Monday, September 29, 2014

9 comments TMQ: Come for the 20% NFL-Related Content, Stay for the 1,500 Words Used to Pimp Out Gregg Easterbrook's Other Writing

Gregg Easterbrook wrote last week about how the Broncos-Seahawks Super Bowl rematch may end up like the Super Bowl did. Except, it didn't. Gregg also talked about concussions (again) and pointed out the later-life neurological decay that occurred in football players. It was smartly pointed out in the comments that nearly every adult suffers from some sort of neurological decay later in life. This week Gregg talks about the NFL trying to control the message and has a new ridiculous curse that has befallen the San Francisco 49ers. What is it about that team that Gregg doesn't like? He creates the Crabtree Curse, then once that is proven wrong he decides the read-option is dead, and now he has created another fake curse suffered by the 49ers.

The NFL has gotten into trouble before, but never has the reaction been so ardent. Many football lovers are sick of every game being prefaced with 15 minutes about controversy, and if you switch to a newscast, it's all about the NFL being denounced.

Peter King wonders whether it is worth giving up on the sport entirely, thereby making him unemployed and forced to work a regular job that wouldn't involve staring at strangers all day and criticizing their behavior. So no, "we" should not give up on the NFL.

What's behind the vehemence of the anti-NFL sentiment? Two basic factors are at play -- one that is the league's fault and one that is unrelated to the NFL.

Thank God that Gregg Easterbrook is here to break this all down for us into easily digestible pieces. I would want someone with Gregg's integrity and strict adherence to facts to explain the two factors at play.

What is the league's fault is that the chickens are coming home to roost...The result is they have no reserve of goodwill to fall back on when times are tough. If the NFL's owners were beloved -- or perceived as playing positive roles in their communities -- they would have a reserve of public goodwill. They have none.

While I agree on a macro level, that the owners as a whole are not beloved, I would disagree more on a micro level. I think within each team's fan base many of the NFL owners are beloved or at least liked on some level to where they have some goodwill. Now in terms of "the owners" as a generic term, as it deals with all 32 of them as a whole, I would agree the owners are not beloved and have no goodwill. I like Jerry Richardson as the owner of the Carolina Panthers. As one of the 32 owners of an NFL team, he can annoy me at times with his actions.

Some think a violent game should not be the United States' national sport. 

Some think a national sport is decided by which sport is the most popular in a certain country, so what or what should not be the national sport is irrelevant.

Some think football has become the eggplant that eats the budget of big public universities or is accorded too much importance at high schools. Some people are angry with how the super-rich owners of the NFL wallow in subsides while restricting health care assistance to former players and are happy to have cheerleaders dance half-naked but refuse to pay them minimum wage, let alone treat them fairly.

I think that Gregg Easterbrook is reflecting a lot of the things he thinks as being the thoughts of many. I understand the NFL gets subsidies and the players get injured, but I enjoy watching the sport knowing that having an NFL team isn't something many cities can claim and the players now understand better what they are doing to their bodies. It doesn't make it right, but I think Gregg's thoughts are the main ones reflected in the "some" who think these things.

And some people simply can't stand that blaring inanity from football drowns out conversation at family gatherings at Thanksgiving and through the December holidays.

And some people like there is an event to build the day around in order to avoid watching shitty and boring holiday movies or re-runs of television shows. It's nice to watch sports rather than watch a dog show or some other boring holiday-themed, event, or special.

It's one thing when The Huffington Post is hammering the NFL. It's quite another when hardcore sports lovers are angry with the league. The chickens have come home to roost, and the NFL has only itself to blame.

I guess the chickens have come home to roost. The NFL has had a lot of hubris in the past. The odd part is much of the hubris they have been accused of having in the past, such as acting like a dictatorship who is the judge, jury and executioner, is where the media thinks the NFL messed up. If Goodell acted tough and semi-draconian towards Ray Rice as he had in the past towards guys like Adams Jones, Ben Roethlisberger and Chris Henry then he and the NFL wouldn't be in this situation. Having a tighter hold and stronger reaction to player discipline as the judge, jury and executioner could have prevented from Goodell from being hammered by women's groups and the Rice tape would have been more irrelevant. Yet, Goodell's tight grip on punishing players strongly is an area where he has been criticized in the past, but his punishing Rice strongly would have avoided this current situation.

But what about the second factor, for which the league should not be assailed? As the most important sport in the most important nation, the NFL holds up a mirror to American society. What we see in the reflection is not an athletic organization but ourselves.

Hmmm...I think I still see an athletic organization.

Just five years ago, the fact that football causes neurological harm was a forbidden topic. Not only would the NFL not talk about it, but high-school coaches and principals also wouldn't talk about it. When concussions came out of the closet as an issue of concern, anger was expressed at NFL indifference. But we were really angry at ourselves. How many youth and high-school coaches, how many teachers and trainers and physicians and nurses, had seen football cause head harm and done nothing?

It's very true. I was pissed off at myself because I was thinking, "I am not in high school or college, did not play football at either level, did not coach at either level, and really could have had no impact positive or negative on this situation...so why didn't I do more to prevent concussions from happening?"

A generation ago, the notion that a muscular, 300-pound man was being bullied would have caused people to laugh. But society's view of bullying has shifted. Bullying is no longer seen as just bad manners; it is now an ethical or even legal question. The NFL was the mirror for that social change.

I mean, not really. I don't think the idea a 300-pound man being bullied would have caused anyone to laugh then more than it would cause a person to laugh now. I don't see the big shift in attitudes towards bullying, but perhaps I'm not in touch with the world like Gregg Easterbrook is.

When an openly gay player was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, the NFL became the mirror in which the issue of prejudice against gays was reflected.

This is pretty laughable. Yes, there was a mirror in which the issue of prejudice against gays was reflected, but it wasn't "the" mirror. This is not only inaccurate but also slightly offensive that Gregg thinks prejudice against gays wasn't reflected onto society until a football player was drafted by an NFL team.

With Ray Rice, the NFL has become the mirror in which we see society's changing attitude regarding domestic violence -- that it should no longer be hushed up. 

So it's a good thing that Roger Goodell lied and tried to cover up whether he had seen the video before suspending Ray Rice for only two games. After all, it helped society change their attitude about domestic violence. See, Roger Goodell DOES care about women! He's taking the hit so they can have issues that concern them brought to the forefront of society.  

In competition news, what a game at Seattle! The Seahawks and Broncos played the contest football enthusiasts had longed for at the Super Bowl. Despite scoring just 11 points in seven quarters against the Seattle defense, Denver did not lose heart in the eighth quarter.

And here I thought the Broncos would have just quit and walked off the field.

Still, many of the Broncos' choices were puzzling. At the Super Bowl, Denver kept trying to throw sideways against the Hawks' press coverage. Your columnist noted, "Denver didn't try to move the ball down the field until the contest was out of hand -- the Broncs' longest first-half gain was 19 yards."

The Broncos tried to move the ball down the field in the Super Bowl, but they failed at doing so (by throwing an interception, taking a sack) or couldn't get the ball down the field for fear of committing a turnover. A smart quarterback isn't going to force the ball downfield if he doesn't have a man open or there is the risk of a turnover.

Rinse and repeat at Seattle: Lots of super-short passes and nothing deep in the first half. Even as the Broncos were reaching panic time in the fourth quarter, they kept throwing hitches for no gain.

Again, Seattle was taking away deep passes and forcing the Broncos throw underneath where the defense could make tackles. Can't throw the ball deep if there isn't a guy open to catch the ball.

Gregg is echoing the constant complaint of fans that teams don't "go deep," but it's not easily done. NFL players are very fast and against a great defense like that of the Seahawks "going deep" to a guy who isn't open can result in a turnover.

For a guy who runs a pass-wacky, high-tech offense, Denver coach John Fox sure is conservative. Taking possession down 17-3 with 12 seconds remaining in the first half and all three timeouts, Fox had his charges kneel. Why not try one long pass and then, if it works, call time?

John Fox has been a head coach in the NFL since 2002. He runs the type of offense that works best for his personnel and with Peyton Manning as the quarterback the current offense works. Anyone who has watched Fox coach any amount of games know he is a very conservative coach. It almost goes without saying at this point. Fox had Manning kneel in the 2013 playoff game against the Ravens and go to overtime instead of trying to drive down the field and get in field goal range. He's conservative, no need to marvel at it.

As the for Bluish Men Group, their leader, Russell Wilson, is now 8-0 in starts against Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks -- Tom Brady, Drew Brees, the Manning brothers and Aaron Rodgers. Of course, football is a team game, so this stat mainly tells us the Seahawks are really good.

Which is a point that Gregg failed to mention in last week's TMQ when he stated Russell Wilson was 7-0 against Super Bowl winning quarterbacks. But this week it's "of course" football is a team game. Yes, of course it is. It wasn't as much last week, but this week the fact football is a team game is obvious.

But if individual statistics did not matter, no one would care who the league's leading rusher is.

Individual statistics do matter when being compared to other individual statistics. When an individual statistic is used in the context of a team statistic then it can be a bit more problematic. It's just like the "win" statistic in baseball. There is more than just that individual player's performance represented in the data.

Stat Of The Week No. 5: The Cardinals, who blocked a field goal at a key juncture versus Santa Clara, have blocked 17 field goals since 2008, most in the league in that span.

In totally related news, the Cardinals drafted Calais Campbell in 2008. You know, the 6'8" defensive end who blocks field goals.

Stat Of The Week No. 6: The Bengals are on an 11-0 regular season home streak and an 0-3 postseason home streak.

This statistic is very misleading and pointless. The 11-0 regular season home streak doesn't encompass as much time as the 0-3 postseason home streak. So if Gregg really wanted this statisic to not be misleading then he would use the same time frame for the regular season home streak and postseason home streak. But that would also involve him not misleading his readers and throwing flashy numbers up like an 11-0 record at home.

Your columnist loves the tactic of bringing in a guy who never gets the ball and sending him deep. Leading Minnesota 7-0, the Saints faced second-and-5 on the Vikes' 34. Backup tight end Josh Hill, with seven receptions in two seasons, lined up right. Drew Brees looked left, looked left, pumped left -- and then threw deep right to Hill, who ran uncovered for the touchdown. Sweet.

I'm not even sure that's a tactic. I think it just so happened the route called for Hill to go deep and he ended up getting open.

Against Tennessee, Dalton caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Mohamed Sanu on a gunslinger. The play was sour for the Flaming Thumbtacks, whose cornerback, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, had what appeared to be an easy tackle on Dalton as the pass was caught and bounced off him. Normally, defenders crave the moment when a quarterback is a runner or receiver because taking a shot is legal. Instead, Wreh-Wilson appeared to pull up.

Wreh-Wilson didn't pull up and he didn't bounce off Andy Dalton. He went up for the interception and failed to catch the ball. If he had caught the ball, it would have been a pick-six, which Gregg believes is a play that is the most game-changing turnover. So Wreh-Wilson went for the big play and failed. That's it. He didn't miss the tackle really.

With Green Bay at Detroit tied at seven in the second quarter, the hosts faced third-and-long at midfield. Matt Stafford's deep pass was intercepted by the Packers' Davon House, who tumbled into the end zone for a touchback. Sweet!

No, wait. Sour for Green Bay because on replay the spot was reversed, and House was ruled down at the Packers' 1. That made the result of the play the same as a perfect coffin-corner punt. On the next Green Bay snap, Detroit's DeAndre Levy shot a gap unblocked and dropped Packers' running back Eddie Lacy three yards deep in the end zone for a safety. Green Bay free kicked, and the Detroit possession ended with a field goal. The Packers' interception turned into five points for Detroit. Green Bay would have been better off had House simply swatted the ball down for an incompletion.

Using hindsight this is true. John F. Kennedy would have been better off if he had not gone to Dallas on November 22, 1963, but he didn't know that at the time. Just like Davon House didn't know that he was down at the 1-yard line and on the next play the Packers would give up a safety. Though he can intercept passes, he is not able to predict the future as Gregg believes he can do. So yes, House would have swatted the pass down if he were omnisicient. He is not though.

Now Gregg takes on the tyranny of unrealistic fictional television shows.

Okay, it's television. But what's disturbing about Chicago P.D. is audiences are manipulated to think torture is a regrettable necessity for protecting the public. Three times in the first season, the antihero tortures suspects -- a severe beating and threats to cut off an ear and shove a hand down a running garbage disposal. Each time, torture immediately results in information that saves innocent lives. Each time, viewers know, from prior scenes, the antihero caught the right man. That manipulates the viewer into thinking, "He deserves whatever he gets."

Yeah, but he's the anti-hero so he tortures people to get information. That's why he isn't a hero, because he uses methods that other police officers would (hopefully) not lower themselves to in order to make an arrest. The viewer can make up his/her mind on whether the suspect got what he deserved or not. Not everyone is stupid, though I will admit those people who read and enjoy TMQ are probably the same ones gullible enough to be manipulated into taking a view on torture based on watching "Chicago P.D."

Some ethicists say there could be a ticking-bomb exception -- if the prisoner could reveal where a ticking bomb is, then torture becomes permissible. But how could a law enforcement officer be sure what a captive knows? And if by this logic torture is permissible, wouldn't that justify torture by, say, the Taliban if they captured a U.S. airman who could know the location of a planned drone strike?

In a way, but the perception is a prisoner has done something wrong to be a prisoner, so torturing him to find out where the bomb is would be hurting the guilty to save the innocent. The (American) perception is a U.S. airman hasn't done anything wrong and isn't guilty of a crime, so torturing him to know the location of the drone strike would be hurting an innocent person to save innocent/guilty people.

Down 17-0 in the third quarter at Jersey/A, Houston took a field goal on fourth-and-inches from the Giants' 9. Sure, a fourth down try by the Texans failed on the previous possession, but that was then, this is now! That a coin has come up tails 10 straight times tells nothing about what will happen on the 11th flip.

No, it doesn't. Of course a team going for it on fourth down isn't just a coin flip. If one team has failed 10 times to convert a fourth down then there is a good chance that team won't convert the 11th attempt. There are more factors in play on a fourth down than just the flip of a coin. A fourth down attempt involves 22 people in motion, not just a flip of the coin. So 10 failed attempts could indicate whether an 11th attempt would work or not.

Now it's 17-3. Facing third-and-2 on the Moo Cows' 44, the Giants throw incomplete and are called for offensive pass interference. Bill O'Brien declines the penalty, confident Tom Coughlin will punt on fourth-and-2 in Houston territory, which Coughlin proceeds to do.

And this told the Giants that Tom Coughlin wasn't serious about winning this game and the Giants went on to lose because Coughlin didn't go for it on fourth down? Oh, that's not how it worked out?

Baltimore tried on fourth-and-1 early in the fourth quarter at Cleveland and failed, but the Ravens went on to victory, which shows sometimes it's better to try and fail, which tells players their coach is challenging them to win, not launch a kick.

So in a game where both coaches are not going for it on fourth down, then both coaches being chickens offsets and failing to go for it on fourth down has no effect on the outcome of the game. In a game where one team goes for it on fourth down and the other does not, a tone is set, which means the coach is challenging his team to win. I think teams should be aggressive, but Gregg's insistence on tying fourth down tries to a coach challenging his team to win seems very anecdotal to me.

Then Gregg begins to speak about how the United States is in for tough times because of entitlements and government spending. He wrote a lot about this topic and it was all just an excuse to pimp out something else he had written.

Everything in this long item assumes longevity does not increase, so the retired don't demand benefits for a longer time. What if longevity increases? See my cover story in the new Atlantic Monthly.

Gregg wrote 1,500 words of non-football related material just so he could then push the cover story he wrote for the "Atlantic Monthly." Not only does TMQ have large sections that aren't about football, but it serves as a great forum for Gregg Easterbrook to advertise for his other writing endeavors. It makes you wonder where Gregg's focus lies.

Not That Politicians Have Any Shame: Last week, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said he was "embarrassed" by the Vikings' handling of the Adrian Peterson mess. Why wasn't Gov. Dayton embarrassed by the fact that Minnesota and Minneapolis handed nearly $500 million of taxpayers' money to the Vikings' ownership family to build the new stadium from which those super-rich owners will keep nearly all the revenue?

This is sort of a strawman argument isn't it?

"Mark Dayton is 'embarrassed' by the Vikings' handling of the Adrian Peterson mess, then why isn't he embarrassed that millions of people are starving while Vikings fans gorge themselves on food in preparation for a recreational sporting event?"

"Mark Dayton is 'embarrassed' by the Vikings' handling of the Adrian Peterson mess, then why isn't he embarrassed that his last name is 'Dayton' and he doesn't live in Ohio?"

The Football Gods Chortled: Since fleeing the wonderfully romantic city of San Francisco for the office buildings and parking lots of Santa Clara, the 49ers are 1-2 and have scored just three points in the second half.

I don't know what Gregg has against the 49ers, but he seems to always have some curse or problem that he believes the team is encountering that is usually not football-related.

-There was the "Crabtree Curse" which basically said because Michael Crabtree held out for more money after being drafted, and the 49ers eventually paid him what he was supposed to earn at the slot he was drafted, that the rest of the 49ers team didn't like the team caved to Crabtree and so the team couldn't win games as a result. It was ridiculous. Then, in a miracle turn of events, the 49ers started winning games with Crabtree being their best receiver and Gregg turned this "Crabtree Curse" into a curse that only hit the 49ers when Mike Singletary was the head coach. Because when called on your bullshit, deflect quickly. If it was the "Singletary Curse" then why did the reason behind the curse have nothing to do with Mike Singletary and it was called the "Crabtree Curse"?

-Then last year, Gregg wrote off the 49ers and stated that the read-option was dead, never to return. It was a gimmick that NFL teams had figured out. In a shocking twist of events that wasn't shocking at all, Gregg forgot he had said this after the 49ers made their third straight NFC Championship Game.

-Now Gregg is trying to conjure up a curse where the 49ers are cursed because they moved from San Francisco to Santa Clara. Gregg will claim the team sold out to corporate interests and that's why they can't win games. Who knows what his excuse will be when the 49ers go on a run like they did last year?

Football And Taxes Note: Two weeks ago, TMQ excoriated the Hall of Fame for being tax-exempt yet extolling O.J. Simpson, who personifies violence against women. I said the Hall "sheltered $31 million" from taxation in the most recent year for which records are available. Several readers familiar with the nonprofit world, including Susan Denton of San Francisco, countered that I inaccurately characterized the Hall's balance sheet -- had it been a for-profit in the most recent year, it would have been taxed on about $1.4 million. So my number was wrong -- I should have said the Hall of Fame sheltered $1.4 million.

Hey, Gregg was only off by $30 million. It was just an accounting error that caused Gregg to be off by 2,100%. But hey, his point remains you know!

The point remains the same: Why should taxpayers subsidize a professional sports exhibit of any kind, much less one that adulates someone like Simpson? Corporate taxes on $1.4 million would be about $475,000 -- not huge in the scheme of things, but many dozens of average families must be taxed to cover that sum.

Yes, the point remains the same. The point also goes to show how Gregg will intentionally mislead his readers or won't do enough research so that he doesn't knowingly hand out incorrect information. It's clear already that Gregg doesn't read the links he links in TMQ and so I would imagine he also doesn't do a ton of research on the information he provides. He can't be lying if he doesn't do enough research to know the truth, can he?

Versus City of Tampa, Devin Hester not only set the all-time record for return touchdowns but also played well at wide receiver. Hester had a catch for 25 yards and during a turnover, stripped the ball from a Bucs player and fell on the rock and cradled it, which is proper form. TMQ's NFC preview expressed dismay at Chicago's lack of interest in retaining Hester: "The Falcons benefit from the Bears' puzzling decision to show the door to Devin Hester ... the Windy City is known for its sports curses -- soon the Devin Hester Curse might be added."

And that explains why the Bears are 2-1. What a curse!

If the Falcons make the playoffs this year and the Bears do not, the Devin Hester Curse will join the Shoeless Joe curse and the billy goat curse in Chicago lore.

No Gregg, it won't. The Devin Hester curse isn't real and wouldn't be made real due to one season where his new team makes the playoffs and his old team does not make the playoffs.

A huge embarrassment awaits Chicago management if Hester plays well when the Bears and Falcons meet on Oct. 12.

Not really a huge embarrassment. Difficult personnel decisions are made in the NFL all the time. At some point every NFL team will have to face a player they released or traded. It's the state of the NFL with a salary cap.

On the City of Tampa side, the first two Atlanta touchdowns went to receivers who were not covered by anyone at all -- what a smooth move by the Buccaneers' new management to waive Darrelle Revis in the offseason!

How silly of the Buccaneers to choose to free up $16 million in salary cap space. Why in the hell would they do that? It's just another example of the Buccaneers new staff blaming the previous regime and not at all an example of them correcting mistakes made by the previous regime. If something isn't working, keep trying to make it work.

City of Tampa's patchwork offensive line surrendered three sacks to the Falcons, who came in as the only NFL club without a sack. Waiving left tackle Donald Penn in the offseason -- that was a smooth move, too!

Penn was going to make almost $7 million and he was overpaid. He was 31 and the Buccaneers signed Anthony Collins, who is 3 years younger and making almost a million less than Penn.

Last week the league fined Bruce Irvin of the Seahawks $8,268 for a late hit and Courtney Upshaw of the Ravens $16,537 for an illegal hit. Why wasn't Upshaw fined $16,537.95? The recent collective bargaining agreement spelled out fines with odd specificity, though the last digit was zero.

He wasn't fined $16,537.95 because that's not the amount he was fined. I know Gregg could give a shit about details, facts or anything else that involves minutia he finds to be below him, but he really needs to stop calling any number that doesn't end in "0" as "oddly specific."

Obscure College Score: Greensboro 37, La Grange 35. The Panthers joined The 500 Club by gaining 516 yards and losing. Located in La Grange, Georgia, La Grange College offers previews of previews.

It's not exactly a preview of previews. The day is called "Preview Day" and if Gregg would click on the link he provided he would see that the video simply tells prospective students who are invited to "Preview Day" what to expect. That's all. I hate it when Gregg does cutesy shit like this. He's about 10% as clever as he believes himself to be.

The video preview of "Preview Day" is sort of like Gregg writing a column on football and providing a preview of another column he will later link in that football column.

Next Week: The NFL hires Paul Tagliabue to conduct an independent investigation of its "independent" investigation.

Don't give Roger Goodell any ideas. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

8 comments Bill Simmons Was Right, But Knew He Would Get Suspended

As was possibly his plan all along, Bill Simmons got suspended by ESPN for his comments on Roger Goodell being liar and then daring ESPN to suspend him. As mandated by Internet law, I'm sure everyone has heard about this and gotten to hear 1,000 opinions on this issue. Bill Simmons takes a piss and the world waits for him to flush. More on Bill and the overall Sith-lord in a Communist nation vibe that ESPN gives out around that situation in a minute.

I want to focus first on the ESPN ombudsman and his work of late. The ESPN ombudsman does not post often. Sometimes he will post fairly quickly one after the other. He has posted on the following dates (and of course he posts about Simmons as soon as I finish typing this):

October 15, 2013

October 24, 2013- in a post that came quickly after the other one and was more complimentary towards ESPN (hint, this is a semi-trend) saying:

The ESPN female audience has risen to about 45 percent, according to last year’s figures, and the network has been making an effort to showcase female talent. The promotion of Doris Burke this month to studio analyst on “NBA Countdown” was a dramatic example.
 

But ESPN also has to do a better job of identifying those “good ol’ boy” comments and turning them into teachable moments for the guys who haven’t quite gotten their heads out of their lockers. 

The entire article wasn't entirely complimentary, but considering David Pollack had essentially made comments which moved humanity back 75 years, and ESPN's earned reputation for a boy's club, along with their history of treating women poorly...I'd say it was pretty complimentary. Lipsyte could easily have gone on for 5,000 words about this just being another example of sexism ingrained in the ESPN culture, but that's for someone else to do I guess.

November 22, 2013

December 18, 2013

December 31, 2013- in a post about religious tolerance and advocacy that more or less just covered the topic.

January 17, 2014

January 27, 2014- On the Dr. V story, where he was critical of Grantland's handling of the Dr. V story.

March 18, 2014

April 3, 2014- Simply reaction from readers and no real "ombudsman" activities to be read.

April 28, 2014

May 30, 2014

July 9, 2014

July 30, 2014

September 9, 2014

September 23, 2014- This is the latest column. Notice this column comes a mere two weeks (two WHOLE weeks!) after the last ombudsman post. You may be familiar with the previous ombudsman post because that was the one where the ombudsman discussed punishments at ESPN and how they are handled. It also has the choice quote from an ESPN executive where he says,

“We don’t treat everyone the same but we treat everyone fairly.”

It's also the post where ESPN was essentially admitting to keeping punishments and information from the ombudsman because it's not the public's right to know. Sure, maybe. What's the point of having an ombudsman if you aren't going to let him report to the public regarding organizational decisions in order to back up the appearance of transparency you want to give with actual actions that support this transparency?

So it was surprising that the ombudsman posted again so quickly. Then I read what he wrote.

The network’s heavyweights -- Keith Olbermann, Jason Whitlock and Bill Simmons, among others -- delivered their own verbal punches; investigative reporter Don Van Natta Jr. has been driving the national media’s newsgathering; Bob Ley anchored smart and thoughtful discussions; and a roster of stars, including Jane McManus, Dan Le Batard, Hannah Storm, Andrew Brandt, Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen, offered information and insight.
 

I’d like to say I wasn’t the least bit surprised … but I was.
 

This was ESPN’s finest hour during my tenure as Ombudsman,

This was a fairly complimentary post towards ESPN and I can imagine some ESPN executive shooting Robert Lipsyte an email suggesting he write about ESPN's great victory as soon as possible. That's how I explain the short two week wait between posts. ESPN had something great they wanted to have Lipsyte comment on, so he did. I wouldn't suggest Lipsyte is a lapdog or lackey for ESPN, but it struck me as funny that he followed up one post with another so quickly when that's not how he usually writes. Topics have been well past their sell-by date when a discussion of that topic has appeared in the ombudsman's page prior, so it doesn't strike me as a coincidence ESPN's great victory which just happens to coincide with a new ombudsman post. ESPN's battle with the Ravens over the Don Van Natta Jr report got a quick, starry-eyed review on the ombudsman's page like it was almost a part of the plan to protect "the brand."

In a world where the ombudsman doesn't write much, one post where ESPN admits they won't be transparent with him, followed by another shockingly short wait for another post where ESPN looks good, leads me to believe ESPN is up to their usual shenanigans in an effort to help "the brand."

Speaking of the brand and those who hurt it and also help it. Bill Simmons got suspended for three weeks for something. Maybe for his comments about Roger Goodell, though I doubt it, and maybe for challenging his bosses to suspend him, which I don't doubt at all. Here is my archive of Bill Simmons posts. It's a lot. I have a lot of issues with his writing. I put this out there as my resume of being a Simmons-hater. He annoys me because he has a great amount of talent, but his writing is full of "we's" and crappy theories that he has put about 10 seconds of effort into concocting. His columns are essentially material that takes up the time until his next mailbag, which features questions about his columns.

In this situation, Simmons is absolutely right. He was correct to call out Roger Goodell like he did for being a liar. But he wasn't even close to being the first person or the first person at ESPN or the 10th person at ESPN to call out Roger Goodell for being fishy and not entirely forthright about the Ray Rice video. It's popular to call Roger Goodell out for lying. So much so, there seems to be a bit of a backlash against those calling Goodell out for lying. Of course, it would be nice if something would be done about it to prove the statement that Goodell is a liar as true or false, but I'm sure Peter King is hard at work waiting for someone to dig that information up. After all, that's why there is an "independent" investigation.

So in typical Simmons fashion, he becomes the lead guy for "Goodell must go" when he didn't say it first and he didn't say it most eloquently, he just did it with the most flair and uproar. Bill found a way to get himself some attention for his view by challenging his bosses to fire him for holding the same opinion other ESPN employees have voiced. That's the annoying part about Simmons. He's always said the same thing (or similar things) that other people have said, while trying to put his stamp on it and have the focus on him. Examples are all contained in his writing. His ideas have to be the best and most original idea, so he will tweak a reader's idea in a mailbag to make it his own, then drive the idea into the ground. So Bill's thought wasn't original, he just used an airplane flying a banner over the Super Bowl to announce his feelings while everyone else simply put out a press release. Bill knows his power. Don't think he doesn't. You simply can't call out your employer like Simmons did. I guess it serves some purpose.

Bill Simmons was right and perfectly within his rights to give his opinion on Roger Goodell. Even if it was a very expressive opinion for certain alternative purposes he may have had, he was right. Bill Simmons should not have been suspended for his comments, but he was going to get suspended for his comments. "We" simply can't call out our employer like that and expect no blowback for the comments. For someone who is (throws up in a bucket) smart, forward thinking, and understands what his reader wants to read/hear/see, Bill doesn't have a very good eye for business at times. Either that, or more likely, he knew what would happen by daring ESPN to suspend him. ESPN isn't going to mind their employees commenting on Roger Goodell and the NFL. That's something the network has to allow or else they appear to be beholden to an NFL that the public already believes they are beholden to. ESPN is also going to take any chance they can get to punish employees who go beyond criticizing Roger Goodell and the NFL. Bill did that. He was hostile in his comments and challenged ESPN. That'll do it. He gave ESPN a chance to be outraged and they took that chance.

Where ESPN really messed up is in how they punished Bill. Suspending him for three weeks isn't the right type of punishment for a guy like Bill Simmons. It brings me back to the comments to the ombudsman in the September 9 post about how everyone is treated fairly, but not everyone is treated the same. Anyone who has ever managed employees knows it's important to understand what that employee values and reward/punish them appropriately based on that. Suspending Bill Simmons for three weeks is only going to feed the fire. He said on his podcast "I'm going public" if ESPN contacts him about his comments on the podcast. He wants the drama, he wants the notoriety in this situation to position himself as the strong anti-establishment, anti-Goodell guy at ESPN. The same things that frustrate me about Simmons' writing stand in opposition to his strengths. He half-asses his writing and I know this is true because he has interesting podcasts and he is the brain behind Grantland. He's a very smart guy who is always trying to stay two steps ahead of everyone else. His columns represent the lazy side of him where he doesn't care to be two steps ahead because he's bored with writing columns already. I think Bill wants to badly position himself as the rebel, rather than the corporate millionaire that he really has become. Just take a look at the "Rolling Stone" profile of him. He talks about smoking pot and embraces his issues with ESPN. It's all part of the plan to paint himself as a rebel who works within the system, rather than being the person who has willingly chose to be a part of the system because it provides him with what really motivates him, which is power, money and influence.

Bill likes power and influence and not the "I'm going to take over the world" power, but the "I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it" power. The "don't edit my column" type of power. That's what he wants. He wants money, influence and power. ESPN has money and offered him the opportunity for power and influence by allowing him to start the successful (from all appearances) Grantland site. As much as he protests, Bill's first choice is not to leave ESPN, because they are paying him well, he gets his opinions out to the masses and they have multiple platforms where he can voice this opinion. He's also aware he doesn't want to be seen as a corporate stooge. A Chris Berman or Skip Bayless who is tied so tightly to ESPN you can't imagine him outside of ESPN. Hence, we get these temper tantrums from time-to-time where Bill needs to remind the public that he is a rebel and doesn't like being held down by the same corporate partner whose resources he has willing and eagerly chosen to use to enhance his bank account and celebrity. This isn't a criticism. Bill is smart. He knows what he's doing. ESPN suspends him and they look like they are going hard on one of their best known employees and Bill looks like he is raging against the machine again. Bill will passively-aggressively make comments about ESPN down the road to let everyone know how unhappy he was, but he hasn't been so unhappy as to make a move yet. He has money, influence and power. A three week suspension will only enhance his influence by painting him as a martyr for the anti-Goodell crusade among fans of his and non-fans of his.

So short story long, ESPN shouldn't have suspended Bill because that buys into what he wants them to do. Of course the alternative is probably not attractive because it risks alienating Bill and ending this symbiotic relationship where each party accomplishes what they need to accomplish without looking like they are soft on their best employees (ESPN) or bow down to corporate interests (Bill). The real way to punish Bill, assuming ESPN really wanted to punish him rather than just piss him off and dare him to think leaving for a week or two, would be to threaten to remove some of his power. Grantland is a good site. I go there to read articles and there are many good articles. It is a product of Bill's mind and foresight. But like any good editor-in-chief he is replaceable with the right guy. Everyone is replaceable, including Bill. I will admit I don't know how Grantland works contractually. I think ESPN could get rid of Bill as editor-in-chief. It's an ESPN property, so I am working with partial information knowing only that.

If ESPN really wanted to punish Bill, they would tell him, "Look, you have done a great job with Grantland, but we can't have you challenging us to suspend you while bashing the NFL commissioner on this site. If you can't stop doing things like this and threatening the brand of the Grantland property then we may have to remove you as editor-in-chief. So for a few weeks, take a step back and think about what you want. If you want to be editor-in-chief, then stop challenging us to suspend you, and hurting a growing branch of ESPN. You can still write, still do the NBA pregame show, and podcasts, but Grantland won't have you as editor-in-chief and you won't be doing any of that other stuff on Grantland."

After a while, an idea like Grantland, much like the "30 for 30" documentaries and ESPN as a whole, become bigger than the creator and take on a life of their own. Grantland won't necessarily require Bill Simmons to succeed in the future.

Yes, having this type of conversation with Bill probably isn't the best business decision, but if the purpose is to punish Bill Simmons, threatening to takeaway Grantland permanently, not for three weeks, is the route they would want to go. Maybe they did that. I don't know. I just know Bill Simmons isn't Stephen A. Smith who requires face time on the television or radio screaming at you to soothe his ego and feel accomplished. Bill just exists with his influence brought by "30 for 30," Grantland, podcasts and appearances on the ABC NBA pregame show. Take away something from him, then he's probably pissed off and he's also been punished. One read of the "Rolling Stone" confirms that Bill is constantly moving and constantly trying to think of new ideas. Take away one of those ideas that he's made real, that's a real punishment. Bill thrives on his ideas and his ownership of those ideas. It's what makes him great at what he does...not including writing. He's still not good at that, which is why there are 180 posts tagged here with his name on them.

Bill exists outside of ESPN. He has purposely tied himself to working for ESPN, but isn't considered as much of an ESPN property to the general public like other ESPN employees (Chris Mortensen, Stephen A. Smith, Chris Berman, Bob Ley, Skip Bayless, etc). This is intentional. Don't get me wrong, Bill works for ESPN, but he's made sure he is "Bill Simmons noted sports/entertainment talking head and editor-in-chief of Grantland" and not "Bill Simmons of ESPN." Bill has his own web site, but he needs the resources of ESPN to make this work for him. Bill could start his own Grantland if he left ESPN, but I believe it would be hard to draw the talent he is currently drawing at this new site away from ESPN. Bill has accumulated some really good writers (and annoying writers, don't get me wrong) at Grantland. Zach Lowe being of one of those writers. So Bill could venture out on his own or hook up with another sports web site to open a different form of Grantland there (I can see Bleacher Report making a play for him and considering how much he's bashed them, it would be a bit of hypocrisy on Bill's part), but he's still going to be competing with ESPN at that point. He can succeed without ESPN because he's not as tied to them as other employees, but I question whether he can pull in the talent at another site that he's pulled in at ESPN without the backing of ESPN. So while Bill exists outside of ESPN, I don't know if he wants to actually exist outside ESPN. Again, the platform ESPN provides for his ideas across all of their mediums is something he simply can't get anywhere else. ESPN can outbid other networks for talent and offer them a chance to get more face time on many more platforms than other sports networks.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't think ESPN should be as draconian as to threaten to take away Grantland from Bill. That's a tough move that I don't believe his behavior in this situation merits. I'm on Bill's side here. His writing stinks, but his value to ESPN is unquestioned. Suspending him for three weeks is a pretty tough move as well, but not a move I think that really hurts Bill. It's a move that accomplishes what Bill wanted to accomplish and isn't the best way to punish Bill if ESPN really was looking to punish him rather than just put him in time out. ESPN does need to be careful in fucking with their well-known and well-liked employees like Bill Simmons. While I have stated Bill could have trouble leaving ESPN and succeeding elsewhere due to the power, influence and money ESPN offers, if any ESPN employee has the brains to succeed and go up against ESPN then it would be Bill Simmons' name on that shortlist. If we are being honest, Bill has never gone against the grain really. He started working for ESPN in the late 90's and every new idea he has brought forth has had the backing of ESPN and always allowed him the soft pillow of ESPN to fall back on. So again, while he paints himself as the rebel with crazy, new ideas he wants to bring forth, he prefers to bring these crazy, new ideas forth with the corporate backing and fail-safe that ESPN provides. Bill has the intelligence to go out on his own, I don't know if he has the daring.

What's annoying is this suspension isn't about Bill Simmons and what he said on his podcast. It's about ESPN's ego. They simply don't want him questioning their ability to suspend one of their personalities. That's it. Bill Simmons deserved to get suspended while also not entirely deserving to get suspended. ESPN basically suspended Bill because he told them to. He said nothing that other ESPN commentators haven't said and ESPN hasn't exactly stuck with the NFL on the topic of the Ray Rice video. For me, this is the height of Bill and ESPN's hubris. Bill made himself a martyr at the altar of hot takes on Roger Goodell and ESPN suspended him because he dared them to do so. Bill's actions will look good compared to the "Don't say anything negative about Goodell" attitude that ESPN is projecting in this situation, even though that's not what the suspension is about. The suspension is about ESPN wanting to treat every employee fairly, but not the same. They can't have Bill Simmons bashing the commissioner and then daring ESPN to suspend him while threatening to "go public."

But here's the thing, this was a non-story if ESPN just doesn't respond by suspending Bill. At ESPN it is fine to use the n-word on the air three times, it's fine to accuse women of provocating their own beating and it isn't the first time Smith has done that, and it's fine to lie to viewers. All of those incidents resulted in a grand total of a two week suspension. Just don't challenge ESPN's ability to suspend you for making the same comments others at the network have made, but simply in a stronger fashion. It's annoying, because Bill is getting what he wanted. He's getting the attention he clearly wanted and is seen as the clubhouse leader when it comes to calling for Roger Goodell's head. ESPN could have quashed this all by just allowing the news cycle to run it's course. Granted, they would have some people upset internally and egos would be hurt, but ESPN hasn't worried about internal strife previously when one of their employees makes controversial statements. Why start now?

This suspension is about ESPN wanting to be a Sith-lord who chokes an underling for a mistake, because they can and don't want their authority to do so questioned. "Look at how decisive and strong we can be! Don't fuck with us, because we have standards that we pay attention to every once in a while when it is convenient to do so! Our standards involve reporting on the showering habits of athletes and allowing Gregg Easterbrook to mislead readers every week on ESPN.com, but it's not our standard to allow justified criticism of Roger Goodell in a strong fashion, then challenging us to take action against you for making such a strong, justified statement."

It's another example of ESPN treating their employees "fairly" but showing contempt for the intelligence of their viewers. Trolls, women-haters and race-baiters get an opportunity to voice their opinion as much as they want while throwing around opinions that may or may not be factually based. But ESPN takes it seriously when there is justified criticism of the NFL commissioner for potentially lying about whether he saw the Ray Rice video prior to suspending Rice. ESPN has to protect their ability to suspend an employee so they can further protect a non-employee, but important ESPN stakeholder, who at the very least is guilty of completely misunderstanding the impact domestic violence can have on society and those who are victims of domestic violence. ESPN employs women, but desperately wants to protect Roger Goodell's right to lie about a domestic violence incident and what he knew about the incident when suspending a player. That's how it looks to some people, though that's not the entire truth.

Regardless of whether ESPN knows it or not, which they probably do, they have started a war with Bill Simmons. He's a child. He's a child in the right in this situation, but he's a child nonetheless. Just read his podcast comment about potentially getting suspended by ESPN,

"I really hope somebody calls me or emails me and says I'm in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell, because if one person says that to me, I'm going public," Simmons said. "You leave me alone. The commissioner is a liar and I get to talk about that on my podcast."

Those words, especially the last sentence sounds like that of a teenager who is rebelling against their parents. It's very childish.

It's HIS podcast and he can talk about WHATEVER HE WANTS! Leave Bill ALONE! He'll tell everyone how mean you are if you try to do anything to him.

It's very childish sounding.

So the war has started/continued and the only question that remains is whether Bill will continue to passively-aggressively bash ESPN when given the chance all while being protected by the umbrella of money, influence and power it has provided him or he will honestly look to get out and find his own way in the sports world? Is this another temper tantrum to remind everyone that Bill is nobody's bitch, all while Bill takes zero steps to ensure he is not under the thumb of ESPN anymore? Or is this a breaking point where Bill has finally challenged ESPN to suspend him for saying comments he believes (rightfully) he is within his rights to say?

Frankly, this is probably an example of Bill acting like a teenager. He's testing the limits of his parents while also choosing to live in their home due to the safety of the situation. I would be convinced otherwise if Bill had ever previously turned his anger towards ESPN into anything other than a way to get more autonomy with the security of ESPN behind him. Perhaps the fact he is very much right in this situation can push him to eventually make a change, but his three week suspension isn't enough to make him change his behavior and serve as a real punishment where he would lose something he values. If ESPN wanted to change Bill's behavior then they would have actually tried to punish Bill through the loss of something he values and if Bill really didn't like ESPN messing with his podcast then he will take this chance to start making a move. At this point, it feels more like a stalemate and a half-assed, symbiotic Cold War right now. ESPN wants to "punish" Bill, but doesn't really want to piss him off, and Bill wants to rail against ESPN overseeing his work, but doesn't really want to leave. 

This is how far we have come from the Ray Rice video. It started with Ray Rice seen dragging his fiance off an elevator and now a sports network has suspended one of their most popular employees for commenting the NFL commissioner may or may not have lied about seeing a video tape inside the elevator where Rice actually knocked his fiance out. Ray Rice got Bill Simmons suspended. Rice is out for the year, the Baltimore Ravens' franchise is being called liars by ESPN, ESPN is questioning the Ravens honesty, the Ravens are questioning ESPN's reporting and ESPN is suspending employees for questioning Roger Goodell's honesty and then challenging ESPN to do something about these comments. Meanwhile, Roger Goodell is still NFL commissioner awaiting an "independent" investigation on what he knew and when. People all around the situation fall and have their integrity questioned, but Goodell still stands. He's letting everyone else fight it out while he has disappeared. Seems like Goodell has won to me.

I pushed TMQ to my next post for this weekend, so check back. So two TMQ's in a short time span (probably). Who says "no" to that?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

2 comments MMQB Review: Peter King Can't See Too Good, But Thinks That Is Joey Montana Over There Quarterbacking the Seahawks

Peter King discussed domestic violence in last week's MMQB. Hopefully we have all of the discussion of moral issues out of the way for the rest of the NFL season. Everyone is suspended, sorry I mean on the commissioner's exempt list, and all is well in the NFL again. Well, you know, except for the whole "Roger Goodell lied repeatedly about whether he saw the Ray Rice tape and what Rice described to him as happening on the elevator" thing, but based on Peter's lack of discussion on this topic in last week's MMQB, I'm guessing that issue won't be pushed hard any time soon. Peter King also criticized Matt Cassel for not playing well against the Patriots, but then praised him for playing well on one drive for some reason. So the NFL's arbiter of right and wrong is back this week to discuss how Russell Wilson saved the NFL, says the NFL needs a domestic violence czar (and now we are swinging the pendulum to overreacting in response to an under-reaction), and is amazed at how much Americans like their technology. I guess it's easier to be uppity about technology when your employer provides most of your electronic devices to you at no cost.

The adrenaline was still flowing for Russell Wilson an hour after a game that was supposed to be high drama, and actually was.
“The NFL needed this game,” Wilson said.

The NFL is saved. Because of you, Russell Wilson. Thank you for all you do. If it weren't for that Broncos-Seahawks game, I might have just stopped watching the NFL all together. Thank God Peter begins this column with such flowery language, because otherwise I wouldn't want to read another word about the NFL without Peter telling me the league is saved.

Games like this one are why people won’t throw the NFL out with the trash because of the Ray Rice scandal.

Which, by the way, is the same thing I thought last week as Peter was having an emo-breakdown about whether he should give up watching the NFL or not. People love the NFL and won't give it up because a few bad apples get in trouble for domestic violence allegations.

The NFL is on fire. The first Super Bowl rematch in 17 years couldn’t put it out, of course. But it could remind people who love football but are pissed off at it why they loved it in the first place. Wilson and Manning and the Broncos and the Seahawks did their best in three hours and 33 minutes to put some salve on the sport.

These narratives don't write themselves, you know. Peter has to put a lot of time into acting like the NFL will fall apart with no one watching the sport one week, followed by an exciting football game the next week that totally redeems the entire sport.

After Manning engineered one of the best drives of his career—six plays, 80 yards, no timeouts, 41 seconds, ending in a touchdown pass and two-point conversion—Wilson made it look easier in overtime. Does the man sweat? Does he get cotton-mouth?

I don't know. We'll see how he feels when his future ex-wife comes after any future earnings he might have if/when they go to court.

(I know that has nothing to do with anything, it just felt fun for some reason to be a hater)

On a brisk 13-play, 80-yard drive to start OT, Wilson threw the ball six times, handed it off three and ran it four times himself. And Seattle won 26-20.

It was a great last drive, no doubt. The Broncos couldn't seem to keep Wilson in the pocket.

Tony Dungy compared Wilson to a young Joe Montana a couple of weeks ago, and the hyperbole-prompted snickers were everywhere. But what about Wilson isn’t Montana-like?

Oh Peter, so many things about Wilson aren't Montana-like. Can't we just let Russell Wilson be Russell Wilson and stop prematurely comparing him to Hall of Fame quarterbacks? Can't Russell Wilson just stand on his own until his career comes closer to ending? What is wrong with just stating he is a really good quarterback? Or would that just not involve the excessive amount of hyperbole required for MMQB? It constantly annoys me how sportswriters have to start the comparisons of one player to another way too early. What isn't Montana-like about Wilson is he hasn't played at a high level for over a decade, while Montana did. Simmer the fuck down.

Shorter guys. Don’t put up gaudy stats. Teammates love them. Coaches love them. Tremendous internal drive to win. Both 25 when they won their first Super Bowl. And, most important, they play big in the big games.

Welp, it's settled then. Russell Wilson is Joe Montana. Nothing left to do or prove at this point. So for the rest of his career, no matter how the rest of his career ends up, Russell Wilson IS Joe Montana. That's the takeaway here?

“That’s a team record,” Wilson said by phone from the bowels of CenturyLink. “When we play against the best, like we did today, it’s a humbling experience. I want to be up there with those guys one day. It’s a thrill to be able to play in games like this, against guys like Peyton, and I just want to excel when we play them. It can’t get any better than a game like this today.”
I want to be up there with those guys one day.
You’re there.

No, he is not there. If Russell Wilson plays like Blaine Gabbert for the rest of his career then he will be considered like quarterbacks such as Brady, Manning, Rodgers and Brees? That is what Peter is saying? That's pure bullshit. Wilson is getting there, but he's not there. Stop being a hyperbolic drama queen. Wilson is on his way to being considered a great quarterback, but he's not there after less than three full seasons in the NFL.

Wilson gathered his offense before he took the first snap and said, “This is what we live for, fellas: championship moments. Let’s go out and embrace it.”

Then he said, "Is that John Candy sitting in the stands?" and Peter King knew that Russell Wilson was a great quarterback just like Joe Montana. Nothing could ever change that, unless something in the next decade ends up changing that.

“I know I shouldn’t say this,” Wilson said, “but I actually wanted overtime. Of course I want to win in regulation, but overtime is so much fun. I live for those moments.”

Just like Joe Montana. In fact, Russell Wilson's real last name is "Idaho," but he changed it because he didn't want everyone to make the obvious comparison to Joe Montana. Wilson's real last name is also a state, just like Joe Montana. Joe Montana played quarterback at Notre Dame which is a university located in a state in the United States, just like Russell Wilson played quarterback at Wisconsin which is a state in the United States. Joe Montana played football and Russell Wilson played with Monte Ball. Joe Montana got traded to the Chiefs late in his career, which made Steve Young the 49ers starting quarterback. Russell Wilson is young and has never played the Chiefs. Joe Montana wore #16 in San Francisco, Russell Wilson wears #3 for the Seahawks. If you add them together you get 19 and that's the number Montana wore for the Chiefs. I don't think anyone has ever seen them in the same room together either.

“My father always told me, ‘Don’t be afraid to excel.’ ” Russell Wilson was taught well.

See, now that's where Joe Montana is more like Blaine Gabbert. Montana's dad told him "Don't be afraid to fail miserably." I guess they just aren't that alike and Joe Montana's father is an asshole for not teaching his son well.

When I think of Drew Stanton, I don’t think of many big NFL moments. None, really. But I do think of the man who was signed by the Jets in 2012, paid a signing bonus of $500,000, then traded seven days later because the Jets had a crazy brainstorm and impulsively signed Tim Tebow.

Don't blame Tim Tebow for that. God did it. It wasn't impulsive at all. It was God's will to give Tim Tebow another chance in the NFL. God wanted to show that Tebow is a terrible quarterback and he should immediately give up the sport as quickly as possible. He had a plan.

“I signed with the Jets because I thought it was a great situation, and because I had the word of [coach] Rex Ryan and [then-GM] Mike Tannenbaum that I’d be the backup. A few days later I started hearing rumors about Tim and the Jets. I said, ‘No way.’ They just paid me a bonus and committed to me. So, my wife and I are down in Florida the week after I sign with them. It’s her birthday. We’ve got a doctor’s appointment—we’re going to find out whether she’s pregnant with a boy or a girl. We find out it’s a boy, and I come out of the doctor’s office and my phone’s blowing up. The Jets got Tim. We went for a walk along the Intracoastal Waterway, trying to figure out what to do. I mean, I was shocked. I had their word, and then this happened.

It sounds like a terrible situation for an organization to pay you $500,000 to do absolutely no work at all. With a child on the way, especially. It's just, how is Stanton supposed to survive with $500,000 in his pocket and having to do absolutely no work to earn it?

“But, sitting here right now, it’s one of the best things that ever happened to me.”
Huh?

He got $500,000 to do nothing. He went from the Jets to a team coached by Bruce Arians, who has Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck on his resume as two quarterbacks he helped coach early in their career.

Shortly after signing Tebow, the Jets traded Stanton to Indianapolis, where he would back up rookie Andrew Luck. The Colts’ offensive coordinator was Bruce Arians. Stanton hadn’t worked for him before. When he got to Indy, Stanton loved the guy, and Arians loved him back.

But it was not to be. Andrew Luck was standing in the way of their love. So Arians had to leave. He had to go. He couldn't be around Stanton and not have him as his own and Stanton was stuck in Indianapolis backing up Andrew Luck. Impulsively, Arians went to Arizona to be the Cardinals coach and hope he could find another quarterback to love. It wasn't to be.

But it wasn't over then and it's still not over now, because Arians brought Stanton with him to Arizona. They reunited, but now Carson Palmer stood in the way of their love.

In two games, Stanton is 32 of 62 (51.6%), with two touchdowns and no picks, a rating of 83.5. “My stats stink,” he said, “and I don’t care. Stats mean nothing to me—wins do. I love Bruce’s offensive philosophy. He wants to push the ball downfield. That fits me. The numbers aren’t going to be great.

Right, the numbers won't be great because you aren't a great quarterback. This is the typical language a shitty quarterback who somehow manages to win games uses. Understood. But the love, the love Arians and Stanton feel makes it all worth it.

Arians has a deft touch with his quarterbacks. He had Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh for years, then Andrew Luck for one year in Indianapolis, and then he helped resurrect Palmer’s career in Arizona last season. Now Stanton.

It's almost like he's good at coaching up quarterbacks.

What an amazing story: The Arizona Cardinals, half of their defensive keystones gone and keyed by a quarterback who hadn’t taken a snap since 2010 and a receiver who was playing small-college football a year ago, beating the San Francisco 49ers and alone, ahead of Seattle, atop the NFC West. Football is a crazy game.

"We" didn't expect this to happen! "We" are shocked that football is a crazy and unpredictable sport. Who knew this could be true?

As Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton raises his game early in 2014—and we have to be careful here, because Dalton has been a very good regular-season quarterback, only to fail in the playoffs in each of his three NFL seasons—it’s becoming clear that the multifaceted game plans of first-year Cincinnati offensive coordinator Hue Jackson are a big reason why.

Of course Peter has to shit on Andy Dalton a little bit. Because, why not? Dalton still didn't win a playoff game this past weekend.

Also, in summary:

Andy Dalton has succeeded in his first 3 years in the NFL because of Hue Jackson's game planning, even though Jackson wasn't his offensive coordinator during his first three years in the NFL. Maybe he is raising his game this year, but it's not like Dalton was really shitty previously. Russell Wilson is a great quarterback like Joe Montana because he is individually great under the same offensive coordinator he's had since he was a rookie. Dalton's great play is a by product of those around him, while Wilson's success is not attributed to any help around him. Okay then.

Dalton said self-assurance is a big part of his game, and of Jackson’s. “We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now. When he calls something, I really think it’s going to work,” Dalton said. That’s what a quarterback wants in his play-caller.

No, Andy Dalton said THE TEAM is playing with a lot of confidence. He did not say that referring to Hue Jackson. It is Peter King who has decided that Hue Jackson is the big reason Andy Dalton is a good regular season quarterback. Andy Dalton did not say that, Peter King wants to believe he did.

“It’s one of those deals where the coach might say, ‘Great play. Don’t make that same read again,’ ” Dalton said. But Dalton also knows Jackson will probably have something else strange in the game plan when the Bengals come out of their bye week—and it will probably work. Through three weeks, he’s had a good run of play calls.

Yes, and that is why Andy Dalton was a good regular season quarterback when Hue Jackson wasn't making the play calls. Of course.

I completely recognize the difference in Andy Dalton and Russell Wilson, but I find it funny how Peter goes on and on about Wilson in MMQB being individually great while ignoring Darrell Bevell and the Seahawks defense helping him be great, while heaping zero praise on Andy Dalton and simply stating the play calling is why Dalton is so great this regular season. Interesting difference to me.

We’re still waiting to hear the Ravens’ reaction to the damaging ESPN story claiming the organization knew how bad the Ray Rice tape was but tried to downplay it to minimize his league punishment.

Later, Rice’s attorney told club president Dick Cass that the video was “horrible” and, according to ESPN, Cass responded by urging for Rice to enter a pre-trial diversion program. Meanwhile, according to ESPN, the Ravens were arguing for leniency for Rice, and strongly urged commissioner Roger Goodell to suspend Rice for only two games. That’s what Goodell did.

So Peter is going to talk about the whole "Roger Goodell possibly lied and is now trying to hide behind tough retroactive stances" issue in this week's MMQB? It was left out last week, so I can't help but wonder. Of course Peter isn't going to actually go hard on Roger Goodell. They have a lunch next week at Skyline Chili and there can't be any awkwardness at such an occasion.

Either way, the Ravens have some explaining to do, particularly with respect to Sanders and Cass. If Sanders knew how damaging the elevator video was and passed that information on to upper management, and Cass pressed for leniency knowing how bad the elevator tape was (as ESPN suggested), both men could have to answer to owner Steve Bisciotti and/or the investigator retained by the league, former FBI director Robert Mueller.

But, neither NFL owner overseeing the investigation sees Roger Goodell's job security as being in question. They have already stated this, so it's hard to really give a shit what Robert Mueller finds. If nothing changes, it's just a pointless investigation.

Ryan’s numbers were ridiculously good—six punts, 50.2 yards per punt, and a 47.7-yard net; only one of the six punts was returned for positive yardage. Ryan was huge in the biggest game of the year so far because he kept giving Peyton Manning long fields. And long fields in Seattle are most often fruitless fields. Most impressive was this fact: Manning never led the Broncos to a score on a possession following a Ryan punt. That’s a huge day’s work.

Great punting never gave Peyton Manning an easy field to go against the NFL's best defense. But Peter's takeaway from the Broncos-Seahawks game is how Russell Wilson is already up there with Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, while he is also just like Joe Montana. Peter passes up explanations for contributions to Wilson's success in favor of hyperbole.

Said coach Pete Carroll: “Jon Ryan just had an incredible influence in this game, throughout. If there was anybody who was MVP, it might have been Jon Ryan today with his effort, because he had probably the best day of his career.”

Jon Ryan is already up there with the greatest punters in NFL history.

Oddest event of the day: Rams tight end Jared Cook dropped a fairly easy touchdown catch in the end zone against the Cowboys, and went back to the Rams’ sideline.

Jared Cook didn't play up to the expectations his talent level indicates? That's not really that odd. It's been the story of his career so far.

Quarterback Austin Davis stuck his hand out as if to say, Hey, we’ll get ’em next time. No worries. Cook angrily slapped his hand away. Strange, because it was Cook’s fault, and he was acting all angry when the quarterback went to tell him it’d be fine. And so Sunday evening, Cook tweeted: “My actions from today’s game were truly a mistake—unintentional and in the heat of the moment. There is never an excuse for unsportsmanlike conduct and I apologize to everyone.” Good for him.

It's a team on the rise full of really great players who are also great guys!

Amazing how quickly we’ve forgotten the story of 2013. There’s Jonathan Martin starting at right tackle for a playoff team, San Francisco. There’s Richie Incognito sitting at home, wishing his phone would ring so he could play guard somewhere, anywhere. Martin plays, and it’s as if what happened 11 months ago never occurred.

Stop saying "we" have forgotten. No, "we" haven't. It's just an older story now.

That has been the backbone of the NFLPA’s argument for three years: We do not want the same body—Goodell or his people—to pass judgment on players and then hear the appeals. It’s double jeopardy. It’s patently unfair. Finally, the players won. And it’s right. The new system will be more fair.

And as one league official estimated, 80% of all appeals heard by the league are in recreational or performance-enhancing drugs. So how far would Goodell have to go now to simply turn over all appeals to a third party?

Maybe Roger Goodell could turn over the appeals to his good friend Godger Roodell, who totally hates domestic violence and is the wisest man that Roger Goodell knows.

It is past time that Goodell passes off the job of discipline in general in big cases, particularly in the legally complex and time-consuming domestic violence cases, where I think he should name a domestic violence czar who would take all of those cases out of the hands of teams and into the hands of a uniform NFL code-interpreter.

But if Roger Goodell names a domestic violence czar (and where is Bill Simmons to apply for this job? He wants every "czar" job in the NBA, so maybe he should take this "czar" job) then that will be perceived as the NFL expecting there to be enough domestic violence cases from their players to require enough time that an individual person will be responsible for take those cases. That's probably not a great message the NFL wants to send.

Goodell would sort of be saying, "The NFL takes domestic violence seriously, so because we currently and probably will in the future have enough domestic violence cases for it to take up a lot of my time, I'll pass all of those on to a third-party."

How a domestic violence czar could work: As soon as there is a charge of domestic violence, the czar and her/his staff would investigate the case initially to see if there is enough evidence to take the player off the field immediately, to judge how due process should work in the case, and to see what alternatives there are for employees (such as a non-football-illness designation, as the Cardinals did with Jonathan Dwyer after he confirmed concerns about his mental health in talks with the team and local police).

Sounds great, but it's still a bad message to be sending to the public that there will be enough domestic violence cases to require a czar AND a staff for that czar. Besides, this would involve giving up some of his powers to a third party, and I don't think Roger Goodell has shown he is entirely capable of embracing this.

The status of players charged with domestic violence is too important an issue in society to be left to teams. The league should have one uniform policy, to be administered by a certified expert in the area.

But if there is a uniform policy then couldn't NFL security look into the situation and administer the policy, just like other NFL policies are administered? I don't know if this is a bad idea on it's face, but it seems like an overcorrection to make up for the NFL's lack of response to domestic violence cases. Domestic violence is a very important issue, but I think it's important not to overcorrect.

Goodell needs to get out of the morass of this issue and leave it to an expert or small group of experts to handle. Too many women’s groups—and women—won’t trust him no matter what the NFL does with domestic violence going forward. 

And of course, if Roger Goodell can't be trusted to implement and administer a domestic violence policy then that brings up the question of why he should be trusted to be the NFL commissioner? Or is domestic violence policy implementation Goodell's only weak spot and he's solid at figuring everything else out? But hey, he's forming a committee so I'm sure that means everything is in good shape now.

It shouldn’t have taken 38 months to get HGH testing in the NFL; that’s obvious. This should have been done a couple of years ago.

I guess we'll see how that goes, right? I'm interested. I will say that much. HGH testing in the NFL could be fun.

Fine Fifteen

1. Seattle (2-1). Does Russell Wilson feel pressure? Ever?

Never. He's like, no, he's better than Joe Montana in that way. 

2. Cincinnati (3-0). Amazing performances continue with the rout of the Titans. What don’t the Bengals do well right now? Andy Dalton even catches touchdowns. Gio Bernard is turning into a terrific all-around back. And look at the defense: In three games, opposing quarterbacks have a league-low 56.9 rating. Now the Bengals have the early bye, then … Bengals at Patriots in 13 days sure looks like it could be a great game.

Please remember I picked the Bengals last in the AFC North this year. It made sense at the time to me...and me only.

4. Arizona (3-0). Three wins, by 1, 11 and 9 points. An average running game (3.9 per carry) and caretaker Drew Stanton making enough plays to win the past two weeks. The difference: The Cards’ defense is so much better than anyone thought it would be, holding foes to 2.9 yards per rush and a 57% completion rate.

Not at all, actually. I think quite a few people thought the Cardinals would have a good defense. But yeah, you were wrong, so "anyone" was wrong too.

5. San Diego (2-1). Danny Woodhead is not a minor loss.

Oh good, so Chargers fans can feel good kno---

It’s a huge one

You got me again, Peter! Peter, when you do this it isn't a little annoying. It's really annoying.

But Philip Rivers has been so good over the past 13 months. I just trust him to handle the loss of his pass-catching running back to injury and move the receptions to someone else. My money is on Donald Brown,

That's a risky bet, Peter! What tipped it off? The fact Brown got 30 carries on Sunday?

Offensive Player of the Week 
 
Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount, running backs, Pittsburgh. With the Steelers’ season at a crucial early-season point because of an awful loss at Baltimore last week, Bell and Blount absolutely smoked the Panthers on Sunday night.

I see what you did there, Peter. You are being blunt in saying the Panthers were smoked by these two running backs. I just hope the Panthers season doesn't go to pot.

DeAndre Levy, linebacker, Detroit. Levy had 10 tackles, including the safety, and broke up two passes. As a playmaking outside ’backer with the size (238 pounds) to play inside, Levy has become almost as important to the Detroit D as the big guys up front—it’s just that no one knows it yet.

"No one" knows it yet. Only Peter, but "we" will figure it out. "We" will only have figured it out once Peter tells us Levy is just as important as the big guys up front because "we" can't know anything Peter doesn't know first.

This from a Marist/NBC poll of 606 adults, taken last week, on the state of the NFL today:

Twenty-nine percent believe Roger Goodell should be forced to resign—which, conversely, could be taken (and I am sure will be by the league) that Goodell has 71% job approval. That’s not what it says, though. The question was whether Goodell should be forced to resign, not whether he is doing a good job at running the NFL.

There is also a difference in being forced to resign and voluntarily choosing to resign. And yes, I think this 29% could be taken quite a few ways, but Peter naturally leans towards presenting it as a favorable result for Goodell.

Eighty-six percent say the current controversy will not change how much pro football they watch. Only 11% said they are likely to watch less of the NFL. (Three percent said it would make them watch more, oddly.)

Right, which is why Peter's fit last week about "Is the NFL worth watching still?" was just a horseshit knee jerk reaction. Few people, and especially a guy who makes his living off the NFL like Peter King, are going to stop watching NFL games due to players getting arrested for domestic violence.

Among southerners polled, 51% feel the kind of corporal punishment used by Adrian Peterson on his son is right.

I would love to know what "southerners" are and where they are from. I would find it interesting to know this.

Jose Altuve is unbelievable...On another level of amazement: Look where Altuve, a Venezuelan toiling in anonymity in Houston, stands versus some of the best players in major league history when you compare the best season for hits that each one of these players had

NO ONE had heard of Altuve until Peter King just alerted baseball fans to his existence. "We" didn't even know how good he was!

Chip Kelly Wisdom of the Week

The Philadelphia coach, on offensive diversity:

I hope your brain can handle the wisdom about to spill forth.

How do you want to defend us? Doesn’t matter. If there’s a matchup we can exploit, we’ll exploit it. We don’t have a set number [of touches] that this needs to go here, this needs to go here. A lot of times, it’s different guys, different games. And one game it’s one guy, another game, it’s another guy. So it’s not by design that we are trying to go one way or another way … In the four years [at Oregon], one year the leading receiver was a wide receiver, one year it was a tight end and one year it was a running back. Here is what happened at Oregon. We were up 50 points in a lot of games, so we threw the ball less than ever. And I had that question last year a thousand times that you really emphasize the run. Well, when the score is 50‑3 at halftime, we are not coming out in the second half and jacking the ball around.

Chip Kelly doesn't say a certain player needs a certain set of touches and if he is up 47 points he will stop throwing the ball. Pure wisdom.

I hope our running backs carry the ball more than we throw the ball this year in every single game, because if they do, that means we are winning every single game.”

This would be an amazing quote if almost every other NFL coach didn't feel the same way. I really think Peter needs to think more about his Chip Kelly wisdom every week. They aren't bad quotes, but they are also not as enlightening as Peter seems to think they are.

Walking back from Central Park around noon Saturday, I spied a crazy-long line outside the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue. The line weaved in a maze of crowd-control stanchions, hundreds of people in the maze, and at the end of the maze, the line went east down 59th Street, a full city block to Madison Avenue.
It wasn’t too tough to guess what it was for—the rollout of the iPhone 6. I asked one of the security dudes: “How long a wait if I went to the end of the line right now?”

So I went to the end of the line and asked a couple of young guys, 20 or 23, waiting with their heads in their iPhone 5s, “Did you know you’ve got about a six-hour wait in front of you? That’s what the security guy told me.”

Of course Peter has to antagonize these two guys. Because Peter isn't satisfied simply knowing that he doesn't have to wait in line for a new phone because he'll get his free phone in a timely fashion from one of his employers when he wants to upgrade his current phone. It seems Peter has an issue with minding his own business. What's the purpose of going up and starting a conversation with these two guys? To rub it in they have a long wait? Obviously they know they have a long wait, so other than talking to them in order to have an anecdote for MMQB speaking to them in order to remind them of their long wait serves no purpose.

“They told us it was about five,” one of the guys said.
Well, that certainly makes all the difference.

Stop being condescending. It makes you sound like an elitist asshole to go up and antagonize two people choosing to wait in line for the iPhone 6. Maybe you wouldn't choose to spend your time doing this, but they have, so mind your own damn business.

It annoys me when Peter will comment on what other people choose to do. Let people live and quit staring at them while they are in public and commenting on their actions.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 3:

a. Nate Irving, stoning one of the toughest short-yardage backs in football, Marshawn Lynch, at the goal line on the Seahawks’ first series.

Peter thinks the Panthers certainly didn't stone Blount and Bell on Sunday evening. Those guys weren't stoned at all.

q. Russell Wilson, with the game on the line.

Does Russell Wilson feel any pressure at all? Ever? No matter what happens from now on in his career, his 2+  years of playing quarterback for the Seahawks will have him as considered elite. He's up there with Manning and Brady.

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 3:

b. You paid Evan Dietrich-Smith to play like that, Tampa?

No Peter, in a complete turn of events Dietrich-Smith paid Tampa Bay for the honor of playing for them.

d. Danny Woodhead going off on a cart in Buffalo. One of my favorite players to watch—just gets so much out of his talent.

This was not a minor loss. It was a huge loss.

m. I don’t know whether I like it or don’t like it, but those pool shots in Jacksonville are just strange.

Considering this is under the "Things I didn't like about Week 3" then I would say you didn't like this. I'm glad you need help clarifying your own feelings on this subject.

4. I think it’s stunning to think this. But in light of the investigation of sexual assault against him, and in light of his shoplifting incident, and in light of his incredibly vulgar outburst while standing on a table (!) in front of scores of Florida State students, and in light of the NFL being on fire over its handling of domestic violence, and in light of any move by an NFL team to add a player with a history of misogyny, I think it’s possible that whenever Jameis Winston enters the draft—in either 2015 or 2016—there’s a good chance he will not be a first-round pick.

I think what's stunning is it is currently September and Peter King is claiming there is a good chance Jameis Winston won't be a first round pick almost eight months from now. It's ridiculous really. This from the guy who bitched and whined in April about how the NFL Draft coverage is so saturated. He doesn't mind talking and speculating about the draft in September, but it's everyone else's fault the draft coverage is saturated in late April.

To claim Winston is not a first round pick is insane. It's September. If Florida State goes undefeated and Winston plays well over the rest of the season or takes the Johnny Manziel Tour of Redemption during the draft process he will most certainly be a first round pick. But no, Peter thinks it's worth reporting in September there is a good chance Winston won't be a first round pick in May. It's not like NFL teams talk themselves into taking quarterbacks in the first round or anything.

If I’m an NFL GM, it would scare the heck out of me. If I’m the wife of an NFL GM—or owner—thinking of drafting Winston, I’m asking some pointed questions.

If I'm an adult who covers the NFL for a living then I would know talk like that is very common inside the locker room.

6. I think if you’re waiting for me to call for Roger Goodell to be fired, you’ll have to wait a while.

I'm not waiting for you to do anything, Peter. In fact, I could care less what you say or think on the issue. It's not like what you say suddenly becomes the ruling line of thought. So if you are waiting for me to care what you think, you'll have to wait a while.

I’m not into mob rule either.

Yes, you are not into mob rule. Especially when it comes to Roger Goodell. Let's wait for all of the facts to show themselves. There's no rush to judgment here, because Peter will let others do that. He's gotta save his moral outrage for things like bad tasting coffee and people who talk on their cell phones in public. Otherwise, when it comes to NFL players, Peter proved last week that he doesn't mind being the great moral arbiter of our time. Now those players who commit domestic violence, people will go hard on them, but not ol' Roger Goodell. Peter is still waiting for someone to find out what exactly Goodell knew and didn't know about that Ray Rice elevator tape, because clearly Peter is done investigating this. At this point, he may find out something that would hurt his relationship with the NFL commissioner and that just can't happen.

I strongly believe that on Friday he should have clarified what he meant when he told Christine Brennan of USA Today that the evidence from the video of Rice punching his fiancée in the Atlantic City elevator “was not consistent with what was described when we met with Ray and his representatives.” That will be a key component of the Mueller report. ESPN and the New York Daily News both reported Rice was unequivocal about what he told Goodell, that he struck Janay Palmer with his hand and knocked her backward in the elevator, causing her to lose consciousness. Goodell had two chances Friday to clarify that simple point, and he should have—among other issues he should have been more forthcoming about to a nation starving for news on this important issue.

By "clarifying," I'm assuming Peter means "stop lying about what you were told" or "explain how what wasn't consistent about what you were told, because it sounds like you knew exactly what happened."

7. I think, if you want to know the difference between Ray McDonald and Jonathan Dwyer in terms of why one is playing and why one has been banished when neither has had his day in court, it is not complicated. McDonald met with the Niners and said he was not guilty of attacking his fiancée. The team, after some investigating of its own, believes McDonald’s story. Dwyer denied to the Cardinals much of the substance of the charges against him—that he head-butted his wife, causing her a broken nose. But in the course of looking into the story, the team discovered that Dwyer had threatened suicide multiple times.

Wait, so the 49ers believed McDonald's story? Is that all Carolina or Minnesota had to say to get the media off their ass for not initially suspending Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson for the season? So if the team claims they believe the player, then Peter sees no issue with continuing to allow that player to participate in practice and games. I'm also a little confused how Dwyer also denies the claims against him, but because he has threatened suicide multiple times then he has to be lying.

The team had four choices: release Dwyer, let him continue to play, de-activate him each week, or place him on the non-football-injury list. That list would allow Dwyer to get medical and psychiatric care to determine the extent of his troubles. The Cardinals chose the NFI list. Dwyer can’t play for the Cardinals this year but would be allowed to sign with another team.

Oh, so the real difference has nothing to do with domestic violence, but has everything to do with Dwyer's mental health?

That was a nice escape clause Arizona had, because keeping Dwyer on the team might have been a media circus.

But again, Peter agrees with this decision, not because the Cardinals did "the right thing" and avoided a media circus, but for Dwyer's mental health. How come I don't believe this? Was it impossible for Dwyer to play and still get medical and psychiatric care? I just wonder because it seems like the real difference in these two situations is the 49ers believe McDonald's story and the Cardinals don't believe Dwyer's story.

10. I think these are my non-NFL thoughts of the week:

a. My best to the family of Dave Rahn, former 49ers PR man, who died of melanoma Thursday. Dave was a good, good man with a terrific work ethic, and he was as professional a person as I’ve dealt with in this business. Rest in peace, Dave.
b. I’ve had two significant melanoma surgeries, and it’s nothing to fool around with. Sunscreen and regular checkups are the only way to beat it—or to compete with it.

Why is this consist of two different points? They are related to the same topic, just combine them into one point.

i. Ran the 6.2-mile Central Park loop, with the half-mile hill I dread, in 59:23 Saturday. Now that’s a sentence I never thought I’d write, running that course in less than an hour. Last week I cut off the toughest mile on the run, the northern hill at the top of the park, and substituted that mile with a run on the flat streets of midtown Manhattan. On Saturday, I included the hill. Glad I did—but I paid for it when I woke up Sunday.

Thanks for the update. You know, interest in reading MMQB also means we are interested in you as a person as well.

The Adieu Haiku

Russell Wilson wins.
He just does. No dazzling stats.
Low maintenance too.


Gee, why had you not mentioned this before this haiku? I'm glad this haiku exists because I needed the information that had been mentioned three other times in MMQB to be written at least one more time.