A good read from: http://fivethirtyeight.com/

Why can’t we all calculate our Madden rating at home?  When will EA Sports release the rubric to measure it ourselves????


I’m Better Than 245 NFL Players At Catching Footballs

“Madden NFL 16” came out Tuesday, and with it a suite of new NFL player evaluations. The folks at Madden have a difficult job: finding a way to quantify hundreds of athletes on a range of skills to accurately represent a complicated game. But earlier this year, the Madden ratings team at EA Sports took a stab at something a little harder: quantifying the NFL readiness of a normal schlub.

That normal schlub was me.

I completed a bunch of drills, got my head scanned into the game, got a record-low Madden rating in essentially every possible category (all the ratings are between 0 and 100, with the best players in the game getting a coveted 99; I got an overall rating of 12). I watched as my inept avatar was mercilessly pounded into the turf by players at the extreme end of the athletic bell curve.

Lesson learned: Normal people can’t hack it in the NFL.

Evidently, though, I didn’t fully learn that lesson. Knowing the 2016 ratings would be released this month, I held on to a speck of hope that I would beat an NFL player — that some player would fall below my 12 overall rating. They still have preseason scrubs on the rosters, right?

But there was never any hope. I am still worse than everyone. I am still far worse than everyone. Joe Cardona, a long snapper for the New England Patriots, has the lowest overall rating. His is 47, about 4 times my rating.

Moreover, in the five major attributes that Madden rates — speed, acceleration, strength, agility and awareness — I was thoroughly crushed by every single person in the league. (Want to test this out in Madden 2016? I’ve provided my ratings at the bottom of this post. Make a player with my skill set, and if Madden isn’t hard enough for you already, give it a shot with me under center.)

The closest I got to victory in the five main categories was in strength. My strength rating — 15 — isn’t anything special, but Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski beat me by just 1 point.

But here’s the thing: There are dozens of other, less important player ratings — jumping, consistency, route running, etc. — and I was vetted in all of them. EA can’t scientifically rate every real NFL player in every single skill; the game designers have to make some assumptions in the absence of real data. What data does EA have to rate a rookie linebacker’s catching and throwing ability? Basically none. So for less important ratings, the game makers essentially guess.

That being said: I earned a catching rating of 29. There are 245 players who have a catching rating of 28 or less. Some are really good in other categories — linemen, quarterbacks and so on — but all of them have a sub-29 rating in catching.

I am not great at receiving.

walt_catch copy

But because this whole process has been such a blow to my ego, I’m going to claw back some self-regard. Below is an alphabetically sorted list of active NFL players who, according to Madden 2016, are worse than me at catching footballs.

Tony Romo, come at me bro.

Oday Aboushi (Jets, RT); Jared Allen (Bears, ROLB); Josh Allen (Buccaneers, C); Ryan Allen (Patriots, P); Tyson Alualu (Jaguars, LE); Derek Anderson (Panthers, QB); Geno Atkins (Bengals, DT); Jason Babin (Jets, ROLB); Chris Baker (Redskins, DT); Connor Barth (Broncos, K); Zane Beadles (Jaguars, LG); Will Beatty (Giants, LT); Nick Becton (Saints, RT); Tony Bergstrom (Raiders, LG); Joel Bitonio (Browns, LG); Conor Boffeli (Bears, RG); Taylor Boggs (Lions, C); Clint Boling (Bengals, LG); Alex Boone (49ers, RG); Alan Branch (Patriots, DT); Michael Brockers (Rams, DT); Josh Brown (Giants, K); Matt Bryant (Falcons, K); Bryan Bulaga (Packers, RT); Jermon Bushrod (Bears, LT); Marcus Cannon (Patriots, LT); Chris Canty (Ravens, RE); Shane Carden (Bears, QB); Alex Carrington (Bills, LE); Jurrell Casey (Titans, RE); Matt Cassel (Bills, QB); Josh Chapman (Colts, DT); Chris Clark (Broncos, RT); Chris Clemons (Jaguars, RE); Colin Cole (Panthers, DT); Willie Colon (Jets, LG); Britton Colquitt (Broncos, P); Dustin Colquitt (Chiefs, P); Matt Conrath (Steelers, LE); Kirk Cousins (Redskins, QB); Jermelle Cudjo (Lions, DT); Phil Dawson (49ers, K); David DeCastro (Steelers, RG); Mike DeVito (Chiefs, RE); Glenn Dorsey (49ers, DT); Demar Dotson (Buccaneers, LT); Vladimir Ducasse (Bears, RG); Dwan Edwards (Panthers, DT); Jahri Evans (Saints, RG); Tayo Fabuluje (Bears, RT); James Ferentz (Texans, C); D’Brickashaw Ferguson (Jets, LT); Ryan Fitzpatrick (Jets, QB); D.J. Fluker (Chargers, RT); Nick Foles (Rams, QB); Orlando Franklin (Chargers, LG); Zach Fulton (Chiefs, RG); Brandon Fusco (Vikings, RG); Blaine Gabbert (49ers, QB); Max Garcia (Broncos, C); Clifton Geathers (Steelers, RE); Adam Gettis (Giants, RG); Garrett Gilbert (Lions, QB); Marcus Gilbert (Steelers, RT); Garry Gilliam (Seahawks, RT); Mike Glennon (Buccaneers, QB); Mark Glowinski (Seahawks, LG); Eddie Goldman (Bears, DT); Kedric Golston (Redskins, LE); Robbie Gould (Bears, K); Kevin Graf (Eagles, RT); Hroniss Grasu (Bears, C); Garrett Grayson (Saints, QB); Tyronne Green (Panthers, RG); Ryan Groy (Bears, LG); Harland Gunn (Falcons, LG); Matt Hasselbeck (Colts, QB); Rob Havenstein (Rams, RT); Donald Hawkins (Dolphins, RT); Eric Herman (Giants, RG); Todd Herremans (Colts, RG); Sammie Hill (Titans, DT); Shaun Hill (Vikings, QB); Ziggy Hood (Jaguars, DT); Austin Howard (Raiders, RT); Jaye Howard (Chiefs, LE); Brian Hoyer (Texans, QB); John Hughes (Browns, RE); Tyson Jackson (Falcons, LE); Ja’Wuan James (Dolphins, RT); Sebastian Janikowski (Raiders, K); Ricky Jean Francois (Redskins, LE); Cullen Jenkins (Giants, LE); Antonio Johnson (Patriots, DT); Charles Johnson (Panthers, LE); Arthur Jones (Colts, RE); Chris Jones (Cowboys, P); Donnie Jones (Eagles, P); Jason Jones (Lions, LE); Marcel Jones (Ravens, RT); Linval Joseph (Vikings, DT); Mike Kafka (Vikings, QB); Ryan Kalil (Panthers, C); Senio Kelemete (Saints, LG); Darren Keyton (Lions, C); Daniel Kilgore (49ers, C); Sam Koch (Ravens, P); Michael Koenen (Buccaneers, P); Peter Konz (Falcons, C); Arie Kouandjio (Redskins, LG); T.J. Lang (Packers, RG); Spencer Lanning (Buccaneers, P); Ted Larsen (Cardinals, C); Shawn Lauvao (Redskins, LG); Shane Lechler (Texans, P); Andy Lee (Browns, P); Charles Leno (Bears, LT); Andy Levitre (Titans, LG); Patrick Lewis (Seahawks, C); Jeff Linkenbach (Dolphins, RG); Phil Loadholt (Vikings, RT); Cornelius Lucas (Lions, LT); Ryan Mallett (Texans, QB); Nick Mangold (Jets, C); Logan Mankins (Buccaneers, LG); Eli Manning (Giants, QB); Peyton Manning (Broncos, QB); Sean Mannion (Rams, QB); Jonathan Martin (Panthers, LT); Vaughn Martin (Chiefs, LE); Terrell McClain (Cowboys, DT); Jacques McClendon (Dolphins, C); Luke McCown (Saints, QB); Justin McCray (Titans, LG); Tony McDaniel (Seahawks, DT); Brandon Mebane (Seahawks, DT); Zach Mettenberger (Titans, QB); Roy Miller (Jaguars, DT); David Molk (Eagles, C); Eugene Monroe (Ravens, LT); Will Montgomery (Bears, C); C.J. Mosley (Dolphins, DT); Marshall Newhouse (Giants, LT); Derek Newton (Texans, RT); Nick Novak (Chargers, K); Mike Nugent (Bengals, K); Jared Odrick (Jaguars, DT); Cedric Ogbuehi (Bengals, LT); Michael Oher (Panthers, LT); Russell Okung (Seahawks, LT); Michael Ola (Bears, LG); Dan Orlovsky (Lions, QB); Kelechi Osemele (Ravens, LG); Brock Osweiler (Broncos, QB); Stephen Paea (Redskins, LE); Vinston Painter (Browns, LG); Tenny Palepoi (Chargers, RE); Carson Palmer (Cardinals, QB); Kevin Pamphile (Buccaneers, RT); Matt Paradis (Broncos, C); Jermey Parnell (Jaguars, RT); David Parry (Colts, DT); Erik Pears (49ers, RT); Domata Peko (Bengals, DT); Jeremiah Poutasi (Titans, RT); Manny Ramirez (Lions, LG); Jah Reid (Ravens, LG); Austin Reiter (Redskins, C); Joe Reitz (Colts, LT); Garrett Reynolds (Rams, RT); Philip Rivers (Chargers, QB); Travian Robertson (Redskins, RE); Corey Robinson (Lions, LT); Trevor Robinson (Chargers, C); Tony Romo (Cowboys, QB); Cairo Santos (Chiefs, K); Tom Savage (Texans, QB); Matt Schaub (Ravens, QB); Ryan Schraeder (Falcons, RT); Mitchell Schwartz (Browns, RT); Josh Scobee (Jaguars, K); George Selvie (Giants, RE); Tyler Shatley (Jaguars, RG); Danny Shelton (Browns, DT); Derek Sherrod (Chiefs, RT); A.Q. Shipley (Cardinals, C); Matt Simms (Bills, QB); Pat Sims (Bengals, DT); Matt Slauson (Bears, LG); Andre Smith (Bengals, RT); Antonio Smith (Broncos, RE); D’Anthony Smith (Seahawks, DT); Donovan Smith (Buccaneers, LT); Shelley Smith (Broncos, LG); Paul Soliai (Falcons, DT); Matthew Stafford (Lions, QB); Ricky Stanzi (Giants, QB); Donald Stephenson (Chiefs, RT); Devon Still (Bengals, DT); Byron Stingily (Titans, RT); Bryan Stork (Patriots, C); Zach Strief (Saints, RT); Caleb Sturgis (Dolphins, K); Ryan Succop (Titans, K); Darryl Tapp (Lions, RE); Lane Taylor (Packers, RG); Phil Taylor (Browns, DT); Cam Thomas (Steelers, LE); Robert Thomas (Redskins, DT); Brandon Thompson (Bengals, DT); Tyrus Thompson (Vikings, LT); Laken Tomlinson (Lions, LG); Justin Tuck (Raiders, LE); DeAngelo Tyson (Ravens, RE); Mitch Unrein (Chargers, DT); Bobby Vardaro (Vikings, RG); Dustin Vaughan (Cowboys, QB); Jared Veldheer (Cardinals, LT); Vance Walker (Broncos, LE); J.D. Walton (Dolphins, C); Greg Warren (Steelers, C); Brandon Washington (Rams, RT); Steve Weatherford (Giants, P); Jason Weaver (Bears, RT); J’Marcus Webb (Raiders, LT); Darrion Weems (Cowboys, LT); Ryan Wendell (Patriots, RG); Cody White (Texans, C); Andrew Whitworth (Bengals, LT); Daryl Williams (Panthers, RT); Kevin Williams (Saints, LE); Nick Williams (Chiefs, LE); Sylvester Williams (Broncos, DT); Trent Williams (Redskins, LT); C.J. Wilson (Raiders, RE); Brad Wing (Steelers, P); Brian Winters (Jets, LG); Stefen Wisniewski (Jaguars, C); Eric Wood (Bills, C); Al Woods (Titans, DT); Jarius Wynn (Bills, LE); T.J. Yates (Falcons, QB); Sam Young (Jaguars, LT); Dave Zastudil (Cardinals, P); Kevin Zeitler (Bengals, RG).

Well, that felt good.

Here were my individual ratings:

Overall 12
Speed 33
Strength 14
Agility 23
Acceleration 35
Awareness 10
Trucking 9
Elusiveness 10
Ball Carrier Vision 8
Stiff Arm 9
Spin Move 24
Juke Move 28
Carrying 15
Catching 29
Route Running 8
Catch in Traffic 14
Spectacular Catch 22
Release 7
Jumping 29
Throw Power 17
Short Accuracy 20
Mid Accuracy 13
Deep Accuracy 3
Throw on Run 15
Play Action 5
Kick Power 20
Kick Accuracy 10
Stamina 69
Injury 75
Toughness 40
Consistency 0
Tuck and Run trait Sometimes
Throw Ball Away trait Yes
Sense Pressure trait Paranoid
Force Pass trait Conservative
Tight Spiral trait No

Texans QB Ryan Mallett Slept Through Practice


Back-up QB for the Houston Texans, Ryan Mallett slept completely through morning practice today missing out on another opportunity to take less snaps than starting QB, Brian Hoyer.

Normally no one outside of Houston would’ve noticed that a Texans second-string QB took a long hungover nap, except that HBO’s Hard Knocks series aired it’s third episode on Tuesday that included head coach Bill O’Brien handing the starting job to Brian Hoyer on national TV.

  • Causing Mallett to look like a tiny puppy with a skinned knee.

Seriously, is there anything worse than losing out on your job in front of millions of TV viewers?

Now Mallett overslept and missed practice, not to kick a horse while he’s down but man does that sure make Coach O’Brien’s decision look like the right one.

Darryl Dawkins Returned To His Home Planet


Plant “Lovetron” has their king back, long-time NBA Center and greatest personality EVER, Darryl Dawkins has passed away at the age of 58.

If you don’t know much about the self-proclaimed basketball alien from “Lovetron”, then let me enlighten you.  The man was a superhero of an athlete that didn’t seem to be completely human, not to mention he ate backboards for breakfast and I assume he crapped lightning bolts lined with crashing thunder.

His human construct was formulated (out of a test-tube no doubt) with the highest grade athleticism, creativity and comedy imaginable.  He roamed the earth like a Marvel comic-book hero with a basketball in one hand, a detached basketball rim in his other and a cape fluttering in the constant breeze displaying his bigger-than-life prowess.


He was the first man in the NBA to NAME HIS DUNKS.  He was the first man in the NBA to SHATTER a backboard during a game (twice).  He was the first (and only) man in the NBA to be given a nickname by Stevie Wonder

After being chosen with the No. 5 overall selection in the 1975 NBA draft out of high school by the Sixers, Dawkins went on to spend 14 seasons in the league with the 76ers, the New Jersey Nets, the Utah Jazz and the Detroit Pistons.

He averaged 12 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game over the course of his career.  Even though he was never named to an *All-Star team (LOTS of good centers back then), he ranks seventh on the NBA’s all-time field-goal percentage list at 57.2 percent, according to Basketball-Reference.com.

*If there was fan voting back then, he would've made multiple all-star appearances.  As it were, he was competing against multi-year all-stars like Artis Gilmore, Moses Malone, Robert Parish, Bill Laimbeer, Ralph Sampson and Patrick Ewing.   

Dawkins entered the NBA strait out of high school, something that was amazingly uncommon at the time (1975).  I always found it weirdly coincidental that he AND Moses Malone were both players that came strait out of high school to the pros, both played for the 76ers (although not teammates) around the same time during an era when that just didn’t happen AND they both played center.  Malone was drafted to the ABA in 1974, then moved to the NBA in 1976.

  • There’s nothing else to that thought, I just always found it weird and basketball-nerdish I guess.  I’m a basketball geek, get over it.  

As a kid I remember my first introduction to Darryl Dawkins during my many, many hours of watching NBA highlight videos (before youtube) while I played out real game scenarios on my nerf hoop in the basement.  Thanks Mom and Dad for letting me destroy every single wall we had with footprints and body-imprints from my imaginary dunk contests on the plastic suction-cup hoop.  At one point the hoop was attached to a sliding glass door that lead outside, how I didn’t kool-aid man-burst and shatter through that thing breaking every bone in my body while dunking on Patrick Ewing, I’ll NEVER understand.

My favorite video at the time was the Frank Laden and pre-hooker-biting incident-Marv Albert-hosted VHS classic, “Dazzling Dunks and Basketball Bloopers”.  In it’s 1980’s corny-film brilliance somehow they managed to highlight the beauty of not only every dunk contest to date AND the league’s best in-game dunkers, but also bring me to hysterical laughter at the shenanigans of players like Dennis Rodman and personalities like Darryl Dawkins.  I memorized the entire video from beginning to end.  I’m serious:


Corny 80’s electronic synthesizer music leads us into Michael Jordan taking off from the freethrow line for a dunk.  Roll opening graphic, “Dazzling Dunks & Basketball Bloopers”.

Fade to:

Marv Albert:  “Welcome to the NBA’s Dazzling Dunks and Basketball Bloopers, I’m Marv Albert.”

Frank Laden:  “And I’m Dick Clark.”

HA!  I mean, who writes this stuff!?!?

Dawkins was the most memorable dunker of the time that wasn’t named Michael Jordan or Dominique Wilkins.  He named his dunks, he spoke in what seemed to be a secret basketball language that no one could quite decipher and he absolutely tore apart backboards.  What else could you possibly want?  How could you NOT love this guy!?!?

RIP Darryl Dawkins, you will be missed.  I hope you’re tearing apart backboards and making people laugh back on the planet Lovetron, you were truly one of the greatest characters ever in professional sports.

And just so you believe me about the Dazzling Dunks & Basketball Bloopers video:

At about minute-25 in the video, you’ll catch a glimpse of Dawkins.

Hard Knocks Gets Gross

Houston Texans Linebacker, Brian Cushing, went full-on “Monty Python – Meaning of Life” in the latest episode of HBO’s “Hard Knocks”.

Ready to be grossed out:


That was just the beginning, as Brian went on and on for several minutes.

Here’s the Full Money-shot:

Derrick Rose Could Be In Some Trouble


TMZ is reporting that Derrick Rose has been sued by a woman who claims Rose and two of his friends “drugged and gang raped her.”  The woman has remained anonymous to the public so far, although she claims that she and Rose dated off and on for several years.

According to TMZ’s report:

Rose’s accuser says the two continued to date until August 2013, when Rose and two friends, Ryan Allen and Randall Hampton (who is also Rose’s personal manager), invited her to Rose’s Beverly Hills house. She says there, they slipped a drug into her drink with the aim of raping her.

The plaintiff says she escaped the house with a friend, but later that night, Rose and his friends broke into her apartment and gang raped her while she was incapacitated. She says she remembers only “flashes” of the incident, but can remember the defendants forcibly raping her.

The accuser has said that she waited two years to take action because she was “ashamed and embarrassed” about it and worried about her “conservative family” finding out about the situation.

Derrick Rose and his attorneys have not made any public statements yet.

No matter how you shake this out, it’s bad for D-Rose, not to mention the accuser/victim.  I really hope the truth comes out and justice is served for all involved.  But the cynical side of me knows that isn’t always the case.

USC Coach Apologizes For Getting Beer-Drunk

We’ve all been there, had that one drink that put us over the edge of appropriate thought and lead to screaming out, “I will fight everyone in this room!  Who wants some of Debo?!?”


USC football coach, Steve Sarkisian made a mistake at a booster and alumni event recently, he got tanked off some kind of brown-water while “on medication” that made him yell and scream like a drunk Uncle on Thanksgiving.

Sarkisian”I took medication, mixed it with alcohol — not a lot, fortunately — and I responded in a way that was not acceptable.

He went on to mouth-slur a few comments about other schools in the Pac-12 as well, claiming, “They all suck”.  Sark was noticeably intoxicated on stage and was eventually given the hook by USC Athletic Director, Pat Haden.

Haden apparently reprimanded him right as Coach Sark was pulled off the stage:

Sark:  “Pat Haden talked to me after the event about my actions and I assured him this will not happen again.”

My thoughts:

  1. He’s a grown man at a party for HIS team with HIS Alumni and Boosters.  If he wants to get drunk and be a hammered-cheerleader for USC football, isn’t that the best place to do it??  I don’t hear any donors or alumni chiming in and saying their upset.  Who HASN’T done this to some extent or another?  (I know, I know….just keep reading…)
  2. The only reason this is an issue is because it was caught on camera and some USC nerd (who should be smacked around a bit) posted it publicly.  This kinda thing happens ALL THE TIME at college booster meetings and pep rallies.  (I promise, just keep reading…)
  3. On the other hand, Sarkisian IS supposed to be a leader and role model for everyone involved with the athletic program at USC.  So getting prom-date drunk and yelling out “fuckin fight on baby!” at a pep rally is probably in poor taste.  (There ya go, see I can be a mature adult)
  4. He should’ve known better than to get white-boy wasted and go all Al Pacino on a microphone in public, regardless of where it was.  You’re a public figure and a leader of under-21 year old college kids, you’re held to a higher standard than my creepy uncle after too many Jack and Cokes.  Be more responsible.  (Real adult talk right there)
  5. If you’re on medication, DON’T drink.  It’s that simple.  You’re a grown-ass man, come on.  (BOOM)

His team punished him by making him do up-downs til he sweat out the alcohol:

USC Quarter Back, Cody Kessler said Sark asked the team to give him punishment like he would them — which was up-downs. “He came back drenched in sweat.”

‘Straight Outta Compton’ Review: The Powerful And Explosive Story Of Gangsta Rap Pioneers N.W.A.

have you seen it yet!?!?!


Straight Outta Compton also happens to be straight outta current headlines. Opening the same week as more inner-city civil unrest unfolds on the first anniversary of the riots in Ferguson, MO that followed Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a white police officer, the showbiz biopic that charts the rise, fall, breakup, tragedies and social impact of gangsta rap pioneers N.W.A. is uncannily timed.

The fierce power of their lyrics in deadline-review-badge-pete-hammondanthems like “F**k The Police” actually seems now to be more prescient and hold more resonance than even in 1988, when this local Compton rap group broke through to the big time. But as I say in video review (click the link above), the story of the evolution of Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E into controversial musical superstars is a human one that doesn’t let up from start to finish, despite a near 2 1/2-hour running time.

On the…

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