Saturday, January 25, 2014

10 comments Gregg Easterbrook's Authentic Games Measurement Works to Predict the Correct Super Bowl Matchup, Except for the Weeks When It Didn't Predict the Correct Super Bowl Matchup

Gregg Easterbrook has anointed the 48th Super Bowl the "Football Gods' Super Bowl" which I'm sure will change as soon as some snow hits the field and Gregg complains the Super Bowl should have been played indoors. Gregg also tells us how Seattle and Denver "did it" (meaning how they won the AFC/NFC Championship games) which is probably intended to be a comedic section of TMQ since the idea of Gregg breaking down and analyzing a team's strategy can only be intended as a humorous satire. Gregg also criticizes "Revolution" for it's lack of realism, which is interesting considering Gregg expects writers of fictional television shows to be accurate, but his non-fictional weekly TMQ contains as much fiction as a television show does.

It's fitting that this season of scoreboard-spinning -- the Broncos with the highest-scoring team of all time -- should conclude this way. If Seattle's fantastic defense overcomes Denver's fantastic offense, the decade-long trend of favoring offensive players and tactics over their defensive equivalents might reverse.

This one game may reverse a decades-long trend that is occurring in football at all levels. Or it may not, but either way it could. One game could immediately reverse a trend seen on all levels of football. Two weeks from now, look for Gregg to announce the high-scoring trend has been reversed, followed by three separate TMQ's next year talking about how the high-scoring trend in football is here to stay.

If Denver prevails, the movement toward a powerful offense may get even stronger.

The powerful offense trend may get so strong that some NFL teams won't even field a defense anymore.

What does history predict? This year's New Jersey Super Bowl will be the fifth time since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger that the top-rated offense has met the top-rated defense. So far, defense is 3-1 -- Giants over Bills (1991), 49ers over Dolphins (1985), and Steelers over Cowboys (1979), with the top offense prevailing only in 1990 (49ers over Broncos).

Football lore long has held that defense trumps offense, especially in the postseason. Two weeks from now in the swamps of Jersey, we'll find out if that remains true in the shotgun-spread era.

This one Super Bowl game will decide whether offense trumps defense or not, while Gregg will be ignoring the other times two top-rated offenses and defenses have met in the Super Bowl. Those games don't count, this upcoming Super Bowl game is the only one that does count.

And the pairing makes me look smarter than I am, because seven weeks ago, Tuesday Morning Quarterback led with a forecast of a Denver-Seattle Super Bowl.

I KNEW Gregg would crow about the TMQ Authentic Games metric correctly guessing the Super Bowl matchups. What Gregg leaves out (as usual) is that his Authentic Games metric also predicted the Saints to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. I figured because Gregg changed his metric every week he would brag about his metric being correct when it hit on the correct Super Bowl pairing. Typical Gregg Easterbrook. Takes five guesses and brags about one being correct.

And though a Seattle victory likely would be mainly about the Bluish Men Group defense, it also would be a crowning moment for the zone read.

The Seahawks really don't run that much zone read, but either way let's not forget that Gregg indicated the zone read was dead earlier this season. Gregg won't mention it of course, so I will be forced to. Gregg indicated tactics like the zone read were taking a backseat to more conventional offensive methods in an earlier TMQ.

In other football news, the time approaches to name the winner of the coveted longest award in sports: the TMQ Non-QB Non-RB NFL MVP. Because the official MVP always goes to a quarterback or running back, TMQ annually names an MVP who is neither.

How alternative of you.

This year, readers will choose! Next week's column will present four nominees. A poll will determine the trophy recipient. See next week's column for details.

Do the readers really get to choose if Gregg chooses the nominees? What if none of the nominees are who the majority of readers would vote for?

Stats of the Championships No. 1: Before Spygate, Bill Belichick's Patriots were 12-2 in the playoffs and 3-0 in the Super Bowl. Since the taping scheme was discovered, they are 6-6 in the postseason and 0-2 in the Super Bowl.

And clearly there is causation here. The only logical conclusion to be reached is the football gods are preventing the Patriots from winning a Super Bowl while still allowing them success that is unparalleled over the last 15 years.

Stats of the Championships No. 3: In four starts versus Seattle and Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick is 1-3 with 3 touchdown passes, 7 interceptions and a 54 quarterback rating.

I think these poor statistics are true for nearly any quarterback who plays the Seahawks. Seattle has a really good defense.

Stats of the Championships No. 9: In the 2010 regular season, the Patriots averaged 32.4 points; they scored 21 points in their playoff loss. In the 2011 regular season, the Patriots averaged 32.1 points; they scored 17 points in their playoff loss. In the 2012 regular season, the Patriots averaged 34.8 points; they scored 13 points in their playoff loss. In the 2013 regular season, the Patriots averaged 27.8 points; they scored 16 points in their playoff loss.

It's almost like the key to beating a good offensive team is to play good defense and prevent this team from scoring points. Who would have thought this could be true?

Stats of the Championships No. 10: Eli Manning won the Super Bowl in Indianapolis, when that was Peyton Manning's home stadium. Now Peyton has a shot at winning the Super Bowl in Eli's home stadium.

Okay, (a) this isn't a statistic it's a fact and (b) I've heard this fact too many times already. For someone who hates hyper-specificity, Gregg certainly gets hyper-specific about the accuracy of television shows while writing a TMQ that plays loosely with facts.

It felt as if Denver was blowing New England off the field, but when a Patriots touchdown made it 26-16 with 3:07 remaining, a deuce would have put the visitors within one score. New England showed a passing set, then ran a draw to Shane Vereen. Outside linebacker Shaun Phillips knifed in and dragged down Vereen by his ankles. Tom Brady hung his head, knowing the game ended on that play.

How many times has Gregg mentioned that an NFL team has thrown the football near the goal line and he suggests more teams should run the ball? The Patriots tried that here and it didn't work. I'm sure if the play were reversed and the Patriots threw the ball in this situation then Gregg would have suggested the Patriots surely could have converted the two-point conversion by running the football.

Sour Play of the Championships: With Denver leading 20-3 late in the third quarter, the Flying Elvii faced fourth-and-3 on the Broncos' 29. Needing points against the league's highest-scoring offense -- New England was unlikely to shut Denver out down the stretch -- Belichick rightly went for it. At the snap, Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton simply ran straight by his blocker, sacking Brady before he even had a chance to scan the field.

I thought fortune favored the bold, Gregg? Belichick went for it on fourth down and this told his team he was super-serious about winning the game. Rest assured, if the Patriots had converted this fourth down and won the game, Gregg would point out how fortune favors the bold and because Belichick was bold his team won the game. It's almost like Gregg's rules are made up.

Who was the blocker? Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins, called by some the best offensive lineman in football. Mankins barely so much as slowed Knighton. Very sour.

Who calls Logan Mankins the best offensive lineman in football? Give us some proof of this Gregg. Anything to let us know you aren't making this up. A column from 2013 or 2014 saying that Logan Mankins is the best offensive lineman in football, that's all I ask, so I know Gregg isn't completely making it up. But verily, Gregg is making it up and he has no such column where Mankins is called "by some" as the best offensive lineman in football. Score another point for lying and deceiving your audience.

Seattle trailing 10-3 in the early third quarter, Marshawn Lynch headed into the line left behind backup rookie tackle Alvin Bailey, who was playing in a six-lineman heavy package, then cut back right and went 40 yards for the touchdown that tied the contest. Sweet for the home team. The play occurred on third-and-1. San Francisco had eight defenders in the box and two deep safeties, an alignment that might give up a first down but should be impossible to get a long run against. Not only did Bailey take out two defensive backs with the same block, the highly hyped first-round draft pick, safety Eric Reid, whiffed on his tackle attempt.

It absolutely should not be impossible to get a long run against eight men in the box. Eight men in the box means if the running back gets good blocking and past the first level of defenders there aren't as many defenders on the second level.

I also like Gregg calling out a "highly hyped" first round draft pick for missing a tackle. What Gregg fails to mention when providing selective information in order to make his audience believe highly-drafted players are worthless is that Marshawn Lynch is also a highly hyped first round draft choice and the Seahawks offensive line consists of two first round draft picks and a second round draft choice. Alvin Bailey was an undrafted free agent, but more of these highly hyped first round picks made good plays here than bad plays, which Gregg of course neglects to mention.

How Did Seattle Do It? TMQ took a lot of heat halfway through the season with a column saying San Francisco couldn't pass the ball. Then the Niners finished 30th in passing and in the NFC title game were held to 147 passing yards.

That's not what the TMQ said though. Gregg can't even be truthful when discussing columns he himself has written. Gregg wrote this column on September 24, which in no way is halfway through the season. The point of the column wasn't that the 49ers can't pass, but that the zone read was dying and Kaepernick should have been traded (or kept on the bench) while the Niners should have kept Alex Smith. Read it for yourself. I'm not Gregg Easterbrook and am not a habitual liar. Yes, in the context of what Gregg wrote there is an assumption the 49ers can't pass the ball well, but that wasn't the basis of the column and certainly isn't the majority of what Gregg was writing about entailed. Gregg can't even understand the criticism he receives nor can he understand four weeks into the season isn't "halfway" through the season. A lot of teams struggled against the Seahawks #1 ranked pass defense.

The game concluded with San Francisco trying to throw into the right corner of the end zone -- exactly what San Francisco tried at the end of last year's Super Bowl -- and like in that Super Bowl, were unsuccessful. In both instances, the intended receiver was double-covered -- maybe defensive coordinators know something?

The amount of things in TMQ that Gregg gets just absolutely wrong is astounding. Michael Crabtree was not double-covered on this play. Richard Sherman was in man coverage with Crabtree and he tipped the ball back to a linebacker for the interception. Sherman appeared to have man coverage on Crabtree through the entire play.

Jim Harbaugh has taken the 49ers to three straight conference title games, so he's obviously doing well. But his decisions can be puzzling. He sent Alex Smith to the bench, then traded him, to give Kaepernick the reins. Though the Nevada quarterback is a lot of fun to watch, he has yet to show he can pick apart an NFL defense.

And of course picking apart an NFL defense is the only important attribute a quarterback brings to the table.

Harbaugh/West also had the Niners facing fourth-and-1 on the Seattle 41. They tried to draw the home team offside, then took a penalty and punted. Why not just run a play for the first down?

More typical Easterbrookian writing. Why not just run a play and get the first down? Why not just throw a pass and get a touchdown in this situation? I can make up many hypothetical situations here and choose my own outcome that helps to prove my point.

Perhaps the Niners didn't run a play for the first down because it was a close game and a first down against the best defense in the NFL wasn't a guarantee? I can see where the 49ers would decide to run the ball here, they are a running team after all, but it's dumb to say "Why not run a play for the first down" when the first down isn't guaranteed, yet Gregg acts like it is.

But it was as if everyone on the San Francisco defense thought they'd heard the whistle on Wilson's 51-yard completion to Doug Baldwin. Wilson had 7 seconds in the pocket, a long time in NFL terms, as numerous Niners defenders just stood around looking at each other.

It's incredibly hard to cover a receiver for seven seconds. Anyone who has played football or watched football or knows what a football looks like knows this to be true. Any secondary that is being asked to cover a receiver for seven seconds is a secondary that is probably going to give up a reception.

On the Seattle side of the ball, San Francisco was held to 17 points with a total of just three blitzes. Last week, TMQ wrote that the Seahawks play old-fashioned vanilla defense and rarely blitz, despite a reputation for Carroll being blitz-happy. Three blitzes in a title game; conventional four-man rush; Super Bowl invitation.

You were so right. Obviously the key to making the Super Bowl is to not blitz, play a conventional four-man front and have an incredibly talented defense with the best secondary in football. It's not that hard to do.

The Bluish Men Group lined up trips right. At the snap, all three trips guys ran go routes; Lynch ran a flare left; six blocked. Wilson looked toward Lynch, drawing the safeties' eyes that way, then threw into the end zone for a touchdown to little-used Jermaine Kearse.

Kearse has 22 receptions for 346 yards on the season. He was targeted 38 times on the season in 16 games. That comes out to a little over two targets per game. I guess whether Kearse is little used depends on your definition of "little used."

San Francisco seemed to expect a short possession throw.

Gregg can read the minds of defenses, so clearly this has to be correct. Gregg knows exactly what the defense was expecting or at least is willing to make an assumption that not-so-coincidentally proves his point as being correct.

Instead on a big play, the ball goes to a guy who rarely sees the ball, which is a time-tested football success tactic.

Until this play doesn't work, at which point Gregg questions why a little-used player is getting the ball in such a crucial situation. As always, Gregg's criticism depends entirely on the outcome of the play. If a team uses a little-used guy (which I would argue Kearse isn't little-used) in a crucial situation and it works out then it's a brilliant strategy, but if this doesn't work then what was that team thinking using a little-used guy in that situation?

Reader Matt Loughman of Suwanee, Ga., notes this Kansas City Star story saying Eric Fisher, the first choice of the 2013 draft, needs to "get bigger and stronger." Loughman asks, "Fisher is 6-8, 305 pounds, that's not big enough?" At the combine, Fisher did 27 reps of 225 pounds. That's not strong enough?

I can't help but wonder if Gregg intentionally acts like an idiot. Yes, being 6'8" and 305 pounds is large enough as it pertains to 99% of society, but in terms of being an NFL football player and making the switch to left tackle Fisher needs to gain 10-15 more pounds and add muscle in order to play the tougher left tackle position. His size is relative to other NFL players, not relative to the population as a whole.

In a supersized society, the notion that huge, muscular football players aren't huge and muscular enough is not an outlier.

It's almost like they are elite athletes playing a professional sport and any comparisons of size or weight needs to be made relative to the other other professional athletes playing the same sport.

At the NFL level there is always pressure on linemen to gain strength. Professional athletes supervised by trainers and nutritionists can gain healthy weight and then lose it back once their playing days end. But in a nation with a childhood obesity epidemic, it just cannot be good that the No. 1 sport celebrates weight gain.

Childhood obesity and professional athletes celebrating weight gain are two totally separate things. I can't read the mind of every individual like Gregg can, but I wouldn't imagine a child would say "I want to gain 25 pounds because my favorite offensive linemen is gaining 25 pounds this offseason." Yes, high school offensive lineman can try to gain weight, but it's not completely the NFL's fault.

For every one NFL player gaining weight as lean muscle mass, there are a hundred of teens wolfing down bacon cheeseburgers to get big so they can start for varsity.

If only they had parents or coaches that could monitor what these teens eat. Of course, it's all the NFL and Eric Fisher's fault that Tom Gullickson in Idaho is scarfing down three cheeseburgers at McDonald's in order to gain weight, and definitely not the fault of any adult who has day-to-day contact with Tom Gullickson.

Beyond that, very heavy football players extolled by television as celebrities give young people the idea that weighing that much is not a risk. True, television also bombards young people with images of perfect-10 bodies. But a perfect-10 body is impossible for most young people to attain, while anyone can gain pounds by reaching for the French fries.

I have difficulty sometimes seeing how Gregg has gotten to where he has gotten as a journalist with some of the arguments he makes. He is arguing kids are illogical and don't understand how to properly gain muscle mass, but then when acknowledging television bombards kids with images of excessively skinny individuals who have a perfect body he shrugs it off because it's impossible for young people to gain this body. So the same kids that illogical in thinking they can gain muscle mass by eating three cheeseburgers at every meal are logical enough to know if they lose enough weight they still won't look like a photoshopped celebrity? Young people are logical until Gregg needs them to be illogical to prove his point. Anorexia and bulimia don't exist and the constant body-shaming that young people receive on the front of magazines and on television doesn't have as much of an impact on kids as an interview with a fat offensive lineman. That is Gregg's conclusion.

It doesn't make sense. Either kids are illogical about their bodies or they aren't. It goes both ways too. Kids think they can gain or lose weight to look like someone they admire. Not to mention, even by stuffing french fries down their face kids still may not get the same body as Eric Fisher, so the idea this is totally different from a person trying to gain a perfect body doesn't seem to make sense.

Then Gregg psychoanalyzes the Patriots and Wes Welker, because there's no job that Gregg believes he can't perform at a high level.

Welker was jealous of Talib, who was being welcomed into the Patriots' locker room just as Welker was being shown out. 

In a world without facts, this is true. Talib signed with the Patriots on November 1, 2012. Wes Welker was also on this Patriots team, so they were teammates for over two months. I wouldn't say Talib was welcomed just as Welker was being shown out. Not to mention, Welker wanted more than a one year contract and Talib accepted a one year contract.

Welker was further enraged that the master he served, Tom Brady, did not protect him. Instead, Brady's wife, Giselle BŌčndchen, blamed Welker in 2012 at Indianapolis when the Patriots failed against the Giants. Brady received the fair damsel's embrace while Welker was sent into the wilds, 

This isn't even close to making sense. How does Gregg know Tom Brady didn't tell his wife to please not criticize his receivers publicly, but instead did it in private? Oh that's right, Gregg believes he can read minds, but only when it serves to prove the point he wants to make. So Tom Brady isn't going to publicly chastise his wife and to think because he didn't chastise Gisele publicly means he didn't defend Welker in private very well may be false. Who is to say outside of Brady and his family? Also, Gisele only has one "L," but who cares about correct spelling in situations like this?

Brady knew if there was one way the loss of Welker would blow up in the Patriots' faces, it would be if Welker joined up with Peyton Manning, to whom Brady secretly feels inferior, despite having two more Super Bowl rings and seven more playoffs wins. The football world thinks of Manning as a "real" quarterback, even though he wears wigs while lip-syncing rap music, and thinks of Brady as a pretty-boy.

If anything, the football world thinks that Peyton Manning is a choker in the playoffs and Brady is a marvel for succeeding with the receiving corps he had this season. But fuck it, let's just make more stuff up. Sure, the football world doesn't see Tom Brady as a "real" quarterback.

What does TMQ think? That Welker should have been flagged for offensive pass interference. He wasn't blocking -- he hit Talib while the pass was in the air.

And of course I'm sure Gregg thinks Welker learned this behavior from Bill Belichick.

I have no need to kill space or psychoanalyze, so what happened is Bill Belichick didn't like Welker's "block" because it hurt his best corner and made him change his game plan of how he defended Demaryius Thomas. This helped contribute to the Patriots losing the game and Bill Belichick doesn't like losing.

How Did Denver Do It?

Did the unexpectedly ideal conditions cause Belichick to yield to his normal pass-wacky self, after three consecutive bad-weather rush-oriented games in Massachusetts? Was he attempting reverse psychology -- passing because he expected Denver to expect runs? The Patriots executed a lot of play fakes, suggesting they wanted to establish the run, then started play-faking but forgot the first part of that equation.

Since Belichick doesn't call the plays for New England I doubt he yielded to his pass-wacky self in calling the plays, plus I really, really doubt the Patriots forgot to run the football.

Maybe the pop-psychology explanation of the New England sideline was that Flying Elvii offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel, former head coach at Denver, wanted to show he and Tom Brady could out-pass Manning -- because in the current football reality, throwing is viewed as more manly than running.

Gregg has some of the most half-assed explanations for football-related items. Sometimes I have to wonder if Gregg is being serious, because there's no way Josh McDaniels (not McDaniel) wanted to win the game in a more manly fashion and chose the manliest game plan possible.

Belichick made a puzzling decision by ordering a punt from the Denver 39. Sure, it was fourth-and-16, but you don't defeat the league's highest-scoring team by punting in its territory.

It was also the first quarter when Belichick made this decision. You also don't defeat the league highest-scoring team by giving them great field position by going for it on a difficult fourth down to convert. What did the punt result in happening? The Patriots downed the ball at the 7-yard line...of course the Broncos then went 93 yards to score a touchdown, but it was the right call to punt. 

One of TMQ's themes this season has been the warning that scoreboard-spinning teams tend to peter out at the last. Until this season, the highest-scoring NFL team ever was the 2007 Patriots. They averaged 37 points per game in the regular season, then dropped to an average of 26 points in their two home playoff games, then scored 14 points in their Super Bowl loss. This season, the Broncos became the highest-scoring team ever. They put up 38 points per game during the regular season, then dropped to 25 points during their two home playoff games. Will the third part of the pattern repeat?

Considering the Broncos play teams with better defenses in the playoffs than they faced in the regular season then I would say, yes, the third part of the pattern will repeat. This is especially true considering the Broncos are playing the best defense in the NFL in the Super Bowl. Is Gregg really so stupid that he can't understand 16 games against teams of varying talent levels will result in the Broncos scoring more points per game as compared to three games against teams with a high talent level? It's easy to see why high-scoring teams in the regular season can't score as many points in the postseason. It's because the defenses they face are better defenses. How is this hard to understand?

Reader Tim Kokesh of San Jose, Calif., countered: "Instead of doing away with the kicked PAT altogether, how about requiring the player who scored the touchdown to kick the PAT? Kind of like a foul shot on a made basket. The scoring team could either allow their touchdown man to kick for one, or go for two using the current deuce format."

I've read some really dumb ideas, but Tim from California has come up with the dumbest idea possible for what could replace an extra point attempt by the kicker. Of course, have the guy who scored the touchdown kick the extra point. Other than I don't want to turn the game of football into a circus, why didn't I think of that? How about each team's mascot kicks the extra point and if the NFL team doesn't have a mascot then a randomly selected fan has to kick the extra point?

"Revolution" carries a stark warning to humanity -- after the electricity stops, so will logic. The current season depicts the 16th year after the global power blackout. A child born at least two years after the blackout is shown as now a man in his mid-20s. No explanation.

There is actually an explanation. "Revolution" is a television show and isn't supposed to be a reality-based program. It's fiction.

After electricity, good guys cannot be killed but bad guys drop dead instantaneously if a good guy looks at them crosswise. And there's an infinite supply of bad guys. Viewers are told that about a year after the blackout, order broke down and a horrific Hobbesian war of all against all killed 90 percent of the American population. Since then militias have fought each other for control of towns and of remaining manufactured products. So military-age males ought to be in short supply. Instead, the societies of "Revolution" seem to consist entirely of military-age males and good-looking young women.

The United States population is about 317 million (and that death/birth clock freaks me out a bit), so if 90% of the population was killed then that still leaves 31.7 million people in the United States. I can't really speak for the good-looking young women, but logic would dictate if militias fought each other for control of towns then those people who are leftover would predominantly be younger and more military-aged because these are people who are in good physical shape to fight. But again, this is a fictional television show anyway, so I probably shouldn't use logic and neither should Gregg.

No matter how many military-aged males are killed, twice as many more march in. But there are no old people, no children -- and no farmers. No one grows crops or raises stock: Eating seems to have been forgotten altogether, though there's plenty of moonshine, which characters drink all day long, and unlimited bullets.

It's a television show to be used for entertainment purposes. The writing may be terrible, but blame the writing and don't blame the lack of realism on the show. Realism shouldn't be expected on a fictional television show.

In big organizations, the people on top say they should receive ginormous paychecks because the buck stops with them. Then, when something goes wrong, they say they're not responsible. Holden Thorp, who was chancellor when fake courses were being offered at UNC, paid no fines, faced no indictment. He's now provost at Washington University in St. Louis, a cushy job at a top school.

He's the provost at Washington University? I've watched "Masters of Sex" and I know that's not a cushy job at all. It's hard to be secretly gay and deal with a sex study that is dismissed and shamed by fellow doctors.

TMQ likes coffee with nonfat half-and-half. The other day, my grocer was fresh out, so I bought regular half-and-half and mixed it with skim milk. This means I made half half-and-half.

I'm shocked Gregg's wife hasn't lost her will to live at this point. He has to wear on her after a while, right?

Hidden plays are ones that never make highlight reels, but sustain or stop drives.

Highlight reels only encompass a few plays in a game. Blah, blah, get my point. Gregg is dumb for thinking a play is hidden because it's not on the highlight reel and a play can be very important yet not make the highlight reel.

With Denver leading 3-0 in the first quarter, the Flying Elvii had first-and-10 at midfield. Tom Brady play-faked and rolled right; Julian Edelman cut deep left and was as open as an NFL receiver ever gets; Brady badly missed him.

How in the hell is this a hidden play? How is an obvious touchdown pass that was overthrown "hidden" in any way?

Had New England recorded a touchdown on this play, taking an early lead -- Brian Burke of Advanced NFL Stats maintains home-field advantage works most in the first quarter, then fades -- the game outcome might have been different. Instead, New England ended up punting, and Denver drove the other way for a 10-0 lead.

So what was hidden about this play? Anyone watched this game saw this play and saw the effect it had on the game. The Patriots went from having a long gain at worst to throwing an incomplete pass that eventually led to a stalled drive. Highlight reels don't determine the importance of a single play during a football game.

Next Week: Readers vote on the coveted longest award in sports: Entertainment and Sports Programming Network's Tuesday Morning Quarterback Non-Quarterback Non-Running-Back National Football League Most Valuable Player.

It's ESPN TMQ Non-QB Non-RB NFL MVP creep! The voting doesn't start until next week, but Gregg is already talking about it this week. Also, how can there be an MVP if the season isn't entirely over yet? Does what the players do in the Super Bowl not count?


Snarf said...

Stats of the Championships No. 9: In the 2010 regular season, the Patriots averaged 32.4 points; they scored 21 points in their playoff loss. In the 2011 regular season, the Patriots averaged 32.1 points; they scored 17 points in their playoff loss. In the 2012 regular season, the Patriots averaged 34.8 points; they scored 13 points in their playoff loss. In the 2013 regular season, the Patriots averaged 27.8 points; they scored 16 points in their playoff loss.

It's almost like the key to beating a good offensive team is to play good defense and prevent this team from scoring points. Who would have thought this could be true?

Holy SHITBALLS!!!! You mean to tell me a high-powered offense scored below its season average in losses? Particularly to a playoff team (in the playoffs, so obviously). This is shoddy non-analysis, even by Gregg standards. In all of their victories this season, the Broncos scored more points than their opponents. What insights can we glean from this?

Snarf said...

Regarding the Gisele part, this is one of the lamest sports media stories ever. A bunch of reporters basically shoved microphones at her immediately following the game and essentially asked "why does your husband suck at his job?" (I don't remember th exacts but it was a bunch of people shoving microphones at her as she was exiting) She didn't even name welker. If he can't understand how that came out then that's his problem. To your point, though, I'm sure behind closed doors this was resolved and is a non-issue. Who am I though? Gregg was essentially there and knows everything about everyone, so I'll defer to hi on this one.

Anonymous said...

"because in the current football reality, throwing is viewed as more manly than running."

Say what? Find me one person who thinks passing is more "manly" than running. I think passing is more efficient and will score you more points, yes, but I don't think it's more "manly." There's nothing manlier than physically imposing your will on your opponent, which you can do in the run game. Geez, this guy literally just makes shits up to prove his point.

"Had New England recorded a touchdown on this play, taking an early lead -- Brian Burke of Advanced NFL Stats maintains home-field advantage works most in the first quarter, then fades -- the game outcome might have been different."

Easy out on that limb, Gregg. "Had" they scored a TD, the game outcome "might" have been different. "Had" I won the lottery five years ago, my life outcome "might" have been different.

"Sure, it was fourth-and-16, but you don't defeat the league's highest-scoring team by punting in its territory."

Number of plays in an NFL playbook designed to convert 4th and 16...I'm going to say zero. I hate punting on the plus-side of the 50 as much as anyone, but even I'm not dumb enough to go for it on 4th and 16 unless I absolutely have to. The better criticism here would be that the Patriots should have attempted a 57 yard field goal, with a good kicker in Gostkowski, clear weather and Denver's thin air. Even that's a stretch, but at least it's an argument. 4th and 16 in the first quarter is ridiculous, and generally I'm willing to go for just about anything on the plus-side of the 50.

HH said...

Who was the blocker? Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins, called by some the best offensive lineman in football. Mankins barely so much as slowed Knighton. Very sour.

Actually, the blocker was Patriots center Ryan Wendell, an undrafted free agent. [Wendell has had a poor season, although he has been very good the last two years.] Knighton is a third-round pick.

Bengoodfella said...

Snarf, I'm shocked at the thought of a good offensive team losing when they don't score as many points. What's startling to me is Gregg seems to really think he's telling us something interesting.

Gisele did sort of have a point anyway. Welker catching that pass makes a difference in the game.

Anon, that's a good point. If you look at his history of the NFL I think it would show running the ball is considered tougher and more manly. It's more "three yards and a cloud of dirt."

I always love Gregg's "had" and "might" comments. They mean so very little.

HH, what? There's no way an undrafted player made a bad play. I can't believe it. I wonder if Gregg intentionally got that wrong or is just good at reading numbers on a television?

Slag-King said...

Who was the blocker? Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins, called by some the best offensive lineman in football. Mankins barely so much as slowed Knighton. Very sour.

Actually, the blocker was Patriots center Ryan Wendell, an undrafted free agent. [Wendell has had a poor season, although he has been very good the last two years.] Knighton is a third-round pick.

To add to HH's comment and to destroy Gregg's pee-wee football analysis, Pot Roast made a very athletic play. He actually juked the blocker ala Barry Sanders. I doubt any of the HOF offensive line could have done much better to stop that unexpected move.

Anonymous said...

I'm so sick of hearing the "3 out of 4 times the No.1 Defense beat the No. 1 Offense in the Super Bowl" stat. It represents the laziest and most insignificant analysis of what's actually a pretty interesting question.

Bengoodfella said...

Slag, but since Logan Mankins (actually Wendell) plays for the Patriots he is supposed to never allow pressure on the quarterback. Gregg had a good point outside of getting the lineman's name right and being completely wrong.

Anon, I think TMQ is the most lazy and insignificant of football columns so that explains why Gregg wrote that.

Frank said...

All I can say is, just when I thought I'd seen it all from Easterbrook and that the pickings were going to get slim, a bored Gregg posts his pre-super bowl column. Wow, that's all I can say, just wow, to some of the odd discussions and outright lies he posts. Can't believe he gets paid for this. I cracked up a bunch of times during your weekly assault on the guy though, so thanks again for continuing to post.

Bengoodfella said...

Frank, I'm usually glad to get rid of Gregg and then mid-summer I wish I had a TMQ to post. So I guess I enjoy it. He's the worst probably and he loves to mislead his readers.