According to one mistaken reviewer on Trip Advisor, the following photograph depicts a “British beef burger”:
When Richard Sherman was named this past year’s Madden cover boy, I imagine a significant fraction of football fans felt schadenfreudic tinglings: Sherman — thug, villain, superstar — would surely fall victim to the vaunted Madden Curse. After all, he had only one direction to fall.
But this past week, Sherman was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week after nearly becoming the San Francisco 49ers’ leading receiver (Colin Kaepernick threw him two passes; the actual leader caught three). That recognition makes him the only player in the NFL to receive the honor in each of the past three seasons (and those 22nd and 23rd interceptions stretched his lead since entering the league to 8).
RS25 has been frustratingly (to his haters) just fine.
But there is another, far more serious, curse the Seahawks have had to contend with in 2014: the Curse of the Bieber. As has been established on this very blog, Russell Wilson does not always make the wisest of wise decisions, and so in early May he failed to extricate himself (or those poor, doomed children) from an obviously dangerous situation:
The baseball season is (roughly) one day old, but that didn’t stop Yahoo! Sports from publishing an article titled “Winners and losers from the ‘real’ opening day“:
A few days ago, when it looked like Aaron Hernandez was about to be arrested for obstruction of justice, I not-so-subtly accused him of having committed considerably more than that. I made those allegations on the basis of no specific information in particular, which I suppose means I may have exposed myself to liability for libel had he never been so charged.*
But no matter: Hernandez was finally arrested this morning and charged with murder — bad news for Hernandez, but good news for my credibility. And he would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for those darn texts and deliberately-sabotaged home security system and actual video footage and proximity to the event and acquaintance with the victim and especially for those meddling kids.
Hernandez’s team, the New England Patriots, immediately tried to distance itself from the tight end, announcing his release just two hours after news broke of the arrest — and just one year after signing him to a 5-year, $37.5 million contract. The NFL as a league tried to distance itself, as well, releasing a statement calling the arrest “deeply troubling”:
Search. Obviously — that’s sort of Google’s thing.
The social networking giants are joined in one giant rush to rip off one another’s ideas — good ones or otherwise: As you are doubtless aware, Facebook just added #hashtags. Twitter introduced Vine a few months ago — and now, Instagram is rumored to be adding video, as well. The race is on to see which network will manage to render the others redundant and thereby achieve social media singularity.
Some of these efforts have been successful to some degree. But when these companies rush to be everything to everyone all at once, they sometimes forget the small details. In the case of Twitter it’s the search function. The microblogging service has been trying to get into search for at least four years now, and it’s easy to see why: The ability to see updates and reactions in nearly-real time can be an extremely powerful tool. Jon Stewart’s bullying aside, it’s the reason CNN & friends ask their viewers for the fuzzy products of cell phone cameras. The result is that when I want breaking news updates, I’m about as likely to head over to Twitter as I am to Google or New York Times or any other non-constantly-updating stream of information.
So it was that just today, when I heard that the Mariners had signed their second-round draft pick out of Stanford, Austin Wilson [this post is not actually about sports], I immediately attempted to confirm that rumor (he hasn’t, yet) on Twitter:
Earlier this week, Jason Collins came out as the first gay male athlete playing professionally in a major American sport. Some sort of announcement of this sort had been expected for some time, but the details — who, where, when, how (,why)? — were the topic of a certain amount of blind speculation.
As it turns out, Collins chose to come out in the pages of Sports Illustrated, and while his announcement caused a minor sensation when it hit the nation’s newsstands, I imagine one distinct group of people — who knew exactly what was going to happen — managed to take the news in stride. I speak, of course, of the staff over at Sports Illustrated.
Meanwhile, Collins may have broken the rainbow barrier in the NBA, but the NFL, MLB, MLS, and NHL still haven’t seen anyone come out of the closet. As we’ve seen, it’s only a matter of time — but that leaves open the question who, and when? And again, I think there’s one group of people with all the answers.
That’s why I’ve been scouring sports coverage across the nation — for the off chance that one has a scoop and accidentally tips its hand. And I think I’ve finally got something — in the pages of Yahoo! Sports. As you can see, one of these headlines is not like the others:
After the Seahawks knocked off the Redskins in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs, Wonkblog published a piece by Neil Irwin (I’ll be honest – I thought Ezra Klein was the sole author on Wonkblog, until I actually looked) titled Russell Wilson is a more valuable quarterback than RGIII, and other insights from the economics of the NFL. I read that post soon after it was published, but I haven’t had time to address it since. Finals and whatnot. Plus, now they’re both out of the playoffs so it’s not like I’m rubbing anything in. The post’s premise was pretty simple:
The NFL, unlike Major League Baseball, has a hard salary cap. In 2012, no team could pay its players more than $120.6 million. There are ways to game the system for a year or two through the timing of bonuses, but over time, that is the binding constraint under which every NFL team operates. The goal, then, is to put together the best set of players you can within that constraint. To outperform, management needs to find ways to pay players less than they are worth, so that it can fit more top-quality players on the team’s roster while still fitting under that cap.
The post goes on to discuss the costs invested in the acquisition of various players. For instance, even though he’s the biggest star on the Redskins, RGIII still makes much less money than many of his teammates because he’s a rookie:
The New York Times recently published award-season predictions by Chase Stuart, who “writes about the historical and statistical side of football at his site, FootballPerspective.com.” The post includes his pick for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, Robert Griffin the third. Obviously, I’d like to see Russell Wilson get it. That said, I understand that RWI probably isn’t going to win in a season when there is a strong case to be made for Andrew Luck, RGIII, and even Alfred Morris.
But here’s the thing: if there is a case to be made for RGIII, Stuart didn’t make it.
I plan to quote the entire (short) section more-or-less in full, so no need to check out the original: