Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Over-Thinkers

I always remember being told when it comes to making a decision to measure twice and cut once. This is great advice in being precise when it comes to executing anything. However, I think NFL scouts don't quite get that concept. It seems far too often that many NFL teams over-analyze players to the extent that they are so far in the forest that they lose sight of the trees. Too many times, it seems that players are drafted based off of ridiculous physical attributes instead of what is important, which is their football playing abilities. The NFL is the only professional sport that I can think of where a player can become a first round pick just by looking the part. I mean don't get me wrong: there are players that are drafted too high in all of the major sports, but I never hear of a guard becoming a lottery pick just because of some random track and field number. However, in the NFL we see guys like Matt Jones become a first round just because he showed superhuman abilities at the NFL combine. Yes, he might be able to run faster than a speeding bullet and leap tall buildings in a single bound, but shouldn't the Jaguars have been concerned with the fact that he NEVER PLAYED THE POSITION OF WIDE RECEIVER BEFORE?!?! But it would be unfair to just to criticize the Jaguars. Every team has participated this foolishness and it will only get worse due to the current condition of the NFL scouting process.

One of the biggest problem with the current condition of the NFL scouting process is the amount of time NFL scouts and front office personnel have between the end of the season and the actual draft. The NFL season ends at the beginning of February and the draft takes place at the end of April. This means that scouts and front office personnel have roughly three months to wrap their heads around who they want to welcome into their franchise. By the end of the college football season, it's pretty simple to realize who the best players are just based off their regular season performances and their career performances. Furthermore, at the end of the college football season there are various senior bowl games which provide even more insight into these players. It's not that these games are important but the fact that practices for these all-star games are run by NFL teams, which allows NFL coaches to see how these former college all-stars can perform on a professional level. I understand that underclassmen do not get to perform in these games, but that rule should change for the fact that many of the players that do participate are non-factor players. The amount of time wasted on a 7th round type senior player should be invested into a junior who is projected as a first or second round pick. This may seem unfair to the senior who was a hero at his local school, but this is the NFL. Pro scouts should be more focused on making the right selections from a pool of the best prospects. These players are suppose to be the building blocks of a franchise since they are being paid as so, but so many teams reach for projects and basically flush money away on risky players.

A player like Darius Heyward-Bey should never be drafted in the first round. During his college career he was able to make great plays in the ACC because he was obviously the fastest player on the field. He only ran two routes throughout his career, fly routes and slants. Even though he was a good player in the ACC he never made an all-ACC team, but players like Jeremy Maclin and Michael Crabtree who were all conference players and all NCAA players were drafted behind Mr. Heyward-Bey. Darius Heyward-Bey was the first receiver picked in the 2009 draft due to his blazing 40-yard dash time. He has gone on to be plagued by his limited route running ability and is his inability to catch a football on a consistent basis. I believe for a receiver it's important to know how to catch a football; but what would I know? I just watch football. It seems with the amount of time that these scouts and front office personnel have they seem to second guess their instincts and make egregious decisions. But, it's sort of not just the scouts' fault. Yes, I believe that if the NFL draft was held in the the middle of March or the end of February, more teams would make the right decisions. With the shorter amount of time, I believe more teams would focus on a player's career stats and intangibles and not their superficial attributes. The media's attention to these superficial stats contribute a lot to the awful decisions that are made on draft day.

I have no idea how fast Derrick Rose can run a 40 yard dash and I don't know how much Kevin Durant can bench, but these things that seem to be oh so important to the media in the NFL draft never come up in the NBA draft, which is the pro league that relies on athleticism the most. Though there are cases in the NBA were the height of a player can raise or lower a players stock, in the NFL too many superficial statistics create Darius Heyward-Bey-type choices. The NFL combine is now on television and gives even more attention to the things that can help a NFL player, but not essentially create an NFL player. The media creates so much buzz for a player through the combines and their pro day workouts that it seems that their career production becomes a non-factor in the players evaluation. I understand that the combine workouts and pro day workouts can provide more exposure to players who played at smaller schools, but for guys that played in BCS conferences, their career numbers should not be overshadowed by their superficial makeup. Ryan Leaf was basically a QB created by the media. His size, athleticism, and performance in one game created the most ridiculous QB debate in my NFL lifetime. Ryan Leaf was such a physical freak many people questioned if he was a better QB than a guy named Peyton Manning. Now Manning had a college career which landed him various awards throughout his college career and was a two time top 6 Heisman trophy finalist. Manning shattered SEC records, team records, and was the leader of Tennessee for four years. Manning obviously had the type of college career that warranted him for being the top pick in the draft and there was not another college QB that could compete with him. However, the media decided to create this hype machine around Ryan Leaf who was an unknown until his performance in the Rose Bowl.

The criticism of Manning's lack of athletic ability and awkward throwing motion opened the door for Ryan Leaf to make a case for being the best QB prospect in the draft. Luckily the Colts decided to ignore the fluff and draft the right player. Unfortunately the San Diego Chargers were not that lucky. Needless to say Manning has gone on to become the Hall of Fame QB that we expected him to be while Ryan Leaf has been absent from the NFL for 8 years now and has been regarded as one of the biggest bust in NFL history. And I know many will say,"... but Ryan Leaf was a Heisman trophy finalist during his Junior year so he wasn't just a hype machine." Well all I can say is Danny Wuerffel, Jason White, and Brad Banks were all Heisman trophy finalist too, but I didn't see them become 1st round picks and for obvious reasons.

I know the NFL will never change the draft date to avoid the delay between the end of the season and the actual draft because of the amount of money involved in televising the draft. If the draft was held in March it would have to compete with March Madness which I know the league does not want to do. However, I think a change is desperately in order. I'm tired of seeing the Darrius Heyward-Bey-type of picks in the NFL draft year after year. As a fan I expect more from my team's front office personnel and scouts. The NFL draft has become a big show for the NFL, but I have to wonder at what cost?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sports Name Puns

Remember how the Bills drafted a QB in the first round whose name is Losman? I mean, if you're trying to turn a team around, you don't draft a QB who, when he introduces himself, admits to being a Loss-man. For baseball, please see Reds pitcher Homer Bailey. Think about it, people.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Ultimate #2?

Is Scottie Pippen over- or underrated?

I kind of think there are two ways of looking at this particular issue. The first way is the following: what did Scottie Pippen do? Okay, he was clearly one of the best defenders of all-time. Few guys had his length, his quickness, and his instincts. He is the only player I can remember who would guard slashers or perimeter players, and who was comfortable against any opponent his size or smaller. I mean, there aren't a whole lot of small forwards who you'd want guarding point guards, and yet Scottie was more than capable. In addition, he was a player you could throw down low to body up on the big guys-- not that this was his forte, but he was capable, at least within reason. But, has Scottie's defense been overrated? Do we take a guy who really didn't have that many skills and turn him into a great all-around player? Let's look at the record. Was Scottie a great scorer? No. A very good scorer, but not great. It's quite possible that the only players who have been historically better-regarded than Pippen to have also been worse scorers are Bob Cousy and Bill Russell. Cousy, though, basically invented the point guard position, and Russell's job was so different that it really isn't fair. Additionally, Russell really was that good defensively to justify him. I mean, NO ONE else could shut down Wilt. Only Russell. And that's unique. Could Pippen shut down any opponent on a given night? Yes. But what would have clinched it for him is if there were someone NO ONE else could shut down, and Pippen was the only one. Fortunately for Scottie, though (or unfortunate, for the purposes of this debate), the only "little guy" who fits that bill was on Scottie's own team. You know who I mean. Anyway, being in company with Cousy and Russell is excellent, but perhaps not merited. The 1990s Bulls were not as offensively-balanced as the 1960s Celtics. There were a lot of players on those Celtics teams who could score. They weren't exactly loaded with 40-year-old-John-Salleys and Jud Buechlers and Bill Wenningtons. Pippen was option #2 on an offense with no other legitimate options, and his scoring numbers don't seem to merit the acclaim he's gotten as an offensive player.

Second, on the Scottie-is-overrated front is this critical argument: what is Scottie without MJ? What's interesting about this particular argument is that's its analog does not exist anywhere else in sports. Gehrig without Ruth would have been... a little better than Jimmie Foxx. Which is exactly what we think of him now. Stockton without Malone still would have been great. He would have been extremely underrated, but it's really, really hard to believe that Stockton wouldn't still be a top-5 PG of all time, even without the Mailman. Likewise for Malone without Stockton-- that situation is definitely not analogous, because it's difficult to even determine who the better player of the two was. Magic without Kareem still wins titles, as long as there's a capable center. Rice without Montana would be fine. I mean, seriously-- there isn't another situation like this. You know who the best analog might be? Kobe without Shaq/Gasol. Great player, great statistically, but how great all-time? Top 50? Most definitely. Top 25? If you're very, very generous and blood-related to the guy, then yeah, maybe you leave room for him. Like, somewhere above Grant Hill and below Allen Iverson. That's where you're left. And don't the Blazers/Rockets/inter-Jordan years of Scottie's career confirm this? It's hard to argue against it. Those teams pathologically underachieved. Each time, Scottie was a key component (or even the key component), and couldn't come through to bring those teams over the hump.

And yet, in spite of all of that, I'm going to argue that those principles, while somewhat true, are misguided, misapplied, and that Scottie Pippen is one of the most underrated basketball players of all time. Let's start with the most common argument first: the "who-is-Scottie-without-Michael?" argument. I want to first turn it on its head. An equally important question is this: Who is Michael without Scottie? As I see it, MJ would still be a statistical wunderkind. Like Wilt in the 60s or LeBron today, though, I don't know that it gets him much more than that. Maybe he'd have picked up some sort of mercy-title like The Big O did at the end of his career, but Jordan without Pippen means that the 90s were not the Bulls dynasty. If I were to be asked the following: what the most important thing to Michael Jordan's legacy and what made him so great-- what really separated him from other players? I would say that it's 100% got to be Scottie Pippen. I mean, there are so many things that people usually name: the endorsements (even though other people had them-- look at the LeBron empire today. It's very analogous-- but you don't hear anyone saying that LeBron is Jordan-- and you won't until he gets his Scottie. Of course, that may have just happened with the Antawn Jamison trade, but I digress), the competitiveness (but that was still there when he wasn't winning titles), Phil (this is a good answer, but while Phil is a great coach, even he can't do something with nothing), or his flare (but c'mon: nobody talks about Pistol Pete or even Magic the way they do about Mike). But really, without Scottie, all of those things amount to no titles. Period. Now, does propping up the Jordan empire make Scottie an all-time great, in and of itself? No. But let's examine the facts.

In the one full season Jordan didn't play, Scottie led the Bulls in ALL FIVE MAJOR STATISTICAL CATEGORIES. That's right. All of them. Scoring, rebounding, assists, blocks, and steals. All. I believe Dave Cowens is the only other player to do this, and him for the '78 Celts. Why does this matter? Because first of all, it proves how great he was at everything there is to do on a basketball court. Second, and more important, is that it proves what Scottie gave up. Scottie allowed himself to be, essentially, a glorified role player in order to win titles. Who else has done that? Cousy, Russell, and (to a lesser extent, and certainly only when he was a Laker) Chamberlain. This fact proves that, the lofty company I mentioned earlier is appropriate for Scottie. I mean, how many basketball players do that? He would probably be a starter on an all-time team of great "team players." That's something special. If you look at that one season of Scottie's career, and you create a normal career arc around a player with a season like that, you're talking about a truly outstanding player. Probably in the top-20 of all-time.

Additionally, let's look at some of the other major things against Scottie Pippen. First, there's the whole "Blazers/Rockets/inter-Jordan" argument. In the Blazers and Rockets years, was it really Scottie's fault, or a problem of too many cooks in the kitchen? Additionally, he was old. And he wasn't even the oldest player on the team at the time. But those teams were quite old, and Scottie wasn't in his prime anymore. As for the inter-Jordan Bulls, name a time when a team with Horace Grant as its second-best player would have ever won a title. The answer is: never. Ever. In history. That team would have had trouble competing when people were still using peach baskets-- okay, maybe I've gone too far. Grant was a solid player. But just that. Solid. Not the #2 of a championship-caliber team. Frankly, if anything, it's possible that those inter-Jordan Bulls teams actually over-achieved. And Scottie would be the man responsible.

I don't know. Perhaps the arguments in my first two paragraphs are more persuasive to you, but for me, Scottie Pippen is one of the greatest players of all time, and certainly in the top 4 or 5 at his position. In my opinion, he has been drastically underrated and merits a review. Decide for yourself, but this is what I believe.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pujols in Context

Maybe it's the fact that the NFL season just officially ended, and basketball has always been a secondary sport to me. Maybe it's just that pitchers and catchers are reporting soon. Maybe it's because Jordan just dropped some serious college hoops knowledge yesterday, and I know I can't compete in that department. I don't know what it is, but I've been in a baseball mood lately. I thought about posting the second part of my musings on baseball's Triple Crown, but frankly, I've already written it and I felt like doing something new tonight. Specifically, I have Albert Pujols on the mind.

Jordan and I were talking a couple of weeks ago about Pujols (the full context of that debate may one day be posted on this site, but quite frankly, it's like 5000 words long, and I don't know that anyone would actually want to read it). Suffice it to say, Albert Pujols is really, really good. The folks over at the Baseball Analysts really think so: see here and here. That should give you a general idea of how good he is. Want to know more? Check out any of the percentage leaderboards on baseball-reference:

and perhaps most telling of all:

If you're really in the mood, check out where Albert ranks among active players in any of those categories. It'll blow your mind. Anyway, while he puts up great numbers in the rate stats, what I specifically want to talk about is this: where does Albert Pujols rank all-time among right-handed hitters? When he steps on the field this April, Albert will be Hall of Fame eligible, so now it's time to rank him, especially among his fellow right-handers.

First, there's the fact of who is up there. This is, as I see it, the Mount Rushmore of Right-Handed Hitters:


Frankly, he stacks up well against all of them. Obviously, they have their advantages. Mays and Aaron had careers that were over twice as long as Pujols' has been so far, so they could pile up the raw numbers. Foxx and Hornsby played in what was undoubtedly a diluted era. Yes, they towered above their opponents. Yes, they would have been superstars in any era. Were they better than Pujols? Some of the rate stats above say yes; some say no. Heck, among hitters born after WWII, Pujols is 2nd all-time in batting average (trails only Tony Gwynn). That's pretty dang impressive for a guy we don't even consider to be a contact hitter. I would put him up there right now and say he's better (as a hitter, anyway) than those other four guys, but there are two things that keep nagging at me.

First, it's the raw-numbers thing. Obviously, Pujols is faced here with a famous problem in rating baseball players. Let's call it the Koufax Problem, after its most famous adherent. True Sandy Koufax was an unbelievably dominant pitcher for four years, but didn't do much else, because he retired. Now, if Albert Pujols died tomorrow, and we had to rate him, he would face this same problem. It's awfully tough to take a guy and rank him as the best right-handed hitter when he has 300 home runs (like Hornsby, only without Hornsby's other periperhals, especially batting average, if we're using raw statistics), but not 400 or even 500 (like Foxx), 600 (like Mays), or 700 (like Aaron, the true all-time home run king).

Honestly, I could get past all of that if it weren't for the nagging suspicion that Albert Pujols is Frank Thomas. Thomas faced similar accolades (seriously-- try to think back to 1995 and Big Hurt Baseball). How great was Thomas all-time? Obviously, this Frank Thomas Problem and the Koufax Problem are related, but different in that one assumes no decline and the other assumes a relatively sharp decline.

Now, let me first go on record as saying that Frank Thomas has been drastically, drastically underrated historically. He has been the victim of a number of injuries, and in his healthy seasons, even after his decline, he was a very, very productive player (see 2000, 2003, and 2006 for reference). However, he did face a sharp decline after an almost unparalleled start to his career. Now, this comparison is not entirely fair, since Thomas didn't play his full rookie season, but here are their numbers through their first nine years:



Obviously, the homers are skewed in Pujols favor, but in the course of over 1300 extra plate appearances. Their home run rates (AB/HR-- in other words, how many at bats would it take for one HR) were 15.4 for Thomas and 14.06 for Pujols. Still a clear advantage, but not as disparate as it may have seemed. Also, the eerily similar OPS+ number is particularly troubling in light of this comparison. Thomas was a better on-base man (because of many more walks), Pujols a stronger slugger (am I the only one who thought that would be reversed?). But both are first basemen, both perennially MVP candidates, and both stand-up citizens who are well-respected in the baseball community. Full statistical results for each through nine seasons can be seen here and here.

Anyway, I find this whole thing very, very troubling. For the moment, I have Pujols settled in as the fairly sold #5 right-handed hitter of all time (with all due apologies to the aforementioned Thomas, Gwynn, Alex Rodriguez, and, of course Joe DiMaggio, as well as about 10 other guys). But that opinion could easily, easily drop. This worries me. My advice? Go watch Prince Albert now, just in case. On the other hand, he could just as easily be chiseling his face onto this particular Mount Rushmore.

Thanks to baseball-reference for all of the statistics. And sorry for all the external links. I know if means a lot of clicking.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Best Brand of Basketball

Last season the Big East was able to accomplish an amazing feat by occupying three of the four top seeds in the NCAA tournament. They were the only conference last season to have multiple participants in the Final Four and the Big East provided the country with arguably the two best games of the post season (Villanova vs Pitt in the Elite 8 and UConn vs Syracuse in the Big East tournament). Many figured that the Big East would take a step back this season due to the loss of many talented players such as Earl Clark, Terrance Williams, Johnny Flynn, DeJuan Blair and many more (Nine players from the Big East were drafted in the past draft and Wesley Matthews who went undrafted has become a fixture in the Utah Jazz rotation). However, the conference is as strong as ever. Four of the top 10 teams in the AP and ESPN poll are from the Big East. In addition, five of the top 12 RPI-rated teams are also from the same power conference. As for talent, according to several draft websites up to 10 players are projected to be drafted in the upcoming June draft and three players are projected to be top 10 selections. Also the Big East is the only conference that has three players in the top 23 in scoring.

I could quote numbers all day in favor of the Big East's dominance, but to really appreciate how good this conference is, one just has to watch one Big East game to understand where I am coming from. The conference, undeniably, provides the most enjoyable brand of basketball to watch. The NBA regular season is long and arduous and rarely provides a fan with games to talk about in-depth at their dead-end jobs. However, night-in and night-out the Big East provides the country with those water cooler conversations. In this season 27 Big East games were decided by less than four points or went into overtime. Furthermore, the Big East is the highest scoring conference in all of college basketball. Four teams average over 80 points per game and Villanova is the second highest scoring team in the country behind VMI, but in all honesty VMI is never on TV so, Villanova is the highest scoring college basketball team on TV. The Big East does not provide with the stale play of the Big Ten, and the competition is much more fierce than the SEC or ACC. Though many feel that the Big 12 provides exciting basketball, I believe the depth of the Big East provides more compelling games. two teams like Providence and South Florida can provide the country with a compelling 109 to 105 thriller, but I don't think one will find that kind of game between Nebraska and least not in basketball....maybe football, but even then the score would be 10 to 3 or something of that nature. Just last week, West Virgina and Pitt tried to duplicate that terrific game between UConn and Syracuse by going three overtimes and culminating with a three point victory for Pitt. The game had everything from game tying three pointers to amazing defensive plays which displayed the discipline of the players and the intellect of the coaching staffs.

Speaking of coaching, tell me of another conference that has the quality of coaches The Big East has. Yes the ACC has Coach K and Roy Willams, and Gary Williams, but I'll take Jim Calhoun, Jim Boeheim, and Rick Pitino since combined they have 119 more wins than those ACC guys. Not to mention the depth this conference has in quality coaches. Jay Wright has taken a downtrodden Villanova program and has made it a perennial powerhouse. Jamie Dixon was able to take Ben Howland's talent and make them even better. Also, don't forget about John Thompson III and Bob Huggins. There is not another conference that runs as deep as this conference in intellectual greatness. This is probably the main reason why this is the best conference in the country. The quality of the basketball play shown on the court is a direct reflection of these coaches and their wealth of basketball knowledge.

The Big East is also the only salvation for the world's most famous basketball court, which also gives the Big East a nostalgic advantage over the other conferences. Whenever, anyone thinks of Madison Square Garden they think of basketball greatness and this happens to be the stage for the most exciting conference tournament. This is like giving Scottie Pippen to Michael Jordan as a teammate. Giving the countries most exciting conference the biggest stage in the world to perform on allows the conference to be head and shoulders above any and all conferences.

The Big East will continue to be the best brand of basketball for years to come. The Big East has already produced NBA stars like Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, Allen Iverson, and Ray Allen and the conference will continue to produce the NBA's best. More important, the conference will continue to be the cheesecake in the the dessert menu of college basketball. The recipe of talent, hustle, toughness, and intelligence will keep the Big East at the top of the basketball mountain.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Baseball Triple Crown Part I

So, lately, I've been thinking about the Triple Crown in baseball. It's a pretty remarkable thing. It requires a very balanced offensive game. Not to be overly-obvious here, but you need average (to win the batting title), power (for the home run crown), and of course, lots of luck (to lead in RBI). So, in the AL-era (since 1901), there have been 218 seasons (109 in each league) and only 13 Triple Crown winners, which is less than 6% of seasons. Now, this is all probably extremely, extremely obvious to all of you. But I got to thinking-- which Triple Crown is most impressive? I decided to weight the statistical categories evenly, and check the margin by which each player won his Crown. Obviously, there is some margin for error here. Batting titles are usually won by a thin margin, so it naturally favors power hitters moreso than contact hitters. Additionally, as mentioned above, there is a lot of luck involved in the RBI title-- it's hugely a function of luck as compared to skill. So again, home runs are potentially overrated. But, I'm more lazy than I am concerned with accuracy, so I decided to just run with it. Here's what I've found:

Player: Hornsby 1922 NL
Player: Hornsby 1925 NL

0.401 42 152

0.403 39 143
0.354 26 132

0.367 24 130
1.133 1.615 1.152 3.900
1.098 1.625 1.100 3.823

Player: Mantle 1956 AL
Player: Foxx 1933 AL

0.353 52 130

0.356 48 163
0.345 32 128

0.336 34 139
1.023 1.625 1.016 3.664
1.060 1.412 1.173 3.644

Player: Williams 1942 AL
Player: Lajoie 1901 AL

0.356 36 137

0.426 14 125
0.331 27 114

0.340 12 114
1.076 1.333 1.202 3.611
1.253 1.167 1.096 3.516

Player: Cobb 1909 AL
Player: Robinson 1966 AL

0.377 9 107

0.316 49 122
0.347 7 97

0.307 39 110
1.086 1.286 1.103 3.475
1.029 1.256 1.109 3.395

Player: Medwick 1937 NL
Player: Williams 1947 AL

0.371 31 154

0.343 32 114
0.364 31 115

0.328 29 98
1.019 1.000 1.339 3.358
1.046 1.103 1.163 3.312

Player: Gehrig 1934 AL
Player: Klein 1933 NL

0.363 49 165

0.368 28 120
0.356 44 142

0.349 27 106
1.020 1.114 1.162 3.295
1.054 1.037 1.132 3.224

Player: Yaz 1967 AL


0.326 44 121

0.311 44 113

1.048 1.000 1.071 3.119

In case you didn't notice, the columns indicate which statistic. The second row is the player at hand's statistic by the given measure. The third row is second place in each statistical category. The third is the percentage over second place the Triple Crown winner finished. Next to the three percentages is the sum of the them. In other words, the higher that last number, the greater the margin by which the player won the Triple Crown. They are already in order from highest to lowest (reads left to right). What this tells us, is that Rogers Hornsby was a beast. An absolute beast. Sure he won the Triple Crown in 1922. But were you aware that he established a post-1901 NL record in all three categories? I didn't know that until I researched this stuff, but that's just plain ridiculous. I know some sabrmetricians really fault Hornsby, especially because he was a bad defensive player, but he lapped the field in each category in 1922 and 1925. As I'm just passing along short thoughts, the biggest surprise to me was how generally unimpressive Ted Williams' Triple Crowns are. Anyway, hope this is at least a little enlightening.


Welcome, Willkommen, Bienvenue!

The game was tied at 0. With nothing to lose, we moved down inside the 5. Playing in a wishbone, it was probably obvious we would be running on every down. On 1st down, we plow forward for two yards. Same on 2nd. Unfortunately, on 2nd, one of our starting tailbacks was injured. Fortunately, however, we still had another, who plowed forward for no gain on 3rd, when he was injured. That left us with 4th and goal from the 1. As the backup fullback (on a bad, bad football team, mind you) we were nearly out of ideas, when the coach calls my name. Excited, I enter the game. The coach draws up a play not in our playbook in which the starting fullback runs inside as a lead blocker, I follow him second, and we hand to the backup tailback who follows us in for an easy score. Then, at the last moment, the coach changes his mind. He calls timeout. He calls for a fullback dive (for the starter, not for me). The backup tailback and I did nothing. Needless to say, it was exactly what the defense was expecting, and we were stuffed. The game ended 0-0. It was about as good as it ever got for us. After the game, one of our players asked the coach if he was mad. Memorably, he told us, "Fellas, I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed." We (the whole team, I mean) had trouble stifling our laughter. It became a favorite quote for all of us since that game, and also became the inspiration for the title of this blog. Is it going to be all high school football stories? Absolutely not. It will mostly be musings on pro and college sports, arguments about who the best team/player/franchise is, and probably occasionally high school sports stories. We hope you enjoy.