The Thought Refuse

A Virtual Repository for the Mind

Posts Tagged ‘NFL

Limbaugh Victim of His Own Entertainment

leave a comment »

Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, reportedly, will be removed from a group of potential investors seeking to purchase the NFL’s St. Louis Rams according to ESPN.

Naturally, when it concerns a personality archetype the caliber of Rush Limbaugh, you have a starkly divided community on the issue.  Even more predictably is the type of response from each side.  Evidence lies in the fact that Rush Limbaugh made the trending topic list on Twitter when the story broke.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by huxbux

October 16, 2009 at 5:20 pm

The Unpredictability of Sports

with 2 comments

As with all systems that aren’t manufactured, for instance casinos, sports is a highly unpredictable arena.  But littered with experts from former players to journalists eager to give you their arrogant self-predictions for future seasons.

Every season for every sport, these experts publish their predictions in newspapers, magazines, and television shows(the latter particularly prone to bombastic proclamations of arrogance).  The experts put on record every year(and every week) their elevated knowledge in the sports domain.  Take a quick look at just how much these so-called professionals really know, and you’ll find that sports is as unpredictable as most everything in life.  That guy on ESPN whose studied football for twenty years is probably no better at predicting the final NFL standings then you or me.

Take a look at ESPN’s preseason power ranking for the NFL.  The error rate is astounding.  Of the 16 bottom ranked teams, 5 of them made the playoffs this season.  Two of the supposed three worst teams ended up with records 11-5 records(Atlanta and Miami).  The Titans were ranked 16th and ended up with the best record in the league.  The Jaguars, Saints, and Seahawks were all ranked in the top ten, but not one ended with a winning record.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by huxbux

January 5, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Posted in History, Philosophy, Sports

Tagged with , , ,

Redskins Lose; Obama Wins?

leave a comment »

Since 1936 when the Washington Redskins were known as the Boston Braves, this franchise was been the predictor for the winner of the Presidential election.  Every time the Redskins won their last home game before a Presidential election, the incumbent party retained the White House, while a home lose was a predictor that the incumbent party would lose.

This streak kept up from 1936 till 2004 where the Redskins lost 28-14 to the Packers, but George W. Bush and the Republican party won a second term.  But for that one exception, the Washington Redskins seem to know something we don’t.  Last night, on Monday Night Football, the Redskins were routed by the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-6, and given the overwhelming historical evidence, can we say that Barack Obama will triumph at the polls today and unseat the incumbent Republican party and John McCain?  Sporting a 94.4% accuracy rate in 17 Presidential elections, the Redskins are hard to argue with.

(Note: Correlation is often mistaken for causation due to our tendency to “connect the dots” across history.  We need a narrative to understand the random, non-linear nature of our world, and one of the side effects is mistaking correlation for causation – in this case, more specifically, confusing coincidence for prognostication.)

Written by huxbux

November 4, 2008 at 12:06 pm

Tom Donahoe on The Mort Report

with 2 comments

I’ve listened to every Mort Report, the weekly football radio show hosted by ESPN’s Chris Mortenson, this NFL season, and in it he has a football pick ’em segment featuring former Buffalo Bills General Manager, Tom Donahoe.  Nine weeks into the NFL season, Mortenson and Donahoe have never picked a game that involved the Buffalo Bills.  Not even in Week 7 when the Bills played the San Diego Chargers which was a featured national game of the week.

Is Tom Donahoe so petty and vindictive that he steadfastly refuses to have to utter the words “the Buffalo Bills” in any public capacity?  Why is ESPN allowing it’s viewership to suffer because of one man’s insecurities?  I wonder if and when the Buffalo Bills make it into the playoffs this year, will Chris Mortenson sacrifice his journalistic integrity to cater to the whims of a selfish Donahoe and exclude the Bills from the pick ’em segment?  I have a suggestion for Mort – dump Donahoe.  His analysis during the pick ’em segment is so mundane, cliche, and elementary, you’d be better served replacing Donahoe.

Written by huxbux

November 1, 2008 at 8:50 am

Bad News Buffalo

leave a comment »

Today began with plenty of bad news for Buffalo as a national sports city.  A Wall Street Journal article noted that Buffalo Bills fans are

…some of the worst-behaving fans in all of sports.

Later in the afternoon, a Forbes magazine article pegged the Buffalo Bills as one of the top ten sports franchises likely to move.

I can’t outright refute either of these.  Bills games are rowdy.  Fans arrive at the stadium 8 hours prior to kickoff and begin their Sunday ritual of getting plastered.  By game time, a few thousand drunkards filing into a stadium to watch a violent sport.  It’s not unexpected that a few of them are going to be trouble makers.  But a few thousand bad fans disregards the other 72,000 well behaved, passionate fans there to cheer on their team.  It’s sad that a few bad apples has to spoil the entire batch.

It’s no secret the Bills are in danger of leaving town.  A 90 year old owner in Ralph Wilson who has refused to secure the sale of the team prior to his death leaves the franchise likely up to the highest bidder.  And since last year with the move of two home games to Toronto, the highest bidder appears to be those folks over at Rogers in Canada with money spilling out of their pockets.

The prospect of the Buffalo Bills leaving town is naturally distressing, but if they ever do move it will be downright devastating to a town that lives with it’s football team.  A piece of the city would die with the Bills should they exit stage left.  Gone would be the buzz that travels around water coolers and jumps from stranger to stranger every fall.  It’s one of the few things that connects the people of the city in a way most sports towns can’t relate too.

Luckily, the Buffalo Sabres saved the local sports day with a convincing win over the New York Rangers 3-1.  It’s only three games into the season, but this is a different hockey team from the one that disappointed last year.  They display a new found dedication to defensive responsibility.  Spurred by the arrival of Craig Rivet, every defensive pair seems energerized to clear out the front of their own net.  The forwards are making conscious efforts to stay in their own zone and not making early breakouts.  Odd man rushes have been kept to a minimum as opposed to last year when they were an every period ritual.

The Sabres didn’t lack in the scoring department last year.  The finished 4th in scoring in the NHL, but they were erratic and irresponsible in the defensive zone.  While every player deserves credit, the lion’s share goes to Lindy Ruff who is once again proving that he is a master at adapting to the how the game of hockey is played from year to year.  No Sabres fan will forget how Ruff turned a bunch of no-name hockey players and Dominik Hasek into a Stanley Cup finalist by being defensively responsible.  I don’t want to leap to conclusions, but this team, with the emerging Thomas Vanek and a cast of capable scorers, this team holds real promise and could creep up on the league just like they did the year after the lockout.

Written by huxbux

October 15, 2008 at 10:31 pm

Posted in Sports

Tagged with , , , ,

Eating My Buffalo Bills Humble Pie

with one comment

The Buffalo Bills came back to earth on Sunday suffering a 41-17 loss at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals.  While many a Bills fans half expected a loss, no one imagined the thrashing the team took.  And, quite typically, the local radio sports call in shows are littered with “the sky is falling” fans.

I have to wonder how on earth these fans are surviving the current “sky is falling” economic crisis.  They should be paralyzed in a corner judging from their reaction to bad news.

If you were an alien being who was visiting Earth for the first time and decided to learn about the National Football league by listening in on local sports radio call in shows and listened to the local Buffalo sports shows today, you would have heard that:

  1. The Buffalo defense is among the worst in the league.
  2. Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell is terrible.
  3. Offensive Coordinator Turk Schonert is terrible.
  4. JP Losman lost the game.
  5. The Bills offense was the reason the Bills defense played so poorly.
  6. The Bills season is crumbling.

What you would not know as an alien visitor is:

  1. The Buffalo defense ranked 7th in yards against and 5th in points allowed coming into the game.
  2. Perry Fewel was responsible for turning an injury riddled D last year into a respectable one.
  3. Turk Schonert helped turn one of the worst in the NFL last year into a capable one this year.
  4. Have not seen JP Losman play over the last 3 years and knew what to expect.
  5. The Bills defense gave up 28 first downs and couldn’t stop Arizona on 3rd down.
  6. The Bills are 4-1 and ontop of the AFC East.

The sky is always falling when our Bills lose.  One week they are the toast of the town with dreams of the Super Bowl dancing in our heads, and the next the Apolcalypse is looming over the city.  It’s prototypical of Buffalo sports fans.  I understand.  We live and die with the Bills and the Sabres.

For me personally, it was a game I half expected to lose.  I was disappointed from the moment Trent Edwards was knocked out of the game on the third play of the game, and could feel that anticipation for victory turn into resigned defeat.  I still cheered the team on until the clock expired.

In a way, this defeat should turn out to be a positive for the team.  It’s one of the youngest in the league.  A team with so much youth needs to learn that to be an elite team, it takes an extra sort of effort for road games. That they don’t have the kind of talent to walk into an opposing teams turf, give it a half-hearted try, and expect to win.  But most importantly, a lose finally takes some of the high expectations and pressure off such an inexperienced team.  It’s hard enough to win in the NFL.  The weight of a crazed sports town crushing them with expectations can’t be helping.

Written by huxbux

October 6, 2008 at 11:42 pm

The Rolaid Bills

leave a comment »

Buffalo sports fan are lovable losers.  We’re perpetual pessimists scorned by a history of failure.  Our expectations never fail to account for the worst possible outcome.  Every dramatic moment our teams have been a part of invariably end with us being on the short end of the stick.  “Wide Right” and “No Goal” are part of our sports lexicon.

So after two straight dramatic come from behind victories, I sat down Sunday to start that football watching ritual with trepidation, fully expecting the worst.  And when, after trailing yet again, after three quarters, I was cursing and yelling at the Buffalo Bills as if my deriding comments would somehow spur on another comeback victory.

And once again the Buffalo Bills didn’t fulfill their fans prophecy, mounting another victory earned in the last quarter of play.  Not quite as dramatic as the last two, but making a game versus an overmatched opponent wasn’t helping my sports indigestion.

The last three weeks haven’t been the self fulfilling prophecy I’ve become accustomed too – the Bills will make a turn and lead me down the path of disappointment.  As much as I want to criticize the play of Jason Peters as not being in Pro Bowl form, I’ve been left with a different feeling three weeks in a row now.

I can’t escape the feeling that I’m watching Trent Edwards mature into an NFL superstar.  With only 13 starts under his belt and four comeback wins already, it begs the question – how much better can this kid from Stanford get?  The answer my Buffalo sports pessimism wants to give isn’t materializing.  Instead, this strange sense of hope and anticipation keeps getting in the way.

Now, it’s on to week 5 with the Bills taking an undefeated record into Arizona to battle the favored Cardinals.  I’ll be cheering on my team but this time focusing on everything that could be, and not dangling over a precipice waiting for that twig I’m clinging to to snap.  I’ll still have a roll of Rolaids by my side just in case though.

Written by huxbux

September 29, 2008 at 5:01 pm

Posted in Sports

Tagged with , , ,

The Buffalo Bills Winning And Losing National Attention

leave a comment »

The Buffalo Bills are sporting a 3-0 record for the first time since 1992 and the glory years of four consecutive trips to the Super Bowl.  This is a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 1999.  It’s been eight long, heartbreaking seasons since the Bills approached a semblance of success in the league.  While there has been a couple seasons in which the Bills mathematically chased a playoff spot late into the year, the team never qualified as a contender and instead bore the “not quite good enough” label.

The city of Buffalo lives and dies with it’s sports teams in both good and bad times.  That hasn’t changed alongside the fortunes of our beloved football team.  What has changed is the treatment by the national media towards the Bills.  The team is a regular topic of discussion on national shows such as ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, NFL Live, and Around the Horn.  Trent Edwards and Donte Whittner have been guests on Jim Rome’s nationally syndicated radio show in the last several weeks.

“Winning isn’t everything.  It’s the only thing,” is a famous sports cliche attributed to Henry Russell Sanders.  Not only does it apply to sports, it applies to national media attention for low profile sports organizations.  It applies perfectly to the Buffalo Bills.

There are three things that drive sports media attention – winning, star power, and controversy.  Take the current state of the NFL and the corresponding media attention.  Not a day passes where reports surrounding the supposed near imminent firing of Oakland Raider head coach Lane Kiffin aren’t piped through the new wires.  The New York Jets and Brett Farve are still a staple of sports media discussion despite their poor onfield performance.  And then there’s the Buffalo Bills making headlines for emerging as an early surprise contender.

Winning and controversy are the Bills only two tickets to gaining media focus.  Both are fleeting.  Winning eventually turns into losing, and controversy always resolves itself.  Star power is the only sure fire way to stay in the national spotlight.  The New York Yankess, Dallas Cowboys, and New York Knicks share in unrivaled levels of star power.  And this doesn’t simply apply to star players.  While it certainly adds to the majesty of a franchise, it’s a combination of tradition, potential, and impact.

Achieving the necessary criteria boils down to a basic, tangible value – revenue power.  Sports franchises with the ability to generate sustained levels of revenue other organizations cannot compete with will, in time, become a part of the national consciousness.  Winning is a secondary concern, albeit not an ineffectual one.  High profile splashes in free agency and coaching draws create a constant illusion of movement.  The New York Knicks have been one of the worst franchises in the NBA in terms of winning, but because they are always an active player for free agents and tag well known coaches like Isiah Thomas they remain a topic of discussion in the media.

Controversy being something organizations try to avoid at all costs i.e. the Marshawn Lynch hit and run incident over the summer.  This is where Buffalo is forever doomed to fail in being a constant media starlet.  It’s such a depressed, small economic market it can’t afford impact free agents or notable coaches.

Being an avid Buffalo sports fan, the current fawning over the Bills by the national media strokes that team ego every fan carries around.  I’ll keep my chest thrust forward, but I know once the Buffalo Bills hit the inevitable rough patch this season and drop consecutive games, all that grand parading will fade out of the national media’s view.  And I’ll have to settle on the knowledge that in a few years when the Bills return to their losing ways, they won’t get even a mention by anything other then our sports loving local outlets.  In the meantime, I’m going to bask in the glory that is a winning Bills team.  I just hope all those star power team fans will let me enjoy this fleeting moment.

Written by huxbux

September 24, 2008 at 9:51 pm

Posted in Sports

Tagged with , , ,