Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!
Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Mike Tanier

Finally, a Walkthrough intro that seamlessly combines the three things we love the most: NFL history, Scandinavia, and boobies.

Patricia Rooney Mara is the great-great granddaughter of both Steelers founder Art Rooney Sr. and Giants founder Tim Mara. A stunningly beautiful descendent of football founding fathers, Mara is like the NFL made flesh. And that flesh is on generous display in the movie poster for the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. (Here, and VERY NSFW.) Rooney Mara is Lisbeth Salader, in the greatest casting coup for the scion of an NFL founder since Mildred Bell Halas earned the role of Mary Jane in Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark. (She later died in a bizarre makeup application accident.)

I have never seen Mara act. I have not seen The Social Network, because if I wanted to see people waste their lives on the Internet, I would put a mirror behind my laptop. But I feel like I know Mara intimately after seeing the movie posters. She does rather inhabit Lisbeth's character in the photos, displaying the genetically-endowed toughness to tame the Jack Lamberts and Sam Huffs of the world, as well as a naked vulnerability that comes naturally from being naked.

In the European version of the film, Lisbeth Salander is not just a sexy Gothic super-hacker, but also the Rich Kotite of sexual power politics. After a corrupt government "guardian" (a parole officer, I think) extorts sexual favors from her, she concocts a plan to go to his apartment, alone but armed with hidden cameras, to catch him in the act of assaulting her again. Alas, he is far more aggressive the time around, and she is treated very brutally. Fortunately, she gets the footage she needs on the guardian, then turns the tables on him with some graphic sexual violence of her own.

There must have been some rain on the chart when she came up with that strategy. Perhaps the hacker should have tried, say, hacking? The novel and film make it clear that Lisbeth can slip right onto the computer of journalist Mikhael Blomquist and monitor his murder investigation from afar. A guy who sodomizes women under his legal care probably has some pretty incriminating stuff lying around his hard drive. Perverted government officials are well-known for their discretion when using computers. Of course, films about characters who sit around and type on computers rarely become hits, though Mara has a knack for getting cast in them.

The original film of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo sold itself as both "serious art-house fare" and "woman's empowerment," which meant that many of my female high school students found themselves sitting next to mom with a bowl of microwave popcorn, expecting to see a thriller with a powerful female lead that might contain a little salacious material here and there. Whoa boy. My students' descriptions of watching the uncomfortably long assault sequences were far more entertaining than the film, which juxtaposes torture porn with the tale of a dour journalist investigating a murder by talking to boring people. The constant sexual violence is supposed to be an allegory for the intrusiveness of the Swedish government, I think. Subtle. If my wife ever finds anything smutty on my hard drive, I will claim it's allegorical. "Those two guys are doing to that girl what the Cowboys did to the Broncos in Super Bowl XII." On second thought, I will just claim that the girl in the nurse's outfit is really the great granddaughter of both Curly Lambeau and George Marshall, and that I am just researching a Walkthrough. In about five years, I will just blame the kids.

The movie poster reveals one important difference between the American and European versions of the film -- this Lisbeth has breasts. Noomi Rapace does not. Do not be angry, Scandinavian readers! I did not say she was not beautiful. In some photos, she looks like Natalie Portman with smaller breasts. In others, Jennifer Garner with smaller breasts. The sequels are out in Europe, and Lisbeth becomes much more androgynous, looking at times like Sid Vicious, but with smaller breasts. If Mara is naked half as long as Rapace was, we will get plenty of opportunity to get acquainted with the gals, Danni and Wellington.

By snagging the Lisbeth role, Mara is said to be "making a name for herself." She doesn't need a name. She has two wonderful names; three if you really like "Patricia." Her names will ring through football history forever. And when she's done simulating sodomy for our allegorical amusement, she may want to return to her roots. Mara would make a great spokeswoman or host for NFL Films or the NFL Network. If nothing else, she could liven up NFL's Top Ten with tall tales from both families. That show could use some more attractive talking heads.

She just needs to put her clothes back on first.

For Those About to Drop

If you missed my "Twenty-four Hours in New York Sports" travelogue, it is still archived on the Bats blog. Between that project, some other articles, and the end of the school year for my wife and kids, I am pretty gassed, so this Walkthrough is a little light.

I received a lot of feedback during the trip, and one thing I noticed is that it's not enough to dislike a sport anymore. We have to dismiss it. The go-to insult is to say that something is "not a sport." A couple of you did that on the comment boards here. I don't mean to call you out, because I saw the same thing on the Times message boards, heard it from friends before I left and from strangers I talked to on the road, and so on. I have probably said it a few times, and not just about cup stacking or rhythmic gymnastics, but about more traditional things I happened to dislike.

A few people said that track is not a sport. Let's call ancient Greece and tell them to cancel the first Olympics. Horse racing also has a few thousand more years of history under its belt than the NFL, so let's agree that it's a sport. The WNBA suffered the usual reflexive insults every time I brought it up to anyone. You can hate the fact that it's an overhyped league that has been jammed down our throats by an even more overhyped league. You can find women's team sports at the post-collegiate level perfunctory and uninteresting. But it is still freakin' basketball, played in a big league arena by athletes who could clobber you in a game of 1-on-1. It's a sport. It's just not your sport. Or mine.

I don't mean to sound preachy. Hearing and reading variations on the same joke got very old. It's fun to argue the merits of various sports and kid about the habits and preferences of fans. But writing something off as valueless is pointless.

Quarterback Top Fives

The Steelers were covered a few months ago, so it's time to cruise through the rest of the NFL North. Let's get the franchise that has only been around for 15 years out of the way first.

Baltimore Ravens

1. Joe Flacco. Congratulations to the Audubon High School baseball team, winners of the New Jersey Group 1 State Championships on Saturday. Brian Flacco was one of the key performers for the Green Wave. There is never a short supply of Flaccos in this world.

2. Vinny Testaverde. Vinny worms his way onto a lot of these lists. He is here because of his excellent 1996 season. If you have not guessed, this is strictly a Ravens list, with the Browns covered in a few paragraphs.

3. Steve McNair. The top seven Ravens in Approximate Value over at Pro Football Reference are all defenders or offensive linemen. Then you get Jamal Lewis and Todd Heap. Flacco ranks 22nd, though he will shoot up the board with a solid year this season. Testaverde is 34th. Kyle Boller is 48th. McNair and Tony Banks are tied for 74th with guys like Jameel McClain. McNair had one strong season in Baltimore, which is one more than just about any other quarterback had.

4. Kyle Boller. Boller had just one 300-plus yard passing game in five seasons with the Ravens. His best game, a four-touchdown effort against the Giants in 2004, was mostly an along-for-the ride performance. Boller led 27- and 14-yard touchdown drives, plus a zero-yard field goal drive, throwing for just 219 yards as the Ravens defense forced turnovers and handed the offense the ball in Giants territory. Boller played well in that game, but as "best games ever" go, it's a sad little entry.

5. Don't make me pick among these guys. Let's talk about the Bengals instead.


1. Ken Anderson. People who advocate Anderson as a Hall of Famer point to his excellence from 1973 to 1975 and his MVP-caliber performances in 1981-82, constructing scaffolding between those two peaks to suggest that Anderson sustained that level of performance for a decade. He didn't. Bill Walsh left Cincy in 1976, Paul Brown began a program of Blast from the Past personnel management, and Anderson broke a bone in his hand in 1978 and suffered back ailments in 1979. When offensive production exploded from 1978-80, Anderson did not join the party. By the start of the 1981 season, he was a 32-year-old with injury issues who had not had a truly good season since 1976. He then had two magnificent years, one of them strike-shortened, before hitting his real decline.

Anderson's career is similar to Kurt Warner's: tiny college background, early and late success with a long lull, a legendary coach and young-gun offensive guru mentoring him early in his career. Warner was 1-2 in Super Bowls, Anderson 0-1, with a 2-4 lifetime playoff record. Warner is a borderline Hall of Famer in many people's minds (at least if you ignore the fact that he was great copy, which is hard to ignore). Anderson's credentials are not as good.

Analysts knew that Anderson was among the best quarterbacks in football in 1974 and 1975; I found a Sports Illustrated article calling him the best quarterback in football before the 1976 season, noting that the "computers" gave him a 93.5 rating. Anderson was making coffee commercials in 1982. He wasn't some unnoticed player rediscovered later by statisticians. He isn't being kept out of the Hall because voters disrespect or misunderstand stats. He is missing the whole middle of his career. That is why he is not in Canton.

2. Boomer Esiason. The Sam Wyche-Esiason Bengals were a lot of fun to watch. Esiason ran the no-huddle offense very well, threw a great deep ball, spread the wealth to a bunch of receivers, and could scramble. He was better than Jim Kelly in his best seasons, but his peak was shorter and his surrounding cast was not as good.

Esiason had a second tour of duty with the Bengals in 1997, winning four games and throwing 13 touchdowns during Bruce Coslett's extended effort to humiliate Jeff Blake. It's never a good idea to bring a lovable veteran on his last legs in to finish a season: Boomer retired after the season, Blake lost credibility in the organization, and the Bengals went into a seven-year funk.

3. Carson Palmer. Palmer appeared to be destined for No. 1 before his 2008 injury. Now, the Bengals organization wants him to suffer for their sins.

4. Jeff Blake. He was a little mad bomber who scrambled pretty well and had two excellent years before running into a buzz saw named Bruce Coslett. Coslett was a Baby Parcells who amassed a 47-77 career coaching record. He did not like Blake for some reason, so he put Esiason, then Neil O'Donnell, and finally Akili Smith in his way. When Smith flaked out, Blake had one more solid season, but the organization got rid of both him and Coslett. Blake went on to have serviceable seasons for the Saints, Ravens, and Cardinals, hanging around for years as a backup. Coslett would have been better off giving Blake the ball and letting him air it out.

5. Virgil Carter. This is a darn good list for a pretty bad franchise, isn't it? Legend has it that Bill Walsh designed the prenatal West Coast Offense to accommodate Carter, a small, smart quarterback playing behind a bad line. Carter completed 62.2 percent of his passes in 1971, evidence that Walsh was working his magic. Other than his brush with strategic history, Carter was nothing special as a quarterback.

Greg Cook was the greatest one-year wonder in NFL history, if you count players who only played one year. Cook suffered a devastating shoulder injury early in his rookie season, yet somehow returned to action after a few weeks. He led the league in completion percentage, yards per attempt, and efficiency rating while doing permanent damage to his throwing arm. He had Ben Roethlisberger's size-arm-toughness-running package. Carter replaced him, and Walsh began shortening drops, adding reads, and taking away deep throws to accommodate the quarterback change. That's part of the West Coast Offense story as told, anyway; it is starting to sound a little like a Paul Bunyan tale in the retelling.

Cleveland Browns

1. Otto Graham. Let's say that there was a super-team in the USFL in the 1980s. Take Jim Mora's Baltimore Stars, who had Sam Mills and Bart Oates, and add Jim Kelly, Reggie White, and Herschel Walker. These Stars won our fake USFL every year, and when the league folded, the NFL figured they would make a fine replacement for the Colts in Baltimore, bringing the Birmingham Stallions and Memphis Showboats along to fill some other markets.

The alternate timeline Baltimore Stars, entering the NFL in 1986, are immediate contenders, with a fine coach, great quarterback, tough running back, and excellent defense. The Stallions and Showboats are much weaker, though the Stallions survive a few years without folding and the common draft could get them back on their feet. Twenty-five years later, the distinction between the USFL-era and NFL-era stars has blurred.

Now here's the question: If all of this had happened, would you consider the USFL a "major" league? And if Kelly had three USFL championships to go along with his NFL efforts, would you make an argument that he was the greatest quarterback in NFL history?

The case for the AAFC being a bona fide equal to the NFL is based largely on the fact that the Browns dominated the AAFC, then entered the NFL and promptly took over. The fact that the Browns completely blew away the AAFC is evidence that the league was not an equal to the NFL. It was more like college basketball's Big West Conference back in the UNLV heyday: one monster team with a bunch of punching bags.

The AAFC Browns were full of great players like Graham, Marion Motley, Mac Speedie, and many more, just as our juiced-up Baltimore Stars can claim a lineup full of Hall of Famers. The other rosters in the AAFC had scattered talent, like the USFL had in 1985. One of the best non-Browns in the AAFC was Spec Sanders, tailback for the New York Yanks. He rushed for 1,400 yards and 18 touchdowns one year, throwing for another 1,400 yards. He was a superstar in the AAFC. He survived one year in the NFL as a punter. Pete Layden of the Yanks intercepted seven passes in 1949 while rushing for 576 yards. He lasted a year as a one-way player with the NFL's Yanks (not the same franchise, but a bad team that gobbled up the Yanks name and a lot of AAFC talent) before disappearing. Chet Mutryn, a 179-pound halfback for the old Bills, scored 10 touchdowns one year and rushed for more than 800 yards twice in the AAFC. He never played in the NFL. The Yanks were 8-4 in the AAFC's final season, the Bills 5-5-2. These teams were full of stars who could only play in the NFL as backups or specialists. The AAFC was better than the USFL, I believe, and there are plenty of extenuating circumstances at work (like a war that forced players to start their careers at age 27), but the concept that AAFC stats are completely analogous to NFL stats of the same era is silly.

None of this has any impact on Graham's status as a great player or Hall of Famer (or on Motley's, Speedie's, Joe Perry's, or that of any other star on those great Browns and 'Niners teams). It does puncture holes in his Greatest Quarterback Ever argument. Graham dominated the AAFC, but his statistics drop noticeably when he entered the NFL. They eventually bounce back, but not quite to 1946-49 levels. Had Graham played in the NFL, I think he would have been in the same mix as Sammy Baugh, Sid Luckman, and later Norm Van Brocklin, but he would not have lapped the field. My evidence is that he didn't lap the field when the leagues finally did merge. He may have been the best of that bunch, but not by the margin that his AAFC stats indicate.

Again, Hall of Famer, legend, innovator. I am as leery of giving him too much credit for beating the Chicago Rockets as I am about giving Kelly props for wins against the Jacksonville Bulls.

2. Frank Ryan. The most overlooked quarterback in football history, hands down. The greatness of the early-'60s Browns has been ignored. We all know about Jim Brown, but Brown is immortalized as a one-man show, just like O.J. Simpson and the early-career Walter Payton. Ryan led the NFL in touchdowns with Brown in the backfield, then did it again with Leroy Kelly. Ryan led the Browns to the championship in 1964 and got them close a few other times. All of the credit goes to Brown, Kelly, Paul Warfield, and others. Ryan deserves more than the footnote treatment. He is not a Hall of Famer, but I think his Hall argument is no weaker than Anderson's or Ken Stabler's. He deserves to be talked about once in a while.

3. Bernie Kosar. Probably the least-coordinated looking great athlete ever. Kosar ran like an overgrown toddler and threw like he was trying to shotput a watermelon, but it all worked.

4. Brian Sipe. Sipe earned the Captain Comeback reputation with seven fourth-quarter comebacks or game-winning drives in 1979 and four more in 1980 (nod here to the real Captain Comeback, Scott Kacsmar of Pro Football Reference). It was a pretty amazing run of heroics, and Sipe was an excellent trigger man for a high-powered offense for several years.

Sipe was the NFL MVP in 1980; in 1984, he was the quarterback for the New Jersey Generals. Younger fans have no idea what a serious competitor the USFL looked like in its first two seasons.

5. Milt Plum. The Danny White of Browns history, wedged between Graham and Ryan the way White got stuck between Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. Plum reached the Pro Bowl twice, but he was perceived as a functionary who took orders from Paul Brown and handed off to Jim Brown. That's a more accurate description of Plum than of Ryan, who got a similar reputation despite the fact that both Browns were gone by the middle of his career. Plum is one of the best No. 5s we have encountered.

Bill Nelsen was a solid player for a good Browns team that still featured Leroy Kelly and Paul Warfield. Testaverde had his moments. No current Browns quarterback is in danger of cracking this list. If we combined the Browns and Ravens, Flacco is a season or two away from overtaking either Plum or Testaverde, whose stock goes up when you combine his Ravens and Browns exploits.


95 comments, Last at 11 Jul 2011, 12:01pm

2 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Ha! Ha! I didn't know the Browns had quarterbacks. Good stuff, just glad curling playoffs weren't in New York last weekend.

5 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

He only started 8 games that year, so, ring or no, he really barely played for the team.

Edit: Also, if Dilfer makes this list at #5, that means he's in the top 5 QB list for two separate franchises (Tanier put him at #3 for Tampa), and that's just not right.

33 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Yeah, I've got your back on this as well. Granted, he didn't even play a full season for the Ravens--he had, what, an 11-1 record as a starter for them? That's nothing to sneer at, I don't think.

95 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

TD easily deserves a mention on a Ravens top-5 list!

Which is mostly a testament to how horrid the Ravens QBs have been. I love Joe Flacco, but it's really a sorry state of affairs when 3 mediocre, "development" seasons are enough to vault you into the top spot on the team's all-time list. And it's not even close!

But, and I hate to say this on a site devoted to objective measurement and analysis, Dilfer really brought something to the Ravens the second half of that season. He did not play efficient football; very much the opposite. But where Tony Banks had been playing tight, Dilfer opened it up. He played with a lot of zest; he was something of a shot in the arm. The rest of the offense seemed to wake up a little, when he started.

I think it's possible Dilfer re-wrote the book on how to play with a great defense. Most coaches of defense-oriented teams play conservative, field-position football. Dilfer didn't do that. In later years there was scuttlebutt from some ex-Ravens that Dilfer and other veterans on offense (Shannon Sharpe?) would change the play calls from the sideline. Whatever the reason, Dilfer threw a lot of risk passes. But were they that risky? If your defense doesn't give up *anything* at all, then you can take all kinds of risks: throw crazy passes, get some intercepted and have most of the rest end possessions. If you hit just one big play and get a score out of it, and the other team gets nothing no matter how many gifts you give them, then you will win.

It's crazy thinking, but it was a crazy season. As a Ravens fan, I will forever have a lot of affection for what Dilfer brought to the team that year. He was not exactly a "good" quarterback, but it's hard to imagine the Ravens winning it all with any of the other QBs they had on the roster that season.

That should certainly nudge Dilfer ahead of Stoney Case et al for the #5 spot on the team's list of all-time QBs. (God, what a sorry list.)

76 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

I agree with Tanier's decision.

Here is everyone who has thrown 100 passes for the Ravens, sorted by ANY/A+: http://pfref.com/tiny/DQHtm

Zeier is the clear winner in ANY/A+, but I really think it's sort of crazy to pick someone who never even started the majority of the team's games.
Next up is Jeff Blake. No, really--Jeff Blake is the next highest out of this pack in ANY/A+ with the Ravens. His essentially average ANY/A+ is not backed up by his -29 DYAR and -12.6% DVOA.
Tony Banks is only 2 points behind Blake, legitimately played for the Ravens, and had a decent 1999 by ANY/A+, but his DVOA that year was -22.7% and he produced -265 DYAR (in 2000, he was terrible by both metrics).
Then there's Elvis Grbac who only played there for one year and produced a 92 ANY/A+, -60 DYAR, and -13.0% DVOA.
Then there's Jim Harbaugh who also only played there one year and produced a 92 ANY/A+, but his -98 DYAR and -16.3% DVOA definitely mark him below Grbac.
And here we come to Trent Dilfer--that's right, his ANY/A+ with the Ravens is lower than any of the above. To go along with his 90 ANY/A+, he had -217 DYAR and a -24.6% DVOA.
After that, we just have Chris Redman, Anthony Wright, and Stoney Case, none of whom ever started the majority of the team's games in a season.

That's just such an ugly group--why bother choosing one?

4 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

So he played half a season in Baltimore, but winning 11 games in a row including the Super Bowl should get Trent Dilfer to the #5 spot on the Ravens list, right?

6 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Go watch some film of Jim Plunkett scrambling then consider your statement about Kosar again. Plunkett ran like he was in high heels with one heel gone and the laces untied. Kosar was pretty ungraceful, though.

7 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Interesting to hear an argument against Anderson for the HoF. Most of the time the arguments for him seem to be centered on the fact that he is the best QB not in the hall. I usually think to myself that somebody has to be the best player not in the there. If Anderson got inducted then it would just become someone else.

50 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

That was the same inane logic that got Art Monk into the HoF. The HoF voters bought it the last time. So I guess we can count on Anderson making the HoF next time around.

57 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Actually, the arguments for Anderson usually center on the fact that he was better than quite a few QBs who are already in. Anderson has gained momentum because for the last 5 years or so, every time someone tries to rank historical QBs statistically they always come up with Anderson sticking out like a sore thumb in a pile of HOFers, despite using varied methodologies. But in terms of being the best QB not in the Hall, almost no one argues for Ken Stabler or Joe Theismann to be inducted despite the fact that they also have a case, and they actually won SBs unlike Anderson. (I have seen interesting if unconventional arguments on the P-F-R blog for Brodie and Testaverde, but never ahead of Anderson.)

Similarly, Monk is more deserving that Charlie Joiner or John Stallworth (Lynn Swann not included because every HOF has at least one guy who shouldn't be compared with potential candidates), and those were just the first 2 off the top of my head. I agree that being the best guy not in shouldn't automatically get you in, but once you're better that some of the guys who already are in, that becomes less of an issue.

8 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Just to extend the football connection for those that don't know, Rooney Mara's older sister, Kate, was in 'We Are Marshall,' the dramatisation of the aftermath of the Marshall Crash of 1970!

15 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

I thought it was a touch overrated. It's definitely a good film, but I don't think it's great. It does a poor job setting up Zuckerburg's and Eduardo's friendship to make us care about their falling out. The first act is almost solely about the Winklevoss twins then they basically just get forgotten as story moves onto Zuckerburg and Eduardo.

10 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Probably useless comments:
A. Typo: Boomer's second stint with the Bengals was 1997, not 1987.
B. The Girl Who Played with Fire (Daniel Alfredson, Sweden/Denmark/Germany 2009) and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Daniel Alfredson, Sweden/Denmark/Germany 2009) are both also long since out in the US. I think perhaps you meant that the European sequels are out (to distinguish from the upcoming American "series," which I doubt will last beyond the first film anyway) rather than that the sequels are out in Europe.
C. I'm jealous--I wish I hadn't wasted my time watching The Social Network (David Fincher, USA 2010). Most overrated film this side of Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, USA 1994).
D. I worked at Blockbuster when The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Niels Arden Oplev, Sweden/Denmark/Germany/Norway 2009) came out--we were asked by corporate to warn everyone about how graphic it was, particularly that rape scene. Teenagers watching it with their parents without knowing what they were in for is sort of hilarious.

More useful comment:
I would not have put Kosar nearly that high--he had two good seasons, four average ones, and one horrendous one. Sipe had three seasons better than any of Kosar's and three average years along with three injury-shortened poor seasons. Plum had one season better than any of Kosar's and three more as good as Kosar's best (and ranked 4, 4, 4, and 7 in pass attempts those seasons).

18 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

I tried 4 times to watch it and never once made it all the way through without giving up. It's shit.

The dialogue is garbage. People don't talk like that. His caracters talk like how a geek wishes he'd spoken when he looks back at a situation where he was picked on.

32 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

We have no way of knowing what they actually spoke like 500 years ago. Presumably they spoke somewhat like how Shakespeare wrote, but presumably not using rhyme and meter.

But to even compare Shakespeare and Tarentino is like comparing ice cream to shit.

39 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

There is some writing from the timeframe that says that iambic pentameter is actually intended to mimic the rhythm of real speech, oddly enough.

For the record, while I think Pulp Fiction is pretty terrible, the dialogue is not at all part of the reason. As someone who absolutely loves film noir, unrealistic dialogue does not bother me at all. I'm not particularly enamored of the dialogue in this film (Certainly it does not compare to Brick [Rian Johnson, USA 2005], Annie Hall [Woody Allen, USA 1977], or A Few Good Men [Rob Reiner, USA 1992], let alone to Shakespeare.), but it barely matters at all.

60 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

People didn't speak like Shakespeare then. Read any other English playwright from that era. They're no Shakespeare. Moreover, people don't even speak like Shakespeare in Shakespeare--the verse is generally offset by the low speech of servants, but not because servants spoke prose and nobility spoke verse. Later drama would abandon verse entirely, not because people no longer spoke in verse, but because they sought more verisimilitude.

63 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

We have plenty of ways of knowing how they spoke 500 years ago. It wasn't an illiterate age.

As for Shakespeare, he invented almost 1/10th of the words he used (in his plays he used a total of almost 17,000 different words; 1,700 of them were invented by him). So no, people weren't talking the way he wrote.

65 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Um, no.
People in the Elizabethan era used the same words that Shakespeare used. But in no meaningful way did they "talk like" Shakespearean characters. It's not just rhyme and meter. There's also vocabulary size, imagery, sentence construction, etc., etc.

29 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

saw PF one time didnt reallt like it. Okay movie butr talking was weird. brucs willis' charatcre's wife horrible annyoing person too. guy sticking watch in dupa stupid thing to. movie tried to eb too cool . Jumped around too much too. J. Travilta charatcre dead then alive or his fiend or something=- forget details but film stypid with that anyway

Looked up F. Ryan numebrs. best passer rating season was 90.4
Did rmemeber it was even numebr in 90s. knew it 90 or 94 to 96, so was close there

37 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

The dialogue is garbage. People don't talk like that. His caracters talk like how a geek wishes he'd spoken when he looks back at a situation where he was picked on.

No, people do not talk like that. But it would be awesome if they did.

56 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Yup. Politicians don't speak like the West Wing; gold diggers didn't speak like Deadwood; teenagers have never spoken like Buffy. Art is sometimes about beauty, and that's partly because it's quicker, and it's partly because it's less boring.

For what it's worth: I think Pulp Fiction is excellent. Of course people disagree, but enough people agree that it's clearly worth debating rather than dismissal. I also thought The Social Network was excellent, though there were things that annoyed me about it (I am so tired of fetishisation of Ivy League / Oxbridge - the endless drunken parties full of, basically, glamour models). The one I thought overrated was The King's Speech, which I enjoyed a lot, but which was just this small, very obvious story, told neatly and reverentially without a single surprising second. There's a place for it, but I (again just personally) think that something that unambitious doesn't have a super high quality ceiling.

66 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Agree completely about The King's Speech. It had about as much depth as a 1970s After School Special. No clue why _this_ costume drama was embraced by all the award-giving organizations.

And The Social Network, while amusing, was hardly overwhelming in any sense. (Rooney Mara was good, but her character was minor.)

While I'm on this tangent, I thought Inception was clearly the best film of the year, but sci-fi films never win awards.

70 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

I'll give my theory for the success of The King's Speech (Tom Hooper, UK 2010), at least for the Oscars, FWIW: It won the Oscars because it is an actors' movie--it gave the actors showy things to do and cast big name British actors to do them. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is something like 2/3 actors, and those actors love to reward actors' movies. (This is also why science fiction and action films don't win Oscars and Stanley Kubrick's only Oscar was for visual effects in 2001: A Space Odyssey [Stanley Kubrick, UK/USA 1968].)

I honestly would have gone with The Way Back (Peter Weir, USA 2010) for last year, but I don't think there were really any great films. If I had my druthers, instead of giving yearly awards, we would just have awards that go to every great film, which would probably amount to one every three years or so but wouldn't force giving awards to undeserving films in years when no great ones come out or block deserving films in years when there are two.

72 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Pulp Fiction is pretty good. But the problem with it is that its made LOADS of writers and directors decide that characters speaking random unintelligible bollocks was an amazing new level of art, rather than random unintelligible bollocks.

74 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

"The dialogue is garbage. People don't talk like that. His caracters talk like how a geek wishes he'd spoken when he looks back at a situation where he was picked on."

They do in cheap crappy novels. Why do you think the movie is called "Pulp Fiction"?

38 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

With no offense intended, I know enough about film* that I can judge whether a film is good for myself--I don't need a random British guy on the internet to explain it to me**.
Its strengths (And it does have some.) are in the least important aspects of film (Which are, unfortunately, the things to which most people, even intelligent people, pay the most attention, leading to its disturbing, cultish following of defenders.) and its weaknesses are in the most important aspects.

*I was a film major for part of my time in undergrad. Beyond even my own thoughts, I had one professor who called Pulp Fiction "the worst film of the last 25 years."
**That was also nothing more than a close viewing of a few scenes done in a very literature-like fashion. It did not do anything to advance the idea that the film is great. Roger Ebert does a much better job of defending the film in his book The Great Movies, though his analysis also, rather accidentally, explains many of the problems.

41 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

I had one professor who called Pulp Fiction "the worst film of the last 25 years."

Well that's just hyperbole at it's finest.

I could just as easily point to Paul Thomas Anderson walking out of film school when his teacher told him Terminator 2 sucked for how much I think of random film school teachers.

That was also nothing more than a close viewing of a few scenes done in a very literature-like fashion.

Is there something wrong with that? I always felt Tarantino's movies were more like visual novels than movies as their own form. He does things like have chapters instead of acts, and uses structure in other ways which is more like how books are done.

I didn't really mean his analysis was a defense of the movie, I just thought it was a interesting analysis which pointed out merits of the movie.

I would be interested in hearing what you think is so terrible about the movie.

47 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Knowing him, it was probably hyperbole intended to annoy the students into arguing with him. (He also said, much more accurately, that Hable con ella [Pedro Almodóvar, Spain 2002] might be the best film of the last 25 years, then admitted that he was hoping someone would argue something else.) However, denouncing his statement as "hyperbole at its finest" is assuming that his assessment is wrong, which is frankly unproven.
I don't think it was anywhere close to that bad. I think even "terrible" may be overstating it--it was like a 3/10 movie. However, its reputation is so insanely high that being a 3/10 movie means it's unbelievably overrated. Also, while I feel competent in assessing a film's objective level of quality, I also know that there are those who know much more than I do, and my film professors are among them.

Novels and movies are different forms and have to be analyzed differently--it's just that simple.
A. Length--Novels are much longer. That leaves room for deeper exploration of themes and use of more themes. Films have to be focused--there generally isn't time to do more than make one point. There's a reason one of my professors used to ask after every film for us to reduce the film to three words or less--that's all you can really say adequately in a typical-length film. Masaki Kobayashi once even made a ten and a half hour long film and made only one point.
B. Language--Novels are words; films are pictures. It's really more logical to analyze a film the way one would a painting than the way one would a novel--they are at least both visual artforms. Films obviously do include sound as well, but sound is really just an added layer, not a replacement for the visual--what you see is still far more important than what you hear (like dialogue).

I don't feel comfortable explaining exactly what Pulp Fiction's problems were, because I have not seen it in seven years and only watched it twice (once with the sound off) at the time.
I can only remember general things, which are thoroughly unhelpful without the specifics that I no longer remember. (Yes, I probably should have considered that before mentioning it and instead just stated that The Social Network is insanely overrated.)

And, since I also hated the movie*, I'm not going to watch it again just so that I can explain further what I'm seeing.

*Subjectively--not talking about its level of quality here.

Just because I'm tired of being negative: The last film I went to a theater to see, Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen, Spain/USA 2011), was the best movie in at least two years and possibly in six years.

48 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Last film saw- The Hangover part II. Liked k as in knife line and when alan was staring at Stanford kid in aplane with b. Joel msuic playing. Remidn of 1980 NFl Filsm saints, saviours and sinners film (1980 league hgihlight film excellent piece by NFL Films one of best 5 films ever by nfl films)) when at begining guy on Bills (think I. Robertson) staring at Steelers players.

79 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

So you don't remember why it's bad?

Never mind, my objection to your criticism has more to do with people with knowledge of an artistic field criticizing works of art with devastating certainty. Apart from the fact that these critics can and do disagree among themselves, the fact is that many works of art bashed by critics strongly "work" on some level that escapes them. Technique is only one part of art, after all, and the rest cannot be confidently judged by anyone without claiming some sort of moral/spiritual superiority.

As far as Tarantino, I liked Pulp Fiction very much when I first saw it, but I don't watch his movies anymore. If I saw it again, I'd probably call it one of the worst movies in the last 25 years (and it would be hyperbole), but at the same time I know that he touches some important chords in people, and that is something to be respected.

Same thing with Harry Potter. Rowling is a very unspectacular writer, and even the story seems ordinary when considered from a distance, but somehow her books get to people. That's some real magic right there, and Tarantino has some of it, too.

81 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

I only remember in very general terms, which would not really add anything to the discussion. As an example, what value would there be to me saying that it had very safe, uninteresting cinematography, without being able to say more specifically what I was talking about? I think the answer is basically none, because it's a rather vapid statement without support, but I can only remember those kinds of things.

84 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Tarantino's movies are a mixed bag but generally OK; I can usually place a lot of where certain parts come from. Where I find him way more interesting is talking about TV and film. He's incredible when he's doing that, that's where I really see he's passionate about it. He's extremely knowledgable and seems genuinely excited.

87 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

"Novels are words; films are pictures. It's really more logical to analyze a film the way one would a painting than the way one would a novel--they are at least both visual artforms. Films obviously do include sound as well, but sound is really just an added layer, not a replacement for the visual--what you see is still far more important than what you hear (like dialogue)."

This is where I violently disagree with most film buffs and critics (and believe me, I watch a lot of films, love film, and like to think I'm not a total idiot).

The important distinction in art, for me, is not between visual and auditory media but between narrative and evocative media. Films, novels and plays are all generally the former. Poetry, music, sculpture and painting are generally the latter. Films and novels are both primarily in the business of telling stories.

As such, I would submit that the relative importance to a film's worth of writer, director and leading actor is somewhat comparable to that of GM, coach and quarterback to an NFL team. Brilliance at any one spot pretty much guarantees tolerability. Brilliance at any two makes for a serious contender. But if I could only have one, it would be the GM or writer. Give me Juno or Frost/Nixon over a gorgeously shot but unwatchably dull picture like Revolutionary Road any day. If cinema was painting, every film Sam Mendes has ever made would have deserved Best Picture Oscars. They don't (apart from the one that, you know, actually got one - along with Actor and Screenplay).

90 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

I read your original response, and I was going to respond to it myself. I guess if you don't want to continue the conversation I'll just let it be.

This is the off season from hell, and I'm bored so I would like to.

92 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Since (a) this is sort of the closest thing I have to an area of expertise other than psychology (And that just never comes up . . . if we could have an argument about cognitive dissonance theory, I would be happy to keep at it longer, and I would win.) and (b) I am, after all, a law student, I have already taken this far more seriously than I should and it will get worse. I really don't want to hate everyone here and be generally pissed for a month* because of an argument I've had a thousand times before that has no resolution.

*Trust me, I'm already going to be for a week.

Plus, suggesting that Sam Mendes's films are more beautiful than those of Rian Johnson or Peter Weir nearly made me cry.**

**That part is an joke.

91 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

You really nailed a lot of points there better than I think I would have been able to.

I would like to add a couple things. One is a movie can't be compared to a novel in terms of length, however I think it could be compared to a novella easily. I think you can get across in 2 hours of a film the same amount of information that a 100 to 150 page book can.

I do have to disagree with the importance of a writer, only because a director can change so much, or simply interpret things so differently from what was actually written on the page. To go along with your analogy, a writer is the director of college scouting while the director is like combined GM/Coach like Belichick.

93 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

His assertion is completely wrong, and you make a fine point of proving that. I'm not going to argue the merits of Pulp Fiction (which I think is a great movie and sadly now suffers from being the progenitor of a lot of abused styles, making us miss both the originality and craft of it, much like The Dark Knight Returns), but I'm going to argue that if Pulp Fiction was anywhere on the list of wrost films of the last 25 years you'd probably be able to tell us why.

The only time I have ever seen "Amores Perros" by Alejandro González Iñarritu was in the summer of 2000, when it was released. I can still tell you at least 5 or 6 specific reasons why it's a steaming piece of excrement, and the fact that it wastouted as the first big film by a Mexican director, who went on to make severalmore pieces of fecal matter, based on a plagarizing, miss-the-point of those I steal from, terribly directed and edited by a blind monkey piece of celluloid is a complete travesty.

And it still doesn't crack the worst Top 10 movies of the last 25 years...

- Alvaro

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

30 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

In Lisbeth Salander's defense, the book goes into how she tries to dig up dirt on her court-appointed guardian before resorting to taping him with a hidden camera; the movie cut that part (for reasons of time, one assumes).

11 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

I’d forgotten the Ken Anderson coffee commercial. It actually said “coffee calms you down.”

I think it's fair to call him the best QB not in The Hall, and I think it's fair to call him a borderline Hall of Famer. I don't think the museum is somehow cheapened by his absecene, but nor do I think he would water it down by his admission. He's a better candidate than Lynn Swann at least.

68 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Lynn Swann:: Canton = Tony Perez :: Cooperstown.

Somebody has to be the least deserving player in the Hall, but even if we can't kick the guy out, we don't have to let everyone better in.

(To be fair to Tony Perez, Frankie Frisch got a lot of his Cardinal buddies into the Hall who were even less impressive.)

12 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

My take on Frank Ryan (although admittedly he's before my time) was that he was perceived as being a caretaker - an efficient guy who didn't make mistakes and never met a risk he couldn't avoid - but he played at a time when the league wanted, rewarded, immortalized Field Generals like Unitas, Van Brocklin and Baugh. Most of this was because he was one of the few QBs of the era who didn't call his own plays. For years and years and years, he held the NFL record for passer rating in a season. I think it was the 90s before anyone got around to breaking his mark. He's a trendsetter in a way that makes old-timers weep. Granted, all of this comes from reading and seeing old grainy clips - he was retired before I was born. But that was my impression anyway.

27 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

For years and years and years, he held the NFL record for passer rating in a season.

No. M. Plum guy who did that, 110.4, 1960 with Browns. Dont have numbrs handy but know Ryan best season number in 90s. Was 96 poitn something maybe? Oh have to look up exact numebr

53 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Pakc won in 65. first year of 3peat (1965, suepr bowl 1, super bowl 2).

Clevbe won in 64. Beat Cotls 27-0. G. Collins big star in game (5 catch 130 yard 3 TD). Brown also gerat (110 run yds, broke open game in 3 rd quater with 46 yd run). Ernie Green other abck. very good player too. Green scored more td than brown in 64. Browns rna from
spilt back formation. gree n and brown usually on field tofether.

Green drafted by Packers 1962. wasn't going to make pack roster so Lombardi trade Geen to Cleveland for 7th round draft choice.

Kely drafted in 64.

Brown retired before 66 season. Green move to fullback and Kelly took over as halfback..
Both made Pro Bowl after 66 and 67 seasbns.

64 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Thanks for the correction. I meant to say championship game as I knew they lost to the Packers in 1965. It's the very first game I saw that I still remember the outcome. Didn't know the Browns were the defending champ that year.

13 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Loving reading this Browns list, even if I'm not a Browns fan. I can't think of Milt Plum without thining of George Plimptons descriptions of him in Paper Lion (ESSENTIAL reading, BTW).

No conversation about Kosar should be complete without a tip of the hat to his brain. This guy left college 2 years early WITH HIS DEGREE. He was the first to use the supplemental draft. He brokered the trade between Cleveland and Buffalo whereby the Browns got the first pick in the Suppliemental Draft, allowing him to play for his home town team. He was also his own agent. Not bad for a kid who was 20 years old. Testeverde came out of Miami 2 or 3 years later and was older than Kosar.

17 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Paper Lion good book. Bakc then Loins good. Plum , Morral qbs, Brown, Karras on d line,. D. Lane there, Cogdill and some others.

Book must ahve been gerat at time, but very tame if read inn 2000s for first time like what I did. As far as 1960s tell-all inside licker room sports boosk go, Thoguth The Long Season by Jim brosnan better even though baseball and Ball Four by Jim Boptuon also greta. Instant Replay by J. Kramer nice too. Rank them in odrer- Brosnan book 1
2. Bouton
3. Plimtpn
4. Kramer

19 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Good stuff. I don't care enough about baseball to check out either of them, but I'll make sure to check out Kramers book. I may have read it as a kid, not sure.

I never knew Paper Lion was intended as a tell-all. Even if it's not wild by modern standards (so much so that I have a hard time imagining it ever being perceived as wild), it's just incredibly well written, great storytelling, and Plimpton really brings the players to life. Not just the players, but the game and the entire era.

If I recall correctly, Dr. Z used to refer to it as the greatest football book ever written.

22 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

maybe tell-all not best desirciption.BOok was emant to cover Plimpton trying out with Loins and how he fit into team and what had to do anf stuff like that. So fans did leanr abiout some inside stuff

26 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Either one, just wanted to hear some opinions on it. I liked it myself, but I haven't read the books you mentioned.

If it makes you feel any better about reading the book, most of the Broncos don't seem to like their job, and it's the season when they fall apart at the end of the Jake Plummer era.

34 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

I didn't quite finish A Few Seconds of Panic, so I never reviewed it, but it wasn't bad; probably the closest you could get to Paper Lion in today's game, not that I value much participatory journalism. Paper Lion I thought was well done but meh, but I probably read it 40-odd years too late plus I'll never forgive Plimpton or SI for Sidd Finch. Instant Replay was great. Not sure where I'd rank it in comparison to Ball Four, which was also great. Haven't read Brosnan.

21 Re: AAFC

Good comment on AAFC by m. Tanier. Cle Browns dominant in aafc, very good in NFL but not great anymore. well did win nfl titles in 1950s so great that way b ut not same level of freatness like when storming through AAFC teams.

At time, wanted Baltimore Stars and Jakcosnville Bulls to enter NFL. Stock them with best USFL playesr are go from there. Baltimroe
Stars go to AFC Central with Steelers, Bengals, Browns,a dn Oilers. Or swithc Colts ton Central and make Stars go to Eats.

Jakcosnville Bulls go to nfc west and get good cocktail rivalry with falcs like Georgia Bulldogs vs Fla Gators.

didnt happen of corse. lague just go away and good players enetered nfl like R. White, zimmerman, G. Clark, Kelly, Rozier, S. young and many others, . Those were guys who start in USFL. Others started in nfl, go to usfl amd then go back to NFL. Joe Cribbs one fo them.

25 Re: AAFC

In reply to by Raiderjoe

They will ALWAYS be the Philadelphia Stars to me. I was almost as big a fan of Kelvin Bryant as I was of Wilbert Montgomery. Even the one year when they played 75 miles away, the Stars still drew ratings in Philly.

35 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

And there was me thinking this Walkthrough was going to be about Wayne Rooney's hair transplant ... http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3620702/Wayne-Rooney-reveals-hair-transplant.html

40 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Kate Mara is much, much sexier than her sister. She was super-hot in her first scenes in "The Shooter".

54 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

I think you are making a mistake by assigning a moral or value judgment to arguments that some of the events you attended were not sports when such judgments were not made. I made that claim here. I know you said that you do not intend to call out any individual, and I have no reason to disbelieve you, so please take this not as defensiveness but explication.

Let's take the first definition to come up when I googled "define: sport.":
"An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment."

First, let me propose that the fact that many people claimed various of the events you attended are not sports is evidence that there is some disagreement on what qualifies. Second, I dispute the claim that referring to something as not a sport is an insult. There is nothing about "sport" to suggest it is of superior value to something that is "not sport." I enjoy chess, pool, and computer programming but would not call any of them a sport and do not think it is pejorative to exclude them from that category.

Now that we understand that we are not making a value judgment let's try to understand is and is not a sport. By the definition above sport requires physical exertion. Now, nearly everything requires some level of exertion, for instance a chess player must at least pick up his pieces and move them and a violinist must move his bow up and down. I don't think that is sufficient. There is a dividing line below which the physical exertion is insufficient to qualify. Though certainly more taxing than moving chess pieces, I judge riding a horse to fall below that line.

Let us move to the second requirement, competition. What do we mean when we say "compete"? Again we are faced with a continuum. One could say that just about any comparison with a judgment attached could be competition. Would gambling count for our purposes? I don't believe so. Say we have an event where a contestant must run a mile (physical exertion) then flip a coin a hundred times. The winner is the contestant with the most heads. Is that a sport? I propose that it is not because it is insufficiently competitive. Again we must draw a line in the sand to determine what is competitive enough. Here I acknowledge will be the most controversially line, but I propose it as nonetheless useful. The defining characteristic of sports as opposed to other athletic competitions is that involve a cycle of action and reaction in which the competitors have a direct and significant effect on each others actions. A football player must observe and react to his opponent so it is competitive enough to qualify. A curler must respond to the positions of the rocks placed by the opponent and so is competitive. A chess player's moves consider the position of his opponents and so is sufficiently competitive (but chess fails on the physical exertion requirement). A sprinter may be affected psychologically by his opponent's performance, but his actions are not materially affected by his opponents'. A marathoner must account for his opponents since he does not have a dedicated lane, but this consideration is minor and fairly easy to distinguish in degree from the consideration a tennis player must make for his opponents shot. Thus neither form of running is competitive enough to be a sport.

Finally, let me rebut a few of your arguments. The individual competitions are referred to as "events" not as sports. Collectively they are the "Olympic Games" not the "Olympic Sports." Some events may be sports while others are not. Horse racing does indeed have a long heritage. But tradition is irrelevant. Nothing about sport has anything to do with historical longevity. And basketball may not be your preferred sport, or mine, but it is indeed as you say, a sport.

58 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

To go on your definition.

Road bicycle race would be a sport. What the other riders do (drafting, boxing in, allowing or chasing down breakaways) has a major impact on the outcome.
Chase Cycling where you start on opposite sides of the track would not because while who wins or loses is influenced heavily by what others do, individual performance is not.

Golf would not be a sport. Other golfers have virtually no impact on your score so it fails your competition test.

So what about auto racing? It certainly meets the competition requirements. But I think it doesn't meet your physical exertion requirements, just like horse back riding. Though anyone who has driven a car at 150+ miles an hour for 4 hours can attest to how physically draining it is. The fact that drivers can lose 5 pounds during a race can show that it is indeed physically demanding.

I'm intentionally playing semantic games here, because that is the game you started. I also think you missed the point made. When someone says "The WNBA isn't sport!" they are saying it to belittle something about it. Generally that women on average don't run as fast, jump as high, or grow as big as men. It's an insult. Just like racial jokes. Of course the best response to WNBA isn't sport is that college and high school basketball aren't either then, because the NBA is higher level of skill.

Your argument also relies on an arbitrary definition about "level of competition". The first definition in the dictionary (I went with the Oxford English in this case but Dictionary.com or Merriam-Webster give similar results) is:

‘The action of endeavouring to gain what another endeavours to gain at the same time’ (Johnson); the striving of two or more for the same object; rivalry. Now largely used in connection with competitive examinations.

There aren't levels, since all it is a way to determine a winner or a loser, it's simply two or more people actively trying to get to the same goal at the same time.

In fact the dictionary defines sport for us as well, though this is the 4th definition in the OED (though it's similar to the first defn at dictionary.com):

An activity involving physical exertion and skill, esp. (particularly in modern use) one regulated by set rules or customs in which an individual or team competes against another or others

Dictionary.com lists some events out for us.
an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc

I will happily grant that language does and should evolve and change. Meanings of words change. Not everyone views the definition of sport the same, in fact, the OED, under that quoted definition tells us this.

In early use the sense of ‘sport’ as a diversion or amusement is paramount; by the 18th and 19th centuries the term was often used with reference to hunting, shooting, and fishing (see blood, field sports at the first element). The consolidation of organized sport (particularly football, rugby, cricket, and athletics) in the 19th cent. reinforced the notion of sport as physical competition (for contact, motor-, racket, spectator, team, water sport, etc., see the first element)

The early definitions of the word sport were basically "Just something that is a diversion of fun". It was nothing close to what you want. But I freely grant that usage is changing.

I think you are making a mistake by assigning a moral or value judgment to arguments that some of the events you attended were not sports when such judgments were not made.

But see, moral and value judgements were made. It's possible you didn't, but quotes like

"It's a shame the last two don't count as sports."

That is value judgement right there. Two of the four events aren't sports, what a shame you have to waste your time on them is how I read that.

Perhaps YOU didn't pass judgement, but I think posts here did, and fans in sports bars do all the time.

The question Mike is asking is basically "What is lost by saying Track & Field is a sport vs saying Track & Field is an athletic competition?" You are making a value judgement that it is or isn't a sport. You aren't trying to be precise about a definition of something. Because like I've shown two different bicycling events classify differently based on your definition. OK again perhaps you personally are not, but others in fact are. They don't feel there is enough interactive competition in a 200m dash so it's not an event of a sport (running/racing). They value the interactiveness of competition. What they prefer in their athletic competitions is not being displayed, what they prefer is better so don't call that a sport. Again you very likely aren't looking at from this angle but most people that say something isn't a sport ARE. Because there is very little value in a precise definition. Someone will not be vastly confused if one person calls golf a sport and one person calls golf a physical skills competition.

59 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

"The defining characteristic of sports as opposed to other athletic competitions is that involve a cycle of action and reaction in which the competitors have a direct and significant effect on each others actions."

I enjoy the well reasoned logical writing, but I think you went off the rails a bit here. I'd guess most people define a competition in a much looser sense, as far as there not having to be any interaction between the participants. The looser definition that would define sports in my opinion, is that there is a contest for some "prize" whether that be victory in a game, having the fastest time or longest throw, or winding up with the best score (although, personally, I don't like subjectively scored sports as much as more objective ones).

So I definitely think of track and field events as sports. What's a more basic sport than seeing who can run a distance the fastest? Why are you set on saying the competitors have to directly affect each other?

I'm also guessing that most people would agree with me, that track and field events, or a marathon, are, in fact, sports.

80 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Agreed. Besides, if they are not sports, then what are they? Unless there is a better definition for track, I'm sticking with sport.

The OP cites chess, and it's an interesting case, since it's sometimes called -in Spanish- "the science sport". That's cause it's so competitive but only involves the mind. It's also considered an art by many. But in the end, it's simply a game -a very complex, creative, and competitive game.

I think sports can be thought of as games which require physical exertion (the fact that chess players use their hands to move the pieces is just a technicality). And just like solitaire is still a game, solo sports are still sports -competition doesn't have to include someone else, it can be against yourself. Why the heck not?

67 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

That the Olympics are called "games" and not "sports" is a relic of an old-fashioned distinction between sports and games -- a game has rules, and a sport doesn't. Elephant hunting, mountain climbing, and rafting were sports; chess, the Olympics, and football were games. This distinction was still common when the Olympics were re-instituted in the 19th century.

In my life I've known people, sportsmen mostly (this word itself another relic), who still scoff at calling football or baseball a "sport" instead of a "game."

edit: I see DisplacedPackerFan makes allusion to this distinction, too.

69 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Have you have ever ridden a horse, specifically in a crowd of 12-20 other horses going 40 miles an hour. Jockeys are among the most in shape finally tuned athletes you will find and the horses are more impressive.

78 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Horses, entirely on their own, can run in crowds of 12-20 other horses at 40 mph and not slam into each other. The jockey is just a midget places on a horse by rich men so they can pretend it's people doing the work and not the horses. It's a crime the rider gets the medal at the Olympics in equestrian events and not the horses.

82 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

While I agree about the Olympic medals, the jockey definitely serves a purpose - that of determining placement of the horse and pacing of the race. Sure, the horse may run the race on its own, but it's not going to really strategize; It won't determine whether or not to run near the rail, or whether or not to stay mid-pack for the first half. (It probably also wouldn't whip itself to try to push harder, but that's a whole other topic.)

77 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

Re "I dispute the claim that referring to something as not a sport is an insult. There is nothing about "sport" to suggest it is of superior value to something that is "not sport." I enjoy chess, pool, and computer programming but would not call any of them a sport and do not think it is pejorative to exclude them from that category."

You miss the point. When someone says "that's not a sport" they're doing so in response to another person asserting that something is a sport. No one would object to the comment "computer programing is not a sport" but that's because no one would reasonably assert that computer programing is one. However, were I to assert "table tennis is a great sport" and then were someone to reply "tablet tennis isn't a sport!" that is, without question, a pejorative statement.

This is used with other words as well-- "That's not art, that's just junk" or "You call that music?" and so on. (Indeed, it can be used as a pejorative even when there is no debate about the item in question-- "You call that a hot dog? That's not a hot dog. Now this-- this is a hot dog", where obviously both items are hot dogs, but the speaker is asserting that the first hot dog shouldn't be considered as such for (presumably) subjective reasons (e.g. not enough relish, too small, it has ketchup and not mustard, etc., etc.))

You are correct, though, that one can make such assertions because sport-- like art-- is difficult to define. I also agree that there are two axes-- physicality and competition. Where one person comes down on that line differs, obviously. I am a chess enthusiast, for instance, and know that in some circles there is a movement to have chess be recognized as a sport. I probably fall in the majority, though, in thinking that the threshold of physicality is too low to be considered as such. I'm not sure where I draw that line, though. Somewhere between golf and bowling and darts we cross that threshold from "physically demanding enough to be a sport" and "something that a drunk 60 year-old man can do reasonably well" but I don't quite know where that is.

For me, your threshold of competition is too high. That is, racing (be it on foot, on a bike, or in the pool) is a sport even if one's being faster has little direct impact on another person's ability to finish the race. I'm not sure where to draw that line, though. When I watch diving in the Olympics, I sometimes wonder why it's there. And even if I understand the rules in gymnastics and ice skating (and that there's much less subjectivity in the scoring than you think), I often feel like there's not enough of a "competition" element there.

I also don't know where to come down on things like auto racing. I've heard all about how hard it is to drive those cars and whatnot from racing enthusiasts (who want it to be thought of as a sport). But I'm still not convinced.

Anyhow, this is starting to ramble. To summarize: I think you're wrong about what is behind the assertion "that's not a sport" but correct that to define a sport, there is a physical axis and a competition axis and where those meet, you have a sport. We (and many people, I think) just disagree on where that is.

85 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

I'm with you on most of what you've said. I agree that in some instances "that's not an X" is derogatory, while in others it is. I did not adequately explain myself. I think it is a mistake to assume automatically and categorically that an attempt to discriminate between the two is a value judgment. Certainly individual instances may be intended to be judgments.

As far as where to draw the line. That is a a matter of opinion of course. But that's true of many things. More than just being a "matter of opinion" I think that usage is widely enough varied that an argument for one line over another line is going to be very hard to justify. On that matter I think rational people could come to different conclusions and be justified in them.

I will attempt to explain the lines I chose, however. I was attempting to draw a distinction that matches my most automatic thoughts (hey, maybe I'm looking at platonic ideals here). When someone says "sport" in the generic sense with no cues to particulars, what comes to mind. For me, it's team games like football, soccer, and baseball. On the other hand, when someone says "athlete" the first thing that comes to mind is track and field.

55 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

basketball is great sport. Like it a lot. Dont kwno why M. Tanier say WNBA overhyped and NBA even more oevrhyped. Am not seeing any overhypeness of wnba. barerly get coverage as is. To be honest NFl msot overhyped sport. ahev to call David Spade a Spade. Like NFL awful lot, but cmon look at Suepr Bowl for best example. Need say any more?

94 Re: Walkthrough: Rooney Rules!

I know the AFC North has a lot of history and pedigree, but as a Bears fan I STRENOUSLY object to it being referred to as the NFL North.

- Alvaro

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

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