Thursday, January 8, 2015

5 comments Gregg Easterbrook Won't Reveal His TMQ Trade Secrets (It's Selectively Ignoring Information, That's One of the Secrets)

I'm still a week behind Gregg's TMQ, but I'm working on catching up. Gregg had the idea for the NFL to adopt two-hand touch to call the quarterback down instead of defenders tackling the quarterback. In the realm of really bad ideas, I think this has to be one of Gregg's worst. Two-hand touch can still injure a player, especially with a linebacker or defensive lineman going full speed. That's assuming the defensive player is going full speed of course. Who wants to watch football played at half speed? This week in TMQ Gregg talks about the coaching carousel ("but carousels are supposed to be fun!" insists Peter King) and refuses to reveal his trade secrets behind TMQ. I know one of the secrets. Misleading his readers and making things up when necessary.

Out the door they go! Rex Ryan, Jim Harbaugh, Mike Smith, Marc Trestman -- every NFL season ends with a coaching purge.

Teams expect results. Those coaches who don't produce results get fired. 

"Fire the coach" is a perennial NFL refrain. When the fans are in an uproar, the owner can't fire the players: rebuilding a roster takes at least two years, even when all goes well.

But it doesn't take two years to go from missing the playoffs to making the playoffs. NFL teams can rebuild their roster and also compete. Don't act like this isn't possible.

The one quick, decisive action an owner can take to assign blame, and generate hope for next season, is to fire the coach. So out the door they go!

One needn't have sympathy for cashiered pro coaches. They are paid very well for doing something that huge numbers of men do for modest reward (high school coaches) or for no pay at all (middle-school and youth coaches). And the NFL is strictly an entertainment organization. Losing seasons are not entertaining, so throw the bum out!

Gregg thinks owners fire coaches to generate hope and assign blame, but then seems okay with the decision to fire these coaches. So are the owners assigning blame or simply firing a coach for not making the team successful and entertaining? It can be both, but barely. Gregg seems to think that owners are assigning blame so the blame doesn't go to them, but is it really falsely assigning blame if the coach didn't do what he was hired to do?

Perhaps the sole NFL coach who can make a case for keeping his job even though his team was bad is Sean Payton, who (rightly or wrongly) is associated with the recovery of New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina, giving Payton a civic value no other NFL coach possesses.

So Saints fans, it's okay if your team continues to lose because Sean Payton is associated with the recovery of New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina. So if Sean Payton eventually leads your Saints team into the gutter, feel good knowing that he should stick around because he helped the city recover from a natural disaster.

Since 1978 the Browns, Colts and Raiders have combined for 33 instances of head-coach turnover, and also mainly struggled in that period. The team with the least coaching turnover since 1978 is the Steelers, two new head coaches. And hey, look, three Super Bowl rings during the period.

There is a causation issue here. Ever so many layers to this statement. Have the Browns, Colts, Raiders lacked stability and struggled since 1978 because they keep changing coaches or because they keep hiring the wrong coaches? Are the Steelers a stable organization and win Super Bowls because they have stability from choosing good head coaches or is the stability because they rarely change head coaches? Is Gregg suggesting the Raiders, Browns and Raiders would each have three Super Bowl victories since 1978 if they had rarely changed head coaches?

This is another instance where Gregg is taking pains to mislead his readers a little bit. The Raiders have struggled during that time, as have the Browns, but the Raiders had a pretty good coach in Jon Gruden before he was traded to the Buccaneers. If Gruden wasn't traded to the Buccaneers then Bill Callahan, Norv Turner, Art Shell, and Lane Kiffin may not have ever coached the Raiders. Who knows how long Gruden would have been there in Oakland? He was fired by the Buccaneers and if he had been fired by the Raiders at the same point then they would have had four fewer head coaches (maybe five, since Gruden's firing intersected with Tom Cable's time coaching the Raiders).

And no, the Colts haven't struggled since 1978. They have had 16 losing seasons, 2 .500 seasons, and 19 winning seasons since 1978. This includes 17 playoff appearances, 4 conference championship appearances, and 2 Super Bowl appearances with 1 Super Bowl victory. This is a great example of Gregg trying to mislead his readers. He claims the Colts have mainly struggled since 1978 when they have had more winning seasons than losing seasons or .500 seasons combined and have appeared in two Super Bowls. Gregg will talk in this TMQ about trade secrets of TMQ, but Gregg's intentions of misleading his readers who won't do the research behind his claims are not a secret.

Firing the head coach as winter begins gives customers a reason to believe the next season won't be as bad, and to pull out their credit cards. Some memorable NFL firings:

But it's okay to fire these coaches because they aren't providing good entertainment, right? So firing the head coach is the right thing to do, unless Gregg wants to make it look like the owner is shifting blame.

Lovie Smith was fired by the Bears at the end of 2012, when Chicago had just gone 10-6; as he was shown the door, Smith had an 84-66 record in Chicago. But the NFL's goofy playoff format gave two 10-6 teams home postseason games while telling the Bears to shut it down. Smith was scapegoated for the goofy format that was beyond his control, and given cab fare. The Bears are 13-19 since and just fired Trestman, Smith's replacement, along with Phil Emery, who fired Smith.

Here goes Gregg leaving out information again. Lovie Smith was hired by the Buccaneers this past offseason and he led them to a 2-14 season and the #1 overall pick in the draft. Of course Gregg leaves that out when talking about how bad the Bears have been without Smith. Smith isn't a terrible head coach, but Gregg conveniently leaves out Lovie Smith's lack of success during his first season in Tampa Bay when pointing out the Bears' record under Trestman.

Jimmy Johnson was fired by Jerry Jones after winning two Super Bowls: Jones' nose was out of joint because he wanted all credit for himself. The Boys, 7-1 in the postseason under Johnson, are 6-8 in the postseason since Johnson was cashiered.

Of course the Cowboys also won a Super Bowl two years after firing Jimmy Johnson. What do you know, Gregg leaves that part out.

John Fox was let go by Carolina in 2010 despite a Super Bowl appearance and a 5-3 postseason record; the Panthers have not won a playoff game since. 

The Panthers won a playoff game five days after Gregg wrote this. So what does that mean? It was fine to not extend Fox's contract? And no, John Fox was not "let go" by the Panthers. He wasn't fired, yet Gregg constantly has insisted Fox was fired. He was not. His contract wasn't renewed because the direction he wanted to go with the Panthers wasn't the direction the owner wanted to go. Jerry Richardson wanted to build a team that made back-to-back playoff appearances, which isn't something John Fox was able to do. Guess what? Due to being in a shitty division the Panthers did make back-to-back playoff appearances! John Fox is happy and the Panthers are (temporarily) happy.

Tom Coughlin started the Jaguars as an expansion franchise, took them to four playoff appearances in the team's first five seasons, then was fired after a couple of off years. Management's all-caps view seemed to be: WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE'RE NOT IN THE PLAYOFFS EVERY YEAR! Coughlin went on to coach the Giants to two Super Bowl trophies; Jax has not had a winning-record coach since.

By the way, as my wife points out to me "a couple" is two. The Jaguars had three off years in a row. They went 7-9, 6-10, and 6-10 from 2000-2002. That's not a couple off years in a row, that's three off years in a row.

The Southeastern Conference is the college organization most similar to the NFL, and since 1978 -- we're using that year because it was when the FBS formed -- among the 12 current SEC member schools, the head coach has changed 84 times. That's a 1-in-5.1 chance of the head coach being shown the door, nearly as bad as the NFL. The Big 12 in that period has shown a 1-in-8.5 chance of the head coach being tossed overboard.

I wonder if the SEC has the highest chance of a head coach being fired, over not only that time span, but in recorded history. INCLUDING THE TRIASSIC PERIOD.

Don't feel sorry for the newbies. NFL and big-college coaches are very well paid for the ritual humiliations they undergo. Wouldn't you want to be the next Jets head coach even if you knew it would all coming crashing down in angry recriminations a couple of years later?

I don't think anyone does feel sorry for these coaches, Gregg. Where do you get the idea these head coaches are gaining sympathy for being fired?

In other pro football news, the NFL's goofy postseason setup has Carolina, a losing team, hosting a playoff contest while five winning teams, including 10-6 Philadelphia, don't reach the playoffs. Many respond by saying, "Well, that's the format." But why is it the format?

I don't love it either, but it is the format because the NFL says that's the format.

With eight four-team divisions each assured a home playoff game, every NFL owner goes into the season knowing his or her team has a 25 percent chance of hosting a postseason party, no matter how poorly the team may perform. Pure socialism!

The NFL isn't the only sport that does this. So socialism is prevalent throughout sports.

As for who will make the Super Bowl, TMQ's regular-season finale Authentic Games Index comes to a clear prediction. See below.

But I thought that metric was just for kicks and is purely unscientific? That's what Gregg has told us when it looked like the Authentic Games metric would get the Super Bowl pick incorrect. As I predicted, if the metric gets the correct Super Bowl pairing then Gregg will be glad to mention that the metric worked again this year (after different tries each week of course to get the pairing correct) and tout how it may be unscientific but it works...until next year when it doesn't work and he's all like, "Nah, it's just for shits and giggles. Why so serious?"

Cleveland leading 10-6 at Baltimore midway through the fourth quarter, the Ravens, who dropped their final two games in 2013 to miss the postseason, were in danger of doing the same in 2014. On first-and-10, Joe Flacco saw a "shallow" Cover 2, safeties close to the line of scrimmage because Cleveland expected run. Flacco audibled to a go route to Torrey Smith, who blew past a shallow safety for a 53-yard completion. Touchdown one snap later and the defending champions from 2012 were on their way to the postseason of 2014.

I think Gregg means highly-drafted, highly-paid glory boy Joe Flacco threw the ball to highly-drafted glory boy Torrey Smith. Of course highly-drafted Joe Haden had tight coverage on Smith, but Haden is a cornerback and not a safety as Gregg indicates. Small details like this that show Gregg doesn't pay attention to what he's writing shouldn't call into question any other facts in TMQ though, should it? The important part is the play Gregg is discussing, not if any of the facts are correct as he describes them.

Cheer-babe professionalism was a huge factor the Nevermores' comeback. Professionalism in this context means skin or at least skin-tight; scantily attired cheerleaders propitiate the football gods. Kickoff temperature 54 degrees, the Baltimore cheerleaders came out in two-piece warm-weather numbers, which caused the football gods to smile upon their team.

You are creepy. Gregg will continue talking about how the NFL exploits their cheerleaders in TMQ, all while ogling them and encouraging these exploited cheerleaders to wear less clothing because he believes it helps their team win more games.

As for the Browns, they hold two first-round picks in the upcoming draft, plus other extra selections. Fans may wish Cleveland had spent some of this bounty to improve the team right now and end its 12-season playoff drought.

You mean like trade up into the first round of the draft to grab a player they think can help their team, as they have two of out of the last three NFL Drafts? Or should the Browns spend a draft pick on a quarterback, as they have done in two of the last three NFL Drafts? The Browns aren't a bad team and they have used their draft picks to become a better team.

Seattle and St. Louis tied to start the fourth quarter, on second-and-long Les Mouflons tried to set up a screen. The tailback was covered, so Shaun Hill threw at the back's feet seeking a deliberate incompletion: defensive tackle Jordan Hill dove and intercepted the ball. A few plays later a touchdown put the defending champions ahead to stay.

Doesn't Gregg mean undrafted, unwanted Shaun Hill threw an interception and third round pick from a football factory school Jordan Hill intercepted the ball?

A moment after that, Hill threw a pick-six to linebacker Bruce Irvin.

An undrafted free agent threw an interception to first round pick glory boy Bruce Irvin. Isn't it weird how draft position doesn't become important in these two situations? If Sam Bradford had thrown these interceptions then I'm betting draft position would suddenly become important.

Authentic Games Standings: Around Thanksgiving, the Cardinals were first in Authentic Games and had the inside track for first seed, then the first-ever Super Bowl on a team's home field.

This is what happens when you use a metric that predicts what will happen two months from now, but the metric uses a constantly changing and arbitrary set of rules to make this prediction.

The elimination of Houston, Kansas City and San Diego causes a major shakeup in the Authentic standings -- though eliminated 10-6 Philadelphia remains Authentic while 7-8-1 Carolina is barred entry despite hosting a playoff contest. The Eagles performed in an Authentic manner, the Panthers did not, though benefiting from NFL socialism.

How can a metric where Gregg pulls teams in and out of the metric, which affects the underlying data and results, not be an authentic metric? This is unthinkable.

What's interesting is that Gregg calls his metric the "Authentic Games metric" and there is very little authentic about the metric.

The biggest effect on the standings is that Denver plummets from 6-3 last week to 2-3, losing four wins over the now-discarded Bolts and Chiefs. Seattle rises to 5-1 as its defeats by those clubs no longer matter.

I don't even know what to say at this point. I think the pointlessness speaks for itself.

The Authentic Games index clearly taps Pittsburgh and Seattle as the Super Bowl pairing. TMQ's gut feeling continues to be New England versus Seattle.

That's what TMQ's "gut" says. This is not to be confused with Gregg's real prediction before the season of Denver-New Orleans or his alternative pick of Seattle-Indianapolis. At some point, out of these four picks, Gregg will get one correct and he will be very proud of himself.

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

After Week 17, the final Non-Authentic Games standings the Super Bowl pick will be Carolina-Denver. I can't wait for one of these picks to be right and it will just prove what a great metric the Non-Authentic Games standings can be.

Reaching third-and-goal at the 1, the Bills put six offensive linemen on field, then split 6-6, 330-pound tackle Chris Hairston, who reported eligible, out wide covered by a skinny cornerback. As New England pointed at the wide giant, Buffalo ran up the middle for a touchdown. 

Did the Bills "do a little dance" before scoring this touchdown? If not, how did they manage to gain short yardage without "doing a little dance"? That's how Gregg has told his readers that a team can convert on short yardage.

Over the years TMQ has pounded the table regarding standard phrases of political bloviation such as addressing audiences of people whose names you don't even know as "my friends," and constant use of "frankly" -- are you lying at other times? -- plus its superfluous intensifier "quite frankly." At this point, a United States senator ordering lunch says, "My friends, acting without fear or favor, I'll have the turkey sandwich." White House spokespersons say, "Quite frankly, we hope for peace on Earth."

Constant invocation of "the American people" seems to raise the stakes. It suggests either that, like ObamaCare advisers, people at the top think people at the bottom are too stupid to realize they're being played; or that people at the top have such runaway egos they actually believe they personally speak for the entire American people.

Sportswriters do this too by using the word "we" as much as politicians seem to use "the American people." It seems huge egos and believing they speak for a large population of people are (is?) something sportswriters and politicians have in common. 

Reader MacGregor Obergfell of Columbus, Ohio, reports that he was in a JoAnn Fabrics on the day after Christmas and saw "an Easter display front and center."

I'm calling bullshit. That's not a real name. MacGregor Obergfell. Not real.

The New Era Pinstripe Bowl -- there was no old-era Pinstripe Bowl, New Era is a cap company -- was as good as football gets.

People know New Era is a cap company. People throughout record history know this. INCLUDING THE TRIASSIC PERIOD.

The Golden Age of Radio Isn't Over: Reader Will Martin asks, "Many of your insights seem to come from watching the actual games. Where do you get your film and how many hours do you watch?"

Will, the fact you call what Gregg writes as being "insights" shows me that you are too far gone to be helped. Godspeed.

(pushes Will out to sea on an iceberg)

One of the founding insights of Tuesday Morning Quarterback was that football coverage spends too much time on stars, owners and coaches, not enough on what actually happens during games. (This may be true of coverage of other sports as well, football is the only sport I follow closely enough to feel sure.) There are 100 words written or spoken about what might happen in any given football game for each one word regarding what did happen.

I'm sure Gregg's quoted amount of 100 words written or spoken about what might happen in a football game for each word regarding what did happen in a football game is complete fact. This isn't a guess by Gregg at all. Anyone who watches ESPN knows they never discuss what just happened during a game. Ever.

Eventually I became convinced -- and don't take this too hard, writers and broadcasters whose whole lives are tied up in commenting on football -- that some football writers and on-air football personnel don't spend much time watching games.

I can barely keep this spoiler in anymore. Gregg reveals in a second he doesn't watch every game either. So the column he writes as the antidote for columns written by writers that don't watch every football game is now a product of Gregg not watching every football game too.

Both may be interesting, but football outcomes are as much determined by tactics on plays that don't make highlight reels as by the occasional spectacular run or catch. And the structure of big-media sports coverage is that some writers and on-air personnel choose (or are assigned) one particular game to pay attention to per week, ignoring the rest except for highlights.

Which, by the way, covering the highlights is all that Gregg does in TMQ every week. He discusses a specific play for certain games, but that's only covering the highlights of a certain game, even if he attempts (and fails at times) to determine tactics on a play.

Thus at the outset, TMQ resolved, first, to write about what actually happens on the field and, second, to watch every game.

Gregg doesn't seem to understand the first part entirely and he doesn't watch every game. In the end, TMQ is a column about highlights from some games where Gregg attempts to criticize coaches and players for certain plays that fit into a specific criteria Gregg writes about almost every week (too much blitzing, not enough "doing a little dance" in short yardage situations, cowardly coaching tactics, etc). So TMQ is a column where Gregg doesn't spend much time watching every game and talks about highlights that fit criteria required to be in TMQ. Basically, it's not that far off from what's it is supposed to be the antidote to.

I've always kept the first resolve. Until 2011, I kept the second -- I watched at least most of every NFL game, and each column had at least one item about the tactics employed in every game that week. But keeping the second resolve was a ton of work, considering sportswriting is my avocation, not my profession. Beginning with the 2012 season, I stopped promising an item on every game -- though I've continued to produce items on around three-quarters of NFL contests, plus many college games.

Gregg can write what he wants to write. It's his column. I do find it interesting he talks about how he writes about "many college games" as if that makes up for not producing items on every NFL game. TMQ is supposed to be a column about the NFL. Why not spend the time spent watching the college games to watch NFL games? It's like a restaurant who keeps prices the same but provides smaller portions. Then that restaurant claims they don't give you as much food, but they have free refills on drinks now.

So Will Martin asks -- how do I do it?

Will, the answer is: Trade secret. There are two trade secrets supporting Tuesday Morning Quarterback: How to contact the football gods, and how to understand what happens on the field in most games and still have time to live a regular life. I've figured out both secrets. If I gave either away, I'd only be creating competition for myself.

Since there are no football gods, and it's bullshit to claim otherwise, I'll just assume Gregg uses some form of bullshit to claim to know what happens on the field in most games. In reality, I'm betting there is someone paid to find Gregg certain plays that can appear in TMQ and then they are forwarded on to Gregg to appear in TMQ. My best guess is one of the trade secrets is that Gregg doesn't understand what happens on the football field, but what he does put in TMQ is done with assistance from another person. It would explain why some facts Gregg presents about certain games and plays aren't entirely accurate, as well as where some of the misinformation comes from, if Gregg has someone describing to him a play that he then describes to his audience.

But I will give a tip about part of how I do it because it's a tip many football enthusiasts could benefit from: every Sunday I devote at least two hours to listening to games on the radio.

Wait, so Gregg originally wrote TMQ because too many on-air personnel don't spend time watching games, but he gets some of his information from on-air personnel who don't spend enough time watching games? You know, that does make some sense that Gregg would do that.

This leads to a key bit of TMQ advice: try watching a football game with the sound turned off. Undistracted by patter, sound effects and anecdotes about Jay-Z or Katherine Heigl, you'll find your senses instantly take in more of what's actually happening on the field.

I often do. Here is a key bit of advice from BotB: Understand that NFL teams don't only play man coverage and sometimes a cornerback is supposed to let a receiver go past him. Sometimes a cornerback isn't making the mistake of looking in the backfield but focusing on the action in front of him because that's his responsibility.

Would City of Tampa have been better off with the second choice? There may be pressure on the franchise to select Florida sports celeb Jameis Winston. He's not a Lovie Smith kind of guy, and has tremendous meltdown potential. Marcus Mariota will be tempting, but his style of play is so similar to that of Colin Kaepernick that the worry would be a Kaepernick-style flameout.

I don't know even what I want to say about this. Marcus Mariota is a much better passer in college than Colin Kaepernick was. And I'm not quite ready to say that Colin Kaepernick has flamed out. Of course, Gregg will forget he wrote this if Kaepernick starts off the 2015 season playing well.

At the second overall selection, there will be far less pressure on whoever is taken.

And the second overall selection is also the second selection, meaning the Buccaneers couldn't have the option of choosing whichever football player they wanted to choose. Plus, there is still a lot of pressure on the second overall pick. This is an especially rich comment coming from Gregg Easterbrook, a guy who is sure to mention any play where a highly-drafted player screws up. There is always pressure on a first round draft pick, and a lot of pressure on a player drafted #2 overall. I think Gregg couldn't be more wrong in making this statement.

Reader Konrad Miller of Austin, Texas, writes, "NFL officials mainly do a good job, but there are so many high-profile botched calls that perhaps crowd-sourcing is the solution.

Wow. I see terrible ideas aren't just exclusively Gregg's dominion. His readers can chip in with terrible ideas too.

"When a call is challenged, put the decision in the hands of viewers at home. They'd see two views of the replay -- that's all a referee should ever see since if you need to watch more than two times, the outcome is not indisputable -- then be given numbers to text for their votes. Sitting in the comfort and relative peace of our living room, with large HD televisions, fans are probably getting a superior view of the game anyway. We don't have the added pressures of the crowd or head coaches demanding attention.

Unfortunately people who watch football are also drinking, which affects their judgment.

"As for team bias, if generally equal numbers of opposing fans are watching each game, their bias would cancel out in the voting.

That's a massive "if." Generally equal numbers of opposing fans are not watching each game. Not to mention, fans who may hate one of the teams will also be voting. So this horrible, terrible idea assumes that each NFL team has an equal number of fans watching the game (which is impossible to actually believe is ever true) and those who aren't fans of either team will either (a) not vote, (b) be impartial when voting, or (c) be equal in number as to how many unreasonably dislike one team over the other.

Basically, the reason this idea may be the worst idea ever,* is because if the Jaguars and Cowboys are playing, and there is a replay challenge, then people who hate the Cowboys will vote in whatever direction hurts the Cowboys as much as possible. While this is happening the fact there are many more Cowboys fans than Jaguars fans would mean Cowboys fans would vote in the direction that benefits their team the most. It would be chaos and would not ever equal out. Congratulations Konrad Miller from Austin, Texas, you have the worst idea ever.*

*For this week only.

Technology could be employed to prevent fans at the game from voting, since they'd always side with the home team. Having thousands if not millions of people vote on a challenge would make the NFL more engaging to viewers -- and by calling on the wisdom of crowds, lead to better rulings. Plus it couldn't take any longer than the current system."

But this system would provide more inaccurate results based upon which teams have the most fans that love or hate that team, which obviously counts for nothing and ruins the entire point of a replay system designed to get to the truth behind what happened on a play. The idea of putting replays in the hands of viewers at home would take any bias the officials have and insert the bias of millions of people into the equation. There will never be equal numbers of opposing fans watching each game and it introduces so many biases into the equation this idea should never be spoken of again.

Of an item on long tracking codes -- the 22-digit USPS tracking code might be sufficient to assign to a unique number to every star in the universe -- many readers noted the codes don't merely identify the package. Scott Yonts of Auburn, Maine, wrote, "Long tracking numbers are kind of misleading because they contain several pieces of data. For instance, there is a unique package identifier in the 18-character tracking codes used by UPS, but that's only seven of the characters. The additional characters identify the shipper and the shipping service, among other things."

So will Gregg write, "That is information that I did not know" or "I can see why UPS uses this 22-digit tracking code now" in response to his complaint being countered with a real reason why his complaint is invalid? Of course not! He moves on without writing another word about this.

Many readers including Dorothy Hutchinson of Mahwah, New Jersey, noted this concern just landed on the front page of the New York Times. The paper reports that over the last year Christie -- Governor Abutment to this column -- "spent 152 days, or 42 percent of his time, outside New Jersey." While wagging his finger at others regarding public spending, Christie methodically wastes taxpayers' money to promote himself.

You will have to speak up. Chris Christie can't hear you all the way in Dallas while sitting in Jerry Jones' box.

Will the new College Football Playoff cause declining interest in bowls?

Nope, the ratings were still great.  

Back in the day, bowls were financed by ticket sales. In the cable-TV era, broadcast rights mean more than the gate, so a bowl can play to a weak house yet be a financial success. Still, early attendance figures aren't impressive. The Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl -- successor to the TicketCity Bowl, surely you knew that -- drew just 31,297 spectators in the 92,100-seat Cotton Bowl. The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl -- which really needs a longer name -- played to just 33,077 spectators though it was Navy versus San Diego State, both colleges having local interest. Just 34,014 spectators were present for the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, played in a 73,208-seat facility, though it featured Louisiana-Lafayette, a local-interest school.

So because the broadcast rights mean so much, then there won't be declining interest in bowls due to the College Football Playoff. This is true even if attendance for bowls isn't great. It's not like the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl is affected one way or another by the College Football Playoff. Attendance will be what it will be based on the matchup, regardless if there is a football playoff to choose a champion or manatees choose the champion.

The Football Gods Chortled, Indeed: Indianapolis at Tennessee scoreless, the Colts had first-and-goal on the Flaming Thumbtacks' 7. Coby Fleener lined up as an inline tight end on the right. As Andrew Luck play-faked, Fleener pretended to block, then paused for a beat, then ran into the left flat uncovered for an easy touchdown. Fleener never blocks -- how could Tennessee fall for a fake block by a guy who never blocks?

Yes, Fleener NEVER blocks. Ever. So a defensive player should just cover Fleener on every play and never worry about whether he is going to block them or not.

There is a difference between a player who never blocks and a player who isn't very good at blocking. Gregg doesn't seem to understand that difference. If a player isn't very good at blocking, then it doesn't mean the defense should just assume he's never blocking.

Next Week: If Carolina reaches the Super Bowl with a record of 10-8-1, will the world end?

I certainly hope that we get to find out. 


Chris said...

Ah yes socialism in the NFL. Where if the Jaguars miss the playoffs they get sent to a gulag in Siberia.

I don't know that I would even call it socialism because that's basically comparing apples to oranges. It's just the system the NFL has in place. Asking but why makes Gregg sound like a pouty child being told something he doesn't like hearing.

Snarf said...

"With eight four-team divisions each assured a home playoff game, every NFL owner goes into the season knowing his or her team has a 25 percent chance of hosting a postseason party, no matter how poorly the team may perform. Pure socialism!"

It's not Socialism, though. It's not as though teams at the bottom get to host playoff games nor is it a true 1/4 dice roll. The team with the best record in the division gets a home playoff game. That seems much more of a meritocracy than Gregg is letting on here.

Snarf said...

Reader MacGregor Obergfell of Columbus, Ohio, reports that he was in a JoAnn Fabrics on the day after Christmas and saw "an Easter display front and center."

Considering JoAnn Fabrics sells effing craft supplies and such, maybe some of their customers like to purchase and make their Spring displays, decorations, etc. before Spring. Heaven forbid anyone do ANYTHING related to Easter before at least Good Friday!

The Golden Age of Radio Isn't Over: Reader Will Martin asks, "Many of your insights seem to come from watching the actual games. Where do you get your film and how many hours do you watch?"

I like to think Will was trolling him a bit. Trying to poke him for claiming to have so much football knowledge when he seems to be so piss poor in his analysis sometimes.

HH said...

By the way, as my wife points out to me "a couple" is two.

I've found with women the meaning of "a couple" depends on context. For example, when she says you and she are "a couple" she means two and you can't have other women. when she says "I'll be ready to go in a couple of minutes," then "a couple" can mean up to 29.

Of course, time works the same in the NFL.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, I don't think it would be socialism because every team isn't equal. There is competition to see which teams get to make the playoffs. Not sure if that's socialism.

Snarf, that may be what it is. Every owner knows his team has an equal chance, but if it were socialism then wouldn't some teams make the playoffs regardless of merit if the NFL were socialist? I may be overthinking this.


That would be great if Will was trolling him. I completely didn't get that. I should try trolling him, but he's not even worth it to me.

HH, that is very true. I am fortunate that my wife really means "a couple" in that I get accurate times on when she will be ready. She knows I will hold her to whatever time she gives me. I'm mean that way.