Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I don't know who is responsible for remixing Barkley's wonderful pregame ritual with Ace of Base, so I can't credit you appropriately. Please know that my hat goes off to you, good sir.* But even Ace of Base and dancing outside the Colosseum cannot overcome the SHOCK AND AWE of Chip Kelly's Oregon band of super soldiers.
H/T to EDSBS
*criticism for Barkley null and void because I occasionally listened to Avril Lavigne before football games.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Like me, you may have thought Brad Childress released Randy Moss because of his lack of effort and, uh, interesting press conference on Sunday. You'd be wrong.
Michael Silver, you can print it, I don't care how you put it on yo' ink:
I like to imagine that scene playing out like this, with Rodney Dangerfield in the Randy Moss role and Brad Childress played by Judge Smails:Even before Sunday’s surreal address to the media following the Vikings’ 28-18 defeat to the Patriots at Gillette Stadium – during which he questioned Childress’ leadership while effusively praising his former coach, Bill Belichick, and the Patriots’ organization – Moss had alienated some of his teammates with his brash, entitled behavior, most glaringly in an incident that occurred in the team’s locker room last Friday afternoon, Yahoo! Sports has learned.
As is the team’s custom on Fridays, a local food establishment was invited to the training facility to serve a catered, post-practice meal in the locker room. In this case, a St. Paul restaurant that is a favorite of former Vikings center Matt Birk. As the proprietors helped serve chicken, ribs, pasta and other dishes to Vikings players, Moss paced up and down the serving line and loudly expressed his displeasure with the offerings.
According to one player who witnessed the scene, Moss yelled, “What the [expletive]? Who ordered this crap? I wouldn’t feed this to my dog!”
Anyway, moving on:
Said the witness: “It was brutal. The truth is, he deserved to be cut after that. It was such an uncomfortable moment. You know that feeling where you just can tell someone feels so small? That’s what it was like being there.
“This wasn’t a chain – it was a mom-and-pop restaurant, and you could tell it was their best stuff. They had a special carving station set up, and there were players and other support staff lining up to eat it. And [Moss] is at his locker saying, ‘You know, I used to have to eat that crap – but now I’ve got money.’ You just felt so sad for them. I had never seen anyone treated like that.
“And by the way, the food was actually really good.”
While I can't condone that type of behavior from Moss - it just doesn't fit with the hyper-annoying, Minnesota-based, passive-aggressive way of complaining only when the people you're complaining about are no longer within earshot - I'll reserve judgment until I find out what restaurant was catering the Vikings' meal. Because if it was fucking Dixie's, then I'm siding with Randy.
When Childress, according to one person in Monday’s meeting, said of Moss, “This just doesn’t fit with how we treat people, how we talk to people and how we act,” it was clear that he was referring to the incident that occurred last Friday. Sunday’s stream-of-consciousness statement to the media only reinforced the internal perception that Moss was going out of his way to disrespect the organization.
Disrespect. The second worst thing to cite in any reasoning, narrowly trailing "haters." What an organization.
Monday, November 1, 2010
White old hillbilly:
- calls out his coach
- refuses to be benched
- pussyfoots around and doesn't show up to training camp until the middle of August
- struggles through 7 games
- calls out his coach again
- calls out his coach for a third time
Black not-as-old hillbilly:
- dogs a few routes in one game
- gives no effort to catch a ball after he's interfered with in the next game
- calls out his coach and gives the most enjoyably bizarre press conference in a long time
White old hillbilly never suffers any reprecussions. Black not-as-old hillbilly gets cut after four games.
Brad Childress is a fucking dipshit assface moron.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Ohio State 52, Minnesota 10
Oregon 53, USC 32
Auburn 51, Mississippi 31
TCU 48, UNLV 6
Iowa 37, Michigan St. 6
Nebraska 31, Missouri 17
Virginia 24, Miami 19
Jaguars 35, Cowboys 17
Lions 37, Redskins 25
Chiefs 13, Bills 10
Packers 9, Jets 0
Raiders 33, Seahawks 3
Bucs 38, Cardinals 35
Patriots 28, Vikings 18
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Hustle down the line, Star-Tribune:
My hatred of Gardy just decreased by roughly 25%. I always thought Gardy either approved of Punto's head first slides, or at least tolerated them because the slides showed hustle or heart or whatever. BUT GARDY DON'T PLAY THAT SHIT, HOMES.
The Twins announced Friday that they have declined the infielder's $5 million option for 2011, instead paying him a $500,000 buyout. It could be the end of Punto's seven-year career with the Twins, during which he batted .248 with 12 homers and 194 RBI and drove manager Ron Gardenhire nuts by frequently diving into first base -- but also frequently dazzled with his glove wherever he played.
In other news:
The Timberwolves are 1-1. I was working Wednesday and didn't get to see the home opener, but I watched some of the game last night. They're pretty fun to watch and shouldn't be quite as embarrassing this year.
Milwaukee's not a bad team, and the Wolves controlled most of the game last night. I'm cautiously optimistic about them winning 25-30 games this year. IMPROVEMENT.
Michael Beasley looks pretty good. Being the #1 scoring option should really allow Beasley to turn into that go-to guy he was projected to be out of college. Luke Ridnour's doing a nice job running the point, and the Ridnour-Flynn tandem at PG should be much better than what the Wolves have had the past few years. Darko...well, he's improved drastically on the defensive end, but dear God is he awful offensively.
I hate agreeing with Bill Simmons on anything, but I do have to agree with him that it's idiotic what Kurt Rambis is doing with Kevin Love. Love is the best player on the team and he's only playing 25 minutes per game so that Anthony fucking Tolliver can get minutes. Tolliver seems like a smart, nice young man, but Jesus, he's nowhere near the player that Love is.
Wesley Johnson looks verrrrrrrrryyyy good coming off the bench for Wayne Ellington. Hopefully Johnson eventually can grab the starting job and continue that production in a starting role.
Finally: The Daily Gopher likes us. Hi guys! You shouldn't link to us much.We're borderline retarded.
Brett Favre's ankle blah blah blah I don't care. Turn the team over to T-Jax already.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
A 20-year old student worker died yesterday because this asshole and his staff didn't want to hold practice inside a second straight day due to high winds. Because of this, a terrified Declan Sullivan took his purch in a scissor tower high above a practice field endzone and later fell to his death.
If Notre Dame's president has any sort of balls, Brian Kelly and AD Jack Swarbrick need to be put on leave immediately, pending the investigation.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Want a Rose Bowl? There’s one man for the job.
Formerly at Texas Tech, Mike Leach – who has expressed interest in the job - is a coach who has experience using the leftover scraps of other teams to win in a BCS conference. He’s accomplished. He’s innovative. He’s not more of the same old, grind it out system that can’t win in Minnesota as long as the rest of the conference is running the same offense.
Why is Mike Leach the only coach who has expressed interest that can get the Gophers that Big 10 title they so desperately crave? Here’s why.
Experience Winning In A BCS Conference While Using Lesser Recruits
The new coach at Minnesota will initially have to win using the scraps left over by Iowa, Wisconsin, the rest of the Big 10, and maybe even NDSU and SDSU. Sure, the Gophers may eventually be able to control the state of Minnesota and siphon off recruits from surrounding states, but it’s unrealistic to expect the new head coach to come in and pull off top 25 recruiting classes in the wake of the mess left behind by Tim Brewster.
Al Golden and Kevin Sumlin both have experience recruiting in areas of the country where they’re getting scraps left over by more prestigious teams. But neither has experience taking these scraps and winning with them in a BCS conference. Mike Leach has this experience.
Leach took QBs and WRs who were so naturally talented they went in the final three rounds of the NFL draft, if they were drafted at all, and turned them into key components on one of the top offenses in the country. With the notable exception of Michael Crabtree, Leach never had NFL talent on his offense at Texas Tech, yet he consistently put out one of the top offenses in college football and had a team that competed every year in the Big 12.
Leach took the recruits rejected at Texas and Oklahoma and beat Texas and Oklahoma with them. He has experience in getting the most out of lesser talent, and winning in a major conference with that lesser talent. Whoever is Minnesota’s next coach will need to get the most out of lesser talent until the program can be rebuilt. Leach has experience doing this, and he’s the only guy out there who has this experience.
Innovative - Won't Be Using Players Recruited By Wisconsin And Iowa
One of AJR’s main points in his piece is that Minnesota needs to go back to the formula that’s won at Iowa and Wisconsin and previously at Minnesota. In fact, here’s the direct quote.
When you look at Iowa and Wisconsin, the two programs most often compared with Minnesota's, the blueprint for success becomes clear: Run the ball, control the clock, and play stout defense. Both the Badgers and Hawkeyes are built with ball-control offenses and strong defenses which both caters to the talent pool of the Midwest, and also the realization that Ohio State, Michigan and now Nebraska will always have more athletes. Another factor working against an offense built on speed and a crafty passing attack is the climate. And as much as the Mike Leach fans would like to discount this dilemma, it definitely would create issues in a passing game in November. Thus, any offense that needs more than two or three pro-caliber skill players to be extremely successful should probably be taken out of consideration.
And, well, I’m going to disagree with that about as strongly as I can.
I’m sorry, but I’m not getting excited about going back to a formula that won Glen Mason 8 games a year and got him a Sun Bowl berth. Running the same offensive and defensive schemes as Iowa and Wisconsin is a terrible idea, especially when the new coach arrives.
Because if Minnesota runs the same kind of offense as Iowa and Wisconsin, they’re competing for the same recruits as Iowa and Wisconsin. And, ultimately, that’s a battle that Minnesota’s about 4-5 years away from winning, if they can ever decisively win it at all.
A team is most successful is when they’re ahead of the curve, not behind the curve. When they’re the one setting the new offensive trend, not following the same trends other teams have used. Urban Meyer found so much success in the SEC partially because he was the one setting the new trends in offense at Florida (and partially because he’s a hell of a recruiter). Meyer didn’t succeed by following what Georgia, Alabama, LSU, and Auburn were doing – he did his own thing, used a different type of player, and developed an offense that was different from the other teams in the conference and, thus, more difficult to prepare for. Same thing with Rich Rodriguez at West Virginia in the Big East and, now that he has a QB, Rich Rodriguez and Michigan in the Big 10, and Bo Pelini and Nebraska in the Big 12. See also: Oregon in the Pac 10 and the offense Chip Kelly has used since he came over to run the offense in 2008, what Chris Peterson has been doing at Boise St. since he arrived, and, to a lesser extent, what Gus Malzahn is doing with his veer option and Cam Newton at Auburn (Pelini uses similar concepts at Nebraska, where Taylor Martinez is having fun and being awesome).
Why these offenses are so successful is that they’re both different from what’s usual and they’re run by smart people who actually know what they’re doing. Leach’s spread offense would be unique to the Big 10 and much different than what teams prepare for week in and week out. And Leach is smart enough to design schemes that work with the players he has, as his time at Texas Tech proved.
If you want the same type of season as was here when Glen Mason was in charge – i.e. a season with a 6 win floor but a 9 win ceiling – then hire someone who runs a grind it out offense. If you want someone who runs an offense that can actually get you to the top of the conference based on the offense’s success, then bring in Mike Leach and his spread passing attack.
Leach can make an offense work with guys like Adam Weber. If Leach had a weapon like Eric Decker, Decker would have had Crabtree-like success. Leach knows how to get the most out of his players, most of whom wouldn’t start in a system run by Iowa, Wisconsin, or most of the other teams in the Big 10. His team doesn’t need two or three NFL caliber players to be successful. Most years, they barely had one.
Oh, and finally: yes, “extreme weather” is a concern for any spread offense, because it’s tougher to throw in the snow. But Joe Tiller had Drew Brees throw like 58 times per game when Brees was at Purdue, and his offense didn’t get bogged down in extreme weather. Northwestern’s wacky taffy offense doesn’t slow to a crawl when the snow hits either. Weather concerns, which may play a role in an average of one game per season, aren’t a valid reason to not run a spread offense.
Previously Rebuilt A Program
All three of the candidates AJR has mentioned have remade a program before, but none have remade a program in a BCS conference.
Leach took Texas Tech from a perennial bottom feeder into a team that contended for the Big 12 title on a yearly basis, and Leach did it with a Texas Tech program that doesn’t have anywhere near the advantages Minnesota has in terms of facilities or financial backing. Al Golden’s done a nice job turning around Temple, but I’ll take the guy who’s turned around a program in a BCS conference instead of the MAC, thanks. For the number of wins each coach has in BCS conference games, consult the helpful visual aid below:
Leach's System Doesn’t Require Five Star Recruits
As was briefly discussed, Leach’s offensive system doesn’t require a gaggle of NFL prospects for it to work, and that’s important for the Minnesota program.
Look, I’m sure we’d all love to believe, like our favorite sports fans do, that Minnesota is going to turn into an NFL hotbed in the near future, but realistically that’s not going to happen. Minnesota needs a coach with a system that doesn’t require NFL prospects for the system to work. Leach’s system is one such system. Troy Calhoun’s system at Air Force is another system that’s the same way, but it’s more difficult to find a QB on the recruiting trail who can effectively run an option offense than it is to find a QB who can run Mike Leach’s offense.
Leach has turned chicken shit into chicken salad before at the QB position, and he can surely do the same with guys of Adam Weber’s talent level.
Entertainment Value And Buzz Factor
Yes, some of this buzz would be of the bad kind, because of Leach’s problem with locking Craig James’ kid in a closet. As someone who really only cares about winning and has locked his fair share of kids in closets, trunks, vans, and other dark areas, Leach’s past doesn’t bother me, but I’m sure a number of Negative Nancies in the Minnesota community won’t like him. And I suppose it wouldn’t be difficult to negatively recruit against him by using the “hey, don’t send your kid there, because Mike Leach will lock him in a closet,” but most coaches can overcome negative recruiting. Hell, Lane Kiffin still pulls in top classes. If that asshole can do it, so can Leach.
That said, fuck all the dipshits who don’t want Leach because of his past. Leach’s kids at Texas Tech didn’t have a reputation for raping or cheating or any of the other off the field transgressions that have plagued the Minnesota football team in the past, and that’s really what’s most important for the power brokers at Minnesota – how the program is presented, not how the coach irresponsibly punishes one kid who’s probably a huge twatwhistle but still doesn’t deserve to be locked in a closet.
Want a team that’s entertaining to watch and will get people in the seats? Bring in Leach and his Texas Tech offense. Leach’s Texas Tech teams would throw the ball 50 times a game, put out 500 yards of offense, and light up the scoreboard. Sure, Leach’s teams would sometimes give up 500 yards of offense and 50 points a game too, but if there’s a choice between a 55-45 game and a 10-6 game, most paying customers would rather see the 55-45 game.
Leach may not be able to work his magic in year one, but his losses would be much more entertaining than a grind it out Big 10 offense would. And when Leach has players with a few years of experience in the offense and the unit gets clicking? Hoo boy. Just find the man a defensive coordinator, and the Gophers are suddenly contending in the expanded Big 10.
Al Golden and the others are all fine candidates who may be able to turn the program around, but who also have a high likelihood of flopping, considering their lack of success in a BCS conference and with a big program. Leach has a higher ceiling – with Leach, the Gophers can legitimately dream of one day playing in a Rose Bowl. The Gophers don't know what they're getting with Golden, Sumlin, or Calhoun. They do with Leach. And what they're getting is a coach with the experience and knowledge necessary to turn a lesser program in a BCS conference into a contender for the conference title.
Leach has more experience in a BCS conference, a better track record, an offense that would be unique to the Big 10 and thus more difficult to prepare for, and has had proven success with a group of athletes that are less talented than the teams they’re facing. Leach is the only coach on the market who has both expressed interest in the job and has all the qualities to bring Minnesota to the top of the Big 10. And he’d be a hell of a lot more fun to follow.
The Gophers will be too cheap and chickenshit to offer Leach to job, but until they make a move to grab someone with Leach’s track record, they’ll be stuck spinning their wheels in mediocrity.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Thanks to Big Daddy Drew for putting my thoughts on THE OL' GUNSLINGER WHO'S HAVING FUN OUT THERE BY SUCKING MAJOR POLE into words like only Mr. Magary can.
Did I mention we have the #1 running back and #7 rushing offense in the NFL and we are 2-and-fucking-4? I'm pretty sure we'd be 4-2 if we had a quarterback which could muster a rating of 88 instead of 68.
See you in Foxboro next Sunday.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
It's no secret that Jared Allen, the resident douchebag on the Vikings' defense has had his problems getting to opposing quarterbacks in the first five games this year. Above is Profootballfocus.com's chart (click to enlarge) of the weekly rating of Viking defensive end Jared Allen's performance thus far in 2010. Last season, #69 ranked a very impressive sixth, fifth as a pure pass rusher, which was in line with his 2008 performance numbers of seventh and fourth.
Fast forward to 2010 and if you click on the link to the full story, you will see that under their calculations Allen is currently ranked 61st of the 61 defensive ends in the NFL which qualify under the minimum number of snaps. THAT'S DEAD LAST. To be fair, he has had to battle the likes of D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Jake Long, both of which completely bitched Allen like he was a third-grade girl. What's troubling, though, is that Allen has basically been a very average DE against the likes of Jermon Bushrod, Jeff Backus and Doug Free.
This week #69 and the rest of the overrated Vikings travel to Lambeau to take on LT Chad Clifton and the overrated Packers. In the two matchups last season against Green Bay, Minnesota registered 14 sacks with Allen notching 7.5 of the QB takedowns. If Jared Allen is unable to post a sack or two this go-around, the Vikes could be in for a long evening...not to mention an even longer November and December when their season is long down the shitter.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
In the winter of 2007, many a good football coach walked through the doors of the Bierman Athletic Complex aspiring to become the next leader of the Golden Gopher football program. Tim Brewster, unfortunately for those faithful followers of the Maroon and Gold, was not one of them. Now, after three-and-a-half rollercoaster seasons with the biggest windbag in Dinkytown's history, the University of Minnesota's football program will once again commence its search for a new head football coach.
As usual, the list of names being compiled is a long and lofty one, with names like Dungy, Leach, Frazier and Fulmer at or near the top. As usual, none of those high profile names would both be willing to accept the challenge of Minnesota's downtrodden program AND be offered the job by the Maturi/Bruininks regime. After hearing the sports talk banter for the last couple of days, I came to the conclusion there will only be three candidates truly in contention for the Gophers' vacancy following the regular season. Barring an unforeseen contender (the sheriff?), one of these three men will be named the seventh Golden Gopher football coach since 1980.
Before I spell out the three candidates and their resumes, I wanted to touch on the important factors that the University needs to keep in mind during their search.
1.) He should have significant head coach or coordinator experience - No matter how right or wrong this requirement is (see: Ferentz, Kirk), there is no way in hell that Maturi or Bruininks will hire someone without a strong coaching resume like they did with Brewster. This could also help to create more of a "buzz" around Golden Gopher football if they can snag a higher profile or up-and-coming coach. And let's be honest, as of today this team is no higher than sixth in the Twin Cities area when it comes to popularity and they are headed in the wrong direction....they could use some good publicity.
2.) He should be committed to running the football - When you look at Iowa and Wisconsin, the two programs most often compared with Minnesota's, the blueprint for success becomes clear: Run the ball, control the clock, and play stout defense. Both the Badgers and Hawkeyes are built with ball-control offenses and strong defenses which both caters to the talent pool of the Midwest, and also the realization that Ohio State, Michigan and now Nebraska will always have more athletes. Another factor working against an offense built on speed and a crafty passing attack is the climate. And as much as the Mike Leach fans would like to discount this dilemma, it definitely would create issues in a passing game in November. Thus, any offense that needs more than two or three pro-caliber skill players to be extremely successful should probably be taken out of consideration.
3.) He should have ties to Minnesota, the Midwest, or the Big Ten - The worst thing that could happen with the next coach, outside of a Brewster Re-Deux, would be a Lou Holtz Re-Deux. With the amount of candidates likely to apply for this gig, there should be a coach which would not jump to a higher profile job at the first chance he gets. And if the university finds the right guy? I think quarterback Adam Weber said it best,
"... Everything is here," he said. "The university gives everything a student-athlete needs to be successful, not only academically but athletically. It's just a matter of time. We will win football games here at the University of Minnesota. It's too bad that we haven't had the success, but ultimately we will."
Candidate #1: Troy Calhoun, Head Coach at Air Force
Career FBS: 30-16, three consecutive bowl game appearances
2007 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year
2010 Salary: $750,000
Calhoun, the fourth-year head coach at the Air Force Academy, would likely get a look from the U's search committee because of his success at a school with a limited football (athletics) budget and limited enrollment. In other words, he's done more with less in his four years in Colorado Springs. Prior to taking the job at the Air Force, Calhoun was offensive coordinator at Ohio University, Wake Forest University, and in the NFL with the Houston Texans.
In addition to his experience, another thing Troy Calhoun has going in his favor is his offensive coaching strategy. In both his coordinator stints at Ohio and Wake Forest, Calhoun's teams were among the best in the FBS at running the football. Obviously, coaching at the Air Force he has adopted their traditional triple option offense which has allowed him to continue his squad's propensity to run the football. This commitment to an offensive strategy would be a refreshing change after four years of no offensive identity under Brewster.
Unlike the other two candidates on my list, Calhoun is from Oregon and has never played or coached in the Big Ten or even the Midwest. In fact, he is an AFA alum and getting him to come to Dinkytown could be tricky. Also he probably does not have ties to any recruiting hotbeds around the country, which could be a potential hurdle to success at Minnesota.
Candidate #2: Kevin Sumlin, Head Coach at Houston
Career FBS Record: 21-12, two consecutive bowl game appearances
2009 Conference USA Coach of the Year
2010 Salary: $1.1 Million
Kevin Sumlin is widely viewed as THE up-and-coming African-American head coach in the FBS. Last off-season, he was rumored for the Cincinnati, Texas Tech, and Louisville. He is in his third year at the helm of the Cougars and has strong ties to the University of Minnesota, having coached there under both Jim Wacker and Glen Mason. His Minnesota roots, coupled with his success at Houston should be enough to get him on the short list for this job. Sumlin also had successful offensive coordinator stints at Texas A&M and Oklahoma before heading to Houston.
Sumlin is different from our other two candidates in the sense that his style of play is uptempo and pass orientated. The Cougars run a spread offense, with four and five wide receiver sets frequenting the turf. Because of this, Houston has ranked first and second in passing offense during the first two seasons under Sumlin. In 2010, the Cougars rank 16th in passing offense even with their top two quarterbacks having been injured early this season. Like Troy Calhoun and the triple option, Sumlin's commitment to an offensive strategy would be a refreshing change after four years of no offensive identity under Brewster. Whether the spread passing offense could be a feasible and effective offense in the Minnesota cold is another question. For the Gophers to snatch Sumlin, who just signed a contract extension last offseason, it will likely take a package of upwards of $2 million per year and it is unknown if the administration will be willing to pony up that amount of cash.
Candidate #3: Al Golden, Head Coach at Temple
Career FBS Record: 23-21, 2009 bowl game appearance
2010 Salary: Est. $1.1 Millon
The former Penn State tight end has singlehandedly turned Temple from a garbage FBS program that won three games from 2003-2005 and turned it into a top-tier team in the MAC. He is in his fifth year as head coach at Temple and his teams have shown improvement in every season. Prior to Temple, Golden was the defensive coordinator at Virginia from 2001-2005.
Al Golden is a defensive minded football coach, using a 3-4 scheme to produce some effective defenses at both Virginia and Temple during the last decade. On the offensive side of the ball, from the looks of things he has run a very traditional offense with a successful rushing attack and sub-par passing. He is also a very solid recruiter, having produced the MAC's top class in four of his first five years in Philly. From the looks of it, his main pipeline would be to the Northeast and Pennslyvania, which is no surprise considering his Jersey background.
Golden is the youngest of the three candidates and the one most likely to be the second coming of Lou Holtz. It has been rumored that he would be in line for the Penn State position once JoePa hangs up the coaching shoes. That being said, one would think Golden would give serious consideration to a job in a BCS conference with a new stadium and passionate fan base. If the U wants him, however, they would have to pay him $2 million or more, much like Kevin Sumlin.
**One thing that warrants mentioning is the success Sumlin and Golden have had recruiting in a large metropolitan market. This is constantly a problem for Golden Gopher coaches because of the fact that their athletes are not the #1 attraction in town. Being a big fish in an even bigger pond is often a tough sell when going up against the likes of Madison, Iowa City, and Lincoln, where the student-athletes are constantly front page news. Hopefully, the administration recognizes this quality in those two leaders.**
Each candidate is be well-qualified to become the next head football coach at Minnesota, and I have the utmost confidence that one of these three coaches will take the reigns of Gopher football in the coming months. Whether or not Maturi, Bruininks and the rest of the University feels the same way remains to be seen.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Hello, friends and foes. I guess we’re back and stuff. I guess that’s good. I guess I’ll write something.
I’ve long been a proponent of the NFL. Huge fan. Football’s probably my favorite sport to watch, at least if my favorite baseball team isn’t involved. The quality of play in the NFL is superior to college in just about every way. If I’m watching top teams in the NFL play, I actually get to see quarterbacks who can complete passes more than 10 yards down the field and defensive backs who know how to tackle. The NFL doesn’t have any of this Ricky Stanzi chuck and duck offense, and NFL teams that aren’t the Bills don’t play that Oregon-style bullfighter defense.
All that said, I’m becoming more and more detached from the NFL, to the point where I’m almost indifferent to the entire league and can’t be bothered to follow the majority of games. I know this puts me in the minority of breathing American humans, considering the Jags-Titans shitfest on Monday night outdrew a fucking ALCS game involving Cliff Lee and the New York Yankees, but hey, them’s the breaks.
And just so we’re clear: yes, the Bills sucking for the past decade and continuing to suck in the present and foreseeable future doesn’t help, but Buffalo’s failures haven’t deterred my NFL love before. I used to watch just about every NFL game shown on television and follow the rest online while they were being played. I’d go to a bar just about every Sunday and sit there most of the day. I’d read just about everything I could find on the NFL. I was as big of an NFL super-nerd that existed. Now, I may have the game on at my house, but I typically mute the television and find other stuff to do.
Why am I starting to not care about the NFL now? Let’s count the reasons.
Not Acceptable: “Oversaturation”
I’ve heard the argument made that the NFL is no longer interesting due to the excessive amount of media coverage. This is bullshit. Do you not like hearing Trent Dilfer and Mark Schlereth argue about who will win the #6 seed in the AFC? Then don’t watch Sportscenter or NFL Live. Both shows blow. There. Problem solved.
Acceptable: Attending NFL Games Sucks
This doesn’t go towards my lack of interest in watching a game on television, but it needs to be said: attending an NFL game is a waste of fucking time and money. I’m going to three games in three different stadiums this year. I’ve already gone to a game in Lambeau. Lambeau is supposed to be the best NFL stadium to watch a game. Lambeau, like just about every other NFL stadium, can’t even compare to any big college stadium. The place is a fucking church 90% of the game. I was thoroughly unimpressed, and not just because of the goddamn Packer fans.
By and large, the stadiums are sterile monoliths and have the ambiance of a library. The seats are so far back from the field, unlike top college stadiums where the fans are on top of the players. The 19,531 commercial breaks during a game are fucking INFURIATING when you’re actually attending and have to wait 3 minutes in between a touchdown and kickoff, then another 3 minutes after the kickoff for the offense to take the field, and all you get to do is watch a gaga of shitty commercials on the jumbotron and check your phone for fantasy football updates and anger-inducing facebook notifications about some dickbag you went to high school with asking you to be a fan of his favorite local clothing company.
Right now, for the low, low price of a $75 ticket and $20 in parking and whatever you want to pay to stuff your face at the stadium, you get to sit in a shitty atmosphere, on the top of a fucking mountain, wait through a gadzillion mind-numbing commercial breaks, and ultimately watch a game that’s bound to disappoint you. Thanks, but I’ll spend my money elsewhere.
Acceptable: The NFL’s TV Coverage Sucks
Hey, speaking of interminable commercial breaks, you know what else sucks? The NFL’s television coverage. The announcers aren't the biggest problem, because other sports have their share of shitty announcers too (looking at you, Tim McCarver!). What sucks is the number of games shown and the access to the actual good games that most people want to watch.
Like you, I typically get five games a week (Washington at Chicago this week! My lucky day!) Most of the weekend, one game is on television at a time, meaning if that game sucks, I’m shit out of luck. And thanks to the NFL’s regional coverage, I’m bound to get at least one game involving the Bears or Lions, which, as you might expect, will both suck and blow. Over half the time, if the best game of the week isn’t a Sunday night or Monday night game, I don’t get to see it, unless I want to go to a bar or stream the game online through a shitty internet connection, which I sometimes do, or pay hundreds of dollars for Directv and NFL Sunday Ticket, which I most certainly don’t ever do.
Compare this with college football, where I can usually watch over 15 different games in a given week, and at least a few of them will involve the top teams playing. Look at this weekend: college football’s powerbrokers and television executives shift games in order to ensure that LSU-Auburn and Oklahoma-Missouri, the two best games of the week, are on national television. Will those games be good? I don’t know. But I do know that I’m excited for them, and that if they suck, I can always switch over to the three or four other games playing at the same time and watch one of those games instead. And the more games available, the greater the chance I have to watch an entertaining game. This is a good thing. If college football adopted the NFL’s television policy, I’d probably be stuck every week watching the Gophers and one other Big 10 game while hoping to get regional coverage of an SEC showdown every other week. And then I'd hate college football television coverage too.
Not Acceptable: Poor Quarterback Play
Guess what? The NFL has always had a handful of shitty quarterbacks, like Ryan Fitzawesome and Matt Moore and whoever is starting for the Jags or Raiders now. You don’t like watching shitty QB play? Then don’t watch those games. This is easier said than done, thanks to the NFL’s television coverage policy, but it’s doable.
Acceptable: The NFL Treats Their Players Like Shit
This will make me sound like some douchewad who shops at Whole Foods, but I'm really, actually bothered by the NFL’s concussion policy. Yeah, heir Goodell unleashed a new disciplinary policy this week, their new policy on “dangerous hits” is just as vague as their old one and ultimately will probably won’t do much good. I understand that’s legislating kill shots out of the game is difficult, and that too much legislation will ultimately take away from the play on the field. But that doesn’t mean the NFL should follow Matt fucking Millen’s sage advice and just ignore the danger.
I’m bothered by the idea that these guys on the field now will, in 20 years, be a drooling mess who can’t remember the names of their kids. Broken arms and legs happen. Torn knee ligaments happens. That stuff sucks, but, to me, that’s part of the game and not nearly the same as a brain injury, and those non-brain injuries are more of an acceptable risk. People can get by having to forego golf and other leisure activities later in life. That happens, and that's an acceptable risk for being paid hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to play football. Brain injuries are an entirely different matter. You can’t function without a brain, champ, unless you’re coaching LSU.
I understand the “players assume the risk and are partially compensated for the risk” argument, but there aren’t guaranteed contracts in the NFL, so let’s not go too far in saying that players are fully compensated for the risks they’re taking. I honestly don’t know the solution to this problem, outside of what is probably an impractical “better helmets that completely prevent concussions” suggestion that will come along as soon as time travel arrives. I just know that it’s an issue that makes me uncomfortable when I’m watching a game and see DeSean Jackson look like he’s dead on the field.
And this is before getting the lack of guaranteed contracts, the lack of benefits for retired players, and the No Fun League ban on celebrations and any pieces of flair on uniforms.
Not Acceptable: The NFL Is Full Of Thugs And Criminals
Oh, you mean black people? That’s what you really mean when you say thugs, right? BE HONEST, BARSTOOL SPORTS WRITER.
Guess what: every sports league has players who skirt the laws of our nation for their personal enjoyment. What’s that? The legal indiscretions of athletes turns you off to all sports? Well, good for you. All of the other entertainment industries are so clean and full of upstanding, law-abiding citizens that I can’t blame you.
Acceptable: The Game Is Stale
A large part of why I enjoy college football is the variation in styles of play. I can go from watching Denard Robinson and Taylor Martinez run all over opposing defenses in one game, then switch over to watching Kellen Moore throw all over opposing defenses the next game, then switch to watching Alabama pound their opponent into submission the next game, then cap it all off by watching Florida execute their midget-trying-to-hump-a-doorknob offense in the nightcap. There’s a wide range of offensive styles in college football. Bored with watching a ground and pound game? Watch Oregon. Bored with watching Jacory Harris throw deep and into triple coverage every other play? Watch Cam Newton’s parade of all-around excellence.
In the NFL, every team essentially runs the same type of offense. There's very little innovation. Teams can switch coordinators, but you know what you’re getting: QB under center on the early downs, some running with zone concepts, maybe some West Coast concepts on certain teams, and then shotgun on third down with largely the same route combinations. Sure, there’s a bit of variation in there – Peyton Manning runs a different offense than Ben Roethlisberger – but the variation is slim. Offensive gameplans are essentially the same low risk/low reward proposition across the board. They keep coaches employed, but there’s no fun to them. And that’s on the good teams, of which there are maybe 10 in any given year. Try sitting through a Bills-Bears game when that comes on your regional coverage. You’ll be slowly sticking your face through a sheet of glass by the second quarter.
This isn’t to say that I’m completely abandoning the NFL. I’m not. But the NFL is quickly becoming whocaresville outside of the playoffs, just like the NBA. Still, I’m also not throwing myself head-first into college football, because the BCS continually fucks up just about everything related to college football for me. At least, everything that’s not the seedy underbelly of recruiting, grayshirting, or basically anything that Nick Saban and Lane Kiffin are responsible for. Oh, and any sport where a genius like Les Miles can inevitably win another national championship with a recipe of 3 CUPS BALLS + ½ TABLESPOON FUCK IT + 2 QUARTS FREAKISH ATHLETES ON DEFENSE + DASH OF TURMERIC + ONE WHOLE PATRICK PETERSEN is not really for me, even if it is entertaining to watch.
Anyway, back on point: any championship system telling a team that if they go undefeated they still have no shot at a championship is so beyond fucked that it’s probably not even worth following closely unless my favorite team is involved in the championship race. If you were starting a sports league from scratch, in what world would you design a championship the way the BCS is designed? You’d have a playoff system in your fictional sports league, as any rational person would.
If Oregon, Auburn, and Oklahoma all finish the year undefeated and one of them is denied a chance to play for the National Title, as I hope happens, maybe the BCS will finally die, as it should have years ago, because it’s ridiculously unjust to tell any of those three teams they didn’t do enough to get to the title game when they play in a major conference and beat everyone on their entire schedule (Boise St. can go fuck themselves. They play three games a year against legitimate opponents, and this year one of those legitimate opponents is 3-3 and the other lost to James Madison). See: video below for comical perspective.
When the BCS finally dies and college football moves to a reasonable playoff system involving 8 or 16 teams, I’ll probably wean myself off from the NFL outside of fantasy football and the playoffs. So for me, the NFL’s on the clock to fix the problems with their game. By 2045, when the NCAA finally implements a sensible playoff system, I’ll finally be able to follow a sport that I fully care about again.