When it was launched late in 2011, ESPN's proprietary QBR passer rating was heralded as the rating that quantified the most complicated position in sports. Nothing could quite be or do that, but QBR has done a pretty solid job. So why has it more or less disappeared from ESPN and from the NFL discourse?
The words "human element" have lost much of their meaning in the loud, ongoing conversation over officiating mistakes. But while it's natural to want officiating to be better, it's worth remembering that the human element means more than "brutally botching a call." It's a part of what makes sports what it is.
The avage performance art that Philip Rivers' second half of football on Monday Night was, in its own horrible way, inspiring. At the very least, it inspired some admirably bold similes from Twitter's best and most wonderfully ridiculous minds as part of the #PhilipRiversExperience hashtag.
Nick Chubb, one of Georgia's top high school running backs, is almost certainly younger than you. But he has already broken off a 98-yard touchdown run, which means he has experienced something you almost certainly haven't. But what does a 98-yard touchdown run feel like?
We know the fumble: what it is, what it does, why to fear it. But, still, no one has quite figured out football's oldest and most serious on-field sin. The fumblers, as the proverbs say, are always with us.
During his stints as a head coach at Michigan State and the University of Arkansas, John L. Smith has not proven to be much of a head coach. But he has never let that stop him from having his weird, public, maybe-sort-of-crazy type of fun. That may not matter as much to boosters and fans, but it's something.
When is a goal more than a goal? When does it become one of those sporting moments possessed of such imagination and daring that it seemed to require outside confirmation of its actually having happened: from your viewing companions, from random internet people, from oh your God ... did you see that?
The Classical is a special place for the airing of irregular, unpopular opinions about sports, so I figure this is a fine time and place to promote the following irregular, half-baked, unpopular sports opinion: The NFL is shitty and I should stop watching it.
The NFL's hilariously (or depressingly) overmatched scab refs have, after three weeks, belatedly handed a game from one team to another. This is worth shouting about, but the problem at the eye of the shitstorm—and the reason we keep having this conversation—hasn't changed, and isn't changing.
Among NFL goofballs, New York Giants TE Martellus Bennett stands out not just for his extreme goofery and progressively less-untapped on-field capacities. There's that, of course, but the player who nicknamed himself "The Black Unicorn" is also probably the only NFL player both willing and able to put his love for specific types of breakfast cereal into rap form. It's a compliment, mostly.