Did I Figure Out How to Cheese an NFL Game?

LogoYou’re up one or two points with three minutes left. Both teams have all timeouts. 

I think I can guarantee you a win – by legally breaking the rules. Let me explain starting with a common football scenario.

For the purpose of this article, here’s the situation:

Screen Shot 2018-09-11 at 9.59.22 PM.png

I ask: can the Cowboys run out the clock?

Yes, by abusing a legal loophole in the way holding penalties are enforced.

First, we never think about the unguarded, easily accessible half of the field – there’s a half acre of land behind you.

Can you coordinate three (or four) plays who’s sole purpose is to average about negative-10 to -15 yards per play, with the goal to eat up the most time possible?

We know the longest duration plays in football are the wildly entertaining multi-lateral desperation end of game tries.

I googled “amazing lateral football:”

Cal-Stanford 1982 took 20 seconds
Duke Miami 2016 took 46 seconds
Trinity Millsaps 2007 took 1:02

No I’m not linking you to the video. It’s not the point. If you want, google “amazing lateral football.” Now focus.

The scenario: 

Screen Shot 2018-09-11 at 9.59.22 PM

You’ll see something like this:

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But what about this? (P) for Dak Prescott and (Z) for Ezekiel Elliot

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Note the location of Prescott. More than 10-15 yards deep with Elliot taking the snap in the wildcat.

With Zeke and Dak acting like sprinters passing a baton, coordinate a play where at the last safe opportunity, Zeke pitches it to Dak somewhere, say, around the 25 yardline. Now, maybe eight seconds in, you have a wide open field and a mobile quarterback with coordinated protection AND one remaining forward pass.

Now, coordinate your play not for the purpose of gaining yards, but finding space.

Defensive exhaustion is a trend in those miracle plays I didn’t link you. If the offense can survive the first 10-15 seconds, can Tavon Austin alternate with Zeke for four 50-second plays?

BUT COREY HOLY SHIT WHAT IF you fumble the ball or it goes horribly wrong?

Yes.

BUT COREY WHAT IF there’s a penalty? Forty seconds is a long time to play perfect football.

And here’s my headline…

It doesn’t matter. 

A penalty “penalizes” you in yards, not time. What if you don’t care about yards?

It’s 1st & 10 at midfield. I’m just out of field goal range up one point with 3:00 left. They have Tom Brady and three timeouts.

So what if I hold?

So what if every single offensive player holds their defender and gets flagged?

(I understand this makes a total mockery of the game. I ask for the purposes of this article to leave that emotion out, because I totally get it. I don’t really “want” to see this either).

You can only enforce a maximum of one (non-unsportsmanlike) penalty per play. Eleven offensive players hold, Zeke/Tavon run around like mad men and it takes the defense however long to bring em down.

Maybe you score a touchdown that gets taken back (45 seconds?). Maybe you lose 15 yards (45 seconds)?

Again, who cares?

Belichick, there’s now 2:20 left. You’re down one. You can give them:

1st & 25 (own 35)
2nd & 30 (own 30)

Even if it’s 2nd & 20, the correct play in this situation is to decline the penalty to bring the team closer to fourth down.

So eleven players hold, and you’ll decline the penalty.

But over the course of that play, if just ONE player on the Patriots commits ANY penalty…

Offset penalties. Redo down. You don’t get those 40 seconds back.

My team can break the rules. Your team must abide by all – perfectly – for 4x longer than you’re used to.

Okay let’s say the Patriots played penalty-free ball for the whole play.

Second down. Same thing. Took 40 seconds. 1:30 left at the two-minute warning.

Back to the obvious criticism this article spoon-feeds: there’s so much that can go terribly wrong.

• You can fumble – and a fumble in so much space will end as a defensive touchdown more often than regular fumbles (disregarding holding disadvantage)
• You can fail to run out the clock
•This will cause fights – can your team contain themselves when they get a cheap shot by a Patriot retaliating for a perspectively bush-league holding penalty

And pro-football reference gives a broad estimate of 80% chance Cowboys would win this game if played out normally.Screen Shot 2018-09-11 at 9.16.46 PM.png

But what if my example gives you, say, a 90% chance to win the game? Or higher?

The first team to do this also has the element of surprise. Can a team run a two-minute play? How long until the defense realizes for the first time in their football life their opponent has negative interest in advancing the ball net-forward.

The holding penalties would stop the clock, rendering Belichick’s timeouts meaningless. I can hold maybe eight or nine Patriots per play. And it doesn’t matter. You can’t get that time back. Penalties in football are designed to assume you’re trying to advance the ball forward on every play.

Well what if I don’t want to?

Judging the Value of a Low Anxiety Leader

Anxiety Girl
Anxiety Girl – Able to jump to the worst conclusion in a single bound. lol

We all get “anxiety,” right? Interview comes up, a promising second date, or maybe it’s the dentist’s office. Just like any other emotion it has a real purpose – anxiety’s being partially “You need to put your attention here now.” Just like how fear is motivating or laughing supresses the release of stress hormones.

And just like almost anything, too much of one emotion can get the best of you. Heartbreak? Exhaustion? Sorrow? Gluttony? Pride? Wrath?…

Seemingly unrelated, modern media has become a barbell mentality – Do you lean way left or do you lean way right. When was the last time CNN made a legitimate point on a potential benefit of a right-leaning theory? Fox News – to the left. The answer is always somewhere in the middle but we don’t want to admit that because it hurts our ego and we think it hurts our credibility.

No, it enhances it. A goal of TimeToSchein is to use contrarian thinking to limit our subconscious biases and help shift thought back toward a bell curve mentality.

Because fear drives the barbell and fear drives your attention.

And Fear:Anxiety::Peanut Butter:Jelly.

The cultural significance of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World (live)” was amplified by the time of its release: 1967 – President’s assassination still fresh in America’s mind, Vietnam War internal strife, only a few years removed from the Cuban Missle Crisis.

It didn’t matter whether you were a hippie or a cop. There was a national overload of anxiety. Both sides would have agreed, “Yeah we can use a bit of a cease fire.”

What a wonderful world.

There are countless reasons why you can dislike Obama or still hate the ideologies either George Bush brought to the White House.

But I’m anti-anxiety. America’s levels are too high at least partially due to the immediate access we have to global information paired with the connection negativity and fear has to clicks and attention.

When I started this article, I intended to connect this to how Aaron Judge’s calm and stability is disproportionately more beneficial to the New York Yankees than it would to the average-market team. Even if he goes 0-9, 6K and the Yankees get swept, there’s a signal to the fact quiet leaders succeed at a higher rate in high-anxiety New York City. Derek Jeter, Joe Torre, and yes, Eli Manning. That was to be paralleled with how America would disproportionately benefit from, right now, a low-anxiety leader.

Personally, I struggle with the fresh baked fear and anxiety modern news and my President’s unpredictability tend to throw at me on a daily basis. The only thing that helps me is to talk it out.

Because what we have is a high-anxiety leader. And you can’t predict the waves, but you can learn how to surf.

So this article isn’t about how Aaron Judge will be fine. And how his misleading strikeouts in this ALCS have come on pitches gravely low considering his 6’7″ frame. Or how our President is X-adjective.

This article is instead my personal attempt to limit the anxiety my president tends to throw at me on a daily basis. And maybe conscious attempts to see a wonderful world can help. We still have hamburgers and ice cream, we don’t have to worry about polio, we have a GPS on our computer-phones, and we know the eclipse is not God’s attempt at punishment. As much as I’d love to connect our president to the hurricanes and wildfires, there’s science now.

So in 2017, the year of anxiety, what is the value of negating or limiting the overloaded emotions with which a person, team, or country are dealing?

To me, that’s for the leader to decide.

 

Yankees Fans Are Comfortable With Being Confident. Learn from Us.

aid61482-v4-728px-Be-a-New-York-Yankees-Fan-Step-1-Version-4#RKOI is a popular hashtag on instagram. It stands for “rich kids of instagram.” Cars, homes, jewels, bags, etc. Through no fault of their own, these children were born on third base, unbeknownst a genuine struggle some strive their lives to achieve. The Super Sweet 16s, disproportionate equilibrium of normalcy, and your feeling that if you’re going to wear the cost of my college tuition on your pinky, it is humanly impossible to comprehend the distance of our versions of “hard work.”

And that is jealousy.

And I was that kid.

The sports version.

Yes in 1996 I was six years old and finally able to comprehend sports. A third-generation New Yorker the Yankees were my favorite team because they were my father’s and grandfather’s as well.

When you’re six the adults let you win, you get A+’s, and you always get a trophy.

And the Yankees win the World Series. And again, and again, and again.

So in 2000 when the Mets played the Yankees in the world series. I was the #RKOI. I knew the Mercedes would be mine once I turned 16 and I knew Daddy could get me out of any major trouble should the situation arise.

And I knew the Yankees would win.

To my fifth grade Mets fan contemporaries I’d say “Of course you’re not going to beat the Yankees, but that’s not fair why should you expect to?” It was undertones of confusion, not narcissism, sympathy, not superiority.”

Go to @RKOIofficial, their account says “we’re young, we’re beautiful, and dirty rich.” As a blue collar worker or someone else in the 99% it’s hard to see the (interior) “beautiful” of those fortunate enough to don the #.

But if you’re in the club, you can. This is why Selena Gomez and Biebs give it a shot and why in general the rich and fortunate marry each other. It’s a rich+confidence factor. And if you want to know what that feels like, get comfortable with it.

Because there are some really nice rich people, some really smart assholes, and some very human <insert race> people. And you should learn how to be friends with all three and its accompanying etc. You’ll learn a lot.

Their team is down 2-0 in a best of five series and it’s probably their manager’s fault. In the previous inning they finally got a leadoff runner on but was promptly erased by an Aaron Hicks double play. Now their one shot at keeping this game scoreless is Masahi-oooook that’s now a triple with 1 out.

What does your fanbase do?

Through a lifetime of disappointment and venom towards the successful, Mets fans, Utley just knocked a triple off the wall. Don’t the groans start immediately? Phillies fans, it’s the first inning and Chipper Jones just put the Braves up 3-0. Here…we gooooo….again….

I was at the Wild Card game when the Yanks went down 3-0. It got louder.

Don’t mistake arrogance for confidence.

Last night after Kipnis’ one-out triple, on a ball that could have been caught, the fans got louder. The collectively smart Yankees fan base knows success requires support. Because they’re comfortable with it.

The Yankees didn’t win last night because Tanaka ended up getting out of that inning. Tanaka didn’t get out of that inning because the crowd was positive. But maybe in the duration of time after Dozier’s triple and Tanaka’s next pitch, a mental ability to stay positive and focused was facilitated by a smart, confident, and professional fan base. The Yankees won 1-0 yesterday and are going into a series down 2-1 with more confidence than I’ve seen from a team in a similar situation.

Still, baseball’s inherent volatility based strongly in the randomness of the day-to-day starting pitcher, the Yankees have less than a 50% chance to advance. But over the course of a season, decade, and franchise, is a fan base going to have a tangible, yet unknown effect on their team. You’re damn right.

Embrace confidence. Mets fans, we root for you. Yes, we’re the #RKOI, and you’ll want your kids to be one, too.

Love him or hate him, Carlos Gomez is just what Milwaukee needs

Tell me the last time you watched part of a Milwaukee Brewers game. You can’t, unless it was this:

or this

There are the Yankees and Dodgers and Red Sox and Cardinals, then your Rangers/Braves/Tigers/Pirates, and then the Brewers, Royals, Rays, and Padres – teams you think of last when doing this trivia question.

But Carlos Gomez has altered this. Whether you like him or not, Gomez’s short fuse and propensity to get under opponents’ skin has shed his vulnerability to indifference, a trait too easy to tag to anyone who plays in Wisconsin, no offense.

Bernie Mac didn’t play for the Red Sox or Phillies in Mr. 3000. He played for the Milwaukee Brewers; it was slightly more expensive than making up an MLB team #LikeMike.

Maybe you love Carlos Gomez. Maybe you don’t. But if you’re familiar with his work over the last ten months, it’s hard to not have an opinion on him. Indifference is a television program’s worst nightmare.

When was the last time you had a reason to watch the Milwaukee Brewers. Any Robin Yount fans reading this?

In TV, it’s all about the ratings, and Gomez has finally given the Brewers a semblance of attraction to the average fan. Brewers ratings will be a a tad higher this year than any since their playoff push in 2008. I’ll guarantee it.

Maybe the Mets should have held on to this guy…

2014 MLB AL Preview, Team by Team

Bias disclosed, I’m a Yankees fan, and I haven’t felt this confident about my team in a long time. Letting Cano go was the best thing for New York. While a great talent, he’s not the gold standard for leadership nor hustle. I think the Mariners will regret this move in a few years.

Brian McCann is a leader and can command a pitching staff. Carlos Beltran is another great locker room guy and someone who can exude contagious confidence in the postseason.

If everyone stays healthy, this team will have both the talent and mental drive to make a serious postseason push. The last five World Series champions did not make the playoffs that preceding year.

This team always seems to be having fun; watch Wil Myers, one of the top breakout players in 2013. If James Loney has broken out of his shell for good and Evan Longoria stays healthy, the Rays can win 90 games. We’ll see if their young pitching can repeat last year’s performance.

I still feel they’ll finish third behind the Yankees and Red Sox.

I’m expecting a down year for Baltimore, heavily due to their intradivision competition. I love any team coached by Buck Showalter and we know what a stud Manny Machado is, but the O’s didn’t improve their roster nor rotation. Chris Davis and Machado will not be enough to win this year.

On paper, the Blue Jays have a representative club. But they strike out too much and seem to go for the long ball. Mark Buehrle looked lost last year, R.A. Dickey will have an average season, and their package won’t be enough to compete with the rest of the division.

They lack a winning team attitude, probably a by-product of 20 years experience AL East dumpster diving. I’m struggling to make a case why the Blue Jays will win more than 83 games. I don’t think they’ll go .500.

A World Series hangover is the only way the Red Sox won’t have an outstanding season. It just seemed the Red Sox had the ability to win every game late last year. They had an “it” factor. The beards bred team camaraderie. Dustin Pedroia drove team focus and was a leader on the field.

Pitching is the Red Sox’s only suspect category. Ryan Dempster’s sabbatical means Clay Buchholtz must stay healthy and John Lackey needs to prove last year wasn’t a fluke. Jon Lester should remain the ace he is. A 180-degree turn from 2012, a Yankees fan can only hope they come a full 360 here in 2014, but that won’t happen.

Aside from a few good moves to acquire Matt Davidson and Adam Eaton, there’s not too much to look forward to. Tyler Flowers was one of the top rookies of 2013 and should be their full-time catcher. The 27-year old strikes out too much but seems coachable and very talented. Chris Sale is the team’s most marketable and watchable player.

The skinny lefty had a great 2013 despite his 11-14 record. He’ll be the ace of the staff and probably one of the team’s few bright spots this year.

Norichika Aoki is a player that will make any team better. Last year he hit close to .290, stole 20 bases, played a good outfield, and walked more than he struck out. But they gave up their only young potential starter in Will Smith. Omar Infante is another good signing, but it won’t be enough.

It seems year after year the Royals go into the season with little to no expectations. Don’t we all just want to see them do well, just for once?

Any team coached by Terry Francona will be a solid one. A player’s manager, he’s a perfect fit in Cleveland. Jason Kipnis leads the list of young Indians ball players. Last year, no Indians starter threw to an ERA over 4.04. Justin Masterson is back and will lead the club.

There is nothing I don’t like about this team. A young, tight core getting only a kitten’s feed of postseason play, I expect Cleveland to channel last year’s disappointment into perpetual focus in 2014. They are my AL dark horse.

I think the Tigers won the Ian Kinsler deal. Austin Jackson strikes out too much for a leadoff hitter, and this deal allows Miguel Cabrera to chill out a bit back at first base. Kinsler’s disclosed displeasure of the deal means he’ll come out with a little extra in 2014.

It doesn’t seem Verlander’s current issue should be a factor once the season starts. And with arguably the top pitcher in the league, well see if Max Scherzer can once again lead the Tigers past the Indians. Those two teams should make for a great race come September.

The Twins made some nice pickups this offseason. Kurt Suzuki, Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes. Nothing that will propel them past the Tigers or Indians. The Twins will most likely settle for third in the division.

Los Angeles Angels It seems the general consensus in the aftermath of the Mark Trumbo deal was the Angles got the best in the deal. And they did get a few solid pitchers in Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs. But giving up a 30/100 guy isn’t easy, especially when you should expect almost nothing from Albert Pujols nor Josh Hamilton.

Still, a solid starting rotation and a representative starting lineup should give this team a chance in what is probably the worst division in the American League.

Houston Astros

Technically they’re in first place right now

Josh Donaldson gave us some great moments last year. Most notably his tarp catch (here). He hit over .300 and lead the team with 93 RBIs. Yoenis Cespedes showed his value in the second half, Brandon Moss gives them power, and Josh Reddick’s beard came through with a  lot of big moments. Scott Kazmir was a very good sign.

If their young staff can find a way to make it work, the bullpen (now featuring former Orioles closer Jim Johnson) will be enough to compete for the division title.

Robinson Cano’s signing was the big splash of the winter. They got a gold-caliber player, but I feel they’ll regret this signing earlier than later. Cano never took it upon himself to hustle nor call out a teammate for their lack of it. An immense talent, well see if a leader emerges elsewhere on the team – something tough to do when the clear-cut best player is not that type. He got his money, and no one can take it away from him. Let’s see if he gives 100%.

Prince Fielder, Shin Soo Choo, Daniel Bard: Three acquisitions I love, Choo my favorite. Wherever Choo has played, he puts up consistent 20/70/.290 numbers. A hard worker, Choo will be an excellent fit on a team with a certain playoff chance. If Daniel Bard can control his 99mph fastball, he’ll be a great setup man for Joe Nathan.

Carmelo Anthony Will Never Win an NBA Title

Carmelo Anthony Frustrated

Carmelo Anthony is a victim of his own talent. He knows on any given play, he is the best shooter on the floor. Therefore, the more I shoot, the more points my team will score.

It doesn’t work like that. While the thought process is sound, that mindset breeds a byproduct of poisonous intangibles that sap his teammates of confidence and rhythm.

Anthony’s play does not make his teammates better. His game is one-on-one, post up, and find a shot inside 17 feet: which is something at which he is amazing. I want to take nothing away from his level of talent.

But when he’s scoring, no one else is engaged. So once Carmelo starts missing, his teammates look lost. They think, not react. The LeBron vs. Carmelo debate is long over, and LeBron wins due in part to their mindset once they touch the ball:

Carmelo: How can I score
LeBron: How can my team score

When Carmelo Anthony is one-on-one in the post, watch his whole focus shift to scoring. Watch his teammates stand around. They know they’re probably not touching the ball, creating a disconnect between his talent and (lack of) on-court leadership. LeBron/Kevin Durant/Paul George are always looking up, scouting the floor.

Carmelo Anthony’s style of play is conducive to winning regular season games. His only formula that ends with and NBA championship is a utopian postseason performance in which he shoots an impeccable percentage from the field. Against postseason-caliber defenses, it won’t happen.

The only way I can see him winning is if he finds it in his game to reserve himself into a #2 role, something I don’t think he’ll be willing to do until he’s well into his 30’s.

From a Knicks fan’s perspective (myself) the most frustrating part about his game is his schizophrenic defense. Watch his defense from his 62-point outburst against the Bobcats: Impeccable. He stays with his man and has that killer instinct in his eye. But when he’s missing, his defense slacks and he becomes visibly frustrated at first chance.

No offense = bad defense, a lethal cocktail if you’re trying to win an NBA championship. Seemingly, when their leader sags off, the Knicks follow suit which leads to a mess on the court and a 20-32 record off it.

Two days ago Carmelo missed yet another potential game-winning or game-tying jump shot late in the game: a shot literally everyone knew was coming. He never drives to the hoop in that situation. Never scans the court for an open teammate. He jab steps until he gets a little space, takes a fadeaway 18-footer and hopes it goes in.

Stephen A. Smith put it nicely: The Knicks are losing with him. They Knicks can lose without him.

I agree. I would rather see a group of scrappy, cohesive athletes. I want to see what these young kids can do – Tim Hardaway, Iman Shumpert, Jeremy Tyler. Their talent and growth is retarded via Anthony’s level of talent.

In maybe the most stacked NBA draft in years, the Knicks will be without a draft pick. Why not #LetMeloGo? I’m sorry, but this experiment failed. Package Carmelo and get a first round draft pick. Let’s get some teamwork. I’m sick of one-on-one basketball. It doesn’t work.

 

North Korea, Dennis Rodman May Be the Most Important Person in America

I started following basketball just as the Chicago Bulls were starting phase two of their eight-year dynasty. That team was fun to watch. If Michael Jordan wasn’t enough for you (career highlights), every game could be one when enforcer Dennis Rodman lost his mind. Like on January 15, 1997, when he kicked cameraman Eugene Amos in the groin after tripping over him.

Rodman was undersized at his position, yet is one of the greatest rebounders of all time due to perpetual aggression and determination. He has to be one of the five most intimidating basketball players of all time; definitely one of the five most unique.

Dennis Rodman dyed his hair a different color(s) before every game. I like Bert adjacent to the top left corner
Dennis Rodman dyed his hair a different color(s) before every game

In 2013 Rodman made his first, second, and third trips to North Korea. Dubbed the Hermit Kingdom, it is a country of total dictatorship, where failure to worship the “Supreme Leader” results in the death or imprisonment of not just you but your extended family.

The dictator’s face is everywhere. The documentary Inside Undercover In North Korea (here) takes you through the ten-day journey of a doctor traveling through North Korea to treat blind patients. At one point the crew was granted camera access inside a typical North Korean home. Family pictures were non-existent, but in seemingly every room there was a picture of Kim Jong-un. You watch them bow down, but their passion while doing so conveys how  commonplace and ritualistic it is throughout the country.

I imagine telling a North Korean they’re brainwashed would be the same reaction of a North Korean trying to genuinely convince me the Earth is flat. In their heads, they are infinitely lucky to be a part of the greatest country in the universe. “Juche” is a well-known slogan of unification in North Korea. To the outside world, that translates to “Up yours.”

Kim Jong-un’s hatred toward America is well known. He has recently threatened America with nuclear weapons and still blames America for the separation of Korea over a half-century ago. Anti-American nursery rhymes are taught to kids the way we may teach Ring Around the Rosy to ours (technically, we are still in the Korean War. North Korea never signed papers to formally end it, so legally we are in a half-century cease fire).

But Kim Jong-un is an admitted fan of the 1990s Bulls franchise, enough to break the ice with a high-profile American for the first time. He could have picked anyone else. Something drew him to Dennis Rodman. Remember when he wore a dress to promote his autobiography?

But it may be a perfect wedding. Both seem to live in their respective internal realities, and maybe this is the first time both Rodman and Kim Jong-un have found someone else that “gets it.” Rodman seems to have little genuine desire to talk politics, and maybe that’s a breath of fresh air for the Supreme Leader of Earth’s most mysterious country.

Maybe Rodman is so unique he is the only person in the world Kim Jong-un has ever connected with. Rodman doesn’t give in to national pressure to question the dictator’s politics (CNN outburst here), and if Rodman wants to take it slow and develop a true friendship then why not? “Finally, someone isn’t trying to criticize me or my country,” and Rodman is so different I truly believe he’s being genuine. Where maybe no one has understood Kim Jong-un his whole life, maybe this is an opportunity for the dictator to make his first “true friend.”

What if this works? What if Kim Jong is so flattered by Rodman he finagles a United States interaction with North Korea. What if Rodman’s friendship leads to communication. What if Rodman’s friendship  keeps Kim Jong from pulling the trigger on a nuclear weapon on the United States.

Kim Jong-un hand selected Rodman. Either way you look at it, the bottom line is a friendship is forming. Rodman’s “Up yours” attitude toward his sea of American critics will fuel his fire to befriend the dictator. All stars may have aligned.

I can see it now. “Class, please turn to page 167. Here we will see how 200 years ago Dennis Rodman initiated peace between America and North Korea.”