Thursday, October 26, 2017

5 comments Bill Simmons Is Still Using His Opinion as Fact

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As always, these are actual emails from actual readers.

(Narrator) They were not.

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

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

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

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

How could we actually prove this?

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

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

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

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

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

Von Miller (’17) > John Randle (’97)

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

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

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

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

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

Bill is mailing in his mailed-in mailbags. 

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

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

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

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

… and it starts getting silly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is cancer as deadly as the Black Death? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bill Simmons as a used car dealer:

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

(Customer) "That's not true."

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

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

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

(Customer) "I believe you!"

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

(Customer) "I don't believe you." 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But culturally? NBA careers last twice as long 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BS: I can’t think of a single reason.

As I said. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, Bill needs to bash ESPN real quick. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s the most amazing thing about that list? 

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

I find all of those things amazing.

Deshaun Watson! Who knew?

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

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

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

OH MY GOD! WHO KNEW THAT FRANK GORE WAS THE FIFTH MOST VALUABLE PLAYER IN THE NFL THIS YEAR? AND HIS NUMBER IS NEGATIVE, WHICH JUST GOES TO SHOW HOW ALL NFL PLAYERS ARE TRASH THIS YEAR AND WHY MADDEN 18 HAD TO USE NBA PLAYERS TO MARKET THE GAME WHICH PROVES THE NBA IS MORE MARKETABLE THAN THE NFL!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 15, 2016

0 comments The Rams Have Been Saved! Jeff "8-8" Fisher is Gone!

I figure I may as well acknowledge that Jeff "8-8" Fisher has been fired by the Rams. It's well over due and I don't know, other than Fisher's relationship with Kevin Demoff based on his father being Fisher's agent, how he lasted this long. Even by Jeff Fisher's mediocre standards, the Rams have been bad this year on offense. He's had nearly five seasons to fix it and has pumped out more excuses than wins. The most shocking part is the Rams had just given Fisher an extension a week before they fired him. I'm a jaded human being, so I can't help but wonder if the extension wasn't a way for Kevin Demoff to do his father a solid and allow him to churn some more commissions off a coach that was a dead man walking. A son would never help his father out though, would he? The excuses Fisher had were hilarious.

"We had a lot going on this offseason, a lot of stuff going on."

"WE WERE SO BUSY!"

But sure, you also had a month head start on some teams to sort through this stuff because your team didn't make the playoffs. Moving is a big deal, especially when Jeff Fisher is the one driving the truck from St. Louis to Los Angeles. He was the guy driving the truck, right? That's how it sort of seems. Expecting his team to tune out distractions and win games, while using those distractions as an excuse for his failures is peak Jeff Fisher.

We’ve been through a lot. It’s not an excuse, but we’ve been through more than any other team in the National Football League this offseason and the moves and the travel and all those things. We’re dealing with those as best we can.”

Yes, that is an excuse. The Rams have not been through as much as Fisher wants to believe. Essentially, the entire team got traded and had to move. This happens all the time in the NFL, players and coaches moving teams. It's never an acceptable excuse. I can see a player telling Fisher,

"Well, I just can't focus because I'm looking for an apartment and I still have some stuff back in St. Louis. It's a lot right now."

How do you think that would go over?

“There was constant pressure. The coverage didn’t allow it. We had some shots. He (Goff) made a good throw to (WR) Kenny (Britt), and we didn’t come up with the ball. We would’ve liked to have seen pass interference called on that play, which is a field position change.” 

“Yeah, statistically, we had 10, I would acknowledge maybe six of them,” the coach said

Jeff Fisher is basically a comment section 10 minutes after the game is over, bitching about the officiating while trying to make it sound like's not blaming the officiating for his team losing.

Traveling to London is no quick hop. Fisher brought out his standard chestnut to excuse his team’s play after a trans-Atlantic flight.

Jet lag, travel, adjusting to the time change. “That’s the hard part of international games.” Fisher had that one in the bag

Did the Rams scrimmage themselves in London? If not, there was another team that had to adjust to jet lag and the time change. Also, HE IS BLAMING JET LAG AND THE TIME CHANGE! IF ONLY THERE WERE A WAY TO PLAN FOR THESE THINGS BEFORE THE TRIP OVERSEAS!

Why did no one tell Jeff Fisher about world time zones? He was so busy personally moving the entire Rams team from St. Louis to Los Angeles he didn't have time to research and understand basic World Geography. 

There are plenty of other excuses, especially based on the Rams roster, a roster he specifically had a hand in choosing of course. But nevermind that, it's not relevant. The key point is the Rams and their fans don't have to hear Fisher's bullshit excuses again. He was disengaged as a coach for the past year if you ask me and the fans deserve better. I would give the Rams front office credit for firing Fisher, but they gave him an extension a week earlier, so the broken clock principle applies here. 

Before I go any further, I wanted to highlight one of the paradoxes of this blog. I don't have a hand in getting any of these coaches or sportswriters fired of course. But when they are relieved of their duties, it gives me less to write about here. Gregg Easterbrook has been through three sites with his awful TMQ column, Jay Mariotti has shit all over nearly the entire online and print media industry during the time I have written here and Joe Morgan was relieved of his duties as the Sunday Night Baseball analyst for ESPN. This meant no more JoeChats, which really stunk. I don't think he deserved the Sunday Night Baseball gig based on his JoeChats, but they sure made for good material. 

I think the JoeChats are my favorite running item I had (have) on this blog. They were so awful and I was so underpaid, underworked, undervalued and any other "under" you can use in the realm of a job that I was able to get very inspired and focused writing them. Then Joe's contact wasn't renewed, I found a different job, and then found a different, different job and it's hard to find time to identify an analyst so bad at his job at the same moment I have time to write about how bad he (or she, women can suck at being an analyst too) is at his job. 

And yes, I know "Fire Joe Morgan" did JoeChats before I did. I don't think I've ever indicated I'm breaking new ground here. I was still inspired writing them, but then Joe abandoned us for a radio show and hating inconsistency on a different medium. Losing punching bags on this blog is not easy. Dylan always wanted to do podcasts, and I enjoyed doing them, but I think I would enjoy doing them more now than I did then. I'd love to do podcasts and post them here, but don't for several reasons: 

1. I have no idea how to set up a podcast to record, etc. 

2. I don't know if anyone cares at this point, mostly because I don't listen to podcasts myself. 

3. Time. I want to do them, but when would I REALLY do podcasts and who would I do them with? 

On that last note, before I continue bashing Jeff Fisher, I will share a regret I have. I had a couple "real" writers propose to do a podcast with me so we could discuss what I had written on this blog about what they wrote (after an email discussion about what I wrote about what he/she wrote) and I think I could have had some writers (featured here and not featured here) on a podcast to discuss sports issues, bad journalism, etc. if I cared enough to ask them. Okay, I would have mostly talked about the bad journalism. I didn't pursue it when I corresponded with these sportswriters for a couple of reasons: 

1. Again, I had no idea how to set up a podcast and was too lazy to figure it out. 

2. I felt it would be a betrayal of this blog's purpose. 

I had no urge to talk to sportswriters about their jobs, sports, etc because I felt speaking with them was selling out and not critiquing them like I wanted to do. It's a double-edged sword. To get a guy I bashed on the podcast and allow him to explain his reasoning for a column could be seen as me being soft. I've written what I thought already and then if we come to an understanding about what was written then I'm just Bill Simmons, a person who backs down when the person hits back against my critique. Still, at times it seemed fair to do the podcast, but I never did.

BUT, to invite a sportswriter I like on the podcast then I would see myself as a kiss-ass who simply writes on this blog because I secretly want a career in journalism and critiquing sportswriters is my bizarre way of getting attention for myself. This is, of course, not true at all.

Hey, I'm not saying it makes sense. I never cared to be a sportswriter and I saw interacting on this blog with sportswriters or journalists as a compromise against what I wanted to write. I write all of this while doing a cameo on my own blog to say I think I disagree with my line of thinking at the time and wish I had engaged more sportswriters when I had the opportunity, simply because it would have been fairly interesting content to post here. My wish to simply write and then be done with it, along with the concern that any interaction or feature from a "real" sportswriter" would diminish the intentions of past, present and future posts, prevented me from posting interesting content. I regret that to an extent. 

I bring this all up as a way of reinforcing the point that the content I post (posted/will post) here is reliant on the very people that I write about. Jeff Fisher gets fired, well there goes the Jeff "8-8" Fisher jokes. Joe Morgan is finally seen as the incompetent I viewed him as, well there goes a weekly post about his chats. I never wanted this to be about more than me writing on a blog about sports with no real long-term intentions, so I guess I succeeded in that goal. This all sounds like a eulogy, but it is not. 

Soooooooooooooooooooo...back to Jeff Fisher. There is a picture of me on my mom's fridge at home at a Charlotte Knights game in 1993. I had no NFL team at the time and didn't really watch football. I did love playing Super Tecmo Bowl and the Houston Oilers were my team on the game. So one day I saw a Houston Oilers shirt at the mall and had to have it. I bought the shirt and was wearing it to this Charlotte Knights game where the picture was taken. Maybe the reason I dislike Jeff Fisher so much is because there is an alternate universe where the Carolina Panthers never exist and I become a Tennessee Titans fan once I fell in love with football. In that alternate universe, Jeff Fisher is my head coach. Maybe that's why I don't like him and mocked his mediocrity. It could also be that Jeff Fisher has an extremely powerful agent who (I believe) encourages his sportswriter clients to only write positive things about Fisher in return for access to Demoff's other clients and Fisher's team. I tend to not like these types of things.

So here are some of the things I've written about Jeff Fisher through the years. Interestingly (okay, it's not interesting), there is no "Jeff Fisher" tag on this blog. I have 146 posts that mention him though, so it seems like I should have added a tag at some point. My comments at the time are in bold red italics and new comments are in non-bold normal font. I was probably harder on Fisher on Twitter than I was on this blog, but a lot of what was covered on this blog shows why Fisher was allowed to last as long as he did.

December 2008:

TMQ likes Jeff Fisher not only because he's the NFL's longest-serving coach, he is among the few who consistently gives straightforward answers to media questions. Against the Texans, the deciding down came when Tennessee, trailing 13-12, faced fourth-and-3 at the Houston 32 at the two-minute warning. Rather than let Rob Bironas attempt a 49-yard field goal, Fisher went for it and the Titans failed. The Reliant Stadium roof was open, and Bironas would have kicked into a swirling wind; he'd failed on long kicks in that direction during warm-ups. After the game, Fisher, who at halftime had the choice of the wind in the third quarter or fourth quarter, explained that he'd chosen the wind in the third quarter "because I thought by then we'd have the game locked up," and should have made the conventional choice of saving the wind for the fourth quarter.
Few coaches would be honest enough to admit they underestimated their opponent --

Notice how Easterbrook does not mention THAT is what happens when you go for it on fourth down all the time, you end up screwing the pooch a few times a year. I like how Jeff Fisher is complimented here for admitting he underestimated his opponent and making a bad decision that cost his team the game,

Even back in 2008, Jeff Fisher was not properly preparing to face his opponents. He's literally not changed. He does not plan before, during or after a game. It's inexplicable the amount of job security he had.

January 2012:

Simply put, Fisher wanted to avoid another situation like he had in Tennessee, where owner Bud Adams, if he chose, could tell him what to do on personnel. Adams told him in 2006 to take Vince Young in the first round. Fisher didn't want to do that, but it was Adams' call.

I think I would not give Jeff Fisher power over personnel. Ever. I am not normally a fan of coaches having power over personnel, except in specific cases and Fisher isn't one of those cases. So Fisher is bitter that Adams told the Titans to take Vince Young? Fisher does realize Young won a bunch of games for the Titans, right? It isn't like Young was a complete failure on the field. If "I didn't want Vince Young" is the main criteria for why Jeff Fisher should have the ability to get some control over personnel then I'm not sure I like his odds as a player evaluator.

Oh yeah, Jeff Fisher also blamed his failures with the Rams on the personnel he was given. Except, he took the Rams job because he wanted some control over personnel decisions. I can't make this stuff up. It's right here, as explained by Peter King, who as I have described repeatedly has the inside track on the Rams and Jeff Fisher. Jeff Fisher didn't want to draft Vince Young. Young burned out of the NFL, but I think this goes to Fisher's inability (along with his entire head coaching history) to effectively evaluate quarterbacks.

January 2012:

After spending five hours at the Rams' practice facility in suburban Earth City, Mo., Sunday, the former Titans coach returned to Nashville to consider his options. By Tuesday, I expect he'll have figured out whether St. Louis or Miami is the best place for him; and his agent, Marvin Demoff, will begin negotiating with one team, or both if it's every close. Expect a resolution by Thursday.

I always love it when coaches "retire" or leave a team before they have gotten fired. It feels like many of these coaches end up wanting to coach somewhere else. Teams are always after these coaches because they did the unthinkable and didn't leave their last team because they got fired. Jeff Fisher has a lifetime record of 142-120 and a career playoff record of 5-6. He coached for 16 years and made two AFC Championship Games and made the playoffs six times. He's not a bad coach, but is this the kind of coach a team should pay $8 million per year and also hand over personnel decisions to? I just don't think so. He's available though and since Cowher isn't coming back anytime soon, the fact Fisher has had more .500 or below .500 seasons than above .500 seasons doesn't seem to scare teams off that much.

Three things:

1. Peter King wrote the first part and the fact his agent, Marvin Demoff, was feeding him this information is so crystal clear. Demoff used Peter King (and others) to drive up the competition for Fisher.

2. I said Fisher was "not a bad coach" which is accurate...I guess.

3. I thought Fisher's record was bad back then. Little did I know how his mediocrity would continue and he would somehow manage to never have another winning record.

November 2012:

"It was two-fold,'' said Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who suspended Jenkins and Givens for an unspecified violation of team rules Saturday. "They weren't going to play, so they needed a workout. And I guess you can say it was part punitive. We still have to sort some things out about what happened, but hopefully this helps them get the message.''

"I didn't even know that happened,'' said St. Louis receiver Danny Amendola.

Well then, message received loud and clear.  

Jeff Fisher sent a message through actions his team didn't know occurred. He's the best. This is leadership.

March 2013:

Miami was in on Long aggressively, and one Dolphins official Sunday seemed confident Long would return for a sixth year. But no. And the Rams Sunday night were giving the credit for the migration to coach Jeff Fisher. "One of our players texted Jake and told him he'd retire if he had to play for any other coach besides Jeff,'' Rams GM Les Snead texted me late Sunday night. "Jeff gets veterans to Sunday ready to play ... Gets them to December ready to play ... So yes, he knows how to keep vets fresh physically, mentally and spiritually as good as anyone in the NFL."

The Rams are the only team with three picks in the top 50 of the draft (16, 22, 46), and they'll need a receiver upgrade after losing two in the first five days of free agency. Tight end signee Jared Cook is an expensive question mark, though Fisher had him in Tennessee and loves him.

Stop it Peter! Is Jared Cook's agent paying you to say nice things about him? If not, focus more on Jeff Fisher.

I am making this more about what I've said about Peter King than what I've said about Jeff Fisher, but they kind of go hand-in-hand. Jeff Fisher gets players ready to play in December, not January, because Fisher's teams don't often play in January.

April 2013:

I was here to write a story on the Rams for this week's issue of Sports Illustrated (shameless plug -- on iPads Wednesday and newsstands Thursday!).

So we get a preview of the article on the Rams in MMQB AND we get an entire full article in "Sports Illustrated" this week? It's going to be interesting to read about the Rams war room, but it is such a coincidence that Peter was embedded with Jeff Fisher's team. I'm interested to learn more about Jeff Fisher's plan to go 8-8 this upcoming year. I am kidding of course, the Rams seemingly did a great job in the draft and it is just a coincidence Peter breathlessly reported on Fisher's decision between the Dolphins and the Rams over a year ago. It was just a coincidence and had nothing to do with Peter throwing his agent a solid by driving up the interest in his client.

Well, I lucked out, as you'll read in the story this week, because GM Les Snead, coach Jeff Fisher and COO Kevin Demoff made stuff happen.

Wait, wait...Kevin Demoff? That must be a misspelling because there is a Marvin Demoff that represents Fisher and Peter King. It turns out this is not a misspelling and Kevin Demoff his Marvin Demoff's son.

So for those of you keeping track, Jeff Fisher was hired by his agent's son and now that same agent has another of his clients who is a respected reporter in the Rams war room reporting on the Rams draft day dealings and selections. A more jaded person would say Marvin Demoff worked this all out so his client, who is a reporter, could report positive things about another one of his clients, Jeff Fisher, so that his son who happens to be the COO of the Rams would look good. I am not jaded and would never suggest anything like this was ever thought nor happened. It was all just a coincidence.


You saw the Rams trade twice -- from 16 up to eight, to take wideout/returner Tavon Austin, and from 22 down to 30, to take versatile linebacker Alec Ogletree -- but what you didn't see was the glee in the room when both picks were made.

You also won't hear from Peter about the red flags that came along with Alec Ogletree and how Austin is a bit of a risk because he put up his fantastic numbers in a very wide receiver-friendly college system and is not built like the typical #1 wide receiver.

Of all the shady situations Peter King has been in over the years I wrote on this blog, his being embedded with the Rams for the 2013 NFL Draft is a close second to the time he wrote an article explaining exactly how opposing teams could match any offer the Browns made to Alex Mack (who was a restricted free agent at the time) when it comes to "conflicts of interest caused by Peter sharing an agent with the person he is writing about."

May 2013: 

Time will tell if they're right on the Jenkinses and the Alec Ogletrees, and I could be throwing stones at them in coming years. The Cardinals don't have a track record for taking questionable character guys. They thought the talent of Mathieu was worth the risk. That's one I think the team will end up regretting.

Jenkins has already missed a game for violating team rules, so we have evidence he hasn't stayed on the straight and narrow, but Peter thinks Mathieu was the bad risk. It's his opinion and he is entitled to it of course. I think Jeff Fisher could draft Jodi Arias and Peter wouldn't criticize the selection.

I cringe at the Jodi Arias reference, but I don't cringe at Peter saying the Cardinals would regret drafting Mathieu. This shows just how much deference Jeff Fisher was given over the years by sportswriters and why his firing was a year or two too late. And it's not a coincidence to me that most of the Jeff Fisher references can be found in MMQB, which is written by Peter King.

August 2013:

8. I think I keep hearing great things about two offensive weapons: St. Louis utility star Tavon Austin 

I've never heard of this Tavon Austin fellow. Why hasn't Peter mentioned Austin or what a great offensive weapon he could be before this very MMQB?

and the guy who, to me, is a sort of Tavon Austin Jr., Jacksonville wideout/multipurpose player Ace Sanders.

He's like Austin, but nowhere near as good as Austin is, right? How could he be?

The Rams practiced in the Edward Jones Dome Saturday and gave local fans a whiff of what to expect from Austin, playing him at several spots. “You’re going to have to come out, watch and see what we do with him,’’ said coach Jeff Fisher. “Obviously, there’s things everybody does across the league in camp that they don’t show until the regular season.” During draft prep in St. Louis, the Rams privately knew if they somehow weren’t able to get Austin, they’d have gone after Sanders, who is emerging in camp as the kind of versatile weapon Jacksonville hoped it was drafting last April.

So if Jeff Fisher had not drafted and then misused Tavon Austin, he would have drafted a guy who made little impact in the NFL and was out of the league in two years. But again, Jeff Fisher had no control over the personnel issues he insisted he have when signing a contract with the Rams.

August 2013:

Then there is this column. Just, pretty much any part that dealt with Jeff Fisher is what should be read. Peter calls out Bernie Kosar for being a drunk and marvels at the weapons that Jared Cook and Tavon Austin are. It's inexplicable how anyone can't see Peter is propping up Jeff Fisher.

November 2013:

o. Zac Stacy, proving the Rams were lucky Steven Jackson walked. Hope he’s okay after leaving with a head injury.

Zac Stacy was drafted by the Rams and the Rams are really good at drafting! You should read this article Peter wrote in May about how good the Rams are at drafting. They are on the right track to becoming a really successful team under Jeff Fisher. It's a rebuilding process though, so give Fisher another year or two after this year once he decides Sam Bradford isn't his quarterback of the future, at which point Fisher will be buying himself more time by pointing out Rams fans shouldn't expect immediate success with a new quarterback at the helm.

This is EXACTLY what happened! The Rams traded Sam Bradford to the Eagles and then Jeff Fisher started talking about how many young players the Rams had, while also holding back Jared Goff in order to fake there was some hope with him (Fisher) at the helm.

By the way, the amount of times I have gone out of my way on this blog to bash Jeff Fisher or call him Jeff "8-8" Fisher is tremendous. I would be embarrassed, but I'm not.

July 2014: 

It’s hard to find anyone to knock Fisher’s coaching ability, some of the great teams he put together in Tennessee, the identity they forged, or even the early results of the current reclamation project in St. Louis. It’s harder to explain how he only made the playoffs six times, and had six winning seasons, in 17 years with the Oilers/Titans. The record needs to catch up with the reputation at some point.

IT'S BEEN 17 YEARS!

This is the world we lived in. The jury is still out for Fisher's success to catch up with his reputation, but children are being born and getting ready to go to college while the jury on Fisher's coaching ability is deliberating. It's hard to knock Jeff Fisher's coaching ability, despite the fact his teams on average were not successful. And "the early results" of the reclamation project in St. Louis resulted in ZERO winning seasons. But still, it's hard to knock a record like that.

July 2014:

Might not show up in the record, but the Rams are going to be hell to play, and they’ll be a playoff team if Sam Bradford plays the way he was drafted to play.

Read that sentence and try to tell me Peter's relationship with Marvin Demoff doesn't come into play when he discusses the Rams. "It may not show in the record." He's already making excuses even if Fisher doesn't make the playoffs this year. For what Jeff "8-8" Fisher gets paid to coach the Rams, the team's talent sure as shit better show up in the record. Fisher gets paid enough for that to happen.

Almost three years later and I'm still stuck on this "might not show up in the record" comment. On what, pray tell, should Jeff Fisher be judged? He isn't judged on his win-loss record, so how should he be judged? By the manliness of his mustache? By how many excuses he could put forth before he got called on his bullshit? For a guy who worships the ground Bill Parcells walks on, Peter sure forgets the "You are what your record says you are" mantra Parcells preached...but only when it is convenient to forget it.

August 2014: 

“We don’t have any glaring holes. We do have a glaring lack of experience.”

—Les Snead, the general manager of the Rams, to me. St. Louis had the youngest roster in the NFL last season, and likely will again this year.

This is just a reminder Snead and the Rams have been using the same excuses for multiple years as to why the team couldn't succeed. Apparently the Rams organization believes the players on the team would never age, so this excuse could always be used to explain away the team's mediocrity under Jeff Fisher.

August 2014: 

“We’ve got to go on,” Fisher said, “and that’s basically what I told [backup] Shaun Hill. Shaun shifts gears, and we go. I told him, ‘This is why you’re here. Let’s go.’

Hill is 34. He’s started 26 games (13-13) with San Francisco and Detroit—but his last start was four seasons ago.

This is part of my issue too. Hill isn't the present or the future. The future at the quarterback position isn't on the Rams roster most likely. Jeff Fisher just bought himself three more years. He's a "name" coach who has suffered some bad luck and honestly hasn't done much to help his luck at the quarterback position, but that doesn't matter. The Rams are probably going to draft a quarterback in the upcoming draft, which they probably should have done this year, and Fisher will start over. I don't hate Jeff Fisher or the Rams, but Rams fans deserve better than this. Fisher is incredibly overrated as a coach. He's not a bad coach, but he and Snead have made crucial personnel mistakes at the most important spot on the roster. They've built a really good team around a quarterback who can't stay on the field. Logic would dictate the best backup plan isn't Shaun Hill. Hill is an okay backup and he very well may succeed this season. I feel like Fisher and Snead are getting a pass for completely counting on a injury-prone quarterback who may not even be very good when healthy. I'm not sure I could even tell you what kind of quarterback Bradford is because he can't stay on the field. That's the point. I would feel better about this situation if the Rams had a younger guy they wanted to see play (I don't think Austin Davis counts as that guy) if/when Bradford got hurt. It would give that younger guy a chance for some snaps to see if he can stick with the team.

The Rams are in the toughest division in the NFL. Don't they realize if they really want to compete they can't rely on Bradford so much? Why does this frustrate me so? It's just proof to me of how untouchable Jeff Fisher and Les Snead are. It's the third year of the Jeff Fisher era, where he is 14-17-1, is he really that cocky or unconcerned about his job security that he felt comfortable relying on Shaun Hill as the backup if/when Bradford gets injured? I guess he knows his buddies in the media will go to bat for him. Can't be on the hot seat if no one reports that he is on the hot seat.


October 2014:

q. Tre Mason. Not a lot to like about how the Rams are playing as we approach midseason, but the rookie has a burst and some power to him, as shown against Seattle.

Team...on...the...rise. See, no one should accuse Jeff "8-8" Fisher of not knowing what he's doing. The Rams drafted Isaiah Pead in the second round, then drafted Zac Stacy in the fifth round and pretended to want to play him, but Fisher really was sandbagging and wanted to have Tre Mason be the starter. It's just like how Fisher made idiots like me think he had built his team around Sam Bradford when that wasn't AT ALL his plan. He was really getting ready to build the team around the Rams' third-string quarterback, Austin Davis, and wanted to mask his plan by starting Sam Bradford and signing Shaun Hill to be Bradford's backup.

Another running back that Peter describes as having "speed/burst and power" because that's what Jeff Fisher wants in a running back. Of course, we will later learn Peter doesn't believe the Rams ever found the right running back until Todd Gurley came along. Despite the fact his words (at the time) said differently about Mason and Zac Stacy.

November 2014: 

b. Austin Davis continues to show he belongs, and not just as roster filler.

Look Jeff, Peter tried to hype these guys up. It's not for lack of trying.

November 2014: 

For the record, with all of the mayhem around Robert Griffin III and his fate in Washington, here is what the St. Louis Rams received in return for trading the second overall pick to Washington so Washington could select Griffin in 2012. Turns out to be an 8-for-1 trade, with five starting players (as of today) but no superstars harvested by Rams GM Les Snead. But any team that thought it had its long-term starting quarterback (as St. Louis did with Sam Bradford in the spring of 2012, pre-double-knee-injury) in the house would absolutely have made the trade if told this: Trading the number two overall pick will yield five starting players three seasons down the line. Amazing, to me, that as it turns out, St. Louis traded the number two overall pick in 2012, and got the number two overall pick in 2014—and seven more choices:

Again Jeff, Peter tried to hype your team up as if you were geniuses robbing other NFL teams for draft picks to build up a soon-to-be-great team. Jeff, you blew it.

And just because the Rams got "starters" out of the draft picks doesn't mean those "starters" would start for a team that could actually make the playoffs.

December 2014:

9. I think Rams owner Stan Kroenke must be thinking (though how would we know what he thinks—the man never speaks) this after the team’s 11th straight non-winning season:

Why am I paying Jeff Fisher $8 million per year and not getting good results?

Of course not! It's not Fisher's fault and isn't Les Snead's fault and certainly isn't Kevin Demoff's fault. Nothing is.

 
I empathize with Jeff Fisher never having a good quarterback situation to deal with.

Really? You empathize with Fisher that he and Les Snead have chosen to do nothing with the quarterback position and continue to rely on Sam Bradford, a guy the Rams aren't even certain should be the quarterback of the future, to be the starter going into the season with little competition for his job? The conscious choice to waste the time and money of Rams fans by relying on a player who consistently can't stay healthy, you empathize with Jeff Fisher about that? I personally think decisions like that are why coaches and GM's get fired. There would be a good quarterback situation to deal with if Fisher and Snead had not relied on Austin Davis and Shaun Hill to be the options at quarterback if Bradford got injured.

April 2015: 

One big problem: coach Jeff Fisher was against drafting Young.

Jeff Fisher is never wrong and you take it back right now.

Still, Young often made me look pretty good. He was offensive rookie of the year. He made two Pro Bowls. He went 30-17 as Tennessee's starter.

And that's really what this is all about isn't it? Which quarterbacks made Skip look good and which quarterbacks didn't make Skip look good. Vince Young did have success for a while, but this doesn't mean Skip was right about him. I think Mario Williams was the right pick for the Texans. 

But predictably, he often clashed with Fisher. It appeared Fisher helped turn some in the local and national media against Young. His skin grew thin.

This is a reminder that Jeff Fisher didn't want to draft one of the two quarterbacks he actually had some semblance of success with as a head coach. This feels important to me.

June 2015:

St. Louis has been dying for a franchise running back. Since Steven Jackson left for Atlanta two years ago—and even before, actually; the Rams thought Jackson was declining in 2012—coach Jeff Fisher has wanted a back like Gurley.

It sounds like the Rams are a team on the rise. Next stop, Jeff Fisher's first playoff win in a decade. You can feel the tension in excitement in Los Angeles St. Louis as the team is ready to finally be the team on the rise that Jeff Fisher has always promised they would be. Jeff Fisher has always wanted a running back like Todd Gurley and he finally has him.

Fisher is a throwback coach.

"Throwback" meaning "Go back in the past to find where he has been successful, but only pay attention to the seasons where his team made the playoffs and ignore the vast majority of the seasons where his team had a .500 or losing record."

Most of the league craves an offense with a 60-40 pass-run split. Fisher would love it to be 50-50, or even 55-45 run. He likes to play offense with a back capable of wearing down defenses with long drives early in games and eating the clock in the fourth quarter.

And yet, it's taken Fisher four years to get to that point with the Rams. It must be nice to have such job security to know as a head coach you have four years to get the team you are coaching to resemble the team you would like it to resemble. I'm hard on Jeff Fisher, but at no point does Peter King acknowledge that Fisher has had three full seasons to get the Rams team how he wants it and has so far seemingly failed to do so? Why is this not a relevant point? Peter presents it as Fisher accomplishing the equivalent of a coup to get Todd Gurley so the Rams team can run it's offense how he wants it to. IT TOOK THREE FUCKING YEARS THOUGH! Why? Is this not a question that should be asked while up the organization's butt hole for drafting Gurley? What took so fucking long? It's the same thing as the quarterback position for the Rams. I feel miserable for Rams fans to have a coaching staff that seems happy to dick around for a few seasons knowing there is job security.

There are quite a few times I noticed in MMQB (as I was reviewing them for this post) that Peter referred to Zac Stacy as "the type of running back Jeff Fisher loves." So as I said earlier, it seems Peter will just forget he said that and keep moving the goalposts for Fisher, as if he had no control over which players the Rams drafted.

October 2015:

Now we know why Gurley went 10th

I'm not smart at all, but I knew why already. He's a stud. You know what I'm going to say about the Rams. Team on the rise! Give Jeff Fisher that contract extension and it's all downhill from there. I mean, uphill, it's all uphill. Wait, if it is "downhill" then that means things are bad, right? But going "uphill" means things are more difficult. Now I'm confused. Just give Jeff Fisher a contract extension.

“I got one game ball!” St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher said in the Rams’ locker room. “Where’s 30? Thirty! Come up!”

Fisher handed Gurley, No. 30, the football.

“This is just the beginning,” Fisher said.

JUST THE BEGINNING, RAMS FANS! JUST THE BEGINNING!

(The Rams pack up their bags and leave for Los Angeles)


(Shrugs) It happened, right?

Now the reign of Jeff Fisher as an NFL head coach is over...at least until a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars wants a head coach with experience and inexplicably hires him at a salary of $7 million per season. Let's hope this doesn't happen. Actually, maybe I should hope for it to happen, as it is good for the jokes.

I'll try to make the gap between posts shorter in the future.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

0 comments Ian O'Connor Spills Some Nonsense about Brock Osweiler

Of all the things to bring me back to post something, it's an article by Ian O'Connor about Brock Osweiler. I don't have a strong opinion on O'Connor and really have no strong opinion on Osweiler either. Yet, here I am. Ian O'Connor thinks Osweiler made a mistake by leaving the Broncos. I think this is a ridiculous opinion knowing the facts as they happened.

1. Gary Kubiak only played Osweiler during the 2015 season when the Broncos' original starting quarterback, Peyton Manning, could not play due to injury.

2. As soon as Manning could play and Osweiler struggled, and remember Manning was a 39 year old noodle-armed quarterback at the time, Kubiak played Manning over Osweiler.

3. The Broncos didn't give Osweiler much consideration when he was a free agent, until the rumors he might leave started up and then they offered him $45 million over 3 years or 4 years at $64 million, depending on what you believe.

4. All indications are that Osweiler was "wanted" by the Broncos, but not really wanted. NFL teams are desperate for quarterbacks and so a young quarterback isn't treated like this if the organization REALLY thinks he's the long-term guy.

5. So Osweiler got $8 to $27 million and one more year (depending on what you believe) in a contract from the Texans, while the Broncos got to start Trevor Siemian over the guy they drafted in the first round, Paxton Lynch.

6. Indications {based on (a) how the Broncos kept Siemian around last year when they already had Manning and Osweiler and (b) this year started Siemian based solely on performance} are that if Osweiler came back to Denver, there is a chance he may not have even started. Clearly, Gary Kubiak likes Trevor Siemian.

But anyway, dumb move by Osweiler to get paid a lot of money and become a starter...or so says O'Connor. It's not like NFL players want to make as much money as possible and get playing time or anything. It's not like the NFL has non-guaranteed contracts either.

If success is determined only by the size of your bank account, then Brock Osweiler is your man. 

Success for an NFL quarterback is determined (partially) by three things:

1. Size of your bank account.

2. How many Super Bowl trophies you have.

3. Individual awards you have received.

Though it's fun to ignore, Osweiler now has success with two of these three things. I would bet Ian O'Connor might get pissed off if ESPN decides they want to cut his pay. Or would he? Because he wouldn't want to be one of those people who thinks success is determined by the size of his bank account. We know O'Connor would never leave ESPN if another company offered him more money. He's too principled for that.

He was offered an $18 million wage to work for the Houston Texans and a $16 million wage to work for the Denver Broncos, and he took the extra loot.

What O'Connor neglects is Osweiler was offered $2 million less (I thought it was $3 million less) over a period of several years to work for the Broncos. Also, the guarantees in the Broncos contract could have been different because NFL contracts aren't 100% guaranteed. But let's pretend O'Connor is simply ignoring this in a desperate attempt to help prove his point and not because he doesn't understand how NFL contracts work. He works for ESPN, so there is no way he is simplifying a complex issue. 

But we all know that happiness and prosperity in life, even in pro football, are often defined by things that have nothing to do with dollars and cents. Take championship rings, for instance. How much money do you think Dan Marino would give back if it meant adding a Super Bowl title to his otherwise staggering legacy?

Honestly, I think Dan Marino is perfectly fine with his legacy that doesn't include a Super Bowl ring. More importantly, Brock Osweiler HAS a Super Bowl ring. He won a Super Bowl ring last year, so it's staggering to me that Ian O'Connor ignores Osweiler has a Super Bowl ring and doesn't have to go chase one. He's won his Super Bowl and now wants to be a starter. Comparing Brock Osweiler to Dan Marino is stupid anyway.

More importantly, I think the issue is being confused here. The issue, as I see it and how everyone else should see it, isn't that Osweiler chose to be the starter in Houston over being the starter in Denver. Osweiler chose to take more money to be the starter in Houston as opposed to taking less money in Denver and compete for the starting job. What, O'Connor really thinks the Broncos and Kubiak had no clue what they had in Trevor Siemian? They just kept him as a 7th round pick on the roster when there were other more experienced quarterbacks out there and got lucky he has ended up being a capable starter (so far)? There is a reason, and Osweiler also knew the reason, the Broncos weren't tripping over themselves to outbid other teams for Osweiler. It's because they liked Siemian and they thought he could be the starter for them this year or in the future.

So Osweiler took more money to be a guaranteed starter after sitting behind another quarterback for four seasons. O'Connor wants the reader to believe the Broncos saw Osweiler as a starter, yet immediately benched him when a slightly better, older, less permanent quarterback option was presented? The Broncos then waited around to see if the better, older, less permanent quarterback would retire or not, while knowing it could affect their ability to re-sign Osweiler. Then when that better, older, less permanent option retired they saw Osweiler as a starter so much that they didn't really exert themselves to re-sign him. Don't be thick for the purpose of a column. Osweiler isn't very good, but he's not very good while being the starter for the Texans and making more money. The Broncos just didn't value Osweiler as much as he thought they should.

Osweiler sure had to be thinking that way Monday night, when the Broncos made the NBA-sized quarterback look smaller than the fine ink in his $72 million deal. ''

Maybe he was. Maybe he was upset that he didn't get to play with such a great defense. Maybe he was mad at himself for blowing a chance to be a starter on a playoff team. Or maybe he was mad he didn't play well, but understood that he probably wasn't going to be the starter in Denver long-term anyway so he's glad he got paid.

Osweiler was all over the place with his passes, and the Broncos hit him hard on or after delivery every chance they got. Osweiler yelled at wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, a much better football player than the quarterback, after one throw to nowhere.

The fact Hopkins is a better football player than Osweiler is very irrelevant. It's not a criticism of Osweiler necessarily. The list of players on the Broncos roster who are better than Trevor Siemian goes at least 10 players deep. If Siemian yells at one of them, then it doesn't mean much. Osweiler was awful against the Broncos, but pointing out a hierarchy of vocal criticism is silly. 

Talib was asked at his locker if the Broncos were motivated not only to end their surprising, two-game losing streak but also by a desire to prove to Osweiler that he shouldn't have left.

"Definitely, definitely," the cornerback said. "We know he looked up at those passing yards in the fourth quarter. And maybe it wouldn't have looked like that if he had stayed."

I mean, it wouldn't have happened if he had stayed because he wouldn't have had to play such a great defense. Unless the Broncos defense started playing defense for the Texans the lack of passing yards by Osweiler against the Broncos definitely would not have happened if he played for the Broncos. There is a chance Osweiler would be on the bench and have less money if he had stayed with the Broncos too. Let's just keep ignoring that though. 

"We knew that he struggles with disguises," Ward said. "We'd seen that from playing here and the film, so we tried to do that. We started kind of slow in the beginning, but we got better as the game went on, and it affected him."

And if Osweiler played for any other NFL team, outside of the Broncos, opposing defenses would never have studied film and seen he struggles with disguises. The Broncos have the only competent defense and defensive coordinator in the NFL and Osweiler would have thrived if he played for the Broncos. I guess this is the assumption to be made. 

Not much didn't affect Osweiler in this game, and that might've had the Broncos wondering if they should've tried to re-sign him after all. But Elway did want him, and he drafted him in the second round to someday lead the franchise the same year he signed Peyton Manning.

Elway wanted Osweiler, but it's almost like the Broncos didn't want Osweiler as much as O'Connor portrays here. 

Osweiler slammed that door in his former boss' famous face, and that was a worse decision than any he made Monday.

This is overstating what Osweiler did by choosing to sign with a different team after the Broncos didn't offer him a contract he felt reflected his talent. Osweiler sat behind Peyton Manning for 3.5 years and then was pulled in the third quarter of a Week 17 game once Manning was healthy, after having gone 6-2 as the starter. The writing was on the wall, especially combined with the fact the Broncos didn't rush to lock Osweiler up when he could be a free agent, that the Broncos were pretty "blah" on him. The Broncos correctly evaluated Osweiler, that he wasn't going to be a quality NFL starter. But yeah, Osweiler "slammed that door" in Elway's face, right? How dare he attempt to improve his career and bank account.

O'Brien and Smith definitely know what they are doing, and they definitely understood that they were taking a big, fat gamble on an athletic, 6-foot-8 kid with seven career starts to his name.

Actually, if O'Connor did any research at all before regurgitating this column then he would know O'Brien didn't even meet Osweiler prior to the Texans signing him. So they "definitely knew what they are doing" and "they definitely understood" the "big, fat gamble" they were taking? I'm not entirely convinced. 

But what in the world was Osweiler thinking when he left this near-perfect situation in Denver? For that matter, what in the world was his super-agent, Jimmy Sexton, thinking?

"I want to earn a large commission and get my client set for life." --- exactly what Jimmy Sexton was thinking.

"Denver may not want me as their starter judging by their actions since Week 17 and I can be the starter in Houston." --- exactly what Brock Osweiler was thinking.

Osweiler walked out on that program because he said he fit better in O'Brien's system.

How did that fit work out Monday?

Two issues I see here:

1. It can't be ignored that the Broncos have a really, really good defense. They make good quarterbacks look not-so-good. Osweiler isn't a good quarterback, but when seeing how the "fit" of the Texans offense worked out on Monday, the quality of the Broncos' defense must be acknowledged as well.

2. Osweiler said he fit O'Brien's system because he isn't going to say, "Man, I don't think this system is going to work for me" after getting paid $72 million to run the offensive system.

This may come as a shock to Ian O'Connor, but athletes (falls into his fainting chair) don't always tell the truth and/or their deepest thoughts to the media.

Even so, Osweiler should still be the Broncos' starter -- not the less talented Trevor Siemian --

You can tell I take exception to this contention. Isn't it possible Osweiler wouldn't be successful in Denver and eventually be replaced by Trevor Siemian? It's not like Gary Kubiak didn't see both quarterbacks in practice every day or anything. So if/when Osweiler struggles, O'Connor doesn't think Osweiler would be benched (again, by the way) and replaced by Siemian? At that point, Osweiler certainly isn't getting a good deal on the free agent market IF the Broncos even decided to release him. He was the backup for 3.5 years in Denver. That's a long time for a competitive athlete to sit.

Osweiler isn't Derek Anderson, Matt Moore, Mark Sanchez or any of the other backup quarterbacks who got a chance to start and realize that's not where their value to an NFL team may lie. Osweiler hasn't gotten a chance to start and he wanted that I presume. I can't figure out why it's assumed Osweiler would (a) not be a bad starter in Denver and (b) would be the starter in Denver no matter what.

and the quarterback's representative, Sexton, has to take a hit for that. Too often, agents confuse the richest deal with the best deal.

I can't imagine a scenario where Osweiler getting the most money and being the definitive starter wasn't the best deal for Osweiler. I also can't imagine a scenario where Osweiler would play worlds better for the Broncos than he has with the Texans. 

If Sexton's client is telling the truth when he says his benching late last season for a returning Manning didn't drive him out, then what was the deal?

Again, this may come as a shock to Ian O'Connor, but athletes (falls into his fainting chair yet again) don't always tell the truth and/or their deepest thoughts to the media. So Osweiler is being diplomatic and not burning bridges by stating it wasn't the late season benching that drove him away. In truth, it doesn't matter. The deal probably was that he wanted to be a starter. Now he is.

This isn't to say Osweiler won't develop into a pretty good player in this league. He beat the unbeaten Patriots last season, and he delivered a thrilling comeback against the Colts last week, and he made a sweet, third-and-8 run against Denver in the third quarter.

He's been a backup for 3.5 years. If he's going to develop into a pretty good player, then it has to start happening fairly soon. Osweiler understands this, which is why he went out and got paid when he had the chance to go out and get paid. This is as opposed to being a member of the Broncos, a successful team, yes, but also a team that committed to him in the same way I commit to writing regularly on this blog. Sure, that is what they would like to have happen in theory...unless something else comes along of course.

As he headed for his car after this sweetest of October victories, a smiling Elway stopped near a stadium barrier to mingle with players' family members and others looking for photos. He always walks -- or hobbles -- with his shoulders pinned back and his barrel chest puffed out. It seemed on this night that his chest was puffed out an extra inch or two.

It feels good to win a game and show a decision Elway made was the right decision. Couldn't Elway feel good that he chose to not fully commit to Osweiler and instead give Trevor Siemian a shot? Isn't it possible Elway's chest-puffing is not from getting back at a quarterback who spurned him, but showing his evaluation of that quarterback as not being the future starter of the Broncos was the correct evaluation? In this scenario, isn't it possible Osweiler would have ruined his chance to be a starter had he re-signed with the Broncos? 

Why not? It was painfully clear that Brock Osweiler, former Bronco, had put his money on the wrong horse.

Ignoring this painfully bad last sentence, this is also a horribly confused sentence. Osweiler didn't put any money on the wrong horse because he received the money. If anything, the Texans put money on the wrong horse, though their alternative may not have been any better. So it's clear the Broncos put money on the correct horse, at least in the short-term. See, the Texans HAVE the money to put on a quarterback, while Osweiler is the guy who received the money from the Texans.

The correct sentence here should be written as, "Why not? It was painfully clear the Broncos put their money on the correct horse."

Osweiler has a Super Bowl ring and wanted to be a starter. It's not a mistake that he made, but an attempt to be a definite NFL starter and make the most money possible. End of story.