Tag Archives: NFL

John Clayton Takes Some Things Too Literally

I am not an overwhelming NFL guy.  I like football, though I enjoy college football more (no sort of elitist reasoning, or anything to do with the players/money/etc, I just like having several hundred teams in the mix).  That said, I have grown up in Philadelphia, where people start buying tickets for training camp in February.  My passing fandom for the Iggles resembles the passion of most fans from, well, just about anywhere else.  On a whim, I signed up for Eagles season tickets about 3 years ago.  I expect to have my seats in about 50 years (I believe the wait is now up to 70 or 80 years).  Philly is crazy for its Eagles.  I’m just interested in them. 

I don’t post often about football here because, well, it’s blogged about elsewhere better than I ever could.  Also, I really don’t care about the NFL too much during the offseason.  But training camps are just about to start up, and naturally, ESPN’s John Clayton and SI’s Peter King and all the other so-called experts are out on the beat to tell us what our favorite teams are going to have to do win the Superbowl.

Regarding my Eagles, Clayton writes:

Philadelphia Eagles — After being down for one year in 2005 because of a Donovan McNabb injury and the Terrell Owens turmoil, the Eagles are back atop the NFC East. The key to camp is watching McNabb. He’s the key to their season. Supposedly, he enters camp with his knee at about 85 percent. Considering the severity of the knee injury, that’s not bad. Carson Palmer was probably about 80 percent last year and he had a good season. Andy Reid should allow the running game to develop during camp knowing McNabb won’t have all of his mobility.

Okay, now, aside from the obvious nature of Clayton’s “observation” (if the QB is healthy and good, then the Eagles will do better than if he’s not), the evidence he uses to judge Donovan’s health is ludicrous.  McNabb estimated the other day that he was at about 85%.  These athlete estimates of their health are insane anyway.  At least, as much as I love Don, I don’t know how much I trust his math.  He’s got a lot of reasons to estimate high right there. 

A year ago, Carson Palmer, coming back from knee injury, estimated he was at 80%.  Carson Palmer, whose math I would trust far less than Donovan’s, came back to have a good year for the Bengals. 

John Clayton, a total nerd is taking these two estimates at face value, taking them literally, and figuring that McNabb is in good shape, because Carson Palmer was fine.  I could be overreacting, but I am now forced to look incredulously at all the words spoken and written by Mr Clayton, who is a crazy person.

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Identity Crisis: The NFL and Nation-States

Juliet Capulet once famously asked, “what’s in a name?”  She remarked, precociously (she was, after all, only 14 at the time), that the value of a thing is not found in its name, but in the thing itself.  The fact that she is saying this to justify a crush on her family’s mortal enemy is immaterial.  Imagine any 14 year-old girl.  The first adjective Mr. Thursday is prepared to assign to the image we’ve conjured is “hysterical”.  Now, if a girl who, if alive today, would not have been born until 1992, has enough maturity and intelligence that a name only has meaning in pretentious literature, we wonder why football players, and more importantly, government officials cannot realize the same.

This little quandary stems from two recent events: first, Will James played his second game as a Philadelphia Eagle on Sunday.  Will James is a cornerback, who is known for being very good, albeit injury prone, but he formerly played for the New York Giants under the name Will Peterson.  Second, Bangalore, a city of 7 million people–and the city to which you are connected when you call Dell’s service numbers–no longer exists.  The powers that be have changed the name.  Ladies and gentlemen, we give you “Bengalooru”, the City of Cooked Beans. 

At the Curious Mechanism, we were stunned to learn that anyone, anywhere-outside-of-Texas, would intentionally rename their city after the Musical Fruit.  Upon some quick research, we’ve come upon an explanation.  Bengalooru is short for Benda Kaluru, which means city of cooked beans.  The name is based on a myth that a starving king was fed beans by an old woman on the site of what would become Bangalore/Bengalooru.  It’s a mildly interesting story, but we can’t help but wondering: what’s the point?

Bangalore is one of the most well known cities in the world.  Probably  the most well known in India, and behind Tokyo and Beijing for its recognition throughout Asia.  It’s a massive city and, by Indian standards, a prosperous one.  It is the “global village” that pundits write about.  Bangalore is a place to meet people from anywhere throughout the world.  Bangalore has become Bengalooru as part of a desultory effort by Indian authorities to de-Anglicize their country, since Bangalore was the British name for the place.  India has been doing a lot of this lately–Bombay has become Mumbai, Calcutta is Kolkata and so on.  In a ridiculous maneuver, they’ve given Kamptee its “aboriginal” name, Kampthi, despite history showing that the place was named for Camp T, a trading post owned by Britain’s own East India Company.  India isn’t trying to recapture a lost or Anglicized history, they’re merely trying to whitewash over the obvious influence of the Western world.  Mumbai is still the giant city Bombay was, with all the same history, and problems.  Same for Bengalooru. 

 So, we wonder about Mr. Will James, and others.  Tra Thomas, also of the Eagles, decided during the offseason that he only wanted to be known as William, which has given him the nickname on Philadelphia sports pages as William “Don’t Call Me Tra” Thomas.  Both cite the same sort of reason: they’ve made personal changes, and as part of the New Person that they are, they’re taking on an appropriately new name.  This strikes Mr. Thursday as a similar sort of white-washing.  We don’t know the Williams’ James or Thomas, but outside of injury problems for James and holding penalties for Thomas, we don’t know what they’re trying to escape from, and we don’t see what they’ve changed to.

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