The NFL Pro Bowl

January 31, 2011

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This is a list of the things I like and do not like about the NFL Pro-Bowl.

I do not like that it is the week before the Super Bowl. We already have reduced participation due to some of the higher paid players concern about injury, now we have the Super Bowl participants opting out.

I like that the game is in Hawaii again. I thought that it was actually rather cruel last year when the players went to the Super Bowl City. The celebration of their skills that earned them spots on the Pro-Bowl roster was overwhelmed by Super Bowl questions, including “how do you feel about not being in the Super Bowl?” This is supposed to be a reward for being the best players in the league. Having the game in Hawaii lets these players celebrate with their families and friends.

I do not like that the only impact of the game is deciding which team is the “home” team in the Super Bowl next year. I would like it to determine where the Super Bowl is played. Rather than “awarding” the Super Bowl to a city, almost always in a warm climate or dome, let the Pro-Bowl determine what stadium the Super Bowl is played in. The conference champion of the winning side of the Pro-Bowl should host the Super Bowl. Then we could have some real games, maybe in Chicago or New England. Yeah I have heard all the arguments against cold weather venues, are we playing football here or tennis?

I do like that the coaches actually get almost every player some face time and the announcers have all the statistical sheets to brag about these guys. Some of them come from pretty bad teams and do not get the recognition that they should.

I do not like that the players don’t even try on some plays. I know that this is an exhibition game and no one wants to get hurt, so yes hold up on some of the hits once you have someone stopped. The thing I object to is that for field goals and extra points, everyone just stands up and waits for the kicker to kick the ball.

I do like the kick off plays. These are the only plays that everyone seems to be having fun. No one is hitting too hard and everyone is running around showing how much fun they are having.

My preference, if the commissioner reads this post, is to return to the old format. Play the game in Hawaii the week after the Super Bowl. The only thing I would suggest as an adder would be to have the all star cheer leaders there as well. And for Fox Sports, more focus on the beautiful people in the stands.

Why Not?

January 28, 2011

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In today’s fiction story, our hero Dylan finds himself falling for a beautiful stranger … and one thing leads to another …

“Oh, there you are!”

Dylan glanced up from his martini as the woman slid into the opposite side of the booth. He immediately knew that he had never seen this woman before. It was apparent that her heritage was mostly Hawaiian, with a touch of something else. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but the end result was a strikingly beautiful young woman. Dylan definitely would have remembered her.

He was about to tell her that he was not the man she was looking for. Then he thought the better of it. Why not spend a night in her company? There were certainly worse ways to kill time on a business trip. He kept his mouth shut and returned her smile.

The waiter noticed the new arrival and dropped by the table.

“I’ll have what my friend is having,” she said. “A martini. Shaken, not stirred.”

Dylan had to laugh at the fairly decent Bond impression. The waiter returned in a flash with the drink before disappearing again – hopefully for good.

As she sipped the drink, the woman spoke softly under her breath. “We can’t talk shop,” she explained. “There may be people watching. Just act natural – like we’re a real couple.”

As her hand stroked his, he heard her pump drop to the floor a moment before her foot began an ascent up his leg. Dylan wasn’t sure what her game was … and wasn’t sure he cared.

“Check, please,” he said with a grin.

She gulped down the last of her martini and began to leave, pulling him behind. Dylan quickly threw some bills on the table as they exited the hotel bar.

“I need to visit the little girl’s room,” she explained. “Could you hold my purse?” Under her breath, she said “It’s good cover.”

Dylan smiled at the comment as he watched her disappear into the rest room. Cover, indeed. As if they were spies on some sort of secret mission. He wondered if her elevator didn’t go all the way to the top floor, or if she was just toying with him in some sort of perverse fantasy. This would have been a great opportunity to escape. He could just toss the handbag on the floor and flee to his room.

Or he could hang around a bit longer to see what developed. Why not play the game a bit longer?

When she emerged from the ladies room, the doorman spotted her and smiled.

“Ah, Miss Amy. Big plans for the evening?”

“A romantic evening with my beau, Charles. Would you mind calling me a cab?”

“Of course, Miss Amy. You lovebirds have a good time. Good to finally see you, master Gerald.”

As Charles waived down a taxi, Dylan felt butterflies in his stomach. Beau? Romantic evening? He was fairly sure this was going to be the end of the game – she would jump in the cab and leave him behind.

“Alfred’s on 18th,” she told the cabbie. As the taxi pulled away from the curb, Amy leaned in close and kissed him on the lips. Dylan was a bit surprised by the passion she exuded, but found himself responding with great fervor.

“Oh Gerald,” she whispered into his ear, “I can’t wait to get you back to the hotel and have my way with you.”

Dylan felt himself flush with embarrassment, and noticed that the cabbie’s attention was split between the road in front of him and the passengers in the back seat. He wondered if it would be poor form to suggest simply skipping dinner entirely. He also wondered who this Gerald chap was. Gerald was certainly missing out on a good time.

The taxi arrived at their destination far too soon, and Dylan had to disentangle himself from Amy in order to get out of the cab.

Alfred’s was a classy joint, and Dylan knew that he had spotted the scam. A bit of playing around with him was going to net Amy a very nice meal. Dylan knew that he was being conned, but decided to play along. He was being entertained by the charade, and it was a pleasant way to spend an evening in a new city. His bank account could handle one extravagant meal.

Dylan sipped his wine and waited for Amy to take the lead in the conversation – not willing to admit that he had absolutely no idea what topics might be of interest to her. Amy turned the conversation toward the entertainment, and they discussed the latest Hollywood movies while they ate their salads.

The waiter brought the check when Dylan had finished his generous slab of prime rib. To his surprise, Amy quickly grabbed it and paid with her credit card. As they left the restaurant, Amy suggested that they stroll back to the hotel. As they walked past the storefronts hand in hand, Dylan once again tried to solve the puzzle – what was Amy up to?

“Let’s just go back to the room and watch some TV, hon. You must be tired from your trip.”

Dylan nodded his agreement, and they entered the elevator. As the elevator rose toward the ninth floor, Amy wrapped her arms around him and gazed lovingly into his eyes. Dylan was completely oblivious to the people who got on the elevator on the fourth floor – he was completely lost in her kisses … and she smelled so nice!

Dylan followed Amy as she walked down the hallway toward her room. The suite wasn’t opulent, but was quite nice – definitely a step above his own room. Amy disappeared into the bathroom for a moment. When she reappeared, she was wearing a black nightgown that didn’t leave a lot to the imagination. She slid under the covers and invited Dylan to join her. He stripped down to his boxers and slid into bed next to her.

This was all a bit strange, but very nice. What’s the worst that could happen? Well, maybe he’d wake up with missing kidneys … but that didn’t really happen, did it?

After a moment of channel surfing, they found a decent comedy and settled in for the show. Toward the end of the movie, Dylan notice that Amy was no longer laughing. She was sound asleep in the bed. Again, this was a golden opportunity to escape back to normalcy. Dylan turned off the bedside lamp … and then climbed back into bed, gave the sleeping woman a goodnight kiss, and settled in for a good night’s sleep.

“Gerald, Gerald. You need to get up or you’ll be late for your meeting.”

Dylan glanced at the clock. It was 6:13 AM on Sunday. The pre-conference meet-and-greet didn’t begin until 5 PM. He didn’t need to be up for hours. Maybe it was a mistake to hand over a day of his life to this beautiful stranger.

Then Amy beckoned him toward the shower and the doubts disappeared. He could feel his excitement growing.

“Not now, honey. Tonight, when the meeting is over.”

As the water heated their bodies, she began to speak softly.

“The sound of the shower should make it impossible for the bugs to pick up what we’re saying. I got a green light on the operation. The keys on the desk are to a black Lincoln in the parking lot. There’s a duffel bag in the trunk that has everything you need. When you’re finished, meet me at gate 54 at the airport at 5 PM. I have been instructed to accompanying you on the flight and stay with you in the safe house until the heat is off. Do you have any questions?”

“Sounds like a plan,” he found himself saying. Plan? What plan?

“Good. Now, wash my back. And start singing something.”

Dylan sang a mediocre version of “I love a rainy night,” while he worked slowly at the job of washing Amy’s back. Regretfully, he finally finished the job and stepped out of the shower and toweled off.

Forty minutes later, he was dressed in a crisp white dress shirt and khakis. They weren’t his clothes, but they were a perfect fit. Amy stood before him in a frilly, low-cut white blouse and a very short skirt. Absolutely stunning.

“How do I look?” she asked.

Dylan blushed, fearing that she had caught him staring.

“Uh, good. Fine.”

“Good?”

“Beautiful, actually.”

“That’s more like it.”

When they arrived at the lobby, Amy had the doorman call her a cab.

“Have fun at your meeting, honey. I know I’m going to have a great time shopping.”

Dylan feigned dismay. Amy gave him a quick kiss and ran out to the taxi. As it disappeared, Dylan looked at the keys in his hand.

A black Lincoln with a duffel bag. Was it time to finally walk away? In for a penny, in for a pound, he decided. Besides, he was curious.

Dylan sat in the front seat of the car and pawed through the contents of the bag. The top page detailed the Sunday routine of a “subject”. A half dozen photographs pictured a man in a variety of poses. Dylan thought that he recognized the man.

There was also some money in the bag. A great deal of it, actually. At least couple hundred thousand dollars. Then, finally, the gun. The pieces quickly clicked into place.

Dylan was in over his head. It was definitely time to walk away. Time to walk away from the gun, away from the money, away from Amy. He would check into a different hotel, attend his boring conference, and fly back to Omaha at the end of the week. This was a type of excitement he didn’t need.

Dylan left the duffel bag on the seat, opened the door, and quickly walked away from the honey trap that had been set for him. He breathed a sigh of relief as he strolled down the street.
  
  
  
 
Dylan checked his watch again. Then he saw her out of the corner of his eye, clutching plane tickets in her hand. As a plane roared overhead, he felt himself captivated by her beauty once again.

Does Michele Bachmann Have A Clue?

January 27, 2011

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Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, besides many other things, is proving the need for education reform. At a Iowan for Tax Relief event this past Sunday showed a complete lack of basic knowledge of history by saying that slavery ended with the founding of the country. “The very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States….Men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country” Bachman said to the crowd at the Iowa event. For one John Quincy Adams was not one of the founding fathers, and two, slavery ended with the 13th amendment in 1865 and John Quincy Adams died in 1848, so he was not even alive when it was abolished.

Then again it is not really a surprise that Bachmann or any of her Tea Party friends would think such a thing, because as much as they wrap themselves up in the Constitution and worship the founding fathers, they really don’t respect or believe fully in either. So why would they be bothered by knowing basic facts? After all, they have an issue with changing or abolishing almost every amendment to the Constitution to fit their needs. Must have made for some good discussions at the first Constitution Class that Bachmann led on Monday as well.

Bachmann is so far to the right now that she only looks to the right when talking. In one of her other newsmaking events of the past week she gave the official Tea Party response to the State of the Union address she looked off to the right of the camera the entire time. All kidding aside that is merely the most comical thing about her insane rant that night. One of the most hilarious pieces of crap hurled forth from her mouth was about the government telling you what light bulb you can buy. Actually this is the most true statement to come out of her mouth that night, but only because it is in reference to a 2007 legislation signed by President Bush and done further under President Obama in 2009 dealing with bringing efficiency to the manufacturing of lightbulbs. No where in either document does it actually talk about the Government telling you which lightbulbs you can and cannot buy. Then again there is no language of death panels in the healthcare legislation so why bother with actual facts when we can spread falsities until your idiotic masses believe them to be truths. In the words of New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, Michele Bachmann has clearly lost contact with the mothership.

The other response to the State of the Union was delivered by Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan.  Unlike most republicans in either chamber of Congress he actually does offer his own plans for things, only he was not allowed to speak of them during his response, probably because they would scare the living shit out of the electorate. Part of Ryan’s Roadmap to Americas Future calls for eliminating Social Security and Medicare for everyone currently under the age of 55.

As for the response itself it seemed to be just more of the same. As the President talked about the problems we face and possible ways to take care of them, the Republicans continued to basically say the only problem with the country is Obama himself and that they have no real solutions to anything. The whole time I was watching Ryan I thought to myself, “When did Joel Osteen lose the mullet”, as the whole thing sort of had this weird televangelist vibe going on where I didn’t know if I was watching a response to the President’s speech or being asked to call in and donate money.

Tom Brady or Peyton Manning?

January 26, 2011

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[Editor’s note: Brian from BeBetterNow.org (a self improvement web site) follows up his Drew Brees article last week with an article that discusses the relative merits of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.]

In his recent love-fest article praising Drew Brees, Kosmo made this comment – “Manning will go down as the greatest quarterback of this generation (sorry, Brady, but you’re going to come up short in counting stats, such as passing yards and TDs).

While Brady will come up short to Manning in passing yards and TDs, Manning currently comes up short in playoff record and championship rings. In addition you could look at Winning Percentage by Quarterbacks (there’s a handy sortable column there.) Tom Brady has the highest percentage in NFL history in winning 77.6% of his games. He is 3 percent better than the next best which is Staubach, who is 3% than a guy named Montana. Brady is 10% better than Manning. The difference there between the two is vast.

Manning also had a number of seasons passing to pro-bowl, possibly Hall of Fame quality receivers in Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. Most of Brady’s work has been with no big names. He had two seasons with Moss and three with Wes Welker who, as an undrafted free agent, wasn’t exactly known as a great talent before playing with Brady. Finally Brady doesn’t get the advantage of playing half his games in a dome like Manning does… Brady plays in New England where the elements make passing more difficult. You don’t have to look too much futher than the Greatest Show on Turf or the Saints success of late to see that playing a dome is a different game.

When we look at quarterback efficiency (QB Rating), Brady and Manning are neck and neck with Brady having a slight edge. In addition, Brady has 2 of the top 5 best seasons. You may argue that QB rating is the best statistic. I would agree with that. For example, the statistic of touchdowns for quarterbacks is suspect. How many times have you seen a quarterback throw a 50 yard bomb to see the player get tackled on the 1. The next few plays are typically running plays to get the score. Should that quarterback be rated lower than the one whose receiver didn’t get tackle at the 1? It doesn’t make sense. However, the compenents of completion percentage, yards per attempt and interceptions make sense. Some may argue that interceptions can be deceptive as there are bad bounces, but those should even out for all quarterbacks. It shouldn’t be surprising that while Manning has great TD numbers, Brady has the far better interception numbers.

It seems you can get into the Hall two ways. You can be a Dan Marino win great stats (61,000 yards and 420 TDs), but be considered a post-season failure. You can be a Troy Aikman with a very mediocre stats (32,945 yards, 165 TDs, and a 81.6 QB rating) with three Super Bowl rings. I would suggest that Tom Brady is a more complete player at this point with the ability to put up the stats of Manning in any given season combined with 3 Super Bowl rings.

Should Golf Allow Snitches to Affect Tournaments?

January 25, 2011

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Johnny Goodman is out today, so I’ll be covering the sports beat.  In a move that is sure to shock Johnny, I’ll turn the focus to his favorite sport – golf.

Fan of golf have a unique power that is uncommon in the world of sports fans – they can actually affect the outcome of events.  Viewers of televised golf tournaments can actually call or email to notify the governing body of violations that occurred during the tournament.  The officials can then review footage to determine if a violation occurred.  There is a good reason why viewers can catch things that the tournament officials don’t –  unlike most sports where the action is concentrated at one physical location, golf has action occurring on every spots of the course.  Although officials are present, it’s not like an NFL game where they can huddle together to make a call.

The real issue isn’t really that a viewer can cause a player to be penalized a stroke or two – it’s that the infraction can cause the player to be disqualified.  If a player signs an incorrect scorecard, they are disqualified – even if they thought the scorecard was accurate.

Let’s take a look at a recent occurrence.  At the Abu Dhabi Championship on Friday, Padraig Harrington replaced his ball on the green and then inadvertently touch his ball when he removed his marker.  He thought that the ball not not move from the spot where he placed it.  However, a TV viewer emailed to indicate that it had moved.  The viewer was correct – the ball ended up in a different spot … but the width of 1-2 dimples.  Harrington should have penalized himself two stroke.  Since he did not, and since he signed a scorecard that did not include the penalty, he was disqualified from the tournament.  Prior to the infraction, he was one spot behind the leader.

I’m admittedly not much of a golf fan.  I do understand that golfers take the rulebook very seriously.  However, if you need to use slow-mo to find the violation (as officials needed to do), did the player really gain an advantage?  Another PGA golfer made an astute observation – the top players are more likely to have this happen to them, simply because they are on television more often.  That’s certainly a concern for me – I’d definitely want a level playing field.

What’s the answer?  Give the officials some flexibility in enforcing penalties.  Obviously, care would need to be taken to avoid having players push the envelope, but surely there is a way to do this.  In the case of Harrington, penalize him two strokes and perhaps an additional stroke for not having caught the violation himself.  But don’t throw him out of the tournament for an unintentional violation.  This would be akin to having a baseball team forfeit a game because the pitcher commits a balk.  Make the punishment fit the crime.

Helping Young Writers

January 24, 2011

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Sometimes you get the opportunity to help a young writer.  If you have a child, those opportunities can arise just because of curiosity, other times to respond to class assignments.  The most tempting error that you can commit is “giving” the young writer the story.  You have to restrain yourself to just suggestions.  I have an example that actually occurred this weekend.

My son is a freshman in high school.  His assignment is a short story that includes a protagonist, antagonist, conflict, climax and message.  The first step was to establish an environment.  Since we were driving around in the mid-west, with single digit temperatures and snow, I suggested a cold location, possibly a creek bed frozen over.  My son changed that to the main character’s back yard playing foot ball with his buddies.

Next came the conflict.  We talked about finding a puppy in distress.  The hero should obviously show compassion and try to help the puppy, but his parent have a strict no pets policy (similar to our family policy).  This established several conflicts that he will follow, doing the right thing while defying his parents, leading to a climax of direct conflict with his mother.  Then my son added his own twist, the friend will encourage him to continue hiding the dog.

With just a few ideas back and forth, he had the basic story in place.  He already had several stories that he had worked on in the past, but he chose to create something completely new.  His goal was to address all of the elements suggested by his teacher.  The assignment itself provided the stimulus to even start, bouncing ideas with me drove him to more creativity, and I hope a complete story. 

I am excited at my son’s commitment to writing well.  I truly believe that all creativity helps young minds develop and keep poor habits from developing instead.  We have spent many idle hours (driving during vacations, evenings before bedtime when the internet was down) developing ideas.  My son has thought about game themes, stories, even possible movies and actually worked on many of the ideas.  The more he worked, the more he wanted to try and think about.    This is the type of positive feedback that will help him grow into a fine young man.  With that in mind, I encourage every young person to write down their ideas and develop them.  Keep writing!

Are You The Ultimate Soap Boxers Fan?

January 23, 2011

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If you’re the ultimate fan of The Soap Boxers, then I know exactly what you are thinking.  “Where can I find a crossword puzzle that will test my knowledge of the site.”

Until recently, this test did not exist.  However, I am pleased to announced that as of today, such a puzzle does exist!  I have created (with the assistance of the crossword generator at Armored Penguin) a 40 clue puzzle.  Some of the clues ask questions about the writers or the site itself, while other clues relate to topics that have been discussed on the site (hint: the “Search” functionality can be found on the right side of the menu near the top of the page).

Get stuck? Don’t worry – there’s an answer key.

This Old Barn

January 22, 2011

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[Editor’s note: although Crunchy’s article about her attempt to save the barn in West Des Moines was the inspiration for the story, this is a completely fictional history. It should not be interpreted as a history of that particular barn, but an example of the legacy of all old buildings]

I’m an old barn, and they want to tear me down. I’m impeding development, they say. There’s no historical value in keeping me around, they say. Nothing special ever happened here, they say.

While I hate to be disagreeable, I must beg to differ. This old barn has seen a great many things is the years that have passed since I was built in 1932.

My history goes back further than that. I’m the second barn to be built on this land. In 1893, Paul Wright erected a wooden barn in the very spot where I stand today. It was in that barn that Paul milked his Herefords and laid the foundation for generations of Wright farmers.

Paul was joined by his son William, and the two managed the farm together for a quarter of a century. By the time that Paul was ready to retire, William’s own son John was ready to join the business.

In the fall of 1931, tragedy struck the Wright farm. Near midnight one October evening, the barn caught fire and burned to the ground. Most of the cattle were in the pasture – only a newborn calf and his mother perished in the blaze.

In the spring of 1932, construction began on a new barn – me. John Wright convinced his father that it made more sense to build the barn with bricks, rather than rebuilding with wood and risking yet another fire.

Convincing his father was the easy part – convincing the bank in the midst of the Great Depression was yet another. In the end, Frank Jacoby at Prairie National bank agreed to lend the Wrights the extra money to build a barn of brick.

I can still remember the first birth that occurred within my walls. The heifer was having difficulties with the delivery. William Wright was out of town, so John called upon his neighbor for help. After William was finally able to tie a rope around the calf’s leg, he and Magnus Jorgensen pulled the calf to safety. A short while later, the calf was taking a few tentative steps and nuzzling with its mother.

Young Carl Wright loved to play in the barn. When he was younger, he and his friends would make a fort from the hay bales in the loft. When he was a bit older, he shared his first kiss with Betsy Hill in a dark corner of the loft – undisturbed by the world outside.

A year after Carl and Betsy were married, Henry was born. I clearly remember a day in 1955 when the five-year-old boy brought fresh cookies from the kitchen to his father. One of the dogs – the little terrier – startled Henry and caused him to drop the plate of cookies on the ground. Little Henry burst into tears at the great tragedy. When Carl saw his boy crying, he held Henry in his arms and told him that everything would be all right. I could feel the love between father and son that day.

The youngest Wright to call the farm home was Keith. Keith never enjoyed the fieldwork or the milking, but he spent time around the old barn. He would tune in the old radio to catch the faintest of signals from the station broadcasting his team’s games. On warm summer days, he would throw a baseball against my brick wall repeatedly – developing the fastball that would land him partial college scholarship.

All good things eventually come to an end. As the farm income decreased, the bids from developers increased, and eventually the Wrights were forced to sell. I managed to hang around for a few years, but now it seems that my time has come – unless people realize that important history happened within my walls.

Quarterbacks and the Hall of Fame

January 21, 2011

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[Editor’s note:  Today’s article is written by Brian from BeBetterNow.org, a site devoted to self improvement. Today, Brian attempts to help me improve myself for telling me why I’m wrong about Drew Brees being a Hall of Famer in our midst.]

Recently Kosmo asked the question Is Drew Brees a Hall of Famer?. In it he brought up some comparisons to Peyton Manning and made a very good case that Brees belongs in the Hall.

Pass Happy NFL and Trust in your QB

Kosmo brought up a great point:

Is Brees a product of a pass-happy era in the NFL? Sure. But there’s a reason why everyone isn’t racking up 4500 passing yards per year. Most coaches don’t trust their quarerback to throw the ball 650 times per year.

It’s worth looking at the pass-happy era of the NFL. The rules for contact have been changed over the years. You can barely touch the quarterback any more. If you get near a receiver it is pass interference. If you are a defensive player and there’s a likelihood of getting pass interference called on you, you naturally are going to play off the receiver a bit more. This gives the quarterbacks more room to complete passes.

If you look at career passer rating you’ll note that 19 of the top 30 are currently active in the league. Four of the remaining 11 retired last year (Bulger, Garcia, Culpepper, and Warner). Clearly passing is easier in this day and age. Interesting fact, Shaun Hill, who has been a back-up his entire career has a better rating than Elway, Aikman, and the aforementioned Staubach. Clearly it is a game where it is easier to get TDs, avoid interceptions, and complete more passes for a longer average. If it is easier to pass in today’s game, it is hard to compare Brees to players of previous eras.

As for trusting your quarterback to pass 650 times. I don’t buy it. When Peyton Manning had his best season in 2004 (121 QB Rating – the best ever), he only threw the ball 497 times. In Tom Brady’s best year (117.2 rating – highest scoring offense ever), he only threw the ball 578 times. Brady only topped 600 attempts one time – in 2002 when the team was 9-7 and some wondered if Brady was really talented at all. Peyton Manning never had 600 attempts in his career. Brees has thrown 630+ passes in 3 of the last 4 season… the exception being the champion season where he threw only 514 passes. I don’t think anyone could claim that Manning and Brady aren’t trusted to throw the ball.

Why does Drew Brees throw so much? I think it is because the games have been close or they have been playing catch-up. When the Saints flirted with going undefeated they could build up a quick lead and run the clock out. This year they’ve had to come from behind and endured many, many injuries to their running backs.

When looking at the number of passes, we should look at another player, Drew Bledsoe. His career ended early with his last full year at age 33. However, he did put up 44,000 yards and 251 TDs in that time in a less pass happy NFL. He did this mostly by passing a lot. Some make an argument for him to be in the Hall of Fame because he ranks in the top ten in a number of areas and beats out a number of current Hall of Famers. However, I think this article correctly points out that high volume doesn’t mean high efficiency.

It appears that Drew Brees is a combination of volume and efficiency, but I would caution against using numbers such as yards and TDs that tend to skew towards volume.

Is Brees a Hall of Famer?

Let’s get back to Kosmo’s original question. I think it might be closer than he thinks. Let’s review the numbers that Kosmo has for Brees, which I believe are fair, and compare them to others in his class:

Player Age Yards TDs QB Rating Proj. Yards Proj. TDs
Drew Brees 32 35,000 235 91.7 55,266 360
Philip Rivers 29 19,961 136 97.2 52,641 360
Aaron Rodgers 27 12,723 87 98.4 53,723 367
Ben Roethlisberger 28 22,502 144 92.5 46,502 288

Notes on the projected stats:

  • Philip Rivers – He is three years younger than Brees. Since we added 5 years to Brees, I added 8 for Rivers. Rivers has averaged 27.2 TDs for every 16 games he’s played, but in the last three years (when he stepped up his game) he’s averaged 30.6. I projected 28 on average for the next 8 years to account for some drop-off. Similarly Rivers averages 3930 yards per full season in his career, but over the last three years he has been averaging 4324 yards a season. I calculated a 4100 as his 8 year average.
  • Aaron Rodgers – It is extremely hard to project him because he only has a few seasons due to waiting out the Favre fiasco. However, I felt it would be short-sighted to leave him off the list. At age 27, he projects to play 10 more years to get to the age of 37 that we are predicting for all quarterbacks. With at least 28 TD in every season, I continued that for 10 years. With an average of 4131 yards over his full seasons, I added in 10 years of 4000 to account for some drop off – though he could get better before he gets worse.
  • Ben Roethlisberger – While he is age 28, he won’t be adding until his counting stats until he’s 29. Thus I’m going to pretend he’s 29 and treat him like Drew Brees – 8 years until age 37. Due to some injury problems and off-field issues, he’s averaged fewer games than some of the above players. He’s still averaging 3214 a season and 20 TDs. I conservatively estimated the next 8 years to average 3000 yards and 18 TDs.

Big Ben may look out of place, but because he wins games, I don’t think we can discount him as a potential Hall of Fame candidate. He already has 2 rings and could add a third before he turns 29. I think it is worth focusing on Rivers and Rodgers who are often mentioned with Brees in the next tier after Brady/Manning debate. Though we have to project Rivers and Rodgers more than Brees (and hence have less accuracy in our predictions), it should be noted that they might have very similar careers.

If you put one of them in the Hall, you may have to put them all. Are voters likely to say that we have 5-6 Hall of Fame quarterback in the league right now? Has Brees separated himself from the rest of the pack? I’m not sure.

If we see Brees in the Hall of Fame in a few years, I wouldn’t be surprised. If he puts up the numbers that Kosmo suggests and doesn’t make it, I wouldn’t call it a travesty either.

Barn in the City

January 20, 2011

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In the last three weeks, I’ve had barn on the brain. I’ve been called (by my husband) a “barnhugger”. So why all the barn talk? Well, three weeks ago I saw a news article that said Valley High School in West Des Moines was going to tear down a historic barn for parking, green space, area for shot put and discus etc. So I thought, “Well, before it’s gone I should drive by and show it to the boys. Maybe take a picture and blog about it.” And I did.

After I wrote the blog I thought, “Hey, the news mentioned something about a facebook group.” So I found them and then joined. I posted my blog post and was contacted by one of the administrators. I set up a online petition for them the next day and wrote a press release for them over the weekend.

So why should I care about this barn? It’s amazing. The more time I spend working on the barn issue, the more I learn, the more I love the barn. It isn’t the original 1880’s wooden barn (obviously) but it was built in 1932 and served as a Dairy Farm. Yes, West Des Moines was once farm land. Valley West Mall wasn’t always there. Actually, the farmer was approached by the people wanting to build an airport and he said, “I won’t do that to my neighbors.” Can you imagine how different Des Moines would be if the airport was in the area of Valley High School? They’re be no Valley West Mall, 235 wouldn’t be where it is…It’s just amazing to think about. One man’s decision changed the look of a city.

And that’s what I’m trying to teach my boys. Stand up for something you believe in. The barn is more than just a barn. It’s history. And not just history of people who are 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation West Des Moines-ites. I’m not from West Des Moines, but a small farming community in West Central Iowa. The barn reminds me of the summers I spent on my family Century farm (that we still have) throwing hay out of the big barn, working to mow, dodging cow pies while being chased by my brother etc.

History is important to me. That’s obvious if you’ve been following the blog of my Grandfather’s from 1902. My dad discovered his journal and we post every day that he posts. You can read it at http://www.leanderbolton.com.

Because I decided to stand up and make a difference, I’ve been blessed with many opportunities. I was asked to go and speak on the Fallon Forum  (you can listen here) and turned it into a learning opportunity for my 5 year old. He was excited to be on the radio. I’ve been interviewed by all of the local media and the newspaper.


The facebook group is now over 2,000 members. The petition has over 850 signatures. We’ve raised around $40,000 in pledges. We have T-shirts and a website. We can be contacted at savingthebarn@gmail.com. This grassroots group has taken a life of its own. All to save a piece of history. As I like to say, “I’m not anti-progress, I’m pro-history.” My dad has always said to me about farmland and historical buildings, “Once it’s gone. It’s gone.”

After all of the work I’ve done and time I’ve spent on articles, emails and press releases, the barn has given me more than I’ve given it. I just hope we can save this historic “Barn in the City” for future generations.

[Editor’s note: click on any of the images to see the full size version.]

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