Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Lowest Common Denominator

At one time I watched ESPN religiously. Sunday Countdown was as much a part of my Sunday as burning beer shits. However I have grown as a person and no longer regular subject myself to copious quantities of alcohol or crap sports journalism.

I had assumed that ESPN was targeting a younger demographic, or more likely Stuart Scott was in charge of the network. However, due to an article I read today and the comments left by the readers, I think the truth is much worse. ESPN is giving the average viewer exactly what they want, Extraneous bullshit that appeals to the lowest common denominator.

Check out the article in question here. I haven't hidden the fact that one of my favorite sites is footballoutsiders. They are linked over at the side of the site. I've also linked to an article by one of their writers recently. Hell, I've toted their "Profootball Prospectous" along with me on many flights, and pick it up at least once a week to read their take on the Raiders upcoming opponent. So I may have a slight bias toward the writer of the article, but one need not have a bias to blast the idiots who commented on the article.

Now, while I think footballoutsiders is great, and love the way they bring a different way of looking at the game to the table, I will admit to not always agreeing with Aaron Schatz, the writer of the article in question. Aaron played enabler to Bill Simmons in one of The sports guys rants about the unfairness of the scrutiny leveled against the Pats for spy gate. Now Aaron is an admitted Pats fan, and we will hold that against him, but collaborating with Simmons on that piece of garbage placed a black eye on what was becoming an excellent resume.

Now back to the article. Aaron points out that while Purple Jesus now holds the all time single game rushing record, he does not have the greatest game under the DPAR system, even for a rookie. While an interesting point, to me it raises more questions about the validity of DPAR as an effective statistical tool, than about the greatness of Peterson's game. Aaron attempts to explain this with the following paragraph

Why does Peterson's fabulous performance end up just seventh? The biggest reason is that he fumbled the ball away on a 12-yard run in the fourth quarter that would have otherwise put the Vikings in the red zone. Peterson also wasn't quite as consistent as these other backs from carry to carry. Addai, for example, did not have a single carry that lost yardage against the Eagles last year; Peterson had three carries for a loss this week.

By bringing up these points without further explaining how each item affects the overall DPAR rating, Aaron opens himself up to some criticism. However that criticism is easily countered by anyone with an understanding of the DPAR system. Unfortunately Fox sports readers don't possess that understanding, and don't seem to be interested in attaining it.

Here is some of the brilliance uttered by Foxsports readers:
Whatever dpar is, dpar is krap. Dpar is subject to personal bias and favoritism to the point of rivalling the New York Times when it comes to politics. Dpar is krap. Fox Sports....is this some lame effort to match the launch of the Fox Business Channel????

dpar is krap.....good luck with that Fox Sports.

WOW....DPAR?????? wtf? Sounds like another AD hater to me....it reminds me of the negative media he received as a freshman in College when he should have won the Heisman but they didn't want to award it to him because he was a freshman so they did a negative media blitz similar to this that kept him as a 1st runner-up to Matt Leinart....by the way what has he done in his 2 years in the NFL? Nobody wants an even longer explanation of these numbers....we know what we saw on CBS on Sunday and we also know that he earned more yards than a good percentage of the teams that were playing on the same Sunday....This DPAR whatever is a @#$#*&$% joke!

You actually took the time to write an article to try and convince yourself that Adrian "All Day" Peterson did not have the greatest single game performance ever by a running back, let alone a ROOKIE. What's with the hate and a great majority of fans don't even give a flying c.r.a.p about the DPAR it's a dumb stat system and devalues just how good a player is and overrates many players such as E. James (way overrated i'm starting to think now). Fact and it's as stone cold as ever is that Adrian Peterson is the BEST running back in the game right now and is better then all but two running backs ever that being Jim Brown and Barry Sanders. I give this an article the ranking of......flaming bag of poop at the doorstep for absurdity, hating, and plain out ridiculousness.

Trying to dumb down the achievements of a rookie just to try and make other players who aren't even in the same class look better is simply PATHETIC.

LOL What is this guy even talking about. How can you even write trash like this. Who even knows or cares about this ridiculous rating system. Watch the highlights on youtube. I mean seriously, AP got the record, dont cry about it. Give him credit for what he's done. AP AD!!!

So just to sum it up, Aaron is a "hater" (the lamest, I can't come up with a coherent argument to counter your point label there is), DPAR is crap because it doesn't agree with preconceived notions of rating play, and you can learn all you need to know about football by watching Youtube highlights.

I put part of the blame on Fox Sports for the headline they filed the article under
Under the microscope
Although Adrian Peterson set an NFL-record for rushing yards in a game, was it the best effort by a running back of all time?

This is just baiting the mouth breathers to come out en mass to defend Purple Jesus against the "haters" in the media.

I also put part of the blame on Aaron as noted above for not completely explaining how the lost yards and fumble lowered Peterson's ranking.

But mostly I blame the readers who comment. They are the reason that TV sucks, they are responsible for "Who's Next" being a feature on ESPN. They are the reason that FOX News has ratings and that CNN spends more time on what Britney Spears is doing than real issues in the world. They are responsible for the careers of Oprah, Rosie and Nancy Grace. They are responsible for the Stuart Scottification of the United States. They are why the terrorists are winning.

ESPN, and the litany of 3 letter networks understand that this is their audience. They know that by putting out garbage they are satisfing the need of these people to feel unchallanged mentaly.

Unfortunatly this is an issue that I can't start to wrap my head around an answer for. Writers like Aaron will continue to get lambasted by the average reader while FOX Sports happily counts the extra hits to the website by the disgruntled. The masses will continue to demand:

A sports anchor who screams BooYAH
A sports writer who writes the most Boston centric crap
Music written by a drum machine sung by a boyband/future stripper
TV featuring D-list stars dancing
A president who protects us from the gay's over...well its not like they are given any good choices

Its a sad state of affairs, but decades of coddelling the lowest common denominator in all facets of life (every team gets a trophy, classes where the slowest determine the pace of education, anyone can be president) have caused irreprible harm to a generation of Americans.

Hell, look at me, I just spent the last 30 minutes of my time at work writing this blog instead of you know... doing work. Maybe thats why I can't find an answer, I'm part of the problem... Nope, thats not it... clearly this is Stuart Scotts fault, lets blame him.

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