Thursday, December 30, 2010

Old School Thursday: MC Lyte

ProFootballTalk and Rookie Salary Caps

There is one point in the upcoming NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement that both sides (almost) agree with--that top flight rookies make too much in guaranteed money.

Owners hate the way the top rookies sign because they are often investing in players who end up not being worth anywhere near what they paid for them.  One may look no further than 2007's #1 pick, JaMarcus Russell, who could, in theory, live pretty well on just the interest generated by the $32 million guaranteed of his rookie contract, despite the fact that he was, even in a historical context, an awful bust of a player.

Veteran players hate the fact that they see young kids who haven't played a snap taking dozens of millions of dollars out of the pool that could be paying for their next contract.  Two years ago, the late Gene Upshaw said that rookie contracts were great for veteran players, because they set a benchmark for what a veteran was worth.  Upshaw was wrong on that point, and I think a lot of players knew it was bullshit, but toed the line for the sake of uniformity.

Here's the thing that all sides know, that doesn't get talked about much--yeah, the top 10 or so picks get huge deals, but that scale slides down real fast (relatively).  Consider in 2010--#1 pick Sam Bradford got $60 million guaranteed;  #10 Tyson Alualu got $17.5 million guaranteed; #25 Tim Tebow got $8.7 million guaranteed; Charles Brown, the last pick of the second round, or the 64th best player available that year (in theory) got a 4-year deal worth $3.1 deal with $1.3 guaranteed.  If you graphed rookie's pay, it would look like a plateau that suddenly turns into an avalanche prone ski slope.

But that's kind of an aside--the main point is that both sides agree the rookie pay scale is out of whack.  It's easy to find examples of both sides complaining about it, and the necessity to change it.

Here's NFL reporter Jason La Cafona, after last year's deals started rolling in:  "There is no doubt a tight rookie wage scale will be a component of the next CBA, one that redistributes more money to current veterans and former players than what is now funneled into first-round picks. It's one of very few areas where there is sustained common ground between the NFL and NFLPA. They can't yet agree on the precise mechanism to accomplish it, but there's a tacit feeling it will be done."

One of the biggest sticking points is that the NFLPA says, "Sure, smaller rookie contracts; less guaranteed money.  In return, how about shorter rookie contracts?"  Seems reasonable.  But the NFL Owners are not too pleased by that idea, as it sometimes takes a few years to realize what you have in a player.  And what if, they hypothesize, a guy starts showing something in that third year, and they have to decide whether to re-sign him before he's become totally proven, but after he's done well enough to garner interest from other teams?  "Tethered Swimming, owners," is what I would say, but you know, I'm not an owner.

But one of the biggest fights is where the money made available by not giving guys like JaMarcus Russell $32 million dollars to buy cheeseburgers stuffed with french fries (or so I imagine) should go.  Players think it should go to giving veterans a raise (probably middle of the road veterans--no one is worried that Bill Polian won't find the money to re-sign Peyton Manning).  And let's be reasonable here--most NFL veterans are middle of the road veterans.  For every Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, there's about a dozen Patrick Cobbses.  Owners think all that money saved on rookie contracts should go (get ready for a shock) back to them!  It could be part of that whole deal they say they need, that gives them an additional $1 billion dollars, per year, to absorb the costliness of making money one has to deal with owning an NFL franchise.

So, to sum up:  high pick rookies make too much money--everyone agrees on that.  The agreement is taken for gospel, and examples of that can be found here, here, and here.
Now that this story has been sufficiently set-up, what to make of this ProFootballTalk headline?:

Pro Bowl stats tend to support league's position on rookie wage scale

Writes author Mike Florio, "The league’s unspoken message (but for the presence of the phrase “money players” in the title to the blurb) is that the best players in the league are the proven, experienced players, and thus that they’re the ones who should be getting the money, not the first-year players who, despite the hype they generate, rarely become impact players in the first year of their careers."

Combining that paragraph with that headline would suggest that the NFLPA doesn't agree with that assertion.  Funny thing is--I've proven that they do.  And Mike Florio surely knows that.  Yes, the NFLPA's job is to look after both veterans and rookies, which is why before they would ever agree to a rookie salary cap, they'd also want Free Agency to start after three years, instead of four or five or six years.  That's reasonable.  That's a difference of opinion on how to get things done, not a rejection of the thesis.  It is an easy difference to delineate.

Rookies are overvalued.  Everyone knows that.  To claim that realization is the sole intellectual property of the owners is at best ignorant, and at worst, pretty damn dishonest.  And I don't think Mike Florio is ignorant.

NFC Playoff Preview

Only the top three teams in this conference have winning records vs. the AFC. Don't overreact to that, however. Speaking of overreactions, expect the Wall of Soundbites from the sportsjacks shrieking to strip division winners of their automatic playoff spot. All jacked up over a non-winning team winning the NFC West, these assjacks will insist we have to tear down the sweet system.

It will be another short-sighted overreaction, just like changing OT rules because Brett Favre didn't get another chance to throw an interception versus the Saints last year.

By the way, the PA governor who said we're becoming a nation of "wusses" is himself a pussy, for using the word "wuss." This doesn't mean that a "pussy" is an inferior thing ... merely that they are yielding. Read the Tao Te Ching, pussies.

#1 Seed
(12-3) The Atlanta Falcons have youth, talent and power on Offense. The Defense has improved from last year in forcing turnovers and stopping points. Special Teams, while still very good, have fallen from the tip-top. Overall: outstanding discipline in turnovers & penalties, but do they have the bellyfire? Remaining game: Carolina.

#2 Seed
(11-4) The Chicago Bears Offense is fugly and the Defense is outstanding, just like always. Special Teams are the best in the league. Overall: two out of three phases can take a team very far, but Cutler will lose the game to a good defense. Remaining game: at Green Bay.

#3 Seed
(10-5) The Philadelphia Eagles Offense is dizzyingly quick and explosive but not suited to bad weather. The Defense is not dominant, but gets after the QB and forces turnovers. Special Teams are solid. Overall: a terrifying team to defend, losing homefield & a bye could force their exit. Remaining Game: Dallas.

#4 Seed
(7-8) Widely assumed to be unworthy of the playoffs, the St. Louis Rams Offense features few yards and fewer few points. The Defense generates pressure and keeps points under control. Besides returning punts, Special Teams are not a strength. Overall: it would take a great day from RB Jackson & rookie Bradford to beat any playoff team. Win and in. Remaining game: Seattle.

#5 Seed
(11-4) The New Orleans Saints Offense is still trying to find its championship perfection, but is the most clutch in the NFC. The Defense isn't forcing as many turnovers as last year, yet is playing more solid. Special Teams are the weak link on this team. Overall: with experience on their side, they have a great shot at repeating. Remaining game: Tampa Bay.

#6 Seed
(9-6) The Green Bay Packers entered this season highly overrated and are lucky to be in a Win and in situation. The Offense boasts phenomenal passing but struggles to run. The Defense allows almost no points but shows some vulnerability to the run. Special Teams are not very good. Overall: a dangerous team with some issues, they don't travel well. Remaining game: Chicago.


(9-6) New York Giants must win and have Green Bay lose: unlikely. Remaining game: DC Skins.

(9-6) Tampa Bay Bucs must win and have Green Bay and New York lose: unlikely. Remaining game: New Orleans.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

IDYFT NFL Pick'em: Final Week

It all comes down to this final week of picks. Luckily for all of us, there's no Thursday Night Football to forget about.

Whoever has the most points after next Sunday night's action is the winner of a fabulous literary prize!

But fear ye not, for the Playoff Pick'em will start up right away. All are welcome; all begin at zero and the winner will qualify for another outstanding prize.

1. Jess: 69 pts (+13)
2. Adw: 67 pts
3. Ryan: 62 pts (+3)
4. MuMan: 47 pts (+9)
5. Leftnut: 41 pts
Josh: 41 pts (+2)
6. Big BM: 30 pts (+2)

Final Week
1. Your Big Shoe-In? (+2/-4)

2. Your Little Shoe-In? (+1/-2)

3. Surprise! This week's underdog list: (+3)
Tampa Bay, Bengals, Carolina, Titans

4. Your Favorite Team Wins/Most Disliked Team Loses? (+1)

5. Clash of the Pathetic (+/-2): St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks
6. Bonus Clash of the Titans +1: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers

Bonus Questions +2
7. Highest combined score?
8. Lowest combined score?
9. Closest game?
10. Biggest Blowout?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

AFC Playoff Preview

The AFC has won 9 of the last 13 title games, and continue to dominate interconference play. It is certainly likely that the eventual World Champion will come from one of these teams:

#1 Seed:
The New England Patriots are as sharp on Offense as any team that's ever played. Pass-first excellence has opened up the run. The no-name Defense surrenders tons of yards and third downs but have a knack for making do-or-die plays. Special Teams are good, not great. They'll be able to rest starters for two weeks. Overall: with a strong O-line, an MVP at QB and 666 at HC, this is an obvious favorite to win it all despite cracks in the young D.

#2 Seed?
(11-4) The Pittsburgh Steelers ought to be leaning even heavier on their run game. Defense remains among the best in the league, with some specific injury concerns. Special Teams are a strength except for punt return. Overall: having weathered a brutal season, the Steelers are hampered by injuries, yet have good reason to believe in themselves. Win & in. Remaining game: at Cleveland.

#3 Seed?
(10-5) I never thought I could like the Kansas City Chiefs. But this team has startlingly improved, and it started with the Offense running the ball behind an excellent O-line. This Patriots-West franchise has a bright young Defense that surrenders more yards than points. Special Teams have no particular strength, but no weakness. Overall: this young team could maybe pull off a smash-and-grab, but more importantly will be serious contenders for years to come. Remaining Game: Oakland.

#4 Seed?

(9-6) The Indianapolis Colts Offense passes nearly four times as often as they run. This hasn't proven quite as effective as in the past, which has played to the weaknesses of the Defense. Special Teams are alarmingly bad, but the K is above average. Overall: the least-dominant Colts team in recent memory is nevertheless still good enough to return to the title game. Win & in. Remaining Game: Tennessee.

* Jacksonville Jaguars are still alive if they beat the Texans and the Colts lose. But this is a team that lost to the DC Racist Losers, so fuck 'em.

#5 seed?
(11-4) The Baltimore Ravens have rare talents on Offense, but don't always put together a complete game. Without question, the Defense has slipped -- they do many things well, but have allowed comebacks. Special Teams are wildly inconsistent. Overall: if they can put it all together, they have a great team ... the big 'if'. Probable Seed: #5. Remaining game: Cincinnati.

#6 Seed?
(10-5) The New York Jets are fun to root for and against, but backing into the playoffs could make for a long ride home. It remains to be seen if the Offense can consistently score. The Defense is top-five but misses leadership in allowing conversions and penalties. Special Teams are tremendous on kickoffs but the punting game is deep in the pack. Overall: this team is dangerous on the road, but it's time to drop the bullshit and play football. Remaining game: Buffalo.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

My Praise is Kryptonite: Washington State edition

Remember when two days ago, when I praised the fuck out of Washington State and shit?  They got de-pantsed tonight by Butler.  So I hope you hadn't read my praise as a license to go drop a big bet on them beating Butler.

But based on what I saw, that said more about Butler than it did about Washington State.  Butler seems to have figured out their rotation, they are without Hayward, but this team still has a lot of the guys who took Duke to the edge in the NCAA Final last year.  Guys like Matt Howard, Ronald Nored, Shelvin Mack, Shawn Vanzant, and  Zach Hahn--all of those guys, to some degree or another, contributed to last year's stellar run.  Butler has for losses, but only one of them is a really bad loss--Evansville (at home!  that's a bad loss.).  But losing on the road to Duke and Xavier and Louisville?  That's OK.  Those are all tough places to play, and kudos to Butler for giving themselves that schedule.

So Washington State is still a good team, too.  Bear in mind that this was a tournament with quick turnarounds.  I think their legs got a little tired on them.  The jumpshots were not falling for Washington State when they needed them to.  They lost by sixteen, but were, several times, within one shot of getting the game under 10 points with plenty of time left.

What the Fuck, LeBron?

I remember fondly when I defended LeBron James and when I mocked his old boss (who certainly deserved mocking).  "The Decision" bothered me, but not as much as it did other people.  It was silly, sure.  Absolutely.  But, hey, if ESPN tells you that they'll pay you and your favorite charities to announce where your next job is going to be, I'll bet you'd do it.  No big deal.  Why not, right?

But this?  This is a big deal, and I don't know if James knows how badly he stepped in it.  James said to reporters, “Imagine if you could take Kevin Love off Minnesota and add him to another team and you shrink the (league)...I’m not saying let’s take..Minnesota out of the league. But hey, you guys are not stupid, I’m not stupid, it would be great for the league.”

Hey, LeBron, I'm not sure you are not stupid.  Because that's a pretty fucking stupid thing to say.

Let's be clear--the NBA is headed towards a big showdown between labor and ownership.  It might just be as big as the one the one coming in the NFL, except nothing is as big as the NFL.  And let's be clear again--a player advocating for shrinking the league is advocating for less jobs in his own union.  It's a dick move of unbelievable proportions.  It hurts his teammates--maybe not Bosh, or Wade, but Guy on The Bench #8?  It fucks him hard.  

And you have to single out the Minnesota Timberwolves?  Fuck you, LeBron!  You weren't aware of how good Kevin Love was before this year; your Miami Heat gave the Timberwolves Michael Beasley so they could sign you, for fuck's sake.  The Wolves are not very good, to be sure, but they might be in a year.  They could be very, very good.  The Timberwolves need to be contracted because they only have one player worth having?  KLOVE has been super-awesome this year, and was pretty damn good last year, but this argument ignores the talents of Martell Webster, Wes Johnson, Jonny Flynn, Michael Beasley, and even Darko Milicic.  The Timberwolves have the youngest roster in the NBA.  The idea that the youngest team in the league should be contracted so the likes of Miami can grab their best players is disgusting to me. But you know who really hates that kind of talk?  The NBPA.

And hey, while I am it, fuck Yahoo reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, for his bullshit description of what is happening here in Minnesota:  "The Timberwolves and Grizzlies are in such terrible shape because of ownership and management decisions. They’re messes because Stern has fostered so many incompetent ownership groups under his watch, and then pushed bad executives into small markets in political paybacks."

Hey, the Twin Cities are not a small market.  The Twin Cities are the 10th biggest metro region in the country.    The Timberwolves, more than a half decade ago, admittedly, gave the Lakers all they could handle on their way to a Championship.  Yes, the current team has six wins, and a whole lot more losses, but they are building.  If you watch the Timberwolves, (which most of you do not get a chance to do, I know), you'll see a young, exciting team that is young, but just needs to learn how to play some defense, and how to protect wins down the stretch.  Again, Darko, KLOVE, Beasley, Webster, Johnson, Flynn is a great nucleus.  And maybe Ricky Rubio joins this team, and maybe the draft picks the Wolves have stockpiled pay off.  LeBron would never suggest contracting the OKC Thunder, because they are too good.  Give the Wolves another year, and they'll be where the Thunder was last year.  

Fuck LeBron for advocating fewer jobs in his union.  Who does that?  And fuck Wojnarowski for suggesting the Wolves are not on the right track.  They totally are.  But mostly?  Fuck LeBron.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from Patton Oswalt

Not for your kids, folks.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rachel Maddow Covers Waffle Throwing Hockey Fan

Let's pretend that hockey is a major sport.  That lady on MSNBC who stole Jack Donaghy's haircut is.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Donovan McNabb's All Purpose Response

Take a second of an advertisement for a horrible, horrible soda that won't be named here (hint:  it rhymes with Proctor Wepper) and re-purpose it to make it McNabb's all purpose response to what has happened in Washington.  Here's how it works.

Hey, Donovan--what went through your head when Shanahan benched you against Detroit because you were not fit enough to run the two minute drill, only to watch Rex Grossman lose the game right off the bat?

Hey, Donovan--what were you thinking when you heard that Mike Shanahan said that since the season was lost, it was time to sit you, and even make you the 3rd QB, so the Drunken Savages could see what they had in Rex Grossman?

Hey, Donovan--what did you think when Shanahan said you'd be welcomed back to the Drunken Savages, but only as a back-up QB?

Feel free to find your own questions that Donovan can answer!

Best Unranked Team in the Country is...Washington State, Maybe

Frankly, that headline may be a bit of a cheat, because come Monday the 27th, I'm pretty sure Washington State's 10-1 record (that one loss a close one to then #5 Kansas State before the shit went down) coupled with their win over the #15 Baylor Bears tonight will finally get them the notice that they have deserved.  

Doubters may justifiably point to their schedule, and specifically, the lack of top-notch teams that the Cougars have played up until tonight's game, and that's a reasonable observation.  But that sort of thing hasn't really stopped a team like Syracuse, for example, to reach the Top 5 of the National Polls without playing a single game on the road, and featuring mostly cupcakes like William & Mary, Detroit, Canisius, Cornell, Colgate, Iona, Morgan State, and Drexel.  Sure, Syracuse undressed Michigan State in NYC, but so has just about everybody of late (including Texas in East Lansing).    (Incidentally, Syracuse has one game against Georgia Tech that's listed as an "away" game--it was played in Atlantic City.  Yeah, they were on the road.)

I don't mean to pick on Syracuse (OK, yes I do) it's just that they started the season highly ranked, and the fact that they haven't lost to a bad team hasn't just kept them where they started ranked--it's moved them up.  As I joked awhile back, a three-point win over William & Mary should have maybe moved them down the rankings. Frankly, so should playing thirteen games in New York.  Play someone on the road outside of your conference schedule!  Just once!  

But let's talk about Washington State.  Let's start with the best player you probably haven't heard of (unless, somehow, you've managed to still follow the PAC-10, despite the slide that conference has been on the last couple of years)--Klay Thompson.  Yes, "Klay" with a "K".  He's the son of former Laker (and former Timberwolves announcer) Mychal Thompson, so the funky spelling is apparently genetic.  Klay is a junior and  a good sized guard--6' 6", with a deft shooting touch, and an ability to create space for his own shots.  He's currently averaging over 21 points a game this year, and does a bunch of little things that help his team win.  When Washington State ate Gonzaga's lunch earlier this year, Thompson didn't just put up 24 points--he grabbed 6 boards, threw 6 dimes, and had seven steals.  That's a well rounded game right there.  He makes them go, and having a legitimate star on a team is a big part of being a dangerous team come March.

They don't have a real talented big man, but they are deep--four guys over 6' 10"; the most important being Australian sophomore Brock Motum, who is certainly capable of getting into double digit points, and will, as the season rolls along, start racking up some double-doubles.  

The team is built around a core of seven guys, with five juniors.  That's a luxury in the NCAA.  And they can play pretty long.  With Motum on the court, they can go 6' 10", 6' 8", 6' 7", 6' 6", 6' 4.  When your best player is a 6' 6" guard who can create his own shot, generate turnovers, and drop some assists for his teammates, you have a lot of flexibility.  

I should also note that this team can win without Klay Thompson--against Baylor, due to some foul trouble, Klay tied his second lowest amount of minutes all season long--27 minutes.  Sure, that still sounds like a lot, and it is a good number, but he's usually on the court for well more than 30 minutes of game time.   In that time--20 points, 4 assists, 3 steals.  I don't think anyone can necessarily wrest the Player of the Year awards from Kyle Singler, who was anointed with those accolades before the season started, but Klay Thompson will get some votes.

In what I think is still a weak PAC-10*, watch out for Washington State.  And given that for those of us in the Midwest and certainly folks on the East Coast, we won't get to see them play much, remember what I'm telling you now.  You are welcome.

*Consider, the December 20th Top 25 had two teams further west than Texas.  And neither of them are in the PAC-10 (or is Gonzaga!).  That's San Diego State University, and BYU.   Others receiving votes include both Washington and Washington State (the only PAC-10 teams) and UNLV, Gonzaga, St. Mary's, and New Mexico (who just lost to Northern Iowa).  

image courtesy of AP

Old School Thursday: Run DMC

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

IDYFT NFL Pick'em: Week Sixteen

I'm sorry to say that nobody nailed Brett Favre missing week fourteen. But so long as he missed it, all is well in Candyland. Look at those playoff matches: they're going to be pretty sweet.

We're down the nitty gritty here in our regular season pick'em. There will be extra Season's Greetings! bonus points over the next couple weeks, so this action is definitely heating up. This is every contestant's last chance to earn a valuable literary prize! Buckle your chin straps and dig yourself into the dirt: it's third and six in the fourth quarter, bitches. End Game!

The 2010 Playoff Pick'em will begin immediately at the conclusion of the regular season. For the playoffs, everybody will start at zero, and there will once again be a guaranteed* fabulous prize.

Pen-Penultimate Standings
1. Adw: 67 pts (+10)
2. Ryan: 59 pts (+1)
3. Jess: 56 pts (+6)
4. Leftnut: 41 pts (+5)
5. Josh: 39 pts (+4)
6. MuMan: 38 pts (+4)
or maybe you'd rather win the Booby Prize!

Week Sixteen
1. Your Big Shoe-In? (+2/-4)

2. Your Little Shoe-In? (+1/-2)

3. Surprise! This week's underdog list: (+3)
Buffaloaf, Bengals, Carolina, DC Racist Losers, Vikings

4. Your Favorite Team Wins/Most Disliked Team Loses? (+1)

5. Clash of the Titans (+/-2): New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
6. Bonus Clash: (+1) New York Jets at Chicago Bears

Bonus Questions +2
7. Which game will produce the least total points?
8. Which game will be the closest?
9. Which team will lose a fumble?
10. Which team will miss a FG?

IDYFT Cup Standings
1. Bears = +3 (are there any Chicago fans reading? Care to drop some lawn darts here?)
2. Packers, DC Racist Losers = 0
3. Vikings = -1
4. Lions: -2

* not a guarantee

Friday, December 17, 2010

ProFootballTalk Makes Me Defend Miles Austin

How much do I not care for Miles Austin?  He's a Dallas Cowboy--and for a fan of the Washington Drunken Savages, that's Strike 1, 2 and 3 right there.  He's a late bloomer who burst on the scene, fucking up secondaries like it was second nature last year (though let me note that the Drunken Savages did as well as anyone did against him, holding him to 11 catches and under 150 yards in two games).  He's also one of those smiley, positive "I can't believe I get paid millions and millions of dollars to play this game.", which I know a lot of people find endearing, but I can't stand it (particularly, again, when they have that big stupid star on their helmet).  So it fills me with anger and rancor and maybe just a pinch of poopy-pants to have to defend the man against a very brief, but very wrong post on PFT.

In the post, "Jerry Jones Has No Regrets with Miles Austin Contract", PFT writer Michael David Smith writes, "there’s no denying that Austin, who signed a six-year, $54 million contract in September, has declined: In 2009, Austin had 81 catches for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns. With three games to go this season Austin has 58 catches for 826 yards and five touchdowns....[Austin] was paid in response to his 2009 Pro Bowl season. Now he’s not playing at a Pro Bowl level."

Umm, is anyone else noticing some really crazy lack of context here?  The Dallas Cowboy franchise went down the shitter this year, and Miles Austin isn't even in the Top 10 of reasons why.  

To start with, it seems pretty unfair to compare numbers from a complete season to an incomplete season.  Let's be very clear--I don't think Austin is going to make up the 500 yard and 6 TD difference he has to to match last year's numbers.  But with three games to play, and a decent QB under center, it wouldn't be all that hard to imagine Miles Austin catching an average of seven passes a game for the next 3 games, which would give him 79 catches for the season, statistically a dead heat with last year's 81.  

Of course, as much as the press (and Cowboy management) has pretended that 38-year-old Jon Kitna is a top-flight QB, he isn't--hasn't been since his glory year (2003) in Cincinnati,  Funny that Michael David Smith, whilst discussing Austin's decline, doesn't mention the most obvious factor--Jon Kitna.

Consider, if you will--The Cowboys had a bye week in Week 4, and Romo went down in Week 7 after seven pass attempts.  So, we have a sample size of 5 games of Full Romo Action to work with.  In those 5 weeks, Austin had 33 receptions, 486 yards, and 2 TD's.  Extrapolate that at out, and you get full-season stats of 105 receptions, over 1550 yards, and 6 TD's.  Of course, TD's are often the luck of the draw.  Did you hit the pylon, or did you step out on the 1 inch line, etc?  So, we can see, statistically, that Miles Austin was doing pretty damn well until Tony Romo went down, and he was replaced with a 38 year old journeyman QB who hasn't thrown the deep ball in at least five years.

I am by no means comparing the two men in terms of skill at the WR spot--I have no doubt that Larry Fitzgerald is more talented, but I'm going to make my point this way--"Hey, last year, Larry Fitzgerald had 97 catches, almost 1100 yards and 13 TD's!  This year, he's only got 69 catches, 860 yards, and 5 TD's.  What's wrong with Larry?"  See?  That's stupid.  It seems obvious on its face that for a receiver to catch passes, he has to have a QB who throws at him.  Duh.  Snuh.

I'm not suggesting that Jerry Jones was smart to sign a 26 year old to a big 6 year deal (though we all know that NFL contracts don't ever really last their entire length, right?), but let's be honest about why and how Austin's numbers have declined.  An imploding team, with a coach who got fired mid-season, an old second QB who doesn't throw deep, and the emergence of other threats (Dez Bryant, anyone?) that have possibly, just possibly impacted Austin's numbers.  But you know, if you want context and analysis, don't go to the website dedicated to the NFL and staffed by professional writers.  Jesus Wept.

Dear Racist Losers: I Quit

Rex Grossman.

When I'm done throwing up in my mouth, I look forward to previewing the 2010 playoffs.

But as for Washington? I'm done ruining my Sundays watching you. I'm finished wasting time writing about you. I quit.

I've seen my team quit in games, quit in seasons. Endured twenty years of garbage. Suffered the worst owner in pro sports. The inflated hopes of every offseason, the cripplingly pathetic reality which crushes the hope of playoffs by early November.

All along, I knew that if I were able to be objective, I would revile this team. Criminally racist name, nauseatingly misguided leadership, offensively mercenary personnel. And now Gross Rexman, the player I've excoriated more than any other, is my starting QB?

No. No more. Fuck you, Redskins.

Maybe by the time football returns in 2012 (20 games of flag football, points awarded for best celebration dance) I'll have a favorite team again. Maybe. No guarantee it will be you.

Rex Grossman is the starter!

Huzzah! The future of the Redskins is here!

Shanahanagains - first class!

Old School Thursday: Young Black Teenagers

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pretty Sure That's Against the Rules, Jim Petersen

For the record, not the only time in this game Jim Peterson referred to "sucking off". That can't be the NBA approved phraseology. (Fox Sports--12/15/10)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

IDYFT NFL Pick'em: Week Fifteen

The winter weather shall not be denied! This is the time of year when pass-spazzing teams must face serious calamity when they play outdoors. Except for the Patriots, who are apparently still collecting on their deal with Satan.

Jess and Adw picked up the only bonus points, as DC found a new way to lose: the snap for the game-tying extra point went higher than my blood pressure. Any chance this black cloud hanging over my favorite team was called into being by offended Indians?

Detroit received no love from our participants, and surprised everybody by beating the woozy Packers. Don't worry, the Lions are back on the underdog list yet again.

1. Ryan: 58 pts (+8)
2. Adw: 57 pts (+8)
3. Jess: 50 pts (+4)
4. Leftnut: 36 pts (+5)
5. Josh: 35 pts (+5)
6. MuMan: 34 pts
7. Miwacar: 28 pts
8. Big BM: 26
9. Barnyard: 23

Week Fifteen
1. Your Big Shoe-In? (+2/-4)

2. Your Little Shoe-In? (+1/-2)

3. Surprise! This week's underdog list: (+3)
49ers, Washington, Denver, Detroit

4. Your Favorite Team Wins/Most Disliked Team Loses? (+1)

5. Clash of the Titans (+/-2): Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants

Bonus Questions +2
6. Most combined points?
7. Biggest blowout?
8. Boner Bonus: Which team will miss a FG?

Exciting News Skins Fans!

Signs point to possible Rex Grossman Start

Thank you to

Sunday, December 12, 2010

As Far as Excuses Go, Collapsing Roof is a Good One

Here's why the Vikings and the Giants won't be playing in the Metrodome today or tomorrow.  Try not to see it as a metaphor for the season:

(Do expect it to be mentioned during the Vikings new stadium push)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Top Ten Worst Dan Snyder Signings

Over yonder, a fellow-sufferer named Brandon Keener has presented his list of the top ten worst signings since Dan Snyder engorged my favorite team. It's worth reading his take, as it's about the only thing left to discuss this season. But just to spark things on our (ad-free) side, here's the skeleton list:

10. Schottenheimer
9. McNabb
8. Zorn
7. Jeff George
6. Steve Spurrier
5. Brandon Lloyd
4. Adam Archuleta
3. Jeremiah Trotter
2. Deion Fucking Sanders
1. ? who could it be ?

I'll just fire up the Hardened Cynicism Express: where's Jason Turd Taylor on this shame list? He's got to be #3.

Check it: in 2008, Washington traded a 2nd round pick and a 6th round pick for the once-dominant DE. The Skins picked up his remaining 2 year, $16.5 million contract.

He was gone after one year, in which he started in just 8 games and recorded only 3.5 sacks. After returning to his true love (Dancing Queen Live or whatever), he admitted that he had been rooting for the Dolphins the entire time. But I explained that point much more colorfully here.

And while I wish death-by-diarrhea upon most of these chumps, some of them were put into a position where success was impossible (8,9,10). Sad indeed, that you (dear reader) can think of many more chumps who deserve to be on this list. Just to get you started, here's a list of Washington's starting QBs. Remember, Snyder took over in 1999.

One last word: only by dint of McNabb's surprising health have we not had to swallow the vomit of Gross Rexman leading the Skins. His very first play was a fumble returned for the game-turning TD. By the Lions. If he had one single start, Gross Rexman would be in the top five of this list. At this point, all I can hope for this season is that Gross Rexman never starts.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Just a Reminder: Bob Sansevere Was Really Wrong About Santana

Back in 2007, St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Bob Sansevere wrote such a stupid piece that it got national blog coverage, much of it focusing on how stupid it was that a guy writing about the Twins could lose track of who was a tradeable commodity, and who wasn't.  You can read about that here.

One of the things about that article that annoyed me at the time was that Bob seemed to suggest that the Twins, by not giving a 29 year old pitcher a six-year/$120 million dollar deal were being "cheap".  That, amongst other factors, led me to call Bob Sansevere "aggressively stupid".  

Seeing as Santana is now halfway through his six-year, $137 million contract, that will pay him $22.5 million next year, it seems fair to look back and see if the Twins were right or just working for "a cheapskate owner."

In his last two years, Santana hasn't reached 15 wins.   He hasn't struck out more than 150 batters in his last two years with the Mets.  He did that every year he was with the Twins, going back to 2003, when he was only a part-time starter.  

Part of the reason of Santana's statistical drop is his real world drop--he simply hasn't played as much as he used to--he hasn't pitched 200 innings since 2008.  But back in 2007, Bob Sansevere wasn't worried about what Santana might be in 3 or 4 or 5 years--he was a good pitcher that the Twins were shopping.  And he was a dick about it.  And he was wrong.  Just sayin'.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

IDYFT NFL Pick'em: Week Fourteen

Winter is nearly upon us. How this relates to our Pick'em isn't clear. Next week might be difficult for me to get the update done in time, but I will try. As opposed to Fat Haynesworth.

No one hit the full bonus last week, but MuMuMan and Miwacar somehow knew the Ravens would lose by three.
Nice work, monkeys. Stand by for lift-off.

1. Ryan: 50 pts (+5)
2. Adw: 49 pts (+4)
3. Jess: 46 pts (+1)
4. MuMan: 34 pts (+3)
5. Leftnut: 31 pts (+2)
6. Josh: 30 pts (+6)
7. Miwacar: 28 pts (+4)
8. Big BM: 26 pts
9. Barnyard: 23 pts

Week Fourteen
1. Your Big Shoe-In? (+2/-4)

2. Your Little Shoe-In? (+1/-2)

3. Surprise! This week's underdog list: (+3)
Rams, Bengals, Detroit

4. Your Favorite Team Wins/Most Disliked Team Loses? (+1)

5. Clash of the Titans (+/-2): Oakland Raiders at Jacksonville Jaguars

Bonus Questions +2
6. Which game will have the most combined points?
7. Which game will be the closest?

Go Fuck Yourself You Stupid Fat Fuck

Albert Haynesworth, reportedly benched for missing practice due to a hangover, had this to say: "If I didn't have a good practice, sue me."

Get this steaming load of crap off my front lawn already. Ok fatty? You win. Take your money and your diuretics and fuck off.

Q: What's the difference between a $100 million bag of shit and Albert Haynesworth?

A: The bag.

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Josh McDaniels Era Comes to an End

Denver did what everyone was waiting for them to do in firing Josh McDaniels, and you can take your pick of reasons, for they are several and each individually would be grounds for being pretty pissed with the guy--the forced departues of Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Peyton Hillis probably rank pretty high for most fans.  There's the taping of practices and the like.  

To me, though something that has gone unmentioned as far as I can see is the way the Broncos lost this past Sunday.  Losing to the Chiefs even though the Broncos held them to 10 points has to annoying, but the game management down the stretch was just so unbelievably chickenshit that it demanded action.  I think if are winning games, you get away with a videotape scandal (see Belichek).  If you are winning you can get away with rubbing players the wrong way a lot of the time (see Parcells).  

But if you are down 4 with 3 minutes left to play, and you are facing a 4th and 5, and elect to punt even though you have only 2 timeouts left?  You are either a horrible game manager, or you are playing simply to not lose worse than you are already losing.  What's the point of keeping a coach who makes bad personnel moves, hires a guy who gets caught cheating, and can't even summon the balls to go for it when a game is absolutely on the line?

Denver Owner Pat Bowlen knew the answer:  there is no reason to keep a coach like that.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Sad Sack Skins Insalubriously Suck Sackfuls of Scrotum Sacks

I don't have the heart to dig into it right now, but there is so much wrong with my football team that a year off might be in their best interests. Not mine though. Go Jets.

Ok but just one point about that brilliant switch to the 3-4? Comparing it to last year's woeful 4-12 team, our new defense is worse in every single goddamn category. As bad as the team was last year, this is worse.

Actually, Washington has improved in one category, 3rd down percentage: they went from letting up 40% in 2009 down to 35% this season. That small step forward is offset by falling from 24% on 4th down to allowing 78% percent this year.

I think that about sums it up.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Speaking of LeBron James and Larry Gilbert and Charles Pierce

Charles Pierce has had it with Cleveland fans who are whining and crying about how they've been betrayed by a player who went to play for a better team.

I agree, obviously.  I wrote, back when LeBron finally announced his decision, that maybe the fans were getting baited by ownership to ignore these facts:  "Maybe LeBron, in his seven years, expected to have more than 2 teammates (Ilgauskas and Mo Williams) make it to the All-Star Game.  Maybe the average Cavs fan deserves a better overall roster than this.  Maybe, just maybe, the Cavs fans, who had one of the best players in the World over the last half-decade, deserved a team that made a push for a championship in a real way, and didn't blow their salary cap on old men and wash-outs and also-rans.  And you know, hindsight is 20/20, and all that, but LeBron James didn't draft Luke Jackson ahead of Al Jefferson; The Cavs management did.  I guarantee LeBron James didn't trade away the 2005 First Round Draft pick way back in 1997!  Cavs fans don't deserve "cowardly betrayal", fine; they do deserve competent management--that has been sadly lacking, and yet, this team keeps going deep into the playoffs."

If it were a just world, LeBron would not have getting booed as he put the Cavaliers in the hurt locker tonight--it would have been Dan Gilbert, who is a dirty-ass businessman, first class pussy/psycho, and who never bothered to find the secondary All-Star that all great teams have had.  Jordan had his Pippen; Magic had his Kareem (or vice versa); Bird had his McHale.  Who was LeBron's complimentary player in Cleveland?  No one, because Dan Gilbert was a cheap motherfucker.  

Hey Cleveland, get over a great hometown kid who gave you seven years and left only went it became clear that your owner wouldn't give him a real team to play for.  Boo Dan Gilbert, you idiots!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Qatar Wins World Cup Bid That US Was Going For; Justified Outrage Next

I'm no proponent of American Exceptionalism.  I've met far too many extra exceptionally stupid Americans to believe that we are inherently the best nation on Earth.  Also, I've met too many statistics that suggest otherwise. But when I heard that the US lost out to host the World Cup in 2022 to Qatar, my first reaction was that the news had to be a joke.  That the Onion had gotten involved.  Something.  But no, it is real.

Qatar.  Never qualified for a World Cup.  Not a single city with more than a million people.  And yes, big cities are needed, because they have the built in infrastructure to deal with all the folks who come streaming in to say Berlin, or Washington DC, or Rio, or Doha(?)  Seriously, World Cup Committee?  Qatar?  Are you sure you weren't kidding?

Average high in July in Qatar?  106 Degrees (f).  Average low?  84 Degrees (f)!  Good luck, teams not comprised of Bedouins!

I'm not alone in this reaction.  I think most of the Western World is kind of scratching their head, but I leave it to my fellow opinionated bloggers to get at the heart of it.

There's the reliably pissy and liberal Charles Pierce (who I don't read enough of, dammit):  "Qatar  isn't the worst  of them. Still, it says something about the corrupt old buffet-grazers at FIFA that this particular flea-bitten gas station was chosen to host the 2022 World Cup over the United States. Some things about international sports governing bodies never change, and the sweet-tooth for authoritarians is always right at the top of the list."

And here's That's On Point's Cardillo:  "FIFA, who clear[ly] love a couple things: sashes, United Nations translation ear pieces and shiny things. These are people who's very ethos is to be wined and dined and scurried around into VIP enclaves of exclusive clubs and presidential hotel suites. Playing games in 150 degree summer heat on a tiny, nation on the Arabian penisula? Who cares! Pass the wine ... oh wait, no alcohol in Qatar? Err um ..."

To be fair, Pierce says that if you know where to go in Qatar, you can find booze.  If your hotel asks if you want access to the library, say, "Yes!"  

Old School Thursday: Slick Rick

Insightful, Matt Millen

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Vikings Are Really Timing This Stadium Push Well

The Vikings, once again, are pushing really hard this idea that they absolutely have to have a stadium right now.  This time around, it is almost comically bad timing--the team has woefully underperformed (wins against Detroit, Washington, Arizona and Dallas notwithstanding), the NFL ownership is threatening a lock-out, and the State of Minnesota is in the midst of a budget crunch.  What better time to aggressively push for public money for a stadium?

The Star Tribune's Kevin Duchschere has the ineviable task of delving into the newest foray of half-articulated threats and circular logic.  I can't believe that I haven't mentioned him by name before, but it should be mentioned that Lester Bagley has been the Viking's public voice on the stadium issue forever, and one assumes he gets tired of saying the things he has to say.  Let's delve in!

1.  Lester Bagley says the threatened lockout shouldn't affect talks for public funding of a new stadium.  Why shouldn't it?  Bagley doesn't really explain why; he just says, "We've been facing excuses and reasons not to proceed for 10 years."  The fact that they are completely valid reasons doesn't seem to enter the equation for Bagley.  If the owners get their way, they are about to get a whole lot richer--they are trying, after all, to remove a full billion dollars from the revenue pool that they currently share with players.  That's a lot of cash, isn't it?  Shouldn't that affect what the public does with their money, at least a little bit?  Especially considering the owners say they need that money to build new stadiums!

Very quickly, as this is a little off the point, but it bothers me when I see it in print--Duchschere writes that, "Team owners, who use $1 billion for operations, say they're financially stressed and want to reconfigure the remaining $7 billion that they split with the players. Owners want to reduce the players' portion from 59 percent to 41 percent."

This is a bit of sneaky math that the owners have used from the beginning, and I've discussed it before--the owners take their over $1 Billion out of the revenue pool, and then come up with that percentage--leave it in (as any honest broker would) and it's more like a 50/50 revenue split.  So, anyway, let's move on to more exciting shit Bagley says.

2.  The Vikings say, through Bagley, that they are looking at ways to generate revenue via "user-based financing" (I'm sure they didn't coin the term--it's got the stink of a very carefully focus-group tested, NFL approved process).  You might think he's referring to things like "Vikings tickets" or "revenue generated from advertising".  No--he's talking about taxes levied by the state.  There's a feeling out there, clearly, amongst NFL owners that the best chance they have of getting public financing is raising that money through super-regressive taxes.  That's been true in the past, but let's be honest--taxes on hotel stays, or starting up new Viking based lottery tickets are not fees directed at the people most likely to go to the new stadium when it opens.  The people most likely to pay the "user-based financing" are poor people and tourists.  Hey, good people can behind squeezing the poor and suckers from out of town, can't we?  Bagley also generously says that the Vikings could get on board with casinos and slots to raise the money.  How nice of him!

3.  This might be my favorite paragraph of the whole article:  "Latest estimates put the price of a new stadium with a retractable roof at nearly $900 million. The Vikings have said that they don't need a roof and wouldn't pay for it. But Bagley said Tuesday that "there is strong support across the state for a multipurpose, year-round facility" and that "we need to have the important conversation about how to pay for the roof."

You know what this reminds me of?  Do you have a cheap buddy?  You got to Taco Bell--you get a Pepsi, he says, "You know what,  I don't need a soda--I'll just grab a water."  And then later, after you finish your drink he says, "Hey--you get free refills, right?  Can I grab a soda?"  And you just kind of shake your head at him?  That's what the Vikings are doing right here, but with a $100 Million Dollar Roof.  Read that statement from the Vikings again--they don't need a roof, so they won't pay for one, but the facility itself will clearly need a roof, but it should be public money that builds it, even as the Vikings are passing the hat around begging for money to build the thing in the first place.  That kind of logic makes me want to laugh out loud, except that it is so cynical and is so dishonest that I don't know what to think.  The Vikings are saying that they don't need a retractable roof stadium?  That they just need a big dome?  Because THEY ALREADY HAVE ONE.  And I know they aren't arguing for an open-air stadium, not when one of the arguments for a new stadium to be trotted out at some point will be that a new stadium will give them a shot at hosting a Super Bowl (which I've also discussed).  So if the public does pay for the retractable stadium, will the Vikings agree to always leave it open?  Or always closed?

Remember that when Lester Bagley says, "But we can't afford to let the Vikings become a free agent," that he works for the fucking Vikings, not whoever "we" is.

We can have an honest discussion about a new stadium--I'll be the first to admit that the Metrodome is one of the saddest places I've ever been to watch a sporting event--but it isn't an emergency situation, as much as the Vikings want it to seem like one.  An honest discussion needs to be honest--calling for taxes on poor people by calling them "user-based" finances isn't honest; saying the Vikings don't need and won't pay for a roof isn't honest; claiming that a looming massive labor problem isn't a problem isn't honest; and talking about the great things a new stadium brings without acknowledging that raising $600-$800 million dollars from the public trust could be used to create jobs in any number of ways that are more efficient than handing that money over to a billionaire isn't fucking honest.  
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