Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

04 Oct 2010

MMQB: McNabb, Tomlinson Getting the Last Laugh

In this week's episode: PK reconsiders the Philly fanbase, catches up to LaDanian Tomlinson more adeptly than the defense LT2 has faced, revisits the Cutler-Orton deal, updates the labor situation, has a surprise name on his MVP Watch list, and updates us on Runpeterkingrun.com.

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 04 Oct 2010

62 comments, Last at 15 Oct 2010, 12:08pm by Pat (filler)

Comments

1
by bubqr :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 8:55am

"As I remember the April 2009 trade, I'll never forget Denver coach Josh McDaniels telling me he wished Cutler just gave him, and his offense, a chance. "He'd have loved it,'' McDaniels said. "I think any quarterback would love it.''"

That quote was just hilarious.

"11. Washington (2-2). I don't like the NFC East much, but the Redskins have wins over Dallas and Philly, and they've got Donovan McNabb playing like Donovan McNabb should play, and Jim Haslett has the D playing ferociously."

Like D.McNabb should play ? Is he talking about yesterday night ? And offensive player of the week ? Wow.

32
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 3:45pm

Yeah really. I'd think any head coach would love it if he held the oposing QB to a 60 rating, 8-19, 125, 1TD and one int every week. Once again, PK doesn't let the facts get in the way of the story.

44
by Dave :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 9:28pm

I don't care if he had gone 2-for-33 Sunday. As long as the Redskins won the game and McNabb was a very positive influence in what had to be the most emotional game of his life, he was a lock for the player of the week.

In his first game back at Lincoln Financial Field after his Easter night trade from Philadelphia to Washington, McNabb kept the chains moving (8-of-19, 125 yards, one touchdown, one interception, five rushes for 39 yards) in Washington's 17-12 victory. For one day anyway, the major advantage in the trade went Washington's way.

If he went 2-33, he didn't have a positive influence.

So what you're saying, in plain English, is that you were giving him the "award" pretty much no matter what. Makes it kind of a pointless award, no?

I love that completing 8 passes is considered "keeping the chains moving."

By those standards, Jamarcus Russell should be in high demand.

2
by Anonymous23 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 8:58am

I think you could say that all of the names on his MVP watch list are surprises.

Manning's team is last in his division. Is King saying that Manning is so valuable to his team that if he wasnt there they would be in EXTRA last place?

IF the Pats lose tonight, they will be 3rd. Same argument as Manning. The defense is bad, but Brady hasnt done much for his team in the 2nd half of games (his passer rating drops over 35 points in the 2nd half this year, 4th qtr numbers are even worse).

Polamalu is a safety, Ngata is a DT...not exactly glamour positions...though both are great players.

Orton, the one I assume was being referenced, actually leads the league in passing yardage and is completing over 67% of his passes. He is playing quite well.

5
by Mr Shush :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 9:40am

The Colts are 2-2, one game off the lead in their pretty tough division. If they didn't have Manning, they might well be 0-4, even if what they had instead was an average QB, as opposed to their actual back-up, who could probably have a pretty fair stab at leading them to 0-16.

18
by battlered90 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 11:15am

Colts have lost two games to division opponents. If Texans/Titans can win in spite of themselves, that might cost them if it comes down to tiebreakers. With the Colts run D struggles its not unreasonable to assume they could drop one to the Titans as well.

23
by Yaguar :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 12:16pm

If they didn't have Manning, you damn sure bet they'd be 0-4.

Manning is on pace for about 5500 yards, 44 TDs, and 4 INTs - and no playoff berth.

13
by PatsFan :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 10:37am

Heck, going by passer rating (I know, I know) back to 2009, Brady is the worst 4th quarter QB in the NFL.

19
by battlered90 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 11:16am

Seems a bit disingenuous to put defensive players on this list. As we saw with Suh in the Heisman race last year, defensive players do not win these awards.

33
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 3:46pm

Maybe double secret last place?

45
by Dave :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 9:30pm

Perhaps the only thing stupider than calling a three-way tie at 2-2, trailing a 3-1 team, "last place" as if it means anything is having MVP watches in week 4.

49
by CM (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 12:59am

I'm pretty sure I understand what you were trying to say, but I did have to re-read it several times. :)

3
by hbh_uk :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 9:20am

"This doesn't deserve a monumental amount of coverage, but one thing should be said to the Cowboy veterans who delighted in spending about $2,500 per man (one estimate I heard for the 22 to 25 men who attended this dinner) as most of America struggles to pay for weekly groceries: Stop being pigs. It's disgusting."

I'm glad that Peter King is here to provide us with social commentary as well as 'insights' into the NFL. Reading this made me wish he would start doling out fantasy advice again.

4
by Eddo :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 9:32am

It's especially grating coming from a man who lives a pretty luxurious life himself.

6
by BadAxe (not verified) :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 9:44am

Where's he getting his information? Does he really believe that over 50% of the households in America are having trouble buying groceries? Can he really be that far out of touch? Or does he just love hyperbole that much? And why does my comment consist entirely of questions?

8
by Mikey :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 9:51am

I'm sure that the waiters, cooks, and bartenders are really pissed that they had to come home with thousand-dollar tips that night. Honestly, rich people wasting money? One of the best things the economy could hope for right now. If every first round pick has a million-dollar home built, that's a pretty sizable injection of wealth into 32 communities (well, fewer, given first round trades).

9
by Mr Shush :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 10:06am

This may be the single most idiotic thing I've ever read King write, and that is saying something. What would he like very wealthy people to do with their money in a depression? Stuff it under the mattress? Invest it in something sensible, like gold bars or Turkish utilities? Or is it just conceivable that spending it thick and fast within the US service sector is one of the very best things they could possibly do to advance the interests of ordinary American citizens? No, I'm sure the staff at the restaurant in question would far rather live off jobseekers' allowance and food stamps rather than have to watch those sickening rich folk pig themselves out every day at work. And they'd definitely still be able to by a brand new Ford or Chrysler or whatever the next time they need a new car, so more good news for folks up in Detroit to go with Suh and a competent management team. And neither the restaurant staff nor the car plant workers will in any way be more likely to default on their mortgages, which means that there's no risk of all those middle class folks with pensions heavily invested in financial sector stocks and bonds experiencing losses that will leave them with a tougher retirement, or that Fannie and Freddie will need yet more taxpayer cash. You know who would benefit from the players being more restrained with Bryant's money? Dez Bryant, Dez Bryant's stockbroker, the shareholders of precious metals miners and Turkish people.

Maybe that's it. Maybe it's King's principled internationism shining through, and he can't stand the way this sort of irresponsible behaviour is depriving Turkish citizens of the inward investment in infrastructure their country so desperately needs.

Edit: I see Mikey beat me to this point, and in a calmer and less exaggerated fashion.

10
by Mikey :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 10:08am

King needs to be mocked in angry and exaggerated fashions at least as often - if not more - than the way I bagged on him. So no worries.

21
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 11:24am

What would he like very wealthy people to do with their money in a depression? Stuff it under the mattress? Invest it in something sensible, like gold bars or Turkish utilities? Or is it just conceivable that spending it thick and fast within the US service sector is one of the very best things they could possibly do to advance the interests of ordinary American citizens?

I'm not sure it's ever a good thing to suggest people spend recklessly, rich or otherwise: you spend large amounts of money on food, fundamentally, that's just a frivolous purchase. Caveat: if we're talking about $20 of food, and a $2000 tip, okay, that's different (and really more of a donation than a purchase) but I don't think that's what people were talking about. Based on the context (it was a steakhouse) you're talking about premium beef and alcohol. And there's just no way that $2500 is a reasonable amount to spend on that.

You might look at it and say "hey, the money went straight to people who need it," but the problem is that supporting the "ridiculously overpriced food and alcohol" sector isn't really helpful. Really, $2500? At that point, what, you're buying steak from a cow that was hand-groomed and fed grass blessed by the Dalai Lama or something? Wine that was made from grapes feather-dusted every day and kissed by a Hollywood celebrity? Wasting money's a bad idea no matter what, and propping up a business with ludicrous one-time spending isn't going to help things.

As for what they should've done with their money? Ideally, invest in a local business, start their own, start a foundation, etc. Yes, it's asking a little much for people to be purely philanthropic and altruistic, but I kindof do agree with King that you'd like to see the few percent in the country with serious wealth spend it a bit more intelligently.

28
by Mr Shush :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 1:49pm

Would it be nice if people, and especially very rich people, were more altruistic? Sure. Would it be great if Dez Bryant were to use his playing income to become a wildly successful local entrepreneur and venture capitalist in the Dallas area, driving job creation for years to come? Absolutely.

I'm not sure I can get behind the rest, though. In reality, I suspect Bryant would do one of three things were he to invest his money: 1. Invest ineptly in local businesses, fruitlessly misallocating capital to doomed, unproductive, unsustainable ventures (see Sims, Billy). 2. Invest in the sort of extremely conservative manner that would make him a pure, and almost purely unproductive, rentier. 3. Hire a really good investment manager, who would correctly tell him that he would do better to invest in one of the many parts of the world whose medium term growth prospects are fare superior to those of the US, and then do just that for him.

There's nothing wrong with the ridiculously overpriced food and alcohol sector. There's a market - a fairly sustainable market - for ultra-luxury food and alcohol. There is no reason to think that the businesses to which the money goes within the next few somewhat forseeable steps are somehow bad ones. The farm, the vineyard, the butcher, the haulage companies and the restaurant will continue to employ people in the production of goods and services the market has a demand for. Maybe they'll get so many rich idiots throwing money at them, they'll decide to expand, and invest in new plant and more employees to work it. The major long-term imbalance in saving vs. spending was/is excess unsustainably leveraged spending by the likes of you and me, not the largely unleveraged and sustainable spending of the very wealthy.

30
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 2:34pm

Responding to this out of order...

There's nothing wrong with the ridiculously overpriced food and alcohol sector. There's a market - a fairly sustainable market - for ultra-luxury food and alcohol.

There's a fairly huge market for food that's ludicrously bad for you, as well. That doesn't mean that economically, the country wouldn't be better off if people, for whatever reason, starved that market out.

I'm not sure that's a great example, but the point is that just because a market exists for a stupid product doesn't mean that it's a good thing for money to be dumped into. Although, I have to be perfectly fair here: the exact same logic would suggest that football is a terrible thing for money to be dumped into as well - it's a total waste of resources, after all, and its basic function - entertainment - can be achieved just as easily with far less money.

It doesn't make the point any less valid, though, which is why...

Sure. Would it be great if Dez Bryant were to use his playing income to become a wildly successful local entrepreneur and venture capitalist in the Dallas area, driving job creation for years to come? Absolutely.

... I think this was all King was thinking of. The problem, of course, is that the players did not earn the money through any financial skill, which means what they tend to do with it is usually pretty dumb.

But I really can't fault King for wishing that people with money acted more intelligently. Just because a standard is unrealistic - and you're absolutely right that it is - doesn't mean you can't criticize someone for not meeting it. I mean, heck, we hold sports journalists up to unrealistic standards, so... it's pretty much the same thing.

I also think it's a sad statement on our current financial system that it's so hard to invest locally; years ago, investing locally would've been simple, so altruism and pragmatism were actually pretty much the same. Nowadays the safest and best ways to invest money really tend to shuffle money overseas... because a lot of things in the US aren't great investments.

40
by Richie :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 6:06pm

Is spending $2500 on a dinner any more "disgusting" than spending $2500 for a Personal Seat License? Or for a spot in a luxury box?

57
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 9:13pm

Quoting myself:

"Although, I have to be perfectly fair here: the exact same logic would suggest that football is a terrible thing for money to be dumped into as well - it's a total waste of resources, after all, and its basic function - entertainment - can be achieved just as easily with far less money."

So yeah, I agree. There's a bit of an argument in that there's an economy of scale at play here; if you're going to waste money on entertainment, it's more efficient to do it on one type of entertainment than a hundred small ones. But that's just a bit of a rationalization.

But I do find it hard to justify that spending, too.

42
by Mr Shush :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 7:55pm

Likewise out of order:

"I also think it's a sad statement on our current financial system that it's so hard to invest locally; years ago, investing locally would've been simple, so altruism and pragmatism were actually pretty much the same. Nowadays the safest and best ways to invest money really tend to shuffle money overseas... because a lot of things in the US aren't great investments."

Oh, your (and our, they're unpleasantly similar in their failings) financial system has definitely created a horrible domestic investment situation by artificially drawing expenditure forward to create all manner of bubbles which politically cannot be allowed to deflate but ultimately cannot be prevented from doing so, creating (with the aid of all sorts of regulatory failure) a screwy market in almost everything that strikes anyone with an ounce of sense as unacceptably risky for the limited returns available. But it's also true that an advanced economy with an established social safety net will never be able to compete in terms of growth with industrialising economies which can massively increase production simply by the introduction of already extant technologies and which have no drag from legacy debts. An increasing proportion of the rest of the world appears to be both well enough governed and open enough for westerners to have reasonable confidence in investing there, and even with far sounder financial systems and government finances the developed world would struggle to compete in ROI terms. Which is great news if you're Brazilian, or Indian, or Turkish, or South African. Or, frankly, if you're a seriously wealthy American or Brit. It's just not so great for westerners lower down the scale.

"There's a fairly huge market for food that's ludicrously bad for you, as well. That doesn't mean that economically, the country wouldn't be better off if people, for whatever reason, starved that market out.

I'm not sure that's a great example, but the point is that just because a market exists for a stupid product doesn't mean that it's a good thing for money to be dumped into. Although, I have to be perfectly fair here: the exact same logic would suggest that football is a terrible thing for money to be dumped into as well - it's a total waste of resources, after all, and its basic function - entertainment - can be achieved just as easily with far less money."

I don't think I agree with this, which may be the fundamental issue. I'm not sure that entertainment (or other forms of pleasure) are fungible, and I certainly don't see why any of us should presume to make the pleasure/cost calculation on behalf of other sane adults. Necessities (being, what, basic food, water, housing, heating, power, transport, some level of healthcare, some level of education, a strictly defensive military, law enforcement and the level of plant manufacture required to support the rest?) do not require anything like the total labour of the available labour force in order to provide them. Attempts to plan economies so that they functioned along those lines have, as a rule, not turned out well. By all means let the market decide between football, movies, booze, burgers, novels, smartphones, games consoles and whatever else. In fact, I rather suspect that no small part of the drive to do productive work and thus earn money is the desire to then spend said money on frivoulous things which are bad for your health. Why would anyone bother to try to make millions of dollars if they couldn't spend them on kobe steak tartare, Chateau Mouton-Rothschild and holidays in Mauritius? I don't find that disgusting, and I don't see why anyone should who doesn't have a problem with a system in which it is possible for individuals to become very wealthy.

The US economy (like the UK economy) as a whole overbalanced in the direction of too much consumer spending vs. too little saving/investment. It's in the process of correcting, although that process will be long and painful, probably all the more so for the interference of policymakers. But substantial, albeit lower, consumer spending is still an integral part of any economy. There's certainly no reason for King to get his running lycras in a twist about one systemically insignificant instance of same, least of all one which the consumer doing the spending can so readily afford.

58
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 9:56pm

"and I certainly don't see why any of us should presume to make the pleasure/cost calculation on behalf of other sane adults."

Well, starting off, we're talking about judging someone else on how they spend their money. So if you believe that it's *never* okay to judge how someone else spends money, that's fine, but that's a different argument than what you're making.

But if you accept that it's okay to judge someone else's spending *at all*, then I don't think it's unreasonable to criticize someone for throwing money away disproportionately for an only minute (or nonexistent) benefit. This is, after all, not much different than criticizing someone for playing the lottery: while they can claim "it's just entertainment, and it helps seniors" a perfectly valid response is that a direct donation to seniors would incur less overhead and be more efficient, and you could get equivalent entertainment by, well, just pretending.

"Necessities (being, what, basic food, water, housing, heating, power, transport, some level of healthcare, some level of education, a strictly defensive military, law enforcement and the level of plant manufacture required to support the rest?) do not require anything like the total labour of the available labour force in order to provide them."

Woah, woah, woah. Those are necessities of a *stagnant* society. There's no scientific advancement there at all. Plus, in addition, almost all the necessities you listed should, eventually, cost *nothing* in terms of labor - there's no advantage to having human involvement in production of food, water, housing, heating, power, transport, a defensive military, and manufacturing; the only reason humans are used in those industries currently is because automation is currently more expensive.

Law enforcement, education, and healthcare are different, as is scientific advancement: these are all problems for which humans are significantly better suited than any automated production (despite what RoboCop might suggest), since they all involve innovation, adaptation and pattern recognition.

And the societal need for scientific advancement is effectively infinite; there's no way you can argue "beh, we can pitch money into entertainment because we have expendable resources, and it's not a problem for society" because that money could *always* be better spent performing research. (n.b.: this assumes your assertion that you've satisfied all your static needs - of course in the current world, this isn't true, so money could also be better spent there, as well).

But that's not even the core of my argument...

"Why would anyone bother to try to make millions of dollars if they couldn't spend them on kobe steak tartare, Chateau Mouton-Rothschild and holidays in Mauritius?"

Because they can.

Okay, socialistic/altruistic bit over. The problem is that for crazy-high value things - like, say, luxury cars, super-expensive wines, high-end jewelry, etc. - these things have no conceivable *intrinsic* value that could justify their price.

The rich are purely paying for a symbol of their status, and I really don't see the problem with criticizing someone for that, because it's pointless. It's a sham. It's completely made up. The money that they're spending is essentially flowing to someone who was a good enough snake oil salesman to convince them that what they bought was worth it.

Note that I'm not saying that the rich can't spend in ways the rest of the population can't. Can they afford to take the family on a vacation every other week? Sure. Buy three homes? No problem. These are all things that have value that's in some way actually related to their cost. What I'm saying is that it's fine to criticize the rich for spending in ways the rest of the population *wouldn't* - not because they can't, but because it's a retarded way to spend money.

That's kindof why I said the unhealthy food example wasn't a great one. It's more along the line of "I don't think it's good for money in society to be funneled to scam artists - people whose only contribution to society is in creating the *perception* that they have value."

59
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 10/06/2010 - 6:58am

"Well, starting off, we're talking about judging someone else on how they spend their money. So if you believe that it's *never* okay to judge how someone else spends money, that's fine, but that's a different argument than what you're making."

It's a free-ish hemisphere. Judge people on whatever you like. Personally, for me to make a negative judgment about someone, they would have to do something actively (and perhaps even maliciously) harmful, not just fail to do as much good as they could. Or, you know, play for Arsenal. That would do it. Actually, hell, why am I defending a bunch of Cowboys? I think the harshest judgment I could conceivably pass on Bryant et al. is that they were being a bit silly (and I'm not even sure that's true). People being a bit silly doesn't sicken me. It's not like they were buying blood diamonds or snuff movies, or super-special blu ray editions of Sex and the City.

"you could get equivalent entertainment by, well, just pretending."

No! No, no, no! Maybe you'd get equivalent entertainment by just pretending (as might I, for that matter) but that's presumably because the entertainment you or I would get is damn close to zero in either case, which is why we don't play lotteries. To the people who do, I am quite certain that the gambling is an indispensible feature of what makes it entertaining.

"The problem is that for crazy-high value things - like, say, luxury cars, super-expensive wines, high-end jewelry, etc. - these things have no conceivable *intrinsic* value that could justify their price."

What on earth is intrinsic value? Not cost of production, presumbaly? Utility, in something like the Bentham/Mill sense? Or rather, propensity to cause same? Because those things certainly have that. Driving a Rolls Royce is not an identical experience to driving a Ferrari, which in turn is not the same experience as driving a second hand Austin Maestro. Drinking a bottle of really good wine is not the same experience as drinking a bottle of Oddbins own-brand red. Those things have different utilities from each other for each user, and different from user to user. Those user-relative utilities will inform people's preferences and thus their decision-making. You can't call the preferences irrational: preferences are the wrong kind of thing to be rational or irrational. It's possible that the decision-making could be irrational, but you can't know that without knowing the specific object-person utility relationships in question, which you don't and can't. And all this assumes, probably wrongly, that qualitative pleasures can be in some way placed on a reasonably simple quantitative scale, which is almost certainly not true in any case.

Nor should we expect the monetary value of our hypothetical and probably non-existent units of utility to be constant. Why is the difference in what Nnamdi Asomugha gets paid to pay cornerback and what Sheldon Brown gets paid to play cornerback greater than the difference between what Brown gets paid and what I would (5'11, 240, probably run the 40 in about 10 seconds, usually fall over when I try to backpedal. I suppose I could jam someone at the line, if by that you mean offer them half of my sandwich)? Each marginal unit of value gets more monetarily expensive as you get closer to the top end due to scarcity, and that's as true of cars and wines as it is of cornerbacks.

"The rich are purely paying for a symbol of their status, and I really don't see the problem with criticizing someone for that, because it's pointless. It's a sham. It's completely made up. The money that they're spending is essentially flowing to someone who was a good enough snake oil salesman to convince them that what they bought was worth it."

I don't agree. As outlined above, I don't think luxury goods are just a status symbol, and I don't think that the rich are necessarily acting irrationally by buying them.

"Note that I'm not saying that the rich can't spend in ways the rest of the population can't. Can they afford to take the family on a vacation every other week? Sure. Buy three homes? No problem. These are all things that have value that's in some way actually related to their cost. What I'm saying is that it's fine to criticize the rich for spending in ways the rest of the population *wouldn't* - not because they can't, but because it's a retarded way to spend money."

But plainly they would. Most rich people are just poor people with more money, and of almost no group of wealthy folk could that be more clearly the case than the players on an NFL football team. Lottery winners buy luxury goods. Pop stars buy luxury goods. If you gave me ten million dollars tomorrow, I'd . . . buy myself a theatre, actually. And a house. And a lot of Turkish utilities. But also luxury goods! You might not, but that's because you personally don't value them. Which is neither right nor wrong - just a preference.

"It's more along the line of "I don't think it's good for money in society to be funneled to scam artists - people whose only contribution to society is in creating the *perception* that they have value"

Couldn't agree more, but as I have outlined above, I don't think the restaurateur, or his beef supplier, or the vineyard owner are scam artists. Now if Dez had been channeling his money into any one of a great number of financial sector institutions, large and small (not all, but most of them), that would be a different matter entirely . . .

60
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 2:27am

To the people who do, I am quite certain that the gambling is an indispensible feature of what makes it entertaining.

Yes, but the point is that the added feature is completely made up. They won't win. It's marketed as if they might. But they won't. They're not getting the entertainment from the lottery. They're getting it from the advertising.

When I said pretending, I didn't mean the buyer would pretend. I meant the lottery would pretend. Imagine if the lottery was a complete sham - no one ever one, or could win. And they trot forward people who claim they won, but they didn't, etc. It wouldn't happen, because of course, we'd consider it unethical.

But if you ignore the possibility that the lottery player would find out, they'd get equivalent entertainment.

What on earth is intrinsic value?

An optimal price in a blind-choice selection. For wine, imagine a set of extreme oenophiles testing wines, blind to the label, and then selecting the one that they want. Now repeat for less extreme oenophiles, have them select, etc. Now estimate the number of extreme oenophiles, less extreme, etc., and balance against the supply.

That's intrinsic - determined by the object and the demand and not the marketing. It's clear that you think that modern economies are currently pushed too much towards consumption; I think that the big problem with modern economies is that they're driven too much by marketing, which fuels *fake* demand, which fuels consumption. Which is what this is - fake demand.

It's funny; inventing fake demand is illegal in certain markets. A prescription drug flat out can't say "this drug will cure your problem, you must take this drug!" Just not allowed. But inventing fake demand in other markets/areas isn't just perfectly legal, it's considered absolutely crucial. General Motors hypes the fact that it has daytime running lights and they make you safer. They don't. But can they advertise that? Sure! And most herbal supplements can lie all they want in their ads; they just have to put "not evaluated by the FDA" in tiny print.

Couldn't agree more, but as I have outlined above, I don't think the restaurateur, or his beef supplier, or the vineyard owner are scam artists. Now if Dez had been channeling his money into any one of a great number of financial sector institutions, large and small (not all, but most of them), that would be a different matter entirely . . .

It was $2500 for a single dinner for a single person. There is absolutely zero chance this is set by any reasonable cost from the suppliers, nor by demand without brand recognition. They bought ultra-expensive stuff whose sole value comes from the fact that their company's marketing division did a fantastic job at convincing people their product meant something.

But it's fine to disagree on this - the point, though, really, is that King's comment isn't that crazy. Because, really, you start off with this...

"they would have to do something actively (and perhaps even maliciously) harmful, not just fail to do as much good as they could"

and the point there is that what is active and what is passive is really opinion - it's you judging the intentions of someone else. If I see someone about to be hit by a car, and I don't pull them to safety, is that active or passive? What if I would've done it for anyone else, but I don't like that person? Obviously the latter is malicious, and (I hope!) obviously distasteful, but how do you know?

Now in this case, it's clear that you don't see any harm in it, but that's a judgement on what you think the intentions of the people at the dinner were.

(n.b.: I could also point out that an athlete who plays a game that seriously compromises their future health has an obligation to at least be careful enough with their money that their future health doesn't become a net cost to society.)

61
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 10/07/2010 - 10:08am

"That's intrinsic - determined by the object and the demand and not the marketing."

Gotcha. Intrinsic specifically as opposed to marketing-driven, rather than intrinsic in the sense of a being first-order attribute of the object. That makes far more sense.

"When I said pretending, I didn't mean the buyer would pretend. I meant the lottery would pretend."

Boy, I've spent some time attacking arguments you weren't making, haven't I?

"Yes, but the point is that the added feature is completely made up. They won't win. It's marketed as if they might. But they won't. They're not getting the entertainment from the lottery. They're getting it from the advertising."

I don't know how lotteries work over there, but the National Lottery in Britain (and its associated scratchcards and whatever) offer gradated prizes, the smaller ones of which which people win fairly frequently and are certainly part of the entertainment, as well as having material value. Are you proposing to fake only the jackpot? Finally, given that a non-fake lottery has both entertainment and (unevenly distributed) monetary value, it's entirely possible that neither independently justifies the purchase of a ticket but the two collectively do.

It's possible the lottery issue is a bit of a red herring . . .

"what is active and what is passive is really opinion - it's you judging the intentions of someone else"

No. What is active and what is passive is a matter of fact. People really have intentions. My judgment of their intentions is imperfect, of course, because I have only indirect access to those intentions. In cases like your car example, I have two problems: it is noticeably hard for me to discern the facts (ie. what their intentions were) and it is possible that the facts themselves may be borderline - hence the room for opinion. It's a neat example. It also has very little to do with the specific case of the Cowboys in the steak joint, where I'm pretty confident in my judgment of the intentions (eat, drink, be merry; put the cocky rook back in his place) and where in so far as there is any possible malice, it is directed at Bryant (and I don't think King's disgust was at the nasty bigger boys bullying poor little Dezzie). If he had been disgusted because he'd heard they mistreated the staff, that again would be different. He wasn't. He was disgusted because they spent a lot of money.

I find moral disgust pretty hard to empathise with at the best of times, to be honest, but doubly so when it is aroused by something other than cruelty or dishonesty. That's a psychological fact about me, of course, not a truth about the world. But I find it hard not to think the number of quasi-objectively more harmful and, well, seemingly more reasonably objectionable things that King could have picked on to find disgusting that go on every day, even if we limit ourselves to ones connected to the NFL, is probably quite large. Be disgusted by deliberate helmet-to-helmet hits, or team doctors clearing concussed players to keep going, or the strengthening and reasonable perception that steroids are a good way to get to play pro football, or the fact that there must be a fair number of players out there beating their partners, even if we don't know who they are. Not some rich guys overpaying for dinner. Maybe King's comment was more extreme in its strangeness to me than its stupidity.

"It's clear that you think that modern economies are currently pushed too much towards consumption; I think that the big problem with modern economies is that they're driven too much by marketing, which fuels *fake* demand, which fuels consumption. Which is what this is - fake demand."

Not all modern economies: Germany, for example, is pushed too much towards saving, and for many years time Japan was too. But certainly the US and British economies, yes. I think that by far the most important factor here is excessive and excessively cheap credit, delivered primarily through the intermediacy of house price inflation, but ultimately driven by protracted over-loose monetary policy, CPI-targeting and the dogmatic belief that asset bubbles weren't important.

Misleading marketing certainly creates market ineffeciencies, and it probably does boost aggregate demand somewhat too. It's very difficult to know what to do about it, of course; I agree that it would be nice if something could be done, provided it worked, didn't cost the earth and didn't have severely negative unforseen consequences. Unfortunately, governmental regulators have the irritating tendency of not working, costing the earth and having negative unforseen consequences. I do, however, believe that an important part of the role of government ought to be to ensure that the public have access to enough information for a reasonably efficient market to be possible. Perhaps the best measure practically possible would be legislation targeted at making it harder for corporations to file nuisance suits against individuals or small organisations, in order to help the internet (for all its faults, the best thing evah - except Alicia Silverstone in that little red dress in Clueless) expose scams. The internets will probably win in the end regardless. I still don't think really high end luxury goods are a large or important part of the problem.

Finally, placebos work. Wine really does taste better if you've paid more for it. People are hard-wired stupid, in certain ways. It's possible that all that marketing is contributing utility to the product-users that simply would not exist without it. Funny old world.

62
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Fri, 10/15/2010 - 12:08pm

No. What is active and what is passive is a matter of fact. People really have intentions.

Well, yes and no - most people are very, very good at lying to themselves; so if it's impossible to discover someone's intentions, do they really exist?

And the car example does apply here. I'm sure the Cowboys were telling themselves that hey, they were just having a good time, and putting the rookie back in his place - but did they really need to spend $2000/person to do that? Isn't it possible that a good portion of the reason they spent that much is because they wanted to look big and important? Basically show off to the kid, and the establishment - "hey, look at us, we're rich, we can do this, and you can't."

And I don't have a problem with someone criticizing that, because yeah, when the papers are filled with stories of people struggling and homes getting foreclosed on, someone puffing themselves up and saying "hey, look at me, I'm rich, and you're not" is just being a jackass.

Finally, placebos work. Wine really does taste better if you've paid more for it. People are hard-wired stupid, in certain ways.

Which, again, gets back to the point that it's perfectly reasonable to wish that people who make tons of money aren't proportionally as stupid with their money as an average person might be. It's one thing to spend $20-30 on wine that actually tastes as good as a $5 bottle of wine. It's quite another thing to spend $1000 on wine that actually tastes as good as a $150 bottle of wine, even though, proportionally, it's roughly the same. Stupidity shouldn't scale with income.

34
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 3:49pm

Maybe PK is Turkish.

7
by Quincy :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 9:50am

"New York will need to win more games like this if it's going to salvage the season."

Salvage it from what? They're currently tied for first in a mediocre-looking division. There's a difference between his usual hyperbole and using phrases that are simply inapplicable.

11
by Soulless Mercha... :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 10:25am

Tomlinson's getting the last laugh!

Against the worst run defense you're ever gonna see!

Oh, wait. Dang.

Yeah, LT had a great game. Against the Buffalo Bills. Let's see him rush against an NFL team before anybody declares that he's still got it. The 2010 Buffalo Bills couldn't stop the run against a CFL Retired All-Stars Team.

12
by Sander :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 10:36am

So, like he did against the Ravens (11 for 62, 5.6ypc), Patriots (11 for 76, 6.9 ypc) or Dolphins (15 for 70, 4.7ypc)? And that's excluding his receiving yards.

LDT is having a much better year than anyone could've suspected so far. I don't think he'd hold up if he was asked to carry the ball 20+ times per game, but he's been extremely effective with the 11-20 touches he's getting per game.

14
by PatsFan :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 10:39am

Patriots aren't exactly a good defense, you know.

15
by Sander :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 10:53am

They're better than the Bills, and the Ravens and Dolphins are good defenses by any standard.

16
by f1b0nacc1 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 11:04am

In the depths of the Amazon, there are tribes yet undiscovered by the civilized world, that have been run defenses than the Bills

35
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 3:54pm

Only because they videotaped the tribe next doors' practices

17
by RickD :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 11:10am

The Pats have a decent rush defense. Their problems are in the secondary.

20
by Soulless Mercha... :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 11:23am

Eh, that wasn't meant as a shot at LDT but a "hey, let's not forget that the Bills' rushing defense is so foul that it beggars description." I recently dumped Buffalo after twenty-plus years of fandom, and I'm reveling in their ineptitude now, rather than lamenting it.

If LDT still is good, well, then, sweet. Good for him, goddammit!

Also: Bills = awful. Just felt the need to repeat that.

56
by Pat Swinnegan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 5:17pm

Meanwhile, Greene is putting up inferior numbers behind the same line.

22
by MJK :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 12:10pm

Not to rehash old arguments, but I found King's comment about McDaniels saying he wished Cutler had decided to stick around interesting. Whatever you may think of McDaniels' personnel acumen and head coaching ability, he knows how to design an offense to get a lot out of QB's. Here's how QB's in McDaniels' offensive systems have fared:

2005 (Brady) : 3rd in DYAR, 5th in DVOA (+27.8%)
2006 (Brady) : 5th in DYAR, 8th in DVOA (+17.4%)
2007 (Brady) : 1st in DYAR, 1st in DVOA (+56.9%)
2008 (Cassel): 17th in DYAR, 20th in DVOA (+6.4%)
2009 (Orton) : 12th in DYAR, 17th in DVOA (+13.3%)
2010 so far (Orton): 2nd in DYAR, 4th in DVOA (+41.3%)

2005 was the first year that Brady really started to carry the Patriots. 2007 was of course the record breaking year. 2008 looks worse, but (1) it's Matt Cassel, and (2) what you see is the year average; the first half of the year, playing in the system tuned for Brady, Cassel was awful, but the second half of the year he played well above average after McDaniels had modified the system.

The message I take away is that talent does matter (Brady > Orton > Cassel), but that McDaniels knows how to get the best out of his QB's.

I really wonder how much a strong QB like Cutler would have shined in his system...

25
by Joe T. :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 1:05pm

McDaniels - like Martz, but with protection.

47
by tuluse :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 10:15pm

Most people's beef with McDaniels is not about his Xs and Os, which he seems very good at, but his abilities as a GM.

50
by tunesmith :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 2:09am

Which is relatively bizarre if you take a clear and sober look at all his draft choices, trades, free agent and waiver wire acquisitions. Anyone who tries to argue that the team's personnel isn't massively improved from Shanahan's last game is smoking something.

53
by bubqr :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 5:12am

Do Moreno, Ayers or Alphonso Smith appear worthy of 1st rounders to you ? (I won't evaluate 2010, but Tebow??)

What about D.McBath or R.Quinn, were those second rounders solid investments ?

Just look at the players picked immediatly after each of their pick :

Brian Orakpo
Jeremy Maclin
Rey Maualuga
Max Unger
S.Greene

Honestly, considering the ammunition he had (3 first rounders and 2 second rounders), I would say that he did a bad to very bad job. At least.

54
by tunesmith :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 4:38pm

You can cherry-pick stars that should have been picked sooner for any team in the league, any draft. Plus, I would argue that Ayers and McBath are well worth their selections. Ayers played a huge part in neutralizing Chris Johnson (and Vince Young) this last week by setting the edge, and McBath is going to be a starter for the Broncos for years after Hill or Dawkins slows down. The Broncos have a very strong safety position. Beyond that, you have to judge a team's draft performance against every other team, and to be really complete you have to examine their free agency and waiver wire moves. Average those in and it results in a massively improved defensive line and secondary. There just isn't a lot to mock there.

24
by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 1:03pm

Tomlinson running good agaih now tgat escaped sab diego. Always fun whrn see ex charger have good game. Raiders goijg to teach chargers lessson next week. Take the 5.5 pointd and dont look back

29
by The Ninjalectual :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 2:11pm

So you think the Raiders will line up Asomugha on Gates?

36
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 3:55pm

Were you speaking to my money when you said take the points and don't look back.

41
by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 6:50pm

yes, well was speaking to people with money and who want to make bet somehwere whether you in football office pooll or make bet in las vegas or with slimy bookie guy

26
by KL (not verified) :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 1:23pm

"Buffalo's secondary. What a poor display. On the Jets' third touchdown pass of the day, there were three Jets open in the end zone. Watch the wide-angle replay."

I did. They had their goal line defense in, so the secondary wasn't really the problem.

27
by KL (not verified) :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 1:25pm

What's the chance every Eagle votes for McNabb to be in the Pro Bowl? 99%?

31
by tunesmith :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 3:43pm

I don't really understand the grief King is giving McDaniels on his draft choices from the Cutler trade. The math is complicated, but from the Cutler picks, McDaniels got Robert Ayers, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and some stuff leftover (a portion of Tim Tebow, and one of the released Seth Olsen or the underperforming Richard Quinn).

Overall, I think that's a pretty darn good haul. Decker hasn't made an impact yet, but he will eventually.

37
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 3:58pm

If that portion of Tebow was the Friar Tuck hair, he got a bargain.

52
by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 4:58am

I think the knock on McDaniels' use of the picks from the Cutler trade is somewhat misplaced. But the cause of that is that people lose track of which picks were from the Cutler trade, and which weren't. And his first three rounds's selections, IMHO, have been pretty awful outside of the picks acquired in that trade. Moreno has been somewhere between forgettable and atrocious for most of his time on the field. Alphonso Smith might be one of the worst draft decisions I've ever seen, but Richard Quinn gives him a run for his money. Three picks traded away for Tebow? Please. On a team with this many holes, that was a very questionable decision, even if it works out. Beadles and Walton could wind up justifying their draft positions, I really liked the picks at the time, and plan on liking them in the future.
And let's not go anointing Ayers and Thomas as great decisions yet (leaving Decker out of the conversation until he actually can get on the field). Thomas had a very, very good game against Seattle, then looked lost and confused for much of the game against Indy and then had a good return against the Titans. Ayers' rookie season was almost identical to Tim Crowder's in 2005, in that he was a total non-factor who happened to return a gift-wrapped fumble for a TD. Ayers has looked much, much better this season, but it's only week 4, let's see if he can deal with the attention that comes of being somewhat successful without a pass rusher on the other side to take the blockers' attention.
I hope these picks work out, and I applaud the McDaniels staff for realizing their mistake with Alphonso Smith so quickly... However, I can continue to wish that they hadn't spent the 14th overall pick in the 2010 draft on an undersized CB when Mauluga was still on the board.

55
by tunesmith :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 4:41pm

Call me crazy, but I still think A.Smith is going to be a good player in this league, especially now that he's free of the negative pressure from being in Denver. Folks were blaming Smith for McDaniels'/Xanders' choice.

38
by BigCheese :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 5:39pm

"The ball was spotted at the 49, making it a 59-yard attempt."

No it wouldn't. It was wither spotted at the 42, making it a 59-yard attempt, or held at the 49 (after being spotted at the 42). Why do people keep fogetting to add those 7 yards the ball is snapped bacl when describing FG distances?

- Alvaro

46
by Dave :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 9:38pm

In recent years they've been tacking on 8, not 7.

Regardless, in the previous sentence he mentioned that they took it to the 41. He misspoke slightly in saying that the ball was spotted at the 49. I suppose he should've said the holder was at the 49. But when you include the previous sentence, it's clear that he didn't forget anything.

39
by The Human Spider :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 5:49pm

"The embattled Alex Smith -- for a while on Sunday. A 10-play, 88-yard drive (and completing six consecutive passes) to start the game. I know he made two bad throws later, and I'm a broken record here, but it's not time to give up on Smith."

Actually, Mr. King, that time should have been somewhere in the last 2 seasons. I'm still at a loss as to what 49ers management see in him (post draft). So it's time to throw the record away...even if it did cost you lots of money.

Speaking of the Niners, they play in the NFC West. The AFC West would be the GOOD division (for now) that they would have no chance in.

43
by The Ninjalectual :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 8:18pm

Or maybe actually put him in the shotgun, where he actually has a positive DVOA. But I'm sure Singletary knows way more about being successful in football and yelling than I do. I, for example, probably wouldn't fire someone else simply to save my own job for a short amount of time. That's the kind of football genius I can only admire from a distance.

48
by tuluse :: Mon, 10/04/2010 - 11:06pm

The 49ers need to run the pistol. Alex Smith gets to play in shotgun, Frank Gore gets to run behind a FB. It's win-win.

51
by a reader (not verified) :: Tue, 10/05/2010 - 2:30am

Having read the comments I will skip the artickle, thats why it´s good to post it on FO. Average of reades replies gives me good advice.