Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!


Random sports musings

With football season almost upon us, it's time for me to flex my sports-ranting muscles in preparation for my highly-anticipated recaps of each football week. You know you love them! With that in mind, I am going to muse on things I have heard recently, including why I'm starting to dislike the mainstream sports media as much as the mainstream news media.

I watch Cold Pizza on ESPN2 in the morning, when the kids aren't watching Baby Einstein videos. Cold Pizza is a decent show - nothing great, but it's fun enough. They have a segment where Woody Paige and Skip Bayless debate sports topics, and often, they are so wacky that I think they aren't really expressing their opinions, just saying the wackiest things so people like me can get upset. However, today they were discussing the new NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell. They both said his first order of business should be getting a team into Los Angeles, because the NFL needs a team in Los Angeles.

This is the party line among pretty much any sports talking head. My question, which no one has ever answered correctly, is why does the NFL need a team in Los Angeles? The Rams left town in 1995 (or maybe 1994). The Raiders left about the same time. It's been over a decade since the NFL had a team in Los Angeles, and in that time football has become the single most dominant sport in the United States and the NFL the most powerful organization in sports. So why the hell do they need a team in a city that rejected two of them? Because the media wants to talk about a team in the country's second-biggest television market, and the networks want to televise a team in the country's second-biggest television market. Even if no one, you know, actually goes to the games.

Cold Pizza is also doing a daily segment on the top Heisman Trophy candidates. If there's anything that's a bigger crock of shit in sports than football awards, I don't know what it is, and the Heisman is the biggest crock of shit in that. In baseball, it's relatively easy to pick a MVP, because you can tell if a guy hits well and plays the field decently (unless he's David Ortiz) and if no one blows away the field, pick a dominant pitcher. In basketball, the guys play offense and defense and there are only two guys on a team you could pick. Football is the best team sport out there, and to pick a quarterback or running back for MVP every single year is ridiculous. Everyone talks about how great Edgerrin James is. Let's see how he does this year behind the Arizona offensive line. Everyone talks about how great Peyton Manning or Tom Brady is and how lousy David Carr is. Put Peyton Manning behind Houston's offensive line and he would get killed, because he's less mobile than even David Carr is. But no offensive linemen ever even get mentioned in the MVP discussions. It's the same with the Heisman. Only when no quarterback or running back has a dominant year can a wide receiver or defensive player even get mentioned.

So the media, who votes for the Heisman, is talking about potential Heisman winners. They do this every year - pump up guys, then keep flogging their names throughout the season, and finally, they vote for one of those guys. Anyone who isn't mentioned relentlessly throughout the year has a miniscule chance of even getting into the top five, even if that guy has better stats than the actual winner. Today's featured player was Brady Quinn, the quarterback of Notre Dame. Now, I loathe Notre Dame, and more than that, I loathe the media's obsession with Notre Dame, but Brady Quinn is a decent enough quarterback, so what the hell - let's make him a Heisman candidate. After interviewing Quinn, they brought on Pat Forde, their college football "expert," who said, and I'm not making this up, that Quinn might win it because "Notre Dame is due" to win a Heisman - they haven't had a winner since 1987.

What the fuck? They're "due"? This is the same kind of shit I heard about Notre Dame last year - it's good for college football when Notre Dame is good. To be fair, it's the same thing I heard about Penn State - it's good for college football when they're good. There are 117 Division 1-A teams - it doesn't matter if Notre Dame or Penn State or Michigan or Texas or USC or Oklahoma or any of the other traditional powerhouses are good or not. If Penn State is down, any number of other teams will be good, and that's fine and dandy. It's only a good thing for those powerhouses to be good because the media wants to talk about their history of greatness and the members of the media have fond memories of the great teams from those schools growing up. Of course I want Penn State to be good - they're my alma mater. When they suck, I hate it. But I didn't see college football going in the tank two and three years ago when Penn State sucked.

But I'm off-topic. Brady Quinn might win the Heisman because the media wants to give it to a Notre Dame guy? Check out the winners of the Heisman. Oklahoma State hasn't had a winner since Barry Sanders in 1988. They're due! Houston hasn't had a winner since Andre Ware in 1989. They're due! But those are minor schools, you say. Well, Auburn hasn't had a winner since Bo Jackson in 1985, Georgia hasn't had one since Herschel Walker in 1982, Pittsburgh hasn't had one since Tony Dorsett in 1976, Penn State hasn't had one since John Cappelletti in 1973, UCLA hasn't had one since Gary Beban in 1967 ... you get the point. What a stupid thing to say, especially if you're a college football "expert" and not, I don't know, a Notre Dame booster.

Of course, the preseason polls came out this and last week. The less said about preseason polls the better, and I'm not going to go into them except to say I really wish there would be no polls until after the fourth or fifth week of the season. Polls are idiotic, anyway, but they're more idiotic weeks before the season starts. But that's enough of that.

Later on in today's show, they interviewed O. J. McDuffie, a former NFL (and Penn State) receiver. Now, I love those ex-Nittany Lions, but O. J. blew it big time. He was listing the five best NFL quarterbacks. Now, I know it's only his opinion, but again, he's supposed to be an "expert." He had Tom Brady #1. I have no problem with that. He had Peyton Manning #2. Again, no problem. He had Matt Hasselbeck of the Seahawks #3. Hmmm. Okay, he went to the Super Bowl last year. I probably wouldn't put him at three, but in the top five is fine. He had Carson Palmer at #4. Maybe. He had Daunte Culpepper at #5. Daunte freakin' Culpepper, who hasn't shown he can do anything but lob it up for Randy Moss to catch. I know I'm being a homer, but Donovan McNabb was not on his list. You might say that McNabb was injured last year and has to prove himself again, but Culpepper was injured for more of the year last year and has yet to prove he can do anything but, as I mentioned, lob passes up for Randy Moss. And Carson Palmer was injured worse than McNabb and might not play until well into the regular season. McNabb has to be in the top five, or you're not an expert. They asked him about the most notable omission ... Brett Favre. WTF? Favre hasn't been close to the top five in the NFL in five or six years. Sheesh. That's just another reason to hate the mainstream media - they can't let go. Favre is living off a reputation from a decade ago, and he hasn't been any good in the new millennium. Yet people keep thinking he's an elite QB. Let it go!

I read a few different sports blogs, and I'm starting to like them a lot more than the people on television. Fire Joe Morgan is not only devoted to hating Joe Morgan, but hating all baseball people who write stupid things. The guys who write for it are a bit too enamored of weird stats (they have a glossary of terms for when they start flinging stuff like VORP at us), but they actually take the time to study baseball players and try to evaluate them with a bit more objectivity than Joe Morgan, who basically compares everyone unfavorably to his old Cincinnati Reds teammates (listen to him occasionally - it's true!). I haven't found any football blogs as in depth as this one is, but I'm looking. The mainstream media is letting me down because they are simply repeating what everyone else says about the players without wondering whether it's true or not. This is, of course, par for the course for most media members these days, and it's partly why their numbers are plummeting. People want analysis and insight instead of repetition and ranting. To bring it back to the wider world, it's why Jon Stewart is so popular. Yes, he's liberal, but he actually does things with less hatred than the left- and right-wing news stations, and he actually bothers to hold everyone accountable for their statements, even liberals. "Real" news organizations don't do that anymore (if they ever did) because they don't want to lose "access." It's annoying.

Anyway, it's almost football season! YAY! That means ESPN will be calling to offer me a high-paying job as the host of the talk show I Hate Brett Favre, right?

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Blogger Roger Owen Green said...

Lots of former jocks (and non-former jocks) do the cliche thing. I happen to like Joe Morgan for his work helping to bring baseball to the inner cities. As an announcer, he's no worse than most, low praise, I suppose.

13/8/06 10:08 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

I have no problem with Joe himself - he seems like an affable guy, and I have a soft spot for him because of his contribution to the 1983 Phillies, where I think his leadership (a largely unquantifiable thing) contributed greatly to them winning the pennant. The site bashes all sports people who don't bother to do research, just repeat what they think is what makes players good. Lots of people are guilty of this, and Joe is just one of them. As a color man, I guess he adds color to broadcasts, because he can tell some good stories, but it bugs me when they start asking him questions like he's an expert. When the site breaks down his chats online, it's very funny. He answers at least one question every time with a variation on "I haven't seen [that team] or [that player], so I can't comment." Isn't that your job, Joe? And former players are not the kind of person you want to be asking about whether someone is good or not, because they know so many people and often don't want to criticize people they know. That's all I'm saying.

13/8/06 12:18 PM  

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