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Thursday, January 26, 2006


Ron Artest rejects his trade to Sacramento, then meets with Bird and the GM of the Pacers, then graciously accepts the trade. Something tells me the meeting went something like this:
Ron Artest: Nothing you can say will convince me to be happy with Sacramento.
Larry Bird: I've got Rob Babcock on the phone here. You want to talk to him? He says he'd be happy to trade Charlie Villanueva for you. Ask Vince Carter what he thinks of Toronto.
Ron Artest: Sacramento it is.

And while I realize shooting down stupid ESPN stories is like the philosophy equivilent of attacking Aristotle's metaphysics, their Super Bowl Myths column is just amazingly bad.

1. The NFL has parity, unlike baseball
Does football have more parity than baseball, as our friend at the bar contended? No. If you judge parity based on how many different teams reach and win the championship, baseball and football are roughly the same, with baseball perhaps somewhat better in this regard.

Yes. And if you measure how smart a person is by how many dog treats they eat in a given day, you also buck conventional wisdom. The reason people say the NFL has more parity than baseball is that the standard deviation from a .500 record is significantly smaller in real terms than the deviation for baseball. The only thing his quoted statistics show is that, since the Salary Cap effectively took over, the Patriots have won a lot. His sample size is very small, and also doesn't point out other nuances - like even teams that make it to the Super Bowl or conference championships stand a significant chance of being 4-12 the next season, wheras in baseball, you constantly have the same clubs competing at a high level, and they rotate in and out of the reduced playoff picture.

2. A billion people watch the Super Bowl
You often hear this, just as you do with the Academy Awards. But let's think about this for a minute.

I've literally never heard this. Go ESPN, debunking myths that nobody believes.

3. The NFL has the strictest, most effective steroid policy
Congress and the media beat up on baseball but where was the outrage when the NFL's oh-so strict testing didn't catch the Carolina Panthers players from Super Bowl XXXVIII who reportedly had steroid prescriptions? Why did it take so long to get the goods on Bill Romanowski? If the NFL's policy is so strict, why would a punter feel the need to obtain steroids?

Two problems here. First, "most effective" when compared to baseball isn't exactly a tight race. Girls 7-10 volleyball had a better steroid policy in place than baseball until recently. Second, there's no actual proof that the Panthers players in question took steriods, so the presumption that they must have missed them based on 'reports' is sketchy at best.

4. The NFL hasn't had a work stoppage since 1987, so clearly it has the most stable labor situation.
True, the NFL hasn't had a strike since 1987, when it infamously crushed the union and insulted fans by using scab players for games.

But insiders say the NFL could be heading for labor disaster after the 2007 season, when the current contracts with the players union expires. If there is no agreement -- the two sides met in early January with no breakthroughs in their bargaining session -- that season will be played without a salary cap. With league revenues increasing, union chief Gene Upshaw is intent on expanding the revenue pool from which players are paid under the salary-cap system.

They haven't had a labor stoppage in a longer time than baseball. This, in a truistic sense, means that they have been more stable over the past 18 years. The fact that they may become unstable doesn't make them less stable right now.

My favorite:

5. Football's economic system should be the model for other sports

Not going to reproduce what he says (click the link above), but basically it's: the NFL has managed to make more money than the other sports, on a per-team basis. The large argument here is that football teams have better media contracts, charge more for tickets, and get cities to pay for stadiums. Therefore... they have a bad financial model? I'm not sure where the connect is. He just states that some places pay for stadiums, then that's it. So what?

cranked out at 10:17 AM | |

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