Week of January 22, 2016


Portrait of the Quarterback as a Whining Baby

This story of former Washington State Quarterback Connor Halliday should be required reading for all football players entering college. Halliday was a prolific college QB, as many QBs have been in Mike Leach’s offensive system. But Halliday was hurt late in 2014, his senior year, and went undrafted. There’s a lot to unpack here, because frankly, Halliday comes off as a spoiled brat.

He will not miss 2015. During last spring’s NFL draft, Halliday, who was recovering from a major injury, did not hear his name called. Then, after the Washington Redskins signed him to a free agent deal, he ditched rookie camp. Vanished. Played golf “until the money ran out.” Got married. Was signed by a Canadian Football League team and then cut a day later. Got dumped by his wife.

“I had a second interview with an advertising agency the other day,” the handsome, auburn-haired Halliday says. “The interviewer made a big deal about being a leader in the classroom. I told him that my major was leading an offense. That every decision I made in college was designed to get me to the NFL.”

Halliday looks out the window and contemplates why he walked out on the Redskins. “I was so down, and I felt so little,” he says. “I felt so helpless. I have battled through so much, and I have never gotten a reward for this.”

To recap: Halliday spends his entire 5-years in college worried about the NFL, not his education. Then, when he gets hurt, he still gets a shot at the NFL. Instead, he quits, runs home to play golf, and then whines that he has “never gotten rewarded.” Wow. And the article has so much more to make you dislike this guy. Kids, don’t be like Connor Halliday. -TOB

Source: Connor Halliday Was a Lock for the NFL – Until He Found All the Doors Locked”, John Walters (01/17/2016)


Hit the Road, Hack-a-Shaq

Over the last couple years, a few teams have become quite brazen in their practice of the so-called “Hack-a-Shaq” – fouling horrendous foul shooters like DeAndre Jordan and Andre Drummond away from the ball to force them to shoot free throws. This works as a form of defense. The Rockets, always at the forefront of strategic analytics, took this practice to the extreme this week – fouling Andre Drummond repeatedly at the start of the third quarter. But it worked – Drummond went 5 for 18 from the free throw line in three minutes before the Pistons finally gave in and removed Drummond, a dominant defensive player, from the game. Just look at this god awful play by play:

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 8.22.19 AM

Screen Shot 2016-01-22 at 8.22.52 AM

As Kevin Draper points out – the NBA deserves this. This problem has been growing the last few years, but the NBA declined to tweak the rules to fix this problem last summer. I was watching ESPN’s studio show on Wednesday night, when this occurred, and Jalen Rose and Chauncey Billups said that there doesn’t need to be a rule change because this is only happening to a few players across the league. Well, millionaires, tell that to the fans to pay their hard-earned money to come watch a game and are treated to eighteen rim-breaking free throws in 3 minutes of play (which probably took closer to 30 minutes in real time). I get the argument that the players should just improve their shooting. But the NBA must remember that its main goal is to entertain. That is not entertaining. Mr. Silver, change the rule. -TOB

Source: The Rockets Just Took Intentional Fouling to Its Logical Extreme”, Kevin Draper, Deadspin (01/20/2016)

PAL: Philosophically, I don’t want this rule to change. I would like to see this play out. Do players like Drummond (and his team) become neutralized because of one major flaw in his game overshadows the advantages is gives his team? Do the teams applying the Hack method have the wherewithal to actually continue to do this, or would individual opinions on this method cause a rift between coaches, management, and players? I’d like to see this play out, but I don’t want to watch it, and that’s the larger point. If this problem persists, I would like to see a rule change after this season.


NFL Coaches Don’t Need Analytics; Just Grade School Math

Last week, the Packers completed quite possibly the greatest drive in NFL history. The Packers started the drive at their own 14, with 1:50 to go and no timeouts, and needing to go 86 yards for the touchdown. Look at this photo, and marvel at the fact that the Packers ended up scoring a touchdown on this drive:

packers

4th and 20. From their own 4. Every receiver is blanketed. Rodgers is scrambling for his season, in his own endzone. That’s about as low a possibility for conversion as you will see. And yet, Rodgers threw up what amounted to a Hail Mary, and completed it, for 60 yards. The Packers were in business, but there wasn’t much time. With 4 seconds left, Rodgers dropped back again, and completed another Hail Mary (his second of the drive, his third of the season), this time as he was falling to the ground, about to be hit by a defender.

The Packers found themselves down 1 and decided to kick the extra point. In the emotion of the moment, I was pleading with them to go for 2. But is that the right call? Well, FiveThirtyEight’s Benjamin Morris uses some simple math to argue that they absolutely should have gone for two. Even more convincingly, he argues that the Chiefs, after scoring a TD to cut the lead from 14 to 8, should have also gone for 2, which coaches have almost never done. Interesting stuff. -TOB

Source: NFL Coaches Are Getting Away With Crimes Against Middle-School Math“, Benjamin Morris, FiveThirtyEight 01/21/2016)


College Football Team Falls Just Short of Dynasty

And by just short, I mean to say that the team never existed. Here’s an entertaining read about how a guy went from poring over football scores in the sports page to creating an undefeated team with a Chinese-Hawaiian Heisman hopeful.

1941plainfieldcartoon

In the spirit of other great sports hoaxes like Sidd Finch, I bring you the story of The Plainfield Teachers College football team of 1941. – PAL

Source: The Greatest Hoax in Sports Reporting History (The Times Fell for It, Too)“, Bill Christine, The New York Times (01/15/2016)

TOB: This is great. I really like this passage:

In The Philadelphia Record, Red Smith was still writing about Plainfield in 1956. It was the era of Norman Kwong, a Chinese-Canadian who was a star in the Canadian Football League:

“The China Clipper, as they call him, is reputed to be almost as good as John Chung, the Celestial Comet, whose triple-threat genius put the Plainfield Teachers in the headlines 15 years ago. A minor point of difference between the two: John Chung didn’t exist, and neither did the Plainfield Teachers, except in the imagination of Morris Newburger, who created the college, team and star as a sports page hoax. Chung was the prototype of all the galloping ghosts and flying phantoms that clutter the autumn editions. Kwong is as corporeal as meat loaf.”


Cop Shoots Hoops

This is pretty cool. Some jerk called in a complaint to the Gainesville, FL police about kids playing basketball too loudly. At 5pm. In what looks like a rural area. So an officer responded. Approached the kids…and then shot some hoops with them for a few minutes. He even got them to lower the rim so he could dunk! -TOB

That’s a good cop.

Source: Cop Responds to Noise Complaint of Kids Playing Basketball by Lowering Rim and Dunking on Them“, Patrick Redford, Deadspin (01/22/2016)


Video of the Week

This is an excellent free throw distraction.

Bonus Video of the Week

This is why brothers should never compete against each other.


PAL Song of the Week: Willie Nelson – “Buddy

Check out all of our weekly picks here.


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One thought on “Week of January 22, 2016

  1. Just a little walk down memory lane. When we lived in Lake Tahoe, and TOB was about 10, the 1992 Summer Olympics were in full swing. TOB got the idea to have a local Olympic competition in the street in front of our house. He used chalk to mark out lanes in the street, and was very excited about the competition. We had a very nasty neighbor who hated kids. While the competition going on, he called the Sheriff’s Office and reported that the kids had vandalized the street and were loud. This was, of course, in the middle of the day.
    When the Deputy came out, she was unimpressed with the crime, and let the games continue.

    TOB the Elder

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