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This morning on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike, Mike Greenberg unloaded on Redskins rookie linebacker Robert Henson this morning. Watch it here.
Greeny nailed the take. Players need to remember who they are playing for. But more impressive than the vein popping out of Greeny’s neck was the way he conducted himself after the rant.
He was embaressed.
He tried to downplay it.
Even though everyone was lauding him for ‘manning up’, he wanted to move on.
Why? With everyone cheering, why not run with it? I can’t say for sure, but here’s my hunch:
Mike Greenberg doesn’t want to be That Guy.
That Guy comes to the mic each day with a stack of things to yell about. He sits in front of the camera, looks you in the eye, and tells you who to blame. He sits atop the highest horse in the land throwing the rest of us morsels of anger to feed on until tomorrow when we all tune in again.
That Guy goes into each day looking for a fight.
Mike Greenberg isn’t That Guy.
Talk radio is full of That Guy. Talk radio, be it sports or politics or religion, is defined by the rant. “This is what’s wrong with your team, or your world, or your worldview, or just plain you.” It defines our debates on issues.
Greeny’s rant worked because it wasn’t cooked up. It was authentic. He didn’t go into the production meeting and ask, “What can I explode about today?” It was something he was personally passionate about and it interfered with his professionalism. In small doses, it’s exactly what the world needs.
Give me less of That Guy and more of Mike Greenberg.
“Hey man, how’s it going? What did you do today?”
“Saved twelve puppies from a burning building.”
“Really? No way. That’s amazing. How’d you pull that off?”
“Easy, bro. I had popcorn.”
“How about you?”
“Found Osama Bin Laden.”
“Bro, that’s unbelievable. I mean, people have been looking for him everywhere and haven’t found him. How’d you do it?”
“Easy, man. Anything’s possible with popcorn.”
The first season I played Fantasy Football, I had backups for everyone. Tight End, Defense, Kicker, you name it. I think I had a back up owner so that I could have a bye week. What can I say? I was 13. I can’t defend most of my actions as a 13 year old.
Keeping two tight ends on your roster is like keeping two old beat up trucks. One of them has a really good purpose. The other is just taking up space. Use the bench spot for depth at WR or RB. You need the depth there. Depth at TE is pointless.
Don’t sweat the bye-week. Even if you draft the first and fifth best tight ends, whoever you would pick up for the bye week will fill in for number one almost as well as number five. In 2008, there was a 2.5 point per week difference between the fifth best TE and the twentieth best TE.
Which is to say, after the top tier guys a TE is a TE is a TE.
According to the average draft position, while other guys are taking Chris Cooley in round 8, you could get Jamal Lewis or Julius Jones or Torry Holt or Devin Hester. All of those guys are first on their depth chart and will produce significant points this year. You could wait three more rounds and get Zach Miller, Dustin Keller or Visanthe Shiancoe. And when the bye-week comes around, grab Brandon Pettigrew or Bo Scaife or Vernon Davis to fill in.
If you insist on carrying two TEs, be sure to bring your trapper keeper and English textbook to the draft. Mr. Shaw hates it when you forget your books.
I’m just going to say it: I’m so excited Brett Favre is back. I’m giddy. It makes this season so much more interesting, both for actual football and fantasy. And before you start thinking this is going to be satire, I’m serious. Brett Favre playing is a good thing for the NFL.
On top of that, I think Favre is getting a bad rap in the media. And people are buying it hook, line and sinker. So to you, the reasonable, non-gun-toting fan, I make the following defense of Brett Favre.
1. You gotta have something to talk about. My major criticism of mainstream media outlets has been their need to create stories out of non-stories in order to sell advertising. Outrage = ratings. No one wants to hear two moderates debate. They want theater. Jon Stewart was right about Crossfire. It applies to the sports talk shows just as well. It doesn’t pay to act moderately. That’s where the 2006 hype came from…
2. The Packers wanted to go with Aaron Rodgers. After two horrible seasons in 2005 and 2006, there was speculation that Favre would retire. But he announced before the 2006 draft that he’d return for another season and maybe more. What followed was a 13-3 season that Favre’s Packers had only achieved in the two years that they reached the Super Bowl. In the NFC Championship Favre was one bad pass from playing the Patriots for the Lombardi Trophy. During his retirement press conference he claimed that he didn’t want to play any more. Obviously, that wasn’t the case. The Packers needed him out to find out what they had in Aaron Rodgers. In the final year of his contract, Rodgers might walk after the season. Favre might have too. Then they’d have no QBs and a pretty decent team. Which is to say, they’d have been Minnesota without AP.
It’s understandable, but who pushes out a QB that’s coming off one of his best years ever and almost took you to the Super Bowl that season? Not to mention he’s arguably the best to ever play the game and gave you your only championship in forty years? If someone’s missing class from this, it’s the Packers.
3. Take out the shoulder injury and 2008 was among his best seasons. Favre injured his shoulder late in the season affected his last 5 games. Removing the stats from those games, his QB rating was 94, fifth best in his 18 seasons. During the first 11 games the Jets were 8-3. Save the injury, the Jets make the playoffs. That’s with missing off season workouts, not knowing the system, and not getting along with his coach. 2009 is a completely different situation.
4. Players have always tried to get out of training camp. After 18 seasons, can you blame a guy for wanting to miss camp? The drills, the scrimmages, the fights, the dorms, all through two-a-days? NFL players love getting out of camp. Some players have declared their intention to retire while never filing papers just so that they can skip camp. And when a team needs them bad enough, they put up with it. Favre’s just gotten the lead on SportsCenter for doing it instead of a small story buried in the middle of the show. Blame ESPN for camping out in Mississippi 24/7, not Favre.
5. The Vikings need Favre and vice-versa. Both want a real shot this year. Rosenfels and Jackson weren’t going pose any threat to opposing defenses. With Favre under center, defenses will have to play back and leave just seven in the box, loosening up the running lanes. Peterson is going to have room to run. Lots and lots of room. If you’re playing fantasy, do whatever you can to get Peterson and handcuff him with Taylor. Hands down best player in fantasy this year baring injury. And with one of the best defensive units in the league, this Vikings team is going to go far.
6. If anything, Favre is too much like you and me. A lot of folks hate their jobs. Some of us are lucky enough to like what we do. If we’re really blessed, we love our career. But image doing what you love to do most in the world and being paid millions of dollars to do it. I don’t know about you, but nobody could rip me away from that while I still had the ability to do it. That’s what brought Favre back in 2008. And this year he could win a championship doing it. That’s why he’s on the practice field in Minnesota. You can’t blame Favre for wanting that because you would want it too.
One story still not getting enough coverage is the election fall out in Iran. CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News all have one or two Iran stories on their websites (as of this writing). None are features and only MSNBC had anything on the top part of the page that’s visible without scrolling. CNN placed it well below stories titled, “Falafels around the world” and “Swimmer rips suit, reveals tush” while Fox News placed it beneath stories about Hulk Hogan’s divorce proceedings and a slide show of characters from ‘Full House’ “Then and Now.”
Any of you who watch Stewert and Colbert regularly can correct me, but I have a feeling they aren’t talking about it either. Their agenda is to make fun of Cable News and thus Cable News gets to set the agenda. NPR doesn’t have a story on their home page either. Meanwhile, trials are going to begin this weekend for protesters. Not that you could find this out from any of the ‘major’ news sources.
One out of control story-to-be is stemming out of an already out of control story. Tuesday on Larry King, Colin Powell said that Henry Louis Gates Jr. could have been more patient with the police officers. This will likely be pitted against Obama’s statement that the police acted stupidly. Most will ignore Powell’s statement that the police should have had ‘adult supervision’ when arresting Gates. Powell will be painted as going against the president when in reality both of them are saying what we all already know: No one in this case handled it as well as they could have. I admire Powell’s ability to speak critisim and praise to both sides of the isle. I still think he would have made a good president.
Meanwhile, while we’re getting minute-by-minute updates of “Beer Summit”, children will be starving to death at a rate of one every five seconds. That’s 16,000 a day. Make a donation to Feed My Starving Children. A gift of $62 can feed a child for an entire year with food designed specifically for malnourished children. Save a life.
Finally, one out of control story that shouldn’t have surprised anyone. There’s this great scene in the forth season of Scrubs when J.D. (Zach Braff) is written a perscription to have sex with a girl. It’s late in the night and she leaves early in the morning, never to return. With no means of transportation, his arch-enemy Janitor (Neil Flynn) offers him a ride. Just as J.D. was wondering why they were driving through the forest, Janitor slams on the breaks and throws J.D., wearing only a hospital gown, out of the van.
“WHY?!” J.D. asks.
Sports writers are rushing to the defense of the Vikings this morning, blaming Favre for stringing them along and ruining their locker room chemistry. Listen, most people aren’t like Brett Favre. Most of us don’t get paid millions of dollars to do what we love. It’s a tough decision, one that most people wouldn’t handle it well. This is Brett Favre being, as he’s been so many times before, most people.
But even though he told the Vikings no, Favre’s still throwing. He’s still hoping to play. He just doesn’t want to play for the Vikings. Even if the plays for the Jets or the Saints or the Chiefs, he’s still a Packer and wants to be loved in Green Bay. And apparently, that’s more important to him than a shot at another Super Bowl. Plug Favre into that Vikings team and they’re a lock.
So don’t be shocked, Vikings fans. He’s been doing this to you for almost two decades. How do you not get it?