Thursday, December 26, 2013

NFL Hall of Fame QBs: Current Players' Chances

Along with watching shady pirated game streams at work, I’ve been watching a lot of football highlights on YouTube and episodes of “A Football Life” as of late.  The playoffs are nearly here.  Living in Korea, football in general and the NFL specifically has become a long distance relationship for me, but the love is still there.  Apropos of nothing, I feel like talking about Hall of Fame Quarterbacks – current members as well as breaking down those most likely to be enshrined. 

The NFL Hall of Fame currently has 30 quarterbacks.  For the purposes of this post, I’m just going to call it 31 since the only thing that could prevent Brett Favre from being inducted on his first ballot is the apocalypse.  Kurt Warner is likely a shoo-in as well, but for now I’m going to leave him out of the conversation since his odds of going to Canton are slightly less than Favre’s 100%. 

We football fans (I use the we here, as I assume you must be a football fan if you’ve bothered to make it to the third paragraph) are experiencing the most prolific passing offenses in the history of the game.  Stats that I am too lazy to look up would probably show that Don Coryell and Bill Walsh would be considered run-oriented coaches if they were to run their exact offenses in today’s aerial focused game.  This begs the question – with such a pass-dominated league, are we currently witnessing the largest influx of quarterback talent in league history? 

The answer to this rhetorical question is probably yes, but I want to examine whether we are also watching the most Hall of Fame QB –rich season in history.  I think we can all agree that the only way Jay Cutler will ever be in Canton is if he’s invited to Brandon Marshall’s induction.  Yet, if Cutler time traveled to 1972, 1982, or even 1992 and somehow kept the same stats he puts up now, he would have been first ballot. 

If you are around my age, you probably recall the great quarterbacks of the 1980s and 90s.  In 1993 and 1994, the NFL boasted a whopping 8 future Hall of Fame starting  QBs.  The league had 28 teams at the time, so a remarkable 28.5% of teams started a hall of famer:

Kansas City – Joe Montana
Denver – John Elway
Buffalo – Jim Kelly
Dallas – Troy Aikman
San Francisco – Steve Young
Green Bay – Brett Favre
Miami – Dan Marino
Houston (1993)/Minnesota (1994) – Warren Moon

Surely, this was the most dense population of starting Hall of Fame quarterbacks, right?  Shockingly, no.  In 1971, there were 26 teams in the league, and NINE starting hall of fame signal callers.  Over a third of the league! 

New York Giants – Fran Tarkenton
Washington – Sonny Jurgensen
Green Bay – Bart Star
Dallas - Roger Staubach
Kansas City – Len Dawson
Baltimore – Johnny Unitas
New York Jets – Joe Namath
Miami - Bob Griese
Pittsburgh – Terry Bradshaw
Plus, for good measure, George Blanda threw a few passes for Oakland but was by no means the starter. 

Now, one could argue that a lot of those QBs are like prominent hitters in the dead ball era, and probably couldn’t beat out Alex Smith for a starting job today.  Other than a couple standout seasons and one super famous guarantee, Joe Namath was a pretty mediocre quarterback.  Yet, on that list of 1971 QBs, “Namath” was the only uncommon surname that spellcheck recognized.  I’ll save that argument for another day.

With these names in mind, let’s take a look at the quarterbacks of 2013 and weigh the hall of fame chances for each.  I’ll go division by division, and I’ll start with the AFC West, if for no other reason than the NFC East always gets to go first in these sorts of lists, so fuck them. 

AFC WEST

Kansas City – Alex Smith – Probably no chance.

Denver – Peyton Manning – As certain as Favre.  The NFL Hall of Fame is more likely to shut down entirely than it is to snub Peyton. 

San Diego – Phil Rivers – He seemed to have HoF potential at first and he’s had a solid year, but he had too many down years and too little postseason success. 

Oakland – Matt McGloin/Terrelle Pryor – I should probably put them in the “too early to tell” category, but I think it’s a pretty safe bet that these guys are not Hall QBs.

AFC NORTH

Pittsburgh – Ben Roethlisberger – Really tough call for Ol’ Rapey.  Successful team, 3 Super Bowl appearances, two wins, maybe the best game-winning TD pass of all time all point toward Canton.  Then again, when I watch Rapey play, I never feel like I’m watching one of the best players ever.  I don’t seek out his highlights or tune in to Steelers games to see him play.  I don’t think anyone else does either.  Plus, he’s a dirty rapist.  I’d say definitely not first ballot, and 50-50 overall without a whole lot of upward mobility there.

Cincinnati – Andy Dalton – the Bengals seem to win a lot with him, and he can play.  I’ll go with a too young to call for him, but he will have to do A LOT to get in.

Baltimore – Joe Flacco – He had pretty much the best postseason in NFL history last year, causing the Ravens to overpay him by 50 million dollars or so.  Unless he repeats his January 2013 performance a couple more times, he has no chance. 

Cleveland – This year’s plethora of Cleveland starting quarterbacks have roughly the same odds of making the NFL Hall of Fame as I do. 

AFC SOUTH

Tennessee – Jake Locker is still young, but I think he’s probably shown enough to assure he won’t be in the Hall.

Indianapolis – Andrew Luck – Still way too early to make a call, but I think he has the potential to make it.

Houston – Matt Schaub, Case Keenum – Both probably have roughly the same 0% odds as David Carr.

Jacksonville – no.

AFC EAST

New England – Tom Brady – Yes.  Bold call, I know. 

Miami – Ryan Tannehill – I think he’s a good player and I’d be happy to have him on my team.  I’ll cop out and throw him in the too young to pick category, but I’d lean heavily towards no.

New York Jets – Geno Smith – Too early to tell.

Buffalo Bills – EJ Manuel – Way too early to tell.

NFC WEST

Seattle – Russell Wilson – Too early to tell, but he’s look awful promising so far. 

San Francisco – Colin Kaepernick – ditto.

St. Louis – Sam Bradford – no chance.

Arizona – Carson Palmer – ditto.

NFC NORTH

Green Bay - Aaron Rodgers – Tough to say he would be a sure shot if he retired today, but I’m pretty sure he plans to keep playing.  If he continues on his current trajectory, he should be in.  This should be a good place to mention that I hate the Packers.  Two back-to-back Hall of Fame QBs covering over 20 years.  Over that same time period, my beloved Chiefs and Bears have gone through a combined 437 starting quarterbacks with maybe 5 Pro Bowl appearances between them.

Chicago – Jay Cutler – Not unless a whole lot changes.  So, no.

Detroit – Matt Stafford -  I think Brandon Weeden could throw for 4,000 yards if he had Magatron. 

Minnesota – Ponder/Cassel/Freeman – Nope.

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta – Matt Ryan is a very talented starting quarterback, but he has no place in Canton.

Carolina – Cam Newton – Another too early to tell, but he hasn’t eliminated himself from the running yet.

New Orleans – Drew Brees – Absolutely.

Tampa – Mike Glennon – Way too early to tell.  Also, I haven’t seen the Bucs play a single time this season.

NFC EAST

Dallas – Tony Romo – Dude has all the talent in the world, but he’s going to need at least 2, maybe 3 Super Bowl wins to overcome all his gaffes.  The way Jerry Jones runs his team, I don’t think those Super Bowls are coming anytime soon.  Gotta say no. 

Washington - Robert Griffin – He was on my fantasy team last year and I loved watching him play.  He should be in the too early to tell camp, but unfortunately I feel like he’s just too injury prone.  Out of the 5 young stars (Newton, Kaepernick, Wilson, Luck and RGIII) that dominated the preseason hype this year, I’m now of the mind that Griffin is the least likely one to make the Hall. I hope I’m wrong.

Philadelphia – Nick Foles –Definitely too early to tell, but he’s really come around this season.  He could be the most likely Hall of Fame QB in this division, which would have seemed impossible as recently as October. 

New York – Eli Manning – Full disclosure – I’ve always hated Eli.  He came into the league as a whiney bitch at the draft.  I don’t like using the term whiney bitch, as it could be construed as sexist and it’s also pretty played out, but I have no problem using it to describe Eli.  Eli’s crying at the draft was reminiscent of John Elway, and Elway is my least favorite athlete of all time. In the end, Elway made the Hall, and deservedly so.   Eli, on the other hand, will not be there.  Two years ago, he was a borderline candidate – Super Bowl glory and clutch postseason performance mixed with mid-season inconsistency.  However, he’s spent the last two years playing his way out of Hall of Fame consideration, a development that I’ve probably enjoyed more than I should have.  Then again, I know the Giants are Freddy Krueger, and they could end up going 8-8 and winning the crappy NFC East next year, then going on another playoff run.  No QB has ever won three Super Bowls and failed to get to Canton. 

So, to recap, the current NFL landscape is populated by three absolute hall locks (Manning, Brees, Brady), one very likely inductee (Rodgers), one coin toss (Rapey), six young upstarts with legit chances (Luck, Wilson, Kaepernick, Foles, Newton, Dalton), three rookies that we don’t know enough about yet (Glennon, Manuel, Smith), and a bunch of guys who range from terrible to very good, but just not good enough. 

This means that as many as 14 quarterbacks that started games in 2013 could end up in the Hall.  Will that happen?  Of course not.  11 of them would have to get in to match the same percentage of starters as the 9 HoFers from 1971.  I doubt that 11 of these 14 will make it.  I think that the percentage of starters making the hall of fame in 1971 probably won’t ever be eclipsed.  Still, I’d rather watch 20 or so of today’s starters than Bob Griese or Sonny Jurgensen.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Range

I'm a pretty big idiot.  You know this if you read here often.

Take, for example, my new embrace of stand up comedy.  I've always been interested in standup, but I couldn't have gone about it more idiotically.  I grew up and spent most of my college years in Lawrence, Kansas, as arty of a town as you could find.  I did comedy there a total of once.  I opened for a popular local band at their reunion show.  I ran a 15 minute set that I put together in two days in front of around 200 people, and I killed.  It would be over a decade until I went up again.

I lived in Chicago for four years.  Unquestionably one of the three or four best standup towns in the world.  The only other cities in the conversation would be New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto.  I went to a total of one open mic night in my years there, and I didn't go up.

I lived in Seoul for around 5 years all told.  Seoul is the peerless creative hub in Korea for music, art, and yes, comedy.  My last year in Seoul, I was living in the center, a short distance away from all the open mics.  My second-last year, I was living farther away in Nowon but I was making a ton of money (by ESL standards) so cabs were no problem.  I went up a total of once, 4 days before I left town.

Now I live in Cheonan, and I go up as often as I can.  Problem is, Cheonan is no place to do comedy.  I've done a few open mics here, but it's not a comedy scene.  Cheonan is a nice enough town, easily the best in Chungnam Province, but it's a comedy backwater.  Going to comedy shows in Seoul is no problem in theory, but they pretty much all happen on weekdays and I work in the morning, so that doesn't work so well.

Bah.

I'm still down.  Today, I ate at McDonald's and I didn't even enjoy it.  I didn't finish my fries.  I had just walked 20 km or so, I thought I'd be hungrier.

Maybe talking about past awesomeness will pick me up.

I've been a popular kid, a nerd, a football player, a stoner, a punk rocker, a failed novelist, a radio DJ, a crooked convenience store cashier, a good student, a bad student, a TV cameraman, a Hollywood intern, a beach bum, a fake producer, a desperate gambler winning with my last dollar, a Eurotrash intellectual, a failed artist, a drunk, a permanent resident of my car, a hustler, a pyramid scam participant, a corporate whore, a Chicago Democratic Party operative, a failed screenwriter, an unemployed video game junkie, an honest fireworks salesman, a broke and unemployed dude living abroad, a teacher, a celibate, a lady's man, a magazine writer, a backpacker, a lover, a fighter, a fair to middling blogger, and a standup comedian.  I have literally slept in 5 star hotels and the gutter, both of which I paid for.

I've got range.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Leave/Return



When describing the expat life, wiser writers than I have discouraged it.  To be an expat is an eternal sense of bittersweet.  There are people, places, things, and ideas that I miss no matter what country I happen to lay my head.  

Long haul flights take on a different form for a chronic  expat.  The first time I flew westbound across the Pacific, I was definitely leaving home.  The first time I flew back to America, I was probably coming home.  On my ensuing flights, the grey area has been absolute.  I am simply flying from A to B, both leaving and arriving, neither leaving nor arriving.  To be an expat is to be at home everywhere and nowhere.  

There is not a country in the world in which I can use all of my technology without the aid of plug adapters.  More importantly, there is no land in which I don’t terribly miss people on the other side of the ocean.

Tomorrow will be one of those crazy expat days.  A day of beginnings, endings, and continuations.  A day spent in international waters and international airports.  Two full days will pass during two long flights.  

To those I am leaving behind – I will miss you, and I hope to see you soon.  In a country with ubiquitous wifi, I will never be far.  To those I will see on the other side, I can’t wait to see you again.  Again. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Commercial Takes

March Madness commercials are always a curse.  Hours and hours of basketball on 10 different days means a whole lot of commercial breaks, and it seems like they run the same ads in every single break.  Here are some that I particularly hate so far.


NCAA PSAs – about how much the NCAA supports their student athletes. Sure.  This would be like if Taco Bell’s commercials talked about the ways they benefited me.

Buffalo Wild Wings – Jesus Christ, I can’t believe they are still doing this sort of thing.  If you are a sports bar, why would you appear to have no clue how sports fans think?  Just like how nobody is cheering for a game to go into overtime, I’m pretty sure there isn’t a college hoops fan alive who wants the tournament to expand.  We already expended from 64 to 68, and NOBOBY acknowledges or cares about those Dayton games or the “first four.”




The Bud Lite blind date – it took two or three viewings before I really hated this commercial, so good on them. I loathe it now.  Who says “here we go” on a blind date?  This is terribly contrived writing to try to squeeze in Bud Lite’s meh slogan in a situation that it didn’t fit. Of course, I also hate the couple, although part of that hate may come from the fact that they are drinking Bud Lite, the foulest beer I can imagine.  Girls can get a pass, but when I see a dude drinking Bud Lite, I judge. 



Tru TV promos – I’d never watched Tru TV before this tournament.  After watching the promos for their programming, I expect to resume that habit as soon as they stop showing tournament games. 

My favorite may be the Ludacris bit – “Oh yeah, I watch the madness and lay down music in the studio at the same time.” I know this is a promo for online games, but I think it works better as a PSA extolling the dangers of multitasking. 
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