The opposite of boring

I have no idea why people thought last night’s Super Bowl was boring. To the contrary, it was one of the most exciting, cerebral games in the history of the sport.

The Rams’ defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips, had matched McDaniels’ calls all night. Mostly, the Patriots could do nothing against the Los Angeles sub defenses. Because the Rams’ front was so formidable with pile-pushers Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh, they could afford to play one or two extra men in the back end and limit Tom Brady’s passing options with three strong corners. So McDaniels told his men they were just going jumbo, which would force Phillips out of his sub packages and put linebackers on receivers the Patriots trusted could beat them.

McDaniels would keep only one small player on the field—Julian Edelman. And on the next series, he’d play two tight ends (the lightly used Allen and Rob Gronkowki), a fullback (James Devlin), a big back (Rex Burkhead) and Edelman.

“It was a pretty amazing thing,’’ said Allen, one of the beneficiaries of McDaniels’ invention. “Hats off to the Rams. They really knew us. They played us great. But football’s about in-game adjustments. Josh told us on the sideline, ‘We did not practice this at all coming into this game, and I realize that, but this is going off in my head, and it’s something I think we need to do.’ “

The Patriots had averaged 4.9 yards per play in the first 50 minutes of the game. On this drive, they averaged 13.8. New England played what it considers its athletic big offense, and it worked. Gronkowski beat linebacker Samson Ebukam up the right flank for 18 on first down, then hit Edelman on linebacker Cory Littleton for 13, then Burkhead in the left flat for seven, then Gronkowski between Littleton and Mark Barron down the left seam for 29. Sony Michel subbed in for a two-yard touchdown run. Five plays, 69 yards, TD. Pats, 10-3.

Afterward, Bill Belichick praised McDaniels as much as I’d heard him praise any of his coaches. Belichick called the McDaniels change a “real key breakthrough,” and said McDaniels “made a great adjustment,” and called his play-calling “outstanding, as usual.”

One of the things the more casual fans of the game don’t understand is that a team’s ability to “make adjustments” is very limited by the fact that they have to have practiced the plays to which they are going to switch, that’s what it means to have a game plan. A game plan is essentially a book of plays that the team has repeatedly practiced that week, and there may not be another team in the league with an offensive roster capable of switching completely to formations and plays that are not in that week’s game plan.

Part of that is because New England makes such drastic changes in its game plans from week to week. Even if the jumbo package wasn’t a part of the Super Bowl game plan, there were times this season when it was a major part of the weekly game plan so the players were at least familiar with the plays involved. A second part is that New England has the smartest roster in the league, so the players are able to make the necessary changes without being confused or out of position or mixing up their assignments even when running plays they haven’t practiced. And the third part is that McDaniels has the confidence and courage to make such a high-risk call, one that most head coaches, let alone offensive coordinators, would never, ever make.

Remember, most coaches won’t even go for it on fourth down for fear of criticism. Imagine how much flak both McDaniels and Belichick would have taken for abandoning the game plan in a tie game in the fourth quarter deep in their own territory if something had gone awry.

As for the commercials and the halftime show, who cares? That’s all nonsense for the non-fans. I didn’t see any of that stuff.

A Christian stoic

I rather admire the philosophy expressed by Ben Watson, the New Orleans tight end, at the end of his career:

“I am not a great football player. I am not a Hall of Famer. But I learned that’s okay. I’m steady. I’m reliable. And I have other interests. I am a strong Christian. I am interested in lots of other issues in life. Then, I got to be known for some of the things I wrote, some of the things I said. God was working at that time. He can lift your name up and make you known. Or you’ve got a different role. It sucks sometimes. I would have loved to be running those slant-and-go’s for big yards, but it wasn’t my time. On the other hand, I was speaking on the things happening in the country. It opened doors for me in terms of helping people. I learned this from God: ‘Be faithful when your name is in lights. Be faithful when your name is not in lights.’

His ability to calmly reflect on his own limitations is especially impressive considering the level of disappointment he must still be feeling after being robbed of the chance to finish his career on the game’s ultimate stage.

The Greeks, the Romans, the English, and the old Americans all understood that sports played an important role in the formation of a man.

NFL: Championship Weekend

Ender pointed out that I predicted a Chiefs-Saints Superbowl long before the season ended. I don’t see any reason not to stick with that going into the two championship games today. A long time ago, when Eli Manning’s Giants were going into Lambeau to face Brett Favre’s Packers, Bill Simmons observed that if the weather is cold and one quarterback is a lot older than the other one, go with the younger guy. And Mahomes is a lot younger than Brady.

In the NFC, the Rams have been too inconsistent throughout the season. While it’s theoretically possible that they’ll just run right over the Saints in the Superdome with their two-headed rushing attack, I think it’s more likely that Jared Goff’s limitations will be exposed in a shoot-out that favors Drew Brees.

Discuss amongst yourselves

UPDATE: REVENGE FOR FAVRE! The Saints were the better team, but the refs robbed them of the Super Bowl. How do you like being on the other end of that this time, Sean Payton?

The cognitive gap in coaching

SJWs in the sports media are perturbed that the new emphasis on offense in the NFL is rapidly proving to be raciss:

There’s an exceedingly narrow path to becoming an NFL head coach at a young age, as Kingsbury, Kitchens and LaFleur have done, and the first step on the drawbridge—the prerequisite—is privilege. That necessarily leaves a number of boys, white and black, on the outside looking in. At an immediate deficit are those from single-parent homes, those whose fathers aren’t coaches, those who aren’t surrounded by advocates and resources and examples of professional success in close proximity.

As a result, the game suffers. When the pool of candidates in any field is narrowed by pedigree, connections and nepotism, many of the best potential candidates are never seeing the light of day.

The statistics tell us the boys in this group are disproportionately children of color, and the history tells us that America’s legacy of chattel slavery, Jim Crow, the War on Drugs, and every other manifestation of systemic oppression of African-Americans in this country is a direct influence on the station of the typical black child in America.

This is only part of the problem, of course. The argument can be made that white coaches may appeal more to predominantly white decision-makers, whether those decisions are conscious or unconscious, the result of intentional racial bias or bias unknown to the boss himself. An equally compelling argument could be made that black coaching candidates are held to higher standards than white candidates.

The reality is that as the complexity of offenses grows, the cognitive floor required for coaches and offensive coordinators rises as well. This is going to make it more and more difficult for black coaches, black coordinators, and even black quarterbacks, to be successful, no matter how much affirmative action is imposed in the sacred name of Rooney. It’s not an accident that Bill Belichick has been the most successful coach of the last 20 years, because he is also the smartest and most innovative coach of the last 20 years. And the smarter the coach is, the smarter he is comfortable having his coordinators, his assistants, and his players be.

In the current era of NFL football, intelligence is increasingly necessary for success in order to counteract the exceptional athleticism that is now available to every team. The athletic arms race has resulted in near-equality across the league, so schematics, pattern recognition, and rapid decision-making has risen to the fore.

Former Vikings coach Denny Green was an excellent example of a good coach with cognitive limitations that put a ceiling on his success. He was a smart, hard-working man who was well-liked by his players and by the public. No Vikings fan will ever forget his “leather is sexy” commercial for Wilson’s. He created the now-ubiquitous Tuesday charity routine that most teams now embrace. He was always prepared, he did a very good job of building and drilling a team, and he was usually outcoached in the playoffs by smarter coaches who were more capable of quickly outthinking and making in-game adjustments. He was who we thought he was and we liked him for it anyways.

The SJWs are in a catch-22 here. They can try to create a false narrative that black coaching candidates are held to higher standards than white candidates, but the observable reality is that black coaches are held to lower standards than white coaches. No white coach was going to be given two seasons to go 1-31 without losing his job like Hue Jackson was. Few white coaches as mediocre as Marv Lewis are permitted to hold onto their job for 16 years with a .504 winning percentage while going winless in the postseason.

Given the offense-heavy rules of the game and the increasing cognitive burden it imposes on coaches, quarterbacks, and offensive players, the more blacks are pushed into those positions, the more they are going to very visibly fail. The irony is that in order to have a cognitively-limited black quarterback succeed in the NFL these days, the more likely it is that a team will require a white coach who is more intelligent than his peers.

Cernovich vs Arnold

Mike Cernovich is going to box Tom Arnold in a charity boxing match:

Tom Arnold Challenged Me to a Charity Boxing Match. I Accept. This is completely absurd as he has never trained and is too old for such nonsense, but for charity, I’ll do it.

I know Mike. Mike’s a powerful man and he actually has some boxing experience. I have no shortage of experience taking hard punches and kicks, but I would not want to take a direct headshot from him. I do not like Tom Arnold’s odds here. I don’t even like Tom Arnold’s odds of getting out of the first round.

An emailer asked me for an estimate of the odds:

10-1 Cerno and 3-1 Cerno in the first round.

It’s much more likely that Arnold doesn’t show than Arnold shows and wins.

Divisional playoffs: Saturday

The Chiefs are ROLLING over the Colts. The funny thing is that it wasn’t until this weekend that I finally realized why the name Mahomes always sounded vaguely familiar to me. It’s because the Chiefs’ QB’s father played for the Twins for a few years when I was still living in Minnesota. I’m not a baseball fan, but back in the day, when you read the daily newspapers, you picked up the general gist of what was going on with the local sports teams even if you didn’t follow them.

Anyhow, this is the open thread for tonight’s games. And if they’re boring, feel free to join us at the Darkstream.

Training vs fighting

A karate black belt shares his thoughts on my recent observations concerning the distinction between training and fighting.

“Training is not fighting. Training is learning how to do things. Fighting is learning how to defeat the opponent who has a vote.”
– Vox Day

 Everyone knows that training is important. Without training, success is a dice-roll, and failure is likely. Even if you get something right, it is easy to mis-attribute your success to one thing, when in reality something else entirely won the day. Only those with training know what to look for.

Through volume of repetition, training gives you the speed and instincts to do the right thing, whether that is resolving an argument, building a house, or coming out on top in a bar-fight.

But training isn’t enough. All the training in the world isn’t enough without experience.

In order to be confident in himself, a man has to know he can physically protect himself. It doesn’t matter if this is rational in the modern age. It just is. If wealth, charisma, or social connections are the measure of power today, physical fitness and skill in fighting still dominate how men evaluate other men, and how they think of themselves. It’s primordial.

Today’s generation half-understands this. They’ve seen Fight Club. They understand the attraction of being dangerous. They sign up in herds for Karate, Taekwondo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the works. But they mistake training for fighting. They mistake the tools for the finished product. The finger for the moon.

I received my black-belt in Shudokan karate when I was sixteen years old. By the time I had received that supposed sign of mastery, I had heard three fight stories involving black-belts.

Read the whole thing there. And then reflect upon the confidence and resilience that I exhibit, that some people despise and others admire. Even if you believe the confidence is a sham, or that it is delusional, from whence does the resilience spring? Why is it that I am so able to bounce back so quickly, so automatically, from the sort of attacks, expulsions, and deplatformings that others find so debilitating?

It’s just experience. It’s from the certain knowledge that you can get up and get back into the fight after you get knocked down. And the only way to acquire that knowledge, the only way to acquire that resilience, the only way to acquire that confidence in yourself, is to take the shots and face that moment of truth that no amount of self-deception can ever disguise. It’s a moment that observers can often see too.

That’s why real fighters often admire each other even if they actively dislike each other. That’s why boxers often hug with genuine affection after beating the hell out of each other. That’s why two men who get into a fight not infrequently become friends. Because the nature of the combat relationship is such that it often gives a man a glimpse of his opponent’s soul, and it is not uncommon to see something admirable there.

Darkstream: the magic cuddle puddlers

Unlike the Roganites and BJJ fanboys who were triggered by my observations, a number of actual grapplers and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners understood what I’ve been saying about grappling being, in most real-world situations, an impractical and dangerous approach to fighting. Especially these days. If Antifa is going to attack you, you can pretty much guarantee they will not do so 1v1.

  • Dean lister actually says a lot of the same things vox does. I mean, he talks about bar fights etc and how bjj is not optimal in those situations and the kinds of things that are effective in real fights.
  • Precisely. My experiences are the same as yours. Every serious fight I’ve been in ended up being me fighting more than four people. Last place you wanna be is the ground. There’s a reason BJJ isn’t taught for street defence.
  • I’m a BJJ instructor and have trained Shotokan for 7 years and Muay Thai for about 4. I’ve been in about 6 real world fights. Only 1 was 1 on 1. You should have knowledge of both standing and ground game. Being able to execute take downs and know how to get back up if you get down is very important. Vox made some good points. Grapplers stop being triggered. 1 on 1 the grappler will most likely win. Anything other than that you need to be as mobile as possible which means you need to stay standing.
  • I wrestled Division One on a team with a national champion and I can say Vox is more than correct in his assertions. A wrestler’s only advantage is his strength and physical ability to take some abuse and crush a guy ONE ON ONE on the ground. But wrestling in a bar or street fight is a no-win situation. You have to strike and stay on your feet. You never want to end up on the ground.
  • I disagree with some of what Vox pushes, especially on religion etc (and on Kenpo.. depending on the style). He is absolutely correct on this. Having done martial arts for many years and been in many confrontations he is pretty much on point on this topic. Wrestling rarely puts forth real-world situations and realities.
  • He is correct. BJJ is “fake,” that is,  it takes place within a structure and it is effective within that structure. The GIF shown early on proves that grappling on the ground in a real fight opens you up to being crushed by someones mother. There’a a reason Kano emphasized throws.

The strangest thing about this situation has been the way that triggered Roganites and Brazilian Cuddle Puddlers keep demanding that I prove the truth of my experiences and claiming that my observations are somehow invalid if I don’t post a video of me physically harming people with my magical martial arts skills. Do they really not grasp the irony of the fact that they are fans of a UFC COMMENTATOR who talks about this subject all the time despite having no personal experience of either ring-fighting or real fighting?

My comments, observations, and opinions are either on point or they are not, regardless of whether you believe my colorful story about beating up 15 leprechauns who rode in together on a giant green-maned unicorn with an ancient Native American martial art I learned from the tribal shaman.

And this video of Sakuraba absolutely destroying the best that the Gracies had to offer demonstrates very clearly the fundamental weakness of building your attack plan around a ground game. Look how utterly stupid and helpless both Hoyce and Renzo Gracie are with Sakuraba standing over them, just deciding where he’s going to stomp on them next.

This comment sums it up well:

how does that work then?
“I lay on the floor and get the shit kicked out of me.”
not sure this bjj works to be honest.