Friday, February 22, 2008


I said I was back, but being back continuously is a difficult state to achieve when one's computer display has a pleasant tendency to magically change to flickering gray.

The New York Times today had an article with a report from a former Patriots player claiming that Belichick had taped other teams dating back to his first game as Patriots coach. Uh, duh?

One thing I intentionally haven't blogged much about is the intersection of law and football. I see enough law in my day job, and I'm not really that interested in it, so there. Nevertheless, I find this recent news interesting. The NFL recently voted to lower the approved debt ceiling of teams, which may be a violation of the collective bargaining agreement.

A little bit of a related point comes from this W$J article speculating about a bubble in franchise values. This raises the interesting point, and what's probably the real economic concern behind the cutback in permitted debt ceilings, is the recent broader economic change (read cutback, primarily) in the types and variety of debt financing vehicles.

The invaluable college football blogger SMQ is running what he dubs CFB Explainer this offseason. The recent entry in the series covers the NCAA's rules governing fumbles. SMQ again this year is continuing his excellent Stats Relevance Watch into what statistics correlate with success in the various conferences. Given Football Outsiders' advanced stats, the use of conventional stats bugs me to no end, but I'm not ambitious enough to solve that little problem, not that I'm convinced there is a decent solution.

Another offseason college football perennial has reared its head again, as the NCAA has once again re-jiggered the clock rules. I'm all in favor of these efforts, and personally didn't mind the much-hated Rule 3-2-5-e, except for some of its more strategically-stupid aspects. Naturally, SMQ is aghast at the changes (see also here). EDSBS whined about it, then realized he was wrong. Naturally, as this post makes clear, the problem is a simple philosophical one: how long should college football games be? The NFL a while back decided they'd like to get each game done in about 3 hours, or a little more, and made rule changes to fix that. I'd like to see college move toward that direction. The people whining about the rules changes don't agree with me, and I doubt they ever will, and when people agree with me, rather than admit there's a real practical problem involved, blame commercialism. It reminds me I should read The Fifty-Year Seduction, but as an argument is more tiresome than interesting.

Finally, for now, something very interesting/fun/useful: P-F-R now has box scores of every NFL, AFL, and AAFC game since 1940. Join in the parlor game, and find the first game you attended (I chime in under my normal nom de commenting of NewsToTom).

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I'm Back

Well, sort of. I broke my silence briefly by posting on the new Hall of Fame inductees. Well, now that I have a little time and my computer's working properly, it's time to make some more comments on football-related matters. I have a couple book reviews to do, still, but I'll start with some links and comments on various football subjects from around the web.

As SI has redesigned its site over the years, it's become harder to find Dr. Z's previous All Pro selections. So, I went ahead and collected them. 1999 where Jevon Kearse was the lone Titan. In 2000, D-Mase made it as a returner and for his all-around contributions. In 2001, not a single Titan made the team. 2002's team featured Steve McNair at QB for taking the team places it didn't look like it could; Bulluck wasn't selected, but played well enough he could have in another year. Mac-9 made it again in 2003, and Bulluck finally beat out the competition. Bulluck made it again in 2004. In 2005, SI split the article into two, one for offense, and another for defense. Alas, both Bulluck and KVB were mentioned but neither made the team. 2006 featured VY as Rookie of the Year, and Haynesworth and Bulluck were both mentioned but didn't make it. For 2007, Haynesworth made it, but alas Bulluck didn't even garner a mention. He probably didn't deserve to make it, but I guess the 2005 and 2006 failure to make it knocked him out of contention. Or something.

I really wish I hadn't taken my little break, because I missed the opportunity to talk about the bizarro recruiting story of the guy who claimed to be signing with Cal who was never recruited by anybody. I'm flabbergasted anybody believed any this guy. The whole thing smelled, and making up the story about some guy who told defrauded you didn't have an ounce of believability. Just fess up sooner, there'll be less pain that way.

Finally, for now, this isn't technically about football, but it's sports-related and important, so I'm mentioning it anyway. Two links from The Sports Economist, which will be one of the first links when I do a non-football sports blogroll, both on public investment in sports facilities. First, a pointer to a Philly Inquirer article that does a good job of getting quotes from both sides on the economic impact. Second, the Pierce County, Washington Executive John Ladenburg claimed hosting the 2015 U.S. Open (men's golf) would have a total economic impact of $100 million, double what hosting the 2001 MLB All Star Game did for Seattle. Better go buy your TIPS now if inflation is really going to be 500-1000+% over the next 7 years.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Pro Football Hall of Fame 2008 Results

As I did last year, here's my take on this year's voting for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The election started with 17 candidates, 15 modern candidates and two nominated by the seniors committee. The 15 modern candidates were first voted down to 10, then to 5. The final 5 each then received a straight up-or-down vote, as did the 2 senior nominees. Here's how the voting went:

First 5 moderns eliminated: Randy Gradishar, Russ Grimm, Ray Guy, Andre Reed, Paul Tagliabue
Second 5 moderns eliminated: Cris Carter, Richard Dent, Bob Kuechenberg, Randall McDaniel, Derrick Thomas
Modern candidates not inducted: none
Senior candidates not inducted: Marshall Goldberg
DE Fred Dean
CB Darrell Green
WR Art Monk
LB Andre Tippett
CB Emmitt Thomas
OG Gary Zimmerman

Dean, Thomas, and Tippett I don't remember, but I'll give you my comments on the others.

Darrell Green was the only lead-pipe lock in this Hall of Fame class. In fact, it would've been a terrible error in judgment if he hadn't been elected this year. He played 20 years in the NFL, and was one of the best corners in the game for at least 10 of them.

I must admit I'm not a terribly keen observer of OLine play-I've gotten better, but I used to be really terrible. Still, I think Zimmerman was a very good choice.

I know if any Redskin fan reads this, I'm going to get flamed, but Art Monk isn't a good choice. The best argument is that the selectors all agreed that they were hopelessly deadlocked on Art Monk, and simply HAD to admit him to be able to discuss the other WRs (Cris Carter and Andre Reed included) sensibly. That's the ONLY reason I see to put him in. Best question: how many times was Art Monk the best receiver on his team? He lead his team in yards 4 times in his 14 year Redskin career. He lead the NFL in catches once, and yards per game once; that's it. His main specialty was as a compiler; the Eddie Murray of football, if you will. And Eddie Murray may be a baseball hall of famer (I think he is), but the Pro Football Hall of Fame doesn't respect compilers the way baseball does; the Pro Football Hall of Fame demands greatness, and Monk simply doesn't have it. Now that Monk's in, there's no reason to keep out Mark Clayton, Mark Duper, Cris Collinsworth, Henry Ellard, Mike Quick, Wesley Walker, Stanley Morgan, Andre Reed, heck, even Drew Hill has a case. Monk's simply being rewarded by he was good for a longer period of time, instead of very good for a slightly shorter period of time. A terrible decision, and one that hopefully won't be used as a yardstick for future candidacies.

Among the people who didn't make it, from what I've read about Marshall Goldberg, there was no good reason to put him in. Cris Carter will probably get in next year, depending on how many new stars come up. Randall McDaniel will hopefully get in next year. Derrick Thomas I'm ambivalent on. There's no way in heck Ray Guy should make the Hall of Fame, and it'd be a disgrace if he did. I'm not totally adverse to putting him in the final 15 every year, though, for the pleasure of rejecting him. Reed should get in since Monk did! Grimm I wouldn't mind seeing in. Tagliabue, well, I think he deserves to be in, but the selectors don't understand what he did well, which doesn't bode well for his election.