As advanced stats become ubiquitous they become an equalizer not an advantage. Previously advanced stats were like trade secrets of individual teams, but in the last decade they have been adopted so wide spread and the demand for analytic GMs has become so quintessential that it's almost as useful as traditional stats.
The ThinkTank Panel (of One) proudly presents the 30 Most influential People of the last 30 years. These are the people who have shaped and molded the ThinkTank Panel (of One) into what it is today; Arrogant, Neurotic, Ostensibly Ostentatious, and Prohibitively Expensive. Today we look at #25.
Most people don't know #25 on the countdown. He played for some truely awful teams in a city that is 1200 miles away from any other NFL franchise. But Chris Warren was one hell of a running back. As a kick returner he single handedly won 2 games on a team that won only 2 games all season. He once set a ProBowl rushing record that only lasted 2 plays. Most football fans will recognized the name Larry Johsnon, yet Larry's hey day was roughly half as long as Chris Warren's.
More than statistics or touchdowns, Chris Warren personified a style. A style unseen amougst his peers in the 90's, or in the game today. He wasn't low and shifty like Emmitt Smith or Marshall Faul. He wasn't a battering ram like Jerome Bettis and Eddie George. He wasn't an excape artist like Barry Sanders . He wasn't even ultra fast like Chris Johnson is today. He didn't hit the hole with reckless abandon like Rickey Watters or Adrien Peterson. He wasn't a pateint runner who then exploded downfield like Ladainian Tomlinson or Shaun Alexander. Chris Warren had a style all his own. In a word: Smooth.
Chris Warren glided up and down the field. His stride was effortless, yet with every step you sensed how hard he played the game. He ran up-right, just like Michael Johnson in the 400 meters. He shed would-be tacklers with a violent yet casual stiff arm or a subtle change in vector. He never stutter stepped, juked or wasted any movement shifting gears. Even when when he fielded a kick off and reversed field at the 40 yard line and ran east/west from one sideline to the other before turning up field and taking in to the house for a score against the Colts , Chris Warren did so in one fluid motion. While some runnings backs play like a bulldozer, and other play like a Ferrari, Chris Warren played football like a Cadillac .
Alas, Chris Warren wasn't so smooth at other aspects of his life. But the night that the ThinkTank Panel (of One) met him at the Hawks vs. Cops Charity basketball game in 1992 he was smooth as silk. The ThinkTank Panel (of One) can still vividly recall this sequence. Chris Warren blocks the lady cop's shot to a chorus of boos from the police partisan crowd. Unfazed, he races down court for the night's only dunk on the other end to oohs and awes from the now suddenly forgiving crowd. Chris Warren then comes back down the the floor on defense and steals the ball which he calmly tosses with a no look pass, not down court to his cherry pick Hawks teammates, but to the lady cop whose shot he just blocked standing under the basket who scores from point blank range to thunderous applause. Smooth.
So the Patriots trade Randy Moss to Minnesotta for a 3rd round pick last week. This week they trade a 4th rounder to Seattle to get former Super Bowl MVP Dion Branch back. Both deals were worked out quickly as the Patriots were anxious to get rid of Moss and get Branch back.
Three years ago, the Seahawks trade a 1st rounder to get Branch from New England, and New England aquires Moss for a 4th round pick.
I know it’s not that simple, and there are lots of risk factors with Randy Moss, but shouldn’t the Seahawks have at least tried to trade Branch straight up for Moss a week ago?
While watching Randy Moss’s re-debut as a Minnesota Viking, and witnessing the thrilling but ultimately futile performance by Bret Favre against the Jets, the nation’s obsessive love/hate fascination with Favre was on full display. Football pundits have long pointed out Favre’s penchant for forcing throws makes him as much a liability as an asset. The success or failure of Favre’s teams over the last 4 years has been tied completely to Favre’s turnovers. Never was that more clear than on Monday night. On the night when Favre threw his 500th 501st and 502nd touchdown passes, he became the NFL’s all time leader in fumbles. He also threw interceptions on the 2 most crucial plays of the game; the potentially game tying 2 point conversion, and the 3rd down TAINT (Touchdown after interception, props to the Sports Guy) in the 2 minute drill that killed a potential game winning drive. To the football experts, (maybe even his own coaches and teammates), Favre’s insistence that the game is won or lost by his arm is tantamount to football treason.
However, as fans, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Fans want heroes. Favre provides heroics. That 37 yard TD to Moss was an awe-inspiring feat of seemingly supernatural effortless precision. This is how fans want to see games won. It’s how players want to win games. It’s just more fun to win by making plays, as opposed to wining by maintaining discipline.
Generally that’s not how coaches want to win. But there is one coach who does want to win that way:
The Patriots coach has won the Super Bowl the old fashioned way, through discipline and execution…3 times. The last one was 6 years ago. Since then he has done everything in his power to turn Tom Brady into a Football Super Hero like Favre. That’s why he went out after Moss, to turn the Pats into a pass wacky 45 ppg scoring, awe-inspiring, play-making offensive juggernaut. But it didn’t work because in Super bowl XXXX the New York Football Giant’s made 1 superhero heroic play and the Patriots didn’t.
Given that the Pac 10 conference is currently in negotiations to finalize its scheduling now that it has expanded to 12 team with the additions of Colorado and Utah, the ThinkTank Panel (of One) would like to revisiting it’s proposal for further Pac -10 expansion.
The sticking issue in the Pac -10 scheduling discussion is that the California teams want o all be in a division together, and the rest of the teams want the California teams split amongst 2 divisions so that they get to play in the state at least once each year in front of California high school recruits.
To rectify this situation, the ThinkTank Panel (of One) humbly suggests reviving the super conference band dream boat and set sail on a Pac-16, one day to be a Pac 20.
First step is to, as the ThinkTank Panel Suggested previously, continue to raid the Mountain West of BYU and Boise State. Since BYU’s attempted departure to football independence and WAC everything else earlier this season, the MWC is on shaky ground. No one really wants to be there. If Boise State ( which is supposed to Join the MWC next year, but at the rate things are going why would they want to) and TCU go undefeated and neither plays for the National Title this year, they will be primed o leave so now is the time to plant the seed. Step 2 is raid the WAC as well, forcing the 2 division to reunite and form a mid major super conference of themselves.
In addition to adding BYU and Boise State, the PAC-10 adds 2 additional California Schools in Fresno State and San Diego State. Now you have 16 teams to go into, wait for it………… four divisions consisting of 4 teams each.
The 4 divisions will be….
NW Division: Washington, Washington State, Oregon, and Oregon State
California Division: California, Stanford, USC, and UCLA …. just like they want it.
South Division: San Diego State, Fresno State, Arizona and Arizona State
New Rocky Mountain Division: Boise State, BYU, Utah, and Colorado
At face value this looks like it will no one outside of the California Division will go for it. But her are the scheduling rules:
Each team plays its 3 division opponents.
Each team plays one team from each of the other 3 divisions on a rotating home/away basis. So you play each non-division team once every 4 years.
And here’s the kicker: Each team plays an additional California Division team away game!!
So that means each team will play 7 regular season conference games. At least 2 against the Classic 4 California Schools, one of which is guaranteed in the State of California. Some years a team may play as 3 away games in front of California high school recruits if you happen to play at San Diego State or Fresno State.
And here’s the second Kicker. A 3 games conference tourney pitting the 4 division winners for the conference title. The championship games to be played at the neutral site of Las Vegas as is expected to be the case with the 12 team format anyway.
Future expansion could lead to a 20 team conference with four 5 team divisions. The key is the 4 divisions instead of 2 allows for division champions to be determined while maintaining a balanced schedule allowing recruiting exposure to the super populous California high schools players.
Colorado will complain because they “demand to be in the same division as USC. But the Pac-10 can drop them for Nevada at the drop of a hat, and bust the Buffs back to the Big 12 or as it will soon known as the Former Republic of Texas Conference, once it picks up TCU, and UTEP or Houston, to replace Missouri and Iowa State who will end up paying $20 million bribe/buy in /registration fees to convince the Big-10 to let them in.
Hate to beat the Lebron James Horse to death (actually beating Lebron James and anything pertaining to him is quite popular at the moment) but the ThinkTank Panel (of One) has considered the pitfalls of the new big three in Miami and come up with a solution. After all that’s what a think tank is for.
The main problem facing the big three is staying interested. Sharing shots and determining “whose batman and whose Robin (and in this case who is Alfred)” are all symptoms of the overriding but little publicized but not exactly secret reality that there are 82 games to play and no superstar really cares until May. Normally this is dealt with by players trying to win scoring titles and MVP awards. There are all star teams to make, stats to accumulate before the next contract year. Guys play 82 games for vanity and pride, basking in the adoration of adoring fans. Now Lebron and Wade cannot share a scoring title on the same team, nor can they share an MVP award (unless it is an all star game a la Stockton and Malone in Utah).
There is no doubt the big three can put egos aside and just win baby once the real season starts in the playoffs. But the regular season is all about ego and showing off for the fans. That is how the league makes money.
Here is the obvious solution, brilliant in it's simplicity yet ingenious in it's sophistication. Let Lebron take off 50 or so games. Seriously. Wade and Bosh can hold it down for a while. Let Wade garner all the scoring early, and Bosh can be sure to maintain his stats so he makes the All star team. That way it is DWade’s team, no doubt. The team has rhythm, and then after the All Star Break Lebron steps in. There is an adjustment period and then the playoffs start. Everybody wins.
So what does Lebron do in the mean time?
Lebron can do what everyone has been saying he could have done if he had chosen football over basketball in high school, play tight end in the NFL. The Dolphins need a money tight end. It’s a shame that Lebron didn’t consult with the Think Tank Panel (of One) before making his decision, because after hearing this suggestion he could have joined the Browns and then everyone in his home state of Ohio would not hate him. Lebron Plays the NFL season, wins a Super bowl the first week of February takes the rest of the month off and Joins the Heat March 1st. He wins an NBA Title in June just in time to attend minicamp.
The Pac 10 continues to expand. It incorporates teams out west that always complain they are on the outside looking in at the BCS. Utah is already invited; BYU and Boise State should also be invited. That would make a Pac 14.
The Mountain West and the WAC can merge back together like they used to be.
The big 12 continues the deconstruction of the Mountain West inviting TCU. They also should invite a Conference USA team like Houston or Memphis to get back to 12 teams.
The SEC and ACC hog the nation’s attention anyway. The big ten has made its move with Nebraska. Everyone is in pretty good shape right now.
The BCS can still function as the 6 conferences are intact and improved.
Ok, so that was pointless. I conceived of this entire process to find a new team to root for besides the Seattle Seahawks, and then they go out and put together the best draft of anybody. Seattle was able to draft for need in the first round and got 2 brand new starters in Okung and Thomas. Then they pickup one of my favorite player in the draft, Golden Tate in the 2nd round. I'm iffy on the trades for veteran running backs, but frankly I think running backs are a disposable position. It doesn't matter who the back is until he's 5 yards down field, up till that point it;s 85% on the offensive line. There is one exception to that, the 3rd and short back, that can pound for that needed extra yard after he's been stopped at the line of scrimage. And in theory that is what Lendale White does best. Leon Washington is the quintessential, "after the 1st 5 yards back," because after 5 yards he is a threat to take it to the house every time. So they got the perfect yin yang tandem in that regard, but it;s not like they didn't have thsi before with Justin Forsett and Tj Duckett.
No matter how good the Seahawk's draft was, it can't overcome Charlie Whitehurst. He's going to have to go Tony Romo for me to like him, and then I only liked Tony Romo in the first place because his name is Tony.
To be honest I'm more excited about the Seahawks signing Reggie Williams and MIke Williams, I loved both of those wide receivers in college and would like to see them make a comeback in the NFL.
I was really rooting for Jacksonville to do something exciting but they just dumbfounded everyone. Jack Del Rio needs to go. Chicago had a fist fight in the war room and didn't have pick in the first 3 rounds.
The dolphins I'm impressed with. The Ravens drafted well as always. The raiders traded for Jason Campbell and Dumped Jamarcus Russell, so they aren't even gansta anymore, just kind of ghetto. If someone signs Russell and he wins a starting Job, that would proabaly win my fandom.
Looks likes I'm going to be a training camp hold out.
I am a Football Fan Free Agent.
I will be declaring my new Football Fandom Alegence after the NFL Draft this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. All 32 teams are still in contention for my fandom,
However there are a few slight front runners at the moment. These are in no particular order:
Cincinnati Bengals: I've always liked the uni's and my favorite animal since I was 3 is tigers.
Kansas City Chiefs: My wife's favorite team, and I am in Missouri. But I have hated the Chiefs forever.
St. Louis Rams: I'm only like an hour and a half from ST Louis so I will be inundated with Rams coverage anyway, why resist? I'm NOT a Fan of Sam Bradford, but if they don't take him and do something exciting like trade for Mike Vick, that would probably entice me. But they will draft Sam.
Jacksonville Jaguars: I attempted to be a Jaguars fan back in 1994 when the came into existence. It was just too hard to fallow a small market team in Florida when I lived in the Northwest, before NFL.com and DirecTV. I was never a big Tebow fan but if he goes or rather stays home, that could be interesting.
New Orleans Saints: Love Brees, Love Bush, Love the WRs, Love Payton, Love the Black and Gold, but the bandwagon is overflowing and you can't start rooting for a team right after they win the SuperBowl.
Dallas Cowboys: Tony Romo makes me consider changing my name to Tony Toso. Lots of fantasy team players. It is America's team so location isn't an issue. But Jerry Jones plays the villain so well it's more fun to root against him.
Washington Redskins: Only because they got McNabb.
Why do you root for your team?
"The competition committee recommended to the 32 owners Monday that a team losing the coin toss and then surrendering a field goal on the first possession should have a series of its own in OT. Such a rules change would need 24 votes for ratification. Statistics examined by the committee showed that since 1994, teams winning the coin toss win the game 59.8 percent of the time. The team that loses the toss wins the game 38.5 percent in that 15-year span, or since kickoffs were moved back 5 yards to the 30.”
I’ve had this idea for changing overtime in football for a while now. If the coin toss is an unfair advantage, then just get rid of it. In a tie game the fourth quarter ends and the teams just keep on playing until someone scores. Treat it just like the end of the 3rd.
TV time out, switch sides, and pick up play where you left off.
Turn off the clock .
The game just continues until someone scores.
It’s sudden death!
I honestly can’t see a down side to this. The only minor change is the offenses has less of a sense of urgency to score by the end of regulation in a tie game because they will automatically keep possession in and field position in OT. But that is compensated by the new sense of urgency by the defense to force a turnover because they no longer have the luxury of “holding on till overtime” where they have a 50/50 chance to win “60/40” odds, with a consolation prize of field position even if they do lose the coin toss.
Am I missing something?? What is the down side?? This seems really really obvious to me. I can’t possibly be this smart. Someone check my ego before I start thinking I know things.
Notwithstanding he just lost a Superbowl, Peyton Manning is the best Quote unquote Quarterback in the NFL right now. In terms of doing everything a great QB is expected to do: lead, read, feed, plead and not bleed (meaning lead the team in the locker room and on the field, make great football decisions i.e. calling plays where to throw the ball, educates his teammates and makes them better, has a constructive relationship with his head coach, and he stays healthy and on the field.
But more than that, the guy makes plays. He creates opportunities both after the snap, but also before the snap. All the top NFL QBs can make plays after the snap either with their feet (think Vick or Steve Young ) or with their improvisation skills (Tony Romo and Favre .). But to make plays before the snap through audible and play calling at the line, that is really never talked about because most QB’s don’t get to do it. Head coaches won’t surrender that much control. Manning is quite literally in a league of his own as far as pre-snap playmaking is concerned
The only negative is he only has 1 Super bowl ring. One used to be enough, but somehow Tom Brady has 3 and that has made everyone lose their minds. People, and by people I mean people who cover football for a living, played football for a living and should know better, say Brady is in the conversation of greatest QB of all time.
Tom Brady is a System Quarterback.
Peyton Manning is the system.
Tom Brady could be replaced by any serviceable QB and the Patriots would have won those 3 superbowls anyway. Hell if they had a better QB they may have won 5 straight.
I know this is all just conjecture. I have no proof that the New England football team could be just as efficient and explosive on offense with any given QB.
So how do you prove this? In a perfect world I’d do it scientifically with the Quarterback as the independent variable and the Pat’s offensive statistics as the dependant variables. I’d take Brady out and stick in the "control variable"; a randomly selected NFL QB with no real experience for one season and then compare all the stats across the board... Then I could scientifically prove that all things being equal, Brady is nothing special, and more a product of luck and circumstance than talent or ability . Then I’d have it published in The American Journal of Science, Nature and Sports illustrated. But other than a Madden simulated season, there’s just no way, and Madden is biased because it makes Brady the best Player in the game every year. But trust me; if you watch the guy play it’s so obvious, he’s just a cog in a big machine. I really wish we could test this somehow……..
Quid Erat Demonstrandum (that’s Latin for “that which was to be demonstrated”)
(one more note on Brady. Ironically the only reason Brady is anyone is because he was the control in the Drew Bledsoe version of this experiment, taking over as a "who the hell are you" 6th round pick with no experience when Drew got hurt in 2001)
By the way, Drew Brees is pretty dam good himself. Unfortunately he will never be as good as Tom Brady because he’s short. You know most people don’t realize that it was Marty Shottenhiemer’s bias against short QB’s that made the 6’ 5” Phillip Rivers Happen. Marty hates short Quarterbacks. Having to play Doug Flutie pushed him over the edge. Remember this is the guy who kept Steve Deberg playing until he was 45 because he was tall. For those of you scoring at home that’s
SanDiego: Tall QB,
New Orleans: Superbowl Victory #1.