Monday, October 31, 2011

Antonio Garay Just Won Halloween

That's some nice hair dying, Antonio Garay.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Old School Thursday: Schooly D

Extra special Old School bonus: Schooly D on SG:C2C

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tailgating: I Must Be Missing Something

I freely admit that I don't necessarily get the appeal of tailgating. I'm not the most social of creatures (that's why I blog in my pajamas from my mother's basements, etc). But still, I'm confused that Minnesota Vikings Stadium via $600,000,000 public subsidies keep hitting that point. Tailgating!

"Sure, they could have used that money to repair my child's school, but fuck that! I get to grill in a parking lot!"

I'm sure the "fan experience" absolutely demands 20,000 parking spots (which will be controlled by the Vikings, and get more expensive each passing year), but I really don't know why part of it should be getting drunk in public on asphalt. I got over that halfway through high school college, when I found better places to drink, and learned the magic of taxis.

Again--I'm not a fan of crowds or douches I don't know offering me food, so clearly, tailgating isn't meant for me. All the same, I find it odd that it seems to be making its way into the discussion as an almost official reason to build a new Vikings stadium.

Believe you me, I get why the Vikings like it (as well as their shameless shill, Paul Allen on KFAN). Put a stadium outside of bus routes, train routes. Charge $20? $30? a parking spot. $20 * 20,000 * 8 equals what? $3.2 million a year in car parking fees? It sure would be nice to clear all that money without having to pay rent on the place.

Let's pretend that the Viking's projections are correct, and they get this new stadium built by 2015 (I'm highly dubious that when they break ground on a goddamn abandoned military munitions plant, that it will be as easy as they think to clean, but that's neither here or there). The Ramsey County's economic consultant says it would take until 2042 to pay off the $350 million than the Vikings are asking for*. That's 31 years!

31 years? That's interesting--the Metrodome, poor dilapidated piece of shit that it is, as the Vikings would tell you--not even worth attempting to renovate--that's how shitty it is--is 29 years old.  Why do I have a feeling that if a new, amazingly awesome complex in Arden Hills is built, we'll be hearing about how it is a piece of shit within 30 years?

$3.2 million in parking fees * 31 years = $99,200,000! Over the life of the new, proposed stadium, that's almost a 100 Million Dollars! And that's assuming that the parking price stays at $20, which it clearly won't.

Hey, Vikings, you dicks--how about you at least pledge to give back the money you make in parking fees, before you start bragging about all the other cities (that may or may not exist) that are ready to let you teabag them?

*Just one of the two $300+ million dollar public subsidies the Vikings are asking/demanding.

Old School Thursday: Queen Latifah

Hey kids, if you are wondering why Queen Latifah is famous, it is because she was once a rapper of some renown. Monie Love isn't famous anymore, but she was also a rapper (of British origins!) who also had some renown of her own.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Writing To Comprehension

PFT's summary

"The receivers still in Denver are just fine with Broncos QB Tim Tebow." (PFT's emphasis)

What do you, reader, take that to mean? That the remaining receivers in Denver are happy with Tebow starting? Because that's how it reads, no?

The article linked says nothing of the sort--it says that despite Brandon Lloyd's departure, Tim Tebow likes "the guys they got."

Mind you, I don't think this meant to be dishonest. I just think the PFT guys can't write a simple declarative sentence for shit. Which could have been done thusly, "Despite Lloyd's departure, Tebow just fine with Denver receivers" or, "Tebow likes remaining WR Corps". Really, there's a dozen ways of phrasing it that would be better than the chosen route.

But it will take more than that butchered job to top their all-time best worst sentence:  "The folks in Minnesota are trying to build a new stadium for the Vikings before the Vikings join in California the NBA team that once played in the Twin Cities."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Charlie Garner!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Old School Thursday: K-Solo

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wrong-Headed Stadium Analysis From (Where Else) ProFootballTalk

I know I'm beating a particularly dead, spectacularly dumb horse here, but every time Mike Florio tries to weigh in on the economics of football, I'm just struck by how wrongheaded his assumptions are.

His central thesis, never explicitly said, but constantly implied, when it comes to the Vikings Stadium issue, is "Minnesota fans are a bunch of whiny ass titty-babies for not jumping at the chance to give $650 million to their team's ownership."

The post from this afternoon is no different.

Consider this sentence, from the opening paragraph:  "With the timetable for a team to move to Los Angeles potentially accelerating, the folks elected to lead — and not merely to bend to the will of those who are inclined to complain about something/anything/everything — are beginning to actually lead, and not pander to others or protect themselves."

I'd love to follow up on that point about the timetable to Los Angeles "potentially accelerating" (funny how one word can render a sentence essentially meaningless, but Florio doesn't provide a link, even an internal one to explain where that came from. This is the same guy who cited his own so-called analysis of the QBR, even after Deadspin destroyed it.

So without PFT's evidence that things are accelerating, I'll simply counterpoint with actual facts found in Field of Scheme's post from yesterday that strongly suggests that, if anything, things in LA are slowing down.

Now, I know we here in the Blogosphere (we're still calling it that, right?) are allowed to inject opinion and all that good stuff, but what the hell is Florio on about in that second part of the sentence? Am I to understand that putting an unwanted tax through to fund a billionaire's crazy dream of a stadium is now Profiles of Courage worthy?

And talk about a dickish way to describe people who are opposed to the stadium money grab--"those who are inclined to complain about something/anything/everything." According to the polls, that is how you are apparently choosing to describe a large majority of Minnesotans?

I know I have damn valid reasons for not liking a private company taking $350,000,000 from my county. Here's something I wouldn't complain about--raise that same tax, and be able to give every kid in the Ramsey School system a free laptop, for the next FIVE YEARS*. That's just one way you could improve the county in a real way. You could improve the roads, you could provide more unemployment services; you could help out the over 16% of the people living in the county who live below the poverty line (who would be paying into that tax every time bought a needed staple of living, by the by). That number, by my math, would be about 81,000 people. You could do something meaningful, really meaningful, just by handing out all those people $4,500 checks.

Not to mention that Ramsey County isn't going to be able to just hand over $350 million and call it a day--it's going to be paying that money back for a long time (2042!)  at a total cost of that $350 million actually being $675 million. But what's a couple of hundred millions between friends/hostages?

So, whilst I'm trying to avoid using profanity in posts these days--Fuck You, Florio, and your willfully ignorant assumptions about people who are against a regressive tax to fund a stadium. You dick.

And that's not including the $300 million that's supposed to be coming from the State of Minnesota, which could be used in ways that actually benefit Minnesotans on a day-to-day basis.

I, like many Minnesotans, would have no problem voting for 1/2 cent increase in sales tax. But maybe let us, the "citizens a chance to shout it down from behind the curtain of a voting booth" (which sounds awfully ominous for what is a totally typical tax referendum..we do it for schools all the time, for example). Also, let the great unwashed rabble have a couple of choices on where that money should be spent. And it will be clear, even to the most dunderheaded, sports-centric columnist(s) in the nation that the citizens of Ramsey County aren't necessarily against taxes just because (though some are, surely), it is just that we have a different idea of what is important (did I mention the 16% poverty rate in the county that this thing is supposed to be imposed on? I think I did.)  Oh, and I don't have to just opine that Ramsey County voters approve taxes without proof--Here's an example!

In the long run, investing that $650,000,000 in the education of Minnesotans would pay far greater dividends than a stadium. That's not me being overly poetical--that's a hard economic truism, proven over and over again (here's one local instance).

*Check my math! According to the State of Minnesota, roughly 84,400 students in Ramsey County. That's, according to my calculator, that's $4146 per student, and I'm putting a laptop (and a pretty nice one) at $800--That's five laptops per student, which seems unnecessary. So you could fund a laptop for students program for years and years with the money the Vikings want for their stadium, if you were so inclined.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Damn it, FIFA12, I Hate Marketing

But I love this:

Thursday, October 06, 2011

There's a Hitch in those "To LA" Plans

Yahoo has got the quotes, but the underlying facts have been obvious for awhile--at least to those of us who read Field of Schemes.

Says Jason Cole at Yahoo, "While one source said that Goodell was optimistic about many parts of the proposal, it was clear that significant changes must occur before the league would be interested."

Those parts are, most importantly, one part, and it is rather huge--"Wait, you want to charge HOW MUCH to have a NFL team in your stadium?"

Here's the thing--the new wave of $1 Billion Stadiums simply don't make economic sense, unless you can get a LOT of free money, and/or have two teams playing in them. But given the model of a landlord of a stadium to host an NFL team? That just doesn't make sense, and the NFL would rather not that become common knowledge--because you know, there would go the big scary stick the NFL is holding over cities like Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Billion Dollar Stadiums are expensive, and whilst the NFL is popular, and it makes money, stadiums aren't where the money is really at--it is the TV deals that every NFL team makes it money. So it makes no sense to build one. No sense at all. UNLESS!

Unless you can sucker people into believing that $1,000,000,000 is a perfectly acceptable amount to pay for a stadium that gets fully used 8 times a year most years; that the team that gets 60% of the funding from outside sources shouldn't pay back those funding agents. If they are private sector, they can't make that argument; if it is public funds, than they can start talking about tax bases, and economics, and assorted bullshit.

The NFL is not happy with the private Billion Dollar Stadium deal in LA, at least in part, because it highlights what a bad deal a Billion Dollar Stadium is, if the Team in Residence is asked to pay for it.

PA, AP, KFAN and Expectations, Part 3

Let me be clear about something here, just in case you are coming in late--this isn't about bashing the Vikings 0-4 start. This isn't about bitching about Donovan McNabb, or even mocking a projection four games into the season. It is about that last one, a little bit, but I am allowed, because I was mocking those projections before the season started.

What it is about mostly is demonstrating that your local experts (especially those that have lucrative contracts to cover said team)  maybe aren't giving you the non-biased analysis you think they are giving you. Maybe that should be obvious, in KFAN's case, as their play-by-play guy, Paul Allen, is also one of their main Viking's talk guys. There's no conflict of interest there, and certainly, PA would never allow his close ties to the team get in the way of his clear-eyed prognoses, right? If you've been reading this series, you know better.

So, let's take Paul Allen's projections again, and see where we are:

Adrian Peterson:
PA's projection--"Adrian Peterson told me last night on "Vikings Live at Winter Park" he is going to run for "2,500 yards" this season, and he meant it. He can do it, too."
Reality, 4 Games in: Peterson has run for 376 yards, or about 94 yards per game. Hey, that isn't bad. Of course, in the crazy-ass projections that Paul Allen (and Adrian Peterson) put out, it's a massive failure. For AP to hit AP & PA's goal, he's going to have to average over 152 yards a game the rest of the way. Could he do that? Only on a really, really good team. Which he is not currently a part of. Which every outside observer knew when the season started.

Percy Harvin:
PA's projection-"Percy Harvin will amass 1,200 receiving yards and score 10 touchdowns, which will be a career best. He will register seven via the pass and three by rushing."
Reality, 4 Games in: 0 Touchdowns. Percy will have to score just under a TD a game to make that part of  the prediction work. As for the 1,200 yards--well, we are a 1/4 of the way through the season, which would mean, ideally, at least 300 yards receiving. Percy is at 172 yards. He's going to have up his average considerably, from 43 yards a game to over 85 yards a game to hit 1,200 yards.

Note: I like Percy Harvin. I think he's a tough match-up, with a ton of different skills. How many guys have at least 141 rushing yards and 172 receiving yards already? (I'm guessing it is guys we can all agree are pretty good, like Matt Forte and Darren Sproles). But here's the thing--Percy Harvin has never even finished a 16 game season, and PA has him surpassing his receiving yardage from last year by almost 400 yards! That was always crazy to predict. and speaking of crazy...

Bernard Berrian:
PA's projection-"Bernard Berrian will run up 900 receiving yards and about seven TD's. His per-catch average will be around 17 yards and he will resume his role as the team's best deep threat. Bernard adjusts to the ball better than any receiver we have and is more engaged to play than he has been the last couple of years."
Reality, 4 games in: Bernard is averaging 18.5 yards a catch. That's slightly better than PA's projections! Way to go, PA! If anything, you undersold the dangerous veteran talent. Wait--that's 2 catches, in 4 games, for 37 yards (0 TD's). But, hey, still--18.5 yards a catch! Berrian just has to take his 4-week total and basically double it, week in, week out, for the rest of the year, and then he'll hit 900 yards! (For the first time since when? 2007?) 

I think I'll keep doing this series, every other week, just to show how expectations from local media are often FUCKING INSANE. No offense, Paul Allen, you insane son of a bitch.

Old School Thursday: Ice Cube

NFL 2011 Quarter Season: Hello and Goodbye

Four games in, the Lions, Bills and Skins lead their respective divisions. While quite a refreshing treat for their long-suffering fans, the standings will be different by mid-season.

It's been a weird & wobbly start. With missed tackles, 15-yard flags on virtually every pass play and replays taking more time but still not getting it right, the product on the field isn't the best football we've ever seen. This was expected due to the lockout, like a sour stomach after drinking thirty Hamm's.

In the NFC East, the Philly Cream Dream imploded immediately -- I was expecting a late-season meltdown. This worries me a bit, as there's too much time for them to right the ship and make the playoffs (where they'll lose again).

The DC Skins still haven't beaten a good team, and their QB is averaging two turnovers per game. That they are 3-1 speaks to the improvement in the defense and running game. There will certainly be a multi-game slide coming up, a QB benching and then hopefully we'll continue our climb. I think we are actually building a decent contender for the future, but it'll be a dogfight (oops) in this division all the way to the last week.

There is no pick'em this year because I am leaving on Monday for a month-long writing tour in Europe. I will be finishing my new novel, The Object: a love story. While in Iceland, Prague, Budapest, Piran (Slovenia) and the French Riviera, I will have limited internet and NFL access.When I return, I will double down on the sardonic irreverence and hope to have an NFL Playoff Pick'em for the winter. Until then.

Who's lacing up my boots,
pushing me outside
onto the autumn road?

Monday, October 03, 2011

A Problem with KFAN analysis

I'd like to detail something that I heard on my way in to work that bothered me all day long.  Listening to KFAN may be a fool's errand, and I resisted for a really really long time.  Football sucked me in, and the hilarious, continued collapse of the Vikings made me stay.

This morning, a whole bunch of people were calling for Christian Ponder to start over Donovan McNabb (to their credit, hardly anyone goes with the "he gives us a better chance to win"; almost everyone seems much more attuned to the "hell, this season is done--let's get ready for next year", which has got to chagrin the hell out of the Vikings Stadium Brain Trust.  Paul Allen (or as he refers to himself, PA) wasn't yet willing to throw in that towel, but he is clearly making noises along the lines of the key problem is McNabb's play. Reasons for losses have varied week to week--not enough passing from McNabb; an ancient looking offensive plan; not enough touches for Adrian Peterson; not enough touches for Percy Harvin--but the season-long focus of derision has been Donovan McNabb.

For weeks, I've been wondering if anyone was going to notice that maybe some of the blame could probably lie with the defense, particularly the secondary.  I mean, if you blow three first half leads, each one bigger than the last, at some point one has to assume that teams are passing on the Vikings defense pretty effectively.  And that's certainly borne out by the numbers*:

Week 1:  Chargers        First Half:  138 Yards   Second Half:  192 Yards
Week 2:  Buccaneers:   First Half:    53 Yards   Second Half:   190 Yards
Week 3:  Lions:             First Half:   44 Yards   Second Half:   277 Yards  (OT:  57 Yards)

So, in this context, a fella calls up the PA Monday Morning Vikings Moaning and Wailing show.  He is a typical Vikings fan, and is upset, but instead of Donovan McNabb, he wants to talk about the defense.  He is incensed at their play, and in a deft series of maneuvers that almost seems clinical, PA demolishes the guys points before he even gets going.

The caller is Matt in Moorhead.  I'm going to paraphrase below, but if you want to hear the whole thing, you can--it starts at the 27:02 mark here.

Matt the Caller:  Hey, PA, I just want to talk about how bad our defense was--I mean, Kansas City's Offense is just junk, garbage, and to give up points...
Paul Allen:  I'm not enjoy your phone call, and I'll like to tell you why...Would you say the Lions have an explosive offense?
MC:  Yes, they are.
PA:  And yeah, the Buccaneers aren't as explosive as the Lions, but they aren't the worst, right?
MC:  Okay, yeah.
PA: The only touchdown the Vikings gave up yesterday, was on one really bad play, with bad coverage, bad safety help, bad tackling. The whole thing was bad, but that was the only TD they scored.  And, hey, Matt, if you had been told that something called Ryan Succop was going to hit 5 FG's, would you have been OK with that?
Matt:  I guess, yeah.
PA:  Not the defense's fault, then.

So it all kind of makes sense, until you stop and think about it. The Buccaneers haven't just been not-super-explosive. They've been plodding most of this season.

But mainly, I want to focus on Kansas City, because Paul Allen, by talking about all this other shit, managed to obscure something that I think is pretty germane to the whole Vikings Defense is at least partially to blame.
1. That's a weird proviso he throws out there--"If you don't count the most glaringly egregious mistake the secondary made, they didn't have any really egregious mistakes."  And it was a humdinger, by the by...If you haven't seen it, take a look. It may have been the worst defended TD pass in the league this week.

2. Hey, look--holding a team to five field goals and one TD isn't bad, but let's put that in context--it's the KC Chiefs!  You want to complain about a passing game, Vikings fans, take a look at Matt Cassel's numbers. His game against the Vikings was the first time he went over 200 yards. A team could feel pretty good about only giving up 22 points on six scoring drives, until you realize that the Chiefs scored a total of 27 points on five scoring drives--in their previous three games combined.

So, yeah, Donovan McNabb hasn't set the world on fire, particularly in the second half of games.  But maybe he just needs to do what every QB in the league needs to do to put up big numbers in the second half--play against the Vikings defense.

*I put these numbers together myself using game logs, which may not be the most accurate.  I did the best I could, and the general tenor of the numbers are correct.
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