Archive for September 15th, 2009

Unabated to the Quarterback, Week 1: Running Back in Time

Unabated to the Quarterback–everyone’s favorite NFL penalty–will run every Tuesday during the NFL season.

“Where we’re going, we don’t need roads…. I’m gonna throw you in my DeLorean and gun it to 88.”

—Knocked Up

Back in the 1990s, there were some things we all took as basic facts of existence: The Atlanta Braves would win the NL East, Michael Jordan and the Bulls would win in six, and you won football games by running the football.

Seven of the 10 teams who won the Super Bowl in the 1990s ran the ball more frequently than they passed it (NYG, WSH, all three DAL,* both DEN). While the ’90 Giants averaged a shade under 21 points per game en route to their championship, the other six teams finished in the top three in the league in scoring. An efficient and dynamic running game—led by running backs such as Emmitt Smith and Terrell Davis—was often the foundation for an unstoppable offense.

*People often forget that Hall of Famer Troy Aikman threw 20+ touchdowns once in his career and never topped 3,500 yards in a single season.

Over the past several years, the focus on the running back has shifted. Sure, this decade has seen incredible individual seasons from the likes of Marshall Faulk, Priest Holmes, Shaun Alexander, Jamal Lewis, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Adrian Peterson. If Peterson wins the MVP this season—and he was one of three preseason favorites along with Peyton Manning and Tom Brady—he will become the fourth running back this decade to do so, matching the number in the ‘90s.

Continue reading

Ranking the Bill of Rights, Number 3: The Fifth Amendment

This is where the men are separated the boys; the women from the girls; the toddlers from the infants. We have reached the top three. Without further ado, I present the Fifth Amendment:

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

There’s quite a bit going on in the Fifth. What puts the Fifth in the top three is its guiding philosophy, which attempts to protect the individual against unjust and arbitrary uses of government power. Much of this is done through procedural constraints on the government. Prosecution wasn’t satisfied with the jury’s decision and wants to try the case before another jury? Too bad: No double jeopardy. Want to transfer a private homeowner’s property to a private company? Not happening.* The D.A who prefers mild to moderate public opinion about crimes is angry about the extent of a crime’s infamy and wants to punish the individual without a Grand Jury?** Well, he can’t.
Continue reading