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While We’re Waiting… A few to make you think

While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com

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The Browns are the worst. Now with Math! “And now the depressing part. As you can see, Cleveland has been the worst team over the last 18 years, and it isn’t really even that close. Oakland and Arizona are the next two terrible teams, but both of them have three playoff appearances to the Browns one. Wow, that’s bad. Sure, some of that terrible record is due to having the years right after expansion included, but that doesn’t go a long way toward explaining anything. What has made the Browns so bad for so long? Some people may point to Randy Lerner, and in some respects those people are right. It was Randy Lerner’s job to hire the right people to run the Browns, and he never did that. However, some of these years were under Randy’s father Al, and even though none of the hires worked out, all of them seemed like slam dunk moves at the time.” [Dawgs By Nature]

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Good read IMO. “I’m sorry for exposing you to that, but sometimes to learn you must feel the pain of mistakes like watching The NFL Today or reading Mike Florio on purpose. Why NFL coverage is so bad across the board is something that even baffles the NFL writers I’ve talked to, who are as a whole at a loss on the issue. There are some theories, though. Like all theories, we present them for testing, because this is science, and science is nothing without hypotheses and trial.

The NFL is an access league with very few points of access. All leagues control access to media, but the NFL has a unique degree of control thanks to its corporate structure and the very design of the league itself. A paltry sixteen games, constant meetings and practice, and a well-oiled PR machine bent on protecting the marketability of its players limit the number of opportunities the media have to talk to players, coaches, and management.” [Hall/SB Nation]

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“For a long while, the league was able to mask the fact that the destruction of the human body was as central to its fundamental structure as that destruction ever was to, say, boxing. For a long while, the libertarian argument seemed to prevail; yes, the argument went, we concede the savagery and the destruction but, to paraphrase Hyman Roth, this is the business they have chosen. Both of those strategies have run their course. Scientific evidence continues to overwhelm any attempts to spin what happens to a human being over the course of a career playing football. And there comes a point at which the libertarian argument runs headlong into the question of whether it is moral for a society to allow people to commit slow-motion suicide for the purposes of mass entertainment. That leaves us with the question of what we will tolerate as an ethical and moral culture, and why. And that is the question that the NFL must answer in a whole host of areas regarding the safety and health of its employees, lest one day it get an answer that it will not like very much.” [Pierce/Grantland]

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“But instead of a level of acceptance of the bad call as part of the fabric of the game; instead of greeting this truth with grace and even sportsmanship… the reaction tends to be to hurry off and ‘fix’ the unfixable.

The saga of NFL replacement refs provide a great example. See the headlines at right. Those headlines were not outliers, they reflect the prevailing consensus among the ‘fair-minded’ at the time. My mind boggled. Like: have you all been afflicted with referee amnesia? It seemed to me then that the reporting on the replacement refs was one of the sorrier recent performances by the fifth estate (and that is really a strong condemnation). There was little sober reporting about the grounds for the ref lock-out (Did you know the average pay for an NFL ref is ~$170K and it’s a part-time job and the refs were holding out to keep it part-time and thus maintain their other employment?). But in addition to utter indifference to management’s position, there was the stunning hyperbole about preserving the sanctity of the game!! MY GOD THE REPLACEMENT MISSED A CALL AND COST SOMEONE A GAME!!! THE CARNAGE!!!” [Kanick]

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Want to know who is going to the NBA draft combine? Fear the Sword has you covered. [Fear the Sword]

  • Natedawg86

    I don’t know if this is a factor or not, but can the refs watch replays in slow motion?
    With all the $$ MLB and NFL makes, pay someone ~150K to be the official replay ref who sits in the box and makes the arguement/recommendation to the ref on the field. From the time that the play is challenged, and the ref on the field gets to the booth, the off the field ref should have a recommendation along with some key angles to show the guy on the field. Sounds too simple, oh and can I be the replay ref?

  • mgbode

    Hall has a good read, but he does miss a few points on it as well IMO. He is missing a few reasons the NFL media is a bit behind:

    (1) Advanced stats are much more complicated in football. Because of the small sample sizes and situational plays affecting the actual stats (exhibit A: 2012 Carson Palmer) it becomes much harder to have discussions on football. You need to qualify the statistical arguments, which is boring. For instance, to read profootballfocus.com and footballoutsiders.com properly, you must first read and understand the definitions of the stats they use.

    (2) People try to cheat those arguments by finding a few statistical nuggets that they cling onto and beat readers over the head with repeatedly and refuse to listen to any counter arguments on them(see: Bill Barnwell, Greg Easterbrook) . Read a TMQ article from 2003. Read a TMQ article from 2012. Other than a few names and the non-football stories, they are nearly identical in form, structure, and the arguments within.

    (3) Non-statistical based football writers should be getting better soon. With the All-22 vantage point, I expected more writers to have play breakdowns (as featured here at WFNY), but it is not nearly as widespread yet as it is for the NBA (who have many beat-writers who do the same). Hopefully, it becomes more commonplace.

    (4) Gambling and fantasy football drive the information. MLB and the NBA have both, but not to nearly the degree it drives things in the NFL. The setup is perfect (1 game per week), so it has grown much faster than for the other leagues. As such, nearly all national writers spend much of their time focusing on providing information for those teams rather than about the game of football itself. The other leagues mostly leave that to the fantasy writers (at least to a larger degree).

  • i liked and agreed with most all of hall’s take. but the observation most useful to me was in the comments and centered on lowest common denominator. bud light would indeed like to sell you and me a beer but can sell more if they reach the audience who doesn’t dissect the all-22 film.

    carrying on the ‘recalibration’ theme from my post (thanks for the link as ever, rick), maybe it’s me/we who need to factor in the mission of the idiot pre-game shows before killing them.

    the one beneficial upshot to all this is the growing number of smart blogs who fill the breach. smart analysis and discussion is readily available today.. maybe i need to stop wishing it would come from the ‘traditional sources’ and just take it where i find it.

  • mgbode

    yes, I have mostly given up on MSM. it is useful for the generic information (transactions, scores, etc.). most of the interesting discourse comes from places like your site, WFNY, and the other associated blogs.

    the only problem is that most of these sites are team-specific. there is a real absence of good overall NFL writing on these topics.