Monday, December 31, 2012

Survivor Pool Week 17: We only had two teams each anyway so it didn't matter when we published this

This is it for our regular season picks. Our genius math skills have left us with only two teams that we have to pick. Luckily for you guys, our picks will continue through the playoffs so Sean can continue dominating his chump co-founders.

Derp a derp time for another terrible Week 17 loss

Sean: 22-8
Jon: 19-11
Steve: 18-12

Sean: I've got the Texans at the Colts and the Jaguars at the Titans left. The Colts have nothing to play for since they are the #5 seed no matter what and the Titans have nothing to play for because their team is horrible. 1-1.

Jon: Cowboys and Eagles. 0-2. Turrible.

Steve: Patriots and Vikings left. 2-0. I rule. Not last place. Thank. God.

So our final records:

Sean: 23-9
Steve: 20-12
Jon: 19-13

PHEW! Muchin finished last. That was a close one.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Whole 42 Letters: Happy New Year

Happy New Year from your favorite blog. We are approaching our one year anniversary, things will likely get emotional so uh you can look forward to that. New Years Eve is one of the most overrated holidays--first of all, it is cold and everything you want to do is expensive. Second of all, there is really only college football on TV and not even the best games. Third, counting down to midnight is pretty anti-climactic now that I'm older and staying up past midnight isn't that big a deal. Yay, it's a New Year, now how do we spend the second half of our night? 

As far as drinking holidays go it is alright. Champagne at midnight is baller but again it is cold and there is tons of unnecessary emphasis for who and where you count down. The drinking holidays go like this 1. your birthday 2. July 4th, 3. Halloween, 4. NYE 5. St. Patrick's Day/Cinco de Mayo, 6. Flag Day

Now as always to your questions

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Survivor Pool Week 16

It has finally happened. After weeks and weeks of crawling out of a 1-7 hole (and also pretty flagrantly mailing in this segment), Jon is now in a tie for second place with Steve. Second place also happens to be last place, but we're not here to argue semantics. Steve's showing some Andy Reid-esque picking skills as we get down to the end of the season. He has much better teams remaining, but let's see how much good that does him. Probably a lot.

Our records:

Sean: 21-7
Steve: 17-11
Jon: 17-11

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Whole 42 Letters: Back in Business

Thanks to our special guest for handling last week's letters. What a great job he did. Now it's back to your normal three-man rotation. Sean will hopefully be able to resume his normal letter-answering duties (doodies?) shortly. He has finals winals boo boo bee boo I need to study I'm so busy wusy!

And now, hither and yon:

Are you doing anything different on the 21st to celebrate the Mayan apocalypse? Also, what percent of you believes the world will end that day? What about any given day?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Suicide Pool Week 15

We're going to miss you, horrible horrible coaches

Sean: 19-7
Steve: 16-10
Jon: 15-11

Steve is hearing footsteps from Jon -- little tiny footsteps creeping up clumsily behind him. Watch out Steve, second place isn't as secure as it was prior to the results of last week's games. You guys suck at picking.

Sean:  The non-Patriots teams in the AFC East are incredibly boring to watch, even when they are half-decent. The Dolphins, Bills, and Jets haven't had a good quarterback between the three of them arguably since Dan Marino died retired. This year is no different: they will get their 6 wins and maybe one of them will knock of the Pats but no one cares. Dolphins over Jaguars in the battle of for AFC Florida!

Cam Newton is ridiculously talented but god damn do the Panthers suck. He is stuck on a bad team that is poorly run, and somehow this gets put on him. The Panthers' situation makes the Shanahan/Snyder combo for RGIII seem like a well-run organization. This is also the end of Norv Turner's career, boo fucking hoo you were and will always be terrible. Panthers over Chargers in a ridiculous game. I'm predicting 80 points between the 2 teams.

Steve: The Falcons let me down, the Ravens let me down...I shouldn't have saved all the good teams for the end. This is just depressing.

I still have to pick the Jets, and this is as good a week as any to pick them. They "have something to play for," monkeyfarting their way to 6-7 with a chance to sneak into the playoffs if they win out. I'll be okay with it if they beat the Titans this week, but they just gotta lose one of the last two games. Is that so much to ask?

Also, gotta pick the Seahawks, and they too have a lot to play for against a Bills team that's taking the definition of "sub-mediocre" to new and exciting places. As always, WIN, TEAMS! WWWWIIIIIIINNNNNNNN

Jon: Ehhhhhhh, Panthers over Chargers and Cardinals over Lions. Gotta pick the Cardinals at some point. They suck so much. So do I at picking games.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Whole 42 Letters XXIV: SPECIAL GUEST OMG!

Hello blogosphere!

My name is Funk, and I am a colleague/hater of Steve, Jon, and Sean. I've been following their blog since its b'ception, and I consider myself very fortunate/a schmuck to be contributing. The reason you're hearing from me this week instead of Sean is that Sean is very busy with finals at law school. We thank you for contributing for the past few months during your first semester of law school, Sean, and we know that finals are quite taxing. I'm sure you're extremely busy studying right now, memorizing laws and such, practicing how to flip flop professionally, and memorizing tomes of precedent legal literature. I think this video JUSTLY sums up the sympathy we have for you.

It's fortunate that I get to partake in this week's question-answering festivities/bullshit, because this week is week 24, and I like the show 24.  Here is Jack Bauer saying damnit.

On to the queries!

Have you ever taken a picture of your poop?

I'm not sure I understand your question, reader. Do you mean like, DRAWN a picture? Everyone's taken a photograph of their poop, especially this day in age with cell phone cameras. But yes, I have drawn some pictures of my poop. Only rarely do I draw pictures of other people's poop. Like if they send me a photograph of a poop they took. Only rarely do I draw a picture of someone else's poop NOT from a photograph. Like if it's half in the toilet and half sprayed on the shower, sure.

Friday, December 14, 2012

At Least Kind Of Racist

A few days ago, Caroline Wozniacki -- former women's tennis #1 in the world famous for a) never being able to win anything and b) being half of the most insufferable sports couple with Rory McIlroy -- stuffed things into her clothing to look like Serena Williams. Tennis players are fond of ribbing each other in a good-natured way at charity tournaments. But because Serena Williams is black, some PC JEWSTREAM MEDIA FEMINAZIS have accused Wozniacki of being racist. So, was Wozniacki racist? The answer is what it always is in sports: yes, absolutely, this is kind of racist.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Survivor Pool Week 14
Owie! My biceps!

This is the time of year in a survivor pool that separates the boys from the men. Or the women from the girls. Whatever.

Sean: 18-6
Steve: 16-8 (GD Ravens)
Jon: 13-11

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Congratulations Jon

Last week, Jon wrote a deeply personal and incredible essay about the connection between sports and tragedy on what would have been his brother Baki's 20th birthday. Baki was an incredible athlete and Jon wrote poignantly about how and why sports matter in the aftermath of tragedies. This article quickly became the most read post we've ever on The Whole 42 Minutes and deservedly so. One of the central themes to this blog is how we should view players and events, trying to push back against poorly thought out arguments and narratives. Jon's post went well beyond that though and got to the core of why sports matters and why it can be so powerful. He tapped into something that all of us subconsciously feel about sports, this is why we care so much about a silly game, and did it in an incredibly personal manner. Chuck Klosterman wrote piece with a similar thesis this week at Grantland, but it didn't even come close to Jon's piece. To publish this must have taken incredible guts and Jon has been commended for his courage.

Today, Thought Catalog reposted Jon's article. Currently, it is on the front page. This is just the tip of the recognition and reach that this article deserves. If you haven't read his article please do so now and keep reading the blog.

And Jon when you make it big, don't forget that we split everything three ways on this blog.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Knicks Anthem

The Knicks are undoubtedly one of the most fun teams in the NBA. Their bench alone has enough endearing ridiculousness for an entire team. They are led by Steve Novak -- a 6'10'' 3-point-shooting white guy with a signature dance move stolen from Aaron Rodgers and rebranded to sell car insurance -- and JR Smith, a tatted-up player with disproportionate confidence in his own swag, but somehow an effective player. These two have formed the unlikeliest of bonds which leads to at least one awkward chest bump/failed handshake a game.

Word is they understand about 40% of what the other is saying

The Whole 42 Letters XXIII

Hi. No time for anything up front this week, except that after ruminating about sports and tragedy I'm very excited to get back to writing terrible jokes.

Your questions:

Who's the favorite in the NFL?

The NFL is pretty wide open right now. The best team in the NFC record-wise, the Falcons, has played the easiest schedule by far and just squeaked by. The Packers are the only team to beat the Texans, throttling them in prime time, but they got blown out by the Giants and 49ers, who lost to the Redskins and Rams respectively last week. I think if the Packers can avoid the Giants, they're the favorites out of the NFC, whether they get home-field advantage or not. The 49ers started off really hot, but I have a lot less faith in them at this point in the season than I did a month ago.

In the AFC, there are 4 top teams: Patriots, Texans, Ravens, and Broncos. The Patriots have an almost historically great offense, but a mediocre defense. The Texans play very well in both aspects. The Ravens are hurt and are only really above average in special teams (where according to Football Outsiders, they are the best team since 1991). The Broncos looked awful against good teams and look great against bad teams. Again, no clear favorite, although I think the Patriots and Texans are a step above the others.

I can't remember a year where there isn't at least one truly dominant team. I wish I could wait until after this week's MNF game between New England and Houston to make a decision, but I'd take Houston with home-field advantage coming out of the AFC, and I think they're the favorites to win the Super Bowl. I'm trying not to let my rooting interest in the Packers cloud my judgment, but I really feel like they have a great chance too, and should be the favorite coming out of the NFC.

What's your take on the San Francisco 49ers' quarterback situation? Was the coach correct in switching mid-season from an effective quarterback to a barely proven but potentially star quarterback? I'm also interested in the situations in Philadelphia and New York.

Monday, December 3, 2012

When Sports And Tragedy Meet

It's been a brutal, brutal year for the Kansas City Chiefs, who may be the worst team in the NFL this season. This past Saturday, it got drastically worse. Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, before taking his own life in front of his coach and general manger, leaving behind a 3-month-old baby girl. On Sunday, the Chiefs took the field and I won't even begin to imagine the maelstrom of emotions they must have been feeling. If the Chiefs' victory over the Panthers today, just their second win in this interminable season, was of any solace to any of the players, then more power to those players.

I don't know how they felt. They were presumably playing in memory of their fallen teammate and brother, a teammate who was also a murderer, who struck out against the mother of his child in anger, effectively orphaning his daughter even if he hadn't taken his own life (again, I'm assuming he would have been incarcerated). None of us knows how it feels to be a Chiefs player today. But that not knowing doesn't preclude empathy; it just means that we have to be careful when declaring what is objective and what is subjective. There are the undeniably brutal facts, but there's a lot of conjecture being thrown around, some of it very irresponsibly. This conflict will be a theme for this post.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Survivor Pool Week 13

We're getting down to the wire here, and it's anybody's race. And by "anybody's" I mean Sean and Steve are battling it out and Jon uhhh...

Jon: 12-10
Steve: 15-7
Sean: 16-6

Onward and sideways:

David Stern and the Spurs: Hypocrisy, Ego, and Unchecked Power

The San Antonio Spurs are a model organization: they have a likable franchise player, stable leadership (Popovich and RC Buford have been around since the '90s), and they have succeeded in a small market. They are the answer to everyone who points out that small-market teams can't win and they are a joy to watch. They are led by Popovich, the undisputed #1 coach in the league, and someone who makes other coaches look like the computer on level one to his Bobby Fischer (chessed!). Year in and year out, he tinkers with his team, switching rotations, and is light years ahead of other teams strategy-wise (remember Bruce Bowen, Danny Ferry, and Steve Kerr dominating corner 3s years before the rest of the NBA figured out that was the best shot in the game?), while winning 50+ games every single year.

This year is no different. The Spurs are a contender like always, despite the age of their team. Young players like Tiago Splitter and Danny Green have made huge contributions to a team that, as always, is buoyed by the Duncan-Parker-Ginobili core. Popovich also understands that the NBA season is a grind, especially on the knees of a 7-footer who is 36 years old. So logically, just like he's done in years past, Popovich rested some of his top players for Thursday night's game against the Heat. Green, Parker, Ginobili, and Duncan didn't even come to the game; they didn't sit out with some obvious excuse like tendinitis or "OLD" as Duncan was proclaimed to be last year (Pop wasn't wrong here). Instead, they flew home, slept in their own beds, and watched their teammates play the defending champion Heat.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Twenty-Second Letters Segment

The Most Thoughtful Sports Analysis on the Blogosphere will be tackling many thought-provoking issues in this week's edition of The Whole 42 Letters. Anon:

Where are you on the Peyton Manning/Andrew Luck saga these days? Do you think, with almost a season's worth of hindsight, the teams did the right thing?

So back in March, I wrote a post  about how I thought the Colts were making a mistake letting go of Peyton Manning. Jon then wrote a counter-post. In the meantime, the Colts are having a winning season, and Luck looks like he has the makings to be a really great quarterback. Peyton Manning is also having a Peyton Manning-esque season with the Broncos, and he's in the conversation for MVP of the League. Peyton Manning is having a much better season than Andrew Luck. The Colts, who are now 7-4, would almost definitely be even better with Manning than they would be with Luck. I think the Colts should have just bitten the bullet and paid Peyton Manning, had Luck sit, and played for the Super Bowl. Everything has kind of played out as I figured it might (not that I made any bold predictions; I said Manning would be great and Luck would struggle but be fine), so I'm sticking by what I said in March.

BJ Upton: Great Player, Stupid Narrative

News broke this afternoon that BJ Upton has signed with the Braves. The deal appears to be 5 years and $75 million with a potential sixth year. This is a good deal for the Braves who needed to replace Michael Bourn while getting younger and more right-handed (they were 30-31 against lefty starters last season and 63-37 against righties). BJ Upton is the perfect example of old stats v. new and ability v. narrative. If you've read anything on this blog before, you know where we stand.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The NBA Goes Caroling

I don't have much to add to this, except whoever is in charge of the NBA marketing team is doing an awesome job.

I love many things about this, but none more so than the fact that Dwyane Wade does essentially nothing. Just like his current role in the Miami offense! Zing!

Your move, Bud Selig.

Monday, November 26, 2012

According To The Atlantic, Aaron Rodgers May Be Over The Hill

Aaron Rodgers - 2012 passer rating leader as of Week 11, reigning MVP and Super Bowl XLV MVP - is apparently aging and potentially past his peak. So says the Atlantic, at least, which used this week's Packers-Giants matchup to determine (or maybe not) the future fate of the losing quarterback's career. It's a truly stunning piece of terrible sportswriting.

Fox News set the bar pretty for journalistic idiocy pretty low (high?) this weekend, running this op/ed about the War on Men (the last five paragraphs are so over the top, they read as subversive satire), but Allen Barra at the Atlantic definitely gave it a run for its money. "Sunday May Be the Beginning of the End for Eli Manning or Aaron Rodgers" called the headline of his Sunday Night Football game preview, in what I thought must be link-bait, but startlingly was not. That really is the article's thesis. 

From that sentence alone, I would be happy to tell you why this article is stupid (they've won the last two Super Bowls, just off the bat), but luckily, Barra supplies all of the reasons himself. Let's go through this, FJM-style.

Legacies are on the line for the Giants' and Packers' almost-legendary (and aging) QBs.

This is the article's sub-heading. We're already off to a terrible start. Now, I know Barra wants to sell this game's significance, but I highly doubt anyone's legacy is on the line in a Week 12 game between 7-3 and 6-4 teams. Also, Aaron Rodgers is 28 (for another week) and didn't play his first three years in the league, and Eli is 31. Considering Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are still two of the four best QBs in the league at 35 and 36 respectively, I'd hardly call Rodgers and Eli aging.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Survivor Pool Week 12

Welcome to the Week 12 suicide pool picks! Now with more suicide.

Speaking of things that bring to mind suicide...

Our Records:
Sean: 14-6
Steve: 13-7
Jon: 11-9

Can we talk for just a moment about how much Tim Tebow must suck to not have even a chance at the starting job right now? There's no question in my mind that he made the right decision not going to Jacksonville and getting the starting job there, because in this situation on the Jets he's managed to maintain some of his aura as a winner. He would have lost 14 games in Jacksonville and that would have been that; in New York he's still a story, even though he's a terrible player. Even in garbage time against the Pats this week Tebow couldn't get off the bench (I'm told he was injured, but there's a chance this a John Lackey Tommy John situation, where he was pretty much told to have an injury).

Jon: This week I'm taking the Bengals over the Raiders because I believe the Bengals suck slightly less and the Titans over the Jaguars. I can't believe I'm saying this but Chad Henne for the Jaguars does scare me, if only because he's such a significant step up from Yo Gabba Gabbert. The Bengals go deep better than most of the league and the Raiders can't cover anybody, as evidenced be their points allowed the last three games: 42 to Tampa Bay, 55 to Baltimore, and 38 to New Orleans.

Steve: I might as well take this opportunity to take the Rams over the Cardinals. Neither John Skelton nor Kevin Kolb will be starting for them. That's right: the Cardinals' starting QB is going to be those guys' BACKUP. They're starting some rookie bitch and they've lost five in a row. WIN, RAMS!

The Eagles and Panthers are playing. This is a matchup of two WORTHLESS AFRICAN AMERICAN GLORY BOY QUARTERBACKS! Every sports writer is racist. I'm taking the Panthers because the Eagles look about ready to roll over and drink hemlock.

Sean: The Bengals are one of those teams that isn't very good but at the end of the season Dalton will have thrown for 4000 yards and AJ Green will have 14 TDs. The Raiders defense is god awful and even though Carson Palmer throws for over 300 yards a week (it's true look it up) their offense is still bad. Basically, NFL stats are ridiculous now. John Elway, Joe Montana, Brett Favre, and Dan Marino have career QB ratings of 79.9, 92.3, 86.0, and 86.4. Today that's Sam Bradford and Christian Ponderville. I got nothing else there, it's just nuts to me.

The Rams are going to beat the Cardinals because the Cardinals are going to be 4-12. Watching the Cardinals suck, the 49ers change QBs because Alex Smith is horrible, and the Rams get blown out by the Jets, reminds me of when everyone was slobbering all over the NFC West. Derp a derp Russell Wilson is a leader. Fuck you Golden Tate. I'm never going to forgive you and your entire crappy division.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Whole 42 Letters: Thanksgiving Edition

Gobble gobble everyone. Before jumping into your questions, let me get to a few things I am and am not thankful for. I'm an not thankful for having to watch the Cowboys and Lions. Somehow these two terrible teams always play at home on Thanksgiving. Whyyy?????? They've won one playoff game since 1997 (yay Andy Reid). This is the only time that people actually watch Thursday NFL games and you subject us to Matt Stafford and Tony Romo. Come on.

I am thankful for the fact that my family doesn't have some lame ass Thanksgiving tradition. We don't all go out and play touch football like we're in a Wranglers commercial. No, we are real Americans. We sit around and half watch football all day, eat a disgusting amount of food and then sit and feel fat until we slip into a tryptophan coma. Maybe, maybe maybe we will sit inside a movie theater for two hours but even that is pushing it. If you have to button your pants it probably isn't worth it.

Thanksgiving in my opinion is the most American holiday and for that I'm thankful. It combines all of our best (and probably worst) qualities. Gluttony, that whole committing genocide and rewriting history thing, rampant commercialism, being angry at traffic, drinking while watching football, and we couch the whole thing in some stupid moral lesson that everybody ignores.

This is what I'm most thankful for
Now to your questions:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Am I Crazy For Thinking that Gronk Shouldn't Be In on PATs?

So Rob Gronkowski broke his arm when he was in to block for a PAT. He'll be out 4-6 weeks. This means that he's decently likely to be 100% for the playoffs, which is totally fine. But it does beg the question: WHY THE FUCK IS HE NORMALLY IN ON PATs?!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Night Football In The Concussion Era

Both teams in tonight's Monday Night Football game between the Bears and 49ers, a matchup between two of the NFC's best teams, will be starting backup quarterbacks. Last week, Alex Smith and Jay Cutler each suffered concussions and had to leave the game, and neither has been cleared to return yet, so Jason Campbell versus Colin Kaepernick it is. Are you ready for some (bad) football?

Players in the trenches get concussed all the time, but the NFL is particularly sensitive to players in the limelight, especially quarterbacks, suffering concussions. It's probably truly only applied to skill position players, but the concussion/independent doctor protocol that got Alex Smith out of the game (a little too late) and has him still sitting out is a good thing. Guys may not hit like they once did back when "football was football," but our knowledge of the lifelong impact of concussions has made football feel more gladiatorial than ever, in the sense of sacrificing oneself for the entertainment of others. NFL players choose to take on that risk and are well compensated for it, but it doesn't necessarily make that transaction moral.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Survivor Pool Week 11: Steve Sucks Edition

No we aren't done. Yes, this is really hard. Shut up we don't put this out seconds before kickoff every week.

Remember who Jon picked last week? 

Sean: 12-6
Steve: 12-6
Jon: 9-9

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Terminal Whole 42 Letters

Sorry this is posting so late. I'm writing this at 7 a.m. in Logan airport as I kill time before my flight to Milwaukee (of course, routed through Atlanta, because that's not out of the way at all). I'm running on about 3 hours of sleep, half a cup of coffee and a ton of adrenaline, so sorry if my answers are a little loopy. Drunk Nate Silver says there's a 57.3% chance this goes poorly.

Nate Silver is a wizard!

Before we get to the letters, I have something I want to address: some idiot baseball writer gave Fernando Rodney a first place Cy Young vote. Rodney inexplicably set the record for lowest ERA this year (anyone want to take odds that his ERA more than doubles next year?), but that doesn't excuse giving him a first place vote. It's practically impossible for a closer to be better than the top starters in the one-inning save era, and this vote is a joke. Since I assume this was from a Tampa Bay writer, what if this had cost David Price the Cy Young, since this was the closest vote in like 50 years? That's impossibly stupid.

This is not an original angle, but I want to join the call to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE MAKE THESE VOTES PUBLIC. Maybe if enough small blogs join it'll become a movement. All we are saying is give us a chance shame the idiot who gave Rodney a vote and the idiots who voted for Cabrera for MVP (more on this below). 

Your questions:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jeffrey Loria and the Ownership of the Commons

TODAY IN WHOLLY UNSURPRISING NEWS: The Miami Marlins have just undergone their third fire sale in their brief expansion-era history, trading Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhle, Jose Reyes, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio to the Blue Jays for Yunel Escobar, highly rated prospects Jake Marisnick and Adeiny Hechavarria and possibly more.

It's a fire sale!!!!

Just a year ago, the Marlins moved into their massive, taxpayer-funded stadium, and now they are crying poor and building for the future. Teams build new stadiums to attract fans, thereby increasing revenue streams and enabling the team to have a higher payroll. Ideally, this added payroll leads to added wins, which in turn keeps the fans coming to the ballpark. Let's just say this has all been a massive failure.

The Whole 42 Minutes Podcast: The Mike D'Antoni Hire

A coach getting fired five games into the season, the Lakers in turmoil? Yes, you're god damn right we did a podcast on the Mike D'Antoni hire. Jon Muchin and I kick it off with Lakers talk, early NBA surprises, and lots more that is lost forever since his Internet cut out and we aren't good at technology.

25 minutes in, Matt Fowler, friend of the blog, comes in to talk his Knicks, his love of D'Antoni, and ranks Jeremy Lin against other NBA guards.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Defense Matters: Why D'Antoni is Wrong for the Lakers

Mike D'Antoni is a lot of things. Self-appointed offensive genius, finely-mustachioed man, media savvy, and most of all, someone who doesn't grasp the importance of defense. His defensive strategy is simply scoring more points than the other team can possibly score. This works fine in the regular season, but as any Suns fan (they exist right?) will tell you, his strategy hasn't been successful in the postseason.
I hate defense also, Mike

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Survivor Pool Week 10

Great, fine, great. Here are our records:

Sean: 10-6
Jon: 8-8
Steve: 11-5

It's great because these are real football records. I'd be a shoo-in for the playoffs, unless I was the Patriots in the Cassel year. Boom.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Firing Mike Brown Might Actually Solve The Lakers' Problems

Mediocre shepherd of otherworldly talent, Mike Brown, has been fired by the Lakers after starting the season 1-4, with the sole win coming over the lowly Pistons. Taking over for the legendary Phil Jackson was never going to be easy, but Brown has failed pretty spectacularly given the talent on this team. The Lakers have looked terrible on both ends of the floor, with no signs of getting better, and so the coach, as usual, was the fall guy. Much as it pains me, and despite seeming comically early in the season, I think the Lakers made the right decision.

Mike Brown needs an aspirin.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Whole 42 Letters: My President is Black, My Lambo's Blue


Ron Paul and Mitch McConnell can commence nard-sucking at their earliest convenience.

Your letters:

If Alabama were to play an NFL team 100 times, how many would they win?

I understand that this question is still a thing, but I think everyone knows the answer. Alabama, if they were playing the worst NFL team (let's say the Chiefs), would get destroyed. Just killcrushed*. Slaymurdered*. First of all, sure, Alabama's a great college football team. They're undefeated. But let's not forget: they just eked out a 4-point victory against LSU, which is another college football team, which is also not even close to as good as an NFL team.

I know the old argument is kind of tired, but it's true: the Chiefs, on their 52-man roster, have at LEAST like 45 legitimate NFL players. Alabama, on their roster, have AT MOST 8 guys who are good enough to be NFL players right now, and maybe another 4-5 who will be once they finish college. The difference is staggering. And sure, maybe Alabama's 8 NFL players are better than many of Kansas City's 45. But that left tackle out of Klanville is gonna get EATEN UP by a real NFL defensive lineman. The weaknesses of the non-NFL quality players would get exploited to the Nth degree by real Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City would win at least 98 matchups between the two teams (hey, the Chiefs are still human).

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Happy Election Day From ESPN

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post that touched on why I am obsessed with the ESPN Sportsnation poll question. Well, they have maybe the greatest example and worst question I have ever seen on the site right now.

(Ed note - there was a picture here of the poll, which asks "Which professional athlete would you vote for as President of American pro sports?" but the photo was corrupted. The choices, as you'll see below are Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Derek Jeter and Peyton Manning.)

Let me count the ways I hate this...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Survivor Pool Week 9

Our records:
Sean: 9-5
Jon: 7-7
Steve: 9-5

Maybe this is just a little bit harder than we thought. Good news is that none of us are below .500. Basically, if we were in the AFC, we could  be the #4 seed. So there's that. And there's also our picks.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Whole 42 Minutes Podcast: Western Conference Over-Unders

Below you can listen to the inaugural The Whole 42 Minutes Podcast, in which these three bloggers discuss our predictions about the over-under win totals for the Western Conference this coming NBA season. Unfortunately, the Eastern Conference half did not survive, but we're still pretty excited about this. Hopefully it will become a frequent feature.


Click here to download the file in MP3 format. Listen to us on in your cars, at your computers, at the gym, wherever. Just listen to us.

The Whole 42 Letters becomes Legal

We finally turned 18, so it's time to discuss porns, swears, voting, and tobackies, plus all your other questions. This week we tackle the important issues this election week like dick euphemisms, the third trilogy, and friends of NFL athletes.

This is the only appropriate image on the Internet on this subject

Slammin' Jammin' NBA Preview

This has the potential to be one of the best NBA seasons of our lifetimes. Jon and I could barely come up with five teams we wouldn't want to watch. The NBA regular season might mean nothing at all, like actually nothing at all, but I know we here at the TW42Minutes are super excited. We didn't name our blog after a Z-Bo quote for nothing (also, Sexing Mutombo was taken). So without further adunk, let's get into this year's basketball preview.

We'll start at the top with serious awards and get sillier as we go down. So if you don't like the best basketball analysis on the planet but want to laugh your ass off, scroll down now.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What Happens When Everybody Believes In The "Nobody Believes In Us" Theory?

We here at TW42M have been known to shit on Sports Fella Bill Simmons from time to time, but we can't take away his skill at pithily reducing sports and the way we consume them into pocket theories. He's coined, among many others, the Tyson Zone for that level of crazy and celebrity wherein we'd believe almost literally anything from someone; the Ewing Theory, when an established athlete who's never won anything leaves a team and that team plays better without the star player's distraction around; and most of all, the Nobody Believes In Us (NBIU) theory. It's pretty self-explanatory: a team feels, rightly or wrongly, that everyone has picked against them and comes together to pull off an upset because that added unity trumps talent. The 2007 NY Giants that dethroned the mighty undefeated Patriots are the ultimate NBIU team.

It's a perfect theory, really. As in, if an underdog wins a game the media can point to this ineffable togetherness as NBIU-ex-machina (often allowing them to ignore more obvious explanations for the outcome, like coaching or incorrect evaluations of talent or luck). If the favored team wins, though, NBIU magically no longer applies and the winning team was just taking care of business. Sportswriter's crutch this may be, but NBIU looks to be airtight.

There are two main problems with this conception, though, and it gets right to why Bill Simmons so often draws our ire. Simmons is the narrative even as he's writing anti-narrative ideas.

Simply put, Simmons can't decide what he is. He wants to be a legitimate journalist with access and high-level sources and the zeitgeist-chasing/setting voice of the fan, a great writer who's elevated sportswriting as the head of Grantland and a guy whose stream of consciousness rants substitute for style. At times, he tries to be all these things, and this blurred distinction cuts to the heart of NBIU's failings. Bill Simmons is by leaps and bounds the most popular sportswriter in America, and Simmons' populist theories have a way of working their way into the casual fan's worldview of sports. How can a team feel nobody believes in them when the most popular writer at the sports-industrial complex's monolith, ESPN, believes in them?

With Grantland as his forum (and, apparently, as a lab for creating writers who write in the exact same style), Simmons has pushed NBIU to the forefront of sports narrative discussion. If everybody believes that NBIU exists, does NBIU still apply? Wouldn't the favored team inexplicably be able to believe that nobody believes in them because everyone believes the other team has NBIU mojo? Doesn't this open us up to a wormhole of NBIU wherein all sports are sucked into a black hole contained in Tim Tebow's chest cavity? Am I just over-thinking this?

Yes. Yes, I am.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Survivor Pool Week 8

Sorry guys, don't have time to flesh this out.

Our records:

Sean: 9-3
Jon: 6-6
Steve: 9-3

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Are -- Gasp -- The Europeans Right? The Problems with our Playoff System

Right now, in the World Series, the team with the 3rd-best record in the National League is playing the team with the 7th-best record in the AL (out of 14 teams!). Somehow, one of these teams will be crowned the best team. This isn't an anomaly. Nearly every year a team with a weak record wins the World Series. The team with the most wins rarely wins for a number of factors--the small sample size of five games doesn't separate teams like a regular season does, there is very little advantage to being the top seed, and luck. Matt Holliday twists his back and all of a sudden the Cardinals are out their best hitter for game 6 of a playoff series. American sports have just recently accepted this playoff format, with the wild card allowing teams with decent records the chance to win the title as the best team in a given year. Prior to 1995 in baseball, only four teams made the playoffs. However, this is no longer the case. The best division winners and two best teams after that make the playoffs, a system that makes the regular season incredibly unimportant.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Whole 42 Letters: Duran Durant

Football is in full swing, NBA is starting up next week, and the World Series starts tonight. Prettaaaaay, prettaaaaay prettay good.

What the hell happened to the Cardinals?  Why would they even bother to win all those playoff games just to lose 3 in a row when it really matters?  Go Tigers!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Red Sox Traded their Starting Shortstop for a Manager?

So the Red Sox finally rid themselves of Bobby "Mariano Rivera is the best pitcher ever" Valentine. Why the ass did they hire that guy EVEN?

But fine, you got rid of him and now you have a brand new manager. You got your old buddy John Farrell back! He was the pitching coach! Yayyy! But I thought he was under contract with the Blue Jays. What's that? Oh you traded for him? You traded your starting shortstop for him? Hey, quick question: WHYYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!?!?!?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Survivor Pool Week 7

Guys, I know this post is all about football picks, but I feel the need to point out that basketball is back in less than two weeks.

Yeah, I'm excited.

Sean: 7-3
Jon: 5-5
Steve: 8-2

Our picks.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A-Rod Is A-vailable, But Who Will Take Him?

Yesterday, amid hastily denied rumors that the Marlins might be maybe sorta interested in taking on Alex Rodriguez (but not his contract), ESPN posted a SportsNation poll about whether or not this would happen, and 64% of responders found this to be a viable option. On Wednesday, ESPN asked whether A-Rod had played his last game as a Yankee, and 54% thought so. ESPN spends a lot of time posting idiotic faux-zeitgeisty questions about whether Tim Tebow should start over Mark Sanchez (he shouldn't, but about 60% of America says an emphatic yes), but sometimes ESPN posts interesting hypotheticals. These A-Rod questions are both stupid (we as fans know NOTHING of the inside economic workings of various baseball teams) but they do qualify as interesting.

Monday, October 15, 2012

If I Were Ever To Root For the Yankees, It'd Be Now

Here at The Whole 42 Minutes, there's almost nothing we hate more than "the narrative" in sports and sports journalism. Many of our posts combat this omnipresent "narrative" that dictates sports fans' attitudes about a whole host of issues. "The narrative" consists of ideas including the following: Tim Tebow should be a starting quarterback in the NFL, Justin Verlander deserved the AL MVP last year, Dirk Nowitzki can't get it done when it counts (2010 edition), LeBron James can't get it done when it counts (2011 edition), Michael Jordan can't get it done when it counts (1990 edition), and now, Derek Jeter is the best postseason player in baseball history and Alex Rodriguez is a terrible postseason player. I'd like to point out that all of these are WRONG.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Survivor Pool Week 6

So we had to skip a week of suicide picks during the season some time, so I guess last week was the week. We were overloaded with baseball last week...couldn't deal with football. So we're back, and we'll be doing every week from now on. Here are our records:

Sean: 6-2
Jon: 3-5
Steve: 6-2

On to our picks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Oh Geez, Here We Go

So last night, Joe Girardi pinch hit for Alex Rodriguez, one of the greatest hitters of all time, and put in 40-year-old Raul Ibanez, who then proceeded to hit the game-tying and game-winning home runs in his two at-bats in the game. Not only is this annoying because it's the Yankees, but it's annoying because it's something for the awful fans and sports writers who are narrative-mongers to latch on to about A-Rod. I'd just like to take this opportunity, before you read every single "A-Rod just can't get it done in the playoffs" article that will come out today, to tell you all the reasons why that's just wrong.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Whole 42 Letters: Take 15

Welcome to week fifteen of your letters. This week we are covering creating new franchises, athletes playing other sports, what makes a sport a sport, and rooting for a new team. Basically, we are continuing our theme of discussing what it means to be a sports fan and doing weird hypotheticals. I guess you could say we have a type.

If you took 11 guys from the NBA, NHL, MLB and NFL and had them play a soccer tournament, who wins? I'd lean toward NBA because of the combination of athleticism and guys who probably grew up playing soccer, but I'm interested what you think. As a corollary, who would win between the offense and defense of any given football team (just have them play the starting 11 on 11, no gimmicky lineups)?

It has to be the NHL or the NBA because they have the most Europeans and guys who grew up playing soccer. The NBA guys would probably be a little worse than the hockey guys because hockey requires more lower body strength and balance, skills that carry over to hockey well.

As for offense v. defense, I think that the athletes are more on the defensive side of the ball. Being saddled with five 300 pounders might protect your QB but it doesn't help on defense unless you try and hermetically seal the goal. Defensive ends, linebackers, and cornerbacks would dominate.

Hall of Famer Series: Kenny Lofton

So a while ago, I posted something about how we determine who is a baseball Hall of Famer. Then I promised that I'd post some profiles of people who should be in the Hall of Fame, all leading up to HOF voting in January, where awful baseball writers pick all the wrong people and leave out all the right people. I'm not even going to get into Tim Raines in this series of posts because he's just so obvious. Suffice to say, the BBWAA is completely idiotic and they're keeping Tim Raines, a total Hall of Famer in every way, out of the Hall. Absolutely baffling.

But no, I'm going to steer away from Raines and go more into guys who may be a little less obvious. As I said in my previous HOF post, I have a broader-than-average definition of "Hall of Famer," but I think many people would agree with my approach. If a player helped his team win games as much as or more than other established Hall of Famers, he deserves to be inducted. And that's where Kenny Lofton comes in.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Chipper

Chipper Jones is done playing for the Atlanta Braves. The last link to the great Braves teams of the 90s is gone and the Braves have to find a new face of the franchise, leader, cleanup hitter, and third baseman.

I've been dreading writing this ever since Chipper announced that he would be retiring in March. Not only is he my favorite Brave but he's my favorite athlete ever. As a ten-year-old I had the prescient foresight to name my new cat Chipper, a lucky break considering that Andres "Big Cat" Galarraga played for the Braves at the time. (It turns out ten-year-old me wasn't the only genius to name his cat after the Braves all-time great). Amazingly, Chipper Jones, the human, survived his feline namesake and has continued to be a great baseball player. He is an anomaly in today's sports world, a thoughtful superstar who lived up to the hype of being the #1 overall pick, won a title, and did it all with one team. His only comparison is Derek Jeter and in a few years they will both have plaques up in Cooperstown (note me taking the high road and not making the joke that Jeter has been frozen while playing shortstop for years).

Chipper announcing his retirement in spring training

Friday, October 5, 2012

Why Being a Diehard Fan is the Worst

In the past twelve days, my two favorite teams -- the Packers and the Braves -- have had heartbreaking losses due in large part to officiating errors. This post is written as a direct result of the pain I feel from these two losses, but it is going to go well beyond Wayne Elliott and Sam Holbrook. This goes to the crux of sports as a whole.

Sports is obviously a huge part of my life and has been since I can remember. I was the kid drawing a fake diamond and filling it with Braves and their backups to keep myself entertained on flights. I was the kid who broke a chair when Freddie "the People's Champion" Mitchell caught a pass on 4th and 26. My social life, friendships, and thoughts are almost entirely influenced by sports. This has been my gospel for as long as I can remember, but for the first time, after tonight, I'm reconsidering.

MLB Playoff Preview

Get ready for a ton of baseball-related coverage. Steve is rolling out a Hall of Fame series, looking at interesting players that might be over or under rated because of a variety of era-specific or narrative-based causes. Jon is telling us what it all means with regards to steroids and how we grapple with baseball's closet skeletons. I'm going to try and say goodbye to Chipper Jones when the Braves' season ends.

For now, we are going to set you guys straight on what to expect for the next month of crazy baseball.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Whole 42 Letters: MVP Debate Edition

Baseball playoffs are upon us. Our preview of the playoffs is coming up soon (hopefully, later today). Looks like you can take my homer prediction of the Brewers to win the World Series straight to the bank.

Your letters:

Does Miguel Cabrera get the MVP now that he's won the Triple Crown?

This question was sent to me in future tense, but I didn't get around to writing the answers until after Cabrera had already clinched the Triple Crown. Kudos to Miguel Cabrera, who's been the Pujols to Pujols' Bonds the last few years (i.e. the clear-cut second best hitter in baseball). The Triple Crown is an incredible achievement, last accomplished by Carl Yastzremski in 1967, but Miguel Cabrera does not deserve the MVP. Make no mistake about it: Cabrera will win the MVP, but Mike Trout deserves it. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Some Scattered Thoughts On Drugs And Baseball

Let's play a hypothetical game together.

Two baseball players, X and Y, look a lot alike. Player X stands 6'4"at a muscular 240 pounds while Player Y is 6'2"/220.  Player X and Player Y are in fact identical twins, similar enough looking that they have multiple times attempted to impersonate one another at various public (and allegedly, private*) events. Both dream of playing baseball professionally, and both make it. With the aid of steroids, Player X hits more than 450 home runs over the course of 17 seasons. Player Y, on the other hand, barely sniffs the Majors, hitting a grand total of zero home runs in 3 different short stints in the Big Leagues. With this information alone, we could assume that steroids (along with a slightly bigger frame) give Player X a significant advantage, but you probably already know that I left something out.

Player Y also uses steroids, uses them in the same way as his twin brother, Player X, whom he trains with. So here we have it: same training regimen and diet, same genes, almost the same size and same steroid use, but vastly different results. Can we really quantify how much steroids altered performance?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Survivor Pool Week Four

Real refs are back. Hurray!!!!! Everyone has already made the joke that they'll get a big ovation and then about five minutes into the game all the fans will collectively remember how much the old refs suck anyway. We at The Whole 42 Minutes fully endorse that reaction (Jeff Triplette, you are an ass despite wearing our favorite number, 42) but would also like to remind you that the real villain in all this is Roger Goodell. Football may be "back to normal" but don't forget that the NFL and Goodell don't give a shit about you unless you can affect their bottom line.

Nor does Goodell really care about the integrity of the game, which we already knew. Remember when he retroactively changed the rules of the game to fine James Harrison for a hit that was legal when he made it? Or when he fined owners retroactively for breaking unwritten rules? This is just further proof.

When the Seahawks and Packers have identical 11-5 records at the end of the year but only Seattle makes the playoffs, mark my words: there will be rioting in the streets of Wisconsin. Cheese stores will be looted. Taxidermy will be upended. The streets will run red...with Leinenkugel. After about 20 minutes everyone will be hopelessly out of breath and it'll die down - hey, it's hard to get exercise in the winter and also CHEESEBEERBRATSOMNOMNOM - but those 20 minutes will be sweet, sweet release. I'm hoping for a gigantic meat-based effigy of Goodell that we can all feast on together.

This caption is me trying to hit you over the head with a joke I'm mildly proud of.

For reference, our records so far:
Sean: 4-2
Jon: 1-5 (This isn't even funny anymore)
Steve: 5-1

To our picks:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Whole 42 Letters 13: 12th Electric Boogaloo

Rough game on Monday, am I right fellas? Your letters.

In honor of last night's travesty: Do you actually think people as a whole will stop watching the NFL -- will ratings go down enough to make a difference?

Will some people stop watching the NFL next week? Yeah. A decent contingent of people will not watch Week 4 because of the replacement refs. They'll be back within 3 weeks though. Ratings might go down slightly for Week 4, though I don't really foresee that. Maybe MNF will have its lowest ratings in 5 years or something, but I can't see anything drastic coming from this. Pretty soon people will stop being mad and start making replacement ref memes ad infinitum and this whole thing will become more funny than infuriating by Friday. If we're not back to normal by Week 5, we will be by Week 6. And that kind of makes me sad, because this is an actual reason to stop watching, at least for a little while.

At what point is the tipping point? The NFL is all about safety, but these refs are making the game more dangerous because players are getting used to the refs, rather than the refs getting used to the NFL.

First of all, the NFL is NOT all about safety. Roger Goodell is absolutely full of shit. He goes to bed every night thanking his lord and savior Beelzebub that the Saints' bounty scandal thing happened so he could scapegoat them for this "safety" thing and not actually have to take it seriously. Roger Goodell actually wanted the regular season to be 18 games. In fact, that was something he was extremely reluctant to budge on in the lockout negotiations. He is not about player safety. He's about being full of shit. And because of this, there is no tipping point. The NFL does not take safety seriously.

Also, I love how you used a quote from my previous post in that question. Really though I actually love it a lot.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What Would It Take for You to Forgive Roger Goodell?

So now a game has actually been lost because of replacement refs. That call was not "controversial" by any real definition of that word. It was wrong, and then the officials looked at it and decided to be wrong again. It's maybe not the single worst sports call I've ever seen in a vacuum (this one from just this year in baseball is pretty inexcusable too). It may not have even been the single worst call of that drive (the defensive pass interference on Sam Shields in the fourth quarter might have been worse). But the fact that it actually lost the game for a team, and was so clearly and egregiously wrong, makes this perhaps the single worst call I have ever seen.

So whose fault is this? It's the referees' fault, sure. They actively chose to make the wrong call (yes, I really actually think that they chose to make the wrong call after review to avoid being burned at the stake by Seahawks fans). But this call was the product of something larger. These refs have been so egregiously bad that they're losing control. They're not getting better as the weeks go by; they're getting worse. Players are seeing what they can get away with, and the refs just have no idea what to call or how to call anything. They're not getting used to the NFL; the NFL players are getting used to them in a really bad way. This problem isn't going to get better, or even stay the same. It's going to get worse. And whose fault is it? I think we all know the answer: the Ginger Hammer (copyright Drew Magary) himself, Roger Goodell.

No, Seriously I'm Done Watching Football

A day later I still don't have words to describe how pissed off I am about last night's game. The Packers put the game away with 5 minutes left with an interception at the Seattle 30, but that was wiped away on a terrible roughing the passer call. Later that drive, they put it away when an obvious offensive pass interference on 1st and 25 was instead given as defensive pass interference 30 yards downfield. And they definitely put the game away because THEY INTERCEPTED THE LAST PASS AND ACTUALLY WON THE GAME. Don't believe me?

There. Who has the fucking ball?

I know regular refs make the wrong call all the time, but I sincerely believe that these refs were just worried about a riot in Seattle so called that Seattle's way. All our fears about them not having control were totally confirmed for me. This game was a joke, and if level headed Mike Tirico can just openly say that a team got jobbed (on Goodell and ownership dick-sucking ESPN of all places) then your league is a travesty. Sure Gary Bettman and the NHL are about to go through a second major labor stoppage in the past 5 years but I'd take Bettman's staggering incompetence over Goodell's dictatorial mendacity.

I've made the point a bunch of times on this blog that I hate many things Goodell does -- re: Saints, player safety rules, that bullshit salary cap thing with the Cowboys and Redskins -- but that I'm an idiot who'll just keep watching. Well, he finally did it. Until the regular refs are back I'm not watching a second of the action. When they are, I'll reevaluate. The NFL clearly doesn't care about its fans, so I don't know if I should care about the sport.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Survivor Pool Week 3

We are continuing to do the damn thang with this survivor pool going a collective 12-0 through the first two weeks. What's that? None of us are undefeated after 2 weeks, holy shit we are bad at this. We made this same joke last week? Holy shit we are bad at writing also.

Real gs move in silence like lasagna
Week 2 Standings:
Sean: 3-1
Steve: 3-1
Jon: 1-3

Friday, September 21, 2012

What Do We Owe Josh Hamilton?

As a sports fan, I have a lot of faith in rehabilitation. It's that magical time and place where our favorite athletes, generally out of sight and mind, magically mend themselves. It's sort of like the save station in Metroid; Samus always emerges with full health, no matter her condition going in.

The theory of rehabilitation is that through will power and daily work to strengthen yourself, you can get back to 100% or sometimes even surpass your prior healthy self. Chris Carpenter gets Tommy John surgery and comes back as a vastly better pitcher. Wes Welker rehabs like hell and returns from a torn ACL/MCL in eight months. Some guys get back to 100% while others may only reach 80%, but we can evaluate their health on a scale and with a healthy end point in mind.

Rehabilitation has another meaning, though, and it's less mechanistic. We send our drug addicts to rehab in the hope that with enough work they can have the tools to face life sober, but there's no 75% sober. There's only the one end point.

Generally we ask how ready our athletes are coming out of rehab, wanting to know how much of their pre-injury state we can expect. Instead, I'm asking what if you had to throw out the paradigm of percent healthy, and move to a simple binary question of readiness? In other words, what if you're Josh Hamilton?