Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

02 Dec 2011

Week 13 N.F.L. Matchups

Ridiculous Humility: the need to follow the most amazing performances with quotes like "we still have a long way to go."

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 02 Dec 2011

27 comments, Last at 07 Dec 2011, 10:40pm by adamsternum


by nat :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 10:41am

Things are falling apart in Houston, where center Chris Myers does not hold, but he does cut block.

Really? Plagiarizing from your commenters?

Sure, it's not actually illegal to steal jokes. But I hope you send andrew some free swag and a public apology.

BTW, andrew did it better (in the MMQB thread).

by D Jones :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 11:39am

Well, Andrew used an exact copy of Yeats' line "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;" while Tanier has more explicitly tied Yeats' metaphorical centre to a football center, and the holding part falls right into place.

Now maybe he was inspired by Andrew, and especially some of the comments, including yours, about the center holding, but I think his is more clever and certainly not plagiarism.

by nat :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 12:20pm

My Sweet Lord, that's a lame excuse for stealing material.

Andrew wasn't the first to make the Yeats connection, which is pretty obvious given the name Yates. But he may be the first to do the parody.

The Centre holding connection appears in the follow-on comments, and aren't original to Tanier, either. But the brilliant part in andrew's parody is the replacement QB(s) "slouching toward houston". Which Tanier also used.

Ah, well. Stealing jokes isn't a crime.

by andrew :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 1:52pm

Hey, if it was the source, then kind of honored. Though I wouldn't turn down some swag. But yeah, the connection is fairly obvious.

I did mean to put "center", not "centre", and one draft had something about "cannot hold the ball", but I couldn't get the meter right, and on one round of rewrites somehow pasted "centre" back in (I rewrote it a couple times right after I initially posted it).

by Led :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 2:50pm

The fact that you wrote multiple drafts and struggled to get the exact meter of a parody poem posted in a blog comment section makes it even more awesome.

by D Jones :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 3:25pm

Not making any excuses, just pointing out that if you consider the Yeats connection "obvious" then "slouching towards Houston" would seem similarly obvious once you start parsing the poem. I don't see how that much obviousness makes Andrew brilliant (not a thief) while Tanier a plagiarist (which I consider a very strong term, by the way, perhaps stronger than you) and requiring a public apology.

I gave you due credit for the follow-on comments.

by nat :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 5:16pm

Well, I did say that stealing jokes wasn't illegal.

A better phrasing would have been "passing commenters' jokes as your own'" instead of "plagiarizing", and "acknowledge your artistic debt" instead of "apologize".

It's not a big deal, naturally. Just a little jarring.

by RickD :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 9:38pm

I suspect that Andrew is not the first, or the second, or the hundredth person to make the connection between "the center cannot hold" and the holding penalty in American football.

The poem was published in 1919. I suspect the joke was uttered by 1920.

I would like to think it was said by a Rutgers player pointing at a Princeton player.

by adamsternum :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 10:40pm

This is the best comment thread ever.

by erniecohen :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 11:41am

There are lots of things the NFL can do to end Simpsonesque flopping:

- allow the replay booth to step in and request a review in potential flopping/retaliation situations
- fine flopping players at an appropriate rate ($10K per penalty yard)
- penalize flopping teams on their first kickoff of the following game
- teach players to flop better

I wish they would choose one and just do it.

by Kevin from Philly :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 12:02pm

The NFL won't do a thing. They're too interested in attracting European interest to ban common elements of soccer (flopping) and rugby (peeing on the sidelines).

by jds (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 1:43pm

Dear God NO. Please don't send anything else to the replay booth. I actually saw a comment somewhere that if Marvin Lewis had any integrity, he would have declined the penalty. That would be the preferable way to handle it. (and fines, similar to end zone dancing, if the coaches don't step up)

by Viliphied (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 2:35pm

There absolutely needs to be replay review of personal fouls. Handle it in the booth in the normal down time, but a player should not face a personal foul penalty and then have the league turn around the next day and go "Whoops, our bad"

by Oldcat (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 3:52pm

It is hard to decline offsetting penalties.

by MCS :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 11:49am

I hadn't seen that Jerome Simpson flop. Went to Youtube after your mention.

Amazing. Simply amazing.

by D Jones :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 3:45pm

I love how he seems to fly off the screen, almost like he vanishes from existence.

by TomKelso :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 1:39pm

Is it wrong now that I have the image in my head of Jim Caldwell saying, "Polian was kind; he was gentle; (someone hits Caldwell from behind through his headset with a gun) he would often hold me on his lap and say, "Jim... owww".

Or maybe Caldwell in a full body cast with his headset perched on top after Polian and Jimmy Jr try to blow up Lucas Oil?

by dryheat :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 1:44pm

preconceptions of Sanchez, whose performances have a knack for being both a vase and two faces.

Now THAT is clever. Bravo.

by RickD :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 4:04pm

"The 49ers clinch the N.F.C. West with a win, but that does not mean Jim Harbaugh will start resting starters."

Well, if Harbaugh starts them, they wouldn't be resting starters, would they?


by nibiyabi :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 4:28pm

FYI, Blair White was placed on IR November 12th.

by Zheng :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 8:47pm

That could explain why his return average is so low.

by Xis4us :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 9:06pm

new to this but this is the crappiest layout for comments ever. too much work for me. is that the idea?

by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 12/05/2011 - 9:14am

Just the opposite, I think. Unlike other sites, if you want to respond to someone's previous comment from more than a few minutes prior, your comment shows up right under there as opposed to three pages later. Makes for an easier to follow thread.

by QQ (not verified) :: Fri, 12/02/2011 - 10:49pm

"Rodgers’s quotation shines a light on a major problem gripping the N.F.L.: ridiculous humility, the absurd self-denigration to which great players succumb when they avoid expressing satisfaction or joy at achieving anything short of seven straight Super Bowl championships"

Rodgers though WAS off that game. As opposed to super human he was merely very good. Even as a fan watching it was a little frustrating watching him and the team miss plays that they usually make

by thebuch :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 7:25pm

I think Rodgers can live with himself if his passer rating is in the 140+ range. When it drops around or below 120.. That's when we see issues.

Not that I'm arguing for or against the merits of the passer rating, but if Rodgers isn't perfect with all those standards (every other throw goes for a TD, complete 80+ % of his passes, no picks, and at least 10 yards a completion) he's going to be frustrated. And why not? The guy hasn't trailed in the fourth quarter since week 12.. Last year.

by PerlStalker :: Sat, 12/03/2011 - 1:50am

The role of human chain is being played by the stitches in Von Miller's thumb. If he does play, it will be with one hand tied behind his back. (If he still gets 2+ sacks, then variations of this joke will be splattered all over the 'Net.)

by BroncFan07 :: Sun, 12/04/2011 - 3:50am

Looks like Mike was on to something with Suh's treatment. Here is a transcript I was able to obtain from a secret meeting at NFL headquarters:

(“Classic Battle” is playing to random scenes of late hits and Theismann leg breaks on a big screen while Suh is strapped in a chair with Merton Hanks squeezing eye drops into his eyes)
Ndamukong Suh: No. No! NO! Stop it! Stop it, please! I beg you! This is sin! This is sin! This is sin! It's a sin, it's a sin, it's a sin!
Roger Goodell: Sin? What's all this about sin?
Suh: That! Using Sam Spence like that! He did no harm to anyone. Sam Spence just wrote music!
Ray Anderson: Are you referring to the background score?
Suh: Yes.
Anderson: You've heard Spence before?
Suh: Yes!
Goodell: So, you're keen on music ?
Suh: YES!
Goodell: Can't be helped. Here's the punishment element perhaps.
Suh: You needn't take it any further, sir. You've proved to me that all this twisting facemasks and clubbing quarterbacks with forearms and stomping on linemen and pretending I didn’t do anything illegal is wrong, wrong, and terribly wrong. I've learned me lesson, sir. I've seen now what I've never seen before. I'm cured! Praise Goodell!
Goodell: You're not cured yet, boy.