Friday, September 5, 2014

8 comments Gregg Easterbrook Not Only Writes Haikus, But He Writes Really Boring Haikus

Gregg Easterbrook's NFL preview is here. There will be no rejoicing from me, for this is the TMQ I dislike the most...which is something I say every single week. So Gregg will be making predictions for this upcoming season, not standing by the predictions and then mocking others for making bad predictions in a TMQ after the season is over. Gregg also talks about "creep," like he does every single week to my annoyance and talks again about concussions. The not-so-secret about TMQ is that the topics for discussion don't really change that much from year to year. It's the same crap every year that Gregg writes about, he just finds different methods by which to lie and mislead his readers when he talks about the NFL.

America's original all-haiku NFL season predictions! This is the 15th year, the crystal anniversary -- Bristol, I'd like a dilithium crystal, please.

How about giving your readers a cyanide tablet? That sounds better than reading haikus against my will, though it's not against my will since I obviously choose to do so.

First, one of those serious topics that comes before fun. There's progress at the intersection of sports and society -- especially, of football and society. In just the past five years, a bleak picture has improved. So -- is victory won?

Could there be a more vague question based on a vague set of information? Oh, "progress at the intersection of sports and society." Wow, since that spells it out for me then I say, "yes" victory has been won.

First the recent positive developments:

You will stop writing TMQ effective immediately?

Emphasis on reducing deliberate helmet-to-helmet contact at all levels of football -- pro, college, high school and youth.

Oh, concussions. Again. Let me guess, next week is the fifth bi-annual discussion of how NFL and college offenses are moving at such a fast pace? Gregg tends to harp on certain topics and this is the second straight year Gregg has discussed concussions in the TMQ before the season begins. Last year Gregg talked about concussions in his NFL haiku preview.

ESPN put its weight and brand behind adding graduation rates to the ranking of college teams.

Oh yes, the horseshit ESPN Grade that only takes Top-25 teams in the AP and Coach's Poll into account and then only compares the graduation rate of these Top-25 teams to each other. It's an essentially useless metric, but Gregg can't stop pounding his chest about it.

These are movements in the right direction. Your columnist has been pounding the table about athletic reform for years, and many times expressed cynicism regarding whether there would ever be positive change. Now there has been. In just the past five years, football has begun to emphasize risk reduction while high school and college athletics have made strides toward enlightened management.

TMQ/Gregg Easterbrook has also pounded the table that high school football programs may no longer exist in the future due to lawsuits resulting from concussions and other injuries while playing the sport. Obviously since this prediction is starting to look less and less likely, Gregg will gloss over the fact he has pointed this out as an actual concern. Still, many times Gregg has indicated school districts may get rid of football which would lead to a smaller pool of high school football players that enter college, thereby ruining the pool of talented players for the NFL to choose from. It's a doomsday scenario Gregg has floated that he will immediately forget he ever brought up once/if it is proven incorrect. If proven correct, his readers won't hear the end of it. The rule, like always, Gregg will mislead his readers and then ignore any statements he might have made that ended up being incorrect.

But we're not there yet: victory is far from won.

So there has been progress at the intersection of sports and society, but victory is not won? Besides, to indicate victory has been won before victory is actually won would be "victory creep" and we know Gregg won't stand for that.

Further reforms are needed. Among them:

(Bengoodfella falls asleep)

Construction and operating subsidies to the NFL must end. If Google demanded that taxpayers pay for its server farms, there would be outrage. Why isn't there outrage when the billionaires of the NFL demand public subsidies that they convert to private profit?

I don't know. Perhaps because fans enjoy the fact there is an NFL team close to their home and they are able to share in the enjoyment with their family and friends, which can't be said for Google? Maybe taxpayers and municipalities understand that having an NFL team in the area is a great boon to the city's economic base and brings money into the city? Sure, Google brings jobs, but I would imagine having Google in a city doesn't bring quite the revenue that eight NFL games a year (and maybe more in the playoffs and preseason) bring to a city during the football season.

Reform of NCAA athletics has barely begun. Failing to graduate football and men's basketball players, not failing to pay them, is the big defect of the NCAA structure -- since a bachelor's degree adds more to lifetime earning than college players would receive in pay-for-play proposals.

Yes, the NCAA should encourage schools to graduate these student-athletes, but I feel it is important to add that these student-athletes should want to graduate and earn a degree. A college can't force a player to go to class and graduate. As long as that student-athlete meets the criteria to play athletics at the school, the university can't force a student-athlete who is a junior and wants to enter the NFL (or a student-athlete who has used his four years of athletic eligibility) to graduate.

The NCAA and universities should do more, but it has to be some semblance of a two-way street.

As you settle onto the couch and fire up the flat-screen HD to watch this autumn's performances, you can feel better than you might have felt five years ago -- football is becoming moderately less abusive of young people's bodies.

Well, I feel more comfortable now that Gregg Easterbrook has assured me I can feel better about watching football. His approval is all I needed.

Now -- America's original all-haiku NFL season predictions.

I'm not sure what is more pathetic, that Gregg Easterbrook has done haikus for 15 years now, or Peter King is using Gregg's idea of using haikus to talk about football. I think both are equally pathetic. There are no winners.

Brady's last hurrah?
Modeling career beckons.
The New England Pats.

Forecast finish: 11-5

One of the things that irritates me about Gregg's haikus is how he ends each one with the name of the team he is discussing. If he insists on doing a haiku preview, at least don't half-ass the last line of each one. There are other ways to indicate which team the haiku refers to.

A smoking wreckage
of Jeff Ireland era.
Miami Dolphins.

Forecast finish: 6-10

When commenting on the smoking wreckage of the Jeff Ireland era, it's important to know Gregg predicted the Dolphins would win the AFC East last year.

Billionaire demands
corporate welfare for field.
Miami Dolphins.
Forecast finish: 12-4

I guess the wreckage wasn't so bad last year? Everyone gets predictions wrong, but I enjoy pointing out when Gregg is wrong due to the fact he takes great pride in pointing out whenever other NFL experts make predictions that turn out to be incorrect.

"I am the greatest!"
Ali boast seems mild to Jets.
The Jersey/B Jets.

Forecast finish: 6-10

I don't really understand why Gregg thinks the Jets seem to boast a lot. I feel like Gregg stopped paying attention to the Jets three years ago and is coasting on what the team thought of themselves then. Gregg seems to do this type of thing a lot. He prefers to coast on his assumptions rather than take the time to determine if his assumptions are true. He does this here with the Jets and ESPN allows him to get away with it. Also, 6-10 is the same record he picked for the Jets last year. 

Ferrari's new $1.6 million, 950-horsepower supercar is named LaFerrari. Calling it "the LaFerrari" would become "the The Ferrari."

Well, that's why a person wouldn't call it "the LaFerrari" and would simply call it "LaFerrari." No one says the word "the" has to be in front of the name for the car.

Warp speed does not help
if the shields (defense) no good.
The Philly Eagles.

Forecast finish: 10-6

By the way, Gregg had the Eagles at 6-10 last year, followed by him talking about how West Coast and warp speed football is taking over. It would have been nice if he had thought West Coast and warp speed football was taking over prior to the season beginning and mentioned it in regard to the Eagles, but Gregg is reactive and doesn't work that way.

New York Times Corrections On Fast Forward: During the past six months, the Paper of Record, according to its corrections page:

Confused Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, with the United States;

This is a little misleading. Ho Chi Minh City wasn't confused with the United States. The words "United States" were used in the article instead of "Ho Chi Minh City." There was no confusion about where Ho Chi Minh City was located. If I accidentally type "Tom Kelly" instead of "Chip Kelly" then I am not confusing Chip Kelly with the former manager of the Minnesota Twins, I simply used the wrong name before writing "Kelly." I don't think Tom Kelly is Chip Kelly and the New York Times didn't think Ho Chi Minh City was in the United States.

Mixed up the difference between apes and monkeys. What was the subject of the article? Intelligence;

The article Gregg linked and didn't read was on the subject of intelligence in animals, not intelligence in humans. So Gregg has no point and is more interested in cutesy bullshit like this which allows him to make jokes rather than being upfront with his readers and hoping they don't click on the link provided. The newspaper did mix up apes and monkeys, but unless the writer of the article was an animal, it's not really ironic for the reason Gregg thinks it is.

"referred incorrectly to a visit by Peter the Great to the Netherlands." Did the 18th century call to complain?

Says the guy who takes the time to point this mistake out.

Confused Spider-Man with Iron Man;

Again, maybe it is semantics, but they didn't confuse Spider-Man and Iron Man, they confused which comic John Romita Jr. was first offered work. The confusion wasn't with Spider-Man and Iron Man, but with which comic Romita was first offered work. If I write that Peter King writes TMQ every week, then I am not confusing TMQ and MMQB, but am confusing which column Peter King writes. I think there is a difference.

I also think it is funny that Gregg takes the time to point out the mistakes of others who admit their mistakes, while he is a person who won't admit when he's made a mistake or intentionally misled his audience with deceptive writing tactics.

Admitted it was wrong to say that all elite male athletes have testosterone levels "in the female range";

I can't understand how Gregg is allowed to mislead his audience, but I'm beating a dead horse at this point. This was an op-ed column, so it wasn't an article written by a New York Times columnist. Also, the op-ed didn't say that all elite male athletes have testosterone levels "in the female range." The op-ed stated:

An Op-Ed article on April 12 about “sex testing” of athletes referred imprecisely to the overlap in testosterone levels among elite athletes of both sexes. While 16.5 percent of elite male athletes in one study had testosterone levels below the lower limit of the so-called male range, not all of them had levels within the female range.

The op-ed wasn't referring to "all" male athletes, but "all" male athletes in a specific study. Gregg is making it seem like "all" refers to the entire population of male athletes and not a subset of the male population that participated in this specific study. He's indicating the error references a larger population than it really does by leaving out important information.

Graying defense, no
run game. Still -- watch out for them.
The Pittsburgh Steelers.

Forecast finish: 8-8

Gregg predicted the Steelers would go 8-8 last year as well. I like how Gregg plays both sides on the Steelers. His stupid haiku says the Steelers have an old defense and no run game (which is negative obviously), then says "watch out for them" (positive) and then says they will go 8-8 and be 3rd in the AFC North (again, negative). So no matter how the season goes for the Steelers, Gregg is right. You would think if Gregg really thought the Steelers were a team to watch then he would have them being better than 8-8.

Johnny, LBJ,
GOP: Cleveland does rock.
The Browns (2.0).

Forecast finish: 7-9

I don't even understand the point of these haikus. If they were clever, then I see the idea of building a column around them, but this isn't clever. It's silly and pointless. The only way I would chuckle at any of these haikus is if I was eating lunch while reading them, got food lodged in my throat and had to chuckle slightly to clear my throat.

Bears: high-scoring team
with no defense. Yes, the Bears.
The Chicago Bears.

Forecast finish: 10-6

Gregg from last year...

Lovie, Urlacher
gone; 10 wins must be punished!
The Chicago Bears
Forecast finish: 6-10

Except it wasn't. The Bears went 8-8 and had success even when their starting quarterback got injured. Of course, Gregg would have created a "Lovie Curse" if the Bears had gone 6-10 last year, but because they did not, Gregg will wait until the Bears struggle and then desperately attempt to create a fake curse to explain how because Lovie Smith was fired the Bears aren't playing well. There's nothing I like about Gregg's writing.

AAU football:
Superstars but poor results.
The Detroit Lions.

Forecast finish: 6-10

I don't understand. How is "AAU football" correlate to poor results? Does Gregg seem to think AAU teams have bad results? Does Gregg know anything about AAU? Why would an AAU team have superstars and bad results?

The answers, of course, are "It doesn't," "He's making shit up," "He's writing out of his ass, so don't hold him to what he is writing," and "They wouldn't. Gregg wants to criticize others for a lack of accuracy, but doesn't care to turn that criticism on himself because he wants to write a light-hearted football column where he takes credit for those things he says that are right, but hides behind the idea his comments are just cutesy schtick when he gets facts wrong."

Two weeks ago, TMQ declared the Philadelphia 76ers have become "Zen masters" of the NBA art of getting rid of players in order to lose deliberately.

Apparently Sixers management remained nervous about the chance of an accidental victory, so proceeded a few days ago to trade away the team's leading scorer, Thad Young, for a draft choice and more backups. 

Well, Young was a free agent after this season and the Sixers were probably not going to get a chance to re-sign him. Rather than have him play well on a team going nowhere, they got some value for him. I wouldn't expect Gregg to understand any nuance involved with a sport he doesn't have the time to pay any attention to though. It seems the only time Gregg pays attention to the NBA is when he is pointing out NBA teams make dumb moves.

As noted by many readers, first Joe Maiz of Palmyra, New Jersey, Disney just released its 2014 holiday ornaments. Tom Delio of Virginia Beach, Virginia, reports, "On August 15, I saw pumpkin spice lattes advertised at the Joe Muggs coffee shop at the Virginia Beach Books-a-Million. Also, this past Friday the At Home store in Chesapeake, Virginia, in addition to having Halloween decorations on sale, had Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations on sale as well."

It doesn't make any sense to buy a Christmas ornament after Christmas does it? If a person is giving a Christmas ornament to someone else or buying a Christmas ornament for him/herself then it makes sense to do so before Christmas season begins so the ornament can be hung on the tree. I've explained how retail works so many times. It's just pure stupidity on the part of those who don't understand how retail stores try to drive sales. And yes, I would like pumpkin coffee or a pumpkin latte (if I drank them) prior to the month of November. It's not creep, it's just that if a coffee shop is going to create a pumpkin-flavored drink then it makes sense to try to sell as many of them as possible. Hence, the sale of pumpkin-flavored drinks begins early.

Fisher shown the door
after 16: downhill since.
Tennessee Titans.

Forecast finish: 7-9

Now we all know I think this is funny. Fisher was 8-8 and 6-10 during his last two seasons in Tennessee and in his 16 seasons with the team they were at or below .500 ten times. It seems like it was downhill for quite a few seasons while Fisher was with the Titans. Since Fisher left the Titans, they have gone 9-7, 6-10, and 7-9. So it sort of sounds like business as usual without Fisher, right? But of course I wouldn't expect Gregg to do research before popping off about how the Titans have gone downhill since Fisher left as their head coach. Research is for people who give a shit about whether what they say has accuracy or not.

NFC title
game seems very long ago.
Atlanta Falcons.

Forecast finish: 6-10

It was one NFL season ago. That's it. Gregg wrote a TMQ in August about how hard it is for an NFL team to repeat as Super Bowl champions, yet he acts surprised when it's hard for an NFL team to get back to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. I just don't understand him at all.

Scoreboard was spinning
'til met the Bluish Men Group.
The Denver Broncos.

Forecast finish: 11-5

Gregg can't even preview NFL teams in haiku version without talking about last year more than he talks about the upcoming season.

Dude, let's hit the beach.
Whoa, we have a game today?
San Diego Bolts.

Forecast finish: 9-7

The worthlessness never ceases. Are there really readers of TMQ who think, "Man, I can't wait for the all-haiku NFL preview that is really a 2013 NFL season review in haiku form"? I can't believe there are.

This column has noted that newspapers long have had a touchy relationship with auto reviewing. Auto dealers are major advertisers, so reviewers tend to praise all marques. Reviewers tend to extol maximum horsepower, regardless of cost, environmental impact or the relationship between horsepower and road rage -- after all, they don't fuel or insure the cars they test-drive.

I'm glad someone is finally brave enough and willing to blow the lid off newspapers who give good reviews to car companies who buy advertising money. 

New Cognomen: Reader Damon Spear of Seattle argues, "If you're going to use Jersey/A, Jersey/B and City of Tampa, you should call Colin Kaepernick's team the Santa Clara 49ers." Mr. Data, make it so!

Oh god, please don't encourage Gregg to do this stupid re-naming of NFL teams to call them something other than their real name.

Second-best for two
straight years. This year may be best?
Santa Clara team.

Forecast finish: 12-4

Remember last year how Gregg threw himself off the 49ers bandwagon, never to acknowledge he did so when they made the NFC Championship Game? So I guess he's back on the bandwagon and isn't buying the Crabtree Curse anymore? I only ask because if the 49ers start 1-2 then Gregg will probably write another TMQ about how the read-option is dead and the 49ers should use a more traditional defense to win games. Then when the 49ers make the NFC Championship Game again he'll laud a few undrafted free agents on the team (on a team surrounded with draft picks taken in the first two rounds who have made an impact) and forget he ever was off the 49ers bandwagon.

Chose Bradford over
Griffin: Regrets begin now.
The St. Louis Rams.

Forecast finish: 4-12

Gregg from last year...

Left RG III on
the table; can they rebound?
The St. Louis Rams.
Forecast finish: 4-12

So Gregg pretty much copy and pasted his haiku from last year, left the same record for the Rams in that TMQ and changed a few words around? It seems that way. I don't need to underscore the stupidity of the all-haiku preview when Gregg's choice of topics in the haiku does it for me.

Four and a half years ago the media world went atwitter with the amazing story of a 13-year-old who already had a college football scholarship! Here is the ESPN report from 2010. The story was picked up by many news organizations, leading to the boy appearing with his father on ABC's "Good Morning America." Thirteen-year-old has college football scholarship -- amazing!

Signing a national letter of intent couldn't happen, in this boy's case, until February 2015. Mention that and the "amazing" story goes poof. So media accounts didn't mention that. Steve Clarkson, the hustler behind the phony story, sure didn't bring it up. More details of how this happened are in my 2013 book "The King of Sports."

Gregg has got to keep pushing his "The King of Sports" book hard, doesn't he?

The young quarterback, David Sills V, just started his senior year. You will not be surprised to learn the USC "commitment" evaporated. All parties to the 2010 charade -- Clarkson; former USC coach Lane Kiffin; Sills' father, a wealthy man who essentially founded a school to promote his son -- got what they wanted, which was national publicity.

For fear of seeming like I am defending the idiocy of a 13 year old verbally committing to a college, this story isn't memorable in that when there is a coaching change at a college football program many times the recruits who have given a verbal commitment will search to play college football at another university. So the story is unique and silly in that a 13 year old verbally committed to USC, but I'm mostly not surprised the commitment evaporated because USC had a change in head coaches. Sills had a good relationship with Kiffin, and if Gregg read the column he linked he would know this. Sills even visited the USC campus every spring. Again, I won't defend a 13 year old committing to a college, but when there is a head coaching change verbal commits often look to play college football elsewhere.

Brady said he agreed to less than maximum value to ensure the Flying Elvii have the cap space to retain other starters. (This view is not entirely selfless; being at juggernaut New England is good for Brady's endorsement income.) Last week the Patriots asked perennial Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins to take a pay cut. When he declined, he was summarily traded to City of Tampa. There but by the grace of the football gods goes Brady!

The Patriots' signal-caller can't be happy he agreed to work for less than market value, only to find the team offloading a guy who stands between him and some Ticonderoga-class nose tackle.

Well, actually it is the Patriots center AND guards would often have to block a huge nose tackle trying to get at Tom Brady. It depends on where the nose tackle lines up, but it's not accurate to say Logan Mankins stood between Brady and a nose tackle, because the other guard and the center will also face off with the opposing team's nose tackle.

Candidates for the spot include a bevy of undrafted free agents -- Ryan Wendell, Dan Connolly, Jordan Devey and Josh Kline -- all of whom earn substantially less than Mankins.

Well, that's great then! Rather than have a highly-drafted, highly-paid glory boy like Logan Mankins blocking for Tom Brady, the Patriots have a large group of undrafted free agents who work hard and only care about the team blocking for Brady. This must be a dream for Gregg Easterbrook since he loves to tell his readers how undrafted free agents work harder and perform better than highly-drafted, highly-paid glory boys like Logan Mankins, a guy who loves money so much he refused to take a pay cut for the betterment of the team.

Yet, Gregg doesn't seem to sound like he thinks this is a positive development that Mankins is gone and undrafted free agents are blocking for Brady. Gee, I wonder why that is?

Gregg in the last paragraph of this week's all-haiku TMQ:

During the preseason, Tuesday Morning Quarterback uses "vanilla" items designed to confuse scouts from other sports columns. Starting next week as the football artificial universe resumes, TMQ will come at readers from all directions with obscure references, recondite analogies and unorthodox fact packages.

Gregg in the last paragraph of last year's all-haiku TMQ:

During the preseason, TMQ uses "vanilla" material designed to confuse scouts from other sports columns. Starting next week, I will come at readers from all directions with complex sentence structures, exotic joke packages and quick-snap items.

He could at least pretend like he puts some effort into TMQ and just doesn't plagiarize himself because he is too damn lazy to write a completely original final group of sentences to his all-haiku TMQ. It shouldn't shock anyone that Gregg puts no effort into writing new, original material. After all, he doesn't read the articles he links and he has no care to put effort into determining whether the assertions he makes in TMQ are factual or just shit he has made up based on his own incorrect assumptions.

I'll employ an up-tempo format in which each new item begins before the previous one ends.

How about you end TMQ and begin to write a new column on a completely new topic at a completely new website and then not tell anyone that you write at that new website? 


Chris said...

"you can feel better than you might have felt five years ago -- football is becoming moderately less abusive of young people's bodies."

But the real question is how are these changes to the game of football affecting the cheerleaders that Gregg loves to leer at?

Snarf said...

Oh yes, the horseshit ESPN Grade that only takes Top-25 teams in the AP and Coach's Poll into account and then only compares the graduation rate of these Top-25 teams to each other. It's an essentially useless metric, but Gregg can't stop pounding his chest about it.

This thing would be so much less stupid if they just said "here's a ranking of the current top-25 by graduation rate."

Snarf said...

This column has noted that newspapers long have had a touchy relationship with auto reviewing. Auto dealers are major advertisers, so reviewers tend to praise all marques. Reviewers tend to extol maximum horsepower, regardless of cost, environmental impact or the relationship between horsepower and road rage -- after all, they don't fuel or insure the cars they test-drive.

Has a newspaper reporter ever had trouble living with himself because of his irresponsible promotion of horsepower, that apparently correlates with road rage?

Also, that study seems flawed. Wouldn't it stand to reason that someone who is already aggressive on his own would gravitate to a higher HP vehicle, rather than HP causing aggression?

Robert said...

I know I've said this before, but I can't help myself when I see the form subjected to an entire column of Gregginess. Peter King and Gregg Easterbrook claim to be enlightened and knowledgeable thinkers. You would think they'd actually bother to learn what a haiku is, beyond sentence format.

A haiku is a very complex form of poetry. It's frequently taught as any 5-7-5 combination, but that robs the haiku of its complexity and its character. There are many subcomponents to it. For instance, you are meant to introduce the haiku with a keigo - or a "natural" term/word/thought. It's because the form is intimately tied to the natural world and beauty around us. In the second line you then get a cutting word/term - something that turns the poem on its head, and makes it clear the keigo is metaphorical or an allegory for something else to drive home your message.

I wouldn't be annoyed but you'd think a guy that makes such a big deal about academics, and then writes an entire prediction column based on haiku, would learn what the hell haiku actually is.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, Gregg can't answer that question until you tell him if these cheerleaders are wearing a lot of clothing or being very professional and wearing little clothing.

Snarf, I would accept that. As long as Gregg didn't try to make it seem like the rankings meant anything other than the ranking of the Top 25 teams by graduation rate. ESPN Grade feels so worthless to me.

That's a good point too. Someone who feels more road rage could gravitate to a higher HP vehicle. Though I have a Camry and have been known to have some road rage. I'm sure I'm the exception.

Robert, I would expect Gregg to know that more than I would expect Peter to know it. Still, that's very interesting to know there is a form to it like that. I would think Gregg would know the correct form to use in the haiku.

I'm not against the haiku in it's form as poetry, but I'm not sure I understand the intended dichotomy (or at least I perceive it this way) of talking about poetry while discussing a violent sport like football.

Chris said...

This doesn't really have anything to do with the haiku but it's a little odd that Gregg gives the Rams shit about picking Bradford over RGIII yet he hasn't ever mentioned Griffin's struggles over the last year especially after his rough preseason and all the concern of this being a make or break year for him overall.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, I think Gregg is a Washington Redskins fan if I'm not wrong. I read that somewhere and he is from upper Virginia. I can't believe he would be a homer like that, but it's possible his fandom is preventing him from having perspective on RG3.

Chris said...

I remember he is from the Metro area and I believe he lives in a rather high class neighborhood in Marland, at least according to Wikipedia. That's why I asked because I really can't believe he would be that much of a homer either. This is rather ancillary but given how much he seems to loathe Dan Snyder(which I find ironic given how he has been accused many time of being a raging anti-semite), and constantly bitching about the team name I wouldn't think RGIII would be an untouchable topic for him. Especially since him underperforming would play right into his highly paid glory boy bashing