Gregg Easterbrook castigated those who don't vote last week and warned these people that regardless of whether they are informed enough or don't like one of the candidates, they need to get out and vote or not complain. Gregg also stated the turnout to vote wasn't very large in 2008, even though historical data shows the 57% of Americans who voted was the biggest turnout in 40 years. Facts are slippery little things to Gregg and they are only useful when he needs them to be useful. This week Gregg is talking about the NFL playoffs and finding new television shows to criticize for their lack of realism. This time it is "Last Resort" that Gregg criticizes. As usual, he doesn't like this television show for its lack of realism, yet seems to have viewed every single episode.
With Tuesday Morning Quarterback's bye week approaching, time to take
stock of the NFL's top teams -- the ones with the best chance to hoist
the Lombardi Trophy in New Orleans. In alphabetical order:
Gregg puts the "New York Giants" before the "New England Patriots." I'm not a alphabetization junkie and realize "Giants" comes before "Patriots," but I would think "New York" would come before "New England." The lesson learned here? I will nitpick absolutely everything.
Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons are tied for the league's top
record, and have performed with consistency. But the Mike Smith-Matt
Ryan show is 51-22 in the regular season and 0-3 in the postseason. The
Falcons get the yips in the playoffs. Why should this season be any
Perhaps because this is a different season with different players and historical data doesn't automatically mean the Falcons will repeat their previous efforts in the playoffs? Other than that, I see no reason why we shouldn't just count the Falcons out now.
Baltimore Ravens: Something about Charm City puts a spell on
opponents. Sunday, Torrey Smith blew past Oakland's Michael Huff, who
was the seventh choice of the 2006 draft:
Who threw this pass? Joe Flacco, first round pick. Funny how his draft position isn't mentioned, nor does Gregg mention Torrey Smith was drafted in the second round, but the fact Michael Huff was a highly drafted player is very important for Gregg's readers to know in order to give a false perspective on how well first round draft picks perform in the NFL.
Unless the Ravens win the first seed, write them off.
This is a completely logical point of view. I see no issues with this statement, other than the fact the Ravens almost won in the playoffs last year on the road against New England and won a road playoff game prior to that.
Denver Broncos: The Broncos are fourth in offense, fifth in
defense, and have outscored opponents 115-30 in the fourth quarter. They
play four of their remaining seven regular-season contests in the thin
air of Colorado, and have just one remaining date against an elite team,
at Baltimore on Dec. 16.
Now all of a sudden the Ravens are an elite team. I guess Gregg considers them elite when they are playing at home. Either way, if the Ravens aren't the first seed, they are done.
Houston Texans: In a day of pass-wacky high-tech football, the Texans perform the old fashioned way,
For those who watch and understand NFL games this is probably better known as saying the Texans run a traditional pro-style offense.
New England Patriots: The Flying Elvii have become the plug-in
hybrids of pro football -- no matter how little seems left in the tank,
they keep going.
This is a fantastic analogy that also reminds us that we can do more to save our planet. Unfortunately, and I don't think this is me nitpicking, this analogy also doesn't make sense. Why would it seem like the Patriots have very little left in the tank? They have two young talented tight ends, still have Tom Brady, signed Brandon Lloyd this offseason to be Brady's deep threat, seem to be trying to build with a young defense, and have shown few signs of falling off during or prior to this year.
Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers are league-best on long plays allowed. Check their pass defense stats:
At the bottom for interceptions, near the bottom for sacks, yet No. 1
overall against the pass. The NFL is a passing league, and Pittsburgh
has the answer -- not fancy blitzes or line stunts, rather, disciplined
coverage in the secondary.
Let's remember the Steelers run a 3-4 defense, which is a defense that Gregg called a fad just a few years ago.
Let's also remember any fancy blitzes or line stunts are completely separate from playing disciplined coverage in the secondary. These are not mutually exclusive from each other. A team can play disciplined coverage while also showing crazy blitzes and stunting linemen. Simple defense, or a lack of complexity, doesn't always lead to success either (Recall Gregg describing the Vikings "simple" offense earlier in this year and how that led to their success...what has happened since then?). Gregg drives me crazy. Does he really believe fancy blitzes means a team doesn't play disciplined coverage in the secondary? He does realize linemen aren't considered part of the secondary, right?
Any of City of Tampa, Minnesota and Seattle could round out the
postseason bracket. My chips for surprise playoff entrant are on
Apparently when writing about the playoff race and which teams could hoist the Super Bowl trophy only ten of the teams that make the playoffs are viable options to win the Super Bowl. The Colts are Gregg's "surprise" team to make the playoffs. Apparently he feels like a team that is currently 6-3 is a big surprise to make the playoffs. It isn't August, Gregg doesn't get credit for looking at a 6-3 team and acting like he's going out on a limb when stating this team could make the playoffs.
In other news, one reason I am taking my bye week is that my latest book, "The Leading Indicators,"
is published today. It's my third novel, which seems to mean I may now
call myself a novelist. My novels are what publishers call literary
fiction -- not fitting any genre such as thrillers, rather, depictions
of life mixed with social commentary. Also no sex, violence or football.
Gregg's books lack football because he seems to know very little about the sport and has no sex because he doesn't want to creep out those who read the book with written accounts of leering at women at least half his age.
So if you like "The Leading Indicators," don't be shy. Say so on
Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and in other new media. Post reviews on Amazon
and in similar places. Your columnist has written a number of
Not that Gregg is immodest or anything of course. People tend to like what he writes, except for TMQ, which Gregg simply pretends that people enjoy.
but never had a commercial hit. Having one would keep me going, in more than one respect. Your views matter.
Except when it comes to giving negative feedback. In that respect, our opinions don't matter at all. We matter, as long as the feedback is positive.
I ask your help: buy the book, then say what you think on the Web.
I do this every single week. So far, there's no been no difference. Not that I would expect there to be a difference, but if you specifically ask for feedback then you should expect some of it to be negative.
Sweet Play of the Week: Carolina leading Denver 7-0, the
Broncos had possession on the Cats' 10. Denver came out trips right with
a tailback behind Peyton Manning, who looked at the defense and began
his chicken dance, madly motioning players to different positions.
had Manning seen? Carolina was in Cover 1 -- a single safety at the
center of the field. Carolina had three defensive backs across from the
trips set, but no safety on the offensive left. Manning moved the
tailback to his right for extra blocking on that side; he rolled right;
had Brandon Stokley run a pivot pattern toward to left; touchdown pass
to an uncovered receiver. Sweet.
dance bonus: New Orleans leading undefeated Atlanta 21-17, Drew Brees
came to the line and looked over the defense. He elaborately pointed and
gestured toward defenders on the offensive right, drawing all attention
there. Then he threw a "bang" pattern left -- where he'd planned to go
all along -- for six.
Nearly every week Gregg Easterbrook displays this tendency to be able to read the minds of NFL players. In these two instances how does Gregg know Peyton Manning changed the play and how does he know Drew Brees didn't change the play and Brees ended up going exactly where he planned on going all along? A person would have to be telepathic to know if either of these quarterbacks changed the play or not. That's part of the reason they make such a show about changing the play, in order to confuse the defense.
Perhaps Manning wasn't doing anything, but the running back was supposed to move to the right pre-snap in preparation for Manning to roll right. Perhaps Brees was gesturing towards the defenders which told his receiver on the left to change up his pattern. My point is the Gregg doesn't know if Brees/Manning changed the play or not. One can assume, but that doesn't mean one would be correct. If offensive players moved or didn't move every time a play was changed or not changed it would be fairly obvious to the defense an audible was called, no? I wish Gregg would stop pretending he can read the minds of NFL players because he can't. He doesn't have a clue where Brees wanted to go with the football all along and to pretend he does is simply lying to his readers.
Sweet 'N' Sour Player of the Week: Early in the Atlanta at New
Orleans contest, the Sinners ran a double safety blitz, but cornerback
Jabari Greer let Roddy White sprint past him for a 49-yard catch that
set up a touchdown. On a double-safety blitz, a cornerback must keep the
receiver in front of him!
I think Gregg means first round non-bust Roddy White ran by the unwanted, undrafted free agent Jabari Greer? That's right, draft status goes unmentioned when it doesn't meet Gregg's agenda.
Now New Orleans leads 31-27, Atlanta faces fourth-and-goal on the New
Orleans 2 with 1:46. Greer breaks up what could have been the winning
touchdown pass. Sour has turned to sweet.
Of course Greer wouldn't have had to break this pass up if he had not given up a touchdown pass to Roddy White earlier in the game.
Ryan may been a champion to the far-right base, but most members of the
far-right base live in states the Republican ticket would have carried
regardless. To top it off, Ryan simultaneously ran for vice president
and for reelection to the House. This all but announced Ryan expected
Romney to lose, and was in the campaign solely for self-promotion.
Or this could have meant Paul Ryan wanted to be elected Vice-President of the United States, but if he failed to get this office, he still wanted to be a member of the House of Representatives. It's a form of hedging, but is a sign he wasn't necessarily self-promoting, but didn't want his time in Washington D.C. to end if he wasn't elected Vice-President.
If Romney had picked Portman, there's a good chance he would have carried Ohio,
Maybe, maybe not. Gregg has a wonderful way of making his opinion sound like fact. It's very possible if Romney had picked Portman he would have carried Ohio, but it isn't a given. How many people vote for the Vice-President? I am sure there are those who are chased away by a Vice-Presidential candidate, but many times citizens are not making their decision based on the Vice President.
That he did not pick Portman suggests Romney has poor political instincts -- which means he shouldn't be president.
Or it could mean he didn't want Portman to be his Vice-Presidential candidate because he was afraid he would skew older than he wanted to.
In a year of runaway offense dominating college football, pro football's
first monster showdown, pairing 7-1 teams, ended 13-6. Maybe there is
hope for defense.
In a season full of dominating offenses in college football, there is hope for college football because the NFL had a low scoring game between two very good teams? Wasn't the LSU-Alabama game two weeks ago fairly low-scoring as well?
Trailing upstart Texas A&M 29-24 at home with two minutes remaining,
defending champion Alabama faced third-and-goal on the Aggies' 5. Touts
including your columnist are writing this season that while most of
college football goes pass-wacky with the Xbox Offense, the SEC remains a
preserve of traditionalism.
From earlier in this very TMQ:
Stats of the Week No. 9: Hosting Missouri, the University of
Tennessee gained 585 yards on offense, made 32 first downs, turned the
ball over just once, and lost.
Both of these are SEC teams. I guess Tennessee ran up 585 yards without being pass-wacky.
The media dine on leaks, and so never note that the Framers would be
furious about government officials hiding behind anonymity as they feed
reporters information intended to harm someone accused of no crime. The
media have already painted a scarlet letter on Broadwell -- set aside
that most mainstream news organizations editorialize in favor of sexual
And we all know from reading TMQ that this year Gregg has become more and more sexually free. He wants to see more shirtless men, has stopped writing his "Cheerbabe of the Week" feature that put up some sort of facade he thought these women had talent outside of cheerleading, and has criticized Generation X for being so sexually repressed when they weren't that way as younger adults.
The Rams forced overtime, got the kickoff and, on the first play, hit an
80-yard out-and-up to undrafted, twice-waived Danny Amendola. But St.
Louis had only six men on the line of scrimmage. Rams split end Brandon
Gibson, on the left, failed to line up on the line, resulting in a
formation with five backs.
Shouldn't Gregg say "lowly drafted, unwanted" Brandon Gibson? After all Gibson was drafted late in the sixth round and was traded by the Eagles. Again, Gregg fails to mention any information that may reflect negatively on his "unwanted, lowly drafted" players. It's pretty egregious how he only mentions certain information when it helps an agenda he wants to push.
Even Hermie the Elf Thinks This Goes Too Far: TMQ swore off
Christmas Creep, but must add this from reader Nick Lamoreaux of Racine,
Wis.: "The city of Racine has already had its annual Christmas parade."
It was called a "Holiday Parade" and though it is behind a pay wall, I can imagine it isn't solely for Christmas or may not even be about Christmas, yet "Christmas parade" is in parenthesis when it isn't a "Christmas" parade.
Over the weekend, Home Depot ran Santa-themed TV ads offering a premium
for the purchase of an artificial Christmas tree. In the crawl at the
bottom: "Offer expires November 14."
Just take a minute and try to understand how advertising is supposed to create urgency for a person to buy a product...then take another minute to understand why this offer would expire November 14. It is the same reason "Black Friday," which is a day where many people do their Christmas shopping, takes place in November. It is a corporation-created day to create urgency for shoppers to buy Christmas gifts now. Home Depot wants to create urgency to purchase this Christmas tree, so they have the offer expire very early.
TMQ soon will weigh in on the goofy sci-fi hit "Revolution."
The goofy semi-sci-fi "Last Resort" is middling in ratings but great on DVR viewing, so let's turn first to that.
Yes, let's criticize the realism of a show that is supposed to be partly science-FICTION.
Premise: A U.S. strategic missile submarine, the Colorado, receives an
order to stage a nuclear first strike on Pakistan. The captain suspects
the order is illegal; officers may (in fact, must) refuse unlawful
orders. When he refuses, another U.S. submarine launches the strike,
then tries to sink the Colorado, which goes rogue. Now the whole United
States military is out to destroy the Colorado, which has found a South
Pacific island and proclaimed sovereignty. The big "reveals" so far are
these: The nuclear first strike, killing four million Pakistanis, was
conducted to erase evidence of some American misdeed in that country.
The attack on the Colorado was conducted to erase evidence of the
Colorado's knowledge of the illegal first strike.
That's the premise of the show. I think Gregg has fundamental reading and comprehension issues, because this is his first question,
Viewers do not yet have the slightest answer to why nefarious persons in
the United States government would think that a nuclear first strike on
Pakistan would divert attention from that nation.
That's not at all what the Americans were trying to do. Gregg should read his own synopsis of the series. It states,
The nuclear first strike, killing four million Pakistanis, was conducted
to erase evidence of some American misdeed in that country.
Nowhere in that sentence is there a mention of "diverting attention" in any fashion. In fact, Gregg specifically states the strike was conducted to erase evidence. I'm not nuclear scientist, but I'm guessing launching a nuclear strike that kills four million people could end up being a fairly effective way to cover up evidence. Gregg is reading his own synopsis of the series and then completely misinterpreting his own words. My question remains, does he have a fundamental reading and comprehension issue?
After being attacked in the Indian Ocean, the Colorado guns its engines
and minutes later is in French Polynesia, thousands of miles away. There
the crew commandeers a NATO listening post on an uncharted island. Why
would the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have a listening post in
the South Pacific?
Because no one would ever suspect they would have a listening post there? It's a cushy pre-retirement location for veteran military members? It is a show that is a work of fiction?
Playing at Seattle, Jersey/B went for it on fourth-and-inches early, and
was stuffed. Now the Bluish Men Group lead 14-7 in the third quarter,
and the Jets face fourth-and-2 in Seattle territory. Don't punt! Who
cares if the last fourth-down try failed, that was then, this is now! As the punt boomed, TMQ wrote the words "game over" in his notebook.
This is the entire reason the Jets lost the game. The offense didn't score any points on the day, but because they didn't go for it on fourth down in this situation, this could be the only explanation for why they lost. I also enjoy how the fact Rex Ryan went for it on fourth down early in the game, yet this didn't inspire his team to victory. I thought that's how going for it on fourth down worked? A coach inspires his team and shows them he is serious about winning the game, so his team plays better and eventually wins the game.
The fact the Jets went for it on fourth down earlier in the game and were stuffed is very pertinent. This speaks to why Rex Ryan didn't think his team could convert this next fourth down. I'm just confused as to the rules on when teams should go for it on fourth down and why certain attempts to convert the fourth down can inspire a team to victory and other attempts don't inspire a team to victory. It's almost like Gregg bases his criticism on the outcome of the play and he is full of shit.
Last season, Pulaski punted once and won the state title. So far this season, Pulaski is 9-2 and has not punted.
Friday night, Pulaski faced only two fourth downs in the entire game.
The results are below. In their past three outings, the Bruins are
10-for-14 on fourth down.
What Gregg fails to mention is that Pulaski hasn't faced a team ranked higher than #45 in the state over the last three weeks. Pulaski beat their opponent Vilonia 62-21. Of course Kevin Kelley isn't a football bully though. He just ran up the score and refused to punt against an overmatched opponent.
For their part, trailing 31-10 in the third quarter, the Razorbacks
kicked on fourth-and-goal from the South Carolina 4. Skies must have
darkened above Williams-Price Stadium as the football gods showed their
displeasure with that fraidy-cat decision. The Gamecocks quickly went on
to ice the contest at 38-13.
Because otherwise, by going for it on fourth down in this situation, the Razorbacks would naturally have scored 21 points and eventually won this game. That's what would have happened if they had gone for it on fourth down...unless they failed to get the first down in which case the football gods would not reward them for being bold...unless the Razorbacks went on to win the game, in which case the football gods rewarded them for being bold. Basically, whatever the outcome of the game, that is what determines whether the football gods will reward a team for going for it on fourth down or not.
In the NFL, Oakland went for the first on fourth-and-1 at midfield early
at Baltimore, Carson Palmer took the snap and fell down. Cincinnati
went on fourth-and-2 and failed to convert, but this challenged the
Cincinnati players to win the game, as they did.
Isn't it interesting how when a team goes for it on fourth down and loses, the fourth down attempt doesn't challenge the team to win the game, but if a team goes for it on fourth down and the team wins, well then that team got challenged to win the game. Gregg's point of view depends entirely on the outcome of the game. He claims to have a core set of beliefs, but this is a lie. He chases outcomes with his criticism.
Trailing 31-17 at New England, Buffalo faced fourth-and-2 on the 27 and
went for it, converting and recording a touchdown on the possession.
Verily, they failed to win the game. I guess this fourth down try didn't challenge the Bills team to win.
Trailing 17-7 in the fourth quarter, San Francisco went for it on
fourth-and-1 and scored a touchdown on the possession, ultimately
forcing a tie. Chicago went for it on fourth-and-1 in the first half,
converted but then lost a fumble.
So out of five examples in this paragraph of teams going for it on fourth down, four of these teams failed to win the game. Fortune favors the bold? Does it?
Wait Till You See the Fine for Roughing the Holder: Last week the
league fined Michael Vick $7,875 for his low block during an
interception return in the Eagles-Saints contest. (During a change of
possession down, both teams are forbidden to block below the waist.)
Besides the absurd specificity of a $7,875 fine -- perhaps the fine
should have been $7,875.95 with a mail-in rebate -- Vick did nothing
vicious, simply made a routine football mistake. He was penalized. That
should have been the end of the story.
In summary, Gregg is very much against helmet-to-helmet hits, but it is perfectly fine to try to blow out an opponent's knee. I think I understand it now. Gregg must believe blowing out a knee is healthy for a football player.
Next Week: TMQ's bye week. I will use the bye week to get
healthy, to seek corporate sponsors for my celebrity Yahtzee tournament
and to draw up complex new sentence structures to surprise scouts from
other sports columns.
A bye week. Considering Gregg criticizes NFL teams for not playing well after a bye week, is it safe to assume next week's TMQ will be one of the best written TMQ's of the year? It's a low threshold to achieve.