I know that there was no post last week. I had been promised that Cleveland correspondant Joel Wertman would have one, but he had internet problems and couldn't get it up. So, to make up for the lost week, I've got a long one for you. An email conversation between myself and good friend Jay "Yorkis" Levin, discussing the NFL's shortcomings, NBA players slacking off, and, like every conversation with Yorkis, steroids. Be warned that these are taken verbatim from emails. There are times when punctuation and spelling don't matter and some may be offended by some of the language. I kept it this way to preserve its authenticity and because I'm lazy and didn't feel like editing. But it should provide a nice discussion topic. Enjoy.
Yorkis - Why does TV coverage of the NFL stink? I mean, it's bad enough that u have to have a dish just to pay for all the games. But why do we need to stick with the coverage for a 42-3 blowout? i suppose there weren't any good early games on Fox anyway. But then to give us the stinky Jets/Dolphins game was worse. CBS had 3 games - only 1 was so stinky that they didn't even do it in HD. so why did we get the stinker? this is what i hate about the NFL.
Stu - i'll tell you why coverage of the nfl stinks... it's because the nfl itself stinks. there might be 4 good teams in the entire league. and that might be a stretch. the league is awful. do you realize that the chicago bears are going to win the nfc north?? the bears. seriously. that's terrible, they couldn't win the sec. the nfc west
is the most awful division in football. i was having this argument with spooge yesterday and he said that football was great and that brett favre was awesome. i said brett favre used to be awesome. he said "well, he did throw for 300 yds and 3 touchdowns." and i replied "in a loss. to cleveland. who shouldn't win another game all year." he had no response. seriously, it's time to stop sucking the dicks of the nfl and realize how poor the product actually is. maybe if the competition in the league was better i would care about my 4 fantasy
teams. but it isn't. and i don't. even worse is i'm going to have to read tmq today and hear him talking about how great everyone is.
Y - i disagree that the NFL stinks. i think there are enough good teams and that the parity allows top teams to rotate every year. the only teams able to really sustain anything close to dominance over the past 5 years are the birds, pats, and colts - and even those are flawed. the pats won 3 superbowls by 10 total points, the colts haven't made the SB, and the birds only once. everything else changes. there are actually a lot of good teams. and the Bears would easily win the SEC, since the champs will probably be Florida, which beat Tennessee in an abortion of a game this weekend. (they could probably also beat Arkansas, that lost 70-17 to USC on Saturday)
this year is another great race. if KC emerges as a true contender again (which they will, thanks to the addition of uber-LB derrick johnson, who probably should have been the #1 pick in the draft), then that's a great race between the Steelers, Colts, Pats, and Chefs - who should all emerge as division bosses. In the NFC, you could come down to Philly, Carolina, Atlanta, and Tampa - unfortunately, the top teams aren't spread out by division and it's not as sexy. but somebody's gotta win games, and somebody's gotta lose them. 256 games will be lost in the NFL this year. If 12 teams make the playoffs with an average of 10 wins each, that means that 120 games will be of importance to the league. Of the other 136 games (including playoff teams losing to non-playoff teams, and non-playoff teams going head to head), chances are that 50% of those will be "close" games (decided by 8 pts or less). That makes a total of 188 games that are either "close" or "important" out of 256, or 73%. If you add a quarter of the meaningless games for your fantasy interest only to the "important" category (for your personal importance), it's 205 out of 256, or a whopping 80%.
that means that fans can be interested in approximately 80% of the games (you could take a few % since some playoff positions are decided before the final game, but MOST are not. and even teams that are locked up may play someone who needs something to happen for position).
whether you like it or not, that is statistically speaking, why the interest in football is through the roof, and why the product is great. oh, and it looks great in HD.
there is definitely a balance of power shift to the AFC, but that doesn't mean the NFL sucks. the NBA had a power shift that's lasted quite some time (despite Detroit's title, the rest of the East was atrocious). but the NBA is still excellent. the NFL is about to get really strong all around again, as QBs like Big Ben, Orton, Eli, & Carson Palmer hit their primes while McNabb, Peyton, Brady, Vick, Delhomme, Green, and Culpepper (he gets to stay, despite 2 horrible games) are already in their primes. Then we get 2 more exciting rookies next year to join them in Lienart & Young. Those guys will help turn around this year's bottom 2. everything's cyclical, guy. As long as they don't give anyone guaranteed contracts!
i'm no huge Favre fan. believe me. i took him as a 7th round bargain b/c there were 3 fantasy QBs i actually liked, and they all went in the 1st round. you gotta admit that he is really good though. he's had that team in the playoffs repeatedly & won a superbowl (or 2? can't remember). yeah, this week's stats meant nothing. and i am shocked that cleveland won. i really thought they could go 0-16. the dream is now gone.
S - no, parity allows crappy teams to masquerade as good teams. every year there's at least 2 teams that stink in the playoffs. seriously, it's time to end this crazy defense of the nfl and it's sucktitude. the teams stink. there aren't many good teams. it's a fact. the redskins haven't found the end zone in two weeks yet still managed to
win a game. that's ridiculous. the detroit lions have a win. the freakin cowboys are 2-0. last night we had two games (that stunk) with 4 teams (that stunk). it's a fact. the level of play is terrible. what really pisses me off is tmq talking shit on the nba and how their games suck, then he goes ahead and tells me how great the 9-7 skins win was and how impressive it was for the jags and colts to play a 10-7 game (or whatever the score was). (because a 10-7 nfl game is definitely not more interesting than an 86-84 nba game. not a chance. now way. not possible.) sorry dude, those games weren't interesting. they were coma inducing. the play of the game is slow and it's rare that anything happens. don't give me the beauty of the nfl. it doesn't exist. and your idea of how many games are important is way off. because, let's be honest, the only team worth watching the first couple of weeks is the hometown team. so that means you have 4 games in 4 weeks that contain rooting interest. at that point, the playoff picture starts to take shape and you know which teams need to win and lose for particular things to happen. just because these games have interest doesn't mean they'll be good. most will be coma inducing. because, let's be honest, the skins/bears game was close, but it certainly wasn't interesting.
stop giving culpepper props. he stinks. he's always lead the league in fumbles. and now he doesn't have randy moss. he's got 10 turnovers in 2 games and no touchdowns. none. how is he an elite player? his team hasn't won yet. and while favre may have been great (in winning 1 super bowl) he is no longer any good. plus, giving him credit for making the playoffs in consistently the worst division isn't saying much. it's like giving the padres credit this year even though they'll make the playoffs with a losing record. and yes, i included baseball talk to show you how disillusioned i am with the nfl currently. i'm not stating opinion. i'm stating fact. the games are
so bad that i don't even watch them for fantasy implications anymore. if there wasn't a hometown team to root for (and watch choke consistently) then i would definitely not care about football at all.
S - here's something funny. i just checked espn and apparently the redskins did find the end zone twice last night. gee, what a shame that the rest of the game sucked mammoth amounts of ass and i neverturned it back on after halftime.
Y - wow, it's tough to argue against your esoteric points. if you are saying that bad teams masquarade as good teams because they win against other bad teams, they you are saying that bad teams are bad relative to absolutely nothing. in any bell distribution (which is usually what final records look like in the NFL) there will be a few good teams, a few bad teams, and every one else in the middle. if teams are just "bad" because you don't enjoy watching them, then it is an issue of "taste", which makes it awfully hard to quantify.
i am by no means a Culpepper nut, but it must be noted that he had something like 42 TD vs. 10 INT last year (statistically, one of the top-10 QB performances in league history) - with Moss missing more than half the season. but he was largely overshadowed by Peyton. basically, to use a B-word reference, that's like Sammy Sosa's 66 dongs in the year McGwire hit 70. this year, Vikes had a big O-line shakeup. as a former Jew-league QB, i can tell you that when the line explodes, you have nothing. i remember going through entire games where i didn't even have "1-mississippi" to throw the ball. i'm not saying it's like that in Minny cuz i haven't seen them, but u can't kill a guy's career in 2 games (except for Ki-Jana Carter. it only took the Bengals 1 snap to do that). 2 years ago Donovan was the worst QB in the league after opening losses to TB & NE. he bounced back. Culpepper has 8 INTs already in 2 games. If he finishes the season with 64, then he's off the list.
too bad you fell asleep before the end of the Cowboys/Skins game, or you would have seen that the Cowboys are NOT 2-0 because they gave up 2 TD bombs (40 and 70) to Santana Moss in the final 4 minutes of the game and lost 14-13. they were some of the prettiest passes i've ever seen. of course, i watched The Ultimate Fighter and Raw during most of the game, so the bombs at the end were all i saw.
TMQ doesn't upset me when he rips the NBA, because I agree with the BASIC point he makes: NFL players give more effort every time out because their jobs are always on the line. In other words, "guaranteed contracts are bad for competition". after watching roughly 400 NBA games last season, I couldn't agree with that point more. Guys consistently "dog it", and rarely play hurt, since they get paid anyway. Sure, there are some naturally fierce competitors, but there is a large number of players that shouldn't even be in the NBA, but can't be replaced due to "bad" contracts. Dude - the league trades players for "expiring contracts". As much as I love the NBA, it would be roughly 1 zillion times better if they got rid of guaranteed contracts. Whether a person enjoys watching one league over the other is a matter of taste - but there is no denying which league's players play "harder" each and every game.
The Skins/Bears was bad, but if you go to a bar and watch all the games at the same time, you can sit in front of a different TV. And even if you did, you'd still turn to the Bears/Skins TV for the final drive. Coverage in your home is certainly a big problem with the NFL. That, and the inflexibility of the Mon. & Sun. night & Thanksgiving games. But the games themselves are not. I saw a much larger % of bad and uninteresting games in the NBA this year. Lots of great games too. But even the great games, i mostly picked up in the middle of the 4th quarter. The ENDS of close games are always interesting. If the Bobcats & Hawks are tied at 45 with 1 minute left and i stumble upon the game, i'll watch. But if I had no other viewing options for the first 47 minutes, i'd be pissed.
Don't forget that one of the big lures of the NFL is the gambling. There is no more exciting gambling than NCAA & NFL football. Gambling in the NFL is as healthy as ever. If you have zero interest in gambling, you may not love football.
S - i think you're rationalizing this "good/bad team" thing a little too much. bad teams are bad teams. they don't become "good teams" just because there are worse teams. they are "better than the bad teams" which really doesn't say much. what's the worst conference in the ncaa? let's just say one of the black ones is. none of the teams are really that good. in fact, in a general sense, you could say they're all really bad teams. however, just because one of them has to win and goes 8-2, do they automatically become a "good" team? no, they still stink. it's just that their competition was even worse. based on your logic, all the teams could be awful, yet because they have to play each other and because someone has to win they become "good". you're working on comparisons and bell curves. i'm telling you the play and talent level stink. bad teams are bad teams no matter who they play. they're still bad.
culpepper stinks and has always stunk. stats be damned. they're only good for fantasy, and by the same logic, brett favre's game against the browns was exceptional, even though they lost to the browns. you know how i know culpepper stinks? he never wins in the big games. his teams collapse down the stretch. you could put up great stats against a bunch of retards, but that doesn't make you a great qb. and let's be honest, the bears for the last few years might've well as been retards.
i also think it's a rash overstated generalization to say that nba players "slack off" more than their nfl counterparts. sure the guaranteed contracts mean something, but most of the time the nfl bonus money is such that teams can't cut players anyway. but don't tell me players don't slack off in the nfl. randy moss walked off the field last year. terrel owens tanked his last year in san fran. many lineman (as pointed out by tmq himself) become turnstiles as soon as the game starts. yeah, for each of them there's a derick coleman in the nba collecting $12 mil/year but it's not like they don't exist in the nfl. the entire redskins team quit on steve spurrier 2 years in a row. that's a whole team "slacking off". so yeah, i think it's a generalization that is unfair and wrong. plus, it plays to the awful
stereotype of the "thuggish, doesn't care about anyone, nigger" that apparently dominates the nba. it's racist and wrong to make those assumptions. and it's even worse to perpetrate them on a website as popular as nfl.com.
i think the fact that i don't gamble also keeps my interest in the nfl down. but really, when your sport's popularity is based on degenerates doing something illegal in most states, well, then there's something wrong with your sport.
Y - I don't think it's a generalization nor is it racist. While some star NFL players may slack off, only a handful have made that apparent. But in the NFL only elite players can get away with it at all! In the NBA, guys who are borderline NBA players end up with long term deals and hog up roster space. Also guys who are too old and would otherwise get cut get years on their contracts beyond their ability to play at a high level. If the NFL equivalent of Jerome James didn't play hard, he'd get cut in a heartbeat. Or if the NFL Austin Croshere didn't play well, he'd get cut too. But the real Jerome James is locked up for 6 years. The uber-elite NFL players constitute a massive cap hit when cut within 2 years of the deal. But essentially, most NFL contracts function for 3 "real" years anyway. So even if an NFL Croshere didn't live up to the contract, they could cut him and take the short-term hit at any time. But in the NBA, they can't clear him off the books for 6 years. Not only that, if an NFL Jerome James or Latrell Spreewell-type player "dogged it", the team would just suspend him and not pay him (in essence, "Keyshawn" him). So you really can't dog it too much.
It really isn't about race. I saw Blazers, Bobcats, and Hawks teams that quit 2/3 through the season with plenty of white guys. And there's been plenty of white busts on long term deals too. It's really an issue of money and job security. In the NBA, you generally make more money and it is more secure. In the NFL, you make less money and it is less secure, plus it's harder to get more money with the hard cap. In the NBA, you can play one good year at the end of your contract (or in James' case, 4 good games) and still get tons more cash. To suggest that this occurs equally in both leagues is foolish.
the popularity of MOST sports is based on something that's illegal in ALL states - steroids! without them, there wouldn't be nimble 300-pounders to play the O and D lines, nor tons of massiver homers, nor Shaq! gambling may be a degenerate activity, but it is not cheating!
S - it is a terrible generalization to say that nba players slack off while nfl counterparts don't. maybe it's because there are only 16 nfl games that people somehow believe everyone is giving their all. but they're not. you watch more than enough nfl games to see players slacking. so many of them just give up during the season. they give
up on their coach, their team, their teammates, everyone. it's a fact. i'm not saying that nba players don't as well, but claiming that you know percentages because you read tmq is silly.
and it is racist just becaus of the basis of the sentence. since you want to use bell curves, i'll use those overlapping "none, some, most, all" circles. and look at this like someone with no knowledge.
most nba players slack off. most nba players are black.
you make the connection.
plus, you're making a seperate argument. you're saying some players aren't worth the money they were given, which is true. but you also claim that all the players that make more than they're worth is because they don't give the effort, which is false. autin croshere was a big part of the larry bird coached teams in indiana. they signed him to a big contract. when isiah took over as coach, they redid the team and croshere was no longer a big part. yet it wasn't about effort, it was about talent. anytime croshere gets into the game he gives his all (as evidenced by his performance this past year). same with someone like greg buckner. he plays hard, he just wasn't talented. and both of those players are on playoff teams. so obviously those teams weren't hampered too much. it isn't a question of effort, it's of talent. meanwhile, warren sapp has neither the talent nor effort and still gets paid.
and you're again making generalizations about those teams. certainly josh smith, josh childress, and even antoine walker never quit last year. brevin knight, primoz, and emeka never quit. and you have no argument that joel przybilla quit. nor sebastian telfair. many players on those teams played hard till the end. just because theo ratliff decided he forgot how to play basketball doesn't mean the whole team quit. just because zach randolph re-inforces every stereotype doesn't mean his team quit. sure there were players on every team that quit and stopped giving effort. but look at both leagues as a whole, most professional athletes don't just quit no matter the sport. and i can almost guarantee that the percentages of "quitters" are the same. it isn't foolish to think that. it's naiveto think otherwise.