Media or Not: It matters

There’s a debate on Twitter over whether Sean Pamphilon, the documentary filmmaker who released the Gregg Williams tape, counts as a member of the media or not. Certain aspects of the debate are goofy as Saints fans look for a place to direct their anger over what’s happened, but I think the distinction is important. Roles act as lenses through which we our actions can be judged.

Why? If Pamphilon is a member of the “media”*, whatever that is, then you can make a pretty good argument that he ultimately has to serve the truth, and was duty-bound to release the footage. Journalism has a long (sordid?) history of uncovering scandal, and a free press is a critical part of maintaining our democracy. Football is a rough sport, and we as fans should understand exactly what we support when we cheer for our team. Pamphilon’s footage helps clarify what happens in the locker room, and it’s horrific to many.

*UPDATE: The inimitable Grandmaster Wang points out that I’m conflating the terms “media” and “journalist” here, which is somewhat true. However, I think the larger point remains: journalist or not?

On the other hand, if Pamphilon wasn’t acting as a journalist, then the case that he “had” to release the footage in service of some elusive Truth is a lot harder to make. Either way, he was entrusted with access and took advantage of that trust. The question of whether or not it was justified depends on how you see his role.

Steve Gleason, whom Pamphilon was trailing (and by whom Pamphilon got access), [says that he and his family ultimately own Pamphilon’s footage][2]. If so, then Pamphilon wasn’t acting as a journalist, but abusing a dying man’s trust, which is sad.

[2]: http://www.nola.com/saints/index.ssf/2012/04/former_new_orleans_saints_play_5.html

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Breesus is Unimpressed #2

My second attempt at Hakim Drops the Ball’s meme. Photo by Gunnery Sgt. James Frank.

[][2]

[2]: http://www.whodatreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/breesusbinladen.jpg

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Breesus is Unimpressed

My first contribution to Hakim Drops the Ball’s “Breesus is unimpressed” meme. AP photo.[][2]

[2]: http://www.whodatreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/breesusrogers.jpg

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Drew Brees' SI Cover

Hi folks. The podcast is still on paternity leave, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped getting PR emails.

Drew Brees is on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week (well, one of 4 covers). Here’s the cover. Click the image for a high-resolution version, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

[][1]

[1]: http://www.whodatreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/02COV_Saintv9_Promo1.jpg

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Gift ideas for Saints fans

Not done with your holiday shopping? Here’s some of the best-reviewed, highest quality Saints stuff at Amazon.com. I’ve eliminated the junk so you don’t have to. The best part? It’s all Amazon Prime-eligible, which means it will arrive in time for Christmas for free if you’re a Prime member, or for a small fee if you aren’t. Here goes:

Clothing

Now that you’re an adult, it’s time to leave the jerseys behind and start wearing actual clothes. Here are a few great choices.

This is a sweet vintage shirt. I’m hoping to find one under my tree this year. $22 at Amazon.

Here’s one for the ladies. A distressed heather shirt with quite the neckline. $30 at Amazon, model not included.

I love this vintage cap. As a rule of thumb, if it’s got Big Chin Guy (aka Sir Saint), I’m probably buying it. You should too. $18 at Amazon.

Random awesome stuff

From the goofy to the sublime.

This photo of the Superdome with embossed replica signatures is a nice way to remember the 2009-2010 Super Bowl Champion Saints. $44 at Amazon.

This pint-sized Saints gnome is a great for gardens or desktops, and even comes holding Mardi Gras beads. $18 at Amazon.

What I like most about this 14″ plush Drew Brees doll is that they even gave him a little birthmark on his cheek. I’ve given several of these as gifts already. Everyone loves them. $18.50 at Amazon.

It’s a 6-inch Saints Mr. Potato Head, and it’s awesome. $13 at Amazon.

We’re raising our daughter right. Are you? $16 at Amazon.

[][9]

And finally, wrap it all in style with this Saints wrapping paper. [$6.27 at Amazon][9].

[9]: http://www.amazon.com/NFL-Orleans-Saints-Wrapping-Paper/dp/B000IK7Q04/ref=sr_1_126?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&tag=morsels-20

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The Who Dat Report, Episode 14

Play

Approximate running time: 22 minutes

The Who Dat Report is back! In this short episode, I get caught up on the Saints action that I missed thanks to the birth of my daughter. I also give a couple of thoughts about the Saints-Packers game.

Today’s guest is Andrew Juge, proprietor of The Saints Nation, a great Saints blog.

This interview was actually recorded for my other podcast, [The NFC South Report][2]. Since I have limited time this season (thanks, daughter!), most of my podcasting energy will be directed toward the NFC South Report, so check it out if you want to hear my thoughts on the Saints and the rest of the NFC South.

As always, thanks for listening.

[2]: http://www.nfcsouthreport.com

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The Saints were not better without Reggie Bush in the lineup

There’s some nonsense going around about how the Saints were better off without Reggie Bush playing. Pat Yasinkas (who is a good blogger, this isn’t meant to pick on him) of ESPN.com sums it up pretty well:

Since joining the team in 2006, Bush missed 20 games. In those games, the Saints went 13-7. That’s a .650 winning percentage. In games Bush played, the Saints went 36-24 (.600).

But we have much more than that. In games with Bush since 2006, the Saints averaged 25.9 points. Without him, they averaged 29.8. In games Bush played, the Saints averaged 377.4 yards per game. When he didn’t play, they averaged 419.8.

The Saints completed 66.5 percent of their passes when Bush played. When he didn’t, they completed 67.6.

These stats are so unbelievably superficial that they border on nonsense. There are two problems that jump out right away:

  1. Extremely small sample size. Reggie Bush missed 20 games. When you’re making the sorts of fine distinctions about a football team’s performance that Yasinkas makes, you need to look at a lot more data. Of course, we don’t have more data, which makes it tough.
  2. You can’t draw this type of conclusion like this without looking at context. After all, the games that Reggie missed weren’t against identical teams, so looking at stats without considering the opponents is a bit goofy.

I take this as evidence that ESPN’s stats department is either (1) more interested in providing eye-catching tidbits than actually helping us understand what’s actually happening in the game, or (2) working under the assumption that their readers/viewers don’t care about/can’t understand a more nuanced analysis. Since I have very few readers/viewers, I don’t need to bother with such an assumption, so let me add a minimal amount of context.

I went over to Pro Football Reference to compare the games Reggie Bush missed to those he played in. Specifically, I looked at two key points: (1) the opponents’ final record, and (2) the opponents Defensive SRS, or Simple Rating System, which is [PFR’s quick-and-dirty measurement of team quality][3]. SRS is complicated to explain, but easy to understand: an average team should have an SRS of 0, better teams will have positive SRS ratings, and worse teams will have negative SRS ratings. SRS isn’t perfect, but it’ll do for this blog post.

I compared these stats for the 2007-2010 regular seasons. I ignored 2006 because Bush didn’t miss any games. A better analyst than I am with more time than I have would have looked at game-by-game offensive statistics, too, but such is life.

2007 (Reggie missed 4 games)

  • Average opponent wins in games Reggie played in: 8
  • Average opponent wins in games Reggie missed: 6.75
  • Average opponent defensive SRS in games Reggie played in: 0.26
  • Average opponent defensive SRS in games Reggie missed: -1.05

2008 (Reggie missed 6 games)

  • Average opponent wins in games Reggie played in: 8.8
  • Average opponent wins in games Reggie missed: 6.5
  • Average opponent defensive SRS in games Reggie played in: 0.93
  • Average opponent defensive SRS in games Reggie missed: -1.7

2009 (Reggie missed 2 games)

  • Average opponent wins in games Reggie played in: 6.86
  • Average opponent wins in games Reggie missed: 6.5
  • Average opponent defensive SRS in games Reggie played in: 0.71
  • Average opponent defensive SRS in games Reggie missed: 1.7

2010 (Reggie missed 8 games)

  • Average opponent wins in games Reggie played in: 8
  • Average opponent wins in games Reggie missed: 7
  • Average opponent defensive SRS in games Reggie played in: 0.21
  • Average opponent defensive SRS in games Reggie missed: -1.06

Overall, without 2006

  • Average opponent wins in games Reggie played in: 7.82
  • Average opponent wins in games Reggie missed: 6.75
  • Average opponent defensive SRS in games Reggie played in: 0.55
  • Average opponent defensive SRS in games Reggie missed: -0.98

Overall, including 2006

  • Average opponent wins in games Reggie played in: 7.7
  • Average opponent wins in games Reggie missed: 6.75
  • Average opponent defensive SRS in games Reggie played in: 0.34
  • Average opponent defensive SRS in games Reggie missed:-0.975

Even if you take ESPN’s stats at face value  and ignore the difficulties of comparing stats between years, the teams that Reggie faced were consistently better than the teams the Saints played without Reggie. You would expect the Saints to do better against the easier teams.

It would take more time than I have to really form an opinion, but there doesn’t appear be a lot of evidence that the Saints’ offense was any better with Reggie in the lineup than without, which is probably why they were comfortable trading him to Miami. Such is the life of a 3rd-down back who was scheduled to make almost $12 million.

[3]: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?p=37

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Reginald

With the lockout over and the offseason compressed into the next several weeks, the biggest question about the Saints is what they’ll do with Reggie Bush. Of course, the only reason that this is a big question is because he’s a big star. What the Saints will do, what they should do, is obvious: cut him.

Reggie Bush’s current contract will count about $16 million toward next year’s salary cap. The Saints have 29 free agents right now, including Roman Harper, Carl Nicks, Lance Moore, and less than $12 million of salary cap space to resign them. The best move is to let Reggie go, save about $12.5 million in cap space,  and use that money to try to keep the team competitive for the last few years of Drew Brees’ prime. Running backs are relatively easy to find, and there’s no reason to spend top dollar on one. Harsh, but true.

While it’s possible that Reginald might restructure his contract before the Saints cut him, I doubt it. If I were Bush, I’d try to see what I could get elsewhere, and perhaps give the Saints an unofficial chance to match the offer if I really wanted to play for Sean Payton. Reggie’s won a Super Bowl with the Saints, but hasn’t exactly had a stellar career. It’s probably time to move on.

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Come on, Peter King

I’ve been using the lockout to work on some other things, but this just drove me nuts. From this week’s [Monday Morning Quarterback][3]:

I think for the players who voted Philip Rivers the 26th-best player in the NFL and Ben Roethlisberger the 41st, I give you these little facts:

Won-lost record: Roethlisberger 69-26, Rivers 55-25.

Playoff record: Roethlisberger 10-3, Rivers 3-4.

Super Bowl wins: Roethlisberger 2, Rivers 0.

Touchdowns: Roethlisberger 144, Rivers 136.

I mean, just saying.

First of all, Roethlisberger has played in 15 more games than Rivers has, so I would argue the touchdown stat favors Rivers. Secondly: won-loss record? Playoff wins? That’s just goofy. There are 11 guys on offense, 11 on defense. Let’s not give the QB all of the credit.

(And don’t get me started on this “beer nerdness” feature)

See you when the season starts.

[3]: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/peter_king/06/19/mmqb/4.html

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Goodell the Black Knight?

I just found this footage of a conflict between ancestors of DeMaurice Smith (in white) and Roger Goodell (in black). I guess all Goodells have the same reaction to getting their butts kicked. Check it out:

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