Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

31 Jan 2008

Bill Simmons Podcast for Super Bowl XLII

Here's my final appearance on the Bill Simmons podcast, at least for the 2007 season. Giants fans will no doubt be ticked off, Rams fans will appreciate my appreciation, and everyone else will wonder why Rams fans should care about a Super Bowl XLII preview. Also this week: a superfluous Mike Tanier reference! To listen, go to the Sports Guy page on ESPN (linked) and click the podcast in the upper right.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 31 Jan 2008

27 comments, Last at 04 Feb 2008, 2:24am by DolFan 316


by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Thu, 01/31/2008 - 4:59pm

Giants fans aren't going to be mad at you Aaron. We're just going to marvel at the fact you've said the same exact thing about the Giants (complete with obligatory excuses the following week) each week of the playoffs. Who knows, maybe you finally get it right this time. A 25% success rate isn't half bad.

by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Thu, 01/31/2008 - 6:20pm

I'm confused. The Giants need to play as well as they have the past 4 weeks(at a DVOA of %43) to have a chance, but the Pats have to play considerably worse than they have the past 4 weeks (at a DVOA of %44) to let the G-men in the game?

Also, its a good thing for the Pats that they'll recover from injuries and be able to make adjustments based on the previous game. Those poor Giants certainly won't have that luxury!

by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Thu, 01/31/2008 - 6:38pm

#2... Plus, the Giants need an act of GOD (aka kick return for TD), but the Pats getting a horse**** illegal contact call that continues a drive and leads to a TD should be an expected outcome.

Sorry. Just had to get that one off my chest.

by not perplexed (not verified) :: Thu, 01/31/2008 - 6:49pm

re: 3 Except that the call on Webster was legitimate. That sort of call isn't made 100 % of the time because oftentimes it isn't seen in real time. Bruschi got away with one against Gates in the AFCCG. When the db holds the receiver directly in front of an official, on the other hand, and he can't help but see it, it tends to get called.

by B (not verified) :: Thu, 01/31/2008 - 7:01pm

Does anybody know what that weird background sound was during the Aaron part of the podcast?

by Herm? (not verified) :: Thu, 01/31/2008 - 7:06pm

that weird sound? That's just Simmons' voice. If you tune it out, you don't miss much.

by Duff Soviet Union (not verified) :: Thu, 01/31/2008 - 8:30pm

So, um, how long until someone here complains that Aaron and Bill are talking about the Patriots too much?

by MJK (not verified) :: Thu, 01/31/2008 - 8:44pm

I disagree with the idea that "just pounding the rock and taking time off the clock won't get it done against the Patriots". I think Aaron is falling a little into the conventional wisdome of football insiders here--the idea that the way to win is to keep Tom Brady on the sidelines...

Teams alternate possessions, so as long as score as often as your opponent, it doesn't matter if you do it with big plays or a bunch of little ones. The only effect scoring slower and taking time off the clock has is reducing the number of possessions by both teams.

But if you're the obviously inferior team, as most people agree the Giants are, then that works to your favor! Bill Krasker has argued this in the past, and I totally agree.

If each side had a near infinite number of possessions, the better team would always win. But because each team only gets ~9-11 possessions per game, it's possible that the better team will have a couple of bad ones, and the weaker team will have a couple of good ones.

In other words, asking Eli and the Giants offense to play as well and mistake free or better than Brady and the Patriots for seven drives is reasonable. Asking them to do so for sixteen drives is probably not. So you gameplan so that each team only gets seven drives, and then play your heart out for those fourteen drives and hope the game breaks your way.

by B (not verified) :: Thu, 01/31/2008 - 9:12pm

8: Limiting the number of possessions is the right strategy for the Giants, but they can't accomplish that by running the ball repeatedly. They need to throw the ball to keep the chains moving and keep the Patriots defense from keying on the run, like what the Jags did. Lots of short routes that exploit the short middle of the field.

by mush (not verified) :: Fri, 02/01/2008 - 1:02am

5. I thought one of the participants, perhaps Aaron, had some neighborhood noise that was getting into the call. Perhaps they're building an addition to the house across the street or something.

I've enjoyed the BS Reports through the playoffs for the most part, but turn this one off *immediately after* Aaron's segment. The babble between Cousin Sal and Bill contains *absolutely nothing* of interest. I kept waiting for it to get better, or for a different guest to come on . . . didn't happen. Easily the emptiest podcast of the postseason, even as Aaron had a decent spot.

by Christian (not verified) :: Fri, 02/01/2008 - 10:45am

I love that they pretend to have not talked ahead of time about the historical comparisons at the start of the show. Simmons acting surprised at the '85 Pats comparison should get him a Razzie. Don't try and act a segment guys. It's pathetic.

by vanya (not verified) :: Fri, 02/01/2008 - 1:36pm

I'm surprised the comparison to the '85 Pats seems to get so little play in the media, even the Boston media, it's rare you get a historical comparison that matches up in so many ways. Just goes to show that football fans have far shorter historical memories than baseball fans.

by noahpoah (not verified) :: Fri, 02/01/2008 - 2:17pm

Why is the Arizona air thin? Phoenix isn't that high above sea level, and humid air is less dense than dry air, so I don't see how the air is going to help the Pats.

by lagfish (not verified) :: Fri, 02/01/2008 - 2:43pm

Easily the worst BS of the year, but then again I am a Dolphins and Braves fan. I wanted to hear from mysterious Brad, he seems to be the only guest that doesn't suck up to BS.
All the Pats homerism reminds me of this quote-
"Lets not start sucking each others popsicles just yet..."

by MP (not verified) :: Fri, 02/01/2008 - 3:21pm

#13 --
Phoenix isn't high above sea level, but it's in the middle of a big desert. The air there is not humid, it's arid. That's why it's thin.

by Herm? (not verified) :: Fri, 02/01/2008 - 4:25pm

Isn't complaining about Pats homerism in a Bill Simmons segment kind of like complaining about having too much alcohol in your whiskey?
Just sayin...and thanks for editing in the word "popsicles", Winston

by MJK (not verified) :: Fri, 02/01/2008 - 6:59pm


I'm actually not sure that humid air IS less dense than dry air. I actually thought it was the other way around. I ought to know for certain, but it's been too many years since Thermodynamics class.

Of course, what the air is there is WARMER. Ideal gas law (pretty effective for air): pV = nRT, where n is how much air you have and R is constant. For constant pressure, as you increase T, you increase V, or, equivalently, decrease density. So warm air is less dense than cold air. (Warm air also has more capacity for humidity than cold air, which is maybe why you think that humid air is less dense than dry air, but humidity isn't an issue in the desert).

Lower density air --> less aerodynamic drag on an object flying through it. Hence kicks go farther.

Plus, a warm ball is generally considered easier to kick, and a ball that tends to travel farther, than a cold ball. Probably because of pV=nRt and the relative elasticity of the cold and warm balls inflated to the same pressure, but I'd have to work out the math to be sure of that...

by GlennW (not verified) :: Fri, 02/01/2008 - 7:29pm

> I’m actually not sure that humid air IS less dense than dry air.

No, perhaps counterintuitively water molecules in the air make it less dense, which is why baseballs (and to a lesser extent footballs) travel further in greater humidity. However as you say the higher Arizona temperatures, limited wind etc. will more than make up for that factor as compared with, say, December football in the Northeast.

by Norman Einstein (not verified) :: Fri, 02/01/2008 - 10:01pm

I'm sure the latest TMQ link is just around the corner.

Congrats Pats...you've made it to the SB undefeated and reduced this site's credibility to zero in one season.

by Duff Soviet Union (not verified) :: Fri, 02/01/2008 - 10:12pm

How can a guy called "Norman Einstein" make such an amazingly stupid comment? How has this site's credibility been ruined?

by Norman Einstein (not verified) :: Fri, 02/01/2008 - 10:41pm

From the "about the site"

"Football Outsiders...we'll just link you to the best-written, most insightful articles on the NFL from around the Internet and from the newspapers covering all 32 teams."

Bill Simmons. All 32 teams.

All 32 teams. Bill Simmons.

If you don't see it...you don't want to.

TMQ...the sole voice in the MSM who has questioned spygate, the officating bias towards the Pats this year, etc...and was the medium that got most of the "old school" readers to this site...rarely linked.

Bill Simmons...the most pro-Pats voice in the MSM. Linked constantly.

If you don't see it. You don't want to.

by Herm? (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 1:33am

Wait, isn't the primary organizer of this site the same Aaron Schatz as on the podcast? Isn't that why this is linked here? Or was it the Mike Tanier reference?

And I definitely recall a recent link to TMQ (NFLs All-Unwanted All-Pros), but I don't recall seeing any thoughtful or positive commentary there. Just angry/cynical/sarcastic posts in the middle of a Friday night.
I definitely don't want to party with that guy.

by zerlesen (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 2:17am

"Bill Simmons…the most pro-Pats voice in the MSM. Linked constantly... If you don’t see it. You don’t want to."

That's right, dude, it's a sinister Patriots conspiracy. Aaron shouldn't mention when he's on ESPN promoting the site. Kudos to you.

However, did you guys read this column?

"They were also one of the more unselfish teams we've seen... If there was an enduring play from those games, it had to be Seau stuffing Michael Turner two yards behind the line on a crucial third-and-goal. ... Only if you rewound the play on TiVo, you'd notice that a gap opened up because two of Seau's teammates were occupying two San Diego blockers apiece."

A selfish ego-obsessed me-first defense like the Colts never would have countenanced such a thing.

I mean, I'm sure it's been an exhilarating season for the guy, but it has to register somewhere in his head that he's basically writing press releases at this point.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 9:53am


It's been a while since I took thermo as well, but this is one of the things I actually do remember. It comes down to molecular weight. Water is 18 (O=16 plus 2*H=2), whereas 'air' is 29 (weighted average of 2*N=28, 2*O=32, and others). Since at the same temp and pressure, and equal volume will have the same number of molecules, increasing humidity means removing 29's and replacing them with 18's, and the weight per unit volume drops accordingly.

This came up here a few years ago, and one other aspect I considered was compressibility factor or eccentricity, the factor by which a gas deviates from ideal. I was thinking that maybe the drop in mass would be offset by greater compressibility lowering the volume. It turns out that at atmospheric pressures and any temperature we might encounter on earth (despite the best efforts of my heros like Dr. Blight, Looten Plunder, and Verminous Skumm), compressibility is negligible for this matter.

And now I'm having thermo flashbacks. Ugh. If I even start figuring out partial pressures and Carnot efficiencies, I know who I'm coming after.

by mush (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 10:09pm

I'm not hesitant to critique this site, but I think the occasional cry of "Pats homerism" is beyond ridiculous. The FO guys are as objective as anyone can be in this business, or they're darn well trying to be.

by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:20am


FO used to link to TMQ a lot. They stopped because every thread turned into a "let's bash Easterbrook" contest, and also because he tended to draw political posts which violate the site's policy.

Also, many posters asked the outsiders to stop linking to him, either because they were bashers and disliked him or because the bashing annoyed them.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Mon, 02/04/2008 - 2:24am

#25: These guys couldn't have possibly been any LESS objective for the 2 weeks leading up to this night. And karma says so as well.

Seriously, I got sick and tired of coming here and seeing nothing but "Giants are so BAD, so AWFUL, we cannot believe they're even in this game! There's no way they can even come CLOSE to beating the Patriots" Even though when these same two teams played a little over a MONTH ago, they did just that!

I don't believe any Super Bowl team has *ever* been mocked and ridiculed and bashed and put down as much as these Giants, and now the price will be paid for that.