Friday, January 02, 2009

I must object

(Viking fans, feel free to carry on to my Vikings-Eagles preview--which should have been the top post here for Friday before I felt compelled to post this one--or check out the Blizzard of Links relevant to the game).

ESPN's Jeff Pearlman makes the claim that offensive lineman Larry Allen was the Dallas Cowboys' best player in the 1990s.

First, I want to quibble with some deceptive language Pearlman uses. He asks

"But of the three-time Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s, who was the best player?"

To this question, Pearlman reaches the answer of Larry Allen. But let us note that Allen joined the Cowboys in 1994, and was thus only on one of the Cowboys' championship teams. While technically not an incorrect answer (he was on the "Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s" who were "the three-time Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s"), the syntax of the question suggests it is asking about the three championship teams, and the answer further suggests that Allen was a member of the three Super Bowl champion teams. But he wasn't.

Second, I would quibble with the content of the argument. Allen was, indeed, a great player. But Allen was such a great offensive lineman that...running back Emmitt Smith won rushing titles in the three consecutive seasons before Allen joined the team, and the Dallas Cowboys won Super Bowls in the two consecutive seasons before Allen joined the team. Emmitt Smith was dominant before he ever ran behind a Larry Allen block, and the '90s Cowboys managed to win two Super Bowls without Allen's greatness. I'd say it's dubious at best to suggest Allen was the best player on the 1990s Cowboys.


  1. Anonymous11:39 AM

    good lord, sir. You are a VIKINGS fan and therefore any mention of the f'ing cowpies is simply a waste of time. The only good cowpie is an unmentioned cowpie. That is all.

  2. re Wilf's stadium threats per Kevin Siefert:

    As a dedicated and long time Vikings fan, I hope they tell the NFL extortionists to go jump in a lake. Cities shouldn't be in the business of corporate welfare. Period. If sports leagues want to alienate their fans (a la the Sonics fans, North Stars fans, etc), let 'em.

    Wilf couching this as stimulus is laughable. The post-hoc rationalization du jour. It's like George Bush's response to any condition (boom, bust, national security threat, etc.) is "we need tax cuts." The Minneapolis Fed has done some of the leading work showing that the multiplier of stadium "investment" is small.

  3. M: I feel that IF public money is ever devoted to private businesses (like a stadium), THEN the public should be able to make certain demands in return for their money. For example, if a single dollar of public money goes to a Viking stadium, the city/county/state should be able to demand that no game played in the stadium will ever be blacked out.

    I agree with you in principle, but my view is "No public money for private businesses unless the public gets something concrete in return."

  4. A fine idea. Unfortunately I suspect the league would rather walk than allow municipalities or states to set conditions on funds that encroach on their ability to set their own rules. Wilf even be prohibited from entering into contracts that encumber his contractual responsibilities as a member of the league. I'm all for it though, if possible. Another idea would be to make sure some of those revenue streams are shared with the city as a return on its "investment." (I think Ravens stadium -- home of the purple imposters -- set a new bar in terms of guaranteeing that the team got all the concessions, naming rights, etc.) For some reason, though, the teams don't just want a place to play with expensive luxury boxes, they also want all the revenue streams that arise from the city's subsidy.

    Another things you might say is that, well, if other businesses are getting corporate welfare, then at least sports teams provide a civic benefit. They are not pure waste. To me, that's like saying that I appreciate that the thief felt me up as he picked my pocket.