. That means a 1968 high school football player was 20 times more likely to die than a 2010 player. (The main reason for declining deaths was that football helmets were improved to eliminate skull fractures.)

I'm not dismissing the effect of concussions on players, but I think this puts the gnashing of teeth about violence in the NFL in perspective. While Gregg is asking whether the sport is too violent to be played, the incident of direct death from playing football has steadily declined. So the sport is still very violent, but from all indications from the media, the NFL, and even Gregg Easterbrook you would think someone dies every week from playing football. This isn't the case.

These are all rough estimates. Taking them together, a teenager has a one in 1 million chance of dying in an hour behind the wheel, compared to a one in 27 million chance of dying in an hour of football contact.

Clearly everyone needs to wear a helmet while driving or just not drive a car at all.

Other, more common harm, especially accumulated damage to the brain from concussions, is a greater negative to playing, since sports-caused death is very rare but sports-caused brain harm is not.

This is probably a good point and I am bored with Gregg talking about concussions. You probably are as well.

Recently two middle-aged, retired NFL players, Orlando Brown of the Ravens and Kent Hull of the Bills, died before their times -- Brown at age 40 from complications of diabetes, Hull at age 50 from intestinal bleeding. When former pro football players die in middle age, should this be seen as bad luck or as a sign of long-term degenerative harm from football?

Brown died from diabetes and Hull died from intestinal bleeding. I am not a doctor and I don't play one on television, but I'm going to venture to say football was not directly related to either of these deaths. The deaths were a tragedy, but adults aged 40-60 years of age die every single day. So while these deaths are sad, it isn't like non-football playing adults aged 40-60 years of age don't die a premature death.

Basically, the death of two ex-football players over the past month doesn't necessarily say these deaths were caused by football.

Plus, the rule is enforced inconsistently. In the Rams at Dallas contest, Dez Bryant used the ball as a prop to celebrate a touchdown, and there was no yellow. The only way to make enforcement of the celebration rule consistent would be to penalize any show of emotion following a touchdown.

Or the NFL could say, "If you use the football as a prop, it is a penalty" and expect the officials to enforce it. If the officials miss calling a penalty, this should be in their weekly evaluation.

That, of course, would be silly. If consistent enforcement of a rule would be silly, the rule is silly.

Yeah, maybe. It certainly feels like Gregg made up a fake rule to penalize the show of any emotion after a touchdown and then said enforcing his fake rule would be silly in an effort to explain why Dez Bryant was not penalized for using the ball as a prop and blame it on inconsistent enforcement. It would just be easier to say the refs missed calling the penalty.

Trailing 34-7 at the start of the fourth quarter, they could not even be bothered to play for pride. When Brice McCain of Houston intercepted a pass, most Tennessee players didn't chase him; they merely watched as he returned the interception for a touchdown. Tennessee had two speed players on the field on this play, Javon Ringer and Donnie Avery. Ringer chased McCain for a moment, then quit. Avery jogged in the general direction for a moment, then quit.

Check out the video of this interception. It would have taken a guy who runs a 3.3 40-yard dash to have caught McCain. The Titans are guilty of bad tackling but once McCain turned the corner after making the last tackler miss, there was no catching him.

Results of the annual Tuesday Morning Quarterback Obscure College Game of the Year: California of Pennsylvania versus Indiana of Pennsylvania. This year the contest is at historic George P. Miller Stadium in Indiana, Pa. Watch live.

Or I could watch more highly skilled players play the game of football. There's always that option as well.


rich said...

No athletic contest is worth any person's life. Do these deaths mean young people should not play football? See below.

Should teens be allowed to drive cars? See below!

Should teens be allowed to fly in planes? See below!

Should teens be allowed to serve in the military? See below!

Dirty play by Detroit defenders not only should be drawing ejections or suspensions -- it is rapidly eroding any feel-good associated with the Lions' season.

So... taunting is now "dirty play"? Listen Suh has done some questionable things, but so has every defensive player. LT did, Ray Lewis does, so on so forth. Right now it's a he said, she said argument about what Suh did or said.

The only thing is that if Suh did say those things... why didn't anyone on the Falcons go after him?

Frazier knew that if he went for it on fourth down and failed, he would be blamed for the loss;

While I agree that they should have gone for it (b/c it's Aaron Rodgers)... to say this is the reason he punted is absolutely the most idiotic thing I've ever read in my entire life.

The Jaguars had to win, or their season was over.

The Jaguars are 2-5 and just won a game where they looked really, really bad offensively. Their season is over.

The Ravens knew they could lose, and by December, no one will even remember this game occurred.

Since when did the NFL move to a BCS formula? Oh wait, they didn't and a loss to the Jaguars now is the same as a loss to the Jaguars in December.

Other, more common harm, especially accumulated damage to the brain from concussions, is a greater negative to playing, since sports-caused death is very rare but sports-caused brain harm is not.

I don't get what his point is? Most things in excess are harmful. This isn't just limited to football.

Brown at age 40 from complications of diabetes, Hull at age 50 from intestinal bleeding. When former pro football players die in middle age, should this be seen as bad luck or as a sign of long-term degenerative harm from football?

TMQ is functionally retarded. There's no other explanation for this.

If TMQ really wants to be the expert he claims to be, he needs to compare the rate of deaths (as a function of age) of football players and non-football players; because lots of 40 and 50 year old individuals die even without having played organized football.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, how about hockey? Should kids play hockey since it causes concussions and now there are questions about how the head injuries are affecting the players in terms of depression. Stay inside! Nothing is safe!

I don't really know if Suh is a dirty player or not. He very well may be, but there are a lot of dirty players in the NFL. It doesn't stop sportswriters from just assuming the worst and running with it.

Frazier probably should have gone for it there, but I really don't think a head coach tries to shift the blame by putting the blame on the defense. Wouldn't it be easier to shift the blame for bad coaching on a rookie quarterback who can't convert a fourth down. Frazier used to be a defensive coordinator, so defense is supposed to be his specialty.

You are right, the Jags season is over. Why would anyone forget the Jags win over the Ravens? Especially when it was on MNF and if the Ravens miss the playoffs or the Jags don't get Andrew Luck?

TMQ doesn't want to compare those two age groups to determine death rates. He doesn't do this because he is too lazy and because he would rather throw the implication out there without any data to support his implication.