August 26, 2009

Weekly TMQ Rejoinder - AFC Preview

I’m going to try something new this season: I’m going back to reading Gregg Easterbrook’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback column.  I stopped reading it because I normally can’t make it through the first few items without getting angry and yelling at my computer.  Now, dear reader, I’ll brave the column yet again for your entertainment.

I think I’m smarter than you.

First, this is obviously an entirely derivative endeavor.  I’m reacting to someone else’s work (TMQ) in the style of someone else’s work (Drew Magary’s hilarious weekly takedown of Peter King).  Since Drew is a vastly more talented and funny writer than I am, he took the more difficult target.  As annoying and weird as King is, he doesn’t often throw around loudly defended theories with glaring logical inconsistencies.


Touchdowns are pretty good stuff in football; players who produce touchdowns would seem to have value. Yet of the top 10 active NFL touchdown producers, six (Terrell Owens, Marvin Harrison, Edgerrin James, Joey Galloway, Tony Gonzalez and Torry Holt) were waived or traded in the offseason, while a seventh (LaDainian Tomlinson) was told to take a pay cut or hit the road … Of course, aging athletes often lose their ability to gain yards and score points -- though something tells me several mentioned in the above paragraphs will end up with more productive 2009 seasons than the younger players who got their roster slots.

Really?  You’re going to lead off your column complaining that some of the career leaders in touchdowns were cut or traded?  Here’s the thing active leaders in statistical categories have in common: they’re old and expensive.

In a salary capped league (and Easterbrook defends the salary cap at every opportunity), successful veterans at the end of their careers will become more expensive than they’re worth.

This is a familiar trope of TMQ - throw out some seemingly odd statistic without thinking through the potential causes or the potential effects a reversal would have.  Is there any way a team with Brett Favre, Terrell Owens, Edgerrin James, and Tony Gonzalez could possibly get under the salary cap?  And if they did, wouldn’t they suck due to an awful O-line and defense?


Why do agents advise holdouts? The good agents don't! … The market sets your contract value, not the agent. A good agent can improve a deal's details. But no agent has ever dictated how much a team pays a player, and no agent ever will.

Well, that’s a first, Easterbrook is claiming that the market determines the price of a good, not powerful and greedy white men.  Keep this in mind later when TMQ is polluted with Easterbrook’s odd blend of progressive/utopian dreaming of how the world could be so much better if people weren’t greedy.

As to the merits of his point, it may be a matter of semantics, but certainly agents can have a huge influence on a contract (see Scott Boras).  It’s odd to have the pro-labor Easterbrook claiming that players should accept an offer from the team without hard-line negotiating. 

I think he would feel very differently if this discussion were moved to a different industry, in which case he would be saying that labor unions don’t dictate salaries, they merely influence a deal, and that unions should never strike.  They should just trust the market to set salaries and trust management to offer that market salary. 

When you write 10,000 words a week, apparently you don’t have time to think through half the crap you spew.

Ugh, at least Peter King is a likable buffoon instead of a pretentious douchebag.

More next week.

1 Responses:

J-Red said...

I still read it because he says nice things about the Ravens. That's pretty much my evaluation standard.

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