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The Atlanta Braves and Peyton Manning don't need this garbage

Feb 9, 2010, 10:00 AM EDT

So I clicked over to NBC last night to see if any of you had added any other hot chick links in what I’ll call the Drew Barrymore thread, and I was greeted with this ugly sight:

Manning.PNGNot that NBC is alone in this.  The Manning = the 90s Braves meme was all over the place yesterday. Here it is. Here it is again. And look, here it is again. I’m sure it’s in another dozen places.

I can’t decide if Manning or the Braves should be more insulted by this phony, brain dead line of analysis.  If anything they should both team up and beat the hell out
of whoever launched the meme in the first place (maybe the Bills and the Ohio State Buckeyes should join them). Oh, how trenchant! Of course any player or team that demonstrates only occasional greatness should be on the defensive and be made to be ashamed of itself.  Of course there is nothing worse in sports than to fall just short of a championship. Second place is first-loser, after all. They would have been better off simply giving up before the regular season began. Beats being a lousy stinkin’ choker.

But I suppose I can’t really blame the columnists who spew this stuff. The concept that almost, but not quite reaching the pinnacle evidences some character deficit is probably deeply ingrained in the American psyche. A myth that had to be created in order to protect the masses from the cold hard reality that random chance and dumb luck governs a hell of a lot more of our lives than any of us would care to admit.  The good and virtuous always prevail. The weak and flawed always lose. It’s so much easier that way.


  1. TomTom - Feb 9, 2010 at 10:09 AM

    That may have been your most sarcastic post yet. Someone really touched a nerve with a certain Braves fan, eh?

  2. Matt - Feb 9, 2010 at 10:13 AM

    Or if anyone cared about recent history in hockey, the San Jose Sharks.

  3. Old Gator - Feb 9, 2010 at 10:15 AM

    Well, as a fan of the team which – inexplicably – added twice to the Braves’ legend as the Harold Stassens of beisbol, I hear your cry of pain. I also have a number of fond memories of Atlanta – mostly blonde – whose pronunciation of “kugel” up at Sydney’s Just South was more effective than an overdose of Cialis. So I am sympathetic.
    I have no pity on Peyton Manning and his chokers, though, who more and more are beginning to look like the Mutts in September. I also have no fond memories of Indianapolis, whose one female representative with whom I was ever acquainted was a 275-pound blind date who spent the entire evening bemoaning her lifelong struggles with anorexia. I could retire on what his one stinking ring could bring me at Sotheby’s.
    I also think you blew it by referring to the “Drew Barrymore thread” when you should have called it the Gillian thread. You jumped for the corned beef sandwich when I offered you filet tournadoes with a sauce of morels sauteed in a 1972 Pougliny Montrachet. Where’s your soul at today, Craig?
    That’s it. Phew! This dog is out of here!

  4. Moses Green - Feb 9, 2010 at 10:20 AM

    Here’s a good rule of thumb for anyone who doesn’t want to suck at writing: if a story writes itself, just don’t write it. Write something else.
    Good job poking large holes in this particular brainless epidemic. If Manning hadn’t ever won a Super Bowl he’d be the Vikings. Or the Bills. Groundbreaking and thought-provoking analysis by all those mimes. That’s right, I won’t even dignify them by calling them clowns.

  5. BC - Feb 9, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    I’d rather be a fan of a team that has a shot at winning a Super Bowl every year than be a fan of, say, the Lions or the Browns. Realistically, there are maybe 8 or 9 teams that go into each season thinking they have a shot at the Super Bowl, and every year, the Colts are one of them, and they back it up by winning at least 11 or 12 games.
    Heck, I’d give my left you-know-what to have my Mets win 162 straight division titles (whatever it was) and 1 world series.
    PS. Couldn’t get the suits at MSNBC to agree to the domain name, huh? Last I checked, the domain is available.
    PPS. Here’s one for the road. Actually a favorite of mine. That “uh-oh, what is she about to do” smirk is awesome.

  6. Steve - Feb 9, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    All of this would be great if it weren’t true, but it is – the Colts ARE the Braves of the NFL. Their failure to win more than one title isn’t evidence of a character defect, but the parallels are pretty striking. Plus the face of each franchise was a nice Southern boy who was at the top of his game (Manning/Chipper Jones).
    I love your stuff, Craig, but this strikes me more of your own sensitivity as a Braves fan than an legitimate indictment of the mainstream sports media.

  7. Craig Calcaterra - Feb 9, 2010 at 10:35 AM

    I’d buy that criticism if the articles in question were merely noting the parallel between the Braves and Colts (i.e. good teams who haven’t won as many championships as they may have been expected to). But this line of analysis — especially as it relates to Manning, who I couldn’t care less about — is couched in “choking” and freezing up and all kinds of stuff, it’s not some detached observation. If there’s any doubt about it, notice how many articles have taken the Eli > Peyton stuff, which is frankly ridiculous. It’s only thrown out there because it supposedly confounds expectations about character and choking and all of that.
    I’ll grant that I’m a Braves fan — and an Ohio State fan, I’ll note — but my disdain for people invariably equating championships with character and near-misses with choking or some other flaw was in existence well before 1991 and has little to do with my rooting interests. If nothing else I find it lazy analysis.
    And I would just once like to see some of these Monday morning quarterbacks explain to me who was a choker and who wasn’t before the actual big game. Until then, I’m going to assume it’s auto-pilot analysis.

  8. BC - Feb 9, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    If you want to see real chokers, see the 2007 and 2008 Mets.
    Or the 2009 Football Giants. I haven’t yet seen the Colts finish 3-8 and miss the playoffs.

  9. James - Feb 9, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    I think that this only underlines what you wrote in your Brett Favre Rules column and just serves to highlight the myopic view with which commentators view great athletes.
    Brett Favre’s Record in Super Bowls: 1-1.
    Peyton Manning’s Record in Super Bowls: 1-1
    Yet the story goes that Favre is the greatest quarterback to ever play the game and Manning managed to somehow fall back into mediocrity by throwing one pick on a route his receiver obviously gave on running?
    On any given day in their primes I would rather have Peyton Manning over Brett Favre, Greg Maddox over Pedro Martinez.
    Championships do not tell the whole story of an athlete, just ask Barry Bonds or Mark McGuire. Okay, bad examples.

  10. Rays fan - Feb 9, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    Every time I read about any article stating that someone “can’t win the big game” or “choking in championships, I mentally give the author something shiny to go play with in a corner. It isn’t merely lazy analysis, it’s stupidity. No team wins 14 of 15 division titles (sorry–can’t call it 14 straight, Les Expos were jobbed in 1994 and should have been awarded the division pennant), or goes to BCS bowls every year, or multiple Super Bowls without winning multiple “big games”. OSU’s bowl losses were to teams that were better than them. 3 of 4 Braves’ WS losses were to superior AL teams. That’s not choking. Plus, of course, the Braves, Colts and Buckeyes all do have rings in their respective sports–better than what my Rays can say.

  11. ecp - Feb 9, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    Wow, Craig, you have given me the chance to trash Jason Whitlock’s tripe twice in one day:
    And in a baseball blog too! Thanks, man!

  12. moreflagsmorefun - Feb 9, 2010 at 2:22 PM

    Braves still only won one World Series, no matter how big a fan you are of the Braves that is their record, ask Bill Parcells about that.

  13. Craig Calcaterra - Feb 9, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    No disputing that. I just take issue with the notion that their losses in the WS were a function of some mental block or choking or whatever. They were beat by better Yankees teams in 1999 and 1996. They were beat by a better Jays team in 1992. They were really evenly matched with the 1991 Twins and but for a supernatural/historic performance by Jack Morris, they would have won it.
    It’s sports. The better teams usually win. When they don’t, there are usually several reasons for it that have nothing to do with some “they just can’t win the big one” psychology.

  14. Joe - Feb 9, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    There might have not been this comparison if it weren’t for the ridiculous, absurd bilge hype about Peyton Manning surpassing Joe Montana and/or Terry Bradshaw as the “best ever quarterback when Manning hasn’t even won his second superbowl. Montana and Bradshaw have 4 super bowls a piece and Montana is undefeated in the super bowl. Let Manning go out and win 3 more and only then can he participate in the “best ever” discussion.

  15. moreflagsmorefun - Feb 9, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    I bet if they compared Los Mets to the Colts this would be wonderful, but never do this to the Braves, they did win one.

  16. michael standish - Feb 9, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    “But I suppose I can’t really blame the columnists who spew this stuff.”
    Why not? A lazy shithead who draws his pay for being same is, nevertheless, still a thief.
    Speaking of quotes, “the Harold Stassens of beisbol?” Gadzooks…Old Gator wasn’t kidding when he said “old.”

  17. Rays fan - Feb 9, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    If title are the key component of being the best of all time, then that person would have to be Otto Graham–4 AAFC championships with the Cleveland Browns, then after the AAFC merged with the NFL six straight championhip game appearances with two more titles. Now back to baseball.

  18. Davidoff Cigars - Feb 10, 2010 at 9:30 PM

    It’s news simply because you help make it into current information. Fox has Six links to stories like this on their main webpage, including this one

  19. nfieldr - Feb 11, 2010 at 2:53 AM

    Craig Calcaterra said:
    ” They were beat by better Yankees teams in 1999 and 1996.”
    Craig, it doesn’t happen often, but I really disagree with you on this one. While that statement is true of the 99 teams, IMO, there is no way that the 96 Yankees were a better
    team than the Braves. If that for that whole Wohlers / Leyritz thing in Game 4, the Braves might really have become a dynasty in the 90s. Who knows?

  20. Alex DeBono - Feb 11, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    Nice post! GA is also my biggest earning. However, it’s not a much.

  21. Peter Bazner - Feb 25, 2010 at 11:29 PM

    Thanks for the post, your blog looks lovely! I have been having trouble keeping up with the NFL this year but this totally helped me!

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