Gregg Easterbrook Wants to Write You a Poem
We’ve already established that Gregg Easterbrook is a verbose moron, whose explanations for team’s losing consist of the same theories recycled over and over: bad uniforms, too much front office personnel, blitzing, and of course the ever present (and completely non-existent) football gods. As you can imagine, this get’s really old really fast. So, this week Gregg has decided to spice things up by bringing on the equally verbose Mel Kiper Jr., the same guy who thought Jimmy Clausen would be a good NFL quarterback, to talk about how NFL players have gotten bigger (with no mention of steroids). Gregg also makes predictions in haiku form, which is stupid. Anyways, read on, if you dare anger the football gods:
Randy White of the Dallas Cowboys, star defensive tackle of the 1970s, member of both the College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame: What a joy it was to watch him play! White was a master of leverage, burst and anticipation. Today, he might not even make an NFL roster. If White got on the field, he’d be crushed.
Today’s players have none of these attributes. They are just fat and no fun to watch. That is why I write an 8,000 word NFL column every week.
As for today’s biceps: Your Honor, I call to the stand America’s leading expert on these matters, Mel Kiper Jr. Everyone assumes today’s football players are bigger, faster and stronger than those who came before. But what does the data show? No one is better suited to answer that question than Kiper.
Really? No one? Not one other person is better suited to look at a bunch of numbers than Mel Kiper?
Kiper became the first successful draftnik, creating an entire professional category that had not existed before. Importantly, for the purposes of the column, he keeps elaborate file cabinets of records, including super-detailed statistical guides covering everyone who has tried out for an NFL team in the past three decades. Kiper is the Herodotus of the football draft.
Fine, I’ll concede that. That said, I’m pretty sure that historical rosters for NFL teams are readily available online. Look! I found the 1989 New York Giants!
To back this, Kiper analyzed the numbers from his top-five NFL prospects at each of the three offensive linemen positions, at five-year intervals from 1979, when his records begin, to the present. Result? From 1979 to 2011, the typical top-five offensive tackle enlarged from an average of 6-foot-4, 264 pounds to 6-foot-6, 314 pounds. From 1979 to 2011, NFL-bound centers enlarged from an average 6-3, 242 pounds to 6-4, 304 pounds. In the same period, guards enlarged from an average 6-3, 250 pounds to 6-4, 317 pounds.
I’m pretty sure any first year analyst at a bank or insurance firm could do that. BUT LOOK AT MEL’S HAIR! TRY AND MATCH THAT COLLEGE BOY!
Kiper’s numbers: From 1991 to 2011, top-five offensive tackles increased from an average of 22 reps of 225 pounds to 26. Top-five guards increased from 22 to 29 reps. Top-five centers increased from an average of 21 to an amazing 30 reps. A generation ago, coaches put quick, crafty players at center. Today centers are muscle-bound specimens.
Some of the increase in football size traces to improvements in nutrition and training.
That and steroids
Some of the increase in strength traces to the mid-1970s arrival of Nautilus machines, which allowed widespread safe use of slow-resistance weights without a spotter. The health-club entrepreneur Arthur Jones, the brains behind Nautilus, which spawned many imitators, had quite an impact on athletics. Free weights, of course, remain integral to muscle mass gain. Sports science, itself a new field, has found ways to time lifting routines to render them more effective than just pumping iron.
Also, steroids. Just mention steroids dammit!
The result is bigger, stronger football players at all levels of the game, in an arms race that shows no sign of slowing. How long till the 400-pound football player?
Whenever they invent the super-steroid that makes it possible. It’s probably already happened, just never been recorded.
There is a troubling side to all this. That the No. 1 sport in a nation with a childhood obesity epidemic celebrates and rewards weight gain is a public-policy aspect of football that no one has yet to address.
Yeah, but most football players aren’t necessarily obese. There’s a difference between weight gain from muscle mass and fat, just don’t expect Gregg to ever mention that.
And now: still America’s original all-haiku NFL season predictions.
Ooo, ooo, let me try:
Gregg is a moron
Uniforms do not matter
Get an editor
See, not that impressive
As research advances and instruments improve, the cosmos looks steadily larger and more grand, the human experiment steadily older. Ninety thousand generations to advance from the chipped stone axe to the iPhone. What will society look like 90,000 generations hence?
Who cares? There won’t be any football, which is what you, at least ostensibly, write about.
LeBron James, Chris Bosh
soon may take their talents here.
The Philly Eagles.
Forecast finish: 12-4
Hahaha, because they’re like the Heat. I can only hope that they flame out in the finals the same way and crush their horrible fan bases souls.
Since Super Bowl ring
have no playoff victory.
Forecast finish: 10-6
Quick, someone count the number of executives they have. Meanwhile, in LA, Bill Simmons is shaking his fists and calling the Giants Super Bowl victory a fluke.
Credit Inside Higher Ed for fact-checking a big school’s flimsy excuse. Shalala says the University of Miami is “first and foremost, an academic institution.” If so, that university’s president should not be making specious claims.
Take that, you liberal witch! You’ve been reality-checked.
Are Ohio State and Miami bad apples in a mostly good barrel? Check the recent findings of the College Sport Research Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The report concludes that the graduation gap — football graduation rates versus the student body overall — “is sizable, particularly for Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) conferences that compete at the highest level.” About 68 percent of male university students graduate, the report found, but only 54 percent of Division I football players graduate.
Today in news everyone already knew…
Sports figures are supposed to have nicknames, but Kiper is simply known as Mel Kiper Jr. TMQ proposes he be nicknamed The Juggernaut, as in the X-Man character. Think about his annual ESPN draft commentaries. Like The Juggernaut, once Kiper gets momentum, he becomes impossible to stop.
He can talk about Jimmy Clausen’s leadership skills for hours on end!
This week DC Comics reboots its entire superhero line — Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the rest get new backstories in editions labeled “Issue Number One.” This is at least the third reboot of these comics, following the incomprehensible multiverse reboots of 1985 and 2005. (There are 196,833 universes containing 196,833 duplicates of Earth, each with slightly different superheroes — don’t ask.)
I just want to point out that this is not in the least football related.
Unified Field Theory of Creep Jimmy Petrino of Philadelphia notes that Philly bars and brewpubs went into full Oktoberfest mode on Sept. 1.
This isn’t uncommon, Oktoberfest celebrates the oncoming fall and generally begins in mid-late September. Starting the first weekend of September isn’t evidence of some evil plot
There are six primary angry birds — red, green, blue, yellow, white and black. Yellow doesn’t fit with any of the NFL bird teams. But five NFL teams could do Angry Birds alternative uniforms. The Cardinals would wear the white bird, the Eagles the green bird, the Seahawks the blue bird, the Falcons the red bird and the Ravens the black bird. This works out almost too perfectly not to set it up.
Except the Cardinals have a red bird on their white helmets, and the falcons have a white bird on their black helmets. But by all means go ahead and put a white bird on a white helmet, see how that works out.
So I’ve called three of the past four Super Bowl entrants. This is slightly better than the many expert forecasts noted in last season’s Bad Predictions Review. (Note to readers: which was the series finale for Bad Predictions Review.)
Marvel at my superior intellect, plebes! Now return to your meaningless desk jobs while I commune with the football gods.
For the next big game, TMQ again likes Indianapolis versus New Orleans — which would make the Colts the first-ever home Super Bowl team.
Easterbrook’s strategy? Pick the Colts every year.
During the preseason, Tuesday Morning Quarterback uses “vanilla” items designed to confuse scouts from other sports columns. Next week when the season starts for real, I will come at readers from all directions using unorthodox sentence structures and sudden unexpected amphiboly, appositives, recursive categorical syntax, tertium comparisons and hypocatastasis.
And I’ll be there to mock it.