Monday, January 16, 2012

The Greg Jennings Argument

I wasn't going to weigh in on this because, well, the title of this Deadspin post is right, I really DON'T have any idea if Jennings was down or not, and anyway, Doesn't really fucking matter, does it? Even if the call WAS blown, it wasn't enough to keep RAHDJAHS! from spending Super Bowl weekend watching old WWF videos and crying.

But goddamn, this is a wrong-headed post.

First of all, if that is "the definitive camera angle" (an assertion I'm not sold on, hence why I still have no idea what happened), and if that ball really is out there, then no, I don't buy that maybe his ankle was down or his calf was grazing the turf or whatever. I mean, I guess a doctor can weigh in if he wants (he won't), but that seems like the human body acting in a way pretty unrecognizable to humans.

Second, so, what is the point, exactly? That since instant replay won't get everything right every time for ever and ever amen, we just shouldn't bother with it? I mean, it won't, no one's claiming it will. But so what? "Better" is still pretty cool. It's totally making the perfect the enemy of the good.

(Blog Conquistador Mike thinks the guy's point is just that the ref's were doing the best they could, and everyone should calm down. That's enough of a possibility that I'm going to voice it right here. But I'm not sold. The tone is too mocking, too contemptuous of IR, and anyway, starting with "shut up" is usually a poor strategy for calming people down).

And that leads me to the third, most important thing: telling everyone to shut up about the play is idiotic. Why try to shut down the debate here? Arguing about this stuff is what makes sports FUN. Listen, I'm going to lay this out right now, and it's going to be one of the main ideas of all the bullshit I write about sports: If we're just going to accept the plays on the field as the final word on EVERYTHING, then sports fandom can just be one big accounting exercise. There'd be no reason to root for a different baseball team than the Yankees. No reason to follow any QB other than Drew Brees this year. Hope you like Crosby and Ovechkin, because if this is how we're going to view things, you like Crosby and Ovechkin.

But that is already not how we do things in sports fandom, and we're not going to change how we do things, either. We already find 100 different reasons to root for one guy and hate on another that have nothing to do with their ability and accomplishments. We already disbelieve our lyin' eyes.

I mean, some things ARE just facts. The St. Louis Cardinals really did win the World Series last year, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise right in the crotch. But was Holliday really tagged out at third in Game Six? Again, I will fight your crotch. Brett Favre has the most career TD passes. But is he the all-time best Q-KAAAAAKKKK, I couldn't even get that out, sorry guys. The point is, trying to force a definitive answer on some of this stuff makes sports a lot more boring.

Now, there's some evidence that this post is just contrarian pot-stirring, and that's fine. If I'm saying that debates make sports fun, I can't really say someone shouldn't try to rustle one up, right? But then again, if you're trying to get a debate going, you don't usually start with "shut up". The post is saying that since we'll never fully know the answer, we shouldn't bother arguing about it. But I think that's horseshit. It's fun- and maybe even necessary- to argue about it precisely BECAUSE we'll never fully know the answer.

1 comment:

  1. Blog Conquistador Mike here to say that, even though Craig said sports is more than an accounting exercise, I think the numbers specifically showed that Tim Tebow was the worst QB in the playoffs this year, and it wasn't just that he had the biggest fan following, he had the biggest amount of mentions in sports casting (160 name drops in one hour of Sportscenter, according to Deadspin).

    As much as I like bringing in the extraneous (like calling Roethlisberger a rapist), this is one of the things that really burned me up about Tebow-mania. It wasn't that Tebow was a good quarterback who people connected with bc of his faith or his face or whatever. It's that he suddenly became god-emperor of the NFL, and ESPN felt the need to carry his standard into our tv sets at the top of every hour like a digitally broadcast Tebovah's Witness, bashing us over the head with the statbook they didn't want us reading. In that way, ESPN was to Tebow as Spielberg was to Shia TheBeef. So you're goddamn right I will take every opportunity to point out how bad Tebow actually performed on the field, because while we shouldn't just find out who had the best QB rating this season and say "that's it, they are the best, no more dispute", we should demand at least a basic level of on-field competence from those we are told we must herald as the athletic messiah.