Friday, January 10, 2014

3 comments Gregg Easterbrook is Attending the Super Bowl, But He Won't Sit in the Press Box, Mostly Likely Because He Wasn't Invited To

I have the two TMQ's that I missed over Christmas going to be posted soon. You know I can't miss out on posting a TMQ, even if it will be a little bit late. They will unfortunately be posted after this one though. This week Gregg talks about how cold it is outside, but doesn't talk about what happened to the Crabtree Curse or why the 49ers are in the NFC Divisional Round when he flailed himself off their bandwagon earlier in the year. Gregg also provides "analysis" of the wild card weekend games and of course has 50% of the TMQ content taken up by non-football related topics. Why talk football when you can show pictures of Saturn or discuss whiskey?

"Baby it's cold outside" is the theme of the rest of the NFL season.

Great, I was looking forward to Gregg announcing the official theme of the 2013 NFL season. I hope the weather of every divisional round game is 65 degrees and sunny now.

Both conference title contests may be held at winter-climate sites.

Or they may be held in a dome in Indianapolis and in San Francisco. I love it when Gregg writes something "may" happen. It's just fun to read because he couches his "may" statement around other statements that make the "may" seem like a certainty.

Currently, much of the nation is iced over by a cold wave. Many cities will see record lows this week. On Monday in Chicago and Minneapolis, the temperature never got above zero. It's as if the weather gods are weighing in on the cold-weather Super Bowl plan.

Or, it's as if it is January and it gets cold in January. But sure, I'm guessing the weather, at the specific request from God (not the football gods, but God) is weighing in on the cold-weather Super Bowl plans. Sounds logical.

Your columnist will be freezing his keister off at the Super Bowl next month and, if I'm not shivering too much to take notes, will report what the experience was like.

No it's okay, don't worry about doing this.

(A coming TMQ will detail why I never use the press box, the press box being the worst possible place for sportswriting.)

Again, Gregg doesn't have to worry about doing this. I'm good without it. I'm betting the other sportswriters specifically requested that Gregg not use the press box so they don't have to hear him second-guess every decision the head coach's make and say "Game Over" fifteen times during the game.

Being outdoors in the cold is thought to build character. If so, large numbers of NFL fans are about to get character! Though not the talking heads. ESPN, Fox and NFL Network, which will do week-long location broadcasts leading up to the Super Bowl, all are building indoor sets to keep their on-air types roasty-toasty.

It makes sense. As a viewer I really don't care if the talking heads are in a studio or at the location freezing their ass off. It's not like Terry Bradshaw has to freeze his ass off to show solidarity with the people attending the Super Bowl.

So as thousands freeze in the stands, they can wave to the cozy-warm broadcasters.

This is the absolute smallest of big deals. I seriously doubt those who buy tickets to the Super Bowl will be annoyed that the broadcasters are not out in the freezing cold too.

In playoff news, Kansas City's epic collapse against Indianapolis was caused in part by starters Jamaal Charles, Donnie Avery and Brandon Flowers leaving with concussions.

New Orleans flirted with defeat at Philadelphia when starter Keenan Lewis, who had shut down DeSean Jackson in single coverage, left with a concussion, and Jackson promptly busted loose...Instead he had no helmet, because coaches took it away: the new move when a player is concussed.

These facts mean one team lost a playoff game, and another nearly lost one, partly because concussions were treated as more important than victory. Congratulations to the NFL! This is a major step forward.

We'll see how much of a step forward the NFL has taken when Marshawn Lynch suffers a concussion in the Super Bowl and after being begged to be let back into the game is allowed to continue playing. So keeping these players out of the game was a step forward, but we'll see how much of a step forward some NFL teams have really taken when the stakes are higher.

But the NFL sets the example for 3 million youth-league and 1.1 million high school players who aren't adults and aren't compensated. If concussed NFL athletes go back into games, youth and prep players will feel they should, too -- and there will be 100 cases of head harm to young players whose names we'll never know for each one case at the NFL level.

What about the kids? Gregg Easterbrook is all about the kids. If Keenan Lewis had gone back into the game then young players around the nation would go back into a youth league game because their hero Keenan Lewis went back into an NFL playoff game after suffering a concussion.

A publicly subsidized enterprise must set a good example for the public. If the NFL were to pay its own way, perhaps NFL players could run any risk with their health.

So Gregg believes that if the NFL didn't take subsidies then there would not be an obligation to set an example for "the kids"? This doesn't make sense to me. Why doesn't the NFL have an obligation to youth leagues if the NFL isn't subsidized in some way by tax payers? The obligation to the kids just magically disappears? This doesn't make sense to me.

TMQ has been reminding Denver Broncos fans this season that high-scoring teams tend to tail off late. The Bengals averaged 34.7 points per game at home during the regular season, then wheezed out at only 10 points scored at home in the playoffs.

It also so happens that the Bengals were playing one of the best teams in the AFC, which meant they were probably going to score fewer points than they had all season. Gregg can't seem to understand the talent level of the competition is a factor in whether a team scores a lot of points or not and in the postseason the talent level of the competition is increased.

The two highest-scoring football-factory teams of 2013, Baylor and Oregon, both exhibited the tail-off effect. Oregon opened 8-0 at 56 points per game, then closed 3-2 at 29 points per game. Baylor opened 9-0 at 61 points per game, then closed 2-2 at 32 points per game. 

Again, and this isn't difficult to understand, the caliber of team Oregon and Baylor were playing was higher. Oregon ended the year playing Texas, Oregon State, Stanford, Utah, and Arizona. These are all teams that were in a bowl game and Stanford was in the Rose Bowl. Baylor ended the year playing Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas and UCF. Three of those teams were in a bowl game and Baylor played UCF in a BCS bowl game. The talent level of the competition was higher, so the scoring is decreased. It's not a tail-off effect, but the effect of playing a higher level of competition.

Very high-scoring teams declining to roughly half as much scoring down the stretch is exactly what happened to the 2007 Patriots, until 2013 the NFL's highest-scoring team. They declined from 36.8 points per game in the regular season to 14 points in the Super Bowl.

The Patriots played the best team in the NFC in the Super Bowl. It was doubtful they were going to score 38 points (like they did against the Giants in the last game of the year) again because the Giants had two weeks to prepare. The Giants were a higher level of competition than the Patriots had faced for most of the season.

Since the current playoff format was adopted in 1990, home teams in the divisional round are 67-25, a 73 percent winning figure. The reason the hosts are at home in the first place is that they are the best teams.


Equally important, in the divisional round, hosts have spent a bye week relaxing in hot tubs while their opponents were out being pounded. Home teams dominate the NFL divisional round -- check-mark them in your office pool. You don't even need to know who's playing!

Actually, it would be smarter to pick three of the home teams and one away team since the winning percentage of home teams in the divisional round is 73%. The odds say one home team will lose this weekend (ahem, Carolina).

For the championship round, nobody's had the previous week off, and the Super Bowl is just one W away. Players leave everything on the field in championship contests.

Thanks for the hyperbole, Gregg. Nobody believed in you. There are no individuals that write TMQ because it was a real team effort.

But the Kansas City collapse could as easily be blamed on a coaching decision. Game tied at 7 early, Kansas City reached third-and-goal on the Colts' 1. The Chiefs used a simplistic power dive play -- no misdirection -- and were stuffed. Now it's fourth-and-goal from the 1. Andy Reid sent in the kicking unit, leaving four points on the field, in a contest Kansas City ultimately would lose by one point.

Andy Reid definitely should have used his time machine to jump ahead in the future and find out the Colts would lose this game by one point, then decide to go for the touchdown instead of the field goal. After all, in a game where his team was winning 38-10 it must be the four points Reid left on the board in this situation that are the real reason the Chiefs lost this game.

Last season when he was Eagles' head coach, Philadelphia was trailing 2-8 Carolina at home on "Monday Night Football." The Eagles faced fourth-and-2 in Carolina territory and, at 3-7, had nothing to lose. Reid sent in the kicking unit to loud and well-deserved boos. You don't need to know anything else about the contest.

Actually I do need to know more about this game to decide if this one decision is what caused the Eagles to lose to the Panthers. What was the final score in the game (30-22 was the score) and when did Andy Reid choose to punt (in the fourth quarter and it wasn't fourth-and-2, but it was fourth-and-1...not that Gregg ever gets facts wrong of course)? Knowing all of this information, it's clear Reid should not have punted in this situation, but merely knowing he punted the football isn't all I need to know about the contest.

It's fourth-and-goal on the 1 in the playoffs on a day the Kansas City offense would gain 513 yards.

In Reid's defense, it was early in the game and he didn't know his offense would gain 513 yards. Only using the ability of hindsight is it possible to have this knowledge.

One single yard here might have meant the team's first postseason victory in two decades. Instead Reid did the "safe" thing, and in football tactics, the "safe" thing usually is dangerous.

I'm not arguing that Reid should not have gone for it, but argue the point using facts and logic rather than hindsight. Knile Davis had tried to gain one yard on the two previous tries and was unable to gain that one yard against the Colts defense, so one can see why Reid at least chose not to run the ball again in this situation.

Sweet 'N' Sour Merges with Stop Me Before I Blitz Again! San Francisco leading 20-17 with 7 minutes remaining at Lambeau Field, the hosts faced second-and-2 on the visitors' 34. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio -- was there ever a better defensive coordinator's name? -- sent a corner blitz from the left of Aaron Rodgers. The blitzer did not contain; Rodgers stepped around him and hits Randall Cobb for a 25-yard gain. Sour for the Niners. 

Right, but the blitz call was not the issue here. The issue was the missed tackle. No matter the call from the defensive coordinator, if the defense doesn't execute the play call well then the defensive play call won't work. So it's ridiculous to believe the blitz call was the issue in this situation because if the corner had tackled Rodgers and not let him step out of the pocket, then Rodgers would have been hit for a loss.

Contest tied, San Francisco reached third-and-8 at the Green Bay 38 with 1:13 remaining, holding one timeout. On a very cold day, this is not realistic field goal range: Green Bay doesn't need a sack, just an incompletion. That cannot seriously be a seven-man blitz! The cornerback blitz from the left of Colin Kaepernick did not contain. Kaepernick spun around him and ran for the first down;

Again, the issue is not the play call. The issue is the blitzing corner didn't keep containment on Kaepernick. The play call was not the issue, the issue was the execution of the play call was the problem. If the Packers had not blitzed and simply run a simple Cover 2 then Kaepernick could still run for the first down if the defensive linemen don't successfully keep Kaepernick in the pocket. Blitzing wasn't the issue here. The issue was the poor execution of the play call.

Why defensive coordinator Dom Capers would call an all-out blitz against a mobile quarterback whose team was out of field goal range is anybody's guess. On both the blitzes, lack of contain allowed quarterbacks to make big plays.

Right, the lack of contain is what allowed the quarterbacks to make big plays, not the blitz play call. 

The outside pass-rusher should never cut inside to get the shortest line to the quarterback; that just allows the quarterback to get outside. Rushers who have the quarterback in their sights are taught to slow down a little: if you come at maximum speed, that makes you easy to step around.

I've never heard this in my life. I've never heard that a rusher needs to slow down upon getting closer to the quarterback because it makes it easier for the quarterback to evade the rusher if he (the rusher) is running full speed. It sounds like this is bullshit.

NFL ticket prices keep rising though the NFL is rolling in government subsides, shutting average people out of attending games while reserving plenty of space for the rich. This is just one of many things wrong with NFL economics.

Never one to fail to self promote, that link Gregg provides is a link to an article written by Gregg Easterbrook for "The Atlantic."

Another reason for trouble selling playoff tickets is two curves moving in opposite directions -- HD TVs make football viewing ever more attractive, while the high cost and hassle factor of attending a game makes being there in person ever more unattractive.

Not every NFL team had trouble selling out their playoff tickets. Cincinnati had trouble because...well, I don't know why...while Green Bay struggled because it was going to be historically cold outside during the game. Gregg has a point, but not every team had trouble selling playoff tickets, so it isn't an NFL-wide epidemic.

The NFL needs to do a serious rethinking of the stadium experience. Forget the games; the stadium experience is a product, and the league keeps trying to charge more for less quality.

And yet fans keep buying tickets to the NFL games and there is a very healthy secondary market for fans who have season tickets who want to resell these tickets.

California team visiting Wisconsin in January, kickoff temperature 5 degrees, Colin Kaepernick came out with bare arms and no glove on his throwing hand. Obviously posing nude in the offseason was good experience for him!

Gregg's obsession with Colin Kaepernick, no, nearly any male athlete who poses nude or nearly-nude, has no bounds. I'm not sure Gregg can think of Kaepernick without thinking of him naked.

TMQ contends that Cold Coach = Victory. When Jim Harbaugh trotted out for the kickoff in slacks and a pullover -- surely Under Armour ColdGear artfully concealed -- while Mike McCarthy was bundled for a K2 ascent, I thought I had the perfect example. The 49ers jumped to a halftime lead. Then after intermission, Harbaugh/West donned a heavy parka, and the Packers surged ahead. A scientific test case! Harbaugh/West cold in first half (control), not cold in second (dependent variable). But my long-sought scientific proof proved elusive when the Niners' winning field goal sailed as the clock hit all-naughts.

The fact Gregg wastes his time thinking of this theory and then wasting words determining whether his theory is correct or not should tell the uninformed how useless many of Gregg's theories included in TMQ truly are. What a head coach wears during a football game has no bearing on the outcome of the game.

San Francisco started strong: The Niners are on a 49-0 scoring streak in the first quarter, something Carolina must take into account.

Yes, the Panthers must take into account that the 49ers may try to score points during the first quarter of their divisional playoff game this week. Plan accordingly for this surprise tactic!

Now Gregg explains (perhaps correctly) why the officials didn't call pass interference penalties in the San Francisco-Green Bay game, then posits a different theory that the officials just wanted the game to end, while finally ending this paragraph admonishing the officials for wanting the game to end as if this assumption is now a fact.

Zebras allowed a lot of contact between defensive backs of both teams and receivers -- half a dozen defensive pass-interference no-calls occurred, and there should have been offensive pass interference against Jordy Nelson on his touchdown catch. Officials tend to allow more pass interference and holding in the playoffs, because they want the players to decide who wins.

Well, that explains why more pass interference penalties weren't called. It's entirely possible this is the most reasonable explanation for the lack of penalties.

And in this case, at 5 degrees, zebras seemed to want the game to end as quickly as possible so they could get indoors.

Maybe, but this is speculation. I think the first explanation Gregg gave made more sense, but Gregg is never one to pass up the chance to turn an assumption into a fact to admonish someone so he keeps going...

Penalties stop the clock, and lead to discussions with coaches. Hochuli's crew called just seven penalties for both teams combined, quite a low number. (Five were accepted.)

Again, this doesn't mean the officials were not calling penalties simply for the sake of getting indoors quicker. There were a few missed penalties, just like there are a few missed penalties in nearly every NFL game.

Yes it was really cold, but rules are rules -- wanting the game over with is no excuse for pretending not to see pass interference.

Well, so there we go. What started with a reasonable explanation for the lack of pass interference calls has turned into Gregg speculating a different reason for the lack of pass interference, followed by Gregg just now assuming his speculated reason is some sort of a fact and accusing the officials in the 49ers-Packers game of pretending not to see pass interference.

TMQ's Law of Short Yardage holds -- do a little dance if you want to gain that yard.

And like the TMQ law that says the coach who wears the least clothing in cold weather wins the game, it is not based on facts, but is based mostly on anecdotal evidence.

On short yardage, misdirection is essential, to make defenders hesitate for a second rather than come upfield full steam.

Actually on short yardage runs a good push by the offensive line is essential. If the offensive line gets a significant push then there doesn't need to be any misdirection involved. Gregg will actually show an example of the Saints offensive line getting a good push against the Eagles, which meant the Saints didn't need to use misdirection. The push by the offensive line is more important than "doing a little dance."

Michigan State leading 24-20 with 1:47 remaining in the Rose Bowl -- excuse me, the Rose Bowl Game -- Stanford faced fourth-and-1. The Cardinal lined up jumbo without wide receivers, everyone packed in close to the quarterback, then simply plunged straight ahead. No man-in-motion, no shift, no misdirection, no fakes of any kind. You don't need to know anything else about the contest.

I don't like it when Gregg writes "you don't need to know anything else about the contest" as if this one play decided the football game and there wasn't a series of plays just as important as this one that decided the outcome of this game. This was an important play, but just knowing the Cardinals had a ball play call on fourth-and-1 doesn't say why/how they lost the Rose Bowl.

Early, the Kansas City starters looked well-rested, after sitting out their regular-season finale. Indianapolis made boneheaded mistakes: Trent Richardson auto-fumbled without being hit, Donnie Avery caught a 79-yard Kansas City touchdown pass when Colts safety Antoine Bethea just let Avery ran past and didn't cover anyone.

"And you don't need to know anything else about the contest."

That's what Gregg would have written had the Chiefs not ended up blowing this game, but since the Colts ended up coming back, Gregg is much more kind to the Colts. He says:

Kansas City made plays early, Indianapolis made plays late, and in the NFL, it's often about who is playing best at the end. In the second half and overtime this season, the Colts are plus-94 in points.


The Chiefs led by 28 points early in the third quarter -- but Indianapolis had just as much time to come back as Kansas City had used building the lead.

The outcome of the game depends on whether Gregg criticizes a single play for having lost the game for a football team. If the team loses then Gregg criticizes this one play as the reason for the loss and hits us with "And you don't need to know anything else about the contest." If that football team comes back to win the game, then Gregg doesn't criticize the single play he would normally criticize and hits us with "Team X had just as much time to come back as Team B had building the lead."

Grand reduction targets far in the future sound great -- the California grand goal was announced with much fanfare by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, while Obama grandly has said the United States should by 2050 cut emissions to 83 percent below the level of 2005. Not by 84 percent, not by 82 percent, by 83 percent! Goals for decades distant can be dramatic because the politicians involved know they'll be long gone from power, if not from the Earth, when the goal comes due.

I can understand this point, but politicians are also keenly aware of the legacy they leave after they die. As much of a President's legacy is decided in retrospect as it is decided in the immediate impact of the decisions that a President will make. This goes for a governor as well, so I doubt President Obama or Governor Schwarzenegger were making dumb decisions now thinking it doesn't matter what happens after they die. It's part of their legacy and I would think a great legacy is important to a high-ranking politician.

So when fourth-and-short with a good chance of success was available, Lewis did the 'safe' thing. When there was no hope, Lewis went for it. Footnote: when Lewis sent in the kicking unit on fourth-and-short, Andy Dalton passively trudged off the field. Brett Favre, Tom Brady, RG III -- they would have gone nuts if the coach wouldn't let them try to win in this situation. Next season, Dalton needs to become a leader.

Is acting like a baby and undermining your coach in public showing "leadership"? I'm not entirely sure this qualifies as leadership to make it clear you question your coach's decision.

Later, Lewis ordered a punt on fourth-and-1 in San Diego territory, then punted again on fourth-and-5 from midfield. That's playing not to lose, rather than playing to win. Dalton did not protest any of these passive, wimpy coaching decisions, each time trotting off the field with his head bowed. In the final moments, Bengals down two scores, then Lewis went for it on fourth down. Everything was exactly like it had been last season in the playoffs -- hyper-conservative afraid-of-my-own-shadow tactics when the game was close, risks when it no longer mattered, and Dalton acting like a JV player who's afraid to talk back to his high school coach.

I don't think I completely understand what Gregg Easterbrook wants from Andy Dalton. He's the quarterback, while Marvin Lewis is the head coach. It's fine to disagree with Lewis privately or even go to the sidelines and encourage Lewis to give the offense a chance to pick up the first down. But stomping off the field and acting like a child at a coach's decision isn't a productive action.

As for the Bolts, they ran two corner blitzes in the first half, both times hitting Dalton hard as the corners came unblocked.

Stop me before I blitz again! 

Maybe blitzing does work sometimes.

The Bolts have surged to 5-2 in TMQ's quirky Authentic Games metric, and now trail only Denver and New Orleans.

It seems this week the Authentic Games metric is predicting that the Chargers are the second-best team in the AFC. Unfortunately they play the best team in the AFC this weekend. What a wonderful metric that predicts who will make the Super Bowl and the prediction changes on a weekly basis. I'm not one to criticize prediction metrics, but if I were producing a prediction metric I would ensure a new prediction isn't made every week. It sort of ruins the authenticity of the metric that is supposed to predict something when the metric doesn't actually predict anything but only acts in a reactionary manner to what happened in the previous weeks' games.

Leading 35-17, the Blue Devils were at the Aggies' 1-yard line with 2 seconds remaining before intermission. Cutcliffe sent in the field goal team. Normally a 21-point halftime lead would be considered secure, but Texas A&M has one of the country's best offenses -- and in the second half, had as much time to come back as Duke used in building the lead.

I didn't think this was a terrible decision by Cutcliffe. Duke was getting the ball to begin the second half (I believe) and he had a chance to tack three more points on to the lead to put Duke up 21 points at halftime.

Then in the third quarter, Duke took a field goal from the Aggies 2. On the night, Duke averaged 8.1 yards per offensive snap, including 6.3 yards per rush, against a low-ranked Texas A&M defense. Doing the "safe" thing twice at the Texas A&M goal line cost Duke dearly in a game ultimately lost by four points.

Yes, if Duke didn't convert either of these first downs then they would have lost by ten points instead of four points. I prefer coaches to go for it on fourth down in many cases, but Gregg can't base his criticism entirely on the outcome of the game while assuming both fourth downs would have been converted. At that time, the field goal going into halftime wasn't a bad move and there's no guarantee Duke would have converted both fourth downs and therefore won the game. There's a chance Duke wouldn't have converted either first down, especially since their best running back wasn't playing in the game, and they would have lost by more than four points.

Philadelphia scored to take a 24-23 lead with a little under five minutes remaining; on the kickoff to New Orleans, the Eagles were called for horse-collar tackle, positioning the visitors at midfield for their winning drive. The call was correct, but why is the horse collar illegal? TMQ is all for strict enforcement of helmet-to-helmet rules. Grabbing a player's shoulder pads does not seem especially risky. I've watched way too much football and not seen a runner injured by a horse-collar tackle.

Terrell Owens famously torn ligaments and broke his leg when being tackled using a horse collar tackle. Gregg is either blind or doesn't watch enough football because you don't have to look hard to see players who have been injured by a horse collar tackle.

News from Space: If you are in the mood to be awed, check these photos from Saturn.

I'd like to be awed by a well-written TMQ where the author makes statements backed by factual data or where the author doesn't make statements without even doing a Google search to see if his statement is correct.

Hidden plays are ones that never make highlight reels, but sustain or stop drives. New Orleans leading 13-7 in the third quarter, Philadelphia faced third-and-4. Riley Cooper, alone on a crossing pattern, dropped a perfectly thrown pass; he would have gained at least 20 yards. The Nesharim punted; the Saints drove the other way for a 20-7 margin.

Again, highlight reels are 30 seconds long, so plenty of important plays won't be contained in the highlights. If a person looks to a highlight reel to determine what plays in a game were important then that person deserves the small measure of information he will receive.

"The Saints' defense may determine who wins this game," yours truly wrote last week. Verily, it came to pass.

The Seahawks' defense may determine who will win the game between the Saints and the Seahawks. Now everyone tell me how smart I am when this comes to pass and be sure to include "verily" when telling me how smart I am.

Gregg really lowers the bar for being correct when wanting to get credit for such an obvious statement and believing he is actually telling his readers something. Of course the Saints defense may determine who will win the Saints-Eagles game. The Saints/Eagles offense also may determine who wins the game.

(Gregg made this statement in the TMQ leading up to this Saints-Eagles game and I will post the TMQ he stated this AFTER I post this one. I know, it's confusing)

What made the Eagles offense go this season was No. 1 rusher LeSean McCoy. An offense with a back who regularly snaps off big gains, and averaged 5.1 yards per carry, is formidable. New Orleans held McCoy to 3.7 yards a carry and, through discipline, contained his cutbacks: McCoy's best run was just 11 yards. Taking away McCoy frustrated the host's tempo tactics.

Which diverted attention from the question: With his high-powered second-ranked offense, why did Chip Kelly order a punt on fourth-and-short in opposition territory?

You may have answered your own question, Gregg. Perhaps Chip Kelly didn't want to give Drew Brees a shorter field than necessary. 

TMQ contends that short-yardage plays must involve misdirection. Yet twice on its game-winning late drive, the Saints converted on third-and-1 and with a simple quarterback sneak, no theatrics.

It's almost like Gregg makes these rules up and they aren't factually correct.

New Orleans' blocking was terrific, especially from the center of the line -- Ben Grubbs, let go by the Ravens, Jahri Evans, who played in Division II, and undrafted Brian De La Puente.

In the TMQ before this one, Gregg bemoaned that both Saints guards made the All-Pro team over Zane Beadles. Maybe he has a better understanding of why now.

Of the head coaches who labored under Snyder, not a one remains an NFL head coach. Steve Spurrier returned to the college ranks; Norv Turner and Terry Robiskie are NFL assistants; Joe Gibbs does his stuff with NASCAR; Marty Schottenheimer and Jim Zorn are OOF -- Out of Football. Schottenheimer's last football gig was in 2011 as coach and general manager of the Virginia Destroyers; Zorn was last seen auditioning for a CFL position. Schottenheimer is 200-126-1 as an NFL head coach, and no one wants him. His years in San Diego didn't help, but the big knock against Schottenheimer seems to be that his name is associated with Snyder's.

Actually, I would bet the big knock against Schottenheimer is his age (he's 70 years old) combined with the fact he has a reputation for not being able to win the big playoff game. I doubt the season Schottenheimer coached the Redskins is what is keeping him from employment as an NFL head coach.

But Kansas City was hardly blameless in collapsing. From the point at which Kansas City led 38-10, Reid called 23 passing plays and 10 rushes. Six of the passes fell incomplete, stopping the clock and preserving time for the Colts' comeback. True, both Charles and his backup were out injured by the late third quarter.

I'm not going to defend Andy Reid's play-calling, but the fact the Chiefs were on their third-string backup is more than just a "true, but..." issue. It's a major problem.

But the Chiefs have a third-string back and also have Dexter McCluster, a college tailback. They could have carried out clock-grinding tactics.

Dexter McCluster isn't the clock-grinding out type of running back at all. He's 5'8" and 170 pounds. But Gregg won't let facts get in the way of his argument.

Reid's second-half passing calls did result in some first downs. But they not only stopped the clock for Indianapolis, they kept Indianapolis alive psychologically. Seeing Smith constantly heave-ho the ball into the air helped Indianapolis think a collapse could happen.

This makes not of sense. Why would the fact the Chiefs are throwing the football make the Colts think a collapse could happen?

Next Week: TMQ starts a religious denomination that is pro-topless but anti-gambling.

But only if it is men named "Colin Kaepernick" going topless, right Gregg? 


Anonymous said...

"Reid's second-half passing calls did result in some first downs. But they not only stopped the clock for Indianapolis, they kept Indianapolis alive psychologically. Seeing Smith constantly heave-ho the ball into the air helped Indianapolis think a collapse could happen."

Where do I sign up for the job where I can just make shit up and get paid for it? Seriously, where do I sign up? What a heaping load of bullshit this is. I like the "Reid's play calls did result in some first downs," as if that's a minor detail. When holding a big lead, first downs are huge.

And "psychologically?" What the hell does that even mean? Alex Smith on the day was 30-46 for 378 yards, 4 TDs and 0 INTs. How in the hell is him continuing to throw the ball giving the Colts hope? First of all, these are professional athletes, not children, so let's stop pretending they crack at every little turn. And secondly, I would think they'd be more afraid of a red-hot QB continuing to throw the ball than they are of a 3rd string RB and Dexter McCluster getting carries. But I also don't have phD in bullshit like Gregg does either.

Gregg is the absolute worst. The FTC should file charges against ESPN for continuing to employ this asshole.

Snarf said...

New Orleans' blocking was terrific, especially from the center of the line -- Ben Grubbs, let go by the Ravens, Jahri Evans, who played in Division II, and undrafted Brian De La Puente.

This is a flat out lie. Ben Grubbs was not let go by the Ravens. He's a former 1st rounder who left as an unrestricted free agent for a big money deal (5 years, $36M, $16M guaranteed). The Ravens could not afford to resign him. In no way is he anything other than a highly paid, former 1st rounder who went to a football factory (Auburn), but Gregg is trying to make a point so he lies (not misleads, lies).

Bengoodfella said...

Apparently you can sign up on's job page. I completely didn't get why throwing the ball helped the Colts psychologically. If anything, wouldn't it hurt them because it would make them feel like they are never catching up. If the Chiefs run the ball the whole 2nd half the Colts would know the Chiefs are packing it in and trying to end the game quickly. Gregg is full of shit.

McCluster can't carry the ball during the second half for a power running game. No way. I don't get why Gregg gets to make things up like he does. He lies and deceives.

Snarf, I missed that part about being "let go." Grubbs is a glory boy free agent who chose to go to a team who was offering him the most money. That's a great point a/b him going to a football factory too.