Tuesday, September 01, 2015

9/1/15 Quickie: Nine Years Later...

Nine years ago today, I launched this blog. 

It came the day after the final edition of the Daily Quickie on ESPN.com, a column I loved writing (and still one of my favorite professional and personal accomplishments).

The blog was many things: An outlet for my many enthusiasms, a place to keep writing daily (for a time, even more than daily), my own corner of the media universe.

Things have withered in the past year or two (or more) -- Quickish overwhelmed everything, and by the time I sold the company to Gannett, blogging felt less vital to me than participating on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Anyway, yesterday, I made my next career move -- I have joined Facebook, on the Media team, in the Sports Partnerships group, with a focus on journalists and media companies.

Here is what I posted on FB:
Thrilled to share the news that I have joined Facebook’s amazing Sports Partnerships team, with a focus on working with sports media folks, particularly journalists and news organizations. 
From Greenhouse-era AOL to ESPN-dot (and ESPNet-dot-SportsZone!) to founding Quickish and beyond, my journalism career has been defined by a passion to impact every fan’s everyday relationship with sports. 
Now I get to work across the entire sports media industry with so many talented journalists I admire (whether we personally know each other yet or not). And I am so excited to join a phenomenal company, with brilliant, enthusiastic colleagues, platforms powered by innovation and the biggest, best audience of sports fans in the world. 
Much more soon, but sports media colleagues -- old, new and to-be-met-soon -- please reach out to me with your ideas. (Everyone who knows me knows I won’t hesitate to do the same.)
It is a phenomenal role on a phenomenal team with a phenomenal company working with a phenomenal universe of sports-media people I have gotten to know over the past 20 years.

So excited for what's next, and I hopefully will be able to point you to all sorts of great things.

-- D.S.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tim Tebow and the Philadelphia Eagles

Previously, on Dan's obsession with Tim Tebow: 1,000+ posts about the Tebow phenomenon from 2009-2012 at TimTeblog.com. With that as context, a handful of thoughts about Tebow signing with the Eagles:

*Chip Kelly is smarter than you, armchair NFL expert. From the start, Tebow has needed a coach who is innovative (and fearless) enough to deploy him in individual high-leverage situations.

*That means on the goal line, 4th/3rd/2nd/1st-and-short and as a 2-point conversion specialist (which might just become the next important NFL position).

*I think that "QB continuity" -- that a starting QB has to play every single snap, otherwise his fragile mind and team chemistry would implode -- is more likely orthodox pap than not.

*I hope Kelly's intention is to test out the potential of that as a schematic inefficiency -- at a minimum, I love the idea of the 2-point conversion specialist.

*There is no downside to bringing him in, if you don't care about the media hysteria (and Kelly doesn't).

*Peter King will define a lot of the conventional wisdom on this: "Let’s be real about what this is: It’s a trial. It’s a chance. It’s a coach who doesn’t care about the distraction of having Tim Tebow in his camp, because he thinks Tebow might help his team."

*Sports media pre-emptively complaining about the media coverage is slightly disingenuous: For starters, a lot of fans genuinely care (out of curiosity, schadenfreude or other).

*And, consequently, it's worth pointing out that Tebow coverage generates a ton of online traffic (or TV/radio ratings) -- I don't see anyone sending those page views back.

*Good perspective from Adam Schefter: "Let's stop with this Tim-Tebow-in-Philly-is-a-media-circus" idea. The whole league is a media circus."

*Related: I'll wager that Tebow's Eagles jersey is a Top 5 seller for the NFL in May, right up there with Winston, Mariota, Cooper and Gurley.

*Curious: He can't wear No. 15 (retired by the Eagles for Steve Van Buren) or No. 5 (retired for Donovan McNabb). This is new territory. Available QB options are 9, 11, 12, 17 or 18.

*May just need to dust off TimTeblog.com for this run.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

4/15 Justified Quickie

Terrific series finale for Justified last night, which finishes its run as one of the best TV dramas of all time. I'd put it in my personal Top 10 of the "post-Sopranos" era.

Last night after it was over, I tried to force-rank my list, but it was too hard, so here are 10 that make the cut, in no particular order:

Breaking Bad, Justified, The Shield, The Wire, The Americans, GOT, Friday Night Lights, Battlestar Galactica, Deadwood and...

I'm going to leave that 10th spot open, recognizing that I have yet to list Mad Men or Sopranos or Lost or Oz.

The Americans and GOT, of course, are still ongoing -- it's a testament to both (particularly The Americans, which I particularly enjoy) that they crack the list before their full run is even close to done.

Otherwise: Pretty compelling final night of regular-season NBA coming up tonight. Going to dip my toe back into daily writing, btw...

-- D.S.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Monday 2/2 Super Bowl Hangover Quickie

*The decision not to give the ball to Marshawn Lynch is the worst play call in the history of pro football.

*It's been a while since I went full-blown "instant history/hysteria," so it's nice to stretch my legs a bit. (That makes me more productive than Marshawn Lynch on the Seahawks' last offensive play of the season.)

*The justification for the "Worst. _____. Ever." siren is the combination of the stakes (Super Bowl championship), the moment (come-from-behind TD, virtually the final play of the game, coming after one of the greatest catches in NFL history) and the context (would have denied the Pats a title), the context (would have won a back-to-back title for Seattle) and the context (Lynch is the NFL's best RB).

*It's not enough to say "Worst play call in Super Bowl history" -- because it is the Super Bowl, that makes it vastly bigger than if the play call happened in, say, Week 6 (or even an earlier playoff round). It is the context that justifies the superlative.

*Looking for a reasonable/rational defense of the play call? Vox outlines a good one, but it comes with a worthwhile caveat about over-thinking it. (Let's also say that Malcolm Butler made a phenomenal play -- if that ball drops for an incompletion, it's very likely Lynch runs it in on one of the next two plays, and the history of the NFL is altered. That Butler was an undrafted rookie makes it all the more incredible.)

(Update: As always, read Bill Barnwell for a measured take on the situation.)

*All in all, it was as entertaining of a Super Bowl as you could have asked for.

*Postscript: The ads. It was basically a given that Budweiser would run away with the ad title, but improbable that Nationwide would be the ad "everyone is talking about," if only because of how grim it was. Personal favorite: Always' #LikeAGirl ad. (Notable: There were a LOT of "dad ads" -- I liked the Toyota Camry one. The Nissan one didn't speak to me at all.)

-- D.S.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tuesday 1/13 Ohio State Champs Quickie

*First of all: I was totally wrong about Ohio State's worthiness for the college football playoff. Full stop.

*Urban Meyer is a Hall of Fame strategist and motivator. Obviously, I loved him when he was at Florida. I didn't sour on him like many Florida fans when he ended up at OSU -- I'm a long-time OSU-loather, so I disliked his location, not the coach. Also, you just knew he'd have OSU in position to win a title sooner rather than later -- ... yup. Three career titles is just a start, and there is no reason why Ohio State won't win next year, too. Prohibitive favorite, no matter who is at QB....

*But that is a fascinating question, isn't it? Cardale Jones had arguably the greatest season by a starting QB in the history of college football. He certainly had the best three-game stretch, a cannon-armed, fridge-sized load (ESPN's Tommy Tomlinson wins, for dubbing him a "vending machine"). He was the perfect QB for the past two games for Ohio State.

*And yet! JT Barrett was all-Big Ten (even better than preseason all-Big Ten QB Braxton Miller) and is arguably a better fit for Meyer's offense than Jones. Not "arguably" -- when given a choice earlier this season, Meyer picked Barrett over Jones and didn't look back.

*Returning to a favorite theme of mine: Jones should turn pro, not just because he can (which is always a pretty good reason to do it), but because he should -- he isn't getting more NFL-prepared from another season at Ohio State (and certainly not if he is subordinated to second-string). He will be a better NFL QB if he is taught by NFL QB coaches and participating in an NFL system. At the very least, he will make some money, both from his NFL contract and the inevitable endorsement deals that will come from being a favorite of LeBron James. And, oh yeah, he seems to have the biggest arm in college football -- even if no one knew it until a few weeks ago. (He won't turn pro, obviously, but it's a very interesting discussion, I think.)

*In the end, the inaugural College Football Playoff was a raging success. Just enough controversy about the selection process, which then played out epically with the controversial 4th team steamrolling the reigning SEC juggernaut, then the reigning nouveau-riche program (featuring the Heisman winner and presumptive No. 1 overall pick of the NFL Draft), which itself had steamrolled the unbeaten defending champs and its own former Heisman winner/presumptive top-ish draft pick.)

*Looking ahead to the 2015 playoff foursome, an early prediction: Ohio State, Oregon, Alabama, TCU.

-- D.S.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Friday 1/2/15 College Football Playoff Hangover Quickie

The inaugural college football playoff went better than I think anyone could have ever imagined:

*The defending (unbeaten) champ was vanquished in a fashion we haven't seen in a college football championship situation in 20 years (Tommie Frazier runs over Florida in 1995).

*The dynastic program (and conference) was vanquished by a team that many/most argued didn't even deserve to be in the field, coached by a conference ex-pat.

*It's as much -- possibly more -- about the losers (Florida State, Alabama) as it is about the winners (Oregon, Ohio State). Both games were amazing to watch.

*As many have pointed out, in the absence of the 4-team playoff, we would have gotten FSU and Alabama for the title -- this makes last night's outcomes even more amazing.

*And now we have "How Do You Stop the Ducks?" versus "Sure, Keep Doubting the Buckeyes."

*It seems like it'll be Oregon in a rout -- the inevitable conclusion to the Ducks' manifest destiny. But if Ohio State can out-muscle Alabama, there is certainly a "why not?" to the game.

*And we have the end of the mythology of the SEC -- certainly the 2006-2014 version. Critics of the SEC's haughtiness will point to New Year's Day 2015 for years.

*And we have the start of a glorious new era in college football, with a playoff system that produced drama-infused games and highly entertaining outcomes.

*I'll give the last word to Spencer Hall, who had a wonderful morning-after homily about what happened last night, concluding:

"This all happened in the same day, and let's never do this any differently, college football."

-- D.S.