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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Rick Morrissey's First Annual Pre-Draft Mental Collapse

The draft is upon us! In just a few short hours, young men from around the country will gather in hilarious suits, and together go forth unto their destiny. Rick Morrissey is so excited, and also so, so stupid, about tonight’s events. This is actually a rare insight into Rick’s personality, because he spends the entire article spelling out exactly why and how he wants the Bears to fail for his personal and professional delight. It’s a schizophrenic mess, and I just had to get this out before the draft happened.

As ever, he is in italics.

I don’t normally start these things with the title, but in this case I’m going to because…

Draft Manti Te’o? Bears Should Take Him or Leave Him

Yes. Those are the two things it is possible to do with a player in the draft. Well done, Rick.

I have a very good feeling and a very bad feeling about the Bears’ draft on Thursday. The very good feeling is that they’ll use their first-round pick on Manti Te’o. 

Why? Manti Te’o is not an especially good linebacker. And that’s fine! Really, it is. He’s a serviceable player and I’m sure he’ll find a home, but there are much more pressing needs on this team than “replacing Brian Urlacher.” We don’t have to replace Brian Urlacher. I mean yes, there has to be a middle linebacker, but the team has not failed in some way if the guy playing in that spot doesn’t go to the Hall of Fame.

That’s the very bad feeling, too.

Well, at least we made it three sentences before the wheels started to fall off entirely.

The columnist in me absolutely loves the idea of the Bears choosing the Notre Dame linebacker whose story no one could make up but did. Can you imagine the media circus that would follow him? I’d be the one with the clown horn and the squirting flower on my lapel.

As great as it is that Rick Morrissey just openly admitted to being a clown, and expressed his desire to be part of a ridiculous media circus, it’s hard to make fun of him for it when he just came out and said it. I mean I’m not surprised but… he’s done the hard part for me. Just reread his last paragraph and imagine I said it. 

The football observer in me thinks the Bears would be making a huge mistake by taking Te’o.

Then that is absolutely the thing that should matter more. The Bears are not drafting players to please the reporters who routinely mock and antagonize them. 

Whichever side you fall on, I think we can agree that it has been awfully quiet at Halas Hall — too quiet for those of us concerned the Bears are going to run into the trap of all traps with the 20th pick in the first round.

Really? I mean they’ve interviewed a whole bunch of people, Te’o included, and been pretty up-front about it. It’s generally considered a bad idea to announce who your first-round pick in the draft is going to be before the first round of the draft. 

 They . . . wouldn’t . . . actually . . . do . . . that . . . would . . . they?

No. They’re probably not going to draft Manti Te’o, and if they do it won’t be because they fell into trap. It’ll be because, after a long selection process, they’ve decided that he is the best player available; not because he is a devious man who has conned them into giving him a chance.

Oh, this is tailor-made for the Bears. A famous middle linebacker to replace Brian Urlacher. A product of Notre Dame, a school for which the Irish Catholic McCaskeys have an affinity. By all accounts, a nice kid with, as the football people like to say, “good character.’’

This is not tailor-made for the Bears, it’s tailor-made for the hack fucking writers who follow the Bears around and second-guess their every decision. You guys are far more concerned about this Urlacher thing than they are, seeing as they are the ones who cut him.

One of the concerns here is the possibility that Te’o might have charmed general manager Phil Emery out of his penny loafers during the interview process. 

Considering the guy just cut the most famous Bear of the last decade without a second thought, I really doubt he’s the sort of guy who’s going to draft Te’o because he’s “a nice kid.”

Never mind Te’o’s subpar combine performance. Never mind the story that will never go away, how Te’o got duped in a catfish scheme that led to his falling in love with a girl he never met, publicly mourning her death and then finding out she didn’t exactly, you know, exist. Never mind his poor performance in the BCS championship game.

No. Absolutely mind those things. You are writing a criticism of a decision based on a completely arbitrary set of circumstances, before that decision has been made or even discussed. I know you’re a hack, Rick, but you’re not Telander. You’re better than that.

What an interview! What a great kid! Looks you right in the eye when he talks! You’d want him for your son!

Notice that these aren’t quotes. This is just Morrissey imagining what the interview must have been like. Also, in Rick Morrissey’s imagination, Phil Emery evaluates players like a 50s dad deciding who his daughter can date.

Perhaps, but I wouldn’t want him for my middle linebacker.

And the Bears have not said that they want him for their middle linebacker, either.

Te’o is, in part, a creation of the hype that surrounds Notre Dame. Lots of us got caught up in the drama last season — the string of victories, the resurgence of Irish football and the linebacker with the sad back story.

No, you did not get caught up in the drama, Rick. You and yours create the drama. You, of all people, should know that you cannot distance yourself from the slavering media circus that surrounds this sport, because you are the slavering media circus. 

Then two things happened:

There was no dead girlfriend.

There was an Alabama.

I was going to point out that the catfish thing has next to nothing to do with football, but Rick goes ahead and does that in the next sentence. Which leads me to wonder why he even brought it up, but that’s Morrissey for you. Anyway, there was an Alabama, and they beat up Manti Te’o. That, and that alone, does not mean he was never or will never be a good football player.

The Lennay Kekua saga shouldn’t disqualify Te’o from first-round consideration. 

“I wouldn’t grind my feet into somebody’s couch, I don’t do things just to do ‘em. Yea I remember grindin’ my feet into his couch!”

That’s obvious. He was the victim of a hoax and, like any college student might, didn’t know how to get out of it when he learned the truth. 

Apparently not, because you criticized him for it not two sentences ahh fuck it.

But there needs to be a recognition that this will follow him on and off the field for the rest of his life. It will take a very strong person to deal with the abuse Te’o will absorb. It will take a very special team to protect him.

Will it? Will it really? I mean people are pretty much done talking about it unless you or someone exactly like you brings it up first. And while I know you would stir up a shitstorm just to hurt the Bears so you could gleefully cover their failings, I like to think most people wouldn’t.

Again, where do I sign up to cover this?

So the purpose of this column is basically Rick admitting to being a sensationalist piece of shit who just wants the Bears to suck so he can laugh about it. And also, kind of, Manti Te’o.

The lack of speed from Te’o in the BCS title game against an Alabama team of future pros should give anyone pause. So should the fact that he got swallowed up by a bigger, stronger opponent.

It should, and it will. Again, this whole situation has not happened yet. I really can’t stress that enough. Unless Rick is a Chronomancer, this whole column is just him arguing with himself into an empty room. 

NFL teams go on and on about the importance of strong character in players, but talent almost always wins out. 

That’s true. Because unlike fans, the front office knows that “hustle” is not as important as the ability to rip somebody’s arms off. No matter how hard he tries, for instance, Dane Sanzenbacher will never be Wes Welker. 

A study by Hamilton College professor Stephen Wu and student Kendall Weir shows that college players with character issues (criminal incidents, team suspensions, etc.) were picked about 15 spots later in the draft than “clean” players with similar college stats and combine performances. But once in the NFL, the troubled players outperformed the players who had no history of legal troubles, the study shows.

Rick didn’t link to the study because he is a bad journalist, so there’s really no way to look at who or what they measured. But assuming that is correct, why the fuck are we even talking about this? Nobody who has been discussed in this column has ever been convicted or even accused of any crime.

It means your standard-issue GM probably smiles at the opportunity to get a talented, flawed human being at a bargain price.

You mean they want good players? Jesus, I’ve been reading this whole thing wrong for years.

Where does that put Te’o? 

Probably in the early second round, unless somebody decides to trade up to him. But I digress.

I don’t think NFL teams know. He’s flawed but not a criminal. He’s a good player but not a great one. There are too many unknowns here, which is amazing when you think about it. 

It’s like every pick of the draft is a gamble, and some of them pay off and some don’t! This is madness!

How can someone play four years at a high-profile college, put up big stats and still be such a mystery?

Because he’s 22 years old. He has not played nearly enough football for you to, at a glance, decide whether he’s ever going to be a successful player in the NFL or not. And you know what? That is true of literally every draft pick. First round picks bust all the time, you have joyfully covered that exact scenario for years. Later-round picks turn into All-Pro talents. Other players are just journeymen, guys who do their job and not one iota more or less. That’s the game. 

The Bears have many other needs. Emery already addressed the middle-linebacker spot for next season by signing veteran D.J. Williams. 

“Oh yea, here’s a bunch of reasons they’re not going to do that thing I just spent 750 words talking about them doing.”

The defense is aging. It could use another cornerback and defensive tackle. Cracks are still visible along the offensive line, even with the signing of left tackle Jermon Bushrod.

And Matt Slauson, but the sad thing is that, for once, you’re right. They have much more pressing needs than “finding a famous guy who plays MLB so we can check ‘replace Urlacher’ off the checklist that doesn’t exist because we’re not fucking morons.”

There are so many reasons for the Bears not to take Te’o. 

Jesus, you’re dumb.

I’m concerned — and thrilled — they might anyway.

And here, at last, is the perfect distillation of Rick Morrissey. He likes the Bears. He wants the Bears to win, because as a sports enthusiast that is his JAM, son. But also, he knows that his job is way easier and way more fun when they do dumb, terrible things; and since he is a lazy, vindictive bastard first and foremost, he would rather that his team lose so he can be right.

Fuck you, Morrissey.


Code Red said...

Excellent stuff. Goddammit, Morrisey.

Jeremy said...

Sometimes I think there is no way Morrisey can be real. Like he's actually just an undercover Trib writer sent to make the Sun Times look stupid.

Also, I found the abstract for the article he wrote about. Dunno about the full text though.

Erik said...

That is a surprisingly robust theory, actually. And now he's broken under the pressure of being a double agent. It's like the Departed, except it sadly doesn't end with him getting shot in the face.