Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Most Recent FO Features

KhanSha1.jpg

» Futures: My Expansion Franchise

You've just been awarded an NFL expansion team and must build your personnel department. How would you do it? Matt Waldman takes on the exercise.

22 Jul 2011

Walkthrough: Moth Balls

by Mike Tanier

Have you ever smelled mothballs?

You have?

How did you get their little legs open?

That joke absolutely kills in a classroom full of ninth graders. The boys furrow their brows, figure it out in about two beats, and start howling. Some of the girls giggle, while other gasp nervously at the "edgy" humor. I told it once a year for about 15 years and never once got called to the principal's office for it, a sign that insect genitalia is the only thing in the world small enough to escape educational micromanagement.

I thought of the moth balls at the end of last week, when the NFL labor news suddenly got good and the negotiators started blasting through issues like Marshawn Lynch through Saints defenders. Jerry Jones told reporters late on Friday that the suits were "down to circumcising mosquitoes," which is one hell of an analogy. Have you ever circumcised a mosquito? You have? Where did you find the tiny rabbi?

Jones probably knows little about entomology. He may not know that it's the females who suck blood, so there's no need to inflict foreskin retribution on the males. The dudes don't even have penises, which probably makes them really henpecked, but I suppose you could metaphorically circumcise them by clipping the tips of their wings. As for circumcision itself, I can only guess Jones maintains blissful ignorance. He has sons but doesn't seem like the kind of guy who changed many diapers. He probably, hopefully, doesn't know if any of his players besides Igor Olshansky are circumcised, not even Dez Bryant, who likes to walk around malls with his trousers down. Olshansky is many things, but he is certainly not a mosquito.

Of course, some of the issues the negotiating team had to foreshorten in the final days appeared more Olshansky-sized than mosquito-sized. That's why we are going on six days under the scalpel. A major antitrust settlement and the resolution of a $320 million benefits disagreement would probably be at the top of most of our agendas, not in the teensy-tiny fine print, but things are different in the NFL. By Tuesday, it appeared that Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins were among the mosquitoes, but no one calls Jackson an insect except A.J. Smith, damn it. The story of their two-man effort to hold up America waxed and waned for several days, with media and fans weighing in on one side or the other and passing along rumors about Jackson, Mankins, Drew Brees and Peyton Manning. Forgive us if we have gotten a little snippy (and perhaps unprofessional) along the way. Watching labor negotiations -- and trying to profit from the analysis of them -- is like watching flies do it doggie style. The preoccupation with insect genitalia is truly infectious.

I had hoped that mosquito circumcision was the last, best meme of the 2011 Lockout. There were many. There was the Great Steak 'n Shake Massacre of late March, which sounds like side two of an old Arlo Guthrie album but was actually an extended rant by NFL Senior Vice President Greg Aiello on Twitter. Three months ago, someone on the labor side Tweeted a remark about the league's 11th hour offer to the effect "even Steak 'n Shake gives employees (something something)." Aiello unleashed a barrage of retorts. "Anyone know if Steak 'n Shake employees average $1.9 million in salary and bonus?" ... "Does Steak 'n Shake give its players five years of free medical coverage after they leave the company?" Steak 'n Shake doesn't have players, Greg, stay on message.

Doug Farrar gave me this link where you can read more, but focusing on Aiello's diatribe misses the point: There were hundreds and hundreds of responses and Steak 'n Shake hashtags. This is what we talked about for a day. For a few hours, I thought I wrote for Steak 'n Shake Outsiders. It's never a good sign when the vice president of your company resorts to the "at least you aren't making French fries" argument to justify his handling of a labor dispute, but that's where we were in March. So I am happy to be Google-searching "mosquito penis" in July, looking for tips.

About two weeks ago, the NFL Twitter-verse started dissecting the word "close" for hidden meanings. The two sides were close. ... Reports that the sides were "close" were premature; they really are not close. ... They were not close enough to be categorized as close. Drew Brees said they were close, but our unconfirmed source says Brees doesn't know what close means. Poor Drew Brees! He got dragged into the Jackson-Mankins saga this week, then Tweeted a denial of the "false media reports," which led a few of my colleagues to launch into pugnacious "how dare you call media shenanigans" Tweets. Brees is doomed to become one of those figures like P.T. Barnum or H.L. Mencken who are misquoted a century after their deaths. If any quarterback is going to have the meanings of words like "close" and "false" parsed endlessly for hidden meanings, it should be Donovan McNabb, but then it must be time to pass the baton.

Sadly, another meme has cropped up in recent hours: moving parts. There are a lot of moving parts to the settlement. Moving parts keep holding the players' vote up. Dangling, wiggly appendages need to be brought under control so we can proceed. They should be lopped down to size. A few days of Vaseline and gauze pads, and in a week everyone will forget all about these moving parts. But they appear to be a very big deal as I write this on Thursday.

Watching the Twitter wire is addictive and depressing when there is no real, good news to report. To get my mind back to on-field pursuits on Tuesday, I bought and played NCAA Football 12. I got sucked into Recruiting Mode, as I often do. Every year, they revamp the recruiting process to make it feel a little more realistic, and therefore icky. You now have "10 hours" per week to call high school kids and schmooze them. Do you want to talk about conference prestige, kid? See how much better our campus atmosphere is than your top school? I can make you a promise, son, of freshman playing time, or a chance to play in bowls, or a three-way with some tipsy sorority sisters (the last bit is more implied than stated). It really captures the sweaty desperation of college recruiting, but it hit close to home for a freelancer who often found work a little scarce during the lockout. I started composing dialogue trees for an EA Sports Pathetic Freelancer Simulator 12, with me on the cover:

You have 30 minutes to make phone calls before you have to pick the neighbor kids up from entomology camp. Who would you like to call: Football Outsiders, The New York Times, Rotoworld, or your brother-in-law for another cash loan?

What would you like to talk about: Pitch your willingness to cover the Southern Indoor Football League, talk up your talents as a baseball writer, hint at your willingness to work for free just so you can see your reassuring byline on an RSS feed, or indiscriminately beg and plead?

No, no, it hasn't been that bad. But it had its moments. And those moments pile up after five months. By Wednesday, I was watching the NFL Network all-day filibuster, and my heart sank when players left the building without voting. I shouldn't have been surprised, because I have been union leadership and taken part in sessions like the one the reps had on Wednesday. The negotiating team presents months of exhausting work, the result of endless wrangling and compromising, and then one over-entitled union member stands up, a guy who didn't lift his finger though the whole process, and goes on an uninformed soapbox jeremiad. "You mean to tell me that I only get a small raise? Why, I bet you guys were just looking out for yourselves. Even workers at the Steak 'n Shake get a better deal!"

In the education realm, that guy rounds up a dozen of the usual malcontents and tries to nix the deal in favor of the magical fairytale solution in his mind. It causes confusion, frustration, and ill feelings, but it never really accomplishes anything. That's probably what was happening behind closed doors on Wednesday, but all I got to watch was Jason LaCanfora and Albert Breer playing good cop-bad cop, or pessimist-optimist. It went something like this:

Jason LaCanfora: There will not be a vote today. There may not be a vote tomorrow. There might never be a vote.

Albert Breer: There was a real sense of optimism that everything would get done as of Tuesday night. This is all part of the labor process. We need to be patient.

LaCanfora: Life is a black hole of guttering despair. We are both going to be laid off. I need to listen to The Cure for the rest of the night.

Albert Breer: Most of the structure of the CBA is settled. Soon, we will all be back to talking about football. Soon! It will be soon! It must be soon!

LaCanfora: I've been standing in the stifling heat in a black suit for 12 hours next to Suzy Sunshine here, and I am ready to take off my glasses and pound him senseless with this microphone.

LaCanfora, Breer, and the others shouldn't be subjected to this. I propose NFL C-SPAN, a new network that takes us inside these rooms and forces these guys to present their arguments to the dozens of viewers who watch such networks. No, they aren't elected officials. They are more important. And I demand some freakin' transparency.

C'mon, let's pile those mosquito foreskins and offer them to the king, make a dowry of them, appease everyone who must be appeased. And then, let all of them blow away, because they are mosquito foreskins and, even if they existed, a million of them probably could fit on a tablespoon.

How hard is it to circumcise these little buggers?

Maybe no one can get their damn legs open.

The Last of the Quarterback Top Fives

I hope to write a "closing argument" for this series next week. For now, let's wrap things up with two interesting lists filled with near-Hall of Famers, cool AFL guys, and some very good recent quarterbacks.

Raiders

1. Ken Stabler. There's a class of quarterbacks who are not in the Hall of Fame that I think of as the Near-Miss Winner Guys. There's Stabler, Phil Simms, Joe Theismann, and Frank Ryan. You can throw Jim Plunkett and/or Jack Kemp onto the list if you like. If Ben Roethlisberger retired tomorrow, he would go here, not into the Hall of Fame (especially since, if he retired tomorrow, it would probably be for some shady reason). Kurt Warner might still end up here, not in the Hall of Fame, and Joe Namath would have been here if he played in Kansas City and preferred monogamy.

These guys all have a title or two under their belts, plus some signature seasons in which they were clearly outstanding quarterbacks. Stabler has 1974 and 1976, plus some other strong years. Simms was great in 1990 and very good (though interception-prone) in 1986, and had other fine years. Theismann was outstanding from 1982 to 1984, Ryan from 1964 through 1966. Plunkett and Kemp are a notch below but certainly had their moments. The best of these quarterbacks are associated with legendary coaches and great teams. When you combine their exploits into one resume -- a three-year peak as an All-Pro level player, one or two Super Bowls with some other playoff exploits for a franchise that might well have won without you, few "wow" numbers on the stat line -- you get a pretty clear picture of what a Near Hall of Fame quarterback looks like. To reach Canton, you have to do more than Stabler, Simms, Theismann or Ryan did.

Stabler may be the best of the four, and he has the most vociferous Hall of Fame support group because old Raiders and their fans can be unrelenting. He had a long, long decline phase during which he was a pretty terrible quarterback. Look at the talent on the 1978 and 1979 Raiders, teams that each went 9-7, and it's hard to justify Stabler's 52-interception performance as a pair of "great" years. He fits much better in the grouping above than in a category with Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach.

2. Daryle Lamonica. Lamonica could also be put on the list above: three-year peak (1967 to 1969), an AFL championship, and association with Al Davis. He had a 66-16 record as a starter, with most of those wins coming after the NFL-AFL common draft, when the talent gap between the leagues quickly equalized. Lamonica also had five- and six-touchdown playoff performances in the AFL, and he played pretty darn well in Super Bowl II: 208 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception on 15-of-34 passing against the Lombardi Packers.

3. Rich Gannon. Had an amazing four-year run with Jon Gruden from 1999 to 2002, starting when he was 33 years old. Gannon did all kinds of things coaches hate during his stops in Minnesota and Kansas City, like throwing sidearm and not being big. It's amazing that everyone overlooked his athleticism: Gannon ran for 528 yards as a 34-year-old in 2000, yet he spent a decade getting yanked in and out of the lineup. By the time he reached the Super Bowl, Gruden was the coach for the other team, which did not work out so well for Gannon.

4. Jim Plunkett. I listed Plunkett among the Near-Miss guys a few paragraphs ago, based on his two Super Bowl appearances. He would be the weakest quarterback in that group. He was awkward, he was interception-, sack-, and injury-prone, and he was streaky. He also had some amazing games when it mattered most, and he was respected in the locker room, which meant a lot on a Raiders team filled with "personalities." Most people would rate Plunkett ahead of Gannon, but I don't see any reasons for that other than bling, and Plunkett didn't even start 16 games in his two Super Bowl years with the Raiders.

5. Jeff Hostetler. Started for four seasons during the first Art Shell-Mike White era. That was the first "out of ideas" era for the Raiders before Gruden arrived and imposed structure for a while. Hostetler spent most of that time throwing to Tim Brown, scrambling, and wondering when the team would groom a No. 2 receiver, or tight end, or viable running back with more juice than Harvey Williams.

Tom Flores deserves honorable mention for his work with the early 1960's AFL Raiders. This is a very solid list, and there is no one in position to crack it anytime soon: Hostetler, Plunkett, and Gannon were fine quarterbacks, and Jason Campbell hasn't accomplished anything to suggest that he will soon leap into their territory.

Chargers

1. Dan Fouts. Younger fans may not realize just how interplanetary Fouts' numbers looked from 1979-82. It would be like somebody throwing for 5,500 yards and 55 touchdowns nowadays, and doing it for four straight years. We all know how influential the Don Coryell offense became, but it's amazing to look back at the stats and the old videotape and see just how unconventional the Chargers were for their time. Fouts threw for 4,802 yards in 1981, yet Coryell still found time to give fullback John Cappelletti 68 carries. The Chargers were still transitioning to an H-back offense that year, and the third wide receiver (Dwight Scales) caught just 19 passes. So Fouts threw for almost 5,000 yards to mostly base personnel, often from two-back sets. Staggering stuff.

2. John Hadl. There's a class of quarterbacks who are not in the Hall of Fame that I categorize as the Near-Miss Stat Guys. There's Hadl, Ken Anderson, John Brodie, and Randall Cunningham. Drew Bledsoe will wind up here, as will a bunch of recent quarterbacks: This is where Donovan McNabb and Matt Hasselbeck will wind up. Warren Moon might have wound up here if his story didn't have a civil rights angle and he didn't play forever and gain a lot of media friends. Sonny Jurgensen could have landed here as well, but he too played for a long time and was colorful and fun to write about. If you dig deep into this tier you get players like Dave Krieg and Jim Hart, guys who sometimes come up in regional taproom Hall of Fame arguments but are thought of by most fans as near-greats who played forever.

These guys all have several seasons of statistical dominance on their resumes, plus enough longevity to have flicked the meter on the all-time passing lists, at least at the time of their retirements. Most had some success in the standings, perhaps a Super Bowl appearance or some playoff success, but they never won an NFL championship, which weakens their Hall of Fame arguments. None assembled the "holy cow" stats a Fouts or Dan Marino accumulated, with the possible exception of Cunningham, who is in a class by himself in just about every way. All of these guys had Hall of Fame attributes, but there are major strikes against them. Cunningham was an undisciplined flake, Bledsoe spent years racking up stats as an immobile shadow of his brief peak, Anderson had a long period of mediocrity in mid-career, Brodie had most of his best years for .500 teams, and so on.

Hadl had most of his best seasons in the AFL, though it was the late-1960's AFL that was roughly equal to the NFL in talent. He led the Chargers to the playoffs twice but lost to the Bills; he was behind Tobin Rote on the bench the year the Chargers won the AFL. He was a very good quarterback who lasted into the 1970s, and like Stabler I think he makes a very good gatekeeper in Hall of Fame arguments. Compare a player like Bledsoe to Hadl and you see the similarities, including the championship-from-the-bench angle. It gives a clear picture of what a Near-Hall of Famer looks like.

3. Philip Rivers. Rivers needs two or three more seasons to pass Hadl. He probably won't challenge Fouts. Rivers is an awkward-looking dude who is going to lose what limited mobility he has pretty soon, which will turn him into a Bledsoe-like sitting duck. He doesn't look like the kind of athlete who will still be playing when he is 37 years old. But then, Plunkett fooled us.

4. Stan Humphries. A chunky, gutty handoff specialist who was very good at play-action bombing. He was a little like Craig Morton in the 1970s: He ran a conservative offense for a few years, and he led his team to a Super Bowl beating for the ages.

5. Drew Brees. This is a heckuva list! Brees was almost buried in 2003. He had two three-interception games in the course of five weeks and got benched in favor of Doug Flutie, who was ever-so-dashing and wonderful for a month. Thank heavens for Marty Schottenheimer, always the long-range thinker and patient planner, who reinserted Brees into the lineup and kept him there for two highly productive seasons. A weaker coach might have started ranting about "the best chance to win now" and buried Brees, leaving us no one to simultaneously admire and attack on Twitter.

With such a fine Top Five, there is little room for Honorable Mention, though Tobin Rote led the Chargers to an AFL championship in his lone season as a starter.

And Finally ...

If you are reading this after a settlement is reached, stop by the comment thread and leave a Woo-hoo. I will come celebrate with you.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 22 Jul 2011

59 comments, Last at 27 Jul 2011, 10:35pm by BD

Comments

1
by maestro876 :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 12:09pm

Your comments in regards to Rivers don't make sense. You say he's awkward, will lose his mobility soon, and turn into Drew Bledsoe. My understanding is that you're implying injuries and beatings will catch up to him and he'll lose effectiveness.

The thing is, Rivers doesn't really take a lot of beatings and isn't injury prone. He hasn't been hurt since the 2007 playoffs, in fact, and has never missed a start. Not only that, but anyone who watches him knows he actually has very good pocket presence. As we know from guys like Brady and Manning, it doesn't matter if you can't scramble around, so long as you can step up, shift, and slide away from the pressure.

9
by trill :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 2:22pm

I agree, I think Mike's assessment of Rivers was tinted by his doo-doo colored lockout glasses. Rivers puts up great numbers in a very challenging scheme, and though he's got the best pass-catching TE in the league (and had a good, big, fast receiver in V. Jax in 2009), he's probably the best out there at throwing from a crowded pocket. Quick release, too.

I don't have any opinion on where Rivers should be slated on any all-time lists, but I think his skill set gives him the potential for Warner-like productivity when he gets up there in years.

12
by MatMan :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 4:35pm

Nice try, Phillip...

15
by speedegg :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 5:12pm

Huh? Have you been to Chargers games? Rivers has an awkward delivery, took several hits (not sacks because he gets the ball out, but hard to tell from TV since the camera follows the ball), while he has pocket presence he's not that mobile (don't see too many rollouts or bootlegs) and his O-line was bad. Last season was painful to watch.

17
by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 6:51pm

Even if you agree Rivers is awkward, the comments are still really strange. "He probably won't challenge Fouts..." Not really much of an indictment given Fouts is a Hall of Famer.

23
by speedegg :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 9:04pm

Ha, maybe it should be "Rivers probably won't challenge Fouts with offensive coordinator Norv Turner as the head coach."

Seriously, watching games I don't know if Norv Turner loves going deep or Rivers audibles to a deep pass. There are 3rd and short situations that Rivers will throw deep to a WR covered by Nnamdi Asomugha.

32
by Mike Tanier :: Sat, 07/23/2011 - 9:36am

Right. I didn't think I was going after Rivers here. I said he will probably be the 2nd best Chargers QB ever, but he's the kind of athlete who does not age well, because he is kind of stiff and odd looking.

He's really effective now, but in four years if he loses 15% of his athleticism, he might not be. And I am not just talking about scrambling, overall release quickness and all.

42
by tally :: Sun, 07/24/2011 - 12:58am

On the other hand, 15% of Rivers' athleticism is quite a bit less than 15% of just about anyone else's, so from that perspective, it's not much of a loss.

Having watched just about every Chargers game in the Philip Rivers era, I can say with confidence that he relies on his scant athleticism less than any other quarterback I've seen.

54
by R O (not verified) :: Mon, 07/25/2011 - 1:40pm

While I see where you're coming from with the analogy, I disagree with the comparison.

I think Bledsoe's pocket presence was sub-standard. Dan Marino was also awkward with no mobility. He might have had the best pocket presence I've ever seen as was effective for a long time because of it. Now I'm NOT saying Rivers is in Marino's league in that regard. But I think on the spectrum, he's closer to Marino than Blendsoe and can be effective for awhile because of it.

57
by Scott C :: Mon, 07/25/2011 - 8:40pm

Rivers also has a quick release that is a lot closer to Marino than Bledsoe.

I don't expect him to age as well as Marino, but I think he is significantly more likely to age like Marino than age like Bledsoe. He has good pocket presence, a quick release, and is big enough to take hits decently well. He has never relied on mobility or speed, so losing what little he has won't hurt much.

53
by Scott C :: Mon, 07/25/2011 - 12:52pm

"There are 3rd and short situations that Rivers will throw deep to a WR covered by Nnamdi Asomugha."

... For a Touchdown.
I think Rivers accounted for ALL the TD's thrown against Asomugha in the last 2 years. Granted, thats only 20 games or so for N.A.

2
by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 12:12pm

Gannon's godawful Super Bowl performance really does seem to overshadow how ridiculously good he was in 2002; completed 2/3rds of his passes, 26/10 TD/INT, almost 300 yards/game, NFL MVP . . . he was great that year. Tragically, he had to play the 2002 Bucs, who had an utterly phenomenal defense on their own, but add in the fact that he was playing against the guy who designed his playbook, well, he was screwed.

Has there even been a worse performance in a big game than Bill Callahan in that Super Bowl?

18
by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 6:59pm

Callahan had a really strange ride. He made it all the way to the SB and then it INSTANTLY imploded and things were straight downhill until he got canned. Tim Brown played forever and never said a bad word about anybody...but by the end he was openly cursing Callahan's name along with just about every other Raider.

Then, it got even stranger: Despite the total meltdown, his being loathed and having no college experience, Nebraska STILL hired him. And he promptly alienated everybody in Husker land and steers them straight into the toilet. He was taking photos of Husker greats off the office walls by the time they got rid of him. That would have to be one of the worst back-to-back disasters in coaching history.

19
by Southern Philly :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 7:27pm

Honorable mention: Rich Kotite, who at 7-2 in 1994 said he would wait until the off-season to ask for a contract extension. He finished 7-9, didn't get an extension, then won 4 games in 2 years with the Jets.

25
by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 11:32pm

I read the first time Callahan met Tom Osborne he called him an a-hole or something similar the second he was out of earshot. And, yes, shortly before they fired him, he was removing pictures of previous All-Americans from the football complex. Because he was embarrassed? Because the program's great history wasn't motivation to current players? Or just because he's an idiot? At any rate, that was about the time the administration decided that buying him out was going to be a bargain at any price.

3
by MCS :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 12:34pm

"So I am happy to be Google-searching "mosquito penis" in July, looking for tips."

So, you were looking for mosquito penis tips? :-D

Speaking of ninth grade humor.

7
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 2:08pm

There were a few of those quips littered throughout the article ... see also "Forgive us if we have gotten a little snippy"

4
by Jordan Smith (not verified) :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 12:51pm

I had NFL network on my I-phone all day yesterday. I'm fairly certain Rich Eisen is about to lose it, he's been talking about roughly the exact same thing not only all day, but for 13# day of the lockout. I can hear the hyper ventilating from every one on set over the commercial break.

I know if I just stop watching this non-sense for two days it will all be over the next time I look.

Reading Rich Gannon's name on that list gives me awful flashbacks as a Kansas City die-hard. GRBACCCCCCCCC!

5
by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 1:19pm

Mothballs nice . Dont qant to smell themall time but nice to smell once in while.

Chargwsr top 5 food ordee. Maybe would put t. rote 5 and brees h.m.

Comment on Raiders tonight. Amy CFl on tonigjt?

6
by Kal :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 1:28pm

Jerry Jones might be smarter than you - both men and women can be circumsized. Though where you'd find a guy to perform FGM on a mosquito, I have no idea.

59
by BD (not verified) :: Wed, 07/27/2011 - 10:35pm

Calling it female circumcision is the polite way of putting it. Apologies for being one of those people, the last thing I want to do is hijack a thread, but male and female circumcision effectively have nothing in common. Jokes about such things are pushing it for me, but I have been known to be humorless sometimes.

On a football note, does anybody else feel like they don't know what to do now that the lockout is over? I mean, I feel like I forgot most of the starting lineups for the league, let alone who the free agents are, the new coaches, hell, even the draft picks. NFL football? What's that??? (I'd LOVE to see a re-introduction to the NFL done Tanier style. Any chance that can happen?)

8
by trill :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 2:16pm

I'm doing my best to ignore this lockout bullshit. I'll read up on the CBA when it's a done deal, and I look forward to free agency, but I've been burying my head in CFB previews at presnapread.com and footballstudyhall.com since most NFL guys are stuck covering a soap opera. Sucks for you dudes who depend on actual football news for income. Can't wait to get FOA2011.

10
by Dan :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 3:15pm

You're overrating Bledsoe. He was a compiler, and never much more than an average QB. He had a few seasons early in his career with a ton of attempts on a pretty good team, which gave him a lot of yardage, a few undeserved Pro Bowls, and a good reputation, but statistically those seasons weren't very impressive. Stats guys like Anderson and Hadl had very good rate stats, while Bledsoe never did (even in his Pro Bowl seasons he never made the top 10 in passing DVOA).

11
by Dean :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 4:10pm

I'd be curious to see the rational behind ranking Lamonica behind Stabler. I suspect if I researched it, I'd probably come to the same conclusion, but I'd like to see your rationale rather than assuming it'd be the same as the one I'd compile.

33
by Mike Tanier :: Sat, 07/23/2011 - 9:45am

Stabler's best seasons were in the absolute worst time for offensive statistics. 1974 and 1976 were Hall of Famer worthy seasons that don't quite look like it because offensive levels were so low. Lamonica's best years were in the late-era AFL, which was not quite as silly as the early-era AFL, but it was a time of big TD totals, big INT totals, and completion rates around 50%. His were very, very good years, but the huge totals of the era make them look better.

Look at Lamonica's numbers in 1970 and 71 when the leagues fully merged and he was 29-30 years old, and you can get a sense of the inflation. It also shows that some of those 12-1 and 13-1 records as a starter show that the Raiders were a cut above most AFL teams. After the merger,they start going 8-4-2, with a few losses to old NFL teams to show that balance wasn't quite 100% yet.

13
by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 4:51pm

Took while but finally foudn old comenmnts on Lamonica Stabler quesiton.

here

49Re: MIke & Miek
by Mr Derp (not verified) :: Tue, 11/30/2010 - 10:12pm
RJ - I have long argued that the mad bomber was a better QB than The Snake. I know pro football reference has written about this argument as well. I think people weight the SB victory for Stabler too heavily. What is yuor opinion?

reply

51Re: MIke & Miek
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 11/30/2010 - 10:34pm
Both great with Raiders. Stabler struglged mightily afetr leave Raiders. Stinky with Oielrs and Saimts. Think Stabler's best seoasn 1976) better than Lamonica's best seaosn (1969). Stabler extrememely accurtate specially foir time period. 66.7 comple percentahe in 1976.
Stabler was better QB probably beucause was tougher
in pocket and more accurate with ball. Look at Sea of Hands play, Stabler throw gerat pass with defenders all over him. Vert cool and calm in face of pass rush. Lamonica weaker that department, but still great.

Very close thoguh so if someone want to say Lamonica better not goign to argue. Is like spiltting hairs.

reply

update July 22 2011
want to corrtetc earlier comment made. Sea of Hands pass gerat that m ade but was not great tehcnical throw. was very wobbly like knuckleball. Back in Nov was potining out [pass was great because got to intended aera and Stabler make it with defenders about to [pull him down. Guy great in clutch.

also this is p-f-r article abotu them
http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?p=3203

also thios

Re: Walkthrough: Full House
by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 01/22/2011 - 4:37pm
Raiders lust
1. Kenny Stabler
2. Daryle Lamonica
3. Jim Plunkett
4 Rich Gannon
5. Jeff Hostetler or Tom Flores
Blanda did not throe ebnough passes to ,make Raiders list

14
by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 5:06pm

This is a very solid list, and there is no one in position to crack it anytime soon: Hostetler, Plunkett, and Gannon were fine quarterbacks, and Jason Campbell hasn't accomplished anything to suggest that he will soon leap into their territory.

Wehn win Super Bowl 46 Campbell maikng top 5. Hostetler being set out to pasture. Campbell goign to do Humpty Dance and say

My name is Humpty pronounced wiht a Umpty
Yo ladies, oh how I like to hump thee
And some of the QBs in the top five, pelase allow me to bump thee
I'm steppin tall y'all
and just like the Cheisf
you're gonna fall when the Black Hole pumps me
I like to throw,
I like my passes funky,
I'm spunky
I likle my oatmeal lumpy

16
by John (not verified) :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 5:55pm

Just...wow. I'd pay a premium to hear that recorded by RJ.

29
by speedegg :: Sat, 07/23/2011 - 2:29am

Oh my god, that was gold...

36
by Jeebus (not verified) :: Sat, 07/23/2011 - 1:57pm

This made me so happy.

20
by trill :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 7:32pm

I am hereby petitioning the placement of RaiderJoe at #4 on the Raiders all-time QB list, and this comment is Exibit A. In fact, I'm a little disappointed Tanier didn't make reference to the man. For shame.

21
by chemical burn :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 8:47pm

This comment confirms that I have literally no idea how old Raider Joe is. I had been assuming he was an old timer because of his unrivaled historical knowledge... but what man over age, say, 37 knows the words to the Humpty Dance?

One thing is for sure: he's straight gangster mack, even if sometimes he gets ridiculous. He once ate up all my crackers and my liqourice. And by that I mean: he is awesome, but his terrible spelling is frequently ridiculous due to him drinking too much.

22
by tuluse :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 9:02pm

I had to look it up, a hiphop song that came out in 1989, how would anyone younger than 36 know about it?

24
by trill :: Fri, 07/22/2011 - 9:16pm

I always assumed that RaiderJoe = Al Davis. Al is a huge Digital Underground (Bay Area connect) fan so this supported my hypothesis.

26
by Marko :: Sat, 07/23/2011 - 12:21am

I am 47 and remember that song well. It was very popular, with memorable lyrics such as "I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom." The video made it even more memorable, as the lead singer wore a ridiculously large fake nose.

31
by tuluse :: Sat, 07/23/2011 - 5:01am

Just to be clear, I'm 24.

38
by chemical burn :: Sat, 07/23/2011 - 8:09pm

Huh. I meant it as, "I was about 12 when it came out and it seemed designed for people my age but definitely not older." I can't imagine kids in college were listening to it because it's a novelty song, but apparently, I'm wrong. I just felt like it was a comparable situation to how now I couldn't name a single Taio Cruz song, even if I faintly aware he's super famous. I thought the Humpty dance was like Another Bad Creation or Kriss Kross - adults when it came out just wouldn't even be aware of it and older teenagers would shun it. I can see how my thinking was wrong. It should be: Raiderjoe is definitely over age 31. Or a hip-hop devotee who understands that Shock G was legit.

37
by Shattenjager :: Sat, 07/23/2011 - 5:46pm

I didn't even know what to look up--I'm 26.

I'm not sure there is a hip hop song someone could parody and I would be able to recognize it.

39
by Intropy :: Sat, 07/23/2011 - 10:05pm

Ummmmm...

Can't sack this.
Can't sack this.
My tackles guard so hard makes linebackers say oh my Lord.
Thank you for blessing me with a clean pocket and a lane to see.
etc. etc.

48
by Shattenjager :: Sun, 07/24/2011 - 5:12pm

If that counts as hip hop, then that would be one (though it still may be the only one).
I won't pretend to really understand the whole r&b/hip hop/rap/dance world and how they draw their distinctions, but I don't think of new jack swing or funk as hip hop.

28
by justanothersteve :: Sat, 07/23/2011 - 1:13am

I'm 55 and I could probably parody the Humpty Dance. Though not as good as raiderjoe did here. While the Humpty Dance is rap or hip-hop (to be honest, I don't know the difference between the two), it's also one of those songs anyone who loves music can enjoy. Like The Breaks, King of Rock, Hey Ya, Parents Just Don't Understand, You've Got to Fight For Your Right to Party, Baby Got Back, Bust a Move, or Hot Sh*t/Country Grammar, just to name a few.

34
by dryheat :: Sat, 07/23/2011 - 1:26pm

Are you suggesting that Jason Campbell is primed to get busy in a Burger King bathroom?

F@ck, I feel old....

49
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 07/25/2011 - 10:05am

Lumpy oatmeal? Yuck.

51
by Dean :: Mon, 07/25/2011 - 10:36am

What an awesome tangent.

And thank you for not suggesting that Campbell would be cookin' DBs like a pound of bacon.

27
by johnnie walker (not verified) :: Sat, 07/23/2011 - 12:57am

Woo-hoo!

(Pre-emptively celebrating pressures the season into existence, right?)

30
by Scott Kacsmar :: Sat, 07/23/2011 - 2:52am

Rivers has been "good" for 5 years now. Fouts was "good" for about 9 seasons in his career. Once you start taking into consideration one of Fouts' best years was a 9-game strike season, all the starts he missed, and that he played with a ton of talent in a great offensive system that piled up yardage, I think Rivers could pass him up in 4-5 years. Sooner if he continues his stellar play of the last 3 years and gets a SB.

52
by Jimmy :: Mon, 07/25/2011 - 12:02pm

Fouts and Rivers both play in a digit system offense and have the use of all league tight ends. I am not sure their talent and scheme variables are all that varied.

35
by dryheat :: Sat, 07/23/2011 - 1:28pm

I'm not sure that Gannon's athleticism gets overlooked...it kept him in the NFL during those Vikings/Chiefs years. Remember that the Vikings got him from the Patriots when Gannon refused to covert to safety.

40
by Staubach12 :: Sat, 07/23/2011 - 10:42pm

The talking ad is the worst thing ever! Make it stop!!!

41
by tally :: Sun, 07/24/2011 - 12:51am

Is it just me or were there a couple of Raiderjoe call-outs in the Stabler entry?

Stabler has 1974 and 1976, plus some other strong years.

When you combine their exploits into one resume -- a three-year peak as an All-Pro level player, one or two Super Bowls with some other playoff exploits ...

43
by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Sun, 07/24/2011 - 10:03am

Of course it's an excellent column. Walkthrough always is. But it just boggles my mind that you consistently found 9th graders who'd never heard about moth balls. I guess I was just precocious.

44
by dbostedo :: Sun, 07/24/2011 - 11:35am

FWIW, this column is the first time I've ever heard that joke. And I'm certainly a long way from 9th grade.

46
by armchair journe... :: Sun, 07/24/2011 - 2:16pm

ditto.

45
by t.d. :: Sun, 07/24/2011 - 2:14pm

someone should link to the pfr article about namath being a legitimate HoF qb, if it hasn't already been done

47
by Shattenjager :: Sun, 07/24/2011 - 5:07pm
50
by the silent speaker (not verified) :: Mon, 07/25/2011 - 10:24am

Where did you find the tiny rabbi?

Dude, praying mantis.

55
by Mike Tanier :: Mon, 07/25/2011 - 2:00pm

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

56
by trill :: Mon, 07/25/2011 - 2:43pm

F.

See what I did there?

Welcome back NFL.

58
by skibrett15 :: Wed, 07/27/2011 - 3:12pm

WOOOOOOOOOOOO

So many friends of mine will realize how little they mean to me now that the lockout is over. Sad but true.