Gregg Easterbrook Fixes America’s Education System

When we last left ESPN’s resident third person self-referrer, Gregg Easterbrook he was busy explaining how teams don’t blow games and how big leads are meaningless. Naturally, he did this by providing examples of teams blowing leads and without even mentioning probabilities.

So what’s on tap for this week? Marvel as Greggggg unravels  the college admissions crisis among males. Read on, if you wish…

Fact 1: Enthusiasm for football has never been higher — not just for the NFL, but with young boys and teens. Participation in prep football has increased 21 percent in the past 20 years, by nearly 200,000 boys per year, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. Many states have begun to allow what is essentially year-round football practice. Youth-league tackle football is expanding. American boys are devoting more time and effort to football than ever before.

Fact 2: In higher education, student populations are increasingly female. Twenty years ago, there were more men in college than women. Now there are more women, and the ratio of college women to men is rising.

Women are taking more of the available slots in college at the same time boys are spending more time playing football. Are these two facts related?

Perhaps these two facts are unrelated? Correlation after all does not imply causation. Could this change in the college population have to do with increasing opportunities for women in professional environments, leading to more motivation for them to do well in school and thus go to college? Nope, can’t be that, better blame football.

The main force must be that girls as a group are doing very well in high school, making them attractive candidates for college. But perhaps the rising popularity of football is at the same time decreasing boys’ chances of college admission.

Having ever-more boys being bashed on the head in football, while more play full-pads tackle at young ages, may be causing brain trauma that makes boys as a group somewhat less likely to succeed as students. In the highly competitive race for college admissions, even a small overall medical disadvantage for boys could matter. More important, the increasing amount of time high school boys devote to football may be preventing them from having the GPA and extracurriculars that will earn them regular admission to college when recruiters don’t come calling.

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but doesn’t football count as an extracurricular?

Rising interest in athletics cannot in and of itself be the explanation, because in the last generation, girls’ and women’s participation in athletics has skyrocketed. But there is one sport girls do not play — football. The gender that plays football is falling behind in college. The gender that does not play football is excelling.

How can one argue with against such bullet-proof evidence. Perhaps the reason that women excel is that men have testicles! The gender that has testicles is falling behind in college, the gender that does not is excelling!

Is brain harm to boys from football a factor? This new article in the technical journal Neurosurgeryfinds that suffering two or more concussions during high school days is associated with neurological problems later in life. Probably rising awareness of concussions, especially the new trend to require concussion seminars for high school coaches and teachers (see more below), will help mitigate part of the problem.

At the same time, youth tackle football is growing in popularity, which means ever-more young boys being hit on the head. The immature brain case of preteens is more vulnerable to harm than the heads of high-school-aged teens. Even the low-speed, low-impact head hits of Pop Warner-style youth football may cause gradually accumulating damage. As the important new book “The Concussion Crisis,” by Linda Carroll and David Rosner, shows in detail, lots of minor hits to the helmet may cause football players more harm than a few big hits. As more young boys play full-pads youth football, they sustain lots of minor hits to the helmet.

As recently as a decade ago my county, Montgomery County in Maryland, had a thriving flag football league with dozens of teams for ages below 14. In 2010, the county flag league folded, from lack of interest. There are now three youth tackle-football programs in the county. The leagues are well-run, but their popularity means far more boys being hit on the head than in the recent past. Youth Football USA, a leading national umbrella group for full-pads tackle football for the very young, allows children as young as first grade to play tackle football — if their parents sign a health waiver.

Fair enough, but this evidence is highly circumstantial and anecdotal. Not exactly a smoking gun.

Youth tackle football is expanding because of rising prosperity (private leagues are expensive; ever-more parents can afford the fees)

Ahhh yes, these times we live in are so prosperous. What is an unemployment rate? Please explain it to me for I never travel outside my gated community.

Neurology aside, most likely the largest factor in the possible relationship of rising football popularity to declining male college attendance is that teen boys who play the sport spend too much time on football and not enough time on schoolwork. When they don’t get recruited, many may lack the grades, board scores and extracurriculars for regular college admission.

Simply blaming football is hardly an excuse here. I played sports year round in high school (crew and swimming, neither of them well, but still), I went to practices every day and worked out on weekends. Did my grades suffer a bit? Yes, but schools usually give kids a bit of a break for playing sports, which are after all, extracurricular activities that promote a healthy lifestyle and teach valuable skills. Sports helped me get in to a top college (Emory University), even though I wasn’t recruited, and help many other students who aren’t top athletes as well. Don’t expect Gregg to mention that because he’s terrible.

The odds of a high school football player receiving either an NCAA scholarship or an athletic admission letter to college are about 1-in-50. This means the overwhelming majority of those who play high school football receive no college admissions boast from the sport. Yet many let their schoolwork slide in order to be on the team, then find they are not qualified for regular college admission.

This statistic depends entirely on the assumption that the admissions stats for these students wouldn’t be even lower if they didn’t play football. Not entirely safe to make.

In other football news, TMQ loves all-unwanted players — those who were undrafted, or waived, or both. Sunday, the cost-no-object Philadelphia Heat, with their profusion of high draft choices and big bonuses, faced off against the low-rent Buffalo Bills.

Here is your weekly reminder that before the season Gregg called the Bills cheap for releasing players like Trent Edwards.

Across the league, undrafted players are outperforming megabucks high draft choices. Perhaps the undrafted players excel because they are undrafted — spending their time and energy on performing, rather than on me-first whining.

Marvel as Gregg cherry picks specific stats and instances to prove his point. I can do the same! 1st round pick Adrian Peterson rushed for 122 yds and 3 TDs, maybe if the Cardinals had more undrafted players on their defense they would have stopped him.

In this season of stat-a-rama, even Eli is nearly on a pace to break Dan Marino’s passing record.

But according to Gregg this has nothing to do with new rules protecting the QB and receivers.

The Bills staged-managed the down just like Sean Payton’s New Orleans team tries to draw opponents offside. First everyone seemed to set. Then a man went in motion, creating a first opportunity for the defense to flinch. Then a tight end, who had not yet put his hand on the ground, rocked up and looked at the quarterback, creating a second opportunity. Then Harvard boy Ryan Fitzpatrick pointed and shouted checks at his linemen, causing defenders to wonder, “Are they actually going for it?” The Fitzpatrick barked a hard count — and Philadelphia jumped offside, game over. Sweet for the 4-1 Bills and very sour for the preseason favorite 1-4 Eagles.

No snarky comment here, I just love to revel in the Eagles’ failures.

In an era plagued by what Stephen Colbert memorably called “truthiness,” increasingly, public speakers quote people or sources who mysteriously lack names.

Gregg is actually right here, inappropriate use of and over reliance on anonymous “sources” is a major problem in the American media. Even complete morons sometimes get things right.

Other examples on the left: In Al Gore’s Rolling Stone article about climate change, the former vice president quoted “a philosopher studying the impact of organized propaganda” and “an authoritative study by 3,000 of the very best scientific experts.” What philosopher? What study? Gore did not say. Lurking out there, the former vice president warned ominously, is a “consortium of the largest global-warming polluters.” What seems really scary is that the “consortium” and the polluters have neither names nor any identifying detail

… and of course he uses it to attack Al Gore, who is the worst person ever in Gregg’s mind.

 It’s pretty fun to run 88 yards for a touchdown on “Monday Night Football” when everyone in front for you has already been knocked to the ground. Detroit leading Chicago 14-10 in the third quarter, the Lions had first-and-10 on their 12. The Bears were in Cover 2, as if expecting a deep pass;

The Bears play a base cover – 2 defense, they’re usually in that set up.

The Lions started six first-round draft choices on offense — their own first-rounders, not castoffs — and two second-rounders. Long years of bad drafts in Detroit are over. The franchise has been stockpiling quality and it shows, the Lions being one of the league’s highest-scoring teams and first in point differential, at plus-70.

If all those players were undrafted twice-waived castoffs instead of lazy, entitled first rounders, the Lions point differential would be plus-1 million.

What is the story with the Eagles?

Their offensive line sucks, their defense is fundamentally flawed and their coach is a fat, oblivious walrus who doesn’t know how to manage the clock or call a coherent game?

Michael Vick threw four interceptions on Sunday, one that bounced off a receiver’s hands, three that were his fault. On one pick, Vick heave-hoed the ball just as he was getting hammered by an unblocked defender: sometimes, the smart move is to take a sack.

Yeah, that too…

Vick can do certain things no other NFL player can — his 53-yard warp-three scramble against Buffalo was a play he alone could make — but Vick can’t win games single-handedly by freelancing, which is what he’s attempting. The Eagles’ megabucks defensive backs seem allergic to tackling. “Ball security” seems an alien concept to the whole team, which is tied for last at minus-10 in turnovers. Spoiled rich kids may be careless: Twice Sunday, Jason Avant, one of the league’s most muscular receivers, was stripped of the ball. The Philadelphia offensive line is a mess, with Jason Peters out injured and rookies Danny Watkins and Jason Kelce looking confused. And can you name an Eagles’ linebacker? Philadelphia spent lavishly for “skill position” skinny guys, while scrimping on meat and potatoes.


Then there is Andy Reid’s puzzling decision to put the Eagles’ defense in the hands of Juan Castillo, who only had never coached defense in the NFL or in college. (He had been a defensive coordinator only in high school, doing that for the final year in 1989.) Now, TMQ likes an unknown-comes-out-of-nowhere story as much as the next guy. But on-the-job-training in the NFL? The Eagles are fifth in points allowed, especially struggling to stop opponents in the red zone. Castillo looks so totally lost it’s as though Reid wanted the Philadelphia defense to be poor so that all the glory would go to the offense, which he oversees.

*high fives self, falls on face*

Reader Ron Cass of Cleveland snapped the nearby photo of a bag of Domino’s sugar with the seal “Certified Carbon-Free.” Didn’t anyone take high school chemistry? Sugar is a carbohydrate: carbon is its main ingredient.

That label is sooo dumb. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the assertion that no carbon emissions were made during the manufacture of that sugar, but let’s ignore what it’s really about and laugh at how dumb it is. HAHAHAHAHA. God, I hate you Easterbrook.

 Supposedly, Jones would take the pressure off Falcons receiving star Roddy White. Instead White’s numbers are down from 2010. Jones is a highly touted glamour player from the University of Alabama. White went to the University of Alabama-Birmingham, which in sports is the state’s public college for those who were not recruited by the prestige campus. Could there be some issue between these two players?

Let’s start a rumor without any evidence!

Reader Juliana Parker of Meriden, Conn., suggests Rocky should dine on Rachel Ray dog food.

Rachel Ray dog food bears a striking resemblance to Rachel Ray people food.

But what, exactly, is the difference between “real chicken” and “chicken”?

Real chicken versus chicken flavoring you dipsh*t?

Instead it’s an all-out blitz, 38-yard completion to Malcolm Floyd with no safety in sight, and you don’t need to know anything else about this contest.

Yes, there is absolutely nothing else you should know about the game, not who won, not the stats of players who may be on your fantasy team, nothing.

On the game, New Orleans was called for two roughing-the-passer penalties, both of which sustained touchdown drives,

But more penalties for roughing the passer have nothing to do with increased scoring! NOTHING AT ALL.

But in his five seasons, Kolb has played only one good game. Sunday, he was lifted for Richard Bartel, undrafted out of Tarleton State, who’s been waived by four NFL teams and appeared briefly with the Sacramento Mountain Lions.

Will Bartel be the next great NFL QB? I bet he will…

Posted on October 11, 2011, in Douchebags, FJM Style, Gregg Easterbrook, NFL and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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