In re Gary Kubiak and the Houston Texans

I haven’t done a sports rant in a long time. So I have a lot of ground to cover with this post

I’m starting with a simple summary of my position: It is my belief that the problems with the Houston Texans’ performance this season will not be solved by firing Gary Kubiak as head coach. While I understand the popular trend in professional sports fandom is to blame the head coach (or manager, in MLB) for everything that goes wrong, the ultimate responsibility for the final score of any game and final standings of any sports season rests with the players.

That said, I was disturbed by what I read today on a site called, surprisingly enough,

Due to unrelenting hate mail and threats, I have decided that I am taking the site down.  It was initially created as a fun place for people to gather who had the same thought process as I did.  I really never intended for this to get as big as it did, and have no desire in taking on the world.  Thank you to all of the supporters, and others that voiced their opinions.  Time will tell if we get a new coach.

Despite the fact I vehemently disagree with what the original site author wanted, I defend his right to want what is best for the city of Houston and its NFL football franchise and to unite others behind him. I am horrified that there are football fans in Houston that have chosen to resort to hate mail and threats. I’d like to think we are a higher class city than that, but I’ve been wrong before.

I’m not leaping to the defense of Gary Kubiak’s job. Should Bob McNair decide it’s time for Kubiak to go, I respect his decision as a Texans fan; he knows his franchise better than I do. And indeed, firing Kubiak may fix the more urgent problem of keeping the fans happy. Make no mistake about it: I think that is unfortunate. But, it is the reality of professional sports in 2010, soon to be 2011.

A followup on NFL player salaries

This is a quick followup to “On professional sports: what many fans forget, ignore, or don’t know” posted earlier this month.

I had asserted that the median NFL player salary would be a more useful metric than the average (arithmetic mean) provided by the NFLPA, and that the former would be lower than the latter. It appears I was correct; a little research turned up this WikiAnswers question with the answer, in part:

The median salary in the NFL in 2009 is roughly $770,000. In 2008 it was about $720,000.

From this, my relatively educated guess puts the $1 million mark at the 65th to 70th percentile (meaning that 65% to 70% of NFL players make less than $1 million per year).

Mean, thoughtless, and tasteless: PETA crosses the line reports on what may well be the single biggest lapse in good judgment ever to come out of the infamous “animal rights” organization PETA: a billboard with an obviously overweight woman in a swimsuit (depicted from behind, neck to small of back) and the tagline “Save the Whales. Lose the Blubber: Go Vegetarian. PETA.”

I can’t believe even PETA would stoop this low. This is flagrantly sexist; I don’t know how CBS Outdoor (formerly Viacom) allowed this to go up, or who PETA bribed to get this out there in this medium. That alone costs PETA much of the credibility they might have otherwise had.

PETA assumes plenty of facts about the majority of cases of obesity that have simply not been proven. There are many cases of obesity out there that changes in diet alone will not solve. I, personally, believe exercise plays a far greater role in losing weight than diet. I dismissed the Atkins diet as the fad that it is (was?).

As some evidence of this, people may think it ludicrous that professional sports franchises gave such high allowances for meals on road games–the NFL’s allowances from 2007 were $17, $25, and $43 for breakfast, lunch, and dinner respectively, probably a bit higher in 2009 due to inflation. Few consider the possibility that the activity levels of many professional athletes actually justify $17 for breakfast, etc. Yet that is probably the reason for the meal allowances being as high as they are! (In the particular case of the NFL, weight is actually an advantage for some positions and so players would need to maintain their weight, specifically eating enough to lose as little as possible. I wouldn’t exactly expect baseball, basketball, soccer, or hockey players to eat like birds, however.)

Until there is hard evidence that a vegetarian or vegan diet alone will result in weight loss with no other changes in lifestyle, the responsible thing to do is for PETA to remove their billboard. Of course, this is the same PETA that has no problem with splashing red paint on fur coats just to advance their ridiculous extremist view. So I’m not sure PETA will ever do the responsible thing. I retain my optimism, however.

Copyright, fair use, and officiating in professional sports

This was originally about an article about an NFL officiating blunder on I had the link saved as a draft with the idea of wrapping up the article as soon as I could watch the video.

However, today, I went to watch the video. I instead got a black screen with “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim from NFL Properties, LLC.”

Clearly, the use of a short video clip of part of an NFL game to illustrate a point is fair use, at least in spirit if not actually in letter. My comment (still pending approval at the moment) left on implies that the real reason the NFL told YouTube to take it down was the fact that it made their officials look bad, and the number of other NFL clips that have been allowed to remain on YouTube tends to back that up. Shame on you, NFL.

I still haven’t gotten a chance to actually see the video that the article is about. If anyone has a copy, please let me know in the comments. I do look forward to writing the article I originally planned to write.