Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Action Football! Episode 13

Just like we promised, a new episode nice and early for Turkey Day!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Read and enjoy, nerds.

Here's some interesting analysis of the impact of sacks.

Who knew nothing happened in football for, like, a week and a half?

Or, at least that's the impression you'd get by reading this blog.

With all the topics that could get discussed (is Cassel really the next Tom Brady? can Brett Favre take the Jets to the Super Bowl? will Detroit find a way to blow a bigger lead than 17 points this year?), let's take a minute to consider the last few weeks for Donovan McNabb. First, two weeks ago the Eagles battled the mighty Cincinnati Bengals to a 13-13 tie. After the game, McNabb said that he had no idea a game could end in a tie. Which is mind-boggling. Like, I'd understand if my wife was unaware that NFL games could end in ties. I'd even understand if casual football fans didn't know. Christ, even people who regularly watch NFL games aren't always aware of the rules (for instance, a friend to remain nameless, until recently thought that if a punt returner called for a fair catch and then let the ball drop, the ball was live...yeah, not so much). But for an "all-pro" quarterback, the leader of the team, to not know the situation he's in? That's absurd. (And honestly, how is it that the coaching staff wasn't like, "Okay, Donovan, we need to get this ball in field goal range for a shot at winning this game; it is literally our last shot"?)

In the aftermath of McNabb's admission, there have been other players claiming they didn't know about the tie rule, some players saying that between 50 and 70% of the players probably didn't know, which I'd guess is between 30 and 50% overestimated.... My favorite part about the article is Hines Ward saying:
I thought we were the last team to do it when we played the Falcons. I thought you just played until you had a winner. It’s kind of weird that you can still tie ball games.
Well, Hines, you're right: you were the last team to do it in that the most recent game to end in a tie was the Steelers/Falcons game in 2002. If, however, you mean "last team" like "last team ever to possibly tie", then that would have required a rule change. And why someone would just assume there'd been a rule change is beyond me.

So anyway, "to tie or not to tie"... water under the bridge. Then, last weekend Andy Reid benches McNabb against the Ravens. At the time, the Eagles were down by just three points, 10-7, but for some reason, Reid felt that Kevin Kolb gave Philadelphia the best shot at winning the game. (Unfortunately, a 26-0 second half didn't play out that way.) Rochester and I have discussed the Mike Holmgren Coaching Tree's legacy of game mismanagement before, and these past few weeks have added a ton more footnotes to that argument. The "Kolb for McNabb hafltime adjustment" shows the sort of over- and insight that it's no wonder that... you know, actually a crack at his drugged up criminal kids is just too easy.

At this point, it'll be a miracle if either McNabb or Reid are back with the organization next season, let alone both. If one would be back, I guess it'd be Reid, but even that chance is pretty fat.

And speaking of fat, how incredible is it to watch Charlie Weis's continued woes at Notre Dame? The only thing better than that smug piece of "offensive genius" dog doo chalking up some of the worst seasons in the history of the University of Football in America is the fact that Regis Philbin and all of the other Golden Domer boostards are on the hook for another seven years and, like, $16 million! And with the economy the way it is, they'll be lucky if they can buy him out before about 2010.

Hey, now I know what I can be thankful for on Thursday!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Action Football! Episode 12

Click to stream, or download via iTunes.

And a note to all of you "turkeys" out there, with so pro games on Thanksgiving Day and college games the day after, we're gonna be putting next week's show up on Tuesday night. (Well, it might be past your bedtime, but it'll be available Wednesday morning at the very least.)

That way, you don't have to worry about lurching blindly into a holiday weekend, unarmed with the sort of top notch analysis and insight you can only get from Action Football!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Watch the girl in the raincoat....

She's like an adorable pinball!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Action Football! Episode 11

Click to stream or subscribe with iTunes.

An interesting article in the New York Times today about the dangerous lives of wedgebusters.

I remember reading about Teddy Roosevelt's intervention, which, if I'm not mistaken, lead to the legalization of the forward pass. (He was prompted to threaten to abolish the game because fatal injuries began occurring at an incredible rate: I'm pretty sure it was something like four per game.)

Anyway, while the article itself was interesting, it could have benefited by having one part edited. Or cut outright:
These kickoff plays, like the Flying Wedge of old, involve players running downfield at high speed before contact. There is no need to major in physics to calculate the results, but Blackburn, who studied mathematics at Akron, can do the math.

“When two offensive linemen or defensive linemen are coming together, you’re looking at 600 pounds coming at you,” Blackburn said. “A lot of just brutal, brutal contact in that situation.”
Soooo basically the "math" that studying mathematics at Akron will allow you to do is...second grade addition? Wow. Good for you, Blackburn.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Scenes from a Sinking Ship...

We all know that the Oakland Raiders are a horrible organization, now with no offensive coordinator. And, I have pointed out how rough a place their stadium can be, but these images really kind of sum up what a shitty fucking place that is to play or watch a game.
PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket One, that's a full body pat down. Two, look at the shit this dude has on. A black tank top? Only in Oakland.

On the pro prospects of Rochester's Dark Horse darling....

No one, save Graham Harrell's mother, probably really expects him to amount to anything in the NFL, but an interesting comparison to Andre Woodson at The Grand National Championships.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

If you like football and you're also a nerd...

Check out Advanced NFL Stats.

On a related note, I tried reading The Hidden Game of Football once. It was pretty interesting, but I couldn't finish it because the attempts at humor were really grating. For all the alternative methods of measuring statistical success that were laid out in the book, the only one that stuck with me was an early mention of what constitutes a successful play. Basically, (as I recall) on first down a minimum gain of 40% of the distance remaining (so, four yards on a first and ten), 60% of remaining on second down, and 100% on third or fourth down were positive plays. Pretty logical, but it has changed, albeit subtly, the way I've watched football*.

* The last time something I read changed the way I watched the game was from either an interview with or from One Knee Equals Two Feet by John Madden where he advocates focusing on the offensive line at the snap. Before, I tended to watch the quarterback, but the movement of the line will tell you the nature (pass or run) and direction of the play well before whatever the quarterback does.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Action Football! Episode 10

You Betcha!

As some of you may have noted, Action Football! has been scary in its accuracy of predictions of games. I called NC State's upset over ECU and I nailed the score and winner in the JMU v. Appalachian State game. Buddy also nearly called the score of the NC State v. USF game one week. It has gotten so good that I am going to start handing out sports advice. If you choose to use it for unscrupulous reasons, then I am not to blame. I mean, I have dabbled in a bit of sports betting from time to time. It is one of my few vices. Let us look ahead:

GAME 1: Jacksonville (-7) at Detroit
I look at this one like this. Detroit is an awful team. Just awful. And Jacksonville is a disappointing team. So it make perfect sense that Jacksonville would be spotted 7 points on the road in sunny Detroit. I don't think Detroit will win this one, but I don't expect the Jags to beat the spread. They are 2-6 versus the spread this year, towards the bottom of the league. TAKE DETROIT.

(Rochester drinks a tall boy of Miller High Life) Okay, so maybe I have a couple more vices. So what?

GAME 2: Kansas City (+15) at San Diego
Gambling makes bad teams and bad games a bit more watchable. These are back-to-back picks for crap-tastic teams and disappointing teams. Kansas City is borderline unwatchable. However, last week they crushed the spread at home versus Tampa Bay behind the running of Christian Okoye's bastard son. Kansas City is 4-4 versus the spread. I wonder when Roger Godell is just go on and make that the NFL's official scoring system. San Diego is 3-5 and this is a huge spread to try and cover. TAKE KANSAS CITY.

(Rochester snorts a line a powder off the back of his hand) What? It's headache powder.

GAME 3: Baltimore (-1) at Houston
Have you seen Baltimore play this year? Really? What do they look like? I have no idea. Is Elvis Grbac still their quarterback? How is Bam Morris running for them? This is really just a gut play. Do you think Baltimore is really a favorite on the road? Do you think that Houston can pull one off here with Sage Rosenfels? I look at the numbers. Baltimore is 6-2, but has not had a line like this all year. I hope you don't need this game to break even on Sunday. TAKE BALTIMORE.

(Rochester takes a long drag off of a long wooden pipe being held by an old Chinese man. Rochester sleeps for 4 hours and awakes looking a bit lost.) What? Where am I? Does someone have anything sweet?

GAME 4: New Orleans at Atlanta (50)
This is my lock. I love betting points. I love the look on people's faces when that lousy third string RB scores a meaningless touch down and ruins the points for them. Their eyes get all glassy as they start to shrink wrap in tears. And the best part is, there is no possible way to comeback from that. Needless to say, 50 points is a lot of points. These are two bad defenses, but 50 points! This is kind of a no brainer. TAKE THE UNDER.

Gambling is just one of my vices.
(Rochester take a short 28 day trip to Hazleden, Minnesota. Meets up with Joaquin Phoenix. They talk about doing a movie about a man who has the power to heal through his artistry in pies and donuts. It grosses $7.6 million domestically, but does very well internationally. Rochester, with his modest wealth relapses and comes back to Action Football! broke and still a bit of a gambler with a fairly steady drinking problem.)

Without a doubt, the Halloween costume of the year:


(from Deadspin)