I love the narrative after this game – “Does this game end the QB controversy in Dallas?” The media is consumed with this story and poking Jerry Jones with a stick on this topic…because they can. The mainstream football media is not, by and large, a journalistic pursuit – it’s TMZ. It’s creating controversy – real or manufactured. All it is, is people with no original thoughts baiting coaches and players about controversies. I’m watching the lead-in for Monday Night Football about the time I’m writing this – it’s all about Josh Norman versus his old team, and them stoking Norman to get quotes. It’s fine to hit on that, but do we have to discuss it as 50% of all things covered about this game? Cam did get suspended for a play for his no-tie event, so we have to revisit that as well. These are the big stories heading into this game…
Anyone watch Sunday morning ESPN football coverage…err…I mean, the Trey Wingo stand-up comedy showcase and fashion critique hootenanny? ESPN pregame coverage LIVES for cutaway shots of what the star players are wearing as they walk down the tunnel as they arrive at the stadium. It’s the funniest, all-consuming thing for them. They’re a joke. The worldwide leader. It’s surprising that ESPN’s ratings and subscribership are crashing and they’re cutting personnel to stop the bleeding. Trey Wingo is still there thank God, or I wouldn’t know who wore a smart bow tie to the game three weeks ago.
The mainstream football media will now discuss Tony Romo 2017 trade rumors all week because their ‘bench Dak’ narrative got ripped away. It’s OK…if Dallas loses this week they’ll be right back at ‘bench Dak’. The football media are a bunch of pawns, and there is no greater example of it than what happened with Jameis Winston last week.
You know the regular world/national news outlets are in the tank for one political party or the other. There is no straight-up news…just bomb-throwing and ‘shaped’ stories. If you’re in the media, and you hide or shape away negative stories from the public because you are protecting ‘your political team’, then shame on you. As well, if you fabricate or spin something against the other ‘political team’. Con artists trying to deceive us = the lazy media. The same mindset in the football media. With that in mind, did you happen to notice how many Jameis Winston ‘sit down’, one-on-one interviews there were the past 7+ days? Every time I turned on football there was a tease about an interview with Winston on multiple channels. Like a serious one-on-one, ’60 minutes’ type piece and crafted to make Winston look like a choir boy/Senatorial candidate. Why? Like the media with a political candidate, they are trying to shape the public perception on this football player/candidate. They have so convinced themselves that Winston is a star that they cranked up ‘the machine’ to soften his image and get you to buy in.
Is there a football analyst that doesn’t say Winston is going to be elite/an all-time great? Have you seen anyone even express doubt? They have all convinced themselves in the weird bubble world they created…and that spills out to all the ESPN (and I use them as the face of all the typical outlets) lapdogs in your fantasy leagues. Sometimes, it even affects us. Makes us doubt what we’re seeing. Makes you doubt what I’m saying. On one side is millions of dollars’ worth of football analysts salary, and on the other is me and you. This week with the Winston edited interviews was a breathtaking sign of how the NFL shapes its stars…and those in the media drawing a huge payroll to carry the water dutifully carrying the water. If you think I’ll ever be on ESPN, etc. someday…you’re sadly mistaken. They aren’t looking for something like me. They’re looking for the opposite of me. I’d like to make ‘ESPN money’, but I could never go on and follow their teleprompter.
So, the NFL pushes Winston hard all week because all their experts are saying he’s the next great one. In fact, he’s great already, they believe. The Bucs are a hot team, and that has to be because of the QB, right? I remember thinking Sunday morning (after like the ninth Winston interview tease of the day) – all this push by the NFL…what happens if Winston goes out Sunday night and goes all Winston on everyone…a sloppy mess? Four turnovers later, here we are. I’m not sure if it was Cris Collinsworth that said this during the game, but I’ve heard this same type of comment about a hundred times with Winston – “Winston’s going to be great, he just needs to stop turning the ball over so much and stop being so inaccurate sailing a lot of his passes over receivers’ heads.” Awesome.
In the backdrop of this Winston ‘Manchurian Quarterback‘ push…fourth-round draft pick Dak Prescott played a brilliant game – not turning the ball over nor sailing any of his passes. As a rookie, Winston looked like an idiot at QB, mostly. This year, about a half an idiot…he’s peaking. Winston is actually pretty good on the run/scrambling in a streetball-like event – he will eventually be destroyed in the NFL when teams force him to stay in the pocket. It might take a year…like how NFL teams still don’t know Tyreek Hill is very fast, and still punt returnable balls to him. They’re slow learners in their 20-hour workdays. Prescott as a forced/noncoddled starter in his rookie season looks a thousand times better than Winston as a rookie or Winston in his second season…and no commentator will touch that comparison because you cannot have a seed planted with us sheep-like masses (as they see us) that Winston might not be that good. Have to protect the brand and the anointed ones.
Under the ‘protecting the anointed’ banner, it is imperative that Ezekiel Elliott gets more credit than Dak Prescott. Why? Because the football analysts and the echo chamber football media didn’t see Prescott coming. Makes them look bad. Elliott was a top pick from a big college that they like to kiss ass on because of TV contracts, access, etc…so Ezekiel makes ‘them’ look smart (for now). I spent a lot of time in Corporate America helping my bosses shape results for our upper-level bosses. I trumped up the ‘good’ into ‘amazing’…and the bad, I repackaged into ‘an opportunity’ we were all over correcting/capitalizing on…or I just helped bury bad narratives. I know what the NFL is doing…and the football media goes along for the ride because it’s a sweet ride.
At least, they couldn’t hide what happened on the field in this game – Prescott was amazing and Winston was ‘Winston’.
If you think I’m just crazy conspiracy theory guy…let’s see if Marcus Mariota is all over football pregame and halftime shows getting serious one-on-one interviews this week. The guy just beat Denver and KC back to back, and his team is 8–6 out of nowhere, like Tampa, and he was the #2 pick in the Winston #1 draft…and his numbers are way better than Winston’s. Where is Mariota on all the commercial endorsements and football show montages? Where is the Mariota ‘is a future hall of famer’ talk? If you’re the NFL establishment…why not push both? Why not push Mariota and Winston…and Dak? Why ‘shape’ the narratives as – Winston is great, Dak might get benched, and Mariota…’who’s he play for again?‘ or ‘he’s actually having a good season‘? Why all-in on just the one guy? Partly, because you don’t buy it yet…and you’re going to whether you like it or not.
As far as the game goes – Dak Prescott was fantastic, amazing…and should be the QB the NFL builds all its hype around instead of trying to stir up a QB controversy. Prescott…not the O-Line and not Ezekiel Elliott…won this game. And that’s been the story the entire season. The Bucs played well on defense and took the lead 20–17 after three quarters, but per usual Dak just led a methodic fourth quarter comeback for the win.
Tampa Bay played hard/well but was probably a little too excited about the sudden attention. Lots of frenetic energy pregame. Lots of choreographed dances and motivational speeches. All that collegiate energy while Dallas was playing on national TV for like the 20th time this season, I think. Dallas had that quiet, business-like look akin to when a hitman is screwing in a silencer on his 9mm before a whack job. When it was crunch time, Tampa turned the ball over and Dallas was precise. Dallas is not only a great team, but they are being refined for greatness by playing in so many showcase games. As the playoffs approach, there will be no ‘golly, look at us‘ like there was with Tampa in this game. It was a 26–20 final score…but the score doesn’t indicate how much better Dallas was to the eye than Tampa.
— Let me circle back to Dak (32-36 for 279 yards, 0 TD/0 INT, 20 yards rushing and a TD) for a moment…you know, the guy half the media wanted to have replaced after daring to lose a game to the Giants the week prior…after 10 straight wins before that. That ‘needing to be benched‘ guy was simply spectacular in this game. People are going to tear him down as a dink and dunker or maybe say ‘with all his protection…‘ The O-Line is a positive factor, no doubt. But Dak makes quick decisions, good decisions. Accurately delivered decisions…thus an 88.9% completion rate in the game against what was thought to be the hottest defense in the NFL. Dak is rocket fuel for this O-Line…not the other way around.
What impressed me the most wasn’t the completion percentage, It was Dak’s play and moves under pressure. Teams are coming after Dak…and his O-Line hasn’t been as special as it was. Dak has been sacked three times in a game for three straight games. What was impressive was how many times Dak spun out of pressure in this game (a la Russell Wilson), moved away from danger, gathered himself and made his perfect throws (better than Russell Wilson). This wasn’t Sam Bradford dumping all his passes quickly (to avoid contact) within five yards of scrimmage. This was a quarterback with a masterful understanding of the pocket, and the physical skills and vision to make plays under duress. His escapability and composure was simply amazing…and I say that as a guy that has studied more QB tape in the past five years than almost anyone on the planet.
Dak Prescott should be the NFL MVP this year…in a battle with Tom Brady and Tyreek Hill, and Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson, and Patrick Peterson.
If you haven’t acquired Dak in dynasty because the price was too high…his numbers are down the past few weeks (against great defensive play). Use this no-pass TD game to go see if a less-pricey deal is available. 1-2-3 years from now this offense will be re-built around Dak…not Elliott, and Dez will be gonzo. I’m betting that Dak will be the offense in the future…whatever that means.
— One quick thing about Ezekiel Elliott (23-159-1, 3-29-0/3 targets)…
Whoever in the football media votes for Elliott for MVP should have their football analysis card taken away. He’s had a fine season. He’s not as good/key as David Johnson or Le’Veon Bell. The mere mention of him as MVP turns my stomach that people could believe that – especially over Dak. Yet, I guarantee Elliott wins Rookie of the Year, and will be top three in the MVP voting.
Why the NFL is siding with Jameis Winston and Ezekiel Elliott and underselling Dak-Mariota-and Mike Evans (thinking of TB players)…I don’t understand.
— After 2+ years, people finally have realized that Jameis Winston throws to Mike Evans (4-59-0/8 targets) whether he is covered or not. Now, teams are putting more focus on taking Evans away and forcing Winston to look elsewhere.
Cameron Brate (5-73-1/8 targets) is the beneficiary, averaging 5.0 rec. (6.7 targets) for 63.8 yards and 0.50 TDs per game the past four weeks…whereas Evans has posted 4.7 rec. (8.3 targets) on 60.8 yards and 0.50 TDs per game in that same four-game span. Evans is fantastic, but scary the next two weeks because teams are going overboard to shut him off from Winston.
— Much was made of Dallas DL David Irving’s (2 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 1 PD) game, and with good reason – he was a one-man force. He registered 5 QB hits on the night. He may have been the MVP of the game. Is this a sign of things to come for IDP? He only had 1 sack in this first 13 games of play this season, so where has he been otherwise? I’m assuming this is not the start of something special, just like with NYG’s national TV star Romeo Okwara the prior week…who then did little this week.
— Tampa IDP Keith Tandy (14 tackles) is on fire since getting into the lineup the last three weeks. 9.3 tackles, 1.33 PDs, 0.67 INTs per game the past three weeks. Tandy looked fantastic as a hitter in this game.