Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Champagne wishes


When the Ravens scored in the third fourth quarter to take a touchdown lead, Tony Kornheiser pointed out that Shula had grabbed his back in excitement. Shula pretended like he wasn't rooting against anybody ... but we knew. -- Deadspin, Dec. 4, 2007.

It would certainly be nice to have once been part of some band of brothers that achieved something singular and unique. And it would be nice, if, once a year, all of us having gone our separate ways, we paused our lives at the same moment to celebrate and remember all that we accomplished.

If, however, that cause for commemoration was that someone else had failed, leaving the glory alone to us, I would have to wonder how people had lived with me all this time. What an ugly spectacle the 1972 Miami Dolphins now seem to be making of themselves, with the New England Patriots aiming at an undefeated season that would not just match the Dolphins' achievement, but surpass it by two wins at 19-0-0.

Yes, the Patriots have cheated. Yes, I too am tired of hearing each of them held up for adulation as if the men who don that uniform are somehow jewels the rest of the league, never mind us mere mortals, can never hope to equal. Yes, I have my own team's interests in mind, too.

But man, how narcissistic must you be to celebrate someone falling short of your own achievements? I wonder who else is this awful? Do you think Max Planck put his fist through his hat when Einstein won the Nobel Prize three years later? Do you think Sebastian Coe kicks his Corgi every time someone says the name "Hicham El Guerrouj"?

I mean, not to indulge in metaphor here, but the behavior of the 1972 Dolphins is something like if Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay busted out the Piper-Heidsieck every time the Nepalese Air Force had to helicopter a corpse off of Everest.

31 comments:

Todd said...

Indeed.

dmbmeg said...

Shula's an asshat. He can fucking asterisk my ass all he wants, the Patriots would have beaten the Jets regardless of the "cheating".

The Jets are just that bad.

On a somewhat related note, I'm less excited for the Pats to go 16-0 in the regular season than the Dolphins to go 0-16. Oh, the irony. Kind of.

J. Businger said...

Wake up, for God's sake. What you're bemoaning is what college football is all about under the tyranny of BCS -- the same BCS you have vociferously defended.

Instead of only worrying about winning the games on their schedule and earning a championship on their own, the BCS forces teams to (a) cheer for those ranked above them to lose; and (b)talk down teams ranked above them in an effort to convince poll voters to alter their rankings.

Ohio State didn't earn their way to the title game. Thhey stayed home on a Saturday night and -- just like Don Shula last night -- cheered their hearts out for someone to lose. Ditto for LSU.

voidoid said...

Wouldn't a playoff system simply cause the same problem of which teams to include as the current BCS system, except with an expanded pool of slots to fill? I'd rather argue about which 2-loss team deserves to be in the national title picture than which 4-loss sacrificial lamb will get plastered by the #1 seed in the first round.

CrimeNotes said...

Sweet, Businger's back. This thread'll have 80 comments by midnight.

What Voidoid said, and then multiply the arguments over three- and four-loss sacrificial lambs by about 15-20. It'd be fun. Just awesome. Because we need more arguments about process and less attention to games.

J. Businger said...

Voidvoid: The current system leaves out ZERO loss teams: Hawaii, Boise State, Auburn, Utah and Tulane.

All I'm advocating is a simple objective criteria: If you win your conference -- no small feat these days -- you get a bid to a tournament. To even things out (and allow for conference ties and, in certain years, a non-conference Notre Dame team) there would be five at-large spots, awarded based on some sort of BCS-like model.

16 teams. Four rounds. We play it out on the field. My zero-loss Hawaii gets in and plays at USC in round one. If they're as God-awful as some here seem to believe, they'll lose, they'll be out, and the better team will move on. You'll never hear me or anyoen complain they didn't get a fair shake.

But this BCS system is just rotten to the core. Teams don't earn their way in. Ohio State sat on the couch on Saturday night and suddenly "advanced" to the championship game. And take a look at some of the coaches' ballots. This is how we decide a champion?!?!

J. Businger said...

'Notes wrote:

"Because we need more arguments about process and less attention to games."

Oh please. Of all the disingenuous comments...

Your precious BCS system carves out a FIVE-WEEK gap at the end of every season devoid of meaningful games and filled with "arguments about process."

Here's a fucking novel idea: Let's play games in December. I'm all for it. You seem to be against it.

But I'm the one who wants less attention on games?!

dmbmeg said...

Wait, I don't know about you guys, but I cheer for upsets in basketball too, so I'm not sure how a bracket would solve the issue Flop is addressing.

Also, I'm going out tonight, so I anticipate lots of comments so I can answer them all in a most confusing, belligerent manner.

Fun, right?

GO Gentlemen, GO.

dmbmeg said...

J Businger-
Let's play games in December.

But what will I do New Years Day when I'm all boozy and hungover?

CrimeNotes said...

Here's a fucking novel idea: Let's not have a BCS or a playoff and go back to the old system, where a clusterfuck was a clusterfuck and wasn't confused with justice or junk methodology.

I've never defended the BCS. There's a difference between rejecting a tournament and endorsing the BCS. Unfortunately, the BCS opened the door to endless arguments about fairness and equities and now people who pretend to know something get bogged down in arguments about the relative merit of Hawaii. A tournament is old whine in a new bottle.

Scrap it all. More Bluebonnet Bowls and parades themed around agricultural products. Let's all cut the bullshit and stop pretending there can ever be a fair and equitable system. We will call a mess a mess and treat it accordingly and give it the respect it deserves. There will be split titles and occasionally an undefeated team will get screwed, but at least there won't be a myth of legitimacy, justice or process.

dmbmeg said...

GOOOOOOOO HAWKEYES!

J. Businger said...

There can never be a purely fair and equitable system in any realm. That doesn't mean we can't -- or shouldn't -- strive for a system that is as fair and equitable as possible.

You can't guarantee that votes aren't illegally cast in every election. It happens all the time. Does that mean we should scrap this democracy thing and just install a monarchy?

(Bad example, perhaps, given the dueling Bush and Clinton lines we seem to have established -- but still.)

A tournament is vastly more fair, orderly and FUN than either the current BCS system or the old bowl set-up. Actually, there are many more bowls now than there were in the pre-BCS days. And we could keep all of them -- and the parades - if we have a tournament. They'd be just as relevant -- or irrelevant -- as they are now.

J. Businger said...

And btw, it is not the BCS that introduced the idea of "fairness" into the post-season discussions. Were you a football fan growing up? Do you remember the "split champinships" back in the '80s and early '90s and how infuriating they were? I'll always wonder what that Penn State/Nebraska game would have been like in '94. Or Washington/Miami in 1991. Or Colorado/Georgia Tech in '90. And so on.

What I'm proposing really isn't that radical.

dmbmeg said...

I feel like I've seen this argument before. Can we fight about something else?

J. Businger said...

Proposed subject: Dogs named Sneakers -- good thing or bad?

CrimeNotes said...

Can we fight about something else?

Sure. I want to punch Flop in the head for writing the following (as reported on your site):

I was beyond lucky growing up -- my school's class trips were to Toronto, Williamsburg and Washington.

What kind of retard thinks that trips to Colonial (presumably) Williamsburg and Toronto are "beyond lucky" but any kid who goes to Disney World is screwed for life?

CrimeNotes said...

Businger: Was the dog actually wearing sneakers?

J. Businger said...

No. The name was simply a reference to the 1992 film.

dmbmeg said...

It is now official. The four (I'm including Flop) have entered some weird blog commenting status where we only comment about what we commented about on our various blogs.

I feel like one of the cool kids.

CrimeNotes said...

I feel like one of the cool kids.

Good. Because your observation leaves me feeling embarrassed.

CrimeNotes said...

That sounded harsher than I meant. I suppose being aware of comments on other blogs isn't any more embarrassing than knowing that Flop considers himself "beyond lucky" to have seen Toronto as a child.

Continue commenting.

dmbmeg said...

Don't be embarrassed. I was just away from my computer.

PS I am thoroughly disappointed at the number of comments I get to respond to under the influence this evening.

dmbmeg said...

where is everyone? I need entertainment.

CrimeNotes said...

Shhh ... Daddy's working. You can keep pestering Businger. He seems to enjoy it.

dmbmeg said...

But...but...NO FAIR.

I'm trying, but he is slower in response than you are. As Beyonce said, my dearest crimenotes, "You're irreplaceable."

Flop said...

there would be five at-large spots, awarded based on some sort of BCS-like model.

So you admit that the BCS' methodology is the best way to choose a champion? Why all your excess bullshit, then? You're clearly of the mind that the BCS chooses wisely.

But what will I do New Years Day when I'm all boozy and hungover?

The same thing you do the other 287 days of the year you spend all boozy and hungover. It's not my problem, Toots.

You people can all kiss my grits. I saw 25 comments on here and was impressed that I must have struck a chord, but no. It's just that insect, Businger.

dmbmeg said...

Someone was clearly cranky at 4:30am.

JHC said...

This is quite possibly the most disappointing thread I've ever cast my fair visage upon. I thought Flop constructed a well-reasoned post (that which I completely disagree with) and even concluded it with an hilarious age-old Ed Hillary metaphor - then I read the comments.

Businger: Anyone who constructs or deconstructs an argument using the word fair should be beaten about the face, head, chest, and neck with a pillowcase containing 3 bars of Irish Spring® soap for a period of no less than 7 minutes. I'm not being provocative here; you should really be beaten for graduating to adulthood (this is certainly a tenuous description, to be sure) and thinking this word holds any weight. Your comments have left me less intelligent, and for that, you owe me an apology.

CrimeNotes: You're better than this. There are 3 rules of arguing, and you broke the most important one: Do not argue with someone who's unable to listen to, or understand, your point. I'm gravely disappointed in you, old chap.

Flop: You will not walk away cleanly here. You're just as guilty as the others for this. If you think you're not, I'd like to introduce you to the man who says he's not responsible for the children floating face down in his unfenced backyard swimming pool. You are responsible for the comments below your post. Every single one of them. Shame on you, sir.

Meg: Your comments were the most cogent in this entire tapestry of inanity. This is perhaps more disheartening than anything else.

CrimeNotes said...

JHC -- I struggled over whether I should entertain Mr. Businger's missives, or, as you rightly suggest, conclude that he is someone not be reasoned with and move on. It's long been clear that Mr. Businger's agenda, whatever one thinks of his arguments, is not to engaged in reasoned discussion, but to build an army of converts. He behaves accordingly.

To some degree, I find his achievements impressive. On his own site, he live-blogged a series of fictional games in meticulous detail, going so far as to criticize the observations of various announcers who weren't announcing games that didn't happen. It's very imaginative. In private correspondence, I attempted to engage in Mr. Businger in neutral discussions and a series of hypothetical questions; first he avoided addressing them, and then accused me of conspiring against him, and ultimately conceded that he had no interest in mulling assorted incentives and implications because he was so convinced of the righteousness of his vision.

Hence, the futility of my responses was clear before I even made them. Ultimately, as co-proprietor of this site, I wanted to "stir things up" and see a quarrel continue. Businger himself is beyond serious engagement.

J. Businger said...

SHOT: "Anyone who constructs or deconstructs an argument using the word fair should be beaten about the face..."

-- Coleslaw Blog commenter "JHC"


CHASER: "This is quite possibly the most disappointing thread I've ever cast my fair visage upon."

-- Coleslaw Blog commenter "JHC"

dmbmeg said...

I don't even understand this analogy, and I'm kind of a drunk.