Posts Tagged ‘Gus Griffin’

City of Atlanta Top 5 Sports Meltdowns

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

 

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05:  Devonta Freeman #24 of the Atlanta Falcons and Matt Bosher #5 react after losing to the New England Patriots 34-28 during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

HOUSTON, TX – FEBRUARY 05: Devonta Freeman #24 of the Atlanta Falcons and Matt Bosher #5 react after losing to the New England Patriots 34-28 during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Honorable mention: 1981 Falcons had a 2-touchdown, 4th quarter lead on the Cowboys at home in the NFC playoffs, only to give up 20 4th quarter points and lose 30-27.

 

Honorable mention: 2012 Falcons blow a 17-point lead at home in the NFC championship game, losing to the San Francisco 49ers

 

5) Twins outlast Braves in 7 games of the 1991 World Series on Jack Morris’ 10-inning, 1-0 shutout

ATL #5
4) 1996 Braves bring a 2-0 World Series lead over the “Stankees” back to Atlanta and proceed to lose 4 straight, as the defending champs

ATL #4

 

3) 1998 Falcons lose Super Bowl XXXIII to the Denver Broncos after their safety and NFL Man of the Year gets busted in a prostitution sting on South Beach in Miami, the night before the game

ATL #3

 

2) After winning game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semis in Boston, the 1988 Hawks bring a 3-2 lead back to Atlanta, only to lose in game 6 and then game 7 in Boston, overshadowing one of the greatest basketball duels ever, between Dominique Wilkins and Larry Bird

ATL #2

 

 

And the top Atlanta Sports meltdown of all time is……you know. LOL

 

Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

Why Tom Brady is NOT the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time)

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

 

TB

Tom Brady is a beast: a straight up mercenary of NFL defenses.

 

Don’t give me all the Spygate, Deflategate, or any other gate asterisks. As much as I would like to cite these factors as the reason he has tormented my Steelers so much, it just does not stand up to scrutiny.

 

Before the spying was revealed in 2007, the Patriots were 4-1 with him under center, including two playoff wins in Pittsburgh, against my Steelers. His touchdown to interception ratio was 7:3 and his QB rating was 97.9. Pretty damn good, right?

 

Since the spying was revealed, the Patriots are 5-1 with Brady under center, including scoring 55 points against my team in 2013, most ever against a Pittsburgh team. His TD/Interception ratio is 19:0 and his QB rating is 127.3.

 

No typos there, folks.

 

If they were spying before, I wish they would go back to spying today.

 

He is indeed on my Mount Rushmore of NFL quarterbacks.

The case here isn’t that he is not on the shortlist of greatest of all time. Only that he is not THE greatest of all time, and that isn’t as much due to him as it is us. The primary thing we use to put Brady over say Aaron Rogers is Super Bowl rings. Why is that flawed? Because the “how many rings you got?” is the most superficial and intellectually lazy argument in sports.

 

If it’s all about the rings, then Jim Plunkett and Doug Williams were both better than Dan Fouts, right? Mark Rypien and Trent Dilfer were better than Dan Marino, right? Of course not, GTFOHWTBS!!!!

 

Likewise, Tom Brady is not better than Aaron Rogers or Joe Montana, just as Bill Russell was not better than Wilt Chamberlain or Mickey Mantle was not better than Willie Mays.

 

Football is the ultimate team sport. So how silly is it that we assign credit for winning Super Bowls to one position in these debates? Brady has been instrumental in the Patriots great run. He has not won Super Bowls by himself.

 

And even if we were inclined to credit him based on individual performances, Brady has been a shadow of his regular season self in the Super Bowls. Consider them one by one: against the Rams he was still in the game manager mold. His MVP in that game was as much based on sports writers’ anti-kicker and defense bias as it was Brady’s performance. Everyone knows Vinatieri was as or more valuable in that game. Against the Panthers he threw 3 interceptions. In other words, he kept both teams in the game.

 

Against the Eagles, Deion Branch won MVP. Any time a receiver, not named Jerry Rice, wins Super Bowl MVP, it’s an indictment of the QB performance. And don’t let me start on who the real MVP was that game, playing on a barely-heeled broken leg. Hint: the writers are still dissing him in HOF voting and his initials are T.O.!

 

Granted he torched Seattle, arguably the best defense that he has faced in any Super Bowl. But we all know that but for the worst call in football history (not just NFL but AFL, USFL, College, and High School), the Patriots don’t beat Seattle and Brady would be a .500 QB in Super Bowls going into tonight’s game. As a matter of fact, both he and Belichick are a few plays here and there from being 0-6 in SB’s.

 

By contrast, Joe Montana’s TD/Interception ratio in 4 Super Bowls is 11:0! That too, is not a typo.

 

So win or lose tonight, Tom Brady is not the greatest QB of all time.

 

Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

To Stand or Not to Stand at Sporting Events?

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

 

NA

On Thursday, I’ll be attending my first Washington Wizards game of the season.   They would be on a 15-game home winning streak as my Lakers roll in to make their one and only DC appearance of the year.  One could make the case that I shouldn’t stand for the National Anthem in protest of how bad my Lakers have been these past 3 years.  But of course the issue is much larger than this notion.

 

Long before Colin Kaepernick decided not to stand for the National Anthem, I was conflicted about the whole issue.  On the one hand, the mere fact that I do have the right “not to stand”, is in of itself, a reason to stand. There is something to be said for that rationale. There certainly are places where if I were to dare not follow the company patriot line, even at a sporting event, I would be subjected to much more than mean stares.  For me, that would be about the extent of my “persecution”, here in America.

 

Then on the other hand, should Black people feel obliged to honor a country that has treated us as it has?  And while that treatment has certainly varied and even subsided over the course of time, only volunteer denial would assert that it has ended.  Would standing be an honor to those before me never afforded full American status, or those who died trying to attain such, or a dishonor?

 

While the decision is personal for all, my conclusion is ultimately this: what good is it to have a “right to protest” and then not use it to raise awareness about the very fragility of one’s life?

 

So there it is.  I will not be standing again anytime soon.

 

Now surely some will read this and will say, “if you don’t like it here leave!”   I will likely take them up on that offer upon retirement.

 

Still others will say, “sports is supposed to be an escape from such issues”.   To a limited extent, it can be.  But when I enter that arena at about 6:59 PM, whatever realities existed about being Black in America will neither be suspended nor dissipate because I stood for the National Anthem.  Likewise, when I leave at about 9:30 PM, those realities will still be here.  In fact, my standing will only co-sign maintaining the status quo.

 

The last most common response is, “I support your right but wish you found another way to do it”.  To that I say, such as what?

 

Voting isn’t enough!

The accumulation of wealth isn’t enough!

Education isn’t enough!

Pulling up your pants in favor of a suit and tie isn’t enough!

And even going to church for Bible study and prayer isn’t enough.

 

While I don’t dismiss all of the above as useless, I do contend that they have all been tried and are simply not enough to address the shameful treatment of Black folks in America since our forced arrival.  So who among us with serious intent to address the problems would offer more of the same solutions?   If we do the same, we’ll get the same.  But if we dare to do something different, at the very least we can spark some conversations that may lead to positive change.

 

The best option as I see it, based on history and my personal experience, is to engage in organized struggle to include protest.  It is neither easy nor simple.  But I see no collective progress made that did not require this, and sports is as viable a venue to spark such struggle as any other.

 

Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

Dear Steeler Nation Mike Tomlin Ingrates: Take a Seat and Shut the F#%& up!!!!

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

 

MT

The divisional round of the NFL playoffs are underway this weekend.  If your team is still alive with the hope of reaching and winning a super bowl, be grateful.

 

After all, you could be a Bills, Vikings, or Browns fan.

 

This brings me to the baffling criticism more than a few of my fellow members of Steeler Nation have for head coach Mike Tomlin. Yes, that Mike Tomlin.  The Super Bowl winning coach with a 64% lifetime winning percentage; the same one who has not had a losing season in his first ten.

 

A summary of the critique is that he was a token fast-track hire due to the Rooney Rule, which is the NFL rule that mandates a minority coach be interviewed for all head-coaching jobs; 2) he inherited a great team, and situation with an upper echelon QB in Ben Roethlisberger; and 3) that he has lost to a lot of bad teams.

 

Let’s address them all from the last forward:

 

Under Tomlin the Pittsburgh Steelers have absolutely loss to a lot of bad teams.  There is no way around this.  Even if we overlook losses in 2012 and 2013 when the team was only 8-8 itself, there is still more than enough of a sample of mind boggling losses to include 3 in 2009 as defending champs to the likes of a 4-12 Chiefs team, and 5-11 Raiders and Browns teams.  (The Raiders loss was especially appalling, given it was at home to a career backup journeyman QB.  Tomlin has gone 1-3 to very bad Raider teams).  In 2014 there was the home loss to the 2-14 Buccaneers and another loss to a 4-12 Jets team.  And who can forget the playoff loss to a Denver team in 2011 as defending AFC champs?   Yes, by definition that Denver team was not a bad team, by virtue of making it to the playoffs.  But you still can’t lose to a team led by Tim Tebow.

 

So that criticism is valid and is on Tomlin.

 

The other two are crap!

 

Was Tomlin handed a great situation, team, and upper echelon QB?  The answer to that is mixed:  yes, great situation for the stability the Steelers management provides but Ben was hardly an upper echelon QB at the time.  As matter of fact, he was coming off his worst year as a pro, throwing 23 picks in 2006.  Upon Tomlin’s arrival in 2007 he had one of his best two years of his career.  Has it ever occurred to any of Tomlin’s haters that just maybe he has had as much of a hand in Ben’s success as the other way around?

 

Sure, the team was a year removed from winning it all in 2005, but went 8-8 and missed the playoffs in Bill Cowher’s last year of 2006.  I would not call that great.

 

Has it occurred to you that Tomlin might know something about coaching, even without Ben?  After all, in the 17 games Ben did not start under Tomlin, the Steelers actually have a winning record (9-8), including a 3-1 start in 2010, when Ben was suspended.  When Bill Belichick started this year at 3-1 without Tom Brady, it was lauded as evidence of his coaching brilliance.  Why not the same for Tomlin?

 

I am not suggesting that he is as good a coach as Belichick.  He is not!  I only insist that our critiques have a semblance of consistency.  The fact is that over his career, Belichick is 50-53 in games not started by Tom Brady.  Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy is 3-5-1 when Aaron Rogers does not start. Sean Peyton is 0-2 without Drew Brees for the Saints.  Winning consistently with or without an upper echelon QB is nowhere near as easy as this faction of Steeler Nation would have you believe.

 

How have others done who have inherited even better situations?  Let’s look at when George Seifert took over the reins from Bill Walsh for the 49ers, and when Barry Switzer took over for Jimmy Johnson and the Cowboys.  Both inherited SB champs and HOF QBs in Montana and Aikman, much further along in their development than was Ben when Tomlin took over the Steelers.  Seifert would repeat in ’89 and win yet again in ’94.  After 8 years, he won over 70% of his games.

 

A cautionary tale for Steeler nation is that it wasn’t enough for the 49er faithful and they ran him out of town.

 

They have not won a SB since.

 

Switzer won in his second year in 1995, then presided over the gradual decline of the Cowboys to become an afterthought by the late 1990s.  Only now are they beginning to emerge from the wilderness.

 

I ask you Steeler Nation: would you rather have had Barry Switzer?

 

Winning consistently in the NFL is never a sure thing.

 

Winning Super Bowls, even with a HOF caliber coach and QB is even less of a sure thing.

 

There have been a total of 5 such combinations over this era to include Shula/Unitas, Allen/Juergensen, Grant/Tarkenton, Shula/Marino and Levy/Kelly that NEVER won a Super Bowl.  This group of 5 has a cumulative record in the super bowl of 0-10!!!!!!

 

Sure, Shula won when paired with Griese, but the point remains that they don’t grow Super Bowl winning coaches on trees, nor are they bottled and sold.

 

The last suggestion (which is that Tomlin’s hire was tokenism) is as insulting to the Rooneys as it is to Tomlin.

 

If any organization in sports deserves the benefit of the doubt when it comes to which coach to hire, it is the Pittsburgh Steelers.  When they picked Tomlin to be their coach, they had only two for the better part of the previous 40 years.  Both won Super Bowls.  Tomlin has won a Super Bowl.  They got this!

 

If those of the football world were only as outraged by the reasons for the Rooney Rule as they are about the Rooney Rule, we may not need a Rooney Rule!

 

On an even larger level, the snipes at Tomlin reflect a larger, uglier American reality reaffirmed by the recent presidential election.  The simmering narrative that anyone Black who ascends to a position of prestige and or privilege did so without merit and at the expense of “hard-working Americans”, which is dog-whistle-code for “White folks.”

 

When Ronald Reagan employed his brand of the “Southern Strategy” to lure what would become known as “Reagan Democrats,” ground zero for this demographic was the greater Pittsburgh, PA region. As the steel mills of the area closed, Steeler fans spread all over the country, which is what in part makes up Steeler Nation today, but that mindset is as prevalent today as it was when Reagan won the White House in 1980.   Donald Trump used the same formula, only on steroids, to win the same office in November.

 

As for solutions, within football alone, there aren’t any.  If Tomlin continues to win, it’s what he is supposed to do with all that was “given” to him.  If he does not, it’s validation that he is not a good coach and should have never gotten the job.  He could walk on water and his critics will complain that his feet got wet.

 

This solution is above and beyond football and requires the critics to look at themselves in the mirror and reassess their expectations. This requires rational self-assessment…..a quality that fanatics (fans) have very little history of displaying.

 

Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

Aqib Talib…and Where is an Old Raider When You Need One?

Friday, January 6th, 2017

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

 

AT

By now, you have heard that Denver Broncos corner Aqib Talib literally snatched the chain off the neck of Oakland Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree.

 

For this he was not penalized.

 

For this Crabtree did nothing.

 

Think about that for a minute…….

 

My guess is that most will think about one of two things: 1) What the hell is the matter with Talib?;  or 2) What the hell is the matter with Crabtree?

 

Can you imagine anyone doing such a thing to Raider legends Jack Tatum, Lyle Alzado, or even mild-mannered Cliff Branch?  It would have NEVER happened.  And if it did, Talib would have been dealt with on the spot!  No one bullied the old Raiders….they were the bullies as “The Autumn Wind” confirms.

 

On Talib, in the era of football when it is most difficult to be a good corner, he is a great corner.

 

That’s the end of the contextual accolades for him.

 

He is also a first class jackass.

 

We know he is not the sharpest tool in the shed.  You can’t be if you shoot yourself, which he did.  But I would like to think his deal is more complex than simply being an idiot.

 

I don’t know if the root of this is a bad upbringing, mental illness, or any of the other usual suspects.  Frankly, after people hit 25 years of age, I don’t especially give a damn about the “why”.  We are not talking about a child, but a grown damn man running around daring someone to check his ass.  If he goes up against the wrong dude in a night club, he may be obliged and blown away.  If this ever happens, some will lament about how “misunderstood” he was when in fact he is on the short list of professional athletes most likely to be mourned the least in the wake of such a tragic ending.

 

That very foreseeable ending for Talib is the most important reason why Crabtree needed to do something!  Bullies are never bilingual.  They understand one language and one language only, and that is their own.  By doing nothing, Crabtree contributed to the embolden of Talib making the tragic ending I or anyone else can foresee all the more likely.

 

Dolphins Seahawks Football

I am not saying that it was Crabtree’s obligation to save Talib from himself.  I am saying that in the larger scheme of things, it would have been better for all parties involved, had he retaliated in the one language Talib understands.  Not out of some inflated sense of machismo or superficial notion of manhood, but out of a need to do his part to keep the world around him in balance.  When we allow anyone to get away with mistreating us without accountability we allow a dangerous imbalance that will inevitably demand correction.  That correction almost always comes in the form of loss….be it loss of face, profession, freedom, or life.

 

Crabtree’s failure to respond will only encourage the Talibs of the NFL to continue along the same pattern and sends a message to the rest of the league that they can treat Crabtree any way it chooses.  Can you imagine what the likes of Pacman Jones will do to Crabtree now?

 

Whatever the ensuing melee that would have resulted from a justified Crabtree response would have been, we all know it would not have ended in anyone being shot to death.

 

In the streets or at the club, not so sure.

 

Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

McCaffrey and Fournette Are Right!

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

 

(Image courtesy of The Sporting News)

(Image courtesy of The Sporting News)

 

Both Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette have chosen to skip their bowl games in preparation for the NFL combine and draft.

 

Their basic reasoning is risk/reward analysis: the risk being another Jalen Smith or Marcus Lattimore cautionary tale by getting hurt and losing millions by dropping out of the first round of the draft, where virtually all of the guaranteed money is.  The reward: a pat on the back from your pimp…ah I mean coach and athletic director for leading your team to a victory in a game that is all but meaningless to everyone except those who collect the TV revenue, and that ain’t the players.

 

From some corners we hear the same old tired responses such as, “they signed a contract” or “they are quitting on their teams.”   

 

Let’s address both.

 

On the contract, it would seem to me that a natural evolution of the student athlete organizing movement would be to challenge just how legally binding are these contracts?  After all some are with 17-year old minors.  My Judge Mathis law degree says such are not binding.  Even if they are, who really thinks that a 17-18-year old fully understands all the parameters of such a commitment?   The most compelling response to the contract piece is the fact that highly sought after coaches routinely break their contracts for the cash and greener pastures after having “promised” their recruits in their parents’ living rooms that they will be there for the duration.  If the college experience is truly an educational environment and coaches are themselves educators, then both McCaffrey and Fournette have learned well.

 

As for quitting on their teams, yep, that is exactly what they are doing.  No way around that except to say that many of those same teammates that they are quitting on would do the exact same thing if they were in that position.   And what position is that?  The position of coming to the reality that all college athletes are not created equal.  If the 3-year starting left tackle at Ohio State or Alabama can’t see that his value is higher than his teammate who is the 3rd string tight end and occasional special-teams player in his fourth year, he is an idiot. 

 

Finally, what they won’t do is feed you or your family if you suffer a career-ending injury or worst in a meaningless game.  Any bowl game short of the playoff means about as much as a professional pre-season game.

 

The stakes are even higher for a running back, which is the ultimate pro-sport disposable.  They last on average of about 3 seasons.  They cannot begin to draw their pension until 55 and the annuity at 35.  According to a Sports Illustrated report in 2014, nearly 80% of NFL players are broke 3 years into retirement. 

 

Against this backdrop, if Fournette or McCaffrey were your sons, can you honestly say you would advise them otherwise?

 

They are both making a sound business decision and showing that they have learned the valuable lesson of placing the proper value on their labor.

 

NCAA big-time college sports is as transparent an example of the American Capitalistic “pimp and ho” system as there is.  If these two young men have learned to pimp themselves in their best interest rather than passively allow others to do so in their best interest, I say more power to them and hope and suspect more will follow suit.

Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

Ode to the Birdman

Monday, December 12th, 2016

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

 

LB

This past Wednesday was the 60th birthday of Larry Bird.

For those of you too young to have actually watched him play, trust me, he was a bad man. Not a

bad man for a white guy. A bad man, period!

I never agreed with the infamous Dennis Rodman statement.

He was not a basketball version of Adele.

Did he have more fans for being a stand out white guy in a “black man’s game”? Of course. But that

speaks to the popularity of white privilege in America. It is neither an indictment or validation of him

as a basketball player any more than Trump’s election is an indication of what kind of statesmen he

is.

But in spite of being a life-long die-hard Laker fan, unlike a certain group of haters today, I have

enough emotional maturity to give credit where credit was due.

The Celtics win over a clearly superior Lakers team in 84 was among the most painful of my sports

life. It does not happen without Larry Bird.

 

That year would be his first of 3 straight MVP years.  While I’ll go to my grave insisting that Bernard

King should have won the 1985 award, Bird’s place in the game was nevertheless secure.

More than a little can be learned about Bird’s mindset and mental toughness coming up when he

would go to Chicago playgrounds where he learned the “city game.” He always expressed

appreciation for being “allowed” to play with them.

Allowed is the right word.

If you know anything about the culture of inner-city basketball, be it in New York, Philly, DC, or Chicago, you know they do not let just anyone play on a regular basis. It’s a sports version of the Apollo and if you can’t cut it, no one is shy or sensitive about letting you know.

The Birdman could clearly cut it as the NBA would soon find out.

So here is an ode to one of the coldest assassin’s in sports history: Larry Joe Bird.

Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

The Economics of Playing NFL QB

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

 

Brock Osweiler is introduced in Houston (Image via WashingtonPost.com)

Brock Osweiler is introduced in Houston
(Image via WashingtonPost.com)

Does Brock Osweiler, on the basis of 7 starts, deserve the $72 million ($37 million guaranteed) that he has coming to him?

Of course he does, if some idiot is willing to pay him.  That is what the market is willing to bare.  What a team is willing to pay and what can be justified by on the field performance have never been completely in line.

Keep in mind that we are not talking about some billionaire owner being subsidized by taxpayer dollars to build a stadium, largely with seasonal workers and jobs with no benefits.  We are talking about a guy playing a game, largely financed by our voluntary viewership and patronage for a league that has made it blatantly clear that it could not care less about the health of its players after they are done.

He would be the idiot not to get every dime he could get and only those with a poor understanding of the economics of playing NFL QB are unclear about this.

What are those economics?  Think of it this way: there are 32 NFL teams.  If we evaluated the performance at starting QB with a letter grade, I can only come up with 17 that could clearly be graded as at least a “B.”  I am excluding rookies and first year starters in Tennessee, Tampa, and Washington, even if they are trending upward, due to the cautionary tale of RG3.  Simply put, their sample is too small to make a final assessment.  But even if they pan out, that still leaves 12 teams with a significant need of an upgrade at QB.  The irony of it all is that 3 of those 12 (Vikings, Texans, and Broncos) made the playoffs last year, to include the eventual champs.

Bottom line is that there are more NFL Teams than there are high quality QBs.  This produces an odd economic reality which allows the unproven and proven pedestrians, in terms of performance, to make out like bandits……..and we should not blame them for exploiting a situation reinforced by the false narrative that a team must have an upper-echelon QB to win the Super Bowl.

History shows that a dominant defense is a better predictor of winning the Super Bowl than an upper-echelon QB.  Consider this, of the 50 Super Bowls, the losing QB in nearly half of them (23) are either hall of famers or league MVPs.  Eighteen of them split between Elway, Tarkenton, Kelly, Staubach, Warner, Manning, and Brady lost more than one.  Compare that to this list of single SB starters to include Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, Mark Rypien, Jeff Hostetler, Phil Simms, and Jim McMahon.  Their Super Bowl record was 6-0.  The common denominator was dominant defense.

I submit that as long as the false narrative of needing elite QB play is more prevalent than the reality, which is that there simply are not 32 dudes on this planet that can play NFL QB at an elite level, about a 3rd of the league will continue to chase that which simply does not exist in a quantity large enough to meet the demand.

Smart economics would stop going for the home run at QB and instead load up on defensive talent.

 

Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports

Why Chip Failed

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

(Image via CBSSports.com)

(Image via CBSSports.com)

The simple truth is that Chip Kelly never had the talent to win big in Philadelphia.

The more nuanced answer is that the Chip Kelly the talent evaluator was the primary reason he lost the very sort of talent that might have helped him avoid his fate.

Say what you want about DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy, they were both proven difference makers when Kelly committed the almost always fatal sin that befalls many coaches of thinking that his system mattered more than players.

A system/scheme is the platform through which players can shine.  It is no more the performer than a stage or theater is for a play.

I suppose coaches should be expected to fall for this line of thinking that they matter more than they do, especially in football where I contend they matter most.  After all, when your job is largely performed in a fishbowl and every decision is dissected and second guessed, you had better at least be able to give the appearance that you are sure of yourself…..even if you are not.

Simply put, players are most responsible for winning and winning elevates a system.  Case in point: what we know today as the West Coast offense began long before Bill Walsh got to San Francisco.  The Bengals, with Walsh as QB coach and Vikings used the same system throughout the 70’s.  But the Bengals were an occasional playoff team and the Vikings lost 4 Super Bowls, so they were not credited by popular casual observers.  The same is true in other sports.  The Triangle Offense can be traced to that L.A. college basketball juggernaut….USC in the 1940’s.  Nobody cared until it was the staple of Michael Jordan’s offense in Chicago.

Players matter more.  Bill Belichick’s record without Tom Brady is 47-52.  George Seifert after Young and Rice was 16-32.

Any coach who deludes himself to think otherwise has written his own epitaph.

Oh we love and welcome innovation.  Helps a short attention span society stay engaged.  That’s the exciting part.  But like the sheep that breaks away from the herd, your success and failure will show more brightly.

If you are right, you’re a genius and can peacock your way forward.  If you’re wrong, you are a wounded wildebeest for prey and will be fired!

Don’t believe me, ask Chip Kelly.

 

Gus Griffin for War Room Sports

No, the McCaffrey Snub Was Not Reverse Racism

Monday, December 14th, 2015

by Gus Griffin

gus

 

 

 

CM

In high school I remember playing football against a guy named David Craft.

He was not that big or fast.  He was white and be it consciously or subconsciously, I suppose initially that played a role in his being underestimated.  But you did not need multiple chances trying to tackle him to come to realize that David Craft was good….not good for a white boy….good, period!

Watching Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey this year reminded me of Craft.  As a die-hard USC fan, I saw much more of McCaffrey than I cared to see……enough to believe that he should have won the Heisman trophy.

He didn’t and it’s hard to know if the reasoning was SEC bias in favor of Derrick Henry, or regional bias in that all too many voters don’t bother to make it a point to watch the later showing west coast games, or the simple anti-stereotypical reality that McCaffrey is white and voters have a mold of the football running back that he simply can’t accommodate.

What I do know is that even if race did play a role in McCaffrey not winning the award, it is in no way a validation of the existence of reverse racism, and to make such a comparison amounts to a false equivalency on steroids.

Those who make this claim are either being shamefully disingenuous or have a child-like understanding of the concept of racism and more specifically in this case, white privilege.

Simply put, in no way will McCaffrey not winning the Heisman adversely affect his quality of life.  His opportunities going forward as an NFL prospect and Stanford graduate will be there.  Opportunities for his children to get a good education and fulfill other quality of life indicators are not affected.  The same can’t be said for the children of Eric Garner.

 

Gus Griffin, for War Room Sports