Super Bowl Summary

Who knows? For the first time in history, I didn’t watch it. The cheaters Patriots won, apparently on a really stupid play call. If the play would have worked, it would have been a brilliant play call. So it goes.

This is the first Super Bowl in ages where I didn’t watch any of it on TV. I didn’t see the game, I didn’t see the commercials, I didn’t see Katy Perry. I did clean four or five hours worth of shows off the DVR with the Spousal Unit and the PsychoPuppies.

I don’t feel unfulfilled.

One of my friends complained that the US wastes an incredible amount of time on the game, and then confessed he would watch. That’s when I decided I didn’t really care. I don’t have any ties to the Seahawks and I hate the Patriots, so why waste the time?

I have a feeling it’s people like me that cause advertisers to leak their commercials on the Internet before the game.

To all those who are hung-over this morning, drunk with victory or defeat, did your lives actually change?Did the fact forty-five guys you don’t know ran into another forty-five guys over four or five hours really make you feel that much better today? How many people heard, “Hey, the Patriots won! Everybody gets a bonus!” (Other than the team.)

We waste a lot of time on sports. Sometimes, I choose not to waste time on sports, and I don’t feel I’ve missed that much. Yesterday was one of those times.

Now, can we start counting down to Spring Training?

Super Bowl vs World Series

This is an ode to four hours of my life I will never get back.

The Super Bowl is one game, winner-take-all. Sure, it’s at the very end of the season, and the two teams have survived the rest of the playoffs, but it’s still only one game, so it’s sudden-death. So, occasionally, you get one team that appears to be completely unprepared and they get massacred. The 2014 Super Bowl was over about 12 seconds in – if you’re in the championship game, and you can’t get the center and the quarterback on the same page at the beginning of the first play, you’re gonna lose. This means a lot of people just tune out – what’s the point in watching? Once one team has a certain margin with a certain amount of time left, the game is pretty much over.  It isn’t over ’till it’s over, but sometimes it is.

Now, consider the World Series, whether or not you consider the “World” part a valid claim. You start your ace pitcher in Game 1. He strides confidently to the mound, and promptly gets shelled. Nothing works. He’s walking people, he’s giving up hits. Runs are coming in. You pull him in the third inning. Embarrassing. Fatal? Not by a long shot. Either your offense rallies, your relievers stop the bleeding, or you just write off the game, and start planning for the next night, when you have another pitcher to send to the mound. It isn’t over ’till it’s over, and you have to lose four games to really lose. Sure, you can get swept, but at least you don’t lose hope 3/4ths of the way through the game. In baseball, you can always win in the ninth. Or the tenth. Or the sixteenth. No matter how many runs they score, you’re going to get your chance to swing for the fences.

Which do you prefer?

If you’re a sports widow, I’m sure you prefer the Super Bowl, since there is only four hours of screaming and gnashing of teeth. Well, maybe only four hours. Of course, the pre-game was another four hours. 

If you were cheering for the Broncos yesterday, which do you prefer?

So glad that’s over

Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers, the winners of the Metroplex’s first Super Bowl. The national anthem sucked, the halftime show really sucked, but the game was actually pretty good – which is how it should be.

I poked around Wikipedia (so double-check the facts), and this was actually the third Super Bowl in Texas – Houston has had two – Super Bowl VIII (Miami’s second consecutive win, the year after the perfect season) and Super Bowl XXXVIII (Patriots over the Panthers.)

Given how incredibly bad many people (including me) think JerryWorld’s halftime show was yesterday, I looked at the halftime shows for the Houston games. 1974? The UT Longhorn Band (which would piss off Aggies, but at least it’s within the State.) 2004? Nipplegate.

I must have zoned out on this, because I never realized Nipplegate was in the Great State of Texas.

So, we didn’t get anyone local (Kelly Clarkson? Willie Nelson? ZZ Top? Jack Ingram? The Robison Boys? Any number of thousands of Texas bands?) and we didn’t get any fun and excitement.

Note to future Super Bowl planners – if you ask a group to do a 15-minute set and they say they need two guest stars to pull it off, get another group.

Super Bowls in your town are a lot like weddings – there is a dull drumbeat that starts a year or two before the event, which grows louder and louder until it eclipses everything else, and then after a few hours, it’s over.(I am very grateful Lotusphere was last week, so I missed much of the hype.)

Was it really worth all the pain?

I’ll wait to see the local financial numbers for a final answer, but I would have to say “No” at this point.

Some of the issues I see:

  • The home team was from Wisconsin, over 1,000 miles from JerryWorld. As I said on the Bleacher Report yesterday, that’s not really a home team.
  • Dallas got blamed for having winter weather. In February. May I remind people NYC can’t shovel snow, either, and they get this every freakin’ year?
  • The weather kept any number of people away, so a lot of stores, bars and restaurants probably have extra stocks today. Anyone having a Jack Daniels sale today?
  • A number of people with tickets didn’t actually have seats. They weren’t oversold – the seats didn’t exist. It’s not that they paid for outside, standing, watching TV “seats” (who were those idiots?), it’s that the Fire Marshal didn’t approve the temporary seating that was still being installed at game time. WTF?
  • Jerry didn’t set the Super Bowl attendance record – while it would have been perfect to have the record missed by the exact number of people denied seating, it was missed by more than that.
  • Wasn’t our last big snowstorm when Jerry had the NBA All-Star Game at the DeathStar? Who did he piss off?

I am probably in the minority on this, but after years of reading about Super Bowls and Olympics that barely break after the locals being promised a huge windfall, I’m really not sure what we got out of this, other than Jerry’s ego is probably larger now than ever, if that were even possible.

I wonder what happened to the guy with two nosebleed seats for $57,000 EACH on StubHub?

Substitutes

Why is it that coaches and general managers continue to think having a body around is “good enough” as a backup? The concept that you have a starter who will always play because he’s never going to get hurt is just not valid in the NFL.

When Tony Romo went down with a fractured collarbone last night, Jon Kitna came in to run the team. However, he’s not practiced (Romo runs the first team), he’s not of the same temperament (he’s much older) and he’s not as mobile. How is this a substitute?

A substitute anywhere else in the universe is “something that’s pretty close you use instead of what’s required.” A substitute for the Cowboys is “somebody that doesn’t cost too much.” Oops.

Didn’t we go through this the last time Romo got hurt? We had another elderly QB who I’m sure is good at team leadership but wasn’t very effective on the field.

If you have one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, you can only afford to have a recycled QB on the bench if your starter is never going to be gone for any length of time. Otherwise, it’s like replacing a Mac with a PC – they’re both computers, but none of your programs work.

This season was pretty much done before last night, but I’m pretty sure it’s over now. Maybe this time (third time’s a charm), the Cowboys will get a backup that is similar, just not as good and not completely different.

Perhaps the problem is the term itself – “substitute” or “second-string” sounds like a lesser quantity. A better term would be “understudy” – someone who knows the role intimately and is ready to take over at a moment’s notice and perform almost as well as the principal without changing any of the parts. Unfortunately, we don’t have an understudy for Tony Romo.

Mental Mistakes

I’m very happy that the Australian baseball season is about to start since there is no point in watching the Dallas Cowboys this year, unless you enjoy pain. With a 1-4 record (actually not the worst in the league, but pretty bad), they’re done. Theoretically, they could start winning, but trends say that is very unlikely.So, since nobody else will say it out loud, I will. They’re done. See you next year.

The new plan for the Cowboys to get to the Super Bowl? StubHub.

The most annoying part of the Cowboys season is that one of the major reasons they keep losing is penalties. Penalties are assessed when you break the rules. The kind term for “not following the rules” is “mental mistakes.” The other term I hear is “lack of discipline.”

Here’s a question that always bothers me – How can you play a game for a living and not know the rules? If you’re at a pro level, you’ve probably been playing for a long, long time. You should have it memorized. Granted, if you do something stupid (horse collars come to mind) and the rules change, you may need a while to remember, but holding has been holding for a long time. Pass interference hasn’t changed in a while.

Why are sports different from other jobs? I have rules I have to follow. When the rules change, my boss tells me. However, he doesn’t have to call me every week to remind me all my business travel needs pre-approvals and I can’t fly first-class. I know this. I was told once, and we have a rulebook I can check if I don’t remember. That was enough.

If I do break the rules (I decide to go visit a customer in France, so I just book a first-class ticket and go), does my boss get fired while I stay? Somehow, I doubt it. However, in sports, the coach (or manage) tend to take the blame for players not following the rules.  I think it’s because it’s easier to fire and replace one person than forty.

Why don’t players get fired? It’s not like there aren’t other people that want to play pro sports. Sure, they’re “not as good”, but if you have a 1-4 team, what does “good” really mean?

I am very tired of hearing from the players that they are a “better team than their record.” You are judged on your record. If this team miraculously makes the playoffs, that will be the record in the books. If they continue a death spiral, that will be the record. I don’t expect to see the record book contain:

2010 Dallas Cowboys 6-10 (*)
* Team was actually a 14-2 team, they just lacked discipline.

So, I think it’s back to baseball, Australian or Texas Rangers style. Otherwise, you can watch the Cowboys but you’re just going to have to find a lot of synonyms for “suck.”

Time to Panic?

The Cowboys have now lost their first two games and some people are beginning to write off the entire season. This is one of the major failings of professional football – it has a really short season. There are sixteen games in seventeen weeks and then the playoffs. So, if you’ve lost two games, that’s 12.5% of your season. Ouch. It’s probably the shortest season in professional sports. Hell, even Ford Truck Month seems longer than football season.

Isn’t a longer season a better idea? In the American Association where the AirHogs play, with a 96-game season, two games is only a weekend. Two losses in a row aren’t even time for concern,  much less panic. It’s not even a trend. The AirHogs lost 13 games in a row to start the second half this year, recovered and were still in the hunt (at least mathematically) until late in the season. They didn’t even finish last in the division. (People did start to panic about game eight. By game eight in the football season, you’re half done.)

I’ve watched football even longer than baseball, but it never really hit me until this year that the length of the season leaves very little room for error in the NFL. There is no mercy for a slow start. This is unfortunate for a lot of football fans whose teams are a bit slow out of the blocks.

So, if you’re a Dallas Cowboys fan this year, there’s one new cheer you have to learn: “Go, Rangers!”

Baseball is better than football

The Dallas Cowboys lost in rather spectacular fashion to open their regular season last night, so I’m sure the usual panic calls will start on the radio today.  They’ve already started in the online press. You really wouldn’t think one loss would be a big deal, but in the NFL, it is. After 96 AirHogs games this season, I’m not really used to the concept of panic after one loss. That’s when I started thinking –

  • If the AirHogs had lost their 2010 opener (they didn’t), that would have been 1/96th of their games (1.04%), while the Cowboys did lose their opener, which is 6.25% (1/16th) of their season. An American Association team has more games against each of its division rivals than an NFL team has in its entire season.
  • By losing their opener, the Cowboys have now lost half the games they will play against the Washington Redskins this year, a huge problem.  By winning their opener, the AirHogs had won 5% of their games against the Pensacola Pelicans, a victory but a small one.
  • If the AirHogs lose at QTP, you’ve paid $12 or less to sit outdoors in the fresh air to watch a baseball game for three hours or so. If the Cowboys lose in the DeathStar, you’ve paid from $30 to thousands of dollars to sit (or stand) indoors for four hours to watch an hour of sports on a really big, distracting (and kick-attracting) TV set. You’ve probably paid more for your car to sit in the Texas heat at Cowboys Stadium than you did for a baseball ticket.
  • In baseball, you always have another day when you lose (except for the last day, of course.) So, you only have to wait 24 hours or so until you can watch the next game and have the team get back on a winning streak. If your team loses the first half of a double-header, you only have to wait twenty minutes. In football, you will have to wait a week to see if the team is really in trouble.
  • Nobody worries about baseball players playing a game the next day. People worry when football players have to play in less than a week.
  • Who’s ever heard a football player say “Let’s play two!!”?
  • In baseball defense, people are assigned to each base and areas of the outfield. In football on defense, you can switch from five people in front to four, but it requires years of retraining and you need a new coach and possibly new players.
  • In football, almost anyone on the field can draw a penalty (I’m looking at you, Alex Barron.) In baseball, a pitcher can balk or hit the batter (I’m looking at you, Mariano Rivera.) A batter can get ejected for a few random infractions. (I’m looking at you, Greg Porter.) The manager can get tossed for many issues, big and small. (I’m looking at you, Pete Incaviglia.) Who else can get in trouble? It’s not like an outfielder is going to get flagged for hugging one of the opponents during a play.
  • Baseball players play on offense and defense (except pitchers and designated hitters.) Football players are more limited.
  • Football players learn plays and have to remember an entire playbook (“I 31 Trap”, “Right Y Fly Pass.”)  This is so challenging, a coach often has to call the plays. Baseball players learn concepts (“Throw a strike, dumbass.”, “Hit it where they ain’t.”)
  • The playbook also means football players have to relearn how to play when traded. Baseball teams all hit the ball the same way.
  • Professional baseball players that need grooming and practice have the minor leagues. Professional football players that need grooming and practice have unemployment and reality TV shows (I’m looking at you, “Cops”.)
  • A baseball player that fails is spectacular fashion tends to disappear in the middle of the night. A football player that fails in spectacular fashion shows up the next game to possibly do it again. (Is Alex Barron really still on the Cowboys?)
  • In baseball, you can always win in the bottom of the ninth of a home game. If you’re ahead in the middle of the ninth at home, you get the rest of the game off. In football, you’re always on the clock.
  • In football, receivers run the wrong routes, and quarterbacks throw to the wrong place. Baseball runners rarely run to the wrong base.
  • There are more referees than umpires. This cannot possibly be a good thing.
  • If you wear a cap and glove to a baseball game, you’re just a fan. If you wear a helmet and pads to a football game, you’re a dork.

How long is it until Spring Training starts?