Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

16 Jan 2008

Bill Simmons Podcast Championship Preview

Here we are, me and Bill Simmons, previewing this weekend's championship games. We get a little Patriots-centric in here, apologies to those of you from the rest of the country. Also, can you tell from the quality of my voice that I'm fighting off a cold? Man, this has been the sickest year of my life. My stuff starts the podcast, it goes about a half hour, and you can hear it by going to the Sports Guy page and looking in the upper right corner.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 16 Jan 2008

30 comments, Last at 18 Jan 2008, 11:54pm by Matt Saracen - QB1 - Dillon Panthers


by Richie (not verified) :: Wed, 01/16/2008 - 10:32pm

This has been a bad sick year for me too.

Is it time to start worrying that viruses are gaining steam?

by Temo (not verified) :: Wed, 01/16/2008 - 11:05pm

Well, it's been the healthiest year of my life so far, so maybe not :o

by mush (not verified) :: Wed, 01/16/2008 - 11:11pm

Get a flu shot, Aaron! Take care of yourself.

I've been a fairly outspoken critic of Bill's over the years, but his podcasts are usually pretty good. I'll dot in some comments post-listen.

by Jsaon (not verified) :: Wed, 01/16/2008 - 11:22pm

Interesting how Aaron calls Indy and Jax the 2nd and 3rd best teams in the NFL when Green Bay is 2nd in the most recently released DVOA rankings. In their last 9 games Green Bay has basically posted 5 games at or above 60% dvoa (1 game is around 58% or so I estimate from the trend graph in the GB vs Sea preview).

by Temo (not verified) :: Wed, 01/16/2008 - 11:36pm

Simmons just called all the game charters "minions". I think we should go on strike until we get a formal apology.

by mush (not verified) :: Wed, 01/16/2008 - 11:48pm

The Jags have taken three wideouts as No. 1's this decade if you count R. Jay Soward in 2000 (in addition to Jones and Williams). They also took TE Marcedes Lewis in 2006. And still, there's no great target here.

by mush (not verified) :: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 12:41am

Solid segment with Aaron, and yeah, J-Bug is funny too (that Leonard Davis story is priceless). Worth the time.

by zip (not verified) :: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 12:43am

Aaron, what the heck was that joke about Canadian to American conversion rates? I totally didn't get it, possibly because it made no sense.

by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 12:55am

I like Simmons a lot. But his insistence on propagating his theory that most Pats fans would rather have faced the Colts in order to beat their rival is mystifying, considering that every (Patriot fan) guest he's invited on his last couple podcasts wants them to have as easy a route to the Super Bowl as possible.

by Jaon (not verified) :: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 1:55am

I can understand what Simmons is saying. When GB won the Super Bowl in 1996, the crowd was chating "We Want Dallas" throughout the entire 2nd half of their blowout divisional win vs SF since this would finally be GB's chance to get Dallas in Lambeau after always having to play in Texas. Unfortunately, Carolina upset Dallas and the Packers had to wait another year before getting them in Wisconsin.

by Jeremy (not verified) :: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 2:12am

9 -- You're misunderstanding. He's acknowledging that that's not the case, but pointing out how different that is from past legendary Boston teams.

by Fourth (not verified) :: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 6:22am

Aaron, you need to start your own podcast. I want to hear the FO writers think out loud every week as you go over the new lines when they are released. Basically what Simmons does only you know, dvoa-ish. Nerdy in content rather than voice.

by Jaypalm (not verified) :: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 6:57am

12 - Amen to that. A podcast equivalent of Audibles (or Scramble, back when there was more than one author - audio monologues tend to get a little dry) would be fantastic.

by BK (not verified) :: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 10:49am

Another endorsement for Aaron and other FOs to start a podcast. Aaron's pretty good on the radio all the times that I've caught him on WEEI.

by Norman Einstein (not verified) :: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 1:13pm

"Here we are, me and Bill Simmons, previewing this weekend’s championship games. We get a little Patriots-centric in here, apologies to those of you from the rest of the country."


by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 1:48pm

Let me be the first to sound the horn for LESS podcasts. Half of us can't listen to them at work, and the analysis/jokes always come out much less polished than in a real article. I know writers like them cuz they're easier to do and take less time, but seriously- most people read this site at work, so why produce work that most of them can't read.

You guys all gained your audience on the strength of your writing. That doesn't necessarily mean you'll be good talkers. I know Aaron has radio experience and Simmons has gotten much better since his first couple of shows, but in general writers are much better writers than on-air talkers. That's why they're writers. No need to try and be kings of all media.

by Richie (not verified) :: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 1:54pm

Disco Stu, Originally I didn't like the idea of podcasts, but now I'm hooked on them. I download podcasts and save them to my MP3 player and listen in the car. Beats listening to 43 minutes of commercials per hour on the radio.

There are MP3 players available for much less than an iPod.

by Norbert (not verified) :: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 2:51pm

Aaron, buddy, it's alright to not be funny. You're a football stats guy. You don't have to try and be funny and over laugh at your "jokes"

I know you want to keep being invited back and I hope you are, but be cool.

by mush (not verified) :: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 3:19pm

18. Aaron, buddy, it’s alright to not be funny. You’re a football stats guy. You don’t have to try and be funny and over laugh at your “jokes”

I know you want to keep being invited back and I hope you are, but be cool.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who's sensing this. Please *don't* force the humor. Just be natural and trust your stats and your intellect.

by GlennW (not verified) :: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 4:02pm

Apparently Simmons' charity and humility towards the Colts and Peyton Manning were short-lived, because one year after engineering the largest comeback in CCG or Super Bowl history, Manning is back to being a "choker". Surprised?

by GlennW (not verified) :: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 4:15pm

> Please *don’t* force the humor. Just be natural and trust your stats and your intellect.

I thought Mr. Schatz was fine here-- I didn't detect any over-the-top Kornheiser-ness. Maybe a couple wisecracks but I don't expect (nor do I want) Aaron to be a drone. In fact from what I've heard of him on WEEI I think he acquits himself quite nicely in the talk-radio format. Sanity-based analysis is a nice respite from the usual nonsense (Brady Brady Brady Belichick Brady Brady Belichick...)

Disclaimer: I'm a Steelers fan and pretty well despise the Patriots at this point, so I'm not just sucking up...

by Norman Einstein (not verified) :: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 4:48pm

I hope the podcast had some great comments like these:

"When the Colts ducked the AFC Championship Game with an indefensible choke job against San Diego, many die-hard Boston fans thought the same thing: Ralph Sampson."

"Twenty-two years later, Indianapolis couldn't beat the banged-up Chargers at home when the refs were handing the defending champs every call and Billy Volek and Norv Turner were prominently involved. Did they want any part of the Patriots in Foxborough? Apparently not."

"Look, I'm not saying the '07 Colts or '86 Lakers openly chose to lose. They just took the easy way out. Subconsciously, they were probably thinking, "Deep down, we know we're not winning the title this year," and responded in crisis with the appropriate amount of urgency."

Yea, there's no bias on this site.

by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 8:40pm

Re: #1

Apparently they're going around in the Pats locker room, too.

Yesterday O'Callaghan didn't practice due to "flu", and today Light didn't practice due to "flu".

Flashbacks to last year, plus the forecasts of 20mph winds with gusts to 40-45mph give me a terrible feeling about this game.

by Duff Soviet Union (not verified) :: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 9:02pm

Yes, the idea that the Colts basically lost on purpose to avoid the Patriots is one of the more ridiculous things I've heard in a while. It reminds me of something I'd say when I was 15 and purposely trying to piss of a friend who supports another team. For a middle aged guy to seriously write that in a national sports column is absurd.

Norman, grow up. The Patriots are the dominant team this year and one of the four teams left in the playoffs. Should they not talk about them?

by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (not verified) :: Thu, 01/17/2008 - 11:18pm

Re: 22

Yes, Bill Simmons is biased toward the Pats. Yes, Aaron is a Pats fan. But THIS SITE is not Pats-biased, it's biased toward anything involving advanced stat analysis. If that means linking to Bill Simmons when he interviews Aaron, then so be it.

Notice that Simmons' columns are rarely linked in Extra Points.

by Perkash (not verified) :: Fri, 01/18/2008 - 8:36am

The only bias I detected was when Aaron said that the Patriots/Chargers would obviously be the prime time game over Giants/Packers.

I think that the latter two teams are more popular than the former.

by Mack (not verified) :: Fri, 01/18/2008 - 11:09am

re: 26

You’re missing the point. Nationally televised Patriot games (or virtually nationally televised games, like the late Sunday afternoon games vs Dallas and Indy) have gotten phenomenal ratings. Football fans, from casual to hardcore, have made a point to tune in to watch New England this year. In the long run, sure, the Giants come from a larger market than the Pats and the Packers really are America’s team (sorry, Dallas), but in 2007-08, there isn’t much doubt that, all things being equal (a competitive game, whether or not the game is on in prime time, etc) New England vs anyone in a big game would get better tv ratings than any other matchup.

by GlennW (not verified) :: Fri, 01/18/2008 - 12:42pm

> But THIS SITE is not Pats-biased, it’s biased toward anything involving advanced stat analysis. If that means linking to Bill Simmons when he interviews Aaron, then so be it.

I don't blame Football Outsiders at all for promoting itself and in this case it's probably sensible. However, when you align yourself in a regular segment with someone in Simmons who basically represents everything you're working against, the tradeoff is that you lose at least some small amount of credibility. I'm sorry, you just do.

I've enjoyed the WEEI appearances much more because in those pieces Aaron isn't dealing completely with a pigheaded, Boston-biased yahoo (at least not until he appears on the Big Show).

by Perkash (not verified) :: Fri, 01/18/2008 - 8:26pm

I don't know if I agree with that 27...

Giants/Cowboys was the highest rated post season game moreso than Pats/Jaguars.

Giants/Packers is a very big draw with two very popular teams.

If it was Colts/Pats I see your point...however I think the correct game is in prime time.

by Matt Saracen - QB1 - Dillon Panthers (not verified) :: Fri, 01/18/2008 - 11:54pm

#28 - Glenn W: I kind of see your point, but why should Aaron always preach to the converted? Imagine if his podcasts with Simmons led to many Simmons listeners/readers opening their minds to advanced stats, or even shock/horror Simmons himself may give more credence to them. That would be a great development for the statistical cause - we always need more 'smart' fans.

That doesn't change reason a) for doing it: more exposure for Aaron and FO, but I sense Aaron has a reason b) too, to educate football fans who are currently ignorant.