Friday, January 18, 2013

Studs and Duds

By Jeremy Conlin and Joe Parello

Studs and Duds is a weekly feature on Suite Sports. Who had a good week? Who had a bad week?


Pac-12 Coaching Alums

Chip Kelly just left Oregon for the Philadelphia Eagles, but he isn’t the only former Pac-12 coach making waves in the league. Former USC coach Pete Carroll guided a team starting a rookie QB to within a half-minute of the NFC Championship Game, and has built one of the league’s best defenses in Seattle.

Speaking of defense, former Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh has built the league’s best, and is preparing to coach his second NFC Championship Game in his two years in San Francisco. Heck, we’ll even throw Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan into this mix. Though known mostly for wearing a suit as head coach of the 49ers in 2006, Nolan broke into coaching as a graduate assistant at Oregon (where he played his college ball) before moving on to coach linebackers at Stanford.



It’s a sad state of affairs when some of the best sports journalism is being done by a blog known mostly for insulting where you went to college and pointing out when analysts accidentally draw penises on the Telestrator. But, that is where we are, and kudos must be given to Deadspin’s Timothy Burke and Jack Dickey for uncovering that the heartbreaking and inspirational story of the tragic death of Manti Te’o’s girlfriend was a hoax.

Very good, now get back to writing Drew Magary's Thursday Afternoon NFL Dick Joke Jamboroo.


LeBron James Milestones

On Wednesday in Oakland, LeBron passed two milestones - 20,000 career points and 5,000 career assists. He already had 5,000 career rebounds (he passed that milestone back in November), so these two new milestones made him the 12th player in NBA history with 20,000 points, 5,000 assists, and 5,000 rebounds.



The Media Reaction to LeBron James Milestones

The only reason the media decided that this was news-worthy was because LeBron reached a point where his totals in a few statistical categories ended in a bunch of zeroes. That’s really the whole story here. He entered the game with 19982 points and 4998 assists. Lowering the cut-off point to LeBron’s totals entering Wednesday’s game doesn’t add anyone to the list from earlier. In other words, who cares?

Think about it this way – let’s say that I gave you a briefcase. Inside the briefcase is a pile of cash with a note saying that the cash adds up to $20,000. But when you count out all the cash, you find out that there’s really only $19,991. Does this taper your excitement over the fact that you were just handed a down payment on a two-bedroom town house? Conversely, let’s say that the note actually undersells the value of the cash – it’s really $20,022. Are you suddenly even more excited now that you realize you can afford a trip to Applebees on your way to buy a Buick?

We didn’t learn anything new about LeBron. He had 25 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds, which is an incredible game for most people, but LeBron has done it now 49 times in his career.

Basketball isn’t like baseball where we focus on career totals for things like hits and home runs, or in football where career yards and touchdowns capture our attention. Basketball is digested and discussed in per-game numbers, rendering career totals mostly meaningless. We did the same song-and-dance routine when Kobe passed 30,000 career points earlier this year, and we’ll likely do it again (Jason Kidd is 20 assists away from 12,000; Kevin Garnett is 176 points shy of 25,000). Just when we do, remember that numbers that end in zero aren’t more important than all the others.


Linebackers on the Internet

By now you’ve probably read (or heard somebody rant) about the saga of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o’s fake internet girlfriend. The essential facts are this:

-Multiple news outlets did stories on a tragic night for the Notre Dame captain that involved the death of both his grandmother and long distance girlfriend.

-It has now come out that the girlfriend in question, whom Te’o reportedly met in Palo Alto and attended Stanford, does not exist.

-Te’o has yet to speak publicly on the matter, but released a statement that he was the victim of an internet scam, and thought the girl was, indeed, a real person.

-Unfortunately, there are stories that quote the Te’o family, saying the alleged girlfriend used to visit Manti in Hawaii. Te’o himself has also spoke on multiple occasions of meeting the girl’s family and using them as a source of strength. Details of the girl’s funeral were also more than sketchy. 

-Basically, he got caught.

Another linebacker that should have stepped away from the computer monitor (even if it was a sweet Windows 8 touchscreen) was Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo. During the New England Patriots’ divisional round win over Houston, Ayanbadejo launched numerous tweets ripping the Patriots for running a gimmick offense, among other things. Here are some of the hits.

"If so you see the hurry snap offense catch em b4 they set up. It's a gimmick."

"You know the same organization that did spygate and cut a guy the day b4 the Super Bowl.”


Ayanbadejo is right, it is really lame when teams use strategies and run concepts that allow them to succeed. Anyways, his twitter account later featured this tweet, clearly not written by Ayanbadejo himself, considering it's the only post with correct grammar and punctuation:

"I made selfish comments on twitter last night that reflected poorly upon myself, my teammates, and the organization. For that I apologize."


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