Monday, June 24, 2013

5 comments MMQB Review: Guest Writer Chris Kluwe Edition

Sorry, I couldn't think of a more exciting title for this MMQB. I could go with "Peter Invites Someone with a Klu(we) to Write MMQB," but that would turn me into Rick Reilly or something that is unimaginably worse than Rick Reilly, which at this point I am not aware actually exists. So I went with the boring title.

Peter King was on vacation last week and so he had Steve Gleason, formerly a player of the New Orleans Saints, write MMQB in his place. I will not make fun of someone suffering from ALS, so I figured I would let MMQB go for last week. Perhaps if Gleason had some King-like thoughts then I could have posted something, but he wrote about his disease and how it has affected him and his family. Even I'm not that much of an asshole. This week Peter has Chris Kluwe write MMQB while he is busy enjoying his vacation (Peter is enjoying the vacation, not Chris Kluwe...everyone knows an NFL punter gets no breaks). Kluwe serves a two-fold purpose in writing MMQB. First, Peter agrees with Kluwe on social issues and Peter likes Kluwe which has caused (in my opinion at least) Peter to take up Kluwe's cause in MMQB when it comes to finding a new NFL punting gig. Peter cherry-picked punting data in a previous MMQB to make Kluwe seem like he had a better year last year than he really did. Second, Kluwe is popular with "the kids" so it gives Peter some street cred that a super-cool guy who plays awesome socially acceptable games like Warcraft is guest-writing MMQB.

And no, I don't expect Kluwe to be as good of a writer as Peter King since Kluwe doesn't make a living writing about sports. The writing style Kluwe uses feels like some bizarre combination of Big Daddy Drew and Bill Simmons. I'm not even sure that is a thing, and yes, I realize I am critiquing Chris Kluwe's writing which is against the unspoken rules of the sportswriting Internet gods. After all, he's much beloved around the Interwebs and is just like us. If there were a weekly sports magazine like "US Weekly" then there would be a picture of Chris Kluwe shopping in GameStop in the "Athletes: They're Just Like Us" section. So forgive me in advance for even thinking of retorting to what Kluwe may have written. I'm just happy he doesn't bitch about a tough cab ride or criticize the conversation that some people may have in public.

Good news, everyone! Apparently Peter King is on vacation (the lazy bum), and for some reason he decided I would be an excellent choice to fill in for him on MMQB. He chose poorly. Normally I would decline, since I have to remain super-duper-hyper focused on punting 27 hours a day, but fortunately we're in the dead month of the NFL year and I don't really have a lot going on right now (other than focusing).

I like the "Indiana Jones" reference, but don't like the whole "Athletes are supposed to take sports so seriously, which is ridiculous" commentary. I get it, athletes and fans shouldn't be expected to take sports so seriously. The best time to mock this might not be in a weekly NFL column on a sports site when the dedication and focus you are mocking has made you wealthier than 99% of the rest of the world.

Where to start, where to start ...

Let's start with the life cycle of the common athleta Americae vensica (that's Latin for "Google translate").

Apparently Peter left some jokes around for Kluwe to try out on the MMQB audience.

After a week or so, you scrape together some money to split a rental car with a couple of the other undrafted rookies, because the walls of your hotel room get that much closer every day. Eventually, OTAs end, and you head home for the month of July, head still spinning, and try to stay in shape.

While staying in shape doesn't sound very easy, and isn't easy, it's also the job of an NFL player. You are in the NFL partly because of your physical condition that allows you to perform at the highest level of football and part of your job is making sure you stay in that physical condition. For a defensive tackle, that means not losing 35 pounds after OTAs and for a wide receiver it means not gaining 35 pounds after OTAs.

If you're lucky enough to survive the roster cuts and make the 53-man roster, you go find a place to live -- generally a rental apartment or a townhouse because you don't know if you're going to last the entire year. Some guys make it, some don't, and just because you're one of the 53 at the start of the regular season doesn't mean you'll be there at the end.

Though in the case of a punter or kicker, you do know if you perform well during the season then you will probably be on the roster at the end of the season. Not too many teams replace their kicker the way a special-teams player might be replaced, where the 52nd or 53rd player on the roster is a backup and might be replaced mid-season to fill a position on the roster that has been decimated by injuries. Teams usually only carry one kicker and punter. So what Kluwe says is true, there's very little job security, but assuming a kicker or punter performs well during the season then job security should follow for at least the rest of that season.

If you're lucky, you sign an extension with your team and stick around the community you've come to know, attend birthdays and barbecues and bachelor parties. You make a life, maybe start a family, upgrade to a house with room for a dog (or two) and possibly a kid (or two). You start thinking about schools, about long-term plans with the friends you've made in your new environment, about the events you're committed to and the causes you're supporting, and you start talking to your agent about negotiating another extension.

Then you get cut and you're a rookie all over again, because it's the NFL.

You are a rookie all over again, albeit a rookie who is now a millionaire and has already signed an $8.3 million extension. Then you are a rookie, but find work quickly and get a $840,000 veteran minimum to sign with another NFL team. So you are a rookie, but you get paid like a veteran after you have already been paid more than most other rookies get paid. There's that small loophole in the "you're a rookie all over again" comment as it relates to being least in the case of Chris Kluwe.

Some of you may have seen an impassioned plea I wrote for a rival website

I'm not sure Deadspin is in any way a rival to They seem to have two completely different missions. Both sites have a moronic comments below the articles, so perhaps they compete for some of the idiots who seem to comment on some of the articles, but otherwise Deadspin is very different from CNNSI.

about how basically Peter King and the other voting members of the Hall of Fame are failing to do their jobs properly because there are no punters or specialists in the Hall (along with only one pure kicker). 

There should be so many more punters in the Hall of Fame. Personally, I'd like to see at least 8 punters per year placed in the Hall of Fame. What a travesty.

"How do you put in a punter when you only have five slots and so many other deserving players?" That's how the reasoning that keeps perpetuating this problem goes.

Actually, there's a simple fix for that. Change the selection criteria.

Whatever it takes to rig the system to get more punters and kickers into the Hall of Fame, it must be done. Change the selection criteria, execute Hall of Fame voting members who won't vote for a punter or kicker, whatever it takes.

Right now, the Hall of Fame is a straight up horse-trading session (truth in advertising: I've never been in the voting process, but it's not hard to read between the lines). Some voters have their guys, and other voters have their other guys. So when 46 people are in a room trying to narrow down a list of 25 candidates to five Hall of Famers, there's going to be dealing between the voters to get guys in, especially since an 80 percent majority vote is required.

Kluwe is absolutely right about this. It's pretty clear the Hall of Fame voting process is a horse-trading session. Voter A agrees to vote for Player A if Voter B will vote for Voter A's guy, Player B. It's how the world works, but there is probably a better way to do Hall of Fame voting. I would imagine the voting system used by the Baseball Hall of Fame is a better system. In that system, the voter usually just votes for whichever player he best remembers had an exciting moment in the postseason or vote for a guy the Baseball Hall of Fame voter doesn't suspect, using his vast medical and investigative experience, of using PED's. It's a pretty sophisticated system the Baseball Hall of Fame voter uses.

So here's how we fix it! 

Change the selection criteria to: Two to four offensive players, two to four defensive players, and zero to one specialists/administrators.

That's a good idea. It makes the voting more flexible by adding in a specialist/administrator category, but making the voting less flexible by insisting the voters have to put in two defensive or offensive players. I'm not against more specialists entering the Hall of Fame, but I don't know about providing a minimum or maximum of players that can enter the Hall of Fame from the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Plus, I'm not sure including zero to one specialists/administrators on the ballot will cause the Hall of Fame voters to include a specialist or administrator. They still could look at this position as not being worthy of a Hall of Fame vote, even if the number of players who can be voted in per year goes from 5 to 8. I think the Pro Football Hall of Fame should increase the amount of players who can be voted in during a given year, but I'm not sure this would mean more specialists would have a better chance of making it into the Hall of Fame over the long run. Some voters would still have a problem voting in a kicker over an offensive/defensive player. Specialists and defensive/offensive players will still get compared to each other, just in a different way.

Kluwe's idea could have some merit, but it is basically an idea that consists of giving the voters permission to vote for a specialist/administrator by including a "specialist/administrator" category. I'm not sure the voters need permission like this. The issue is the voters are still going to compare Ray Guy to Michael Strahan (or another offensive/defensive player) and possibly not vote Guy into the Hall of Fame. In short, I don't know if this fixes the problem by simply creating a category for specialists/administrators.

That's it. Nice and simple. The Hall can keep the 80 percent majority horse-wrangling alive and well,

I would personally work on a Hall of Fame that gets rid of as much of this horse-wrangling as possible if I were a person who felt like proposing ideas to improve the Football Hall of Fame voting process.

it can keep the cut-down from 25 to 15, but now it has the option to include the players who might otherwise be overlooked simply because all the slots fill up too fast in that final cut-down from 15 to five.

The issue I can see is that the voters will then have to decide between a borderline Hall of Fame offensive/defensive player over a specialist. In that case, the offensive/defensive player is probably going to win out in the minds of the voters. It doesn't make it right, but I feel like this is the reality. Voters can vote for a maximum of 8 players, but that doesn't mean they will be more inclined to vote in a specialist. It may mean they will be more inclined to stick to a smaller number of inductees in a given year.

Notice that I'm not even putting a minimum requirement on specialists -- if the voters really think there's no qualified candidate, they don't have to vote one in.

One or two specialists may end up in the Hall of Fame if this rule were implemented, but I don't know if this rule change would cause voters to consider more specialists for the Hall of Fame in the long run. Opening up the voting to a larger number of candidates being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame could easily cause have zero effect on specialists being voted into the Hall of Fame.

However, I think there are a lot of voters who simply can't reconcile putting in a Ray Guy or a Jason Hanson over a Jim Marshall or a Randy Moss, even though Ray (and Steve and Reggie and Adam) made just as much of an impact at their respective positions.

But the voters are still going to be forced to decide between Jim Marshall and Jason Hanson in a different way. If the voters are on the fence about Jim Marshall, are they really going to submit a vote for Jason Hanson in the specialist position? There's still going to be a bias towards offensive/defensive players. In a way there is no getting around the consideration of an offensive/defensive player versus a specialist. The thought process may still be "If we don't vote Jim Marshall into the Hall of Fame, how can we vote for Jason Hanson to enter the Hall of Fame?"

To me, and I think to a lot of other people, that's what a Hall of Fame is all about: Players who impact the game at their position at such a high level that everyone notices. I believe those players deserve a chance to be recognized, regardless of what position the impact was made at.

The bigger issue is going to be changing the voter's thinking about specialists and their place in the Hall of Fame. That's the major issue, not whether voters feel like they have permission to vote for a specialist or opening up enough potential Hall of Fame spots to where a specialist could be included without taking away the spot of an offensive/defensive player. At the end of the day, no matter how the categories are sorted out, many voters will still compare an offensive/defensive player to a specialist when determining which player should enter the Hall of Fame. It becomes less of a "Offensive/Defensive player or specialist?" argument and more of a "If we let Jason Hanson into the Hall of Fame, shouldn't we let Jim Marshall in as well?" argument.

I drove my car back from Minnesota to California the other day (if you're interested, the descent into madness is on my Twitter feed), and it got me to thinking: Everyone should take a road trip across the U.S. at some point in order to get a sense of just how big this planet that we live on is, and how diverse this country that we live in is.

No MMQB would be complete without a Peter King-ish thought like this. Everyone should do exactly what Kluwe is doing. Everyone needs to gain the perspective he has the time and money to allow himself to gain.

It would do a lot of people a lot of good to realize that the world isn't just the 25 square miles surrounding their house. Broaden your horizons. You might find something new. You might even like it!

People do tend to leave the 25 square mile area, but perhaps not drive all the way across the country. The two issues in traveling across the country are time and money, which are two things most people don't necessarily have. Most people love to broaden their horizons, but taking a road trip across the United States probably isn't something everyone can do. Chalk one up to being a professional athlete and having some sense of an offseason that most people don't have.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

I've also been doing a lot of traveling in airplanes lately, speaking at schools and whatnot,

Yeah, you know, just speaking at schools. No big deal. Kluwe is in demand to talk to the kids, he thought just he would mention it. Everyone should try to speak at schools and whatnot, it gives such a great perspective on the world outside the 25 square miles surrounding their house. Try to be a public speaker. Go to schools and start speaking to the kids. You might find you like it and get the perspective on the world that Chris Kluwe has and likes to tell us that we need to get.

The 3DS is the perfect size and heft to bludgeon the person in front of me when they lean their seat back into my knees, and then the headphone cord can be used to quickly garrote their stunned body. Executed properly, this technique will save you countless hours of aggravation on plane trips, especially if you happen to be 6-foot-5 or taller and don't like wasting money on first class.

Peter King says flying first class is NEVER money wasted. It helps to keep you away from the middle-class people who are insistent about going about their lives while Peter leers at them from over the top of the seat in front of him.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me

The NSA is building a giant spy facility in Utah so it can read all your sexting emails. This facility definitely violates parts of the Bill of Rights that protect your right to cyberhump "bigbuttz420xxx" in private (though probably not in that exact language), but most people don't seem to care anymore. So it goes.

It's not that most people don't seem to care anymore, it's that very little can be done. If Chris Kluwe knows of a way to stop the NSA from building a spy facility I would love to hear his suggestion. After all, I don't speak at schools and have the perspective that a road trip across the United States would provide me, so he's clearly the expert here.

Want me to write my Congressman? The government either spies on us and flaunts it in our face or doesn't tell us when they spy on us. It's happening either way and I am very open to suggestions as to how to stop this. Merely saying "most people don't seem to care anymore" doesn't seem to go a long way to solving the problem once the problem has been found.

"How is that Miami's ball?"

-- @SI_PeterKing, aka Peter King, watching the NBA finals.


It's not that Peter is only supposed to talk about football, it is that some of Peter's observations are surrounded by Peter saying something like, "I'm not an expert on this and haven't ever watched field hockey before, but why don't they use sticks made out of aluminum foil?" Peter can obviously talk about whatever he likes to talk about, and he does, but his observations on other sports seem to come across as uninformed or incredibly obvious. Then there are the times Peter says Derek Jeter is the best player he has ever seen play the game of baseball. Those times are the worst.

Ten Things I Think I Think I Know I Think I Know I Think

1. I think that this part is going to be tangentially about football, if at all, because there are so many other things in life than sports.

If you took a road trip across the United States these insights could be yours too.

It's extremely possible to both follow sports and also be knowledgeable about the current state of the world, just like it's extremely possible to both play sports and have interests outside your job. 

I'm not sure entirely what this means, but it could very well be Kluwe's response to those who don't like an NFL player having an opinion on social issues.

TRES. I think some people skate by on natural talent as long as they can, and never realize they should have put the time in to get better. You can yell at those people, but gently.

Be somewhat lazy with your yelling at these people. Yell at them, but do it gently and don't let it take up too much of your time. Unless these people's laziness is preventing you from doing your job well or causing you to not do your job well. This type of person may indeed eventually burn in Hell and it is perfectly acceptable to yell at them in a non-gentle fashion.

octo. I think bullying is a serious problem in the culture of athletics, and we need to be doing more to prevent it from happening.

Maybe that's the reason for the NSA facility in Utah. The NSA is looking to monitor and look out for bullies and prevent them from bullying others.

I think some people may not realize when they're bullying someone. Here's a hint -- if you wouldn't like someone doing to you what you're doing to them, you're being a bully. Grow up and develop some empathy.

So my boss is being a bully when he asks me to do more work when I am currently already doing enough work to fill my day? He wouldn't like it if I gave him more work to do, so I'll just tell him next time he is being a bully and report him to the new NSA facility in Utah.

Also, what's empathy? I don't understand the word and don't comprehend how bullying can negatively affect a person.

x. I think you should get back to work before your boss fires you.

Well, I have decided my boss is a bully so reading MMQB at work is how I am getting back at him. Well, that and slowly poisoning his c---I mean shooting him mean looks. 

And look, no "Adieu Haiku"! Let's enjoy this short break from short-form Japanese poetry.


HH said...

"Extremely possible" is a nonsensical term. It's possible or not. Extremely probably? Maybe. Extremely likely? Maybe. Extremely easy? Maybe. Extremely possible? No. That's the same as saying extremely alive.

Anonymous said...

The reason more specialists aren't in the Hall of Fame (and I know you were alluding to this) is because most voters don't view specialists as real football players, and thus aren't going to vote for them unless they're forced to. I really think you'd have to put in a stipulation that a kicker or punter must be put in every year to get a kicker or punter into the Hall of Fame.

Compare it to the DH in baseball. Voters HATE voting for former DH's because they don't view them as real ballplayers. For most voters, it would have been better had Edgar Martinez been a butcher at third for 10 years than it was for him to be a DH the whole time. Voters hate specialists.

And let's be honest; who's the first kicker going to be that the voters put in? It won't be Ray Guy, or Morten Andersen, or Gary Anderson. It will be Adam Vinatieri. Why? Because he had MEMORABLE MOMENTS, just like you alluded to in your post regarding baseball voters. It's not even worth getting upset about. If you, in your heart of hearts, believe Ray Guy was a Hall of Famer, that's good enough. You shouldn't need validation from people whose thought process is different than yours.

Barry Bonds had two Hall of Fame careers. Roger Clemens damn-near did as well. I don't know Jerry Green and Terrance Moore to validate that for me. I refuse to give them the pleasure of holding that over me.

Eric C said...

Better Big Daddy Drew than Big Daddy Dudley

JimA said...

Wow! You really don't like this guy, do you? You mock him for making light of his place in life, then attack him for being not being self-aware enough. I don't give a shit about this guy, but you're better than this.

Bengoodfella said...

HH, I've never thought about that. I probably will stop using that term because it doesn't make a ton of sense.

Anon, I didn't want to piss all over Kluwe's idea, but I do agree with you. I'm not sure saying, "Here's a specific spot for a specialist, so vote for one" that the voters will indeed do this. It's just something about specialists that cause voters to think they don't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. If it weren't for the save stat I would imagine relief pitchers may have the same issues that kickers and DH's end up having.

I think Vinatieri will end up making the Hall of Fame too. I haven't researched it, so I don't know how I feel about that, but he was very good and he had memorable moments. I would probably vote for Bonds based entirely on his record prior to the Steroid Era. He was a Hall of Fame guy even then.

Eric, I had to look that one up. I really need to be up on my wrestling references.


I have nothing against Kluwe, but to say everyone should drive across the United States sometime is just so King-esque.