Thursday, October 26, 2017

7 comments Bill Simmons Is Still Using His Opinion as Fact

I got asked recently on Twitter if BotB was done or not. It's not, though the lack of activity probably gives the illusion of a more definitive answer. I start posts (will I ever post this one? Who knows?) and then get busy and never finish them. I have mixed feelings, as I started a new job two years ago and it felt like a clean break from the writing here that I loved, as writing on this blog took up a large portion of my day and caused me some sort of stress to get completed in a timely fashion. A lot of the posts here had some time sensitivity around them. I still enjoy writing here and that is why I haven't put up a farewell post. I'm also an "all or nothing at all" type of person. I'm in, or I'm out. I write 3-5 times per week or don't do anything, as I hate half-assing things. I want to try to half-ass though. Half-assing is the goal, in terms of posting frequently.

I have not read MMQB, TMQ or any Bill Simmons in the last two years. Okay, maybe a few MMQB, but none of the other two. I didn't even know where TMQ was located on the Interwebs anymore until someone Tweeted the link to me. If I read them, I am compelled to write about them. So no, Bottom of the Barrel is not done, I just haven't figured out how to make it not done. I started this blog in 2008. I was 28 years old and I'm now not 28 years old. I don't want to be Bill Simmons, writing the same shit over and over and over again until nobody cares anymore. I read Drew Magary now and think, "Jesus, this guy is doing the same stuff he was doing 5-6 years ago" and feel sympathy for him despite the fact he's doing quite well for himself. I'm getting older and I have less time to bitch about bad sportswriting. I always feel compelled to adapt and change, because staying in a rut singing all the greatest hits isn't my type of thing. I have to change for fear of becoming stale. The change here was a forced step-back to let off the throttle.

There was always an expiration date on this blog in that I didn't want to and couldn't do the same writing I always did here. Sometimes you just have to stop, because a mid-40 year old person making the same jokes he made 15-20 years ago is just not who I want to be. I can't stand in-authenticity (a word?) and don't want to be in my upper 40's being the person I used to mock for pretending to be younger in order to desperately keep the same readership I used to have. I don't want to be the person quoting Meek Mill when I just had to Google his name in order to make the reference. So it felt like a clean break two years ago, but I knew I didn't want to stop completely. Yes, a clean break involves a break entirely, so you see the contradiction there. I still want to be here writing, just not so badly that it interferes with my job and ruins what I see as the tiny amount of authenticity I have to mail in order to mail-in some posts. You can't cover up bad jokes and bad writing, so I chose/was forced to step back. There is my long answer.

So reading some articles from the same people who I have written about a lot here, they do not have this fear of getting stale. As you will see, Bill Simmons has not changed his jokes at all and Gregg Easterbrook is still rotating the same 4-5 topics every NFL season. It is sad to me. What's even more sad is Bill Simmons has tried other things and failed (which, I predicted on multiple occasions here...he wants to be more than a writer, but that's what he is) or not had the same amount of success he had writing. Now he's bashing ESPN in his writing, because he's free of them! FREE! Finally, he has that annoying corporate backing that made him the name he is and paid for all those nice things he has so he can starfuck all day on his podcast off his back. Did you know he used to write for the Jimmy Kimmel show? I wonder if he's mentioned it recently? Probably. So Bill's new schtick is to bash ESPN and then continue with his old schtick.

So...Bill Simmons hasn't changed at all. Today he tries to figure if the NBA is actually more marketable than the NFL. One could find this answer fairly easily using metrics such as viewership, jersey sales, income the athletes in each sport earn through marketing opportunities, etc., but none of these metrics would be as asinine and kill as much column space as Bill's way of determining the answer. He answer this question in a mailbag where Bill's Simmons Clones write in questions to him, desperately hoping he answers the question this time in order to validate their existence.

Today’s agenda: a mailbag-picks hybrid that ends almost as many times as that Chiefs-Raiders game Thursday night. 

Whoa! A hybrid mailbag!? This is totally different from the other 100 mailbag-picks columns that Bill has released through the years. I'm intrigued enough to read, but first, I need to find out how "The Ringer" is different from "Grantland," how much money HBO has given to get the website going and keep it going, as well as figure out exactly what the hell the site is supposed to be. Other than a hybrid pop-culture/sports site that spent an inordinate amount of space on talking about "Girls," at the behest of the HBO leadership as repayment for their investment in Bill's awful television show ("Any Given Wednesday"? Was that the title?) on HBO which failed for reasons that were ABSOLUTELY NOT Bill's fault...what is the Ringer? We may never know.

Bill blames the time slot, the fact other shows were premiering at the same time and anything other than his ability to run a television show for "Any Given Wednesday's" inability to draw an audience. I'll allow others who actually watched the show figure out the reason the show failed. I can take an educated guess though.

As always, these are actual emails from actual readers.

(Narrator) They were not.

Q: On your podcast you said that the NBA is going to pass the NFL eventually, because NBA players are more likable and marketable. What year did this start occurring in your opinion?
—A. Fitzgerald, Boulder

"A. Fitzgerald"...more like Not A. Realperson.

BS: You know how the WWE tells fans not to try wrestling stunts at home? I’m about to pull a Dan Dierdorf and disagree with myself.

But no one else is allowed to disagree with Bill or prove him wrong, because then he will either (a) change the subject or (b) move the goalposts to show he wasn't wrong. 

How could we actually prove this?

You cannot prove this, as it is not able to be definitively proven by the manner in which Bill will go about it achieving this end. There are ways to prove it, but these ways don't waste nearly as much space and don't involve Bill proving his opinion as fact. 

I hopped on Pro-Football-Reference, determined the biggest stars from the ’97 season, then found their 2017 doppelgängers from an admittedly ambiguous age/talent/career/respect/celebrity/resonance/charisma standpoint. Then, I determined which doppelgänger was, for lack of a better word, bigger.

So to prove this, Bill took his opinion of the stars from 1997 and compared them to his opinion of what these 1997 stars are comparable to in 2017, then he used his opinion on a not-carefully selected seven characteristic scale to compare these two generations of athletes. Adding up these statistics he never complied in which to compare these athletes, he then he used his opinion on which athlete was more marketable. So he based his selections on his opinion, used more of his opinion to think of these characteristics for each athlete that would be used to measure marketability, then didn't use a numerical ranking system of any type to show how he reached his conclusions, instead choosing to use his opinion based on (shrugs shoulders, looks around the room)...but more importantly here is Bill's conclusion! 

Bill couldn't even be bothered to pretend to use random numbers to compare the athletes from '97 and 2017? He's so lazy that he introduces criteria and can't even turn this criteria into numbers at least pretending there was a thought process? Well, onward to the conclusion, which is obviously where Bill wanted to go before he created the question "A. Fitzgerald" had. I mean, before "A. Fitzgerald" emailed the question to him.

Before we get there to the conclusion, let's look at the "Mad Scientist Who Shirks Empirical Data or Numbers Because Because Because Because Let's Just Get to the Conclusion," Bill Simmons, and how he compared NFL players to each other (doppelgangers!) who don't even play the same position. 

Von Miller (’17) > John Randle (’97)

Doppelgangers! One is a LB and the other is a DT and they are separated by 40 pounds. It's all the same though. 

Matthew Stafford/Ben Roethlisberger (’17) > Jeff George/Warren Moon (’97)

I just can't with this comparison. I can't. Warren Moon and Ben Roethlisberger? 

Ndamukong Suh (’17) > Bruce Smith (’97) 

One is a DT and the other is a DE. If Bill thinks Ndamukong Suh and Bruce Smith are doppelgangers then I think that says more about his study based on his opinion which uses no numerical data to reach a conclusion than anything else. 

Bill is mailing in his mailed-in mailbags. 

Khalil Mack/Aaron Donald (’17) = Derrick Brooks/Kevin Greene (’97)

Khalil Mack has 34.5 career sacks in his short career, while Derrick Brooks had 13.5 career sacks over his entire career. Their playing style is the exact same, other than it being entirely different. More like identical twins is what Brooks and Mack are, if the identical twins were not identical and didn't know each other at all. Mack and Brooks are basically Ronde and Tiki Barber, joined at the hip in the lore of NFL history. 

Also, Aaron Donald is the doppelganger of Kevin Greene? Really? I didn't miss reading Bill's drivel. 

Kareem Hunt/Tyreek Hill (’17) = Marshall Faulk/Terry Glenn (’97)
Warren Sapp/Michael Strahan (’97) > Geno Atkins/Myles Garrett (’17)

… and it starts getting silly.

Yes, NOW it starts getting silly. Prior to this moment, the exercise in Bill Simmons circle-jerking was based on proven opinion and the scientific method as shown through the use of 7 carefully chosen categories whose results literally don't exist in any form to show how Bill came to the conclusion based on his opinion. But now, things are getting silly. 

But guess what. I was wrong! 2017’s stars more than held their own against 1997’s stars. There goes that theory. What about hoops? The NBA is more popular today, right? Our 2017 guys would win 80 percent of the matchups, right?

2017: LeBron, Curry, Westbrook, Harden, Durant, Giannis, Kawhi, CP3, Griffin, The Brow, Draymond, Dirk, Klay, Giannis, Kyrie, Wall, Carmelo, Thomas, Love, Embiid, Lillard, Gasol, Hayward, Boogie, Towns, Porzingis, Lonzo, Simmons.

1997: Jordan, Shaq, Iverson, Malone, Barkley, Hakeem, Robinson, Garnett, Kemp, Duncan, Penny, Hill, C-Webb, Ewing, Payton, Miller, Mourning, Hardaway, Kidd, Stockton, Sprewell, Mutombo, Rice, Richmond, Baker, Young Kobe.

Oh shit! Not only were NBA players just as famous and marketable 20 years ago, but Jordan doubled as the biggest basketball star we’ve ever had.

Serious question...are there people who read this and think, "Great point by Bill Simmons!"? I ask because this is honestly pure bullshit and I'm embarrassed that Bill has written it down to where he can share the embarrassment that he has become with the rest of the Internet. 

Where the hell does Bill even get "Our 2017 guys would win 80 percent of the matchups, right?" from? He has absolutely no concrete basis upon which to base this claim. He's basically just typing words. Where in here does it show that NBA players are just as famous and marketable 20 years ago? He literally just wrote down the names of NBA players, typed a curse word and reached his conclusion. I think I can do this.

Is cancer as deadly as the Black Death? 

Cancer: Bones, operations, prostate, breast, Odell Beckham, surgery, brain, liver, doctors, Ewing Theory, Jimmy Kimmel

Black Death: Rat fleas, mice, boats, death, bubonic, Rocky IV, gangrene, pandemic

Oh hell no! Not only is cancer just as deadly as the Black Death, but the Ewing Theory says if I had to have a biopsy to remove malignant tissue, the tissue that grows in it's place could eventually lead to me having even stronger mental and physical abilities. So the Ewing Theory says cancer may not be a bad thing. We all should want it. Let's go to the next mailbag question.

I'm kidding, of course. There is more space to waste with this exercise in showing off Bill's nonsensical findings. 

So, what’s really going on here? Two things …

1. We don’t like football as much because of concussions, greed, Goodell, oversaturation, the gratuitous violence, all the unseemly off-field stuff and everything else I covered in this piece. In 1997, we didn’t cringe when receivers had their clocks cleaned over the middle, or when quarterbacks got annihilated by a weakside blitz and had to be revived with smelling salts. We enjoyed that stuff. That was football, baby! We didn’t feel even remotely guilty about it. The star power didn’t change; we changed.

I see Bill still uses the word "we" to describe himself when he thinks everyone was also wrong or had a misconception. It wasn't Bill that had the misconception, it was all of us. Also, "we" don't like football now as much as "we" liked football in 1997? Really, Bill? Is this a fact? I'm not sure it is.

True story: The Madden NFL ’96 video game arrived with a then-hilarious wrinkle. Whenever a player got injured, you heard a crunch followed by Pat Summerall saying, “Oh no, there’s a man down.” Eventually, anyone playing realized that you could maim players after the whistle, which led to more hilarity, real-life arguments (“How could you do that, you dick????!”) and actual truces between two buddies agreeing NOT to maim players after the whistle. This really happened. I swear to God.

Bill writes this like nobody else in the world has ever played "Madden NFL '96."

He's swearing to God and everything when talking about a video game many people have played and it takes 2 minutes to pull up footage (Bill includes a YouTube link by the way) of this "then-hilarious" wrinkle, but he's perfectly fine blazing through the entirely unprovable conclusion the NBA is more marketable than the NFL without a single shred of empirical evidence outside of his opinion. You can find evidence of the video game wrinkle in a matter of minutes, yet Bill feels the need to swear to God it exists. But proof his conclusion the NBA is more marketable than the NFL, he is confident his complete lack of empirical evidence presented here shows all the proof necessary. No swearing to a deity necessary.

Bill Simmons as a used car dealer:

(Bill) "This car can fly once it gets to the speed of 88 mph."

(Customer) "That's not true."

(Bill) "This car also gets 28 miles per gallon. You have to believe me, I swear to God. Fucking believe me, man."

(Customer) "I do. It's right here on the stic---"

(Bill pulls a knife and threatens a child with it) "You gotta believe me. This car. It gets great gas mileage. Swear to God. It really does!" (starts carving the gas mileage number into his cheek)

(Customer) "I believe you!"

(Bill) "Great, thanks. Also, magic elves are the reason the car flies."

(Customer) "I don't believe you." 

(Bill) "Well, we will just be wrong about that then if the car doesn't really fly. Let's sit down in my office and start talking numbers. I'm kidding, I don't use numbers to quantify anything."

2. We like basketball more than we did in 1997,

There you go. This is how "we" feel. I know you may think you personally feel differently, but you don't. Trust Bill's instinct on this. You like basketball more now than you did in 1997.

YouTube and Twitter allowed us to consume specific plays in easily digestible bites; and the people covering the sport itself went from a bunch of older, out-of-touch white guys to a younger, more diverse group that actually consumed it.

You see how out of touch Bill is? He believes that because the demographics of those who cover basketball has changed, the sport has become popular as a result. Four issues here with these claims: 

1. What? So younger, diverse people were not watching the NBA and now they are because those who cover the sport reflect a younger, diverse crowd? I've heard of people needing to see themselves reflected on a movie screen, television show or in the athletes actually playing a sport, but I've never heard "Well, I would watch the NBA but there just aren't enough young, diverse journalists covering the sport."

It's nonsense, that's what it is.

2. Bill is an older, out of touch white guy.

3. This reasoning could also be used for why the NFL is more popular now. Highlights are everywhere and there is a more diverse group of people covering the sport now. Of course, Bill is functionally incapable of making a cogent point because frankly he doesn't give a shit. Of course, his loyal readers seem to have the same problem solving and reasoning skills as he does.

4. Where is the evidence there is a younger, diverse group of journalists covering the sport and this has caused more people to watch? I'm slowly going dumb at this claim. Bill absolutely does not think his points through. What if the NBA is losing viewers due to white, out of touch white guys not watching it as much due to their demographic no longer represented as often in the sports journalism industry? Bill never thinks about this because he's lost in his tunnel vision, no-facts-used argument right now.

Check out this email from Rez in Sacramento …
“It's October 18 with a full slate of MLB playoff games and another NFL weekend coming, yet it feels like the world is watching the NBA. Boston fans are on suicide watch, Kings fans are screaming the refs screwed them, Giannis is having a statement game, my dad is texting me Thibs is overrated, my girlfriend is arguing Bobby Portis wasn't suspended long enough ... IT'S OCTOBER 18TH!!!! The only people who are supposed to be watching NBA games right now are Zach Lowe and youth groups who scored cheap tickets. No seriously, that's the list. Am I crazy??? This idea of NBA dominance is so delightful my brain won't accept it as possible.”
Until this decade, when did anyone ever treat the preseason, summer league, Opening Night and July 1 like these were monumental events? It’s unbelievable. Did you ever think you’d care about LeBron James’s shirtless workout videos or Russell Westbrook’s passive-aggressive Instagram photos? It never ends. NBA stars stumbled into a way of connecting with fans—during the season, during games, and even during the offseason—that stars from the No Fun League simply can’t replicate.

"Yes, I have anecdotal evidence on line 1, it would like to talk to you." 

This is peak "Here is what my friends and I think, so it must be what everyone else thinks as well" reasoning. I can't argue the NBA didn't have an eventful offseason, but the NFL owns the offseason just as much if not more than the NBA. And NBA diehard fans treated the preseason, summer league, and Opening Night as a monumental event. Did other people who are casual fans feel this way to and this reflects the improved marketability of the NBA? Eh, not so sure. Try to remove yourself from your social media bubble and try to accept that your thoughts are not reflective of everyone else's thoughts. Also, everything that was written here about preseason games being monumental events can be said for the NFL too. 

But again, Bill doesn't care about facts, evidence or anything of the like. He knows the point he wants to prove and will ignore evidence contrary to his point. 

Football isn’t dying by any means; the ratings and attendance and merchandising money tell us as much. 

The ratings say the NFL is more popular than the NBA. 

But culturally? NBA careers last twice as long 

The length of an NBA career is not a culturally related point. Also, the length of a player's NBA career has almost nothing to do with marketability, absent outlying extremely popular players whose careers are cut extremely short for one reason or another. 

and the league’s stars shine a little more brightly.

This is not a fact. This is an opinion. Over the past twenty years Bill has consistently not been able to tell the difference. I'll help him. 

Bill's HBO show was awful - an opinion
Bill's HBO show was canceled- a fact

How does Roger Goodell not get fired yesterday? He’s grown the league so poorly that the NFL’s signature video game was forced to use NBA STARS to seem a little more hip! What?

This is regarding Madden 18 using NBA players in an advertisement for the game. 

I have a very low opinion of  Bill's intelligence. He says a lot of things that are lies, he lives in his own world where the facts are what he chooses them to be, he has the capacity to do better but just doesn't seem to want to go in that direction, and the people who do like him are very loyal, which confuses me. But to say Roger Goodell should be fired because a private company chose to use NBA players in their marketing for an NFL game is an incredibly ridiculous statement. It would be like firing John Skipper because a column on Grantland outed a transgender golfer who eventually committed suicide. There is a lack of causation there.

It's a fucking video game. There are 100 reasons to fire Roger Goodell that are valid. I don't know how Bill Simmons manages human beings at "The Ringer" if he wants to fire the NFL commissioner because of how Madden 18 is marketed. 

Next is a mailbag question about "The Challenge" on MTV. I would think after taking two years off from Bill's mailbags something would change. How naive I am. 

Q: Why don’t we refer to Philip Rivers as Octo-Dad?
—Dean, Juniper Hills, Calif. 

Because it's stupid and only someone who thinks he is funny would call him that. 

BS: I can’t think of a single reason.

As I said. 

Q: Can we find Jared Goff a nickname?
—Tyler Goffi, Shamokin, Pa.
BS: Sure—what about J-Go? I’m not afraid of Jared Goff down four with two minutes left. You know who I’m afraid of? J-Go. Done!

Are there really people who read Bill Simmons and are entertained by it? If so, how? Do these people lack friends who can answer these questions? Why must it be Bill who answers them? Also, "J-Go" as a nickname? It's so lazy, but it allows Bill to keep churning content. 

Q: On the heels of Al Michaels's “Harvey Weinstein/Giants” joke, followed by the ensuing apology within an hour, it made me wonder what are the Top 5 or Top 10 Sports “On-Air Comments Then Apologies” of recent memory? A few that come to mind are: Lee Corso's F-bomb, Matt Millen/Jaws Polish Comment, Brent Musburger oozing over Katherine Webb, and Bob Griese's Taco Apology.
—Ross M., San Francisco

BS: Let’s answer this next week. America, please, send me the best on-air apologies you remember to

My favorite apology, though it was not on-air, was the one where the editor-in-chief of Grantland apologized for outing a transgender golfer (Dr. V), helping to ruin that golfer's life to the point that golfer committed suicide. That editor-in-chief was really, really sorry for helping to ruin a life though. It's understandable though. Who knew outing someone was a misstep? Certainly not anyone that runs in Bill's young, diverse crowd that has caused the NBA to exceed the NFL in popularity. Bill was surprised to hear you shouldn't just fucking "out" someone:

Caleb’s biggest mistake? Outing Dr. V to one of her investors while she was still alive. I don’t think he understood the moral consequences of that decision, and frankly, neither did anyone working for Grantland. That misstep never occurred to me until I discussed it with Christina Kahrl yesterday. But that speaks to our collective ignorance about the issues facing the transgender community in general, as well as our biggest mistake: not educating ourselves on that front before seriously considering whether to run the piece.

I didn't realize grown adults still needed to be educated on this issue, but again, I also wasn't so concerned with "the scoop and story" that I was willing to publish a story without looking into the impact some parts of the story could have on the subject's life. 

Anyway, Bill needs to bash ESPN real quick. 

I’m always partial to ESPN apologizing at 12:30 a.m. (when just about everyone in Boston was asleep) for erroneously saying two different times that the Patriots illegally taped a St. Louis Rams walkthrough before Super Bowl XXXVI.

Isn't it funny how we didn't hear Bill complain about this a decade ago as ESPN was bankrolling his career, giving him a platform to make his career and throwing money into Grantland? I know Bill is going to bash ESPN, but it's always going to feel spiteful to me based on where he came from and what they helped him to achieve in his career. Bill wasn't a journalist who worked his way up to ESPN like 90% of the other ESPN employees. He was smoking pot, bar tending, and writing a blog when ESPN plucked him up out of obscurity and gave him a platform. It doesn't work that way for most other ESPN employees, so Bill being resentful probably won't ever make sense to me, no matter how it all ended. Plus, I always think Bill is going to come crawling back to ESPN at some point.

Q: In your 9/22 mailbag you wrote: “Bill Simmons is never changing his mind on these six things” and one was “Rocky 3 was the best Rocky movie.” And yet in 2002, you wrote a lengthy breakdown where you not only claimed that “the first Rocky was the finest of the bunch, no question” but went on to rank Rocky IV AHEAD of Rocky III for rewatchability. How can we ever trust you again? My children cried when they found out.
—Ben, Chicago 

Oh no, Bill is contradicting himself again. We all know that Bill is NEVER wrong, so he will weasel out of the fact he can't remember he once had a different opinion based on the point he wants to prove at the time. 

BS: Rocky III is the best Rocky movie. Rocky IV is the most rewatchable movie. Huge difference.

Yes, semantics say this is a massive difference. But let's see how Bill addresses that he ranked "Rocky" ahead of "Rocky 3" in 2002 and now claims in 2017 that he is never changing his mind that "Rocky 3" was the best Rocky movie. I'm sure he will sufficiently expl---

By the way, now Sly Stallone is directing Creed 2? He’s 71 years old!

"By the way, LOOK! SOMETHING SHINY! GO PLAY WITH IT! Now let's go to the next mailbag question and ignore how I ignored a question posed to me about how I contradicted myself. Also, the fact I chose to publish a question where I contradict myself probably doesn't show how little mail I'm getting these days. I'm still popular. It's not like I'm answering questions posed by the same person or anything. THAT would be a clear indication I'm not getting as much email from my SimmonsClones asking me to justify their existence as I used to. Thank goodness that's not happening."

Q: I literally just dropped Aaron Rodgers for Orleans Darkwa on my fantasy football team. Can we all agree to stop doing fantasy football? Thanks.
—Marc, Madison, Wis.

Q: I can't wait for you to mispronounce/misspell Brent Hundley's name for the rest of the Packers season. Or is it Brett Hundley? Brent Hudley?
—Marc, Madison, Wis.

Oh no. There are probably two guys named "Marc" who live in Madison, Wisconsin. Most likely. I doubt Bill gets such little mail these days that he had to publish two unrelated questions from the same person to fill out his mailbag. That would never happen.

Q: The Saints-Packers line moved 10 points with Aaron Rodgerss injury. Why isn’t this a good way to tell who the MVP is? Which players would cause the biggest line moves?—Eric, Denver

Because gambling lines are not necessarily indicative of which individual players are the most valuable. Gambling lines are set up by Vegas to get gambling action on a game, not an indication of which player that is missing could be the most valuable. Of course, Bill likes this idea because Bill lacks logic and is stupid in that way.

BS: You’re right — only Rodgers swings it by double digits. I’m fine with deciding the MVP this way. 

Okay, I'll play. Drew Brees gets injured and now the line moves 11 points, because Brees' backup isn't as good as the Packers' backup in this scenario. Does this mean Rodgers is not the MVP, instead Brees is? And how in the fucking hell can you tell who the MVP is when that player plays all 16 games? If Tom Brady plays all 16 games and throws for 6000 yards and 98 TD's, is he not the MVP because the line didn't move due to his never getting hurt? This ridiculous method to choose the MVP requires the person to become injured in order to see how much the line would move. Also, this theory is subject to so many outside influences that can affect a gambling line that I can't believe I've wasted this many words talking about it. It's dumb, Eric. That's why it's not a good way to tell who the MVP is.  

My old ESPN teammate Chad Millman once came up with a great “I wish I had thought of that!” idea called PSVAR (point spread value above replacement) that’s basically gambling VORP. Guess who had the highest number every year? Aaron Rodgers. 

It would be really nice if Bill shared how this PSVAR was calculated, but anybody who knows Bill Simmons or how he writes his columns know that PSVAR is calculated through a really shitty process that we are better off never knowing. More than likely, it uses subjective numbers to get to the PSVAR calculation. 

Our PSVAR top five for this goofy 2017 season probably looks like this:

Rodgers: +10
Brees: +8
Brady: +7
Ryan: +7
Wentz: +7
Watson: +7

That. Is. Six. Players. Not. Five. Learn. To. Count. You. Fraud.

What’s the most amazing thing about that list? 

That you are incapable of counting to the number 6? That you don't tell your readers how you came to these numbers which make up PSVAR? That even you don't know how you came to these numbers because you wrote the word "probably" meaning you haven't calculated the actual numbers and are making them up in order to prove the point that Aaron Rodgers is #1 and to feign surprise when your made up list of five players that is really six players comes to a conclusion based on fake data that you think should surprise everyone but really shouldn't, because again, YOU ARE MAKING IT ALL UP OUT OF THIN AIR?

I find all of those things amazing.

Deshaun Watson! Who knew?

Yes, who knew that Deshaun Watson would make the Top of PSVAR? Certainly not anyone who can count to 5 and knew that Watson was number 6 on the list. Certainly not anyone who still has no idea how PSVAR is calculated.

Also, I can't emphasize enough that Bill is feigning surprise at the fact Deshaun Watson is in the Top 6 of PSVAR when it appears to be a metric based on absolutely no real data. In fact, here are my Top 5 NFL players in PSVAR this year:

Aaron Rodgers (+10)
Blake Bortles (+3)
Brian Hoyer (+2)
Drew Brees (-2)
Frank Gore (-455)


This is empirical evidence that PSVAR proves the NFL is less marketable than the NBA right now!

Q: I am perplexed about the cries that the NFL is conspiring to keep Kaepernick out of the league. Isn’t this just a case of the talent not matching the headache? Other notables chased from a job for the same reason: Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, Tim Tebow, Bill Simmons.

If you want circumstantial proof that Bill makes up these mailbag questions, this is an email from "Britt" who apparently doesn't live in a city or state. More than likely, Bill put this fake mailbag question in here as an inside joke. As Britt McHenry, the ex-ESPNer and now conservative pundit, believes that Kaepernick is being kept out of the NFL because of his talent level, not as a result of his being blackballed by the NFL. So I am betting this is a made-up mailbag question that Bill put in as an inside joke directed at an ex-coworker and this is one of many mailbag questions Bill has made up over the years. 

Then Bill outlines the plot for "Speed 3." It's so bad I didn't even have the energy to copy and paste it here. I like you all that much, as there are some things I will spare you from. 

Q: There has been a lot of talk about how the Browns have blundered by passing on good QBs such as Wentz and Watson. I think this wrongly assumes that these quarterbacks would play at a similarly high level if they were with the Browns—it’s the opposite of the Ewing Theory, players of a high caliber will get dragged down on a terrible team. Can you come up with a snappier title than the “Our shit team will always result in shit players” theory?
—Brendan, New York, N.Y.

BS: The Pewing Theory? [Wincing.] Come on! He baited me into that one! Don’t judge me!

So a theory based on money charged for pews. Ummmm...okay. 

By the way? I actually believe in the Pewing Theory. 

No way! Bill believes in a ridiculous theory where he will have to manipulate certain information and leave out certain information in order to show the veracity of his theory? This is so unlike Bill.

We have nearly 20 years of evidence now that the Browns ruin everything. Twenty years! The 2.0 Browns are right around the same age as Shawn Mendes, Lonzo Ball, Markelle Fultz, the daughter from Modern Family and 528 different YouTube stars.

Bill is pretending like he doesn't know who Ariel Winter is. That's funny and kind of inexplicable from the guy who made part of his fame from making it okay to ogle Anna Kournikova when she was still underage. But whatever.

The Browns kept turning away franchise QBs like one of those tortured TV heartthrobs who doesn’t want anyone to fall in love with him because he knows they’ll get hurt.

I mean...what? This is the best tortured comparison Bill can make? 

They’re basically Dylan McKay after he came back to 90210 a few years after his gorgeous wife was murdered by her father’s mafia hitmen, only now he had a heroin problem and even MORE baggage. Guess what. Even THAT pop culture reference was older than the 2.0 Browns.

The self-awareness around knowing you are using an old pop culture reference doesn't take away from the fact that you still used that pop culture reference. That reference is from 1995, so it would be the equivalent of someone in 1995 repeatedly making a pop culture reference to a television show from 1973. Feels old. 

Q: What did you think of your dad’s performance on Curb Your Enthusiasm?
—Brendan, Perth, Australia

BS: It’s been a brutal October for my dad. The Red Sox got knocked out. The Yankees are still alive. It’s the worst Patriots team in eight years.

Oh yeah, cue those violins for Bill's father that this is the worst Patriots team in the past 8 years. This team may not even make the AFC Championship Game, which makes me wonder how Bill's father will ever get past such misery.

The Hayward-Kyrie era lasted five minutes before being derailed by the most gruesome NBA injury maybe ever.

It's so hard being a Celtics fan these days, knowing your team that spent big money to bring in Hayward in order to not win the NBA title this year still isn't going to win the NBA title this year. What a letdown.

Speaking of letdowns, Bill's mailbags are always a letdown for those who don't worship him.