Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How Close was ‘Close?’

The AFC West was hands down the most unexceptional division in the NFL last year, with three teams going 8-8 and the Chiefs dragging tail at 7-9. Such density of mediocrity suggests even the last-place team was a bounce or two away from winning not just the West, but landing among the playoff elite (and no, one inexplicable win against the Steelers did not make Tebow’s Donkeys elite). Yet even though KC was close enough to be in play for a division title entering the last week of the season, to say we were close to good is a serious reach.

Although the Chiefs embarrassed themselves during more than one blow out, the overall scoring defense was actually better than average – it’s the offense that failed us week in and week out. For reference, within the division, only San Diego ended the season scoring more points than their opponents.

Points For
NFL Rank
Points Against
NFL Rank
NFL Rank
Kansas City
San Diego

Aside from a 28-0 blowout of the Raiders, the largest margin of victory the Kansas City enjoyed in 2011 was an ugly 10-3 win over Chicago. Losses included 7-41 (Bills), 3-48 (Lions), 3-31 (Dolphins), 3-34 (Patriots), and 10-37 (Jets). (The Jets game particularly sticks in my craw as my Christmas present to my father was a ticket to the delightful experience of watching the Chiefs gain four net yards in the first half.) Although we finished 7-9, the club played more like a 6-10 or 5-11 team.

So what does being close to winning a bad division portend for the future? Relying on no statistical basis whatsoever, I believe the return of Eric Berry, Jammal Charles, and Tony Moeaki allows us to score/prevent exactly one touchdown per Sunday, requiring free agent pickups and the draft to bridge the remaining gap that puts KC in positive net scoring territory. It’s likely that replacing Barry Richardson single-handedly gives us that bump. The more the Hillis acquisition is dissected, the better it looks. The wide receiver situation is looking exciting. And the potential pairing of Dallas Clark and Moeaki would literally give Cassel more options than he’s capable of checking down.

It’s tempting to worry that all the optimistic conjecture heading into this season is a little overdone; last season, after all, was a few mediocre wins and some very, very bad losses. Has any team ever made the playoffs after suffering so many 30+ point losses the season before?  I believe this year’s team is a playoff team, but going from 7-9 to 10-6 would be much more than a mere three game improvement – and hopefully compared to the Rams turnaround of 1999. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Chevy Chase is a Joke

Community was given a temporary shot in the arm today with the announcement the show has been extended for 13 more episodes. I'm happy. Despite society's demonstrated indifference to this slice of programming genius because it doesn't feature nut shots or drunken spoiled 20-somethings fighting over fake tans, NBC is willing to pay for a great sitcom with meager ratings. Ayn Rand would be proud.

Methinks Ayn Rand would also call Chevy Chase classic second-hander. Chase is a well-known jackass, and he does a great job of playing one on the show. He also hasn't done anything worthwhile in over a decade. Yet his lack of talent hasn't stopped him from publicly feuding with the creator while calling the show a "fucking mediocre sitcom" unworthy of his time. Other classic quotes from Chase include "I've been too funny in my life to have to play a character who's ... moderately funny," and that he could make the show funnier by adding "his brand of humor" to it. Once again, Chase hasn't done something funny over the past 20 years. The opportunity to appear in such a brilliant show shouldn't be squandered on an asshat who believes he could make it funnier by essentially adding more nut shots. I imagine the man walking onto every set hungover while muttering, "ugghhhh... clever jokes make old man head hurt." Chase's character adds an excellent element to the show; it's unfortunate he's too much of a Philistine to appreciate it.

Freshman Logic Fail

When Obama talks about gay marriage, it sounds like he's pandering. When Romney brings it up, he sounds like an idiot. Witness his statements last night on Fox News: "I happen to believe that the best setting for raising a child is where this is the opportunity to a mom and a dad to be in the home. I know there are many circumstances where that is not possible, through death or divorce. I also know many gay couples are able to adopt children. That's fine."

Let's play a simple logic game:
Gay marriage illegal=A
Gay marriage legal=B
Heterosexual couple raising a child=C
Gay couple raising a child=D

What Romney is apparently OK with:
1. If A, then C.
2. If B, then C.
3. If A, then D.
4. If B, then not D.

I understand #1 & #2. Reconciling three and four, however, can only be done one way: Mitt Romney is worried that gay married couples will begin procreating. Apparently Cranbrook did not teach sex ed.

FYI - Obama isn't gonna do anything that materially advances the cause of gay marriage. If you support the cause, you don't have to give him money now, because political expediency never stops evolving.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Not to Talk Smack on Richard E. Mourdock, but...

Senator Lugar, 
Thank you for your years of dedicated service to your country. You were a man cut from rarefied cloth, and the world is safer today due to your efforts in curtailing nuclear proliferation in Russia.