Weekly Roundup 2/7/09

With the cold, dark void of the off-season upon us, I think the next few roundups will be more monthly than weekly. But for now, here's the last edition from a great 2008 season.

A hot topic leading up to the Super Bowl was Kurt Warner's Hall of Fame prospects. There seemed to be two camps: he's already in, and he needs one more ring to get in. I'll leave my own opinion out of the discussion except for one point. The "he needs one more ring" argument is almost completely irrational. Kurt Warner, last time I checked, doesn't play defense. He led three teams to Super Bowls and (except for a few final seconds of desperation) he never walked off the field with his team behind. At age 37 he torched the best pass defense of the decade for 377 yards and 8.4 yds per attempt.

I'd buy arguments like he's benefited disproportionately from exceptional receivers, or hasn't had a long enough career, but to rest the decision on a defense allowing an 88-yard drive or Adam Vinatieri making a field goal is almost nuts. I say almost because as Tom Tango points out, it's the Hall of Fame and not the Hall of Merit.

I'd like to do 'similarity scores' like the baseball guys do, particularly for players like Warner. We could compare who he's most similar to, and see if those comparable players are Hall of Famers. PFRs "Approximate Value" ratings are probably the closest thing. I'd like to know Warner's career AV and compare it to those of other HoF-type players.

JKL of PFR made a compelling case for Derrick Thomas who was selected last week. I wasn't familiar with his life story, and I'm now pleased he made it because I'm partial to sons of fighter pilots (even one who doesn't eat all his vegetables or finish his math homework, or one who beats me in fantasy football!)

Smart Football breaks down the one play Warner most wishes he had back.

Cold Hard Football Facts ranks the top Super Bowl drives of all time. I agree that the Giants' game winning drive from last year tops the Steelers'. Anything but a TD would have meant doom for New York. Tyree's catch was simply one of kind. Plus, Giants had the underdog thing going for them.

The Numbers Guy looks at championships per capita and points us to the "Donovan Index." Pittsburgh ranks among the top cities.

Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi asks if Pat Tillman is worthy of the Hall of Fame. I'd go a step further and turn the question around. Is the football Hall of Fame worthy of men like Pat Tillman? When you think of it like that, it illustrates the pure silliness of the Hall of Fame and professional sports in general. (Silly, but fun.) The term we use when someone is named to the Hall is enshrined. Isn't that a little much? Are these people martyred saints or something?

I think it would be a fitting tribute, even if Tillman's football career does not merit selection, his decision to give up the NFL does. And we're not talking about merit, but fame--right?

Does the fact that friendly fire caused his death instead of an enemy bullet change your perception at all? I hope not. Most people do not understand what friendly fire is all about. Combat by its nature is extremely confusing and uncertain. The modern US military can be so effective, so incredibly lethal, that its greatest danger is sometimes itself. Friendly fire is an unfortunate byproduct of uncertainty and lethality in war by highly trained but imperfect humans.

Tillman gave up a privileged life and answered the call of his country in a time of need. That alone is something to revere. And regardless of who fired the bullet with his name on it, he died honorably defending you and me. In a time of athlete-worship, Tillman stands out.

Those too-serious "G" commercials from Gatorade, with the sports stars panning across the screen, begin by saying, "It's the emblem of a warrior." Well, no it isn't. There isn't a single warrior in that ad (except perhaps Jackie Robinson who was drafted into the Army for a year). Those players between the goal lines who we call heroes are not courageous warriors. They are highly paid gifted athletes. It does not take much courage to face a charging 240 lb linebacker at all...if you're a 220 lb running back...being paid a million dollars. And it's not so courageous to play with a sprained MCL if it's your shot at personal glory, and it's probably to the detriment of your team.

So I'd say of course Pat Tillman deserves to be in the Hall, if only because his story puts everything else in perspective.

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4 Responses to “Weekly Roundup 2/7/09”

  1. KiranR says:

    Well said!

  2. Greetings says:

    If you're gonna to stats on Warner, you got to do his fumbles per game and fumbles per start. He's horrendous in that category.

  3. Anonymous says:

    well said about the "G" commercials.

  4. Borat says:

    "JKL of PFR made a compelling case for Derrick Thomas who was selected last week. I wasn't familiar with his life story, and I'm now pleased he made it because I'm partial to sons of fighter pilots (even one who dosn't eat all his vegetables or finish his math homework, or even beat me in fantasy football!)"

    But Brain. Your son, HueyLewis, does beat you at fantasy football.

    Also it looks as though his father dosn't finish his spelling homework!

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