Monday, August 31, 2015

2 comments Welp, Jay Cutler is More Like Tim Tebow and That's Not Good Enough for Rick Telander

You may remember a few weeks ago when Rick Telander wrote that he thought Jay Cutler should be more like Tim Tebow. Because, you know, Cutler is "an effective quarterback" and all of that. Well, it turns out that Jay Cutler has shown up to Bears training camp with big muscles and smiling in a picture. In a not-so-shocking twist of events, this isn't good enough for Rick Telander. It never is. That's the secret behind columns written with the premise of something like, "Coach X needs to address the media about Controversy Y." What the sports media really means is they want Coach X to have a press conference under the guise of "clearing things up around the controversy" when it's really just an excuse for the sports media to use their bully pulpit to ask the coach questions and continue to pass their judgment on in the form of a column. The guise is that opinions could change if the coach just speaks to the controversy publicly, much like Chip Kelly "should" speak to the accusations of racism, but those opinions aren't going to change. It's just an excuse to bait the coach into creating a media feeding frenzy.

When Rick Telander wrote "Jay Cutler should be like Tim Tebow" what he really meant was "Cutler needs to work harder and be nicer, but that's still not going to change my perception of him. But hey, he could try and that would allow me to churn a column or two out on the topic." It's the game the New York media played with A-Rod. "A-Rod should speak to his suspension and apologize at a press conference!" Why? So you have an exciting press conference to cover? Otherwise, there is no point.

So here is Rick not fooled by the "new" Cutler that he requested Jay become.

So we have a new Bears head coach 

A head coach that Rick became increasingly depressed about the Bears hiring.

and a new offensive coordinator and a new and wonderful wide receiver (Kevin White, whom no one has seen actually practice).

Oh no! No one has seen Kevin White practice and it seems the whole "Is Odell Beckham a huge bust?" idiocy from last year has been forgotten by Rick Telander. Being injured doesn't necessarily mean anything. That's my point.

So naturally we have a new quarterback.

(Rick Telander) "Jay Cutler needs to change who he is to be more like Tim Tebow."

(Rick Telander) "Jay Cutler has changed himself. I'll mock him for doing this now. Check out all this sarcasm I'm using, it's just like the sarcasm the kids use!"

Hello, Jay Cutler!

Jay had a bad year last year and he's trying to turn himself around. Let's mock him for it. 

So how is the 32-year old quarterback, now in his 10th NFL season, seventh with Bears, with his fifth offensive coordinator in seven years, abruptly new?

I like how Rick uses the word "abruptly" here. Rick wants Jay Cutler to change, Cutler appears to change and Rick is all like, "Whoa! Hey buddy, slow down with these abrupt changes. At least change at a slower rate so we can all keep up." 

Why, he looks rugged and jacked

Rugged and jacked like Tim Tebow!

and he hasn’t thrown an interception in practice,

I'm not a Cutler defender necessarily, but the fact he hasn't thrown an interception in practice is anecdotal evidence that Bears fans can somewhat be happy that the offense Adam Gase has installed is going to work for Cutler. I know it's fun to be sarcastic, but rather than have sarcasm about the situation, perhaps be cautiously optimistic. 

and he has been kissing reporters on both cheeks after cheery and informative interviews that he wishes would never end.

What is Cutler, Italian or something? 

OK, the last item isn’t true.


As usual, because Jay Cutler isn't friendly with the media then the coverage of him will reflect that. As someone who would be horrible at the media game if he were a professional athlete, I don't understand why Cutler is judged on his attitude towards the media while also acknowledging this has an impact on the coverage of Cutler by the Bears media.

But the glowing reviews of his on-field demeanor and “rebirth’’ as a field general who suddenly “gets it’’ are true. At least they have been bandied about like a volleyball over a backyard net.

More sarcasm. Telander wants Cutler to change, he seems to change in the short-term and Rick is all sarcastic about it. I know I'm sarcastic about a lot of stuff on this blog, but Rick specifically wrote a column requesting that Cutler change and Cutler seems to have tried to do that. Maybe it won't last. That's entirely possible. The secret is that Rick doesn't want Cutler to change who he is, Rick just wants to be able to bash Cutler for NOT being able to become a field general who "gets it." Rick wants to write about how Cutler needs to change, not actually have it happen. 

There’s a new photo of Cutler on Pro Football that has him smiling like a teenaged girl who has just won free pedicures for life. Happy is the man with knowledge overflowing!

(Rick Telander) "Jay Cutler still doesn't smile nor is he nice to the media."

(Rick Telander) "Here is a picture of Jay Cutler smiling like a teenaged girl. I'm going to make fun of him for smiling like I have requested he do in the past."

Sure, John Fox may have called Cutler “Jake’’ back in January, but that was before he got to know the refreshed and refreshing QB who likely will never create a turnover again.

Keep moving those goalposts, Rick. Nobody said Jay won't create a turnover again. That's not a realistic expectation.

Also, calling Jay Cutler "Jake" is an easy thing to do, and not just because John Fox would rather his team not even have a quarterback so he could run the Wildcat or single-wing offense all game, but because "Jay" and "Cutler" can be run together to form "Jake" by not pausing between the two words. So the fact Fox called Cutler "Jake" doesn't mean a hell of a lot.

I don't just argue semantics, I murder semantics to death with my own nit-picking.

One is reminded of what former teammate/philosopher Brandon Marshall said of Cutler awhile back: “He’s the real deal.’’
And now, apparently, he’s so real, he’s chromed.

It almost sounds like Rick Telander doesn't believe it. Could that be true? 

Me, I don’t believe it.

Whaaaaaaaaaaaat? You don't believe it? I couldn't tell. 

I think Cutty is Cutty. A six is a six, not a 10. The spots are permanent, just like on your couch.

So when writing an article that says, "Jay Cutler needs to be more like Tim Tebow" you were essentially writing an article advocating for Jay Cutler to do something you had absolutely no doubt he wasn't capable of doing? So what's the point of writing the column then? You know Cutler can't ever be the "effective quarterback" that Tebow is, so outside of giving yourself a good reason to get pageviews by putting "Tebow" in the title of a column while bashing Jay Cutler, why write the column advocating for Cutler to change who he is?

We’ve heard this all before, haven’t we?

Maybe, but you are the one who seems to genuinely believe Tim Tebow is now an effective quarterback. You are the one who now believes Tebow doesn't have the world's worst throwing motion, a claim from Tebow's quarterback mentors that we had heard all before as well. Maybe one day Jay Cutler will be more like Tim Tebow, though that's clearly not really what Rick Telander wants. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

1 comments Murray Chass No Like the Twitter

I don't really have a baseball nemesis these days. It used to be Joe Morgan, but he was let go by ESPN a few years ago. Murray Chass has intermittently taken Morgan's place on this blog, but he can only temporarily take Morgan's place in my heart. I say "temporarily" because every once in a while Chass becomes my nemesis again. Usually when he goes on one of his "I want to appear to be an old man" rants about service-time, advanced statistics or any other topic that puts a fly in his morning oatmeal. Murray takes his anger out on Twitter in one of the latest columns on his non-blog. Twitter is the bane of his existence and is ruining sports reporting from his point of view. I'm shocked, SHOCKED, that Murray doesn't like Twitter and is coming off as out-of-touch about social media.

Earlier this week six baseball writers – active or once active – gathered for a farewell salute to one of the writers who is moving to Florida after a recent marriage.

Wait, a senior citizen is moving to Florida? You don't say...

As we sat on the patio recalling old writers and old times, an idea struck me. I thought of three questions to ask everyone:

1. Where are we?

2. Who are you all?

3. Where did I leave my car keys?

How many of us had ever tweeted?
How many had texted?
How many had taken selfies?

I think the answers to these three questions are already pretty obvious. Murray wouldn't write a column like this only to conclude,

"We all Tweet constantly, love texting and here is our latest selfie."

So yes, they all do not take part in any of these social media-related activities and are very proud to be stuck in a time when Tweeting, texting and taking a picture of yourself was not possible. By the way, there is a huge difference in the type of people who text and Tweet, as compared to those who take endless selfies. There's more vanity involved with the selfies that isn't necessarily present in the texting and Tweeting.

“How can I take selfies if I don’t have a cell phone?” the group’s eldest member asked.
You could use a thing called "a camera" to take a picture, which is a new-fangled invention that has been around for a couple of centuries now. Don't worry, cameras and pictures are old enough to where it's not scary new technology that you would take pride in not understanding. It's okay to use a camera and not feel like you are being too progressive with your choice in technology.

“You have a cell phone,” someone said.

Murray writes "someone" because he doesn't who said this. Just a voice out of nowhere. It was probably Fay Vincent. 

“But I don’t use it,” he retorted.

Whew, be sure to make that clear. Embrace your outward senior citizenry and never, ever fall victim to progressive tendencies. 

Neither had he tweeted nor texted. None of us had tweeted. One retired writer acknowledged having received and retrieved two text messages, “but I’ve never sent one,” he quickly added.

Those two text messages probably were:

"Found this phone and couldn't get signal to call. Your wife had an accident is headed to the hospital."


"Please answer, she is in grave condition and I can't get a signal to call out right now."

This retired writer got these texts, but the bitch is going to have to die without him around because HE DOESN'T MOTHERFUCKING TEXT. SHE KNOWS THIS!

Dinosaurs all, and all proud of it.

I've never understood the ability to be proud that you don't keep up with modern trends that those in your chosen profession keep up with. It's fine for the retired writers to fall behind, but if an active sportswriter isn't keeping up with current technology that helps him do his job better, then he has no business still being in that field. The world moves fast. If you aren't ready to move with it or at least attempt to do so, then you have to find something else to do. I can't use a typewriter at work just because I am proud to be a dinosaur and hate computers. 

We covered baseball in a different era when being a reporter meant doing something other than tapping out a sentence or two on a cell phone.

It also meant reporting on a story and being several hours behind when the story breaks. The sports world doesn't work this way now. It's not always about being first, but reporting on the story within minutes of the story being confirmed as true. The world changes. Murray has to accept this. 

This is the era of trades by Twitter. As one who reported baseball news the old-fashioned way, I am saddened that it has come to this. The new generation and generations to come will not experience the fun and satisfaction of being a reporter. 

Plenty of sportswriters still get the fun and satisfaction of being a reporter. This is where Murray being uninformed comes back to bite him in the ass. Twitter is just one part of the modern sportswriter's job. There is still reporting to be done and Murray has to understand that part of a sportwriter's job on Twitter is finding out news the old-fashioned way, and THEN Tweeting the information out. 

Being first with a tweet just won’t do it.

Again Murray, modern sportswriters have other jobs that involve reporting. They don't just Tweet nonsensical rumors all day. 

They call and will call themselves reporters, but they are and will really be tweeters. I doubt that I could find half a dozen tweeters who could do the job that the half dozen guys sitting on that patio did.

Well, considering those half dozen guys don't text or Tweet I'm wondering how they will even get the information required to break a story? Remember, anonymous sources and GM's text and Tweet these days. So to get information, reporters have to play the technology game. Those half dozen guys may be great at their if judged 20 years ago (though better than today's reporters?...there's no way of saying that in any accurate way), but they would be beaten to every scoop and every column would be written before the half dozen on the patio had fired up their Gateway computer. These half dozen guys on the patio couldn't do the job that the half dozen Tweeters do, because those on the patio refuse to use modern technology to do their job.

Reporting requires gathering pertinent information and using it to write a comprehensive story. It requires more than 140 characters.

Right, and modern reporters gather pertinent information and write a comprehensive story. One perusal of shows that Ken Rosenthal Tweets, but then follows up his Tweets with a story on the subject matter.

This is part of the problem with Murray's anti-Twitter rant. He doesn't know what he's talking about and doesn't care to know what he's talking about. He knows how it used to be and that was when sports reporting was the best. That's all he knows and all he wants to know.

When I was a reporter for the Associated Press decades ago, speed counted, but we couldn’t just be fast; we had to be right.

And 95% of the time the reporter is Tweeting out correct information. There are times when Tweets go out that end up being inaccurate. It happened in the newspaper industry too. Remember "Dewey Defeats Truman"? 

In the Twitter era, it seems as though it doesn’t matter if you’re right. Being first with a trade or a free-agent signing is what counts. If a reporter is first to report a trade but has it wrong, he can always delete the tweet or send another tweet, saying “oops.”

The reporter can send out a correction to this thousands of followers. This is as opposed to printing a retraction in the lower left hand corner of 6C where those who are looking for the retraction can see it? 

The error of tweeters’ ways is what prompted this column. A couple of days before the non-waiver trading deadline last week, tweeters reported a trade between the New York Mets and the Milwaukee Brewers. Outfielder Carlos Gomez had been traded to the New York Mets, the tweeting reporters announced, for disabled pitcher Zack Wheeler and infielder Wilmer Flores.

Apparently Zack Wheeler isn't just injured, he's "disabled." No wonder the Mets-Brewers trade didn't go through. The Brewers found out that Wheeler's last name is just a nickname given to him due to the fact he's in a wheelchair. 

The teams, though, had not announced the trade and never did. The Mets balked at taking Gomez, saying their doctors had found that he had a hip problem.

But this happened after all of the other parameters of the deal were agreed to and the only barrier was the health of the players in the trade. How often do players fail a physical and a trade doesn't go through? Not very often, so even a newspaper could have reported on the trade in order to meet the 11pm deadline for printing and then have to publish a retraction in the lower left hand corner of 6C two days later. 

The premature report affected Flores in an unusual way.

He became disabled like Zach Wheeler?

Because of social media, the false news spread quickly and widely. Flores learned about it during the Mets’ game with San Diego and at one point stood on the field at his shortstop position noticeably crying at the thought of leaving the Mets.

This is an outlying situation that hasn't happened often and doesn't happen often. It's the first time I can remember this type of thing happening, where a player in a trade was still on the field, found out he was being traded and then the trade fell through.

By reporting the trade prematurely, the tweeting press corps, in such a hurry to get the news out and be No. 1 with it, ignored a basic part of the trade, the last part: the requirement of the traded players to pass the medical test.

It wasn't ignored, it was widely assumed that the players involved with the trade who had no known injuries that were preventing them from playing baseball at the present time indeed had no known injuries.

"Hey look, Carlos Gomez doesn't appear to be hurt and got traded! I wonder if he is hurt? I better not report on this trade just in case of the 2% chance all of the outward signs he isn't injured aren't true."

Writing about the off-track Twitter reports, Ken Rosenthal said on, “Not all reports included a reference to ‘pending medicals.’ Even the ones that did left the impression that the deal was fait accompli. Many followers interpreted the deal as done, if only because such deals almost always get done.”

This is very true. Rosenthal is correct here. 

I have long respected Rosenthal for his work, since before he began tweeting, but I disagree with him on two points. I wouldn’t call tweeters journalists, and there’s no need to provide minute-by-minute accounts because that’s when tweeters get in trouble.

Son of a bitch. Tweeters aren't journalists, but there are those who report on stories who also Tweet. This doesn't make them unless less of a journalist because they have a Twitter account. And yes, if nothing has changed then there is no need to provide updates. If something has changed, then an update would be needed. 

Trade talks and free-agent negotiations can change by the minute, and by the time a tweeter tweets a development he has learned, it can be three developments old.

It reminds me of Pete Rose’s free agency in 1978. In a matter of hours on the same day, from about late morning to late afternoon, Milton Richman of United Press International, a good baseball reporter, had Rose signing with three different teams, actually running three different stories on the UPI wire. The third was Philadelphia, which was the right one.

What a day that would have been had Twitter existed then. Richman would have had tweeters wearing out their thumbs.

In the modern day, Richman would have Tweeted three teams were in the running for Rose's services and then eventually broken the story on who Rose chose. That's how a story like this gets reported in the modern day. No specifics are given unless there are specifics to be given. Murray isn't even on Twitter, yet he acts like he knows ALL that happens on the social media platform. 

In January 2006 the Orioles reached agreement with Jeromy Burnitz on a two-year, $12 million deal, but the outfielder’s agent, Howard Simon, balked at language about a physical in a letter of agreement the club sent him.
The language, Simon said, gave the Orioles too much latitude for killing the deal after other teams interested in Burnitz had signed other players.

When he couldn’t negotiate a change in the language and before Burnitz took the obligatory physical, Simon rejected the Orioles’ deal and went elsewhere, gaining a one-year, $6.7 million contract with Pittsburgh, which included a mutual option for a second year that would raise the value of the contract to the same $12 million Burnitz would have had with Baltimore.

By the way, 2006 was the last year Burnitz played in the majors, so his option wasn't picked up for the 2007 season. So basically, Burnitz's agent may have cost him $5.3 million. Remember this when Murray is using contractual language about a physical as an example of how Peter Angelos is evil. I mean, Angelos is evil, but Simons balking at the language ended up meaning that Burnitz took a one year deal instead of a two year deal. 

In another episode about a year later the Orioles reached agreement with Aaron Sele on a three-year, $21 million contract. A physical preceded the announcement of the deal, and the Orioles’ doctors were concerned about the pitcher’s labrum. They said he had only 400 innings left in it, and Angelos wanted to reduce the contract to two years.

What? Angelos listened to the team doctors that got paid to evaluate players and give their opinion on that player's health? Why in the hell would he do that? Inconceivable. 

Was the concern legitimate, or was it Angelos’s way of reducing the value of the contract? 

Who knows? I'm kidding, of course. Murray Chass thinks he knows. Murray doesn't even use Twitter and knows all about it to the point that there is no doubt in his mind that someone who Tweets is not a reporter.

Whatever the owner’s reason, Sele signed instead with Seattle for two years and $15 million. In those two years, he posted records of 17-10 in 212 innings and 15-5 in 215 innings.

The Orioles doctor was wrong. This has never happened before. 

In six more major league seasons Sele never pitched as well as he did in those two seasons in Seattle, but contrary to the prognosis of the Orioles’ doctors, according to Angelos, that is, Sele pitched an additional 1,113 innings.

I don't know what this has to do with Tweeting and whether sportswriters jump the gun on trades that have happened when none of the players have taken their physical yet. It really has nothing to do with it of course and there isn't a listen to be learned other than, "Sometimes doctors are wrong and a trade isn't complete until all players take a physical."

If the players in a trade are not on the DL or aren't currently missing time due to injury, then the safe assumption would be they are all healthy. Obviously the Mets-Brewers trade was the outlier that started this screed against Twitter and any form of modern technology which Murray doesn't understand, doesn't care to understand, yet seems to believe he knows everything about how it's used by modern sportswriters. 

In an interview at the time of the Burnitz episode, Wren told me, “That’s how Peter plays general manager. He uses medical reasons to kill or change a deal if he doesn’t like it.”

When did this column go from a column about the evils of Twitter to the evils of Peter Angelos? This column on Murray's non-blog is like the delusional train-of-thought ramblings and observations a person might have on a given day while jumping from subject to subject. You know, the sort of thing you see on Twitter. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

7 comments MMQB Review: Other Than All of His Success, Peter Wonders What He's Missing That's So Great About Dave Dombrowski Edition

Peter King mentioned how "lithe" and "penetrating" Caraun Reid looked this year in last week's MMQB. Peter also talked about how Blake Bortles threw a really good pass and this means something, just like Sam Bradford hasn't blown his ACL out in the past week, so that means something too. What does it mean? Probably nothing because Peter says that preseason games don't mean much, but certainly enough for Peter to begin writing about how Bradford and Bortles look good. So what Peter wrote may or may not mean much. Good to know. This week Peter talks about Cris Carter's "fall guy" comment, gives us six things to know about Peyton Manning (wait, there are six things we don't already know about him?), and apparently Peter's sources are lying to him again. I get part of reporting is having sources who you need to rely on in order to write a story, but I've always felt that many of Peter's sources play him for a fool and use him to get misinformation out there to benefit themselves. The whole Ray Rice debacle sort of confirmed it for me, but I routinely can't shake the feeling Peter is used as a conduit for misinformation or is a naive person who disseminates information the sources wants out there. Of course, as we have learned from "SI's" own media guy lack of comments on mistakes made by "SI" employees, as long as Peter apologizes for his mistakes in meek fashion then there is nothing to see here. Now if someone from ESPN used two sources that gave him bad information, this "SI" media guy would crush this ESPN reporter. It's how it goes.

I’d planned to lead this column with Sunday night’s compelling return to the field of San Francisco all-pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman after 19 months away, and to so much else from the final week of my training camp tour—including how Peyton Manning has no feeling in the fingertips of his throwing hand to this day, after his 2011 surgeries. (Which stunned me.)

So many inappropriate sexual jokes I could include here as to why Peter would be shocked that Peyton didn't have feeling in the fingertips of his throwing hand. I will refrain. 

But Sunday was one of those hurricane-of-news days you don’t get very often in the preseason, so let me get to all things Jordy and Maurkice and Cris Carter and, well, here goes … 


NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the initial diagnosis for wideout Jordy Nelson was a torn ACL, after the wideout landed awkwardly Sunday. Nelson last year set a Packer record with 1,519 receiving yards and is Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target, and his loss would make the Packers significantly less multiple in the deep-receiving game.

Oh no, I guess Aaron Rodgers will have to rely on the 3-4 other high draft picks the Packers have used on offense in order to score points. However will he manage to do it?

• There has to be a common-sense approach to the preseason. It’s easy to say, “Just napalm the damn thing.” After days like Sunday—the two-injury debacle in Pittsburgh, the Cowboys worried about playing on a field with a terrible reputation in Santa Clara, the Giants reeling over losing six of the nine safeties on the roster in the first two preseason weeks—it makes sense to ask this question: When is the NFL going to come to its senses and reduce the preseason from four to two games?

Yes, will this happen? What could stop the NFL from caring about the risk of injury to their players and cause the league to reduce the number of preseason games? Roger Goodell certainly can't think of a single reason. 

The exhibition games are fan-cheaters; charging full price for the games is robbery, which is the most no-duh statement in the NFL today.

Yes, if it was the mid-90's then this would be a "no-duh" statement for sure.

They should now follow by cutting out two more chances of injury. Do the math: If Jordy Nelson suits up 17 or 18 times instead of 19 or 20, it follows that he’d have less exposure to the kind of injury that can kill a team’s season in a totally meaningless exercise. 

Usually, Peter's math can be a little shaky, but he is in fact correct about his math this time. Though, Kelvin Benjamin just tore his ACL while practicing, so there is only so much the NFL and their teams can do to reduce the chance of injury. Cutting the number of preseason games will certainly help of course. Players still get injured in practices though.

• You are kidding me, Cris Carter—and you are kidding me, NFL. My first reaction to the story of Carter telling NFL rookies at the 2014 Rookie Symposium that they have to find a “fall guy” in a player’s “crew” who will take the blame when the player commits a crime: My jaw dropped.

Yes, how dare Cris Carter encourage that NFL players do something that has thus far remained unspoken. Everyone was shocked when Mike Scott of the Hawks admitted some drugs were his, because that's not how it's done. But it's better to pretend this shit doesn't go on rather than the NFL just admit it, right? I love how Robert Klemko was present for this comment, yet refrained from commenting on it. I see he's learned from Peter King that it's best to withhold information in order to gain or keep access. Be a reporter when it doesn't risk your access.

Precisely. Carter apologized, and though the NFL tried to distance itself from Carter’s idiotic remarks, how could the league have placed the offending video of his talk on until yanking it Sunday? This is so offensive it boggles the mind that some person with the NFL would say, Let’s show the world this great advice about obstructing justice from a Hall of Fame hero to impressionable rookies.

I don't think Carter should have said this, but NFL players find a "fall guy" all the time when they get in trouble. It's not advice Carter should be giving obviously, but why would Peter's jaw hit the floor? He doesn't think this type of stuff goes on?

Carter, by the way, was in his yellow Pro Football Hall of Fame blazer. In all ways, this is the biggest example of inmates running the NFL asylum that I’ve seen in years. 

It's terrible advice, but again, it happens. The only shocking thing is that Carter said aloud what actually happens in secret. I think it's more funny than shocking.

• The fallout over Terrell Suggs’ hit on Sam Bradford continued. I side with Suggs, who dove at Bradford because he wasn’t sure if Bradford was going to hand off or keep a read-option-appearing play in Saturday night’s Ravens-Eagles game. Suggs said if you’re going to call such a play for a quarterback with ACL reconstructions the past two seasons, you do it at your own peril.

This is very true, but I think it's also important to note that the defender shouldn't be simply going for only the QB's legs when trying to make a tackle. I don't believe Suggs did only go for Bradford's legs, but it would be nice if the defender hit the QB and didn't try to only take his legs out in another situations.

Chip Kelly shouldn’t be putting Bradford in such a position to be hit violently anyway—and certainly not in a dumb preseason game. 

For a smart guy, leaving Bradford out there to run a read-option play wasn't the smartest move that Kelly could have called. I get that they want to practice these read-option plays, but in a preseason game that is simply setting your QB up for an injury in a pointless preseason game. What kind of dumbassery is that to call this read-option play?

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Lots of reasons to say ‘Wow’ about NaVorro Bowman this morning.

Question to Bowman on Friday: “How long does it take you to get ready to practice or play right now?”

Bowman: “About two hours. The massaging and the bending, the flexing of the knee. Once I do that I have a five-minute period where it just needs to relax and then I’m ready to go.”

Peter knows how Bowman feels because he used to roll out of bed and then go to a team's training camp with his notebook, but now he has to roll out of bed, take a shower and then go to a team's training camp with his notebook. It's just so hot out these days that Peter must prepare more to stand out in the heat than he used to. So Peter completely empathizes with Bowman.

Question: “Before the injury, how long would it take you to be ready?”

Bowman: “Nothing. No time.”

So Bowman didn't stretch all before practice in order to be prepared to practice? He threw an uniform on and just started to play football with zero stretching or bending of his body?

Look what happened to San Francisco’s D this offseason. No Justin Smith; retired. No Patrick Willis; retired. No Aldon Smith; cut. No Chris Borland to train as the next great inside ‘backer; retired, shockingly.

Peter's jaw hit the floor when he heard that Borland retired. It made him lose all feeling in his heart.

Bowman sure knows how to make an entrance. Until Sunday night against Dallas, Bowman hadn’t played in a game since shredding multiple left knee ligaments on the ugly goal-line play in the NFC Championship Game in Seattle in January 2014. He played three plays against the Cowboys. From his spot in the nerve center of the Niner defense, Bowman stoned Darren McFadden up the middle for a one-yard gain on first down. He stoned McFadden over right tackle on second down; loss of one. He stopped running back Lance Dunbar on a dumpoff pass from Tony Romo on third down; loss of one. Three plays, three tackles, two of them for losses. That was an impressive three minutes of football right there.

Or really shitty blocking from the Cowboys offensive line that probably wasn't trying too hard for fear the horrendous turf on the 49ers field would swallow up their legs and tear ligaments doctors didn't know existed in the human body.

“I thought I ended my career,” Bowman said Friday afternoon in the bowels of Levi’s Stadium.

Given the condition of the field, "the bowels of Levi's Stadium" could very well pertain to a few locations in the stadium or on the field.

Two hours of prep work, daily. Just to be able to practice. Seventeen months of arduous, painful work to try to be NaVorro Bowman, all-pro linebacker, again … while so much of the team is crashing and burning around him.

Has it been worth it?

Peter King asks the tough questions which he knows will result in an obvious answer. Like, what does Peter think Bowman will say? "No, it's hasn't been worth it. I retire, effective immediately."

“I don’t play this game for money,” he said. “I play it for respect and ultimately to make it to the Hall of Fame. That’s what drives me. In order to be the best, this work comes with it, and I’m willing to fight through it.”

This is the answer I would expect to hear from Bowman. It's remarkably easy to say you don't play football for the money when you are sitting on a contract worth almost $26 million guaranteed. At that point, saying you play the game for respect sounds more noble than it probably is. I'd like to hear Bowman say he doesn't play football for money and then back it up by taking less money and gain the respect of his teammates by allowing them to get paid. It's always about the money. Always, even when he claims it's not about it right now for Bowman, the game of football was about the money before he got paid.

He said he doesn’t think he’ll feel that way all season, and he’s not sure exactly how to describe the difference in the knee; he just knows it’s not the same as it was two summers ago.

Well, that doesn't sound positive at all.

I find one thing about the Niner dynamic fascinating right now. Bowman and Borland, health permitting, were set to be the next great combo platter of inside linebacker for the next three or four years. Bowman’s injury was one of the factors that made Borland play so much last year—and, it turns out, he played very well.

Ah yes, Peter is lightly treading down the "NaVorro Bowman is playing despite fighting back from a very traumatic knee injury, while Chris Borland is being a pussy and retiring before he gets hurt" road right now. Again, Peter is lightly treading down this road, but I know he wants to hammer this point home a harder than ends up hammering the point home.

So here’s Bowman, who stones people, playing. And Borland isn’t. Bowman, a Harry Carson block-of-granite type, and Willis keyed a defense that went 14 straight games in 2011 without allowing a rushing touchdown. Three times he was first-team all-pro, the classic kind of run-stuffer who also had the ability to turn and run with tight ends. Bowman's fought through it all, and Borland chose another path.

"Chose another path." Come on Peter, you know you want to go there, just like you wanted to go there last week and complain about the "Black Lives Matter" protesters blocking the street. Go full heel on us. Bowman has chosen to stick around and play through injuries, while Borland is retiring before he can get injured. You know you want to write this point of view. Just do it.

Concerned about the impact of football on his long-term health—a rising tide among current players—Borland walked away from the game after one starry season.

Peter describes the guy who fought back from injury as "a Harry Carson block-of-granite type" and states the other guy "chose another path." It's like saying, "My oldest son is running his own company and is successful, but my youngest son chose a different path and hasn't found his calling yet." It's on the edge of judging, but trying to do so in a polite way. 

That’s one of the things that makes this comeback compelling. There’s nothing dramatic about the way Bowman says this. It’s simply his ethos. He’s a man making a choice, the way Borland made his. And the 49ers, in this seismic season, need Bowman desperately, and he knows it.

Bowman has an ethos. Chris Borland has no ethos. One chose a compelling comeback and the other tapped-out through "walking away." Regardless of what Peter says, the wording he uses says what he really thinks. At least I think I think I know what Peter thinks.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — ​Six things you need to know about Peyton Manning, at 39.

Again, at this point there is very little I don't know about Peyton Manning, but I'm sure learning six more things won't hurt.
1. He still doesn’t have feeling in the fingertips on his right hand.

Peter is still stunned upon hearing this. 

“I can’t feel anything in my fingertips,” Manning said Thursday. “It’s crazy. I’ve talked to a doctor recently who said, Don’t count on the feeling coming back. It was hard for me for about two years, because one doctor told me I could wake up any morning and it might come back. So you wake up every day thinking, Today’s the day! Then it’s not.” I find his production all the more impressive since four neck procedures caused him to miss the 2011 season, and caused him to lose—maybe forever—the comfortable grip on the football.

I don't know how it usually works with a quarterback, but I would think it would be a much bigger deal for a wide receiver to not be able to feel the ball with his fingertips than it would be for a quarterback. Maybe not, but this still sounds like a semi-serious medical issue. A medical issue that Peter King thinks NaVorro Bowman would fight back from, but Chris Borland would choose his own path and walk away if faced with this fingertip condition. 

2. He traces the physically crummy end to last season not to age but to a vomitous December night in San Diego.

Now I'm the one whose jaw is on the floor. You mean Peyton Manning isn't attributing his poor ending to the season to getting older? He isn't saying, "Oh sure, I'm really old and can't play an entire season at a high level anymore"? What an unexpected thing for Peyton to attribute his crummy ending last season to, as opposed to acknowledging he's getting older.

Before the Broncos’ 14th game, in San Diego, Manning says a bug he caught from his sick daughter made him violently ill. “I threw up all night,” he said. “Then, in the game, I moved to the right on a simple scramble and my quad cramped on me. It lingered. I couldn’t shake it the rest of the year. I really studied it hard this offseason, whether it could linger into this year or whether it was isolated. I just think I got dehydrated, and that caused it. I don’t think you can blame it on my age. It was just an isolated thing.

Manning was just dehydrated for an entire month. It's not that he is older or anything. It's just one of those things that happened as a result of being dehydrated for a few weeks. No big deal, let's all move on and just accept this reason.

4. Manning got advice from Derek Jeter on the contract thing. His wife Ashley weighed in too, importantly. “I talked about it with Ashley, about what I wanted to do, and I wanted to be here,” he said. And Jeter told him: “Do what you want—not what they want.”

Ah, the Jeter always has such great advice. "Use your leverage as an icon to engage in a battle over your contract, fully knowing you have the media on your side and it's going to be hard for you to look like the bad guy." I mean, it's true though, so I'm not sure I can mock it.

6. The Broncos will likely do the Romo thing this year, and give Manning every Wednesday off. Just for insurance—and so the Broncos can see a little more of Brock Osweiler getting quality time with the first unit. “I think that’s the plan right now,” Elway said. “I think he’d feel better right now if he takes Wednesday off. His health is not a concern. His freshness is a concern.”

Absolutely. The Broncos know Manning can play a full season with no problem, even though he can't feel his fingertips and his arm strength seems to have slowed as the season progresses. So no worries from them here. They just don't want Manning to get dehydrated for an entire month again.

And yes, the whole "The Broncos are resting Manning just for insurance and not because they are concerned about his health/arm strength" is one of those things I think NFL teams and other sources tell Peter that he buys hook, line and sinker because he likes Manning and wants to believe it.

OXNARD, Calif. — You think this team doesn’t have one foot out the door to L.A.?

What a scene here Monday and Tuesday, when the Rams, after a Friday night preseason game in Oakland, scheduled a couple of days of work against the Cowboys at their training complex here. It was enough to see the fans, who outnumbered the Dallas fans by 2-to-1 (my estimate) Tuesday, be nuts for the Rams; one even had a huge flat-head cutout of owner Stan Kroenke in the crowd. Imagine fans cheering for Stan Kroenke. Amazing. He’s not exactly a fan favorite in St. Louis.

Well, if California wasn't trying to lure the Rams to their state through flattery than I imagine there would be zero fat-head (not flat-head) cutouts of Stan Kroenke. I mean, of course St. Louis isn't going to love Kroenke. He's trying to take the NFL team away from the city. What the fuck does Peter expect?

On Monday and Tuesday, the Rams did a morning walk-through practice near their hotel between Los Angeles and Oxnard. In one of those sessions, coach Jeff Fisher stuck his head into the offensive huddle and said, “Guys, I’m putting Eric Dickerson in the backfield, and you’re going to block power for Eric Dickerson.” Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson, he meant. And Dickerson took a handoff in this walkthrough practice, ran through a hole, and folks cheered.

Jeff "8-8" Fisher sure knows how to pump the team up. But hey, if I were an NFL head coach who so far had gotten paid over a million dollar for every victory then I'd be in a good mood too. I don't know what Peter expects though. Everything will be all sunshines and rainbows for the Rams in California. They want the Rams to move from St. Louis to their state.

RENTON, Wash. — Nothing changes for Russell Wilson.

Not really, but I guess it's more fun to go with this story than to check whether it's realistic or not. He just got a huge new contract and is dating a famous pop star. Things have changed, regardless of whether he wants to acknowledge it or not. 

Ten minutes before the official start of Seahawks practice, on a pristine field a short spiral east of Lake Washington, Russell Wilson is throwing to the tight ends. Fast. Snap, set up, throw, over and over. I’m guessing before practice even started he’s thrown 30 or 40 passes in anger. I’ve seen this movie before: last year, and the year before. Super Bowl win, Super Bowl loss.

Wait, so Russell Wilson hasn't stopped practicing entirely now that he has a new contract? I completely expected him to stop practicing now that he's really wealthy and focus on baseball. Perhaps God spoke to Wilson as he signed his new contract and decided that Wilson should focus on football-only, thereby closing the door on a possible baseball career.

The quarterback who threw the interception heard ’round the world in the Super Bowl last February and made Malcolm Butler a household name doesn’t seem much worse for wear.

He's dating a singer and he got a huge new contract. He's been to two straight Super Bowls. I'm trying to figure out why Peter would think Wilson would be down in the dumps and worse for wear.

The interception might be in a place deep inside him, burrowing a hole he’ll always feel. But if it is, Wilson’s doing a good job hiding it. Or pretending it’s not there.

That's sort of what he has to do in order to move on isn't it? Being able to forget about a bad play that cost his team the game is how he can avoid allowing one play to ruin the next football season.

Wilson said it took about a week before he got over it. Since then, his off-season has been pretty much the same as his others work-wise—just a bit more spotlighted because he’s dating a celebrity.

It's also a bit more spotlighted because Wilson and his agent took his fight for a new contract to any media outlet who was willing to listen to them, while pretending that Wilson totally had complete interest in playing baseball again so that was a fallback option if the Seahawks don't give Wilson exactly what he wants. Of course, Peter won't question Wilson's insistence the spotlight is on him more because of his dating Ciara. Peter isn't here to question. He is here to get quotes and write them down word-for-word as they were told to him, which is why he can be used by some members of the NFL and NFL organizations to disseminate the information they want disseminated. Breathlessly writing down quotes is how Peter gets his sources and how his sources use him from time-to-time.

No matter what the circumstances are, can you stay laser focused on the idea of what can you do for the next moment? That’s the trick. If you ask any great players—and I’ve had the fortune to be around a lot of great players—Derek Jeter to Michael Jordan to other quarterbacks who have played the game—

(Bengoodfella makes wanking motion with his hand)

My mental coach, Trevor Moawad, has this idea: conscious competence. 

Not to be confused with conscious uncoupling of course. Speaking of conscious uncoupling, how smart was Russell to divorce his wife before he got paid? He knows what he's doing, even if he tries to act like he doesn't.

Seattle's quarterback coach, Carl Smith, and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell both said Wilson’s the exact same guy this summer, post-contract and post-calamitous interception.

Wilson got the new contract like a month ago. It's not like an athlete gets paid and then always immediately starts to turn evil and lazy, refusing to show up for practice and hanging out with Justin Bieber. Sometimes it takes a year or so for a player to change after he has gotten paid, once he has faced tough situations and realizes he is rich so the motivation to dig himself out isn't as great. I'm not saying this is the case for Wilson, and I don't believe it would be, but it's been a month since he signed a new contract. It's a bit early for the whole "HE'S THE SAME GUY!" talk.

When you go on the road to training camps, there are some days you know fun things might happen.

Tickle contest between Peter and Klemko every night before bed!

Last Tuesday, I walked into Cowboys PR VP Rich Dalrymple’s office at camp—a converted Marriott Residence Inn room, right by the practice fields—and who was sitting there chewing the fat with Dalrymple? Tommy Lasorda.

"Chewing the fat" and then Peter mentions Tommy Lasorda. I see what you did there Peter.  
The conversation was so good I thought the best way to relay it was to give you a seat in one of the chairs in the room, across from Dalrymple’s desk, and let you just listen to Lasorda, 87, tell his tales.

I won't cover this much except to show you the contributions (or lack thereof) Peter made to the conversation.

Garrett: “Did you come to the playoff game against Detroit?”

Lasorda: “I was there! And we should have won. What about that catch?”

King: “The Dez Bryant catch that wasn’t a catch?”

Lasorda: “That was the greatest catch I ever saw in my life, and they took it away from them. Otherwise they’d have been playing Seattle.”

King: “For the NFC Championship Game.”

No Peter, the Cowboys would have been playing in Seattle against the Sounders, because the winner of the Dallas-Green Bay game got to play a soccer match against the Sounders for the right to play in the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Yes, for the NFC Championship Game. That's what Lasorda meant. No need to interject.

Lasorda: “That’s right, yeah. 

Tommy Lasorda is like, "Aren't you supposed to be the one who covers the NFL?"

King: “Seems like the rivalry is missing from baseball now. Football too. Guys are pretty friendly.”

Dalrymple: “Our guys pray with the other team on the field after the game.”
Lasorda: “If I saw my players ever talking to the other players, I would chew their ass out.

Brilliant observation from Peter. Of course, Peter is the same guy who loves to relay stories on how Peyton Manning and Tom Brady run into each other at exclusive restaurants and golf clubs and then marvel at how these two players are such good friends and run in the same circles. I guess it's okay for Manning and Brady to be friends and still have a rivalry, but Peter thinks guys are pretty friendly in sports and it takes away from the rivalry. That is unless Peter thinks it's cool two superstars get along well.

“It’s intoxicating. It’s a drug, a drug that gives you the most incredible feeling there is. Outside of sexual intercourse, there's probably nothing like it. But fun is the wrong word for it. I don't consider football fun. It's not like a water park, or a baseball game.”

—Former 49ers linebacker Chris Borland, on football, in a terrific longform story on by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru about the post-football life of Borland

Hey, he made his choice according to his ethos.

“When you run the read option, you have to know the rules. If you want to run the read option with a starting quarterback that’s had two knee surgeries, that’s on you. It’s not my responsibility to update you on the rule. I could have hit him harder on that. I didn’t.”
—Ravens pass rusher Terrell Suggs, after hitting quarterback Sam Bradford in the left knee in Saturday night’s preseason game against the Eagles.

It seems Suggs sort of went at Bradford's knee, though it's hard to tell. He may not have and I can't figure it out. Either way, I don't know why the hell the Eagles would run the read-option with Sam Bradford in a preseason game. Many teams who actually have quarterbacks who run the read-option aren't running it in preseason, mostly because it's preseason and it's stupid to expose a quarterback to an injury risk. 

Whether Suggs had malice on the play, I don’t know. I don’t know why he would. But I don’t know how Suggs said he could have hit him harder. He lunged quite hard into Bradford’s knee.

I think overall it is a cheap play to dive into a player's knee. I don't know if Suggs meant to or not, but it's never cool to dive into a player's knee, no matter if he's the quarterback, kicker, punter or a wide receiver.


—Thousands of fans chanting at a practice between the St. Louis Rams and Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday at the Cowboys’ training camp field in Oxnard, Calif.

What made the display interesting was that at least two-thirds of the fans on hand that day identified as Ram fans. You don't often see a road team in a practice or game setting dominate the local crowd, but that’s what the Rams fans did in Oxnard.

Yet again, these are fans of football who want an NFL team in California. Of course they are going to put on a good show in order to convince the Rams to come out there. It's not really remarkable if you know these fans want a chance to prove they can support the Rams once they move to California.

MLB Payrolls We Have Loved Dept.:

Los Angeles Dodgers (14 games over .500) payroll: $298.5 million.

Combined payroll of Pittsburgh, Houston, Kansas City (61 over .500): $300.6 million.

This statistic just makes me roll my eyes. It's interesting I guess, but the Astros have a low payroll because they essentially disintegrated their entire team a few years ago to rebuild the organization from top to bottom. They have players working under cheap contracts who are producing at a high level.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Notes of the Week

On the later flight, a Japanese boy, about 5 or 6, sat in the middle seat of our row, with me on the aisle. He was exceedingly polite. He had to get up twice to use the restroom, and each time he said he was sorry. While seated, he devoured a large picture book about dinosaurs, and pulled out a folder of dinosaur drawings that I am assuming he made.

Peter is like, "Of course it makes sense this little boy likes dinosaurs. All Japanese people love Godzilla and he is pretty much a dinosaur, so the fact this child devoured a book on dinosaurs did not stun me or make my jaw drop to the floor."

We get it. Pretty good jo---

The Astros shortstop was commenting how small he felt (a la 5-7 shortstop Jose Altuve) while visiting the city’s NFL team.

And of course Peter has to explain the joke to his readers, because he believes his MMQB readers to be too stupid to figure out the joke for themselves. Not everyone can be as smart about baseball as Peter King, but give him credit for trying. One day, maybe one day, he can educate his readers to where they are close to his level.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think if you wanted to tell me that San Diego pass-rusher Melvin Ingram will lead the NFL in sacks this year, I would not argue with you.

Oh, thank God. I was very worried Peter would argue with me if I said Melvin Ingram would lead the NFL in sacks this year. That's a load off my mind knowing I have Peter's approval should I hold this opinion.

2. I think it feels very much like you can see the end for Robert Griffin III in Washington. It started last year, with the blunt criticism of Griffin from his head coach, and it continues with subpar play this summer, and another mini-controversy last week, when he said he thought he was the best quarterback in the NFL. Which would be hilarious if it wasn’t so ridiculous.

I just can't believe a professional athlete had an unrealistic perspective of his true athletic ability. This never happens.

3. I think you’re owed an explanation from me, in the wake of Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writing Sunday that it wasn’t just Chris Mortensen who got a bum steer from someone in the NFL about the deflated footballs in the AFC title game. Volin said it was me, too. I reported after Mortensen’s story that 11 of the 12 footballs were at least two pounds per square inch under the minimum limit of 12.5 psi when tested by the league at halftime. I reported that I’d heard “reliably” that the story of the footballs being at least two psi under the minimum limit was correct.

Being not an employee of ESPN, I won't copy work that others have done. Here is how I feel about this apology from Peter. I agree with what is written there and I think it undermines the credibility of THE MMQB that Robert Klemko also held back the comments Cris Carter made at the rookie symposium about finding a "fall guy." But hey, he learned from Peter King. Hold back information when you are asked. It's how you best gather sources who eventually mislead you. Peter criticized Chris Mortensen a few weeks ago for not taking back his report, yet I forgot that Peter didn't take his report back either. Peter seems to have forgotten as well. No one cares. The "SI" media guy who eviscerated Cris Carter for his comments had very little to say except "You judge yourself" when confronted with the idea Klemko covered up the "fall guy" comment and Peter flip-flopped. Why? I'm guessing because he can't go as hard against "SI" employees as he can employees of other organizations. So, Peter is excused from receiving the type of criticism others would get in this situation. What a world.

As I said on Twitter on Sunday, I believe the person who told me this believed the story was accurate when, obviously, it clearly was not. So, were we used by someone to get a storyline out in public? Maybe … 

No, pretty clearly "yes."

but the reason I’m skeptical about this is because with the knowledge that there would be a full investigation and clearly the air pressure in the footballs would be publicized at some point, the league would look stupid for putting out false information that would eventually come back to embarrass it.

Great take, Peter. Because the NFL is always so worried about it's image and looking like they are giving out false information that they may eventually have to take back. We all know the NFL is deeply worried about being seen as hypocritical and willing to mislead. The NFL knows that fans will still watch, while the reporters who reported this false information would look stupid.

Clearly, this story, along with the Ray Rice story from last fall, has made me question sources and sourcing in general, and in a story as inflammatory as this one, you can’t just take the story of a person whose word you trust as gospel. It’s my error.

Again. You said this same thing last year. The two biggest NFL scandals of the last two years and Peter fumbled the ball on reporting both of them. It's almost like it's a trend. But hey, "SI's" media guy is cool with an apology, so I should be too.

I need to be better than that. Readers, and the Patriots, deserve better than that.

Which is also something Peter said last year. He said he needed to be better. Then when the next big scandal pops up, Peter gets his sourcing and reports wrong again. Readers do deserve better. Can Peter do better?

6. I think this is bad news for the future of Chris Cooley in Washington: New tight end Derek Carrier, acquired in trade with San Francisco on Friday, will be wearing number 47. For all either outside the Beltway or just casual fans of tight-end numbers in recent NFL seasons, that was Cooley’s number. He wants to play again, badly, and his old team sent him a message with that news Saturday.

This is an update for those worried about retired tight ends like Cooley and his ability to make it back into the NFL. So, this is an update for like five people.

7. I think this was a first: I interviewed Tony Romo the other night at Cowboys camp, and he brought his own soundtrack: a boom box with Bruce Springsteen playing at a moderate volume. During our chat, he interrupted his football chatter when “Wrecking Ball” came on.

I don't want to spoil the ending, but Romo and Peter bonded over how great Bruce Springsteen is live. Which is something we already know. I do like how both Peter and Romo pretend like seeing Springsteen live is some secret they both share, instead of something that probably millions of people have in common with them.

9. I think the Cowboys deserve credit for recruiting La’el Collins hard and signing him as a rookie free-agent after the draft … but 31 other teams deserve blame for not using a sixth- or seventh-round pick to take him on draft day. Pro Football Focus named him the top-rated rookie of the first full weekend of the preseason, and people in camp told me last week he’s been terrific in all phases with the second unit. I don’t expect him to stay second-team for the season.

Hey revisionist history, this is Peter King on the line wanting to speak with you. If Peter recalls correctly, and maybe he needs one of his sources to confirm this, Collins was a part of a murder investigation prior to the draft. If it turns out Collins had a part in this murder then I imagine Peter would be writing, "I can't believe Team X spent a draft pick on a player they knew had no chance of playing this season or even in the NFL at any point."

Peter seems to not be able to recall his own words. I'll help him. Here is what he said about Collins prior to the draft:

1. I think La’el Collins, the LSU tackle projected to be a first-round draft choice, has a problem. A pregnant woman Collins apparently knew was murdered last week in Louisiana, and police want to speak with Collins. Police say he is not a suspect. But one team I talked to that is interested in drafting a tackle in the first round is now re-thinking whether Collins will even be on its board on Thursday night. This team’s thinking goes: How can you draft a guy who’s being sought in connection with the death of a woman, even if police are saying now he isn’t a suspect? He needs to be exonerated by Thursday. Fair or unfair, Collins needs to address this today, and with finality.

But now that Peter has revisionist history on his side he thinks some NFL team should have drafted Collins because he's so talented. Peter does an excellent job of forgetting that Collins' status was very much up in the air when the draft occurred. What a farce for Peter to act like 31 teams (and the Cowboys, they didn't draft Collins either, dumbass) dropped the ball in not spending a pick on Collins.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

b. I think having a The MMQB-style site for covering the 2016 election would be an awful lot of fun right now. I think I’d have Klemko writing a daily Trump story, and Vrentas doing a what’s-wrong-with-Hillary’s-campaign takeout right about now.

Peter always has the pulse on what his readers want. He thinks his readers want MORE coverage of Donald Trump, as if the wall-to-wall coverage he gets every evening on FOX and CNN isn't enough. It's like when Peter writes about Tim Tebow, because that's what his readers want to read about. Peter knows us better than we do it seems. 

e. In the midst of this bizarro-world bad Red Sox season, I note that, in the span of eight-and-a-third innings last week, Boston got 25 hits and 18 runs off King Felix and Johnny Cueto.

f. You just can’t predict baseball, Suzyn. You really can’t.

It's not like the Red Sox have a team full of shitty hitters or anything. They are 3rd in the majors in runs scored, 4th in OBP, and 3rd in the majors in hits. Scoring runs isn't their issue. So you can't predict baseball, but you can know the strengths of your own favorite team.

g. Not saying Dave Dombrowski wasn’t a good hire by the Red Sox.

And we all know that Peter will basically now say Dave Dombrowski wasn't a good hire by the Red Sox. Peter does this all the time. "I don't want to do this..." and then Peter proceeds to do that thing.

But just for the record: Boston made a change because the current franchise architect spent huge money on players (Sandoval, Porcello, Hanley) who are not huge-money players. And the franchise now has hired an architect who spent huge money on players (other than Miguel Cabrera and maybe Victor Martinez) who didn’t produce enough to win big.

Yes, other than the players who Dombrowski spent big money on that have so far worked out well, he's really signed some huge busts. Just ignore all the good signings he made and his record looks pretty bleak. 

What am I missing? 

You mean other than the two World Series champions Dombrowski built in Florida, the fact he took a Tigers team that was the worst in the majors and built them into a team that made two World Series, and drafted guys like Rick Porcello, who he then traded so the Red Sox could give him a huge contract? Other than all the success Dombrowski has had? Other than that, you are missing nothing.

I see the division titles, and it’s important to get in the derby every year, so maybe I’m being too hard on Dombrowski. But the Tigers are 12 over .500 since opening day 2014 (including the playoff three-game sweep last year by the Orioles). Going forward, I’d like Boston to be more of a farm-system team and less of a free-agent team. Too many Crawford/Hanley mistakes in big-money land.

You mean draft good players like Curtis Granderson, Justin Verlander, Andrew Miller, Rick Porcello, Alex Avila, and Drew Smyly? Or do you mean the part where he used prospects he drafted to land guys like Miguel Cabrera, Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, and David Price?

The funny part is Peter is bemoaning the Red Sox re-signing Rick Porcello, yet he can't seem to make the connection that Dombrowski is the guy who traded Porcello to the Red Sox before he wanted a big contract the Red Sox eventually gave him.

j. Coffeenerdness: This was a first, driving from the airport in Denver to the Broncos’ practice facility last Thursday: a standalone drive-through Starbucks. No store. Just a skinny little drive-through, on the southeast side of town. No idea such a place existed. Some of their stores could take a lesson from said drive-through: From time of order (three drinks) to pickup of drinks: less than 90 seconds.

One minute Peter wants to have a discussion with the barista and talk about how kind everyone is when having conversation, the next minute he wants everyone at Starbucks to shut the fuck up and just hand him his coffee. I guess it just depends on Peter's mood whether he wants conversation and kindness or a quick drink without any talk.

l. Took Greg Bishop of SI to Coors Field for his first trip there on a lovely night for baseball (Nats/Scherzer-Rockies) Thursday. Good to be joined by one of America’s bright young sportswriting lights, Tim Rohan of the New York Times. Coors has one of the best concession stands in all of sports: a salad bar on the lower concourse between first base and right field. Romaine, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onion, with balsamic vinaigrette, topped with chicken, for about $8.

Yeah, Max Scherzer. Which MLB GM traded for him before he flourished again? I can't remember. 

m. Uh, no line in the sixth inning Thursday night. There should have been.

Because I know when I go to a baseball game I'm thinking, "I'm hungry as hell, where is the nearest salad bar at? All I can think about is devouring a delicious house salad with my beer while watching some baseball."

The Adieu Haiku

So L.A. beckons.
My best guess: Rams in ’16,
Chargers close behind.

I only include the Adieu Haiku now because I want everyone who reads this blog to suffer through the inanity of it along with me. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

1 comments Chris Chase Says Russell Wilson Isn't Worth His New Contract Simply Because He Isn't

I think Russell Wilson probably got more money than his overall talent level should suggest, even compared to what other NFL quarterbacks have received lately. Still, I see why the Seahawks paid Wilson like they did and I can't say I wouldn't have done the same thing they did. I can't really find evidence that Wilson is overrated or doesn't deserve the money, so I have a hard time bashing him and criticizing his contract until he shows that he's simply not a franchise or above-average quarterback. Chris Chase of "For the Win" doesn't have this problem. In a column that I am guessing he had pre-written in some form (just a guess, I have no proof) he states that Russell Wilson is now vastly overpaid. Great, I can understand this line of thinking. Unfortunately, Chris Chase doesn't explain why he believes Wilson is overpaid other than, "We all know he's not that good," which doesn't really grade out as a persuasive argument for why Wilson is overpaid. An opinion isn't proof. If it were, then Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith would be the two smartest men in sports.

In one fell swoop, Russell Wilson went from the most underpaid quarterback in the NFL to its most overpaid.

BAM! You got scalded by this hot take. Russell Wilson is the most overpaid quarterback in the NFL only seconds after being the most underpaid. Life's a bitch, especially when you are now wealthy beyond all imagination. 

The Seattle Seahawks quarterback beat a Friday deadline to extend his contract, signing for a whopping $61 million guaranteed, with a reported $31 million signing bonus for an annual salary of about $21.9 million that’s just under that of Aaron Rodgers. The total amount of the four-year deal is worth a preposterous $87.6 million which doesn’t appear to contain much of the funny money that usually inflates the contracts of NFL players.

This is the going rate for a franchise quarterback. Is Wilson a franchise quarterback? I don't believe he is on-par with Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Luck, but Wilson has given no evidence my belief is anything but fiction so far. He's been impressive when he needs to be in important games. It's hard to put a value on that. 

This was a deal that both sides needed.

Seattle locked up their starter before this season started, avoiding the headaches and questions that would have come along with Wilson’s unsigned contract for next year. It also locks up a fine quarterback for the foreseeable future.

It's a mutually beneficial contract where Wilson gets paid a ton of money and the Seahawks don't have to search for a replacement for Wilson. While Chris Chase thinks the Seahawks overpaid for Russell Wilson, it's more expensive to let Wilson go in free agency and try to find his replacement. Wilson probably is making more money than he rationally should, as are many other quarterbacks in the NFL, but until a team doesn't have a quarterback it's forgotten how much it sucks to not have one. It's hard to put a price on trying to find a quarterback when an NFL team doesn't have one.

But to do that, the ‘Hawks had to overpay a very good QB who, 

To call Wilson a "very good QB" is to also understand $20+ million per year is the going rate for a very good quarterback.

thanks to a phenomenal defense, great offensive line and powerful rushing attack, has convinced the league he’s one of its best.

Chris Chase will provide no data or any other information that supports his contention the great offensive line, powerful rushing attack and great defense are what makes Russell Wilson the quarterback he is. I'm sorry, I expect more than just the same old talking points about why Wilson is overrated.

He’s the clear winner in the deal.

You don't say? The guy who just got guaranteed $61 million is the clear winner in this deal. You sure about that? 

Wilson, who paid his dues playing his third year with the contract of an NFL pauper, will be in the final year of the deal when he’s 30, when he’ll still be in his prime (and the salary cap should be considerably higher). But Seattle wins too.

They win because they keep the quarterback who, overrated or not overrated, has taken them to two straight Super Bowls. Wilson isn't Trent Dilfer or Brad Johnson, but this also doesn't mean he is Aaron Rodgers. He's been a pretty good quarterback so far and he got paid like a pretty good quarterback. 

So if both sides win, how can Russell Wilson be overpaid? Because, come on: Russell Wilson isn’t worth Aaron Rodgers money. He’s not worth Drew Brees money. Heck, he really has no place near Philip Rivers’ tax bracket.

But, why? Do better than stating, "He's just not as good as these guys." Brees, Rivers and Rodgers all signed their current contracts before the quarterback market had been reset (thanks Joe Flacco!). So it's possible Wilson isn't overpaid, quarterbacks like Rodgers, Brees and Rivers could be underpaid. Maybe not, but at least give statistical and logical reasons other than "He just is" for why Wilson is overpaid. 

Now he’s the second-highest paid quarterback in the league? It’s nonsense.

If there were a schoolyard pick of quarterbacks in the NFL, Wilson should go about 13th, right around Eli Manning and Cam Newton.

Cam Newton just signed a contract very similar, though one year longer, than that which Wilson just signed, while Manning has a cap hit of $19.75 million this year. Just a tip, but if you are going to compare Wilson to two other quarterbacks in an effort to show he is overpaid, try not to compare him to two quarterbacks who have salaries in a similar financial bracket as he has. If Wilson is 13th around Manning and Newton, then Wilson seems to be properly compensated, no?

I mean, if he’s worth $21.9 million per year, what should Andrew Luck get? $30 million? $35 million? $50 million?

Andrew Luck will get a ton of money. He'll get more than Wilson, despite not having had Wilson's success in terms of Super Bowl appearances. See how it works? Then if you compare Luck's salary to that of Rodgers, Brady, and others it will look like Luck is overpaid because he doesn't nearly have the amount of rings and MVP's those guys have.

Yet Wilson deserves every penny of the deal 

(Bengoodfella throws hands up in the air) If he deserves the money then how can he be overpaid? Being overpaid means an athlete (or person) is compensated more money than he deserves for his performance. If Wilson deserves the contract, he probably isn't overpaid.

and the Seahawks had no choice but to pay it, even if it hamstrings them from making deals with other players over the next three years.

Yes, but quarterback is the most important position on an NFL team. History shows that if a team doesn't have a good quarterback then they aren't winning a Super Bowl and don't have a great chance of making the playoffs. 

If Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton are getting nine-figure deals, then the market is set for a winner like Wilson to thrive, even if quarterback wins are the most overrated stat in the game. (When Dalton’s wins are cited, people say they don’t matter. When Wilson’s are, they are.) 

The very obvious difference in comparing Dalton to Wilson is that Dalton is 0-4 in his playoff career while Russell Wilson is 6-2 with two Super Bowl appearances. Wins are an overrated stat, there's no doubt, but a comparison of Dalton to Wilson is laughable when the big difference in the two quarterbacks using the win statistic is ignored. If Chris Chase claims the only difference in Wilson and Dalton is wins then I'd like to mention that Russell Wilson doesn't have A.J. Green either and Dalton doesn't have the wins that a quarterback is graded on. Dalton's wins are dismissed because he falls on his face in the playoffs. Chris Chase knows this, yet he acts like this isn't relevant.

Other QBs set the market and Wilson was able to parlay that into a bigger deal because the other 21 guys he plays with are better than the 21 players on other teams.

Again, this is an opinion which has no factual backing. Wilson is overpaid, overrated and he only got a deal because his team is better than other NFL teams. Fine, without some factual backing it's just an opinion. Do better. 

Despite that one ring and the second ring that was lost with one of the most untimely and awful passes in NFL history, Wilson is an above-average quarterback on a team that allows such a signal caller to thrive.

Yes, despite those two Super Bowl appearances in three years, Wilson is an above-average quarterback on a very good team. He'd be 13th in QB rankings, right between two other quarterbacks who are making around $20 million per year as well. Tom Brady is a missed field goal and an untimely pass away from being 2-4 in the Super Bowl. He's two really good passes by the Giants away from being 6-0 in the Super Bowl. Super Bowl wins (right or wrong) is how a quarterback can be graded.

And I'm not a big defender of Russell Wilson, but he's been better than above-average when the Seahawks have needed him to be. Maybe he isn't Aaron Rodgers, but he fits what the Seahawks are doing, and that in itself could be worth the money he's getting in his new contract. I keep waiting for Wilson to fall flat on his face too, but it hasn't happened.

Guys like Andrew Luck or Aaron Rodgers are quarterbacks who lead, Russell Wilson is a quarterback who sustains.

I don't even know what this means. I feel like Russell Wilson is a pretty good leader, even if he doesn't have an outstanding set of skills on paper that Rodgers and Luck have. 

That’s apparently good for $20 million plus in the modern-day NFL.

An above-average quarterback who wins games is worth $20+ million in the modern-day NFL. I don't know if Chris Chase's beef is with the increasing cost of the quarterback position or with Russell Wilson, but when stating Wilson is overpaid then it's better to come with some proof or statistics. An opinion is great, but it seems like Wilson is right where he was expected to be in terms of compensation in a new contract. Until further notice or further proof, I can't call him overpaid yet. I don't particularly like how he lobbied and acted on his way to getting his new contract, I found him to be slightly disingenuous with some of his negotiating tactics, but he got paid and that's all that matters. Let's wait for him to fall on his face, or for any proof the past three years have been not representative of his skill set, before announcing Wilson is overpaid. Trust me, I keep trying to come up with reasons too and I just can't.

Friday, August 21, 2015

3 comments "Slate" Has a Terrible Idea on How to Determine Which Country Will Host the Olympics

"Slate" generally has some sort of bizarre (or bad) ideas on their site. Whether it's calling Americans "hypocrites" because nobody likes the Spurs, asking why LeBron has to be so serious, or taking on the evil of youth sports, those who contribute to the site tend to take semi-bizarre stances. I guess it's supposed to be considered "out of the box" thinking that is shown in some of the articles on the site. So a "Slate" writer thinks that cities should be forced to host the Olympics. Yeah, it's an interesting point of view. That's for sure. Logistically I can't see how this makes sense, but of course sometimes I wonder if some of these "Slate" ideas are truly serious. Many times the articles are written in a manner like, "I know this is a terrible idea, so don't take it seriously, unless you think it's a good idea because this is a serious idea we have come up with, in which case this is really a serious idea." The idea of forcing a city to host the Olympics seems to fall into this category as well. Even the cities that host the Olympics can barely afford it, so why is forcing a city to host even close to a good idea? The writer does acknowledge an Olympics held in a poor country would result in terrible facilities, but that sounds like a ton of fun for the athletes who work their entire life to represent their country, doesn't it?

On Monday, the U.S. Olympic Committee announced that Boston was dropping its bid to host the 2024 Olympics following a series of protests, significant public opposition, and a loss of support from the city’s mayor.

So Boston was saying they DO or DO NOT want to host the Olympics? I wish they would be clearer about their stance. 

On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee told other U.S. cities that might be similarly skeptical of hosting the event that the organization would not take “we don’t want your horrifically costly and burdensome boondoggle of a sporting event in our town” for an answer.

Someone has to step up and take the place of FIFA as the villainous international sports committee. The IOC has been working hard for years to achieve this goal and it's their time. 

But even before Boston was selected and then got itself unselected, both New York City and Philadelphia abandoned bids to be the U.S. candidate for the 2024 Olympics. The 2022 games, meanwhile, were beset by similar abandonments from Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, and Germany.

It's not fair to characterize the Swiss as abandoning the Olympics. They simply said they were neutral on the idea of hosting them. 

For plenty of democratized countries, though, the prospect of hosting the Olympics can seem more like a curse—akin to smallpox, wildfires, and an extra-dimensional Chitauri invasion—than an honor.

I'm terrible with grammar and run-on sentences. So I am not criticizing, just noting this sentence should probably read "For plenty of democratized countries though, the prospect..."

That's how it should read, right? The commas around "though" feel weird when read aloud. But yes, no one wants to host the Olympics. The easy decision would be for the IOC to put a cap on how much can be spent on the Olympics or (gasp) cut costs by getting rid of the supremely boring Opening and Closing Ceremonies. It's like a parade, but somehow more boring. Watching people walk and wave just doesn't appeal to me, yet it takes four hours and costs God knows how much for these ceremonies. Cap how much can be spent and give the option of reducing the spectacle of the Opening and Closing ceremonies or getting rid of them entirely.

The IOC requires each host city to agree to cover excess costs or revenue shortfalls in case the games end up overspending. And practically every Olympic Games overspends. “The average cost overrun from the summer Olympics since 1976 is 252 percent, after controlling for inflation,” writes economist Andrew Zimbalist

Make it a hard cap. I know these countries like to show off (more on that later in this post, because the spectacle the host country likes to show off is why this lottery idea won't work), but don't allow countries to go over a certain cost. 

And yet somebody has to host the Olympics. Right?

Not really. If no country hosts the Olympics then there will be no Olympics. 

There are rational solutions to this problem. They involve reforming the IOC, reining in costs by using existing facilities rather than always building new ones, and changing the bidding process so that it no longer hinges on the discreet transfer of large bags of money.

FIFA, there's a new villain in town.

But the Olympics are not a rational event, and so maybe a farcical solution is in order: The IOC should host a Shirley Jackson–style “lottery” to determine which nation will host the Olympics. Every single nation that wants to have an Olympic team has to enter.

If you aren't familiar with "The Lottery" then basically it's a story where a small town draws names to see who will be stoned to death in order to ensure a good harvest. The author of this article, somewhat surprisingly given the fact his entire idea is a bad one, does not suggest any type of stoning to determine which country hosts the Olympics. Well, he does suggest stoning an IOC member, but that can be forgiven. 

If you participate in the Olympics, you have to participate in the lottery. If your name comes up, you’re stuck with hosting the games.

What could go wrong? Well, countries would opt-out of participating in the Olympics for fear they would have to host. This idea also doesn't give smaller countries any incentive to participate in the Olympics since they will only be sending a few Olympians in a few sports, so it doesn't make sense to take a chance on hosting the Olympics so 8-10 people can participate. So yeah, if the idea is to ensure small-to-medium sized countries don't participate in the Olympics then this idea is for you. 

Once that’s finished, we’ll proceed to the main event, which, like all good things, involves thousands of ping-pong balls and a gigantic air lottery machine. Every nation starts off with 25 ping-pong balls.

Why not 10 ping-pong balls? Why not 5 ping-pong balls? Why not 1 ping-pong ball? Why not 100 ping-pong balls? Who the fuck knows? This idea has all the makings of the author deciding "I just read 'The Lottery' again and have to get a column posted in the next hour so here's all I have." 

After calculating the average world GDP, we’ll add or subtract balls for each nation based on how far a nation falls above or below that average, 

(Bengoodfella falls asleep)

Not only is this idea dumb, but it's also needlessly complicated.

so that the United States would end up with far more balls than, like, Tonga. Then we pull the balls in and run the lottery.

As the NBA Draft shows, even teams with significantly more ping-pong balls in the lottery don't necessarily have the best chance of winning (in this case, losing) the lottery. 

Aside from the very simple egging-and-lottery structure, there will be a few other key points.

Nations can buy extra balls. There are some countries out there that still really, really want to host the Olympics, God bless ’em. 

But, but...if there were countries out there that still want to really, really host the Olympics then why even have this lottery? Just award the Olympics to the country that wants to host the Olympics. Isn't this lottery being suggested under the idea that no countries want to host the Olympics, to where the IOC would have to force a country to host? So if there are countries who will buy extra ping-pong balls because they want to host the Olympics so badly then what's even the purpose of this lottery? The fact nations will want extra balls contradicts the reason for the lottery, which is no countries want to host the Olympics. 

These countries can spend $5 million per ball to increase their chances, up to 40 extra balls; the money will go directly toward the cost of the Olympics, whoever gets awarded them, as a kind of tax on wealthy autocrats that really want the games.

Up to 40 balls. Because spending $200 million on additional chances to host the Olympics is reasonable, while spending $205 million on additional chances to host would be excessive. And again, if a country is willing to spend $200 million for the opportunity to host the Olympics then there is no need for a lottery. Even if the country that so badly wants to host isn't big enough to host, there is a chance the lottery would award the Olympics to this country (or an even smaller country) anyway. 

Nations can sell their balls to other nations. Same as before, $5 million a ball, with the money being split between the selling nation and the cost of the games themselves. Here’s the catch: A nation can’t do this for two lotteries in a row, and if a nation chooses this option, the next time around it will automatically be given as many balls as the nation with the highest GDP.

The author is apparently under the assumption the more complicated he makes the idea then the better that idea will appear to be. This is not true. Basically, nations that don't want to host the Olympics will be selling balls to nations that do want to host the Olympics. Again, why not just award the Olympics to the nation that wants to host? 

No nation can host twice in a row. If you’re unlucky enough to get picked for 2024, then you’re out of the running for 2028.

What happens if a warm-weather country is chosen to host the Winter Games? If it is truly incapable of hosting, then it’ll be levied a financial penalty and assigned to host the next Summer Games instead.

Right, because that warm-weather country will be able to financially afford to be able to host the next Summer Games if the financial penalty is severe. Also, this country would simply not be a part of the next Summer Games. What to do then? What if Jamaica gets the Winter Olympics, is awarded the Summer Olympics and then decides not to send a team? The IOC can't get an army together and invade Jamaica and force them to host the Summer Olympics.

This will probably lead most warm-weather countries to withdraw from the Winter Games entirely rather than risk winning the lottery—

Which apparently is the goal. It seems the goal of this lottery idea is to get fewer countries to participate in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. I think that's the brilliance behind it. The Olympics are a good chance for each country in the world to be represented and compete against each other in a show of national pride. This lottery idea decides that's stupid and would rather exclude countries from hosting the Olympics by setting up a situation where only the wealthiest countries can participate because only wealthy countries can afford to host the Olympics.

It also allows for the hilarious possibility that if a country like Mexico gets chosen to host the Winter Games, rather than pay the penalty it’ll just say, “Screw it, we’ve got mountains and snow machines, we’ll give it a go.”

Olympic games that would have terrible facilities and the athletes wouldn't enjoy participating in their chosen event? This would be hilarious! Why doesn't the NBA just play on ice for a year and the NHL can play on a basketball court? It would be HILARIOUS!

Nothing says, "Olympic spirit" like poor conditions and shitty facilities. Really, the best way to honor and celebrate the Olympians who have spent their lives perfecting their craft and finally get a chance to show their skills to the world would be to make a mockery of all they have worked for. 

Obviously, this system is set up so that the countries that can afford to host the Olympics are most likely to actually get them. But it also leaves open the hilarious possibility that a country that does not want the Olympics and cannot really afford to host them will nevertheless be forced to do so.

It would bankrupt countries. More hilarity would ensue! I'm sure the entire country of Greece is in stitches right now at the idea of their bankruptcy. It's so much fun! 

But the point isn’t to bankrupt poor countries.

Except, you know, that's what it will do. Forcing countries to either choose between participating and potentially having to host the Olympics, or sitting out the Olympics entirely ruins the entire point of the Olympic competition. When the author has noted expenses for the Olympics often extend beyond the given budget and not every country can afford to host the Olympics, then the intent ends up being bankrupting or excluding poor countries.

If, say, Dominica somehow ends up with the Summer Olympics, well, then, it’ll just be a Dominica-sized Olympics.

Except, you know, these countries don't want to be seen as a laughingstock so they will spend tons of money on facilities they can't afford in order to not make their country seem like a shit hole. Even wealthy countries spend too much money trying to host the Olympics, so I don't believe Dominica would actually host a small Olympics because that's all they can afford. It's a matter of national pride (and future tourism revenue) to make it look like your country isn't a shit hole.

All you really need to host an Olympics is a gym, a track, a pool, and a field. 

Plus facilities to house the athletes, enough room for the thousands of fans that want to attend to be comfortable, and facilities for these thousands of fans to stay at while watching the Olympics. So other than needing a gym, track, pool, field and the infrastructure to house, transport and feed thousands of people in a small area, not much else would be needed.

I assume that every country, no matter how poor, has at least one gym, track, pool, and field.

And that's all you really need to host the Olympics, right? One pool, one gym, one field and one track. Sure, they need to all be Olympic-sized and the country also has to have enough seating for everyone, plus housing and food, but one gym, track, pool and field is basically all that's needed. 

Because this new system removes the various crooked bidding processes that lead to the overpromising and underbudgeting of facilities, winning cities will feel far less compelled to build extravagant and unnecessary white elephant stadiums, pay for infrastructure that they might not really need or be able to afford, and generally kowtow to the IOC in a way that damages its residents.

I disagree with this. The lottery won't stop countries that are forced to host the Olympics from making extravagant stadiums and paying for infrastructure improvements that country may not need. No country wants to be known as the country that hosted the shitty Olympics. The Olympics by definition require most countries to build infrastructure they may not need, since most countries won't ever have so many different athletic events happening at the same time, with so many spectators attending these events in such a small area ever again.

Right now, various national idiosyncrasies notwithstanding, every Olympics is pretty much the same as every other Olympics, with the same top-tier facilities and stadia and such. If we assign the Olympics via lottery, we will probably end up alternating between lavish games and homemade ones, and this would be a great way of keeping in touch with the games’ amateur origins.

The idea the Olympic athletes would participate in events that take place in sub-par facilities is a terrible idea. It's spitting in the face of Olympians who have worked their entire life only to be told, "Here run on this dirt track and try not to trip over the rocks!" 

I am absolutely sure that this system has lots of problems. But so does the existing system!

Well, then the new system of using a lottery to determine which country hosts the Olympics should be adopted, simply for the hilarity of it all. Replacing one system that has problems with a different system that also has problems is not a solution. 

If it’s a choice between two flawed systems, I think the world should always go with the one that is funnier, 

Because the Olympics are supposed to be funny, you dipshit? The Olympics aren't supposed to be funny and it's not funny to send athletes out to compete in shitty facilities. 

that results in a better deal for the local populace, 

Like bankruptcy or countries simply choosing not to participate. 

and that involves a ceremonial egging. Am I wrong?

Yes. This idea is terrible. The lottery idea is probably the worst idea ever conceived to fix the issues that have plagued determining which country will be hosting the Olympics. If there are countries that really, really want to host, then those countries will bid under the current (non-perfect) system and try to be awarded the games. Simply because no United States city wants to host the Olympics doesn't mean this is true for cities throughout the world.