Several years ago, I started reading the Tuesday Morning Quarterback column on espn.com, which is written by self-aggrandizing (I wasn’t going to use that term for fear of coming off as self-aggrandizing myownself [because, really, who but a pompous ass uses terms like self-aggrandizing] but decided to go ahead and make it happen for two reasons; 1. It’s really sort of fun to write and say [do it. say it out loud.] and 2. the only suitable synonym I found on the ol’ internet thesaurus was, I shit you not, “cock-a-hoop.” Cock-a-hoop? Are you serious? Now that’s a word we need to work back into the vernacular. Cock-a-hoop. Use it at work today. Let’s see where we can take this bad boy), self-styled genius-and-guy-who-is-better-than-your-stupid-ass Gregg Easterbrook. Oops. I gave away my feelings about him too soon. Well, if you came for the suspense, you’re free to go, I guess…
Anyway, TMQ appears each Tuesday (der.) on espn.com. It’s a lengthy, rambling collection of football stats and observations, pictures of scantily-clad cheerleaders, the word “mega-babe,” and TMQ’s thoughts on, well, whatever the hell he happens to be thinking about at any given time. I started reading it earlier this decade, and I enjoyed it. I always felt like what I enjoyed about it was that he thought about football more like baseball analysts tend to think about baseball–you know, intelligently–rather than the way football analysts think about football–you know, not. He analyzes trends and studies the stats. Plus there is always all this other stuff…about movies and tv and politics and science and so on.
But something has happened. Maybe it’s TMQ…maybe it’s me. But this season I’ve realized something. I was reading a TMQ column one day and somewhere around page 15 of 28, I said to myself, “Self, this sucks.” And it did. And it does. Week after week it’s just the same shit over and over again…things were better the way they used to be (in football and in life), coaches who disagree with TMQ don’t deserve to live, and so on. Plus there are the things that really bug me, like when he complains about the inaccurate science of science fiction movies and tv. What? It’s called science FICTION, you dunce, not science fucking fact! Also, nobody cares about your personal beliefs. So there. And then he wrote the worst thing he’s ever written. But we’ll get to that.
So I was getting myself ready to write this tasty little screed, and I thought I’d poke around the ol’ series of tubes and see if there was anybody else who thought TMQ sucked. You know, because then I could just copy, paste, and go back to bed. In the raw. And, lo, I found this item from the website Kissing Suzy Kolber–which, if you’re unfamiliar, is one of those mean-spirited jerkfests that are all through these humble tubes but occasionally gets it right and is funny. You know, like this time. In case you don’t want to read it, it basically condenses every TMQ column into a page. It’s funny (if you read TMQ–and maybe even if you don’t. It’s pretty funny on its own, and might make you think “Wow, this guy really writes like this? Pretty much). So I was reading it, thinking wow, these guys really nailed the TMQ Experience. And then I got to the bottom of the page…and realized this parody was posted DECEMBER 11TH, TWO-THOUSAND-SIX. That’s right, three years ago…and every joke continues to be valid!
But back to my original point…he said a really stupid thing the other day (oh yeah, and the violent jews thing…a couple years back he got himself fired by saying that the Jews who head up Disney [you know…his employer] should be ashamed of themselves as Jews for promoting the violent Kill Bill. Um…yeah. You can read more about it here if you like–and another thing about that…one of TMQ’s frequent refrains relates to what he calls “Weasel Coaches,” guys like Nick Saban and Rich Rodriguez who leave coaching jobs for better jobs. Now, if his sole point was that the NCAA’s policy of allowing coaches to leave a school for another with no penalty while forcing transferring players to lose a year of eligibility is bullshit, then he’d be right on. But he makes it a personality thing, “warning” schools that “If you hire a coach who’s only in it for himself, then you get a coach who’s only in it for himself.” Huh. TMQ started as a column in The New Republic, then jumped to ESPN [with, I imagine, significantly higher readership and salary]. Ol’ Gregg [and his mangina] got canned in 2006. He then took the column to the much smaller website footballoutsiders.com, moved to NFL.com when they came a-callin’, then jumped back up to ESPN when they’d have him again. Huh. That sure looks like the career trajectory of a Weasel Coach if you replace the websites with comparatively-sized schools, no? So, TMQ, your goal is to move on and move up, but a coach with that same goal is a weasel. Got it). Anyway, the other day, he wrote something that really got my goat (that means that I threw up the goat I’d eaten for breakfast). Another constant TMQ refrain is that football at all levels (but starting with the NFL as trendsetter) ought to be doing more to protect players’ brainpans against concussions. He’s absolutely right to fight that fight. But last week, he ended his weekly anti-concussion diatribe with this:
Coaches need to teach that it’s one thing to go back in the game if your elbow hurts — smash a joint, medical science will just give you a new one. It’s another to go back into the game with a brain injury — impair your brain, and there is absolutely nothing medical science can do. TMQ suggests this sign should hang in every football locker room:
PLAYING THROUGH PAIN MEANS YOU’RE TOUGH
PLAYING WITH A CONCUSSION MEANS YOU’RE STUPID
BE SMART — IF YOU HAVE CONCUSSION SYMPTOMS, SAY SO
Yowza. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but it just seems colossally irresponsible to me…especially from someone who touts himself as a magnificent coach of youth football. The second and third lines of that sign? Great. The first? Wow. I mean, that’s the attitude that causes players to play even when their heads don’t work quite right, right? But suggesting that players should continue to play when injured? How many ex-football players–not just NFLers–out there have bodies (and not just the brain parts of their bodies) that have been absolutely wrecked by football? Guys who are 30 and walk like they’re 70? Guys who have chronic pain from lingering injuries that can’t just be fixed by science? Guys who become addicted to painkillers because it’s the only way they can get out of bed in the morning? And that’s not to mention the monetary cost of “medical science just [giving] you a new [joint].” Totally affordable for the families of high school players, right? For a guy who seems to fancy himself quite the enlightened gent, this seems so old-school, traditional, bullshit-tough-guy. Oh yeah, and just straight-up wrong. Boo TMQ! Get a clue!