Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday 09/15 Quickie: Federer, Del Posto,
Brady, Pats, Charers, Lincecum, Meyer

With Week 1 of the NFL season in the books, let's just point out that I lost my Eliminator in the very first week -- I knew the Bengals were a risky pick, but the WAY they lost re-affirms my faith in the Quickie Jinx.

Anyway: Normally, there's no way I would lead with tennis over the NFL -- the Pats winning a nail-biter, no less -- but when Roger Federer loses a major final (especially the US Open), it is a shocker.

But let's elevate that news for the purposes of the lead item of today's SN column: Federer is, arguably, the greatest tennis player in history -- still in his prime. Let's compare him to Jordan in '97 (not quite '98, certainly not Wizards era).

Do you want to see Federer win? (As a corollary, onsider the way everyone quickly labeled The Shot as the greatest shot in tennis history.) Or is it way more interesting to see him lose?

The same goes for the Patriots, particularly against the Giants in the Super Bowl: Do you want to see them cap the greatest season in NFL history? Or, more dramatically, lose it?

You could make the same argument about Tebow and Florida this season -- would you like to think you witnessed, first-hand, the greatest college football player ever? Or do you want to see him fail?

It is an age-old question: Are dynasties -- or, taken to their next level, "best-ever" athletes or teams -- good for sports or bad? And, if they are good, is that because their success infinitely and inevitably ratchets up the drama precisely at the moment when they DON'T win?

I don't like dynasties, except to the extent of the above net benefit: Watching them fail is very very very interesting.

(You could make the same case for college football: Isn't it more interesting when USC loses that freaky once-a-season game than having them roll through the season? Or Penn State losing to Iowa last year? Then again, when LSU made -- and won -- the title game with 2 losses, people were like "Meh." And the consensus Greatest Game Ever was between two unbeaten powerhouses -- Texas and USC -- that mostly rolled through the regular season.)

There's no right answer -- it's all personal preference. (And, of course, filled with all sorts of caveats and carve-outs... for example: most of the rest of the country would love to see Florida fail as USC did in '05... me, not so much.)

Anyway, that's what Federer losing -- and that's what the intrigue was: Federer losing, rather than Del Posto winning -- did for me.

*Cripes, are the Pats that lucky or the Bills that chokey? (Both!)
*Are the Chargers that mediocre or the Raiders that much better?
*Tim Lincecum reaffirms that he is the NL's best pitcher.
*Urban Meyer WILL use Kiffin's words against him. Absolutely.

Check out the complete column here. More later.

-- D.S.

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