What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
As we find ourselves in the midst of Week Three of the NFL season, too much crap off the field has been dominating the headlines. That’s why we here at Dubsism decided it was time to drag the world of sport back to actual sport. We are going to accomplish that by taking a critical look at six beliefs commonly held at the beginning of the season that in the immortal words of classic rock icons Queen “bit the dust.”
But now that we’ve seen two full weeks of this season and number three is unfolding as I’m writing this, it is high time for a Dubsism-sized dose of reality.
1) The Invincibility Of The New England Patriots
This one was the first one to drop. Remember all that “Patriots are going 16-0” crap we were hearing all throughout August? Yeah, that didn’t even make it to the first Sunday in September. I never understood that “16-0” stuff, and I honestly think that buzz was coming from people who that fundamentally misunderstand football.
On the offensive side of the ball, I understand that as long as Tom Brady remains upright and can play at even 75% of his usual capacity, the New England offense will have very few problems. But one they share with the defense is the inability to control the line of scrimmage. That was made clear in that initial Thursday hosting the Chiefs. It was also obvious watching them get man-handled in the trenches by the Texans.
Don’t get me wrong, this team could still win yet another Super Bowl, but they certainly can be beat.
2) The NFL Will Always Be The Most Popular Sport In America
Despite what is currently blowing up the interwebz, I’m not going anywhere near the #TakeTheKnee crap. I’ve already said my piece on that. This is more about the five reasons I’ve already published stating why the NFL is putting a bad product on the field. The #TakeTheKnee shit will cost the NFL the casual fan; what Kommissar Goodell should really be worried about is that league is losing the hard-core sports fan like me.
Keep those five reasons in mind as I tell you that last Sunday afternoon I eschewed the NFL in favor of the Serbia vs. Slovenia tilt in the in the finals of the European Basketball Championships.
This was far better than anything the NFL could have come up with as Slovenia was the “little county that could” who knocked off the hoop giants of Spain to face another NBA-laden roster in Serbia. This week as I’m pounding the keyboard producing this tome, my television is on the rare Sunday college football game; a East Carolina-Connecticut quasi-snoozer brought to you by the rescheduling caused by Hurricane Irma.
In any event, the moral of the story is the reason why fans are leaving isn’t nearly as important as the fact that understanding the American sports fan is nothing but fickle, and if you don’t give them a reason to stay, they won’t.
3) Regional Television Is All About Local Markets And Hometown Fans
Here’s another reason why as we speak, East Carolina-Connecticut is on my big screen. That’s because my NFL option is the Cleveland Browns at the Indianapolis Colts. I’d rather chug a quart of lighter fluid and fire a flare gun up my own ass than watch that “Special Olympics” version of the NFL.
Because I live in Indiana, the NFL seems to think I want to see the Colts every week. Even when they didn’t suck, that wasn’t true. I’ve been a Philadelphia Eagles fan since the days when I had to hold a soda bottle with two hands, but unless I move to the City of Brotherly Love or pony up for the NFL Sunday Ticket, I remain at the mercy of the league’s national broadcast schedule to see my team.
The problem here is that the NFL’s model for regional is completely outmoded. It is based on local television rights, which haven’t mattered to the NFL in over 40 years since all games are carried by networks and all broadcast revenue is shared. In other words, forcing me to watch the sorry-ass Colts isn’t about ensuring the local stations can sell enough beer ads, it’s about pushing me to pay for the Sunday Ticket.
That strategy would have a far better shot at success if the NFL a) didn’t suck and b) understood their crap product isn’t worth what they are charging for it. But since neither of those things seem to be changing anytime soon, Kommissar Goodell and the rest of the NFL Politburo can blow me.
4) Rob Gronkowski is still an impact player in this league
Please don’t think this is just “Patriot-Bashing” because as a Philadelphia Eagles fan, I really don’t have a reason to give a fuck about New England one way or another. But since they are the “rock star” franchise of the NFL right now, they also get the most mythology.
A while back, one of our guest columnists pointed out that Gronkowski was wasting his time in the NFL. Gronk easily could be the biggest star in the WWE tomorrow if he decided to do it. He might as well because he doesn’t really matter int he NFL anymore. Face it…the Patriots have won two Super Bowl in three years, all during which Gronkowski has been little more than a few highlights a season, followed by extended visits to the injured list.
Two years ago, Rob Gronkowski won a Dubsy Award; he landed the Jason Sehorn Award For Being Completely Over-Rated. A major reason why he won was this nomination, which even though it is two years old, is still crushingly true.
I’m tired of listening to people tell me how great Gronkowski is. The other day, I head Belichick tell me how Gronk is the “best blocker he’s ever seen.” That’s fucking laughable. He’s coached guys like Matt Light and Logan Mankins, and yet this meathead is the best blocker you’ve ever seen? If that’s true, you’d better get a “60” number on him and get him on the offensive line, because Brady is getting killed lately.
I can already hear the twerpy stat-quoter who is going to tell me how many touchdowns and receiving yards Gronk has. Print that shit out on a roll so its useful for something. Are you going to tell me that without Gronk, none of that production would have happened? Bullshit. Tom Brady would have dealt those balls somewhere else. That’s what he does. That’s exactly what happens when Gronk is on the field, which happens a lot because Gronk is a guy who misses a lot of time due to injuries, and the Patriots win without him. Gronk being hurt had nothing to do with the loss to Philadelphia, and his return didn’t help against the Jets. Tell me about four catches for 80 yards and no score, Stat-boy.
This applies to ALL receivers. Quarterbacks make things happen, you just make catches. They call Gronk a tight end, but he’s just a receiver, and he does what all “receiving tight ends” do in the NFL. He’s just a big guy who can run and exploits the seam in the middle of the field that zone coverage gives you. Scott Chandler did a very nioce job of that against Philadelphia until Brady quit throwing the ball to him for some reason. Tyler Eifert does a better job of doing just that in Cincinnati.
Here’s some homework for you, Stat-boy. Go look at Gary Barnidge’s numbers as a tight end in Cleveland, then tell me about Gronk’s. And before you give me any bullshit about number of gam3s played, talk to me about who Gronk has getting him the football compared to who Barnidge has had.
Let me put it to you this way. In my garage, I have a classic “muscle car.” It’s sexy, loud, and a shitload of fun to drive. But it also isn’t the car I depend on to get me to workd every morning. Gronk is that classic car. He’s flashy, he’s a lot of fun to watch, but the Patriots can live without him.
Word. I know he had a nice performance against the Texans, but that only means he’s another step closer to the “Rob Gronkowski Memorial MRI Machine” at Massachusetts General Hospital.
5) The Rams Will Get A Huge Fan Base Just By Moving To Los Angeles
This is another one I hit in an episode of Ask J-Dub. Los Angeles is the classic “fair-weather” city for sports fans. Baseball fans in Los Angeles were all Dodger fans until they got crappy and the Angels won a World Series. Now that pendulum has swung back. Nobody gave a shit about the Kings until they started winning Stanley Cups. The exception is the Lakers because they still have glamour even though they are among the dregs of the NBA. Before the Rams get a fan base in Los Angeles, they need to put a team on the field that fans think is worth watching, which means a team that can win.
6) Dak Prescott Is A “Franchise” Quarterback
There’s three facts about Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys which were clearly on display during last week’s throttle-job at the hands of the Denver Broncos.
FACT: In 2016, Dak Prescott ranked last among all NFL quarterbacks who played in all 16 games, and 23rd overall in number of passes attempted, which was less than both Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler.
FACT: In 2016, Dak Prescott had a passing completion percentage of 67.8%. Prescott’s high completion percentage is largely because the Cowboys made it a point to at all costs avoid a lot of obvious passing situations like 3rd and long. If this were golf, Prescott’s been playing “best-ball” with a guy who’s leaving him a lot of three-foot putts.
FACT: In 2016. among the quarterbacks who played 16 games, the average number of passing attempts per game was just over 35. Dak Prescott’s record against teams with winning records when attempting more than 35 passes in the 2016 regular season: 1-2. After the play-offs and the first two games of this season, that number is 2-4.
The recent success of the Dallas Cowboys is all about controlling the ball, not making mistakes, and taking the “high-percentage shot.” Obviously, a team can win a lot of games with that formula. But in the end, seeing is believing, and before I believe Dak Prescott can beat a play-off team throwing the ball, I’m going to need to see it.