Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

27 Jan 2011

Battle Hymn of the Dragon Walkthrough

by Mike Tanier

Location: A McMansion in the Greater Chicagoland Area

Jay Cutler: Whew! What a day. It's great to be home, where I can rest my knee and tune out the ridiculous criticism I have been receiving. Wait, who the hell are you?

Amy Chua: I am Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. I am your new life coach.

Cutler: Life coach? I don't need a life coach. I am calling the police. But ... Why won't my cell phone work?

Chua: I canceled your plan, you pathetic weakling. Your phone, texting, and social networking privileges are suspended until you win three Super Bowls.

Cutler: That's crazy! And what did you do to my walls? They are covered with newspaper clippings of Sunday's loss and headlines questioning my toughness. That's awful!

Chua: Do the headlines make you feel ashamed? Inadequate? They should, because you do not meet my standards, or anyone else's. We deserve better! I also taped 30 hours of talk radio hosts arguing about whether you were really injured. I control the volume. Now study the playbook until sunrise, or else I will turn the volume up ... Up ... UP ...

Cutler: Arrgh! It's too much. I will study. Let me just feed my cat and then ... Oh my God, what is Mister Snugglesocks doing in that cage over the deep fryer?

Chua: If you love Mister Snugglesocks and want him to live, you will go to the backyard and hit the bull's-eye on the cardboard Johnny Knox's chest 50 times from 30 yards away. Do it 60 times, and I will tell you where I hid the insulin needles.

Cutler: You monster! You cannot do this! I am an NFL player. I have powerful friends!

Chua: Oh really, do you have as many friends as the NFL player I have chained to your dishwasher?

Antonio Cromartie: Jay, you have to fight this crazy woman. She's a total as ... yeeeeeeeoooooooch!

Chua: I told you, Antonio, that every use of the a-word comes with a 3,000-volt price tag.

Cutler: Look, maybe your system makes sense for Cromartie, who could stand to get a little more involved in the parenting process. But I don't deserve to be treated like this!

Chua: Really? Because when I look in your eyes I see a weakling who has grown lazy and lax, who has squandered opportunities, and who let everyone around him down.

Cutler: At least I am not an egomaniac who claims to have my children's best interests at heart, then destroys their privacy and exposes their entire childhood to vicious mass-media scrutiny the moment I can turn a quick buck and make myself the center of attention.

Comartie: Burn! Burn! Go Jay, tell that crazy bi ... yeeeeeeeooooooooch!

Chua: I ... I have never been questioned before. Maybe we can both learn something. Maybe I must realize that the relationship between parent and child isn't a competition or a fashion statement, but something personal and private, something that requires both firmness and flexibility.

Cutler: And I must realize that image control is part of my job. I not only have to cut down on my interceptions but also have to keep working to gain the trust of fans. We're alike in a lot of ways: Much of the criticism against us is thoughtless and unjustified, with radio hosts using us as talking points and Internet smart-alecks taking shots at us for cheap laughs. But that doesn't mean we can't each do better, work past the interceptions, injuries, and crazy-mom stereotypes, and change some minds.

Chua: That sounds fair. Here is your cat and your medicine. And here's the remote control for the Cromartie Zapper.

Cutler: That's all I really wanted.

Cromartie: YEEEEEOUCH! You want the Gradkowski Zapper! YEEEEEOUCH! C'mon, man, I let Johnny beat me for a touchdown last month! Don't be an a- YEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOCH!

Fixing a Bowl

The Pro Bowl: The all-star game everyone takes pains to avoid, even the participants. The Pro Bowl is the intersection of an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii and a trip to the dentist, but it shouldn't be. With a little paradigm-splintering recontextualization (or, possibly, some changes), we can create the Perfect Pro Bowl.

Here's my proposal for transforming the Pro Bowl from an afterthought into an event:

Truly Awesome New Venue

The Pro Bowl is played in Honolulu to encourage players to show up. I think that plan has backfired. At the end of a season of flying around the country, players don't want to take a long flight anywhere. In the past, their wives may have pressured them into a family vacation in Hawaii, but the modern Pro Bowler is wealthy enough to go on any vacation he wants, on his own terms. And of course, normal fans cannot just load up the Winnebago and drive to the game.

The NFL moved the game to Miami in 2010 (and back to Aloha Stadium this year), but here are some better ideas than taking everyone's talents to South Beach:

  • New Orleans: If the Pro Bowl were in New Orleans, I would attend it every year without asking for expenses, and I would file daily reports straight from Bourbon Street. It would be Bill-James-meets-Hunter-S.-Thompson caliber material, and I would be dead in three years. But it would make the Pro Bowl more interesting, and you too would be tempted to make the game part of a three-day Big Easy adventure.
  • Tampa: More family-friendly than Miami (a plus for the Pro Bowler's wives), with a cooler stadium and more elderly snowbirds who can fill seats while waiting for the Grapefruit League. The game could be billed as the "World's Earliest Football Buffet."
  • Jacksonville: Television camera crews know just what angles to use to hide the fact that the stadium is mostly empty.
  • Madison Square Garden: Think of hockey's "Winter Classic" in reverse. Lay down an Arena-sized field inside the Garden, play the game by Arena rules, give fans the thrill of an intimate, unusual setting. In other years, the game can move to the Boston Garden, Staples Center, Joe Louis Arena, you name it. Shrink the field a little further, and by 2015, they could play the Pro Bowl in a House of Blues.
  • Nike-Customized Field: Give Nike exclusive sponsorship of the game, and they will turn the L.A. Coliseum playing surface into a cacophonous kaleidoscope of controversy. Imagine an artistic interpretation of frozen tundra, or a colorful homage to the post-Super Bowl confetti storm, splayed across the entire field of play. Implant fiber-optic threads in the turf, and the field could actually change color during the game. Part All-Star game, part modernist installation! The colors and multimedia might overwhelm the game itself. Not necessarily a drawback.

Fantastically Exciting Rule Changes

If the Madden video games taught us anything, it's that 15-minute quarters are just too long for anything other than an actual football game. In the Perfect Pro Bowl, quarters will be five minutes long. We're bringing this event in at less than two hours, introductions and all.

The shortened quarters will limit playing time for backups, most of whom are only there because someone better declined to play. Oh well. It will also curtail the running game, so if you tune in to watch Michael Turner plunge off tackle, you are out of luck. All-Star games aren't about off-tackle plunges. Great starting pitchers have to content themselves with pitching to three batters in the fifth inning of baseball's All-Star game, and Turner might be limited to a fourth-and-1 plunge. Those are the breaks.

The league made a huge mistake by limiting strategy in the Pro Bowl. Teams can only line up in preset formations, can only play man coverage, and so on. It's exactly backward. In my plan, teams will be required to call one trick play per drive: a reverse, direct snap, option pass, or quick kick. Defenses will be forced to zone blitz so I can see nose tackles drop into coverage. If the coach doesn't comply, his team loses its first-round draft pick. The results will be unpredictable, exciting, and fun to watch.

Finally, two players from each roster will be designated "Inertia" selections. These are guys who make the Pro Bowl every year purely on reputation. Jason Peters and Adrian Wilson get the inertia award for the NFC this season, along with Ray Lewis and Jeff Saturday in the AFC. In baseball, fans want to see aging superstars play in the All-Star game. In football, no one really cares if Lewis or Saturday is on the field. The Inertia selections will each spend one quarter in the broadcast booth and three quarters hanging out in the crowd talking to fans. Would you buy a Pro Bowl ticket if the game was in New Orleans and there was a chance that Jason Peters would sit next to you? No? What if he were sitting behind you, so you weren't quite so crowded? That's better.

Incredibly Amazing Skill Competitions

The Home Run Derby is cool. The Slam Dunk Contest used to be cool. The Three-Point Contest is geeky-cool. The hockey skating-and-shooting contests have quirky charm.

Unfortunately, NFL skills competitions are lame. Watching quarterbacks throw at targets is boring. Obstacle courses are only funny when 300-pound linemen are running them. The league and NFLPA wouldn't dare let players risk injury in a touch football game or some kind of televised weightlifting competition -- memories of Robert Edwards are still very fresh.

The solution? The NFL should borrow skill competitions from the other sports! During Perfect Pro Bowl Weekend, there will be a home run derby, a three-point competition, and a slam dunk contest. Players will be required to compete in at least one of them.

Admit it: You want to see Michael Vick or Roddy White dunk. And if Haloti Ngata or Shane Lechler can dunk, you definitely want to see it. Tony Gonzalez versus Matt Light in a three-pointer contest? I will tune in. As for the home run derby, construct a mini-Green Monster at some practice facility, make it about 300 feet to dead center so these guys have a chance of reaching it, and require Chris Johnson to swing for the fences while his peers and family look on. Television gold.

Players who don't want to participate in the athletic events will have to compete in an American Idol-like singing competition or a cooking throwdown against Bobby Flay. The coaches will have to face one another in chess, with the highlights to be interspersed among the other events.

You may think that these competitions would persuade players to come up with even more fake injuries. I think players would enjoy it. These guys love reality television, and many of them get a kick out of showing off non-football skills. And if the real Pro Bowlers refuse to participate, then I will settle for the players who show up. Really, I don't care who the Pro Bowl tackles are. If Tyson Clabo is the sixth-best tackle in the NFC, but he showed up at the Pro Bowl because he thinks he can hit a baseball or cook crabcakes, I will watch him, and to heck with everybody else.

Super Duper All-Star Weekend

The Pro Bowl and the NHL All-Star Game both take place on Sunday, which is a good idea. I am more likely to carve out time for two sports-ish "events" than one. To make the Perfect Pro Bowl work, there must be a harmonic convergence of all the winter All-Star games. The Senior Bowl, currently on Saturday, will be moved to Sunday. The NBA All-Star Game doesn't take place until February, and the NBA guys might not want to play along with us, because people actually watch their All-Star game. Given the right financial incentives, the NBA could be persuaded to line up with the other leagues, creating a wild Sunday of All-Star goodness.

To maximize fan interest, the games will run on a staggered schedule. The Senior Bowl can kick off at 1 p.m. (all times Eastern). Puck drops on the NHL at 3 p.m. The Pro Bowl kicks off at 5 p.m. The NBA gets the primetime treatment at 7 p.m. No matter when you sit down on your couch or barstool, you have two All-Star choices, plus pregame silliness or postgame highlights from other events.

The existence of a multi-sport All-Star Weekend will minimize that uneasy anxiety you feel after watching five minutes of the Pro Bowl -- that yawning, "I am wasting my life" ennui that sends you racing out to play catch with your children or change your smoke alarm batteries. On Perfect Pro Bowl Weekend, you aren't squandering precious seconds watching meaningless, half-hearted football. You are switching around sports, soaking in the pageantry, watching North America's greatest athletes in action, and immersing yourself in the deep wellspring of liveliness. At the very least, a four-game feast will hold your attention for more than 10 minutes.

There you have it: the Perfect Pro Bowl. A short game with up-tempo rules, wedged among other All-Star games on the television schedule, played in a city you can actually reach, surrounded by wacky events. It may sound more like a sideshow than a game, because that's what any All-Star game really is. It's all about fun!

And I will NOT be live-blogging it this year.

Ranking the All-Time Super Bowl Kickers

Anybody can rank the quarterbacks or coaches; I wanted to take a whack at the kickers. These rankings only include kickers who played for Super Bowl champions, and they are mostly subjective. They are based on the kicker's career, not what they did in the games themselves. I gave weight for being on multiple Super Bowl teams, for being a major contributor to those teams (like Matt Stover, who often had to provide all of the Ravens offense), for Super Bowl heroics, and for having a long, interesting career. Here is the list, from worst to best:

Jim O'Brien: O'Brien won Super Bowl V with a 32-yard field goal; before Adam Vinatieri, it was probably the most famous kick in Super Bowl history. O'Brien was 4-of-9 from the 30-39 yard range during the regular season, so the Super Bowl winner was hardly a chip shot for him. O'Brien was 13-of-31 on field goals two seasons later in 1972, but he did pitch in with 11 receptions at wide receiver. His career ended a year later.

Lin Elliot: When the Cowboys were clicking, they didn't really need a kicker to do anything but handle extra points. See Chris Boniol.

Shaun Suisham: Here is where he goes if the Steelers win.

Garrett Hartley: In between the slumps, suspensions, and John Carney resurrections, Hartley often gets the job done.

Chris Boniol: The Cowboys didn't ask much of Boniol, who could handle extra points and 35-yard field goals well enough. The Eagles were so impressed by Boniol's 87.1 percent accuracy that they signed him as a free agent. Once asked to kick 45-yard field goals regularly, Boniol proved to be terrible.

Errol Mann: Not a terrible kicker, but a guy the Raiders grabbed midway through the 1976 season when George Blanda finally retired and someone named Fred Steinfort went 4-of-8 on early attempts. Mann had a fine little career with the Lions and kicked for two more seasons in Oakland.

Mike Clark: The Cowboys' kicker in the early 1970s. He was 6-foot-1 and wore No. 83 in the 1960s, so he was clearly a holdover from the days of non-specialist kickers, but he has no receiving statistics.

Mike Cofer: An extra-point specialist for the 49ers of the George Seifert era. Cofer routinely missed one or two extra points per year, but he still made the Pro Bowl because he attempted 61 of them.

Ali Haji-Sheikh: A rookie superstar in 1983 who was already a has-been when he kicked for the Redskins in 1987. If his name didn't cause a flashback, there's:

Raul Allegre: Replaced Haji-Sheikh for the Giants and was slightly better. The mid-1980s were the Golden Age of Unusual Kicker Names. The rush on soccer-style kickers was so crazy that guys like Haji-Sheikh -- born in Michigan -- were caught in the dragnet of little guys with exotic-sounding names. The stereotypical tiny Cypriot has been replaced in the last 15 years by strapping Ryan Lindell types, definitely a boon for those of us who cannot spell.

Mason Crosby: Here is where he goes if the Packers win.

Martin Gramatica: A throwback to the 1980s: A 172-pounder from Argentina who was great from 1999-2002, then came down with a dead leg.

Doug Brien: Converted 60-of-62 extra points for the 1994 49ers, picking up exactly where Mike Cofer left off. He went on to a long, ordinary career with the Saints, Jets, and other teams.

Jeff Reed: Not a bad kicker. Attracted too much attention to himself.

Chris Jacke: A big-legged kicker who went 6-of-7 from 50-plus yards one year but was already starting to lose it when the Packers became a Super Bowl team.

Efren Herrera: Another mediocre Cowboys kicker. Herrera went on to have a few decent seasons in Seattle. The Cowboys' best pure kicker in history was probably Rafael Septien, but Septien never kicked for a Super Bowl champion.

Lawrence Tynes: Your basic modern-day kicker.

Chip Lohmiller: Led the league in attempts four straight times for the Mark Rypien-era Redskins.

Kevin Butler: He attempted 41 field goals for the 1986 Bears, who didn't have much of an offense. He hung around for years after that, kicking just well enough to keep his job.

Jim Turner: He was an early-era specialist kicker who had a long career with the Jets and Broncos.

Don Chandler: An old-school kicker-punter, Chandler played for the Giants for several years, then finished his career with the Packers and kicked in the first two Super Bowls. I probably have him overrated here, but he is getting credit for his punting and the fact that he was good for one 27-yard run on a fake per season. Not to be confused with Don Cheadle.

Roy Gerela: He started his career as a kicker/punter for the Oilers. A tricky guy to rank, because he kicked for the mighty Steelers, but I am skeptical of a guy who went 50-of-90 from 30-39 yards in the 1970s, when guys like Garo Yepremian were making those kicks about 75 percent of the time. He and Chandler belong together as so-so longtime kickers for great teams.

Ray Wersching: An Austrian soccer-style kicker with good short-range accuracy; one of the Stenerud-Yepremian wave of kickers who was still in the NFL by the late 1980s. Wersching gave the Niners a dependable decade.

Jeff Wilkins: Wilkins did some of his best work after the Rams peaked in 1999-2001. Being a modern kicker for a dome team with a high-powered offense helps his stats, but he was very good for many years.

Garo Yepremian: Going 11-of-15 on 40-to-49-yard field goals in 1970 was an accomplishment. He's best remembered for that all-time blooper pass and for shouting, "I kicked zee touchdown!" but he was a great kicker and, by all accounts, an interesting dude.

Eddie Murray: Earned a Super Bowl ring with the 1993 Cowboys (and kicked darn well that year) but ranks this high for 12 rock-solid seasons in Detroit and a long career as an ever-ready foot for hire.

Chris Bahr, Matt Bahr (tie): When I was on the NFL Network's "Top 10 Football Families," I tried to argue for the Bahr clan, who have a total of four Super Bowl rings. Matt took over for Gerela in Pittsburgh, endured a long exile in Cleveland, and then resurfaced as one of the heroes of Super Bowl XXV. Chris kicked for the Raiders for most of the 1980s. If I was going for real precision, Chris might be down in Gerela's territory, but I like keeping the brothers together.

Matt Stover: A truly great modern-era kicker for a Ravens team that always needed every point it could get.

Adam Vinatieri: This feels about right. We had a habit of deflating Vinatieri's "Mister Clutch" rhetoric around here five years ago. Since then, he's picked up another Super Bowl ring and had several more efficient seasons for a great team.

Mark Moseley: Moseley became a celebrity kicker when he converted 95.2 percent of his attempts in 1982. It was a strike-shortened season, and he didn't attempt many long field goals, but Moseley's accomplishments for a good team testified to just how accurate kickers had become over the previous decade. Moseley was one of the best long-distance kickers of the 1970s, going 13-of-28 on 40-plus yard attempts in 1977, before becoming the super-accurate veteran kicker of the 1980s. He may really belong below Vinatieri; both were overrated in their best seasons but had long, interesting careers.

Jan Stenerud: He went 12-of-13 on kicks of 17-to-19 yards in 1971, then converted 91.7 percent of his attempts a decade later, neatly connecting the era of short field goals through goal posts that were actually on the goal line with the era when 45-yarders were becoming nearly automatic. He was a great kicker in his 20s and his 40s, but his career had a soft, creamy center. The Hall of Fame voters selected him in 1991, then took 20 years off.

Jason Elam: Stenerud is getting lonely as the only modern era kicker in the Hall of Fame. He will probably be alone for a while. Gary Anderson and Nick Lowry didn't get past the preliminary nominee stage this year, not that either is an outstanding candidate. Morten Andersen will soon be eligible, and I believe he deserves serious consideration, as does Elam. With four Super Bowl rings and all those famous kicks, Vinatieri is probably going in. I am OK with that. Even though there have been better kickers over the last decade, he has a unique resume. Elam was unique, too, and he has the right mix of a long career, Super Bowl appearances, and personal statistics to make a serious case. If Stenerud is still alone in a decade, it's a sign that the voters are just being obstinate.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 27 Jan 2011

80 comments, Last at 03 Feb 2011, 2:35pm by Bright Blue Shorts

Comments

1
by Mike Tanier :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 1:42pm

The long aside in which I forgot about the fact that the goalposts were moved back in 1974 and comment at length about the surprising number of 19 yard field goals in the 1970s has been deleted.

Clearly my finest hour as a football writer!

Let us never speak of it again!

(sneaks away)

15
by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 3:17pm

All is forgiven, Tanier. I will gladly pay an extra $50 on my cable bill, if I can get a Super Bowl pre-game show interview conducted by Joe Buck, with Chua and Cutler as guests. I'll pay $50 more if Randy Moss is included, and he rubs his buttocks on Buck's lap at some point.

2
by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 1:57pm

First step ti fixing pro blow is tio changr fueld surfsce to natural grass. Thibk gtass have no probklem growing in hawaii so do this now you lazy hawaiiians.

11
by Dean :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 2:52pm

We had a thread on here a couple years ago which got hijacked into fixing the pro bowl. There were several "modest proposals," but there were also some surprisingly good ideas.

31
by parttimemovieguy :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 9:08pm

Big ups to "pro blow".

Sounds like a league name for junkies, or porn stars.

3
by Nevic (not verified) :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 2:20pm

Is it crazy that I like the idea of the changing color field surface? How about something like NBA Jam where you would get hotspots. Make hot spots appear on the field that are worth points if the offense can get there.

26
by srsbzns (not verified) :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 4:38pm

This would be awesome.

what about an offensive hot spot that is 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage for two points, and you have to down the ball in it? DECISION TIME

40
by MCS :: Fri, 01/28/2011 - 10:43am

Make it five yard and only available on fourth down.

You get the points, but the opposition gets the field position.

4
by Manonanon (not verified) :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 2:23pm

If Tyson Clabo is the sixth-best tackle in the NFC, but he showed up at the Pro Bowl because he thinks he can hit a baseball or cook crabcakes, I will watch him, and to heck with everybody else.

I loled.

Seriously though, open invitation for the festivities to everyone in the league who thinks they can hit a baseball or cook crabcakes. I am sure there are a lot of guys around the league who will never make it to the pro-bowl, never make it on an ESPN highlight, but everyone in their town who has met them, loves them and thinks they are a bucket of fun.

5
by Pass to Set Up ... :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 2:23pm

If Jason Peters is in the stands sitting next to fans, can the refs still at least call a false start on him to make sure he fulfills his contractual obligation of one false start per game?

6
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 2:34pm

" The mid-1980s were the Golden Age of Unusual Kicker Names."

I first started watching football in 1984 ... I loved the kickers's names ... you mention a few ... but let's not forget Rolf Benirschke ... Donald Igwebuike (Mick Luckhurst - Falcons kicker and presenter for UK TV pronounced it Ig-way-big-way) ... the Zendejas brothers ... Uwe Von Schamann ... Al Del Greco ... Dean Biasucci ... Fuad Reveiz ... plus the Chargers had a punter called Rolf Mojsijenko ...

Checking the 1984/85/86 stats I discover there were also kickers named Obed Ariri, Florian Kempf, Novo Bojovic, Massimo Manca, Todd Schlopy among others ...

14
by Chris Owen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 3:12pm

Do you remember the SNL skit? Link in name.

17
by kamchatka (not verified) :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 3:39pm

Great. Now I have to name my firstborn Floriankempf.

29
by Pedro (not verified) :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 6:12pm

Don't forget Russel Erxleben.

56
by starzero :: Sun, 01/30/2011 - 1:55pm

Biasucci played Mark Antony at the Indianapolis Repertory Theater.

--
hail damage

58
by Mr Shush :: Sun, 01/30/2011 - 2:49pm

Did he ever mis-kick horribly, nicking the holder with his cleats and turfing up a divot, and say, "O pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth"?

59
by Paul R :: Sun, 01/30/2011 - 4:55pm

"I love long life better than figgies."
-Antony and Cleopatra, 1st half, 2nd quarter

7
by battlered90 (not verified) :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 2:40pm

What does Gradkowski have to do with Jay Cutler? I don't get it.

8
by The Anti-Dave (not verified) :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 2:48pm

The Jacksonville joke's more than a year out of date and spectacularly unoriginal.

28
by mathesond :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 4:44pm

The Jacksonville line was a joke?

43
by The Anti-Dave (not verified) :: Fri, 01/28/2011 - 7:25pm

It's exceptionally disappointing that this site bills itself as a harbinger of intelligent analysis but still sometimes hides behind old, stale, tiresome jokes.

In the offseason Mr. Tanier wrote a thoughtful, factual feature on how Jacksonville had vastly improved its ticket sales and community/team engagement but began it with a hit-and-run "Jaguars fans, unite! Both of you!" joke, naturally promising that it would be the last such crack.

The chapter on the Jaguars in the Almanac similarly factually commented on the ticket sales and outreach improvements, but began with a "If you rebuild it, they won't come" one-liner.

When Mr. Barnwell linked to a feature on my friend Kim Nored's dedication to acquiring tattoos of Jaguars players, he began it with a "Well, I guess there are a handful of dedicated Jaguars fans out there..." cheap shot. And also made a thoroughly gratuitous reference to tarps in a commentary about David Garrard in a weekly quick hits. (For the record, even with the tarps in place, EverBank Field's capacity is still right around league-average at 67,246.)

Not often does a reference to Jacksonville pass by without an FO writer or commentor's taking the occasion to make yet another lame remark about lack of fan support or a hypothetical Los Angeles move.

I'm a Jaguars fan. I'm not from Jacksonville; I live 600 miles away. I'm a season ticket holder and would put my dedication to my team up against anyone's. I know many, many people in Jacksonville of whom I would say the same. I love the community and I love the fan base.

It's exceptionally tiresome to read exactly the same punch lines about Jacksonville over and over (especially from those who supposedly traffic in more intelligent forms of analysis and have theoretically promised to refrain from such cheap shots). It's inconsiderate of those who have put a tremendous amount of time and money and passion into supporting this franchise, and it's wholly ignorant of the vast ticket sales gains the team accomplished after the disaster of 2009.

I know our nationwide fan base is a lot smaller than most teams' and smaller than just about anyone's. I know that Mr. Tanier's comment was a wholly accurate description of the situation in 2009. But I also know that situation changed markedly this year, that our fan base is as passionate and dedicated as any team's--just because there are fewer of us doesn't mean we care less, but that assumption is implicit in most of the cheap shots. And this franchise's exceptional dedication to creative community outreach is fostering a unique team-to-fan base relationship that is unlike any I've experienced as a sports fan, with astonishingly open access. What other team sets up conference calls for season ticket holders to chat with players, the general manager, even the owner?

Repeating the same Jacksonville cracks is lame and stale, ignorant of the facts, and insulting to fans who come here seeking more in-depth analysis than the mainstream sports press provides. Mr. Tanier knows better but evidently couldn't resist.

71
by Dave :: Mon, 01/31/2011 - 4:41pm

Jacksonville sucks.

9
by Dean :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 2:48pm

The Dolphins had the best run of kicker names. Starting with Yepremian, Uwe von Schamann, Fuad Reveiz. They had a 20 year run. By the time Pete Stoyanovich came around, his name seemed positively normal.

76
by Noah of Arkadia :: Tue, 02/01/2011 - 2:09pm

What about Olindo Mare?

10
by Dean :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 2:50pm

I was 3/4 of the way through the first section when I suddenly started wondering if the lifecoach was a real person.

19
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 3:42pm

So what did you decide?

(FYI - she is)

46
by buzzorhowl (not verified) :: Sat, 01/29/2011 - 2:51am

Yup, she sure is. This decidedly dubious article is her recent claim to fame:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405274870411150457605971352869875...

And that book Tanier had her plug in the first line of the article is real.

12
by Kal :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 3:03pm

The only problem with this pro bowl idea is that it's in a column that is often parody, meaning that I'm not sure if it's actually wanting to be a real idea.

Because I would watch this pro bowl twice. And I might even go to one. 5 minute quarters? Skills competition? The only thing that would make this better is doing a dancing with the stars dance off with the OLinemen.

13
by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 3:09pm

Remember the QB Challenge? I'd watch that again.

16
by ammek :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 3:18pm

Chandler surely deserves to move up a spot or two for making a clutch kick against Johnny U's Colts in the playoffs.

More or less.

18
by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 3:40pm

Will reaf whole atyicle layer. Will agree wirh tanier or maybe dusagree or both and if then will write other odeas

22
by dryheat :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 4:02pm

Greta post, Joseph.

49
by Mr Shush :: Sat, 01/29/2011 - 12:37pm

Odea, odea, odea.

20
by Boots Day :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 3:44pm

Roy Gerela is too high. He almost cost the Steelers Super Bowl X, when he missed two early field goals from 33 and 36 yards. He also missed an extra point; it wasn't blocked or anything, he just honked it. That has to be the worst Super Bowl any kicker has had.

25
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 4:20pm

I thought the kicker rating was about their whole careers, not just Super Bowl performances otherwise Vinatieri has to be #1 even if the kicks weren't that clutch ...

PS Did I miss Scott Norwood on that list? Perhaps it's only winning kickers?

Edit: "These rankings only include kickers who played for Super Bowl champions, and they are mostly subjective. They are based on the kicker's career, not what they did in the games themselves."

21
by Temo :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 3:59pm

Chua: I ... I have never been questioned before.

Not sure this is true at all, recently.

23
by Sjt (not verified) :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 4:05pm

It would be Bill-James-meets-Hunter-S.-Thompson caliber material, and I would be dead in three years.

If you did this, I volunteer to pay your expenses.

24
by Sjt (not verified) :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 4:07pm

Just to clarify, its not because I want you dead. I am in favor of the James/Thompson merger.

27
by Mike Tanier :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 4:39pm

Heehee. Yep, I was wondering!

30
by Jonadan :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 6:40pm

Me, I think the secret to a successful Pro Bowl...

...is to do it in the middle of the season just like all the other sports, dummy. "Dummy" being the league, in this case.

I understand that teams will be all, "Oh no, not another chance to get guys injured," and that's got some value, but in terms of just making the event successful, this is obviously the way to go.

32
by mattxlegend (not verified) :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 9:52pm

I think that the Pro Bowl, and all related events, should be moved to Draft Week. What fan wouldn't love a booster shot of football in April?

34
by justanothersteve :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 11:34pm

I like that idea. If they don't want to play, we could just Tecmo Bowl all the players, let the coaches program the defenses and watch that.

38
by Dean :: Fri, 01/28/2011 - 9:29am

When the topic was last discussed, the best idea was to move the pro bowl to the weekend of the Hall of Fame game.

33
by Intropy :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 11:29pm

They should hold the pro-bowl once every four years. And it should be in the Olympics.

Half joking. Football in the Olympics would be great.

37
by Chris UK :: Fri, 01/28/2011 - 9:23am

Wouldn't it just be the easiest Gold medal for the USA of all time?

44
by Intropy :: Fri, 01/28/2011 - 9:34pm

Yes, much like mens basketball (professional era) and womens softball, the US would dominate... at first. But other countries would catch up, especially if NFL players didn't play due to injury risk. Heck, even college players likely to be drafted might stay away, which would make it even more competitive. And international players could use it as a way to get noticed by the NFL. It could also help popularize the sport internationally, which I would love to see.

48
by tuluse :: Sat, 01/29/2011 - 6:54am

Japan managed to take the US team to double overtime in the IFAF World Cup. However, I suspect the Olympics would attract better players than the IFAF.

47
by Chris UK :: Sat, 01/29/2011 - 6:36am

Let me preface this with the fact that I have played football in the UK, spent a season in the USA watching the 49ers and have been to all Wembley games and therefore would love to see a growth in popularity in the sport worldwide. That said the USA would win Olympic gold in football forever if it fielded a halfway decent even college team. In the UK (obviously a perceived growth Market for the NFL due to Wembley and the London Monarchs and Scottish Claymores) football is not played in school and 99% of people who do play take it up at university playing very simple playbooks. Invariably this does not include top athletes who have played soccer or rugby since childhood.

The money available to top soccer players will also ensure the top athletes are not drawn to football.

Basketball is an interesting but in my opinion flawed comparison. If I am 6'4"+ in height it in general limits the positions I will play in as a soccer player and it is extremely rare to see top class players over 6'7" who turn towards rugby and basketball as opportunities if they are top athletes.

51
by Intropy :: Sat, 01/29/2011 - 1:36pm

That's a fair point about height differences leading people to different sports (though as a 6'4" tall long-time right midfielder, I has a sad).

54
by Chris UK :: Sat, 01/29/2011 - 2:37pm

I'm 6'3" and but grew late, as a young player I was in midfield, as soon as I was tall centre forward centre back and gk were my limits, and I played de at university but at 224lbs I would be laughable in America. For the guy below referencing 1992 in Barcelona I assume he is referring to the dream team. I would wager that the Carolina panthers would beat any national team by 60+ points minimum.

45
by armchair journe... :: Fri, 01/28/2011 - 9:44pm

Nope. See Barcelona, '92.

_______________________________
armchair journeyman quarterback

61
by Chris UK :: Sun, 01/30/2011 - 7:20pm

For the record I assume you are talking about the gold medal for the dream team. Despite how easy the gold
medal was the fact is that several countries alreay played basketball seriously. The top team the USA could field at football would make the basketball gold in 92 seem hard earned.

68
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 01/31/2011 - 3:42pm

Summer or winter?

35
by matt w (not verified) :: Thu, 01/27/2011 - 11:34pm

"strapping Ryan Lindell types, definitely a boon for those of us who cannot spell."

Isn't it "Rian"?

41
by MCS :: Fri, 01/28/2011 - 10:58am

Ahh... sweet irony.

36
by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 01/28/2011 - 8:07am

skills compeititon with other sports nto goign to work ever becuuause guys have clausesin contnrarcts about not playingn other sport.s No nfl temam going to be happy if pnuter or lien,man get injured in dunk contets.
idea about Nike sytadium= greta.

39
by Paul R :: Fri, 01/28/2011 - 10:31am

Why not start the Pro Bowl by taking a baseline EEG of all the players before the game? Then take another one after time expires, and have the officials award ten points to the "most-concussed" team.
This would ensure much exciting action on the field. Not to mention lots of fun shots of players on the sideline walloping each other with their helmets if their team falls behind.

42
by Jim C. (not verified) :: Fri, 01/28/2011 - 5:37pm

"before Adam Vinatieri, it was probably the most famous kick in Super Bowl history." Scott Norwood and the greater Buffalo area beg to differ:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wide_Right_(Buffalo_Bills)

50
by Mr Shush :: Sat, 01/29/2011 - 12:52pm

"a plus for the Pro Bowler's wives"

Are there a lot of Mormon Pro Bowlers?

55
by Hurt Bones :: Sat, 01/29/2011 - 7:46pm

Just Halot Ngata this year. Don't think there are any others.

57
by Mr Shush :: Sun, 01/30/2011 - 2:45pm

And as best I can tell he has just the one wife . . .

The Outsiders are getting more and more inside all the time; maybe Tanier has some dirt on someone that we don't know about.

52
by Pat Swinnegan :: Sat, 01/29/2011 - 2:15pm


Implant fiber-optic threads in the turf, and the field could actually change color during the game.

Why didn't Jerry Jones think of that?

53
by Pat Swinnegan :: Sat, 01/29/2011 - 2:15pm


Implant fiber-optic threads in the turf, and the field could actually change color during the game.

Why didn't Jerry Jones think of that?

60
by JonFrum :: Sun, 01/30/2011 - 7:01pm

That creative dialogue gimmick that starts this article - no one reads it.

62
by Mr Shush :: Sun, 01/30/2011 - 9:10pm

Umm . . . I think you are wrong about this.

63
by Hurt Bones :: Mon, 01/31/2011 - 12:43am

I am no one.

72
by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 01/31/2011 - 9:19pm

Scweegel?

73
by Hurt Bones :: Mon, 01/31/2011 - 9:52pm

Help, RJ translation needed.

74
by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 01/31/2011 - 10:28pm

sorry, spelled it wrong before

supposoed to be sqweegel

65
by Chris UK :: Mon, 01/31/2011 - 7:11am

I am no one.

67
by Intropy :: Mon, 01/31/2011 - 1:50pm

I am Spartacus.

70
by dryheat :: Mon, 01/31/2011 - 4:26pm

I am Tiger Woods.

I wonder why I never see that ad anymore.

75
by Chris UK :: Tue, 02/01/2011 - 10:58am

Exactly what I was hoping for :)

69
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 01/31/2011 - 3:44pm

I am what I am, and that's all that I am

64
by Duke :: Mon, 01/31/2011 - 2:21am

I don't know why, but I thought Kevin Butler would be higher up this list. I guess it's because I am a Bears fan and he was such a fan favorite in Chicago for so long. Like one of those fullbacks that gets his name yelled everytime he gets the ball.

Plus, he makes those commercials for the PS3 now, which I find hilarious.

66
by Wes69Mike (not verified) :: Mon, 01/31/2011 - 12:20pm

Chandler's trivia is great: when he punted for the Giants the kicker was Pat Summerall. When he led the NCAA at Florida, number two was Earl Morrall. He was the all-decade punter in the 60s, tho he went to the pro bowl only once: in fairness, Yale Lary was probably the best, tho he made the all 50s team as a DB (they didnt pick a punter). Jerrell Wilson of the Chiefs was probably the best punter of the 60s.
Both Boyd Dowler and Max McGee also punted for those Packer teams...Chandler's last five seasons alternate between years in the 60 per cent kicking and years in the 40s

77
by andrew :: Wed, 02/02/2011 - 2:53pm

What, no Fred Cox? He kicked in four superbowls.

In those he scored 4 points, going 4 of 5 on extra points (the Steelers blocked one). He scored 1, 1, 0 and 2 points in those games. He also went 0 for 2 in field goal attempts.

80
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 02/03/2011 - 2:35pm

"These rankings only include kickers who played for Super Bowl champions"

And Fred has how many Super Bowls rings?

78
by Snap Wilson (not verified) :: Wed, 02/02/2011 - 7:36pm

Very funny skit, but that really misrepresents both Chua and her book, which isn't a how-to guide, but a memoir about how she veered away from a strict upbringing for her daughters when the eldest, who as 13, started to rebel (which, in the book, was absolutely hilarious). Chua isn't some self-help guru, she's the Professor of Law at Yale and wrote two highly-regarded books on economics and race, and Battle Hymn is actually a well-written, funny, thought-provoking and self-deprecating read.

79
by Dean :: Thu, 02/03/2011 - 10:35am

Thank you Ms. Chua.