Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What Wojo's Looking Forward to

BWP User Survey:

Are you looking forward to seeing any of these in the World Series? (Check all that apply).

(A) Elvis Andrus

(B) Matt Cain

(C) Ian Kinsler

(D) Winning a battle with your anamorphic DVR

If you selected only (D), then you must be Gene Wojciechowski!

SAN FRANCISCO -- Watch. Don't watch. It's not as if Joe Buck will send me a commission check if you do.

A ringing endorsement right from the start. "Hey, watch the World Series!!! Or don't."

But this World Series has yee-haw thrill ride written all over it. In fact, when the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants advanced to the Fall/Early Winter Classic, I sprayed myself with ginger ale.

Let's just get past the fact that a "yee-haw thrill ride" isn't, nor will it ever be, a thing. I just like that the Rangers and Giants clinched a day apart, meaning Wojo spent an entire 24 hours pouring ginger ale on himself.

Also, this is an allusion to Josh Hamilton, and it's important to point out that this is the closest we're going to get to the probable MVP in an article about an upcoming World Series that his team is playing in for a while. We're instead going to detour into crazyland.

Nothing against the New York Yankees, but I needed a baseball blood transfusion. I'm A-Rod'd and Derek Jeter'd out.

Ian Kinsler. Nelson Cruz. These are players playing in the World Series. Very good players. Players you'd want to watch.

Another appearance by the pinstripers would have meant at least two games at Yankee Stadium and countless shots of really rich people on cell phones sitting behind home plate in those cushioned chairs the size of Murphy beds. And you don't even want to know how many times we would have had to watch the chalupa commercial in which Joe Girardi slaps another man's bum.

I didn't want to see the Yankees either, but this is your argument? "Really rich people on cell phones sitting behind home plate." Like the Yankees are the only team that has expensive seats behind home plate. In Milwaukee, home plate seats are auctioned to orphans! Seattle plays in a parking lot.

And someone please check me on this, but: That chalupa commercial is still going to get played 982,423,928 times during the World Series, to everyone's chagrin.

Also, this is about the Giants and Rangers and we are past the lead of the story without bothering to mention anything relevant about those teams. At least the argument against the Yankees couldn't get any stupider.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies have gone to the past two World Series. So it's somebody else's turn, OK? Plus, who wants to see good guy Ryan Howard go through the division, league and possibly the World Series without driving in a run?

Oops, spoke too soon! Good thing the Phillies aren't in it, or we'd have to see universal nice guy Ryan Howard not get an RBI, which totally wouldn't happen [citation needed].

I love this Series and this matchup because absolutely no one on the planet predicted it in March. (And if you did, I want to see documentation.) Its come-out-of-nowhere quality makes it the Boise State versus Missouri of World Series.

This Series reminds me of the most exciting things ever, Boise and Missouri!!!!

Would it have killed him to say Oregon, which is a super-exciting team?

As late as Aug. 28, the Giants were jockstrap-deep in trouble. They were six games out of the NL West lead and trailed Atlanta in the wild-card race, too. They had just lost their third game in a row, this time 11-3 to last-place Arizona. The Giants weren't out of it, but their traveling secretary wasn't exactly calling around for postseason hotel rates.

Balls deep. Say Balls deep. With Big Daddy Balls.

We're seven paragraphs in without any mention of any players or really anything that will make this Series interesting. Just that the Giants looked bad at some point.

And "their traveling secretary wasn't exactly [etc] [because I don't want to quote the rest of that drivel]" is a really long, drawn-out and strange metaphor for "it didn't look like they'd make the playoffs."

Of course, that's nothing compared with the Rangers. As late as Aug. 5, the franchise was auctioned off like a foreclosed house on eBay. Think about it (I guarantee you Mark Cuban does; his investment group was the losing bidder): One of your World Series teams was a custodian of bankruptcy court less than three months ago. Now, the team is overseen by the legendary Nolan Ryan, who still looks as if he could beat the sani socks off Robin Ventura.

Eight paragraphs. Lincecum and Lee are coming later in the story, I promise.

First mention of a Rangers player is: Nolan Ryan. I just ran the numbers to find out how many people are excited to see Ryan in this series and it is: zero. And the team's financial trouble isn't at all indicative of how the players were playing, which was well, all season, really.

Also, "One team looked like they were out! One team went bankrupt! What a great World Series!"

How strangely cool is that? This whole Series is cool.

SO cool. Cooler than cool. Too cool for school.

In honor of Giants closer Brian Wilson, I'm dyeing my goatee Just For Men jet black. Hockey players grow playoff beards, Wilson grows facial hair from Mars. Meanwhile, I can't look at Giants starter Tim Lincecum without thinking Jeff Spicoli and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." What Jefferson was saying was, Hey! You know, we left this England place 'cause it was bogus; so if we don't get some cool rules ourselves -- pronto -- we'll just be bogus, too! Get it?

Finally, 10 paragraphs in, Wojo gets around to mentioning players in this World Series. 10 paragraphs in. Yikes. And what he's looking forward to about Brian Wilson is his "facial hair from Mars."

Wojo one-ups himself after his Wilson mention with his analysis on Lincecum, the one guy who you would want to see just for his wacky delivery and stuff outside of just performance, by somehow mentioning only that he looks like a movie character from 1982. There are people with young families, homes and mortgages out there who are too young to get this reference.

Then he painstakingly quotes Spicoli for no real reason. World Series! Feel the... Spicoli!

The Freak is your Game 1 starter. He'll face the Rangers' pitching freak, Cliff Lee, who has not lost any of his eight postseason starts (7-0, 1.26 ERA). Lee is more automatic than a gas station car wash.

BASEBALL!!! Strange metaphor. BWP insta-poll: What's weirder: Lincecum : Spicoli, or Cliff Lee : Automatic gas station car wash? Send your answers to no one.

The Rangers are managed by Ron Washington. No biggie, except that he tested positive for cocaine use in 2009, publicly apologized in March and rewarded the Rangers' faith in him by leading the team to its first Series appearance.

No mention of Josh Hamilton making this World Series "cool" yet, but the fourth mention of someone actually involved with the series is Ron Washington, because he used to use cocaine. And cocaine is cool.

Their best every-game player is outfielder Josh Hamilton, who was a walking drug and alcohol lab until 2005. If Hamilton's ongoing story of demon fighting doesn't cause a lump in your throat, then you're the world's only living heart donor.

Hey, there he is! Josh Hamilton, probable league MVP, great story. Let's talk some more about how "The Natural" is potentially the greatest baseball player today but set back by injuries, drug problems, addictions and -- oh, you're just going to write two sentences and move on?

Also, "a walking drug and alcohol lab"? That's like six weird analogies before any actual baseball talk.

Then there's ultra-private Vlad Guerrero, deemed expendable by the Los Angeles Angels. So he comes to Texas and makes his first Series appearance in a glorious 15-year career. I like watching Guerrero because he swings at anything and usually hits those things very hard and very far. You know when the plate umpire tosses a scuffed ball toward the dugout? Vlad will swing at those, too.

So in addition to comparing this "cool" Series to Boise vs. Missouri (and yes, that would be a good game, but it sounds so boring), he's now mentioned the "cool," "ultra-private" Vlad Guerrero. So cool.

The Rangers' catcher, Bengie Molina, was the Giants' catcher until he was traded in July. He's holding a winning baseball Lotto ticket. That's because he's likely to get voted a full Series share by each team, meaning an estimated $1.2 million postseason payday.

Bengie Molina might make an extra million dollars, which is a reason we should watch the World Series. I feel like Woj has gotten a little off-track.

And it's hard not to have a soft spot for Rangers president Ryan. I covered one of the Ryan Express' no-hitters when he pitched for Texas. Afterward, he kept us reporters waiting --

Because he was a jerk?

not because he was being a jerk but because he first wanted to work out! The man pitches a no-hitter, then does a workout that buckled my knees. That old-school mentality has rubbed off on the Rangers like pine tar on a bat handle.

Wow, what a work ethic for a person that used to play baseball for one of these teams!! That seems like an argument for the Yankees, because think of all the cool players that used to play for them that don't play any more!

Babe Ruth*

Joe DiMaggio*

Don Mattingly***

Reggie Jackson*

Scott Brosious*

* denotes a true Yankee

***Mattingly gets three stars.

Again, cool.

I think Wojo needs to be reminded that Nolan Ryan doesn't play any more. And that, you know, he could be spending this space talking about Cliff Lee or Hamilton. But at least those guys are mentioned. I mean, Elvis Andrus is electric and he gets NOTHING.

I love that the Rangers got here on a $55 million payroll and meanwhile the Yankees and their $206 million roster are being treated for playoff withdrawal. I love that Jerry Jones built a football palace for his Dallas Cowboys but that Ryan and GM Jon Daniels built a team.

Small payrolls: Cool. And take that, Jerry Jones! You'll never make a World Series in this town! How's it taste?!?!

Nelson Cruz hit 22 home runs and OPSed .950 this year.

And how can you not go on a warm and fuzzy alert when talking about the Giants? The Giants last celebrated a World Series in 1954. They weren't even Californians back then; they were New Yorkers. Only the Cleveland Indians (62 years) and, sigh, the Chicago Cubs (102 years) have longer winless streaks.

Yep, we've moved on from talking about the Rangers. That's it. Now we're into the Giants. This part was gobbledeegook.

Look at the Giants' lineup and bench. It's dotted with baseball refugees, such as outfielder Pat Burrell, who was dumped by the Tampa Bay Rays. And had you heard of Cody Ross before the postseason started? Didn't think so.

Sorry sir, please use the term "misfits."

The Giants signed Barry Zito to a $126 million contract -- and left him off the playoff roster. They traded respected Molina so they could insert a rookie catcher, Buster Posey, in the lineup. They diminished the role of pricey outfielder Aaron Rowand, all in the name of winning.

The Giants wasted a lot of money! They got rid of that old loser Molina, who I just said made up part of the "coolness" of the World Series for his other team five seconds ago. They wasted more money! "All in the name of winning."

Wojo typed this paragraph, smiled to himself, took a long puff of a cigar, and thought, "Now that's journalism."

The Giants win heroically (Juan Uribe's eighth-inning dinger in Game 6 of the NLCS) and nervously (Wilson's 3-2 strikeout of Howard to end that series was on the lowest sliver of the strike zone). Six of their seven postseason wins have been by one-run margins.

Whatever. The important part now is how the story ends:

I've reached a settlement agreement with my DVR. It gets the NFL games while I'm gone. I get to watch the World Series live.

For once, I got the better deal.

What? WHAT?!?!?!? You... WHAT?!?!?!?!

This whole column was stupid, but WHAT?!?! the... fuck?

Wojo has "reached a settlement agreement" with his DVR, which I suppose has taken on a life of its own. I guess. In the agreement, the DVR gets NFL games (I don't know what that means), and he gets to watch the World Series. ...What?

Read that over again. Does that make sense? He got the better deal?

So, like, he has a standing agreement that his DVR, which is a person or something, gets to watch the NFL games, but he gets the World Series, and normally the NFL is better...? I'm really trying to work through this.

Somebody help me.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How LeBron Could Have Improved His Image For Cheap

Spiteful, full of misguided rage, probably angers Cleveland, yet effective. Not only is this the BWP motto*, it is the new LeBron ad geared toward improving his image. I love the ad. I like the attitude of firing back at famous critics who actually accomplished something, because fuck it, everyone hates me anyway. But it never had to come to this. Here's a few suggestions of how LeBron could have fixed his PR disaster and saved some cash for future hush money.

1. Boba Fett Mask

You can say anything you want in a Boba Fett mask, and nobody will be offended.

Point proven. Moving on. Quickly.

2. Rape and/or Sexually Assault Someone

LeBron is in a unique situation. He is the only celebrity hated for hurting feelings. Rape and sexual assault paves the way for the come back story. LeBron doesn't have that luxury. If Roethlisberger and the Steelers win the Super Bowl, the story will tell of the Steelers persevering through the first 4 weeks of the season without their leader. If LeBron wins the title, people hate him more. LeBron has no avenue to becoming a sympathetic figure until he has something to overcome. Unless I've severely misjudged the American psyche, any problem of human character and sympathy can be solved by rape.*

3. Crystal Meth

Not an expensive drug. More self-destructive than rape, but rape can't get you on a reality show. Or maybe it can. I don't watch much VH1. Just throwing things out there. Who doesn't like a meth head? Intervention get pretty high ratings, after all. Plus, when the Heat can't live up to their impossible expectations, he can blame his meth addiction. I can see it now. LeBron crying in Dwayne Wade's arms during the highest rated Intervention episode, tearfully accepting to take the flight to the rehab team in Cleveland. A&E needs to make this happen.

4. Have A-Rod Follow Him Around
He already is.
Win-Win. A-Rod thinks he's improving his image and will do it for free. LeBron looks like less of a douche by comparison. That was easy.

5. Play Like Adam Morrison

Adam Morrison has cracked the code. He developed the perfect skill set that would allow 2 championship rings to fall into his lap. Sure, he didn't play, but he still has the jewelry and a story to kill his grand kids. That is, of course, if he doesn't die alone. Which he might. And might have already. We'll have research look into that. The point is, you don't have to be in the spotlight to be a role player on a championship team.

6. Combine 1-5

What do you call a man who can always be seen wearing Boba Fett helmet and hanging out with A-Rod, who despite the fact is a serial raping meth addict has managed to be a part of 2 NBA championship teams? The most interesting man in the world.

Should have just sent me a tweet LeBron. I'm here to help.

25 Baseball Players Playing in the Playoffs

Still not as good as FJM.

John Heyman was forced to write a baseball column on a day with no baseball. Instead of taking the obvious route (Why Choke-Rod choked away the Yankees' chance to win the World Series again and/or Why Choklie Manuel choked as a manager against San Francisco), he instead tried to give bad sports writing some new flavor. So +10 points.

It's about postseason heroes. Fine. +-0 points.

From this season. So... small sample size, but there should be a few, right? Maybe "5 postseason heroes so far." +5 points.

Uh oh. Minus a billion points.

Several players have enhanced their reputations this October, though none more so than the top two guys on this list -- the unheralded Cody Ross and the much-heralded Cliff Lee. Ross has done what no one expected, and Lee has done exactly what he did last postseason, undoubtedly en route to a stratospheric salary in 2011. Here is my list of 25 men who have enhanced their statures so far this October.

"Here's two guys who have done well in the postseason and 23 others. Holy crap. 25?! There have been 27 games played in the postseason this year. And 25 "heroes." This gets ugly, fast.

It might as well just be like, "Hey, here are some guys who are involved in the postseason." 25!

1. Ross. The former rodeo clown wanna-be was acquired by the Giants for nothing. Not only that, but they claimed him off the waiver wire partly just to block the Padres. The Marlins let him go only to save a measly $1 million, and at the time he looked like nothing more than an extra in the Giants' crowded outfield. Now he's earning folk hero status. He has shown: 1) that he's clutch, 2) that he can beat the best pitchers, and 3) you don't ever want to throw him an inside fastball. Has all three of the Giants' home runs in the NLCS.

So Heyman is already fighting an uphill battle because some of these are going to be downright nonsense. But he manages to fudge one of the gimmes up horribly with this analysis of Cody Ross:

1) He's clutch.
2) He can beat the best pitchers.
3) You don't ever want to throw him an inside fastball.

Ross is 7/23 in the playoffs this year with three home runs and is OPS-ing 1.385. Which is awesome and everything, but ... really? 23 at-bats and we're willing to attach all three of these to Cody Ross, a career slightly-above-average hitter?

Fun time: which of these three is the silliest? Mail your answers to no one, they're all stupid.

3. Buster Posey. The cleanup-hitting catcher must be making those who voted for someone else in the Rookie of the Year balloting second-guess themselves. It looked like a toss-up between Posey and Atlanta's Jason Heyward, but Posey bats cleanup for a team that may be headed to the World Series. Heyward was moved up in his lineup, but only to No. 2, and put up numbers that were not much better in many more games. Some might suggest that the Giants could have called Posey up earlier, but maybe they waited for exactly the perfect time. It isn't easy catching this young pitching staff, and he's doing it marvelously. "As good as Joe Mauer at the same age," one competing executive said.

"Take that, people who voted against Buster Posey in an award based on regular-season play! Look how good this guy is in the postseason! [Posey's postseason OPS is .612 (I know it's a small sample size but still, how is this guy a "postseason hero"?)]"

Also, this is shooting fish in a barrel but:

Buster Posey, age 23: .305/.357/.505, 129 OPS+
Joe Mauer, age 23: .347/.429/.936, 144 OPS+ (holy shit!)

Mauer please.

Number four is Matt Cain, which is perfectly fine because he's pitched really well (Obviously two was Lee). Five is Halladay, which I believe proves that this list isn't in any kind of order (?). Six is Lincecum, whatever.

So there are six guys I guess you could call, at least semi-defensibly, "postseason heroes." But ah, clever reader, you correctly recalled that Jon Heyman is trudging forth with another 19 "heroes", do you? Well done. Where will he pull them from? Choose the correct answer:

(A) His ass
(B) A

7. Robinson Cano. No less than Reggie Jackson said he could see Cano hitting three home runs in a big postseason game. So far, he has four overall and is batting .387.

This was written on Friday, and then the Yankees went out and lost, so Cano never got his chance to hit three home runs in a game, which was, I guess, predicted (?) by Reggie Jackson, which makes him a playoff hero.

So just in case you're keeping track, the first six are on this list by merit of playing well in the postseason. Other ways to be a "hero":

- Have Reggie Jackson think you could hit three home runs in a game.

8. Elvis Andrus. Folks understood that he could field, but seeing him up close makes a difference. Also, being compared occasionally to Omar Vizquel doesn't hurt, either. Hitting .344 for the postseason.

Be "occasionally" compared to Omar Vizquel. Also, at any point, an editor at SI could come in and take out the word "hero" and change it to "some people who are playing pretty well in the postseason." But then I wouldn't have taken issue with this and I'd be doing work right now.

Nine is Wilson, who probably loses points because he doesn't remind Jon Heyman of anyone.

10. Andy Pettitte. His reputation as a big-game pitcher wasn't hurt when he picked up his record 19th postseason win in Game 2 of the ALDS.

"People thought he was good and he was pretty good." There are 15 entries left on this list.

11 is Mo and is badly written but whatever. Now we get to the fun part.

12. Bruce Bochy. The Giants' manager has taken a few hits but he's a very solid manager who has brought together a collection of players that sure doesn't look like it should be beating the Phillies. Never had a shot at winning the World Series with the 1998 Padres, his only other pennant-winning team, but his rotation gives him a chance this time.

Yes, Bochy outmanaged Charlie Manuel, for as much as a guy can get outmanaged. But I will argue to the death, as did the blog I steal this idea from now, that a manager doesn't coach up Cody Ross to hit home runs. But to Heyman, he's a hero. A HERO.

Firefighters on 9/11
Soldiers dying for our freedom
Bruce Bochy for being a "very solid manager"

13. Nelson Cruz. According to Mark Teixeira, Cruz could be baseball's next superstar. A throw-in along with Carlos Lee in the trade that sent the two of them to the Rangers in 2006, Cruz is hitting .378 with four homers. He's hoping to play on Friday night despite a tight hamstring.

14. Bengie Molina. Nobody but Texas really wanted him when the Giants were looking to get rid of him because they were about to promote Posey to the majors. Yet, here is Molina in the postseason again, eight years after being the starting catcher on the Angels' World Series title team, contributing for the Rangers with a big home run vs. the Yankees in ALCS Game 4.

Qualifications to be a postseason hero, by Jon Heyman

- Reggie Jackson talked about you
- You sometimes remind people of Omar Vizquel
- Mark Teixeira thinks you're good
- You've played in the playoffs before

15. Juan Uribe. Bad wrist and all, he has delivered at the plate and in the field. Has timed a very good all-around season with impending free agency.

Ugh, Juan Uribe? This is a bucket of wrong. First off, Uribe is hitting .214 this postseason, and actually in a not-too-terribly small sample size, he is hitting .220 and OPSing .631 in 92 postseason plate appearances. This guy sucks. Also, what part of this season was "very good all-around?" The 99 OPS+?

In my estimation, hitters are judged on the following criteria:

Getting on base

Now let's see how Juan Uribe did in his "very good all-around season":

Hitting: He hit .248 this season. That's not good.
Defense: Zone rating puts his runs saved above average at a whopping: 0. That seems average to me.
Speed: Obviously not known for his feet, but he somehow managed get caught stealing 2/3 times he ran.
Power: 24 HR, which is good. .440 SLG, which is alright, isn't it?
Getting on base: .310 OBP = NOT GOOD.

So Juan Uribe, who was good in one facet of the game, average in one, and bad at everything else, and who has never been good in the postseason (unless you count the 10 ABs in the 2005 ALDS), is a "postseason hero." Jon Heyman gets paid to make this claim based on: nothing.

16. Ryan Madson. He has looked dominant in the setup role, with eight K's in 5 2/3 scoreless innings.

Two days later, Madson gave up the series-winning run. Obviously Heyman isn't a fortune teller but this is what happens when you list 25 people as "playoff heroes."

17 is Kinsler, fine. 18 is Cole Hamels, who actually pitched really well. It must be that Ryan Madson reminds Heyman of Goose Gossage, whereas Brett Myers said Hamels only reminds him of Curt Schilling.

This is a waste of time.

There are still SEVEN more people on this list.

19. Aubrey Huff. Had a reputation as a snarky guy who played for losers. But here he is batting third for a team one game from the World Series, and he's one of their stand-up guys in the clubhouse.

Qualifications to be a postseason hero, by Jon Heyman

- Reggie Jackson talked about you
- You sometimes remind people of Omar Vizquel
- Mark Teixeira thinks you're good
- You've played in the playoffs before
- Bat third for the Giants

20. Mike Maddux. Rangers pitching coach has done a nice job once again with a young staff.

Mike Maddux. Postseason hero. The basketball coach that pulled a guy from a burning car, and Mike Maddux for making C.J. Wilson a starter.

21. Travis Wood. Talented Reds youngster outpitched Aroldis Chapman in the NLDS, throwing 3 1/3 scoreless innings. He was also the only one to hit the ball hard vs. Halladay in his no-hitter.


22. Jonny Venters. Some suspected that Bobby Cox overused him, but he came through with 5 1/3 scoreless postseason innings that included eight strikeouts.

You might think that Wood should be below Venters because this arbitrary hero ranking list because Venters has two more scoreless innings, but you're forgetting to factor in the +3.54 HERO factor (HERO stands for HEyman Rating Order) that Wood's hard hit added to his overall numbers.

23. Jayson Werth. Carl Crawford will still probably be favored by most teams because he's three years younger and an even better runner. But five-tool outfielders who come up with big hits like Werth has fare well in free agency. He's hitting only .214 in the postseason but showing power, defense and speed.

Seriously, he's a "hero."

The last two are Dave Righetti and Jose Contreras. I have no fight left in me. This was stupid.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

No one will ever do this as well as FJM.

But Goddamnit, I've got to try.

This post, which will only be read by Nick, is in response to two things:

(1) There used to be a really good meta-critical-sports-journo blog written by successful people from their mothers' basements called Fire Joe Morgan, which I read every day still, like a puppy looking out the window of an abandoned house hoping the family will come home and talk about how much Woody Paige sucks at journalism.

(2) Holy shit, there's still a lot of really bad sports journalism out there, which I also read every day, from my job in my mother's basement.

So here come the FJM-style posts, which again, won't be anywhere near as funny or insightful as what they did, and just to sort of differentiate myself, my first subject will be this nonsense I read a couple days ago from the front page of Cowboys QB gets raw deal in Romo-Rodgers comparison. Take it away, Elliot Harrison!

Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo have been in the news a lot this week -- Rodgers because of a concussion that puts his status for this week in some doubt, and Romo because he's the face of Super Bowl contender that is sitting at 1-3.

I like this column because it makes a lot of unsubstantiated arguments and alleges that it's what everyone's talking about. "Man, two of the most famous people at the most famous position in the most famous sport in the country have been in the news! Wonder why?!?!"

For some odd reason, these two get linked together quite often by fans, broadcasters and analysts, including NBC's Tony Dungy this week.

So the whole column from here on out is based on this little nugget. These two get linked together. They're in the news. They're quarterbacks. I mean, look, they might have been born within three years of each other, in California, considered to be in at least the top half of quarterbacks in the league, starters in the NFC, leaders of teams that were predicted before the season to be championship contenders but instead have struggled, and I mean at the very least, they're quarterbacks in the NFL so like, they pretty much all get compared to one another, but that's no reason to go linking these two together, now is it?

Dungy said "part of being a leader at the quarterback position is protecting the football. You've got to do that to be a great quarterback."

That comment is emblematic of what people don't like about Romo, and the unfavorable comparisons to Rodgers always seem to appear a few sentences later. It's easy to see why. Both are NFC quarterbacks in their early prime who had to sit on the bench for three years before getting a shot. They also play for two of the NFL's flagship franchises.

Dungy said a thing about quarterbacks. These two players are quarterbacks. I also like how he scoffs at how the "comment is emblematic of what people don't like about Romo." As if people shouldn't be so quick to dislike a guy for fumbling.

But the bigger slight is somehow not that Romo gets wrongly criticized for fumbling, but that when people talk about him and Rodgers (all the time), they always criticize Romo first, and then Rodgers...?

Also, Elliot touches on a few points that would show why people would link the two, about 15 seconds after wondering what "odd reasons" link the two.

And Romo is 30. Somehow that's the "early prime" for a man whose job it is to get eaten by Julius Peppers.

Hey, you know who gets linked to everyone else for the MOST odd reasons?

Perhaps the biggest reason lies in the fact that Romo reminds so many people of the guy Rodgers replaced: Brett Favre. He's a fun-loving gunslinger, who sometimes throws hairbrained interceptions. He comes off as somewhat of a diva, and they say he's not as good as A-Rodg.

Oh, people hate Romo because he loves fun. No sir, not for me. Give me "A-Rodg" (an un-fun nickname that reminds us of the least fun athlete ever) because he HATES fun. One time, Greg Jennings was celebrating after a touchdown pass and Rodgers threatened to cut him. He fucking hates it. That's my kind of QB.

Too bad the latter is totally wrong.

Oh, thank God, because I thought you were arguing that people think Rodgers is better because Romo has more fun, and that's just nonsen--

Ain't no way Rodgers is better than Romo. No way.

--oh, we're just making that point and moving on. Okay, cool, let's come up with some stats.

This is not to say Rodgers isn't a great quarterback. He has a sterling career passer rating of 96.4, while having thrown 68 touchdowns to only 27 interceptions. He also averages 7.7 yards every time the ball leaves his hands. Those are great numbers.

Here's where I'd like to point out that this column is based on the "odd link" between the two, and the people who say that Rodgers is definitely better than Romo (which he is), and responding that Romo is DEFINITELY the better quarterback. Remember that.

Let's take a look at that "gunslinger" Romo: 95.3 passer rating, with 114 touchdowns and only 60 interceptions -- very close to Rodgers.

YOU called him a gunslinger. No one called him that. You said that. Also, QB Rating is a quirky stat but it's generally accepted as a solid metric of how good a QB is. Which is confusing when you argue that since Romo's rating is "very close" to Rodgers's, that helps your argument that Romo is better.

Now, let's just get silly.

But Romo gets more bang for his buck, averaging 8.1 yards per attempt during his career. That's higher than any quarterback in the NFL. Higher than Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, and yes, Rodgers. Give me a quarterback who throws the ball down the field over a dink-and-dunker any day of the week.

Okay, so a high yards-per-attempt average, that's cool. But... that's what you're using to make your argument? He has the highest YPA? I mean, keep in mind, Rodgers had a pretty shitty '08 Green Bay team, which was also his first season starting, and he still had a great season. Romo's had a winning record all four of his starting seasons, which to me indicates he played with a better team around him. He also hasn't been sacked 50 times in a season like Rodgers, meaning he has more time to let plays develop and get more yards per attempt. Also this argument is stupid when we click two buttons:

2009 "Dink and dunker" Aaron Rodgers: 8.7 YPA
2009 Gunslinging YPA master Tony Romo: 8.2 YPA

Still, Rodgers and Romo have nearly identical numbers. That said, stats have never been the measure of a great quarterback. Wins have. Surely, Rodgers must blow away Romo in this category, right? Wrong. Romo has won two out of every three starts, while Rodgers is hovering around .500.

No, wins are the measure of a good team. Like, you know how Rodgers' first season, his team sucked? He had a 93+ QB rating and his team won six games. Or like that playoff game he gets blamed for when he fumbled in overtime but it was like 150-150 at the time and if the defense had made one stop, ever, he wouldn't have been in that position.

Besides, Romo has played in ~twice as many games as Rodgers, so it's horribly disingenuous to compare their numbers straight up.

Romo: 55 starts, 16,611 yards, 117 touchdowns, 62 interceptions
Rodgers: 32 starts, 10,347 yards, 69 touchdowns, 28 interceptions.
Rodgers prorated to 55 starts: 17,783 yards, 119 touchdowns, 48 interceptions.

Romo throws an interception 3% of the time. Rodgers throws an interception 2% of the time. With how much guys throw now, that's an extra interception every two games.

Or, you know, you could blindly call those numbers "nearly identical."

So Romo's stats are comparable to Rodgers,

-- No, they're not --

and he's won a far higher percentage of his games.

Yes, over the past few seasons, Dallas has been overall better than Green Bay. But how much are we really awarding him for Barber and Jones combining for 1600 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground in 2007? He also had a T.O. popcorn year (81/1355/15) to help him out, and one of the best seasons ever by a tight end (Witten: 96/1145/7).

Also, DeMarcus Ware had 14 sacks.

But whatever, all of these wins created only and solely by Romo aren't even the point. The point is:

That's great, but it still might not be enough for his detractors. The all-too-common epitaph on Romo's career was this Einstein-esque factoid: Romo hasn't been a winner in the playoffs. True that. He's 1-3 as a starter in the postseason. But Rodgers hasn't won any.

True that. Word. 'Cept homes, I got beef with that. Romo is a playoff choker who blew an easy hold. Rodgers has started two seasons: One year, his team sucked, last year he went 28/42 for 423 yards (!!!), four touchdowns, one interception, 13 yards rushing and a touchdown (!!!!!!!). Christ. How did he lose this game?

Oh right, he doesn't play defense and Kurt Warner threw five touchdowns. I think we can all agree that that lose is not the fault of one Master Aaron "A-Rodg" Rodgers.

Of course, Rodgers has only played in one playoff game.

Right, 423 yards and four touchdowns.

But that brings up another point of contention:

This thing I said is another very good point:

Part of being a great quarterback is getting your team to the playoffs, or at the very least, having a winning season. Rodgers went 6-10 in his first season as a starter, after having all offseason and training camp to prepare. Romo went 6-4 his first season as a starter, despite being thrust into the lineup when Bill Parcells decided to bench Drew Bledsoe at halftime against the Michael Strahan-led Giants. To that point of the season, Romo might've gotten 10 percent of the snaps to prepare, as opposed to Rodgers, who had an entire playbook built to his strengths.

Yikes. Okay. So first off: no.

Second, come on, man. I know a great QB helps his team win, but A-Rodgey wasn't going to take the helm and start winning right away. And even still, GB lost games in '08 where they put up 24, 27, 29 and 31 points. With an average defense, that team goes 10-6. Oh, also, the 29 was in a loss to the Saints when Rodgers gave up 51 on defense. How dare he!

The success of Romo's initial season and Rodgers' first has little to do with the talent around them. Those 2008 Packers had Donald Driver, Ryan Grant and Greg Jennings. Green Bay went 13-3 the prior year under Favre's direction, before going 6-10 with Rodgers. Can you imagine if that had been Tony Romo? Lieutenant Aldo Raine would've taken a cheesegrater to his head.

(A) Lt. Aldo Raine is a year-old reference to "Inglorious Basterds." This was written in 2010. Also: What?

(B) Do you even bother to look back and do research? Rodgers keeps losing games where his offense puts up 30+ points because his defense sucks. He doesn't play defense. Stop writing.

(C) Aldo Raine?!?!?!?!

Same deal with the playoffs. Rodgers put up very impressive stats in his one and only playoff game vs. Arizona last season, throwing for 423 yards and four touchdowns. But he missed a wide-open Greg Jennings in overtime on a play that easily could've gone for a touchdown, and his fumble deep in Green Bay territory lost the game. Few fans pinned the loss on A-Rodg, blaming the Packers secondary instead for not covering anyone all game -- rightly so. But what if that had been Romo? He could have Marino'd the Cardinals into oblivion with 600 yards passing and nine touchdowns, but if he committed the same mistakes Rodgers made, he would've gotten a plyboard to the face from David Spade and NFL analysts alike. Their situations are totally different.

"What about that time Rodgers played great but the defense blew it? Yeah, it was the defense's fault. But Romo would have thrown for 600 yards!!!! David Spade."

Yeah, he played a great game, but what about that time in overtime when he'd already accounted for five touchdowns but his defense couldn't stop anyone and he missed one pass? That's MUCH worse than botching a hold on a gimme field goal.

And of course, no one has ever thrown for more than 527 yards or 6 touchdowns in a game, but Romo could have thrown for 600/9 (!?!?!!?!?!?!?).

What's with adding a random, strange entertainment reference into these? Even Abe Vigoda thinks it's weird!!!

Situation, or the environment in which these two great players started their career, has everything to do with why Rodgers is perceived so positively and Romo lukewarmly (at best). When Favre retired for the 37th time, fans were so ready to move on that they gave the likeable, polite, Rodgers a free pass. Despite being a first-round pick, and given every chance to succeed, fans were pleased as punch when Rodgers proved to be a productive quarterback in 2008.


Also, LOL Favre retired a lot, didn't he? Isn't his about how Romo is unequivocally better than Rodgers?

So people wanted Rodgers to succeed = Romo is better?

Conversely, Romo was given every chance to get cut. In fact, had Quincy Carter not failed a drug test, Romo would've likely been released in 2004. The Cowboys already had Carter (the starter), Vinny Testaverde (a Parcells guy), and Drew Henson (a highly touted prospect). Romo was the odd man out. But history played out as it did, and Romo outplayed everyone. The undrafted free agent out of Eastern Illinois took the team to the playoffs and made the Pro Bowl, setting the bar so high that he ensured himself of never getting a free pass.

God bless America.

He took his team to the playoffs (Rodgers did too) and made the Pro Bowl (a useless popularity contest), setting the bar so high (for: ???) and "never getting a free pass," which is gobbledeegook.

The dropped snap in the wild-card game vs. Seattle in the 2006 season didn't help. Nor did going to Mexico with Jessica Simpson the weekend before the divisional playoffs. But how many starting quarterbacks are asked to hold for kicks these days? And no one would care if Rodgers started hanging out with Meryl Streep, or Merril Hoge for that matter.

Blowing a playoff game didn't help, but it did make him a better playoff qb than Aaron Rodgers. I'd like to imagine that Elliot Harrison had a brain aneurysm halfway through this column and just couldn't stop himself.

Random entertainment references in this column now: 3 (Merril Hoge doesn't count as an entertainment reference, in case anyone was wondering).

Dating Simpson is where a lot of the Romo-hating started, with much of the venom coming from fans who have the vacation time but no Jessica to spend it with. But don't forget, Dallas had a bye that weekend, and Romo had to spend it listening to Jessica talk about Golden Retrievers and Prada bags. Not exactly a vacation.

Elliot Harrison, who was there at the time [citation needed], thinks it was OK, because Jessica spent the entire time talking about dogs and purses. So it wasn't a real vacation. This is nonsense.

And wasn't this about why Romo is better than Rodgers?

That said, everything but Romo's performance as a quarterback on the field sticks to him.

Which is unfair because: ???

He has the same numbers as Rodgers,

Not true.

has won a sizably larger percentage of his games,

Not really true.

and like his Packers contemporary, makes unbelievable plays.

And this was talked about when?

These guys should be spoken of together, but only in the sense that they are two of the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL, with plenty of good days ahead of them.

This article should be thrown out, but only in the sense that it should be lit on fire and used to wipe a butt first.