Sports talk radio and the internet share common ground in that there's always more space than content. For every three-hour-game, there's a four-hour radio show and a string of posts that feed into established narratives that Joe Sportsfan knows and feels comfortable with. Alex Rodriguez Is Not a True Yankee. Allen Iverson Is a Thug. You Can't Trust Tony Romo. Eli Manning Is Elite. Eli Manning Is Not Elite.
The "[NFL Quarterback] Is/Is Not Elite" is my least favorite narrative in all of sports media because it eliminates any baseline of rational thought or statistical analysis. "Elite" is a moving target, with no agreed-upon definition, no set limit for membership, and no requisite accolades.
People question the elite-ness of quarterbacks like Eli Manning and Joe Flacco, because it's hard to watch them over the course of a season and not think they're a couple of middling chuckledoofs. Ah, but they have won Super Bowls!
Two minutes later, #FootballNuances trended worldwide. Such was the insight and wisdom of a hashtag.
Here's a solution to the elite debate: USE BETTER WORDS. Peyton Manning is a six-time All-Pro quarterback. Drew Brees is the only player in NFL history with multiple 5000-yard passing seasons. Joe Flacco is a Super Bowl MVP. Vince Young is a two-time Pro Bowl quarterback, and you can never take away those piña coladas he enjoyed.
Elite's a vague word, and the blurry edges of its definition is a forum for the most banal and enervating sports arguments. Let Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith be the rats to gnaw on that garbage; find something more nourishing for yourself.
Peyton? You need to knock it off with that seven-touchdown nonsense and start taking some sacks.
If there's one thing I want to showcase every week, it's Manningface. If there are TWO things, it's Manningface and players barfing.
"Look, it's Donovan McNabb in the Super Bowl!" says the laziest jokester on the internet. (Jon Bois put the fork in that one. Tell your friends.)
(GIF via @erikmal)
I've never met Greg Schiano, but I ran into his archetype almost every day in the military. The Marine Corps has many kinds of officers: inspiring leaders, regular dudes who are in over their heads, assholes focused on saving lives during combat, and assholes who just love being assholes. That's Greg Schiano: not an asshole who gets results, but an asshole who gets off on treating other human beings like crap. I hope he loses on a last-second field goal EVERY week.
Dude looks like Wicket in glasses.
Deadspin's Drew Magary on September 6th:
Like the Lakers and Yankees in their respective sports, the Cowboys serve as a kind of national magnet for shameless non-fans looking for a cheap sports thrill. They are the #1 favorite NFL team of empty-headed celebrities and NBA players who are far too shallow to pick any favorite team other than the most-covered, most winning, most obvious team possible.
Two days later:
Geno Smith wasn't great in his first start: 24/38 for 256 yards with a touchdown, an interception, and a fumble deep in Jets territory that led to an easy touchdown. But he wasn't bad, either, and "not bad" is a huge step up from Mark Sanchez, whose career as a starter in the NFL may be over.
I hope that's not true. Sanchez playing quarterback is such a beautiful disaster that I hope his awful career never ends. He isn't merely the worst starting quarterback in NFL history, he has become synonymous with being bad at quarterback.
ONE. MILLION. RESULTS.
The Thanksgiving buttfumble became so entrenched on SportsCenter's "Worst of the Worst" segment that the show retired the play after 40 consecutive weeks.
"We are retiring it this week due to the start of a new NFL season, and the feeling that it was time to start fresh," said Senior Coordinating Producer Mark Summer. "The ‘Butt Fumble’ has won the ‘Not Top 10′ each week since last Thanksgiving, and we’re not sure anything could top it."
That quote is an admission by a sports television professional that no athlete in the world could ever do something as bumbling as the buttfumble. ESPN recognized that its viewers would just keep voting to watch it every day because we, as humans, know that we're watching something perfect and incapable of being reproduced.
That's art, and I'd like to see more of it. Please, Rex Ryan: don't take away Mark Sanchez's paintbrush.
Every week this year, we'll close out Fumblr with a look at the frontrunner for the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. This week's honorees are the Jacksonville Jaguars, who managed just two points. At home. Against the Chiefs.
Enjoy Jadeveon Clowney, Duval County.
Strike that. Enjoy Teddy Bridgewater.