Washington Post: McNabb's Potential Impact in DC

Today I'm beginning a weekly contribution at the Washington Post's Redskins Insider site. Well, it will be weekly as long as the commenters don't have their way. (There's a little "Report Abuse" link next to each comment, and I think I might have to report almost every one. Maybe readers were expecting another riveting Albert-Haynesworth-is-lazy post.) My contributions will be primarily Redskins-specific, but will draw upon the general concepts in the Advanced NFL Stats toolbox.

The inaugural post is a back-of-the-envelope calculation about how many wins McNabb can bring with his expected passing efficiency and turnover rates. Of course, there's more to a passing game than just a QB, but this gives Redskins fans an idea of the range of potential improvement.

My thanks to Lindsay and Mitch at the Post for the opportunity. Looking forward to a fun season.

Below the fold here...I was just thinking about why the whole Haynesworth-is-a-bum narrative is so popular. I think when we read about other people who are thought of as lazy, it makes us feel better about our own work habits. "Yeah, I'm not the hardest worker in the world, but I'm no..." And then when people read a very mathy analysis, it just reminds them of how much algebra class sucked.

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11 Responses to “Washington Post: McNabb's Potential Impact in DC”

  1. Aaron Gordon says:

    I think it also has to do with the nature of sports in general, especially in an area like DC that hasn't had success in so long. It is an outlet for rage, not a source of analysis or a platform for finding the most objective truths about the games they love. Perhaps. I'm no Redskins fan, so this is just speculation. But it sure seems like there was a lot of rage and anger in those comments.

  2. Carson says:

    Wow. That comment section reminds me of that scene in Back to the Future when Michael J. Fox plays the metal-ish version of Johnny B. Goode and then everyone at the Fish Under the Sea Dance just stares at him, bewildered.

    Except, instead of staring at you, bewildered, those people want to stab Brian in the face.

    Otherwise, exactly the same.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Remember, just a short while ago, Haynesworth was the most expensive man in football. When someone who gets paid like that, they are going to get extra coverage and all the narratives get that much more juicy.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wow, that reminds me why there are few sites that I read comments on. This being one.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yeah I'm a Redskins fan & Washington Post reader. I'm embarrassed by the reaction you got. Keep up with your awesomeness!

  6. Brian Burke says:

    Regarding comments...I've learned a few things doing a blog and paying close attention to other blogs along the way. First, for every comment you read, there were several hundred if not a thousand readers. Commenters are a tiny sliver of the reader population, even here.

    Also, comments are disproportionately negative, often drastically. People simply don't waste their time logging in or doing a CAPTCHA just to say, 'Yeah, interesting. I generally agree.' Comments are far more likely to be critical. It's often conflict that motivates people.

    To get a little deeper, there's also a phenomenon called 'negation,' where many people have an almost unconscious compulsion to put down the ideas of others. It's some kind of cynical psychological thing.

    Around here, I read every comment, and try my best to respond respectfully. I learn just as much from the commenters here as I learn anywhere, but there is one exception. I have my radar on for pompous assess. When I get a whiff of the kind of comment like "This is *clearly* wrong...You need to do a Farzenhargen-Woo test for crenzelelasticity," it's really transparent. I'll have a little fun with my response.

  7. Anonymous says:

    >>Below the fold here...I was just thinking about why the whole Haynesworth-is-a-bum narrative is so popular.

    Its because he makes so much money, and then complains when the coach wants to change the defense. Before he was paid his enormous 40MM payment he was asked if he was willing to play in a 3-4 defense and he said yes. He takes the money and essentially threatened to "not play" and keep all that money.

    He got his money and was acting like a thief.
    Poor boy, doesn't want to play in a 3-4.

  8. Jeff Clarke says:

    I think you are really right about the negation concept. I generally don't comment unless in some way I disagree or want to add something. However, there is a huge distinction between intellectual debate/constructive criticism and the "I just don't want to use my brain" kinds of things people said in your section. There are just some people that are willfully ignorant. It is quite discouraging.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Brian, Do you get paid for writing those posts?

  10. Dave O says:

    Don't worry about the comments. I have long read the Redskins Insider comments for the shear comedic value. As the biggest regional site, WaPo attracts all the people who have nothing better to do than spew vitriol on the internet. The very lunacy of it deters reasonable readers from commenting at all. Trust me that this is not at all representative of Redskins fans or Post readers.

  11. Tobias says:

    Wow, sorry to see your post met by such a wall of ignorance (at the Washington Post site). Rarely am I impressed by stupidity on the internet, but those commenters sure got there.

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