Posts Tagged ‘chiefs plug of the week’

Unabated to the QB, Week 9: The Autumn Wind Is a Raider

“Our task as men is to find the few principles that will calm the infinite anguish of free souls. We must mend what has been torn apart, make justice imaginable again in a world so obviously unjust, give happiness a meaning once more to peoples poisoned by the misery of the century. Naturally, it is a superhuman task. But superhuman is the term for tasks men take a long time to accomplish, that’s all.”

—Albert Camus, “The Almond Trees”

We have to be moderate here. The Raiders are not back.

The Raiders’ odds of making the playoffs this season are not very good. They have a killer schedule the rest of the way, having to go to Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and San Diego, not to mention tough home dates with Miami and Indianapolis. I don’t see them winning more than one of those games.

But we also have to understand how low Oakland had fallen these last seven years. Not only were the Raiders never in the playoffs, they were never in playoff contention. They hadn’t won three in a row since 2002, hadn’t been over .500 in November since 2002. As bad as the Bills and Lions have been in that stretch, they’ve at least had years that looked promising. Buffalo was 4-0 two years ago; Detroit was 6-2 three seasons ago.

Not the Raiders. Here are Oakland’s records through nine games in each of the last seven seasons: 2-7, 2-7, 2-7, 2-7, 3-6, 3-6, 2-7. So when we say they haven’t been over .500 in November since 2002, we also have to point out that they haven’t been .500 in November since 2002. They haven’t been within a game of being .500 in November since 2002.

Continue reading

Unabated to the QB, Week 8: The Rolling Stone


“A man’s works often retrace the story of his nostalgias or his temptations, practically never his own history especially when they claim to be autobiographical. No man has ever dared describe himself as he is.”

—Albert Camus, “The Enigma”

How exactly will we remember Randy Moss?

Figuring out the legacies of football players is difficult. Just ask the NFL Network, which recently released its compilation of the 100 greatest players in NFL history to much criticism. Football isn’t baseball, where individual stats are fairly reliable. Football isn’t basketball, where a star player can and should take over almost every game. How do you judge a quarterback such as Joe Montana who played in a revolutionary offense with the receiver who NFL Network called the greatest player in the league’s history? Steve Young didn’t do too badly himself behind Montana, but does that take away from Joe or just mean that Steve was also really, really good?

These kinds of questions are ubiquitous in thinking retroactively about football players, and the topic of legacy is particularly problematic when it comes to wide receivers. At the receiver position, there is Jerry Rice, and there is everyone else. I’m not sure if Rice is indeed the greatest player in the history of the sport, but I am sure that the gap between him and the next-best receiver is wider than the gap between the best and second-best at any other position.

Continue reading

Unabated to the QB, Week 5: Perfect No More

“Everything perfect of its kind must transcend its kind: it must become something other, something incomparable.”

“Certain shortcomings are essential for the individual’s existence.”

–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Elective Affinities

It was a thrilling moment on Sunday, when those underdog Indianapolis Colts were able to hang on and defeat the NFL’s decade-long behemoth, the Kansas City Chiefs, to finally end yet another run at perfection.

Wait, what?

The Colts did beat the Chiefs, but that’s about the only aspect of that sentence that’s accurate — unless you find field-goal kicking especially thrilling. And now, just five weeks into the NFL season, there are no unbeaten teams left.

Kinda sad, right? A potential season-long storyline gone, right? A chance at historical transcendence done with, right?

Wrong.

Well, sort of wrong.

Continue reading

Unabated to the QB, Week 4: The Great White Hope

“‘Self control!’ repeated Tom incredulousy. ‘I suppose the latest thing is to sit back and let Mr. Nobody from Nowhere make love to your wife. Well, if that’s the idea you can count me out…. Nowadays people begin by sneering at family life and family institutions and next they’ll throw everything overboard and have intermarriage between black and white.’

“Flushed with his impassioned gibberish he saw himself standing alone on the last barrier of civilization.

“‘We’re all white here,’ murmured Jordan.”

–F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Running for 100 yards in back-to-back games is not much of an accomplishment in the NFL, even in these passing times. As such, running for 100 yards twice in a season is pretty commonplace. Since 2002, there have been 244 different individual seasons in which a running back has had at least two 100-yard games. Until last week, though, there was something uniform about that list.

None of those running backs were white.

That’s right. With his second consecutive 100-yard game on Sunday, Cleveland’s Peyton Hillis became the first white running back to eclipse the 100-yard mark twice in the same season since Mike Alstott in 2001. The issue, though, goes back further. Alstott was the first to do it since at least 1990, which is when I started getting tired going back through Pro-Football-Reference’s Play Index. That’s 20+ years and 500+ seasons of at least two 100-yard games. A full two are now by white guys.*

*Note: People often cite Nick Goings as a white running back who had five 100-yard running games in 2004. Goings, though, is mixed race — just like Barack Obama.

Continue reading

Unabated to the QB, Week 1: The NATIONAL Football League

“Everything that exalts life at the same time increases its absurdity.”

–Albert Camus

“Even I kinda like football, and I hate football.”

–John S

A couple of weeks ago, as the NFL preseason started getting underway with its accompanying Hosannas and Alleluias and Football’s Back!s, John started complaining to me about the sport’s apparent uber-relevance. Indeed, since the end of last football season, Sports Illustrated has devoted seven covers to baseball and six to football — despite the fact that only 16 football games have been played while roughly 2,160 baseball games have been contested.* There were four off-season football covers for SI; baseball had one off-season cover between 2009 and 2010, and that was for Derek Jeter earning Sportsman of the Year. Sigh.

*For the record, those covers are of Brady, the preview issue,** Chris Johnson, Miles Austin, Ben Roethlisberger, and Sam Bradford for football. For baseball, they’re Joey Votto, the Year of the Pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, Dallas Braden, the Yankees’ Core Four, Roy Halladay, and Matt Wieters.***

**It should also be noted that SI’s baseball preview issue is not split into regional covers the way the football issue is. This goes against my eventual point (that football is vastly more prominent on a national scale), which is just another reason why I hate regional covers (that post is forthcoming, btw).

***Matt Wieters? Matt Wieters. Continue reading

Unabated to the QB, Week 8: On Loyalties

“What we call basic truths are simply the ones we discover after all the others.”

—Albert Camus (the official voice of Unabated to the Quarterback)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about loyalties — both loyalties in sports and across them.

This was an issue provoked by two entirely separate events. The first happened at the beginning of October, when on back-to-back nights Minnesota fans were treated to two huge victories at the Metrodome: the Vikings beat the Packers on Monday Night Football, followed by the Twins defeating the Tigers in a divisional tie-breaker.

Now, this forced me to consider something very simple and elemental that I had long suppressed/ignored when I thought about sports: Geographic loyalties carry across sports. Quite simply, the same people who rooted for the Vikings also rooted for the Twins. Don’t ask me why I didn’t consider this before; it’s fairly obvious when I think about it now.

Continue reading