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Mike and Tom finally get around to a candid discussion about the oft-requested and never-implemented DYAR fantasy football league.

02 Sep 2010

Walkthrough: Hardly Workin'

by Mike Tanier

The United Football League has been in the news lately, which can only mean that someone's career has entered the "depressing" phase.

OK, so Maurice Clarett reached the depressing phase years ago, just after burning through the terrifying phase. Clarett will play for the Omaha Nighthawks this year, having impressed coaches in a tryout early in the week. Clarett expressed interest in the UFL early in August, and the Nighthawks were willing to give him a tryout if the troubled ex-collegiate star could get legal permission to leave Ohio. Gosh, even when written with journalistic detachment, the story has a creepy, Internet-seduction character to it. Come on out to Omaha, baby. Just hop a Greyhound from Columbus. No one will know..

If he makes the Nighthawks, he'll join a roster that includes Jeff Garcia, Ahman Green, Hollis Thomas, Craphonso Thorpe, D.J. Shockley, Robert Ferguson, and other guys whose names make you smack your head and say "I remember him ... barely." JaMarcus Russell was supposed to be a Nighthawk at some point, but he's on no UFL roster as of now. It's as if the league has a Statue of Liberty motto. "Give us your tired, your poor, your axe-wielding, purple-dranking masses yearning to wear pastel."

To be fair, the 2009 UFL uniforms are gone. The league dressed all four of its teams in muted aqua tones last year, because nothing fosters fan identification like conformity and interchangeability. This year, the Las Vegas Locomotives will wear an orange and black uniform that looks a little like the Philadelphia Flyers jersey. The Nighthawks have opted for a black and gold color scheme. If I tune in to a UFL game on Versus or the HD-network this year, I won't be assaulted by pastels, and I will actually know which two of the five teams are competing. Now, all they have to do is reset the brightness and color contrast on the high-def cameras so I don't feel like I am watching the director's cut of Tron. Maybe it was just my television, but UFL games always looked so bright and buzzy that it was as if the Wachowski brothers ate a whole box of Captain Crunch and tried to recreate the Peter Gabriel "Sledgehammer" video with football players instead of claymation foodstuffs.

There are five teams this year: the Nighthawks, Locomotives, Florida Tuskers, Hartford Colonials, and Sacramento Mountain Lions. Only the Tuskers and Locos suffer from Expansionitis, a disease that strikes sports franchises in hinky leagues and forces them to adopt embarrassing, faux-edgy team names. All of the good names are taken, and new teams are dead set against reusing time-honored collegiate names like Bulldogs or Wildcats because they are unoriginal and probably bad for marketing. So we're forced to hear names that reek of focus-group flopsweat, like the Spokane Shock or the Tulsa Talons. The Arena Football League is plagued by Expansionitis. They suffer from the nearly eradicated old strain that emphasizes "cool" graffiti misspellings like Oklahoma City Yard Dogz. The modern strain, prevalent in the baseball minor leagues, pairs a local resource with some phylum from the animal kingdom. The Aberdeen Ironbirds. The Stillwater Nickelwolves. The Qunicy Linseedinvertebrates. Colonials and Mountain Lions are dignified team mascots. I get the impression that a Tusker is some sort of wild hog, not a girl kept around the studio to keep Lindsey Buckingham satisfied.

The team logos have improved, and the rosters are now a who's who of who isn't. The Tuskers have guys like Brooks Bollinger, Seth Wand, and Odell Thurman -- guys who would qualify as AAA players in baseball. Everything else about the league is still wrong. Their training camp runs concurrent with the NFL's, which is silly because the NFL is about to cut several hundred UFL-qualified players. Not only are the NFL roster cuts in football shape and ready to work, but they've just gotten some national television exposure. The UFL will integrate some September cuts onto the roster, but why practice with Bollinger for a month when Kellen Clemens could be available just when the team gets comfortable? There's a slim chance that Colt McCoy could get cut by the Browns: He has to be a better face for the front of the media guide than someone like Bollinger or (shudder) Clarett.

The current UFL schedule runs from mid-September through late November, the heart of the college football season, with the baseball pennant and World Series thrown in. Why not run from late October through mid-December? The college football schedule starts winding down later in the fall and there's no baseball to contend with. As it stands, no one in the major media has the bandwidth to cover the UFL seriously.

The league compounds its image problem by making its season statistics unattainable. Search their website. There's no sortable stat spreadsheet, the kind we take for granted in other sports. Maybe it's there, but I can't find it, and I shouldn't have to play hide-and-seek. By contrast, check out the CFL website. Click the "Stats" link, find a recognizable name like Cleo Lemon, and you'll find his career numbers, in English. It's a big deal. The UFL needs the recognition that comes when a J.P. Losman spends a year in their league, then makes the jump back to the NFL. Football writers need to be able to cite Losman's stats. If we have to hunt for them, two things happen: 1) We may just throw our hands up and decide they aren't worth mentioning, which is bad for the UFL or 2) We mention them, but the experience of having to quest for them makes the UFL look even more bush-league, leading to a tongue-in-cheek remark or just a mental impression that the league is more rinky-dink than the Obscure Valley Conference, and therefore beneath attention.

It also doesn't help that the UFL is in a tooth-and-nail battle for the top of the Google search list with the University of Florida. It's a day-by-day battle, like a pennant race; I searched UFL three times in the course of a week and the league and school flopped places twice. At least the league has passed the Ulchi Focus Lens. If there are any Web historians reading, you can help me out here: Was Major League Baseball once beaten to the domain name mlb.com by a law firm? Didn't they have to ask the firm to provide a link at the top of their site for baseball fans? Comment if you can confirm that this isn't just a faulty memory.

These problems lead us back to the Clarett situation. The UFL only makes the news when they amuse us by pursuing the likes of Clarett or Russell, or when they exhume Garcia or Daunte Culpepper. An independent minor league is going to go through this kind of growing-pain period, but the UFL hasn't put itself in position to do anything else. I'm told that the quality of play was pretty high last year, but I'm too busy in October to focus on another football league. When I research some UFL kicker that's in an NFL camp, I can't even find his darned stats. I want to like the UFL. I like to get paid to write about football, so the more the merrier. But it only exists right now as a clearing house for Behind the Music caliber ex-players.

The UFL needs a Kurt Warner, and right now Pat White is languishing on the back of the Dolphins roster. The Dolphins may cut him, and he fits the model of a minor league star. Maybe if the Nighthawks gave up on Clarett, pastured Garcia as a coach, gave White the ball in a spread-option offense, we'd have something worth splicing into the highlight reels. Then, if we knew by December that White threw for 200 yards and rushed for 100 yards every game, we'd be talking about White's return to the NFL. Or we'd be talking about a UFL player worth switching over from a Conference USA game for.

The UFL needs a young, exciting player like White, and White needs a chance to play here in his native country. We don't need another chapter in the Clarett saga. All that does is make the UFL look like the XFL. And no one wants to look like the XFL.

Everyone's Hurt. Get Me Gado.

Samkon Gado resurfaced for the Tennessee Titans last week, scoring two short touchdowns in the preseason game against the Cardinals. The Titans have suffered a rash of injuries and punchings at running back. Stafon Johnson suffered a major injury in the first preseason game, and LeGarrette Blount's altercation with a teammate, while no big deal by the standards of camp dust-ups, was just a little too much like his post-game smackdown of a Boise State player last year. Javon Ringer is the only experienced backup to Chris Johnson, and Ringer isn't exactly Chester Taylor.

Enter Gado. You may remember him from 2005, when he rushed for 582 yards and six touchdowns for the Packers, topping 100 yards in three games in relief of Ahman Green. We all grabbed him for our fantasy leagues and made Lord of the Rings jokes about his name, but I don't think anyone was fooled into thinking that he was more than a replacement-level back having a few good games. His DVOA was negative, and he recorded a whopping 10 DYAR for the season.

The Packers let him go after he carried two times for a loss of seven in a 26-0 loss to the Bears in 2006; if you are curious, his two carries lost three and four yards. The Texans picked him up to get them through an injury rash, and again he wasn't bad, rushing for 67 and 69 yards in one two-week stretch. His DYAR was -21, his Success Rate a measly 38 percemt. He was a replacement level player at his absolute best, and he quickly dropped below that level.

But he didn't drop out of the league. The Texans gave up on him after six games in 2007, but the Dolphins were in an injury crunch. Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams were hurt, leaving Jessie Chatman as the starter on a team that would lose 15 games. It was a situation that screamed Gado. Gado had a magical game against the Bills with touchdowns of 12 and 20 yards, a 35-yard reception. The Dolphins lost 38-17. Gado earned 18 carries the next week and mustered 43 yards. The Dolphins started to give Lorenzo Booker, a kid who had trouble learning the playbook early in the year, a longer look.

Gado carried the ball two times for four yards in a 47-3 Rams loss to the Jets in 2008. You would think that was the end of him, but the Rams had injury troubles in 2009, so Gado spent 15 games on the active roster. He carried 14 times for 26 yards. His season highlight was an 11-yard run against the Vikings; a little arithmetic tells us that he gained 15 yards in his other 13 runs. He carried four times for five yards in a 42-6 loss to the Colts. To be fair, one of his runs was a six-yard gain on 3rd-and-5, albeit with his team down by 36 points. He got one carry against the Cardinals in Week 11; he was stuffed on 3rd-and-1. We thought we had seen the last of him. But then the Titans had an injury crunch.

It's been a remarkable career. How many guys get to play for two 1-15 teams and a 2-14 team? How many players survive three seasons in the league averaging less than three yards per carry? Most interestingly, how does Gado hang in when at least 30 better running backs leave college for the NFL each year? He's proven that he adds little as a runner. He has returned a total of four career kicks. If he were a good special teams blocker, he wouldn't always get cut in mid-season or spend weeks on the waiver wire. He just keeps climbing off the scrap heap and onto the roster. Maybe it's the name. If he were Rob Jackson or someone everyone would have forgotten him, but Samkon Gado sticks in the mind. He comes into a blowout loss, and we all smile about 2005.

Or maybe it's a reminder that it always pays to be a good citizen, to stay in shape and give coaches nothing to complain about. If you are going to scratch out a living on the absolute bottom of the NFL scene, you should go out of your way not to punch anyone.

A quick update: After three preseason weeks, Gado has nine carries for 19 yards. His longest run was four yards. Vintage Gado.

Waiting for the Turk

It was August of 1984, and an undrafted rookie cornerback was fighting hard to make a bad Eagles team. Every morning, he waited for the Turk.

"I came in about 7:30 in the morning," the rookie said, 26 years ago. "I looked around at the lockers, and everybody's name was still up there from Thursday night. I saw coach (Harry) Gamble. I felt like he'd stop me if I was cut. He usually gives the news. He didn't say anything. About 8 o'clock, I knew I had made the team."

The rookie had impressed coaches with his man-coverage abilities and his toughness. He had slipped through the draft cracks because his college didn't even have a sports information department, but he kept making plays in camp. He beat Dennis DeVaughn for the final roster spot in the secondary, behind Herm Edwards, Roynell Young, Wes Hopkins, Ray Ellis, Brenard Wilson, Elbert Foules, and fellow rookie Evan Cooper. Both rookies returned kicks, justifying the eight-man secondary.

The rookie cornerback in question was Andre Waters, but the 1984 Waters is unrecognizable to us now, a shy Southern kid with a slight stammer who didn't seem destined to draw Dan Dierdorf's attention, let alone his ire. Waters spent a year as the second kick returner, bringing one back for a touchdown in an upset win over the mighty Redskins and spent another season as a special teamer. He moved to safety, and when Buddy Ryan arrived, he promoted Waters over Ellis because he liked the way Waters "turns people upside down and laughs at 'em."

The rest is history. Waters didn't make any Pro Bowls or Super Bowls, but he changed the game. You can trace many of the modern specifications about unnecessary roughness back to Waters, a master of lunging at the knee, leading with the head, and shoving five yards out of bounds. Yes, Waters' cheap-shot reputation was 50 percent hot air, but the other 50 percent could still end a quarterback's career. He was passionate to a fault, clumsy and sloppy in his aggression, and he was brutally exciting to watch.

Later, we learned that he was more of a danger to himself than others. He once said that he lost count after 15 concussions, and there's no real record of most of them. He said he would sniff smelling salts and run back onto the field without telling a trainer. Once, after a 1991 game against the Buccaneers, he had seizures so bad that terrified teammates didn't want to talk about them. He was hospitalized overnight with "body cramps." He played the next week. After he committed suicide, we learned that he had the brain of an 85-year-old Alzheimer's victim. He's a reminder of how far we've come in our understanding of athlete concussions, and how far we have to go.

Hero, villain, victim. Waters mattered. He's a part of football folklore, and he started his career scratching to find a roster spot between Evan Cooper and Dennis DeVaughn. This is the time of year when lists of cuts go by on the NFL Network crawl. We watch the blur of unrecognizable names, listen as the hosts rattle off the few well-known players -- college stars who didn't pan out and veterans like Antonio Bryant on their last legs. They comment briefly, then go back to talking about Brett Favre. For every four or five cuts, there's an eighth defensive back or seventh linebacker who made the team. He may be another Cooper or Foules. Or he may be Andre Waters, someone who will still be discussed 25 years later.

So this is a short shout-out to the guys clinging to the bottom of the roster. Good luck. Play hard. Take care of your health. Respect the health of others. You have a chance to become a player who matters. Make the most of it.

Fear is a Powerful Motivator

This is scary.

My wife is going back to school. So are my children and most of my friends. I am not.

Audubon High School granted me a sabbatical for the 2010-11 school year, but when the paperwork was processed in April, it was all distant and abstract. I was teaching my face off, writing Football Outsiders Almanac chapters, prepping for the draft. School ended in June, but school always ends in June, and I take a few weeks off in July. This year, I started writing The Phanatic Code in July, but with no urgency. Summer was what summer has always been since my oldest son was born: pool trips, cartoon mornings, evening writing sessions, living off money squirreled away from working two jobs in autumn and winter.

But September's here, and it's real. I'm a writer now. This is my chance to prove what I can do without one hand tied to a chalkboard. This is the contract year, make-or-break year, put up or shut up year.

It's scary. But watching C.J. dive into the deep end or ride a loop roller coaster is scary. Getting older is scary. The thought that I would spend 20 more years in B-104 teaching trigonometry, wondering how far I could have gone as a sportswriter, analyst, humorist, author ... well, that's really scary.

So here it goes.

You'll find me here at Football Outsiders every week. Once the season kicks off, the play diagrams will return, plus all of the loopy skits and other random observations.

I will be breaking down games for The New York Times Sunday edition just like last year; the capsules will also appear on Fridays on the Fifth Down Blog. Like last year, the capsules will mix news, stats, and a generous dose of off-beat, referential humor. They aren't hard-core picks for folks in pools. FO Premium is your best source for that. I will also write other pieces for The Times now and then, so check the Extra Points.

I am writing a weekly column called Going Deep for Rotoworld. Once the season starts, it will be a Monday breakdown of Sunday's highs and lows, with lots of stats and a joke or two.

Work on The Phanatic Code continues; the Andre Waters essay was a by-product of that research. More updates on the book to come. I'll be tweeting all of this at FO_MTanier, and while there isn't a lot of activity at the Facebook group Walkthrough Readers, it costs you nothing to join, and I'm sure to make a few updates there.

That's a lot to keep me busy, which will keep that terrifying unemployed feeling from overtaking me. It also helps to know that you are out there. You're the readers who forgive the depth chart mistakes and spelling errors, who take the extra time to click around to find me in odd places, who I've seen come to my defense on strange message boards. Your support means a lot. If I worked for some other sites, where the message boards are silly and the feedback is negative, I would have given up (or started phoning it in) years ago. You are always there to remind me that there's an audience for something off the beaten path, that I might be able to earn a living while keeping a little bit of indie cred.

There, it's not so scary anymore. To heck with back-to-school season. It's football season. Let the games begin.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 02 Sep 2010

59 comments, Last at 07 Jan 2011, 6:46am by casino

Comments

1
by T. Diddy :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 1:14pm

You are correct - the Philadelphia-based law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius got to mlb.com before Major League Baseball did. Major League Baseball got its act together relatively early, and paid off the law firm to get its domain name in about 2000.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MLB.com

Also, good luck on full-time writing - I'll be watching for your byline.

6
by Vincent Verhei :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 1:56pm

On the flip side of things, the Seattle Mariners had a website so early that it wasn't clear at the time how URLs should be distributed, and as a result their first website was Mariners.org. (And in fact, Mariners.org still points to their new MLB-approved site.)

20
by Bobman :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 3:35pm

That mariners.org always made me laugh. Except for me, it seems everyone in town is so far ahead of the tech curve. Parents at youth football games are all texting the office while I sit in the stands chiseling memos into a slab of limestone....

21
by tuluse :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 3:37pm

Just wait, in 1000 years when archeologists are digging up your remains, and only your TPS reports remain, you'll have the last laugh.

Just try to spell everything right.

54
by Tri Shanku (not verified) :: Tue, 09/07/2010 - 1:26pm

Simply use a slab that has spell-checking, you'll be all set.

9
by Shattenjager :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 2:03pm

http://www.businessweek.com/2000/00_47/c3708018.htm

Major League baseball was actually a client of the firm's, so even though there were "months of negotiation," "no cash changed hands."

33
by masoch (not verified) :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 8:00pm

Translation:

MLB: Hey guys, want to keep your lucrative $1 million dollar retainer?

MLB: Uhhh... can you throw in, say, $1 million?

MLB: No.

MLB: 500k?

MLB: No.

MLB: 100k?

MLB: No.

MLB: Ok, how about World Series Tickets for life?

MLB: Deal.

2
by Dean :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 1:22pm

Wasn't Harry Gamble the Eagles GM then, not a coach?

3
by NJBammer :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 1:26pm

Ah, taking a year off with a guarantee of full time employment when you return, another reason the rest of the world envies teachers :)

Good luck, Mike. I've considered you one of the best sportswriters in the internet today, and I hope you are able to convert your talent into a lucrative future.

4
by Dean :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 1:31pm

Here here.

Hopefully your career lasts longer than Dennis DeYoung, let alone Dennis DeVaughan.

8
by Mike Tanier :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 1:58pm

I think he was. But Waters referred to him as coach Gamble in that quote.

5
by LPDC (not verified) :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 1:43pm

Congratulations Mike. I think that you are one of the very best football writers currently working, and I look forward to reading more from you. Best of luck this year.

7
by NNJ (not verified) :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 1:57pm

Good luck Mike...all of us who secrectly yearn to be sportswriters & humorists are pulling for you. Breaking down anything in the NY Times is one terrific start.

18
by Nate Dunlevy (not verified) :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 3:10pm

I agree. I don't give two flips for Philly, but I'll buy anything with your name on it.

22
by Bobman :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 3:38pm

Yep.

Plus, while watching Rudy with the family last week I had to explain my three-tier laughter... "you see he also played Samwise Gamgee, and there's this football player named Samkon Gado... remember him? No? Ah, never mind. Just let me laugh at Tanier's 5 year-old jokes in peace, okay?"

Good luck, MT, we're pulling for you.

10
by Joe T. :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 2:21pm

I'm guessing Gado keeps finding work because he's a team player, adequate pass blocker, and capable of learning the playbook in a short amount of time.

I think the UFL is going down the same road that the USFL took. While they aren't competing for players (and the UFL seems resigned to the fact that they are a minor league) they are competing for attention with both the NFL and college football at a time of the year when there is no shortage of football.

11
by Mr. Housebroken :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 2:22pm

From what I heard from his former youth pastor, you are correct about Gado: "it always pays to be a good citizen, to stay in shape and give coaches nothing to complain about."

12
by mm (not verified) :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 2:25pm

I've never heard of Gado, but is he one of those guys who are really special team players but listed as Safeties or Running Backs because they can't do special team work all practice?

Good work with the writing gigs.

38
by MCS :: Fri, 09/03/2010 - 10:48am

My son actually had a Gado jersey.

Gado was a flash in the pan RB back in 2005 when the Packer RBs were dropping like flies. Gado's history is that he was the 6th string RB at Liberty or some such thing. I believe he graduated with a Pre-med degree though. Highly intelligent.

He racked up some good numbers against some severely overrated defenses in 2005. I believe the Atlanta Falcons was one of those tems.

(Break for research)

I think Football Outsiders had the 1-7 Packers ranked higher than the 6-2 Falcons and implied a Green Bay victory (or at least a close game). I seem to remember Falcon fans swarming over the FO boards on how the Falcons were going to destroy the Packers and how the Outsiders were a bunch of stat geeks who had no idea how football was played. FO was proven correct when Gado scored three touchdowns on over 100 yards rushing. Green Bay emerged victorious 33-25.

Starting with the Packer game, the Falcons lost six of their last eight games to finish at 8-8. Score one for DVOA.

The Packer won just two more games that year to finish at 4-12. This was the last straw for Packer management and Mike Sherman was shown the door.

41
by T. Diddy :: Fri, 09/03/2010 - 12:33pm

If memory serves, that was the first time the Football Outsiders Message Board Curse was described as such.

13
by tuluse :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 2:42pm

I want to add to the good luck wishes. If anyone deserves to succeed at this, it's you.

14
by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 2:43pm

S. Gado good guy . Hope make a rooster this yr

15
by Dean :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 2:49pm

If he makes the rooster, that would really be something to crow about. I just hope he doesn't get cocky about it.

23
by Bobman :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 3:41pm

you dumb cluck, I bet you thought those puns were a feather in your cap, but if you keep that up you'll end up with egg on your face. The yolk's on you, buddy.

-Al Bumen

24
by dryheat :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 4:01pm

I'm getting madder than a wet hen having to read all these non-football posts. I don't think I can coop up my ire any longer.

26
by Queen_of_Hearts (not verified) :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 4:51pm

Off with his head!

27
by DGL :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 4:56pm

Don't be chicken.

30
by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 6:13pm

meant too write roster but hiyt o key two times. did here too but made sure to doiuble check this time.

would be cool party trick if Samkon gado really did make rooster. could maybe sit on egg for few days. not really sit on himself but have in bedroom under light. Think Timmy did that one time on Lassie TV show. Then if bird come out of egg and is male bird, then that way Samkon Gado could mayeb saay he make a rooster.

32
by Eddo :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 7:23pm

I have no words. This was one of the best posts I can remember.

34
by Mike Tanier :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 9:09pm

I think Raiderjoe is really Tom Waits.

47
by Foghorn Leghorn (not verified) :: Fri, 09/03/2010 - 9:03pm

These jokes are fowl.

56
by The Hypno-Toad :: Thu, 09/09/2010 - 3:22am

I think the world would be a better place if more people were, in fact, Tom Waits.

16
by chasehas (not verified) :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 2:54pm

FWIW, Ulchi Focus Lens was the name of the annual U.S-South Korean military exercise. It was changed to Ulchi Freedom Guardian a few years back...otherwise, I imagine it would still be tops in the Google rankings.

GL with the writing.

17
by Packfan6 :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 3:03pm

If I remember right, it was that Gado was traded from Green Bay to Houston for Vernand Morency.

29
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 5:11pm

He was indeed - a replacement level player who was a bad fit for the offense of the team offloading him, in return for a player not even nearly talented enough to be replacement level in any offense. Your granny might have been able to run for 1000 yards on the early noughties Broncos, but Gado couldn't have. He's also not a notably good special teamer. I don't care how great a guy he is, he doesn't belong in the NFL and he never did. Frankly, I doubt he could cut it in the UFL either.

19
by dryheat :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 3:22pm

In "Vintage Gado", I think I have my loser league team name.

28
by DGL :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 4:57pm

Hey, yeah, did I miss the LL signups?

50
by The Ninjalectual :: Sun, 09/05/2010 - 5:08am

I hope not, though last year FO hid the signup link so well that I didn't even see it once, even though I check this site every fucking day.

"Just look at that pumpkin."
-John Madden, looking at the moon.

25
by tomdrees :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 4:17pm

Thank you for believing in yourself enough to provide a welcome distraction to those of us who don't as much.

31
by Overrated (not verified) :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 6:24pm

Think you're the best writer on here, I look forward to Walkthrough more than any other article. So good luck!

35
by Key19 :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 10:03pm

Good luck, let us know how we can help make your endeavor a success.

36
by Andrew Potter :: Thu, 09/02/2010 - 11:00pm

Fantastic article, Mike. This is just the kind of thing I wish I could read every day. I really hope you're able to make a full-time career out of it - the more of your writing we get to read, the better.

37
by Martial (not verified) :: Fri, 09/03/2010 - 12:41am

Yeah, buddy, it's football season. And it's more fun shooting the bull and keeping the facts straight with you. Keep it up!

39
by MCS :: Fri, 09/03/2010 - 10:53am

Good Luck. I'll be watching for your byline.

If Outsiders would post all your stuff in Extra Points, we could follow the link and increase the page hits on those other sites.

You would get more recognition I would think.

42
by dmb :: Fri, 09/03/2010 - 1:17pm

Agreed ... and I'm looking forward to getting to read even more of your work!

40
by Lasse Johansen (not verified) :: Fri, 09/03/2010 - 12:12pm

Good luck

Look forward to your book. It will most likely make its way to Copenhagen, Denmark.

Mike Tanier, you are on the way to becoming an internationaly known writer.

43
by Led :: Fri, 09/03/2010 - 2:55pm

Tuskers are elephants. See the evil Somers Tuskers of Somers, NY, (alleged) home of the first American circus and site of the landmark Elephant Hotel, named for the same reason.

http://somersfootball.vnsports.com/

44
by Slots (not verified) :: Fri, 09/03/2010 - 3:48pm

To be fair Young guns are future and Clarett is improving as a great player.

45
by poker (not verified) :: Fri, 09/03/2010 - 3:58pm

Maurice Clarett has bad previous year everybody knows that but a bad year does not make a question on his ability.
he is great player and comeback in this season.

46
by nuk :: Fri, 09/03/2010 - 5:58pm

If you teach as well as you write. The world will miss a math teacher more than it does a sportswriter.

48
by piratefreedom (not verified) :: Sat, 09/04/2010 - 5:47pm

Mike Tanier is the most entertaining writer at FO by a wide margin and among the most enjoyable and informative writers I follow on the internets regardless of subject.

Anything except full time writer would be a waste and I hope he enjoys great success.

49
by Nathan :: Sun, 09/05/2010 - 12:45am

so this year in the ufl you'll actually be able to tell when a qb completes a pass to one of his teammates rather than a defensive back without looking at the numbers?

i believe there is a place for the ufl and i really want it to succeed but the uniforms last year made the games completely unwatchable.

51
by Fion :: Sun, 09/05/2010 - 9:49am

Hey Mike,

You're one of only two writers whose column actually makes me laugh every time I read the new one (I'll let you guess at the other). Even though I live in Europe, I'll definitely be ordering your book on Amazon when it comes out.

(Even if it sucks.)

Happy writing!

52
by the K (not verified) :: Mon, 09/06/2010 - 11:40am

Mike, I'll read anything with your name on it as well. I honestly can't see you not succeeding as a sportswriter and humorist.

53
by Harding (not verified) :: Mon, 09/06/2010 - 4:57pm

I love fantasy football and I love my vikings! Check out my man Bernard Berrian on MInute to Win It on Tuesday at 8pm on NBC. This is a great way to get to know a player personally....plus I am desperately trying to get him on my fantasy team

http://www.nbc.com/minute-to-win-it/

55
by countertorque :: Tue, 09/07/2010 - 3:21pm

Good Luck. You're the best I've read at what you do.

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by The Hypno-Toad :: Thu, 09/09/2010 - 3:31am

I think quite possibly the worst example of what Tanier refers to as expansionitis (mercifully) never came to pass, and wasn't even for an expansion team. When the Quebec Nordiques were brought to Colorado, they were supposed to be called The Colorado Xtreme. They had mocked up jerseys and everything, IIRC. Luckily, the people responsible for naming the team ran out of cocaine (or died of overdoses, I was never clear on the outcome) before the team atually arrived, and thus the Avalanche were born. I can pretty much guarantee you that there would have been no Stanley Cups in Colorado if they had kept the name. Do you really think Patrick Roy would have accepted a trade to a team named the Xtreme?

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by Theo :: Thu, 09/09/2010 - 7:53am

As if you read my mind on the UFL. Couldn't find the stats. Cann't imagine why they wouldn't open camp AFTER the NFL cuts...
The biggest hope for the UFL is an NFL strike year. They can suffer from expansionitis in 12 cities, and viola! Another inspiring moment to make 4 new football movies.

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by casino (not verified) :: Fri, 01/07/2011 - 6:46am

hey happy new year dear and you got a lot af comments for this blog nice to see that