Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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» Game Preview: DEN-CIN

Maybe the Bengals are a paper tiger, but are they really that bad in prime time games? Is Peyton Manning struggling in Denver's new offense? We detail the Monday night clash.

03 Jun 2011

Walkthrough: My Name is Alex

by Mike Tanier

At a practice facility in San Francisco's South Bay region ...

Alex Smith: Good morning, gentlemen! I want to thank everyone for coming. As you know, I rented this training facility and made all of the arrangements to make sure we could use it. I want you to meet Ronald Johnson, our sixth-round pick. I made sure he had the money to fly out here for a few days from Michigan so he could work out with us. You guys stretch and get to know each other while I make sure security is adequate and arrange some catering.

Ronald Johnson: Thanks a lot for getting me here, sir! Say, who is that guy anyway?

Colin Kaepernick: I don't know. I think he's an intern or something.

David Carr: He's at all of our quarterback meetings. I think he is a quality control assistant, or maybe a videographer.

Smith: Hey, Ronald, I thought I would stop back for a minute and toss you a few passes while David and Colin stretch. Here, run a slant. That was good, but try to make your break at more of a 30-degree angle. There you go. We will go through the whole route tree later. Right now, I have to shovel some dirt into those divots on the far side of the field.

Johnson: You know, he has a pretty good arm. And he cannot work for the team, otherwise he would not be here. Are you guys sure he is not a quarterback?

Carr: I don't think so. Troy Smith and I were the quarterbacks last year. Troy is gone, and Colin just got drafted, so I assume we are competing for the job.

Johnson: Are you sure you were the only quarterbacks?

Kaepernick: I think Mr. Carr is right. I looked at the stat sheet from last year, and the only quarterbacks were "Smith" and "Carr." I asked coaches during the two hours after the draft when we could talk to them, and they said they could only talk about quarterbacks who are under contract, and Mr. Carr was the only one. This media guide is no help. It's just a bunch of pictures of Vernon Davis in his boxers.

Carr: Er, that's not Vernon. And that's not a media guide.

Kaepernick: Oops. Anyway, you are right. That guy throws pretty well, though not as well as an NFL quarterback. And he knows a lot about offense, though not as much as an NFL quarterback.

Johnson: He's incredibly organized, though, like a coach or an executive. Maybe he is a Harbaugh. Is there an Alex Harbaugh?

Carr: He may be. Why don't you ask him? Here he comes.

Smith: Hey guys! I laid out some cones, lined up an EMT unit in case something goes wrong, and set up a beverage table. These workouts aren't ideal, but they will help us stay in shape and stay united, and ... What's wrong, Ronald?

Johnson: I am just wondering: Who exactly are you?

Smith: What, David didn't tell you? He is probably just hazing you because you are a rookie.

Carr: No, seriously, I have no idea who you are, except that you are always hanging around team facilities, and you seem to be important for some reason. I know you aren't Jed York. Are you his cousin or something? Or are you a television producer? Are we doing Hard Knocks?

Smith: No one is doing Hard Knocks! David, I'm Alex Smith. I was the team's No. 1 pick six years ago. I was the starting quarterback for half the year last year. I have started 50 NFL games! Colin, Ronald, you never heard of me?

Johnson: Your name doesn't ring a bell. You're not the guy with the cough syrup are you?

Kaepernick: No, that's a different guy. Alex Smith ... I thought you were playing in the UFL, or running for a state congress seat somewhere, or selling real estate.

Smith: No, no, no! I am a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers! And even though I am a free agent right now, I want to return to the team, and I am willing to invest a lot of my energy and my own money into building team camaraderie and demonstrating my commitment to this franchise and this community.

Kaepernick: Gee, I am sorry. From everything I have heard about Alex Smith, I would have expected someone less ... functional.

Smith: What, you assume that just because a quarterback cannot hold onto his starting job he is some kind of stumblebum who cannot do anything right? Just because my arm isn't top notch and I go into slumps, I must be some kind of all-around weakling uninterested or incapable of organizing activities, leading teammates, or contributing anything of value to humanity?

Kaepernick: Yeah, that's pretty much what I assumed.

Smith: Well, take it from me, Colin. You'll have some early career setbacks, too. Talk-radio guys will bash you, bloggers will make fun of you, and everyone will act like a six-year career as an off-and-on starter at the highest level of competition in the world is a reason to feel ashamed. Well, it's not. Faded quarterback prospects can do a lot of things well, and we have a lot to be proud of. Right, David?

Carr: I guess so. I was playing with my smart phone while you were talking. What did you say your name was?

The Weekly Show

Walkthrough will run weekly for the foreseeable future.

You can probably guess why. The lockout leaves us a little short on content. It also leaves me with far too much time to play Civilization V. If Askia of the Songhai pillages one more village, there will be nothing left to pillage, which is fine by Askia, but may be bad for me. With my emphasis on history, strategy, and silliness, I can weather the lockout for a while, providing you with a football-like substance to kick around.

The statistical projects I started last week will return next week. For now, let us return to the quarterback Top Fives.

Quarterback Top Fives

Arizona/St. Louis/Chicago Cardinals

1. Jim Hart. Hart's best seasons came during the height of the 1970's Dead Ball Era, when wild Tatums roamed the secondary and throwing for 2,900 yards was a heck of a feat. He was Don Coryell's first trigger man, reached the Pro Bowl four times in an era when Roger Staubach and Fran Tarkenton played in the NFC, and led the Cardinals to a 31-11 record from 1974 to 1976. By the time I remember him, he was an old slowpoke trying to throw bombs to Mel Gray, who was also an old slowpoke by then. But he always played the Eagles tough, and he kept coming back for more no matter how bad the Cardinals got in the post-Coryell era.

2. Kurt Warner. It's tempting to put Warner ahead of Hart. He had two excellent seasons, and one strange year (2007) that looks much better on the stat line than it looked in the field. Warner had a fine Cardinals peak but very little else in Arizona. Hart had a darn good peak himself and played forever. Hart wins.

3. Neil Lomax. Quarterback was a hell of a position to play in the 1980s, particularly in the NFC East, where you faced Lawrence Taylor twice, Randy White and Ed Jones twice, Dexter Manley twice, then got to see Buddy Ryan's Eagles by 1986. Lomax took 61 sacks in 1985 and 52 sacks in 1986, and by 1988, his bad hip couldn't take the pounding anymore. He would have had a longer career if he played seven or eight years later, when West Coast Offenses made quicker passing plays more stylish. For a few years, though, Lomax was amazing.

4. Charley Johnson. He was a smart ball-distributor type who lost his best seasons to injuries and a mid-1960s stint in the military. Johnson, like Lomax, would have looked much better in another era. He had the skill set of a WCO quarterback, and he would not have spent his prime seasons in the army reserves if his career started in 1991 instead of 1961.

5. Jake Plummer. A frustrating, mistake-prone talent. In teaching, we have a saying that some teachers have 15 years of experience, while other experience their first year 15 times. Plummer belongs in the second category -- he kept having his rookie year over and over again. He saved his best games for the Eagles -- a 7-5 record and 17 touchdowns -- so I have a soft spot in my heart for him, the jerk.

Paul Christman led the Cardinals to their lone NFL championship. He was a 1940's T-Formation quarterback who couldn't run and fumbled a lot, but he connected with Mel Kutner for a lot of long bombs. He had a Mark Rypien-like character, though not as good. Hall of Famer Charlie Trippi moved from halfback to quarterback for a few seasons, but he is not in Canton for his passing. Trippi was a running back/receiver/return man/punter/quarterback/defensive back, and "quarterback" fits nicely as the fifth slash. Heck of a player, though.

Seattle Seahawks

1. Matt Hasselbeck. He is one of the most unassuming guys to top a team's quarterback list, and history may not be kind to him. Hasselbeck's "legacy" would look very different if the officiating in Super Bowl XL weren't quite so noteworthy. Give him a Super Bowl ring, and his 2003-07 peak has a lot more sizzle. Without it, he is easy to forget. There isn't much black ink in his stat lines, he probably won't be around much longer, and I don't expect to hear that pennywhistle voice of his doing play-by-play.

The 2010 postseason provided a fine endnote for his career. He looked gutty but a little sad injuring himself running for a touchdown during the regular season, and his December stretch drive was a string of miserable games with an awful supporting cast for a laughingstock of a team whose mere presence in the playoff chase was something of an embarrassment to the league. Beating the Saints brought a little redemption and a lot of dignity, and watching Hasselbeck hustle through a series of meaningless late drives against the Bears was downright inspiring. Hasselbeck wasn't a great quarterback, but he really cared about playing well, and it was great to see him go down swinging so hard.

2. Dave Krieg. Krieg is the statistical equivalent of a skinny tie. He was a 1980's quarterback who produced very 1980's stats. He produced lots of 3,000-yard, 20-touchdown seasons, leading the league in touchdown percentage three times, but his interception and sack totals are high by current standards. Krieg was notoriously fumble-prone, and when you mix sacks, fumbles, and interceptions you can see how he could throw for 3,600 yards and 27 touchdowns yet only lead the Seahawks to an 8-8 record.

Krieg led some good but forgotten teams in the mid-1980s. His supporting casts, beyond aging Steve Largent, weren't great, and Knox's system was out of date, but he led the Seahawks to some 12-4 and 10-6 seasons and a couple of opportunities to get beaten by the Dolphins and Bengals in the playoffs. He left Seattle and played forever. He's currently 13th on the all-time passing yardage list, but Drew Brees and Tom Brady are about to pass him, and Donovan McNabb will probably slide past him if he escapes Planet Shanahan.

3. Jim Zorn. An exciting, fun-to-watch mad bomber with legs whose best seasons occurred just as NFL coaches were trying to come to grips with the new offensive rules of 1978. Zorn's 3,000-yard seasons and bombs to Largent had a "What's this world coming to?" feel to them. One minute, you are watching Rocky Bleier gain three yards off tackle, the next there's this lefty in a silver helmet running around on a bright green carpet launching rockets. I loved watching Zorn highlights as a kid, because they looked so different from anything else. Zorn wore down quickly and was no longer a useful player by 1982.

4. Warren Moon.

5. Jon Kitna. Anyone who knows Seahawks history is aware that they only had three noteworthy quarterbacks. Krieg and Hasselbeck had long careers, and Zorn was the starter for the franchise's first seven seasons. Throw in one other quarterback, and there are only a few small windows of instability in the team's quarterback history. Moon and Kitna cover most of the largest window. Moon arrived at age 41 and provided a short-term solution to a crisis. Kitna replaced an injured Moon and started for two-and-a-half seasons. Moon had one great year at the end of a Hall of Fame career. Kitna had one darn good one at the beginning of a journeyman's journey. Their Seahawks were trapped in a very vanilla .500-rut, and neither Moon nor Kitna was in position to pull them out of it.

The "other quarterback" was Rick Mirer, who had a pretty good rookie season then went backward in slow motion for three more years in Seattle. His stat lines look like they're from 1954, and I remember him as one of the most mixed-up looking quarterbacks I've seen. The more he played, the less idea he had what to do with the ball. Seahawks game plans looked like the tactics a team employs when the third-stringer has to start ... and that was in Mirer's fourth season as a starter. He gets an honorable mention because it's hard to talk about Seahawks quarterbacks without mentioning him at all.

Ask Askia

Greetings, infidels! I am Askia, the River Warlord and ruler of the mighty Songhai Empire! I am here to provide wisdom, counsel, and my own brand of assertive benevolence to those who seek relationship or career advice. Speak quickly, for I am a warlord of limited patience!

Askia, I am a 35-year-old woman engaged to a man who travels frequently for work. He told me last week that he must move to Montana for two years. I am torn: I love him dearly, but I cannot just pick up and move across the country, and I cannot bear to put off marriage plans for two full years. Do I risk suggesting a long-distance engagement, or do I break things off? And if I do, will I ever forgive myself?

Askia: You must burn down his village. First, encircle the village and destroy any nearby farms or mills. Then, send the Mandekalu Cavalry through the streets of his village with swords, spears, and match-light charcoal. Burn buildings, baskets, clothing, infidels, carts, and livestock. Leave one or two survivors to spread the word of your deeds, but scar them in some way -- remove an arm or eye for best results. Send these survivors to this "Montana" as a warning.

Askia, I am the defensive coordinator for a small college team. I run a base Cover-2 scheme because it works best with the smart, athletically limited players we recruit, but many of the offenses we face now run a spread-option, and we are getting gouged on basic zone-read plays. Moving my safeties into the box is out of the question, because we will get burned deep. Can you recommend some fronts or techniques I can use to make sure we have adequate gap containment and pursuit?

Askia: Whatever method of attack you use, you must ask one question: Is this attack akin to burning a village? If so, it will suffice. If not, enemies will not fear you, and word of your cowardice will spread along the Niger and its tributaries, or whatever your recruiting region is.

Askia, I am the ruler of an empire in a region where wood is scarce. I sometimes find it hard to burn down villages because my enemies have no kindling. Do you have any advice?

Askia: Your enemies have no kindling? Why, your enemies are kindling! I always apply a simple test to something to see if it is flammable: I light it. If it burns, it's flammable. Try that simple test on your enemy's possessions or extremities. The skies will darken with smoke in no time.

Askia, I am a scholar of African history, and I am shocked by the advice you are giving in this column! You were an enlightened ruler who fostered religious tolerance and introduced bureaucratic and economic reforms that made the Songhai Empire both powerful and forward thinking. You fought many battles, but you were no more brutal or irrational than any other conqueror in history. I fear this "burn everything down" routine is the result of some bored football writer basing your entire personality on a video game, and I think it cheapens your legacy as the ruler of a vibrant nation that endured for more than a century. You should consider showing your "other" side to readers.

Askia: Well said, and we can discuss your concerns as soon as I am done dousing your house in pitch and olive oil.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 03 Jun 2011

66 comments, Last at 10 Jun 2011, 11:57pm by Shattenjager

Comments

1
by Marko :: Fri, 06/03/2011 - 4:14pm

The Cardinals started in Chicago and played there from 1920-1959. Why exclude QBs who played for the Chicago Cardinals from the list?

4
by Dean :: Fri, 06/03/2011 - 4:18pm

Consider them or don't. The list doesn't change.

5
by Marko :: Fri, 06/03/2011 - 4:30pm

I don't know if the list would change or not, but he lists the team as the "Arizona/St. Louis Cardinals," as if they began in St. Louis. It should be listed as the "Arizona/St. Louis/Chicago Cardinals."

6
by Harrison Bergeron (not verified) :: Fri, 06/03/2011 - 4:32pm

If I remember correctly, the Chicago Cardinals kept using the single wing long after most other teams had switched to the T-formation. This led to a few different players being responsible for their passing, and nothing resembling a modern quarterback.

Plus, take a look at the Cardinals' season-by-season list of leading passers:
http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/crd/
Before Charley Johnson, the only two players to lead the Cardinals in passing for at least two years in a row while throwing more than 200 passes in each year were Paul Christman and Lamar McHan. And neither of them ever completed over 50% of their passes in a season. It's not that Mike excluded Chicago-era QBs, it's just that they were all terrible.

7
by Dean :: Fri, 06/03/2011 - 4:36pm

McHan was a competent QB. He would eventually go on to GB and for a little while there was actually a legitimate debate (among the fans at least) as to who should start between him and Bart Starr.

2
by justanothersteve :: Fri, 06/03/2011 - 4:16pm

Walkthrough will run weekly for the foreseeable future.

Best football news I've heard in weeks.

3
by Dean :: Fri, 06/03/2011 - 4:17pm

Part of me wants to say that Neil Lomax has to be better than 3rd for the Cards. Actually making a legitimate case for it, on the other hand...

But for a couple seasons before he got hurt, he really looked like he was going to be special. He's the Carson Palmer of the 80s.

11
by Spielman :: Fri, 06/03/2011 - 6:00pm

He's one of the great might-have-beens of the NFL. Put him on a good team, and he could have been a HOFer.

8
by Theo :: Fri, 06/03/2011 - 4:55pm

"Carr: Er, that's not Vernon. And that's not a media guide."
hahahahahahaha so good.

Real Civfanatics play Civ3 though.

9
by MilkmanDanimal :: Fri, 06/03/2011 - 4:58pm

Otherwise known as "the stepping stone to the truly great Civ IV".

I dig V, though, I just wish the @#$!! turns weren't so slow.

16
by tuluse :: Sat, 06/04/2011 - 12:37am

I thought Civ3 was actually quite flawed. It's way to defense oriented, and just about impossible to assault a properly defended town.

Civ IV is where it's at, especially with the Legends of Revolution mod.

23
by Theo :: Sat, 06/04/2011 - 10:44pm

Are you crazy?
CivIV penalized so hard on getting into war, it brought the reputation thing into ridiculous proportions.
Sure the UUs are defense oriented, but that's maybe because the game allows for attacks. Offense wins, even in Civ3.
War in Civ3 is way better than in Civ4. "oooh you have too many cities". That's the whole point of this operation b*** Whatcha know about war?! Land. We need land. And cover it with cheese and bacon strips and bacon strips. Then we deep fry the land in Jack Daniel's syrup. Because we're smart!!

And next time? We eat the Houston Texans.

27
by jimbohead :: Sun, 06/05/2011 - 10:02am

talk about war penalties, civ3's corruption mechanic was so aggressively brutal that, if you conquered a civ that wasn't right next door to your capital, the city was worthless! At least with civ4's mechanic, there was something you could do about corruption: build a courthouse in a reasonable time frame, choose state property as a civic, choose a nation with -50% upkeep costs (in warlords), etc. And later on, you can face war with essentially no penalty with the right civic, jails in most cities, and Mt. Rushmore.

Haven't played V yet though. Soon, hopefully. Once the price comes down a little.

28
by Theo :: Sun, 06/05/2011 - 1:39pm

That's where science farms come around. What you do with 'useless' cities, is to irrigate the hell out of them and turn the citizens into engineers.
You can also build a secret palace, police stations and you can go communist and build the secret police HQ.
When done well, the corruption isn't that bad.

36
by wr (not verified) :: Sun, 06/05/2011 - 11:02pm

Civ 3's corruption problems were easily corrected. You just had
to edit the .biq file so that all buildings reduced corruption, and
the optimal # of cities for all map sizes was set to 999.

As to offensive war - Civ 3 follows Stalin's dictum that
artiller is the god of war.

38
by Independent George :: Mon, 06/06/2011 - 12:49pm

That was maybe the biggest negative change from Civ3 to Civ4 - the transformation of Artillery into a suicide unit. Because the promotions system made veteran units into force multipliers, you wound up having to waste production on wave after wave of disposable artillery just to capture a single city without losing your veterans. The ability to capture enemy artillery in Civ3 was another welcome addition, which I wish were present in Civ5 (though probably a good play balance decision since you can't stack anymore). In the end, though, I think such a small tactical change is minor compared to the much deeper gameplay throughout the rest of Civ4.

I feel like Civ5 was in many ways a lateral move rather than a clear improvement, though it's hard to enunciate exactly why. I welcomed eliminating the Stack of Doom from gameplay, but I'm not sure that the single-unit system is the best replacement. I'd have preferred a limit to the number of units per hex, maybe along with some movement penalties for stacking (to simulate logistical hurdles). Then again, many of my favorite Civ4 changes occurred in the expansion sets; that may well be true of the expanded Civ5, too.

41
by tuluse :: Tue, 06/07/2011 - 9:20am

I like your ideas for getting rid of stacks of death. I never really had a problem with them myself though. For the same reason I can accept a village of 2000 people takes up the same space as 20+ million metropolis, I could accept that a huge stack of units was just an abstraction of a giant army. Also, I don't really care about the tactics of battles in Civ, in my mind it's supposed to be a higher level simulator. You have commanders handling the flanking and deployment of individuals which is what the random generator is simulating.

I found attacking in Civ 3 without overwhelming superior forces just about impossible. The best tactic by far for war was to lure as large of an enemy army as possible into your territory and pick it off, and then to counter attack.

Religions, corporations, spies, and culture just offered so much more depth and options compared to Civ 5 (where military conquest is really the only legitamate strategy I've found). Not to mention the total nerfing of wonders and great people.

There were other options besides suiciding artillery to take cities in Civ4. You could go for units with high withdrawal chance to soften up the strong units.

10
by JasonK :: Fri, 06/03/2011 - 5:25pm

Sweet. So, in the event that the lockout mess continues indefinitely, we can look forward to Tanier articles ranking NFC North Left Guards, and meditating on the morality of partial research to manipulate otherwise-random Research Agreement results.

12
by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 06/03/2011 - 6:44pm

Askia Jones ocnne scoroe 62 poitns in ncaa basketbvall game

13
by RickD :: Fri, 06/03/2011 - 10:02pm

Mike Tanier should write for SNL. Roughly the same amount of funny.

Alex Smith has 20 starts in the past two seasons. David Carr has zero. He's not really in a position to be making fun of anybody.

Go back to writing about football so we can make fun of what you do moderately well.

18
by BigJohnson (not verified) :: Sat, 06/04/2011 - 3:46am

Coulda figured that an old washed up radio host wouldnt appreciate an article about a washed up quarterback. and how did you not laugh at the vernon davis part?

14
by SackSEER :: Fri, 06/03/2011 - 10:43pm

I haven't played Civilization V (or IV for that matter), but based on my experience playing Civilization II and III, I have no doubt that Civilization V alone may be sufficient to weather a lockout. Those Civilization games are super fun to the extent that they are wholly inconsistent with getting a good night sleep.

-----------
Yes, SackSEER has become self-aware.

15
by Rocco :: Sat, 06/04/2011 - 12:25am

As someone who has played way too much of the Civ games, Civ 4 is far better than Civ 5. 5 is too simplified and somewhat soulless. I enjoyed 4 a lot more.

26
by Mike Tanier :: Sun, 06/05/2011 - 8:59am

I miss a lot of the elements of old civ this time around, the fixes to combat are so awesome that I have forgotten about things like religion and health (health was always just a massive hassle anyway).

Stacks of doom were so non realistic and non counterintuitive that I just could not bring myself to make a good one. I always tried to attack and defend using battle lines and military game strategies, even though I knew better. Now, there are flanking bonuses and units can move more smoothly. Also, no more garrisoning 20 units in the city and just waiting out disaster. You have to get out there and do something.

I also like the Civics tree, because it is actually deeper than the, oh, I will just change from Despot to Monarch to Democrat in 10 turns thing.

33
by Scott P. (not verified) :: Sun, 06/05/2011 - 5:58pm

I haven't played Civ since Civ4 (which I thought a big failure).

Did they fix the problem where early military units were so fantastically expensive compared to production that three units was a huge army? So there was almost no warfare before A.D. 1?

40
by Alternator :: Tue, 06/07/2011 - 8:17am

Wait, what? Is that a Civ 3 thing? In Civ 4 it was trivially simple to build a big, beefy early army and go on a rampage.

42
by JonC :: Tue, 06/07/2011 - 9:55am

Unlike Civ3 in Civ4 you need to specialize your cities, and making an effective military city requires both food and hammer specials. Ideally you should only be building units in two cities.

I liked the combat in Civ4; it was strategic, not tactical, and the main role of artillery was to pull down city defenses (or defend against stacks), not attack cities.

17
by tuluse :: Sat, 06/04/2011 - 12:44am

Just one more turn...

19
by nuclearbdgr :: Sat, 06/04/2011 - 11:51am

Another vote for Civ IV - I've spent way too much time playing that - working my way through the World War II scenarios now.

20
by Raiderjoe :: Sat, 06/04/2011 - 6:56pm

Good thing Paul Christman play for cardinals. Aslo goodo that Steve Bird on Carfinals one time

21
by TomKelso :: Sat, 06/04/2011 - 8:41pm

"Ask Askia" may be the single funniest thing I have read since "Who Watches the Walkthrough?" Please tell Askia about the existence of FarmVille; it is a target worthy of his talents!

43
by BigCheese :: Tue, 06/07/2011 - 11:36am

Wow, talk about YMMV... I thought it was the least funny thing on Walthrough ever.

Loved the Alex Smith part though...

- Alvaro

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

44
by Dean :: Tue, 06/07/2011 - 11:59am

I hate to criticize Tanier, simply because so much of what he does is awesome, but I didn't get any of that section and wasnt even motivated to google it (but I did have to google YMMV). So that kept it from being worse that Who Watches The Walkthrough - that one I got the joke and still didn't like it. Probably his most polarizing column ever?

46
by Independent George :: Tue, 06/07/2011 - 12:12pm

So that kept it from being worse that Who Watches The Walkthrough - that one I got the joke and still didn't like it. Probably his most polarizing column ever?

It just might be, because that's easily my favorite Taneir column, ever. I still smile at the tale of "Yellow John".

49
by BigCheese :: Tue, 06/07/2011 - 11:40pm

Indeed. I still think that's the best Walkthrough ever by far. And that's a high bar to jump...

In fact, I think I'll go read it again. Still makes me laugh out loud. There really should be a permanent link to it on the front page :p

- Alvaro

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

52
by Dean :: Thu, 06/09/2011 - 8:30am

I wonder how closely the breakdown of those who liked/didn't like that column would match the percentage of readers who are/were into comic books as a kid (or, I suppose, as adults)?

54
by Shattenjager :: Thu, 06/09/2011 - 12:09pm

I loved that column and have never been into comic books, so it's at least not a perfect match.

56
by tuluse :: Thu, 06/09/2011 - 2:29pm

Same here, though I did enjoy the Watchmen movie.

57
by Shattenjager :: Thu, 06/09/2011 - 9:19pm

Someone would have to pay me a ton of money to get me to watch a Zack Snyder movie, so I would not fit into that category either.

59
by tuluse :: Fri, 06/10/2011 - 12:19pm

I think Snyder has a slightly bad rap. I love his visual style, and he's actually good at following the rule of "show don't tell." Where he actually lets the visuals speak for themselves instead of hammering the audience with dialog explaining what he just showed them.

Just don't let him write anything ever.

61
by Shattenjager :: Fri, 06/10/2011 - 8:45pm

I'm not going to go on one of my common rants about his inadequacies. I'll just say that I think he is probably the worst major film director alive.

Note: I was a film major for part of my time in undergrad, so I'm also a total film snob.

63
by tuluse :: Fri, 06/10/2011 - 8:49pm

I'd take him over Michael Bay every day, and I can probably come up with some others too.

64
by Shattenjager :: Fri, 06/10/2011 - 9:01pm

Well, I think it's obvious from your earlier comment that you have a vastly different opinion of his talents than I do, so I would expect you could come up with people you would rank below him.

65
by tuluse :: Fri, 06/10/2011 - 9:37pm

True. I don't think he's great or anything, but I can find his films entertaining.

And I think he has some artistic integrity, he's not just trying to sell toys to kids like George Lucas. He is making movies how he wants to, I think. Feel free to hate them, I won't begrudge you (I found Sucker Punch completely awful, I never thought I could be so bored from hot scantily clad women shooting guns).

I'm not even sure what I'm trying to say anymore. I guess it's that our opinions are vastly different only because your opinion of him is so low, not because mine is anywhere close to high.

66
by Shattenjager :: Fri, 06/10/2011 - 11:57pm

To be fair to him, Lucas has also directed almost nothing in his career. He's been mostly a producer. One of my favorite pieces of trivia is to ask people what the last film he directed before Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (George Lucas, USA 1999) was--the answer is Star Wars (George Lucas, USA 1977). As a producer, selling toys to kids is a perfectly fine goal. Just so it doesn't appear that I'm defending his record as a director: Every film he has ever directed is awful.

And it's not really that I hate Snyder's movies--it's that I think they're bad. There is a difference between those two things.

But yes, you would not have to have a very high opinion of him for it to be vastly higher than mine--it's like saying you have a higher opinion of Donovan McNabb than the average Eagles fan.

51
by TomKelso :: Wed, 06/08/2011 - 4:13pm

If Dean doesn't post again by next week, I suggest we Google for HIM; anything that leads you to TV Tropes (such as Your Mileage May Vary) can result in being lost for months!

53
by Dean :: Thu, 06/09/2011 - 8:33am

Now that I went and googled TV Tropes, I think we're safe. It doesn't look like the sort of thing I'd have any interest in.

But speaking of google, the homepage is awesome today. They re-designed the google logo into working guitar strings in honor of Les Paul (who would have been 96 today).

22
by Theo :: Sat, 06/04/2011 - 10:32pm

I don't get it. Who's Alex Smith?

24
by jebmak :: Sun, 06/05/2011 - 3:50am

I loved Ask Askia.

I have played all five of the civs.

The original was an experience unlike any I had ever had (I hadn't played empire at that point). I loved it even with the cities being colored rectangles with a number denoting their size.

I spent the most time with II as I was in elementary school and had free summers. Summers I mostly spent cursing Shaka Zulu for being stupidly aggressive toward me. Man I hated that bastard.

I enjoyed III quite a bit, except for the unbelievably brutal corruption mechanic. Which eventually was patched to be meerly brutal.

IV had issues, but I absolutely loved converting everyone to my (game) religion. I didn't care for the fighting, and it pissed me off when someone picked the civic that screwed me out of using missionaries. YOW DUM dum dum Dum dum dum.

I like a lot of the changes to V. Namely the combat changes and removal of stacks of doom. I do miss my science/money slider though.

But, most of all, I loved (the essentially Civ game) Alpha Centauri. The absolute best of the group. I played it again a year or two ago, and it held up well (if a little clunky, as can be expected). I enjoyed nearly every faction and style of gameplay, something I can't say for Civ. A real pity that they never made a sequal.

Well, that post was probably boring to everyone but me. But, I had fun typing it.

25
by jebmak :: Sun, 06/05/2011 - 3:57am

I suppose, that technically there is the other Civ that is based off of the board game (which is fun, but sadly requires too many people together for too long). It is a pretty good game as well. But the AI is simply not smart enough to challenge someone who knows what they are doing.

29
by Intropy :: Sun, 06/05/2011 - 2:03pm

There is also "Civilization: Call to Power," "Civilization: Test of Time," and "Call to Power 2" released in between Civ 2 and Civ 3 when there was some contention about who owned the rights to the series. And then there's the console versions and for marketing reasons they tacked the Civ brand onto the Colonization sequel (but it's pretty dissimilar from Civ).

30
by Mr Shush :: Sun, 06/05/2011 - 2:08pm

My favourite Civilisation is definitely the board game. I have brothers close to me in age and a father who is a boardgame/card-counter wargame obsessive. It occupied large chunks of family holidays when I was growing up, along with History of the World and Britannia (more hardcore games like World in Flames were too big to play in a hotel room).

39
by panthersnbraves :: Mon, 06/06/2011 - 1:38pm

SMAC rules! I keep an old PC around just for that game.

45
by Shattenjager :: Tue, 06/07/2011 - 12:10pm

I actually loved Alpha Centauri but couldn't stand any of the Civilization games (figure that out). I kept trying--I played the first three games varying amounts--but I just never liked them.

My father and I spent a lot of time playing Alpha Centauri.

47
by tuluse :: Tue, 06/07/2011 - 12:59pm

Alpha Centauri always felt kind of slow to me, might have just not been playing well though.

However, the depth of customization and detail in that game was just outstanding. There are things I still wish would get implemented in the Civ series (like being able to partially rush construction).

48
by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Tue, 06/07/2011 - 5:06pm

The unit creator.

My favorite was the stealthed, orbitally-inserted battleship. We used to drop them on mountain ranges.

60
by tuluse :: Fri, 06/10/2011 - 12:44pm

Wow, this game gets brought up on FO and then gog.com releases it. Talk about coincidences.

http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/sid_meiers_alpha_centauri

No expansion set though.

62
by Shattenjager :: Fri, 06/10/2011 - 8:49pm

A. Thank you so much for providing this link--my father lost his disc for the game years ago but has been unwilling to pay to purchase another copy. He will be very happy to hear of this.

B. There was an expansion pack?!

31
by Raiderjoe :: Sun, 06/05/2011 - 4:59pm

Bored with board game tlak. maybe if fmailiar with these games would find siscussion more intereting. As youth liked Sorry!, Chuets and Ladders and some others. Had elecritic football for spell but game crap. After line up playters hit switch or press button and then electricity come on. Then all hell break looose. Field look like chinese fire drill. Players run all diffenrnt diretcions. Coudlnt even threow passes in game because wa sno ball. MNever read directions thouggh so maybe doing somehting wrong. When realized game complete garbage (took 10 kminuetsto decide( , lit some players on fire and watched melt. Then put field in garbage can.

32
by Theo :: Sun, 06/05/2011 - 5:10pm

You always say that not spelling, but typing is your problem.

35
by Raiderjoe :: Sun, 06/05/2011 - 7:48pm

Meant had gamre for a spell which emans had game for little while.

did have some yellow colored electric device thing for spelling as mnay others kids had too

34
by Scott P. (not verified) :: Sun, 06/05/2011 - 6:01pm

You should look into a good tabletop football game such as Second Season Football.

37
by trill :: Mon, 06/06/2011 - 11:01am

That small-school DC should check out quarters coverage - good way to get the safeties involved in the run game without going 1-high. Fire zones are a good way to defend the zone read specifically: http://brophyfootball.blogspot.com/2011/01/manny-diaz-bulletproof-fire-z...

50
by Insancipitory :: Wed, 06/08/2011 - 4:07am

I'd like to vote for Stars! and the Civilization Call to Powers.

Also, Warren Moon was far and away the best I've ever seen as a QB. I've never seen anyone else elevate the talent around him like that.

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by Shattenjager :: Thu, 06/09/2011 - 12:11pm

I've always thought Moon was quite underrated. I wouldn't say he was the best I've seen, but he was very good and gets rather overlooked in discussions of great quarterbacks.

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by Insancipitory :: Fri, 06/10/2011 - 8:19am

I don't know if anyone in the hall of fame can be underrated. But just going on around 30 years of watching football in person, Warren Moon stands out for me. He would chuck these crazy rainbows that would meet the reciever as if they were delivered on a velvet pillow by a consierge at a five star hotel. Above Marino, WAAAAAY above Elway.

I personally think he's responsible for the strange career of Joey Galloway. I think Warren Moon just totally spoiled him, just ruined his expectations for what might be reasonably expected from a QB for years. Horrifyingly, the QB who most reminds me of Moon is Aaron Rodgers who even more unfortunately is at the begining of his career. At least he doesn't play for the Cardinals....