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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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."