I’m a slave to routine.
I wake up at the exact same time every morning. I go to the gym, shower, eat breakfast and leave for work at exactly the same time. It’s the same way at night.
Part of that routine is writing these reviews on Friday night. If, for whatever reason, I can’t do that, this get’s written no later than Saturday morning.
So, what am I doing writing it on Sunday morning? It could be because I went out after work on Friday and worked late on Saturday. But it’s not. But there was no motivation.
I’m forcing myself to do this even now. There was just nothing in this issue of Sports Illustrated that got the juices flowing. But, I’m a trooper.
SI Managing Editor Terry McDonell sets us up for his downer of an issue by writing a mission statement about the importance of the concussion problem in football. And he does it by telling us about his giant mural sized poster of Chuck Bednarik knocking Frank Gifford. Concussions aside, what kind of creep hangs a giant photo of someone being knocked unconscious on their office wall? Does he have a photo of the Hindenburg over his fireplace at home? Is his bedroom decorated with that picture of the naked girl running down a path in Vietnam after her clothes were burned off by napalm?
Later, Dan Patrick interviews videogame character Shawn White, then makes a barely intelligible joke about the Denver Broncos struggling to get through airport security. What makes this quip extra hilarious is that two days after it was published, terrorists tried to blow up a couple of planes.
Concussions: The Hits That Are Changing Football by Peter King
Peter King opens by describing Dr. Ann McKee’s office (Go BU!) She’s a Packers fan and has bobblehead dolls of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. What an apt metaphor for the issue at hand. But, Peter King doesn’t make that metaphor. Maybe he thought it would be too flip for what he may view as the football writers equivalent of the Pentagon Papers. What we’re left with is an article that’s factual and journalistically sound but a bit dry.
Now, a sidebar on the sidebar. A couple of weeks ago, SI featured an excerpt from the new Mickey Mantle biography. The point of that book seems to be that Mantle was the last player whose personal life was protected by the journalists who covered him. While that may be the case in most sports, I don’t think football writers have caught up. It leads to week after week of Brett Favre idolatry and tributes to his unmatched courage. This is annoying to most football fans. In a similar vein, there’s the coverage of Ray Lewis. No player is lauded for his intensity more than the Ravens linebacker. He’s so tough and he’s so intense and he never lets up and he delivers crushing blows! AND HE HELPED MURDER TWO PEOPLE!!! That fact is always swept under the table. It won’t even be in the first paragraph of his eulogy. And that’s entirely the fault of the starfucker football writers who follow him around like snakes following the Pied Piper. (It was snakes in that story, right?)
The Damage Done by David Epstein
Seriously? More concussion stuff? This one is even more scientific and more dry.
Can You Say Cliff Hanger? by Tom Verducci
I will admit that I’ve only seen a few outs of the World Series so far. I’m still a little bitter about the Yankees losing in the ALCS and I’m going to need some time before I tune back into baseball. I’ll be back by Game 5 of this series. I think Brian Wilson might be a more interesting guy to profile than Cliff Lee at this point, because he’s clearly a character but the general public doesn’t really know why at this point. At least I don’t. That being said, Verducci did do something interesting in his profile of Lee. I like that he talked to old vets like Jamie Moyer and Andy Pettitte. They have a unique perspective into the way a pitcher like Lee has to approach the game and what goes into building a repertoire of cutters and fastballs that don’t register 98 on the radar gun.
Catch Cam If You Can (You Can’t) by Lars Anderson
If you need a shorthand way to sum up the quality of this week’s Sports Illustrated, try this. The college football article is the one that I enjoyed the best. Every now and again, my brother will send me an email on Friday, telling me there’s a college game I should watch that weekend. Last weekend, he told me to check out LSU-Auburn. And he was right. Cam Newton is fun to watch. But what I noticed more is how shitty Les Miles is as a coach. At the end of the game, LSU faced a 4th down, got to the line with 15 seconds left on the play clock then proceeded to have absolutely no idea what to do. It was horrible. Also, what’s up with the NFL scout quoted at the end of this article?
“He has the size you look for in a quarterback to survive the physical beating, and the ability to avoid a lot of the big hits. I worry about his [passing] accuracy; he misses open receivers. But he’s got the traits, other than that, of a winning NFL quarterback.”
I did not read this article.