Silent Archimedes

Posts Tagged ‘Plaxico’

Why Andy Pettitte owes the Yankees. Just look at Plaxico Burress.

Posted by silentarchimedes on December 4, 2008

Plaxico Burress in a Yankees cap

Plaxico Burress in a Yankees cap

Let me get this straight. Both Andy Pettitte and Plaxico Burress hurt themselves. Albeit one with drugs and the other with a gun. And yes, they hurt their teammates (Pettitte’s might be arguable) and the integrity of their respective games. But physically, they only hurt themselves. The Giants proceeded to suspend Burress for four games and put him on the non-injured reserve list; essentially ending his season. The suspension obviously resulted in major financial repercussions for Burress. The Yankees, meanwhile, welcomed Pettitte back with open arms for the guaranteed $16 million. Even with the Mitchell Report coming out just 10-days after Pettitte exercised his $16 million option.

Now comparing Pettitte and Burress is like comparing apples to oranges. Pettitte has always been a model citizen and family man, whereas Burress has been a headcase of suspensions, fines and showmanship for the Steelers and Giants. You could also bring up the fact that Pettitte used HGH to help recover faster to help his team. Not much moral support for Burress being late to a bazillion team meetings or shooting himself in a club.

However, Pettitte still hurt the integrity of the game of baseball. To all those fans that don’t care if players use steroids or HGH, imagine a game without integrity. Full of gambling and drugs. The game would become a farce, much like wrestling is now. So as much as fans are tired of hearing about performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in baseball, it’s a necessary fight. Although Pettitte apologized, you can see how differently fans treat PED-using players based on their remorse. Pettitte and Giambi? Back in good grace. Clemens and McGwire? Who are they?

Which brings me to my point. Pettitte is very very lucky the Yankees welcomed him back and fully supported him. The news conference with Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi sitting to his sides as he apologized and answered questions must have been tough to watch for some hardcore baseball traditionalists. There was no compromise regarding salary. The whole contract was honored and fans even cheered for him because he owned up to his mistake. He proceeded to go 14-14 with a 4.54 ERA and a team high 204 innings. However, he battled shoulder problems all year and closed the season with a 2-7 record.

Remember this apology? (Getty Images)

Remember this, Andy? (Robert Browman, Getty Images)

Now Pettitte is a free agent. He owes the Yankees. The Yankees would like to bring him back for $10 million. Pettitte does not want to take a pay cut from his $16 million. His agents are shopping him around, especially to Joe Torre and the Dodgers. Although Pettitte has been saying all year that he wants to pitch in the new Yankee stadium (even jokingly picking a locker in the new locker room on  a tour there), when asked if he would take a pay cut to stay with the Yankees, he dodged the topic and deferred to his agents. One, Pettitte will be 37 next season. Two, Pettitte is no where worthy of a top of line $16 million contract. Three, the Yankees saved his career this past season by welcoming him back. Four, the Yankees saved his reputation by allowing him to show complete remorse and prove himself on the field. Five, he owes all the Yankee fans who supported him this past year.

Is he really going to argue over $6 million in pay? I’m sure he doesn’t need the extra money after earning tens of millions in his career. If it’s about getting what he’s worth, well, he’s not worth $16 million. He needs to give a nice Christmas present to the Yankees and their fans. Stop being business-like, show some gratitude towards the team that saved you and the fans that stood by you.

I’m one of them.

RELEVANT LINKS

NY Times – Agents work to avoid a pay cut for Pettitte
Baseball as America’s Pastime continues to fall further into the past
The disappointing 2008 Yankees Season – Stick a fork in it, the Yankees are done
Analysis: New York Yankees at the half

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What’s going on with the NFL wide receivers brat group?

Posted by silentarchimedes on November 12, 2008

Chad Johnson

Chad Johnson

Hmm, it’s been an awfully quiet season statistically for the top four NFL wide receiver divas. The top ten receivers leading the NFL in yards include none of them. The top 20 receptions leaders include none of them. The top 20 average yards per catch leaders include none of the four. The top 10 receiving touchdowns include none of them. The top  15 receivers leading the league with receptions of 20+ yards or 40+ yards include none of them. These four divas consistently ranked near the top in these categories in years past.  It allowed them to become divas and have the “it’s all about me” attitude. However, it’s been awfully quiet this year. Let’s check it out.

TOP TEN IN RECEIVING YARDS

RNK NAME REC YDS
1 Andre Johnson WR, HOU 67 900
2 Greg Jennings WR, GNB 43 801
Roddy White WR, ATL 53 801
4 L. Fitzgerald WR, ARI 57 791
5 C. Johnson WR, DET 39 774
6 B. Marshall WR, DEN 57 714
7 Lee Evans WR, BUF 37 700
Reggie Wayne WR, IND 49 700
9 Santana Moss WR, WAS 44 672
10 Eddie Royal WR, DEN 52 625

There are some familiar leaders, such as Fitzgerald, Reggie Wayne and Santana Moss. Don’t mix up Calvin Johnson of Detroit with Chad Johnson, aka Ocho Cinco. So where do Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Chad Johnson, and Plaxico Burress rank in yardage??

RNK NAME REC YDS
19 Randy Moss WR, NWE 43 589
39 Terrell Owens WR, DAL 35 467
47 Plaxico Burress WR, NYG 32 407
61 Chad Johnson WR, CIN 37 349
Randy Moss scoring a rare TD.

Randy Moss scoring a rare TD.

None of the four have lost playing time due to injury. Although Burress was suspended a game and a quarter, as per diva rules. Of the 36 games played by all four of them, they have combined for only four 100+ yard games (Moss 3, Burress 1)!! It’s easy to blame their lack of production on injuries to their quarterback. Brady is injured for the entire season, and both Romo and Palmer have been injured for a majority of the time. However, Moss has had three 100+ games with QB Matt Cassel, so it’s not just due to the Brady effect. Burress’ lack of production with a healthy Eli Manning definitely has to do with his diva distractions resulting from being suspended twice. Additionally, when you look at some of the top receivers now, they are getting their yards even from bo-bo and/or inexperienced QBs. Johnson from Matt Schaub in Houston, Jennings from Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, White from upstart Matt Ryan in Atlanta and Johnson from pathetic QBs in Detroit.

Their touchdown numbers are still respectable (they average 4.5 while the top 10 yardage receivers average 4.6). However, when you start looking at average yards per catch (YPC), the four divas’ performance starts to degrade. The four average 12.3 YPC while the top 10 average 15.4 YPC. Then, when you look at their total average receptions, 37.5, compared to the top 10’s 49.8 you start getting a better picture of what’s going on. That translates to an average of 4.16 receptions per diva per game while the top 10 receivers are averaging 5.08 receptions per game.

Terrell Owens

Terrell Owens

All four divas are playing far below their career performances. Moss’ four TDs are on pace to rank this year with his trouble years in Oakland (3 and eight) and that crazy year in Minnesota (7). His three fumbles so far are already the most he’s had in any season. He has only averaged 0.7 fumbles per season in his career. This shows a lack of concentration and motivation on Moss’ part. To give a little credit to Moss, he has remained quiet this year and has been a team member, although he has been known to shut down and be quiet at times.

T.O. on the other hand has continued to complain and even cried once about his close bond with his ‘boy’ Tony Romo. Today he made another selfish comment that this year’s Cowboys should follow the same blueprint as last year’s, an obvious jab that he should get the ball more often. Someone should remind him with some videos of how many balls he has dropped or how many times balls thrown his way have been defended.

Burress height advantage

Burress height advantage

The main troublemaker this year has been Plaxico Burress, having been suspended twice for lack of time management. At least, he doesn’t show the frustration towards Eli anymore when passes are badly thrown to him or aren’t thrown to him at all. Burress has yet to have a strong game since the first week of the season when he had 10 receptions of 133 yards. Burress at least understands the importance he plays in drawing double teams and does a respectable job blocking even in his off games. However, he knows if he steps too far out of bounds, the Super Bowl champs will make him a pariah.

Chad Johnson? Ever since his pre-season news of changing his name to Ocho-Cinco, there has been no national news about him. His highest yardage game so far has been 57. His 9.4 YPC is far below his career 15.0 YPC. He has had only one 20+ yard reception this year!! Compared with 27 last year. Ocho-Cinco has been reduced to Nacho-Cero.

These four receivers need to realize they need their QBs just as much as their God-given talent. Because of their selfish attitudes, they tend to give up and play non-chalantly when QBs they don’t respect take over. Imagine other position players doing that? Cornerbacks? Offensive linemen? Taking games off for cornerbacks and offensive linemen would prove detrimental to a team’s chances of winning that game. So why should wide receivers, especially the best ones, do that at times? The mind of the diva wide receiver.

Related Link:

Why NFL diva wide receivers and Olympic sprinters are the same breed

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Why NFL diva wide receivers and Olympic sprinters are the same breed

Posted by silentarchimedes on October 30, 2008

Terrell Owens

Terrell Owens

There has been all this talk about talented NFL receivers that are headcases for their team or the NFL. This year it has been about Chad Johnson and his Ocho Cinco name change, or Terrell Owens and his tears for Romo and complaints about playing time, or Plaxico Burress and his lack of time management and suspensions. In previous years, it has been about Randy Moss and his “I play when I want” or Joe Horn and his cell phone celebration or Michael Irvin and his complaints. The list goes on and on. Many people don’t understand this “me above the team” mentality. However, I think many times their outward confidence and look at me mentality is closely intertwined with their ability to succeed and make remarkable plays. To understand why, simply look at the  brethren of wide receivers, Olympic sprinters.

Both professions require an inner and outer confidence in order to succeed. Both require an almost cocky persona that transcends team sports. Sprinters are divas at a much greater scale than NFL receivers because they are the epitome of individual sport, the divaness can quickly reach an uncontrollable level. There are no constraints from team members or coaches to control their “me first” attitude. Look at Michael Johnson and his golden shoes. Look at Usain Bolt and his “staring at the cameras too early” or dancing. Look at Maurice Green or Donovan Bailey.

Usain Bolt - 100m world record holder

Usain Bolt - 100m world record holder

There is something about speed that is exhilarating, from car racing to supersonic jets to horse racing. But when the speed is the natural speed of humans, this brings a completely different feeling of freedom and power that person feels. The runner feels invincible and for that particular moment feels free from all that drags him down in the world. When he consistently runs faster than everyone he competes against, this invincibility and confidence increases in strength. When he breaks the world record, he is on a stratosphere that no other human has ever been on. He IS invincible. He is Superman.

Similarly with wide receivers, once they realize that they are playing among boys, the cockiness increases. Once they see themselves week after week being lauded on ESPN for their highlight catches or game changing plays, they start feeling that same invincibility. They feel that they are above the team; that the team needs them more than he needs the team. For most receivers, this invincibility has  been forming since the days of high school and college football. However, most of them also are greatly tested and humbled in their early NFL years. But to a few, like Moss, Chad Johnson and T.O., their natural talents quickly carried over to the NFL. The invincibility continued to grow without a hitch.

Faster than a speeding bullet

Faster than a speeding bullet

What one will notice is that the divaness in football and sprinting only exists at the cream of the crop. It is only at this level where the public and especially the team’s fans are willing to look the other way. This is especially true in sprinting, because it’s an individual sport. Although there is public pressure against divas at the mid-level talent of receivers and sprinters, the main reason that divas don’t exist at lower levels is more of a natural reason. The biggest fear of receivers and sprinters is failure.  Tyson Gay in the 2008 Olympics is a good example. His fear of failing in the 100m and 200m due to recovering from a  quad injury left him lacking in confidence and staring at defeat. He looked like a beaten man, even though the entire world still saw him as one of the elite sprinters. He had no confidence and no invincibility and therefore, the look at me attitude became a “don’t look at me” attitude. It is also this fear of failure that leads many sprinters to seek questionable methods to maintain or achieve that invincibility. The prevalence of performance enhancing drugs in sprinting was confirmed by the numerous convictions and suspensions of high profile sprinters, such as Tim Montgomery, Justin Gatlin, Ben Johnson, and Marion Jones. Similarly with receivers, if they have no confidence in beating a cornerback or making a catch, they prefer to stay quiet until they make some big plays.

Receivers and sprinters without the invincibility

Receivers and sprinters without the invincibility

Since we do not expect Olympic sprinters to change their “me, me, me” attitudes, it is somewhat unreasonable to think that just because that breed of athlete plays in a team sport, that the divaness will not exist. Many of the receivers were track stars in high school or even college and they have already tasted the feeling of invincibility from God-given speed. From a team first mentality, this attitude is obviously a distraction and curse. However, there will always be a breed of them. The fall from invincibility of wide receivers can be a very  humbling experience. Many successful diva college wide receivers become quiet support pieces in the NFL, if they even make it in the NFL. Even one time NFL divas can become humbled. Randy Moss without Tom Brady is a skeleton of his old self. He has lost his invincibility and desire to attract public attention. This is the key to controlling the divaness. The receivers need to know that unlike sprinters, their invincibility is highly contingent on someone else, their QB. If they do not recognize that, and they still cause a problem, then it’s time for the team to move on without them. One perfect example of this was T.O. and Donovan McNabb of the Eagles. The Eagles did the right thing by trading T.O. after his public disdain of his QB brewed over. Now that T.O. is in understanding that Tony Romo makes or breaks him, then his divaness and crying is at least acceptable, although a distraction, to his own team and Cowboys fans. As long as wide receivers and sprinters perform, the divaness can be somewhat acceptable. The difference is when they falter. When a sprinter falters, he solely takes the agony of defeat. However, when a wide receiver falls from grace, his teammates, his coaches, and the fans also feel strongly the agony of defeat.

On a quick note, just look back to the days of playground football when you were a kid. What were the two positions you always wanted to play? Either quarterback or receiver. If you have the speed, being a receiver and making amazing catches was a sense of invincibility, freedom and flying.

Update – December 01, 2008

It’s amazing what has happened in the few short weeks since I wrote this article. Chad Johnson was suspended by the Bengals for a game due to team policy (unspecified). T.O. finally complained to the media that in order for the Cowboys to be successful, they have to be more like the team of 2007. In other words, give him the ball more. And, how can we forget Burress “accidentally” shooting himself in the thigh at a nightclub and facing possible felony weapons charge. Unbelievable.

Update – December 12, 2008

Finally, T.O. and QB tension. I was wondering how long that honeymoon between Owens and Romo was going to last. Today, reports are surfacing that Owens is “jealous” of Romo’s close friendship with TE Jason Witten and that Romo passes to Witten even when Owens is open because of their friendship. Then Owens  proceeds to say that Romo and Witten secretly meet to plan extra plays! Hahaha! Make it 3 for 3 on Owens and his QBs.

High school background information:

Randy Moss – Won the West Virginia high school state championships for the 100m and 200m as a sophomore.

Plaxico Burress – Was a national semifinalist in the 400 intermediate hurdles at 52.6. Won the state 300 intermediate hurdles title at 37.6 as a senior.

Terrell Owens – Lettered four times in track in high school. Anchored the 4×100 sprint team his senior year at University of Tennessee – Chattanooga.

Related Link:

What’s going on with the NFL wide receivers brat group?

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