Tuesday, October 30, 2012

People I Hate: Hub Arkush

In case you all don't remember, last offseason I was bored and started a feature called "People I Hate" to kill time in the offseason. It basically added up to three rants about Dave Wannstedt, Trent Dilfer, and Brian Griese before I forgot about it and moved on.

Today I'm bringing it back for a very special reason: I can't f*&king stand Hub Arkush. In the past I've always found him a minor irritation, but now that the Bears are 6-1 he can't wait to stand in front of the crowd and scream that they're a bunch of frauds. I've decided to tell you why you (and everyone else) have no reason to listen to a damn thing Hub Arkush has to say.

For those unfamiliar with Hub, let me run down a typical radio appearance by Hub:

Chicago Sports Talk Show Host: Hub, what did you think of the Bears on Sunday?

Hub: Well I think a narrow win over a team that had been 1-5 showed you all of the Bears flaws and why they aren't an elite team.

Chicago Sports Talk Show Host: Who would you consider elite?

Hub: Green Bay, New York, San Francisco, Houston, even though all of them could have the exact same arguments about inconsistent offenses, close wins over mediocre teams, or poor scheduling that I'll use against the Bears. The Bears are a "good team" (be sure to say this in the most condescending manner possible) but they're not elite.

(Chicago Sports Talk Show Host If Any of Them Had Balls: So you had the 9-7 Giants who were outscored in the regular season winning the Superbowl last year? Hey, didn't you pick the Chiefs to go to the superbowl this year?)

Chicago Sports Talk Show Host In Real Life: Great points, Hub. All of them. This is why you're our Bears expert.

Now that you're caught up to speed, let's run down the reasons why Hub is as big of a fraud as he'd like you to think the Bears are:

1) He's not an expert at anything. 

If you look at Hub's record you'll see that he's never worked in an NFL front office, never played football at a high level, and was actually fired as Bears color commentator, which is a remarkable accomplishment considering the ineptitude they put up with every year from Jeff Joniak. Hub got the job in the first place because his dad founded Pro Football Weekly, an NFL magazine that projected Blaine Gabbert as a better player than Cam Newton and generally ranks among the least accurate of all magazines in preseason predictions. Basically, Hub's credentials boil down to the fact that he was paid to watch a lot of Bears games from 1987-2004. I know plenty of people who did that for free and don't get to appear on seven radio shows a week for it. You know why you shouldn't take a fired color commentator too seriously? If you do, you get Matt Millen.

2) He was FIRED by the Bears, and no one ever seems to notice that this might influence his judgement. 

Sure, his "contract wasn't renewed" or whatever they used to make it sound mutual, but this was a man who obviously has reasons to harbor bitterness at the organization, and it's never even considered worth mentioning by the people who take him as gospel on all things Bears.

3) He's never changed his opinion on anything, and any wrong predictions he's made are rarely brought up. 

Earlier this year he said it was "too early" to give up on Blaine Gabbert while trashing Shea McClellin as a guy playing out of position. McClellin racked up another 2 hurries on Sunday, making him roughly 1000x more productive in his career to this point than a guy like Blaine Gabbert, but oh well, Hub says McClellin's a 3-4 backer and LOL at the Bears for thinking otherwise. When people ask why Hub's opinion of McClellin is so low, he says "watch the tape," as though no one else but him has access to NFL game film and others who do (like Pro Football Focus, a stats side used by actual front offices in decision-making, something I guarantee you no one's ever looked at Pro Football Weekly for, who consider Shea a plus pass rusher so far this year) completely disagree with his observations. His condescension for you, average Joe fan who CLEARLY hasn't seen THE TAPE (even if the All-22 package is available to guys like, oh, I don't know, me) is never-ending.

Point three brings me to the real reason Hub set me off today, which is

4) What the fuck is an elite team, Hub, and why should I trust your evaluation? 

I went over this a lot in 2010 when people said the Bears don't "seem" elite. At least in 2010 the Bears almost always won close games and had a relatively low point differential. The 2012 Bears are top ten in scoring, top two in scoring defense, top two in point and turnover differential, tops in takeaways, top ten in rushing, and top ten in total yardage allowed on defense. Their ranking in passing yardage is shitty, but can you honestly tell me there are that many teams out there who can claim that kind of resume to this point in the season?

This, of course, will lead to Hub's claim that the Bears haven't beaten anybody. Nevermind the fact it isn't like this team has come out of nowhere this year. They're  25-9 in their last 34 games with Cutler at quarterback and we're STILL supposed to believe a weak schedule is the only cause? Besides that, as other's have noted, the Bears, with one win over a team with a winning record (the Colts), aren't that far from the Giants (one win over a team with a winning record), the Falcons (one win), the Packers (two wins), the 49ers (two wins), the Texans (two wins) or any of the other teams just presumed to be elite. We'll put this question to rest in a few weeks anyway, but it's absurd to continue to act like the Bears are the only contender cruising through a soft schedule

All of this, is, again, besides my main point that the elite team argument is stupid almost every year. The average record of the last five Superbowl winners is 11-5. Very few of those teams were deemed to be "elite" in the middle of the regular season when history continually shows that simply gaining entrance to the postseason alone is all that matters.

Lastly, and I cannot emphasize this enough, Hub picked the fucking Chiefs to be the AFC's Superbowl representative this year. Are we really supposed to smile and nod along when he points out how the Bears are clearly a flawed contender? After That? Hell no.

So please, Chicago fans, radio hosts, weekly sports talk shows, and every one else, just know that every time I hear a sentence start with "well Hub Arkush said...." that you're basically saying "Here comes a healthy dose of old school, unquantifiable cliched bullshit with a strong, butthurted anti-Bears tinge."

Eat shit, Hub.