Monday, December 9, 2013

9 comments Gregg Easterbrook Introduces a Way to Predict the Super Bowl Matchup

Gregg Easterbrook introduces his "Authentic Game" metric this week in TMQ. Without even knowing anything about the metric then you can probably already guess it is an arbitrary measurement and it's only purpose will be to prove a point that Gregg wants to prove. Creating a fake metric to measure how well a team has played is certainly a lot easier than outright lying. Gregg, of course, also criticizes Nick Saban for trying a game-winning field goal and not having speed guys on the field to match the Auburn speed guys on the field on Saturday. This just one week after Gregg criticized the Vikings for not going for a 70-yard free kick, at which time in last week's TMQ post I pointed out the opposing team could have simply run the free kick back for a touchdown. So rather than admit he didn't pay attention to that little fact once it became reality, Gregg criticizes Nick Saban for trying to hit a long field goal, when Auburn has speed guys on the field. 

Authentic Games are those against other potent teams.

The Authentic metric values most W's over best percentage. Thus I rank the Denver Broncos at 4-2 ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts at 3-1. The reasoning is that the more wins a team has versus power opponents, the better prepared the team is for the postseason.

Of course since teams play other "potent" teams (and Gregg never defines what a "potent" team actually is other than saying "equal caliber" and of course a team's record changes every week which means what teams are "potent" changes every week, thereby sorting of making "potent" being a constantly moving metric that has to be re-evaluated every week) when the schedule calls for it then it's not exactly fair to rank the Colts behind the Bengals simply because the Colts haven't had the chance to play the two additional "potent" teams the Bengals have. Not that I would expect Gregg to think of a metric that isn't shit, of course.

Because some teams start slow and finish strong, while others do the reverse, I judge opponents as "authentic" based on current records.

Meaning the Authentic metric only has meaning for one week and then Seattle's Authentic metric could change completely because Dallas beat Chicago or something else completely out of the Seahawks control. Does that make the Seahawks victory over the Bears any less authentic or worthy just because the Bears have a 6-6 record now, but had a 5-1 record when they played the Seahawks? What if the Bears played three "authentic" teams during that time? Gregg's metric also doesn't factor in where the games were played, whether it is on the road or at home. Where the game against an authentic team is being played, whether at home or on the road, is important if you ask me.

There is one exception. The asterisk in this ranking is the Green Bay Packers, since Green Bay is entirely a different team without Aaron Rodgers. Thus the San Francisco 49ers get credit for an authentic win for defeating the Packers, with Rodgers, to open the season. The Eagles don't get credit for defeating the Packers with Scott Tolzien at QB.

Gregg can't arbitrarily change the rankings when he wants to simply because he doesn't like what they reflect. It causes the metric to mean nothing if it is changed simply because the person running the metric doesn't like the result it shows.

Detroit's early loss to Green Bay with Rodgers counts as an authentic defeat, while Detroit's later win over the Pack led by Matt Flynn does not count as an authentic victory.

This metric is essentially the equivalent of Gregg Easterbrook brainstorming at 10pm on a Monday night realizing he has no lede for his TMQ, so he makes something up. Even Bill Simmons would be embarrassed to create such a half-assed metric.

Here are the Authentic Games standings:

Seattle: 4-1
Denver and New Orleans: 4-2
Cincinnati and Indianapolis: 3-1
Detroit: 3-3
Arizona: 3-4
Carolina, Kansas City and New England: 2-2
San Francisco: 2-4
Philadelphia: 1-3
Dallas: 1-4

This metric predicts a Super Bowl pairing of Broncos versus Seahawks.

And of course New Orleans is being punished for having played too many authentic teams. Which of course makes no sense to me. The metric is predicting this Super Bowl matchup this week, but if the Saints beat the Panthers this upcoming weekend and Seattle loses then the Super Bowl will be New Orleans versus the Broncos. At that point the metric is ignoring the fact the Seahawks destroyed the Saints in Seattle. The Seahawks look like they could get homefield advantage throughout the playoffs so in order to make it to the Super Bowl the Saints would possibly have to beat the Seahawks in Seattle, which they are clearly not able to do at this point. But hey, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's see what this metric thinks a few weeks from now once teams that aren't authentic are included in Gregg's current calculations and teams that aren't authentic become authentic over the next few weeks.

Whatever happens to Romo, doubt not the Sports Illustrated curse. Cover boy of the issue before the Dallas quarterback was AJ McCarron, with the headline, "On The Brink Of A Third National Title." No more!

Well, he was on the cover two weeks ago when Alabama won a game, while Tony Romo was actually on the Sports Illustrated over when Alabama lost to Auburn. I know, I know...details that help to ruin Gregg's point are so boring.

Sweet Play of the Week: Seattle facing third-and-1 on its 36, the Bluish Men Group lined up in a three-tight end power set, suggesting run; the Seahawks are that rare contemporary NFL team that rushes more than it passes. Two tight ends were in line. The third lined up as a fullback, then went in motion left; two linebackers moved with the motion man, guessing toss left, a play Seattle uses a lot. At the snap, Russell Wilson bootlegged right with the tailback in front of him and the left-side in-line tight end running a short "drag" right.

But where was the tight end from the right side, Zach Miller? He stutter-stepped once, then went deep. Tight end going deep is a surprise at every level of football, even professional. ILB David Hawthorne, who should have taken Miller in the New Orleans 3-4 scheme, instead let him bolt past,

And of course the Saints safeties are in no way supposed to help Hawthorne out on this play. The defense was designed for the linebacker to have single-coverage on the tight end coming out of the backfield with absolutely no safety help. What could go wrong?

Football IQ also says if what you're doing has been figured out, change tactics. Early in the season, the Chiefs' defense was surprising offenses with eight-man fronts and aggressive press corners. Nobody is surprised now.

But what if this type of defense is what Bob Sutton's scheme calls for and plays to the strengths of the Chiefs defense? It's entirely possible for the Chiefs to change tactics, but the tactics the Chiefs are using plays to the strengths of the defense. Certainly the Chiefs could have (should have?) changed tactics, but this change in tactics could also bring forth more weaknesses in the Chiefs defense.

The press corners are being torched, including on a 77-yard completion on which Demaryius Thomas just blew past press corner Marcus Cooper, who never so much as touched him. Pressing backfires if receivers run right past.

Doesn't Gregg mean that highly-drafted glory boy Demaryius Thomas just blew past lowly-drafted, hard-working press corner Marcus Cooper? Rest assured if an undrafted free agent or a 7th round pick had run by a highly-drafted cornerback Gregg would mention the corner's draft position as well as claim the corner got caught "looking into the backfield."

City of Tampa leading 3-0, Carolina lined up on the Buccaneers' 16 with flanker Brandon LaFell left, plus tight end Greg Olsen and a wide receiver forming a stack right. Olsen came in motion until he formed a stack left with LaFell, who ran uncovered for a touchdown catch. Sweet.

At the snap, a Bucs corner and linebacker were pointing and arguing about who should cover whom. The combo move is so common in the NFL that, by December, defenses should not be confused about how to react. At the snap, rookie Johnathan Banks, the confused corner, simply covered no one, standing like a piece of topiary. Sour.

I believe it is actually the Buccaneers safety that tried to cover the wrong receiver and allowed LaFell to be open in the end zone. But yeah, let's just blame the linebacker and cornerback for not covering the back end of the end zone in what appeared to be a zone defense.

Sweet 'N' Sour Play II: Trailing Cleveland 28-25, Jacksonville faced third-and-9 on the Browns' 20 with 45 seconds remaining. Cecil Shorts, of Division III Mount Union, ran a stop-and-go; Chad Henne pump-faked; cornerback Joe Haden bit; touchdown. And the Jags have followed an 0-8 streak with a 3-1 streak. Sweet. Sour was that Haden bit on the short fake and no safety was in sight deep, though Jax was already in field-goal range and nearly certain to try for the end zone.

Why were the Jaguars certain to go for the end zone on this very play? It's very possible the Jaguars were going to throw a short pass and get the first down, then run the field goal team out there or run another play. Sure, maybe the Jaguars would go for the end zone, but it's complete bullshit that they would go for the end zone on this very play. Haden has to play his man and he can't just keep backing up and let Shorts catch the pass and get the opportunity to go out of bounds or run for a touchdown after the pass. Haden shouldn't have bit on the fake, but he still has to defend his man on short routes and it's not certain at all the Jaguars were going for the end zone on this very play.

During the bye week, I will be the guest on NPR's "Diane Rehm Show." Date is Monday, Dec. 9, time is 11 a.m. till noon ET. Topic is, of course, "The King of Sports."

It's Bye Week Creep! Gregg hasn't even started his bye week yet and he is already talking about what radio shows he will be on to pimp his newest book.

Trailing 7-0 at Baltimore, Pittsburgh punted on fourth-and-6 from the Ravens' 37. Later, trailing 10-0, the Steelers punted on fourth-and-1 from their 31. Pittsburgh went on to lose by two points, dropping the team to 5-7 and close to elimination. 

Had Steelers coach Mike Tomlin kept his offense on the field instead of launching these Preposterous Punts, the outcome might have been different.

Or the outcome of the game may not have been different.

But Tomlin is a traditionalist coach, and traditionalists punt on fourth down. Also, earlier in the contest, Tomlin gambled with a fake field goal, which failed. If a coin flip come ups tails five straight times, this tells nothing about the sixth flip. But it's human nature to think otherwise.

Wow, what a deep thought by Gregg. Unfortunately, he's not smart enough to understand a coin flip is a 50-50 proposition, while going for it on fourth down isn't a 50-50 proposition depending on the situation. So while I know Gregg feels he is being very smart, he's fundamentally misunderstanding that a team that goes for it on fourth down doesn't have a 50-50 chance of converting the fourth down in every situation. The odds in the situation are based on the down and distance.

In football, if a team tries to convert a fourth-and-1 five times and fails every time, then this could very well tell us something about the sixth time the team tries to go for it on fourth-and-1. Past information based on events in similar circumstances should go into what future strategy a coach decides to use.

Perhaps it's spitting into the wind to say there is too much materialism, not enough sense of gratitude or reflection. After all, no one put guns to Americans' heads and forced them to abandon their communal tables, forget the meaning of the day, and rush to stores.

But just be sure to buy Gregg's new book "The King of Sports" for $19.61 at or any of your local bookstores. Now let's have Gregg talk more about materialism and the rush to stores to buy products on Black Friday.

But Thanksgiving Day is supposedly a national celebration of thanks for America's freedom and plenty -- engaging all citizens regardless of religious or political beliefs. Now corporate America is methodically destroying Thanksgiving, too.

I hate it when corporate American destroys Thanksgiving. Now let Gregg continue to write TMQ for, part of a joint venture between Disney and Hearst Corporation, which are two very small companies that would in no way attempt to commercialize the holidays. Never. Ever.

Gregg wants to help save Thanksgiving and Christmas from the very corporate entities that employ him, pay his salary and give him a forum to publicize his book.

If a couple years pass without crowds rushing the doors of big-corporate stores on Thanksgiving, then retailers will go back to being closed and giving their workers a day off.

And if we all just hold hands and stop caring about ourselves more than other people we can end all war AND stop world hunger. Let's do it!

Lawsuits and legislation are not needed to return Thanksgiving to its original meaning -- all that's needed is for Americans to refuse to enter stores for one day of the year. Has materialism become such an almighty that Americans cannot do this?

Consumers go to retail stores on Black Friday because they believe they are saving money. People like saving money and will continue to shop on Black Friday as long as the prices are low. Not everyone has book profits that can help pay for Christmas gifts.

NFL teams are averaging 23.4 points per game, up slightly from the season record of 23.2. Don't count the chickens just yet -- scoring tends to tail off late, so a record season is far from assured.

I hope everyone remembers how earlier in this year Gregg stated that NFL scoring was up and he seemed to indicate he believed scoring would stay increased. Now that scoring has fallen, Gregg has fallen back on his old adage of "well, scoring decreases as the season goes along," which conveniently is an adage that Gregg didn't recite earlier in this season when he wasn't sure scoring would tail off. As always, if Gregg plays both sides of an issue he can't ever be seen as wrong. He writes that scoring is increasing and warns of runaway offenses in the NFL, but then falls back on "scoring tails off late in the season" when the runaway offenses start to come back down to Earth.

But if the record is beaten, bear this in mind: The best-ever NFL season for scoring per game was 1948.

Today's pass-wacky offenses are fun to watch, and the season may end with a record pace for overall points production. But nothing is new under the sun: Shootouts would seem normal to Dutch Meyer.

Here is Gregg Easterbrook's October 8 TMQ.

Find the part in there where Gregg wrote the offensive explosion isn't new and scoring falls off late. I couldn't find it. What a terrible writer. Gregg has written before that offenses tail off at the end of the season, yet he writes an entire TMQ about runaway offenses and how this is the new norm in football when he knows this isn't necessarily true.

Here's what I wrote in that TMQ:

Also, if you will remember Gregg has stated prior to this season that there is no need to panic because runaway offenses always come back to Earth once defenses "solidify." I guess that football truth is no longer a truth? So Gregg doesn't think football defenses are eventually going to catch up to football offenses anymore, despite the fact he previously refuted his current "offense is out of control" argument by saying the defenses always catch up. It's always a sad state of affairs when Gregg is forced to contradict something he said just two years because reality doesn't match his beliefs.

Gregg Easterbrook in November 2011: "Everyone calm down about these runaway offenses. Stop acting stupid and assuming the offenses will always put up these large numbers. The numbers aren't permanent. The defense always ends up catching up around November. It's a football law."

Gregg Easterbrook in October 2013: "Look at all these runaway offenses. This must be a permanent change in football and the defenses aren't catching up EVER." 

I figured once scoring tapered off Gregg would fall back on his adage that scoring decreases the season goes along. Of course, he conveniently doesn't mention this when trying to squeeze out a TMQ earlier in the year with the high-scoring offenses in football as his main topic of discussion.

This emerging theory is reflected in a book about to be released, "A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama's America," by Jacqueline Jones, a highly regarded University of Texas historian. Your columnist just finished an advance copy, and was impressed -- the volume may have a lasting impact on American thought.

When will the commercialization and constant pimping of commercial products ever end? Gregg hates it how it is hard to do anything or go anywhere without someone selling a product to him.

When discussing this book, Gregg criticizes the author for providing a link that didn't state what the author claimed it stated.

From 2009 to 2012, federal spending on social services, health care, and benefits to seniors and the disadvantaged rose 12 percent, by about $263 billion: see page 55. So I checked the article Jones cited to back her fact about "drastic" cuts. The article is on a different subject -- trends in median household income of those nearing retirement -- and does not mention public services.

I'll just assume this is a joke or a parody, because when I think of authors who cite articles that don't state what he/she claims they state, then I immediately think of Gregg Easterbrook. Gregg just two weeks ago linked an article that was talking about Illinois when Gregg claimed the article was talking about Florida. I believe that Gregg doesn't even read some of the articles that he links in TMQ, because if he did then he would know these articles don't always support the point he wants to prove or don't state what he claims they state.

The call was a shotgun-spread buttonhook to Michigan's possession receiver. Ohio State came out in a dime as the Buckeyes were expecting pass. Pre-snap, there were five Ohio State defenders in the tackle box, versus five Michigan linemen, a tight end, a quarterback and a running back. Had Michigan rushed against the dime look, its chances were good. 

Based on what evidence was Michigan's chances good of rushing for a touchdown in this situation? Simply because there were five linemen in the box with a tight end? The quarterback and running back certainly can't block on a running play that goes straight ahead, so Gregg is assuming all of the Ohio State defenders would have stayed where they were and not been able to tackle the Michigan ball carrier before he reaches the end zone. It was five-against-six in this situation, certainly not a situation where Ohio State had no chance of tackling the Michigan runner before he reaches the end zone. Plus, Michigan has struggled to run the ball all year against quality competition behind an offensive line that is relatively young. It always annoys me how Gregg states opinions like they are facts.

Buck-Buck-Brawkkkkkk: Miami leading 13-0 late in the third quarter at Jersey/B, the Jets faced fourth-and-goal on the Dolphins' 2. Don't wimp out! The field goal boomed, and that is all you need to know about the remainder of this contest,

All I really need to know is the Jets had not scored any points and it was late in the third quarter. Perhaps the Jets should have gone for the field goal, but getting points on the board was as much about confidence as it was about winning the game. I don't know if going for a field goal over a touchdown in this situation tells me about the outcome of the game any more than knowing the Jets had not scored any points by late in the third quarter tells me what I need to know about this game.

The Jets quietly are posting a disastrous season on offense,

Quietly? The Jets do nothing quietly and if Gregg thinks the Jets are quietly bad on offense then he isn't paying attention.

Before Jersey/B's fraidy-cat field goal, Miami twice went for it on fourth-and-1 and both times was denied. But the attempts communicated to Miami players that their coach was challenging them to win.

It also communicated that Joe Philbin knew the Jets couldn't score points on the Dolphins defense.

Blue-clad Dallas Cowboys leading 28-21, the Oakland Raiders faced third-and-9 on the hosts' 20 with nine minutes remaining. Presnap, third-string quarterback Matt McGloin saw speed receiver Jacoby Ford in single-man coverage with corner Brandon Carr playing press, and no safety over the top. Any quarterback would audible to a "go" in that situation. McGloin audibled to a go.

Just before the snap, Carr began to backpedal. Either because of the coverage called or because Carr correctly guessed the play,

I would say Carr began to backpedal because of the coverage called and he was attempting to disguise his coverage. I am fairly confident that Carr didn't begin to backpedal because he guessed the play and just decided he was no longer going to run the defensive play call made by Monte Kiffin. Gregg Easterbrook works under the assumption that defensive players can just do whatever the hell they want to do on defense. I'm not sure why, but Gregg thinks defensive players can ignore the play called and just start freelancing in the secondary. This isn't true for the majority of defensive players.

by the time McGloin started his throw, a best-case scenario had become a worst-case scenario -- the corner he thought would bump-and-run had instead "turned his hips" and was retreating at maximum speed.

I can't believe this undrafted free agent was tricked like this by a highly-paid glory boy like Brandon Carr. And yes, you know if the situation was reversed Gregg would have mentioned an undrafted player confused and intercepted a highly-paid glory boy. Because this interception doesn't fit the narrative Gregg furthers, he mentions neither player's draft position.

Jacoby Jones of the Baltimore Ravens was sprinting up the sideline in front of the Pittsburgh Steelers' bench for what seemed a likely kick return touchdown when Steelers coach Mike Tomlin put his feet onto the field in Jones' path. The Baltimore player sidestepped Tomlin, slowing down enough that he was caught from behind at the Steelers' 27. Tomlin wasn't flagged.

And it does not matter whether Tomlin stepped into Jones' path on purpose or just made a knucklehead mistake; many sports penalties are unintentional. TMQ's question is: Why wasn't Baltimore awarded a touchdown?

Because Tomlin wasn't even flagged on the play. If the officials don't think Tomlin did anything wrong to where his actions would merit a flag, why would they award the Ravens a touchdown? This is like saying, "If Person X wasn't arrested for manslaughter when he ran over a little girl with his car while drunk, why wasn't he arrested for first degree murder?"

If the officials didn't think Tomlin's actions deserved a flag, why would they believe Tomlin did something so wrong as to merit the Ravens being awarded a touchdown?

The NFL rules list five ways a touchdown may be recorded, the fifth being, "The Referee awards a touchdown to a team that has been denied one by a palpably unfair act." An opposition coach steps directly into the path of a runner who is likely to score. The rules give the referee broad authority to determine what constitutes "palpably unfair" action.

But the officials didn't even believe Tomlin committed an unfair act, much less a "palpably" unfair act. This shouldn't be hard to understand.

What the Hey??? Trailing San Francisco 16-6, the Rams punted on fourth-and-1. On the next possession, margin still 16-6, the Rams went for it on fourth-and-8 from their own 22. It resulted in a loss of yardage and an immediate 49ers touchdown.

But I thought going for it on fourth down told the Rams team that Jeff Fisher was very serious about winning the game and this would help the Rams convert this fourth down? Is this suddenly not true anymore?

This is part of the reason Gregg is full of crap when he makes these hard-and-fast rules on when to go for it on fourth down. The Rams go for it on fourth down and then the 49ers score an immediate touchdown after the attempt fails. If the Rams had punted then Gregg would write, "The Rams booted the ball and it took the 49ers less than X amount of plays to get back where the Rams would have gone for it on fourth down" as if the punt is what caused the 49ers to go down the field and score. Gregg is so outcome-oriented it annoys me.

The attempt was a fake punt that was so confused, it was hard to tell what Les Mouflons were trying to do. Later, the Rams went on fourth-and-11. The time to go for it on fourth down is fourth-and-short.

So the Rams should have punted on fourth-and-11 when it was later in the game and they needed to score in order to win the game? Or should they have secretly tried to move the ball up 9-10 yards so it would be fourth-and-short and hope the officials or 49ers wouldn't notice? There's always a reason given for why a fourth down attempt doesn't work and this reason never infringes on the black-and-white idea that going for it on fourth down tells a coach's team that coach is playing to win the game, which obviously makes the team play better. So I guess teams should not go for it on fourth down now if it isn't fourth-and-short. I'm pretty sure Gregg makes these rules up as he goes along.

Last Week's Ohio State Item: A reader questioned whether "leisure studies" and "exercise science" should be majors at a four-year university. Steven Hansen of Fort Worth, Texas, writes, "I graduated from college with a major in exercise science, which was a popular major, but not for reasons that people may assume. I am now in my second year of medical school, and can report that my degree prepared me more for my classes in medical school than the classes of some of my friends who majored in neuroscience, molecular neology or microbiology. For my exercise science degree, I was required to take human anatomy, human physiology, biology, molecular biology, tissue biology, physics, general chemistry and organic chemistry before going on to courses such as exercise physiology, orthopedic impairments and biomechanics. Exercise science may not sound prestigious, but is a legitimate major."

Yeah, the guy who wrote in last week talking about how exercise science is a crap major is an asshole. I wish Gregg wouldn't print a person's email when that person clearly doesn't seem to understand what he is talking about.

I found it wrong that a New York City psychic should be sentenced to five years in prison, as opposed to just put out of business, considering that spiritual-world claims made by psychics are uncomfortably similar to claims made with full respectability by clergy. 

Remy Taborga of New York City writes, "Many victims in psychic scams are people who are in emotional distress and in their desperation turn to someone who exploits their circumstances to steal from them. This was a rare victory in which a psychic was held accountable for her despicable acts." But clergy, televangelists and organizations such as the Salvation Army may pressure people for donations in cash or via will, and some of those pressured may have come toward religion because they are in "emotional distress."

But these organizations provide the service regardless of whether you pay the money or not. It's not a business transaction. You can attend church or watch a televangelist and learn about God without having to pay money to do so. I don't know what the Salvation Army has to do with anything since any donations to them are also purely voluntary.

Fuze has a TV commercial in which a dog rides a surf board. The tiny-type crawl says "Do not attempt." Are the dogs in the audience supposed to read that?

No idiot, the message is for humans to know they shouldn't be putting their dog on a surfboard. I don't know why Gregg tries to be cutesy like this. Dogs can't drive to the beach or purchase a surfboard to ride in the ocean, so obviously a human will have to get the dog to the beach and put the dog on the surfboard.

Hidden plays are ones that never make highlight reels, but sustain or stop drives. Chicago leading 20-17, Minnesota faced fourth-and-11 deep in its territory inside the two-minute warning of regulation. Chicago big-blitzed; conversion; Minnesota went on to win in overtime.

If Gregg is arguing the fourth down conversion that extended the game and allowed the Vikings to eventually win the game in overtime is a hidden play, then he is dumber than I had originally thought. If anything, this was one of the most important plays of the game. I'm pretty sure this would make a highlight reel too since this is the play that kept the Vikings game-tying drive going late in the fourth quarter.

Game tied 28-28 at Auburn, an Alabama runner stepped out-of-bounds as the clock expired in regulation, sending the contest to overtime. Then a second was put back on the clock, and Alabama attempted a 57-yard field goal that was returned for a touchdown with the clock expired.

Just last week Gregg thought the Vikings should attempt a 70-yard field goal. Naturally, because he sees the downside of the Vikings trying this kick now he won't remind his readers that he was just spouting off at the mouth and didn't think this opinion through all the way.

Nick Saban demanded the extra play on which his charges were defeated. Why did Saban argue vehemently to put one second back on the clock? try the long field goal, just like you had suggested the Vikings try last week. Gregg is acting like he didn't suggest an NFL team should kick a long field goal just last week.

The Crimson Tide had already gone 0-for-3 with field goal attempts on the night; a 57-yarder seemed improbable.

Yeah, but you know. Flip of the coin, 50-50 shot all that stuff. I'll let Gregg sum it up better:

Also, earlier in the contest, Tomlin gambled with a fake field goal, which failed. If a coin flip come ups tails five straight times, this tells nothing about the sixth flip. But it's human nature to think otherwise.

So using Gregg's own words, the three failed field goal attempts on the night tells us nothing about the fourth field goal attempt. Right? Isn't that the logic he used earlier in this column to explain why he thinks Mike Tomlin should have gone for it on fourth down? All of a sudden Gregg doesn't use this logic anymore because it doesn't fit what he wants to prove.

I absolutely think Nick Saban and Alabama should have tried to factor in that the kick could have been run back for a touchdown, but that's the risk they took in trying the field goal, and that's a risk Gregg suggested the Vikings should take just last week.

As Saban sent the kicking unit onto the field, Gus Malzahn called timeout. Why? To take out big guys and put in speed guys. When the kick boomed, the Tigers had five speed players on the field; Saban didn't seem aware of this.

Maybe he was aware, but what could he do other than not go for the field goal? If Saban puts speed guys on the field then the field goal could be blocked. Sure, Saban shouldn't have had his kicker try the kick in retrospect, but there wasn't a strategy he could have used to combat Auburn trying to return the punt while also ensuring the field goal attempt isn't blocked. Speed guys generally aren't great blockers.

Alabama demanded the extra second that caused its own demise, then failed to prepare for a return despite a bright flashing warning that was Auburn's plan. Nick Saban, you are guilty of the single worst play of the season. So far.

I don't understand how Alabama could have blocked for the field goal attempt, while also preparing for Auburn to return the kick. Alabama had to have blockers in to avoid the field goal attempt from being blocked and these blockers generally aren't the fastest players. So Saban took a risk and it didn't pay off.

I'll be back Dec. 17, and on the case through that Super Bowl thing you might have heard about.

I won't look forward to it. 


Anonymous said...

I guarantee you that if you asked Gregg how he determines team "potency", he'd answer "Number of Authentic wins". Perfectly logical.

jacktotherack said...

Football IQ also says if what you're doing has been figured out, change tactics. Early in the season, the Chiefs' defense was surprising offenses with eight-man fronts and aggressive press corners. Nobody is surprised now.

What a simpleton. I think the Chiefs defensive "struggles" in 2 of their 3 losses had more to do with playing THE FUCKING BRONCOS than it had to do with people figuring out their scheme. And in their loss to the Chargers, who are also a very good offense, their 2 best pass rushers got hurt. Gregg eats hog.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, it's all circular. I wonder if we will get an update on "Authentic Wins" next week?

Jack, all of a sudden the Chiefs have fixed their issues by playing a Redskins team that is really struggling. Funny how that works...

The Broncos and Peyton Manning can make a lot of defenses look really stupid. Of course that has nothing to do with the Chiefs losses, it's because they need to completely change their scheme and tactics.

Ericb said...

So, essentially, Greggggg just picked the teams with the best record in each conference and then to complexify the choices he made up some ridiculous formula to up his word count.

Ericb said...

Oh, and btw Gregggg how is your best team in the AFC, the Colts, holding up these days?

Bengoodfella said...

Eric, yes. Until next week when another team is playing better he will find a way to put that team into the Super Bowl. At this point he will have predicted 5-6 different Super Bowl matchups and will feel free to tell us all how right he was when a matchup works out.

Gregg isn't responsible for being held to what he writes on a weekly basis. The Colts were his team, but they aren't anymore. I'm sure it has something to do with highly-drafted glory boys and not enough undrafted hard working players.

Crazee said...

I notice the Bears "authentic" record isn't included. I guess he's only including teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today.

Oh wait, the Cowboys are there. I guess even the teams he chose to list is arbitrary.

Anonymous said...

"Sour was that Haden bit on the short fake and no safety was in sight deep, though Jax was already in field-goal range and nearly certain to try for the end zone."

I'm surprised Gregg hasn't written that JFK shouldn't have been in Dallas on that day, because he was "certain" to be assassinated. With perfect hindsight, everything that's happened is certain! Teams in field goal range are not certain to go for the end zone. They might try to complete a few short passes to at least get in shorter field goal range, or to convert first downs. What a moron.

There are many reasons to criticize Saban for attempting a 57 yard field goal, so of course Gregg picks the stupidest one. Not enough speed guys on the field? As you said Ben, who the hell is supposed to block for the field goal if you have speed players on the field? Wide receivers and cornerbacks don't block on field goals.

I really wish someone like the Redskins (oh wouldn't that be fun!) would hire Gregg as their head coach, just so his smug attitude could be thoroughly embarrassed in public view. I can't stand Gregg's worldview of "everyone is stupid but me." What an asshole.

Bengoodfella said...

Crazee, I'm guessing Gregg doesn't think the Bears are "authentic" because they are/were missing their starting quarterback. Actually, he probably forgot about them.

Anon, Gregg lives up in Maryland so he could be a local pick for Redskins head coach. He's ability to use hindsight to criticize these teams is hilarious. It's funny how he advocated the Vikings try a long field goal one week and then the very reason the Vikings may not have tried a long field goal (a long return by the opposing team) happened the following week.

All of Gregg's "analysis" is based on hindsight. Should Joe Haden have just started running backwards and let the receiver get out of bounds. There was no certainty they were going for the end zone, because the receiver could run a short route and then get out of bounds.