Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fools, Damn Fools, Rednecks and Predictions

I was going to take the day off today, but two things made me incredibly angry. One wasn't surprising, but it annoyed me and may make me change my political leaning. One is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Also, I'm tired of analysis. I need it to be Sunday.

First, President Obama has decided that he hates Wisconsin enough that he doesn't need their votes in 2012. With the political climate like it is right now, I'm surprised that the President would say anything to upset anyone. He already has approximately 60% of Wisconsinites that hate him, and by vocally rooting for the Bears to beat the Packers, he just alienated the other 40%, including me. On one hand I applaud him for sticking with his roots and cheering on his team. On the other hand, fuck the Bears and anyone that roots for them. Palin in 2012!

Second, there is this. From Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. I don't even know where to begin. I think I'm going to break this down Fire Joe Morgan-style. And I'm going to do it with little to no research other than my personal knowledge and a trip to Pro Football Reference (which I've heard is widely available on most internets), which HAS to be more than Mr. Souhan has, because there is no way he really believes what he wrote. (Actual text of article in italics. My responses in bold)

"If he wins his next two games, Packers coach Mike McCarthy will get to hold the Lombardi Trophy, that symbol of NFL excellence and homage to the presumed greatest coach of all time."

I would take out "presumed". They named the trophy after him.

"Which is funny, because if I had to win an NFL playoff game today, I'd rather have McCarthy on the sideline than ol' St. Vince."

I am going to guess you are going to explain why, and I'm also going to guess that you have never seen a Packer game in either era.

McCarthy will need to win about five Super Bowls before most Packers fans will elevate him to Lombardi's exalted status. I say he's already a better coach than Vinny, and any Packers fan who doesn't agree should get with the century and embrace modern developments. Such as electricity, and the forward pass.

Well, Lombardi won 5 championships in 7 years between 1961 and 1967, so I would go out on a limb and agree that McCarthy will need to win "about" 5 Super Bowls before I put McCarthy on the same level as Lombardi. Also, just because I don't have electricity doesn't mean I should agree with you.

Lombardi dominated 14- and 16-team leagues. To win his first four NFL titles, he had to win either one or two postseason games. Today, becoming the best of 16 teams and winning one or two postseason games would get you to the conference title game, a level reached by such legends as Jim Mora, Denny Green, Brad Childress and Steve Mariucci.

I guess McCarthy is better because there are more teams now. I suppose you could ignore the fact that they also played less games, and if you lost more than once, you didn't make the playoffs. I suppose you could ignore that a lower percentage of teams made the playoffs at all in the 1960's (4/16 vs. 12/32). Or that every team was more relatively stacked because there was less dilution of talent. Also, here are the coaches that are also apparently Lombardi-esque because they won at least two playoff games and got to the Super Bowl since the league had at least 31 teams: Brain Billick (2000), Mike Martz (2001), Jon Gruden (2002), Bill Callahan!!(2002), John Fox (2003), Lovie Smith (2006), Ken Wisenhunt (2008), Jim Caldwell (2009). So based on your argument so far, all of these coaches are better than Lombardi.

Lombardi took advantage of a league that viewed the forward pass as an occasionally necessary evil. The Packers who won the 1961 NFL title ranked ninth in the 14-team league with 168 passing yards per game.
If a McCarthy-coached team ever averaged 168 yards passing, he'd be Macalester's offensive coordinator the following year.
In today's NFL, the quarterback is the fulcrum of an elaborate and intricate mechanism featuring dozens of formations and hundreds of plays. In Lombardi's NFL, the quarterback was a UPS man, required to deliver a leather object from the center to the halfback.

So Lombardi was supposed to think ahead 50 years and run the spread offense. I suppose being 1st in the league in scoring in 1961 (and 1962) is meaningless. Clearly scoring 27.9 pts per game wasn't enough because passing is more fun to watch than gaining 8 yards on a sweep or something. For the record, McCarthy, clearly a superior coach and offensive mind, has led his team to 24.2 pts per game this year, 10th in the league. I bet if McCarthy averaged 168 yds passing per game, but his team led the league in scoring, he would not be Macalester's (whatever that is) Offensive Coodinator.

Lombardi dominated the NFL by demanding toughness from his players. That was easy when concussions were referred to as "seeing stars.''
In McCarthy's NFL, one more blow to Aaron Rodgers' head could end the season, and if he asked Rodgers to "gut it out,'' McCarthy would be subjected to public ridicule, if not legal action.
The NFL was so primitive during Lombardi's rise that he gained a marked advantage over the rest of the league by -- I'm not making this up -- making his players work out.
The level of physical fitness required by the average backup tackle in today's NFL made the Packers physically superior to the competition in the 1960s.

Games were also shown on black and white TV's, and many players from that era suffered and died from dementia. Also, clotheslining and body slamming opponents was encouraged and helmets were cheap and unsafe. How does this make McCarthy a better coach? Because he lost a game when Rodgers was forced out by injury? I'm sure nobody ever got injured when Lombardi coached, and players dragged broken legs around. And how does the fact that people were stupid and didn't exercise/work out/do steroids in 1960 make McCarthy better? Lombardi was a sort of pioneer in this "working out" thing. He gets dinged for gaining an advantage over other teams??? This makes no sense at all. In addition, the average backup tackle today is ten times more athletic than almost any player from the 1960's, and Jim Souhan.

Remember, Lombardi dominated a league that had yet to embrace the concept of the short pass. Lombardi became a coaching giant by emphasizing -- I'm not making this up -- the "sweep.''
Imagine if a current NFL coach tried to win with a playbook designed around the power sweep. Even Childress, who wanted to build his offense around power running when he took over the Vikings, eventually acknowledged that an intricate passing offense was necessary to win in today's NFL.

Again, I would point out that he scored more points using his "sweep" than McCarthy has using his "pass". The players today are bigger, faster and stronger on defense, which necessitates passing because running is extremely difficult. One could argue we aren't even discussing the same sport. If Lombardi was coaching today, do you think he would just sweep left and right all game if it wasn't working? Does Lombardi have to take his 1960's team and play it against the 2011 NFL? Because if that is true, then Mr. Souhan is probably right. I doubt Bart Starr could get dropped onto the field Sunday like it was 1961 and throw for 366 yards throwing to Max McGee.

In Lombardi's NFL, he could line up his assortment of indentured Hall of Famers and run over the opposition.
In an NFL filled with remarkably fast, powerful defenders, McCarthy has resorted to using three-back and five-receiver sets during the same drive.
Lombardi's team was never threatened by free agency or salary caps. McCarthy has been forced, because of free agency and injuries, to remake his team almost weekly. His best defender during the playoffs has been Tramon Williams, who was once released by Houston, and his best back has been James Starks, a rookie sixth-round draft pick.
Lombardi relied on one Hall of Fame quarterback, Bart Starr. McCarthy reinvigorated one Hall of Famer, Brett Favre, and may have created another in Rodgers.
Lombardi reaped the benefit of coaching on the Frozen Tundra, giving his players a dramatic home-field advantage. Today, Lambeau Field and its sidelines are heated, making Lambeau just another outdoor stadium to opponents.

Where to begin. Well first, your hall of famer argument just completely defeated your earlier argument about how much easier it was to win in a 16 team league. Doesn't it follow that if your team had a bunch of hall of famers, others did too? I know the Packers were the most talented team in the '60s, but I don't know too many that would not put today's Packers among the elite at least talent wise. How is McCarthy "better" in a "tougher era" when he had two hall of fame QBs versus one? And none of these other things is an argument that McCarthy is better than Lombardi, they are just arguments that the 1960's sucked compared to 2011.

Clearly, McCarthy is the better coach. But in the interest of even-handedness, we have to give Lombardi this: He was the better dresser.
McCarthy always looks like he just got done mowing the lawn. Lombardi dressed like a champ -- the champion of a small, backward, league.

No, McCarthy is not clearly a better coach. Lombardi did dress like a pimp.

I didn't see anything in this article about clock management or the use of challenges. But McCarthy is obviously better at the challenges than Lombardi could ever be because they didn't exist when dinosaurs roamed the earth in 1961.

This is the worst article ever written. Not only was it pointless, but it was poorly researched and incorrect. This guy got PAID to write this. It is incomprehensible.


I heard Jared Allen, who is by all accounts a genius, pick the Bears because "their defense has been so good all year". The Packers ranked 2nd in points allowed and 4th in yards allowed vs. The Bears 4th in points allowed and 9th in yards. Also, The Packers were 10th in points scored and 9th in yards while the Bears were 21st in points scored and 30th in yards. So, um, yeah, not only is the Packers defense statistically better, but they did it against a tougher schedule, and are playing against a far worse offense than the Bears defense is this week.


You know what? I'm tired of experts predicting this game. I'm not saying the Bears can't possibly win, because they can. I'm just saying if the Packers and Bears both play a typical football game, and neither side completely melts down, the Packers should win this game. They are better on offense AND defense. The only way I see the Bears winning is: an injury to Rodgers, or a return TD from Hester (not out of the question). I'll say 24-17 Pack.

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