Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

16 Oct 2009

NY Times: Week 6 Matchups

Mike Tanier's Week 6 matchup column shows that the Bears like to give you a lead and come back, while the Texans and Bengals just play it close all the time.

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 16 Oct 2009

22 comments, Last at 19 Oct 2009, 2:04pm by andrew


by Sophandros :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 4:31pm

Odysseus had to travel between Scylla and Charybdis, not Scylla and Cerberus, even though Odysseus later descended to Hades during his journey. But still, nice metaphor, because with the Saints offense this year, one truly has to choose between a rock and a hard place. Buffalo and the Jets decided that they weren't giving up the big pass play, and that didn't work out that great for them. It's unclear what Philly and Detroit tried to do against the Saints, though.

Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

by Aloysius Mephistopheles (not verified) :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 5:59pm

Picking a nit off of your nit, it was Jason not Odysseus. On the mythology theme, it would have been nice if Tanier had described the Tom Brady/Wes Welker telepathic link using a Harry Hamlin/robo-owl reference.

by Mythology Boy (not verified) :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 6:58pm

Actually, both Jason and Odysseus faced these two monsters. Tanier getting it wrong and pairing Scylla with Cerberus is pretty bad for a teacher, but I think he likes to make at least one big error per week to remind us that he is a mere mortal like us.

by Mythology Boy (not verified) :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 7:01pm

But wait -- now I only see a reference to Scylla in the article. What was the first comment supposed to be correcting?

by matt w (not verified) :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 7:50pm

Cerberus is the famous three-headed monster; Scylla was actually a six-headed monster, though I don't know if Tanier meant to be talking about six Pats receivers.

My nit: Especially in jazz, basses usually don't have a fifth string.

by JasonK :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 11:42pm

Depends on the jazz you're listening to. Sure, the guys back in the 40s were all playing uprights. But in more modern-styled groups where the bassist plays an electric and takes a lot of solo space, it's not uncommon to see guys playing basses with a 5th or even a 6th string. Which is probably why Mike alluded to "experimenting" with the 5th string. I thought it was one of the better jokes in the piece.

I was also confused by the Scylla name-drop without a corresponding Charybdis.

by AnonymousA (not verified) :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 4:46pm

Excellent column. It seems the combination of obscure references, witty wordplay, and football insight that used to be the trademark of walkthrough has migrated.

by dedkrikit (not verified) :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 5:04pm

love this column. Bill Simmons : Pop Culture :: Mike Tanier : History/Current Events

by Big Johnson (not verified) :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 6:19pm

how often do starting players get cut midseason without even getting a demotion first? Clinton Hart got cut by the chargers after starting for a good 2-3 seasons and it seemed out of the blue. Historically is this a good way to trim the fat? Or does cutting starters have a backlash type of effect?

by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 6:21pm

The Falcons outscore opponents, 76-36

Tanier, you know better. If you take away the 45-10 schmakkity-wakkity-doo in San Fran, then the Falcons 'outscore their opponents 41-26'. Not meaningless, but that San Fran game is a serious outlier in an otherwise relatively normal set of games (W by 12, W by 8, L by 16, W by 35).

But beyond that one 'statistic'...another good column.

by KazyxThule (not verified) :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 6:22pm

I love the line about "that's shoddy statistics...no one expects the raiders to score 9 points"

by The Guy You Don't Want to Hear (not verified) :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 7:34pm

The Broncos' socks were already incinerated when the team first rid itself of the uniforms. They held a bonfire to destroy the hated socks.

Rumors have also persisted that the team owner actually purchased the uniforms from a defunct organization in a defunct league in part because the yellow jerseys could be worn both at home and on the road. I have read that they did in fact have home and road jerseys (and I think, though I'm unsure, that it was an interview with either Frank Tripucka or Goose Gonsoulin), so the latter is probably not true, but the story continues so perhaps it is. In any event, the point is that you can't necessarily blame them for that horrible design. They could also have actually been designed before that study--who knows how long they had been around? Now, why on earth they wore them for this game I don't know. I would easily go for the '65 uniforms with either of the two most recent helmets instead and that was still in the AFL days so it seems appropriate enough.

by TomKelso :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 8:48pm

But since the cause of the commemoration of the AFL's 50th anniversary, the teams have agreed to wear the uniforms they wore in that first season. That's why the Raider logo looks like an Interstate highway sign -- and the Raiders look like something a truck hit on the Interstate. The Chiefs wear a helmet with an outline of Texas, because they were the Dallas Texans that first season. The Jets wear the gear of the "Titans of New York," and so on. (A decent respect for conduct in the affairs of men would preclude the disgrace of Tennessee wearing Oilers uniforms, one would hope; but this is the NFL, where everything is for sale.)

So just make sure your sartorially-challenged children are not watching a Bronco game against the other members of the "Foolish Club," and you should be OK.

Apparently this also extends to the Cowboys, since their first season was also in 1960. Has anyone noticed if the Vikings are doing the same thing?

by peachy (not verified) :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 11:45pm

Those Broncos uniforms were so dreadful I had to turn the game off. Just... oh, dear god.

by t.d (not verified) :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 12:35am

Pretty sure the Vikings' first season was 1961

by Jerry :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 2:32am

A couple of the throwbacks aren't from 1960. It looks like the Raiders are 1963 and the Bills are 1964.

My impression is that Bud Adams would have perfectly happy with the Tennessee Oilers, and there have even been rumors that Lamar Hunt would have liked the Kansas City Texans; decent respect is rarely an issue.

by Eddo :: Sun, 10/18/2009 - 12:43pm

Nothing you've said is incorrect, Tom, but a couple nits:

1) Not all the teams are wearing 1960 throwbacks. For example, according to this site, the helmet the Patriots wore last week was from 1961.

2) The Vikings did wear throwback jerseys against the Packers on Monday night. Not sure if this is related to the AFL anniversary. Ditto the Cowboys, as they wear those throwbacks every year.

by BroncosGuy (not verified) :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 9:15am

I'm pretty sure the home/road story is apocryphal, but (without actually investing any time to source it) I believe the uniforms were, in fact, purchased second hand. Isn't that cheap enough?

by utvikefan (not verified) :: Fri, 10/16/2009 - 11:05pm

Ummm, Matt W, do NFL teams usually have 5th string LT's starting? ;D

by Still Alive (not verified) :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 3:28pm

Personally I didn't mind the Broncos uniforms at all. I think people rip them just because ripping thigns is fun and they make an easy target. If they had had those the past 20 years everyone would love their quirkiness and originality.

by c_f (not verified) :: Sat, 10/17/2009 - 6:00pm

Who is Maurice Sims-Walker?

by andrew :: Mon, 10/19/2009 - 2:04pm

"The difference will be evident when the Vikings sprint out to an early lead."