Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Jan 2006

Mystery Team

Overall, this is a harmless article discussing the Jaguars with some insight. However, it raises a pet peeve of mine. In Pro Football Prospectus we wrote in the Byron Leftwich comment, "There is an unwritten rule prevalent in sports journalism, one that prescribes that African American players can be compared only to other African Americans and whites only to other whites." Here, Don Banks says David Garrard is Leftwich's "near clone." Other then the fact that they are African American and strong, they have nothing in common. They do not look alike. Leftwich is four inches taller. Leftwich is slow as molasses, while Garrard can run. Leftwich often throws deep while Garrard mostly throws underneath. Would anyone have written that Mike McMahon was Joey Harrington's "near clone?"

Posted by: Ned Macey on 05 Jan 2006

49 comments, Last at 06 Jan 2006, 3:21pm by michael


by Nicolas (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 6:53pm

Tom Brady is a near clone of Yao Ming, seriously.

by Clod (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 7:07pm

The same applys to WR's like you could never compare ND's Samargia(sp) with Joe Jerevitious, when he's actually more like Plaxico Burress.

by Clod (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 7:08pm

The same applys to WR's like you could never compare ND's Samargia(sp) with anyone but Joe Jerevitious, when he's actually more like Plaxico Burress.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 7:08pm


Yoa ming isnt even white

Tom brady is a near clone of Vanilla Ice,

and Yao is a near clone of michelle kwan.

by Sean D. (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 7:17pm

I'm trying to think who would be the best Qb to compare Leftwich to. Maybe Testeverde or Hasselback?

by Jay (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 7:22pm

Leftwich seems similar to a young Drew Bledsoe in terms of build, physical toughness, and throwing style, but Leftwich doesn't throw it right at the opposing LB in the clutch for completely random reasons.

Question for the masses...who will end up having a better career? Bledsoe or Leftwich? Who will be looked upon as a better QB?

by Al H (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 7:23pm

Yeah, Garrard and Leftwich are almost total opposite Quarterbacks. That's why we always have a huge QB debate going on. Luckily Byron's play really helped to silence some of the doubters.

If I had to compare him to a passer, it would probably be Drew Bledsoe, but with slightly better decision making skills.

by andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 7:32pm

He reminds me of Timmy Chang...

by MTR (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 7:38pm

Leftwich: pocket passer, big guy, gets hurt a lot.

Collins, expect for the getting hurt. McNair, but he could run when he was Leftwich's age.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 7:53pm

Clod, you are so totally wrong! During the Fiesta Bowl, Brent Musburger compared Samardzija to .... Ricky Proehl! As receivers, these guys have exactly one thing in common, and it has nothing to do with their skills or styles. I just can't quite put my finger on what it is...

by Alex (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 7:55pm

NBADraft.net is heinous in it's strict abiding to comparing only within races. It's a favorite pastime of mine to check the "NBA Comparison" for white prospects given the seeming dearth of caucasian NBA talent in recent years. They even match foreign players.

by Kibbles (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 8:08pm

This doesn't bother me at all. I remember 2 years ago when Baltimore played Jacksonville, and the announcers said that Kyle Boller and Byron Leftwich was very similar to John Elway vs. Dan Marino. And they said it with a straight face, too.

by Clod (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 8:12pm

Thats funny trog, since Proehl is what 5' 10"? and Samardzija is 6'5", LOL

The comparisons I heard were in the USC/ND game, not the fiesta bowl.

by DMP (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 8:19pm

"Would anyone have written that Mike McMahon was Joey Harrington’s “near clone?�"

Well, for us Lions fans, they did suck in different ways, but with equal results. That makes them near suck-clones. But I guess that would make Matt Millen their near executive analog-clone.

by Glenn (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 8:48pm

Don Banks is Pete Prisco's near clone.

Jason Whitlock is Scoop Jackson's near clone.

Dick Enberg is Vin Scully's near clone.

Sean Salisbury is Ron Jaworski's near clone.

Boomer Esiason is Phil Simms' very near clone.

Boba Fett is Boba Fett's real clone.

Clive Barker is Stephen King's fear clone.

Miller Lite is Bud Lite's beer clone.

Elton John is Liberace's queer clone.

Good night everybody...drive safely.

by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 8:58pm

Is "Don Banks" a real guy or an ingenius Trojan Horse of a sportswriter made up by FO to sneak into CNNSI and destroy their credibility? It's become tough to tell.

by Richard (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 9:25pm

re: #1

Ever since Simmons published that comparison I haven't been able to look at Tom Brady, Yao Ming, Glenn Close or Harry Carson the same ever again.

OK - I haven't seen a picture of Harry Carson in a long time, but I did watch the movie Heights two weeks ago and kept thinking how weird it was seeing Michael Douglas do sex scenes with Harry Carson in Fatal Attraction.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 9:58pm

I really have come to dislike Don Banks' commentary. When he was the Vikings beat writer for the St. Paul paper, he did a decent job of reporting, which is what got him the SI gig. His SI work leans more towards punditry than reporting, and he displays the all too typical combination of glib opinion divorced from real observation that is the hallmark of Americanus Sportsscribbleropolous. I rarely read him anymore.

by Paul (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 9:58pm

Steve Spurrier is James Buchanon's clonal descendant. Joe Gibbs is Abraham Lincoln's clonal descendant. Clinton Portis is Gen. Sherman's clonal descendant.

by Harris (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 10:11pm

Anytime a white WR is described as a "precise route-runner" it means he's slow as dirt. Anytime a black QB is described as a "terrific athlete," it means he can't a ball into the ocean from a boat.

by Josh (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 10:26pm

"Anytime a white WR is described as a “precise route-runner� it means he’s slow as dirt"
Actually I think it just means he is a white WR

by Ron Mexico (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 10:51pm

And "good cover corner" means "short and slow."

A "Game manager" QB means "Crappy, but not Ryan Leaf crappy."

"Special Teams Ace" means "Waste of roster spot."

by Matt (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 11:06pm

"Throwback player" means "white guy who can hold his own against all those black players". "Scrappy" means "small white guy who can hold his own against all those black players".

by hrudey (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 11:11pm

On the NFL network's show "Jaguar Summer" where they filmed all the preseason stuff, Fred Taylor said it best about Leftwich (paraphrased): "You're just like Michael Vick. Y'all both black, you both wear number seven... and that's about it." If Garrard is a clone of anyone, it's a young Steve McNair.

by Alex D. (not verified) :: Thu, 01/05/2006 - 11:16pm


Was checking out the NBA Draft site. Check out Denham Brown's comparison. I didn't look at many, but he was one example of a different racial comparisons.

by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 12:42am

Re: #15
Andy Reid is Mike Holmgren's near clone. Or perhaps they are actually the same person...ever notice how you never see them together? Even the MNF game in Philly was a montage of trick camera angles to prolong the illusion that they are two separate people.

by michael (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 1:36am

Actually, calling a black QB athletic is code for "we don't think he could read a defense with a road map and a dictionary." Also, black QBs who throw lots of INTs are reckless, white QBs who do the same are "competitors."

by Bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 1:49am

Looks like it's time for a FO/Sports pundits glossary of terms. Nice start above. Some thoughts, slightly off topic, below:

"pass rush specialist": stubby, injury-prone track star who couldn't stand the every-down pummelling and gets run over by toddlers at Chuck E Cheese.

"return specialist": quick CB with hands of stone, or WR too lazy/dumb to remember routes, but can usually figure out which endzone to aim for.

"hard hitter": often forgets that arms and hands can be used for tackles too.

"enforcer/intimidator": future felon (manslaughter) who has a separate bank account earmarked for fines.

"north/south runner": stocky cannonball used to soften up the interior D line so "scat back" can cutback, juke, and jive in second half.

"scat back" (also "third down back"): undersized, hyperthyroid "Billy Martin type" would would play 120 plays a game if coach let him and pick a fight with a T-Rex when stoked up for the game. Makes one highlight reel catch/run per game, along with one low-light reel fumble or missed blitz pickup. Inspirational little fellow, but risks bankrupting team because of excessive need for ice, Ace bandages, and cortisone shots. (you know how cheap ice is? That's how often he's banged up.)

"Run stuffer": "No, ma'am, the first pizza is pepperoni, the second pizza is sausage, the third is steak and eggs, but the rest are just cheese. I'm on a diet."

by peachy (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 3:27am

One of the many reasons to appreciate Byron Leftwich is that he single-handedly demolishes the stereotype that black quarterbacks are running, slashing athletes - dude's about as mobile as a Renaissance marble. Even when he's not injured he'd move faster if a couple of O-lineman were carrying him around...

by RowdyRoddyPiper (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 3:36am

The Samardzjidjasjad to Proehl comparison was priceless...I think the similarity you're searching for Trogdor is that they both have silent letters in their last names.

by Sebastian C. (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 7:18am

Not even that!!If Americans would pronounce foreign last names -- so basically all last names -- the right way, Proehl would have no silent letter in his last name ...

by Theo (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 9:10am

America, oh America, may God thy gold refine.
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain devined.

by Harry (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 9:11am

How do you get that idea Sebastian? The "h" in Proehl is not pronounced in Germany either, it just makes the vowel sound longer.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 10:09am

I have to disagree with one definition, Bobman. When I hear the term "scatback", I always think of Najeh Davenport.

by Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 10:14am

I always though "cover corner" meant "short and fast, but worthless as a tackler."

Team cancer -- obnoxious player, especially a WR, unliked by reporters (see Owens, Terrell)

Entertainer -- obnoxious player, especially a WR, liked by repoters (see Johnson, Chad)

by the fumble (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 10:26am

This site was better before it started becoming an intellectual version of kill the man with the ball.

by MikeT (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 11:07am

hehehe, Trog

by RCH (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 11:30am

You really become aware of these stereotypical labels when there is an exception. For example, after reading the first half dozen or so notes about Matt Jones when he was coming out of Arkansas I was stunned to find out that he is white.

by Russell Levine :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 11:31am

Let's not forget a few more of my favorite sports/racial sterotypes .... "he's like having another coach on the field" which is always a white guy.

Or "he doesn't have all that God-given natural ability, he had to outwork everybody" = white guy.

Or "look at that body, and he's never lifted a weight in his life" = black guy.

Or when the announcers comment that a player is "well spoken" after an interview, it's always a black guy ... like all white guys are well spoken, so we don't need to point it out.

by adwred (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 11:50am

My recent favorite was during the UConn-Marquette game where Steve Novak, heretofore unknown white forward for the midddling Golden Eagles, had a huge game, and was compared to Larry Bird.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 12:08pm

and white guys run fast because they're hustling, while black guys run fast because they're black

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 12:20pm

like all white guys are well spoken, so we don’t need to point it out.

ever heard Zach Thomas?

by calig23 (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 12:47pm


For example, after reading the first half dozen or so notes about Matt Jones when he was coming out of Arkansas I was stunned to find out that he is white.

That, my friend, is known elsewhere on the internet (namely the Pittsburgh Pirates ESPN board) as a "Don Wengert moment", coined when a poster whose name commemorates the illustrious MLB pitcher, Don Wengert, was shocked and astounded to discover that Minnesota Twins outfielder Lew Ford.... was white.

It has since occurred numerous times, with numerous other players.

by JonL (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 12:51pm

RE: #34

My god that was funny.

by big_adventure (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 1:06pm

42 - Princeton73 - no doubt.

One of my favorite Zach Thomas moments was during an interview on (perhaps) ESPN along with partner-in-crime/fellow-pro-bowler/brother-in-law Jason Taylor. They asked questions about who was better at all sorts of things. Who's faster - JT. Who's stronger - JT. Who's more "well-spoken" - JT. Who's banging who's sister - JT. I think that Zach tried to claim he was the better basketball player, but come on, he's 5'8" tall - in what world is he going to be better than a guy 8 inches taller, faster, stronger and 30 lbs heavier? JT laughed at that one.

At least Zach has all of those millions to comfort him . Despite all of that, Zach Thomas has as high a "football IQ" as pretty much any player I've ever watched.

Dare I say it? It's like having another coach on the field. :)


by PatsFan (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 1:18pm

Re: #27

No, no. It's not "competitors", it's (said in an admiring tone of voice) "gunslingers". [See Favre, B :)]

by Antonio Pierce (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 1:39pm

“he’s like having another coach on the field� which is always a white guy.

Or “he doesn’t have all that God-given natural ability, he had to outwork everybody� = white guy.

Hey, I didn't know I was white.

by JasonK (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 2:27pm

Slate had an interesting article a few weeks ago (see link) on Adam Morrison and the Larry Bird comparisons he's been drawing. Excerpt:

"Take a look at these tidbits from Morrison's nbadraft.net scouting report: 'Old school right down to the stripes on the socks ... Like a coach on the floor ... Great intangibles, competes and inspires others to play hard ... Fundamentally solid, does all the little things to help his team win ... Sees the floor well, and is creative finding teammates for baskets ... Runs decent, but needs a head of steam.' Let's run that through the racial translator: '[White] right down to the [white] on the [white] … Like a [white] on the [white] … [White, white] and [white] … [White], and is [white] … [White], but [he's really slow and also he's white].'"

by michael (not verified) :: Fri, 01/06/2006 - 3:21pm

No, no. It’s not “competitors�, it’s (said in an admiring tone of voice) “gunslingers�. [See Favre, B :) ]
Excellent point, and exactly the player I was thinking of when I wrote my post.