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Notre Dame and Baylor entered the one-loss group in what is shaping up to be an extremely tight race for playoff consideration.

24 Oct 2012

Scramble for the Ball: Lunatic Pandora

by Tom Gower and Mike Kurtz

Tom: Last year was the year of the great rookie quarterback. This year, the three quarterbacks taken at the top of the draft are all faring relatively well (in DVOA's top 15), and while Brandon Weeden isn't doing well, he may not be quite as terrible as he looked Week 1. This stands in sharp contrast to 2009. There were three quarterbacks selected in the first round: Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, and Josh Freeman. All of them were terrible as rookies.

Mike: Two of them are just plain terrible!

Tom: One of the stats I used to determine terribleness was ANYPA+ (the plus indicates indexing to league average) from pro-football-reference.com. Sanchez came out best at 80, with Freeman at 76 and Stafford at 75. All three of them were particularly prone to turning the ball over. All three had horrendous seasons by interception percentage. The trio were in the bottom 10 out of all rookie quarterbacks who attempted at least 160 passes.

Mike: The problem is that I've seen all three of these players play and there is no way Sanchez is a better quarterback than Stafford.

Tom: Well, players who threw the ball to the other team a lot as rookies tend to be really bad. Yes, Terry Bradshaw was up there, and Troy Aikman came out just behind them, but the other guys were all terrible.

Mike: Wait, we're just talking about rookie years?

Tom: Yes, this is just as rookies. This is when I started to become concerned that maybe these guys were all incredibly terrible, like 2011 Blaine Gabbert-style bad. (And Gabbert didn't throw as many interceptions as any of these guys did.)

Mike: Why are we talking about their rookie seasons?

Tom: This is why I started caring about them, and part of the impetus for my arguments in the offseason that it was too early to give up on Gabbert. Since then, we've added almost two-and-a-half years of data. Freeman showed great improvement in his second season before regressing some last year. Stafford did better in a limited sample size in his second year and had a very good third season. Sanchez threw interceptions at a better-than-average rate in his second season, though his ANYPA+ has yet to crack 100. Mike, what should we make of these players who aren't nearly as terrible as they were as rookies?

Mike: I hope you're referring to Stafford, because, again, the other two are still really bad. And I think that really explains most of this. Stafford was an NFL-caliber talent. The other two were not, but they were the best of what was left.

Tom: I said "aren't nearly as terrible as they were as rookies." That's a really low bar.

Mike: True, that is a low bar. Their improvement, however, has been fairly anemic.

Tom: I have a great deal of sympathy for Freeman. The Buccaneers last year were deeply dysfunctional, and a hard offense to be very successful in. Outside of a terrible performance against the Cowboys, he's thrown the ball relatively well this year.

Mike: Sanchez in particular was never going to be an elite quarterback, but the Jets convinced themselves he would be. I'm still not entirely sure why or how.

Tom: Yes, Sanchez's career has always been a mystery. A good Rose Bowl performance after a collegiate season I viewed as mostly up-and-down seemed to boost his draft stock into the relative stratosphere. And given who the Jets seem to want to be, a Sanchez who didn't throw interceptions seemed like an acceptable player.

Mike: I think it's also hard to undersell his media savvy. Which is actually the most damning part of this whole episode for the Jets, as they clearly got caught up in the ridiculous whirlwind Sanchez drummed up among sportswriters desperate for pre-draft stories.

Tom: There are elements of his game that aren't that bad. I recall our own Doug Farrar praising his play-fake ability even as a rookie. He's also made some fairly respectable throws this year. Not all the time, not perfectly, but enough that he could have some success in the right circumstances.

Mike: "Right circumstances" meaning "2000 Baltimore Ravens?"

Tom: Of course, I don't mean to suggest the Jets should have guaranteed his full salary this year and the next. One of the reasons I want to talk about these players is that they're now in their fourth season. Rookie contracts under the new CBA are four-year deals. For players picked in the top ten like Stafford and Sanchez, the standard fifth-year option is the transition tag amount. The quarterback transition tag amount was about $12.5 million this year. Retaining either of them the year after that would require the franchise tag, or 20 percent more, which is $15 million. That $27.5 million guaranteed becomes your baseline for negotiating an extension with a top-ten pick. Obviously these guys are not in that environment, but I'm trying to think through quarterback progressions and how teams evaluate players in such a high stakes environment.

Mike: Honestly, half of the time it's desperation. It may be for Freeman. On the opposite end, Detroit is convinced they have a star in Stafford, so he is going to get a contract near the higher end of the quarterback range. Whereas Sanchez ... I have no idea what the Jets' strategy is. I suppose it depends on how badly they perform this year, and how much faith Rex Ryan has in him.

Tom: Well, these guys are locked up for a longer. What Sanchez's fate is after 2013 is a very interesting question. He's no longer quite a punchline; the punchline is instead the offense as a whole, of which he is a part. Then again, the first quarterback on that list was Alex Smith. The same Alex Smith who is now part of DVOA's fifth-ranked offense.

Mike: We'll see how that holds up.

Tom: Well, the 49ers are only 11th in passing DVOA. They're first with a bullet in rushing DVOA.

Mike: That is true.

Tom: They also tried to upgrade to Peyton Manning in the offseason, so we'll see how Smith's future progresses in San Francisco.

Mike: I think they're stuck with Smith, now. He's not playing amazingly well, but he's done enough to make a risky replacement unpalatable. That could be a huge problem for them in the end, but a competent quarterback is hard to find.

Tom: The 49ers do have Colin Kaepernick, who's sort of the forgotten man from last year's quarterback class. In the playoff game against the Saints last year, I put the over/under on his first start at this coming week. Obviously, that's not happening now. We'll see, of course. Many second-round quarterbacks don't amount to much.

Mike: Indeed.

Fantasy Update

Tom: So, knowing I had no 49ers or Seahawks, I didn't bother to set my fantasy lineup before Thursday's game. Then, I went out of town. And had worse internet connectivity than I expected. Which meant I got to a sports bar about 15 minutes before Sunday's games and had to set my lineup. At which point I realized (a) LeSean McCoy and Ryan Mathews are both on bye and (b) I had the Rams defense, and the Rams were playing the Packers. Commence panic! I started Ben Tate, grabbed Andre Brown off waivers, and, going off the thin gruel of waiver defenses, picked up the Patriots because they were playing the at-times inept Jets. Tate didn't do much, but Brown scored a touchdown and Patriots defense gave me 16 points.

Mike: Wait. Did you just qualify "inept Jets" with "at times?"

Tom: Remember when they put up 48 points in Week 1? Granted, it was against the Bills, but it still counts.

Mike: Oh, right. That was a thing that happened.

Tom: My opponent did what I almost failed to do, sitting Robert Griffin and the Texans DST and starting Michael Vick and the Eagles DST. I came away with a victory I probably didn't deserve.

Mike: Those are the best victories, and victories are scarce for me lately. After finally putting up a win in my competitive league, I then get stomped by the highest-scoring team this week. Coming in second by points, of course.

Tom: Of course.

Mike: While I would complain about forgetting to fix my roster and leaving Jimmy Graham in, it would seem a bit childish considering my opponent did likewise for Rashard Mendenhall. In the end, it was a lot of flashy numbers by all of our slots, except for James Starks and Jermaine Gresham. That made the real difference. In the other league, 5 teams are now tied for second at 4-3. That is somewhat remarkable.

Tom: In my league, five of the ten teams are tied for second at 4-3 as well, plus three other teams are 3-4.

Mike: I was very pleased to grab Andy Dalton off waivers as a replacement for Philip Rivers in that league. Perhaps I should have reconsidered my strategy this week. The main difference was Vincent Jackson, however. I simply did not have an answer for his 31.1 points.

Tom: And somehow the New Orleans Saints did!

Mike: I think that says everything you need to know about the Saints. On both sides of the ball.

Beer and Electronics Do Not Mix

Tom: That commercial is dumb.

Mike: Yes.

Tom: I'm not sure what the point of that commercial is. "If you drink Miller Lite, you'll lose to a girl at video games"? "Miller Lite is not a video game PED"?

Mike: Honestly, I think this commercial started out as a joke, about showing a woman ("girl" in video games parlance) beating up men at a video game. The problem: the marketer did not work for any video game company. They also remember how hard Nintendo was smacked down for its sexist commercial for The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time.

Tom: And then they made a commercial about it without trying to figure out any way to connect that with Miller Lite beyond obnoxious product placement?

Mike: Yes, because no video game company will accept sponsorship from a beer company. Not because of a moral or regulatory stance. Just because the most engaged segment of that market is too young to drink alcohol. So yes, it results in a strange shoehorning of video games into a bar setting, with some labels for gamers that honestly I am completely unfamiliar with. Despite being a life-long and avid gamer myself.

Tom: I don't think it's actually a bar. I think it's somebody's apartment.

Mike: Are you serious?

Tom: It could have been much more obviously bar-like. And what kind of bar has a big video game setup like this, anyway? I'd also think the bar would prefer not to have wireless controllers, though maybe you could just require people to put down a credit card or some other deposit before playing.

Mike: That is rather the point, yes. In my long history of game-playing and my significantly not-as-long history of drinking in bars, I have never really mixed the two. And if they did, it would probably be a Wii. Which just isn't cool enough for Miller's audience. (The people Miller wished drank their beer, not the people who actually drink Miller Lite.)

Tom: (The people Miller's advertising pretends drinks their beer.) The problem with video games as a bar distraction is it leaves no time for drinking. When you're playing the video game, you're playing the video game. When you're, e.g., playing Golden Tee or shooting pool, there are pre-designed breaks in the game during which you're free to consume your beverage.

Mike: Precisely. The other problem is that playing an active video game like an FPS or a console sports game requires a decent amount of concentration. And the fun involved is highly dependent upon the skill of those involved. So mixing alcohol and gaming, while amusing, usually results in really bad games.

Tom: Playing video games also tends to be only interesting to the people involved.

Mike: Despite constant protestations from those who disagree, it is very true and a big reason why pro gaming will never be viable outside of Korea.

Tom: Which raises the question why it is popular in Korea, but I'm not sure I want to get into that.

Mike: Oh my, look at the time! That wraps up this week's commercial!

Loser League Update

Quarterback: Sadly for Christian Ponder, Loser League does not include a Just Winning bonus. Throwing for two interceptions and only 58 yards is a great way to put up a marvelous Loser League score, though his passing score did bump him to 2 points.

Running Back: Trent Richardson was your clear low man with only 19 yards and 1 point before the Browns sat him back down. At a more respectable 4 points were Ben Tate, Jonathan Stewart, Delone Carter, and Kendall Hunter.

Wide Receiver: Jacoby Jones, Josh Morgan, Kendall Wright, Doug Baldwin, Mike Thomas, Early Doucet, and Dez Bryant each put up only 1 point without the benefit of a fumble to lower their score.

Kicker: Jay Feely is now 0-for-2 on field goals after hitting from 61 yards last week to tie the Cardinals' game against the Bills. He did make two extra points this week to offset his miss, and that leaves him with a net of 0 points.

Awards

KEEP CHOPPING WOOD: A week after suffering key defensive injuries to cornerback Lardarius Webb and linebacker Ray Lewis, the Baltimore Ravens needed a good performance by their offense if they were going to knock off the Houston Texans. It seemed like they had a chance, as the Texans secondary had struggled a bit the past two weeks against Aaron Rodgers and, more disconcertingly, Mark Sanchez and the Jets receivers. Enter Joe Flacco, who in the first half completed 7-of-20 passes for 52 yards and two interceptions, and was also sacked twice. One of the interceptions was returned for a touchdown. One of the sacks was for a safety. The Texans were up 29-3 and would go on to win by the second-largest margin in (short) franchise history.

MIKE MARTZ AWARD: Facing fourth-and-1 at the Colts 41 with 6:38 to play in Sunday's game and his team trailing by four points, Browns head coach Pat Shurmur elected to burn one of his three timeouts, then punt. Writing about how coaches should go for it more often on fourth down is boring, but Shurmur's decision was really, really bad. Leslie Frazier thanks Shurmur for taking the attention off his own error (which also involved a foolish use of a timeout).

Scramble Mailbag

Joe: "Hey guys. Team Defense question this week: MIN DEF vs. TB or ATL DEF vs. PHI. I'm leaning towards TB based on the reputation of a lousy defense and Philadelphia will be coming off a bye. Also, with Maurice Jones-Drew down, I'm down to LeSean McCoy and Shonn Greene and no RB depth. (I'm in a 10 person league, seven of them are idiots.) I have these lovely options to pick up from waivers (standard scoring, PPR): Andre Brown, Shaun Draughn, Danny Woodhead, or Pierre Thomas. Thanks!"

Mike: I think Andre Brown is the go-to "panic waiver pickup" option at the moment, just because he's the only player you're likely to find in most leagues with any upside who is still riding the pine. On one hand, I like Minnesota's defense this year. I think it has had a resurgence which, timed perfectly with Adrian Peterson's, has resulted in some very impressive football. Tampa Bay also has a pretty bad defense and in particular a quarterback that they should be able to rattle.

Tom: I just want to note that Pierre Thomas finally scored a touchdown last week.

Mike: He did! Break out the fireworks!

Tom: It was part of a day where he gained only 32 yards rushing and 0 receiving (on one reception), though he did lead the Saints in carries. As head honcho Aaron Schatz noted on the Peter King podcast (gratuitous plug alert!), the Bucs do have a very stout run defense.

Mike: On the other hand, Michael Vick has been a turnover machine. I'm not sure whether the bye will help to fix Vick's issues or just make him overthink them, leading to bigger problems. I want to avoid comparing Vick to Vince Young too much, so I'm going to say the bye helps him, and the Vikings are the better play.

Tom: I think the Vikings' run defense is legitimate, their hiccup against the Redskins notwithstanding. I'd go with them. As we've said before, Brown's value depends on Ahmad Bradshaw's injury status. If Bradshaw is injured, though, he's a good play, which is more than can be said for anybody else on your list.

evenchunkiermonkey: "Hi guys, a few quick questions... I overheard some fans in town talking and from what I gathered, I can drop my entire defense and pick up a completely different defense to replace them off the waiver wire. First off, is this true? Because it sounds too good to be true, as my defence is getting older and falling apart as we speak. Second question, Which defense do you think I should pick up for my game against Cleveland this week?"

Thanks in advance,

John H. in Baltimore, MD

Tom: John, thanks for the question. Your ability to drop and add another defense depends on your league rules. My understanding is your league plays individual defensive players rather than team defenses and has very large rosters with a very large number of teams. That means your injury fill-ins probably will not be very good, and it is even more difficult to find good players freely available when you have injuries. You'll have to depend on the rest of your team to make up for any dropoff you suffer from those injuries. From what we wrote elsewhere in this column, I don't think that worked very well last week. So, good luck with that!

Mike: Alternately, have you tried shouting at them? I hear shouting usually works.

Tom: YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Lock of the Week

Tom: Last week, you picked against John's Baltimore Ravens and they lost badly. You are now 3-3. I picked the Buccaneers. They ran LeGarrette Blount from the 1-yard line three times in a row. They lost. I am now 2-4. As a reminder, all lines are courtesy of Bovada and were accurate as of time of writing, and all picks are made without reference to FO's Premium Picks.

Mike: Remember when I said I didn't trust the Patriots? I still don't.

Tom: I'd distrust the trip to London at least as much as I distrust the Patriots.

Mike: But the Rams are very bad in a way that the Patriots can easily exploit, and their offense simply cannot keep up. See, I don't think the trip will be much of a problem for New England. I do think the transition from turf to soccer pitch is going to wreak havoc on the Rams, however. New England Patriots -7 at St. Louis Rams (in London).

Tom: Looking at the lines, there aren't many I really like. I refuse (at least at this point of the season) to pick a game involving my team, especially if I'll be attending said game, so I'll bypass the Titans-Colts matchup. And I will instead go to another divisional matchup: the game being played in Kansas City. The Chiefs are bad. Like really, really bad. They are voluntarily starting Brady Quinn. They are favored. The Raiders are bad, but their run defense is not that bad. I don't care that the Chiefs are coming off a bye. I am taking the Raiders and the points. Oakland Raiders +2 at Kansas City Chiefs.

If you are thinking of placing a wager on the next game then follow the link to Ladbrokes and while you are there make sure you check out their casino. There are many exciting games available like blackjack, roulette and many more.

Posted by: Mike Kurtz and Tom Gower on 24 Oct 2012

38 comments, Last at 11 Feb 2013, 8:32pm by Oralia Hearne

Comments

1
by GK (not verified) :: Wed, 10/24/2012 - 2:29pm

I can't be the only reader who is currently reading Final Fantasy VIII wikipedia entries after seeing this article's title, right?

3
by Podge (not verified) :: Wed, 10/24/2012 - 2:44pm

I'm now listening to the soundtrack...

9
by thendcomes :: Wed, 10/24/2012 - 4:17pm

So good...

13
by Alex51 :: Wed, 10/24/2012 - 6:29pm

I kind of liked it your way,
How you shyly placed your eyes on me,
Did you ever know,
That I had miiiine on you?

20
by GK (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 9:42am

Waltz to the Moon is one of my all-time Square favs.

24
by Mike Kurtz :: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 11:02am

Sadly, the rather obnoxious Theatrhythm stage for Waltz to the Moon has somewhat ruined the song for me, despite generally liking the soundtrack (which itself is in despite of really hating the game itself).

That said, Uematsu's PSX era doesn't quite sit comfortably with me. He has great skill at concocting catchy melodies, but falls somewhat flat when fleshing out rest of a piece. It leads to a weird situation where the quality of technology was improving but the quality of his music when adjusted for that technology (as a reader phrased it on IRC, "technology-adjusted musicality over average), it starts to get a bit thin.

32
by GK (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 5:24pm

Is that critique of "the game itself" referring to FF8 or the Theatrhythm? I've not yet had the chance to play the latter, seeing as Square won't allow me to pay them $15 for the Android OS and I don't own the proper handheld gaming device.

I tend to agree with the comment regarding Uematsu. His genius derived from a catchy but also aesthetically pleasant melody that held up in MIDI format, but when it's listened to at CD quality from a full orchestra, the music itself is simple. Given that I have countless memories inexorably tied to the soundtrack of the PSX "Golden Era" of Squaresoft, though, it's hard to take a more critical glance at his work because when I hear the various tunes, waves of nostalgia hit me.

Also, as always, good work with the actual article and column that this comment section belongs to.

2
by Jonadan :: Wed, 10/24/2012 - 2:34pm

I've been starting Shonn Greene in both leagues this year. I'm 6-1 in one and 4-3 in the other. Apart from that one absurd game, these facts have nothing to do with each other and much more to do with also having Aaron Rodgers in both leagues. (When you spend the R1 pick on a QB, you have to make up the RBs as you go, I've discovered.)

---
"When you absolutely don't know what to do any more, then it's time to panic." - Johann van der Wiel

12
by peterplaysbass :: Wed, 10/24/2012 - 4:43pm

I concentrated on WR and TE early this year because I thought there were several sneaky QB picks later on and lots of RB value. I was lucky to get Matt Ryan in 2 of my 3 leagues and RGIII in one of them.

I missed badly on RB value in one league, though, drafting Doug Martin (mm, ok), Steven Jackson and Donald Brown. Just picked up MJD's backup in that one though - hopefully I can turn it around.

I'm 6-1 in one league, but 3-4 in the other two (sigh). I look like a genius for having Freeman & Vincent last week to replace my Matt Ryan + Julio Jones combo on a bye week. HOORAY!

4
by tuluse :: Wed, 10/24/2012 - 2:54pm

Guitar Hero had a few years where it was super popular in campus bars around here. Several still have it set up, but it's played only as often as any other arcade game now.

5
by tuluse :: Wed, 10/24/2012 - 2:56pm

Tom: Well, players who threw the ball to the other team a lot as rookies tend to be really bad. Yes, Terry Bradshaw was up there, and Troy Aikman came out just behind them, but the other guys were all terrible.

Rookie QBs tend to become bad QBs, subset of rookie QBs, also tend to become bad QBs. Shocking.

10
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 10/24/2012 - 4:33pm

That Peyton Manning bloke with his 28 ints in his rookie season turned out pretty bad?

6
by DEW (not verified) :: Wed, 10/24/2012 - 3:56pm

I'd say that the main problem with competitive videogaming as a spectator sport is that we prefer to watch people competing at something, rather than watch them competing at a simulation of something. Thus we would rather watch football being played than Madden, MMA instead of Street Fighter, Madden rather than a Jaguars game. Watching a person play a game and accomplish something ("beating the game" is, in its way, a real-world goal, and "advancing in the story" is little different than watching a TV episode) was always more entertaining to me than watching two people play against each other where the only issue is "does X defeat Y"?

8
by tuluse :: Wed, 10/24/2012 - 4:04pm

I actually like watching Street Fighter more than MMA. This could be that my knowledge of Street Fighter is just much higher.

Of course Street Fighter is much more a mental challenge than a physical one, especially at high levels where they have their execution down pat.

7
by Khemy :: Wed, 10/24/2012 - 3:57pm

In his Monday press conference, when asked aboutthe 4th and 1 punt, Shurmur replied "I think it worked out.", along with his standard post loss "I'd do it again" comment.

Since he has proven he has no clue what he is doing, that fact that he 'would do it again' comes as no surprise to Browns' fans. (both of us).

Khemy
602/2/1

11
by theslothook :: Wed, 10/24/2012 - 4:40pm

Something I've long noticed and will finally say, Mike has a very black and white attitude to just most football topics, probably also to most things. To say freeman is below avg is true, but to lump him with sanchez or gabbert is really unfair.

The more interesting issue that Tom was, i think, trying to get to is, what happens when your first round qb becomes average or good but with a low ceiling. Lets say hes not quite Romo, but hes something like a (and im giving a range here, not necessarily saying all these guys are equal) Schaub, Alex Smith, or Joe Flacco. These guys are all good enough, but none I would say are very good. What then do you do when they start asking for big money? Overpay and then when the roster bleeds a bit, you're now stuck overpaying your overrated qb? Or let them go and get burned by the media? I suspect there's not been enough research done on what directions teams and the likely outcomes.

16
by DEW (not verified) :: Wed, 10/24/2012 - 10:11pm

Considering that Schaub is arguably one of the top ten QBs in the league (and it's his health rather than his ability that makes for the argument part of that), that's a pretty broad range. But it's a good point. The issue is, how fungible are "good" QBs? And if you overpay one to insure adequacy, does it prevent you from later upgrading to a Brady/Manning/Rodgers?

I'd suspect that the answer is that they're probably worth keeping unless the rest of the roster is crap (in which case you're probably better off drafting a new possibly-great rookie QB and spending the money on multiple fixes throughout the roster), especially in the modern rookie-contract-CBA world where by the time you have to decide to overpay, the GM probably has a pretty good idea of what they're capable of.

25
by sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 11:27am

You bring up something that gets overlooked quite often, which is that plenty of very good if not great QBs come from outside the first round. Romo wasn't drafted at all. Brady was a sixth rounder. Brees went in the second. Even Aaron Rodgers was just the 24th pick of the first round. They were all there for the taking yet teams missed on them. Looking at the guys playing right now who look to be locks for the Hall of Fame, only the Manning brothers were high first rounders.

14
by Drunkmonkey :: Wed, 10/24/2012 - 7:30pm

One of my favorite past-times in college was "Drunk Driving Mario Kart." Which is exactly what it sounds like. Right before a race or battle, all the players would take about 3 to 5 shots of something fairly potent. Running off the road, hit by a train or car? Take another shot.

In all honesty, though, that is about the only time I think I can imagine it would be acceptable to mix video games and alcohol.

15
by Anonymousssssss (not verified) :: Wed, 10/24/2012 - 7:33pm

woman ("girl" in video games parlance)

Really?

21
by The Hypno-Toad :: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 9:59am

Just guessing they said it like that to mock the way gamers are perceived/portrayed by marketers.

22
by Tom Gower :: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 10:49am

This was, indeed, our intent.

Seriously, watch that Ocarina of Time commercial. I'm not sure I'd seen it before Mike brought it up and I went off to watch it, but my reaction was something along the lines of that to Shurmur saying he'd punt on 4&1 again.

34
by The Hypno-Toad :: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 7:45pm

Oh, I did watch it. I had never seen it either. Awful, awful. The way most of my hobbies/interests are presented/pandered to by mainstream sources makes my skin crawl.

17
by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 12:17am

The video gaming is in somebody's house, definitely. Couches, bottled beer, no mugs, nothing on tap. The girl who won the game doesn't look drunk like the guys, but that's probably not Miller's message, so never mind.

18
by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 12:19am

Oh, and everybody drinking the same brand of beer. It was probably on sale.

28
by Kevin from Philly :: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 2:47pm

It can't be somebody's house. One, if you look in the background, there's multiple bigscreen TVs - not likely at someone's house. Two, there's people sitting at tall two person tables - the kind you only see in bar/restaurants. Third (and most obvious) the place looks huge - if you had the money to buy a house with a rec room that size, would you serve Miller Light? No, you'd have something decent. Would you invite a bunch of annoying twenty year olds to play video games? Unless you're Eminem circa 2004, no. Maybe you'd have the "ringer" over, but that's about it.

33
by LionInAZ :: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 5:58pm

Sounds like it could be a frat house, but they'd be drinking Bud Light or Coors Light, not Miller.

36
by tuluse :: Fri, 10/26/2012 - 12:43am

Miller is just as popular. Kegs of Miller Lite are cheaper than Bud Light.

19
by Whatev :: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 9:15am

You know who else could sell a play-fake? JaMarcus Russell.

29
by In_Belichick_We_Trust1 (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 3:39pm

very nice

23
by ender7 (not verified) :: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 10:59am

Sanchez is not terrible in the "he's consistently bad" sense. He's wildly inconsistent. There are games where he plays like a top QB (and especially in the playoffs), and other times when he plays terribly. I'd love to see some study of the variance in game-to-game performances among QBs. Does volatility correlate one way or the other with eventual success?

26
by Joseph :: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 11:35am

I'd wager that volatility correlates well with "being a backup." (It also has a causation effect.)

27
by jfam :: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 1:37pm

I've got lineup questions for 2 different leagues, both PPR.

I have Ryan Mathews, Reggie Bush, Antonio Brown, Denarius Moore and Miles Austin... I need to start 2 out of these, but one of them needs to be a RB.

I have Jimmy Graham and Kyle Rudolph, do I take a chance that Graham is healthy and bench Rudolph, or do I start him tonight?

Thanks

30
by BigCheese :: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 4:00pm

To me, Brown is a lock, so it comes down between Matthews and Bush. I like the match-up with Cleveland better, so I'd go with matthwes.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

31
by Tom Gower :: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 4:05pm

Tampa Bay has been a little below league average against tight ends. I tend to eschew risk if I have a decent option, so I'd go with Rudolph.

I lean toward Mathews and Austin over Brown. Bush gets vultured, and I don't trust Moore.

35
by IAmJoe :: Thu, 10/25/2012 - 11:05pm

Where's the guy who has been posting for a couple weeks about Day9 and Starcraft II? I need to remember who that was.

I suck at StarCraft II, but I really just love watching it. And I love watching Day9 talk about it. You can apply Day9 to anything in life, and make it better.

37
by MichaelH (not verified) :: Sat, 10/27/2012 - 7:31am

I used to love watching day9 vids for starcraft2 back when I played it a lot. Eventually I quit and found something new, league of legends. Lol is at the moment the most played game in the world. They just finished up season 2 championships with $2,000,000 in prizes I clouding the winning team taking home a cool 1 million. They streamed the whole semifinal and finals online and at any given moment there was 300-400 thousand people watching. This kind of proves there is an interest in viewing e-sports. They did a very good job marketing the championships. They rented out a giant theater and at one point had a live orchestra and choir playing some epic end of the world type music to the highlights of all the big matches leading up to the final two teams who by the way almost every who plays knows. They even gave the players wwe style intros with cool highlight videos and music while the team rose from underneath the stage on a platform.

They even created a giant "Summoner's cup" trophy, a mix between the NHL cup and Lombardi trophy, it was actually very well done and impressive. This is the first time at least in American e-sports that I can say someone has really put the time and money into developing an experience. I and many other actually looked forward to watching these matches over the course of 2 or so weeks they took to play.

After seeing and experiencing how big league of legends has become and just how well they have promoted what they are selling, or aren't(game is free to play!), I can finally say with some confidence that I feel e-sports have a real future. The biggest let down was the American teams losing in the semis and the championship ended up being a Korean vs Korean finale.

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by Oralia Hearne (not verified) :: Mon, 02/11/2013 - 8:32pm

Its always tough to break the barriers in sports. In its about that 'extra inch', I seriously believe in this theory. At the top level, After a point your skill will be same with other players, but attitude you carry on the ground will make the difference. So many player start well and but very few become star.

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