Wednesday, February 12, 2014

4 comments MMQB Review: Coming Out Edition

Peter King said goodbye last week to his super-long MMQB columns that he publishes during the NFL season. Now instead of 5-6 pages of NFL news with three of those pages being Peter's personal thoughts, quotes of the week, tweets of the week, travel notes, and facts that only interest him, his readers will get 2-4 pages of NFL news with two of those pages being Peter's personal thoughts, quotes of the week, tweets of the week, travel notes, and facts that only interest him. Peter discussed the end of the NFL season last week while discussing Percy Harvin's big debut as a Seahawk (he's totally worth the money now) and eulogized Philip Seymour-Hoffman. This week in the first offseason MMQB, Peter talks about Michael Sam who could be the first openly gay NFL player (shockingly, it is mentioned that the Patriots could draft Sam...since any semi-controversial player like Tim Tebow is tied to the Patriots out of habit), a new concussion study, continues to eulogize Phillip Seymour Hoffman because apparently he and Peter were very close, frustratingly doesn't cut any of the filler in MMQB since it is now the offseason and talks about how he bit a man's hands off on a plane. 

The news spread quickly across the NFL Sunday night. Then again, The New York Times report about mid-round draft prospect Michael Sam, the Missouri defensive end, coming out as gay two weeks before the scouting combine and 12 weeks before the draft wasn’t a surprise to every team in the league.

The Colts knew because Ryan Grigson knows everything. Grigson immediately traded his first round draft pick to move up and draft Michael Sam...then Grigson realized he had already traded his first draft choice this year and gave up a 2nd and 3rd round pick to move up 10 spots in order to pick Michael Sam. Sportswriters around the NFL agreed this was a brilliant move.

I spoke to four club officials Sunday—three general managers, one scout—and the reaction to a third-round prospect being gay ran the gamut.

What does Sam being a third-round prospect have anything to do with it? If he was a first round prospect would their reaction to the news be different? If the reaction changes based on the player's projected draft position then maybe it is smart to evaluate that player on his skill, as opposed to judging him on whether he likes girls or guys.

I spoke to all anonymously, because with such a touchy subject, I assumed all would either no-comment me (and one other GM did) or say something so sanitized it wouldn’t really be the truth. I don’t like to do anonymous sources to write an entire story, but I felt in this case it would give the best information possible.

The bottom line will always be if a guy can play football well. If Tim Tebow was as good as Russell Wilson then the rest of the shit surrounding him about his faith and the media attention would be worth it. If Michael Sam can play football, then he'll be worth the risk of the media attention. Others have covered this already, but I also like how Peter went into this offering anonymity because there's NO WAY any NFL official would give a quote with a name behind it...except NFL owners and officials have already done so. Peter apparently isn't willing to touch his contacts to actually give informed information on Michael Sam coming out of the closet. 

“It’ll totally depend on your leadership,” the scout said. “A team with strong leadership at coach and in the locker room, like New England, I would imagine, would be okay. I could see Belichick say, ‘This is the way it is. There’s no story.’ 

Well, of course. New England could have signed Jeffrey Dahmer and it would not have been a big deal. The Patriots are the go-to organization whenever it comes to wondering where a prospect with a shaky history or questions about how his personality fits a team. And yes, obviously a team would have to have strong leadership at coach and in the locker room. Most successful NFL organizations need this anyway.

“We talked about it this week,” the GM said. “First of all, we don’t think he’s a very good player. The reality is he’s an overrated football player in our estimation.

Of course if Sam puts up tremendous numbers at the Combine in Indianapolis then all of a sudden he is a guy who only flashed a little bit of his potential at Missouri and his draft stock will shoot up, followed by an anonymous GM wondering if Michael Sams will be distracted by all the penises he will see in an NFL locker room. 

I asked this general manager: “Do you think he’ll be drafted?”
 
“No,” he said.

It might be better for Michael Sam to not get drafted. Then he could choose the team he wants to play for, as opposed to being selected by a team that may not have the type of environment he needs to succeed.

And of course there is no way any of these GM's are acting cold on Michael Sams in the hopes his draft stock falls and that GM's team can pluck him up later than expected in the draft. 

Sam is from Hitchcock, Texas, near Galveston on the Gulf Coast. He led the SEC this year in combined sacks and tackles for loss and was voted the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. But he is smallish for an NFL defensive end or pass rushing outside linebacker at 6-1 ½ and 260 pounds.

If his name was "Barkevious Mingo" he would be a Top-10 draft pick. Is it Sam's height that is holding him back? Because Dion Jordan, Barkevious Mingo, Dion Jordan, and Bruce Irvin all weigh less than 260 pounds and Aldon Smith only weighs 5-10 pounds more than Sam. They were all early first round draft choices. I guess Michael Sam isn't considered tall enough to play outside rushing linebacker in the NFL. Otherwise, his weight doesn't seem to have an impact on whether he could be an outside pass rushing linebacker in the NFL or not.

Before the bombshell, Sam was rated as a third- or fourth-round prospect by many draft outlets. Mel Kiper had him as a fourth-rounder, pre-announcement, on ESPN Sunday night.

BUT DID MEL KIPER KNOW SAM IS A LITTLE UNDER 6'2"? OBVIOUSLY NOT, BECAUSE THEN HE WOULD CONSIDER SAM TO BE UNDRAFTABLE. 

But NFL personnel people fear that a player of his size who is not very quick will be neutralized by the bigger, athletic NFL tackles.

Oh, so it's already known that Sam isn't very quick? Wow, it's almost like there's no need for a Pro Day or the Combine.

He has a reputation for being a team guy willing to do what his coaches ask. His teammates at Missouri obviously like him a lot. He told them about his sexuality before last season, and they kept his secret for him.

I don't think it is a matter of liking Sam or not, but it's just respectful to keep a secret that one of your players may have when that secret isn't against the law. It's just respectful, whether Sam was well-liked or not.

“The big factor here is that the initial storm will come now, and not after he’s drafted, like maybe he was trying to hide it,” one GM said. “That’s a big factor in his favor. Very big.”

Well absolutely. Sam coming out now gives NFL GM's a reason to blame Sam's play on the field for not drafting him, rather than just admitting they don't want a gay man in their team's locker room.

I don't know if the NFL is ready for an openly gay athlete. Probably not if the Kerry Rhodes situation was any measure (I know Kerry Rhodes isn't gay, not at all...never), but that wasn't necessarily the best measure because Rhodes was a veteran who had certain contract demands before he would sign with a team. It seems to me that Sam coming out before the draft will give GM's who weren't going to draft him because he's gay to blame their not drafting him on his skill set. I like how this one GM is pretending that Sam is in better shape now by admitting he is gay before the draft as opposed to keeping his sexuality a secret until after he was drafted. Sam is clearly going to be taken off or moved down some teams draft boards because he is gay. It's like saying Michael Sam is in better shape getting caught with a pound of cocaine in his car prior to the draft as opposed to getting drafted and then getting caught with a pound of cocaine in his car. Because after all, now GM's can ask him about the issue they previously didn't know existed and this could bias their evaluation of him, as opposed to this issue having nothing to do with where Sam is drafted.

As this GM said, if a player makes a bombshell announcement before the combine and allows every team to interrogate him about it, he stands a better chance of the story burning out before the player ever reports to training camp. What could doom the player, he said, would be hiding this when it was likely to come out—either by the player or some other way. Teams do not like surprises.

I can understand this. Either way it's a red flag though, and like any other red flag it can used as a reason to take a draft-eligible player off a certain's draft board. So while I understand that teams don't like surprises, this surprise has nothing to do with Sam's character or whether he is reliable enough to count on to be a part of the team.

That’s why it’s na├»ve to suggest Sam’s coming out will have no effect on where he’s drafted, as the respected Kiper said on ESPN Sunday night. It could be that a liberal owner and progressive coach like Jeffrey Lurie and Chip Kelly of the Eagles will not care at all, and if he’s there in the fourth or fifth round will grab him.

Wrong. Only the Patriots have the foresight to draft a guy like Michael Sam. That's the story, stick to it. I also still love that Sam's disclosure of his sexuality is "a big factor in his favor," yet he probably is going to be drafted later due to this factor. This doesn't make sense, though it is perfect logic that a GM might use so he can act like Sam's disclosure won't really affect his draft position. So Sam coming out of the closet now is a big factor in his favor, but not a big enough factor of course to stop him from possibly sliding in the draft. What would have really been a big factor in Sam's favor is if he had just kept quiet or denied it when the question of his sexuality was asked of him. That's assuming Sam cares about his draft position of course.

And the team that takes Sam has to know what the trailblazing aspect of his presence will bring: the news shows as well as sports shows, the constant buzz when the team goes on the road, the slurs bound to come his way sometime.

Players hear slurs all the time when traveling and playing road games. They aren't always slurs about sexuality of course.

During the draft, a team that has Sam graded barely above another pass-rush prospect in the third or fourth round may ask itself: Will all the distractions—the network news trucks, the questioning of his teammates about accepting a gay teammate—be worth it? Or should we just draft the other guy and not worry about Sam’s off-field stuff?

From a business perspective I can completely understand this. It's how I feel about Jason Collins not getting a job in the NBA or Tim Tebow not having a job in the NFL. If the player is worth all the crap that the media will surround him with, then he's worth the chance, but a team has to be sure that player is worth the crap the media will surround them with. I do think it is disingenuous for any NFL GM to pretend Michael Sam has done himself a favor by revealing his sexuality prior to the Combine and draft. I think this comes from a more selfish place where a GM is trying to make it seem like Sam helped himself, but in reality this isn't true, but it's better to see open-minded now and blame not drafting Sam on his performance at his Pro Day or the Combine.

I get why NFL teams wouldn't draft Michael Sam. I just would prefer they not pretend he didn't help himself or do anyone but NFL teams a favor by revealing this information prior to the draft and Combine.

Pete Carroll was hired as Seattle coach early in 2010, followed a week later by a Green Bay scout he didn’t know, John Schneider. It’s no secret Carroll has done a terrific job coaching the Seahawks, which we all can see.

Hence, why it is no secret Carroll has done a terrific job coaching the Seahawks...because we all can see he's done a terrific job. This statement sounds redundant.

And Schneider has done a terrific job of personnel acquisition, which we all can see. But one thing about their arranged marriage that’s overlooked—I believe—is how two men who were thrown together have meshed into such a good combination.

Really, any combination of a GM and head coach tends to be an arranged marriage in some aspect, though I understand what Peter is saying. Harbaugh and Trent Baalke was an arranged marriage since Baalke was hired just before Harbaugh was hired.

Peter lists out all of the players the Seahawks have hit on in the draft since 2010 and it is very impressive. It's almost like drafting well is the key to building a successful NFL team.

An interesting new study by a team including Gregory D. Myer, the director of research in sports medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, reports a correlation between a reduction of concussions and playing football at higher altitude. In the current issue of the Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy, Myer’s group found that of the 300 concussions involving 284 NFL players suffered in the 2012 and 2013 regular seasons, there was a 30 percent reduction in the chances for concussion in games played at stadiums with an altitude of at least 644 feet.

But at 645 feet the players are fucked I guess. Gregg Easterbrook would not like the hyperspecificity of the altitude in the study being at 644 feet.

He says that at higher altitudes—Denver, for instance, is a mile above sea level—less oxygen and more blood flows into the brain, and the brain expands with more blood flowing into it. “That means the brain fills the excess space more inside the skull at higher altitudes,” said Myer. “There is less brain slosh.” Playing at higher altitudes, Myer theorized, increased the volume of what he called the “bubble wrap” inside the skull, creating a tighter fit and thus reducing brain slosh.

So the solution to reducing concussions is to play all NFL games at an altitude of 644 feet or more. 

Myer and his group think the NFL’s effort at stemming concussions, which is heavily based on improvements in helmet technology, is off base. “The brain already has a helmet,” Myer said in an email. “It’s called a skull/cranium.” No matter how good the helmet is, Myer thinks, the brain is going to move in it when struck violently.

Obviously the NFL would like to stem concussions entirely, but Myer's research shows this can't be done even if all of the games were played at an altitude of 644 feet. So I don't think the NFL is off base because they are trying to reduce concussions and prevent them as much as possible. Concussions will still occur, because as Myer says, the brain is going to move when struck violently. So I don't think the NFL is off base in trying to reduce the impact of the brain sloshing around when stuck violently. I think if improving helmet technology can reduce concussions then this is a solution that should be explored.

So could this be the precursor to teams at high altitudes, such as Denver, having a built-in advantage in free agency because concussions are less likely to occur a mile above sea level?

Probably not. Only eight games are played at this high altitude during a season (more if the team gets a playoff game and if you wanted to count two exhibition games), so there are still eight games played at a lower altitude. Is a player that intentionally plays a violent game where he could suffer long-term brain damage going to pass up more money in order to play at a higher altitude to (maybe) prevent a concussion? Not many players would do this.

So this company has sprouted up called Fantex, and it cut a check to San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis for $4 million a couple of weeks ago. Not that this is earth-shattering, because famous players make all kinds of silly money off the field. But this caught my eye because Davis didn’t have to do anything for the money. It’s his, free and clear, with this one proviso: Ten percent of all the money he makes in football and all football-related ventures (such as working in an NFL broadcast booth or studio after his career) goes back to Fantex—and you can profit from it by buying stock in Vernon Davis. Davis cannot discuss the deal until after the Securities and Exchange Commission approves it.

Bill Simmons is clearly pleased because he's wanted to buy stock in crazy occurrences that happen during an NFL game, so this is one step closer to that occurring. Otherwise, I'm not buying stock in any athlete. It just sounds like a bad idea to me.

So this company has sprouted up called Fantex, and it cut a check to San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis for $4 million a couple of weeks ago. Not that this is earth-shattering, because famous players make all kinds of silly money off the field. But this caught my eye because Davis didn’t have to do anything for the money. It’s his, free and clear, with this one proviso: Ten percent of all the money he makes in football and all football-related ventures (such as working in an NFL broadcast booth or studio after his career) goes back to Fantex—and you can profit from it by buying stock in Vernon Davis. Davis cannot discuss the deal until after the Securities and Exchange Commission approves it.

My issues with this lies in how would I know what the stock is valued at and how to measure the value of a stock in Vernon Davis? Also, the possibility of insider trading is absolutely enormous. Say I am a FOX Sports employee and I know Vernon Davis is high among the list of athletes we are looking to hire after his playing career is over. At that point, I'm going to buy stock in Vernon Davis because I know he is high on the list of players the network wants to hire in the future. So isn't that some sort of insider trading? I have information not available to the general public about Vernon Davis and his future earnings potential that could cause his stock to increase. The same goes for if I was an employee who worked for Vernon Davis' agent. Say I am the assistant to Vernon Davis' agent and I know he has begun contract negotiations to extend his contract. At that point, I am going to buy stock in Vernon Davis and encourage my friends and family to do so as well. Wouldn't this be considered some sort of insider trading?

“Doug! We whipped their a–. That s— wasn’t even close.”

—Russell Wilson, 90 minutes after the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, to teammate Doug Baldwin in the Seattle locker room, as captured by Sports Illustrated’s Scott Price in his insightful game story in the magazine last week.

Well, at least he was classy about the victory and didn't privately talk about how bad the Seahawks had beaten the Broncos. I would imagine if Jay Cutler won the Super Bowl and gloated like afterwards then Peter King would find it to be bad sportsmanship and not at all cutesy like he finds it to be when Russell Wilson says this.

Of course, it does help that what Russell Wilson says here is true.

“Guys feel like, ‘If I can do this, it keeps me away from maybe Vicodin, it keeps me away from pain prescription drugs and things that guys get addicted to.’ Guys look at this as a more natural way to heal themselves, to relieve stress and also to medicate themselves for pain. Guys are still going to do it.”

—Free agent safety Ryan Clark, in comments to ESPN about teammates on the Steelers using marijuana.

I am enjoying all of this justification for why the NFL should take marijuana off the list of banned substances. It's fantastic to hear the players justifying the use of marijuana with saying it helps them kick other drugs or it helps to relieve stress. Just be honest. Players want to smoke pot. That's what they want to do and they don't want to get suspended for doing so. I'm sure for a certain percentage of players they do want to relieve stress or medicate themselves, but I'm guessing the majority of players just want to smoke pot.

“He had a rare ability to illuminate the varieties of human ugliness. No one ever did it so beautifully.”

—A.O. Scott of The New York Times, on actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was found dead of a suspected heroin overdose on Feb. 2 at age 46.

I recognize someone (out of the 8 readers) probably thought I was being insensitive last week when discussing Philip Seymour Hoffman's death. So I will run the risk of being insensitive again. Hoffman was an actor. He wasn't anything more or anything less. He didn't illuminate the varieties of human ugliness, he pretended to be someone for a role. And yes, other people have done it more beautifully. He is an actor who had a drug problem that killed him. It's sad for his family, but it's no sadder than the other people who die everyday from drug-related issues. Stop making him a deity and something more than he is. He's an actor who helped to cause his own death through his drug use. Caused or not caused by addiction, this is sad, but the amount of bullshit I am reading about Hoffman as if he cured cancer, relentlessly fought to feed the hungry and homeless or made another large societal impact on par with the world's greatest individuals is tiresome. He was a great actor and he is dead now. Just let him be a great actor, don't wax poetic prose about him as if he were something more. I despise how celebrities are put on a pedestal as if because they are famous, this makes them better than the average individual.

One variety of human ugliness that Hoffman did illuminate is the effect drugs have on people and the loved ones who had to suffer with his use of drugs. It wasn't beautiful, it's tragic. I want all the star-fucking to stop. I enjoyed some of his movies, but he didn't have a great positive societal impact outside of his role in movies and using the word "shart" in a sentence. I have no problem with eulogizing Hoffman, but when fancy words get thrown into a sentence to make Hoffman more than he was it begins to irritate me.

One last thing...I read Aaron Sorkin's eulogy in "Time" for Hoffman and one comment made by Hoffman to Sorkin really irritated me (I know, imagine that). He said if he or Sorkin died of an overdose then it would mean 10 other people wouldn't. Of course Sorkin, being the type of person he is (meaning an out of touch Hollywood idiot), painted this as heroic and somewhat kind. It's not. It's simply justification from an addict for his addiction and Hoffman trying to turn himself into a martyr. This comment is something an addict says to make it seem like his addiction is noble or there is some good end to an eventual overdose. There's not. This comment is simply proof that Hoffman was like every other person who became a slave to drugs, willing to do and say anything to justify his actions to himself. It also takes a good amount of hubris to paint yourself as a martyr like this.

“Greatest actor of his generation,” Charlie Rose said the other day when we spoke, and I absolutely agree.

Is this like when Peter called Derek Jeter "the greatest baseball player of his lifetime" and then later clarified Peter didn't mean his actual lifetime, but just the last 20 years or so? If so, I still don't agree. If not, I completely disagree. Hoffman was a great actor, but where was all of Peter's kind words for Hoffman when he was still alive, besides completely non-existent? I never have read Peter state Hoffman is the best actor of his generation until Hoffman died. And Peter writes 48 MMQB's every year where he dedicates an entire section to thoughts like who is the greatest actor of his generation.

Pete Carroll, players’ coach. That was one of the storylines, and rightfully so, of Super Bowl week. I saw one aspect of it, as the Pro Football Writers of America’s pool reporter for Seahawk practices on Wednesday and Friday before the game. The music. Much has been made of Carroll playing loud music from the start of practices to the end.

Nice, I like how this works. Peter says "much has been made" about Pete Carroll playing loud music from the start of practices to the end, but neglects to mention he is probably the leader in making much of Carroll playing loud music. It was a part of last week's MMQB. Nothing like making a story big and then reporting on that story being big.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

See, I told you that Peter skimps on the football content but doesn't dare cut back on all the other filler for MMQB. It's frustrating that an NFL column cuts back on the NFL-related material during the offseason while all the non-NFL-related material doesn't get cut back at all. I guess it tells me what kind of material Peter considers to be truly important.

The most annoying thing about air travel, February 2014 Edition, from a Delta flight last week: The guy in front of you who not only reclines his seat completely so it’s in your face, but is a bulbous guy who then falls asleep with his two meaty hands (meatier than “Man Hands” in Seinfeld) stretched behind his head over the seat and into your airspace.

That is annoying and I feel like my life has been considerably enriched by Peter imparting me with this knowledge. Obviously Peter is the only one who has ever been inconvenienced while traveling, so it's very important he tells us how difficult his life can be while traveling.

So I bit them off and spat them out on the floor.

Wait, what? I did a search for this phrase and it didn't appear to be a quote from a television show or movie. Perhaps I didn't look hard enough, but why would Peter bite this man's hands off and spit them on the floor? If he did that, then another passenger on the plane who is writing his own weekly column could talk about in his weekly travel note how his trip on a Delta flight was disturbed by a middle-aged man listening to U2 working on a laptop with a Brett Favre screensaver biting off a man's hands.

Is this supposed to be funny? Peter can't be referring to this can he?

I wrote a fairly unfunny post a few years ago in a fake MMQB about Peter King committing random murders and this "biting hands" mention was pretty close to one of the fake situations I set up in that fake MMQB.

At the time, I enjoyed writing that post. There are too many food jokes in it, but I think the method by which Peter commits the murders holds up well. Also, if you choose to click the link notice using the voice of Peter King I basically predicted on May 13, 2008 that the Saints would win the Super Bowl the next year. Maybe I should try to write bad parody more often.

“With drops factored in, Aaron Rodgers was league’s most accurate QB this season. Accurate on 79.3% of passes.”

—@PFF, the Pro Football Focus Twitter account.

Peter certainly isn't buying that Aaron Rodgers was the most accurate QB in the NFL this season. How does this reflect on Brett Favre? Not good, so Peter has to question it.

I think that’s great … and I’m sure it is a hugely impressive number. Does accurate mean “catchable?”

I'm pretty sure "accurate" means passes that were thrown to a receiver that were considered catchable. It means ignoring anything that Aaron Rodgers couldn't control, how accurate of a passer was he?

And I need context. Anyone else close?

Hey asshole, get a subscription to the site you can look these statistics up. You want the information, pay for it. That's how it works.

Ten Things I Think I Think

I think Peter King needs to quit telling his readers to "google" or do an internet search for some sort of information while refusing to do any research on questions he might have.

2. I think Jimmy Graham is a tight end, regardless of where he lines up on the field. It’s ludicrous there’s even a discussion about whether Graham should be tendered as a tight end (at a franchise number of $6.8 million) or wide receiver (at $11.6 million).

I think it's ridiculous that Peter King can't read the CBA and see how it clearly defines whether a player should be tendered as one position or another. A player should be tendered at the position he most often played and Graham was most often lined up outside as a receiver as opposed to lining up like a traditional tight end. Therefore, Graham should probably be considered a wide receiver, no matter what Drew Brees says may be true otherwise.

Remember the San Francisco-Baltimore Super Bowl, when the 49ers split out tight ends and even fullback Bruce Miller consistently during the game? Splitting a player away from the formation doesn’t mean he’s not what he is defined as. It’s going to be a sad day for football if head coaches like Sean Payton have to consider when they formulate a game plan, “Well, I can’t flex Graham out too often, or he’ll be considered a wide receiver.” 

While I agree the NFL has changed and a tight end can play away from the formation, the fact remains that Jimmy Graham most often runs routes out of a position that is traditionally considered to be that of a wide receiver. It would be a sad day anyway if a coach ever formulated a game plan based on making sure one of his best players doesn't receive as much money in free agency as that player may deserve to get.

Just a stupid, stupid can of worms that has been opened up.

Blame the CBA and then tell Jimmy Graham why he shouldn't try to  maximize his earning potential. Give Graham a good reason why he shouldn't try to make as much money as possible while healthy and playing a very violent sports.

4. I think my readers would say this to Howard Katz, the NFL’s schedule and TV czar: We want Denver at Seattle to open the season on Sept. 4. That’s not me, necessarily, though I’d certainly like to see it. That was the decisive sentiment from readers after I posed the possibilities for the NFL’s first game next season.

Of course Peter only gave his readers the opportunity to choose four teams from the eight home games the Seahawks will play next season, so maybe his readers would prefer to see the Seahawks play one of the other four teams that Peter didn't deem worthy to make the cut.

5. I think Seattle’s 2012 draft should be a clarion call to the smart people in our business to knock off draft grades. They are stupid. They are mindless and misleading candy for fans and those who think no one remembers what’s written or said 10 minutes after it’s published or aired.

This is why I update draft grades from guys like Mel Kiper every few years to see where he was correct and wrong. I gave the Seahawks a "6" based mainly on the fact I didn't mind the Bruce Irvin pick. These draft grades are just stupid fun and I would worry about what my grades reflect, other than my opinion, if I was trying to make a living off giving draft grades to teams like certain draft experts do. My analysis of the Seahawks wasn't exactly spot-on of course. It was just guessing like the "experts" are guessing.

Sampling other grades:

• NFL.com: C-plus. Seattle “took a lot of chances.”
 

• CBSSports.com: C-plus. Seattle “took Russell Wilson in the third when they just signed Matt Flynn. Why?”
 

• SI.com: C. “Russell Wilson has a bright future, even if Seattle really didn’t need him.”
 

• Mel Kiper: C-minus.
 

• Bleacher Report: D. The Seahawks “messed up … with Russell Wilson after having signed Matt Flynn this offseason.” (Another Bleacher Report draft review gave the Seahawks the only “F” grade in the class.)
 

• USA Today: Didn’t grade drafts with a letter, but basically did the same thing, ranking the drafts from 1 to 32. Seattle was 26th.

I'm surprised Mel Kiper even had the balls to give a team a "C-" grade. Usually he just hands out "C's" and low "B's" then calls it a day.

7. I think I have one comment about Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright saying the Seahawks would beat Denver 90 out of 100 times:

What's the comment, Peter? You have me on the edge of my seat as if I were watching a movie with Philip Seymour Hoffman in it.

He’s right.

Great comment. Great drama behind the comment. Very worthwhile.

9. I think Carolina’s Greg Hardy—just 25, and coming off a 15-sack season—could be the jewel of free agency if the Panthers let him get away. Young pass rushers are what every teams wants, and there are teams with lots of cap money (Oakland comes to mind) who could make Hardy think twice about going back to Charlotte.

Now seven of Hardy's sacks came in the last two games of the season against a rookie left tackle and the Falcons offensive line, so keep that in mind. Hardy will be franchised by Carolina most likely, but I find it interesting some of the criticism of Michael Sam from anonymous GM's (are there any other kind this time of year?) who said all but 2.5 of his 11 sacks came against crappy teams in the SEC. I'm betting many of the same GM's wouldn't mind a shot at signing Greg Hardy, who had half of his sacks come in the last two weeks of the season and was completely shut out by the 49ers outstanding offensive line in the playoffs. I'm guessing similar criticism of Sam and who he accumulated his sacks against won't transfer to Hardy in any way.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

b. Fifty years ago on Sunday, The Beatles debuted in America on The Ed Sullivan Show (in the Manhattan theater where David Letterman’s show is now produced) with “I Want To Hold Your Hand.’’ Never knew that, after the show, they recorded another set that was played, to another ratings bonanza, on the show two weeks later.

I never understood the fascination with the Beatles. They were one of the first boy bands, then got serious enough to put out average and really good music, and finally disbanded to have solo careers. They got together and broke up over a span of less than a decade. They were really good, but they are more of a cultural milestone for me than they are a really good band whose music I absolutely love.

e. Thank you, A-Rod, for accepting your suspension and not subjecting the world to your bunk for the next two months.

Apparently "bunk" is defined as "Being suspended despite having failed zero drug tests while MLB pays for documents and testimony from a person who has all the incentive in the world to avoid punishment by working with MLB and nobody cares because it's A-Rod."

f. What an admirable figure Joe Tacopina is.
g. And I say that in absolute jest.

He was hired to do a job and he tried to do it. You don't have to like him.

k. Charles Barkley is such a one-of-a-kind analyst. On a conference call to promote TNT’s NBA All-Star Game stuff next week, Barkley said of the Nets, a team on a 12-4 streak at the time of his words: “The Nets stink, man … They’re beating up on a bunch of ugly chicks in the Eastern Conference. Don’t act like they’ve got a good team. Stop it.”

Peter knows nothing about the NBA and doesn't pay attention to what's happening, but he knows enough to know this is spot-on analysis.

The Adieu Haiku
Dylan sang it well:
Don’t criticize what you can’t
understand … today.


I guess the Adieu Haiku made the cut to be in the offseason MMQB's. Yippee...

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great stuff on Hoffman and A-Rod. P. King is a complete tool and I love that he got nothing from the Olympics . . . unless I missed it. Be safe in the snow!!! @iWillLearn2surf

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, he didn't even watch the Olympics it seems. To be fair, I haven't watched much at all either.

There is a lot of snow, but there are just more people who have no experience driving in the snow.

I'll miss Hoffman's acting, but it's not like he was a deity or a great humanitarian. Let's treat him as he is.

Frank said...

just wanted to give you props for your Hoffman bit in this piece. awesome....exactly how I felt, and you put it to words beautifully.

Bengoodfella said...

Frank, thanks. That quote by Hoffman blew my mind. I don't understand why Hoffman is being made into such a deity by Peter. All of a sudden he thinks Hoffman is the greatest actor of his generation and I've never heard that before from Peter.

Hoffman killed himself and all Aaron Sorkin and Peter can do is act like Hoffman was this huge hero to many. He was an actor and his quote about helping 10 people if he died shows how out of touch with reality he really was. Those are the words of an addict.