Category Archives: 04 | Sports

ProBowl Flag Fix

It seems to TheLongTalk that the ProBowl is pointless.

Certainly there are NFL fans who’d disagree and the NFL itself must believe the event has purpose or they’d stop holding it.

But, from the outside looking in, it appears as though the ProBowl is an All Star Game without any of the leagues actual stars… either due to “injuries” that keep them from participating or the upcoming Super Bowl that they’re getting ready to compete in.

And, the stars who do show are either their by contractual coercion or just to have a good old time… and there’s nothing wrong with that. Almost every All Star Game in every league suffers from this same thing… they are, at their best, little more then a friendly scrimmage.

TheLongTalk would suggest that the ProBowl’s problem, if anyone is willing to concede it even has one, is that it looks like a regular game but is played like a practice match.

The key to fixing it… Flag Football.

No one takes Flag Football serious… except that guy who takes Flag Football serious… note to that guy… DON’T BE THAT GUY. Flag Football is, at it’s very core, about playing football without actually playing “real” football.

It’s meant to have all of the upsides of the game… fun, excitement, running, playing, teamwork, learning, etc. without any of the downside… broken fingers, twisted knees, concussions, pain killer addiction, PED’s. etc.

So the ProBowl should become a Flag Football game.

I know what you’re thinking, “Would that be much of a change from what it is already?” ProBowlers avoid hard tackles and contact of any kind like it’s the plague. So what would be the difference if they played Flag Football instead of “Easy guys, don’t hurt each other.” football?

The difference would be entirely physiological.

Flipping that switch in the brain that says, “We’re playing relaxed football, let’s stay safe out there.” to “We’re playing Flag Football, let’s have fun out there.” would… in TheLongTalk’s humble opinion… make a substantial difference in the quality of play at the ProBowl.

Think about Professional NFL Players, why do they play?

• For the love of the game

• To compete at an elite level and dominate

• Money, stacks and stacks of MONEY!

What does the ProBowl put in danger?

• The love of the game? NO

• The ability to compete against the very best in the league and win? NO

• Their stacks and stacks of MONEY! YES!

How would Flag Football fix that…

• People love playing Flag Football and NFL Players are… in fact… people.

• TLT would suggest that most NFL Players would compete just as hard, if not much harder, in a Flag Football game as they would in a ProBowl. It’d be fun for the… one would think. A break from breaking everyone and everything. A fun, light hearted, but still competitive, chance to play.

• Their stacks of MONEY shouldn’t be in any danger due to a game of Flag Football.

Now there is for all human endeavors, someone who will take the thing way, WAY to serious. There would be ProBowl Flag Footballers that would bring too much aggression to the game, for those people there are flags. Just have the refs keep a tight handle on things so that everyone can enjoy themselves.

A group of grown men playing Flag Football and having fun would have to be better then a group of ProBowlers going 20% in a “real” football game.

ADDED TWIST: Include top College Seniors in the competition.

• They’d get a chance to show their stuff against the Pros without risking their knees and other joints and a they’d get a brief… if not entirely meaningless… feel for what lining up with a Pro feels like.

• The Pros would get to put the young bucks in their place and show off against lesser talent. A good ego boost.

• Scouts and Coaches would get a look at potential talent… even if it was in a weird, not exactly connectable, context.

So what do 90 and 12 think of TLT’s idea? Work able? Ridiculously? Unnecessary? Weigh in now Cargumentors…

Cheating…

So, some NFL sources are saying that 11 of 12 Patriot footballs were under inflated during their absolute drumming of Indy… 11 of 12 seems like 10 too many to be an accident.

Now, TheLongTalk will be the first to admit that football is not my forte. TLT knows a bit about the game… mostly due to 12 and 90 answering a barrage of questions during every game they watch with me… but that’s about it.

However, this post isn’t about football it’s about cheating and what cheating does to a win… which is to say, it taints it. Like a heavy does of vinegar taints an ice cream sundae… completely and irreversibly.

If the New England Patriots cheated, and it seems they did, then their win… even if properly won… is now and forever forward irreversibly tainted.

The same way Lance Armstrong’s wins are worthless, the same way Barry Bonds home-run record is meaningless. The same way Marion Jones track records and many medals are nothing more then a footnote under her huge P.E.D. headline.

A win accomplished by cheating is tantamount to a lose.

So, what has one gained when they’ve cheated their way to victory? In professional sports, the answer is MONEY, FAME, and STACKS & STACKS of MONEY.

Lance became a media sensation and multimillion dollar endorsement machine by winning and it seems he became a winner by cheating. There are real world, tangible, upsides to cheating and so… cheating will never end.

If the stakes are adequately high, someone involved in the endeavor will attempt to cheat. It’s a fact of life on this small blue dot spinning in that large black vacuum. Cheaters will try to use cheating to win if winning means anything at all.

That doesn’t meant that every single game or enterprise is tainted by cheating. Not every game has a cheater playing it, but some games do… and if a cheater is playing, they might not always cheat.

Surely some cheaters are talented athletes on their own merit and don’t need to cheat during every outing… but when the going gets tough, the cheat gets cheating.

So, if cheating is a fact of high stakes competition… which TLT would prepose that it is… then what can be done about it?

Thus far this post hasn’t really been a argument… we’re not in a car and there’s been no arguing… but here’s where things might get argue-ish.

TheLongTalk would purpose that there are only two courses that can be taken to address cheating in professional sports.

1. PUNISHMENT: There are not rules that can rule the cheater. No lawless that can make the lawless, lawful. People who ignore the rules, will ignore any new rules added. The only thing to do is to punish the cheater… severely.  Minor rule infractions with well established consequences should be handled like minor rule infractions, but cheating should be treated like an affront to sports as a whole. When a player cheats… SIDE NOTE: When is it that rule breaking ends and cheating begins… that player should have the hammer brought down on them, there should be no mercy.

OR

2. ENDORSEMENT: Who is it that the old saying goes… if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Since there will always be those among us who seek to gain by illicit measures, why not encourage everyone to take those same measures. If you want to re-level the playing fields in a P.E.D. world, doesn’t everyone need to be using P.E.D.’s. The only way to ensure that someone isn’t getting an unfair advantage is to make sure everyone is getting an unfair advantage.

So what do you all think? How can cheating be addressed, what does “cheating” really even mean? Is it an issue or is it so wide spread that it all ends up coming out in the wash?

Let’s hear your take on TheLongTalk’s insanely long and rambling manifesto.

What The Heck…

… is happening in the NBA?

• Mo Williams scored 52 points last night… 52 POINTS!… and the Wolves beat Indy.
• LeBron came back from the longest inactive stretch of his career, scored 33 points… and the Cavs still lost to the Suns.
• The defending Champion Spurs… who currently sit at 7 in the loaded West… lost to the Wizards for the first time since 2005.
• Nate Robinson is back in Boston, but Rondo is in Dallas.
• Speaking of the loaded West… there are currently 8 teams winning more then half of their games and 4 teams that have won over 70%… with Golden State sitting at 1st with 30 wins and only 5 loses and sporting a 7 game win streak.
• Meanwhile the Knicks are rocking a worse record then a team that’s intentionally losing and they’ve set a franchise record with 15 straight loses.
• Speaking of the TERRIBLE East… there are currently 10 teams that haven’t even won 1/2 of their games… not even half… also there’s better than a Division worth of teams (7) that have lost at least 60% of their games.
• There are three teams with win totals less then double digits. (2 of them in the East)

What the heck is going on in the NBA? Everyone is either really good or actively trying to be terrible. I hate parity in the league. Parity is roughly translated as everyone sucks except the few teams that don’t suck.

The West is so insanely loaded, the East has probably 5 teams that are actively trying to lose games. These GM’s are trading away talent for what? The chance to maybe, possible, if things play out right, land a top Draft Pick that won’t be ready for NBA level play for three years?

What the heck?

The Game is Travel Balls

TravelTheLongTalk has a brand new game for the world to fall in love with, here’s how it’s played -

- Three teams of 5 players take to the field. For practical purposes a football or American football field can be used, considering that Travel Balls is new and doesn’t have any fields built specifically for it… yet.

- Around the field are scattered 17 Travel Balls, as randomly as possible. Each Travel Ball weighs 20 pounds… about what a fully grown, male, miniature schnauzer would weigh. NOTE: Do not use miniature schnauzers as Travel Balls, you will get bitten and the dog would be terribly injured.

- Players from each team would be outfitted in the fashion of a footballer or a rugby player. NOTE: Not an American footballer, that would require much more expensive gear and Travel Balls is meant to be a relatively cheap game to play.

- The goal is to retrieve for your team as many Travel Balls as possible. They must be brought into your teams circle and held there for a full minute to count as retrieved. NOTE: You’ll have to paint some circles on the field your using

- Once a Travel Ball is retrieved it is taken out of play and the team that retrieved it is issued a point. Once all Travel Balls have been scored or once one team has mathematically eliminated the other two teams the game is complete.

- Players can move a Travel Ball only by kicking or carrying, however a player standing inside any one of three special areas marked on the field by an orange triangle, may throw the Travel Ball, if said player so desires. NOTE: You’ll also have to paint some triangles on the field, one near each of the three teams scoring circles… about 20 yards away.

- Players can use whatever methods they think most likely to succeed in order to procure a Travel Ball with the following exceptions. No biting, no eye gouging, no punching below the belt, no foreign objects… meaning no crowbars. Also, players must stay within the borders of the area of play.

- Teams can incorporate any type of offensive or defensive strategy they desire, with the following exceptions. No camping inside the retrieval circle. Opposing teams may enter your retrieval circle and try to remove your Travel Ball before it is scored, but you cannot go in after them.

So what do you all think?  Travel Balls still needs some fleshing out, it’s in its infancy, but it will most likely be grand and glorious soon and will rival American football for years to come.

TheLongTalk

Probably True, Very Funny

Have you heard this back and forth with Tiger Woods and Golf Digest’s Dan Jenkins?  If not, Jenkins wrote a fake interview with Tiger Woods, go read it now.  You can find it here – http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-tours-news/2014-12/dan-jenkins-fake-interview-with-tiger

I know, hilarious isn’t it?  Number12 was loving every minute of reading that.  But then wait, Tiger Woods, the real one not the fake one with the interview actually responded.  The Title of the piece for this response – “Not True, Not Funny.”  Which is why I titled this post “Probably True, Very Funny.”  Because well, if Tiger were being honest and himself, I think that is about how the interview would’ve went.  That or he would’ve flipped over the diner table and tried to strangle Jenkins to death.  Either way, here is the response Tiger wrote – http://www.theplayerstribune.com/tiger-woods-straight-up-not-true-not-funny/

I think I might’ve enjoyed Tiger’s response even more.  Could he sound any more like a crybaby?  Like a child?  Like the douchebag, SOB that he is?  No he couldn’t. until you read the letter his representatives wrote t0 Golf Digest, you can read that here – http://da0e3020886cd34a055b-deaa59b767194abee73c9434564a33e9.r61.cf5.rackcdn.com/to-mr-townsend.htm

I love what Tiger said Golf Digest’s response was.  He said “Digest responded by saying it was Dan’s humor, and they didn’t think it was unfair or they wouldn’t have run it.”

I couldn’t agree more and Golf Digest just got a new fan.  Well played Golf Digest, well played.

30 Years of Dubious Comparisons

The General Idea: To look back at the Finals MVP’s of the past 30 NBA Championship Teams and try to calculate, using highly questionable tactics, their career success rates.

The Specifics:
• Every year of a players career counts for one point.
• Years that include a Playoff appearance add an extra 1/2 point.
• Finals appearances count for a full point.
• Championships count for two added points.
(Because Championships are what they play for, right?)
• The last 30 years have been broken down into 10 year units, with an extra 1/2 point being awarded to Championships won while playing in the more successful Conference.
(The last 20 years belong to the West, the East has a higher Finals win total in one of the 10 year units)
• The official MVP is not, in every instance, TheLongTalks MVP.
(There are only 5 switches and the official MVP is noted in those cases)

An Example:
Player X: 16 Years (YR) | 16 Playoff Years ÷ 2 (PY) | 7 Finals Appearance (FA) | 7 Championships x 2 (WIN) 6 Bonus Points ÷ 2 (BP) Total 48

Finals MVP Success Rates:

Boris Diaw:  YR 12 | PY 7÷2 | FA 2 | WIN 1×2 | BP 1÷2 … Total 20* (Actual MVP Kawhi Leonard)

2 x MVP** LeBron James:  YR 12 | PY 9÷2 | FA 5 | WIN 2×2 | BP 0÷2 … Total 21.5*

Dirk Nowitzki:  YR 17 | PY 13÷2 | FA 2 | WIN 1×2 | BP 1÷2 … Total 28*

2 x MVP** Kobe Bryant:  YR 19 | PY 15÷2 | FA 7 | WIN 5×2 | BP 5÷2 … Total 36*

Paul Pierce:  YR 17 | PY 11÷2 | FA 2 | WIN 1×2 | BP 0÷2 … Total 26.5*

Tony Parker:  YR 14 | PY 13÷2 | FA 5 | WIN 4×2 | BP 4÷2 … Total 35.5*

The NBA’s Referees: They’ve been there since the beginning and this year was there year to shine. (Actual MVP Dwayne Wade)

3 x MVP** Tim Duncan:  YR 18 | PY 17÷2 | FA 6 | WIN 5×2 | BP 4÷2 … Total 44.5*

Rasheed Wallace:  YR 16 | PY 14÷2 | FA 3 | WIN 1×2 | BP 0÷2 … Total 28 (Actual MVP Chauncey Billups)

3 x MVP** Shaq:  YR 19 | PY 17÷2 | FA 6 | WIN 4×2 | BP 3÷2 … Total 43

6 x MVP** Michael Jordan:  YR 15 | PY 13÷2 | FA 6 | WIN 6×2 | BP 3÷2 … Total 41

2 x MVP** Hakeem Olajuwon:  YR 18 | PY 15÷2 | FA 2 | WIN 2×2 | BP 1÷2 … Total 32

2 x MVP** Isiah Thomas:  YR 13 | PY 9÷2 | FA 3 | WIN 2×2 | BP 2÷2 … Total 25.5 (Actual MVP for 1 of the 2 years, Joe Dumars)

2 x MVP** Magic Johnson:  YR 13 | PY 13÷2 | FA 9*** | WIN 5×2 | BP 3÷2 … Total 38 (Actual MVP for 1 of the 2 years, James Worthy)

Larry Bird:  YR 13 | PY 12÷2 | FA 5*** | WIN 3×2 | BP 1÷2 … Total 30.5

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:  YR 20 | PY 18÷2 | FA 10*** | WIN 6×2 | BP 0÷2 … Total 51!

Final Thoughts:
• It’s pretty impressive that Magic had 9 Finals appearance to go with his 5 Wins
• It takes a little bit of Googling to find out how many Finals Larry Bird lost. Plus, his career stats don’t appear to be listed on ESPN’s website.
• Kareem Abdul-Jabbar does not get enough talk in talks about Greatest Player to Ever Play the Game. His 51 is the highest number by a good margin. That man was a basketball playing machine. TheLongTalk’s theory is that he seems to be a bit of a grump and that’s keeping people from loving his career the way they loved MJ’s and Magics.
• Player X, the example listed at the beginning of this insanely long post, is a real player that never won a Finals MVP… but had some pretty Big Shots. Any guesses on who he might be?
• If you see any problems with TheLongTalk’s math, let TLT know.

TheLongTalk

*Active Player  ** Within the last 30 years  *** Including Finals appearances outside of the 30 year window

What makes an NFL QB a “real QB” ?

Yesterday I was bombarded with emails from Philadelphia fans about my support of Michael Vick . They stated that Michael Vick was never a real (whatever that means) quarterback.

So, I pose the sporting world with this question, what makes a QB a “real QB” ? To recap, Michael Vick played 12 years, mostly injured, passed for 21,000 yards, and rushed for roughly 6,000 yards. He is ranked number 90 out of the 250 men who have played or are playing the NFL QB position which puts him in the top 40% of all NFL QB’s of all time in passing yards.

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/V/VickMi00.htm
http://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/pass_yds_career.htm

I always hear that he fumbled too much or threw too many interceptions, he’s currently only 137th on the list for INT’s thrown, and 21st for fumbles.
http://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/pass_int_career.htm
http://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/fumbles_career.htm

So, again, I pose the sporting world with what makes someone in the NFL a “real QB” ? Is it titles? If that’s the case Marino, and Kelly were not real QB’s. If it’s rings, then we’re saying Trent Dilfer was better than Marino and Kelly or that he’s parallel with Peyton Manning, and that Peyton is less of a QB than Eli since Eli has 2.

What makes an NFL QB a “real QB”?