Okay, hold everything. Gotta comment on this. Pat Y just published one of the stupidest columns I’ve ever come across from an alleged professional sportswriter. He claims—get this—that Sam Baker is an elite left tackle, for no other reason than that his team has a better record during his tenure than any team other than the Patriots or Steelers. That 43-19 record is sufficient to convince Pat that Baker is among the cream of NFL left tackles, because “the most important thing a tackle can do is win games.”
Oh, wait…not Baker. Not tackles. I’m sorry, Pat was writing that about quarterbacks and Matt Ryan. But I think you get the idea.
Even setting aside for a moment the fact that football is a team sport—that you win, and lose, together—there are so many factors you’d have to ignore to come to Pat’s conclusion, they’re almost uncountable. Forget the evidence of your senses, for instance—ignore what you saw last January when Ryan and the Falcons shat the bed in New York, or in any other game where the Falcons needed Ryan to come up big, and lost. Ignore all the other statistical evidence, which strongly suggests that Ryan is somewhere near the bottom of the top third, or the top of the middle third when it comes to passing. Forget that he’s had the luxury of one of the league’s top rushing attacks for much of his tenure. No: he’s elite because his team has won more games than any others but Brady’s or Roethlisberger’s.
Right. And Usama Young is an elite corner. After all, he has a Super Bowl ring.
It’s that tired cliche, “all he does is win.” As I recall, they used to say that about Michael Vick (come to think of it, there’s no shortage of lackwits who still think of Vick as “elite”). Lately, they’ve said that about Tim Tebow. Yeah, well at least Tebow has won a playoff game. Against Ben Roethlisberger, no less. Ooh, that makes him better than Roethlisberger, doesn’t it? The NFL’s two greatest quartebacks: Tom & Tim. All they do is 1) win, and 2) confuse the fuck out of idiots at ESPN. Respectively.
We now return to your regularly scheduled program.
On September 1, 1939, J. Robert Oppenheimer published the first theoretical description of a black hole. James Lawrence Fly was sworn in as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. In Philadelphia, the visiting Boston Braves defeated the Phillies, 6-0. And in Detroit, Michigan, Mary Jean Tomlin was born.
Oh, and Adolf Hitler sent his panzers smashing into Poland, beginning the Second World War. Incidentally.
In defense of a previous generation of journalists, this last item didn’t fail to catch their attention. I suppose they weren’t constrained to give equal time to the events in Peru, Andorra, or Fernando Po.
Not so in today’s NFL. Go to any mainstream site and you’ll learn that the Dolphins have released David Garrard. Bryant McKinnie has restructured his deal with the Ravens. The Titans will honor former University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summit. Kellen Winslow Jr. will have a tryout with the Patriots. And Rex Ryan didn’t want to draft Stephen Hill.
Oh, and Sean Payton called Roger Goodell a fucking liar.
Not in those words, of course, but you get the gist. What Payton actually said, in response to a question from Mike Triplett, was this:
Yeah, it’s frustrating at times to sit back and hear a lot of things that have been painted in a certain way that you know aren’t true.
Typical elliptical Payton-speak. Coach likes to speak in the second person, attributing motives to others: “Well, you get upset. You want to shove a pump nozzle down his fucking throat and fill him up with premium, then ram a road flare up his ass and shove him down a sandpaper slide. Just for kicks.”
To be fair to the media, this was reported. But, to be fair to the media, it wasn’t reported prominently—certainly no more prominently than the news about Joe Haden or Marshawn Lynch or (God help us) Tim Tebow. The first head coach ever to be kicked out of the NFL for a season, and he’s still refusing to repent? He’s still insisting it was a put-up job by the man who’s been caught in a series of increasingly obvious deceptions? He’s calling the commissioner a liar? Well, what did you expect? Nothing to see here…
Ralph Malbrough, over at WWL, stated his opinion that this season was all or nothing for the Saints: championship, or crash and burn. But I think it’s more than that. What happens to the Saints this year is the only truly significant story of 2012. Either we win a championship—in which case the storyline is obvious—or we get boned by the league, which has done virtually everything in its power to render one of its best teams impotent—in which case, the storyline is obviously ignored by the media. How a corrupt commissioner destroyed a team’s season, wrecked its reputation, stole millions from its players and coaches…and got clean away with it.
Or not. Which remains to be seen.
That’s the story, and I wonder if the likes of Peter King and Mike Freeman have ever stumbled across anything this big, this significant, before. Maybe that’s why they don’t recognize what’s staring them in the face. Freeman, in particular, is fond of asking “why would Goodell lie?” It apparently hasn’t occurred to him yet to ask, “why would so many Saints deny, under oath in federal court, the accusations against them, at the same time Goodell works frantically to keep his hand off the Bible?”
Everything else that happens in the NFL this season is, to use a term these guys may understand, “spot news.” The Packers winning the Super Bowl will be no more significant than a fender bender on Main Street.
The Saints winning the Super Bowl? That’s like the Poles dropping an A-bomb on Berlin.
On the Jukebox
The Poles actually have a thriving music scene…for instance, this band. They’ve got this whole Chili Peppers thing going. The bass player is a dead ringer for Flea.