Friday, November 18, 2011
The Sports Guy's Week 11 Picks
By Bill Simmons
Before we tackle the "Quick Picks" for Week 11, we have to mention the latest episode of America’s new favorite show, TEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-BOWWWWWWWWWW! I’m on Team Tebow for four reasons
1. I love how he drives every NFL expert, every saber nerd and most talking heads and sports columnists insane. They can’t handle a world in which Tebow wins ugly and sports defy explanation. It throws their belief system into total flux. The venom/condescension/disbelief pours out of them. It’s awesome. I can’t get enough of it.
2. Along those same lines, how funny is it when announcers try to rationally announce his games, run out of ways to say, "Another terrible pass by Tebow," pretend there’s logic involved, then eventually give up and just start laughing when he comes through late? I listened to Tebow’s fourth-quarter comeback in the car last night — the radio announcers (Ian Eagle and someone else) literally didn’t know what to say. They were just giggling like school kids. How can you explain this? Has there ever been a player who couldn’t even be successfully announced? During last night’s final drive, Eagle became so excited about Tebow's bowling over a Jets defensive back that he actually said the words, " just got a mouthful of Tim Tebow!!!!"
3. I have watched something like 1,200 quarterbacks play that position the same way, or relatively the same way. I have never, ever, not ever, seen anyone play quarterback like Tim Tebow plays the position. It’s constantly entertaining beyond the scrambling. You never know if he’s going to complete even the simplest 5-yard pass to a wide-open guy; by that same token, you’re never surprised when he hits someone 40 yards downfield on the fly. It’s almost like Tebow is playing with a handicap, like he’s overcoming some sort of disability. He’s willing himself to become a decent NFL quarterback despite massive odds against him. I love it. He’s like Rocky Balboa crossed with Strap from Hoosiers crossed with some sports movie QB in a film that hasn’t been made yet.
4. I can’t remember another non-superstar athlete generating more feedback from my readers these past few weeks. If it were Tiger, Kobe, Favre or whomever, it would make sense. But the QB of a 5-5 team who completes 45 percent of his passes? Before we get to my Week 11 Quick Picks, here’s a sampling just from last night and this morning.
If you were God and wanted to get the attention of the American people wouldn't you make your messenger a star QB who wins in improbable ways? Wouldn't you make him a home-schooled, throwback, power-running juggernaut who reminds you of football in the 1920's? MY GOD! Tim Tebow is going to be president in 2028 isn't he? This will keep me awake at night.
— Adam, Havana, IL
Is "Do you like Tim Tebow?" the "Tupac or Biggie?" cultural litmus test of today?
— Eric Herman, Lindenhurst
Tim Tebow is Frank the Tank from Old School. Most of the time, he's fun to watch because of all the terrible things he does: overthrow or short-hop a wide open receiver or scramble around like a chicken with his head cut off. His ineptitude is entertaining, along with the appearance of being overmatched. But once or twice a game he has a "Frank during the debate" moment when he blacks out and pulls something spectacularly perfect out of his ass and that too is entertaining and exciting. If you're a casual fan, you're cheering and enjoying that moment while simultaneously laughing and shaking your head because you can't believe this is the same guy you've been watching all game. In other words, he defies all logic.
— Nick, Mobile, AL
Isn't Tim Tebow the perfect Irrational Confidence Guy? He is a 35-40% shooter (passer) who somehow plays with the swagger of a superstar. And despite the fact that he is having a terrible game always believes that he should have the ball in his hands when it matters.
— Andrew, Falls Church, VA
Clearly the Matrix is real, and we currently live in it. It is the only explanation that makes sense with what Tebow is doing. I am in no way suggesting that we should give Tebow the nickname of Neo, because he clearly isn't the one. We should consider calling him Cypher. If you remember, Cypher tried to cut a deal which would allow him to re-enter the matrix as somebody famous. Watching Tebow, I think it makes more sense that the outcome is predetermined in the matrix we live in, then it is that a QB who doesn't know how to throw a ball continues to win.
— Rob, Queen Creek
My office put together a Tebow pool for last night’s game — betting on the o/u for completions (11), yards passing (120), yards rushing (58), passing tds 1.5, and rushing tds 1.5. You can imagine the excitement as he was leading the Broncos down the field making completions and creeping towards the 11 number, then he busts off a 20 yard run, covers the over on the rushing yards, and wins the game. TEBOW!!!! We all decided that this will be a weekly office gambling game.
— Poop Stewart, Solana Beach
I've seen discussion all over the internet trying to come up with a nickname for Tim Tebow. I don't know if I'm late to the game on this one, but I haven't seen it used anywhere: Touchdown Jesus. Try to think of a better one. I don't think you can. Notre Dame fans might take issue with it, but they haven't really earned the right to keep it the past few years.
— Nolan, Boston, MA
After watching yet another Tim Tebow miracle ending in terms of stories that would cause the internet to explode, what if Tim Tebow grew a Johnny Damon haircut and beard from a couple years ago and then adamantly refused to acknowledge any questions about it. Wouldn’t the question of whether or not Tim Tebow was trying to look like Jesus cause the internet to explode? At a minimum, it would be awesome to watch him politely decline question after question from reporters while they awkwardly tried to ask about it.
— Glenn, Philly
I'm a converted Tebow fan. After seeing him drive down the field and the Broncos MOB him, like he had just won the Super Bowl, I knew he was legit. His teammates play hard for him, and that's worth something. Can we create some sort of "teammate mob index?" Last night was a definitely a 10.
— David Grubman, Washington DC
I know you are down on the Lions but hear me out. Tebow is now 4-1 as a starter in 2011. Who is the one team he lost to? That's right, the Detroit Lions in a game NFL.com billed as "Good vs. Evil". This clearly has the makings of a rematch in the Super Bowl. It's inevitable. Every bad sports movie has the same philosophy. In the first match, the superior "evil" team prevailed with ease, consistently mocking the downtrodden hero of the "good" team. Later, these teams meet again due to an unpredictable run from the "good" team into the championship game that no one saw coming. In the final minutes, the previously downtrodden hero will make a last gasp effort to steal the game from the "evil" team resulting in the championship. You know this is happening.
— Steve, Chicago
One of my friends keeps hooking up with the ugliest woman in Tucson. She is pitiful to look at and he'll even admit to that but swears she's great in bed. We are now calling this girl Tebow. Is this fair since Tebow's a virgin?
— Jay M., Tucson
As I'm watching the end of this Jets Vs. Broncos game, I thought of a great nickname for Tim Tebow — "Michael Myers." Here me out, the entire game the other team thinks they've slayed the guy. They beat him up. They blitz the shit out of him. They confuse him and dare him to throw the ball AKA fall into their trap. For three quarters of the game he obliges them. He plays like garbage and makes you wonder what the big fuss is about this guy. Then the fourth quarter rolls around and the guy just becomes a killing machine. Just stabbing and slashing the defense with brutal runs before finally stabbing you with one last dagger. The funny thing is that for the first three quarters you love watching the guy fall on his face but then in the 4th quarter he wins you over because he just keeps coming back stronger and stronger. He's playing like a monster right now. Hide your wife, hide your kids, hide your Jamie Lee Curtis like defense — Michael Myers is coming for you and he will scream in joy over your teams corpse.
— Fraaz, North Miami Beach
After watching the Broncos/Jets game, I am convinced that Tebow is like the Madden player that only has known how to run a few good offensive plays. He doesn't want to use those plays too early as the defense will adapt to them, so his goal is to keep the game close, play tough D, play field position, not make any mistakes, and try to keep the game close. When the fourth quarter rolls around, he runs those "favorite" plays (QB scramble, option, etc.), the defense isn't ready for them, and then he pulls out a fourth-quarter victory. Simple, yet seems to be effective. Credit Coach Fox for realizing what he has (or doesn't have) and working with it. This of course won't work against a good team (which the Jets aren't) that will keep rolling up the points, but in the weak West, Tebow and the Broncos could win it.
— Crane Bennett, Corona, CA
I think Tim Tebow is a lot like the movie/Broadway show "The Producers". Elway and Fox are the producers, Bialystock and Bloom. Tim Tebow is "Springtime for Hitler". Elway and Fox think that if they put Tebow out there, he's going to flop and make them look good and they'll be able to draft a new QB. BUT, he's winning even though he still sucks, so Elway and Fox are stuck with this clown until who knows when. Thoughts?
— Scott T, Irvington, NY
You picked the Jets? Have you forgotten your steadfast gambling rule: "Never bet against God and puppies"? While Tebow hasn't promised anyone any puppies, yet, he certainly has God, and he's a winner. Don't bet against God.
— Eric W., Renton, WA
And on that note, here are my Week 11 Quick Picks
Titans (+6) over FALCONS Total momentum play. Tennessee was given a second life in the AFC South with Matt Schaub’s injury, and Atlanta has to be still reeling from blowing that New Orleans game. On the bright side, the saber community unanimously agrees — running Michael Turner straight into 10 Saints and giving away a winnable overtime game for the chance to have a first down from your own 31 was absolutely, unequivocally the right thing to do. Glad that’s settled.
RAVENS (-7) over Bengals Can’t see Cincy keeping this close without A.J. Green and Leon Hall. But man it sucks to lay seven with Joe Flacco right now. There’s just no way to feel good about it. I can only imagine how Ravens fans feel.
(Cut to Ravens fans sadly nodding.)
Jaguars (-1) over BROWNS
DOLPHINS (-1.5) over Bills I’d take the Jags and Dolphins right now over every other mediocre-or-worse team. Vegas isn’t totally believing in their overpowering notsobadness yet. I believe.
PACKERS (-14) over Bucs I only lay two touchdowns without blinking if the team’s QB has a 130 QB rating or higher.
VIKINGS (+1) over Raiders Alex F. from Austin asks, "Starting with Week 5, you have not written a pick for a Vikings game that was not either one line or combined with the pick for another game. My team is 2-6 and just ended an era of being led by a Wranglers salesman. They've been Christian Ponder'd out of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. Their games get the small TV placed awkwardly over the entrance to the restroom at the back of the sports bar. Give me at least a paragraph this week. Even if it's entirely about Oakland."
Fine, fine. I like your Vikings because this particular spread is a product of the schedule more than anything: The Vikings were beaten three times in four weeks by Green Bay (twice) and Chicago (a trouncing), which makes people think they stink when, really, they just couldn’t beat two of the five best teams. And if that’s not enough, Carson Palmer on the road! In a dome! As a favorite! Against Jared Allen! Come on, make the leap with me.
Panthers (+7) over LIONS It’s nearly impossible to play the 2011 Carolina Panthers without dropping 30 on them unless you have no running backs and your quarterback can’t control the ball because he’s playing with a broken finger. Then, it’s sort of possible.
Seahawks (+3) over RAMS "Two banged up teams with injury-ravaged offensive lines and secondaries face off in a game that absolutely nobody wants to watch, next on Fox! Hello everyone, I’m Chris Myers along with my partner Tim Green I mean, who else did you expect for this piece-of-crap game?"
Cowboys (-7.5) over REDSKINS They can’t make this line high enough. Did we ever figure out how the Desperate-For-A-QB Redskins, who had the 16th and 41st picks in last year’s draft, somehow emerged without a QB in one of the best QB drafts ever? Is Mike Shanahan awake? Are we sure he’s awake?
BEARS (-3.5) over Chargers Totally sold on the Bears, totally sold that the Chargers are done, totally expect Devin Hester to return at least one kick in this game (followed by the announcer yelping, "Why do teams keep kicking off to Devin Hester????"). Can’t we just make Norv Turner the new Jets offensive coordinator right now? Why do we have to wait three more months?
49ERS (-9.5) over Cardinals I’m almost positive that Ken Whisenhunt wasn’t expecting a "Skelton or Kolb?" QB controversy.
GIANTS (-6) over Eagles How many more ribs would Michael Vick need to break before you finally felt comfortable with Vince Young starting over Vick in a Sunday-night game in Giants Stadium? I’m going with nine. Meanwhile, Nick from Baltimore writes, "Can we now start referring to the Philadelphia Eagles as the Wet Dream Team? They are really fun to watch, until you wake up all embarrassed and have to clean up the mess."
PATRIOTS (-15) over Chiefs I don’t know who Tyler Palko is.
Bill Simmons is Grantland's Editor in Chief, the host of the BS Report podcast, the author of the New York Times no. 1 best-seller The Book of Basketball and the co-creator of ESPN's Peabody-award winning "30 For 30" series. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook