Saturday, October 27, 2012

6 comments If There are Football Gods, They Are Probably Cringing When Reading TMQ

Gregg Easterbrook spent time in his TMQ last week searching for pictures of shirtless athletes online, specifically pictures of ex-backup quarterback punt protector Jets, and wondering why some of these shirtless pictures were taken down off of the GQ website. That's pretty creepy. Really, TMQ needs no long introduction ever. He cherry-picks situations to make his theories look correct, calls players highly-paid glory boys, and criticizes television shows for not being realistic enough. Guess what? He mostly does it again this week, while also wondering why the Detroit Lions don't run the ball more and comments how they are in disarray as a team. What Gregg doesn't mention in this TMQ is he had the Lions going 10-6 this year. I'm guessing this won't end up in his "bad predictions" column at the end of this year.

Last night the final presidential debate and "Monday Night Football" aired simultaneously. Sports nuts and political junkies were torn. Why not combine the events? This is what "Monday Night Football" would sound like if it used a presidential debate format:

What follows is a skit that lacks hilarity. It consists primarily of NFL-related players and announcers saying not-funny things as if in a debate format. I will not subject you to reading this skit. 

In that period the Lions have followed a 10-5 streak with a 2-6 streak. Needless to say, Calvin Johnson being the "Madden" cover boy is a big factor in the Lions' decline, to say nothing of Megatron's personal decline.

The "Madden Curse" generally doesn't affect an entire team so this curse shouldn't affect the Lions team as a whole. It is true players important to a certain team do appear on the cover of a "Madden," and if that player struggles generally it means the team struggles as well. Since I am nitpicking today, I think Gregg should know the fictional "Madden Curse" only affects the player directly, not the team directly.

Tactics and attitude are factors too. Detroit players continue to dance and strut as if they were holding the Lombardi Trophy, when in fact they reside in the cellar.

The Lions are definitely losing because they dance and strut. That's part of the reason the Lions are losing games. I am sure this conclusion has been reached using fool-proof logic.

The Lions have no running game to balance Stafford-to-Johnson. True, they have invested recent first- and second-round choices in tailbacks Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure, both perennially injured. 

Jahvid Best has concussions problems, which considering the concussion issue is something Gregg has been talking about for a few years now, I would think he would be more sensitive to and not act like Best is sitting out with an ingrown toenail. Leshoure has been in the NFL for just over a year. This is his second year in the league and was out all last year when he tore his Achilles tendon in August 2011. He isn't perpetually injured. He is a second year player who was injured in his first season in the NFL. Facts that give perspective to misleading comments are so annoying, aren't they?

True, the Giants just won the Super Bowl after finishing last in the NFL in rushing, and if the playoffs started today, three of the top four rushing clubs would not be invited

But no football team can win if it actively shuns the run.

You can't "shun the run" but it is perfectly fine to be last in the NFL in rushing in Gregg's view. That will get you to the playoffs, just don't "shun the run." So the best thing for an NFL team to do is run the ball, regardless of whether they are effective or not, it doesn't matter. What is interesting about the link Gregg just provided in regard to the top rushing teams in the NFL is that 6-0 Atlanta is 29th in rushing, 4-3 Green Bay is 24th in rushing, and 4-3 Arizona is 27th in rushing. Where is Detroit, the team that needs to run the ball in order to win games, on this list? They are 19th in the NFL in rushing. That's not great, but certainly not absolutely terrible, and they are 13th in yards per rush. So maybe the Lions should run the ball more, but I'm not sure the lack of a running game is the primary reason they are losing football games.

Adjusting for sacks and scrambles, Lions coaches radioed in 51 pass plays and 16 rushes. 

They should probably run the ball more, but the Bears are 2nd in the NFL in rush defense, so the opponent-specific game plan for the Lions may have been to throw the ball more than run it. 

Chicago has been mixing up its Tampa Two defensive look with occasional zone blitzes, confusing offenses that expect the Tampa Two and nothing else.

Because all NFL offenses are short-sighted like Gregg and only expect the opposing defense to run one type of defense. I swear, if he wasn't a middle-aged man I would think Gregg grew up playing Super Tecmo Bowl, and believing a defense runs only a certain kind of defense, there are four defensive plays to choose from and a team rarely changes defensive looks.

In "Dr. No," when Bond is captured and taken to the villain's secret headquarters -- larger than a basketball arena, equipped with a nuclear reactor, yet constructed without anyone noticing -- he is thrown into a jail cell. Not only does the cell have a gigantic air shaft vent covered by a flimsy grate that takes Bond three seconds to yank off -- Dr. No can build an atomic ray gun, but doesn't realize people try to escape from jails -- the air shaft, ample to crawl through, leads directly to Dr. No's master control station. If you were building a sprawling nuclear-powered secret headquarters, wouldn't you include an air shaft directly from the prison to master control? 

I guess if Gregg Easterbrook had his way then the film "Dr. No" would primarily consist of James Bond sitting in a jail cell waiting for Dr. No to come kill him. It would be two hours of James Bond sitting around, and really, who wouldn't want to watch that? Realism in movies is so exciting to watch.

Reader Randy Hinckley of Atlanta notes that toward the end of the cartoon movie "Bolt," there is an air shaft that the heroic dog can fit through, but not the girl he is trying to rescue. Thus, he says, "an animated dog is more realistic than James Bond." 

You mean the animated movie "Bolt" where a talking dog fights crime? That's the movie which is more realistic than a James Bond movie? Are you sure about that or are you just cherry-picking this one situation to reach your conclusion? I only ask this because "Bolt" is about a talking dog that fights crime.

In rules quirk news, the Patriots took the opening kickoff of overtime against the Jets, and scored a field goal. When they in turn kicked off, had they onside kicked and recovered, New England would have won. That a team receiving the opening kickoff and scoring a field goal on that possession can end the contest with a recovered onside kick is a little-known quirk of the new NFL overtime format. What coach will be the first bold enough to try this? 

If by "bold enough" you mean unnecessarily risky enough to give up 35 yards of field position and put the opposing team in a situation where they can be close to field goal range without moving the ball very far while in sudden death overtime, then I hope it isn't my favorite team's coach who is "bold" enough to do this.

Score New Orleans 35, City of Tampa 28, the Bucs faced fourth-and-9 deep in Sinners territory on the game's final snap. Tampa receiver Mike Williams ran to the back line of the end zone -- and New Orleans cornerback Patrick Robinson alertly pushed him out...Heads-up play by Robinson -- not a violent collision but a simple push preserves the New Orleans victory. 

Doesn't Gregg mean "heads-up play by Robinson, a highly-drafted glory boy"? As I put on repeat every single week, if this was an undrafted free agent who made this play then Gregg would be sure to mention his draft position, but since it is a first round pick who made this good play Gregg neglects to mention his draft position. He wouldn't want reality to infringe on his own preconceived notions.

Sour Play of the Week: Jacksonville leading 17-3, the Jaguars went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Oakland 46. Quarterback Chad Henne rolled out, was under pressure -- and threw the ball away. Bad enough that Jax needed only a yard and coaches had the quarterback sprint backwards. Don't throw the ball away on fourth down, heave it deep and hope!

I thought "fortune favors the bold," so the fact the Jaguars went for it on fourth down means the football gods should reward them with a first down and with a win in this game? So the football gods punished the Jags for going for it on fourth down by having them lose the game? I thought the football gods rewarded being bold? Isn't that what Gregg tells us every week in TMQ? I wasn't aware there were a bunch of caveats that made "fortune favors the bold" to not be a true statement in certain situations.

Not mention, I believe Gregg said two weeks ago that a team who is leading in a game should play conservatively, so why didn't he question the Jags decision to go for it on fourth down? 

Buck-Buck-Brawckkkkkkk: The Bengals, hosting a night game on prime-time television, were tied at 14 with the Steelers early in the third quarter, and facing fourth-and-1 on the visitor's 30. During the tenure of Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, Pittsburgh has dominated Cincinnati, entering on a 14-5 streak against the Bengals under Lewis. Victories don't come in the mail, go win the game! When the field goal boomed, TMQ wrote the words "game over" in his notebook.

I bet TMQ also wrote "game over" in his Selena Gomez Trapper Keeper notebook after the Jaguars were up 17-3 against the Raiders, but we all know how that turned out. I would also bet Gregg writes "game over" in his Selena Gomez Trapper Keeper notebook at least once a week and then the other team comes back to win or tie the game. Gregg just doesn't mention the times this occurs because it would ruin the illusion he wants to create that he is always right.

Lewis had sent his charges the message that once again, the plan was to roll over for Pittsburgh.

By choosing to kick a field goal that put the Bengals ahead in this game early in the third quarter, Marvin Lewis had given the message that he was giving up? This is what you want your readers to believe and not believe that you are just making shit up? How is kicking a field goal to take the lead a sign that the head coach has given up?

Bengals possession results for the remainder of the contest following the fourth-and-1 wimp-out: punt, punt, punt, punt, punt. 

All because they dared to kick a field goal and take the lead in this game. This was the football gods punishing the Bengals for daring to take the lead.

Should newspapers and television stations accept advertising containing statements that are literally true but intended to deceive? Last week, USA Today ran a full-page ad -- ungrammatically labeled "special advertisement feature" -- from the World Reserve Monetary Exchange on Freedom Avenue in Canton, Ohio.

Why would a newspaper, especially at this time in their life cycle, turn down advertising dollars?

The incredible deal is so obviously a ripoff it's hard to believe even one person would fall for it.

If this is an obvious ripoff then where is the harm in the company spending money on an advertisement and then newspaper collecting money from this advertisement? If this ad is obviously a ripoff then the advertisement fails to deceive. A newspaper probably has a moral obligation not to print certain kind of advertisements, but at this point, if a company is willing to pay for an ad I don't see why a newspaper won't accept that money. Should they accept this money? Maybe. ESPN pays Gregg Easterbrook to write a weekly column that has statements which are literally true but intended to deceive. Is this in some way unethical for them to do this?

Perhaps anyone dumb enough to call the number deserves to lose $17. But should a major newspaper be the enabler of a swindle? 

Maybe a major newspaper shouldn't be the enabler of a swindle, but you can't stop idiocy. A fool and his money soon go separate ways, so I am sure if a person who is dumb enough to pay $17 for this would waste money on another swindle.

As for those selfsame Jets -- it's 2012, hasn't Rex Ryan heard that Wes Welker catches a lot of passes? Twice, Welker converted third downs when covered only by a linebacker.

It's almost like the Patriots design plays so that Welker gets matched up with a linebacker. As usual, Gregg seems to struggle to understand NFL teams don't always play man-to-man defense, so the Jets didn't want Welker matched up against a Jets linebacker. The Patriots design plays so this happens. The Jets can't take every linebacker off the field just so Welker is covered by a cornerback or safety.

Bad sportsmanship occurs at many levels, of course. Saturday, Oklahoma was still throwing deep with a 52-0 lead over Kansas, trying to run up the score.

You mean, sort of like how Pulaski puts in their backups and then starts throwing the ball all over the field and always go for it on fourth down? I am sure the Pulaski only "accidentally" runs the score on overmatched opponents.

But Division I college football players are adults who are being compensated, via scholarships and per diem, for their efforts. No one need worry about the feelings of Division I football players.

I will remember this the very next time Gregg criticizes Alabama for running up the score on a Division I, II or FCS school. Since all three of the types of programs hand out scholarships for their athletes, we shouldn't worry about the feelings of these Division I, II and FCS players. It's weird, I seem to recall Gregg criticizing Division I schools for running up the score on FCS schools, don't you? Now it seems Gregg has no issue with this. We'll see if this point of view continues the very next time Alabama wins by 60 points over a "cupcake" school.

Steven Holscher of Simpsonville, S.C., asks, "My brother and I always scream this question when a pass is ruled incomplete after a receiver loses control when hitting the ground -- why during a rush can the ground not cause a fumble, but can cause a pass to be incomplete?"

TMQ's answer would be that all sports rules fundamentally are arbitrary. 

This doesn't seem like a very difficult answer and one that Gregg should be able to answer. I would suggest the ground can cause an incomplete pass is because the receiver never had possession of the ball before hitting the ground. If the receiver loses control then he never had possession of the ball, but a running back has possession of the ball before hitting the ground and therefore the ground can't cause a fumble. That's my best guess, but it seems like something TMQ should be able to answer. It's a possession of the football issue to me.

Is Mario Williams the Most Overrated Football Player Since JaMarcus Russell?

No, no he is not. He may be overpaid, but he is not overrated. Williams has 256 tackles, 56.5 sacks and 11 forced fumbles over 89 games in his 6 year 6 game career. That's pretty good.

This season, TMQ is following the fourth-down exploits of Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Ark., where head coach Kevin Kelley has eschewed the punt for years. Last season, Pulaski punted once and won the state title.

Friday, Kelley took his starters out when Pulaski reached a 43-6 halftime lead.

Notice how Gregg tries to deceive his readers by giving out the score at halftime. He doesn't want to make Kevin Kelley seem like a bully coach for still throwing the ball and running up the score. Pulaski won the game 50-20 and you can see from the box score the backup quarterback attempted seven passes in the second half. Does that make Kevin Kelly a "bully coach" who throws the football despite having a large lead? I don't know, but Gregg just criticized Oklahoma for throwing deep while blowing out Kansas this past weekend.

Fourth-down situations faced by the first string:

Fourth-and-10, own 38 -- pass, did not convert.
Fourth-and-9, own 30 -- pass, first down.
Fourth-and-10, opponent 47 -- sacked.
Fourth-and-12, opponent 12 -- pass, touchdown 

So Pulaski Academy went 2 for 4 against an overmatched team on fourth down. Again, I'm not sure what we can learn since there was clearly a huge talent difference between these two teams. I would guess Pulaski has a better chance of converting fourth downs against an overmatched opponent. The percentage of converted fourth downs in games between Pulaski and another evenly matched team is what I would consider good evidence on whether always going for it on fourth down is a sound strategy or not.

Next Week: The next Bond flick will be his first football-themed movie, "Tiebreaker."

And this movie will feature a defense that specifically game plans for an opponent, plays a zone defense and shows the offense different looks during the game. Gregg will probably criticize this movie for being unrealistic due to this. 


rich said...

True, the Giants just won the Super Bowl after finishing last in the NFL in rushing, and if the playoffs started today, three of the top four rushing clubs would not be invited.

But no football team can win if it actively shuns the run.

A new level of stupid from TMQ - he points out the major flaw in his argument... then makes the argument anyway.

NE, GB, NO, NYG and IND. All SB winning teams in the past decade who all "shunned the run."

If you were building a sprawling nuclear-powered secret headquarters, wouldn't you include an air shaft directly from the prison to master control?

God, I can't believe I'm having to correct for James Bond story lines in an article about sports, but here's the story:

Within SECONDs of getting into the air shaft, Bond starts burning his hand and feet - to the point he rips his shirt to make gloves to protect himself.

Then after wandering around, Bond is hit with water - you know the HEATED WATER FROM THE REACTOR.

Then after all of that, Bond falls down a hole in the shaft leading him on the path to Dr. No's control room.

So basically - it's a movie and even then Bond got batshit crazy lucky to not end up dead or lost.

Thus, he says, "an animated dog is more realistic than James Bond."

yet constructed without anyone noticing

It was also built UNDERWATER in (if I remember the movie correctly) a third world country.

Oh and Dr. No came out in 1962. We are talking about a FIFTY YEAR OLD MOVIE. Gee, maybe, just maybe the technology that allows us to see instant satellite pictures of any place in the world wasn't readily available at the time?

How exactly was somebody supposed to locate and UNDERWATER base in 1962?

Lewis had sent his charges the message that once again, the plan was to roll over for Pittsburgh.

Because it's totally not like Cincinnati won both games last year against Pitt.

Should newspapers and television stations accept advertising containing statements that are literally true but intended to deceive?

If it's literally true, then um... what's the problem? Marketing is the act of saying something with the hopes of them going out and purchasing it. If it's true, then I fail to see where the issue lies.

You know what's a bigger problem? A weekly article called TMQ that talks about James Bond and advertisments.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I haven't seen Dr. No, so I didn't know all that happened. I probably should catch up on my older James Bond movies.

You can't win a Super Bowl by shunning the run, unless you count the teams that won the Super Bowl and shunned the run during the season.

I find TMQ a much bigger problem than advertising that is true but meant to deceive. I think Gregg struggles with the concept of marketing and advertising. He always criticized "Creep" not realizing this is how consumers are convinced to buy something. You don't sell Christmas stuff beginning a week before Christmas and ads deceive you to make you believe your shitty life will be made better by their product.

Anonymous said...

What's scary is that the school's principal, Todd Deaver, defends running up the score on lower-division opponents, while suggesting that might equals right...

The only quotes from the article that seemed to support this statment:

Do not blame Quintanilla. This selfish act falls squarely in the lap of Herring, who has a history of stepping on the gas when his team is up by 50 or more points. And he has the support of Refugio principal Todd Deaver, who said Monday that his school’s coach “loves kids” and “doesn’t want to degrade another team.”


Deaver said the University Interscholastic League deserves some of the blame for Refugio’s lopsided scores. The UIL, Deaver said, placed the Bobcats in a district that includes inferior teams. The principal added that 95 to 100 Refugio players are dedicated to a weight-lifting program, making them physically superior to most teams they face.

Complaining about gerrymandered congressional districts, I noted the mainstream media have complained loudly about the Texas redistricting intended to disenfranchise Hispanics but said nothing about the Maryland redistricting intended to disenfranchise conservatives. Hunter Thomson of New York counters, "Partisan gerrymandering represents everything we detest in politics. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court hasn't yet found a case where it sees anything other than a non-justiciable political issue. Check Vieth v. Jubelirer, 541 U.S. 267 (2004) and League of United Latin Am. Citizens v. Perry, 548 U.S. 399 (2006). The new Maryland 6th district you don't like is somewhat contiguous, not as bad as these. Check the really offensive 4th district in Illinois.

"The gerrymandering in Texas is of a very different sort from what you complain of in Maryland. Racial gerrymandering raises equal protection concerns. More specifically, Texas is a covered jurisdiction under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, meaning its history of racial discrimination in voting procedures subjects the Lone Star State to greater oversight by the federal government."

I live in Maryland. Maryland has racial gerrymandering, just in the opposite direction.

Regarding the ground causing a fumble/incomplete pass discussion, you hit the nail on the head. In one case possession has been established, while in the other it is yet to be established. I don't think there is much of an issue here. I view it in the same light as people who ask about why is a running back able to fumble once he's broken the plane, but receivers muct complete the action of the catch in the endzone despite the ball being "over the goal line." I dont think it is hard to understand the difference, and those that don't are purposely not getting it in my opinion.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I don't see how he defends it in those quotes either. I didn't look that up and it appears Gregg was hoping no one else would look it up also. I wonder if it bothers ESPN that Gregg writes things in TMQ every week.

You are probably right about those who don't get the difference aren't trying to. It seems like a pretty simple answer to the question and five minutes to do an internet search could bring the answer up.

Anonymous said...

meant to add:

Located in Kutztown, Pa., Kutztown University offers parking close to class.

Am I missing what's interesting or funny about this?

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, nope. Perhaps Gregg finds parking close to class interesting? That's all I can think of.