By Connor Child
*Connor Child is a tech professional and talented writer. Very often he lends his talents to WLF. Connor has studied and worked in the fields of finance, marketing, and economics. Aside from his work experience, Connor hosts a very successful sports podcast with his brother, McCade. The podcast was recently listed on iTunes as one of the most popular in its genre. You can download it here: Did You Know About Sports?
When Alec Baldwin launched his podcast in 2011, it’s a shame there was already a well-known show called “Pardon the Interruption.” It would have been the perfect name for his bimonthly gabfest with various politicians, entertainers and athletes. The man interrupts his guests so often that Kornheiser and Wilbon ought to consider suing him for copyright infringement.
(Side note: I love Alec Baldwin as a performer. He gave us Jack Donaghy, one of the top three TV characters of all time, as well as several pantheon Saturday Night Live skits.)
Nonetheless, Pardon the Interruption was already taken, so Baldwin chose to name his show Here’s the Thing. Aside from his constant interrupting, it’s a decent program with a lot of interesting guests.
I bring this up because a few months ago, he spoke with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. At one point in their conversation, he lectured Luck on what made Joe Namath such a great quarterback.
“When you watch Namath, you never saw somebody throw the ball on the dead run to their receiver (with such accuracy)…(His receiver) never had to break stride and that ball would hit him in the tips of his fingers on the dead run and he would take it into the end zone.”
Unfortunately for Baldwin, the stats don’t back up that claim. For his career, Namath completed just 50.1 percent of his passes (a hair better than the legendary anti-marksman Tim Tebow’s 47.9 percent) and threw more interceptions (220) than touchdowns (173). But since he came through on a guarantee to win a Super Bowl as a massive underdog, sports fans lump him into the Montana/Brady/Marino tier. His stats more closely resemble those of Jeff George, one of the punching bag QB’s of my youth. For his career, George completed 57.9 percent of his passes and had 154 TD’s versus 113 INT’s. You’re darn right I just compared Broadway Joe to a player who was once derisively nicknamed Boy George.
Sports fans, and society as a whole, are constantly getting smarter. We have more information at our hands, and this knowledge we accumulate dispels biases and enlightens us to new ways of thinking. Yet we become delusional dogmatists when it comes to certain aspects, especially winning. Joe Namath was a fine player who had the highest of highs, but aside from a couple of years he was never a perennial dominant force. But since he got a big win, decades later we still laud him as one of the all timers.
A friend of mine recently indicated on his Facebook wall that LeBron James may be as good as Michael Jordan. This set off a predictable firestorm of comments from people disagreeing with him: Michael Jordan has six championships! LeBron only has two! LeBron had to team up with two All Stars, and Michael built his teams from the ground up! LeBron isn’t as clutch as MJ! LeBron is an outspoken supporter of animal cruelty! (Only one of those rebuttals is fake.) For your sanity, I won’t go into a detailed statistical analysis to determine which player is better (I might do that another day). I just want to point out how shortsighted it is to use “number of championships” as your sole metric when comparing two players. People make other arguments in favor of MJ, but the trump card is always those six championships. A better question – is 28-year-old LeBron as good as Michael was when he was 28? (In my opinion: absolutely). Of course MJ has more titles than LeBron – LeBron still has a lot of seasons to play.
I fully recognize that this is all silly nonsense. Why burn calories determining if one obscenely rich basketball player is better than another obscenely rich basketball player? I guess I just have lost my patience for the lack of nuance people have when making arguments – about sports, politics, movies, Mac versus PC, Jets versus Sharks, Ryan Seacrest versus Brian Dunkleman, or Zach versus Slater. Things are rarely black-and-white, and appreciating stuff in its full context will lead to more meaningful dialogues unobstructed by fallbacks like “Mike has 6 championships! End of discussion!”
And since I just used the words “things” and “stuff” in the same sentence, I better end this post before I really get sloppy and move on to clichés like “at the end of the day” or “it is what it is.”