Monday, December 8, 2014

4 comments Skip Bayless Wants To Clear Up That He Doesn't Hate Andrew Luck; Only Manages To Reinforce That He Loves Skip Bayless

There are very few redeeming qualities that Skip Bayless has. He's a troll, but he's also good for amusement. He's such a joke, that it is amusing. So that's his one redeeming quality. He's fun to laugh at and makes me feel better about myself. Skip Bayless has written another column that is essentially about Skip Bayless. Sure, it's about Andrew Luck, but it's about how Skip Bayless doesn't hate Andrew Luck. I'm pretty sure Skip Bayless farts into a glass and then smells it.

Not long ago I had the unexpected pleasure of meeting Mike Wells in ESPN's cafeteria. I read every word Mike writes about the Indianapolis Colts for And right away I thought, "He's as good a guy as he is a reporter."

That's a great story, Skip. I bet Mike Wells' version of the story goes this way:

"Not long ago, I saw Skip Bayless in ESPN's cafeteria. I tried to avoid him by running over to the salad bar, but he saw me and then approached me. He was nice to say he likes my writing, but then began to ask me why I have never written about Andrew Luck not being the quarterback Tim Tebow could have been. He got distracted halfway through the conversation by seeing his reflection in a mirror, then said I should consider writing about how overrated Andrew Luck is because he isn't in the Hall of Fame, yet 'everyone' says he's already a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I asked him why he hated Andrew Luck and then Skip turned bright blue yelling about LeBron James. I pretended I was choking and got taken away by ambulance just to get away from him."

But then he turned his investigative skills on me. "I have to ask you something I get asked so often by Colts fans," he said. "Why do you hate Andrew Luck?"

And Skip immediately thought, "That's a great column idea! It could be about ME not liking Andrew Luck. I was wondering when the next column idea about myself would come to me."

I'm sure it sometimes seems that way to Colts fans who watch "First Take." Allow me to explain.


Oh, well allow me to explain then. I DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOU. GO AWAY.

It's true I love the previous Colts quarterback, guy named Peyton, far more than I do Luck so far.

And of course, based on the fact he is supposed to be an objective observer, Skip should base his criticisms and praise on which players he likes the most and least. Obviously.

And it's true I like (or liked) Robert Griffin III slightly more than I do Luck.

Jump off that RG3 bandwagon as quickly as possible, Skip! Hurry!

But that's as a quarterback, not as a guy.

Again, "as a guy" shouldn't matter when discussing RG3's performance on the field. Well, it shouldn't matter to an objective observer who doesn't enjoy creating narratives, strawman arguments, leaps in logic, and poor conclusions of an athlete's skill based on how much this observer personally likes the athlete. Once the objective observer starts basing conclusions on feeling and opportunities to troll, they turn into what Skip Bayless is. It's a sad state to be in.

From all I read and hear, Andrew Luck just might be the finest young man ever to be a star NFL quarterback. Not an ounce of RG-Me in him. No Johnny Manziel "money" signs or bad signs after hours. None of Colin Kaepernick's chip-on-shoulder-pads.

But he does have a disgusting beard. That's not the sign of a fine young man.

No Twitter or Instagram blunders -- Luck doesn't even have an account.

And of course having a flip phone, no Twitter or Instagram blunders means that Andrew Luck is a good person. He doesn't publicize his blunders or choose to show his life in a very public manner, so that makes him a fine young man.

No relentless national-TV ads for Nationwide-is-on-your-side or Papa John's or Buick, like that former Colts quarterback.

So let's be clear about the logic Skip Bayless is using. Skip likes Peyton Manning more than he likes Andrew Luck due to on the field reasons. The reason Skip thinks Luck is a fine young man compared to other quarterbacks is because he doesn't do commercials like these other quarterbacks (including Peyton Manning), who apparently aren't fine people, are seen doing. So Skip bases his opinion of Andrew Luck on his on-the-field abilities, except for RG3, who doesn't perform as well as Luck on or off the field, but Skip still likes him better. Skip likes Peyton Manning best of all because he performs well on the field, except when Skip decides Manning doesn't perform well on the field. So Skip thinks Manning doesn't have the legacy he should because he hasn't won only a single Super Bowl, and isn't a fine man because he does commercials. Meanwhile, Skip wants to wait for Andrew Luck to win a Super Bowl (presumably so he can criticize Luck for not winning more Super Bowls), but thinks he's a fine young man because he doesn't do national commercials. I'm just confused as to how Skip judges these NFL quarterbacks. One minute he cares about what Manning does on the field, while also stating Manning needs to do more, the next minute he is stating he won't give Luck credit until he achieves what Peyton Manning has achieved.

Obviously nothing to hate there.

And yet, Skip by his own admission likes RG3 more, even though Griffin isn't on Luck's level on or off the field. Go figure.

But what I do not like -- and cannot fathom -- is the premature enshrinement of Andrew Luck. Seriously, it's as if he already has been inducted into Canton's Hall of Fame.

Skip Bayless is taking a page from the Jemele Hill school of sportswriting where he attempts to disprove something that few people believe. No one is prematurely enshrining Andrew Luck into the Hall of Fame. Luck's eventual ascent to one of the NFL's best quarterbacks is simply being acknowledged, that's all. Of course, if Skip didn't overstate his opposition's opinion then HE would seem like the one who is exaggerating. He can't have that. So Skip paints the opinion of others that Luck is becoming an elite quarterback as an exaggerated stance of putting Luck into the Hall of Fame already in order to cover up for his own exaggerated position on Luck.

Again and again I hear analysts refer to him as a cinch first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Where the fuck are you reading this stuff? Are the voices in your head saying these things, Skip?

A Google machine search shows this isn't being discussed. In fact, THIS ARTICLE came up as one of the first hits on the search. Sounds like Skip is making up his opponents' argument.

He's "already a top five quarterback" and some experts make the reverential case he just might already be the NFL's best QB.

There are a lot of arguments being made. There is also a huge leap from "cinch first-ballot Hall of Famer" to "already a top five quarterback." It's an epic leap that must be taken to get there. 

Call him Andrew Lock, as in Hall of Fame Lock. Fans everywhere -- not just Indy fans -- have been conditioned to believe Luck is well on his way to becoming The Greatest Ever.

Very few people are writing or saying this. This argument exists only in the head of Skip Bayless, which is probably one of the most frightening places in the world to exist. Again, Skip is making the opposition to his position seem to have their own extreme opinion when this isn't true.

That's all they hear on TV.

This is a lie.

No doubt the young man, in his third NFL season, is almost as good on the field as he is off it. But -- and it's quite possible I dreamed this -- didn't Andrew Luck throw SEVEN INTERCEPTIONS in two playoff games last January?

Yes, he did throw seven interceptions in two playoff games in January. He threw six touchdowns as well, but he threw seven interceptions in two games. That's two fewer interceptions than completions Tim Tebow threw the last time he appeared in a playoff game.

Did anyone but me notice this?

No Skip, you are the ONLY ONE who noticed this.

Most fans, if their QB threw seven picks in two playoff games, would be more inclined to believe that QB belonged in Canton, China, instead of Canton, Ohio.

Yeah, maybe. But again, very few people are making the argument that Andrew Luck should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. This seems to be an argument that Skip Bayless is making up.

It's now out of bounds, even un-American, to exercise the slightest objectivity when it comes to Andrew Lock, who just might be the most media-protected third-year QB in NFL history.

That's a rather specific criteria there Skip.

Notice the rather Bayless-ian argument Skip is making here. He's saying he doesn't dislike Andrew Luck, he just doesn't like the argument by others (which doesn't exist) that Luck is a first-ballot Hall of Famer already. This makes him not like Andrew Luck...yet. So Skip's opinion of Andrew Luck is entirely formed based on his perception of others' opinion of Andrew Luck.

"I don't like 'NCIS: Los Angeles' because my mom thinks it's one of the best shows on television right now."

See how insane that argument sounds? That's Skip's argument. It's not that Skip has an argument against Andrew Luck, he has an argument against his perception of the argument others have IN REGARD to Andrew Luck. Skip is his own special kind of crazy.


Right, because that's the only criteria that matters. Luck could go 4-24 for 45 yards, but as long as he doesn't turn the ball over then he's all good with Skip Bayless. Sure.

He's now all of 1-2 in the postseason -- six touchdown passes to eight interceptions. I certainly don't hold his first playoff game against him -- that was Luck's rookie year and that was The Return of Ray Lewis, in Baltimore, and the Ravens were about to go on a Super Bowl roll. Luck was only 28-of-54 for 288 yards, no TD passes and one interception.

Yes, he "only" threw for 288 yards as a rookie quarterback starting a road playoff game against the team that won the Super Bowl.

For that matter, I'm willing to disregard a rookie season in which Luck completed a surprisingly low 54 percent of his passes and finished second in the NFL (to Mark Sanchez) in total turnovers.

Yes, I can see it's forgiven. Thanks be to Skip Bayless for his forgiveness.

Peyton Manning completed 56.7% of his passes during his rookie year, while leading the NFL in interceptions.

Irsay basically told the NFL world that Luck would be better than an aging Peyton Manning with a surgically repaired neck, maybe even in the short term.

No, he did not. He said he wanted to draft a younger franchise quarterback rather than try and get a few more years out of Peyton Manning and then go searching for a franchise quarterback that may not be available at that time.

Still, during his second season last year, Luck continued to play surprisingly subpar games that nobody (but me) seemed to notice. His QBR (scale of 0-100) was only 42.5 in Week 6, a 19-9 Monday night loss at San Diego ... only 13.6 in Week 10, a 38-8 home loss to St. Louis ... 21.9 in Week 12, a 40-11 loss at Arizona ... and 37.1 in Week 13, a 22-14 home win over Tennessee.

Yes Skip, you are the only one who notices these things. Thank God (or should I say, "Thanks be to You, Skip Bayless") that you are around to notice these things.

As of the time Skip wrote this, Luck also had QBR's of 83.1 against Denver, 89.3 against Philadelphia, 94.1 against Jacksonville, 96.7 against Tennessee, 62.0 against Baltimore, 91.4 against the Texans, 73.5 against the New York Giants, and 74.7 against the New England Patriots during the 2014 season. But why talk about Luck's third season when Skip can point out how a quarterback whose greatness is based on his projected improved play didn't play at times well during his second season?

By the way, Luck's QBR against the Chiefs in the playoffs last year was 93.5. This won't be mentioned by Skip because he's too focused on Luck's interceptions, while ignoring the QBR criteria he himself used to prove Luck isn't very good.

Then came the home playoff game against Kansas City last Jan. 4. Luck threw his second interception on the first play of the second half. Moments later, the Chiefs led 38-10. He threw his third interception later in the third quarter, setting up a Chiefs field goal that kept the Colts in a 41-24 hole.

From then on Andrew was very good ... but very Lucky. The Chiefs lost their top two running backs, Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis. They lost their fastest receiver, Donnie Avery. On defense, they lost two of their best players, sack artist Justin Houston and cornerback Brandon Flowers, and bookend pass-rusher Tamba Hali was also hurt. Luck was pressured on only two of 25 second-half dropbacks. A goal-line fumble bounced right back to Luck, who dived home for a touchdown.
Indy won 45-44.

Sure, he got lucky. That's fine. He also had a QBR of 93.5. Stick to the criteria you yourself use to judge Luck.

But at New England the following Saturday night, Luck went from three to FOUR interceptions and somehow the Patriots stayed healthy enough to hang on to a 43-22 win. 

"Somehow" the Patriots stayed healthy enough. It wasn't luck they stayed healthy enough, because luck only kicks in when Skip Bayless needs it to in order to prove his point.

And please feel free to focus on my personal biases when it comes to Luck.

That's all that needs to be focused on, because that's the main reason Skip Bayless evaluates professional athletes in the way he does. His personal biases ARE his evaluation of a player.

I watched a lot of Luck at Stanford, and before his draft, I could not forget the awful second half at Oregon his junior year, the late pick-six he threw at USC his senior year and that he got outplayed by Brandon Weeden (three TD passes, one interception to two TD passes, one interception) while losing his final college game in the Fiesta Bowl.

I like how Skip conveniently skips the different offenses these two quarterbacks were running. Colt Brennan outplayed a lot of quarterbacks when he was in college. Weeden ran a spread, quarterback-friendly offense at Oklahoma State. You know, a similar offense that led to Weeden and Geno Smith being drafted in the first and second rounds respectively, while Luck ran a pro-style offense at Stanford.

I'd like to hear from Skip on how Luck's line of 27-31 for 347 yards with two touchdowns and one interception was him getting outplayed by Weeden's line of 29-42 for 399 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Luck had a rating of 196.0 to Weeden's 167.7. Luck had 52 fewer yards on 11 fewer pass attempts.

By the way, Tom Brady didn't even start full-time in college and Peyton Manning couldn't beat Florida. Bringing up shit that happened in college isn't always the best indicator of a quarterback's ability in the NFL. 

I predicted Robert Griffin III would prove to be the slightly better pro -- and for a season I was right.

For a season Skip was right, which means to the rest of the population that Skip was wrong. But Skip can't be wrong because he was right for a really short period of time. Skip wants readers to focus on that short period of time instead of the larger period of time where Griffin has regressed while Luck has progressed.

For now, RG III has lost confidence in his injured legs, has lost some of his teammates and has been in danger of losing his job. But RG III vs. Luck isn't over. Not yet.

Okay, no one said RG3 v. Luck was over yet. Notice how Skip is desperately trying to turn this discussion of Andrew Luck into a debate over RG3 versus Luck. It's all he knows. Debate, debate, debate where facts don't matter if the volume of your voice is loud enough.

On air, I also took this stand the day Irsay parted ways with Peyton: big mistake. Peyton, I said, would give the Colts a better shot at winning the Super Bowl in each of the next three seasons. I believe I've been right about that, too.

And Skip was making the fallacy of assuming the switch from Manning to Luck was a short-term move, which it clearly wasn't. So as usual, Skip is arguing on the wrong points in the hopes of scoring points by changing the frame of the discussion through making assumptions that help to prove his point.

But remember, I'm now forced to evaluate Luck by "top five" standards.

Nope, that's a standard you set by claiming others set this standard.

That's the context in which Luck is often reverently ranked on "First Take."

This doesn't mean this is the context on which Luck is ranked everywhere else. "First Take" is an outlier because it has two moronic mouth-breathing trolls debating each other. You can't assume you are skinny just because you are the lightest one at fat camp. Being the tallest midget doesn't mean you can dunk a basketball on a ten foot goal.

Remember, too, our show is two hours of live, unscripted debate five days a week. We defend our positions with often stubborn pride and passion -- sometimes twice a show on an issue such as Luck vs. Peyton or Luck vs. RG III. "Hating" Luck is more about hating losing a debate.

As I have said previously, the debate over Luck has nothing to do with his performance, but has to do with Skip's ego and which way his personal biases steer him.

But I'm starting to wonder who has lost more objectivity about Luck -- me or his universe of supporters. Just about every analyst I know (as well as Stephen A.) dug in on Luck's future greatness before he was drafted.

Nobody, Skip. Nobody could ever have more objectivity than the guy who admits he lets his personal biases against Luck affect his opinion of Luck. Who could be more objective than a person who admits his personal biases play a part in his player evaluations?

They all want to be proved right.

Said Skip Bayless while talking about himself.

Heck, many fans surely root for Luck just because he comes across as such a humble, normal guy who happens to be star quarterback.

Earlier in this column Skip stated that Luck was a good guy because he came across as a humble, normal guy. So it's not okay to cheer for Luck because of this. It's interesting that Skip thinks these people lose objectivity of Luck's performance because they personally like him, while Skip thinks his own objectivity isn't marred by the fact he doesn't personally like Luck for reasons created in Skip's own head.

But, at the risk of committing heresy, is it fair to ask if Luck has a weird propensity for almost inexplicably losing focus for a quarter, or a half, or even a game and throwing what-was-he-thinking interceptions?

No, it's not heresy if you can name specific situations where this has occurred. It's relevant in regard to Luck's performance. Stop acting like a victim and misframing the opposition's argument.

I (for one) need to see Andrew Lock win a few more playoff games.

Of course you do, Skip. You ragged on Peyton Manning and his legacy after he won a few more playoff games. Keep moving the goalposts, Skip, so that you can save your ego from the possibility that you may ever be wrong. Once Luck wins a few more playoff games it will be, "Why hasn't Luck won more Super Bowls?" Also, no one said Luck is a lock for the Hall of Fame, so don't call him "Andrew Lock."

And this could (even should) be his turn and time. He now has a running game (thanks to Ahmad Bradshaw)

He's injured now.

Who knows? Luck's team could wind up with home-field advantage all the way to the Super Bowl. If he pulls off what Russell Wilson did last playoffs, I'll be the first to stand and applaud.

No, you won't. You will move the goalposts again in an effort to not be seen as wrong. Then you'll screech some bullshit on "First Take," and the only idiot in the media ESPN could find who can't out-debate Skip Bayless, Stephen A. Smith, will screech bullshit back and we all lose.

Until then, alone, I will wait and see.

You are not alone. No one said Andrew Luck was a first-ballot Hall of Famer. You make things up. Go away. 


Ericb said...

So what was Bayless' original beef with Luck anyway? Or did he just kind of pick him at random for something to complain about. I can't see how anyone would care about what he thinks about NFL quarterbacking after his Tim Tebow lovefest.

Chris said...

Unlike what Skip thinks I highly doubt that even most fans actually believe their qb, after two great starts, belongs in the hall of fame. My friends and I usually joke about a player on our team going to Canton after a great game but the little nuance that Skip is missing is that WE ARE JOKING AROUND! But no we sports fans are a bunch of drooling morons and our minds and thoughts can only be molded and shaped by the incredible genius of Skip Bayless.

Snarf said...

So unrelated to this post, but I would love to hear Gregg's take on Julio jones right now.

Bengoodfella said...

Eric, I think his original beef is that Luck was picked #1 overall in the draft and Skip thinks he was outplayed by Weeden in a bowl game. That's all I can guess.

Chris, I think Skip is making that up. He's just creating a fake argument others make in order to refute it and make himself seem reasonable. No one is putting Luck in the Hall of Fame.

Snarf, wow. I didn't know Jones went for 259 yards. I'm playing him in a fantasy league this week I think. It's the playoffs. So basically, I'm fucked now.