FanDuel - WFBC

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SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

What is this "snow" thing I keep hearing about?

Think of the worst sandstorm you have ever experienced on the Outback. Then think that the sand isn't coming from the ground, but it is somehow being transported from outside Australia. Next, think that it is very slippery, very cold, very windy, and there is the possibility that your electrical power will fail. Finally, remember that you will have to move all that has piled up so you can get to work the next day. Of course, if you are a lazy retired bum like me, you could leave it until April or May and just let it melt.

posted by Howard_T at 10:52 PM on January 28

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

How about ball pressure at the end of the game -- 2 selections, one for each team.

Another nonsensical option would be the length of the halftime, or at least an over/under.

posted by Howard_T at 10:44 PM on January 28

Former Portuguese footballer Luis Figo joins crowded field looking to unseat Sepp Blatter as President of FIFA.

Blatter is the tip of a very large iceberg of patronage and corruption. The issues in FIFA are systemic. I'd like to see the whole thing broken down and rebuilt, but unless one of these guys can get rid of a lot of existing FA reps, they don't stand a chance in any "election".

Having said that, if a few of the big FAs decide to boycott FIFA competitions, and we, as fans and spectators, start lobbying them, along with commercial pressure on sponsors that put money into FIFA, something could change. A few sponsors are starting to have second thoughts about Russia and Qatar already.

posted by owlhouse at 09:22 PM on January 28

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

What is this "snow" thing I keep hearing about?

posted by owlhouse at 09:20 PM on January 28

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Since it's just the one game, we should add more questions and fun gimmicks (like the weather one you had for GB) that expand the questions, especially in ways that don't rely on a specific winner.

I'm assuming we'll have winner and spread, and some "most" categories for players and team, eg Most rushing yards and amount, Most recieving etc. The reason for the non-team-specific points is with one game, I'm either doing a straight NE or SEA pick, or watering down my score by splitting my choice since if a team wins overall they probably led in several areas as well.

Here's one: in addition to the usual winner and spread, pick the total points scored by quarter. 2 points for each quarter you get exactly right, 1 point for each quarter you're within that 30% range (or maybe lower, since you aren't specifying a team). It's like a modified over/under spread pick, by quarter.

Here's another: time of possession. Pick the team that will have the highest TOP for regulation (1 point), and the margin either way (1 point within 3 minutes, 2 points within 1 minute) preferably without needing to also have specified the team.

Those sorts of things- fun, and varied enough that simply betting everything on a blowout either way isn't a guaranteed victory or loss.

posted by hincandenza at 08:23 PM on January 28

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Over/Under Marshawn Lynch Crotch Grabs

posted by tommytrump at 08:21 PM on January 28

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

I'm posting on the NFL Pick 'em post tomorrow. If anyone has bonus categories they'd like to see, fire away.

posted by rcade at 07:58 PM on January 28

College Football Playoff Pressured to Change Dates

I'd rather see the College Football Playoff final on a Wednesday or Thursday night. Having it on Monday, a day after an NFL playoff weekend, was too short a time to enjoy the anticipation and wallow pre-game media hype.

posted by rcade at 07:27 PM on January 28

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

RIP Bill Monbouquette, a Boston legend.

From the NYT obit, a snippet of Monbo's retelling of how he struck out Luis Aparicio to wrap up his no-hitter. I just about croaked when I got to the historical reference.

"It was Aug 1, 1962," Monbouquette recalled to The Boston Globe in 2008. "I had Aparicio 0 and 2 and threw him a slider off the plate. He tried to hold up, and I thought he went all the way. The umpire, Bill McKinley, called it a ball, and as I was getting the ball back from the catcher, someone shouted from the stands, They shot the wrong McKinley.' I had to back off the mound because I had a little chuckle to myself."

posted by beaverboard at 07:11 PM on January 28

College Football Playoff Pressured to Change Dates

Although there's something horribly wrong yet wonderfully perverse about the idea of Nick Saban getting bumped from a time slot by the likes of Kathy Griffin, in general, the fargin' countdown shows can go lower their loins into a Slurpee.

posted by beaverboard at 06:53 PM on January 28

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I found my mailbox about an hour ago.

I found the post late last night.

I want to stop digging because I'm afraid I'll unearth a well preserved hominid and then I'll be obliged to do an on-camera interview with Geraldo.

posted by beaverboard at 06:45 PM on January 28

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Put the final exam on the Toro last night and again today (Wednesday). It passed with flying colors, but I did learn one thing about Briggs and Stratton engines. They do not run worth a shit without fuel in the tank. Problem was I filled it before the storm, then did the driveway Tuesday night, Had to redo the driveway a bit after the plow came by, but not too bad. Also gave the guy across the street a break by taking the plow pile off his driveway. Finished the sidewalk this morning. Where the plows had banked the snow, the piles were about 5 feet high. Got about 3/4 of the way through the sidewalk when it quit, so I had to stop and refuel. When the business end of the snow blower is only about 2 feet high, tackling a 5-foot pile is not easy. Push the machine in, undercut as far as possible, lift the front end in order to bring down the overhead, reverse it out, go back forward to pick up some more. Lather, rinse, repeat. FWIW, Nashua got 33.2 inches -- most in NH and it broke a 126-year record that even I am not old enough to remember. yerfatma and beaverboard, I would sing a chorus of We are the Champions, but I don't have the energy.

posted by Howard_T at 05:18 PM on January 28

New MLB Commissioner: We May Ban Defensive Shifts

except if it's goofy

So there will be an exception for a Disney character?

posted by Howard_T at 05:05 PM on January 28

Martin Brodeur to Announce Retirement.

3 words: He will be missed!

posted by Howard_T at 05:03 PM on January 28

"Give 'em the works, Cubby! We ain't got a minute to lose!"

This had me laughing, even though I skimmed the reading. Somehow these guys come off as better reporters than what passes for journalists on some media.

posted by Howard_T at 05:01 PM on January 28

"Give 'em the works, Cubby! We ain't got a minute to lose!"

And to think that's how it all evolved into "I'm just here so I won't get fined"

posted by NerfballPro at 04:28 PM on January 28

"Give 'em the works, Cubby! We ain't got a minute to lose!"

I will be at my desk shouting "Punch it up" for the next hour while bemoaning the fact the world gets a little more buttoned-up every day.

posted by yerfatma at 03:52 PM on January 28

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Last night was Manute Bol Bobblehead night at Oracle Arena, home of the Golden State Warriors. In addition to the 10,000 10" Bol Bobbles (notably taller than average bobbleheads), they had a life-sized 7'7" version made for fans to pose with.

posted by Ufez Jones at 01:21 PM on January 28

Martin Brodeur to Announce Retirement.

It's a shame that Brodeur's career ends the same way as other NHL HOFers like Salming and Modano, clinging to one more season of play wearing an unfamiliar jersey.

Yep. And it seems like he did it just to prove to Lou that he had something left in the tank. It's almost like if Schneider hadn't come into the picture, he may have just bowed out gracefully after that last run to the finals.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:36 PM on January 28

Martin Brodeur to Announce Retirement.

Leetch also would have been in there

He never looked right in anything but an Avon Old Farms jersey to me.

posted by yerfatma at 11:13 AM on January 28

Martin Brodeur to Announce Retirement.

Well, it's still weird to me and none of your fancy pants ivy league facts and stats won't change that.

He was in my comparison list (because I like doing things in threes like that) and I pulled him when I realized that fact.
(Leetch also would have been in there, but he played 1/3 of a season in Toronto before playing his last season in Boston. I completely forgot about his time in Toronto.)

posted by grum@work at 10:56 AM on January 28

Martin Brodeur to Announce Retirement.

Well, it's still weird to me and none of your fancy pants ivy league facts and stats won't change that.

posted by NoMich at 10:17 AM on January 28

Martin Brodeur to Announce Retirement.

Orr played two seasons as a 'Hawk.

posted by grum@work at 10:11 AM on January 28

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Here up north temperatures have been above freezing and the snow has completely melted in areas. It's been raining most of the last week as it is today. Really sucks as it kills all winter outdoor activities.

Would take 4 feet of snow and -20C temperatures over our current conditions any day.

posted by cixelsyd at 09:57 AM on January 28

Martin Brodeur to Announce Retirement.

It's a shame that Brodeur's career ends the same way as other NHL HOFers like Salming and Modano, clinging to one more season of play wearing an unfamiliar jersey.

Bobby Orr in a 'Hawks uniform would like to have a word with you. Joe Namath in a Rams uniform wants to kiss you.

posted by NoMich at 08:46 AM on January 28

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

my kitchen has been taken over while the young'uns bake cookies, and the TV is stuck on chick flicks

I had the same problem. Only one child left still living at home; she's a senior in high school. And in full charge of the TV.

Gilmore Girls isn't over. They're just not making any new episodes.

If I call "The Blind Side" a chick flick just because Sandra, the matron saint of chick flicks is in it, nobody will get to watch it.

If my neighbor, who was snowblowing at the same time I was, had come over to ask me why I seemed to be attacking the snow with such vigor and relish, I would have told him that after watching just 20 minutes of Fashion Police, I felt like I was fully capable of indiscriminate aggravated assault.

posted by beaverboard at 08:43 AM on January 28

Martin Brodeur to Announce Retirement.

I think the spot for #1 in terms of overall career is between Roy and Brodeur.
I think the spot for #1 in terms of raw skill is between Hasek and Sawchuck.
I think the spot for #1 in terms of bravery is between Plante, Sawchuk, and Hall.
I think the spot for #1 in terms of class is between Plante and Dryden.

To pick between Roy and Brodeur, you have to decide if Roy's performance for the Canadiens/Avalanche is more impressive because they weren't known as "defense first" teams, or if Brodeur's performance for the Devils is the reason they seemed to be "defense first".

It's a shame that Brodeur's career ends the same way as other NHL HOFers like Salming and Modano, clinging to one more season of play wearing an unfamiliar jersey.

posted by grum@work at 12:04 AM on January 28

Martin Brodeur to Announce Retirement.

1. Brodeur 2. Roy 3. Plante 4. Hasek 5. Sawchuck

I think Ken Dryden has to be in there somewhere. But instead of who, I don't know.

posted by jagsnumberone at 11:22 PM on January 27

Martin Brodeur to Announce Retirement.

As a longtime Devils and Brodeur fan, I too would have liked to see him retire in New Jersey. It's a bit unseemly for him to be retiring as an active member of the Blues organization. Of course, this isn't the first time Brodeur made an indecorous decision, so those of us who follow him and his career are less than surprised.

I'm also of the opinion that if a ballplayer wants to play ball, and can get paid to play ball, he shouldn't be denigrated for doing so (cf. Rickey Henderson, minor leaguer). Why not keep doing what you love? Brodeur brought a Hall of Fame career and three Stanley Cups to New Jersey, of all places. All we can say is thanks.

posted by werty at 10:56 PM on January 27

Martin Brodeur to Announce Retirement.

Still say he should've retired 25 wins ago. Then he would still have been a Devil, and his win total would've been 666...

posted by MeatSaber at 07:45 PM on January 27

New MLB Commissioner: We May Ban Defensive Shifts

I can just imagine what a rewrite of 4.02 and 4.03 might involve.

"(c) Except the pitcher and the catcher, any fielder may station himself anywhere in fair territory except if it's goofy."

posted by Etrigan at 07:45 PM on January 27

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Still showing up at about 1"/hour here. Apparently Nashua's approach to snow clearing is a bit different from Dover's, where they usually wait until it all stops to plow and sand in honor of Charles Darwin. That said, they've been at it since early last night and I don't envy them. You know how once a decade or so you spout a quip worth keeping (maybe it's more often for you all)? When I first moved to this state I said to my wife, in reference to a coworker with man troubles, "Never have a baby with a plow guy. Between the two of them you'll never get a decent night's sleep again."

posted by yerfatma at 06:54 PM on January 27

New MLB Commissioner: We May Ban Defensive Shifts

I hate this idea. The shifts are weird, but I want to see batters make opponents pay for doing it.

posted by rcade at 06:31 PM on January 27

Martin Brodeur to Announce Retirement.

Obviously, the HOF is a formality. So, in Brodeur's case, it's a matter of were he ranks among the all-time great goaltenders. I'm a biased Devils fan, so I see it as:

1. Brodeur 2. Roy 3. Plante 4. Hasek 5. Sawchuck

Dissent is not only tolerated, but encouraged.

posted by tahoemoj at 05:40 PM on January 27

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I could show up at Howard or yerfatma's place with my dog toting a small keg of brandy under her chin

Come on over , beaverboard, but make it a large keg. Son and his girlfriend are hunkered down with my wife and I. Only problem with this is that my kitchen has been taken over while the young'uns bake cookies, and the TV is stuck on chick flicks.

After supper I will put my new Toro to its biggest test so far. I fueled it and checked the oil after using it for the "warmup" act last week. Two spare shear bolts are on hand in the garage, so I think I'll be OK. My old Yard Machines beast gave me about 10 years before the auger clutch burned out while the machine was trying to eat some ice last year. Right now kid and girlfriend are out with shovels trying to get a start on things. I think they're bored. The official total is about 27 inches here in Nashua (we're on the NH-MA line on the west bank of the Merrimack River), and it's still coming down pretty well. My biggest problem is Reynaud's Syndrome. It means my circulatory system has problems pushing blood to the extremities. 20 minutes in the cold, even with gloves, means 15 minutes indoors to get some semblance of feeling back in my fingers.

would be unless it was Social Security check day and even then the banks are closed and you wouldn't want those old codgers trundling down the drifty sidewalks

Direct deposit is the way I go. And watch who you call an old codger. I'm not a codger, just old. yerfatma, I think you might be getting a bit more snow than I am getting, since you are a lot closer to the coast.

While we are passing out accolades for snowblower manufacturers and the like, I want to commend the Public Works guys here in Nashua. The plow drivers have been out since before midnight last night, and they have come by our back street 2 or 3 times since. I guess the routes and driver combinations are kept constant from year to year. I asked the guy who does our neighborhood to try not to pile the snow up too high at the end of our sidewalk (I live on a corner) so I could move the snow a little more easily. I want to keep the way to the street clear since the kids who go to the nearby elementary school use the walk and would otherwise have to walk in the street. The plow driver takes care of it every storm. These same guys also drive the trash trucks, so a week like this can be a man-killer. Lots of overtime, but a killer nonetheless. Thanks, guys.

posted by Howard_T at 04:50 PM on January 27

New MLB Commissioner: We May Ban Defensive Shifts

This, and having to defend Fred Wilpon being appointed to the finance committee, is a pretty epic way to introduce yourself to the public. Heck of a low bar to start from.

posted by dfleming at 04:37 PM on January 27

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

grum, I feel your pain, because who has ever had to replace a shear bolt in conditions other than the frozen hell you perfectly described.

my plow hit SOMETHING under the snow

Local wags are fond of saying that their snowblowers can handle a daily newspaper without too much trouble, but aren't quite up to the challenge of swallowing the Sunday paper.

Whenever I find myself outdoors on my hands and knees in the snow, bare fingered, and cursing cold metal while trying to revive a piece of equipment, I remind myself of the Nova episode entitled "B29 Frozen in Time". The discovery, salvage, and restoration of an abandoned and long forgotten bomber on a frozen lake bed in Greenland. The only way to get the plane out of there was to make it airworthy and fly it out after having sat there for 50 or so years. Only way to reach the lake bed was via a vintage Caribou supply/transport aircraft.

I recommend this episode to all who haven't seen it. Viewable online at YouTube and elsewhere. Provides a healthy, hearty dose of perspective whenever you fancy yourself as doing something heroically resourceful or think you have problems that no one else could comprehend or endure. (Those who have seen it, please don't reveal the ending to those who haven't seen it.)

I'll bet that all the race teams that participate in the 24 Hours of LeMons have probably seen that show.

posted by beaverboard at 04:28 PM on January 27

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

The Hall of Fame case for Larry Walker (why do we even need one?)

posted by yerfatma at 04:22 PM on January 27

New MLB Commissioner: We May Ban Defensive Shifts

A statement like this, uttered in seriousness, ought to immediately disqualify Manfred from further service as Commissioner of Major League Baseball. From the Rules of Baseball:

Starting and Ending a Game:

4.02 The players of the home team shall take their defensive positions, the first batter of the visiting team shall take his position in the batter's box, the umpire shall call "Play" and the game shall start.

4.03 When the ball is put in play at the start of, or during a game, all fielders other than the catcher shall be on fair territory.

(a) The catcher shall station himself directly back of the plate. He may leave his position at any time to catch a pitch or make a play except that when the batter is being given an intentional base on balls, the catcher must stand with both feet within the lines of the catcher's box until the ball leaves the pitcher's hand. PENALTY: Balk.

(b) The pitcher, while in the act of delivering the ball to the batter, shall take his legal position;

(c) Except the pitcher and the catcher, any fielder may station himself anywhere in fair territory.

I can just imagine what a rewrite of 4.02 and 4.03 might involve. It might make War and Peace look like a tweet. Ridiculous!

posted by Howard_T at 04:17 PM on January 27

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I did have to replace the drive shaft which just gave up the ghost one incredibly cold morning a few years back. Of course they don't make the part anymore so the recommended replacement was some "adjustable" shaft from a lawn tractor that pretty much works. Unless you liked having reverse. At some point I should probably fix that too.

posted by yerfatma at 03:33 PM on January 27

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

By way of penance, let me heartily endorse the work of the good folks at Ariens. I've had the poor bastard snow blower for 9 years, I dunno if I've changed the oil once and I've eaten a ton of rocks (one of our two driveways* is untamped stone) and three walkway lights. None of it has stopped that champ. Today was only the second time I ever could have used a snorkle as I almost stalled it out going too far under a drift. And that was just the pre-game prep so I can get everybody out of the house so I can do the proper cleanup as time allows.

And now it turns out I wasted some time opening the front walk to the street as the state has cancelled postal delivery. So much for that promise. Thanks Obama. (In reality I spent most of the day wondering what the hell the point would be unless it was Social Security check day and even then the banks are closed and you wouldn't want those old codgers trundling down the drifty sidewalks.)

* The other one is shared with the neighbor, it's not like it's a palatial estate or something.

posted by yerfatma at 03:31 PM on January 27

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Dale Jr. sez: yer snowblower oal may be OK for the time being, but check them belts and shear bolts.

In the first week of December in 2010, London Ontario had 2 meters (79in) fall in 3 days. While plowing the driveway for the first of 5 times in that period, my plow hit SOMETHING under the snow (a kid's toy? a kid?) and broke a shear bolt. It took me 50 minutes (without gloves) to clear off the snow from the blade, push out the remnant of the bolt from the hole, and then try to push the new bolt through the quickly-icing-over hole.

Since then, any time I use the snowblower I am beyond fearful of having that happen again.

posted by grum@work at 03:15 PM on January 27

New MLB Commissioner: We May Ban Defensive Shifts

Given baseball's sanctimony levels, I am surprised that this hasn't been drowned out with a chorus of shouts that "if you don't want them to shift, learn how to pull the ball!"

posted by feloniousmonk at 02:54 PM on January 27

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

yerfatma, my average measured snow height during round one was 32". Just above the top of the gas tank on my venerable rebuilt snowblower. I'm halfway between Bost. and Worcester. I think you and Howard have it worse.

Beautiful snow to blow. The powder swirls and envelops the adventurer. You feel like you're backstage with Duff McKagan.

Dale Jr. sez: yer snowblower oal may be OK for the time being, but check them belts and shear bolts.

My local power equipment parts place has all their replacement belts hung from an old ceiling beam way overhead. It took me years of handing them my money before they let me get the pistol grip pole picker snatch grabber from its secret hiding place and take belts down from the display all by myself. I felt like I'd been ushered into a secret brotherhood. I think there's a membership initiation. You have to prove that you own and regularly listen to the classic Best of Bobby Goldsboro collection on 8 track.

posted by beaverboard at 02:53 PM on January 27

New MLB Commissioner: We May Ban Defensive Shifts

Also, if hitters were less reliant on True Outcome moments, the smarter ones would (could, should) practice opposite-field and spray hitting, and negate the impact of the shifts against them. Think there'd be some way to shift against Tony Gwynn? Wade Boggs?

posted by werty at 02:22 PM on January 27

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Having grown up in Florida, I hate it when they frickin' name a storm in January. Hurricane season ends in late November. And it's even worse when they dip into Roman mythology. Winter Storm Juno? Really? Let's have a real live woman's name. OK, or man's name. I'll bet there are darned few babies in the South that have been named Camille since 1969.

The naming of blizzards is coming from the Weather Channel. The National Weather service has nothing to do with the namings and refuses to acknowledge them. Rest easy, my friend.

Oh, and I do have a friend named Camille because of the legendary hurricane, but funnily enough, she's from North Dakota. However, I know her from down here in North Carolina.

posted by NoMich at 02:14 PM on January 27

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

For once a storm lives up to its billing. This has to be the most snow I've seen in one go in the 15 years I've lived here (I suppose you'd call this "Wednesday" back in Rochester where I spent 3 decades over the course of 4 years) and it's not supposed to quit until tomorrow morning. I'm starting to question my personal philosophy of always forgetting to tune/ change the oil on the snowblower because it's June and who cares?

posted by yerfatma at 02:12 PM on January 27

New MLB Commissioner: We May Ban Defensive Shifts

Grantland also did a nice job covering why this doesn't make sense. The graphs are a pretty neat confirmation of just where you would expect groundballs to turn into hits versus outs.

posted by yerfatma at 02:09 PM on January 27

New MLB Commissioner: We May Ban Defensive Shifts

Are you really trying to steal the NFL's incompetent thunder, MLB?

posted by Rock Steady at 02:03 PM on January 27

New MLB Commissioner: We May Ban Defensive Shifts

Dave Cameron did a pretty good job of summarizing the entire Internet's reaction to this: shifts aren't to blame for the drop in offence.

The primary culprit is the strike zone's out-of-control growth.

It's incredibly frustrating that new rules are being spitballed, when all the solutions to the game's problems already exist in the rulebook. Call the zone correctly, enforce the 12-second pitch rule without any stupid clocks, and you're golden.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 01:42 PM on January 27

New MLB Commissioner: We May Ban Defensive Shifts

Yay! A stupid solution for a non-problem!

I can't believe they'd want to legislate against defensive innovation.
Nobody had a problem when they did the "Williams shift".
Nobody had a problem when they bring in an outfielder to play infield with a tie game in the bottom of the 9th.

posted by grum@work at 01:40 PM on January 27

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Just completed round one of significant snow removal in pastoral New England. New York is spared the worst but the more Northerly states suffer - that feels like a couple of recent Super Bowl outcomes. The Belgian ale and Polish potato vodka that I buried in the snow in the overnight have been retrieved and are not being taken for granted. The goal is to become temporarily DQ'ed from being able to operate power equipment. Temporarily.

I never ever want to be in a position where the good people of Buffalo feel sorry for me. We're nowhere near that yet. I could show up at Howard or yerfatma's place with my dog toting a small keg of brandy under her chin if it gets worse. I just need to line up a couple of sponsors.

I do resent how anything over 12" of snow in the nation's media and financial epicenter in the Northeast is a national crisis, whereas up to 5 feet around the Great Lakes is just another day at the office. Those people don't count?

Having grown up in Florida, I hate it when they frickin' name a storm in January. Hurricane season ends in late November. And it's even worse when they dip into Roman mythology. Winter Storm Juno? Really? Let's have a real live woman's name. OK, or man's name. I'll bet there are darned few babies in the South that have been named Camille since 1969. Or Hugo for that matter. I had the most wonderful GF named Katrina at one time and I feel very bad that her name got dragged through so much human misery.

This is properly "huddle" venting, but if it carries on too much further, I may have to file under the 'Extreme" category.

posted by beaverboard at 01:11 PM on January 27

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Video shows a Pats locker room attendant taking all 24 game balls into a bathroom, but only for 90 seconds.

posted by rcade at 08:01 AM on January 27

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Tyson bungles science of Deflate-gate scandal

posted by beaverboard at 10:08 PM on January 26

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Tyson doesn't specify the measurement scale and may not have employed accurate discrepancy data in psi. His 15% number casually tossed into a tweet without references is happy hour finger food bullshit.

We've talked about the warm room/hot air proposition.

FWIW, 125 degree air is not hard to achieve. Anyone who has operated an underpowered, small displacement air compressor knows that those things cycle on and off almost continuously just trying to keep the air hose pressurized.

Air compressors can get damn hot. The air can too. For the true air sleuth, the telltale clue would be trace amounts (or more) of oil, which can be smelled for one thing as air is let out of a pressurized enclosure. Some oil tends to migrate into the air line when a compressor pump head gets a bit overheated. Basic small compressors don't have fancy filtering apparatus and let the oil into the air fairly readily.

Of course, the refs weren't letting air out of the Pats' balls. They were busy putting more air in.

Where are those game balls now? If we're going to get uber technical with the postulations, how has the physical evidence been handled from the first moment someone took action on this during the AFC title game? I don't get a sense that this thing has been handled in a tidy, ironclad manner. The overall feel of this is not that far removed from the Secret Service balling up and tossing Kennedy's clothes into the back of the Lincoln after the autopsy at Parkland.

posted by beaverboard at 07:32 PM on January 26

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

For the Patriots to blame a change in temperature for 15% lower-pressures, requires balls to be inflated with 125-degree air. -- Neil deGrasse Tyson

posted by rcade at 06:43 PM on January 26

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

the NFL is zeroing in on a locker room attendant

Highly probable to be terminated immediately ... with guaranteed life long financial security as long as compliance to the terms of the Patriots separation agreement "HUSH.2015.NEP" are maintained.

posted by cixelsyd at 05:45 PM on January 26

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Jay Glazer is reporting the NFL is zeroing in on a locker room attendant who took balls somewhere between the officials room and the field and has video.

posted by dfleming at 04:43 PM on January 26

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Bill Nye is a media personality, who lives in Seattle

He's also a scientist whose comments are backed by physics. Baseless defiant arrogance just doesn't sell as well as science.

You can barely notice the difference in PSI

2 PSI is a significant difference. Take 2 footballs out on a cold day and do your own experiment. A properly inflated ball is much harder to handle than an under-inflated ball.

posted by cixelsyd at 10:09 AM on January 26

Josh Gordon Fails Substance Test, Out for Another Year

I don't see him staying on the Browns roster after this.

With the DUI arrests and the missed team meetings prior to this he was already on a short leash. It's pretty sad to see someone as talented as he is choose substance abuse over his livelihood.

posted by NerfballPro at 02:39 AM on January 26

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

This reminds me of the Serial podcast in that once you have the implication of guilt, even pretty normal things look dodgy. If you would have learned that the Pats were 2nd in fumbles before all this started you wouldn't have thought anything of it but now it's supposed to mean something. You can barely notice the difference in PSI but now it determines fumbles, passing, and who knows what else.

I was a little annoyed by this story to start with but now I'm hoping it lasts til Sunday. Honestly, it's more entertaining than the standard Super Bowl coverage. I will watch the opening snap of the Super Bowl and wonder, for the first time in my life, what PSI that ball is at. Then I will drink a beer and never think about it again.

posted by tron7 at 11:19 PM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Sharp has posted a followup. I haven't read the full piece, but it looks like he doesn't address criticisms. Instead he finds more ways to say the Pats look dodgy.

posted by rcade at 10:51 PM on January 25

Josh Gordon Fails Substance Test, Out for Another Year

It sounds like Justin Blackmon is on track to come back next year.

The Josh Gordon situation is sad. Have the Browns/NFLPA failed to give him the help he needs? Or has he really had every opportunity? I don't see him staying on the Browns roster after this.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 10:19 PM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

It's weird Goodell seems to want to punish. I'd love to see a reporter contact as many NFL owners as possible to see how much they care about this.

posted by rcade at 09:54 PM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Rubbing a football in order to raise its temperature by any significant amount would require an amount of pressure to be exerted upon the ball that would require machinery. Human muscle would be inadequate. Further, it would take some large amount of time to raise the temperature, and once you stop the mechanical process, the temperature of the ball begins to drop. I do not have any numbers or formulae to offer for how much energy is needed to raise a given amount of air by any given temperature. Considering the temperature of the air inside the ball, if it is above ambient, unless the container is insulated in some way, the air inside will soon return to ambient. If you have ever dealt with home insulation, you have heard of the R value. This is a measure of heat transfer across a surface (i.e. from inside to out). If someone cares to look up the R value of pigskin and a contained rubber bladder, let me know. Anyway, raising the temperature of contained air without raising the ambient temperature in which the ball is sitting would be rather difficult.

I believe Belichick did not mean to imply that rubbing the footballs had something to do with pressure. He was talking about the process by which the team tried to prepare the surface of the ball, and mixed it up with inflation. Anyone looking to find fault would tend not to parse his words too carefully.

Those who talk about the Colts' footballs not showing deflation below specification seem to assume that they were inspected along with those of the Patriots. I have not seen anything from the NFL that says they were. Could someone enlighten me on this?

It is all boiling down to the smartest kid in your 8th grade class and his good looking buddy that gets the girls for the 2 of them scoring another A without seeming to work for it. Let's face it, every one of us had one of those pains-in-the-ass in his class, and you wanted to kick the living crap out of him or her. If indeed Belichick knew exactly how the balls were cursorily inspected by the officials and knew that filling them to 12.5 in a warm room would result in their deflating below specification, then he was working to the letter of the rule, but bending its intent. Can the NFL or anyone else prove that this is the case? It's now the classic "he said, she said", and comes to a point of whom do you want to believe. For those who wish to believe the worst of the Patriots, here's some ammunition. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia holds a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute, and worked as an engineer for two years after having a job as a graduate assistant at RPI.

Once again, the NFL has a crappy rule that was not being enforced with the vigor needed. It was circumvented with ease, and now the league has egg on its face. Roger Goodell really has his tit caught in the wringer on this one. If he says that the Patriots worked to the letter of the rule and outsmarted everyone, there will be pitchforks and torches at the gates of NFL Headquarters. If he says that the Patriots cheated, Robert Kraft, a close associate of Sumner Redstone, majority owner of CBS, might have something to say about TV contracts, sponsors, and the like. As bad as it might look for the NFL, it seems they are the ones who need to take the hit, change the rules, or at least the execution of the process, and admit how screwed up they really are.

posted by Howard_T at 06:56 PM on January 25

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

The NFL used to have a third-place game called the Playoff Bowl? I've been a fan since I was a kid in the '70s and I never heard of this.

posted by rcade at 06:52 PM on January 25

Josh Gordon Fails Substance Test, Out for Another Year

I can't rule that out. It worked for Don Meredith.

posted by rcade at 06:47 PM on January 25

Josh Gordon Fails Substance Test, Out for Another Year

maybe it's the booze giving him supertalent

posted by kokaku at 06:31 PM on January 25

Josh Gordon Fails Substance Test, Out for Another Year

The Jaguars are actually keeping open the possibility of letting Blackmon play for the team again if he gets himself sorted out. Before his suspension last year he had a few preseason and regular season games where he showed talent beyond anything else I've seen on the team from the current crop of receivers.

posted by rcade at 05:11 PM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Because the Ravens weren't caught with dodgy balls.

Bill Nye has been a science educator for 22 years. He's got a mechanical engineering degree, has multiple patents and has done work in aeronautics and the space program. I think he's qualified to talk about the inflation of footballs without being dismissed as a "media personality." Nye declared himself a Seahawks fan in the GMA piece, so it's not like he hid that.

Belichick himself talked about the "rubbing process" in relation to PSI, so I don't see how Nye is being unfair to him.

To me, Belichick's explanation is pretty silly when you consider that the Colts balls were in the same environment as the Patriots, were tested in the same place and exposed to the same elements, yet were not below required PSI.

... that the Patriots violated any rules whatsoever is completely uncertain.

I think the fact 11 of 12 balls were below required PSI, while none of the Colts balls were, is enough evidence of rulebreaking to levy a fine. It might have been smart for Goodell to just do that right away and leave the rest for a future discussion on how non-kicking balls are tested and handled in games.

The world didn't end when the Patriots' groundskeeper cut a path for their kicker in the Snowplow game. If Goodell just punished the Pats for improperly inflated balls without getting into intent, this circus might already be taking down the tents.

posted by rcade at 04:50 PM on January 25

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Toller Cranston dead at 65

posted by tommytrump at 03:19 PM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Bill Nye is a media personality, who lives in Seattle. He either chose- or was edited- to misrepresent Belichick's statement, by conflating BB's claim that the PSI drop was due to temperature change (which we've discussed here) with his statement that part of the football handling process was to rub them up as well for the benefit of Brady's preference.

These are all legal behaviors in the NFL mind you, and I continue to think the story will eventually come out that the refs only did a spot/hand check before the game, because no one has ever cared or more likely known about the pressure drop; after all, a 13.5PSI ball in San Diego and a 12.5PSI ball in Green Bay could be 3PSI different on their respective fields... yet no one has ever noticed. That we'll have different and more specific rules going into 2015 is certain; that the Patriots violated any rules whatsoever is completely uncertain.

rcade: You use the Patriots passing a lot as a possible reason to explain this stat, but dismiss the Saints passing a lot as meaningless.

It seems to me you're trying to have it both ways. You're calling his statistical finding meaningless misleading junk while also coming up with reasons why the Patriots are so good at not losing fumbles.

Because those aren't mutually exclusive. His presentation, analysis, and thus his findings are suspect due to sloppy methodologies and assumptions; that's what I'm calling junk. The choice of axis, including passing plays, etc.- for a "professional" analyst, it's suspiciously sloppy to me.

I further suggested that part of the reason it's junk is because when you average over a period of time, you can exaggerate a consistently high performer when other performers have mixed results- often due to changing personnel or simple lack of organizational success from one year to the next.

I asked that someone do actual leg work of a more meaningful kind, and at least one person did in that previous comment you quoted: when looking at the fumbles / (rushing plays + completed passes ) even averaged over 5 years, you get the Patriots #2, behind the Ravens and about the same distance in front of the Saints. So why, as beaverboard jokes, are we not talking about the Ravens' cheating ways?

posted by hincandenza at 02:54 PM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Bill Nye the Science Guy scoffed at Belichick's ball-rubbing theory.

posted by rcade at 01:35 PM on January 25

Ernie Banks, legendary 'Mr. Cub,' dead at 83

The type of attitude towards a sport that made baseball such a great sport. Whenever some of the other story lines begin to be a drag, remembering players who loved the game so much is enough to swing my attitude back around to the positive.

I had a chance to meet Banks years ago and had him sign a vintage baseball card of himself. Collectors say signing a card decreases it's value, but it's something I'll always keep for myself.

posted by dyams at 01:22 PM on January 25

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

To try to maintain some sanity, I've been limiting the number of media sources I read on this topic. One of them is Mike Reiss' ESPN Pats' blog.

He is reporting that the Pats used friction, not heat to warm up the footballs before the refs inspected them. So in general, our postulating at SpoFi that the balls were overwarmed, then cooled outdoors after inspection to create the deflation seems to be on the mark.

The Pats have now fully arrived as national bad boys - here's the Saturday Night Live cold open from last night's show.

posted by beaverboard at 11:50 AM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Well darn those cheatin' Ravens. They're the ones that started all this trouble. (j/k)

posted by beaverboard at 11:40 AM on January 25

Ernie Banks, legendary 'Mr. Cub,' dead at 83

Infectious joy, or infectiously joyous, methinks.

posted by holden at 10:41 AM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

A WSJ commenter points out that a better metric would be fumbles per rushing attempts and pass completions, since no one is fumbling an incompletion. He notes: "When you re-analyze regular season data from 2010 to 2014, with total fumbles (not fumbles lost) in the numerator and rushing attempts plus receptions (not total offensive plays) in the denominator, the lowest incidence of fumbles is with the Ravens (0.82 fumbles per 100 rushes plus receptions). The Pats are ranked #2 on this statistic, at 0.85. Next come the Saints (0.90), Falcons (0.99) and Packers (1.06)."

posted by rcade at 10:35 AM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

More fun from a Wall Street Journal piece about Sharp's post:

Additionally, according to Stats, LLC, the six players who have played extensively for the Patriots and other teams in this span all fumbled far less frequently wearing the New England uniform. Including recovered fumbles, Danny Amendola, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Wes Welker, Brandon LaFell and LeGarrette Blount have lost the ball eight times in 1,482 touches for the Patriots since 2010, or once every 185.3 times. For their other teams, they fumbled 22 times in 1,701 touches (once every 77.3).
The WSJ presents a graph on this with a proper axis beginning at 0. It still looks plenty dramatic.

posted by rcade at 08:40 AM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

An interesting comment to a Slate piece about this blog post:

If you watched the press conference today the Patriots admitted what they did and what their practice is. They create friction on the ball resulting heat which temporarily raises the PSI of the ball. They do this until the ball is turned over to the refs. The balls are checked or tested when received by the Refs in an 80 degree room before the game. After that the balls are secured and then taken to the field in the cold outside air where the air inside the ball reduces with temperature and therefor cause the ball to lose pressure.

They claim that don't break the rules technically because their method does not involve mechanically deflating the balls and they advise the refs to be sure the balls have pressure per the rules (which at that time they do). Their intention is to get balls that are under inflated and their practice in ball preparation makes it likely to occur.

posted by rcade at 08:34 AM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Plays-per-fumble is hardly an unknown statistic. It is brought up in broadcasts where running backs are concerned.

I'm not a numbers geek. But looking at how often a team loses fumbles per offensive plays run seems like a relevant statistic to me. Turnovers have a strong effect on the outcome of games. If Belichick devised a way to increase ball security -- whether it was a "rubbing process" that results in deflation below 12.5 PSI after testing (his words), a coaching technique or a trait he can identify in players -- it could be a meaningful advantage.

You're making a lot about the graphs not having 0 as the base of Y axis, making them more visually dramatic and somewhat misleading. That's true, but I think you make too much of it. We're talking about a blog post, not a peer-reviewed academic study. Newspapers do what he did all the time in graphs -- I can remember my J profs yelling at us about doing it in the school paper. It's not always a calculated attempt to mislead. Sometimes it's just sloppy thinking in how a graph should be presented.

Personally, I've never seen it as much of a problem when the Y-axis range is right there on the graph and can be taken into account.

Which means, honestly, precisely nothing.

You use the Patriots passing a lot as a possible reason to explain this stat, but dismiss the Saints passing a lot as meaningless.

It seems to me you're trying to have it both ways. You're calling his statistical finding meaningless misleading junk while also coming up with reasons why the Patriots are so good at not losing fumbles.

posted by rcade at 08:27 AM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Which means, honestly, precisely nothing. Again, if the Texans fumbled one fewer time a year, they'd have NE's numbers. Do you dispute this ratio, or the idea that so small a change would negate the entire story?

This guy is a charlatan, trying to drum up business with a viral story that plays to people's pre-existing biases. The premise itself is threadbare: it's 100% statistical cherry picking, making up some random stat no one's ever heard of before- seriously, "plays/fumble"?- and then find a way to produce an outlier by using all sorts of trickery and conflation, such as I mentioned above.

There are so many conceptual mistakes in this whole process. If you suspected the Patriots of some ball-related mischief, you'd do year-by-year comparisons to find when they implemented this supposed deflation technique of lowering numbers. I mean, unless you somehow know for a fact that the "tampering" not only gives them an edge in fumbling but has also been going on all 5 years, averaging the stats would actually hide or diminish any recent outliers.

But then, we know that's not why he chose a 5-year average: he did it because most teams can't even boast the same coach and QB over the past 5 years, much less winning the division 5 years in a row. If you wanted to manufacture a controversy, you'd find some way to magnify even the slightest difference.

Heck, his updated "Fumbles" and "Fumbles Lost" chart shows the Atlanta Falcons having an even more dominating rate than the Patriots, and the Saints not far off. While he was savvy enough to put the y-axis at 80 out of 150- almost as if to exaggerate the graph- he somehow wasn't clever enough to split the numbers between home and way, given how concerned he was with dismissing those Falcons/Saints numbers as irrelevant to his "Patriot cheating" narrative since they played in a dome. Well, they played their only half the year of course, but still... odd, don't you think?

There are countless other explanations for a junk stat made up this week showing some kind of "trend". The current top comment on the article is from some guy, Glenn Brown, who points out that BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 510 carries in his 4 years with the Patriots... and ZERO fumbles. Just in 2010 and 2011, he had 410 carries for 0 fumbles. 205 plays a year without a single fumble- and with about 1,200 total plays a year passing and rushing for the Patriots, that means this single player running 200 times a year without fumbling would probably show up as an extreme statistical outlier in team fumbling rates.

By the way, while he's not in the league now, BJGE left NE in 2012, and spent the next two years in Cincinnati. On his modified Total Fumbles and Plays/Fumble chart spanning 2010-2014, guess which outdoor team is now fourth in highest Plays/Fumble rate? Go on, make a wild guess.

This whole thing is a joke, and I wish Howard_T or grum could jump in to debunk this further.

posted by hincandenza at 12:05 AM on January 25

Ernie Banks, legendary 'Mr. Cub,' dead at 83

"Infectiously joy"' is one of those overused tropes, but damn if Mr. Cub didn't embody that.

posted by holden at 11:57 PM on January 24

Ernie Banks, legendary 'Mr. Cub,' dead at 83

May his spirit guide the team this season.

posted by TheQatarian at 10:49 PM on January 24

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Unsurprisingly, a team led by a no-doubt Hall of Fame quarterback runs more passing plays than normal.

New England's pass attempts per game, ranking in league:

2014: 7th
2013: 8th
2012: 4th
2011: 3rd
2010: 18th

Do you really think that explains New England's five-year run of non-fumbling? Here's New Orleans' pass attempts per game, ranking in league:

2014: 1st
2013: 4th
2012: 2nd
2011: 1st
2010: 1st

All those passes, yet New Orleans fumbled once every 126 plays over that time.

posted by rcade at 09:33 PM on January 24

Ernie Banks, legendary 'Mr. Cub,' dead at 83

One of the truly greats, not just on the field but as an ambassador for his sport.

posted by hincandenza at 08:24 PM on January 24

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

The link isn't working for me (gives an error message about missing content) although I've seen this making the rounds, especially here in Seattle. Hey, maybe he took it down in embarrassment! :)

The article is innumeracy at its finest, but I'm too exhausted from #DeflateGate to keep running numbers. I've quickly copy/pasted a FB post I made a couple of days ago about this article. As always, I reserve the right to be wrong, gracefully. :)

-------------------

This has been making the rounds today. Seattle is quickly proving that its sports fans are not only fair-weather... they aren't exactly aces at math. ;) Even assuming these numbers are accurate:

FIRST, this "damning" graph is conveniently y-axis shifted so the trends *look* more exaggerated, in particular those fumble numbers. We should see the same thing without the deceptive framing. What are these supposed to be, national unemployment figures, ha ha? :(

SECOND, the far right of the graph shows 33 NE fumbles compared to Houston 40... over a span of five seasons. Wow, a whopping 1.4 fewer total fumbles per season. Surely, some kind of Belichickean dark sorcery is afoot here.

THIRD, since the 2010 season of this graph, the Patriots have 5 straight division wins averaging 12.6 wins per season (and never less than 12). The Texans in that same period have two division wins of 10 and 12 win seasons... but missed the playoffs the other years with win totals of 9, 6, and *2*. Again, it's really suspicious that New England has fumbled 7 whole times *less* than the Houston Texans in that same period.

FOURTH, this y-axis shifted graph is showing two values per team: fumbles per season, and plays per fumble. It doesn't, however, appear to distinguish between running plays and passing plays. How convenient. Unsurprisingly, a team led by a no-doubt Hall of Fame quarterback runs more passing plays than normal. Less running plays means less chances to fumble, means a greater ratio between overall offensive plays and fumbles.

FIFTH, the ratio of fumbles over this span between Houston and NE is .825 (33/40). If the Patriots otherwise executed the same number of plays over that time span- ha ha, that's surely the case- then inverting the ratio to get plays/fumble would turn 140 into... 170. Oh, but the perennial contender Patriots with their future HoF quarterback have a modestly higher ratio than that! Quelle surprise.

SIXTH, just so I'm not accused of picking the poor beleaguered Texans... if we compare Seattle to NE, we get an average of 10 wins per season (7, 7, 11, 13, 12) and find the Seahawks fumbled the ball on average just over 5 more times per season. Probably a lot of that difference in those 7 win seasons. Hm... I wonder what the fumbles per game (FPG) was in that span...

Year, NE, SEA
2010, 0.7 (1), 1.1 (7)
2011, 0.9 (4), 1.4 (9)
2012, 0.9 (5), 1.1 (8)
2013, 1.5 (24), 1.6 (26)
2014, 0.9 (2), 1.5 (22)

So NE is consistently elite but not exceptionally so when it comes to fumbling (see that 24th place rate in 2013). Oddly, Seattle started fumbling a lot more- near league worst- when they made their two SB appearances.

Maybe... maybe fumbling rate isn't such a great fucking stat to use to prove a point?

All this chart really tells us is:
a) How easy it is to mislead with statistics and rigged graphs
b) A consistently elite team will, over several years, make several fewer mistakes on average than other teams.
c) If we were to accept the original author's premise, the NFL really ought to be investigating the Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos under suspicion of tampering with their footballs to the point of being comically *overinflated*. :)

posted by hincandenza at 08:00 PM on January 24

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

When I mentioned the Patriots' low fumble rate rather casually in the deflation mega thread the day before Sharp's piece came out, I had no idea how startling the actual numbers were.

The NYT ran an article yesterday on how the Pats cover the spread in bad weather games at a much higher rate than they do in good weather games. Sharp may have done the analytic work on that story as well.

posted by beaverboard at 07:29 PM on January 24

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Professor Howard, what happens to a 12.5 or lower ball at altitude?

Absolutely nothing, beaverboard, assuming that the ball is initially inflated at the high altitude. Gauges measure relative pressure (that is, ball pressure minus atmospheric pressure), the gauge is subject to the same atmospheric pressure as it was when the ball was filled, disregarding fast-moving weather fronts. Now if you were to fill the ball at sea level and take it to Denver, the ball pressure would read higher as a result of the lower atmospheric pressure on the gauge and the result of more force being exerted by the bladder on the air inside it (Boyle's Law, if one of the variables, pressure, volume or temperature is varied, and another kept constant, the third must vary accordingly (P1*V1)/T1 = (P2*V2)/T2). Longer kicks and passes that are overthrown are the result of lower air resistance and a slightly reduced force of gravity due to increased distance from the earth's core.

True, but there are enough reputable, professional sports reporters that we generally can get enough of the truth on a situation like this to form an educated opinion.

True enough, rcade, but their voice is muted. OK, time for an engineering anecdote. In order to measure a very weak signal with an instrument called a spectrum analyzer (does just what it sounds like, measures the strength of signals in the RF spectrum), it is necessary to reduce the noise level in order to see the signal. Most spectrum analyzers do something called video averaging, where the each signal sample is subtracted from the sample which follows it. Since the noise is a random thing, it will eventually cancel itself out and leave nothing but the constant signal. So it must be as we put our own video averaging to use and try to filter the noise of the talking heads fighting for ratings from the signal of the reporters trying to get it right. How this is possible in today's environment (thank you, yerfatma, for making this point) is beyond me. I do know some facts, but I can only guess at much of the rest. If the talking heads would issue disclaimers of what they really know and who are their sources, and would tell us what is speculative and why they believe it, the filter process would be well along.

What's that supposed to mean?

All this time, bonkers, we were assuming your screen name meant that you were a member of the NFL staff.

posted by Howard_T at 04:19 PM on January 24

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

I never got to see Ernie Banks play shortstop. I wish I had.

I did, at least on TV, and he was worth all of the accolades. Really wish he could be resurrected so we all could watch him "play 2".

posted by Howard_T at 03:48 PM on January 24

Don't hit me in the mouth, I gotta play tonight

A good alternate title for this piece would be: Kind of Black and Blue

posted by NerfballPro at 11:38 AM on January 24

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

Justin Verlander has contacted the Patriots' staff asking for an off-peak hourly rate on the deflation equipment.

posted by beaverboard at 10:53 AM on January 24

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

I never got to see Ernie Banks play shortstop. I wish I had.

I thought his trademark "Let's play two" was coined early in his career. I had no idea he came up with it during the soul crushing 69 season, which I watched unfold in front of me game by game in seeming slow motion horror. The worst part of it was that there was an air of certainty and inevitability to the collapse early on.

Thank goodness the other players had Mr. Cub in their midst to help take some of the sting out of it.
That was one hell of an infield. RIP

posted by beaverboard at 09:24 AM on January 24

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

This is absolutely bonkers bad management on the part of the NFL.

What's that supposed to mean?

(Couldn't resist)

posted by Bonkers at 01:37 AM on January 24

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Shit. Ernie Banks has died.

posted by Scottymac at 01:33 AM on January 24

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

I declined to join the suit because they weren't asking for enough.

Every football game I watch now consists of me muttering either "Dez woulda caught that" or "that's a football move" after all pass plays.

posted by rcade at 11:13 PM on January 23

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Rcade, are you in on this lawsuit?

posted by bender at 10:47 PM on January 23

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

... sports reporters are one thing and sports talking heads are quite another.

True, but there are enough reputable, professional sports reporters that we generally can get enough of the truth on a situation like this to form an educated opinion. So I disagree with the idea that we were going on nothing but baseless speculation the past several days before the NFL finally went on the record.

posted by rcade at 10:34 PM on January 23

Don't hit me in the mouth, I gotta play tonight

If you've read any of Miles's biographies (or auto-bios), it may not provide much fresh information, as they pull a lot from those, but it's a fun article with some fantastic pics. I bet you'll dig it, fatty.

And thanks for the comment, beaverboard. My knowledge of boxing history is severely lacking (it wasn't a thing in my family when I was growing up and then by the time I graduated college, it was all downhill). At some point in time I'd like to study the old stuff as I think there's a lot of great stuff there, especially outside of the super mainstream cultural zeitgeist.

posted by Ufez Jones at 09:05 PM on January 23

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

sports reporters are one thing and sports talking heads are quite another. The responsible reporter . . .

It's one of the really unfortunate aspects of The Death of Print (and yet another place where sports shine a light on a larger cultural issue) that forces me to disagree with my learned colleague from New Hampshire. I think to feel like you still have a job as a "sports reporter" you need to be conversant with sports yelling, be a huckster and self-promoter and know how to generate page views. Other than a guy like Charlie Pierce who straight Does Not Give a Fuck and can write whatever/ wherever/ whenever he wants because he's old enough and made enough of a name during the good days of print, everybody needs to do some yelling and get their face on TV so they can jump ship to ESPN or the in-house TV channel of the sport they cover. And who could blame them? It's got to be a heck of a thing to have young kids and not know if your job will exist when they're about to go off to college. So reporters work spurious sources and report anything they can glean without doing much fact checking because there's no time for fact checking when there are a hundred other reporters on the same story and someone in that group has fewer ethics than you so it becomes a race to the bottom to publish the most salacious rumor or the story that best satisfies the predisposition of the majority of your audience.

There was a great article/ book review in The Economist a couple of weeks ago about how we "debate" issues in the US:

"Lots of other countries debate such issues as the death penalty, abortion, gun control or global warming in parliament, allowing partisans to admit when they are advancing emotional or religious arguments. From its earliest days American law courts and congressional hearings have rung to the noise of impassioned partisans, hurling facts (and, all too often, confected para-facts) at one another in a bid to prove the other side wrong."

posted by yerfatma at 06:52 PM on January 23