Archive for November, 2012

There is a significant difference between doing what is honest and doing what is right.  Significant may be a stretch, so between you and me, we can probably agree that some circumstances may lead to the separation of those two ideas: honesty and moral right.  My generation of football witnessed the death of an illusion, the end of an era of looking the other way, the conclusion of what some would suggest “the greatest good” winning in the end.  Football’s celebrated violence is now incredibly controversial, with concussions leading the way as the poster child for our beloved, barbaric sport.  For whatever reason, this usually splits casual observers and fans into two camps: pro-players or pro-league.  The pro-players stance is really simple: players make BILLIONS of dollars for the league and should be supported more; owners and particularly Roger Goodell (because people cannot figure out he represents the owners) should support players better with health care and make the league safer.  On the contrary, the pro-league stance suggests players do not HAVE to play football and if they do they should play it safely.  The NFL places no restrictions on if players can use “safer” helmets and if they really cared about safety they would wear all of their equipment (which they don’t), wear safer equipment (which they don’t), and should listen to team doctors upon injury.  Brian Urlacher says eff that!   One thing that is missing from this conversation is the potential avalanche created by fear, not fear of losing money or permanent injury but both.  It’s the fear of replacement.

This takes us to the Monday Night Football extravaganze between Da Bears and the 49ers featuring Colin Kaepernick and Jason Campbell.  Somewhat surprisingly, Kaepernick played phenomenally against a very good Bears defense and dominated from beginning to end.  Inevitably this one game success leads to a quarterback controversy in the media.  “I usually tend to go with the guy that has the hot hand and we have two quarterbacks that have a hot hand,” Harbaugh said after Monday’s 32-7 victory.  WOAH!  That’s not the media, that’s the head coach!  Legit quarterback controversy after one game!  That seems a bit rushed especially since Alex Smith has been…very good in his last two starts (25-27, 304yds, 4TDs/0INTs – injured in the second game) and good all season.

Loss of job from injury + what have you done for me lately.  That’s a huge blow for someone who was built up from mediocrity/instability in the organization.  Thoughts of Smith’s playoff win over the Saints and his carving up the Green Bay defense this season seem like years ago.  How does this all relate to concussions?  Last week, prior to being taken out the game, Smith stayed in the game SIX MORE PLAYS after being concussed and experiencing blurred vision.  He threw a touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree on his final play of that game without being able to see straight.  I am far short of being a medical doctor but I cannot imagine the injury risk of being hit again after already suffering a concussion.

What drives players is competition, especially those who are not comfortable in their situations.  Who knew that the world would spin so quickly for the fourth rated passer in the NFL and all the talk of supporting Alex Smith who fade after Kaepernicks’s first completed 10-yard out route against the Bears.  Harbaugh unnecessarily brought drama on the NFL’s best team and it remains to be seen if Kaepernick can sustain this success. (Remember Vick coming in for Kevin Kolb against the Packers a couple of years ago and lighting the world on fire?  Or how about giving $10 million guaranteed to Matt Flynn after one great game?)

What remains true is that players will continue to put themselves in harm’s way because tomorrow cannot be guaranteed.  Shameful really but the sport is also a business, and business is just business.

Oblivious GF GM

Posted: November 11, 2012 in Bunker

During the Mavericks vs. Knicks game, my part-time bedroom partner who knows very little about the NBA other than LeBron James is really good and Chris Bosh makes egregious faces asked me following:

“Is Mike Woodson a good coach?”

Before I answered, I inquired why she would ask such a question. She answered:

“He just doesn’t look like someone who’s that good.”

She was spot on. Just by looking at him, she said to herself “I don’t want THAT guy coaching my team.” I wanted to know what she thought about other coaches in the league. She could perhaps be the anti-Nate Silver, but just as effective. I decided to test the theory out by pulling up the Google Images of various coaches from random eras across the history of the NBA. I posed the question in a very simple manner: Is this person a good coach?

Here are the results

Phil Jackson – Good

Cotton Fitzsimmons (Random I know) – Bad

Isiah Thomas – Bad

Lionel Hollins – Good

Vinny Del Negro – Good

Avery Johnson – Good

Scott Skiles – Bad

Lawrence Frank – Bad

Gregg Popovich – Bad

PJ Carlesimo – Good

Larry Brown – Good, “Would venture to say even really good”

Kurt Rambis – Bad

Alvin Gentry  – Good

Doc Rivers – Good

Some reasons cited for the choices:

“Guys who point with confidence seem like they would be better.”

“eeeh his face seems too intense”

“He looks unhinged”

“Also, it’s more than the pointing, there needs to be a mix of smile and fierce faces. You need to let your players know when they’re sucking, but you also have to be able to celebrate their successes to boost morale. People who look dead in every picture clearly can’t do that”

Message to GMs – Apparently it’s a lot easier to tell a bad coach than it is to tell who is a great coach.