Friday, October 23, 2015

4 comments Gregg Participates in Using the Same Hyper Specificity of Numbers He Criticizes Others for Using

In the comments of the TMQ post for last week some of us were trying to guess what the topic would be for this week's TMQ. It's not hard to guess, since he essentially just rotates a few topics on a weekly basis. Yet, I was still wrong. I thought TMQ would be about concussions, since another high school football player died over the past week. I was wrong. Gregg has repeated a different topic in this TMQ. It's the annual, "Look at how many points are being scored" TMQ, followed by the later season "I can't believe the defenses caught up with the offense" TMQ. So Gregg (again) talks about how many points are being scored in college and NFL football these days. He talks about it on a smaller level every week, much like he talks about the same topics every week in TMQ, but this week he is writing more than a paragraph about how pass-wacky and points-crazy football has become.

The football scoreboard won’t stop spinning.

Says Gregg Easterbrook every single year in TMQ.

So far this season, N.F.L. games are averaging 46.6 total points. That’s up from 45.2 points per game in 2014 and 41.2 points per game a decade ago.

Gregg used to write an entire TMQ dedicated to hyper specificity and how numbers shouldn't be rounded out to too many decimal points. For example, he likes to mock the time difference in an athlete who runs a 4.39 and 4.32 40-yard dash. He'll often write things like, "How do they know the difference in 0.07 seconds?" or write something sarcastic about how the 40-yard dash should be 4.39614 seconds. Gregg also likes to make fun of statistics that might say an NBA team hits a three-point shot every possession, with him saying, "How do you go down the floor 0.6 times?" and believing himself to be the smartest and most clever human on the planet for being snarky about this.

Well, knowing that...I have to ask how the fuck an NFL game scan feature 46.6 points? Is there a 0.6 field goal or an extra 0.6 point that I'm not aware of? Are certain touchdowns only worth a percentage of 6 points?

This is typical Gregg Easterbrook. He goes to great lengths to criticize hyper specificity in the use of statistics, yet has no issue with using hyper specificity himself when using statistics. The "unsophisticated" will laugh at his jokes about an athlete running a 4.562874 second 40-yard dash, but he hopes they won't notice that Gregg uses the same types of statistics he likes to criticize in TMQ. Gregg is special, so he can talk about an NFL game featuring 46.6 total points, while mocking another writer for claiming an NBA team hits a three-point shot every 3.6 possession. The rules, as written by Gregg Easterbrook, do not apply to Gregg Easterbrook.

Big-time college football, where Baylor and West Virginia just combined for 100 points, spins the scoreboard faster: 27 Division I programs are averaging more points per game than the highest-scoring N.F.L. club, the Patriots at 36.6.


One-hundred twenty-four Division I programs — that’s 97 percent — are averaging more points per game than the lowest-scoring N.F.L. team, the 49ers. North Texas, Old Dominion, Vanderbilt, Army, the Roadrunners of the University of Texas at San Antonio: All score more than the Niners.

What a coincidence! 96.8%, make that 97%, of NFL teams are also scoring more points per game than the lowest scoring NFL team. That's so weird isn't it? It's almost like college teams score more points, but the percentage of teams that score more than the 49ers doesn't change regardless of whether that team is in the NFL or Division I NCAA.

You know Gregg didn't look up the percentage of NFL teams that score more than the 49ers and was very proud of himself when he saw the 97% number that showed how many Division I teams score more points than the lowest scoring NFL team. It means SO MUCH and proves how high-scoring college football is. He just forgot to look at the percentage of NFL teams who are also outscoring the 49ers. Whoops!

The fad for hurry-up tactics and rules changes designed to encourage pass completions are some of the reasons. But there’s an often overlooked factor: New safety rules favor offense.

This is literally one of the most cited reasons for why NFL offensive scoring is at an all-time high. Defensive players and other NFL analysts have stated over and over and over and over again that the NFL has taken steps to protect offensive players and it makes it more difficult for defensive players to do their job. Yes, the new rule changes to encourage completions are a reason for increased offense as well, but the fact the safety rules favor the offense is also often cited as a reason also. Perhaps Gregg believes if he just says this is an overlooked factor then it will suddenly become true and he won't be wrong. 

The most common deliberate helmet-to-helmet hit was by a safety against a receiver on a crossing pattern; a linebacker using his helmet as a weapon against a ball carrier was second-most common.

Now this form of contact is illegal, which benefits offense; especially, assisting the short-passing tactics that have proliferated.

Right. The short-passing tactics have proliferated because of the new rules. Hence, the new safety rules that favor the offense is not an overlooked factor in the increased offense. 

Sunday night at Indianapolis, the Patriots’ Julian Edelman repeatedly ran “low crossers,” short patterns directly in front of Tom Brady, who targeted 10 throws Edelman’s way.

One of the overlooked reasons why the Patriots are so good on offense is that Julian Edelman finds a way to get open on these short crossing patterns. No one ever thought of this before I broached this subject right now. 

Only once on these 10 targets was Edelman hit in the helmet. A decade ago, he would have absorbed several deliberate helmet-to-helmet impacts when prancing over the middle in this fashion; a generation ago, he would have been drilled in the head or the back even after an incompletion sailed past.

Right. NFL receivers aren't as afraid to run a route over the middle of the field, which means the middle of the field becomes more open in the passing game, which means there will be more scoring, which means offense will increase, and because this is the widely known result then the new safety rules that favor the offense is not overlooked. 

The rules need to become stricter still, especially at the high school level, where the most football is played.

But football’s safety initiatives are in almost every case a boon to the offense. Let the scoreboard spin!

But who knew the new safety rules were having such an effect on scoring? It's such an overlooked factor!

Sweet Play of the Week. Denver’s Aqib Talib sprinted 63 yards for an interception return touchdown at Cleveland, the Broncos’ third pick-six of the young season. Not only was the play sweet — the Broncos’ defense has allowed nine touchdowns while scoring four, a net of just five touchdowns for the opposition in six games. Denver’s No. 2 overall defensive ranking is the key to the Broncos’ 6-0 start.

Is this the highly-drafted, highly-paid glory boy Aqib Talib that returned this interception for a touchdown? Interesting how Gregg leaves off the draft position of Talib. We know Gregg wouldn't leave off the draft position of Talib or any of the other members of the Broncos defense if they were lowly-drafted or undrafted players. The Broncos defense starts four 1st round picks and a 2nd round pick, while having two 1st round picks as backups. Naturally, Gregg leaves out that the No. 2 overall defense in the NFL has six 1st round picks making a contribution to the team. 

Later in this TMQ, Gregg will mention the draft position of the Patriots offensive players, but when he doesn't have a point to prove about how great undrafted players are, then Gregg feels it isn't necessary to note the draft position of a team's offensive/defensive unit.

But Peyton Manning’s fade is accelerating. He has seven touchdown passes versus 10 interceptions, a ratio that is not sustainable.

No, this ratio is absolutely sustainable. The ratio isn't sustainable if the Broncos want to keep winning football games, but overall, this ratio of throwing more interceptions than touchdown is sustainable. Manning could keep doing this. 

He’s been “throwing with his body,” a bad sign.

Gregg must have read this somewhere and then repeated it here in order to make it seem like he knew what he was talking about. This is too much like analysis for me to believe Gregg thought of this himself. 

In overtime at Cleveland, Manning tossed the ball directly to the wonderfully named Browns linebacker Barkevious Mingo, as if Mingo were running the pattern.

And what round was Barkevious Mingo drafted in? The first round. This would be relevant if Mingo was undrafted or was considered "unwanted" by Gregg, but because he was drafted in the 1st round, Gregg fails to mention this little fact. Only undrafted players get their draft position noted, because Gregg wants his readers to believe undrafted players produce more than highly-drafted players produce.

Sour Recurring Play of the Week. A week ago versus Cincinnati, Seattle’s vaunted Legion of Boom secondary twice simply ignored a tight end running straight up the field, leaving him uncovered for a touchdown. Now it’s Seahawks 23, Panthers 20 with 36 seconds remaining, Carolina ball on the Seattle 26, Panthers out of timeouts. Carolina tight end Greg Olsen runs straight up the field, the “seam” route on which a good tight end is most dangerous.

This is the route in which a good tight end is most dangerous. Don't be confused when Gregg claims a good tight end is most dangerous when lined up to the far side of the field with single coverage on him. In that situation, a good tight end is most dangerous regardless of the route he runs. So whatever route that a good tight end runs from whatever position on/off the line of scrimmage that results in a touchdown is the route in which a good tight end is most dangerous. It changes based on what point Gregg is trying to prove at that very moment. 

No Seattle defender so much as attempted to cover Olsen, who caught the winning pass. The highly hyped Seattle secondary stars Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas were yelling and gesturing at each other about who was to blame before the play was even over.

I laugh a little bit at the Seahawks blaming coaching (and anyone but themselves) for the loss, but it seems there were two play calls given to the Seahawks defenders, so that's probably why Thomas and Sherman were gesturing to each other. The crowd noise prevented the Seahawks from getting the correct play call, so that's the reason for the confusion. One could ask how the Panthers got a play call in (late as it may be) and the Seahawks couldn't manage to do the same at home, but the truth is Thomas and Sherman were blaming each other because they didn't know at that point there had been two defensive plays called. So they really both believed the other screwed up.

This is a good example of what I've said on repeat, which is that defensive players can't just freelance like Gregg thinks they can. A defensive player can't just run back into zone coverage when the defensive called for is man coverage, despite what Gregg will claim when he criticizes a defender for not "covering" the offensive player. Gregg doesn't seem to understand defensive players have to all work in concert with each other based on the play call or else the defense will be extra shitty.

Stretching back to the Super Bowl, the Seahawks, whose trademark is monster defense, have been unable to hold fourth-quarter leads in five of their last seven outings. Since kickoff of the Super Bowl, Seattle is minus-48 points in the fourth quarter and overtime.

The Seahawks have been traditionally very good at holding leads late in the game, so sometimes the balance shifts back the other way. Perhaps that is what is being seen now. 

As for the Colts play — ye gods. Indianapolis lined up to punt, then nine guys shifted far wide in a variation of the swinging-gate PAT look. In the center of the field were the snapper and safety Colt Anderson.

Doesn't Gregg mean "undrafted, unwanted safety Colt Anderson"? I guess not. 

The whole point of a swinging gate is if the defense doesn’t put enough guys in front of the snapper, then run straight ahead; if the defense puts enough guys in front of the snapper, then pitch sideways where blockers exceed defenders. New England positioned four guys in front of the snapper, meaning one to block four. Yet the Colts chose the up-the-middle move: instant loss of yardage.

You just can't trust undrafted players to make smart decisions in important situations like this. Doesn't Gregg know this?

Not clear what, if anything, the Colts were thinking. Sour.

Griff Whalen went to Stanford and Colt Anderson went to Montana, so these players from non-football factories just don't know how to act in tough situations. It's not their fault, but if they were from football factory schools then they may have a better idea of how to think better in tight games against elite competition. 

Stats of the Week. The Panthers are on a 9-0 streak in the regular season.

I'm glad he clarified "regular season" or else everyone would have thought the Panthers won the Super Bowl last year. 

BOLO of the Week. All units, all units, be on the lookout for defensive lineman Marcell Dareus, accused of football grand larceny. Just before the season, he signed a contract with $60 million guaranteed; so far he has one sack.

A couple of things: 

1. Dareus does get sacks, but it's not his entire job as a DT or DE in a 3-4 defense. He does other things to earn his contract. 

2. Dareus states that he has been dropped back into coverage a lot and hasn't had the chances to get sacks. Whether it is true or not, I'm not sure, but it's hard to get sacks as a DT/DE if you are being dropped back into coverage rather than consistently rushing the quarterback.

What Makes Samuel L. Jackson and Cobie Smulders Hill Fly? The tiny drones that are driving everyone crazy can float on four downward-facing fans because their payloads, typically a camera and transmitter, weigh so little. In Marvel’s Avengers movies, S.H.I.E.L.D. has a flying aircraft carrier that uses four downward-facing fans. How big would the fans need to be to lift an actual aircraft carrier?

TMQ is shorter this year and Gregg still has to kill space. Unbelievably believable. 

Assume S.H.I.E.L.D. engineers used minimum-weight criteria to trim the helicarrier weight to 50,000 tons. Assume that the fans themselves have no mass, generate no drag, and that their power source is weightless — maybe they run on arc reactors. How big would four downward-facing fans need to be to lift 50,000 tons? Tweet your calculation to @EasterbrookG.

They would need to be as big as Gregg's ego multiplied by how many times Gregg has misled or lied to his readers. That's some big fans. 

Hire an Orangutan. Steve Spurrier just resigned as South Carolina coach: The boosters were in an uproar because the Gamecocks were 2-4. 

This is what I talk about when I say Gregg misleads his readers. The way Gregg writes this sentence indicates that Spurrier resigned because the boosters were in an uproar, when this isn't entirely the truth. Spurrier was 70 years old, so he wasn't going to be coaching for much longer anyway. I don't know, and Gregg doesn't know, if the boosters being in an uproar caused his resignation. Everything I've read says this isn't true, especially since Spurrier is one of the most successful coaches in South Carolina history. Gregg tries to tie the boosters in with Spurrier's resignation when I don't think this is the truth.

Steve Sarkisian just got the heave-ho at U.S.C.: He’d appeared in public seeming to be drunk, but the real issue may be that boosters were in an uproar over the Trojans merely being 12-6 with the whistle around his neck.

No Gregg, the real issue is that Steve Sarkisian has a really bad drinking problem and became an embarrassment to the university. So he got fired for bringing embarrassment to the school and now he is allowed time to face the severe drinking problem he seems to have. I really doubt USC fired Sarkisian because of his 12-6 more than they fired him because he seems to be an alcoholic. Also, "the real issue may be...," is some mealy-mouth language that Gregg would normally criticize when seen in the writing of others. 

These three coaching changes share in common what T.M.Q. calls the Orangutan Theory of Division 1: that football-factory programs have such incredible built-in advantages in recruiting power and gimmick schedules that an orangutan should be able to lead one to bowl eligibility.

Except it doesn't work that way at all. Before hiring Steve Spurrier, South Carolina had a problem keeping elite talent in state, had 10 winning seasons since 1980 and had won 10 games or more once in the history of the program. These so-called football factory teams have an advantage in money, but that doesn't always translate to success on the field without the right players and coach. 

Not only do the top recruits flock to prestige programs like South Carolina and U.S.C., but they also play under gimmick conditions...Such schedules are as if the Denver Broncos played twice as many games at home as away, and one of the home games was against an Arena League team.

Right, but if every NFL team played an Arena League team? Then the playing field would be somewhat leveled. I'm not defending how college teams schedule, but it's important to know that recruits don't just flock to a school. Elite recruits didn't flock to South Carolina before Steve Spurrier was there. Gregg remembers it that way now, because he's used to how things are with Steve Spurrier as the head coach, but it's not always been that way. 

In the wake of the Spurrier and Sarkisian departures, the sports world — “SportsCenter,” Sports Illustrated, ESPN’s “College GameDay” — wondered when glory would return to these programs. Unless I missed it, not a word was said about the educational goals that are the ostensible purpose of the universities in question.

That's because it is a show called "SportsCenter" and "College GameDay" and a magazine called "Sports Illustrated." If these shows were called "AcademicCenter" or "College Educational GoalsDay" or "Academics Illustrated" then Gregg would have a point. They aren't called that, so Gregg has no point. These shows and this magazine are about sports. For better or worse, discussing the academic goals of the university is not a part of the discussion. Sports are what the discussion on these shows and in this magazine revolves around. 

Spurrier’s team had a 51 percent graduation rate, including a 46 percent rate for African-Americans. He should have been given the boot for exploiting players without ensuring their educations: Instead all the boosters and the networks seemed to care about was his won-loss ratio. South Carolina is an SEC school. CBS has the contract for that conference, and benefits when the Gamecocks win. Where is the “60 Minutes” segment on SEC football graduation rates?

This 51% graduation rate and 46% graduation rate for African-Americans are irrelevant without knowing the five year graduation rate of the South Carolina student body and for African-Americans at the university. What if the five year graduation rate at South Carolina is 47% or the five year graduation rate of African-Americans is 37%? All of a sudden, 51% and 46% look pretty good for a graduation rate. Naturally, Gregg doesn't provide the five year graduation rate for South Carolina because either (a) he's not smart enough to realize it gives context to the point he wants to prove or (b) it would make his point about the graduation rate of football players under Steve Spurrier seem weak. Gregg is not above misleading his readers when faced with information he doesn't think proves what he wants to have proven.

Sarkisian’s team was graduating 47 percent of players, including 38 percent of African-Americans; Kiffin’s team had a 48 percent graduation rate, including 39 percent for African-American players. ESPN and Fox, which broadcast Pac-12 football, devoted lots of air time to the recruiting and ranking ramifications of the Kiffin and Sarkisian dismissals. Did either so much as mention graduation rates?

Again, without the context of the graduation rate for the student body as a whole, these numbers don't mean a hell of a lot. Also, ESPN and FOX broadcast Pac-12 football. They broadcast sports, so that's why they don't mention academics. Is this really such a difficult point to understand? 

And yet many big football programs exploit African-American football players for profit without giving them the level of support to get the bachelor’s degree that is most people’s ticket into the middle class, or even distract them from education by demanding all their time and effort go into football. In many cases the boosters and boards of trustees don’t care, and the sports broadcasting world, which takes a cut of the exploitation, stays silent.

Yes, that's how it works. Much like I criticize what Gregg writes in TMQ, while the company that takes a cut of the revenue TMQ brings in (haha...I can't imagine it does bring too much revenue in), stays silent on how Gregg will mislead his readers.

Throw to the Dancing Tree! This week’s favorite YouTube play is the Francis Owusu catch against U.C.L.A. The Bruins gained 505 yards on offense and lost by 21 points. Over in the Big Ten, Rutgers defeated Indiana, 55-52; the Hoosiers gained 627 yards and lost. Such stats are contemporary college football in a nutshell.

In the highlight video, check the dancing tree in the background. How come N.F.L. teams don’t have dancing trees?

Because no NFL team has a dancing tree as their mascot. That seems like the simplest and most correct answer. 

As part of the general conservatism of N.F.L. coaches, most rarely send an all-out rush against a punter. Often, only a few rushers make a halfhearted gesture. During the contested portion of the same game, New Orleans punted twice: Atlanta sent seven against one punt and five against the other. Viewers and spectators tend to yawn during N.F.L. punts. But watch the rush — it’s usually a token effort, and rarely an all-out attempt to block the kick.

NFL teams want to set up a return. That's what they want to do. When a team rushes at the punter in an attempt to block the punt then they run the risk of roughing the punter or running into the punter. Also, they can't set up a punt return if they try to block the punt, which is something a team likes to do in order to get better field position. 

On the final down of the Michigan State-Michigan game, the Spartans rushed 10. This might have made the punter, who dropped the snap, nervous. He might never have seen a 10-man rush. In standard-punt fashion, Michigan players brushed the defender in front of them, then headed downfield to cover the punt. As the kicker dropped the snap, there were three Wolverines trying to protect him from 10 Spartans.

This was a completely different situation because there was only 10 seconds left in the game and Michigan State had to block the punt in order to have a chance at winning the game. Setting up a return did not matter, because they were going to lose if they didn't block the punt. So comparing this situation to any other situation where there ISN'T 10 seconds left is to misunderstand situational strategy and why Michigan State sent 10 players to block the punt. Gregg consistently misunderstands situational strategy and how a strategy may be effective in one situation, but not in another situation. 

4th Down Bot Jumps Out of His Treads to Cheer for Michigan State. T.M.Q. feels the Spartans’ improbable last-play victory was the football gods rewarding Michigan State for going for it four times on fourth down. Though none of the tries succeeded, this was bold — and fortune favors the bold. 

Gregg is very tenuously trying to tie the Spartans going for it on fourth down four times with them winning the game. Of course, if the Spartans didn't block this punt (or cause the punter to fumble), then Gregg would have not mentioned at all how many times Michigan State went for it on fourth down because it would not have gone to prove his point. In a world where Michigan State doesn't win this game, but they went for it on fourth down four times, Gregg would simply leave out how many times they went for it on fourth down. Fortune didn't favor the bold and Gregg is full of shit by insisting this is always true. Instead, Gregg is full of shit because he insists that going for it on fourth down helped the Spartans win this football game. It was a fumbled punt that helped the Spartans win this football game.

Leading, 23-21, Michigan faced fourth-and-2 on the Michigan State 47 with 10 seconds remaining. Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh called a timeout to weigh his options. The worst was the one Harbaugh chose, a standard punt with the blockers abandoning the punter to sprint downfield. Other options:

Michigan could have kept in 10 men to defend the punter, 

And then punted the football. Maybe Harbaugh was afraid Michigan State would get a good return and have a field goal opportunity. This was the best choice though. 

and instructed him to punt out of bounds. The Wolverines could have gone for it, and if failing to convert, defend a passing heave from midfield.

Okay, no. But even if Michigan had kept 50 guys back to defend the punter then there is a chance he still would have dropped the ball. Also, I'm not trusting a college punter to kick the ball out of bounds, nor am I going for it on fourth down and letting Michigan State have a chance for a heave from midfield. 

Michigan could have put 10 blockers around the quarterback and instructed him to hold the ball as long as possible, then hurl it high toward the Spartans’ end zone. The clock probably would have expired with the ball in the air.

Yes, but if the clock doesn't expire with the ball in the air then Michigan State is in perfect field goal range. There are so many things that could go wrong here. I'm not even sure how Michigan could have put 10 blockers around the quarterback and still snap the football. Wouldn't they need to have guys lined up on the line of scrimmage prior to the snap? So if a receiver or offensive lineman starts running back to defend the quarterback from pass rushers, there is a good chance a blitzing Michigan State linebacker or a corner could beat the Michigan player back before he got a chance to set up and defend the quarterback. 

And throwing the ball in the air with the hopes time expires while it's in the air and a Michigan State player doesn't catch it? What kind of bullshit is that? 

But the primary factor surely is that big-money coaches are conditioned to do the “safe” thing and send in the kicker. That way the players are blamed — today everyone blames the Michigan punter — rather than Harbaugh, who botched the call.

It sort of is the Michigan punter's fault. He had to catch the ball and then punt it. Somehow Gregg doesn't trust the Michigan punter to catch the ball and punt it, but he trusts the Michigan punter to kick the ball out of bounds and trusts the Michigan quarterback to run around and heave the ball up in the air as time expires. These are less "safe" things to do, so they are obviously better decisions. 

New England’s continuing offensive success — the Patriots are No. 1 in scoring, No. 2 in yards — comes despite the fact that the Patriots have no receiver drafted in the first round and, with tackle Nate Solder injured, no one on offense who was a first-round selection. If the M.V.P. vote were held today, T.M.Q.’s ballot would be cast for the Flying Elvii undrafted rookie free-agent center David Andrews.

And this would be ridiculous because David Andrews is the member of an offensive line that has five members who all work best in concert with each other, thereby making it difficult to know which of these offensive lineman is the best individually. There are ways to tell which offensive lineman is performing well, but we all know Gregg pays zero attention to these metrics. He sees Andrews is on a good offensive line and that he is undrafted, so thereby awards him the MVP. 

Manly Man Play of the Week. New Orleans leading Atlanta 17-7 in the third quarter, facing fourth-and-goal on the Falcons’ 2, the hosts go for it, touchdown, and never look back...To avoid criticism, N.F.L. coaches usually do the “safe” thing in this situation. Engaging a risk — a mild risk, considering — may have helped Sean Payton revive the Saints’ season.

Or it may not have helped Sean Payton revive the Saints' season. One thing is for sure, if the Saints season is revived then it has nothing to do with how the Saints are playing out on the football field, but has everything to do with the Saints going for it on fourth down here. Because fortune favors the bold, unless the Michigan punter doesn't drop the football against Michigan State, in which case fortune does not favor the bold. Naturally. 

Manly Man Postscript. The Colts tried everything they could to snap their losing streak versus New England — onside kick, fake punt, three fourth-down attempts. That this game was close, while other recent Indianapolis-Patriots contests have been blowouts, shows the value of aggressive tactics. New England is clearly the better team, but playing aggressive kept the Colts close.

This is how full of shit Gregg is. He claims fortune favors the bold. Fine, I like teams that take risks too, but Gregg wants his readers to believe if a team is bold then that team will win the game. This is how Gregg's mind works. BUT, because the Colts were bold and still didn't win the game and everybody who follows the NFL knows this, he makes up some bullshit about how the Colts ALMOST won the game because they were bold. So apparently this isn't really a loss for the Colts because they were bold. Fortune favored the bold and playing aggressive kept the Colts close, so it was almost like a win, thereby proving Gregg's point correct. Gregg is now so desperate he's trying to claim fortune favors the bold in simply keeping a football game close. Keep lowering that bar in order to prove your ridiculous black and white theories correct, Gregg.

By the way, a very reasonable argument can be made if the Colts had not been so bold in trying a fake punt then they could have come away having won this game.

In all N.F.L. annals, there have been 11 contests with at least 90 points scored, most recently Broncos 51, Cowboys 48 in 2013. Contrast that to Baylor, which since 2011 alone has appeared in 14 games in which at least 90 points were scored. The N.F.L.’s highest-scoring contest ever was Washington 72, Giants 41 in 1966. In the last five seasons, Baylor has played five games generating more points than that N.F.L. contest: West Virginia 70, Baylor 63 in 2012; Baylor 67, University of Washington 56 in 2011; Baylor 61, T.C.U. 58 in 2013; and Baylor 73, West Virginia 42 in 2013.

There are only so many ways of saying, "College football games have a lot of points scored in them," and I think Gregg has written some variation of them all at this point. 

Chip Kelly Skedaddle Watch. In September, T.M.Q. asked, “How long till Kelly skedaddles back to college?” With Kelly’s name raised in connection with the U.S.C. job — surely, not planted by his agent! — Kelly Skedaddle Watch becomes a running item.

Can it not become a running item? If Chip Kelly does fail in the NFL, the odds of him going back to college are very high. He has succeeded in college football before, so it's very natural he will end up back in college football at some point. Bill Walsh was very successful in the NFL before retiring and ending up back as the head coach of Stanford. So maybe Kelly fails in the NFL, or even succeeds, then he could still end up back coaching college football. Bill Walsh is a good example of this. Kelly going back to coaching college football after this time in Philadelphia is through means about as much as Gregg leaving an online sports site like for a newspaper like "The New York Times" would mean. I don't think Gregg considers himself to have skedaddled back to a newspaper gig. Of course, the rules Gregg has for others are not rules he has for himself.


Anonymous said...

Spurrier’s team had a 51 percent graduation rate, including a 46 percent rate for African-Americans. He should have been given the boot for exploiting players without ensuring their educations

See, the way college works is, you go there and someone else makes sure you get a degree. You are not responsible for attending class, studying, taking tests, none of it.

Snarf said...

On the NFL punt blocking point, NFL long snappers and punters are far better than their NCAA counterparts. This makes getting to the punter in time to block the punt far more difficult. Thus, as you point out, there is more to be gained from setting up a return. But of course Gregg would rather point out the idiocy of coaches.

Unknown said...

I wonder if Gregg realizes that it is still legal for a linebacker to use his helmet as a weapon against a ball carrier.

Chris said...

Something I've always wondered about when Gregg pontificates about the NCAA and team graduation rates. Is he counting players who left early and declared for the draft as not having graduated? If he is then he is fudging those numbers quite a bit. He also seems to forget that some players actually will go back to school years after they have left and finish their degrees. I don't know the exact numbers but it seems quite a few players go that route.

I understand Gregg's point conceptually, especially concerning those players on the team who probably won't make the pros after college, but at some point someone like Spurrier can only do so much about a players academics. He can assign tutors and study sessions and speak to the guys constantly about their schoolwork and encourage them to go to class all he wants but at some point there is something called personal responsibility and the players have to actually put in the work as well.