Nothing Makes Me Crazier Than…
The Chiefs beating the Steelers after I said “the Chiefs are worthless”. Nothing is more irritating than a pathetic and worthless team beating a perfectly legitimate team for absolutely no reason. If Matt Cassel is going to be a failure he needs to stay that way so I can keep my bearings in the NFL. You know, if you watch TV or movies (especially TV) certain characters stay the way they are. On CSI (yes, the first one) Paul Millander was a freaking nutcase psychopath and he didn’t change one bit from beginning to offing himself. He was a loony tune the whole way. You don’t see Blofeld suddenly turning good in a Bond movie do you? What about Matthew Perry? He always plays the funniest, most neurotic person in the room and what would we do if suddenly he was playing a super-smart-psycho-killer or some kind of devious bastard like Todd (the dude in a wheelchair) on the ill-fated NBC sitcom “Committed”? We would all be confused and that show would be cancelled within 5 seconds of the .01 share it would get.
I’ll tell you something, the Chiefs deciding to play well all of the sudden and sort of make their “addition by subtraction” comment about Larry Johnson come true is really irritating. How in the world are the Chiefs going to be able to rebuild this thing if they don’t suck beyond sucking all season. The only way they’re going to make “steal” trades and have a mammothly high draft pick is to be horrible. Don’t they get that? Changing the game means that franchises will think they’re shrewd when they call for a trade or when they call an agent whose player is on waivers. But, if you’re still really bad and everyone thinks you’re shrewd or calculating they won’t want to do business with you. Think about it…
The Suck Factotum
The Chiefs decide to start playing well, but at their core they still aren’t very good. So, when they want to make trades on draft day no one will want to touch them with a 10-foot pole because they’ll automatically assume the Chiefs are playing stupid. Imagine thinking you’ve got a deal in place and then realizing that the team on the other end of the phone knows something you don’t or is trying to play you.
Take the Lakers trading for Pau Gasol. Yes, they traded with the Grizzlies (who are really stupid) but they still were in a position of power because they were pretty good, but floundering and everyone thought they were done for. So, the Grizzlies made a bad trade thinking they were getting one over on the Lakers when in fact the Lakers were selling them a pile of flaming crap for the Hope Diamond. The Grizzlies never saw it coming. This rule works in inverse proportions too.
If the Chiefs would just stay bad this year then everyone would (rightfully) assume they are just pathetic and that Scott Pioli is a failure like almost every other Belichick disciple and he could screw everybody in a 12 month period just enough to get the Chiefs back on the map. Then, they can play from a position of strength and operate like the Patriots (who Pioli probably wants to operate like anyways.)
Now, that will never happen because as long as they are inconsistent they will never be trustworthy on any level and Scott Pioli will not be able to play the NFL like a good game of “Risk”. Speaking of which…
Have you ever played “Risk”? You know, I have a friend who is an “International Man of Mystery” type but not corny and VERY well-dressed. You know what his strategy is? Make alliances with everyone and then slowly break them all without anyone knowing until you win. That’s how the Patriots operate. That’s how the Lakers operate. That’s how the Red Sox and Yankees operate. That’s how the Chiefs could operate if Scott Pioli had a coach smart enough to realize this stuff. The “CEO” model made popular by Bobby Bowden is very important in the NFL because it is isn’t JUST about winning — there’s politics and emotions and relationships and BS involved in the NFL like it is in no other sport.
If only everybody knew that then we would have a more exciting league to cover. Basketball teams get it — the Celtics tanked to get a high draft pick. In fact, lots of NBA teams tank to get high draft picks because they know if everyone sees them as lowly and pathetic then no one will think anything of them.
The Bengals use this to great success. This is why they can have a good season every 3 or 4 years because everyone gets lulled into thinking they suck, they screw a few teams on trades and waivers and then “bam” they’re back in the playoffs. The Hawks really did suck (for a long time) and when they hired Rick Sund to be their GM he came in and used that “suck factor” to his advantage and made some smart deals and now the Hawks are the hottest team in the NBA. What about the Texans? They’ve also been using the “suck factor” to make sure that they could (very quietly…I mean so quiet no one noticed) build up their team to the point where we have to at least pay attention to them. That’s a nice job.
There are some people who try to use the “suck factor” to get ahead and they totally blow it. Look at Joe Dumars in Detroit. He mortgaged his future and got rid of beloved players (namely Chauncey) and literally fielded nothing last season — except for Rodney Stuckey, but he doesn’t count because he was a surprise anyways. You know what happened, he went out with all his cap-space in the off-season and signed Ben Gordon — a malcontent in Chicago who could’ve won the series with Boston if he had actually been trying the whole time he was on the floor. Then Charlie Villanueva — a guy who is nice, but not the star Dumars made him out to be when he signed him. Basically, these guys are benchwarmers on better teams (Lakers, Magic, etc.) and Dumars thought he was fooling folks by signing them when in fact he fooled himself and now an assistant he allowed to go to Atlanta is making him look really stupid. Joe Dumars played with the “suck factor” and it bit him in the ass.
“The Suck Factor” can be your servant if you treat it well. However, the second you take it for granted and think that you can just mess with people you will lose — and probably get your ass handed to you on a platter. If only Joe Dumars understood that he wasn’t the reason for the ’04 title. If only he could understand that Larry Brown wasn’t the reason either. Right place, right time, right players. He got lucky and he needs to enjoy it.
So, what does this have to do with me being annoyed by the Chiefs? Well, let me tell you something: Every time I think I’ve got a line on a team and they start playing completely the opposite of what I’m used to I have a hard time keeping up. Now, on one hand this makes the league infinitely more interesting because now I can jack on the Steelers over this loss forever and ever amen, but it also means that I have no idea what’s really going on with the Chiefs unless I’m working their beat (and I bet even their beat writers have no idea what to make of this.) So, that leaves me wondering about some other teams who are not in the NFL, but who, nevertheless, have me wondering…
The Suck Factotum Goes Back to School…
In college there’s no way to make good with “the suck factor” and there’s not way to have a moral victory when you aren’t winning games. However, I think that some college coaches believe that they can bring “The Suck Factotum” to bare in their school even though we are dealing with kids (college athletes) and many of them will not even be with the coaches for 4 full years. Look on at the ones who have played with “The Suck Factor” and lost:
First, you might not think that this person is working with “The Suck Factotum” but he most certainly is and he proved it yesterday. Les Miles attempts to bring this theory into play every weekend. For example, he completely screwed his team with atrocious clock-management at the end of the Ole Miss game that they ended up losing. What galls me is that when he was interviewed after the game he made it sound like “Oops, we ran out of time!” when he should have said “I completely effed up this game!” However, you know what he said in that locker room? Probably something like…Men, I know we fought hard and lost today, but keep up the Bengal pride and we can bring this thing home no matter what happens. Some people may not believe in us, but we believe in us and that’s enough for me!
Yeah, he rallied the troops and they’ll probably play well in their bowl game, blah, blah, blah. However, it is completely stupid to not even admit your own stupidity and then use your stupidity as a rallying cry for your team of KIDS. They’re KIDS! It’s just wrong…it almost borders on child abuse.
Someone who seems like he might actually abuse his players is Mark Mangino. I mean, he told one of his players that if he kept playing the way he did he could go back to St. Louis and “get shot like his homies”. Are you for real? Dude, that’s just cold — low and dirty. Apparently, another kid told him in confidence that his Dad was an alcoholic (something that’s hard for a kid to tell someone) and then Mangino threw it back in his face and said something like “If you keep playing like that you’ll end up an alcoholic like your Dad!” Come to think of it I’m referring to Mark Mangino as “Fat Bastard” and Charlie Weis as “Mr. Leverage” since he leveraged the NFL to get more money from ND.
This is The Suck Factotum at its suckiest. There is no excuse for this kind of negative motivation and I’m not sure how this didn’t get out sooner, but it’s out now and Mangino has to deal with the fact that the Factotum doesn’t work in college. With grown men…NFL players who are getting paid gobs of money you can say just about anything because those athletes are paid handsomely and they may be more equipped to take it (I’m not condoning this sort of behavior, but making light of the fact that kids and adults are different.) If you tell a grown man with kids that he sucks and he can go home and shot with his homies he’ll just go home and hug his wife and kids and it’s all better. A kid who lives in some crappy dorm doesn’t have that luxury.
Some coaches do this in negative recruiting and it really doesn’t shine very well on them or their programs. Imagine someone coming into your house to recruit your son and they talk incessantly about how bad other programs are. My kid isn’t going to play for someone like that! It just doesn’t work. “The Suck Factotum” has no place in school…only in Professional sports. Only with men who can take it (if you choose to lead like that.) Or, you can just take Tony Dungy as an example and win a title that way…which is probably much less stressful.
Make a U-Turn back to the NFL
So, I’m sitting at my parent’s house watching the end of the Cincy/Oakland game and I see the funniest thing…a white guy at Quarterback in Oakland. I mean, we’ve (I think I speak for everyone here…in the world) been waiting for Jamarcus Russell to get benched for a long time and finally I see him NOT under Center in Oakland. I love it. The best part is that Bruce Gradkowski is in at QB. This is a guy who was cut loose by the sucky Bucs. I mean, if they don’t want you, who does? Oh yeah, the Raiders!
Bruce Gradkowski is a Glasser….he went to Toledo. TOLEDO! Jamarcus Russell started at LSU. It’s almost like we’re not even talking about the same league here. Anyways, BruGrad comes in and runs the Raiders right down the field and picks up a score to take the Raiders into overtime against the very stout and very good Bengals team. Now, I wish they had been doing side-by-side shots of Russell everytime BruGrad made a play because I bet the faces he was making were priceless. There’s the “How the hell did this guy learn this stuff at Toledo?” face, the “Who the hell is Bruce Gradkowski?” face, the “I have an itch…oh s^^^, focus, focus, focus!” face, and the “I just became the highest-paid backup in the history of sports” face.
That’s the one that kills me. He was given all of that money (can’t blame him for taking it) and he hasn’t done a thing with it. Now, you take this Gradkowski fellow and throw him out there and he looks like freakin’ Joe Montana. Only one of two things can come of this: 1) The combine becomes the least important pre-draft event in the game (as it should have been long ago) and/or 2) Bruce Gradkowski leverages this into a good contract and a move out of Oakland. Don’t you think Tampa wants him back right now? Don’t you think that Cleveland would like to have someone play QB like that right now? Heck, I’ll take that kind of QB play in San Fran. What about in Buffalo or St. Louis. St. Louis could do my “plan” for their franchise times 2. Sign BruGrad and use their #1 pick to get a hot running back and they’re back in business. They could remake their whole offense in one fell swoop. I guarantee you this…BruGrad is better than Mark Bulger.
Now the question remains: Who are you buying and who are you still not sold on?
I’m buying the Bengals even though they lost because I think they caught a bad break with the Caldwell fumble (one guy’s stupid decision) and they prepared for one of the worst Quarterbacks in history (Russell) and ended up getting a nice QB (BruGrad) instead.
I’m still not buying the Chargers (even though they trounced the Broncos)…it’s the Norv Turner thing.
I’m gonna get back on the Giants bandwagon after they beat the Falcons.
You couldn’t pay me enough to buy the Cowboys. I know their record is nice, but they just beat the Redskins 7-6…doesn’t this say something?
I still don’t buy the Eagles.
I’m totally buying the Vikings. Has Brett Favre ever had as many open looks as he’s had this season?
Right now I predict (and want to see) the Colts and Saints shoot at each other with Gatling Guns in the Super Bowl. (That’s 3000 rounds per minute if you’re counting!) Imagine the amount of offense that can be put up in a game like that. Even with the rust of the “Stupid Super Bowl Break” I say they combine for 850 total yards and score a combined 80 points. Yep, I said it.
Well, I think ending with guns isn’t bad…especially since I’m the General and everything. Peace out until Wednesday when we get back into the NBA.