Wednesday, September 24, 2008

All Brett out of Shape

Post #3 Topic: What did you REALLY expect?


                No one ever claimed that playing in New York was easy. Ask Carlos Delgado just how quickly New York fans can decide to hate you, grow to love you, abandon you and then find room in their tainted hearts for you once again. Ask Jaromir Jagr how many goals it takes to get the crowd back on your side and he’ll answer… 1, which is not so strangely the same amount of games where if you fail to score your mere presence will garner boos.  Ask John Starks how many three pointers you need to miss in one NBA Finals game before fans will ignore your first and only all-star season and label you for quarantine, and you’ll think he was in cahoots with #68.

                Then change the frame of your questions, and ask Eli what an athlete must do to coerce his city’s fans to develop an infinite allegiance and he’ll tell you win a title. Ask Mark Messier if he felt rushed to retire given his increasing age, decreasing production, and receded hairline and he’s sure to reply no.  Simply stated, once you win a championship in New York, you’ve successfully insulated yourself from the undulating waves of emotions that have both blessed and plagued the careers of some of the most talented athletes to step foot in the big apple, including Starks, Delgado, and Jaromir (ok maybe not Starks but for arguments sake just go with it Jim).

                When Brett Favre signed as a Jet he was an instant hit. Fans adored his charisma, admired his accomplishments, honored his records and praised Green Bay brass for even considering letting the almighty Brett escape the confines of the l’etat du fromage en route to a Wranglerless wilderness named NYC.

                Now the Jets find themselves 1-2, facing the potential perils of a lost season – and nothing in sports is more difficult than showing up in weeks 8-18 to get your ass beat into the ground, already knowing that the chances of a playoff birth are grim if not extinct. But realistically Jets fans…. What did you expect, how much better did you envision that Brett Favre could make this team? Perhaps you expected them to catapult to the top of a suddenly intriguing AFC East? Maybe a wildcard birth? Maybe you just went with your gut and predicted super bowl  as so many of you ignorantly did even before Brady’s season was over. But what you didn’t do is look into the pudding which as Confucius tells us, is often where the proof lies.

                In 2007 Brett Favre had a 66.5% completion rating which placed him 4th in the league behind efficiency stalwarts Drew Brees, Tom Brady and not entirely ironically, Chad Pennington. Favre likewise finished 4th in yards, ranking behind two of the aforementioned three, exchanging only Chad for Tony Romo… but fuggeddhaboddit.  In touchdowns Favre finished ranked 6th, due partially to the anomaly of a season produced by Derek Anderson, and the fact that Ben Roethlisberger is, like Favre, a super-bowl winning quarterback. Combining all these and other relevant statistical conclusions we get the suggestive but confusing “quarterback rating” – a race in which Favre once again finished 6th. Average his ranking over these 4 crucial categories and we can, despite some argument, say that Brett Favre was the 5th best QB in the league last year, and in doing so, declare that he was a wonderful acquisition.

                But as physics demand, as time goes, we grow older, gravity runs its course, our bones begin to ache and our athletic prowess shrinks like a dick out of the pool; quickly, suddenly and sometimes resulting in nothing but embarrassment (Seinfeld). Look at Brett’s 2006 performance:  26th best completion percentage, 6th in yards (typically his strongpoint), in a 4 way tie for 13th in touchdowns, and 25th in quarterback rating, behind the likes of Rex Grossman, Alex Smith, J.P. Losman and MICHAEL VICK… remember him.

                So which one was the anomaly? The terrible 2006 year or the great 2007 year? The two Green Bay teams were essentially identical with nothing but several parts being “fine-tuned” in ’07. Statistically speaking, 2006 was the bottom of what had been a several-year progression towards being “too old” to be Brett Favre. So, with logic as our friend and enemy (frienemy), we can conclude that the ’07 might have been somewhat of a “second (perhaps third) wind” for Mr. Favre, a fact which in stating their expectations, Jets fans refused to acknowledge.  Even averaging the two seasons’ statistical output we’re left with a “serviceable quarterback”. But Chad Pennington was serviceable.

                Nonetheless Brett was anointed the savior of a team just one year removed from a season worth forgetting. Given the weight of New York (which is heavier than the weight of the world, convincingly defeating the sum of the parts is greater than the whole argument… I think). But what were jets really expecting? An improvement over Brett’s previous year, miraculous performance in which he turned a decent core of receivers into a weekly threat? You don’t need the MNF staff to tell you that Coles and Cotchery aren’t quite Jennings and Driver.

                SO in any other city I’d say lay off Jets fans. Let Brett complete 30 of 45 passes for a few hundred yards a couple TD’s and perhaps one more interception. Let him lead you to a 8-8 season while you try to get the rest of the roster in order so that come the time when a true “Franchise QB” enters the equation, the parts are in place to MAKE him succeed. But you can’t do that in the big apple, where even the biggest signing in the history of the jets can go from wonderful to what the fuck in a new York minute.


Other Notes


Is it just me or are girls slowly getting shorter and shorter….

If you combine a google phone and an iphone do you get a googlyeye phone…. Because that would be sweet.

A real steak lover is someone willing to eat it with a spoon.

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