Thursday, November 6, 2014

9 comments Gregg Easterbrook Brings Back His Authentic Games Metric; Can't Stay Consistent On Which Teams He Considers To Be "Authentic Teams"

Gregg Easterbrook outright lied in TMQ last week regarding a quote spoken by Rex Ryan. That's not too far off from what Gregg usually does in TMQ, though outright lying is a slight change from Gregg leaving out information that would disprove an assertion he wants to prove. Gregg also got into a discussion about language and whether in the future humanity would use the same slang that is used in present day. This week Gregg talks about teams who have won "authentic games," updates his readers on ESPN Grade, and takes great pride in Richard Branson's space plane crashing. Sure, people died, but the important takeaway is that it proved Gregg was right about the uselessness of space flight.

Over the years, TMQ has lauded Authentic Games: quality wins versus a formidable opponent.

Over the years, I have pointed out what is a "formidable" opponent can change from week-to-week. Teams can win or lose a few games in a row, so a metric that changes on a weekly basis and provides different predictions every week is not a very good predictive metric. Taking five or six shots at who will be in the Super Bowl based on Authentic Games just goes to show the metric is a slave to the last week's results and therefore really can't predict anything with a great amount of accuracy.

Last year, with a month remaining in the regular season, I used my proprietary Authentic Games metric to forecast a Super Bowl of Denver versus Seattle.

Yes, but as usual Gregg leaves out information. His forecast predicted different teams to be in the Super Bowl prior to this prediction.

This year, Tuesday Morning Quarterback is diving into the deep end by posting the Authentic Games standings, beginning this week and continuing until the playoffs.

And every week Gregg does this, I will introduce my Non-Authentic Games standings where I spit out the name of two teams that had the highest margin of victory the previous week and that will be the metric to determine who will be in the Super Bowl. I can make things up too.

Actually, I don't even have a definition of an authentic opponent. An Authentic Game is like pornography -- impossible to define, but you know it when you see it.

Meaning, this definition changes based on what Gregg wants to prove. If anyone is impressed by a weekly predictive metric that has no clear definition for the terms that the metric is based upon then I feel sad for you. It's one step away from using numbers to make shit up.

Authentic Games are those versus a playoff-caliber opponent, but what precisely does that mean? A team might be an authentic opponent early in the season, then drop out of that classification if its performance fades. Or it might start weak and end up authentic. Right now I'm counting New Orleans as an authentic opponent because TMQ takes the Saints seriously, but this may not last.

As I said, an authentic opponent changes based on what Gregg wants to prove that week. So Gregg's metric, which is designed to predict the Super Bowl participants, has no clear definition of what an authentic team is, the metric is only predictive in that it can't actually predict future events since it is based entirely on what happened that previous week and only that previous week during the NFL games, and teams that might once be authentic may suddenly not be based entirely on how Gregg feels about that team during the given week. It's all so subjective, it means jackshit.

I don't consider Buffalo authentic, though the Bills have a better record than the Saints.

Again, there is very little rhyme or reason behind what an authentic team might be. My favorite moment will be when Gregg doesn't consider a team to be authentic and then that team goes on to win the Super Bowl. Let it happen.

I view San Diego as authentic owing to its December potency, even though division rival Kansas City has a better record. The Chiefs aren't authentic so far but could become so soon, with upcoming consecutive games versus winning teams.

There's nothing about this metric that isn't complete horseshit. Basically, Gregg will state a team is authentic if that's how he wants to view the team. There's sometimes no reasoning behind his statement of authenticity for a team.

My "metric" sees Baltimore at 5-4 as authentic, if shaky; Cleveland at 5-3 as not. Miami is on the cusp of authenticity, while Green Bay could soon lose this status. Right now I consider Seattle and Santa Clara authentic, though the defending champions could lose this label and the Niners are receiving the benefit of the doubt based on previous seasons, not this season.

So a 5-4 Baltimore Ravens team, a team that won the Super Bowl two years ago, is considered shaky with zero losses to teams with a losing record, but the 4-4 San Francisco 49ers are receiving the benefit of the doubt despite the fact they have two losses to teams with a losing record. You know what, I probably should stop dissecting Gregg's reasoning because it will only drive me mad.

Like the companies in the Dow Jones index, the teams in my authentic club are whichever ones I say they are and are weighted based largely on hocus-pocus. All I know for sure is that last year, the Authentic Games index predicted the Super Bowl pairing.

Gregg can do whatever the fuck he wants. It's his column. He basically admits his metric is bullshit and based on very little fact, but then he feels like he can brag about the metric working. It shouldn't, but it does infuriate me. There are people who read TMQ and think Gregg is just the most brilliant guy when he lies to his readers and misleads them. When Gregg isn't misleading his readers, then he is busy making up metrics that he admits are based on bullshit reasoning, yet wants his readers to pretend they are not.

Note I consider total victories more important than won-loss percentage -- for instance Denver's 4-2 is better than New England's 2-0, though the latter is superior if one thinks in percentage terms. Again there's no super-sophisticated reasoning underlying this assumption, just a feeling that winning lots of big games while also losing a few is better than playing a soft schedule and not being tested often.

(Deep sigh) And he ignores that a team hasn't lost to an authentic team as of yet by completely ignoring that team's winning percentage in favor of which team has played the most authentic games.

At the halfway point of the season, my Authentic Games metric predicts a Super Bowl of Denver versus Arizona.

My Non-Authentic Games metric says the Super Bowl participants will be the Miami Dolphins and the New Orleans Saints. But don't worry, I have eight more weeks to nail a prediction and then brag about it while covering TMQ.

Note the Broncos and Cardinals not only have the most authentic wins but also they've participated in the most big games, which is almost as important.

It's almost as important because a team has no control if they play a game against a playoff-caliber team. It's totally out out of a team's hands, so Gregg thinks Detroit and New England having not lost a game to a playoff-caliber team, or Pittsburgh being 2-1 against playoff-caliber teams is not impressive. These teams should have scheduled more quality opponents rather than just play a cupcake schedule.

By that logic keep your eye on Indianapolis, which has also been in many big games already. I called the Super Bowl early last year -- the pressure's on!

But then you changed your selection based on the super-awesome Authentic Games formula and therefore don't get credit for taking 10 guesses and one of them being correct.

(Warning: Gregg goes political for a bit and I follow him a little bit down that rabbit hole)

Today is Election Day. Not voting is your prerogative. But if you don't vote, promise not to complain about government for the next two years.

I disagree with this to an extent. Sometimes the act of not voting is making a statement in itself. If I don't like my two options for state Senator then why should I have to make the choice of voting for one of them who doesn't share my beliefs system, as opposed to abstaining and choosing not to vote for someone who wouldn't represent me? I don't believe it is better to compromise your beliefs if there are two candidates you don't believe in, and you vote for one just so no one will say you can't complain about the government until the next election cycle. Voting by abstaining is a vote. Why is it better to compromise one's own values and help elect someone that you don't personally believe in so you can claim to be a part of the political process? There are obviously those who won't vote because they are too lazy to do so and will hide behind a claim they don't like either candidate. I throw them in with those people who do vote, but don't really know the candidate they are voting for. I consider uninformed voting to be as bad as not voting. I vote and I think everyone should vote for the candidate they want to vote for. In an election with limited options, sometimes I think it's best to simply not vote for a candidate you don't believe in.

That's a formula for gridlock: With the parties exchanging the upper hand every two years, neither can really govern. Each has incentive to stall, stall, stall until its next expected victory comes around -- the way Republicans stalled, stalled, stalled in the House in the past two years, and Democrats, if retaining the Senate, may stall, stall, stall until 2016.

It also doesn't help that neither party really cares to govern by working with each other. Any attempt to work with someone from the other party will be seen as a betrayal and used against that person during the next election. The American people claim they want progress and want Congress to get things done, yet consistently vote for candidates who only care to fuck up the process. Then the candidate can blame the other party for nothing being done and voters will re-elect that candidate as long as he/she didn't work with the opposing party to try and get something done. Many times the only thing of value an incumbent Senator can brag about is sticking to the party line and not letting the opposing side's agenda go unopposed.

The point is that everyone complains about partisan gridlock, yet one cause is voting patterns that produce Democratic margins in presidential years and Republican margins in midterms.

I hate it when Gregg has a point. The moron candidates vying for the North Carolina Senate seat basically spent millions of dollars saying one thing about each other. Thom Tillis said, "Kay Hagan votes with Obama" and Kay Hagan says, "Thom Tillis hates women and children." At no point in many of the commercials did Hagan say what she has accomplished in the Senate nor did Thom Tillis lay out any agenda for what he would try to accomplish if elected. In fact, while Tillis was running commercials saying Hagan was an Obama lackey, Hagan was running commercials saying she opposed Obama on issues. This from someone who voted with the President 95% of the time. She can't even stand by how she votes and Tillis' only claim to why he should be elected is that he would ensure he would not work with the President.

The larger question is: Why vote? "I don't like any of the candidates" is not a reason not to vote.

No Gregg, it is. If given the choice between marrying Guy #1 and Guy #2, choosing neither is still a viable option. I absolutely think everyone should vote, but I don't believe a person should choose to vote for a candidate they don't believe in simply to brag that they did indeed vote.

If the choice for dinner is steak or veggie, saying "I don't like either ddish" doesn't help.

Ignoring the "ddish" editing error, making a choice that doesn't reflect your value system also doesn't help. It helps to elect candidates who you don't personally want in office? Even under the guise that's the best you can do and you voted? What's the point of voting if you don't want to elect the person you are voting for?

In life, we must choose among available options.

Voting is a right. A person doesn't have to choose to exercise that right. I personally do vote, but know those who don't vote because they don't care to vote for either party and are disenchanted. If these people really believe they will compromise their value system by voting in a specific election, let them not vote. I won't stand on my pedestal and point out how they HAVE to choose among the available options, but only if they didn't like their options and that's why they didn't vote. I don't believe compromising one's values to be a part of the process is something to brag about.

I'll tell you why I vote, including in every primary, because I like to. I like walking to the local elementary school, passing a forest of cheesy political banners, greeting my neighbors waiting in line, reporting my name to a poll judge, getting a card and entering a booth where no one but me will ever know who I favored or disfavored.

I like to vote too. It doesn't make me sad that people will mock my vote or point out how the person I voted for will not be elected. I didn't choose between a steak or veggie. I chose the meal I wanted, even if no one else at the table wanted it. I compromised as little of what I believe to vote, but if I felt like I would compromise too much of what I believed then I wouldn't have voted for any candidate in a specific election.

I like buying something from the girls' soccer club bake sale table as I depart.

You can tell Gregg lives in an upper crust neighborhood from the description of his journey to vote.

The bigger reason to vote is that what makes sense for an individual may not make sense for a community. Why should a parent have a child inoculated when so long as everyone else gets the shot, any one child is protected by herd immunity?

This doesn't make sense in the context of voting or not voting. If I don't inoculate my child other people are affected. If I don't vote, no other people are affected. My voice is simply not heard. That's my decision.

Because if everyone thought this way, individual choice would backfire. Why stop at a stop sign if there's no other car around? Why report a crime when, even if the crook is caught, there will be more crimes anyway? Why refrain from littering even if there's no one around to notice?

Why? Because to not take action on any of these three items another person could potentially be harmed. I could run over a child by not stopping at a stop sign, I could make sure the crook pays for his crime, and I would cause the environment around me to not look as pretty if I littered. If I don't vote, no one is hurt and my opinion is simply not counted. It's better than voting for a candidate I really don't want in office, but is seen as the lesser of two least in my opinion.

People engage in positive actions of their own free will because they know the community will be better off as a result. Voting is such an act.

But society WON'T be better off if I vote for a candidate I truly don't want to get elected. This isn't hard to see or understand. I wouldn't be running a stop sign, I would just simply be choosing not to drive my car.


See below for the playoff top four based on the upgraded graduation data, and for the midseason refresh of the ESPN Grade Top 25.

It's still useless because it still only uses information gleaned from a small subset of teams and doesn't factor in teams who aren't in the Top 25.

Stats Of The Week No. 2: St. Louis had six sacks in its first seven games, then eight versus the Niners at Santa Clara.

It's all a part of the Crabtree Curse!

Stats Of The Week No. 4: The Bengals are on a 13-0-1 regular-season home streak and a 0-3 postseason home streak.

The Bengals STILL haven't won a playoff game. One would think that Gregg would stop regurgitating this same statistic since the Bengals haven't had a home playoff game in 9 months, but one would be wrong. It's not like the postseason part of this statistic is going to change until 2015, yet Gregg keeps using it.

Stats of the Week No. 8: Last season, Nick Foles played 13 games and threw two interceptions; this season, he's thrown 10 interceptions in eight games. Foles is now out with a broken collarbone.

And of course Foles is out with a broken collarbone because he's thrown so many interceptions. I know that's not Gregg's point, but putting these two sentences together gives some sense of cause and effect.

Sweet Play Of The Week: New England leading 20-7 on a day with gusting wind, Denver goes for it on fourth-and-6 from the Flying Elvii's 34, a classic Maroon Zone decision. The Patriots rush just three, the Broncos have six to block them.

And obviously this play will succeed because John Fox is showing the Broncos players that he is very serious about winning the game and is being aggressive in order to achieve this goal? Even if this play doesn't succeed then it sets a tone that eventually led to the Broncos winning the game, right? Because that's how it goes, coaches go for it on fourth down, and even if the play fails, it sets a tone that helps the team win the game. This is one of Gregg's rules. Yet here, this rule fails.

Peyton Manning hesitates because New England shows an odd front with linebacker Jamie Collins lined up as if he is a cornerback.

I'm not sure what this means other than Gregg is saying Collins was in man coverage. I don't know how a linebacker can be lined up as a cornerback. Perhaps with his vast knowledge of football Gregg means that Collins was in man coverage on a receiver.

New England frustrated Manning by jamming his receivers to disrupt their timing -- why all teams don't do this against the Broncos is a minor mystery -- while often showing mega-blitz, then backing out.

Because every NFL team can't replicate the Patriots' strategy because every NFL team doesn't have a tall corner like Brandon Browner, a shutdown corner like Darrelle Revis, Jamie Collins, a quality corner like Logan Ryan, or a safety who can cover like a corner in Devin McCourty. The idea Gregg has that any NFL team can easily replicate another team's offensive/defensive strategy is an idiotic assumption on his part.

Later in the game, the Flying Elvii were leading 27-14 and facing fourth-and-5 in the Denver Maroon Zone (37-yard line). Tailback Shane Vereen flanks out, runs a quick pivot and makes the catch to convert the first down;...Extra sweet for New England was that a pivot route was Wes Welker's favorite when he played for the Patriots. Belichick must have chortled over using it against Welker's Broncos.

Yes, I am sure Belichick was excited about using a play against the Broncos that Wes Welker liked to run when he was with the Patriots. Belichick has nothing better to do than to have his receivers run routes a certain ex-Patriot used to run in an effort to show up the ex-Patriot.

I don't wish to alarm the rest of the league, but Tom Brady has 22 touchdown passes versus three interceptions, 

This from the guy who asked if the Golden Era of Belichick and Brady was drawing to a close.

Is The Sun Setting On Tom Brady? A week ago before their home crowd, the Patriots barely outlasted the woeful Raiders. Monday night they were ground up into burger meat -- "Of course we're speaking in the figurative sense," as Weird Al would say -- by the Chiefs. Is New England's Brady-Belichick Golden Age drawing to a close?

Brady was openly frustrated throughout the contest. Every star athlete must deal with nationally televised defeat -- just ask LeBron James -- but rarely has Brady lost badly. His life with the Flying Elvii has been all news conferences, endorsements, championship rings and supermodels, 'til last night, when the Patriots looked like the Raiders East.

But of course Gregg won't mention that he was one of those people who thought Brady was declining. Why would he? Gregg can't allow his readers to know he makes mistakes because TMQ only exists to massage Gregg's ego and give him a forum to pretend he's smarter than anyone else who covers the NFL. Any evidence to the contrary is ignored.

throwing to a motley crew that includes undrafted Danny Amendola, low-drafted Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell, who was let go by the receiver-needy Panthers.

LaFell wasn't "let go." He wasn't re-signed. They chose not to sign him to a contract and the Panthers are much more offensive line-needy than wide receiver-needy at this point.

The pregame situation: The Boys were fielding a bumbling backup quarterback but boasted the league's leading rushing attack; running works best at home, where it feeds off crowd energy. 

Gregg is such an idiot when he writes crap like this that it's almost unfathomable to me. Running works best at home because it feeds off crowd energy. Wouldn't that be applicable to anything a team does at home and not just running the football?

So will Dallas pass or rush? You've already guessed: Adjusting for sacks and scrambles, Dallas coaches called 36 passing plays and 23 rushes.

I would never advocate having Brandon Weeden throw the football more than he has to. Still, if Gregg watched this game then he would see how the Cardinals loaded the box up to stop the run.

What do they teach coaches at Princeton, anyway?

No one at Princeton taught Jason Garrett to be a coach. He was the quarterback at Princeton and wasn't taught to be a coach while attending college there. But great question otherwise, even though it's not really applicable at all to where Garrett learned to be an NFL head coach. Also, Scott Linehan calls the plays for the Cowboys, so he is probably as much responsible for the play calls as Jason Garrett is. But still, great observation and question.

Philadelphia at Houston, Texans star cornerback Johnathan Joseph left the game shaken up. Rookie Andre Hal took his position. Immediately, Philadelphia faked a toss sweep toward Hal, drawing him up to the line, then threw a deep post to his man. Sweet 59-yard touchdown reception that set in motion the Eagles' win.

I think Gregg means when highly-drafted glory boy Johnathan Joseph left the game shaken up, lowly-drafted 7th round pick Andre Hal came in the game and gave up a long touchdown reception. I'm sure that's what Gregg meant, he just forgot to mention both players' draft positions.

That teams go straight at the pass defender who just came in is not some carefully guarded secret. Yet there was no safety in sight to help Hal and apparently no one warned him about what was sure to be coming.

Yes, no one warned Andre Hal that the Texans might throw the football. Since Hall plays cornerback, I'm sure he needed to be reminded of this.

TMQ's Law of Short Yardage holds: Do a little dance if you want to gain that yard. San Diego at Miami scoreless, the Bolts went for it on fourth-and-1 on the Genetically Engineered Surimi's 22. No shifts, no man in motion, no misdirection -- straight-ahead run stuffed.

Rams leading 13-10, Santa Clara had third-and-goal on Les Mouflons' 1 with nine seconds remaining. No shift, no man in motion, no misdirection -- simply a quarterback sneak, fumble, St. Louis recovers and wins. Plus fullback Bruce Miller should have been flagged for helping the runner -- he wrapped his arms around Colin Kaepernick and pushed him forward.

In the New Orleans-Carolina game the Saints had fourth down on the 1-yard line and they didn't employ any shifts or men in motion, but just had Drew Brees sneak it by jumping and holding the ball over the goal line for a touchdown. Of course, Gregg won't mention this instance of a team scoring a touchdown without "doing a little dance" because it ruins his theory and he needs to mislead his readers above all else.

Trailing Arizona 14-10 at home in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys went for it on fourth-and-inches from the Cardinals' 34. Power set, no shifts, no misdirection -- the play was Load Left, which Dallas has been running, and getting stuffed on, for a quarter century. What do they teach coaches at Princeton, anyway?

They didn't teach Jason Garrett how to coach at Princeton. He learned to play quarterback there and learned to coach in the NFL.

Is it reasonable to require a photo ID to vote? This election cycle, NPR has run several pieces quoting people suggesting that photo ID rules are a repressive concept. Last month your columnist spoke at an event at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C. I had to show a photo ID to get in.

Yep, these two instances are directly comparable.

On the flip side of the coin, if evil Republican rules are suppressing minority voters, wouldn't minority turnout be declining? But African-American turnout among registered voters has risen for four consecutive presidential election cycles -- black turnout rose under George W. Bush -- while Hispanic registered voter turnout was about the same in 2012 as it was when Bill Clinton ran for the White House. In 2012, African-American turnout reached 66 percent, compared to 55 percent in 1996.

Typically, this is very simplistic thinking on Gregg's part. There are two solid reasons that evil Republican rules could be suppressing minority voters but turnout isn't declining.

1. Minority voters are still be suppressed, but more minority voters are turning out to vote in a given election. So while voter turnout is rising, it could (hypothetically) be rising more if the evil Republicans weren't suppressing the minority vote.

2. Comparing African-American turnout in 1996 and 2012 is a misleading comparison and Gregg knows this. 2012 involved an African-American man looking to be re-elected for President and logic would dictate that having an African-American man running for re-election would cause a spike in African-American turnout, just like would happen if any other minority group had a candidate running for President. So a turnout of 66% is still good, but it doesn't mean it couldn't have been better had the evil Republicans not (hypothetically) suppressed the minority vote.

ESPN Grade Update: This summer was kickoff for ESPN Grade, a new way of thinking about college football rankings. The big universities and the NCAA claim college football players are students first: ESPN Grade takes them at their word, and factors academics into the polls.

But only for 25 Division-I schools. There is no factoring academics into the polls for any other Division-I schools that aren't ranked in the Top 25.

The ESPN Grade formula is one-third The Associated Press (media) poll, one-third the USA Today (coaches) poll, and one-third the team's position in a sort-of top 25 ranking by graduation rates. In the ESPN Grade rankings, the lower the number, the better.

And ESPN Grade gives double the weight to a college's athletics as it gives to a college's academics. But sure Gregg, keep telling your readers how great ESPN Grade is and how it shows which Division-I football schools are good at combining athletics and academics.

Applying the ESPN Grade formula to the top four, the academics-adjusted schools in the inaugural College Football Playoff would be: Alabama, first seed; TCU and Notre Dame, tied; Mississippi State, fourth seed.

Mississippi State is 18th in graduation rate. Other schools in the Top 10 of ESPN Grade have graduation rates ranked 17th, 13th, 21st, and 14th. That's out of 25 teams. But sure, ESPN Grade really holds these schools' feet to the fire when it comes to mixing in graduation rate with AP and Coaches Poll ranking.

I still think it is hilarious that Gregg continues to push ESPN Grade when it's obviously not the metric he would normally look for to judge a school's ability to combine athletics and academics.

SpaceShipTwo, Richard Branson's attempt to build a private space plane that would carry wealthy tourists to the boundary of the atmosphere, crashed last week, killing the co-pilot.

I imagine Gregg was giddy upon hearing about this because it went to prove that he was right. Space travel is too expensive and dangerous. Big win for Gregg!

But the Branson project has always been a pipe dream, and a dangerous one at that; a 2007 SpaceShipTwo engine test explosion killed two workers instantly, while a third died later and three others were critically injured. The years of credulous praise Branson's project has received from the mainstream media both show lack of sophistication regarding technology, and it may have become a self-fulfilling prophecy -- convincing Branson he could do something he could not.

But don't worry, Gregg will gloat a little bit about citing all the times he knew this project was dangerous. Sure, people died, but look at how right Gregg was!

In 2008, this column spelled out the development costs and test regimes of space-bound projects that worked and concluded, "Branson has talked vaguely about how SpaceShipTwo can be developed and built on the cheap. In rocketry, cost-cutting leads to explosions ... I don't know about you, but I ain't getting on no space-bound machine that did not cost billions of dollars to develop and test."

In 2012, this column warned, "The notion that a space plane can be thrown together quickly and on the cheap has always strained credulity, yet is swallowed whole by many journalists."

Well Gregg, you were right. Good for you!

"Privately built space plane" is the kind of story that journalists call "too good to check." Lester Holt acknowledged on "NBC Nightly News" that NBC had a contract with Virgin Galactic for exclusive footage of the first commercial flight, giving at least one major network an incentive to hype without skepticism. If any major news organization expressed doubts regarding SpaceShipTwo, I missed it.

Or you will just ignore that any major news organization expressed doubts much in the same way you ignore any evidence contrary to one of your football-related opinions in TMQ.

Then Gregg spends some time railing against the space station because TMQ is a column about football. I'll skip this part.

The Bolts must be wondering if anybody got the number of the truck that hit them. Miami won 37-0, holding San Diego to 178 yards of offense. Should the Dolphins rise to the status of authentic or should San Diego fall from that status?

I don't know, Gregg. You are the genius with the Authentic Games metric that is based entirely on your opinion. So give your opinion. Are the Dolphins authentic? Gregg gave the Chargers a 1-3 record against "authentic" teams earlier in this TMQ, so the Dolphins either are or are not a part of those authentic teams, right? Looking at the Chargers' schedule, they have played Arizona, Seattle, Denver, and either Kansas City or Miami are considered "authentic" by Gregg. Let me do some research to find out if Gregg thinks the Chiefs are authentic...oh yes, here it is in this very TMQ,

The Chiefs aren't authentic so far but could become so soon, with upcoming consecutive games versus winning teams.

So yes Gregg, you do consider the Dolphins to be authentic based on your record of the Chargers being 1-3 against "authentic" teams. I'm glad I could do the research into Gregg's own thoughts that he was too lazy to do. Forget being too lazy to even read the links he provides in TMQ, Gregg is now too lazy to even remember what his opinion was within this very TMQ. In Gregg's defense, his opinion changes so often depending on what point he wants to prove, he may have just not remembered what point he wanted to prove earlier when he had the Chargers as 1-3 on the season against authentic teams.

We'll know soon enough. Miami's next three opponents are Detroit, Buffalo and Denver, which hold a combined record of 17-7.

Actually, you appear to know right now Gregg. You already counted Miami as authentic in this TMQ. Perhaps Gregg is trying to set a new record for speaking out of both sides of his mouth. He wants to use data showing the Chargers are 1-3 against authentic teams, but then act like there are four teams in that metric that don't include already include the Dolphins. This isn't the case of course. That is unless Gregg considers the Jaguars, Bills (he's said they aren't authentic), Jets, or Raiders authentic. That puts the fourth team that is authentic down to the Chiefs or Dolphins and Gregg says the Chiefs aren't authentic. It's sad that Gregg can't even stick to the opinion he gives even within this very TMQ.

For the fourth consecutive season, the Persons are 3-6; post the Griffin megatrade, Washington is 16-26 including the postseason. Netting several transactions, in the past five seasons Washington has invested three first-round draft choices, two second rounds and a fourth round in signal-callers -- and in the offseason, may be looking for a quarterback.

No. This is misleading. The Redskins haven't invested all of these picks in quarterbacks. The Redskins have invested a first round pick, second round pick and a fourth round pick in the quarterback position. The Redskins traded three first round picks and a second round pick for the right to the #2 draft pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. They traded a second round pick for Donovan McNabb. They did not invest all of these draft choices into selecting quarterbacks. They traded these draft picks for the right to invest a first round pick on Griffin, then selected Kirk Cousins in the fourth round, and previously traded a second round pick for Donovan McNabb. They did not spend all of these draft picks looking for a quarterback. Maybe it's semantics, but I disagree with how Gregg has phrased these group of sentences.

Last week, Ben Roethlisberger became the only NFL quarterback with two games of 500-plus yards passing. This week, he became the only NFL quarterback to throw 12 touchdown passes in a two-game span. The question begins to linger: Roethlisberger is known as a leader, not a passer, but is he actually a sophisticated passer?

I don't know Gregg, is he a sophisticated passer? What does your Authentic Passer metric say about Roethlisberger being a sophisticated passer? In asking about this metric, I'm essentially just asking for your opinion, but disguise it behind some illusion of there being a scientific way of reaching your conclusion.

Hidden Play Of The Week: Hidden plays are ones that never make highlight reels but sustain or stop drives.

As always, I will state that highlight reels don't show every important play in a game, hence the name "highlight" given to these reels. So to indicate a play is "hidden" because it's not on the highlight reel isn't true. It just means a short reel of highlights happens to not include this play, which doesn't mean the play wasn't important.

"Safe" tactics backfire: reader Luis Valdovinos of Mexico City notes that trailing 21-7 early in the fourth quarter-- -- that's down by two scores -- the Panthers kicked a field goal and were still down by two scores. Then Ron Rivera didn't order an onside kick, rather had his charges kick away. The next time the home team touched the ball, New Orleans led 28-10 and fans were streaming to the exits.

I don't think this "safe" tactic backfired. The point was to put points on the board, which Carolina managed to do. If this tactic backfired then Graham Gano would have missed the field goal. The point was to get points on the board, which was achieved. So the "safe" tactic didn't help the Panthers win the game, but it certainly didn't backfire either because Gano made the field goal.

Last week, the Knicks traded Travis Outlaw to Philadelphia for Arnett Moultrie. Both players were immediately waived by their new employers. Neither team actually wanted either guy -- the essence of being an NBA general manager is getting rid of players!

That's so true! Gregg admits he doesn't watch the NBA and doesn't know much about it, but he certainly wants his readers to think his observations about the NBA are very, very well-informed observations!

Belongs In Some Kind Of Club: The Murray State Racers are averaging 38 points per game and are 3-6.

It's almost like there are three phases of a football team that must play well in order to win a game. Gregg just assumes because a team has a great offense that team should win a game regardless of what the defense or special teams looks like. It's obviously a dumb assumption.

Buck-Buck-Brawkkkkkk (College Edition): Maryland leading 20-19, Penn State faced fourth-and-1 on its 28 with 26 seconds remaining, holding two timeouts. The Nittany Lions tried to run a quarterback sneak; a botched C-Q exchange ended the contest. But why were they trying to run a quarterback sneak? Penn State needed to gain at least 45 yards and had just 26 seconds in which to do so.

Because the clock stops in college football when one team gets a first down, so Penn State could have gotten a first down and then they could have spiked the ball to stop the clock. It wasn't a play that gained a lot of yardage, but it was a high-percentage first down call on fourth down. Of course, it didn't work.

Nittany Lions coach James Franklin may have been nervous facing his former employer, who many touts think erred by not offering him the head coach's whistle four years ago.

Yes, I'm sure that was it. I'm sure James Franklin was nervous because he was facing his former team. That's gotta be it. You just nailed the reason Penn State lost.

Buck-Buck-Brawkkkkkk (Pro Edition): When City of Tampa, trailing 22-17 at Cleveland, faced third-and-1 on its 37 with two minutes remaining and holding a timeout, that situation provided ample clock for a rush to pick up the first down. Instead the Bucs went incompletion, incompletion, penalty, game over.

While they could have rushed for a first down, they also had to get a touchdown with one timeout. Penn State only had to get a field goal. But yes, Tampa Bay could have rushed the ball, but it's just interesting to me that Gregg criticizes Penn State for running the ball in a late fourth-and-1 situation, while criticizing Tampa Bay for not running the football in a late third (and fourth)-and-1 situation. Maybe Tampa Bay threw the football because they were doing as Gregg suggests occasionally, which is to call a play the opposing team wouldn't expect to be called.

Wasn't it just last week that Gregg complimented the Cardinals for going deep on third-and-short? Maybe Tampa Bay wanted to get a big play in a situation one wouldn't be expected. Maybe Gregg just criticizes teams based entirely on the outcome rather than the reasoning behind the decision.

Obscure College Scandal: California of Pennsylvania, among TMQ's favorite obscure colleges, canceled Saturday's game after five football players were arrested and accused of assaulting a man and leaving him with severe brain trauma. A couple of days later, a sixth player was arrested and suspended. Arrests are only accusations, which may or may not prove true. But the situation can't be good.

Beating people until they suffer brain trauma is not good. Thank God I read TMQ to learn facts such as this.

When reading TMQ I also learn that I need to investigate an author's claims, because sometimes the author of a column will mislead the audience or leave out important information. I also learn that Gregg can't remember what his own opinion on authentic NFL teams might be.


Chris said...

For the sake of all mankind I hope Gregg doesn't "watch" the games with other people in the room with him. I know if I was with friends and I kept calling the Rams Les Mouflons I would get repeatedly punched in the face. And obviously watch is in sarcastic quotation marks since clearly Gregg isn't paying a lot of attention to these games. I sort of imagine it like that South Park episode where Kyle's family get a hybrid and they become so arrogant they move to San Francisco and fart into wine glasses and then sniff them.

Slag-King said...

An Authentic Game is like pornography -- impossible to define, but you know it when you see it.

So if the Jags blow out New England, does it mean that the Jags are going to the Super Bowl?

sophisticated passer

Sophisticated as in sipping tea from a fine china cup while using the fingertips to barely hold it? Is Ben, a Neanderthal, slowly becoming a part of the upper social class like Gregggg? Dumb adjective use.

HH said...

Today is Election Day. Not voting is your prerogative. But if you don't vote, promise not to complain about government for the next two years.

Yeah, fuck you. Do you know what happens when you vote for a candidate you don't like because he's the lesser of two evils? He gets to go out and claim he has a "mandate from the people" because so many of us voted for him. No way would I ever endorse someone I disagree with (and on a national level, I disagree with almost everyone).

I'm engaged in politics. I read. I stay informed. I even donate to candidates I like, though they tend to lose in primaries. I can probably state the policies of national candidates better than 90% of their actual voters. And I don't vote 99% of the time because I'm not going to endorse a person and policies I disagree with. I'm not going to let my participation in a broken system be a condition of wanting to change that system. So no, don't fucking tell me what I can and cannot complain about.

Snarf said...

On the politics front, I want to add one other point of view. I commend those who make the conscious decision not too vote because they do not believe they are informed. If someone doesn't pay attention to politics, why should they vote? That person is far more likely to vote for the wrong reasons and is potentially making a poor choice. I would rather 40% of the electorate who cares and has researched the issues vote, rather than 95% with a large portion not knowing the candidates names until they arrive at their polling place. Not saying anyone has to agree with that, and in a perfect world, a large portion of the population would be well-informed, but I respect those who realize they know nothing (and don't really care to know) about politics/candidates and decide not to cast an uninformed ballot.

As far as the authentic games metric being like the DJIA... that's a poor comparison. The Dow Jones changes, but it does not alter itself week to week to conform to a pre-determined set of conclusions or whatever the hell Greggggggggg is doing. It's actually a very detailed discussion every time a company enters/exits the index, something that cannot be said of the authentic games measure.

Snarf said...

Actually, I'll take what I said one step further. To use Gregg's metaphor, asking oneself, "am I sufficiently informed to make a decision regarding voting?" is the stop sign. Gregg is encouraging people to run it.

Anonymous said...

Well, Gregg said the Patriots were 2-0 in authentic games, and they lost to both the Chiefs and Dolphins, so I guess neither one is authentic. But then the Charger's 1-3 record doesn't make sense. He probably writes the whole thing in one go and doesn't believe in scrolling back to find out what he wrote earlier, sacrificing column consistency in his hurry to get back to watching SciFi on TV.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, I really liked your comment. Good for you. It's nice to see someone is finally doing something about Gregg's nickname for the Rams. Good for you!

That and "Grey Dawn" are two of my favorite South Park episodes.

Slag, if the Jags blow out New England then it means the Jags are on the cusp of authenticity. Ben Roethlisberger throws the ball in a very haughty and well-mannered fashion. That's how I think of it.

HH, first paragraph. Yep. I vote every single election and went to three different spots to vote because Guilford County knows where I live but apparently forgot where I live. My point is I vote and I love to vote, but I completely understand if someone doesn't vote because they refuse to vote for two candidates they simply don't like. If it weren't for the third party candidate in NC, I would have skipped the NC Senate race part of the ballot.

Second paragraph I also agree with. I get the whole "Don't complain if you don't vote thing." It pertains to people who just use not liking candidates as an excuse, but I think it is just as bad to vote for someone you don't support simply because you feel like you have to vote for someone. You can skip any specific election on the ballot when voting I believe. I love politics, but I also hate it.

Snarf, I agree with that too. If you don't know the issues, don't vote. Voting is a right that is given to the people. Just like other rights a person may choose not to exercise, a person doesn't have to exercise it. Obviously society is a better place if everyone votes and stays informed, but if a person simply votes just to say they voted and don't know WHY they are voting for a candidate then I consider it counter-productive.

Honestly, people complain about things all the time they are willing to do nothing about. Why should politics be different? It's also easy to see if a person is engaged in politics when having a conversation, so when hearing someone complain, it may be easy to see if they just like to complain about politics.

I like that comparison to the Dow Jones. I haven't quite hit on the criticism I want to make of the Authentic Games metric. I'm working on it, but I haven't put into words what my biggest issue with it is as of yet.

Interesting. I found his stop sign comparison to be poor. He's talking about making decisions which could negatively affect other people, while not voting isn't one of those decisions. If a person chooses not to vote, there is an absence of an impact because that person's decision not to vote doesn't count in the totals. Yes, there is an impact in that no vote was cast, but the stop sign example has clear ramifications for choosing to ignore a rule set by society. Voting isn't a rule, it's a right.

Anon, I'm guessing he doesn't pay much attention to it as well. I try not to evaluate it too much, because I'm sure the inconsistencies are startling. So he can't even remember which teams he had as authentic or non-authentic.

I feel good about my Saints-Dolphins Super Bowl pick for this week though. It can be a Super Bowl where Drew Brees' decision to play for the Saints can be rehashed a thousand times, plus mentions of the Ricky Williams trade can occur.

Chris said...

*Gerald Broflovski self-satisfied voice* Thaaaaanks Ben!

To follow up on Gregg's no vote no complaining policy, Gregg's long winded and smug self satisfied view of why he likes voting really ticked off. I like to perform my civic duty and vote, that is if I feel I know the candidates and their policies, I do my research(provided I can find a completely unbiased source for info), and decide who I feel is the better candidate. To me it is not some big joy ride where I walk the streets greeting everyone and carrying on conversations about how special I am because I chose to vote. I get in line, get in a booth, vote and then I carrying on living my life. Gregg says this from the perspective of someone who obviously thinks their vote means more than everyone else's so he thinks he's performing a civic duty reminding us common folk to go and vote. Just let me vote for who I think is the best choice. Don't go on a long spiel on how I will be killing puppies and America if I choose not to vote.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, it annoys me too. I get it. We all need to vote, but jumping on that pedestal about voting and how you can't complain or give an opinion if you don't vote is how uninformed people end up voting. I don't want to sound elitist because I'm not the smartest person in the world, but we don't need uninformed people to vote because they are guilted into it.