Monday, October 31, 2011

Tebow Now 4-0 in Alternate Universe

With a 45-10 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday, October 30, 2011, extremely popular Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow improved to 4-0 in the intangible-heavy and unorthodox alternate universe where a large minority of his fan base appears to reside.

Bowling in the Dark’s sports correspondent recently met with the Ambassador to the United States from Tebow Nation—this unusual universe’s densest populated country—to discuss the differences between their reality and our more mundane and conventional one. While we didn’t catch his name, which was spoken too quickly and excitedly to be understood, he showed a heartwarming disdain for formality by suggesting we call him by his nickname, #TBo_4EVA_GoGatorsGo:

Q: In Tebow’s first game of the season, against the San Diego Chargers, he replaced an ineffective Kyle Orton after halftime and led the Broncos to fourteen fourth-quarter points, but still lost 29-24. Doesn’t that count as a loss?
A: Tim Tebow won that game because he’s a winner. Kyle Orton lost it. There’s no way the Broncos lose that one if Tebow plays the whole game, I guarantee it.
Q: What?
A: I personally guarantee that Tebow would have won that game.

Q: If I understand you correctly, you’re personally guaranteeing something that’s not only very, very unlikely but, in fact—having already not happened—can’t ever actually happen?
A: What kind of fan would I be if I couldn’t guarantee something like that? We do it on message boards all the time.

[long pause as interviewer collects himself]

Q: Official statistics indicate that Tebow missed on sixty percent of his passes against the Chargers, and passed for less than eighty yards. Aren’t those the kind of numbers one would expect from a quarterback who’s not ready to play at the professional level, where a good quarterback generally completes around 60% of his passes?
A: Well, you see, the NFL is a league built on passing, so the ability to throw is overrated. Think about it—how many times did “great passers” like Joe Montana, John Elway, Jim Kelly, or Tom Brady lead their teams to the Super Bowl?

Q: Eighteen. They went to eighteen Super Bowls.
A: Actually, what I asked was how many Heisman Trophies they won.

Q: Well, you’ve got me there. But don’t Heisman-winning quarterbacks usually struggle to succeed in the NFL, if they even make it into the league in the first place? I’m thinking here of Charlie Ward, Andre Ware, Gino Torretta, Jason White, Eric Crouch, Chris Weinke, Danny Wuerffel, Ty Detmer, and Matt Leinart, to name a few.
A: I’m pretty sure none of these guys actually existed.

Q: Well, that kind of supports my point.
A: Simply put, Tim Tebow is the most successful Heisman Trophy–winning quarterback since Cam Newton.

Q: But didn’t Cam Newton win the Heisman after Tebow?
A: Next question please.

Q: After the 24-29, er, win against San Diego, the Broncos announced Tebow as their starter. The team then had a bye week. [For those of you unfamiliar with football or even basic sporting terminology, that means they didn’t play at all.] Our sources say that you’re counting that Sunday off as another win.
A: Indeed we are. If Kyle Orton had been the starter that didn’t play that week, he would have found a way to lose the game that didn’t happen. So Tim Tebow, who is a winner, won that game that didn’t get played, by preventing Kyle Orton from not losing it. Tim Tebow is a winner. He wins games.

Q: Even games he doesn’t play?
A: Especially those games. Tim Tebow went 1,378-3 at Florida in games he didn’t play.

Q: Moving on to the Miami game, then . . . in this case, we all can agree that the Denver Broncos scored a legitimate win, 18-15 in Miami.
A: Yes. We’re thinking about counting that one twice.

Q: It’s been observed—for example, by us—that for the vast majority of that game, the Broncos’ offense looked awful, with Tebow going 4-for-14 for 40 yards. His comeback was impressive, of course, but it’s hard to believe the Broncos would have needed such a thrilling and improbable last-second comeback if their offense had been even marginally competent in some of the game’s earlier seconds.
A: He would have looked better if the play-calling hadn’t been so conservative.

Q: So he missed ten of his first fourteen passes—some of them very badly—because the plays called were too rudimentary?
A: Well when you put it that way, it sounds bad. The problem is that Elway is jealous of Tebow’s popularity, and doesn’t want to see him succeed.

Q: What about the wide-open receivers that he didn’t see in the first fifty-five minutes of the game? Was Elway hiding them?
A: He didn’t need to see them until Tebow Time. You’re not clutch if you bother to succeed early on. That’d be like Scotty fixing the Enterprise only as fast as he said he could.

Q: And isn’t Miami one of the worst teams in the league? Shouldn’t even a young, raw, inexperienced quarterback have had a better overall showing against some of the weakest competition to be found?
A: If Miami were such a bad team, why were they in the lead for most of the game?

Q: Well—
A: We had to go into overtime to beat them, so they're clearly much better than you think. It was great to see Matt Tebow kick the game-winning field goal after missing the two earlier ones.

Q: Matt Prater?
A: I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question.
To be fair, many other Denver Broncos looked bad today too.

Q: Never mind. I’d say that one of Tebow’s obvious tangible strengths is his running ability.
A: Yep, he’s much more mobile than Kyle Orton. A quarterback with a questionable offensive line need the ability to move in the pocket to avoid sacks.
Q: Agreed. But Orton was sacked nine times in five games, whereas Tebow was sacked six times by the Dolphins, and then another seven by the Lions. Doesn’t that suggest that Tebow’s slow release and poor field vision are as problematic as Orton’s immobility, perhaps even more so?
A: No, you don’t get it. Tim Tebow’s mobility allows him to escape sacks. Plus, he has intangibles.

Q: But—
A: [Plugging ears with fingers] Intangibles! Intangibles! INTANGIBLES! INTANGIBLES!
[several minutes later]
A: Clearly you’re just a hater.

Q: So you’d call objective analysis of a player’s strengths and weaknesses “hating”?
A: What would you call it?

Q: Offhand, probably “objective analysis of a player’s strengths and weaknesses.”
A: Hater. Go drink some Haterade, hater.

Q: Be honest, did you even follow the Denver Broncos before they drafted Tim Tebow?
A: I would have, if they’d even existed back then.

At this point our intrepid interviewer suddenly developed a piercing headache, and decided to go home.

Nobody knows how long—or why—the enthusiasm for Denver’s newest quarterback will continue, but we do know for sure that Tebow Nation looks forward to next week’s certain victory against the Island of the Misfit Toys.

Don't let the rosy cheeks fool you—Charlie-in-the-Box is
a ruthless pass rusher and one mean son of a bitch.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tim Tebow Proves Both His Harshest Critics and Looniest Supporters Absolutely Correct

Tim Tebow in action against the Miami Dolphins,
mercifully not trying to throw the ball.

Sunday, October 23, 2011—In a display perhaps more dazzling than the Denver Broncos’ improbable fourth-quarter comeback against the still-winless Miami Dolphins, new Broncos starting quarterback Tim Tebow managed to simultaneously fuel the angry, spittle-filled arguments of both his most vocal critics and his most stalwart, possibly unhinged supporters.

Kyle Orton at full sprint.
Tebow, until very recently the most popular third-string quarterback in the history of the universe, spent ninety percent of the game showing his detractors why he’s still several years away from being an NFL-ready quarterback.

Despite being far more mobile than previous starter Kyle Orton (right), Tebow absorbed seven sacks on the day from a defense that had only eight sacks in its previous six games. With 54:37 elapsed in the game, Tebow had managed only a dismal 4 completions on 14 passes for 40 yards, and the Broncos were on the verge of being shut out for the first time in almost twenty years.

This performance came against a last-place Dolphins team lacking a pass defense—a team for whom the Broncos’ offense had had an extra seven days to prepare thanks to their bye week. Tebow critics were quick but not wrong to note that few teams the Broncos will face for the remainder of this season—or perhaps any season—will be of the Dolphins’ caliber, unless they can schedule a game or two against the PAC-12’s CU Buffaloes.

In the last five-plus minutes of the game, however, Tebow showed his giddy legion of breathlessly optimistic supporters that the inability to be better at quarterbacking the lightly-regarded Orton or the barely-regarded Brady Quinn apparently has no actual bearing on how good one is at quarterbacking, engineering two scoring drives, going 9-for-13 with 121 passing yards and two touchdowns, and showing a thrilling ability to create plays by darting out of a collapsing pocket without necessarily seeing wide-open receivers.

Tebow also scored the game-tying two-point conversion by convincing the Dolphins’ defense that they shouldn’t expect a guy who rushed for almost 3,000 yards and 57 touchdowns in college—and has one of the most suspect arms in the NFL this side of Jason Campbell—wasn’t likely to try to run into the end zone. It is not known at this time whether Tebow is the first NFL quarterback with actual hypnotic powers.

Befuddled Denver fans, hoping to remember witnessing another such improbable combination of simultaneous athletic excellence and utter incompetence, had to think all the way back to January 31, 1988, when a Broncos team led by Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway leapt out to a 10-0 first-quarter lead over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XXII, only to have nothing else of consequence happen the entire game—especially not in the second quarter.

Despite the uncertainty swirling around Tebow’s play, the gloom of another lost football season in the Mile High City, and the yawning, mostly Tebow-induced gulf dividing the Broncos’ dedicated and emotional fans, a few things can be said for certain: Tebow has or has not proven, without a doubt, that he can play quarterback at the highest level; the Broncos have or haven’t found their leader of the future; the otherwise somewhat unpopular Josh McDaniels’s drafting of Tebow was, or perhaps wasn’t, an act of unqualified genius; and if the team can find a way to play only the worst teams in the conference, they will or won’t sometimes actually barely win, once in a while, in overtime.

And for Denver Broncos fans, that is or isn’t enough.1

1. We stand by this statement.2
2. Or we don’t.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Food for Thought for Our Optimist Friends


Just because you can pretend things aren’t as bad as they seem doesn’t mean they’re not actually much, much worse.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Oakland Raiders to Wear Peculiar "Black" Jerseys as Tribute to the Late Al Davis

The National Football League’s Oakland Raiders have announced that they will honor the memory of influential, iconoclastic, litigious late owner Al Davis in bizarre fashion, by wearing black jerseys—black jerseys, on a football team!—for their remaining 2011 home games.

Raiders star running back Darren McFadden (assuming it’s not
some other guy; we don't actually care)
wearing white, the
only jersey color the Raiders have ever known.

The Raiders run the risk of confusing their fan base with their noble if unprecedented and misguided sartorial tribute. Known throughout their tenure in the AFL and later the NFL as the “Silver and White Attack,” the Oakland Raiders have become synonymous with the color white and the bad-boy image of tough, hard-edged rebellion that it represents.

The proposed black jerseys (artist’s conception).

However, Raiders fans’ reaction to this strange development has been surprisingly muted so far. Older fans are perhaps shocked by the loss of the powerful and charismatic owner who helped change the face of the NFL and led his team to an AFL Championship, twelve Division Championships, four AFC Championships, and three Super Bowl victories.

Younger fans, perhaps not familiar with Davis’ early career, are probably befuddled by the outpouring of praise for the man who led the team to a 29-83 record from 2003 to 2009, burned through five head coaches in the same time span, and paid JaMarcus Russell $3.38 million per touchdown pass. 

It’s also possible that younger Raiders fans have not reacted to Davis’s death because the news has yet to reach their cell block.

Man, is he ever going to be bummed
when he gets out of solitary
and finds a newspaper.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

More Spoilers for Dopes

Popular demand for more of our world-renowned Spoilers for Dopes has been deafening,1 and if there’s anything we know, it’s that we want to to keep our mostly-imaginary readers happy. So we challenge you, dear readers, to seek out these fine television shows and well-crafted movies—and also Battlefield Earth—and crap them up for your fellow viewers before they can do the same to you:

Star Wars (1977): Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru
aren’t going to make it to Episode V

    The Twilight Zone (1959–1964): Something weird is about to happen.

      1776 (1976): The Thirteen American Colonies end up
      declaring their independence from Great Britain.

      The Twilight Zone (1959–1964): See? Told you so.

      Battlefield Earth (2000): You're about to piss away 118 minutes of  
      your life that you’ll never get back.


      “Do you really think you have a chance against us, Mr. Cowboy?”
      The Harry Potter film series (2001–2011): Harry Potter’s nemesis—the sinister, petty,
      morally ambiguous double- or triple-agent Severus Snape—is that guy from Die Hard

        Battlefield Earth (2000): You’re not hallucinating; it really is this bad.

        Cowboys & Aliens: There’s cowboys.

          Battlefield Earth (2000): Some reviewers have a gift for understatement.

          The Prestige (2006): This movie about illusion, deception, love, hate,
          betrayal, bizarre pesudoscience, and revenge will have no twists
          whatsoever. And certainly not more than one of them.

          Battlefield Earth (2000): We warned you. Didn’t we warn you?

          1. Silence, as the old saying goes, can be deafening.

          Tuesday, October 4, 2011

          How to Fail at Marketing, Lesson 3

          Today’s lesson in how to fail at marketing is a remarkably simple one-step process:

          1. Refuse to make a single stinking lick of sense.

          To illustrate this lesson, we turn to the current marketing campaign for the Kia Soul. Which of the following ideas, in your opinion, might seem a bit odd if included in a commercial intended to sell a car?

          • Heavily-armored futuristic humanoids battling giant cyborgs from outer space.
          • A smoke-filled, ash-grey, post-apocalyptic landscape.
          • Terrifyingly large, hip-hop-stylin’ mutant dancing hamsters.
          • A lime-green vehicle that, while perhaps not as ridiculous-looking as, say, an AMC Gremlin, nevertheless looks more like a rolling shoebox than an actual car.

          If you answered “I don’t really know, but it’d be hilariously insane to put all of them in the same commercial,” we’re very sorry, but your ability to tell the difference between an adequate marketing approach and pure gibberish makes you overqualified for the job of marketing cars for Kia.

          You’re absolutely right, this is a really bad idea. But don’t take our word for it—see for yourself:

          Even if the plot (such as it is) of this commercial made any sense—if one could reasonably argue that 200-pound squirming vermin could crawl out of a shitbox car and put an end to interstellar war with nothing but funky fresh dance moves—and furthermore, if this oddball collection of misguided ideas actually reached what we assume is its target audience, study after comprehensive marketing study has shown that:

          • the target audience for violent CGI-robot war games rarely bother to leave cyberspace except to pee, and thus aren’t usually in the market for cars;
          • the target audience that’s drawn to hamsters consists of (1) your thirteen-year-old nephew with eighty feet of Habitrail tubes in his basement and (2) his equally pimply friends, and they don’t make purchasing decisions for their households; and
          • the target audience that most identifies with images of a barren, lifeless post-apocalyptic wasteland typically isn’t interested in buying a car—they’d prefer to just blow you to bits, steal your gasoline, and laugh as they ride their bikes off into the Australian Outback.

          The reason he’s so pissed off? He bought a Saturn.

          Saturday, October 1, 2011

          Words that Changed the World IX

          “Aghise, avish, aviilalilish. 
          Anaghawalililialaloh, awaowilee.
          Arounawaililah, alillialoh
          Halooalolooolo, laoooooalilo.
          Lu ailu ai,

          1. All lyrics transcribed here are considered by top government officials to be “unintelligible at any speed,” and are thus merely approximations.