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Category: Sports

The Heath Shuler Rule

I heard today from a commentator on TV that Redskins’ Coach Mike Shanahan was looking forward to turning their bad record into getting “his” QB in the draft next year.  Although TV commentators are often full of it, I still need to throw a flag on that call by invoking the memory of Heath Shuler, a mistake that has haunted the franchise.

Consider the draft selection position of the Redskin QBs who started after 6th rounder Mark Rypien led the Redskins to Super Bowl victory.  There are a number of early picks there that brought no trophies to the Redskins.  While there are some early picks who led other teams to Super Bowls before becoming Redskins, there are just as many later round picks that led other teams to Super Bowls after leaving the Redskins.

** Subsequent Failed Redskin QBs (round/overall choice)**

Jeff George    1/1
Donovan McNabb    1/2
Heath Shuler    1/3
Rex Grossman    1/22
Jason Campbell    1/25
Patrick Ramsey    1/32
John Beck    2/40
Tony Banks    2/42
Todd Collins    2/45
Jeff Hostetler    3/59
Cary Conklin    4/86
Rich Gannon    4/98
Danny Wuerffel    4/99
Mark Brunell    5/118
John Friesz    6/138
Gus Frerotte    7/197
Trent Green    8/222
Brad Johnson    9/227
Tim Hasselbeck    Undrafted
Shane Mattews    Undrafted

Meanwhile, consider the Redskin’s Super Bowl winning QBs.

** Super Bowl Winning Redskin QBs (round/overall choice)**

Mark Rypien    6/146 [drafted by Skins]
Doug Williams    1/17  [drafted by Bucs, free agent to Skins]
Joe Theisman    4/99  [drafted by Dolphins, acquired from CFL]

Regarding the coach, CBS Sportsline chronicled Shanahan’s QB acquisitions.  Beyond bringing McNabb, Grossman, and Beck to the Redskins, he acquired former Redskins Gus “I hit the wall with my head” Frerotte for Denver and Jay Schroeder to the Raiders.  The most notable QB’s Shanahan acquired into his system were Steve Beuerlin, Bubby Brister, Brian Griese, Jake Plummer, and Jay Culter.  That list does not inspire confidence in his drafting a panacea QB early next year.

The Redskins focus for the next draft should not be replacing their current experienced QBs with an inexperienced one; instead, the Redskins should focus on positions where the Cowboys and Eagles have been able to exploit them (while 2-3 in division is an improvement, it needs to be better to see the offseason).

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Quick Hits 3/12/2010

“The gullible are often the most dishonest. If they’re foolish enough to believe the big lies of others, then they’re foolish enough to expect others to believe  their own deception.” — Dr. Michael J. Hurd

Reaction to the recent Amazon tax in Colorado, demonstrates the demagogic aspects of public lies as an effort to use fraud to wield force against those that dissent. A collection of letters to the editor of the Denver Post demonstrates the echo effect. However, activist and scholar Diana Hsieh’s letter correctly identifies the issue:   “…I don’t blame Amazon. I blame our Colorado politicians for enacting an unjust law. They’ve made business through affiliates impossible in Colorado by  imposing a mess of costly red tape and taxes. Amazon is not just a victim in this mess, but the primary victim. Honest people do not blame business for  the sins of government.” At Free Colorado, Ari Armstrong goes into detail about how the Colorado statute violated the protections our federal constitution.

At RuleOfReason novelist Edward Cline reviews Al Gore’s defense of anthropomorphic global warming fraud and Gore’s financial interest in advancing disinformation. Cline writes in part,

Gore comes off sounding like a television evangelist claiming  that God exists, is all-merciful, and will forgive you your sins if you only obey him. The evangelist’s audience is composed of stunted minds for whom the  proofs that God is a metaphysical impossibility would roll off their frontal lobes like water off a duck. It is the same with Gore’s true believers. They must  believe, because they refuse to think and accept the evidence of their senses. These are the people, laymen and “scientists” alike, for whom faith is as  trustworthy as certainty. So many people believe in anthropogenic global warming (decades ago it was global cooling); who are they to question such an  impressive consensus? It must be true.

In response to Chief Justice Roberts recent comments, George F. Will attacks the custom of the State of the Union speech, and calls for a general boycott of the process. Will is entirely wrong, and his explanation demonstrates the second-hand nature of conservative thinking with its emphasis on non-essentials and deference to  the out-of-context thoughts and actions of the past’s titans. The defects of the current State of the Union practice is symptomatic of the defects of our  recent Presidents; Will advocates ignoring the symptoms as a solution to the problem. Of course, the defect is that the American people have been  selecting inferior individuals to be President.

The New York Times reports, for more than a decade, the Kansas City School board evaded the  reality of their failing schools, and now fiscal reality has resulted in a plan to close 28 of their 61 public schools. In the past decade, enrollment has been  halved as individuals chose suburban districts and charter schools as a solution for their children’s education. Fewer than 25% of the school district’s  students perform at grade level.

During his campaign, candidate Obama promised that his presidency would strengthen our relationships in the world. Recently, the European Parliament  responded to the Administration’s diplomacy, by ending  cooperation with the US in fighting terrorist financing, which reversed a major diplomatic achievement of the Bush Administration. Now, the Washington Post reports that Sec. of State Clinton is threatening Israeli  Prime Minister Netanyahu with weakening our bilateral relations, in an effort to compel him to negotiate with terrorists. The Obama Administration’s efforts to embrace our enemies and rebuff our friends have done the opposite of what candidate Obama promised. This reminds me of Jackson Diehl’s report that Administration officials had trouble identifying any foreign leader with whom President Obama had formed a strong personal relation and the most credible claim was Dmitry Medvedev, the puppet President of Russia…which makes sense as they have so much in common in that regard.

Paul McKeever, leader Ontario’s Freedom Party, reports on dishonest public budgeting and its tendency for cost overruns. In opposing public financing of the 2015 PanAm Games in Toronto, McKeever reminds the  taxpayers that the original budget for this year’s Vancouver Olympics was $874 million, which was exceeded by solely the actual expense of security,  while estimates for actual costs are $6 BILLION. Retrospectively, the anticipated and actual costs for Social Security and Medicare would demonstrate a similar duplicity, which could be exceeded by the enactment of PelosiCare.

Ex-Senate Parliamentarian Robert Dove (1981-1987) expounds upon the history of Senate rules that have been subject to dishonest political attacks upon the role the Senate plays within our constitutional system. He concludes that current issues within the Senate operations are not the fault of the rules, but the fault of the current Senators.


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Rewarding Sky-High Innovation

One of my pleasures is listening to podcasts from Stanford’s Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders lecture series.  Tapping the wealth of success stories in Silicon Valley, the founders of innovative companies tell tales of their experiences and discuss relevant principles to entrepreneurial achievement.

While I have been going through the entire inventory, given the breadth of enterprise represented, selected podcasts can touch on something relevant to even those that are not focused on “business.”  For example, to friends and family, I have referred individual lectures that dealt with funding neuroscience research, monetizing visual arts and music, and evolutions within gaming.

The podcast I just finished deals with the X Prize.  Peter Diamandis recounts the history of the prize, and his efforts to privatize space, including his ventures Zero Gravity Corp., the International Space University, and Space Adventures.  Also, he discusses his new Rocket Racing League.


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Rosey Scenario Redux

Back in early October when I painted a Rosey Scenario for the Green Bay Packers (then 1-4) to make the playoffs, I am sure there were questions about what was in the Kool-Aid I was drinking. After they dropped games to the Bills and Jets, I was ready to put Rosey to bed.Â

But after a seasonal sweep of the Vikings and an outbreak of parity in the NFC, the Packers have published the following Rosey Scenario:

How can the Packers get into the playoffs? There are various ways, but the most likely scenario is for all of the following to happen between now and Dec. 31:

–The Packers beat the Bears to finish 8-8;
–The Giants lose twice, to the Saints and Redskins, to finish 7-9;
–The Falcons (7-7) lose once, either to the Panthers or Eagles, to finish 8-8, but behind Green Bay in conference record (7-5 to 6-6);
–The Rams (6-8) lose once, either to the Redskins or Vikings, to finish 7-9; and
–The Seahawks (8-6) either win once OR the 49ers (6-8) lose once, so that Seattle wins the NFC West and is not in the Wild Card picture.

So this weekend, Packers fans should also cheer for the Panthers to beat the Falcons, for the Redskins to beat the Rams, for the Seahawks to beat the Chargers, and for the 49ers to lose to the Cardinals. Any or all of those would also help Green Bay’s chances.


I am happily surprise with the progress that the youngest team in the NFL made this year. Beating the Bears and thereby going 5-1 in the division would be the cherry on top. I did not anticipate that the running game that the Packers needed to go to the playoffs would be Ladell Betts of the Redskins. Seeing another Packer playoff run would be a happy fantasy. I might as well go all the way and hope for help to the running game over the off season. And, don’t forget a return run next year for the Ironman. More Kool-Aid, please.

Now, Saints! Now, Redskins! Now Panthers and Eagles! On, Vikings! On, Seahawks! On, Cardinals, and Lions! To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!

Update 12/25/2006: The naughty and nice lists from Sunday-

NiceÂÂÂ –> Saints, Carolina, Cardinals
Naughty –> Redskins

Since I am in a benevolent mood, ‘Skins can redeem themselves against the G-men next week.

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Looking for Rosey Scenario

Last night, while most waking individuals were thinking about an explosion, I was considering an implosion. What is wrong with the Green Bay Packers? Are they really one of the worst teams in football this year?

Thanks to a victory over the woeful Lions, who consistently remains as the NFL’s worst franchise, the Packers are 1-4. But I note that their losses were at the hands of the four NFC division leaders. In two of those games at home, they competed until late turnovers sealed their fates.

So, it looks like they can beat bad teams and compete at home with good teams, but find a way to loss in the end. What does that mean for the rest of the season? It could be mediocre or maybe even adequate.

With the bye week, there is some time for considering if this season can still have a best case scenario.

I will make the bold prediction that after the 11/5 game against Buffalo that the Packers will be 4-4. Their next three games are against teams with losing records: Miami, Arizona, and Buffalo. If they can not sweep those games then the only thing left to look forward to is draft day with a high pick.

So if they can get to .500 by mid-season, is there even a chance at the playoffs. Three more losing opponents (Jets, San Francisco, and Detroit) give the Packers a shot at seven wins.

As usual, the key to the season will be the games against Minnesota. If the Packers can split, that will get them up to eight wins, but they really need to sweep Minnesota.

On 11/19, the Packers will have an opportunity to prove that they can beat a good team at home when they play the Patriots.

On 11/23, the Packers will have an opportunity to show whether it is even worth them going to the playoffs as a wildcard by playing at Seattle.

If the Packers can go 2-2 in the games against Vikings, Patriots, and Seahawks, they will still need another win to have a good shot at the playoffs, which leaves the last game of the season with the Bears, who showed the Packers no love in week 1. If the Bears are resting starters for the playoffs, that will improve the Packers chances, which over the remainder of the season looks tenuous at best.

Rosey scenario has the Packers going into the playoffs with a wild card bid as one of the hottest teams in football by going 9-2 in the remainder of the season. However, in the next four weeks, the bubble could burst on this fantasy.

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Which NFL Franchise is the Worst?

I have been wondering which NFL franchise is the most underachieving?

Thinking about which teams have not played in the Super Bowl, according to my memory, I came up with the following list including their current record for this season:

Houston 1-9
New Orleans 2-8
Arizona 3-7
Cleveland 4-6
Detroit 4-6
Jacksonville 7-3
Seattle 8-2

Jacksonville and Seattle may be spared because of recent performance and having a winner record. But what of the others?

When the NFL continuously exhibits the best in sports, what does it matter who is worst? Because they will be the most ready to try something new in labor relations to create a better team.

Update 11/29/2005: In an AP report on the firing of Lion’s coach Steve Mariucci, Larry Lage reports that Detriot has won only one playoff game since 1957 and that their record of 20-55 since Matt Millen took over as team President in 2001 is the worst in the NFL.

Why do I care about the worst? Because I think that NFL teams are not spending their money wisely on salaries and the worst team should be the first to do something new.

The overriding incentive is to get the players to join the team rather than become a productive member of a successful team. How does winning versus losing impact an individual player’s game check? Further, too much money is paid based upon past performance resulting in overpriced but productive players being cut because of the salary cap. Further, when players are not paid according to their current overperformance, it creates motives for them to find another team who will pay them to join but not perform.

While blocking out for a moment that he is locker-room poison, consider the Terrell Owens issue. If his money had not been guaranteed but paid exclusively on performance, he would not have been complaining about his contract all summer and into the season. Under such a circumstance, the Eagles and Owens would have agreed to shut up and play, but now the situation is shut up and do not play.

How should the contracts be structured for the team ready to win? A few guidelines: (1) if the team loses each player makes the league minimum for that game, (2) if the team wins each player receives a bonus, (3) players would be guaranteed an annual insurance payment for a number of years if an on-field injury ended their career, (4) players would received bonus points based upon individual, squad, and position achievements and any cap money available at the end of the year would be paid out proportionally according to these bonus points. There would be no signing bonuses and no need for agents. Also, draftees should be made free agents if they choose not to abide by the team’s terms.

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