ESPN is doubling down on a good bet, in other words. But is it really a good bet? A look at the Nielsens over the past few months tells a different story about First Take and perhaps about the value of the new “debate” format. And behind the scenes, a source tells us, ESPN executives have begun to worry about the show, which seemed like found money not so long ago but which might turn out to be only fool’s gold…
...Bayless went all-in on Tebow very early. He became the chief exponent of the kind of priestly mystification and intellectual dishonesty that would eventually go by the name Tebowmania—the unending talk of intangibles, “all he does is win,” etc. Horowitz built a lot of the show’s identity around Bayless’s mindless devotion to the quarterback, and from there the Tebow story was pure teevee conjuring. Bayless and First Take helped create the distorted phenomenon the rest of ESPN was obliged to cover, which gave Bayless and First Take more to talk about, which created a bigger and even more distorted phenomenon, which ESPN was obliged to cover, which is how we got this viral atrocity racking up more than 3.6 million pageviews on YouTube. Tebowmania was the perfect, and perfectly hideous, marriage of format and circumstance…
...But what happens if there isn’t a significant ratings bump from Skip Bayless’s delivering himself of his Very Controversial Opinions about LeBron James? What happens if Tebow really does just become a Wildcat and special teams specialist and the Tebow-Sanchez controversy never materializes? What if the show’s ratings really have stagnated?
Last month, I stopped following Bayless on Twitter; the next week, I stopped watching First Take. I don't have a real explaination as to why. It just felt right--like the time I touched myself at band camp.
It appears as if I'm not the only one who stopped staring at the bearded lady.
Will enough people tune out to see Bayless west bound and down? Probably not. Too many people like to watch things burn.
Newsbreak: Woman files suit against Cox and Thomas
A woman who accused former Denver Broncos cornerback Perrish Cox of sexual assault has filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages against Cox and current Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.
The woman’s lawyer, Craig Silverman, says he filed the lawsuit electronically Sunday. A jury in March acquitted Cox of all charges and Cox then signed a two-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Silverman says the lawsuit allows the woman to “prosecute” the allegations in court.
Civil lawsuits have a lower threshold of proof, as opposed to a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard in criminal proceedings. The woman became pregnant after visiting Cox’s apartment following a night of partying in 2010. In his lawsuit, Silverman says the woman was drugged at a downtown nightclub then sexually assaulted at Cox’s suburban apartment.
The IAOFM community includes several lawyers, so I'll save explanation of the difference between a civil and criminal case. What I will say, however, is neither is good publicity for Demaryius Thomas.
Denver Broncos Linebacker DJ Williams Posted Plays Online
DJ Williams of the Denver Broncos isn’t exactly happy that he has to learn new plays for a new defense. However, I do think he made one major error. He posted pictures of some plays on his Twitter account, which has to make the coaching staff thrilled.
DJ Williams may have just made one of the dumbest mistakes that a player can make. Giving away plays is not something you want to do ever. There is a good chance that those plays will have to be thrown away and more are going to have to be drawn up. Some people thought that this was a joke but it looks pretty legit to me. I bet he is going to get a talking to from his coaching staff.
D.J. Williams makes mocking him as easy as pie. If he's not driving while intoxicated, he's battling accusations of non-human urine samples. His latest foray into the city limits of Doltville includes posting some formations from his Broncos defensive playbook.
It's tempting to blast D.J. once again, so let's succumb to temptation quickly and get it out of our system. D.J. Williams made a really dumb decision.
But let's not get carried away. In this case, loose lips don't sink ships. D.J. Williams didn't just give away state secrets. Look at the formations. They are standard 4-3 Under formations which adjust to the offense's motion or formation shift (pro, far, trips, etc.). They also show us the Broncos will, in fact, deploy a one-gap scheme with their defensive tackles (notice the 3-tech and 1-tech). Further, on the backside, they'll run some cover 1, man under. In other words, they'll be doing the exact same thing you see dozens of college and pro defensives doing each and every week.
I can assure you of one thing: the Broncos will not throw out this defensive scheme because it was posted online. Why? Because you can find plays like these in every defensive playbook in the NFL (or high school, for that matter). It's standard stuff, but of course, you wouldn't know that if you didn't take the time to look under the hood.
Mike Shanahan hosts Peyton's Place
Peyton Manning is taking over John Elway’s old job—and living in Mike Shanahan’s house.
Shanahan’s house is a 35,000-square-foot mansion in Cherry Hills Village, one of the Denver area’s fanciest neighborhoods. It’s only expected to be a temporary deal until Manning finds a permanent place to live in the Mile High City.
Perhaps Manning's clandestine March visit with the Shanahans was to check out fixtures, not formations.
At least we'll know what happened if Peyton shows up at Dove Valley resembling George Hamilton.
On the flipside of that high praise, Polamalu remains stunned at the simplicity of the offense Denver ran with Tebow and came away with one strong conclusion: “You can’t run that offense unless you have a great defense to go with it,” said Polamalu, who remembers going through the playoff game thinking time after time …
“There’s no way they’re going to run that same route again,” he said. “As a safety, part of your job is to eliminate certain routes that you don’t think they’re going to run. I would line up and say, ‘They ran that the last time, there’s no way they’re going to run it again.’ Then they did. The next time, ‘There’s no way they’re going to run that again,’ then they did.
“It was an incredibly simple offense that you just don’t think can work in this league, but it worked for them with the kind of talent they had.”
Well, now we have the answer to the question: just what the hell was Dick LeBeau thinking?
Clearly, the Steelers thought the Broncos were going to approach last year's playoff game like any other NFL team--that is to say, they were going to try and change things up. You can't blame LeBeau for making this assumption. After all, that's exactly what most NFL teams try and do from week to week. LeBeau may be one of the greatest defensive minds the NFL has ever seen, but in this case, that mind worked very much against him. LeBeau, it seems to me, was a victim of a cognitive bias known as Curse of Knowledge:
The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias according to which better-informed agents find it extremely difficult to think about problems from the perspective of lesser-informed agents. As such added information may convey some disutility
Translation: sometimes, the smartest guys in the room (LeBeau, Polamalu, and Co.) can't fathom that everyone else isn't trying to be as clever as they are. This explains why the Broncos could run the same play over and over and over again, while the Steelers tried to outwit a phantom Bill Walsh and Joe Montana. A week later, Bill Belichick forced the Patriots into a Forrest Gump defense with vastly different results.
Kyle Orton: Tony Romo’s the man, but I’m not just a backup
“I feel like I’ve played good ball in this league, I feel I’ve got a lot of good ball left in me,” Orton said. “I don’t see this as committing myself to be the backup. I’m just committing myself to be a part of the team.” “
Tony’s the man, you know? There ain’t no doubt about it,” Orton said. “He’s played great football. He’s a great quarterback. So I’m excited. It’s really the first time I’ve been around another veteran in my career. I’ve done a lot of learning with young guys in the room. I can still learn a lot about football, and hopefully I can help him out in any way I can.”
Orton doesn't quite have the aw-shucks demeanor to cook this five-course meal, but let's head to the kitchen and see what Orton has prepared. (Note: the following recipe was taken from page 15 of the Through My Eyes Southern Homestyle Cookin' Good Cookbook):
For dessert I prefer a I just want to get better each day peach cobbler, but to each their own.
I'm proud of Orton. I didn't think he learned anything from his experience in Denver last year. It turns out he figured things out quite nicely.
Broncos gave Warren a guaranteed $250,000 signing bonus
In the end, the Broncos gave Warren a $250,000 bonus that the defensive tackle gets whether he makes the team or not, and a $1.25 million base salary. Warren, who returned to the team Wednesday, can also make another $500,000 in incentives.
Warren received a $2.5M signing bonus last year, so before incentives he will count for $2.75M against Denver's 2012 cap.
AFC West: 2012 backup quarterback
Assessing the Broncos’ backup QB situation if Peyton Manning is injured and misses time.
Caleb Hanie was a bust in Chicago, but the Broncos believe he fits their system and he can be a solid backup to Manning this year. He is big and strong and has some skill. Yet, he was a disaster last season in Chicago when Jay Cutler went down. Hanie was 0-4 as a starter. He is in an interesting position because Manning has to prove he is healed from a neck injury that cost him the entire 2011 season. If Manning can’t come back, the Broncos will be banking on Hanie early. It’s a major risk. The Broncos drafted long-term prospect Brock Osweiler, but the team doesn’t plan on him being a No. 2 this early in his career.
Confidence rating (out of 100) if Manning goes out for an extended period: 30.
What does Bill Williamson do when pressed for content during the slow summer months? He creates a confidence index for Caleb Hanie and Brock Osweiler.
I'm 30% confident you'll find this episode of Sports Science, in which some guy takes a record-setting kick to the testicles, more exciting.
Apparently, Williamson hasn't figured out that when there isn't much Broncos news, you should just give the people what they want: Tim Tebow bath salts.
“You just want to be one of the guys, and you don’t want to lose that sense of family,” Davis says. “Your biggest fear is that you’ll lose that camaraderie and family. I think about how close I was with Jevon and Samari. It’s not like they’d like me less, it’s that they have to protect their own brand.”
When I caught up with Kearse at the NFLPA’s Rookie Premiere event in May, he still remembered Davis fondly a decade later. “That’s my dog,” Kearse said. He had no idea that Davis was gay until that event last month. “I know there have been a lot more than just Wade,” Kearse said upon learning of Davis’ sexual orientation. “It’s just becoming more acceptable, which is a good thing so they can come out and not feel secluded.”
Eddie George was on the other side of the ball with the Titans while Davis was there. The former Heisman Trophy winner didn’t know Davis was gay at the time, but he feels a gay athlete on that Titans team would have been accepted. “I don’t see it as a problem,” George said. “I don’t think it would have been a problem at all.”
Like Tyree, I'm so concerned about the slippery slope that is gay rights, and by default, my hometown being renamed Sodom or Gomorrah, I'm proposing we create individual showers and bathrooms for each and every NFL player--you know, just in case those secretly-gay players get any secretly-gay ideas. Stock each bathroom with a copy of The King James (or Through My Eyes), and we'll stave them off.
David Tyree, I'm scared, too. We let the gays come out now, and what's next? Other players start catching "gayness" like the flu, and soon, sooner than you and your children--wrapped in innocence and preocuppied with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare--can lock the doors to your home and bomb shelter, Roger Goodell (that sissy) wears a rainbow pin.
Tim Tebow: I’m Too Busy to Google Myself
“Let’s be honest, I’m not the first athlete to get on a knee and pray,” Tebow told Shira Lazar. “For some reason, it just caught on this year.”
Lazar asked Tebow if he’s conscious of what the Internet says about him.
“I’m too busy to Google myself,” he replied with a smile.
Google yourself? How bourgeois.
As the head of nerdery around here, I give you Mashable's lighthearted interview with Tim Tebow, in which he's asked about the Tebowing meme and how closely he may follow himself online.