Athlete of the Month: February, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

You can find January's award here.

Eli Manning.  Runners-up: Jeremy Lin, LeBron James, Kevin Durant.

Two months down, ten to go in the race for Athlete of the Year. 

The Weekly Tendown February 19-25 2012(It's Oscar Sunday)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dear Internet:

That's the best dunk of the night; Evans won and deservedly so, but I can't say I'm in favor of crowdsourcing the scoring, it gives the announcers excessive ability to prod toward a particular winner.  If its five years from now and the Oscars have followed suit by having voting via tweet and Paul Walker wins Best Supporting Actor, blame the NBA.

115 is here. This is 116.

1. Tendown Moves Pretty Fast, If You Blink, You Can Miss It.
So, the job opportunity that I've referenced in recent Tensdown resurfaced this week; at worst, I'm in the final six and all of my eggs are in this basket.  They're flying me in this week, and since I'm not missing any of my regular classes, wedging that in means this issue has to go down as quickly as possible.  I may do an all-Santorum Tendown this week, as if he loses Michigan Tuesday we're getting close to the end of his time in the spotlight.  But before that...

2. It's Oscar Sunday!

Here are my picks.

Picture: The Artist (The only nominated film I've seen is the Descendants; I have Moneyball and Midnight in Paris but couldn't get to them yet.  I preferred Beginners to Descendants of films from last year.)

Animated: Rango

Foreign: A Separation

Documentary: Paradise Lost 3(I saw it, I think I still prefer the Bill Cunningham doc. I'm looking forward to Undefeated when it comes out on DVD).

Director: Michael Hazanavicius

Original Screenplay: Midnight in Paris (is Woody going to the show?)

Adapted Screenplay: Descendants (I can't be the only person hoping that Jim Rash goes on a Michael Moore like run about the travesty that Community isn't still on the air during his acceptance speech.  "We live in fictitious times when Whitney and that Chelsea Handler show are in production while a gloriously funny show like Community sits on the sidelines.")

Score: Adele...I mean, the Artist
Song: Man or Muppet (Flight of the Conchords, you're so big!)
Actor: Jean Durjardin
Actress: Viola Davis (I'm almost switching my vote, there's been some late Streep noise. I would vote for Michelle Williams for anything, always.)
Supporting Actor: Christoper Plummer
Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer
Art Direction: Hugo
Cinematography: Tree of Life
Costume Design: Artist
Editing: Artist
Makeup: Iron Lady
Sound Edit: Hugo
Sound Mix: Hugo
Visual Effects: Planet of the Apes
Animated Short: Fantastic Flying Books...
Doc Short: Saving Face
Live Action Short: The Shore

3. What Would be in Your Rider?
This is just for premise beach, as I don't have time to write the joke, but my thought this week was if I had a rider, like Mick Jagger, what would be in it?

4. Okay, let's talk Santorum.
Obama says it should be easier for every American to attend college - Santorum says that makes Obama a snob and besides, all college is for is liberal indoctrination.

5. Okay - college is just about indoctrination, does it start there?
Nope, public schools are also all about liberal indoctrination. 

6. We Hate Schools - And We Hate Europe.
Santorum says 5% of the annual deaths in the Netherlands are seniors euthanized against their will.

7. Santorum isn't Against Health Care Reform Because He's Carrying the Water of the Insurance Industry...
he's against health care reform because it's really a social experiment designed to kill people with disabilities.

8. Why Are the Democrats Trying to Kill The Special Needs Children?
because all Democrats think about is dirty, sinful sex., says Rick Santorum.

9. Why is all of This Happening to us??
Because Satan is attacking the United States, says Rick Santorum.

10.  So, clearly it's all about Satan, got it.  Why don't people on the left - people like me, why don't we agree with your Satan based politics, Rick? 
Because the left is anti-reason.

So, there you go.  Rick Santorum - the candidate of reason.  Once we use our reason, the inescapable conclusion that Satan guides public policy in Scandinavia, Satan is behind the environmental movement, Satan is why anyone argues for moving away from for profit health insurance, Satan has infiltrated our universities and public schools, Satan is why we've done away with Don't Ask Don't Tell, Satan is why states no longer have the ability to make birth control illegal.  Satan.

It's so clear if you just use your reason.

The right wing in 2012.  There we go.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time....if there is a next time....

Your pal,


The 50 Greatest Defensive Linemen in NFL History (Revised and Updated, 2012 edition)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Part of a series.  Previous post is here.

50. Fred Dryer Rams '69-81
-Hey, it's Hunter.  And we're off.  

49. Ed Jones '74-89 Cowboys
-Long, productive career.  

48. Leroy Selmon '76-84 Bucs
-4 good years, always a productive player. 

47. Bryant Young 49ers '94-07
-Long productive career with an all time great 1996 and a title.  

46. Ray Childress '85-96 Oilers
-5 good seasons.  

45. Lyle Alzado '71-85 Broncos/Raiders/Browns
-Long, productive career and a title. 

44. Rosey Grier Giants/Rams '55-66
-5 good years, mostly productive in his 20s.

43. Claude Humphrey '68-81 Falcons
-5 good years and a couple of them big.  

42. Kevin Williams 03- Vikings
-6 good seasons.

41. Bob Baumhower '77-86 Dolphins
5 good years and the third best season currently on the board.  

40. Richard Seymour '01- Patriots/Raiders 
-6 good seasons, the Raider resurgence over the past couple years gets him to the list. 

39. Neil Smith Chiefs '88-00 
-6 good seasons, his '95 is the second best season on the board so far.

38. Steve McMichael Bears '80-94
-5 strong years, really solid back to back in the mid 80s.  

37. Art Donovan '50-61 Colts 
-Half dozen good seasons.  

36. Bill Willis '46-53 Browns
-Short but dominant career.  

35. Len Ford '48-58 Browns
-5 big years right in the middle of his career. 

34. Jerry Mays '61-70 Chiefs
-8 good seasons, just good throughout his whole career.  

33. Richard Dent '83-97 Bears
-His 17 sack '85 is the new best season on the board.  

32. John Randle '90-03 Vikings
-7 good seasons.  

31. Ron Mcdole '61-78 Bills/Redskins
-8 good seasons, if Randle's a HOF'er so is McDole.

30. Cortez Kennedy '90-00 Seahawks
-Seven strong years, a little top end notch above Randle/McDole

29. Deacon Jones '61-74 Rams
-6 good seasons in the heart of his career.

28. Howie Long '81-93 Raiders
-Half dozen good seasons and the title.

27. LC Greenwood '69-81 Steelers
-6 good seasons and the titles.  

26. Charles Haley '86-99 49ers/Cowboys
-5 good years, a ton of titles, and 1990, the new second best season on the board.

The top 25 Defensive Linemen Ever.

25. Julius Peppers '02-  Panthers
-7 good years and a high top end; Peppers is a Hall of Famer. 

24. Jack Youngblood '71-84 Rams
-7 good years, high top end.  

23. Jason Taylor '97-11 Dolphins
-7 powerful years and a really high top end, his '00 is behind only Dent so far.  

22. Dan Hampton '79-90 Bears

-7 good years, high top end, title.  He and Taylor are comparable, but Hampton had the title.  

21. Alex Karras '58-70 Lions
-8 good consistent seasons.

20. Buck Buchanan '63-75 Chiefs

-8 good seasons, I like him behind Doleman.  

19. Warren Sapp '95-07 Bucs
-7 good years, high top end, 2002 is the second best year on the board, and the title.  

18. Jim Marshall '60-79 Vikings
-6 good years and then a ton, just a ton of additional productivity. Absolutely should be in the HOF.

17. Henry Jordan '57-69 Packers
-Half dozen good years, high top end, titles. 

16. Chris Doleman '85-99 Vikings
-9 good years and a high top end, I'm good with this order for Taylor/Hampton/Doleman.

15. Willie Davis '58-69 Packers
-7 good years, titles, high top end. 

14. Bob Lilly Cowboys '61-74
-10 good years, title.

13. Ernie Stautner '50-63 Steelers
-10 good seasons and a high top end.  

12. Doug Atkins Bears '53-69
-9 good years, high top end.  Long, productive career. 

11. Leo Nomellini '50-63 49ers
-9 good years, high top end - the best season for a defensive lineman on the board, Nomellini's '51.

The 10 Best Defensive Linemen Ever.

10. Michael Strahan '93-07 Giants
-9 good years, high top end, title. 

9. Randy White '75-88 Cowboys
-9 good years, high top end, title.  

8. Gino Marchetti '52-66 Colts
-9 good years, high top end, titles. 

7. Carl Eller '64-79 Vikings
-10 good years, unbelievably dominant from 69-71, his '69 is best season on board.  

6. Andy Robustelli Giants/Rams '51-64
-11 good years, high top end, Eller/Robustelli are a step above the prior linemen. 

5. Merlin Olsen Rams '62-76
-13 good seasons, 200+ games and almost all of them productive; didn't quite have the top end of the other guys in this section.

4. Alan Page Vikings/Bears '67-81
-He's Eller but better, 10 good years, crazy dominant at his peak, his '69 is best season on the board.

3. Bruce Smith Bills '85-03
-13 good years, long, productive career, and had a little higher top end than Olsen.

2. Joe Greene Steelers '69-81
-11 good years, all the titles, high top end, productive from day one right up until he turned 35.  

1. Reggie White '85-00 Eagles/Packers
-13 good to dominant years and the title.  He's Bruce Smith but better.  I don't think there's much question about his being the best ever.  

The 50 Greatest Offensive Linemen in NFL History (Revised and Updated, 2012 edition)

Anthony Munoz2.jpg

Part of a series.  Previous entry is here.

50. Mel Hein '31-45 Giants
-Hard to analyze individual linemen, hard to analyze anyone from the war era, but we'll consider Hein first anyway.

49. Stan Jones '54-66 Bears
-3 good years, solid until position switch.

48. Dwight Stephenson '80-87 Dolphins
-Can't rank him higher than this given the short career; he turned 30 and was done.

47. Dermontti Dawson '88-00 Steelers
-Top end not as good as Stephenson's, but much more career.

46. Bob Kuechenberg '70-83 Dolphins
-3 years you'd call good, but productive throughout career.

45. Joe Jacoby '81-93 Redskins
-Most of his productive career done after '86

44. Joe Delamieullure '73-85 Bills/Browns
-4 good years spread throughout his career.

43. Rayfield Wright '67-79 Cowboys
-5 good seasons, Wright and this next guy should have played together.

42. Larry Allen '94-07 Cowboys
-6 good years, not much after he turned 30

41. Ralph Neely Cowboys '65-77
-4 good seasons and no bad ones, Neely was valuable throughout his career.  I'm not sure why Wright's in the Hall and not Neely.  

40. Lou Groza '46-67 Browns
-Not only best kicker of the era, part of that dominant Browns line.

39. Charlie Cowan '61-75 Rams
-3 good seasons and then a long career of solid play. 

38. Leon Gray '73-83 Patriots/Oilers
-A helluva peak; his '78 is the best year on the board so far.  

37. Frank Gatski Browns '46-57
-Browns linemen.  They all make it. 

36. Dick Schafrath '59-71 Browns
-Even Browns linemen in the 60s make this list. 

35. Alan Faneca Steelers '98-10
-7 good years, long consistent career

34. Steve Wisniewski Raiders '89-01
-7 good seasons

33. Will Shields '93-06 Chiefs
-Was always solid - and then from 31-35 had his five best seasons and retired.  As good as any of the guards in this run.  

32. Dan Dierdorf Cardinals '71-83
-Solid, hearty 6 year peak.  I'm going to leave him ahead of Faneca, but they maybe should be flipped. 

31. Mike Munchak Oilers '82-93
-7 good thumping seasons; there's no good reason to put Munchak and Dierdorf in the Hall and leave out Wisniewski/Faneca (they might not leave Faneca out, I'm just guessing)

30. Lomas Brown '85-02 Lions
-As good as the next guy and for the same reason.

29. Jackie Slater Rams '76-95
-Here for longevity, he was still productive at 38.

28. Mike Kenn '78-94 Falcons
-Just like the previous two guys.  

27. Matt Light '01- Patriots
Light's a hall of famer; his '07 is the best season on the board so far. 

26. Bob Brown Eagles/Rams/Raiders '64-73
-Half dozen good years. 

The 25 best offensive linemen of all time. 

25. Tom Mack '66-78 Rams
-A half dozen good years inside a productive career.  That's apparently the profile of a HOF guard who isn't Steve Wisniewski.

24. Russ Washington '68-82 Chargers
-Half dozen good seasons, his best coming in his 30s.  

23. Mick Tingelhoff Vikings '62-78
-Half dozen good seasons and then value well into his 30s

22. Gene Hickerson Browns '58-73
-All Browns linemen go to heaven.

21. Jim Tyrer '61-74 Chiefs
-7 good years right in the heart of his career; he fits right in with this coming group of guys all considered HOF candidates.

20. Willie Roaf '93-05 Saints/Chiefs
-Half dozen good years and a great late career finishing kick.

19. Jonathan Ogden Ravens '96-07
-7 good seasons.  We've hit a new level I think once we get to the upper half.

18. Walter Jones '97-08 Seahawks 
-7 good seasons; he and Ogden had the same career.  

17. Mike Webster Steelers '74-90
-6 good seasons and titles, long, productive career.

16. Orlando Pace '97-09 Rams
Pace's top end is the best on the board; his '00 is the best season and his 3 year stretch from '99-01 is easily the best on the board so far.  

15. Richmond Webb Dolphins '90-02
-8 good seasons right out of the gate; I do not understand why this isn't a HOF'er

14. Randall McDaniel Vikings '88-01
-9 good seasons, he's a step up from that run of guards earlier.  

13. Ron Mix Chargers '60-71
-9 good seasons.

12. Larry Little '67-80 Dolphins
-7 punishing years and titles.  

11. Gary Zimmerman Vikings/Broncos '86-97
-8 good seasons and titles; from Tyrer all the way through here I wouldn't object to any ordering, Pace was best top end but fewest good years, all the other guys just had long, consistent, productive careers. 

The 10 Best Offensive Linemen of all Time.

10. Jim Parker '57-67 Colts
-Parker was a better Larry Little.

 9. John Hannah '73-85 Patriots
-7 good seasons. 

8. Bruce Matthews '83-01 Oilers
9 good seasons, multiple positions, long, productive career.  

7. Ron Yary '68-82 Vikings
-7 good to great seasons, his top end is as good as Pace's.

6. Jim Ringo '53-67 Packers/Eagles
-8 good seasons and titles.

5. Forrest Gregg Packers '56-71
-9 good seasons right in the heart of his career and titles, not quite Shell's top end. 

4. Art Shell Raiders '68-82
-8 good seasons and titles.  His '77 is the second best season on the board.  

3. Jim Otto Raiders '60-74
-9 good seasons, the best center who ever lived.  

2. Gene Upshaw '67-81 Raiders
-9 good seasons and titles.  

1. Anthony Munoz '80-92 Bengals
-10 good seasons, many of them great.  He's the best lineman ever.  

The 50 Greatest Wide Receivers/Tight Ends in NFL History (Revised and Updates, 2012 edition)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Part of a series.  Previous installment is here.

Part of a series.  Previous entry is here.

Andre Johnson is probably a year away.

50. Lynn Swann Steelers '74-82
-Just here for the titles; he only had 3 good seasons. But the postseason counts and I think he deserves this slot for at least one more year.  Absolutely not a Hall of Fame career. 

49. Mike Ditka Bears/Cowboys '61-72
-Five good years to start his career and then essentially just a guy once he turned 27.  Jerry Smith maybe has a beef with this pick. 

48. Ozzie Newsome Browns '78-90
-Solid but not spectacular really all the way through his 20s.  

47. Stanley Morgan Patriots '77-90
-Where did his 1986 come from?  A few good years early in his career, leading the league in yards per catch 3 straight seasons, and then when he was 31 he had about twice as many receptions as in any other season in his career.  

46. Harold Carmichael Eagles '71-84
-4 good seasons, spread throughout his career; Swann's 50th, but the other 4 guys so far could be in any order.  

45. Billy Howton Packers/Cowboys '52-63
-4 good years, really profiles like the guys in this section. 

44. Herman Moore Lions '91-02
-5 good seasons, his 123 catch '95 is pretty easily the best season on the board so far.  

43. Hines Ward Steelers '98-11
-6 good seasons, most of anyone on the board so far.  Long, productive career.  

42. Cliff Branch Raiders '72-85
-5 good seasons and his '74 is the second best season on the board so far.  

41. Drew Pearson Cowboys '73-83
-Profiles like Branch, take a look at how they compare from ages 23-7. You could flip them if you wanted.

40. Chad Johnson Bengals '01-
-His 5 year window started a couple of years after Branch/Pearson but its essentially the same career, five good years in his 20s makes up the heart of his career.  His 2005 is the new second best year on the board. 

39. Steve Smith Panthers '01-
-His profile is very different, 4 good years but spread all over his career; his '05 is the new third best season on the board.  

38. John Mackey Colts '63-72
-Like Ditka, 4 good years in the heart of his 20s.  

37. Otis Taylor Chiefs '65-75
-4 good seasons including the new best on the board, his 22+ yards per catch '66. 

36. Bob Hayes Cowboys '65-75
-6 good seasons including a 26 yards/catch '70. 

35. Jimmy Smith '92-05 Jaguars
-8 good seasons, most of anyone on the board so far; was solid well into his 30s.  

34. Harold Jackson '68-83 Rams/Patriots/Eagles
-6 good seasons, really fits in this section right around a Smith and Hayes.  

33. Gary Clark '85-95 Redskins
-5 good seasons, fits in this section. 

32. Fred Biletnikoff Raiders '65-78
-4 good seasons inside a long, solid career.  It's a challenge to order this whole section of receivers.

31. Kellen Winslow Chargers '79-87
-Like Mackey/Ditka with number of good seasons, his top end was higher that either. 

30. Jackie Smith Cardinals '63-78
-He was Ditka/Mackey but in addition to matching their peaks had a longer shelf life.  

29. Rod Smith Broncos '95-06
-8 good seasons and his peak run came in his 30s.

28. Elroy Hirsch '46-57 Rams
-His '51 is the new second best season on the board, 17 touchdowns and over 124 yards a game.

27. Henry Ellard '83-98 Rams
-5 good seasons. 

26. Andre Reed '85-00 Bills
-6 good years right in the meat of his 20s.  

25. Art Monk '80-95 Redskins
-5 good seasons and the titles.  

The 25 Best WR/TE Of All Time

25. Art Monk '80-95 Redskins
-5 good seasons and the titles.  

24. John Stallworth '74-87 Steelers
-5 good seasons and the titles.  

23. Bobby Mitchell '58-68 Redskins/Browns
-7 good seasons, just always good.  I can't spell Redskins, incidentally, I always invert the k and the s.

22. Antonio Gates Chargers '03-
-7 good years, it sort of looks like his most productive days ended after 09.

21. Charlie Joiner Chargers '69-86
-5 good years and then crazy longevity.  

20. Shannon Sharpe Broncos '90-03
-6 good years, the titles edge him past Gates on the TE board.  

19. Torry Holt
-6 good seasons including 2000, a top 5 season on the board.  

18. Cris Carter Vikings '87-02
-6 good years and crazy longevity

17. James Lofton '78-93 Packers
-6 good years and crazy longevity

16. Tim Brown Raiders '88-04
8 good years and crazy longevity; when looking at the Art Monk guys, the guys who played a long time and were productive without any huge years, Brown had a better career than anyone on the list to this point. 

15. Don Maynard Jets '58-73
5 good seasons

14. Charley Taylor Redskins '64-77
-8 good seasons, like Bobby Mitchell but just a little bit better.  

13. Isaac Bruce Rams '94-09
-7 good seasons, longevity, and a slightly better top end than any of the other longevity guys so far, I think I take Bruce over Brown/Carter/Lofton/Monk/Reed

12. Lance Alworth Chargers '62-72
-7 good seasons, all peak, good and then done.  

11. Reggie Wayne Colts '01-11
-8 good seasons, just thick with value for almost his entire career.  

 The Ten Best Wide Receivers in NFL History

10. Steve Largent Seahawks '76-89
-9 good seasons, superconsistent, lacking any top end season.  

9. Paul Warfield Browns/Dolphins '64-77
-8 good seasons and titles, a slightly better profile than Alworth/Wayne

8. Raymond Berry Colts '55-67
-7 good seasons, titles, his top end a little higher than Warfield/Largent.  

7. Don Hutson Packers '35-45
-You want to grain of salt his numbers a tick given the wartime competition, but pretty clearly the top receiver of the era, and its fair to call his 1942, averaging 110+ yards a game, the best year on the board so far.  

6. Michael Irvin Cowboys '88-99
-7 good to great years, in that Alworth/Berry/Warfield line, his top end was better than theirs.

5. Tony Gonzalez Chiefs '97-
11 good years; more than anyone on the list - he's Largent, but more so and a tight end; there is no good debate about the best tight end of all time.  

4. Randy Moss Vikings/Patriots '98-10
-9 good to great years, like Irvin but more so, even Irvin's postseason advantage, and its significant, doesn't quite get him past Moss, although it's superclose. Moss's 23 touchdown 2007 is the new best season on the board.  

3. Terrell Owens 49ers/Cowboys '96-10
-9 good years, his very best isn't as good as either Irvin or Moss, but when TO wasn't "good", he was still a valuable football player - Owens in Buffalo, valuable; Owens in Cincinnati, valuable - he could still play right up until the calls stopped coming.  It wasn't like he shot someone....

2. Marvin Harrison Colts '96-08
-Just killed it 8 years in a row; top end of the league right up until he totally fell off the table and was out of the league.  For a game out of this group you take Moss, for one play, it's maybe Irvin, but for a block of five years, take Harrison.  This group is super bunched together; there are no wrong answers from this list for who is the second best receiver ever.

1. Jerry Rice 49ers '85-04
-There's only one answer for who is the best receiver ever.  The most good seasons?  Rice-14.  The best receiving season ever?  Rice-1994.  Second best?  Rice-1993. The best run for any receiver ever?  Rice from '93-5. Postseason?  Forget it.  Pick any two receivers you like, add them up and you still take Rice.  If anyone ever tells you there's a different choice for best ever, never speak to that person again.

The Weekly Tendown February 12-18 2012(Special Halfdown Edition)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dear Internet:

Sarah Palin ruins everything.  V-J Day.  The Moon landing.  The first showing of the Thriller video. All just a Sarah Palin endorsement away from complete worthlessness.  Sarah Palin comes out in favor of free curly fries every June and we're all suddenly on Atkins..

114 is here. This is 115.

1. The One Non Sports Piece You Have to Read This Week
The Roberts Court vs. America.

The Supreme Court went down a similar road in the Gilded Age and afterward, defending laissez-faire economic principles against minimum wages, 
maximum hours, and other Progressive and New Deal regulation. The new 
cases have different doctrinal logic, and the economy has changed vastly, but 
the bottom lines are eerily alike: giving constitutional protection to unequal 
economic power in the name of personal liberty.

2. The One Sports Piece You Have to Read This Week.
It's SI, about Wes Leonard, the high school basketball player who died after hitting a game winning shot.

Xavier sat there, cubical scoreboard flashing above him, 3,500 fans roaring around him, the sneakers of other boys singing like birds on the polished wood at his feet. The burden of perfection was too great.
The Blackhawks would ride an emotional roller coaster for 11 days. They would beat Lawrence and then Bangor and then Covert, reaching the regional semifinals before losing by 24 points to Schoolcraft, the eventual state champion. Xavier would blame himself for failing in a task he never wanted.
That fall, with Wes gone, Xavier would get his chance to be the finest three-sport athlete in Fennville. He would start at quarterback, go down with a shoulder injury, come back as a receiver, and finally quit with one game left in a dismal season. He would join the basketball team late after threatening to quit. Once in a while he would walk into the gym, the last place he saw Wes, and feel on his skin a mild charge of electricity.
But as he sat on the bench in the second quarter with his team trailing by four points to the Lawrence Tigers, Xavier knew none of that. Nor did he know he was about to play the finest game of the season, with 11 points in the fourth quarter and 18 altogether, or that he'd come back two nights later and pour in 25, or that his playoff scoring average would nearly match the regular-season average of the all-state point guard who at this moment was back in Fennville, in a lonely chapel, surrounded by Trappist-cut walnut, wearing his warmup jacket.

3. Sandwiches Require Two Pieces of Bread

My mother and I have a longstanding debate.  My argument is that sandwiches definitionally require bread.  Hers is that anything could be a sandwich, salt, tomato slices = sandwich.

Massachusetts court agrees with me. A sandwich is: "two thin pieces of bread, usually buttered, with a thin layer (as of meat, cheese, or savory mixture) spread between them"

If the Roberts court would only engage in more cases dealing with foodstuffs and less water carrying for the plutocracy, all of our lives would improve.  

4. Should I Buy a Droid 4?

I'm askin'.

5. RIP
Bad week.

Freddie Solomon.

Gary Carter.

I'm you're a 41 year old 49er fan, Freddie Solomon was one of your guys.  Hard to see one of your guys dead before he turned 60.

Gary Carter's one of the five greatest catchers who ever lived; one day a little more than ten years ago he turned to a studio audience, nodded at me and said "there's a guy who knows a lot about baseball."

It is probably the nicest thing anyone ever said about me.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time...

Your pal,


The 50 Greatest Running Backs in NFL History (Revised and Updated, 2012 edition)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Part 2 of a series.  Part 1 is here.

50. Red Grange Bears 1925-34
-Tough to evaluate a leather helmet back, but there are a few at the bottom end of the list.

49. John Henry Johnson Steelers 1954-66 
-We've got a few fullbacks on the list

48. Bronko Nagurski Bears 1930-43
-Both from the 30s and a fullback.  Grange+Johnson=Bronko

47. Don Perkins Cowboys 1961-8
-More fullbacks!  I heart fullbacks!  

46. Lawrence McCutcheon Rams 1972-81
-This is what a running back's career looks like; five good seasons in his 20s and then nothing for a couple years until he got run out of the league.  His '73 is the best season on the board so far.  

45. Chuck Muncie Saints/Chargers 1976-84
-Boom or bust, really good in '79, '81, '82 and almost nothing other than that.  

44. Ernest Byner Browns/Redskins 1984-97
-2100 rushing attempts; 500 catches..  

43. Herschel Walker Cowboys 1986-97
-Profiles similar to Byner, save that almost all of his good years were right out of the gate.  Herschel left some legs behind at Georgia, right?  He had 360 carries in '88 and was on fumes the rest of his career.  Hard to be a running back, this is what I'm saying.  

42. OJ Anderson Cardinals/Giants 1979-92
-2500 carries.  He shoves it in Byner's face.  

41. Jerome Bettis Steelers '93-05
-3500 carries.  3500 carries!  3500 carries!  

40. Frank Gifford Giants '52-64
-Fewer than a thousand carries, but over 4 yards a carry, nearly 15 yards a catch, and with 8 good seasons it's going to be 20 more guys before we have someone to match that number.  

39. Steve Van Buren Eagles '44-51
-See the Galloping Ghost.

38. Gale Sayers Bears '65-71
-Just didn't play enough to mark him higher, fewer than a thousand carries; they were good carries, he retired at 5 yards a run and his rookie year is the best year on the board so far, but there weren't enough of them to merit (for me) a HOF vote.  

37. Ricky Williams Dolphins/Saints '99-11
-Right in line with the other modern players in this section, 4 yards a carry, some value catching the ball, 2500 carries, 5 good seasons.  His 2002 is the current second best season on the board, he averaged over a hundred fifteen on the ground per game.  

36. John L Williams Seahawks '86-95

35. Corey Dillon Bengals '97-06
4.3 yards/carry for his 2600 carry career.

34. Freeman McNeil Jets '81-92
-Light career comparatively, only 1700 carries - but 4.5/carry and 10 yds/catch.

33. Terrell Davis Broncos 1995-01
-A handful of fewer carries than McNeil, 4.6/carry and the two best seasons on the board so far, '98 and '97.  

32. Eddie George Titans 1996-04
-Consistently good until a 400 carry season at age 27 and then he only hit 3.5 yards a carry one more time the rest of his career.  

31. Fred Taylor Jaguars '98-02
-7 good years, the most on the list, and a 4.6 career per carry avg in 2500 attempts. 

30. James Brooks Bengals '81-92
-Really similar to McNeil, number of carries+rate stats.  

29. Larry Brown Redksins '69-76
-His '72 is the new fourth best season on the board.

28. Larry Csonka Dolphins '68-79
-Not as good as you think; all his value is in 4 seasons in his 20s.  He's at this place in the list for the titles.  

27. Warrick Dunn Falcons/Bucs '97-08
-7 good years, 2700 consistent carries.  

26. Lydell Mitchell Colts '72-80
-The second best season on the board so far?  Mitchell in '76.  

The Top 25 Running Backs in NFL History.

25. Priest Holmes Chiefs/Ravens '97-07
-Priest has the best year on the board so far ('02) and the best 3 year run on the board (01-03) and almost nothing else.  Running backs.  

24. Chuck Foreman Vikings '73-80
-5 solid seasons to start his career (including 73 catches in '75) and not much after he turned 28. 

23. Leroy Kelly Browns '64-73 
4.2 yds/carry, 12 per catch. 

22. Joe Perry 49ers '48-63
-Like Sayers with a thousand more carries, 5 yards/carry for his career. 

21. Hugh McElhenny 49ers '52-64
-4.7 yards/carry and 12.3 per catch.  That was Hugh McElhenny's career.  

20. Roger Craig  49ers '83-93
-A little cute putting my 3 guys in a row, sure.  Roger opened his career with 7 straight good seasons, hit 30 and had nothing left.  His titles nudge him up to this spot.  He's a hall of famer. 

19. John Riggins Redskins '71-85
-Long career, a half dozen good seasons and the title.  

18. Eric Dickerson Rams/Colts '83-93
-His profile and Riggins's are remarkably similar.  Probably, given the SB, you should flip them.

17. Tiki Barber Giants 1997-2006
-Barber's last 3 seasons might be the best last 3 seasons of anyone ever who wasn't Jim Brown.

16. Curtis Martin Jets '95-05
-Martin was never great - but he had 10 good seasons; 3500 carries and almost all of them good.

15. Marcus Allen Raiders/Chiefs '82-97

-This is longevity based; after '85 Allen never really had another good year; he also rushed 380 times in '85 so while we think of Al Davis taking the ball away from Marcus as the pivotal event in his career, it could be that he wasn't the same back after '85. 

14. Lenny Moore Colts '56-67
-4.8 yards per carry, 16.6 yards/catch.

13. OJ Simpson Bills '69-79
-The new best season on the board is Juice's '75.  16 scores, 5 and a half yards per carry, 15.2 yards a catch.  That's even better than his '73 where he rushed for over 143 yards a game.  

12. Ricky Watters Niners/Seahawks/Eagles '92-01
-Just a stud his whole career; 9 straight good to great years - his numbers are among the most consistent on the board.  Add in the SB and that half a dozen touchdown playoff game - he's absolutely this good.  

11. Jim Taylor Packers '58-67
-Led the league in yards from scrimmage as a fullback in '62.  Fullbacks.  

The 10 Greatest Running Backs in NFL History.

10. Thurman Thomas Bills '88-00
-Half dozen good years including leading the league in yards from scrimmage four straight seasons.

9. Tony Dorsett Cowboys '77-88
-8 good seasons; really similar to Watters, actually, with a tail to his career that Watters didn't have.

8. Edgerrin James Colts '99-09
-His first two years are the best first two years on the board.  Like Dickerson's career, but Edge had a little more.  

7. Franco Harris Steelers '72-84
-8 good seasons, his profile is in that Dorsett model, but with the extra titles.  

6. Ladainian Tomlinson Chargers '01-
-8 good to great to ridiculous seasons to start his career; his 28 touchdown '06 is the new second best season on the board.  

5. Emmitt Smith Cowboys 90-04
-Like Edge, 3 all time great seasons, and then you add the Franco profile underneath that.  Like Franco+Dickerson.  

4. Walter Payton Bears '75-87
-10 good seasons, had one great year, '77, and the SB. 

3. Marshall Faulk Rams/Colts '94-05
-His '98-01 is the best stretch on the board; '99 is the new third best season on the board. 

2. Barry Sanders Lions '89-98
-10 years, all of them good to great. An even 5 yds/carry for his career. 

1. Jim Brown Browns '57-65
-9 years, not only all good, most of them great, his '64 is the new second best season for a running back ever.  

The 50 Greatest Quarterbacks in NFL History (Revised and Updated, 2015 edition)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I've used the most advanced metrics, looked to combine regular season and post season, looked to incorporate peak and adjusted for era.  They're better than any previous football list I've done, aside from the all time 47 man rosters, which I think are pretty good (the basketball and baseball lists are better) This is current through the 2015 postseason. I'll only list the teams with whom the players had significant careers, not every team for which they played.

I'm using two threshold metrics.  To make the list you (1) needed to have an Approximate Value score of at least 100 (that gave us 64 QB in NFL history, meaning I'll probably do some type of bracket thing at some point in 2016) and (2) a passer rating index of at least 100 (knocked us down to 56 quarterbacks - Plunkett was an unfortunate casualty there, given his 2 SB rings and an all time SB performance, he would benefit once we start considering postseason play).

Career passer rating index numbers aren't computed for active guys, but the individual seasons are, and it's clear that 2 of the active guys won't make that 100 threshold (Vick, Hasselbeck) so we're at 54.

I then added another requirement for this group - a minimum of 100 career starts.  And that bounced Danny White.  So we're at 54.

I recognize that there's not really a reason why an approximate value of 97 (Culpepper, the closest to 100) or an index rating of really any of the guys who got kicked out of the list for being in the 90s should be eliminated, save that you need to find a way to make it manageable.

54 is a really useful number.  Because the next step was the pre 1960 quarterbacks for whom there isn't an approximate value score.  The threshold here was Hall of Fame.  That gave us 13 more names.  From which I cut the guys from the 20s for whom there just aren't really good stats, and I cut the one guy with fewer than 50 career starts (Ace Parker).

Leaving us with a total of 60 guys for 50 spots.

Manageable, right?

I'm not going to rank to 60 as I don't think the guys from 51-60 are necessarily better than the guys who got cut at previous intervals, so let's drop 10 guys absent order.

The one pre-60s QB who gets cut here is Waterfield.  He only had 57 career starts; that's just not enough to be one of the 50 greatest quarterbacks who ever lived.

Next to go is Harbaugh; he only had 5 seasons at 100+ indexed passer rating, meaning, for most of his career, he was a subpar quarterback.

Next is Jaws for the same reason, half of his career had seasons below average passer rating.

Then DeBerg, he had one more season over 100 than below, 8 seasons of subpar football.

Then Everett, he's in the same spot as Jaws.

Now, Blanda.  Blanda's got a ton of approximate value, 126 and it doesn't include the first decade of his career - but he's dead at league average with an indexed passer rating of 100 and 3 more bad seasons than good.

Now, Brodie - same deal as Blanda and a tough elimination, lots of value but as many bad years as good and an approximate value just a tick over 100.

Boomer goes down the same way and had more bad years than good.

2 left - Cutler is both just above 100 approximate value and, in looking at his season numbers, not too far ahead of 100 indexed either.  Could be upon retirement I reassess, but right now, he's out.

And now that we're here, time to bring Plunkett back and lose Billy Kilmer.

Kilmer only makes the AV requirement because of his time at running back, and given the singular importance of the QB position, really in all of sports, on team success, 2 SB wins should be a way in.

And now we're down to 50.  Lets rank.

50. Trent Green Chiefs 1997-08
-111 AV, 108 Rate+  Green's barely here, hits the total on both metrics, had more good years than bad.  Has no postseason record to speak of nor rushing ability (in fact, had some seasons where he fumbled a bunch).  We'll look hard at Palmer, especially, upon his retirement for this spot.  Flacco is the next active QB, incidentally, who might get a look.  He's a soft 50.   

49. Matt Ryan Falcons 2008-
-114 AV, 6 of 8 years are above 100, topping out at 117. I've got him in and Cutler out, but swapping them or leaving them both in or both out all make about the same amount of sense.  I'll re-evaluate after the 2016 season.

48. Bobby Layne Lions/Steelers 1948-62
-103 Rate+ 9 good seasons but none above 117 rate+, like Green/Ryan his spot is tenuous.

47. Jeff Garcia 49ers 1999-2011
-104AV, 111 Rate+ An interesting profile, didn't play a down before was 29, his rate+ in 2000 was 127, making him 27% above average, the best number we've seen so far.  Garcia also adds a strong rushing profile and a gets a tick of a playoff boost.  I'm uneasy about Green and making the list, but I like Garcia here, he looks to me like about the 50th best ever to play.

46. Carson Palmer Bengals 2004-
-125 AV, couple of big years amidst a career of largely good seasons, a subpar playoff record.

45. Tony Romo Cowboys 2006-
-116 AV, Romo's separate from the Ryan/Cutler group in that he's had a couple of really good years, in 2014 his rate plus was 134, that's really strong - and he's separate, say from Carson Palmer who also had a couple of those years but has thrown in multiple subpar years that Romo just doesn't have.  

44. Joe Namath Jets 1965-77
-115 AV, 102 Rate+  Here's the thing, Namath never had a Rate+ above 110 and despite the SB win, his quarterback rating in the playoffs was sub 55.  First SB champ on the list.

43. Joe Theismann Redskins 1974-85
-105 AV, 107 Rate+ He's Green but won that Super Bowl, his career playoff quarterback rating was over 90, that's a pretty solid plus and you like him here.

42. Jim Plunkett Raiders 1971-86
-109 AV, 98 Rate+ Plunkett was never particularly good in the regular season, his Rate+ when playing a full season was 109 as a 36 year old Raider, but he was 8-2 in the playoffs with two SB wins, and he ate the beating hearts out of a really strong Eagle defense in SB 15, 3 scores, no picks, a passer rating at 145.  Every quarterback with multiple SB wins is on the list.

41. Sid Luckman Bears 1939-50
-121 Rate+ Okay, hard to compare the leather helmet quarterbacks with modern era players, Luckman was the man, an entire career that approximated Garcia's best season in comparison to the rest of the league.  Challenge to Luckman, beyond his playing in the 4 0s, is he only started 62 games in the NFL.  Most of them were terrific for the era, but 62 games 70 years ago is tough to rank higher.

40. Mark Brunell Jaguars 1994-2011
-120 AV, 107 Rate+ Really a model of consistency; only one bad season his entire career and no seasons above a 117 rate+; Brunell was basically 151 starting games of good.

39. Rich Gannon Raiders/Vikings 1987-04 
-120 AV, 110 Rate+ Gannon had four seasons at 120 Rate+ or above and added value with his legs.  

38. Sammy Baugh Redskins 1937-52
-122 Rate+ Same deal as Luckman but he started 21 more games. 

37. Dave Krieg Seahawks 1980-98
-138 AV, 107 Rate+, 175 starts and never had a season with a Rate+ below 92 (and that came when he was 37).  He's Brunell but moreso.  Not a great playoff performer.  

36. John Hadl Chargers 1962-77
-143 AV, 104 Rate+  Very similar to Krieg, lot of starts, mostly good to really good - it's a long, solid if unspectacular career.  

35. Roman Gabriel Rams 1962-77
-131 AV, 108 Rate+ Fits that Krieg/Hadl profile of a ton of good, consistent seasons and he hadded value with his legs.  

34. Norm Van Brocklin Rams 1949-60
-114 Rate+ Loaded up on good years at the start of his career, not great in the playoffs.

33. Steve McNair Titans 1995-07
-126 AV, 105 Rate+ 5.4 yards per rush for his career and 37 touchdowns on the ground help make up for that Rate+, years of being good, not a good playoff performer. 

32. Ken Stabler Raiders 1970-84 
-119 AV, 107 Rate+ Snake was old, didn't hit the league until he was 27, tore it up for half a dozen years including a SB title and then was just a guy the rest of his career.  

31. YA Tittle 1948-64 49ers/Giants
-112 Rate+, so many good seasons, 13 with a rate+ over 100, was playing great football at 37 years old.  Bad playoff performer, never won a game, rating under 35. 

30. Sonny Jurgensen Redskins/Eagles 1957-74
-139 AV, 114 Rate+ Bunch of good seasons, even as a part timer late in his career

29. Phil Simms Giants 1979-93
-118 AV, 105 Rate+ From his third season forward Simms was good every year, only a couple of seasons above 120 but when you add in a top 5 all time SB performance he gets this slot.

28. Philip Rivers Chargers
-151 AV thats a ton of AV and through 2015 hes never had a bad season.

27. Donovan McNabb Eagles 1999-2011
-138 AV, 106 Rate+almost all good seasons, one really excellent one with a 131 rate plus, a lot of value with his legs, 29 touchdowns and a 5.6 yards/carry average. Good enough in the playoffs with 9 wins and a rating at 80.

26. Randall Cunningham Eagles 1985-01
-134 AV, 107 Rate+  Only year over 120 and then the big year with the Vikings where he went for a 134 rate+. The rushing is a big plus, 6.4 yards a carry and 35 scores.

(The 25 Greatest Quarterbacks in NFL History)

25. Eli Manning Giants 2004-
-134 AV, through 2015, his best year was only a Rate+ of 112, but he's 8-3 in the playoffs with 5 game winning drives and 2 SB wins.  

24. Kurt Warner Rams/Cardinals 1998-09 
-113 AV, 117 Rate+, three super elite seasons to start his career and then solid years in his 30s; picks up points for his postseason record, 9-4, quarterback rating over 100, and as of the end of 2015, 2 of the 15 top quarterbacked games in SB history.

23. Warren Moon Oilers 1984-00
-166 AV, 106 Rate+ Most AV of anyone on the list so far, the rate is only okay, Moon rarely had a bad year but only one above 120 rate+. 3-7 playoff record doesn't do him a ton of favors. 

22. Jim Kelly Bills 1986-96
-132 AV, 111 Rate+ Nothing but good seasons until his final campaign, one over 120 and one over 130. The postseason doesn't help him a lot with a quarterback rating just over 70, the four SB losses were all bad performances.

21. Dan Fouts Chargers 1973-87
-162 AV, 112 Rate+ 3 seasons over 120, his and Anderson's careers are pretty similar. Not great in the playoffs, a passer rating of 70.

20. Ken Anderson Bengals 1971-86
-161 AV, 112 Rate+ 2 seasons over 120, two over 130 and a 90+ quarterback rating in the playoffs. 

19. Aaron Rodgers QB Packers 2007-
-132 AV, 3 seasons of rate+ over 120, one over 130, one at 149, every season of his career a good one, a playoff quarterback rating of nearly 100 and as of the end of the 2015 season, one of the ten best quarterbacked games in SB history.  

18. Troy Aikman Cowboys 1989-00
-122 AV, 106 Rate+ Only two seasons above 120, it's a solid not a spectacular profile. Then the playoffs, 11 wins, an 88 passer rating, the 3 SBs, which is the first time we've seen that number on the list.  One of those games was great, a top 10 all time SB quarterbacked game.  

17. Terry Bradshaw Steelers 1970-83
-137 AV 105 rate+ Not a ton here in the regular season, only two years above 120. 14 playoff wins and a passer rating of 83.  Bradshaw's really a better Aikman.  One of his SB games a top ten quarterbacked game, another a top 25.  

16. Len Dawson Chiefs 1957-75
-144 AV, 120 Rate+ Nothing but good seasons his whole career including 4 that topped 130. And the top 25 all time super bowl quarterbacked game.

15. Bob Griese Dolphins 1967-80
-139 AV, 113 Rate+ Only 2 seasons below 100, 4 of his full time seasons above 120, wasnt a great playoff quarterback, just a little under 70 passer rating.  Got those two rings though.

14. Ben Roethlisberger Steelers 2004-
-145 AV, really strong, 4 seasons at 120 rate+ or above and a 5th at 130 with only two subpar years through 2015. He's been a solid playoff quarterback, 11 wins and a rating above 80, his SB performances haven't been good, but he does have 2 rings.  

13. Roger Staubach Cowboys 1969-79
-128 AV, 122 Rate+ over 120 twice, 130 twice and 140 once, an elite quarterback up until the final snap but only started 114 games, not beginning his career until 28. 11 playoff wins and two titles but only a passer rating in the 70s for the postseason. Staubach had 2 of the 20 best quarterbacked games in SB history through 2015. 

12. Johnny Unitas Colts 1956-73
-145 AV, 112 Rate+ A dozen good seasons, 5 in the 120s, one in the 130s, 3 titles but a sub 70 playoff rating. 

11. Otto Graham Browns 1946-55
-127 Rate+ never had a bad year, 2 over 120, 2 over 130, 2 over 140. 7 titles, but a playoff quarterback rating under 70.  

(The Top 10 Quarterbacks in NFL History)

10. Bart Starr Packers 1956-71
-114 AV, 113 rate+, 11 good seasons, 3 over 120, 1 over 140, 9-1 in the playoffs with a quarterback rating over 100 and five titles. That's a big game quarterback.

9. Dan Marino Dolphins 1983-99
-216 AV, 113 Rate+ Did you know his middle name is Constantine? And Unitas too?  Creepy.  One subpar year, his last, at the age of 38, 3 in the 120s and 1 in the 140s, his regular season profile looks a lot like Brady's, say a tick below.  Not much help in the playoffs, rating in the high 70s, below .500 record.

8. John Elway Broncos 1983-98
-203 AV, 105 Rate+ If you think its a low Rate+ it is, a half dozen subpar years, only one year above 120.  Added 33 with his legs.  14 playoff wins, which is a bunch, rating was a tick below 80. One SB performance in the top 30 ever through 2015.  

7. Drew Brees Saints 2001-
-207 AV, 3 seasons of 130+ rate+ as of 2015, only 1 season below 110 since he turned 25. His playoff quarterback rating is over 100. 

6. Fran Tarkenton Vikings 1961-78
-236 AV, 114 Rate+ And the legs, 32 scores and 5.4 yards a carry. A little better than Marino, one subpar season, 4 seasons in the 120s, 1 in the 130s. The playoffs were not good, rating under 60. A ton of bad SB losses.

5. Steve Young 49ers 1985-99
-171 AV, 126 Rate+ In his full seasons as a starter, crossed 120 twice, 130 twice, 140 twice, added a bunch of rushing value 43 touchdowns, playoff rating in the mid 80s, his SB game was crazy, the second best of all time.  

4. Brett Favre Packers 1991-10
--255 AV, 109 Rate+ was still great even at 40, with a 129 rate+, only had a couple other seasons in the 120s and 1 in the 130s. Good in the playoffs, mid 80s rating, a top 20 all time quarterbacked SB game.

3. Joe Montana 49ers 1979-94
-164 AV, 123 Rate+ Not quite as good as Young as a regular season quarterback, never had a bad season, 4 in the 120s, 2 in the 130s, 1 in the 140s -- and then came the playoffs, 16 wins, a quarterback rating in the mid 90s, 5 game winning playoff drives, the 4 titles and the best Super Bowl career in NFL history, through 2015, Montana had the best SB, the 5th best, and the 11 best for a quarterback.   

2. Tom Brady Patriots 2000-
-223 AV, 223 games started through 2015, never had a bad season, one above 120, one above 130, one above 140.  22 playoff wins, a playoff quarterback rating of 88, 9 game winning playoff drives and the 4 titles.  He doesn't have a super elite SB performance, but 3 of his games are in the top 30 all time.  Lot to like.

1. Peyton Manning Colts 1998-2015
-271 AV, 2 subpar seasons, the first and last,  7 over 120, 1 over 130, and in 2004 a 151 Rate+. the best season on the board.  Good in the playoffs, a rating in the high 80s, and he won the two titles, despite never having a good SB performance. No question he's the best regular season quarterback ever.  No question Montana is the best SB quarterback ever.  Brady combines both.  Through 2015, I think it's Manning, but Brady has more games still to play.

The Weekly Tendown February 5-11 2012(The Newt or Schrute Edition)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dear Internet:

To the dude perched on St Rte 7 in Royal Palm Beach Florida with the Newt Gingrich sign on his car.

The Gingrich tax plan would add 1.3 trillion to the deficit in just 2015.


Because the top 1% would get an average tax cut of $343,3993 in 2015.

So, while I'm sure the top 1% appreciates your carrying their water, perhaps you want to reconsider your political analysis.

113 is here. This is Tendown 114.

1. Sorry

I was wrong about the Super Bowl.  I expected the member of Public Enemy that Tom Coughlin would be hugging post-game would be Professor Griff.  Fight the powers that be, Coach.

As a makeup, consider investing on Adele for Record of the Year, which you can still get at the not wholly unreasonable price of -500 (unlike Album and Song which are too expensive to seriously consider).  When I first started talking about the Grammys, the price was a little better, and a week ago it was still -400 (if you can find a parlay for all 3 awards, consider it).

I don't know the over/under on Whitney references, but I'm guessing none will be as fun as Al Sharpton's being asked his favorite Whitney Houston song last night in the immediate aftermath of her death.    That's how the news works; celebrity has what is almost certainly a drug related death - the obvious go to is Al Sharpton to hum a few bars of "My Name is Not Susan."

2. Brian Sabean is Bad at His Job.
Keith Law (behind the firewall) ranked every organization's farm system - SFG is 26th.:

The Giants don't go much over MLB's recommended draft bonuses, never seem to acquire any prospects in trades and haven't had success on the international front yet.

He then ranked the top 100 prospects in baseball; the Giants have one, Gary Brown, and then there's Zack Wheeler:

Wheeler was stolen from the Giants for two months of Carlos Beltran's services in a deadline deal that should benefit the Mets for much of this decade.   

If only this could have been seen in advance.  Here's me from July.

I'd rather be able to say, as most Giants mainstream analysts have, "this is a great trade."  If it were someone else's team, I'd rather be able to say "short sighted losers, giving away the future for an over the hill borderline Hall of Famer today."

3. Liberté, égalité, fraternité

So, my best opportunity at a really good full time teaching position in the fall fizzled away this week; so as I write this, no one in my house has health insurance.

Which is cool with this week's big primary winner, Rick Santorum.  As he not only thinks any movement away from health insurance existing only through full time employment to be bad social policy - he sees it as a step closer to the guillotine

It was a secular revolution on which we relied on the goodness of each other. This is the left’s view of where America should go. And of course where did France go? To the guillotine. To tyranny. If there are no rights that government needs to respect, then what we see with ObamaCare is just the beginning of what government will do to you. 

No birth control.  No heath insurance.  Santorum 2012.

4. The Best Piece You'll Read this Week:
An Excerpt from Thomas Frank's new book: Pity the Billionaire.

5. The Best Tumblr You'll See This Week:

Mike used to be one of the flyer dressers too.

What the F*** is Michael Jordan Wearing?

6. The Best Piece You'll Ever Read About a Revolting Former SNL Castmember.

It's Victoria Jackson.

7. Cee Lo is a Bond Villain
He's an internationally known singer deviously attempting to scrub all anti-establishment political messages from iconic songs.

8. I Watch Wrestling
I began my look at 2012 professional wrestling this week by watching the balance of my 2011 matches.

Here were the 4 star matches:

Dec BJ Sekimoto/Okabayashi v. Suwama/Soya 4
Dec DG Yoshino v Ricochet 4
Dec DG Hulk/Tozawa v. Shingo/Yamato 4 ½
Dec DG Cima v Mochizuki 4
Dec NOAH Go v Aoki 4
Dec ROH Steen v Corino 4
Dec ROH Richards v. Edwards 4 ¾

Mine is a minority opinion on Richards/Edwards from Final Battle; I'm largely disinterested in crowd reaction; a meal you don't like doesn't impact my evaluation of the meal.  It was a helluva match and the current clubhouse leader in the race for 2012 Match of the Year. 

9. Here's Greenwald

10. I Got 6 out of 10.

That's all for this time.  I'll be back next time.  If there is a next time...

Your pal,


The 25 Best Professional Wrestling Matches of 2012/Best WWE/TNA Matches of 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

My Top 25 Matches of 2011 and my choice for the best wrestler of the year are here.

This will be an ongoing list of every 4 1/2+ star match in the world I see in 2012; I use Meltzer's calendar, so 2012 actually starts in December, 2011, and those are the matches I'm watching right now (I'm through November, 2012 I'll edit all year long). I'll also keep a running total of any 4 star matches from WWE and TNA.

Based on the past few years, I'll see just short of 50 matches that will make this list.

Edit - I'm at the end of the year.  Here's the 25 Best Matches This Year and the Best Wrestler of 2012.

1. Match of the Year: Kota Ibushi (The Wrestler of the Year) v. Kenny Omega (DDT August) 5
2. Richards v. Elgin (ROH March) 5
3. Richards v. Elgin (PWG September) 4 3/4
4. Omega v. Kai (AJPW May) 4 3/4
5. Low Ki/BxB Hulk/Tozawa v. Pac/Mochizuki/Ricochet (DGUSA March) 4 3/4
6. Kotaro/Aoki v. Marvin/Crazy (NOAH, March) 4 3/4
7. Richards/O'Reilly v. Edwards/Cole (March, ROH) 4 3/4
8. Richards v. Edwards (December, 2011 ROH) 4 3/4
9. Morishima v. Go (NOAH July) 4 1/2
10. Ibushi v. Generico (DDT September) 4 1/2
11. Ibushi v. Generico (DDT October) 4 1/2
12. Tanahashi v. Suzuki (NJPW October) 4 1/2
13. Yoshino/Gargano v. Fox/DKid (Oct DG) 4 1/2
14. CIMA/Fox v. Ricochet/Swann (July DGUSA) 4 1/2
15. Devitt v. Pac (NJPW, June) 4 1/2
16. Ibushi v. Generico (The Feud of the Year) (DDT May) 4 1/2
17. Bryan v. Punk (May, WWE) 4 1/2
18. Okada v. Naito (March, New Japan) 4 1/2
19. Tanahashi v. Okada (June New Japan) 4 1/2
20. Nakajima/Kensuke v. Otani/Hashimoto (Zero One, March) 4 1/2
21. Hulk/Tozawa v. Shingo/Yamato (December, 2011 Dragon Gate) 4 1/2
22. Steen v. Elgin (October ROH) 4 1/2
23. Nakajima v Tanaka (Diamond Ring, September) 4 1/2
24. Generico/Yoshino/Pac v. Tozawa/Steen/Super Dragon (Jan PWG) 4 1/2
25. Steen v. Generico (ROH March) 4 1/2

Generico v. Callihan (Evolve May) 4 1/2 

These are the four star matches from WWE/TNA:
1. Daniel Bryan v. CM Punk (May WWE) 4 1/2
2. Kurt Angle/AJ Styles v. Chris Daniels/Frankie Kazarian (June TNA) 4
3. Brock Lesnar v. John Cena (April WWE) 4
4. Jeff Hardy v. Austin Aries (October TNA) 4
5. CM Punk v. Chris Jericho (April WWE) 4
6. James Storm v. Bobby Roode (Ocrtober TNA) 4
7. Bobby Roode v. RVD (May TNA) 4
8. Kurt Angle v. AJ Styles (May TNA) 4
9. Kurt Angle v. Jeff Hardy (April TNA) 4
10. Undertaker v. HHH (April WWE) 4
11. The Shield v. Bryan/Kane/Ryback (Dec WWE) 4
12. Austin Aries v. Jeff Hardy (Nov TNA) 4
13. CM Punk v. John Cena (Sept WWE) 4
14. AJ Styles v. Chris Daniels (July TNA) 4
15. Kurt Angle/AJ Styles v. Chris Daniels/Frankie Kazarian (Sept TNA) 4
16. AJ Styles v. Chris Daniels (Dec TNA)
17. Chavo Guerrero/Hernandez v. AJ Styles/Kurt Angle v. Chris Daniels/Frankie Kazarian (Oct TNA) 4
18. Austin Aries v. Bobby Roode (July TNA) 4

My 2012 NBA All Star Rosters

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

As of Tuesday morning, we're still only 2/3 of the way through the first half of the season, so by the time we actually get to the midpoint, these rosters could change.  But since starters have already been named and reserves are coming Thursday, it's time for my all star rosters.  The primary metrics I'm using are Hollinger's and Win Shares.

C Howard
F Bosh
F James
G Rose
G L. Williams

C Chandler
F Anderson
F Monroe
G Jennings
G Johnson
F Iguodala
F Boozer

Obviously a little big heavy, Irving/Wade/Deron Williams are just behind Boozer and that would be worth a revist as we get closer to 33 games in.  Anderson/Monroe would both be defensible over Bosh as a starter; the off guard spot is obviously weird with Wade's injury.


C MGasol
F Love
F Durant
G Paul
G Bryant

C Bynum
F Aldridge
F  Millsap
G Harden
G Westbrook
F PGasol
G Parker

Griffin/Pau Gasol/Millsap are close; there's no crime in leaving any off - Nash and Lowry are right behind Parker/Westbrook.   Gallinari got hurt last night or he'd be in this backup mix also.  I think the West starters are fairly clear.

Top 40 Seasons in Baseball History

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

MLB Network did a countdown of the 40 best seasons in baseball history; they only considered 1940 forward, for purposes of highlights, one assumes.  This is that list, next to each player is the combination of their WARP/WAR for the season (Davenport+B-Ref) and then a player from the same year with a higher number (meaning a better year) if that player can be found.  Additionally, if that player had a better season elsewhere, I'll note that too.  A total of 16 is an MVPquality season, 18 is an elite season, 20 is an inner circle season.  No one under 18 should be on this list.  In fact, I'll say no one under 19 should be on this list. If you divide all of the below totals by 2 you'd get the wins above replacement for that season, I just don't feel like doing that last step. Think of it as your interaction with the text. I think MLB put this list together without benefit of the advanced metrics group they're using now to put together the best current active players.

40. Fred Lynn 1975 (13.9) He was better in 1979 (15.5). Better, and not by a little bit, in '75 was Joe Morgan (23).
39. Al Rosen 1953 (19.4). This was Rosen's career year; he and Robin Roberts each were 19.4.
38. Alex Rodriguez 1996 (17.5). His best year was 2000 (20). Better in 1996 was Barry Bonds (21.3)
37. Tommy Holmes 1945 (15.1) His career year.  Better in '45 was Hal Newhouser (19.9)
36. Albert Pujols 2003 (20.3). His career year.  If you hit 20, it's silly to say anyone was better, unless we have a 22-23, but Bonds was 20.6 in 2003.
35. Ken Griffey 1997 (18.2) Griffey's career year. Better in '97 was Roger Clemens (22.1)
34. Jim Rice 1978 (13.7) Rice's career year.  Phil Niekro was better (17)
33. Hank Greenberg 1940 (13.1) He had better seasons before '40, and also one after this in '46 (14.8). Bob Feller was 19.6.
32. Rod Carew 1977 (18.9). Carew's career year. He was the best player in '77.
31. Robin Yount 1982 (20.1). Yount's career year. He was the best player in '82.
30. Eric Gagne 2003 (13.2). His best season and a really good season for a closer.  Pujols was better and Bonds was better than Pujols.
29. Mark Fidrych 1976 (16.3) His career year.  Morgan (17.9) was better.
28. Hank Aaron 1957 (14.5).  Had at least a half dozen better years than this.  Mickey Mantle (22.1) had a better '57.
27. Nolan Ryan 1973 (15.9). His best year.  Joe Morgan (19.9) had a better year.
26. Sammy Sosa 2001 (22.4) His best year. Bonds was better and at 24.8, the current best year on the board.
25. Vida Blue 1971 (16.6) Vida's best year. Fergie Jenkins (19.8) was better.
24. Roger Maris 1961 (10.6) Maris was better in '60 (13.5). Mantle (20.1) was considerably better in '61.
23. Joe Morgan 1976 See #29.
22. Willie Mays 1955 (18.8) Mays had a half dozen better years, but he was also the best player in '55
21. Fernando Valenzuela 1981 (12.7). His best year; Schmidt (16.7) was better.
20. Mark McGwire 1998 (17.3). Mac's best year. Bonds (19.1) it shouldn't surprise you, was better.
19. Roger Clemens 1986 (17.1). Clemens had a couple of better years, his best was in Toronto (see #35). Teddy Higuera had about the same year (17.2)
18. Dwight Gooden 1985 (25).  Not only Gooden's best year and the best year for '85 - it's the new best year on the board.
17. Ron Guidry 1978 (17.8). His best season - he was the best player in '78.
16. Stan Musial 1948 (21.2) Musial's best season.  He was the best player in '48.
15. Frank Robinson 1966 (17). His best season was '62 (17.7). Koufax (21.5) was the best player in '66.
14. Greg Maddux 1995 (19.5). His best season. He was baseball's best player.
13. Mickey Mantle 1956 (22.4). His best season. He was baseball's best player.
12. Denny McLain 1968 (14.3). His best season. The best player in '68 is still to come on the list.
11. Carl Yastrzemski 1967 (21.5). Yaz's best season. He was best player in '68.
10. Joe Dimaggio 1941 (19.2). His best season. Best player in '41 is a couple of spots away.
9. Randy Johnson 2001 (15.7). Had a couple of seasons a bit better, like '02 for example. See #26 for the best season in '01.
8. Ted Williams 1941 (21.3) He had a better year in '46 (22.8). He was baseball's best in '41.
7. Orel Hershiser 1988 (17.1). His best year. He was baseball's best.
6. Sandy Koufax 1965 (17.9) Was better in both '66 and '63. Mays was best (21.5).
5. Pedro Martinez 1999 (18.2). His best year was the next one, (21.1). He was best player in '99.
4. Steve Carlton 1972 (25). His best year, the best year in '72 and tied with Gooden as the best year on the list.
3. Bob Gibson 1968 (24.9). His best year, he was best in '68.
2. Jackie Robinson 1949 (20.2) His best year, he was best in '49.
1. Barry Bonds 2004 (23.6). His best year was '01, Barry was best in '04.

If you're thinking about all of baseball history - here is a list of the inner circle (20+) seasons. All of them after '40 could have been on this list.  There are 42 of those inner circle seasons below; were you doing a list of the 40 best seasons after 1940, you'd start with those.  There are 90 seasons total listed below, I could probably do a 100 best seasons in baseball history post someday.

Ruth: 1919, 1920, 1921, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1927, 1931
Bonds: 1992, 1993, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2004
Mays: 1954, 1958, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965
Walter Johnson: 1910, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915
Cobb: 1910, 1911, 1917
Clemens: 1990, 1997
Wagner: 1908
Musial: 1948
Williams: 1941, 1942, 1946
Henderson: 1990
Hornsby: 1921, 1924, 1929
Collins: 1913
Gehrig: 1927
Seaver: 1971
Alexander: 1915, 1916, 1920
Mantle:  1956, 1957
Morgan: 1975
Ripken: 1984, 1991
Mathewson: 1908, 1909
Carlton: 1972
Perry: 1972
Gibson: 1968, 1969
Foxx: 1932
Yaz: 1967
Pe  Martinez=2000
      Clarkson=1885, 1887, 1889
      Caruthers=1886, 1887
      Walsh=1908, 1910, 1912
      Radbourn=1883, 1884
      Koufax=1966, 1963
      Jackie Robinson=1949
      Guy Hecker=1884
      Silver King=1888


The Weekly Tendown January 29-February 4 2012 (Super Bowl 46 Sunday)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dear Internet:

Was the best regular season dunk ever this week?

This is Tendown 113.  112 is here.

1. Hey Fitty, Can You Paypal Me?
From 50 Cent's Twitter:

Blogger Template created by Just Blog It