Originally written on Waiting For Next Year  |  Last updated 11/18/14
While We’re Waiting serves as the early morning gathering of WFNY-esque information for your viewing pleasure. Have something you think we should see? Send it to our tips email at tips@waitingfornextyear.com. “Braxton Miller’s game doesn’t fit his environment. He’s here and he’s there, often wonderful, sometimes maddening. Defenders find tackling the Ohio State quarterback to be like lassoing a wisp of smoke. Miller is unpredictable with the ball in his hands, juking, spinning, stopping and accelerating. His passing is unrefined, yet capable of being a dagger when least expected. His feet are quick pistons propelling him through slivers of space. Miller is jazz in a football world accustomed to the droning sound of over-prepared monotony. First-and-10, do it again goes the mantra, except when occasional players come along who hear a certain sound not tied to the well-known musical scale. In the Jazz Age, that person would have been known as the big cheese, the cat’s meow. They’re special.” [Jones/Sports on Earth] —- “Sources said that new owner Jimmy Haslam and CEO Joe Banner have been impressed with Heckert’s work, but the two also have said that Banner will be involved in personnel, and that football will report to Banner. What that means specifically has not been spelled out. If Heckert has control of football with Banner evaluating him, Heckert could stay. If Banner insists on being involved in personnel and having final say over the roster and the draft, it could lead to Heckert’s departure. In the NFL, Banner is viewed as very effective managing the salary cap and in business matters. But he’s not considered a personnel guy. Heckert is, and to stay he wants to retain what he has. If he doesn’t stay in Cleveland, he would be in demand — Carolina has a GM opening, and a team like San Diego might.” [McManamon/FSO] —- Excellent recap of what deals were actually struck during the winter meetings. [Parkes/Getting Blanked] —- Could the Browns actually make the playoffs? “It won’t happen, but it technically could. I’m confident that it won’t occur, but my brain can’t convince itself of that simple fact. I’m perilously clinging to reality as if I’ve fallen over a cliff and am hanging on by a branch and pinkie nail. Yet I’m not wrong. The math is enabling my psychosis.”  [Buckeye Nerd] —- “Right now, in pro football, there is strong statistical evidence that insists teams should punt less on fourth down (even if it’s fourth-and-4 and they’re at midfield). Some of the logic behind this theory is irrefutable and some is harder to accept.2 But if you’re one who believes that this axiom must be embraced for its mathematical veracity, it probably means the reason you’re watching football is because you really care about the outcome. That’s why you’re watching the game. It means you believe offensive and defensive coordinators should make all their decisions based on rational probability, almost like they’re simulating the game on a computer (and if they make these same rational decisions 10,000 times, they will succeed more often than they fail, which should be the ultimate goal). It means you believe that the most important thing about a football game is who wins and who loses, which is fine. Except that it makes the whole endeavor vaguely pointless and a little sad. For sports to matter at all, they have to matter more than that; they have to offer more cultural weight than merely deciding if Team A is better than Team B. If they don’t, we’re collectively making a terrible investment of our time, money, and emotion. This is why the recent Spurs-Heat situation mattered — it raises real questions over what we’re supposed to care about when we watch 30-year-old millionaires participating in a schoolyard game with made-up rules. What matters is not the outcome of Miami–San Antonio, but how important that outcome was to begin with.” [Klosterman/Grantland] —- If you haven’t yet, check out the latest WFNY podcast- [WFNY]
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