Enough Already: The Teddy Bridgewater Lovefest and Other Vexations

teddy b

While still in my mid 30s, I realize I’m probably downright elderly compared to most of the football savages team. So I figured for my first contribution to the site, a good old fashioned “get off my lawn” type rant would be a nice way to introduce myself to all of the kids out there. Let’s see what’s annoying me this week.

1. Teddy Bridgewater Love
Did you know Teddy Bridgewater had skinny knees and a bad pro day and lolololol how dumb is the NFL for letting the future HOFer drop into the first round.

The truth is, the NFL has been as gun-shy as I can remember when it comes to drafting quarterbacks these past two years. Only the Jags were brave/crazy enough to make a traditional “franchise QB” leap during that span.

The other quarterback hungry teams have stood pat like someone trying to win a high stakes poker game with a pair of fives. And this probably has a lot to do with the fact that NFL teams draft quarterbacks about as consistently as they adjudicate disciplinary matters.

Thanks to a combo of timidity, luck, and the never-ending search for the “it” factor, Teddy landed with the Vikings where he has looked like he has a great shot to be above average to very good. Just like we all thought he’d be. Yes, some anonymous scouts worried if he was loud enough, and there were legitimate questions about his downfield accuracy, but he was one of the internet’s most fiercely protected prospects I’ve ever seen, and he still went in the first round.

Let’s enjoy, hope he keeps it up, and try to cut down on the daily back slaps. Please, don’t make me root against him. I can’t have that happening after I had him as a top 15 overall player last year (slaps self on back, sips tea, etc).

2. Gifs
Gifs started annoying me when I had a nine-year old laptop that would time out every time I tried to click on an SB Nation site or Deadspin or any other webpage that dragged me in from Twitter with a siren’s song of a click bait headline.

Those were the early days, a new computer nipped that issue in the  bud, but then came the question of how to pronounce “gif.” “Jiff, like the peanut butter,” I was told. Nah, man. Not for me. I’m going with a hard “g” and saying “gif” ’til I die, or until the technology becomes obsolete.

Obviously, I hope it’s the latter.

In honesty, gifs themselves no longer annoy me now that I can see them as intended and my pronunciation of the word is more or less considered acceptable. They can actually be a pretty great way to capture something hilarious or disgusting or hilariously disgusting. But when people use gifs to analyze football, the waters get muddy.

You watch hours of tape and you want to use a series of similar plays to illustrate a pattern? That’s fine. Helpful even. But  as a singular example to illustrate a perceived strength or flaw? Be careful. Because I’m telling you, someone out there has watched more than that one play or one game of the player/team you just giffed, and that point you’re trying to make could wind up looking foolish.

If you’re going to tell us Melvin Gordon has great vision by using a gif of a long run against Nebraska, I can show you ten plays where he stops his feet behind the line of scrimmage. The truth probably lies somewhere in between. So now that I think about the matter, gifs don’t annoy me at all anymore. People who misuse them do.

Thanks for letting me talk my way through this.

3. Browns fans
I’m sure what I’m about to say can apply to just about any fan base, but Browns fans are the ones I know best. The team has dropped five of its last six, and probably has another loss on the way, but they managed seven wins and were in the playoff hunt until recently.

This team has a number of issues and holes to fill, but by most sane measures, the organization has exceeded the modest expectations fans had this summer. But because the Browns gave their faithful a taste of postseason hope, the recent struggles have stirred a “fire Pettine” movement, first round picks Justin Gilbert and Johnny Manziel have been labeled busts, and some fans are even calling for the team to draft another rookie quarterback in the first round.

Mind you, this is a team that stuck with a flailing Brian Hoyer while attempting to redshirt Manziel, only to be practically forced to turn to the rookie in a last-ditch effort to stay in the postseason race. There is no way they are going to trade two years worth of picks for Marcus Mariota and then expect him to start right away and top seven wins in 2015.

Fire Pettine? I don’t know if he’s a great or even good coach yet. But this was his first damn year, and he broke a streak of six straight seasons with at least 11 losses. And let’s not forget that the Browns tried to hire about 100 coaches before they found one guy who would actually take the job. Pettine at least wants to coach this team. As much as some fans would hate to admit it, the Browns tradition is dead.

It happened a long time ago.

The new tradition is losing, and it takes a brave or greedy man to take a job that requires the sword of Damocles dangling above his head. After last year’s one and done firing of Rob Chudzinski, it was widely reported that the Browns opening was toxic. Firing Pettine would turn the gig into a nuclear winter. So is he the man for the job, long-term? We don’t know yet.

But if the owner isn’t willing to give him more than this season, then Jimmy Haslam might as well move and rename the team again. Or, I guess, coach it himself.

The rookies? I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t the least bit concerned about Gilbert and Manziel. But Gilbert has been branded a “failure” since week one, and Johnny Football after a 1.75 games.

Obviously there are some maturity issues at play, but I can’t imagine the rush to declare them failures being helpful to their development as players or men. I’m not satisfied with either’s output so far, but I did see flashes of improvement from Gilbert throughout the year.

Some fans and media cry that he’s been outplayed by undrafted rookie K’Waun Williams and fourth rounder Pierre Desir. But Williams has battled injuries and Desir has only appeared in the past few games. Besides, can’t it just be a good thing that those two have looked solid rather than it being an indictment of Gilbert’s play? Godsakes.

Maybe Gilbert and Manziel will both flame out. They’re certainly not off to good starts. But there is a vocal faction of the fan base who hated the picks to begin with, and who will never let anyone forget it. Each snap, or report, or sneeze is an “I told you so,” and despite protests to the contrary it’s clear to me that these folks would rather be right than be patient and maybe see something develop. These are the fans that are sucking the fun out of Browns football, and they have a complicit Cleveland media goading them on daily.

If that atmosphere doesn’t change, it’ll be a miracle to see the organization ever succeed. For the good fans out there, I’m very sorry. Let’s try to have some patience with this new version of the team. For the pitchfork wielding mob who’s saying “I’ve been patient for 30 years,” I suggest you schedule a blood pressure checkup and take up yoga or something. You’re bumming the rest of us out, man.

4. The Block Button
Twitter made some changes and now I realize I’ve been blocked by a number of people I’ve rarely, if ever, interacted with or followed. I guess they think I’m annoying, or was once. Or heaven forbid I disagreed with someone and didn’t take to his high horse preaching.

Whatever the reason, I’m sure I deserved it in their minds, and I don’t need everyone to like me. But typically ignoring, or unfollowing will do the same trick as a block. Sure there are people out there who get trolled regularly, so I get why they block people. And there are people like Skip Bayless who everyone should block. But with the way some people block, I’m surprised they still have media jobs.

If I can’t see the tweets with links to your articles or videos, how do I even know they exist? Just because I annoyed you once or a few times doesn’t mean you don’t want me or people like me clicking your money-making links. Right? I don’t know, to me blocking people shouldn’t be something to brag about.

I’ve seen people tweet that “if you’re blocked by multiple people, maybe it’s a problem with you.” Maybe so. But if you have 10,000 followers and a thousand people blocked, maybe you’re just a sensitive weenie.

5. Movie Awards
Seems like a bunch of movies came out Christmas week and the commercials already boast, “nominated for eight Golden Globes.” What the hell? Nobody has seen these movies.

Oh I’m sure some critics have, or some high rollers that went to some film festival in Aspen. But we are just supposed to take their words for it? These are the people who made The English Patient a Best Picture winner, or took Forest Gump over Pulp Fiction. Good grief. And if actors sing in the movie, well you’ve got a nominee. Film part of it in black and white? How brave. Here’s an Oscar. What a bunch of snobs. Now they are nominating movies before any of us filthy plebeians even see them, telling us what’s good for our own good.

No thanks. I’ll just be over here watching this show about zombies and the new episode of Bar Rescue.


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