Thursday, September 13, 2007

I eagerly await Bill Simmons' treatise on the Kurdish-Turkish-Armenian conflicts.

Mandatory Blogger Preemptive Statement: Yes, it's passe to blog about Bill Simmons.

So in Bill Simmons' "Boston Blog" entry yesterday (and isn't it nice that one city gets their own little blog at the four letter?), Simmons wants to analyze the Patriots' videotaping controversy. Joining him is avowed Patriots fan Aaron Schatz. Nice to see that a dissenting voice is there to balance the discussion. The email chain proceeds as you would expect it to. But there was one line that sums up Simmons' sense of self worth appropriately:

"I love the fact you just quoted a Terrell Davis column. I'm just finishing his book about the Gaza Strip."

See, I'm just a guy who doesn't really know much about anything, but if I have one talent on this earth, it's the ability to spot a bullshitter. And one of the first signs always is intellectual arrogance about a topic one knows nothing about and towards someone who knows something about the same topic.

Terrell Davis' column (the merits of which are most certainly fair game for criticism) wasn't about the Gaza Strip, but was about football, and the effects of cheating toward competition.

Who would know more about a football team's operations and whether cheating the way the Patriots did would affect an outcome?

Person A: Seven year veteran of the NFL. League MVP. Super Bowl MVP. Two time AP Offensive Player of the Year.

Person B: Zero year veteran of the NFL. Zero years experience working at any level for a professional football team.

Which one would have more experience and expertise on this topic?

Also: I don't know whether a book about the Gaza Strip written by Terrell Davis would provide any insight, but I'd bet it wouldn't be peppered with 15 years stale Karate Kid jokes and 90210 references.


peacedog said...

While I tend to be firmly in the "ex-athletes are not necessarily worthwhile commentators on their respective sports (and indeed, usually that's the case)" camp, Simmons needs to meaningfully show *why* Davis is off-base (e.g. the Way FireJoeMorgan rails on the titular commentator).

The problem is, he so frequently doesn't do that (or it's more typically done in NBA postings I guess). It's just "pats rock, people are overdoing the pats hate, Davis wrong". Fantastic stuff there, Watson.

LD said...

I think the same way, unless it's a specialized topic. If the topic is general (like "what teams are good"), a former player doesn't add anything. But if the topic is very specific, then the experience of being a former player provides the expertise.

Now, on the merits of Davis' column, I think anyone can disagree. But as to who would know more about whether cheating like the Pats did could be useful to a team, I'd trust Davis to have far more knowledge on the subject than Simmons.