Thursday, December 11, 2014

7 comments After Introducing His Authentic Games Metric, Gregg Easterbrook Decides He Won't Follow It

Gregg Easterbrook hinted in last week's TMQ that he was probably going to ignore the results of his Authentic Games metric this season. Gregg introduced this metric last season as a way of determining the Super Bowl matchup and after multiple guesses he finally got the Super Bowl pairing correct. Gregg re-introduced the metric this season, followed by a little bragging at how the metric got the Super Bowl pairing correct. As this season progressed, Gregg noticed that the metric wasn't exactly working how he wanted it to and began to be all like, "Naw, you guys all know that metric was a joke and was never accurate," presumably while yanking on his collar and wiping sweat away from his face. So the time has come for him to just abandon the metric he once touted as a great way to determine the Super Bowl pairing. This week Gregg shares his Authentic Games pick, but introduces a new bullshittier pick, the "gut feeling" pick. I've stated all year that Gregg will make another Super Bowl pick and that time has finally come. He made two Super Bowl picks prior to the season starting and now Gregg is making his third attempt at getting the Super Bowl pairing correct. If he keeps guessing, he's bound to be right at some point.

What if your metric tells you one thing and your gut tells you another?

Then your metric was bullshit and you should reconsider your life and all the claims you have ever made about the NFL in the weekly column you write about the NFL.

Last year at this juncture, TMQ's Authentic Games metric forecast a Super Bowl pairing of Denver versus Seattle, and I've been dining out on that ever since. This year, the Authentic Games standings (see below) forecast a Super Bowl of Denver versus Arizona.

Rah-rah sis boom bah, be true to your school! I must stay loyal to my super-advanced, data-driven metric and forecast a Super Bowl of Denver versus Arizona. (Disclosure: the Authentic Games index is neither super-advanced nor data-driven. I do it on the back of an envelope.)

Yeah well, back when the Authentic Games metric was getting the Super Bowl pairing correct Gregg certainly wasn't talking about how it's neither super-advanced or data-driven. This from the guy who introduced the "Peyton Paradox" a few weeks before introducing his Authentic Games metric. Gregg introduces ideas and then immediately abandons them when they are proven incorrect. Here is what Gregg wrote about the Authentic Games metric last December when introducing it. Let's see if he made it sound non-data driven or super-advanced:

Authentic Games are those against other potent teams. The regular season is a smorgasbord of strong and weak; in the postseason, only strong opponents trot onto the field. That makes how a team performs against equal-caliber opposition the gauge TMQ likes.

The Authentic metric values most W's over best percentage. Thus I rank the Denver Broncos at 4-2 ahead of the Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts at 3-1. The reasoning is that the more wins a team has versus power opponents, the better prepared the team is for the postseason.

Then in his next column he wrote the following about the Authentic Games metric:

In TMQ news, this column's Authentic Games Index now predicts a Super Bowl pairing of New Orleans versus Denver, despite both losing in Week 15. The losses came to teams that don't count as Authentic, though what does count as an Authentic victory varies weekly depending on the performance of other teams -- kind of like high-school playoff bonus points.

For a metric that doesn't seem to be very data-driven Gregg sure does a lot of explaining about how he comes to the determination of whether a team is "authentic" or not. Either way, it's not a surprise that Gregg made up a metric which turned out to be very unhelpful. He's repeatedly determined the zone read was dead, talked about the Crabtree Curse that doesn't exist, and points out any time a highly-drafted player makes a mistake how these players only care about themselves and are lazy.

But in this era of alternative jerseys, my alternative Super Bowl pick is Seattle versus New England.

Gregg's alternative Super Bowl pick back in September was Seattle versus Indianapolis.This isn't to be confused with Gregg's real Super Bowl pick of Denver over New Orleans. I stated earlier this year that Gregg would make ANOTHER Super Bowl pick later in the season and that's where we are right now. So Gregg's Super Bowl picks so far this season are Denver-New Orleans, his alternative pick of Seattle-Indianapolis and now his other alternative pick of Seattle-New England. If he keeps guessing, he will be right at some point. That's all that matters.

The Patriots and Seahawks are peaking at exactly the right time. Seattle can beat the Packers in a playoff game at Green Bay. New England can beat Denver if the game is in New England -- and the Patriots stand a good chance of hosting the Broncos in a potential postseason game.

Facts. These are all facts, not opinion.

A week ago, the Patriots lost at Green Bay, then flew directly to San Diego to focus on preparations for the Chargers. Most NFL teams would have flown home, then to the coast Thursday. No wasted motion with Bill Belichick!

Except for when his team doesn't do a little dance to get that first down? Without a dance, it's all wasted motion! Amiright?

Surely Belichick has a clear understanding that his conference is likely to come down to whether the AFC title game is New England at Denver or Denver at New England, and he appears determined to make it the latter.

So Gregg Easterbrook is reporting that the Patriots will continue to try and win football games in order to have the best possible record. Who would have thought Bill Belichick would have his team follow this controversial strategy?

As for the resurgent defending champions, the killer-app stat of Seattle's 2013 trophy-hoisting season was 13 second-half touchdowns allowed in 19 games. Now, in its past three outings, Seattle has allowed just one second-half touchdown. Nothing is more potent than a defense that won't allow touchdowns after intermission.

Great observation. Teams that don't allow touchdowns in the second half of games do tend to win more games than teams that do give up touchdowns in second half. Perhaps Gregg should use a metric called "Authentic Defense" to point this anomaly out in more detail and then abandon it when convenient.

So, my pick is Denver versus Arizona. That's what my metric says. Unless my pick is Seattle versus New England. Since I have hedged bets with two Super Bowl forecasts, the football gods might ensure neither comes true.

Nope, that would actually be three Super Bowl forecasts. Don't forget your Seattle-Indianapolis pick that was the alternative to the Denver-New Orleans pick, which shouldn't be confused with your current Denver-Arizona pick, which probably isn't Gregg's real pick since his gut says Seattle-New England. At some point, Gregg will have a correct Super Bowl pick to brag about. My Non-Authentic Games standings have revealed the following Super Bowl matchups so far:

Packers and Broncos
Saints and Dolphins
Packers and Patriots
Eagles and Bills
Rams and Texans

This week my Non-Authentic Games pick is Carolina-Pittsburgh.

In other playoff news, it is now impossible for the NFC South victor to have a winning record. Yet the NFL's postseason format, which rewards mediocrity while penalizing merit, will grant that victor a home playoff date. If the postseason began today, 5-8 Atlanta would host a playoff game while 9-4 Dallas, 8-5 Baltimore and six 7-6 clubs would be denied a postseason invitation.

It's a travesty, but I can't wait until the NFC South hosts a playoff game and then beats the team with the better regular season record. I just want to watch the world burn.

Stats Of The Week No. 3: Pittsburgh tailback Le'Veon Bell has 1,231 yards rushing; all other running backs combined on the Steelers' roster have 50 rushing yards.

This isn't as interesting of a stat if you know the Steelers released LeGarrette Blount, who was their second leading rusher, a month or so ago.

Sweet Play Of The Week: Kansas City leading 14-9 late in the third quarter, the Chiefs had third-and-long on the Arizona 29. A draw play followed by a field goal would give the visitors a commanding position, putting the Cardinals in danger of their third straight loss.

In love with the pass, Andy Reid radios in a pass. For the game -- adjusting for sacks and scrambles -- Reid would radio in 47 passes and 14 rushes; the pass calls would average 6 yards gained, the rushes 7.4 yards gained. Alex Smith, defender in his face, makes a mental mistake, heave-hoeing the ball off his back foot directly into the hands of linebacker Alex Okafor, whose interception and runback position the hosts for the go-ahead touchdown. Sweet for the home team!

Had Reid simply radioed in a rush, the likely outcome would have been a 17-9 Kansas City lead.

Would it have "likely" been that the Chiefs had hit the field goal? The Chiefs were at the 29 yard line and were going to be kicking a 45-48 yard field goal if the draw didn't gain yardage. Maybe it's likely, maybe it's not. Gregg assumes it is likely because that's the conclusion he wants to reach in order to justify his contention.

Cleveland leading 24-19 midway through the fourth quarter, the Colts faced third-and-10 on the Browns' 43. Since this is a Maroon Zone down -- Indianapolis likely will go for it on fourth down -- a sack here is valuable. Cleveland ran a safety blitz. Undrafted free agent Jim Leonhard blew past Trent Richardson, third selection of the 2012 draft, for the sack that caused Indianapolis to punt.

Stop me before I blitz again! Blitzing is a bad strategy unless it isn't a bad strategy!

The Colts got the ball back on their own 10 with 3:46 remaining, score still 24-19. On first down, Cleveland ran the same blitz again for another sack. Now it's third-and-7 -- don't press your luck. Andrew Luck learns fast! Another blitz, long completion. Now it's third-and-10, don't press your luck -- another blitz, first down.

You know, and correct me if I'm wrong, and I'm not, but it seems like the success of a blitz doesn't depend on much except how well-timed and executed the blitz is. This must come as a shock to Gregg Easterbrook who thinks blitzing is bad in certain situations, mostly in the situation where the blitz didn't work.

Now Indianapolis has first-and-goal on the Cleveland 1 with 36 seconds remaining. The Browns have called timeout to get organized, yet out of the timeout, cornerback Joe Haden is arguing with the nickelback on his side about who covers whom. Haden turns his back to Luck. Word to the wise: Do not turn your back on the league's passing-yards leader. Touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton, the guy Haden was supposed to guard.

For once, Gregg is correct that Hilton was Haden's man. Though I still hate the use of the term "guard" like it's a basketball game.

TMQ grumbles about television and the movies using actors in their 20s to portray teens. In last week's "Peter Pan Live!" on NBC, 26-year-old Allison Williams played Peter. The gender-bending part is normal, as Peter is traditionally portrayed by a girl or woman.

OK, Mary Martin was 40 years old when she played Peter Pan on Broadway. But of the nearly countless iterations of this tale, what seems missing in a story about the boy who won't grow up is a Peter Pan performed by someone who hasn't grown up.

In reality, Gregg just wants to see a 13-16 year old girl in tights playing Peter Pan. He can't hide the perverted truth like he wants to. Who watches "Peter Pan" and says, "This is a good play, but I need a younger, underage girl playing Peter Pan so I don't feel like something is missing"? Gregg is that guy I guess.

In Space, No One Can Hear You Point Out the Plot Holes: SyFy Channel is about to kick off a television event miniseries, "Ascension," about a starship launched in secret during the Kennedy presidency. OK, it's a TV show: One must accept the puzzling premise that interstellar technology existed in the 1960s, then was somehow forgotten and no longer exists today.

Then, of course Gregg criticizes the miniseries as if it were not a television show. It's like he knows it's fiction, but just can't accept this reality.

The Ascension has parks, nightclubs, swimming pools, grand hallways with high ceilings. A character says the Ascension is "a spaceship the size of the Empire State Building." How did it get into space? The Empire State Building weighs about 365,000 tons.  If minimum-weight design criteria allowed the Ascension to weigh half as much, that's still about 185,000 tons.

The character said it was the size of the Empire State Building, not that it weighed exactly as much as the Empire State Building. 

Cops And Campuses: Rolling Stone has all but retracted its story that depicts a horrific rape at the University of Virginia. That the sensationalized account drew such national attention is a commentary as much on public perceptions as the magazine's lack of journalistic standards -- many readers made the slippery-slope assumption that because something is claimed, therefore it must be true.

Wow, let's blame the readers for believing the story. Why would readers of "Rolling Stone" believe a story that is supposedly investigated, vetted and then reported on as true? What fools the public are for believing that a magazine wouldn't publish a story full of lies or claims that may or may not be entirely true!

So we are at the point where readers are the idiots for believing something the media has reported? Are we that far removed from real journalism that a reader is at fault for believing the media can correctly do it's job? I think many readers assumed the claims were true because "Rolling Stone" is supposed to be printing facts in a fully vetted story, not assumptions based on rumors. The lack of journalistic standards shouldn't be reflected on the readers for believing "Rolling Stone" would print truth or claims very close to the truth.

Colleges, the military and churches all appear to be acting approximately the same, trying to sweep allegations of sexual misconduct under the rug. Why the same response from such disparate sectors of life?

And of course Gregg thinks these institutions are sweeping accusations under the rug by ignoring these claims, yet seems to think those who read about these accusations in "Rolling Stone" are making a slippery-slope assumption that because something is claimed then it is true. See, Gregg wants universities, the military and churches to give the benefit of the doubt to claims, but wants readers of those claims in the news to be skeptical of the veracity of these claims.

The worst of institutional culture is brought out by sexual allegations because they can be stonewalled in a manner other problems cannot. If a ship sinks, there's no way that was supposed to happen and no way can the Pentagon deny it. Sex occurs behind doors and can be anything from really joyful to a crime. Because only those who were present know which it was, sexual misconduct is eminently deniable. And the instinct of big institutions is to deny.

I'm not sure how this works. Perhaps I'm not smart enough to understand how Gregg thinks that institutions denying claims of sexual misconduct are in the wrong (which they are), while thinking those who read about these claims in a publication should remain free of judgment about the situation since they are just claims. It's a weird juxtaposition for me.

Colleges tell students who allege wrongdoing that everything will be handled internally, which might seem comforting at first: A college student has spent her life to that point trusting the adults who run schools. But the college doesn't want to get to the bottom of sex-assault claims. Generals, admirals and bishops don't want to get to the bottom of sexual allegations. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York is leading a congressional push to move military sex-assault claims from the chain of command to independent military prosecutors. Universities and churches should follow her lead. Big institutions will simply never be honest about claims that reflect poorly on them.

Yeah Gregg, but as you just said, they are just claims made in "Rolling Stone." Who cares about the claims and it's a slippery slope to just blindly believe these claims are true, right? Maybe universities won't be honest, but if Gregg encourages readers of "Rolling Stone" to treat reported sexual assault cases as "something being claimed," then wouldn't universities and other institutions initially treat them the same way? Readers aren't supposed to investigate claims like a university or other institution would, but when readers are reading in-depth about sexual assault claims in a publication there is an assumption that the publication did investigate the claims themselves. Why treat the report of a claim in a magazine as speculation, while treat the actual claim as initially true? Like I said, it's a weird juxtaposition for me.

The core aspect of campus sexual assault is that male students think they will get away with it. If the new campus standard was that police would be involved from the get-go, male students would face real consequences, and it's possible their behavior would change. 

Yeah, but these are claims. What if these male students read about the claims in "Rolling Stone," then read TMQ, and know that they shouldn't just assume these claims are true because women are always lying and shit about being assaulted. Just because something is claimed, doesn't mean it's true. It's possible male students could follow the Easterbrook standard and therefore not change their behavior.

Authentic Games Standings: This week Les Mouflons are dropped from the Authentic standings. Though St. Louis has posted consecutive shutouts and is the sole team to have defeated both of last season's Super Bowl entrants, the Rams just can't be Authentic if they have a losing record and are last in their division with three games remaining.

But...but...but...the Rams were last in their division and had a losing record last week too and Gregg had them as "authentic." What the hell goes on in Gregg Easterbrook's head that he puts the Rams as "authentic," sees them shut out a team after having also beaten both of last year's Super Bowl participants, and then says, "This team isn't authentic"? It just goes to show how much Gregg just makes shit up in TMQ as he goes along. He really has very little clue about what he's talking about and his opinions change as often as the wind blows.

Santa Clara lurks in the Authentic Games standings solely out of respect for three straight NFC title appearances, not for its performance. The Niners have all but exiled themselves from the postseason but could become an embittered spoiler for someone, since they face Seattle, San Diego and Arizona. Dallas appears the weakest contender by this metric, having just one Authentic victory.

So while Gregg is discussing these Authentic Games rankings like they mean something, remember they don't mean anything in Gregg's own opinion and he doesn't use them for the purpose that he originally created the rankings. So listen to what Gregg has to say, but ignore that he doesn't listen to what he has to say.

Reader Chip Garrison of Galloway, New Jersey, hopes Santa brings him a wireless robot ball. Reader Brad Broyles hopes to hang on his tree a keepsake Hallmark ornament of a hideous monster. Nothing says jolly like a hideous monster!

It's not a monster, it's a Xenomorph.

Stop Me Before I Blitz Again!: With the Steelers facing third-and-3 at the Bengals 8, Cincinnati coaches sent an all-out blitz. Completion to the Cincinnati 1, and touchdown on the next snap. What was the point of an all-out blitz? Even had a sack resulted, Pittsburgh still would have been in close field goal range.

Yes, but it would have been a more difficult field goal if the Bengals sacked Roethlisberger or perhaps the Bengals were looking to get the Steelers to commit a turnover.

The 49ers played an "away" game in Oakland -- which is closer to San Francisco (16 miles) than Santa Clara (37 miles), where the 49ers play "home" games. Trailing 1-11 mega-underdog Oakland 24-13 with five minutes remaining, the Niners faced fourth-and-12. Harbaugh/West sent in the field goal unit. Outraged, the football gods caused the try to miss. Who cares if it was fourth-and-12? The moment was do-or-die!

The 49ers had to hit a field goal at some point, so the odds of hitting the field in this moment are greater than the odds of converting a fourth-and-12. So the field goal try is what happened and it wasn't a bad call. Even a first down and a touchdown still only brought the 49ers to within 3-4 points (depending on the result of the two-point conversion). The 49ers still have to get the ball back and kick a field goal. That's if the 49ers even score a touchdown on this drive. Why not go for the field goal and rely on the defense to get the ball back?

Buck-Buck-Brawkkkkkk No.2: In the second quarter of the MAC title game, underdog Bowling Green punted on fourth-and-2. You don't need to know anything else about the contest.

I would need to know the score in the game at this point. If Bowling Green was winning 59-3 then their punting makes perfect sense.

I always dislike it when Gregg writes, "You don't need to know anything else about the contest," as if no other supporting details or situational information would be required in order to accurately determine if the punt was a good decision or not. Bowling Green was the underdog, but that doesn't mean they were losing. It's the second quarter, so if the game is tied then maybe Bowling Green punting the football was an attempt to flip the field and get good field position if their defense is able to stop the opponent.

In the first quarter of the Pac-12 title game, Arizona punted from the Oregon 37. Who cares if it was fourth-and-13? 

I do. I care. Arizona had beaten Oregon earlier in the college football season, so the assumption they could stop the Ducks' offense wasn't a dumb assumption to make. Fourth-and-13 is not an easy conversion to make, so rather than give the Ducks the football with 65 yards to a touchdown, Arizona decided to make them go the length of the field and punt the football. It's not like Arizona had shown previously during the 2014 season they could not stop the Ducks' offense.

Trailing Alabama 14-0 in the SEC title game, Missouri took a field goal. Trailing 28-13 in the fourth quarter, Mizzou punted at midfield. Who cares where the line-to-gain was in either case?...Alabama probably would have won no matter what tactics Missouri employed, but in a no-tomorrow title contest, shouldn't a coach go all-out?

"Sure Alabama probably would have won either way, but can't I pretend a punt in this situation made the difference in the game?"

Now Pinkel will root for the Crimson Tide to take the national title so he can say, "We played the champions close until the fourth quarter."

Yes, but Pinkel could have said that regardless of whether the Tigers punted in this situation. It was the fourth quarter when the Tigers punted from midfield. So no matter what the decision was on whether to punt or go for it, Gary Pinkel could state he played the Crimson Tide close until the fourth quarter. Good job criticizing Pinkel and then coming up with a nonsensical reason for why Pinkel made the decision that he did.

Denver note: The Broncos benefit from the end of Peyton Manning's streak of touchdown passes. Last year at Super Bowl time, there was too much attention to Manning's numbers and endorsement deals and not enough to the team. The less media obsession with Manning, the better Denver's chances this postseason.

Yes, because there is a correlation with media obsession with Manning and how well Manning's teams perform in the postseason. That seems logical. When in doubt, just make something up. Can Gregg really be serious with this? Does he seriously think that Manning's endorsements and passing statistics actually led to the Broncos not winning the Super Bowl?

Unified Field Theory Of Creep No. 2: Tonight ABC airs "the astonishing winter finale" of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." As reader Matt Ficke of San Diego noted, the "winter finale" occurs almost two weeks before the first day of winter in North America.

It's sad to me that there are other people like Gregg Easterbrook who really give a shit whether the "winter finale" of a television show occurs during the fall or winter.

This season, New England has shown a lot of Steelers-style zone rush -- five or six guys look like they're coming presnap, then only four do, but the offensive line can't guess which four it will be. A four-man zone rush caused a Philip Rivers interception when the San Diego quarterback was surprised by linebacker Akeem Ayers, who seemed like he'd rush but instead dropped into coverage. (Ayers is a classic Belichick find -- picked up midseason from Tennessee for a song. Placing a New England helmet on his head instantly made him a better player.)

If Gregg had heard of Ayers prior to his joining New England then it would surprise me. Ayers had a pretty good first two seasons in the NFL with 180 tackles and 8 sacks. Of course Ayers' 16 tackles and 3 sacks with the Patriots must make him "a better player" to someone like Gregg who had never heard of Ayers prior to seeing him in a Patriots uniform. I love when Gregg just assumes his readers are as ignorant as he is about the NFL. It's a good chance to point out how Gregg's assumptions and conclusions are factually incorrect.

What The Hey?: With East Carolina leading 30-26 with five seconds remaining, Central Florida lined up for a Hail Mary from midfield. What the hey -- why was East Carolina in press coverage?

Because they wanted to prevent Central Florida from being able to catch an easy pass and then lateral the ball around or catch an easy pass and try a hook and lateral play. ECU thought it might be smart to keep safeties back and then prevent Central Florida from catching an easy pass. If this had worked, Gregg wouldn't have mentioned the press coverage, but since it didn't work, Gregg has criticism for East Carolina. It's all based on results to Gregg.

Not to mention, if Gregg took the time to view the replay he would see that the press coverage wasn't the issue. The ECU corners managed to stay with the Central Florida receivers. But don't worry, Gregg has others to blame as well for this Hail Mary catch.

Breshad Perriman easily ran past the guy press-guarding him. 

Use your eyes to watch the replay Gregg, rather than just make some shit up based on how you want to perceive what happened.

Instead of following the golden rule of these situations -- keep everything in front of you! -- both safeties stepped forward, which allowed Perriman to get behind them.

This is the real problem, not the press coverage that ECU was playing. If the safeties had kept the ball in front of them then they could have knocked it down and prevented the touchdown. I don't know why Gregg blames the press coverage when that wasn't the immediate cause of the touchdown catch.

Before Central Florida's Hail Mary possession, East Carolina had first down on the Knights 15 with 1:47 remaining and Central Florida holding one timeout. No game that wasn't over had ever seemed more over. The Pirates knelt twice, and UCF called its timeout. A third kneel made it fourth-and-19 at the UCF 24 with 16 seconds remaining, and East Carolina called timeout! This timeout saved UCF only a few seconds, but UCF would win as time expired. East Carolina tried a pass play, which led to a loss of 11 yards. That gave Central Florida possession on its own 35 with 10 seconds remaining; a short out set up the Hail Mary. On its final possession, East Carolina killed only 1:37 of the clock, lost 20 yards and moved Central Florida closer to midfield. In turn, the fact that the offense had been kneeling might have lulled the defense into considering the game over.

You've got to be kidding me. Gregg is criticizing East Carolina for kneeling because it lulled the defense into considering the game over. Just last week Gregg wrote this:

Leading San Diego 30-27, Baltimore faced third-and-4 at the Bolts' 13 with 2:32 remaining and the Chargers out of timeouts. A rush might get the first down, but at least keeps the clock moving to the two-minute warning. Instead: incompletion, clock stops, field goal; the extra time keeps San Diego's comeback hopes alive. Before the field goal, Baltimore tried to run the "lonesome end" fake, but San Diego noticed, leading to a regular kick. Failing to keep the clock ticking was quite sour. (Favored Cincinnati also threw an incompletion with 2:14 remaining in a clock-killer situation at City of Tampa, nearly allowing the Buccaneers to come back.)

So last week Gregg criticized the Ravens for NOT running the clock out to give the opposing team as little time as possible to score and this week he is criticizing East Carolina FOR running the clock out to give the opposing team as little as possible to score. There is no difference in kneeling down to run the clock out and running the football to run the clock out. In fact, kneeling is a much safer way to run the clock out since only two players touch the football and it decreases the chances of a fumble handing the ball off to the running back or a fumble by the running back.

Unbelievable. Gregg is openly contradicting something he wrote something just last week. I bet Gregg would claim there is a difference in kneeling the football and running the football as a means of running the clock down. He would use some bullshit about how kneeling lulls the defense into thinking the game is over or something. Well, actually that is the exact bullshit reasoning he used here. Is Gregg really claiming there is a difference in how a team runs the clock out and that kneeling the ball down in some way lulls a team's defense to sleep? The lengths he will go to make shit up and publish it in TMQ is unbelievable.

ESPN Grade is a fan of the University of Central Florida because its football graduation rate is a very impressive 90 percent. Should UCF appear at the bottom of either of the major polls, it will skyrocket in ESPN Grade, given that the Knights would tie for second by graduation rate.

Well, Central Florida can't be in this ESPN Grade metric because they aren't a Top 25 team. Therein lies another obvious and fatal flaw in one of Gregg's favorite metrics. ESPN Grade is supposed to count academics into a grade with performance on the field, but it doesn't even count teams who don't already perform well on the field. It's just an absolute joke of a metric which doesn't come close to achieving the purpose Gregg claims it wants to achieve.

Does Sure-to-Be-Former Head Coach Jay Gruden want to be fired? Last week, The Washington Post reported Gruden has been saying he wants to unload Robert Griffin III, which is the same as saying Gruden accuses Chainsaw Dan of wasting three first-round draft picks in a failed trade.

Or it's the same as saying, "I don't think I can win football games with this quarterback and if you expect me to win games then you need to get rid of Robert Griffin." Those picks are a sunk cost. I don't know if Gruden is making it as personal as Gregg seems to want to think he is making it. The Redskins need to win games and Gruden doesn't want to deal with Robert Griffin on the team anymore. It's very simple and not about wasting three first round picks that are now a sunk cost.

Check out the intriguing new book "Ball or Bands" by John Gerdy, which argues high schools and colleges should put less emphasis on athletics and more on music. Not only does music not cause head injuries -- well, there is listening to opera -- but it also teaches creativity. Sports, Gerdy contends, fundamentally are about improving the body, while music fundamentally is about improving the mind. Maybe the solution is Battle of the Bands standings to create an aspect of competition.

Yep, I still wouldn't watch. I'm personally just not a band guy and don't think a battle of matching bands or high school kids playing music would be 1/10 as exciting as watching a football game. Clearly, there are others who feel the same way I do.

Zebras absolutely were correct to flag New England's Brandon Browner for a vicious hit on a defenseless receiver -- arms outstretched, no way to protect his head -- at San Diego. Browner's penchant for drawing major penalties could become a liability for New England in the playoffs, where there will be intense focus on officiating.

I bash Gregg a lot, but this shows he CAN do research. Browner has the most penalties on the Patriots' team. Since Week 7, Browner has four defensive holding penalties, four defensive pass interference penalties, one unnecessary roughness penalty, and one each of illegal contact and illegal use of hands. He's very physical with receivers, which is good as long as penalties don't get called for it.

Next Week: Next week is TMQ's bye week. The column will be back Dec. 23 and will continue through that Super Bowl thing you might have heard about.

It's always odd to me that TMQ takes a break the week before Christmas. One would think he would take a break the week after Christmas or maybe take a break earlier in the season and not when the NFL season is almost over.

I will use the bye week to get healthy, draw up new sentence structures and seek crowd-sourced funding for my celebrity Yahtzee tournament.

(Crickets chirping)

I'm sure Gregg will also use that time off to search for a 13-16 year old girl who can dress up in tights in order to play Peter Pan. A need for young girls in tight clothing is really what is missing from "Peter Pan" for Gregg.


Chris said...

And here I thought Belichick was going to San Diego to await for the football gods to exact vengeance on him for Spygate!

Gregg says that investing in battle of the bands style compititions would "create an aspect of competition." So high school football is no longer competitive anymore?

O and about Gruden and Snyder so when Gruden says he can't win with RG3 Gregg accuses him of shifting blame, an accusation he loves throwing around at basically every head coach in existence, yet Gregg has ripped Snyder for trading those picks numerous times before.

Ericb said...

So let me get this straight, the Rams stayed "authentic" when they beat the Raiders by 52 points but they lost their "authenticity" by beating Washington by 24 points? How does that work? Was 24 points not enough against a team like Washington?

Snarf said...

Once and for all, I just want to say this one last time to save columnists and broadcasters a whole lot of time:

"If the postseason began today, "

It doesn't. Many of these teams will play each other. Things will be sorted out by the end. And if the 4th most deserving team (at best) by record in the NFC is excluded because of the NFC South, so what?

Snarf said...

Cleveland leading 24-19 midway through the fourth quarter, the Colts faced third-and-10 on the Browns' 43. Since this is a Maroon Zone down -- Indianapolis likely will go for it on fourth down -- a sack here is valuable. Cleveland ran a safety blitz. Undrafted free agent Jim Leonhard blew past Trent Richardson, third selection of the 2012 draft, for the sack that caused Indianapolis to punt.

Stop me before I blitz again! Blitzing is a bad strategy unless it isn't a bad strategy!

The Colts got the ball back on their own 10 with 3:46 remaining, score still 24-19. On first down, Cleveland ran the same blitz again for another sack. Now it's third-and-7 -- don't press your luck. Andrew Luck learns fast! Another blitz, long completion. Now it's third-and-10, don't press your luck -- another blitz, first down.

Shouldn't that read, first overall pick Andrew Luck? Oh, he did something good, so it proves Gregg is full of shit. got it.

Snarf said...

Cleveland leading 24-19 midway through the fourth quarter, the Colts faced third-and-10 on the Browns' 43. Since this is a Maroon Zone down -- Indianapolis likely will go for it on fourth down -- a sack here is valuable. Cleveland ran a safety blitz. Undrafted free agent Jim Leonhard blew past Trent Richardson, third selection of the 2012 draft, for the sack that caused Indianapolis to punt.

Stop me before I blitz again! Blitzing is a bad strategy unless it isn't a bad strategy!

The Colts got the ball back on their own 10 with 3:46 remaining, score still 24-19. On first down, Cleveland ran the same blitz again for another sack. Now it's third-and-7 -- don't press your luck. Andrew Luck learns fast! Another blitz, long completion. Now it's third-and-10, don't press your luck -- another blitz, first down.

Shouldn't that read, first overall pick Andrew Luck? Oh, he did something good, so it proves Gregg is full of shit. got it.

Snarf said...

Holy crap... what a pain in the ass Gregg is. On the Monster/Xenomorph thing, when you follow the link he provides, here's the description:

"What better way to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the science fiction thriller Alien, than to put the film's frightening "Xenomorph" on your tree. You may even introduce a new generation of fans to this spine-chilling cult classic and its sequels. Learn more about Keepsake Ornaments. "

Many people liked the Alien movies. They were pretty popular/a big deal. It's not that crazy that some people may want them as an ornament (of many) on their tree. Not me personally, but it's not some ridiculous notion nor is it dumb marketing, which seems to be his implication.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, Gregg LOVES high school football. How dare he claim it's not competitive!

That is a good point about Snyder that I missed. Gruden can't be shifting blame because Gregg has put the blame on Snyder in the past.

Eric, I KNOW! My mind was blown. If anything the Rams ARE authentic now. I'm confused and tired by Gregg's take on the Rams.

Snarf, the NFC South is a travesty, but it feels like Gregg and others want to change the rules based on this year only. Teams who won their division with a record worse than that of a WC team has happened in the past, but the undeserving division winner has also beaten a WC team with a better record in the playoffs too. It's all confusing. I would be fine with the WC team getting the homefield advantage if they have a better record than a division winner, but I really think not awarding a division winner a playoff spot opens up all new problems.

Ah yes! Highly-paid glory boy Andrew Luck did something good.

I just thought it was funny he called it a monster. I have a Xenomorph on my desk at work made out metal. He bought it from a guy who sells those types of things in New York City. I love the movies so it was funny to hear it called a "monster." It's kind of a novelty thing to put on the tree.