Friday, August 15, 2014

11 comments TMQ Rises Again From the Depths of Hell

Gregg Easterbrook is back writing TMQ. It's a sad day for everyone. This year he will continue to rotate the same topics that he discusses every year. There will be talk about how offenses are taking over the NFL (until this changes in November), talk about concussions, and then Gregg will overreact to a team having a bad beginning to the year by blaming their failures on a highly-drafted glory boy or some other idiotic reasoning like that. This week Gregg is talking about how everything is fast in the NFL now. He's had five months to think of a TMQ topic and this is all he came up with apparently.

Don't look away from the screen! Don't go to the concession stand for a beer! You'll miss something, because football keeps speeding up.

Actually, games are not getting shorter. So it's okay to go to the concession stand because there is still the normal time between plays, halftime and each quarter. Otherwise, pay attention.

Many if not most NFL teams are using some version of hurry-up snaps.

Said an author writing this column back in 2012. You can always count on the guy who thinks the 3-4 defense is a fad to be a little behind the times. 

Chicago, Denver, New England, Philadelphia and San Diego spun the scoreboard in 2013 using no-huddle tactics; more teams may follow their lead in 2014.

Teams may follow their lead in 2014 or they may not. The NFL may disband this season...or it may not.

I love when Gregg uses "may" in this fashion. Yeah, a lot of shit may or may not happen.

And the no-huddle fraction may be even higher. 

Or it may not! Stay tuned!

For example, Football Outsiders found that for 2013 Chargers away games, scorers listed 30 percent of San Diego snaps as no-huddle; for Chargers home games, the Qualcomm Stadium scorer said there were zero no-huddle plays. The real no-huddle fraction league-wide for 2013 may have been considerably higher than 12.2 percent.

I would doubt that the Chargers use the no-huddle on the road, but not at home, so yes, I would say the league-wide percentage may (there's that word again) be higher than 12.2%.

Play is accelerating in college, too.

Play seemed to be accelerating in college before it was accelerating in the NFL. I don't know how many times Gregg has covered how fast college football teams play and the use of the no-huddle in college football in TMQ, but it's been quite a few times.

During the offseason, Alabama's Nick Saban lobbied unsuccessfully for more NCAA rule changes to discourage the quick snap. Flying down the field is the sole thing the Crimson Tide don't do really well, so Saban would like the tactic restricted. Few who watched last New Year's Eve's fantastically entertaining bowl game between Duke and Texas A&M -- dueling no-huddle offenses, 150 total snaps and 100 points -- are likely to agree.

Saban didn't try to couch his concerns about the tactic being restricted because it's something the Crimson Tide don't do well, but couched it in terms of injuries and exposure to injury for the student-athletes. I don't know if I believe Saban's reasoning or not, but other coaches do have concerns about exposure to injury.

(Aside on Duke: David Cutcliffe won the Maxwell Club and American Football Coaches Association 2013 Coach of the Year awards. That's right, a Duke football, not basketball, coach was college coach of the year -- this is not a misprint. Cutcliffe also told me last winter that many of the game's insiders are a lot more worried about health harm and money emphasis than they're letting on.)

Interesting how Gregg dismisses Nick Saban's reasoning for lobbying for rule changes to discourage the quick snap by stating Saban only is lobbying because Alabama doesn't run the quick snap well. Yet, Gregg states that David Cutcliffe told him game insiders are more afraid about the health harm than they are letting on. Isn't it possible that Nick Saban's heart grew three sizes and he may actually be concerned about the health of the players as he claims, since Gregg is stating David Cutcliffe told him this concern was valid? I'm playing devil's advocate, but Gregg dismisses Saban's reasoning for discouraging the quick snap and then states the concern Saban is expressing is a concern other coaches have expressed as well. 

As the nation's No. 1 sport -- as the king of sports -- pro football holds a mirror to society in many respects. Just as all American life seems faster, louder, crazier: so too with football. The previous U.S. national pastime, baseball, is slow and graceful. Try to imagine no-huddle baseball with, say, five seconds allowed between pitches. You can't imagine that because it would never work.

Great observation. Try to imagine no-huddle basketball with five seconds between shots! It wouldn't work either! Try to imagine no-huddle cooking where a person has five seconds to cook a meal. How could that ever happen?!

But like U.S. society, football is amenable to being sped up. And the acceleration of how football is played may become more pronounced this season.

The acceleration of play may be more pronounced this season or it may not be more pronounced. Anything may happen. Glad Gregg is here to inform his readers like this.

In other news, next week's Tuesday Morning Quarterback will make a major announcement: the debut of ESPN Grade, an all-new way to think about college football rankings. Here's a hint: ESPN Grade takes the NCAA at its word and ranks football-factory schools as if the players really are student-athletes.

I have zero doubt I will hate ESPN Grade if Gregg Easterbrook is in any way involved with it. Naturally, his avid readers will think Gregg is brilliant without actually thinking about the derptitude that will inevitably surround ESPN Grade.

And She Did So Well in the Disguise Competition: The Miss Florida pageant crowned the wrong woman.

As always, Gregg misleads just a little bit here. The Miss Florida pageant crowned the wrong woman through a scoring error, not because they put the crown on the wrong woman's head.

Singing Proof of Need for Scholarship Reform: The news that a Yale men's basketball player opted to sing with the Whiffenpoofs for a year shows the value of scholarships controlled by the student rather than by the coach. In the Ivy League, athletes receive only regular financial aid, not sports-performance-tied aid.

How naive is Gregg? I would bet $1,000 that if Gregg compared scholarship funds given to athletes (specifically basketball players) at Yale then he would find the athletes get more scholarship money than a regular student who isn't an athlete. Just because it's labeled as regular financial aid and not an athletic scholarship doesn't mean it's not tied to the fact that student plays a sport. Gregg has no experience in higher education so he doesn't understand this, but every school on every level (EVERY level) ties financial aid to whether a student plays a sport or not. Gregg shouldn't be such a fool and think just because Yale calls it something else the aid isn't tied to sports in some fashion.

TMQ contends the most exciting play in basketball is not the slam dunk or the long 3 but the layup -- because layups don't happen without team play.

Gregg has said some stupid shit through the years. This comment is up there. "Layups don't happen without team play" and then he differentiates the layup from the slam dunk or long 3, as if they don't involve team play too. It seems Gregg doesn't watch much, if any, basketball if he thinks a dunk or three-point shot happens without team play. What a dumbass comment.

I'm going to try to ignore the assumption that a play has to be a team play or else it isn't exciting. That's a dumbass comment too, but not quite on the level of a dunk or long three-point shot happening without team play.

Team play is the essence of college basketball, but is disdained in much of the NBA, where look-at-me dominates and guaranteed contracts allow players to ignore coaches.

This sentence sounds like it could come directly from the "The Opinion of an Ignorant White Fan Who Hasn't Watched an NBA Game in Five Years Handbook." I mean, why is Gregg so assumptive about things he doesn't care about?

By the third quarter of the fifth game, Miami was so flummoxed trying to stop San Antonio's layups that the Heat left the 3-point line unguarded: the Spurs dropped five 3-pointers, four of them uncontested, and the rest was filler. Why was Miami so flummoxed trying to stop San Antonio layups? Because the Heat have no experience defending plays! They don't run any themselves, and rarely see them from opponents.

Great analysis, Gregg. The Heat made four NBA Finals in four years during LeBron's time there. They won two of those NBA Finals. But yeah, the Heat don't know how to defend plays. The Thunder and Spurs didn't run plays the previous two years in the NBA Finals. The Spurs just decided to run plays during the 2013-2014 season, which is why they couldn't beat the Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals, but were able to beat the Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals.

Gregg Easterbrook is the worst.

Little-known Kawhi Leonard won MVP, and it was great fun to watch him running circles around LeBron James.

Kawhi Leonard was a first round draft pick. If he were taken at #15 in the NFL Draft then Gregg would be talking about Leonard as a highly-paid glory boy, but because Gregg doesn't follow the NBA he thinks the #15 pick in the draft is "little known."

A big man who throws pinpoint passes is a potent weapon, as San Antonio demonstrated. But he's a potent weapon only if you're playing team basketball, and most NBA clubs don't. Diaw was waived by Charlotte in 2012, for the sin of being better at passing than slam-dunking. 

Actually he was waived by Charlotte because he was out of shape and didn't care to play for the Bobcats so Diaw requested he be waived. I wouldn't want Gregg to be forced to exert effort in researching why Boris Diaw was waived by the Bobcats though. Gregg would rather make assumptions and mislead his readers into believing the reason Diaw was waived is not because Diaw was overweight and pouted his way off the team. If this were LeBron James, Gregg would describe James as having pouted his way off the Bobcats team, but because Gregg wants to say something positive about Boris Diaw he creates a fantasy where Diaw was in the right.

Since the Bobcats waived Diaw, they are 64-126. Since the Spurs signed him, they are 181-63 with consecutive title appearances.

Gregg Easterbrook is a master of taking information and manipulating it so that people who are lazy will believe he knows what he's talking about. The Spurs were a good team before Diaw joined the team and had three NBA titles already, while the Bobcats made the playoffs this year and look to be on the upswing. There is no correlation between Diaw joining the Spurs and them making the NBA Finals two consecutive seasons, along with the Bobcats going 64-126 after Diaw was waived. The Bobcats were terrible with Diaw and are playing better now that he's not on the team, but not because he's no longer on the team.

And the NBA has so many teams that are awful and likely to stay that way -- bound for the Milwaukee Bucks, Jabari Parker will never be heard from again -- 

I'll remember that one. Jabari Parker will never be heard from again? Maybe not heard from by Gregg Easterbrook because he clearly doesn't watch the NBA, and as was learned last week while looking at his Twitter account, he doesn't think a superstar like Anthony Davis is a relevant NBA player.

But the Spurs' dominance using team basketball, occurring at the same time James and Carmelo Anthony have struggled in the postseason using the AAU style,

Gregg just got done saying the Spurs are successful with Boris Diaw because they made back-to-back NBA Finals. But LeBron James, who has made FOUR straight NBA Finals and won two of them, has struggled in the postseason. Shut the Internet down, Gregg Easterbrook is the dumbest writer/sportswriter alive. He isn't even smart enough to see how he contradicts himself in the matter of a few paragraphs.

James is now 2-3 in Finals appearances, with an overall 11-16 record. 

LeBron James has made five NBA Finals appearances and he isn't even 30 yet. So I wouldn't even come close to describing that as struggling in the postseason.

When a LeBron James AAU-style everybody-look-at-me club faces a San Antonio let's-help-each-other club in the Finals, team basketball is 11-5. There may be a legitimate question about which style the crowd prefers. As to which style is superior, the question is settled.

Yes, the question is settled. Gregg Easterbrook is a master of talking about topics he doesn't really understand. When I say, "talking," I mean "lying and hoping his readers don't notice." The Cavs teams that LeBron played with weren't even close to being on the level that the Spurs team that Duncan played on. LeBron with his "Big Three" was 1-1 in the NBA Finals against Duncan.

Gregg just needs to stay away from talking about the NBA. Well, the NFL too while he's at it. In fact, maybe he shouldn't talk about sports at all.

Edward Snowden declared he was not just a deskbound CIA analyst, rather, had been a field-operations spy. Perhaps his motive was making the movie deal more attractive. Even for a man who's been in international headlines, there's only so much Hollywood potential for watching, say, Shia LaBeouf copy data onto flash drives while glancing around furtively. If Snowden was a spy, he can be played by Bradley Cooper and depicted rappelling down the outside of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai as helicopters fire missiles, 

Actually, if Gregg would look at the movies that Shia LaBeouf and Bradley Cooper have made then he would see LaBeouf has made more actions movies than Bradley Cooper. So Gregg has this backwards possibly. Though I wouldn't expect reality to impact what Gregg writes in the work of fiction that is TMQ.

Who should be the love interest in the Snowden biopic? Jennifer Aniston is too obvious, Kristen Wiig is too smart, Kristen Bell would steal the movie.

I get the feeling if Gregg Easterbrook actually did cast a movie then it would be the most miscast movie in Hollywood history.

Fan Mail from Some Flounder? Buried in a Department of Agriculture report about wildlife killed by federal agents was word that an agent shot and killed a flying squirrel. Had the squirrel flown into restricted airspace? At least they spared his pal the talking moose!

Just hilarious. And by "hilarious" I mean, "Please stop trying to make jokes."

Last summer around this time, TMQ noted that when NBA general managers don't have anything else to do, they trade Caron Butler. Since that item, Butler has been traded from the Clippers to the Suns; then traded to the Bucks; then bought out and signed with the Thunder; then released by Oklahoma City, allowing Butler to sign with the Pistons. Five jerseys in a year. How long until Detroit is working the phones trying to find a trade partner to take him?

Not to be one to ruin a joke, but Caron Butler wasn't released by Oklahoma City. He was a free agent and could sign with any team he chose. I wouldn't want facts to get in the way of Gregg's argument though.

Hard to recall that the hot prime-time show in the fall of 2012 was NBC's "Revolution," which in May 2014 whimpered to a halt without even attempting to explain the strange mysteries that drew viewers to early episodes. Producers had filmed a Season 2 cliffhanger that would set up Season 3. When the show was cancelled, what was supposed to be the Season 2 finale aired as the series finale, explaining nothing. Now viewers will never find out what was going on.

I'm glad "Revolution" got canceled because that means Gregg will stop criticizing the show for it's lack of realism. Now Gregg will have to find other targets of his anger in regards to how fictional television shows depict fictional circumstances fictional characters are in.

Among the most-watched videos ever, "Blurred Lines" featured Robin Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell Williams cavorting with topless women. Since then, T.I. has signed a major new recording contract, Williams has become a media darling and Thicke is now viewed as a misogynist.

As for the guys of "Blurred Lines," they shared writing credits on the song, all did the same egotistical dancing ("hot girls can't keep their hands off me!") and Williams produced the video with the topless wonderland effect. Yet Thicke is denounced while Williams becomes every suburban soccer mom's favorite pop star. What gives?

Well, Robin Thicke was probably cheating on his wife and Pharrell Williams did a ridiculously cheerful song that was featured prominently in a Dreamworks movie and then played endlessly on the radio. So that's what gives.

Garrison Keillor's running joke about all children being above average is coming true in Montgomery County, Maryland, where your columnist lives. Elementary school grades of A, B, C, D and F have been replaced with ES (exceptional), P (proficient), I (in progress) and N (needs improvement). Set aside that ES means "exceptional," a word that does not contain the letter "s."

Well, "EX" sounds negative or like it means something else that isn't "exceptional." "EP" or "ECPL" doesn't really make sense either. So "ES" is what "exceptional" means. If Gregg has time to complain about something this small then he needs to find a way to make himself more busy. Of course, I am talking about the guy who criticizes fictional television shows on a weekly basis for being too fictional.

Offseason Football-Like Substance: Orlando 70, New Orleans 64 in Arena League action featuring 19 touchdowns, a PAT attempt returned for a score, 591 passing yards and 61 rushing yards. The Predators appeared in four games in which both teams scored at least 60 points. Against Pittsburgh, Orlando scored 61 points and still lost.

Everything is so fast in football these days!

Clang! Clang! Clang! In men's basketball, Wichita State and Syracuse combined to open 60-0, then close 3-7.

Son of a bitch. Wichita State lost one game all year. I hate it when Gregg combines statistics together like this as if they really mean something. Wichita State opened 35-0 and then "closed" (you know, that one game they played after "opening" the year with 35 games) 0-1. Syracuse ended the year 3-6, which also happened to coincide with when their schedule got more difficult.

The Basketball Gods Chortled: Tiny Mount Saint Mary's of Maryland made the NCAA men's tournament; enormous cost-no-object University of Maryland did not.

I have been through this before with Gregg. There is a difference in the level of competition these two teams played during the season that makes it impossible to say one team made it and the other did not, while believing this comparison means something. Mount Saint Mary's of Maryland had a 16-17 record against the competition in the Northeast Conference. Maryland had a 17-15 record in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The University of Maryland had a better record in a tougher conference. The only reason Mount St. Mary's made the tournament is because they received an automatic bid. They didn't make the NCAA Tournament over the University of Maryland because they are perceived to be a better team than the University of Maryland basketball team.

Several Olympic ski bunnies posed in little or nothing. It's good that a physically strong, athletic woman can radiate sex appeal; and the gorgeous Mikaela Shiffrin both won a medal and proved she can think on her feet.

Yep, Mikaela Shiffrin is 19 years old. Glad Gregg is creepily referring to 19 year old girls as "gorgeous." I've missed the creepy factor that Gregg brings to TMQ when he starts ogling cheerleaders and calling 19 year old girls "gorgeous."

"Three Days to Kill" made Kevin Costner, 59 years of age, seem a youthful martial-arts champion. In "Non-Stop," his fourth musclebound-hero role, 62-year-old former actor Liam Neeson practically had superpowers. On "24," 47-year-old Kiefer Sutherland, though shackled, needed mere seconds to overcome four heavily armed guards. On "The Blacklist," 54-year-old James Spader had half a dozen scenes of his character effortlessly slaying several younger, stronger men.

As long as audiences suspend disbelief and buy tickets or watch TV shows, studios are happy. But movies and shows like this seem mainly about flattering the stars' egos by creating an illusion of youthful masculinity.

I'm sure these movies/television shows were written, produced, directed and released simply so these actors could pretend they were still youthful. Hollywood is always investing tens of millions dollars to make sure older Hollywood actors still seem virile to audiences. It's not like these movies/television shows are intended to make money or anything like that.

Compare to Clint Eastwood, who played tough-guy roles when young -- then has aged graciously, portraying limited, graying men or directing younger actors.

Clint Eastwood is 84 years old. Here are the following movies he made after the age of 50 which were action-oriented roles or roles that required action.

Blood Work- played an FBI profiler (72 years old)
Space Cowboys- played an astronaut who trained and went to space (70 years old)
In the Line of Fire- played a Secret Service agent (63 years old)
Unforgiven- played an outlaw (62 years old)
The Rookie- played a police officer (60 years old)
The Dead Pool- played Dirty Harry (58 years old)
Heartbreak Ridge- played a Marine (56 years old)
Pale Rider- played a drifter/cowboy (55 years old)
Tightrope- played a police officer (54 years old)
Sudden Impact- played Dirty Harry (53 years old)

But no, Clint Eastwood aged gracefully and certainly didn't do any action movies after he turned 50 years old just to soothe his ego. Clint Eastwood was different. It's not like he played an astronaut at the age of 70 or anything.

In less than a year, the Philadelphia 76ers exchanged three good players for a net of a 2014 first-round choice, lower choices, an injured guy who's never touched the ball in the NBA, cap space and a motley crew attractive solely because it could be offloaded. TMQ maintains the essence of NBA management is getting rid of players. The 76ers are Zen masters!

The essence of NBA management is to get rid of players who don't have a future with that team and are making a lot of money. See, the purpose is to rebuild the team. It seems counter-intuitive, but if done right, can work.

But don't take my word for it, check the 2014 NBA draft first round. Philadelphia had two lottery-level choices. The Sixers exercised them on Joel Embiid, who because of injury may not take the court next season, and Dario Saric, a Croatian player who because of a contract obligation is unlikely to join the NBA before 2016.

Embiid was considered to be the best player in the draft and the Sixers managed to snag him #3 overall. Dario Saric went around the time he was expected to go. The Sixers didn't draft a player that helps them this year, but they got a potential steal with Embiid and Saric will make his arrival in the States to play for the Sixers around the time the team is hoping to be a playoff contender.

NBA clubs continue to follow the draft-tanking strategy -- Boston,

Don't tell Bill Simmons this. He thinks the Celtics are not tanking because they are competing so hard every night. Would a team that is tanking build their team around Jeff Green? I think not.

Milwaukee, Orlando and Philadelphia tried to lose as many games as possible last season -- despise evidence that going all-out to stockpile top draft picks doesn't work.

It doesn't work if your GM sucks, but try to tell the Thunder that getting top draft picks doesn't work. Try telling the Cavs that it's a waste of their time to land a top pick. They have gotten Kyrie Irving, used two #1 overall picks to land Kevin Love, and of course LeBron James was the #1 overall pick. It all depends on who is the GM making the pick.

After the team performed poorly early at Sochi, U.S. speed skaters ditched the high-tech suits developed by Under Armour and Lockheed Martin. The latter is the world's largest defense contractor, currently pushing for what would be history's richest defense contract -- $400 billion to produce the F35 fighter. The project has been plagued by technical faults; in July, F35s were grounded after one caught fire on the runway. If Lockheed Martin can't design a skating suit, why should taxpayers feel confident handing the company $400 billion?

Because producing an F35 fighter jet and designing a skating suit are two completely different things? I don't know if Lockheed Martin will succeed or not, but I don't think it takes a genius to see designing a skating suit is different from producing a fighter jet. Obviously, Gregg isn't a genius.

Next Week: I'm back and I'm bad!

Oh yeah, you are horrible.

The announcement of ESPN Grade,

I don't look forward to this at all.

plus TMQ's AFC preview.

Right, it's the AFC preview that isn't really a preview because Gregg only talks about what that AFC team did last year and he doesn't really preview what changes the team has made for the 2014 year. I think Gregg Easterbrook the nit-picker would nit-pick the idea what Gregg Easterbrook writes is actually a "preview." 


HH said...

I would bet $1,000 that if Gregg compared scholarship funds given to athletes (specifically basketball players) at Yale then he would find the athletes get more scholarship money than a regular student who isn't an athlete. Just because it's labeled as regular financial aid and not an athletic scholarship doesn't mean it's not tied to the fact that student plays a sport/

Don't make that bet, Ben. You'd lose. The Ivy League has a rule prohibiting athletic scholarships, broadly defined - meaning that athletes can't get more money than a non-athlete with similar family income/wealth. Each school uses a published formula that they apply to all admitted students, using family income, wealth, student savings, etc, that calculates how much each student must pay. The school then adds loans or grants (depending on school - Princeton paid the entire difference for me) to make up the difference to their published tuition, room, and board.

Athletes, of course, get an advantage in admissions - they don't have to have the same academics - but once they're in, the money is the same for all

Chris said...

"Team play is the essence of college basketball, but is disdained in much of the NBA, where look-at-me dominates and guaranteed contracts allow players to ignore coaches."

Once again Gregg still isn't paying attention, if that already wasn't obvious since he can't remember either Anthony Bennett or Anthony Davis' names. If he had he would have noticed the Spurs winning the title using team play, which they have done for years. I

t's also ironic that Gregg gets pissy about look at me attitude and guaranteed contracts when he works for ESPN who report non-stop about guys like Lebron, Manziel or Tebow.

rich said...

Don't make that bet, Ben. You'd lose.

HH is correct. I can't believe I agreed with a Princeton grad, but he's correct.

I also can't believe I'm about to say something nice about Princeton, but they also championed the "no loan" policy that many ivies adopted right after I graduated (::flips middle finger to Amy Gutman::),. So most undergrads pay what their FAFSA's say they can and the school tends to cover the balance.

Since the Bobcats waived Diaw, they are 64-126. Since the Spurs signed him, they are 181-63 with consecutive title appearances.

By this logic, Mario Chalmers is a lock for the Hall of Fame...

In less than a year, the Philadelphia 76ers exchanged three good players for a net of a 2014 first-round choice, lower choices, an injured guy who's never touched the ball in the NBA, cap space and a motley crew attractive solely because it could be offloaded. TMQ maintains the essence of NBA management is getting rid of players. The 76ers are Zen masters!

They traded Iguodala, Jrue and um... um... who was this third good player they traded?

::thinks about it::

Evan Turner?

I also love how Gregg completely misses one of the "key" pieces they got in those deals: Andrew Bynum. You know, the guy who made almost 20M and didn't play a single minute in a Sixers uniform.

The Bynum deal not working out for the team led to the subsequent trades. Had Bynum actually panned out, none of this happens.

So one bum knee turned the Sixers into "zen maters".

So trading for two injured centers, drafting a third and then drafting a SG who may never make it over to the states?


despise evidence that going all-out to stockpile top draft picks doesn't work.

The word is "despite" Gregg, not "despise."

And the Sixers ended up drafting third and tenth that seemed to work out well for them.

Anonymous said...

I agree with eaasterbrook that there is way too much me first in the nba and guys not having to listen to coaches. Easterbrook has an excellent point there.

And Caron butler has played for a lot of teams and Clint Eastwood is a legend.

franc said...

ben, are you paid to write this blog? do you receive any money from it at all? it would be a terrible shame if you didn't since gregg is a paid sportswriter who thinks a professional basketball team, a two-time nba champion, doesn't run plays and can't defend plays.

Bengoodfella said...

HH, that's interesting for them to do. I wouldn't make the bet as I wrote it, since I spoke broadly, but I'm betting it still happens. I'm not an egomaniac so I won't say I'm not wrong, but I bet it still happens from time-to-time because there are ways to get around that formula. It may not happen often. The key is to get the EFC lowered in a situation where a non-athlete may not get the same benefit.

An athlete will appeal for a recalculation of Financial Aid due to extenuating circumstances and his appeal will be approved, lowering his EFC, in a situation where a non-athlete may not have his appeal for extenuating circumstances be approved. Since Ivy League schools don't have an issue with enrollments, they could afford to deny an appeal for a non-athlete, but if the athlete is good enough they could approve an appeal for an athlete in the same situation. I would be very willing to bet if it's based on a formula that has to be compared to all admitted students based on family income, a non-athlete has a better chance of his EFC (or family income) being lowered and getting more aid that way.

From my experience, athletes are getting some kind of financial benefit, even if the aid isn't tied to athletic performance, they have a better chance of appealing to get a lower EFC. Maybe Ivy League schools are different, but I've seen many shenanigans. Division III schools aren't allowed to give ANY athletic scholarships. Since money is brought in through athletics though...I'm betting Ivy League schools are more generous regarding extenuating circumstances for non-athletes than athletes is what I'm saying.

Chris, but Gregg is so different from the rest of his co-workers at ESPN. He abhors the "look at me" culture, so the fact he works for a company that shoves that down their viewers' throats he believes shouldn't reflect on him in any way.

Rich, to expand on my point in the piece. If undergrads pay what their FAFSA's say they pay based on the EFC, then the FAFSA info changes due to a loss of family income/medical bills/etc and the next thing you know an athlete gets approved for extenuating circumstances a non-athlete would not be a approved for. Again, maybe Ivy League schools would never do this, but it's a way to get around the formula as it's been described to me.

Robert Horry is a first ballot HoFer too. I sort of like the way the Sixers are building their team. If Noel AND Embiid work out, they have assets to trade or no Eastern Conference team will score around the basket when they are on the court together.

I read that article and didn't see the conclusion that stockpiling picks didn't work. I think that's too much of a broad statement. It depends on who drafts those players. Stockpiling picks works if someone smart is drafting. The Lakers drafted Kobe/Derek Fisher in 1996. They worked out. The Hornets built their team around the draft in the early 90's. That worked out. It can work, but a smart person has to be making the picks.

Anon, Butler has played for a lot of teams, but he wasn't waived by the Thunder. Also, whether Clint Eastwood is a legend or not is irrelevant. You clearly missed the point.

Franc, nobody would ever pay me to write here and I won't put advertising here, so no, I don't get paid. Gregg does get paid and his comments about the NBA were ridiculous to me. Does he really believe the Spurs ran plays this year in the NBA Finals, but didn't the year before? That is mindblowing.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like there used to be a time when TMQ and MMQB were about, you know, football, and nowadays they're mostly about their authors. It seems like both Peter King and Gregg Easterbrook can't wait to set aside the football talk so they can get into their own personal opinions and stories. Do you feel like the same thing has happened, Ben?

Eric C said...

I agree with Anon here - at least with Peter King, it feels like there used to be more football in his articles. I think his celebrity has gotten to him. I think Gregg has always been in love with himself.

I also think SI has gone the wrong way with this whole MMQB site. There is some football analysis on the MMQB site and some on the SI NFL page - it's like, choose one or the other. But now I am off topic. Sounds familiar.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I absolutely think it's happened. At a certain point I feel like veteran sportswriters can go a couple directions with their writing. The bad ways to go are seen on this blog a lot. They become the "preach on a pulpit type" like Lupica, Albom, etc. They could then become the "People like my writing so they must like me as a person and want to know more about me" where the writer believes because the readers enjoy their writing then those readers want to hear MORE of their personal thoughts. It's not necessarily the case.

MMQB is barely about football now. It's about football in the same way a show like Breaking Bad is about the meth trade. It's ancillary to whatever else is going on. TMQ somehow manages to have less football content that is also less informative to the reader. I don't even understand the purpose of TMQ. It seems like it is written for people who don't like football and don't understand the game.

Basically, Peter King started talking about his daughter's softball games and adding different sections of MMQB. Where he got positive feedback in the past about these sections, they now seem to take up a lot of MMQB.

That's why I have a separate blog for personal thoughts about life and other shit. It should be separate from what I write here.

Anonymous said...

Ben, I also think it's happened with Simmons. He brings everything back to him or the Celtics. I can't wait for an NFL preview that somehow shoehorns the Celtics into about five paragraphs.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, it's definitely happened with Bill Simmons. The problem is he is more creative than these other guys and he knows he can't keep it up when writing a couple times a week. So he does podcasts and keeps his fame in other ways.

Bill seems to believe himself to be the smartest guy in every room he is in and that shows in his writing. I get very tired of him talking about the Celtics every chance he can get. Of course, he got his fame by whining about his favorite teams, so that's a lot of what he knows when it comes to writing columns.