Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lookalike Friday

Sorry guys. I thought long and hard all week, but couldn't come up with anything good. There were a few that I thought of, but couldn't support. I pride myself on being able to come up with solid lookalikes. Hopefully Lookalike Friday will be back next week.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Gobble Gobble

Every Thanksgiving the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys each play a game, but not each other. A couple of years ago, the NFL started playing an additional night game on Thanksgiving.

The Lions have been awful for a few years now, so it begs the question: do you take their Thanksgiving game away from them?

I say absolutely not.

Thanksgiving is a busy day. Family members are running around, things need to be cooked, people talk, so chances are you're going to miss a good portion of the game. Why put a good game on TV if you're going to miss a bunch of it?

Detroit fans are used to losing. Losing isn't fun for them, but they know how to handle it. It won't ruin their Thanksgiving. If you're a Dolphins fan and you watch them lose to the Jets, it's probably going to make your Thanksgiving that much less enjoyable. Why spoil such a great holiday for a lot of fans? Also, if your team happens to be playing the Lions, then you're going to have one of the best Thanksgivings ever. Blowout games are still fun for the fans of the team that wins.

Plus, you never know when the Lions are going to be competitive again. When they do come back, it will be that much more satisfying that they can actually put on a good show.

Normally I'm highly opposed to Thursday football, but for Thanksgiving I don't mind because it's a holiday. Especially because they take the 3 games away from the 10am Sunday slot, not the 1pm, Sunday Night or Monday Night slots. There are too many 10am games on Sunday anyway.

The last thing I will say is this: There are very few pure fans of football anymore. By pure football fans I mean a fan who will watch any game just because they love watching football. Fantasy football has done a lot for the sport, and I contest that it is one of the biggest reasons the NFL is so profitable, but it has also created a primary culture of football fandom where you either root for your favorite team or your fantasy players. Because of this new attitude it honestly doesn't matter if the games are good on Thanksgiving because people will watch it for their fantasy players.

There are many meaningless traditions in sport, but not the Lions and Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lookalike Friday 25

Lookalike Friday!!!

Remember when I told you guys that I had no more lookalikes in reserve? Turns out it wasn't true. I have ONE in my back pocket and here it is.

This week we have Phoenix Suns center Robin Lopez. I thought to myself, boy...doesn't he look a lot like...

Sideshow Bob from the Simpsons?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Doesn't fall far from the tree

Bill Belichick is considered one of the best minds in football, and he has a large coaching tree. However, how much success do each of the branches of his tree enjoy? Recently, Romeo Crennel and Eric Mangini haven't lived up to expectations and Chuck Weis is on the brink of getting fired. That got me wondering how the rest have done.

I would be remiss in talking about the Bill Belichick tree without mentioning that the entire Bill Belichick tree is actually part of what is now the Bill Parcells coaching forest.

Belichick Assistants Who Became Head Coaches:
Romeo Crennel: Cleveland Browns (24-40)
Eric Mangini: NY Jets, Cleveland Browns (24-33)
Josh McDaniels: Denver Broncos (6-3)
Jim Schwartz: Detroit Lions (1-8)

Al Groh: NY Jets (9-7), Virginia (59-51)
Nick Saban: Mich St, LSU, Alabama (111-48-1), Miami Dolphins (15-17)

Kirk Ferentz: Iowa (79-53)
Pat Hill: Fresno St. (92-61)
Charlie Weis: Notre Dame (35-25)

I don't know about you, but I'm not impressed by the NFL records of any of the coaches. In fact, they're all bad. College records on the other hand are good for most, exceptional for one.

I guess this begs the question: How much can a coach influence his assistants? Can you judge the teacher by the success or failure of his student?

I don't think you can, but it does tell you one thing: Bill Belichick's success in New England is most definitely NOT a product of having good assistants.


I've read a couple of articles that use statistics to defend the 4th down and 2 decision.

The articles are short and really interesting. There are actually more and more statistically based arguments for coaches to ignore "conventional wisdom" and go for it on 4th down much more often. Often, the field position gained by punting is not worth being able to get one more shot at a first down.

I wish one day there would be a coach who was bold enough to not punt unless it was absolutely necessary so we can see if it really results in more wins.

The only rebuttal I have is this: By going for it on 4th down, how many more points a game does that equate to? 2? How many more wins a season does that equate to? Half a win? 1? Can you blame a coach for looking out for his own job security for one more win over the course of one or two seasons?

"Conventional wisdom" is not so because it is completely logical. It is so because norms of culture have deemed it that way. Another tenet of conventional wisdom says that you don't jeopardize a high paying job you worked the better part of your life to get for what seems to be a small payoff. I agree with that.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Suggestion Box

Some things I was thinking about when I was thinking of ways to improve college football.

1. Have no preseason poll. Sure voters will have preconceptions about which teams they think are good, but at least it won't be official. In fact, no polls until week 4.

2. Reduce non-conference games to one - the first game of each team's season against the geographically closest Division III football team you can find. Mandate a true round robin format for each conference, and abolish conference championship games.

3. Keep the BCS methodology of ranking teams, but use it only for ranking purposes.

4. Make a playoff system. There are 11 conferences in college football. (Not including independents Navy and Notre Dame. They should get sent to the Big East) Each conference winner gets a seed in the playoffs. Of the teams that did not win their conference, the highest 7 teams in the BCS ranks are also in. Everyone is seeded by record. 16 teams and 4 weeks later, you have your winner. Since non-conference games were abolished, the season ends basically around the same time as before.

5. For the teams that did not make the playoffs, hold bowl games as usual.

Yes. This plan is both fool and bulletproof. Yes. I thought of it all by myself. and Yes. This will never happen in a million years. It's more likely I will find a way to grow wings and fly or get hot girls to want me than for my college football wishes to come true.

One can always dream, though.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lookalike Friday 24

Lookalike Friday time!!!

This week we have emerging Cowboys receiver Miles Austin, who some would argue is their #1 receiver, but not Roy E. Williams. I've always thought to myself, when wearing his helmet, Miles Austin sure looks a lot like...

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Yankee Doodle Dandy

In case you missed it, the Yankees won the World Series.

Before the World Series started, I had no strong urge to root for one team or the other. I thought about it, and I decided that I wanted the Yankees to win, because I think it would have been good for baseball. Allow me to explain.

If a league wants to be successful, they need a team that everyone hates except fans of that team. Typically these are the teams that do well more years than not. Modern examples are the New England Patriots, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees. However, the Yankees' membership in this club of nationwide hatred was starting to expire. Despite their bloated payroll, they weren't winning. That's when the Red Sox stepped in. Though many non-committed fans were behind the Red Sox at first, it was only a matter of time before their success became a turn-off to these temporary fans.

Major League Baseball needed the Yankee Dynasty to come back and take over the title of Public Enemy #1 because everyone can hate that the Yankees outspend everyone to get the best players, and the Yankees are the only team that has the means to outspend.

I also thought to myself that some teams needed to see that outspending everyone else works. As a fan of the Dodgers, I believe the Dodgers can do a better job spending its money, considering how much revenue the team makes from attendance and merchandise. Obviously you want to be wise about it, but I think you can justify almost any amount to win a championship. As bad as the Jason Schmidt signing was, I would rather my team make a bad signing than no signing at all. If the report is true that the McCourts vetoed a Dodger-Indians trade to bring in Cliff Lee because they didn't want to take on his salary, I will be extremely upset. Spending and championship needed to be more causation than correlation. The Yankees' championship this year reinforces that and hopefully will impact the way general managers and owners operate, even a little bit.

In a sense, I cheered for the Yankees this year so I could jeer them in the near future. Strange, but it makes sense.

Lookalike Friday 23

Wow. #23 already. I have to admit I didn't think I would get this par without missing a week. I didn't think I had enough lookalikes, but here we are, going strong. I no longer have a backlog of ones that I want to do, so it's a week-to-week effort from here on at the Toni Broxton blog and for those who pitch in suggestions, though I may not use it, I do appreciate it.

Here we go!

This week we have World Champion of Baseball, Yankees catcher Jorge Posada. I saw him this week and thought to myself, boy...doesn't he look a lot like...

Balki Bartokomous from Perfect Strangers (played by Bronson Pinchot)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

An eye for an eye

Some of you may have heard about or seen the eye gouging attempt by Florida linebacker Brandon Spikes on Georgia running back Washaun Ealey. Some of you may have heard of the first half suspension Florida coach Urban Meyer issued to Spikes, which the SEC actually said was good enough.

Today the suspension was increased to a full game after Spikes approached coach Meyer with the request to be suspended the full game to not be a distraction to teammates.

Let me start by saying the suspension was weak, to put it mildly, and I'm really glad it gained the media attention it did.

Shame on you Urban Meyer.

What was that suspension saying? Look at Chip Kelly. He went a full season on LeGarette Blount and you go for the first half??? Like it or not the Blount suspension will be the measuring stick by which all other college football suspensions will be measured in the next year or so, and for Urban Meyer to go so weakly was awful. It really shows where his values lie.

In fact, the more I think about it, how much worse was the Blount punch than the Spikes gouge? I don't know that it was more than twice as bad. Blount has been suspended 7 games so far. A Spikes suspension should have been a minimum of 3 games.

They say it was "in the heat of the moment" but really, I think it was pretty deliberate and premeditated. How long does Spikes try to poke Ealey's eyes out? There's your proof for deliberate. Spikes was reportedly poked in an earlier play, not that one, so there is your proof for premeditated.

The main and most important difference is that the Boise State player was knocked the eff out and Ealey was basically unharmed, no matter how hard Spikes tried. For that, these incidents do not carry the same weight and punishment.

The only good thing to come of this is that Spikes stepped up and took more responsibility for his actions than his head coach was willing to. He acted in a manner more mature and more wisely than a man more than double his age. Good for you Brandon Spikes. You lost my respect and then gained it back (and then some) all in the span of a few days. I'm sure I'm not the only one in the country who feels this way.

And again, shame on you Urban Meyer.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Building from the ground up

For full disclosure, I am personally a fan of Aaron Rodgers. I loved him at Cal and I think he is doing the best job he can in Green Bay, in a situation where the probability for success was very low.

I know that everyone says the Packers have a terrible offensive line, but the effect of not having a good offensive line is absolutely debilitating, as evidenced by the Packers this year. If Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre switched teams, the Aaron Rodgers-led team would have beaten the Brett Favre-led team. I was thinking:

If your offensive line can't block, you can't run the ball.
If you can't run the ball, you have to throw.

If your offensive line can't block, your quarterback gets sacked.

If your offensive line can't block, the defense can put more men into coverage
If the defense puts more men in coverage, your receivers can't get open.
If your receivers can't get open, your quarterback gets sacked.

In two of those three scenarios, the quarterback takes a sack.

It's always obvious to say that you need a good offensive line to have success, but I was curious to what extent this holds true.

If you look at the 3 teams that give up the most sacks per times attempting to pass for the past ten years, only 5 of them have made the playoffs. That's 5 of 30 teams. Just making the playoffs. None of them have won the Super Bowl, nor have they even made the Super Bowl.

If you look at the draft data between 02-08: (I picked 02 because that's when the NFL shifted to 32 teams, and 08 because that's the most recent data from

There were 1795 players drafted between 02-08.
48 were centers.
149 were tackles.
104 were guards.

That's 16.77% of all players drafted. I thought this was a lot, but then realized on any given offensive play, of the 22 players on the field, 5 are offensive linemen (22.7%), so they are being drafted at a lower rate than they are being retained.

If you look at the first round of the draft between 02-09 (because I did this manually) it's not much different:
15% of the first 10 picks were offensive linemen
14% of first round draft picks were offensive linemen

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the reason teams need multiple years to build offensive lines is because good offensive linemen don't come around too often, and when you have a good line, you need to do what you can to keep them healthy and on your team.

That's why it hurts even more if your "can't-miss" offensive lineman...misses. *cough* Robert Gallery *cough*