Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Time for More

Since Colin decided to show up in a major way today, it wouldn't be fair to deprive our captive audience of my own insane ramblings, even if I am apparently far outstripped in any quest to be named the greater nerd in the family. Seriously, I don't remember half of those Star Trek characters Colin named below. Who the hell was Lt Tom Paris? More importantly, why even include Star Trek Voyager in a post about Star Trek? As far as I'm concerned, that abomination of a series never happened.

Anyways, where have I been? I was asked to participate in a pagan ritual of epic proportions, otherwise known as being Best Man in a wedding for frequent commentor Nate, who probably isn't going to be reading this blog for a week or so (lord only knows what he's missing). Oddly enough, I've only been in three wedding parties and each time have been that particular title. Apparently, either people really like me or they think I'm garbage. If any of our readers has read this blog long enough, you might have caught a glimpse of that from our self-serving cynicism that surrounds our overwhelming sense of superiority compared to minor beings such as Petey Prisco.

So yeah... weddings are great. Even if old people don't find me funny... seriously people, when marriages happen, they get to have sex. It's okay to think about it (not to fantasize about it... that's just weird you pervert). If I make a joke about it, don't all just stare at me like I opened up the portal to the netherworld. I think I'm going to make a point of using the word "masturbation" in every speech I give at a wedding from now on just to get that particular glassy stare.

This particular wedding also gave me the opportunity to be chastised for being a part of this blog, probably overdue. Colin and I have now been accused of trying to wreck a marriage, because there are actually people who read us religiously. To those people (you know who you are), keep it up. The ladies will have to deal. Watch Hitch or something one night just to help close the gap. Steer clear of Pride and Prejudice, though... nothing short of the big happy is worth that long winded farce. Knowing again that people read us often does mean I should try to avoid not posting for a week and a half, though. I could have been really involved in the M's... zzzzzzzz.....

Yeah, sports. It's depressing when a writer you admire writes one of the most idiotic paragraphs known to man. That writer would be one KC Joyner, someone who is actually trying to bring a form of statistical analysis to football. His Football Scientist book was one I actually have considered making a purchase of prior to the season for some additional insight. To see if that book was worth my time, I decided to follow a link in his most recent article to a 40 page preview. My senses were immediately attacked by the following absurd statement:

Cincinnati Bengals: The Next Dynasty

This coming from a book that is attempting to establish itself as an objective statistical observer on the NFL. "Interesting," Gavin said to himself quietly. "How on earth does Joyner make that statement?"

Apparently by avoiding everything he writes before and afterwards. Let's go through this Billy Madison-esque reasoning (hint: the reaction of the judge after his speech... "and may God have mercy on your soul").

"I think the Cincinnati Bengals are going to be the next great team. I'm not talking about just being a playoff team. I mean that this team is on the kind of track that leads to multiple Super Bowl wins."

Riiiiight. Statistical probability of this happening = Statistical probability of Gavin marrying Jessica Alba. Amazing to have dreams.

"The reason I say this is because of how Marvin Lewis handled his team towards the end of the year."

Let's get this straight. The reason you are making this bold prediction has absolutely nothing to do with this book? It's because of the friggin' coach?

"In week 16 the Bengals had a home game against Buffalo. If they won the game, it would keep them as the #2 seed in the conference, thus ensuring a bye week and a home playoff game in the divisional round. The Bengals laid an egg against the Bills and blew their chance for the bye."

A real author looking at statistics might notice that the reason the Bengals lost this game is the offense couldn't continue carrying the team to the extent it was earlier in the season. The defense was bad and continued to be bad (I may actually use statistics to back this up in a second, but bear with me).

"The next week's game was at Kansas City. The game was important because a win would ensure that the Bengals would keep the #3 seed as opposed to dropping to the #4 seed, but most coaches wouldn't have seen it as a must win."

To understand this absurd rambling, one must enter an alternate dimension, where roasted peanuts are the established currency, and cursing is a common way to answer the telephone.

"Not Marvin Lewis."

Lewis is a genius! What an amazing coach! He decided he didn't want to be in the same bracket as the all-world Indianapolis Colts! Man, it sure is good the Bengals weren't coached by an illiterate hippie, because they wouldn't have had a shot the next week. All praise Marvin Lewis, motivator extroardinaire.

"During the week preceding the game, Lewis was yelling at his team all week long."

Okay. I'm anal. Still, the sentence above looks like something my high school English teacher would use for Daily Oral Language.

"He was very upset by their performance against Buffalo and was pushing the team to play hard against Kansas City. Lewis didn't even rest any of his starters because he was so unhappy."

I remember how most football coaches handle these situations. They spend the week prior to the game sipping tequila, watching the Venture Brothers, and playing Pacman. I think everything's explained in that new NFL Head Coach game that inexplicably isn't available for the XBox360... because, you know, one wouldn't want a groundbreaking NFL game to actually be available on the NEW FREAKING GAME STATION!!!

Back to this insanity. So Marvin Lewis, coach of coaches, bringer of light, keeper of the keys of Riathlon, guardian of the Alter of Xonmu, didn't rest players before a big final game of the season against a hungry Kansas City team. I'm sure this motivational flurry provided an amazing display of football, which would be why KC Joyner decided that the Bengals were on the cusp of being the next dynasty.

"The plan didn't work, as Kansas City dominated the Bengals 37-3"

Hmmm?? What?? The Bengals didn't just lose, they got absolutely waxed, and this is the best example Joyner could come up with?

"... but that isn't the point."

Now I'm mad. That's exactly the point, you inebriated rhesus monkey. If you are going to praise Marvin Lewis as being a great motivator, you could at least use a moment where that motivation actually mattered. Lewis could have been replaced by the aforementioned hippie and the result would have been the same. The players could have been listening to Pearl Jam or Petra the entire week and the result would have been the same. They got smacked around, got it handed to them on a platter. This is not a success. This is a disaster.

"The point is that most coaches placed in Lewis's place would have rested their team or tried to keep their spirits up after the Buffalo debacle. Lewis realized that he has a very young team that was growing up quickly and he wanted to send them the message that more will be expected of them."

Just don't worry about actually winning... or coming within 30 points. Message across, loud and clear. Also, DOL alert again in that first sentence. "Placed in Lewis's place" has at least two HUGE no-no's. Who's editing this crap, Nate (albeit, a cheap shot to a good friend, but I've seen his writing... and he's having fun with his wife right now, so what the hell)?

"He will not let this team get complacent."

He just won't make them win, either. Last time I checked, winning was a bit more important that complacency. Maybe that's just me. Also, is there a stat for "complacency ratio", Mr. Football Scientist?

"The 2005 Bengals reminded me of the 1984 Chicago Bears. That bears team was a young, hard-hitting team with a bunch of dynamic players and characters, but they were not quite ready to win. It took another year of growth before they were able to fully tap into their abilities."

I'm getting woozy from reading this drivel. The Bears had a good Jim McMahon, Walter friggin' Payton, and Mike Singletary. They were already a well-rounded team. The problem is that the Bengals aren't, and with the type of offseason acquisitions, are actually farther away from making that happen.

First, one cannot discount the effect of adding so many "turds" as Pro Football Talk would say. The locker room is already like a powder keg. That's my non-statistical addition to this argument.

The stats still don't help Joyner's wackiness. Yes, the Bengals have assembled a tremendous offensive force, with Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson and company ready to wreak havoc around the league for some time... they ranked 6th in Football Outsiders' offensive rankings. The defense is, charitably, the problem. They were ranked #24 on FO against the run. That is not good, and is probably (along with an early-season slew of interceptions) why the pass defense is actually ranked higher.

Look, the Bengals are a good team, well worth picking to win their division. However, to put them near dynasty status when there are probably at least three better teams in the AFC alone for the forseeable future is just plain ridiculous.

The Football Scientist would be better sticking to science, not baseless conjecture.

posted by Gavin @ 9:13 PM  0 comments

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