Burying Hambino

I am only writing this article because Hambino bitched and moaned about me burying his mock draft post with something entertaining.  And because of that I decided to bury it with another article.  So, suck it.

While we’re at it Hambino continually calls me a glory hunter and how much better my life is as a sports fan is than his.  But let’s face it.  I would rather win championships than be a better team most years.  Who the hell cares if the last five years the Redskins have been better than the Buccaneers.  I can’t remember a Redskins Super Bowl yet he can remember a Bucs.  We’ve agreed on this point many times but for some reason he continually ignores it because the fact doesn’t validate his argument.  Typical Hambino with his alternative facts.  Let’s lay it out on the line here.  He may not be a die-hard just how I am not for some of these teams but here it is on the line.

He’s a Swansea fan, which granted sucks.  Being a Chelsea fan is fantastic compared to that joke of a club.  We’ve already covered the football route so he wins there.  Baseball he’s at least got to see the Rays go to a series while my Orioles can’t seem to make it past the ALDS.  Same argument holds up in Basketball.  The Wizards are finally good enough to run right into Lebron James at the height of his game while he’s seen his Magic get to a final.  Oh, and don’t get me started on my ever-disappointing heartbreak that is the Washington Capitals.

In summation, Hambino stop your bitching about how I am such a glory hunter.  I would rather watch anxiety free a terrible team with no chance punctuated by Championships than this continual mediocrity and heartbreak that is my sporting life.  At least we can both agree on the Noles and USMNT.  

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The Quarterback Fallacy

nflThe regular season in the NFL has ended and for 20 of the 32 teams in the NFL its draft time. Next year the 12 teams that made the playoffs will be looking to improve to push them to the next level, while the 10 teams with top draft picks are looking for the rebuild. While it is popular to think that bringing a franchise quarterback to Jacksonville will take the Jaguars to the promise land, the fact is this is the farthest thing from the truth. Year after year we have to hear about how this one player will solve the problem. This is not the NBA. Football is the ultimate team sport and one player is not the be all end all.

imageTeams are looking for the next Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck and to be honest why would’t you be? Players of this caliber are hard to come by and if you have the chance you draft them. The problem is though this is a dream situation and too many NFL GMs get drawn into drafting a player that was never the same caliber. For every Cam Newton there is a JaMarcus Russell out there. But why do teams fall into these horrible decisions? Many AFC East fans would like to think that Bill Belicheck has perfected the art of inception in order to win the division every year but the answer is founded more in reality. The reality is Walmart used this problem to become the most successful retail company in the world.

Impulse buying may work for Doritoes but shouldn’t be used when purchasing a multimillion dollar asset. Yes selling jerseys is great but what does it do to the overall quality of the franchise. All 10 of the teams that won the first 10 draft picks this year have drafted a “franchise” QB in the last 15 years (Ryan, Stafford, Ponder, Manuel, Griffin 3, Gabbert, Carr, Russell, Locker, Freeman) while half of the teams going to the playoffs have a QB that was selected after the first round. On top of that, there have been 12 QBs selected as the first pick in recent years, 4 of which were on teams that failed to make the playoffs and 4 of which were drummed out of the NFL all together. 33% may sound like a good percentage until you learn that only 2 of the 12 have won a Superbowl. Any economist or portfolio manager will tell you a less then 20% success rate on a multimillion dollar deal is not worth the risk. To make matters worse only 5 of the last 38 QBs drafted in the first round have won a Super Bowl and 17 no longer start in the NFL.

The otherside of the coin is that out of the 7 quarterbacks who have won the last image10 Super Bowls, all have been first round picks except for Brady and Brees. However Rodgers, Eli Manning and Big Ben all entered situations where they just simply improved on a perennial powerhouse, and Flacco won one with a huge help from his Ray Lewis led defense. This leaves Peyton Manning as the only QB that really came in and changed the fate of his franchise.

Lets face it, Jacksonville, Washington, Cleveland and their bottom dwelling compatriots have a lot of issues. You don’t win only 4 games in a season and hope one player solves all your problems the next. The Texans are in a great position in that they have proved in the past they have a capable team on both sides of the ball. Their biggest issue is at QB and with a talent like Teddy Bridgewater entering the draft it makes since to take him first. History shows though that the teams with that need below them should be wary. Don’t waste a pick on another Carr (metaphorically and literally) hoping that he is the right answer especially with a lot of talent still on the board.

The top franchises in the NFL have realized one thing. If you have a high pick, and there is no player that can immediately fit your needs, trade down. The best franchises realize that teams win championships, not just a QB. As a fan of one of these bottom dwellers that has drafted a franchise quarterback, I can tell you it is frustrating to see a talent with no help around him. While the QB is the most important player on any team, the NFL requires 54 solid players through all three facets of the game. The likes of Brady, Foles and Wilson have proved that if you build this good team and wait to find that player, the dividends are massive.

The Pete Rose Club

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As a society we have grown to believe that athletes should have a higher moral standard than us mortals. We put these gods of sport on a pedestal, and try to live vicariously threw them. Children every where become Mariano Rivera shutting down the final batter of the World Series or Tom Brady winning another Super Bowl in school yard clashes. Maybe it is because we start emulating these athletes early in life that makes us believe they are infallible. However, these gods of sports are plagued with the imperfections of their Greek counterparts. That’s not to say they are bad people, but they are susceptible to the shortcomings that we ourselves are prone to. These flaws though do not justify the withholding of awards by pretentious on lookers and I’m here to tell you why.

If you are still clinging to an image of the athletes of old being a symbol of how great the good old days were, stop reading here. Babe Ruth was a drunk and Walter Hagen chased after any skirt that had legs. The only reason these stories weren’t prevalent in the news is that there was still a respect that existed between reporters and athletes. Also society didn’t care if an athlete on the road went boozing and womanizing all night, as long as they performed the next day. Society didn’t like their heroes gambling though, a trait that can be traced back to the despicable Black Soxs of 1919. Unfortunately for Pete Rose, this was his vice. Even though his addiction arguably never affected the way the MLB’s all time hit leader played the game, the purists that run the baseball Hall of Fame have kept him an exile. Did Rose screw up? Probably, but lets not forget he didn’t throw games, just bet on himself and his team. That shouldn’t keep him in baseball purgatory.

At least Rose has been able to keep his record. While baseball has still kept some of its records amidst controversy (asterisks and Barry Bonds aside) the NCAA has a habit of trying to erase its history. Whether its the absence of the greatest basketball team of all time or the removal of Joe Paterno’s wins, the NCAA thinks they can just erase history. If you ask anyone who won the 2005 Heisman Trophy they would say Reggie Bush. However the former Trojan no longer receives a Christmas card from Desmond and the gang. Oh and Auburn fans I haven’t forgotten you. If Cam Newton hadn’t currently been a member of the most exciting team in the country and inline for a BCS National Championship Game, he would’ve joined Mr. Bush. History may eventually put Auburn in the same boat as USC, but frankly who cares. We all know Auburn and USC won that year.

I understand that the NCAA is trying to avoid institutions from gaining an unfair advantage. But realistically what can the NCAA expect from a multimillion dollar business that doesn’t pay it’s most important assets? These kickbacks exist at every school in the country, it’s just about who’s in the limelight at the time. This usually results in the most inconsistent punishments in all of sports.

Innocent until proven guilty doesn’t exist to these organizations. The NCAA and media were quick to throw an innocent Duke Lacrosse program under the bus. While I don’t know exactly what happened in Tallahassee last December, you think the sporting world would’ve thought to hold off judgement on Jameis Winston. However there are voters not putting him on their ballots because that he could be POTENTIALLY charged. The Florida State quarterback has been the most consistent dominating force in all of college football, so much so he has yet to have to finish a football game. As important as we think of the Heisman is, it is simply an award for the best football player in the country. It is not a feel good sportsmanship trophy. And even if he is charged and found not guilty, it will be a shame that the best season ever for a QB wouldn’t be marked with a Heisman.

Barry Bonds, Michael Vick and numerous NCAA players join the list of players that have been wronged by the system. While the media acts like these players should possess above human qualities, the truth is much simpler. Like most people they’ve worked hard on a skill they can now do well enough to make a paycheck. Just like all humans they have flaws and sometimes act on these flaws. It is important to remember these flaws because they add character, story and drama to sports. However when it comes to awards lets remember what they did on the field.

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