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31 May 2012

Walkthough: Southern Accents

by Mike Tanier

Roman Harper cannot understand a word Steve Spagnuolo says.

Harper admitted in a recent interview that he has trouble with Spagnuolo’s accent. "I kind of felt bad because I interrupted him on his meeting, but I didn't understand what he was saying, so I had to ask," Harper said. Harper hails from Prattville, Alabama. Spags is from Northbridge, Massachusetts. English is the language that divides them.

Spags’ accent is not quite the traditional Cliff Clavin Bostonian. He does make the braying lamb noise when trying to pronounce words like "bar," but his time in Philly and New York have created subtle overlays of Passyunk Avenue and Bensonhurst. Spags’ accent is more like the non-denominational Little Italy wiseguy, with a little Beantown flair. Philly radio host Angelo Cataldi has a similar linguistic scramble, as does Emeril LaGassi, another Massachusetts émigré. Harper probably doesn’t understand any of them.

Then again, Harper may just be confused when his defensive coordinator tells him that he won’t lead the team in sacks anymore. "You want me to what? Play deep in coverage? Can you repeat that?"

Tom Brady, a native Californian, does not have a Boston accent despite over a decade in New England. The folks at Under Armour pointed me toward this Funny or Die clip in which Brady is accused of having a "wicked" brogue. Brady plays unhinged well, just as Peyton Manning makes self-absorbed cluelessness work very well in his comedy bits. There are some Matt Damon jokes in the video as well, if you are in to that sort of thing. Harper joked that he is doing "research" to try to understand Spags, and that can only mean lots and lots of viewings of Good Will Hunting.

It is wonderful to hear a little laughter coming from Saints mini-camp. The Saints are without their head coach or quarterback, and their star linebacker is suing the commissioner, but they have found time for levity. Chase Daniel, leading the first team offense, reportedly scrambled for a 60-yard touchdown during a drill last week. Defenders cannot touch quarterbacks during OTAs, of course, and quarterbacks are not really supposed to scramble during drills. But a 60-yard touchdown is a 60-yard touchdown, except in Jets camp, where it is an imaginary sack for Quinton Coples.

Daniel must have been pooped at the end of that 60-yard run, but he had little time to take a breather. Daniel and Sean Canfield were the only quarterbacks at Saints OTAs. The Saints knew that Drew Brees was unlikely to attend, but they did not bother signing an undrafted free agent to soak up some throws while trying to make a name for himself. It’s almost as if the team’s decision makers were somehow distracted. Anyway, fullback Jed Collins and tight end Dave Thomas filled in as emergency quarterbacks for some drills. Collins is a well-known fantasy football leech who scored four touchdowns last year. Now, you have to worry about him throwing option passes as well.

Saints players said all the right things about Daniel at camp while making it 100 percent clear that they really, really, want the Brees dispute settled. No quarterback ever looks bad in mini-camp, of course, except Jimmy Clausen, who Tweeted earlier in the month that he got a bad haircut from Super Cuts. If I were Clausen, I would never utter the word "cut" under any circumstances. Clausen reportedly threw the ball well during Panthers OTAs. Then again, Collins and Thomas also got good reviews.

Even Tarvaris Jackson is allowed to have his moments in May. The Seahawks signed Matt Flynn and drafted Russell Wilson, but Jackson is still competing for a starting job, sharing mini-camp first-team reps with Flynn. Jackson is the Taylor Hicks of quarterbacks. Hicks is a comically inept Karaoke-caliber singer who won American Idol a few years ago. I am told by those who follow such things that he won because a large cabal of habitual voters assumed that he was too awful to actually win the overall competition, so they supported him en masse, using him to defeat talented singers who posed a real threat to their favorites. Then, suddenly, Hicks' support took on its own life, the other good candidates were gone, and a guy who looks and sounds like William Shatner covering Rick Astley was crowned America’s great pop-music superstar. That no one took this as a terrifying cautionary tale for the state of democracy in the digital age is troubling in its own right; if Steven Tyler appears at either political party convention, start digging a shelter.

Anyway, Jackson is Taylor Hicks. He doesn’t win starting jobs; the other guys keep losing them, and most fans just assume he will go away on his own, but he never does. Jackson will somehow win the Seahawks starting job by default, with Flynn growing a thick beard and morphing into Charlie Whitehurst and Wilson relegated to complaining about his haircut on the Internet.

It is hard to generate bad news during mini-camp, unless you are Eagles tackle Jason Peters and you fall out of a Roll-a-Bout while puttering around your kitchen, re-injuring the Achilles tendon that put you in the Roll-a-Bout in the first place. There’s no joke here: just picture the image of Peters flailing about on his kitchen floor in your mind, the Roll-a-Bout careening through the neighborhood out of control. Brandon LaFell also made some bad news by dropping three passes during a Panthers OTA. Maybe he was distracted by Clausen’s hair. Or a rider-less Roll-a-Bout rolling about. Or perhaps the balls were thrown by a fullback.

LaFell is getting a lot of attention in Panthers camp: he is now the No. 2 receiver, replacing Legedu Naanee, who has been exiled to Miami. "I guess, to me, Brandon LaFell encapsulates who we are," coach Ron Rivera told the Charlotte Observer. Rivera may have been using LaFell to represent the current state of the Panthers: exciting but flawed, in the dangerous place where they could fail to recognize how much work they have ahead of them. I interpret Rivera to mean that LaFell encapsulates who we are as a society and culture. It’s a radical new cosmology: human existence boiled down to its essence, an elephant riding on a tortoise, being carried by a slot receiver.

Perhaps something was lost in the translation.

Let’s give Harper credit for interrupting Spags and asking him to clarify his comments. The last thing the Saints need is a garbled message from a defensive coordinator. Spags’ brogue arrives too late for players like Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma, who could have used misunderstanding as the ultimate legal defense. "His accent was so thick, we thought he was saying ‘bunnies!’"

Yeah, it’s still hard to laugh along with the Saints. After reading mini-camp reports about Daniel, Clausen, LaFell, Tarvaris, and professional athletes finding ways to injure themselves using motorized devices that are safety rated for the elderly and nearly paralyzed, I really, really just want the Drew Brees dispute settled.

Top Five Seahawks Running Backs

1. Shaun Alexander

A very good running back from 2001 through 2003, a great one in 2004 and 2005, and a bit of a paycheck guy after he started getting banged up and 370 Cursed from 2006 on. Alexander is a classic Near-Hall of Famer. A Super Bowl win might have pushed him into Canton consideration, but we probably don’t want to go into that now.

2. Curt Warner

Warner left Penn State in 1983 as a rival to Eric Dickerson, and after a 1,400-yard, 13-touchdown rookie season, Warner looked like he and Dickerson would battle for rushing titles for the rest of the decade. But Warner tore an ACL in the 1984 season opener, then returned from meatball ACL surgery in 1985 to barely grind out 1,000 yards. He bounced back with a fine 1986 season just in time to have his 1987 season truncated by a work stoppage. Ever the survivor, Warner had one more 1,000 yard season in 1988 with Chuck Knox’s run-heavy offense. It was a fine career, but the injury probably robbed Warner of the Hall of Fame.

3. Chris Warren

DVOA and DYAR were very impressed by Warren’s 1994 and 1995 seasons. He finished in third place in DYAR during 1993, then had a fourth-place finish in 1994, rushing for 1,346 and 1,545 yards respectively.

Warren used to be my go-to example of a player who only existed in the minds of many fans as a fantasy football stat producer. When I first started playing fantasy in 1992 or so, Warren was some West Coast running back for a team no one watched who produced 1,000 yard seasons. I could form no image of him in my mind. I just plopped his 1,000 yards into my lineup and tracked his progress in USA Today.

Now, I watch so much football that no running back really lives in my mind as only a stat line; Frank Gore was almost there for the Niners down years, and perhaps a Beanie Wells-type falls into that bin when his numbers are up and his team is down. The experience may be different for fans who don’t live and breathe football. Is there any successful player, running back or otherwise, who only exists as a database entry for you?

4. John L. Williams

In 1992, Williams caught 72 passes as the fullback for a 2-14 Seahawks team. No one else on the roster had more than 27 catches. Wait, it gets scarier: wide receiver Tommy Kane had those 27 catches, but the guy who finished third on the Seahawks in receptions was backup fullback James Jones, with 21. Want to be terrified? We have the play-by-play for 1992. Williams was targeted 120 times. His 72 catches amounted to 19 DYAR, because diminishing returns kick in real fast when throwing 7.5 passes per game to a fullback.

Let’s enjoy one quick box score from 1992 together: . Stan Gelbaugh completed 22-of-32 passes for 130 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Let those stats sink in a moment. Williams caught 11 passes for 45 yards and rushed 11 times for 44 yards. Warren rushed 10 times for 29 yards and lost a yard on one catch. Tight end Mike Jones caught three passes for 18 yards. What an amazing offense! On the plus side, the Giants only managed two sacks, but if the offense is going to average less than four yards per pass, you might as well hang back and let them do their thing.

Williams led the Seahawks in receptions a few other times, but the situation was not as dire when Knox was head coach and Brian Blades was around to add a little deep spice to ground Chuck. Williams also rushed for 700 yards or so in his best years. Just as Warner was the shadow of Dickerson, Williams was a shadow of Roger Craig in many ways: not quite as good, stuck in a much weaker offense, but still similar.

5. Ricky Watters

I can’t keep him off this list without losing all credibility. Watters gained more yards for the Seahawks than he did for the Eagles or Niners, yet he was less impressive (at least superficially) for the Seahawks than he was for the other teams. That is somehow appropriate: the Seahawks got the essence of Watters, empty 1,200 yard seasons that existed for their own sake.

DYAR liked Watters’ 1998 and 2000 seasons a bit and was impressed with his late career receiving. That counts for something, because our stats were not fooled much by his efforts in Philly. So Watters must have been doing something productive for those .500 caliber teams, besides keeping Ahman Green and Shaun Alexander on the bench. Here you are, Ricky: fifth-best running back in Seahawks history. You earned it!

Marshawn Lynch is now eighth on the Seahawks all-time rushing list. Give me one more year of big runs, Skittles, and maybe a playoff berth, Marshawn, and I will start dusting off the fifth-place seat for you.

(Ed. Note: If you want to know Mike Tanier's true feelings about Ricky Watters, pick up The Philly Fan's Code, available now from Amazon and your local bookstore! Here's a hint: "For Who, For What.")

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 31 May 2012

200 comments, Last at 16 Jun 2012, 4:27pm by Mr Shush


by RC (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 11:30am

"Tom Brady, a native Californian, does not have a Boston accent despite over a decade in New England. "

Nobody actually has what people think of as a "boston accent"... unless they live in Chelsea, about a 3 block area in Southie, or a small area of Dorchester.... maybe some parts of Everett, and Revere.

Once you get out of Boston, it dissapears.

by sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 1:09pm

And not everyone can be like Madonna, who developed an English accent on the ride in from the airport!

by Bjorn Nittmo :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 5:16pm

Until you cross the New Hampshire or Maine borders, maybe.

by Jeffrey (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 6:54pm

I lived in southern NH all my life and, except for the purposes of comedic effect, I have never heard someone speak in what is commonly viewed as the Boston accent.

by dbostedo :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 11:00pm

Perhaps having lived there means you don't pick up on it as much. I know people from Nashua and Manchester, and I definitely hear some of them as having a Boston accent. Not a heavy accent I guess, but it's pretty clear to my ear.

by dryheat :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 8:26am

No, the rural New Hampshire / Maine accent is certainly thick, but it's not the same as the Boston accent -- drawn out, not clipped. I guess Nashua is close enough to be considered Boston suburbs though...and nearby places like Lowell, Lawrence, Chelmsford, and Billerica definitely fall into the Boston accent territory.

The OP isn't giving it enough range though. I would put the Boston accent habitat's borders at New Hampshire to the North, Framingham-ish to the West, Cape Cod to the Southeast, and Block Island Sound to the South -- Rhode Islanders are especially fluent in Boston accentese.

by RC (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 3:44pm

The Rhode Island accent is different.

Also, I've lived right in the middle of the area you're talking about, and IMO, its just not there. The occasional person, but most of the time you hear someone sound like Mark Wahlberg, its for comic effect.

by JonFrum :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 9:49pm

There are multiple 'Boston accents.' I'm a classic example - I grew up in the city in the 1960s. The Hollywood version is Charlestown-South Boston-Dorchester, working class Irish. I went to school with guys who sounded like Mark Wahlberg, who is younger than me. The stereotype comes from somewhere.

Don't get me started on the "Kennedy" version. Especially considering the Kennedys moved to New York when JFK was in grade school. No one in Boston ever pronounced Cuba 'Cuber.' If they did, we would have killed them for being dicks.

by Al Gore (not verified) :: Mon, 06/04/2012 - 7:41am

I invented the Boston accent.

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 11:32pm

Y'all come back now, ya hear?

by Eddo :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 11:31am

I am loving that this is (one of?) the only Raiderjoe posts that is perfectly-typed.

by apbadogs :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 1:08pm

I'm an every now and then visitor to these blogs but have yet to figure out why all of RaiderJoe's posts are grammatical and spelling abominations...I just figure he typed everything on a itsy bitsy cell phone and has huge fingers.

by dryheat :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 1:22pm

Is it possible that Raiderjoe is actually Lana Kane?

by jebmak :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 8:30pm

I prefer to think that the information is pouring out of his brain so fast that his fingers can't keep up.

by LionInAZ :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 5:31pm

Not quite, Eddo. It's "y'heah", not "ya hear".

by RickD :: Sat, 06/02/2012 - 12:54pm

but the subject line is "soutehrn man"

I did see one Raiderjoe post that was perfect. I think it was in the Junior Seau thread a few weeks ago.

Which I thought was appropriate.

by Lance :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 9:51pm

I don't know. My work takes me to Cambridge about 3-4 times a year, and I hear plenty of people who have what I consider to be the "Boston accent"

Re the Tom Brady thing, it seems to me quite rare that an adult move somewhere and pick up an accent.

by Vincent Verhei :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 2:33am

I've only spent a few hours in Boston in my life, and only in the airport for a layover nearly 20 years ago. I can still hear the Red Sox fans in line behind me describing the next teams coming to Fenway as "ah bahnch of selluh dwelluhs."

by RichC (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 3:47pm

The airport is kind of right in the middle of the worst parts of boston (Eastie, charlestown, etc). I'm not surprised you heard it there.

by RickD :: Sat, 06/02/2012 - 12:57pm

People in line at the airport are not typically from the local neighborhood.

I was born and spent my first 11 years in Needham, a suburb of Boston. _Nobody_ in town had a "Boston accent."

I do agree it's a bit of a class thing. The Boston Brahmin accent (think Charles Emerson Winchester) is an entirely different thing.

by MJK :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 7:47pm

There most certainly is a Boston accent. It is just nowhere near as pronounced as non-Bostonian imatators and Ben Affleck movies make people believe.

I lived in southern NH for 18 years, then Boston for 10, and now California for six. I never noticed the "Boston accent" among New Hampshirers, because, while they have it, it's very very slight. In Boston, you encounter it heavily when you run into folks from Southie, and parts of the North Shore (Chelsea, Beverly, Lynn, etc.), and in the bleachers at Fenway. But most Bostonians have it just lightly. And some (Italians from the North End, for example) have a completely different accent.

Now that I've lived in California for a bit, I've become re-sensitizied to the accent, and I hear it a bit more when I go home (my Dad is especially egrigious...but he grew up in Lynn and Beverly). But it's never non-understandable by non-Bostonians. Certainly, it's easier to understand than a heavy southern drawl.

Middle and northern NH, and Maine, have a completely different accent. It's the law of conservation of "r's". For all the r's that Bostonians drop from words like "car", "park", "water", and "Raiders" (as in "I hate those damn Raidahs!"), northern New Hampshirers and Mainers add to words like "wortor" (water). A friend of mine from Laconia used to go home to worsh his lorndory, because he didn't like the wortor in Boston.

The funniest accent I ever heard was from a couple of my uncles. They grew up in Maine and acquired the Maine drawl, and then moved to North Carolina and lived most of their adult lives there, blending the Maine drawl with the North Carolina southern accent. The result is quite unique and incredibly difficult to understand.

by AJ (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 7:52pm

is there such a thing as a california accent? I mean, we've got southern, bostonian, new york, texas, midwestern, does it mean places like seattle and california are definied as having no accents and thus the true way of speaking english?

by tuluse :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 8:16pm

Ever hear valley girl?

by LionInAZ :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 10:39pm

"Valley girl" is an idiom rather than an accent.

by tuluse :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 10:49pm

They have a specific manor of speaking.

by AJ (not verified) :: Sat, 06/02/2012 - 1:16am

Thats not californian really though. I find that just a stereotype of a very specific kind of person along with the cliched skater/surfer/snowboarder. My point is, is there a californian accent at all that anyone from say the midwest or the east coast can actually recognize?

by BaronFoobarstein :: Sat, 06/02/2012 - 2:01am

California is big. I don't think there's a "Californian" accent, but there are regional accents. And these days regional accents are themselves far from uniform within their region. I come from Dallas and not many people have the drawl so often associated with Texas. But, yes, some people absolutely did and in far greater numbers than I've heard living anywhere else.

by AJ (not verified) :: Sat, 06/02/2012 - 2:26am

I grew up in northern cali, went to school in LA and have been all over cali and i can't really tell of any specific accents at all.

by Dean :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 11:37am

Perhaps LaFell was distracted by a couple Panthers cheerleaders?

by tuluse :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 11:50am

For a while Mark Bulger was a faceless stat line to me.

Mike Martz QB, good for 3000 yards, enough touchdowns and reasonably consistent. Have to worry about injuries, likely to be extremely underrated.

My fantasy interest has always trailed my interest in the actual game, so I don't have a lot of these experiences.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 12:04pm

I've only followed football for five years or so, so Steven Jackson has been a statline to me.

by Theo :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 2:25pm

He arrived in St Louis 5 years too late. Or 5 years too early, depending on the future.

by Podge (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 9:13am

If he arrived 5 years earlier he'd have been Michael Turner - backup to Hall of Famer, then a hefty second contract that actually lets him do things.

by Jeff M. (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 12:06pm

Not much to complain about in the Seahawks top-5. But the top-4 of those are pretty easy to do, and then there aren't a whole lot of competitors for #5 (even crazier than Lynch at #8 all-time? The guy he's behind is Maurice Morris).

I'd go Sherman Smith over Watters, though. It was a short peak in a time share era, but I take Smith's 1977-1979 over Watters' 1998-2000. Those Zorn/Largent/Smith teams were actually really good offenses, just paired with near-league-worst defenses. And I'd much rather have Smith putting up 1200 yfs on <200 touches than Watters putting up 1600 on >350.

by Jimmy Oz (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 10:30pm

Mack Strong played 201 games for Seattle, 2nd in Seahawks history. 1 All-Pro, 2 Pro-Bowls. Blocked for Alexander (1/3), Warren (0/2), and Watters (0/0) who combined for 1 All-Pro and 5 Pro-Bowl RB seasons.

After leaving Larry Centers out of the Cardinals' top RB conversation, including John L Williams for his receiving statistics was an improvement. While at PFR, also check the page for each teams' All-Pro & Pro-Bowlers. Invaluable if you're a Philly writer trying to write about Mid-West & West Coast teams that appear only as stat lines...

lol: 5. Ricky Watters - I can’t keep him off this list without losing all credibility.

by jebmak :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 6:28am

Plus, his friggin' name is MACK STRONG!

by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 12:06pm

Any mention of Stan Gelbaugh is incomplete without a reference to his MVP year in the inaugural year of the World League. Wembley stadium was graced by Gelbaugh throwing long bombs to a fleet group of receivers and dumping the ball underneath to Judd Garret, the brother of Cowboys coach Jason. This was before British cynicism, already at near fatal levels, was boosted by taking the Monarchs away and the NFL lost the UK as a potential market for a franchise.

by Independent George :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 12:20pm

I've had an irrational dislike for Shaun Alexander entirely on account of his 2005 MVP award. Steve Smith was so clearly a better choice that season that I wound up looking for ways to denigrate Alexander, who did indeed have a monster year (though even just among RBs, I thought Tiki Barber was better that season).

Looking back, I realize that it's the writers who did the voting that I should be angry with, but I'm still angry at the injustice of it. It was such a no-brainer to me that I wondered if the writers have ever watched an NFL game before. For comparison, Justin Smith being denied the 2011 DPOY rises to the level of moderate irritation, but seven years later, I'm still indignant about Steve Smith's 2005.

by CraigoMc (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 12:40pm

What's the bulletproof argument for Steve Smith in 2005? There doesn't appear to be FO stats for that year yet, but he tied other WRs for receiving receptions and TDs, had fewer all-purposes yards than Alexander, and less than half as many total TDs.

I could make an argument for either one of those guys, and I couldn't call either result an injustice.

by tuluse :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 12:53pm


Steve Smith lead all receivers in DYAR and DVOA, played for a worse offense with a worse supporting cast. Sean Alexander was 2nd and 3rd respectively among running backs, behind what many considered to the best offensive line in the NFL, with a legit probowl QB.

Now there isn't a bulletproof argument for Smith, as the Peyton Manning had a very nice case for MVP himself.

Shawn Alexander winning was a joke in my opinion given by people who think a single player creates TDs.

by Independent George :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 3:26pm

Shaun Alexander had a great season, but he wasn't even the best RB that year (both Larry Johnson and Tiki Barber were slightly better, despite playing on worse teams). Even on his own offense, Alexander was the third-best player, behind Walter Jones (by a wide margin) and Steve Hutchinson.

2005 Steve Smith may be the single best season by a WR I've ever seen firsthand. The only other non-QB I've seen carry an entire offense like that was Barry Sanders - except Carolina also won two playoff games that year (see below).

This is the starting roster for the 2005 Carolina Panthers.

Under conventional stats, Steve Smith won the receiving triple-crown with Jake Delhomme throwing to him.

Under FO stats, Steve Smith led the league in receiving DVOA despite being the only offensive threat on his entire team. He caught 69% of his passes despite Delhomme heaving the ball into double coverage on virtually every snap.

Under the eyeball test, Steve Smith single-handedly beat the Chicago Bears in the Divisional game (I watched that game in a bar full of Bears fans, and the boxscore doesn't even begin to capture his dominance in that game). The next week, Mike Holmgren then decided to put four defenders on him during the NFCCG - and Delhomme still couldn't complete anything to his other four eligible receivers.

by AJ (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 3:40pm

Ditto- that year smith was tremendous. Still, the panthers defense i think was pretty good that year and whatever you think of delhomme- at that point he was an above average qb.

The bears game resonated on levels that are hard to fathom for me. I think of CJ's game against the saints which was tremendous but the saints were flat out terrible covering cj and he abused them all day long. In the case of chicago, they had a monster defense and were at home in the cold(if that makes any difference) and he basically tore them up, changed the entire complexion of the game. It will rank in my mind as the greatest receiving game I've ever seen in the playoffs.

As for non qbs carrying a football team...it can really only happen if the defense is pretty good, otherwise its impossible. I think theres an argument to be made for players like adrian peterson on that tavaris jackson led vikings team that went 10-6 or maybe ricki williams when the dolphins went 10-6 and just missed the playoffs.

by tuluse :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 4:05pm

He said carry an offense, not a team.

by Independent George :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 4:08pm

You're right - that was an excellent Carolina defense. Peppers, Rucker, and Morgan were at or near their peaks, along with young & effective versions of Chris Gamble and Ken Lucas in the defensive backfield. Barry Sanders (and OJ Simpson before him) carried their entire teams, whereas Steve Smith only needed to carry the offense. Still, that's extremely rare for a non-QB, and even moreso for a WR.

I never much liked watching games at bars, but the Bears game was just one week after Carolina had humiliated my Giants at home. I wanted blood, and I figured it'd be fun to actually cheer for the same team as the crowd for once. Instead, I watched Smith single-handedly destroy one of the best defenses in the league*. I went into that game hating him, and walked away a fan.

Strangely, I thought his non-performance Seattle game was even more impressive. Maybe I just have a thing for lost causes, but it's so rare to see a team completely sell out to stop a single player like that. Again - the only comparison I can think of is Barry Sanders. Seattle had no respect for anyone else on the Carolina offense, and they proved to be right.

*my memory is fuzzy, but to be fair, I believe the Bears did have a couple defensive injuries in the secondary that day. Even so, that shouldn't have happened. The Bears just had no answer for him.

by tuluse :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 4:19pm

That game was so weird and unlucky. Mike Brown went down on Smith's first TD.

And Chris Harris hitting Tillman on what I believe would have been a pick and instead became a TD.

I still think if the Bears and Panthers play that game 10 times, the Bears win 9.

Also, Rex Grossman is bad, and sitting him for the last game is one of Lovie's worst decisions as a head coach.

by Ryan D. :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 4:55pm

In the NFC Title game against Seattle, Steve Smith was so angry about being triple-teamed on every offensive play that he demanded to be put back as the punt returner. He promptly returned a punt for TD, despite not being the primary punt/kick returner for a few years at that time. He was like a man possessed out there.

by Independent George :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 5:02pm

I had forgotten about that. I'd also forgotten that FO Readers overwhelmingly voted for him as MVP in the 2005 FO Awards - and the voting was based on regular season only. That was before the Bears and Seahawks games.

by AJ (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 5:23pm

I disagree that rex grossman was the issue that game. In fact, for a guy coming off major injury and being inserted into the lineup against a good defense, i thought he played pretty well(again, all things being relative). I suspect most bears fans have rex grossman permanently embedded in their nightmares but at the time, i remember thinking that he looked good and maybe had a future. lets also remember that kyle orton was pretty awful most of the year- that team was basically riding thomas jones, the defense, and special teams(what else is new in chicago right?) for their 11-5 season. And unlike years past, i actually thought the bears sported a pretty average set of receivers in muhamad and berrian along with desmond clark. Sure, none of them were great and their stats were certainly putrid, but it was frankly a much better receiving core i would argue than what they have now.

by tuluse :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 5:48pm

Grossman had 191 yards on 42! attempts plus an interception. I don't know what universe under 5 yards per attempt and a pick is "playing pretty well." He was also indirectly responsible for Ron Turner going insanely pass happy in that game. It was the 3rd lowest number of rushing attempts all year.

I'm not sure what Kyle Orton has to do with Grossman being bad.

by AJ (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 5:56pm

Maybe my mind is just playing tricks one. Idk, for some reason i left with a much better impression of grossman from that game than a negative one. Maybe the bears somehow scoring 21 pts far exceeded what i expected them to.

by tuluse :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 6:15pm

They didn't do anything while the game was in doubt, then scored meaningless points at the end.

by markus (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 7:55pm

Grossman's career defied logic. He couldn't have been much worse but somehow not only did he last several seasons with the Bears but actually got the chance to start again later in his career. Some guys have one bad game and never see the field again and then you've got guys like Grossman who kept getting chances, failed miserably, only to get still more opportunities.

by chemical burn :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 8:25pm

To be fair, he struggled to beat out John Beck for that second chance at a starting job. Redskins were bold enough to go into the season with two guys you'd be nervous to have as your back-up (as in "shit, i hope our QB doesn't get injured because then we'll have to see john Beck in game!") competing for a starting job...

by Leyoz :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 3:23am

I remember reading on this site prior to the draft about Rob Rang saying John Beck was the best Quarterback that year. How ridiculous seeing as he is so bad and...Trent Edwards, no Kevin Kolb is...Jamarcus...I mean Brady Quinn... what a year for Quarterbacks.

by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 5:00pm

Kyle Shanahan was bragging last season that he'd had Beck rated as a first-rounder. That was back when he was desperately trying to give the job to Beck but Daddy Mike and Beck's play weren't going along with it. That seems like ages ago. The last Kyle had to say about it was right before they released Beck when his comments basically translated to "he sucked." To come out the next year after the disaster and try to pretend it was somebody else's problem and that he was just trying to fix things makes Kyle look really low. Maybe he'll learn with age, but he's got real problems getting along with guys and accepting responsibility when things go wrong.

by chemical burn :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 5:12pm

Kyle's the worst kind of entitled punk: only has his job because of his ego-manaic dad and unwilling to learn from mistake or even admit he made any. That, plus he's a a douce-y clown in interviews.

by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 6:15pm


I've never thought much of him. His meteoric rise alone is enough to make you look twice even if you knew nothing about his personality. He had a low-level job for one year with Gruden in Tampa, then he was a positions coach with receivers and qbs for a couple seasons with Kubiak before magically being named offensive coordinator--with rumor having it that at least for the first year Kubiak was still calling the plays. Without his last name, no way does he move up that fast. Maybe he's a chip off the old block, but he never was in a job long enough to even tell that for sure.

My suspicion is that Mike's original plan was to bring him over to Denver after a few years and groom him to be their next head coach, only Mike's unexpectedly being let go and the move to Washington changed that.

But looking over how the McNabb debacle went down and last year's QB situation and it's unmistakable that Kyle made things worse. Not saying either would have went well regardless, but the hope is that your coordinator can improve whatever situation he's handed, not throw gasoline on the fire and watch things burn. Maybe things get a whole lot better with RG3 and Mike's magic touch returns. Otherwise, I think the day may come when Mike is faced with the choice of losing his own job or dumping his son.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 7:52am

I think most Texans fans have a pretty positive view of Shanahan Minor. Players at the positions he coached developed well, both seasons where he ran the offense it was highly productive, and I think the feeling was that if anything, the playcalling was better the year he was responsible for it (his second as co-ordinator) than the previous year with Kubiak still doing that.

by markus (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 6:51pm

"i hope our QB doesn't get injured because then we'll have to see john Beck in game!"

Exactly what I'm talking about:--it defies logic. With his track record of failure, he somehow ends up in a situation where worst case he plays a lot of the year and best case he starts the entire year because no way in hell was Beck going to hold onto the starting spot.

by Jimmy :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 11:15am

There is no way that the Bears WR corps in '05 was better than the current group. Brandon Marshall on his own is better than everyone the Bears could put out in '05 and they have Bennett, Jeffery, Hester, Davis, Rodriguez behind him. The biggest non QB difference on offense was that back in '05 the Bears had a great offensive line - Tait, Brown, Kreutz, Garza, Miller - they got the job done.

by tuluse :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 11:24am

I assume he was meant last year's receiving corps. Which could be argued.

One nitpick though, Metcalf was still starting in 05, Garza didn't become a starter until 06.

by AJ (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 2:15pm

Yeah I meant last years. I think they are a solid collection of third receivers- maybe bennet is a good 2, but beyond that is a stretch to me.

by Insancipitory :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 6:59pm

He was gifted a pity TD by the officals who didn't call a blatant block in the back.

And as long as we're talking about how great everyone not named Shaun Alexander was, let's remember that teams were loading the box against him since the Seahawks starting receivers had been decimated by injury.

This is also the post I will use to remind everyone that Ricky Watters was a great effort guy, and is the only player I've ever seen get an 80 yard safety; which provided the crucial additional possession to beat the always hatable Raiders. Put that in your DVOA and smoke it.

by Independent George :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 7:44pm

"For who? For what?!!" and "Effort Guy" do not go together in my mind.

by chemical burn :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 8:26pm

It's funny - I think he was especially petulant and obnoxious in his time in Philadelphia (I don't know a single Eagles fan who can stand him.) Granted, it's tough to be an Eagles player and be constantly shit on by the fans and media even when you're playing a major role for playoff teams. I'm honestly surprised more Eagles' players don't have a "fuck this, it's not worth it" attitude - the guy had 1,700 and 1,800 yards from scrimmage and still got screamed at for being an idiot and a failure all day long. Look at Tanier's analysis of him: it doesn't matter what he did, Tanier hates him to a point of admitted non-objectivity.

by Insancipitory :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 8:53pm

I didn't watch Ricky Watters play for the Eagles, no doubt no one but Seahawks fans watched him during his time in Seattle. "For who? For what?!!" maybe Ricky answered that question for himself in Seattle. Or it could be Tainer and other Eagles fans are just smarting from the 38-0 the Seahawks put on the Eagles, in Philly, on Monday Night Football.

All Ricky did for the Seahawks is grind out 3.5 yards a crack outta nothing on a team full of other try-hards like Kitna. At the end of the day Eagles fans gonna Eagles-fan, and maybe that's the difference.

Thousand yard seasons everywhere he went can't all be wrong.

by chemical burn :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 2:27pm

Not sure of the point you're making, but I assure you that of all the teams that Eagles' fans care about the Seahawks are not one of them. They dont even hate them, which is quite miraculous considering their disdain for just about everything. And of any of the losses they have suffered that sting even now, none of them were at the hands of the Seahawks.

by AJ (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 2:31pm

is there any team that remembers the stings of the seattle seahawks? maybe the saints

by Bjorn Nittmo :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 5:22pm

Never mind how Smith ripped apart the Bears defense -- how about how he manhandled Terrel Buckley (signed by the Giants off the street about 3 weeks earlier) in 1-on-1 coverage in the Panthers 23-0 wild card round victory, as cleverly designed by Giants DC Tim Lewis (in a brilliant attempt to confuse Carolina into assuming that the Buckley coverage was merely a decoy for the real defense he would obviously throw at the Panthers). To be fair, the Giants were pretty decimated on defense by that point in the season.

by Insancipitory :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 10:30pm

Seattle had more injuries to their secondary than the Bears did in 2005. That was the year of Ken Hamlin being nearly beaten to death in Pioneer Square, for one.

Once Tatupu splattered Nick Goings, the Panthers needed to score immediately or they were going to be quickly find themselves in a Steve Smith or go home situation. They went home.

Ron Rivera chose to underestimate Steve Smith and overestimate DelHomme. The result of the Seahawks game probably cost him a headcoaching job at the time.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 5:28pm

The Vikings team that went 10-6 with Adrian Peterson and Tavaris Jackson was the the best team in the NFL on the line of scrimmage. Yes, Peterson was great, and Jackson (and the receivers) awful, but Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Pat Williams, Matt Birk, Steve Hutchinson were great as well, and Bryant Mckinnie, Ray Edwards, and Atntonio Herrera were pretty good. I'll say again that if Favre had decided to go full A-hole to force his release that year, instead of accepting a trade to the Jets, that team would have had a better chance to win the Lombardi than the 2009 team did.

by AJ (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 5:58pm

Thats a bit arguable. It was a the same cast minus birk and a year older but with Percy Harvin and sydney rice a year older and more mature although given the quality of teams in 08, you're probably right.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 6:37pm

Mckinnie's performance went over a cliff in 2009, which of course meant he got his only Pro Bowl selection that year. Have no doubt about it, though, after 2008 Mckinnie was a shell for the Vikings. The difference between 2008 Birk and 2009 John Sullivan was just massive as well. Pat Williams really began to decline after 2008. Kevin Williams, a borderline HOFer, was closer to his peak in 2008. Hutchinson started to decline in 2009 as well. The 2008 team was much, much, much, better on the line of scrimmage than the 2009 team, but having a HOF qb having his best statistical season, in many ways, hid that decline.

by AJ (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 7:22pm

Yeah you're probably right...which once again belies the question of just how much value an o lineman truly brings a team.

This speaks to a larger issue of why. If pass rush is deemed more valuable than coverage shouldn't good blocking be equally important? I suspect much of this is because defensive personnel still haven't caught up to speed on coverage concepts defending the slot receiver, tight end, running back, and those annoying bunch and split formations. Once those become better defended, we may return to a stronger emphasis on pass blocking.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 9:39pm

As always, context is everything. Give me Peyton Manning at his peak, with the current rules, and I don't even need an average offensive line to win 12 games and get deep into the playoffs, as long as my defense isn't giving up 4 touchdowns in the first half, or never letting Peyton Manning get on the field. Give me a median performance Alex Smith, and I'd better get some fellas blocked a helluva lot more often, unless Justin Smith and the boys are pitching a three-hitter.

Yeah, they change the concepts, but more importantly, when they think they might lose too many eyeballs glued to the tv screen, they change the rules or the rules emphasis, and it takes a while for the defense to find their inherent advantage; the field stays the same size, while the players get bigger and faster.

by AJ (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 11:48pm


But lets eliminate manning from this discussion. one could argue you don't even need elite receivers, an o line, or a running game to have a good passing game with manning(see 2010 where they ranked 4th). I am admittedly biased in this regard, but i think manning is a very very special case of a qb that is truly able to compensate for almost any team limitation- within reason(can't really expect manning to make tackles)

but what about other qbs? What about ppl like tom brady or aaron rodgers or drew brees? Where does the dynamic shift. I think all three of those qbs have a collection of pretty good offensive linemen. What do they do if their o line suddenly falls below average? We've seen what it will do to jay cutler in frighteningly draconian ways.

Btw- i should add, eli is the next best ive seen to really compensate for poor o line. I thought his line absolutely sucked this year and yet the giants fielded a very strong passing offense anyways. A lot of that could be argued is because of his receivers, but eli is so good at playing in the face of consistent pressure. I know rodgers had some pretty surreal moments last year, but for my mind, eli's game against dallas in dallas was the best qb performance i saw all year. Yes dallas blew some coverages, but the pass rush was consistently beating the giants o linemen to a man and yet eli was still brilliant.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 2:15am

I think Rodgers makes the Packers o-line look significantly better than it is, and I tend to agree with your assessment of Peyton's little brother. Since the knee injury, it seems to me that Brady has been easier to affect with a ruah, especially up the middle. I've always thought Brees needed good protection more, due to his height.

I don't think Romo gets enoght credit for compensating well behind lousy protection, and I thought Cutler was great last year before getting hurt, despite terrible blocking and scheme. Cutler has simply improved a lot, it seems to me.

by AJ (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 4:18am

I think you're being too unfair to the packers o line. Pff(if you trust their numbers anyway) have rated josh sitton as one of top 3 guards in the league along with scott wells and this years bryan bulaga round out a pretty solid to above average group. hard to know how much of that though is mitigated by rodgers and his excellent and deep receiving core. Still, i think if there was one weakness i still see in rodgers game is his propensity to take sacks. One commonality among elite qbs is there ability to have very low sack totals and yet rodgers seems to buck that trend along with roethlisburger. Of course im nitpicking here since rodgers is pretty close to flawless right now.

I guess that makes me wonder how much gbs offense is a product of rodgers versus the scheme/talent. Ive been harping a ton about the value of supporting cast but in in rodgers case its really tough to tell. I see a qb play so well but i also see matt flynn look pretty good in limited duty. We obviously know it doesn't cut both ways as manning's team pretty much imploded without him. I guess its hard to know.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 8:27am

I should have noted that I thought Rodgers got a lot better last year, from a point that was pretty damned high to begin with.

by Aloysius Mephis... :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 6:04pm

I always thought that, the year he won MVP, Alexander was no higher than the third most valuable player on the *Seahawks offense*. He might have been fourth. It would have hurt the Seahawks more to lose either Hasselbeck or Walter Jones than to lose Alexander, and it might have hurt them more to lose Hutchinson.

by JimZipCode :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 1:27pm

Justin Smith???

by nat :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 12:43pm

The funny or die clip with Brady is wicked, wicked funny.

I think his bit here is way better than anything Peyton has done. But, of course, you have to consider the supporting cast, the script, the current satire-friendly environment. Brady probably cheated in some way, too. Because he's from Boston.

by Leyoz :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 3:29am

I really don't think it touches the United Way skit.

by BigCheese :: Tue, 06/05/2012 - 9:33pm

To me there are two things to come out of SNL in the last decade that stand up to the best of any era: D*ck in a box and the United Way skit. Can watch either of them any number of times any day.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 06/06/2012 - 1:18pm

I"m on A BOAT" also gee art.

by JimZipCode :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 2:19pm

The United Way skit is on its own special level of funny. It sets the standard.

My wife busts out laughing every time she sees Manning peg the kid with the football.

by tuluse :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 3:07pm

Peyton in the fake mustache talking about his favorite "240 lbs, laser, rocket arm quarterback" is still my favorite.

by Reader Martin (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 1:12pm

Donkeys bray. Lambs bleat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNRPUf9AVAA

by Will Allen :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 1:41pm

Tavaris Jackson has the worst instincts for playing qb I've ever seen, in any guy who, by conventional measure, has good raw athletic ability for the position. When he was with the Vikings, it would just amaze me how he would mentally lock up, and not be able to figure out if he should throw it, or where to throw it, or take off running, or throw it away. The failure of Brad Childress can be summed up with the fact that The Chiller lobbied to have the Vikings trade up to draft Jackson.

by JimZipCode :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 2:20pm

Kyle Boller.

by Vincent Verhei :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 1:51pm

Then again, Harper may just be confused when his defensive coordinator tells him that he won’t lead the team in sacks anymore.

I didn't realize this, but Harper did lead the Saints with seven sacks last year. So I ran his numbers through our Similarity Scores system. The most similar player to Harper (2011) was Roman Harper (2010), followed by Roman Harper (2009). Yes, he's fairly unique.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 8:05am

Did any Adrian Wilson years come out as comparable?

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 2:12pm

"Is there any successful player, running back or otherwise, who only exists as a database entry for you?"

I once played in a fantasy league where the commissioner screwed up the rule, so that return yards counted the same as rushing or receiving yards. I happened to have the #1 WR in our league that year -- the great Johnnie Lee Higgins of the Oakland Raiders. I could not then, nor could I now, pick him out of a lineup.

Not sure Johnnie Lee qualifies as "successful", but hey, he's in the NFL. That's reasonably successful in my book.

by Dean :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 2:19pm

Just a statline? Anyone on Tampa Bay, Houston, Kansas City or Jacksonville is a good bet.

by chemical burn :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 3:06pm

Even Tampa Bay's stars aren't memorable - I'm not sure I could pick Simeon Rice or Derrick Brooks out of a line-up. I used to get Julius Peppers (another guy that didn't get much national exposure especially earlier in his career playing for a team with a small fanbase) and Rice confused on a regular basis.

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 2:35pm

1.. c. Warner
2. Alwxander
3. C. Warren . If Seahawks did not match NUJ offer sheet whst yesr was that maybe 1996 Kotite era maybe C. Martin never gets traded to Jets after B. patcells comes along.
4. J.L. williams
5. Sherman Smith

by Jimmy Oz (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 10:31pm

Mack Strong forgotten or omitted?

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 11:31pm

M. Stronf not forrgotten but don't biew him as better thsn Williams (gerat all around back- catchin, running, blocking) or Smotj (early Seahawks days effective runner
M. Strong good bloxker but not big pass catcher or much of threat as runner.

by BigWoody (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 11:44pm

Smotj?? As in Sherman SMITH, Yes?..Maybe?

by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 12:38am

Whoops . Yes Smotj=Smoth

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 7:27am

Greatest. Post. Ever.

by BigWoody (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 1:03pm

Ahh, my RJ decoder ring still works.

by Jimmy Oz (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 1:12am

Sherman Smith's 82 games are a greater contribution to the 15 years of Mack Strong?

Never saw Smith play so have to respect the opinion but it seems odd because I think Mack Strong will eventually be on the Seahawks Ring of Honor & Smith isn't & won't.

by Dean :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 9:14am

Smith did have a great nickname. Tank.

by Theo :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 2:37pm

Even though he made it to a Super Bowl, Jake Delhomme is just a stat line to me.
I have no memories - only rumors.

by tuluse :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 3:02pm

His 5 pick playoff is pretty unforgettable to anyone who watched it.

by Independent George :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 5:12pm

The best part of that was that the next season, he opened with another 5-pick game, and the next morning's headline was "Delhomme, Panthers Already In Playoff Form".

by chemical burn :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 3:03pm

That's a tragedy - he's one of the most entertainingly goofy characters in QB history. He looked like he gave himself his not-quite-right haircuts and would make sad faces that looked like a dog getting confused every time he made a mistake (which was often.) He also was very excitable and utterly uncool - now that i think of it, he almost came across like a real-life version of Adam Sandler in The Waterboy. It was possibly more fun to watch him react to things than to watch him play...

by JimZipCode :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 2:25pm

And yet Delhomme & Carolina very nearly won a Super Bowl vs the Patriots, one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever.

by chemical burn :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 2:31pm

I never meant to even imply he was bad. (Just mistake prone, which I'm pretty sure even his fans would admit is one of his major qualities.)

And if you think that Superbowl was among the most exciting ever, you're ignoring the bottomlessly awful, boring and sloppy first half. Hell, the Patriots have played in four other Superbowls that were all more exciting.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 3:48pm

On the other hand, they also participated in perhaps the worst SB ever.

by BigCheese :: Tue, 06/05/2012 - 9:48pm

I think you mean the greatest, most dominant, most awesome Superbowl ever.

Warning: Opinions may wildly vary if you're not a Chicago Bears fan.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

by JimZipCode :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 4:11pm

Maybe I should have said "exciting second half".

by chemical burn :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 4:56pm

That is more plausible, although I'd still rate at least one other Pats SB second half as more exciting (the first NY Giants one. And the their upset of the Rams was tense and exciting until the end because it was such a wild upset of such an explosive team - it never felt like the Rams couldn't suddenly start making plays and score quickly.)

by AJ (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 3:18pm

I too have a jaded memory of Shaun Alexander. Its hard to know how great he was truly because he played behind an insanely good offensive line. My most vivid memory of him comes from that playoff game against the rams after the hawks were hyped to win the superbowl by dr.z. Againt the pitiful rams that were 8-8 that year, he managed to do next to nothing and forever my opinion of him was soured.

A database stat guy: hmmm...its tough- i guess the rules are that the player has to have almost a workman like zero flare type of style- a la ben jarvis-green-ellis, but can't be on a high profile team. I think thomas jones really fits that bill for me.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 4:31pm

Guys who were just a statline? I'm thinking of the Broncos in that stretch right after Terrell Davis got hurt where Shanahan got 1,000 yards every year out of a different guy. I think Olandis Gary and Mike Bell were in there. Maybe Quentin Griffin?

by Shattenjager :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 5:27pm

Griffin never had 1000 yards or even got close to it. He had a brief run as the starter for 4 games in '04 that ended due to fumbling issues. He is actually memorable to me (as a Bronco fan) mainly for the image of his crying in the locker room after an inopportune fumble one game (though honestly I don't remember which game).

Mike Bell also never got near 1000 yards. He was the lesser part of a committee with Tatum Bell in 2006. He got to play a lot one week because Tatum got hurt, then started as the main back the next week and was so bad that, two weeks after rushing for over 100 yards in a single half, he was inactive for a game. The rest of his career in Denver, he had six carries.

Gary was indeed part of the parade of mediocre (or, in his case, worse) 1000-yard Denver backs.

(Incidentally, those backs actually were, in order, Gary, Mike Anderson, Clinton Portis [Who was much better than the rest of these guys, incidentally, and really shouldn't get lumped in with them.], Reuben Droughns, and Tatum Bell.)

by sundown (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 5:57pm

Portis was very good for the Broncos. Also for the Redskins when he was healthy, which unfortunately for them hasn't been all that often. I remember being really upset when the Portis for Champ Bailey trade went down. Good example of why fans' opinions shouldn't count for much!

The amazing part of that list of backs was that none of them (other than Portis who was clearly much better than the rest) did anything away from Denver. A great example of a smart offensive scheme and a good line setting guys up to succeed. Shanahan even managed that to some degree with quarterbacks, as Brian Griese made a Pro Bowl with the Broncos. And Plummer had some good years there. Honestly, I expected Shanny would work his magic with Washington and have them turned around in short order. Completely missed on that guess. Maybe RG3 will be the ticket.

by AJ (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 6:02pm

its hard to know though since those were also the glory years of tom nalen who was such a good fit as a zone blocking center. I also felt like those teams were sacrificing pass protection for the sake of run blocking.

Finally- i think the trade worked better for the broncos than the skins just because of the fact that backs have a shorter shelf life than corners and great corners are much harder to find than elite rbs.

Otherwise, i guess it was solid all around though its hard to tell if both teams would've been better off just holding onto what they had.

by markus (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 7:32pm

Champ has went to 6 Pro Bowls in 8 years with the Broncos. Portis has been to 1 with the Skins and has played 13 games in the past two seasons combined. I don't see how there can even be a debate over who got the better of that deal. Not that Portis has been bad for the Skins, but Bailey will make the Hall of Fame.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 8:14am

Obviously the Broncos got the better value, but the Skins were lucky to get anything at all for Champ who was about to be a free agent and wanted out of Washington. Really, Champ was a throw-in for the real trade which was a 2nd for Portis, since Washington had basically no leverage with Bailey.

by Dean :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 9:16am

I was thinking the same thing. Not only did the Broncos get Bailey, but they also got a draft pick. And yes, Baily was going to be a free agent, but if I recall, Portis was unhappy with his contract and Denver wasn't going to overpay him.

I think of Portis as one of the most underrated backs of the last decade, but it's still hard to pretend Denver didn't completely rob Washington blind.

by Will Allen :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 12:24pm

I think of that trade as an instance where a great coach had the game pass him by a little bit; in 1982, or even 1992, trading a great cb for a great rb had a better chance of being worthwhile.

by AJ (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 2:19pm

Question i ask is...would denver have been better off keeping portis? I think its probable that a strong running back has more impact than 1 great corner and lets be real, at no time did i feel bailey(while great) was in revis' class of shutdown.

by chemical burn :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 2:32pm

This is insane - Champ was arguably better than Revis at their respective peaks.

by AJ (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 3:12pm

I disagree though its going to be very hard to argue since neither of us have deep metrics to gauge them.

by BigCheese :: Tue, 06/05/2012 - 10:02pm

In my opinnion, Revis vs Bailey right now is like TD vs Ladanian Tomlinson. One has a peak that's pretty much hard to touch, but the other has far more impressive overall body of work. Of course, since Revis still has a lot left toi play (hoepfully), it might eventually become Barry Sanders vs Ladanian Tomlinson.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

by AJ (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 3:13pm

and actually i remember reading in Fo's 2010 almanac that revis had the single most dominant cb season. That it represented nearly 2.5 standard deviations away from the average, or on the magnitude of stuff that no qb or receiver has ever done in history.

by chemical burn :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 3:55pm

Yeah, this will quickly reach an impasse. Champ was as good as they come, though, and will be a first ballot HOF. However, if Revis had one season where he was so far above what any other CB ever accomplished (which I can totally believe) then the comparison might be unfair in the opposite direction than I was originally making: if Revis is one of a kind, then failing to reach his highest heights doesn't really say anything about the relative value and quality of other CB's. Champ was almost certainly better in his prime than any other CB playing right now (and comparable to Revis in 2009 & 2011.)

by tuluse :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 4:09pm

I remember Champ was widely considered the best CB in the league for 3-4 years.

by chemical burn :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 4:14pm

Yeah, it was pretty much undisputed. I remember Big Ben flipping out with joy that he completed a TD pass over him in I think his rookie.

by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 5:04pm

I believe Bailey only gave up one TD all of last season. He's not quite the player he once was, but he's still very good.

by tuluse :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 6:47pm

I think he is still good, but I think part of this would be the rest of Denver's secondary being bad enough teams would rather target them.

by AJ (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 7:07pm

the trouble is...none of us have accepts to deep stats like even today. I hate to trust pff entirely on this, but they and FO are the only guys that actually do the kind of game charting that it takes and even that i recognize is flawed. Since charting really only went back as far as 08, we have no idea how champ was doing all the way back in 04 so the conversation becomes moot almost. It could be champ was was shutdown player but it could also be a name consistently regurgitated because media latched onto it and it just became normal to mention him that way...i can certainly name many many players that kept getting voted to the probowl on these merits alone.

For revis, however, the game charting stats and pff seem to overwhelmingly support that he is the games best corner and by some considerable margin. That and hes playing an era where more than ever passing seems to rule is partly why i am so partial to revis over champ.

by AJ (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 7:13pm

that was supposed to read "none of us have access to deep cover stats back then like we do now"

by Jerry :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 6:56pm

Wasn't that in the AFC Championship after Ben's second year, when "flipping out" had more to do with getting to the Super Bowl?

by chemical burn :: Mon, 06/04/2012 - 1:30pm

No, they had audio of him on the sidelines excitedly asking his team-mates "was it champ?1 was it champ?!" and then reacting with utter glee when they confirmed that it was indeed Champ Bailey he had snuck the ball past. Sure, the big gameness of it was a factor, but Ben clearly was over-joyed to have beaten Bailey specifically.

by markus (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 4:32pm

"Better off keeping Portis?"
Or are you playing hypothetical and imagining he never would have gotten hurt had he stayed in Denver? You're not making much sense. You talk about how much of an impact a strong running back has, but since Portis wasn't able to make Washington any better than lousy, I don't see how he could have been expected to of made a huge difference to Denver.

And the Revis comparison is just a sideshow. Bailey's still a Pro Bowler. And top corners are a far rarer commodity than pretty good running backs. Throwing in the fact the running back in question happens to be injury prone just makes it an easier call.

by chemical burn :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 5:09pm

One correction - the only times the Redskins have not been sub-par (they haven't been exactly lousy, though) in the past decade are the 2 years they made the playoff primarily on the strength of Portis' all-around excellence as a RB. He had 1,500 yards in 2005 for a team that went 10-6 and won a playoff game. Portis was a huge part of that - their QB was an aging Mark Brunell, and their #2 WR Mr. David Patten himself, who had all of 22 catches. They got another 14 catches from their woeful slot WR, the Eagles' cast-off James Trash. This was not a good offense aside from Portis - he more or less carried them, even though Moss and Cooley were perfectly good players.

In 2007, they went 9-7 and Portis rushed for over 1,200 yards, was their #4 receiver with 47 receptions & about 400 yards - plus Moss had a down year, Antwaan randle-El was their #2 WR and Jason Campbell was their QB. With an average back, that team doesn't even sniff the playoffs. They got essentially 4 full-speed seasons out of Portis and went to the playoffs twice in those years. Meanwhile, their starting QB's were Patrick Ramsey, Brunell and Campbell. They weren't making the post-season baed on QB play, that's for sure.

Bailey, however, is awesome.

by Shattenjager :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 7:40pm

I actually think Portis was a borderline HOF talent whose production was severely limited by being on some very poor offenses after leaving Denver. Just to put my database of all of the Shanahan-era RBs to use, here is what Denver's running game did (with every back who had at least 20 carries counted and everyone who had fewer than 20 and all WRs and QBs not counted) without Portis '04-'08:

2004: 455 carries, 2028 yards, 4.46 YPC, 9 fumbles, 212 DYAR, 1.89% DVOA
2005: 465 carries, 2204 yards, 4.74 YPC, 6 fumbles, 530 DYAR, 17.1% DVOA
2006: 380 carries, 1708 yards, 4.49 YPC, 6 fumbles, 113 DYAR, -1.64% DVOA
2007: 351 carries, 1663 yards, 4.74 YPC, 6 fumbles, 139 DYAR, 1.36% DVOA
2008: 284 carries, 1376 yards, 4.85 YPC, 3 fumbles, 353 DYAR, 19.5% DVOA

Note: Somehow, I forgot to include fumbles when I first posted. The fumbles are just the total number of fumbles all of the counted players had each year. I don't know if the data even exists to find out whether they were rushing fumbles, let alone where to find it.

I've long since given up saying anything about Bailey, so I'll leave that to the rest of you.

by Alaaaa (not verified) :: Mon, 06/04/2012 - 11:23pm

Your argument is mooted by the fact that Ladell Betts was actually more effective than Portis when he got a chance to start. By any measure it was a terrible trade for the Redskins. The whole "throw in" bs makes no sense because neither player was going to sign--it was "my disgruntled" for your'n. The second rounder made it a fleecing.

The when you add in the fact that Portis didn't add too much value above Betts, and that even worse, when you consider value on the basis of performance above pay, the trade pretty much ensured the Redskins had a low ceiling. You could have Portis, or you could have Betts plus a second round receiver, plus a pretty good free agent guard, or receiver, or pass rusher. Remember, the Redskins were operating with sub replacement starters and barely functional backups at a number of positions.

Ironically, the argument made above for Portis in Denver is also a good one. For a pretty good team, instead of being dragged down as he was with the Redskins (and ground down too) he was a home run hitter that did really add value.

by Shattenjager :: Tue, 06/05/2012 - 12:30am

"Ladell Betts was actually more effective than Portis when he got a chance to start."

Betts only started more than one game in 2006, when he started 9. That year, he essentially performed equally to Portis, statistically. (Yes he had a noticeably higher ypc, but he also fumbled six times in 245 carries while Portis did not fumble at all in his 127. That essentially equalizes them, and their DVOAs are the same.)
The rest of the time, Portis was essentially always significantly better. Their receiving numbers are very similar throughout the period that they played together ('04-'09), so here are the rushing numbers:

Ladell Betts 2004: 90 carries, 371 yards (4.12 ypc), 0 fumbles, 13 DYAR, -5.2% DVOA
Clinton Portis 2004: 343 carries, 1315 yards (3.83 ypc), 5 fumbles, -32 DYAR (rank 39), -10.8% DVOA (rank 38)
Ladell Betts 2005: 89 carries, 338 yards (3.80 ypc), 3 fumbles, -11 DYAR, -11.8% DVOA
Clinton Portis 2005: 352 carries, 1516 yards (4.31 ypc), 3 fumbles, 287 DYAR (rank 9), 11.0% DVOA (rank 9)
Ladell Betts 2006: 245 carries, 1154 yards (4.71 ypc), 6 fumbles, 194 DYAR (rank 11), 11.6% DVOA (rank 9)
Clinton Portis 2006: 127 carries, 523 yards (4.12 ypc), 0 fumbles, 111 DYAR (rank 19), 11.6% DVOA (rank 8)
Ladell Betts 2007: 93 carries, 335 yards (3.60 ypc), 1 fumble, -21 DYAR, -13.9% DVOA)
Clinton Portis 2007: 325 carries, 1262 yards (3.88 ypc), 6 fumbles, 75 DYAR (rank 26), -3.0% DYAR (rank 30)
Ladell Betts 2008: 61 carries, 206 yards, (3.38 ypc), 1 fumble, 7 DYAR, -6.1% DVOA
Clinton Portis 2008: 342 carries, 1487 yards (4.35 ypc), 3 fumbles, 285 DYAR (rank 3), 11.7% DVOA (rank 8)
Ladell Betts 2009: 56 carries, 210 yards (3.75 ypc), 15 DYAR, -2.1% DVOA
Clinton Portis 2009: 124 carries, 494 yards (3.98 ypc), -39 DYAR (rank 44), -16.5% DVOA (rank 45)

There are plenty of good arguments to make that the trade was terrible for the Redskins, but that "Ladell Betts was actually more effective than Portis when he got a chance to start" is not one of them. Clinton Portis was much better than Ladell Betts.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 8:20am

We also can't assume that defenses approached the game in the same way when Betts was in the game to when Portis was. It's entirely plausible that extra men were brought into the box to deal with Portis significantly more often than with Betts.

by AJ (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 7:12pm

im trying to argue something before the fact rather than after which is difficult. I said forget the longevity issue of it, portis with denver made that offensive line scary. we didn't really know about his injury concerns or anything like that, but i argued that a powerful run game is more valuable than a single dominant corner. I say that not to diminish the value of a corner but because i think having a good pass defense requires an even mix of good players in coverage. One example of this is the bengals of 09 when they had the duel corner combo of hall and jojo, yet their pass defense was barely above average. Why? because their linebackers and safeties sucked.

In hindsight the trade is obviously one sided, but im trying to argue at the time should denver have made that move knowing what a rb brings vs a corner is all im saying.

by RickD :: Sat, 06/02/2012 - 1:16pm

Ask Tom Brady if he thinks the Broncos would have been better off keeping Portis. I'm sure he'd say "yes".

That would mean one more Super Bowl trip for the Patriots.

by AJ (not verified) :: Sat, 06/02/2012 - 2:24pm

LOLOL. You know that was around the time someone was making the case that brady has a real penchant for only throwing ints in the end zone :p. Of course, they were still usually winning the games anyway

by Led :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 7:09pm

"But a 60-yard touchdown is a 60-yard touchdown, except in Jets camp, where it is an imaginary sack for Quinton Coples."

I don't get that joke.

by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 10:07pm

I married a lovely Aussie, and I'm from North Carolina. We didn't always understand each other in 1999, but now we often do.

by jamie_k74 :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 12:32am

I'm an Aussie, and in Scotland several years ago I couldn't understand the women to save my life. The men, no problem. Speaking with Scottish women before or since, ie. not in Scotland, no problem. But for a week, the only time I understood a single word that came out of a female's mouth was when I was sitting in a cafe, and a teenager at the next table gestured at the fridge and I heard "doo-doo-doo-doo-doo Coca-cola doo-doo-doo-doo-doo". The only language we had in common was American.

by MJK :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 7:51pm

My wife is always bringing home foreign movies to watch. So when she brought home Trainspotting and they started talking, I kept looking for the subtitles.

by Independent George :: Sat, 06/02/2012 - 8:39am

Did you ever see 'Sexy Beast', with Ben Kingsley? I swear it took me 45-minutes to understand what they were saying in a 90-minute movie.

by RickD :: Sat, 06/02/2012 - 1:19pm

The range of accents inside Great Britain is far larger than it is in the former colonies. That's because of divergence time.

Ben Kingsley was easy to understand in Sexy Beast. Every third word was see you next Tuesday.

I found Trainspotting incomprehensible. And I happened to see Little Voice in Germany and was forced to read the subtitles (in German) because the original accents were so baffling.

by AJ (not verified) :: Sat, 06/02/2012 - 2:27pm

Explain what you mean by that. I always found it curious about UK in that way too. I have been all over it, britain, wales, scotland and even ireland and they all have a different accent and i was never really sure why given its size. The only thing i could believe was this necessity to hold onto regional pride. Either that, or it might've been like japan where the class rigidities were so strong that there were barriers to mixing.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Sat, 06/02/2012 - 6:31pm

Having to speak and be understood by a wider range of people speaking your language retards change in an accent. Smaller communities yield more rapid changes, and communities more isolated from one another diverge more. One fact that surprises many is that if you go back to the time when British and American English began diverging from one another and compare to modern accents, it's far closer to GenAm than to RP.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sat, 06/02/2012 - 6:31pm

I would say the UK has regional accents because it has been inhabited for the better part of 5-10,000 years and was made up of many tribes. Over those years it has been invaded by various armies from Europe who also brought their range of dialects. It's only the past hundred years or less that people have left their hometowns to go work elsewhere.

by Karl Cuba :: Mon, 06/04/2012 - 11:45am

You're all wrong, we just mix up the accents to confuse you foreigners. When on our own we all sound exactly like Patrick Stewart, even the women and children.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 8:45am

Right. I mean, until probably the middle of the last century, even small villages a few miles apart might have noticeably distinct accents from one another. For a lot of people, the World Wars were the first time they or anyone in their immediate family had been more than walking distance from the house they were born in. Hell, my Grandad's old gardener never went more than three miles from Hurst in his entire life.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 8:38am

Trainspotting's not just Scottish - it's thick Glaswegian, which is a strong contender for most incomprehensible accent in the British Isles, along with Geordie (Newcastle), Scouse (Liverpool) and Black Country (Birmingham and surrounds). All of those exist in mild forms which are fairly easy to deal with, but when they're thick I generally don't have a clue what people are saying.

RP's also a funny beast - the further up the class system you go, the less regional variation there is, so that lower middle class accents are simply milder versions of whatever's local, middle-middle class accents pretty much come in three flavours (Estuary-tinged RP, Northern RP and Scots RP) and above that there's just RP (or heightened RP, in a very few mostly old cases).

The other thing I find interesting at the moment is the progress of the latest round of radiation from London. What would conventionally be thought of as Cockney or Estuary accents are now found even as far afield as Cornwall (albeit with a slight West Country lilt) among people my age or younger, while young people in the capital now increasingly speak in a heavily Jamaican-influenced dialect. Cockney's now for the over 40s and the commuter belt.

by tuluse :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 11:47am

I remember when Karen Gillan first started on Doctor Who a lot of people accused her of Americanizing her accent, then she started giving interviews and it was just how she talked. I thought it was pretty funny.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 7:54pm

Really? I'm a pretty avid Who fan, and it never even occurred to me that she might not be using her natural accent. Then again, she is from Inverness, and I guess you don't often hear people from that far north. Because, you know, there aren't many.

by tuluse :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 8:49pm

A lot might be an exaggeration, but I heard the complaint enough, mostly by people looking for things to complain about.

by Mr Shush :: Sat, 06/09/2012 - 4:12pm

Avid, but unconnected. I have two close friends who are, if anything, bigger fans than me, with whom I discuss it, and a few more acquaintances who like and watch it, but I don't really participate in the broader Whovian community. People could well have been shouting it to the rooftops on Planet Gallifrey without my noticing.

by Bright Blue Shorts :: Fri, 06/15/2012 - 4:09pm

Speaking of Scottish/English accents - I'm always amazed when I see David Tennant in real life or adverts and he turns out to have a noticeably Scottish accent. His performances "speaking" English as The Doctor were superb.

by Mr Shush :: Sat, 06/16/2012 - 4:27pm

It's immaculate, but to be honest RP is so widely required that a UK drama school that didn't equip its students to do it well would be in serious dereliction of duty. He's an RSAMD boy, and RSAMD (or RCS, as it is now) is a top, top school.

by tuluse :: Sat, 06/02/2012 - 2:21pm

I went to an international school for 1st grade and had a Scottish teacher. I could understand her just fine at the time, but my dad tells me he never had any idea what she was saying.

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 05/31/2012 - 10:44pm

I was in the Navy from 1980-1985. After boot camp, I was stationed overseas the entire time. Any player whose peak years happened during those years is nothing but a stat line to me. George Rogers. William Andrews. Even John Jefferson playing for my Packers. It was the only time the Packers were competitive for consecutive years between 1968-1992 with Dickey, Lofton, JJ, Coffman, and Phil Epps, and in those pre-internet days I could only follow it through Stars and Stripes delivered 1-5 days late.

by armchair journe... :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 5:21am

1. Antowain Smith
2. Keenen McCardell
3. Jimmy Smith
4. Fred Taylor (early years)
5. Tatum Olandis Droughns

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 8:18am

Robert Smith for me.

by Honest Abe (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 12:51pm

Simply not true to say that the Boston accent --- pahk your cah in Hahvad Yahd --- is limited to Chelsea, Southie or Dorchester. The most famous, or at least most widely heard, wielder of that accent was John F. Kennedy, who spent probably a nanosecond in downmarket Southie when he wasn't seeking votes there. As for Spags, didn't know he was from Northbridge, where I worked years ago --- it's outside Worcester, about 40 miles from Boston, and has an accent all its own, a sort of glottal grow, heavy on the r's that are dropped in Boston.

by RichC (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 4:42pm

If its outside Worcester, and not in Boston, its not the boston accent.

by dbostedo :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 5:49pm

I'd guess that most people use "Boston accent" to describe a fairly large area of New England that have accents that vary slightly. I know I do...

Much the same way as most people wouldn't necessarily differentiate between northern Jersey, Long Island, and Brooklyn, even if there are slight differences.

I think living in a place definitely skews your appreciations of accents. People not from the southern US tend to lump all "southern" accents together, even though there's a wide variation. And people in the US lump all British accents together, even though there's a wide variation, etc.

I think Boston gets the same treatment from many people.

by Shattenjager :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 7:04pm

I've often wondered if we just hear natural accents so rarely compared to affected ones (movies, tv, etc.) that we believe in the existence of many accents that simply don't exist in the real world.

I grew up in Colorado. I lived there for 24 years. I have heard many tales of the "Colorado accent" that I don't have. I have never heard anyone in Colorado with that accent. Indeed, I have never heard anyone speak naturally with that accent. I've heard it in movies, though.

by RickD :: Sat, 06/02/2012 - 1:21pm

We still have no idea what Sarah Palin's accent is supposed to be. It has nothing to do with Alaska, and seems to have little relation to Idaho, where she grew up.

by RichC (not verified) :: Sun, 06/03/2012 - 8:21pm

"I have heard many tales of the "Colorado accent" that I don't have. I have never heard anyone in Colorado with that accent. Indeed,"

And I hear the same thing about the Boston Accent that I don't have. Despite growing up about 6 miles from boston.

by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 06/06/2012 - 7:34pm

That kind of flat accent is easy to hear, though not just in Colorado.

A local sports column around here is called: "Cheap Shots, Deep Thoughts, and Bon Mots." Obviously, all three of those vowels are meant to rhyme, and Colorado is another place where I think they would for most speakers.

Like the way, in Colorado, it's hard to hear the difference between "Don" and "Dawn." It's just lost the "aw" sound, so you get "thots" instead of "thawts."

by dryheat :: Thu, 06/07/2012 - 10:41am

This is not that different from a Boston accent, or at least the way it was spoken near where I grew up (SE Mass). Don and Dawn rhyme. Hot and Haught rhyme. It's the New Yorkers and New Jersians, in my experience who pronounce "Don" as "Dahn" and Hot as "Haht".

by bravehoptoad :: Thu, 06/07/2012 - 2:53pm

On the other hand, Colorado is one of a diminishing number of places in the U. S. where interrogative pronouns can begin with the "hw" sound. All over America, journalists are asking themselves the important questions: Wat? Wen? Wear? and of course, Y?

I've been made fun of on both coasts, north and south, for my "hw"s. "Hey hoptoad," they'll say, "Hhhhhhhhhhwere are going tonight?"

This is good news for stutterers. There's no phoneme worse to get stuck on than "hw." Your lungs can run out of air, and no one knows you're trying to make a sound.

by dryheat :: Thu, 06/07/2012 - 3:14pm

Do you say Cool Hwip?

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 8:57am

I think with British accents it's the opposite. In British TV and films, you basically have RP, heightened RP, West Country, Cockney, Essex, Brummie, Scouse, Manc, Geordie, Welsh, non-Glasgow Scots, Glaswegian, Ulster, Dublin and Cork. All those exist in real life, but there is a hell of a lot more variation than that, even within their core originating areas.

And when there's an English character in a US film or TV show, they frequently speak in a "British" accent which doesn't exist anywhere - often even when the actor actually is English. It's a sort of bastard cross between Cockney and Mancunian. Particularly egregious examples are Spike in Buffy and Emily in Friends. Possibly that's just what English actors deficient in poshness enough that their native accent is something other than cut-glass RP end up sounding like after living too long in California, and local dialect coaches have mistaken it for the real thing.

by Honest Abe (not verified) :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 12:53pm

That's glottal growl.

by LionInAZ :: Fri, 06/01/2012 - 5:38pm

Maybe beside the point, but I thought that Ben Affleck was the self-appointed face of Bostonia these days, rather than Matt Damon. Even though Affleck was born in Berkeley.

by RickD :: Sat, 06/02/2012 - 1:27pm

Affleck's Boston accent, while decent, doesn't sound natural like Wahlberg's.

The Departed is a great film for seeing different actors' approaches to the Boston accent. Wahlberg just turns it on. DiCaprio kind of half-does it.

Jack Nicholson didn't bother to do anything.

Reminds me of that stretch when Sean Connery played an Irish cop with a Scottish accent, an Egyptian swordsman (who worked in Spain) with a Scottish accent, and a Russian submarine captain with a Scottish accent.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Sun, 06/03/2012 - 8:27pm

Ahh Highlander.

With a Scot playing a Spaniard and a Frenchman playing a Scot.

by nat :: Sun, 06/03/2012 - 11:01pm

I'm okay with Connery in Red October. He was playing a Lithuanian sub captain in the Soviet navy speaking Russian. Translated into English, Connery's Scottish accent makes perfect, if perverse, sense. They could have tried for a Lithuanian accent. But who would recognize one, or draw the right inferences? Unaccented English would have been bad. A standard Russian accent would not have marked him as somehow different from his crew.

by Independent George :: Mon, 06/04/2012 - 9:52am

If you heard Harrison Ford's accent as a Russian submarine captain, you wouldn't complain about Connery's.

That said, I really enjoyed the scene where they switched from Russian to English while the GRU officer was reading from Ramius' books. He speaks Russian while the camera slowly zooms in on his mouth, then stops on his pause, and the camera pulls back and he starts speaking English. Very artfully done.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 9:02am

When you have a voice like Shir Sean's, you can do what the hell you like.

When I watched Revenge of the Sith, I initially thought Hayden Christensen was giving an inhumanly awful performance. Then I started trying to deliver his lines inside my head in such a way as to make them work. It was impossible. I tried everything. Then I tried saying them like Connery. They sounded fine. Absolutely anything sounds awesome if you say it like Sean Connery.

by Independent George :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 11:53am

The Morgan Freeman Voice also works.

by Insancipitory :: Wed, 06/13/2012 - 5:34pm

As a criticism of your theory, I submit the movie "Chain Reaction."

by chemical burn :: Mon, 06/04/2012 - 1:38pm

The best ridiculous accent ever is Michael Caine playing a German parachute commander speaking with a cockney accent in The Eagle has Landed. He's supposed to be going undercover to kidnap Churchill and a big part of the plot hinges on him being able to pass for English. "What? Me pass for English, ay? Bollocks."

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 9:03am

I'm not sure it even counts as an accent. It's not like anyone else, anywhere in the world, ever has talked like Michael Caine.

Except for people doing Michael Caine impressions, obviously.

by chemical burn :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 12:41pm

Certainly, no German paratrooper commander.

by dryheat :: Mon, 06/04/2012 - 2:00pm

Gabrielle Anwar's Irish brogue lasted exactly one episode of Burn Notice before they told her to give it up and explained it away as her character not wanting to tip somebody off that she was former IRA.

It was necessary...her accent was so bad it distracted me from eye-banging her for minutes at a time. If I were constructing my ideal women, Gabrielle Anwar circa 1995 would be my jumping-off point...and there would be very little fine-tuning being done.

But still, one off the all-time worst accents. I've heard partially-deaf, drunk, Greek immigrants from Minnesota do a more convincing brogue.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 06/04/2012 - 2:20pm

Have you ever heard Orson Welles in Lady from Shanghai? Now there is an embarrassing brogue. I can't attest to its possible veracity (like if anyone has ever sounded like that), but it is one of the most over-the-top accents you will ever hear, delivered with gusto and over-emphasis on every syllable.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 06/08/2012 - 9:05am

I like the bits in Star Wars that were (presumably) filmed before someone realised that Carrie Fisher attempting RP was a hiding to nothing and told her to stop.

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by Dean :: Mon, 06/04/2012 - 4:05pm

Eh, not to trample the dead or anything, but Pat made a better sandwich. Gino's used advertizing. Pat's didn't need to advertize.

Then again, I'd still rather head up to Oregon Ave to Tony Luke's and leave the tourists behind.

by chemical burn :: Mon, 06/04/2012 - 4:28pm

Eh, even Tony Luke's gets all "authenticity tourists" these days. It is, however, still a better sandwich than the others. I'll never understand the appeal of Gino's. I guess it's a reasonably cool little building and whatnot - it's more fun to take a photo of than eat at...