Post mini-vacation thoughts

I took a brief vacation around the Super Bowl and tried to make some headway on things I have been putting off so I didn’t blog for a while.

Sorry about the delay in posting comments. They are all up now.

My first thought as I emerge from my short break from blogging is completely non-political. The Pittsburgh Steelers won an unprecedented sixth Super Bowl Sunday in what is likely the greatest game of my lifetime. From James Harrison’s 100-yard interception to Ben Rothelisberger’s game winning drive with less than 3 minutes, the big game, which often fails to meet the expectations created by the hype, was everything a fan could ask for. And, being a black and gold fanatic, I was more than pleased with the outcome.

However, it did give me a chance to reflect on an argument that I have had with friends in recent years about my love/hate relationship with fantasy football. For those not in the know, fantasy sports is a popular way for fans to follow the sport by creating teams of players that compete statistically against one another. I enjoy it quite a bit.

But one of the major detractors of fantasy competition is the tendency for fans to become so engrossed in the numbers that the intangibles are then overlooked outside the fantasy realm.

For example, Ben Rothelisberger is the Steelers quarterback and has had unprecedented success much like his team. He has won more games in his first five seasons than any quarterback in NFL history. He has led more come from behind, game-winning drives in the fourth quarter in the last five years than any other quarterback in the league. He has won two Super Bowl titles and is only 26 years old.

Ben Rothelisberger

Ben Rothelisberger

With a pedigree like that Rothelisberger should be one of the most revered quarterbacks in the NFL and in some circles he is. But talk to fans who dabble in the fantasy world and they will rank Ben near the bottom of the pile. His statistics are never overwhelming and he is often criticized for holding onto the ball to long and trying to do too much. A friend of mine always says he is not a “Ben fan” and always goes to his stats for backup. While I enjoy fantasy competition as much as the next person, there are stats not measured in fantasy sports that make the difference between being a champion and being a paper champion.

Fantasy sports has certainly helped bring fans to the game and allowed people to move a step closer to the action of the NFL, but it also has limited the scope with which players are viewed.

As for me, I will take Rothelisberger any day. Any time I hear about him holding the ball too long or throwing an interception I always think about another great NFL quarterback who had similar traits. A quarterback that I have always considered the best to ever play the game. But Mr. Favre also struggles in fantasy competitions because of his athletic never-say-die mentality. I guess sometimes the real measure of a player can only be gauged in reality.  

My second thought is also Super Bowl related but gets back to politics. During the six hours of blanket coverage leading up to the main event Sunday, Matt Lauer sat down for a live interview with President Obama.

At that point I left the room in disgust and worked getting some snacks together and such. But as the interview dragged on, I watched the last few minutes and it occurred to me that there really was no need to be repulsed. I told this to my lovely wife and reasoned that had NBC sat down with President Bush for an interview before the Super Bowl in years past I would have enjoyed it and thought it was “cool” that the president was available and interested in the event. While I disagree with Obama on just about everything, I recognized that for millions that voted for him it was their moment to enjoy the president’s thoughts prior to the game. I just thought I would share that little tidbit with those who think I only harbor hate for anyone who disagrees with me.


5 Responses to “Post mini-vacation thoughts”

  1. 1 Rich
    February 4, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    As an 8 year fantasy footbal junkie, I can not agree with you more Josh. In the 8 drafts I have had I don’t believe I picked any Steelers other than that magnificent defense. As you know some of the best fantasy players are on 4-12 teams. The only problem I have with fantasy is that some people tend to lose their loyalty to their real teams. Their loyalty is with whatever palyers they have that year. Not a huge deal, but a little annoying to someone who bleeds black & gold regardless. we are six time champs and the only ones who can say that. I’m loving it as I’m sure you and many others are! Great blog!

    I do have a question for you though as a representive of the Right. The Super Bowl MVp and the athlete of the year for 2008 have both had run ins with marijuana recently. just out of curiosity, your thoughts on this. And anyone else who would like to respond.

    Lastly, I appreciate your looking at Obama’s appearence with somewhat of an open mind. I guess there is still hope!

  2. February 5, 2009 at 2:24 am

    Some of those “intangibles” would include Harrison’s 100 yd interception, or Ben’s throw to Holmes, with 35 seconds left on the losing side of the clock.

    I know very little of fantasy football or stats, but I’m betting Arizona’s stats were overall better than ours. Yet, we (the Steelers), thankfully, won the game. So I do agree with thinking ‘outside the box’, and considering the intangibles.

    That game was by far, the best game I have ever witnessed in my life. Not on a masterful, flawless, sort of way. But a nail biting, nausea producing, scream evoking, blood pressure rising, exciting, kind of game. I will never forget it. I actually cried when Arizona conceded at the end.

    Coach Mike Tomlin summed it up best, post victory. “This game is 60 minutes long, it might not be pretty, but these guys play up to the very end.”

    Yes, they did.

  3. 3 Tree Hugger
    February 5, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Better be careful Josh……. he just might win you over! 🙂

  4. 4 Carly
    February 5, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    As much as I love participating in fantasy sports, I do agree that it gives guys like Ben a bad rep. on the stats side…It frustrates me to no end that people still doubt him after all he has accomplished. 2 super bowl rings in his first 5 years!! Not to mention:

    2004: Was named the Associated Press NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and The Sporting News Rookie of the Year…was selected the AFC Offensive Rookie of the Month for October…was selected as the 2004 Joe Greene Award recipient, given to the Steelers rookie of the year and voted on by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America…broke Dan Marino’s NFL records for a rookie quarterback for completion percentage (66.4) and passer-rating (98.1)…also set new team highs with his completion percentage and passer rating…became the first quarterback in NFL history to compile a 13-0 record during the regular season.

    2005: Became the youngest starting quarterback in NFL history to win a Super Bowl (23 years old)…guided the Steelers to their first Super Bowl victory in 26 years…became the first quarterback in league history to lead his team to the conference championship game in each of his first two seasons

    2006: broke the team single-game record for completions as he posted 38 against Denver…his 433 yards passing against Denver were the second-highest total in team history…finished the season with a career-best 3,513 passing yards with 18 touchdowns and 23 interceptions

    2007: named to his first Pro Bowl…was FedEx Air Player of the Week in Weeks 9 and 16…named AFC Offensive Player of the Week in Weeks 10 and 16…completed 264-of-404 passes for 3,154 yards and a team-record 32 touchdown passes…passer rating of 104.1 was a team-record and was 2nd in the NFL behind Tom Brady…set a team record with touchdown passes in 15 straight games…with a 39-16 career record (.709 pct.), he ranks second behind Tom Brady in winning percentage among active quarterbacks…his 65.1% completion percentage was the second-best of both his career and in team history

    what more does he have to do to get a little recognition from those “Ben-Haters” out there?
    He’s a GREAT quarterback & a GREAT Leader.

    As for the Super Bowl itself, Fantastic!!!! So exciting! Like the majority of the Steelers, I feel that this was even better than our last! And I thought last year’s was great (it’s always nice to see Tom Brady lose)….it can’t even compare to this year’s bowl!

    As Kate mentioned Harrison’s interception/touchdown – Amazing! It was really something to see him push himself as hard as he did…you could see him struggle but he did not give up…THAT shows character!

    Proud to be a Steelers fan!

  5. 5 Carly
    February 6, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Rich, to answer your question about Santonio and Phelps:

    It was very disheartening to hear about both of them. I am not sure what Michael Phelps’s reaction was, but I feel that Santonio has taken the mistake that he made and has grown from it. I think his immaturity clouded him from realizing who he was to many young kids. He has even gone further to recognize that and embrace that…by being open and honest. To admit to everyone that you once sold drugs but turned your life around, is a huge step to maturing and becoming a GOOD role model, Especially in today’s society when drugs run so rampant. I hope he continues on the right path.

    Obviously we’re not dealing with a performance-enhancing drug, so the skill level of both individuals stands on it’s own, however I completely feel that they should be or should’ve been treated as any normal person would be treated for their first drug related offense.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: