Dan Shaughnessy: Taking a dump in your mouth one column at a time

bankshot1

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As a baby-boomer, most of my Sox scars were healed over and gone by 2007. And that is said with having first hand experience of being in Fenway for G7 WS in '67, the G163 in '78 and living in NYC since the early 80s, and dealing with MFY fans for a long fucking time. And last night, as I collected a modest bet at my suburban NJ pub, my bartender, a rabid MFY-fan, said, "they're not as good as the '98..."

Everyone likes to troll...

This year, before the post-season, the Sox were a blast to watch. You either appreciate the skill and joy with which they played the game or you didn't. I suspect Shank understands this, he knows good baseball. But he also has a column to write, and controversy sells. And like my bartender...
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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I don't get the hate on the article. I suspect it would be viewed differently if the byline was by someone different. I thought the article was representative of a lot of long-time Red Sox fans. Half this board was fretting about the bullpen, that they peaked too early, or were going to struggle to get past the Yanks and Stros. Kinsler was compared to Buckner. Shank was far from alone in being skeptical that they wouldn't find away to blow it. That thought is deeply ingrained in fans born in the 60's and before.

For people that are now into their 50's and beyond it was really hard to be a Boston fan and Red Sox fan in particular for 2/3's of your life or more. Their were great times with the Celtics and the Orr years with the Bruins, but you knew if you were a fan you'd end up suffering. My son was born in 2001 just as this started to unfold. I used to joke that no matter where we lived he would be raised as a Boston fan because suffering builds character. It was just a common expectation. I came along after '67 and was a little young to be fully crushed by '75, but '78 was my first real heartbreak. I can get that despite all the success, the anticipation of doom is still real with some people who have the scars of past defeat.

It's not like he said they were lucky or rolled out the tomato can line in the article. He did a mea culpa and gave them their due. I see plenty of reasons to shit on the guy, I just don't think this article is one of them.
How old is Shaughnessy? Let's assume he's 65-years-old (or around that). For the majority of his life (50+ years) the Red Sox have been good to very good. They rarely finished under .500 and yes, there have been some heartbreaks (78, 86 and 03 -- I'm not include 67 and 75 because you can't win every series you're in) but for the most part, he's experienced some pretty good baseball. More often than not, the Red Sox do the right thing. Especially in the last 14 years.

So for him to go to this "woe is me" type of place and blame it on his parents and upbringing, is ridiculous. Dan Shaughnessy went to that place because that's all he knows and he made a lot of change off being the sole proprietor of that place. And that's fine, make your money how you can. I have zero qualms about that. But don't try and excuse your myopic cash grabs as some sort of Freudian misery perpetrated by your parents. That's bullshit.

And yes, we were concerned about the bullpen and whether they had peaked too early and about the opponents -- that's normal stuff. But we didn't excuse it away as something that we couldn't control. That's dumb. And I like Dan Shaughnessy probably more than most people on this board, but when someone writes a horseshit column; you have to call it horseshit.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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And I'm not saying that I didn't shudder and think of shitty things when Kinsler made that error. But it wasn't because I thought that the universe is stacked against the Red Sox or that this was some sort of karmic retribution for selling Babe Ruth. I thought that maybe the Dodgers will get a lift from winning an 18-inning game in a dramatic fashion and the Sox will feel deflated or something ... things that happen to teams everywhere.

But it didn't happen because the 2018 Boston Red Sox aren't the 1978 Boston Red Sox or the 1986 Boston Red Sox or the 2003 Boston Red Sox or for that matter aren't the 2004, 2007, 2013, 1953 or 1994 Boston Red Sox. This is not a sins of the father, morality play. More than that the Red Sox players have grown up in a culture of winning. AND New England kids have grown up in a culture of winning. They aren't looking over their shoulder for the black cat or waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I know that Shaughnessy desperately wants those times back, but they aren't coming back. And that's a good thing. It's nice to be free to watch a baseball game and experience the usual pangs of emotions without having 84 years of bullshit weighing you down.
 

brs3

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Every championship removes a different wart from the past life we lived as Sox fans. It seems so many “last time this happened...” is more and more referencing the 04-07-13 teams than the others. It took a 4th title to remove the wart(undoubtedly only until the next self created non-controversy) known as CHB. I’ll revel in it as long as I can.
 

dcmissle

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He is in fact 65. Prime boomer.
Someone born in 1953 in Boston has meaningfully experienced every Red Sox age save the prehistoric.

That makes you 12 in 1965, representative of THE bad old days when the team routinely finished last or next to last in a predivisional League.

“67 changes everything, but the next 35 years represent, for the most part, hell. Generally underperforming very considerable talent, rarely getting the pitching right, losing in the most improbable and agonizing ways.

As noted above, Shank made his bones navel gazing all of that shit. Fellowship of the miserable indeed.

His explanation of recent negativity falls apart in two important ways.

First, it’s unprofessional. Once he got the Globe typewriter, it was time to put all crap aside.

Second, 2004 changed everything, even if you were determined to remain Mr. Fanboy. Peter Gammons immediately noted at the time that it was a no-excuse opportunity — an obligation really — for Red Sox fans to be “normal”. Like Cardinal fans, Peter noted — you win some, you lose some, but you henceforth live your fan life in a healthy way.

Some good number of people decided to pass on that opportunity. Shank is their standard bearer.
 

Koufax

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One of my favorite WTF moments was when he cooked up this "scandal" about how Doug Mientkiewicz kept the baseball that he caught to make the final out in the 2004 WS. Who cares? Nice memento for the guy. But no, Dan has to make him into a bad guy for keeping it.
 

Spelunker

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By comparison, Charlie Pierce- who is only 5 months younger than Shank- shows how it's done.

Success, as it turns out, isn’t boring at all. It doesn’t do any damage to history or romance or mythology. In fact, it creates its own history, and romance, and mythology. Now there’s the Bloody Sock, and Papi against the Tigers, and Koji’s joyful grin, and Steve Pearce’s brief turn as the Sultan of Swat added to that long history of misery that one equal the lot of this franchise. Yin is as much fun as yang. Gamboling ego is as merry a companion as gloomy Id once was. Once again, the Red Sox are the masters of the first two decades of a new century. What comes over the next eight is somebody else’s problem.
 

timlinin8th

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One of my favorite WTF moments was when he cooked up this "scandal" about how Doug Mientkiewicz kept the baseball that he caught to make the final out in the 2004 WS. Who cares? Nice memento for the guy. But no, Dan has to make him into a bad guy for keeping it.
The dumbest part of that "scandal" is that it is a fairly common practice that the last guy to glove the baseball gets to keep it (as an example, in postgame interviews Vazquez said he had the final out ball for this WS in his gf or whoever's purse and he was keeping it forever).

And Shank's "mea culpa" is disingenuous - its both a means to cover for the fact that he got this 2018 team wrong and gives him an instant excuse when he writes more of his same tired old articles in the future.
 

JimD

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“67 changes everything, but the next 35 years represent, for the most part, hell. Generally underperforming very considerable talent, rarely getting the pitching right, losing in the most improbable and agonizing ways.
Did they really? I'm a decade younger than Dan and the '75 team was my entry into true Red Sox fandom, so I missed the Impossible Dream and I don't really remember the competitive early 70's teams. Those late 70's Sox teams were fun before falling hard, culminating with Bucky F'in Dent and the Fisk contract fiasco. The early 80's sucked, but the '86 team burst onto the scene with Clemens striking out 20 Mariners and ushering in a tremendously fun summer and fall (even more so if you were a C's and Pats fan). Game 6 was the very definition of sports fan heartbreak and '87 was blah but '88 ushered in Morgan Magic and two AL East titles in three years before losing to an Oakland A's team that was clearly better. Then the Butch Hobson disaster years followed by a surprise playoff team in '95. Then things really got going with the trade for Pedro, the back-to-back playoff appearances in '98-'99, and finally Manny signing as a free agent (the death knell for the tired 'No big-time free agent will ever sign with the Red Sox' talk).

So, in my time as diehard fan, that was two epic World Series appearances, an ALCS for the ages in '03 and five other playoff teams from '75 to '03. Older Boomer fans like Dan had '67 as well. Short of a winning a title or four, was that really a bad run for three to four decades?

Oh, and 'The Curse of the Bambino' wasn't a thing until much closer to '04. I think I remember seeing paperback copies at the Buck a Book in Davis Square a few years after it was published but even then I had no interest in reading it.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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“67 changes everything, but the next 35 years represent, for the most part, hell. Generally underperforming very considerable talent, rarely getting the pitching right, losing in the most improbable and agonizing ways.
C'mon, this is complete bullshit. From 67-2004 was not remotely hell for Red Sox fans, give me a break. There were a ton of fun teams to watch. The Red Sox may have been mediocre at times, but they were never boring. What more do you want?

How would you like to be an Astros fan during that time? Or an Angels fan? Or an Indians fan? Or a Rangers fan? Gah. Not only were these teams bad, but they were uninspiring and not really a hell of a lot of fun to watch play. Yeah, the Bucky Dent homer sucks. And Buckner's error was a kiler. But shit, I'd trade that over watching years and years of boring, bland baseball.

And the question is, if it was such hell; why did you watch?
 

RIFan

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C'mon, this is complete bullshit. From 67-2004 was not remotely hell for Red Sox fans, give me a break. There were a ton of fun teams to watch. The Red Sox may have been mediocre at times, but they were never boring. What more do you want?
Hell is obviously a strong term, but there is no doubt fans felt they were suffering. The next gut punch was always looking. Maybe it’s part of a cynical New England ethos or the Celtics and early 70’s Bruins conditioned the area to the potential of winning it all. If you felt that the Sox being entertaining and getting close a few times was good enough, I feel you’d be in a distinct minority. The term fellowship of the miserable existed for a reason.

For me this is all gravy. I’m over all that and enjoying the ride, but I don’t know why you discount the how people felt during those times.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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I don't get the hate on the article. I suspect it would be viewed differently if the byline was by someone different. I thought the article was representative of a lot of long-time Red Sox fans. Half this board was fretting about the bullpen, that they peaked too early, or were going to struggle to get past the Yanks and Stros. Kinsler was compared to Buckner. Shank was far from alone in being skeptical that they wouldn't find away to blow it. That thought is deeply ingrained in fans born in the 60's and before.

For people that are now into their 50's and beyond it was really hard to be a Boston fan and Red Sox fan in particular for 2/3's of your life or more. Their were great times with the Celtics and the Orr years with the Bruins, but you knew if you were a fan you'd end up suffering. My son was born in 2001 just as this started to unfold. I used to joke that no matter where we lived he would be raised as a Boston fan because suffering builds character. It was just a common expectation. I came along after '67 and was a little young to be fully crushed by '75, but '78 was my first real heartbreak. I can get that despite all the success, the anticipation of doom is still real with some people who have the scars of past defeat.

It's not like he said they were lucky or rolled out the tomato can line in the article. He did a mea culpa and gave them their due. I see plenty of reasons to shit on the guy, I just don't think this article is one of them.
If he had written this 14 years ago, as the Sox were winning their first WS, and then GREW from the experience, that might give the article some weight. Writing it now, after another decade and a half of his BS gives it no creedence.
 

dcmissle

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C'mon, this is complete bullshit. From 67-2004 was not remotely hell for Red Sox fans, give me a break. There were a ton of fun teams to watch. The Red Sox may have been mediocre at times, but they were never boring. What more do you want?

How would you like to be an Astros fan during that time? Or an Angels fan? Or an Indians fan? Or a Rangers fan? Gah. Not only were these teams bad, but they were uninspiring and not really a hell of a lot of fun to watch play. Yeah, the Bucky Dent homer sucks. And Buckner's error was a kiler. But shit, I'd trade that over watching years and years of boring, bland baseball.

And the question is, if it was such hell; why did you watch?
Hell has more than one circle. Haplessness is one, but it almost never fit the Red Sox and the narrative surrounding it got things exactly wrong. Underachievement is another; that’s where we lived.

You watched because the potential was almost always there and you dearly wanted to see it fulfilled.
 

dhappy42

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Hell has more than one circle. Haplessness is one, but it almost never fit the Red Sox and the narrative surrounding it got things exactly wrong. Underachievement is another; that’s where we lived.

You watched because the potential was almost always there and you dearly wanted to see it fulfilled.
This.

What made being a Red Sox fan “special,” from 1967, when I first became aware of the team, up until 2003 was not that they sucked. Instead, it was that they were so often good, or very good, or very, very good, but not quite good enough. And when they were very, very good, some calamity would happen (Armbrister, Dent, Buckner, Boone) that would break your heart.

Being a Red Sox fan is special now in a much better way.
 

strek1

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This is pure insanity. His parents went through hardships? Dan is a Baby Boomer, his generation had (and has) it better than any generation in history. But oh, his parents had it tough. Give me a break.
I agree Dan is a annoying clown but I don't get the trashing of an entire generation. I've got a few friends that came back from Vietnam and they sure as hell didn't have it better than anybody in history.
 

riboflav

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I agree Dan is a annoying clown but I don't get the trashing of an entire generation. I've got a few friends that came back from Vietnam and they sure as hell didn't have it better than anybody in history.
Agreed. I despise Shank as much as the next SoSHer but my dad born in 48 was drafted into Vietnam even with a college degree and my uncle born in 47 was a door gunner, one of the most dangerous jobs in that conflict.* And, they were not alone. I have a hard time calling it easy for that generation compared to gen x or gen y. Neither can watch a war movie of any kind or talk about those days. The fact that Shank generalized to justify his irrational positions does not mean we should do the same.

*And not just dangerous, he saw more death in an afternoon than I will ever see.
 

riboflav

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We should also consider who we SoSHers conceive as part of the so-called boomer generation because it’s doubtful those in this thread who dismissed this generation as having it easy considered their own whiteness and maleness. I’m not sure ALL Americans born in the postwar era would celebrate the luxury of growing up in 1960s America. But YMMV.
 
May 9, 2018
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I guess the Curse of Yawkey Way didn't have long legs.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Since the day city voted to take remove Yawkey Way from in front of Fenway, Sox are 3-4 and first place lead has gone from four games to one game. Just sayin&#39;.</p>&mdash; Dan Shaughnessy (@Dan_Shaughnessy) <a href="">May 4, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

As someone who isn't from New England, went to some Red Sox games in the early 90s as a college student, but didn't really get sucked in until Pedro Martinez, I will never understand the reverence for the Yawkeys, who seem to have run a complete clownshow of a front office for a large number of decades. I always get into baseball history at World Series time, and the pre-Henry (maybe pre-Harrington, Trustee, to be fair) Red Sox front office seems to have been almost comically inept. Pinky Higgins. Buddy Leroux, and Haywood Sullivan and the "better" Yawkey pretending that free agency wasn't a thing for like 15 years. It would be as if, at some point in the future, after their deliverance and salvation, Mets fans want to honor the cherished memory of the Wilpons.

Maybe the whole problem is that when the ownership of the local sprts franchises is competent, you don't reliably get to write about how dumb they are, and so you have to invent stuff.
 

mrsbeasley

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Hell has more than one circle. Haplessness is one, but it almost never fit the Red Sox and the narrative surrounding it got things exactly wrong. Underachievement is another; that’s where we lived.

You watched because the potential was almost always there and you dearly wanted to see it fulfilled.
The bolded is absolutely true for me (50 the end of this year, began watching the Sox with my father when Fred Lynn was roaming centerfield).

I was able to take my dad to Opening Day 2001. My first time taking HIM instead of the other way around. We took the bus in and a guy noticed his Sox hat and they started talking, my dad bragging about his daughter bringing him to the game. He was so excited until this guy starts in on him about how it's fans like him who enable the team to constantly suck and if it wasn't for him and his daughter spending money on gear and tickets the team would be forced to make changes to be better. (I mean this was 2 years after 1999 and we were going to see Manny Ramirez make his first start for the Sox. The guy was just miserable for the sake of it.) My father was stunned because in his view since at least the late 60s the team had given him so much joy and hope and he didn't get how someone could see it otherwise.

That guy could have been Shaughnessy. He obviously wasn't, but he certainly had that same defeatist attitude that to this day pisses me off.
 

JimD

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This.

What made being a Red Sox fan “special,” from 1967, when I first became aware of the team, up until 2003 was not that they sucked. Instead, it was that they were so often good, or very good, or very, very good, but not quite good enough. And when they were very, very good, some calamity would happen (Armbrister, Dent, Buckner, Boone) that would break your heart.
YMMV, but I never really felt that defeatism until the Boone HR. Even after Buckner, my thinking was that they'd made the Series in three straight decades, so one of these times they're going to break through. Getting Pedro and then signing Manny made it feel like just a matter of time until Grady blew it.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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C'mon, this is complete bullshit. From 67-2004 was not remotely hell for Red Sox fans, give me a break. There were a ton of fun teams to watch. The Red Sox may have been mediocre at times, but they were never boring. What more do you want?

How would you like to be an Astros fan during that time? Or an Angels fan? Or an Indians fan? Or a Rangers fan? Gah. Not only were these teams bad, but they were uninspiring and not really a hell of a lot of fun to watch play. Yeah, the Bucky Dent homer sucks. And Buckner's error was a kiler. But shit, I'd trade that over watching years and years of boring, bland baseball.

And the question is, if it was such hell; why did you watch?
Not only is this exactly right, but the other thing about the heartbreaks of 1978 and 1986 and 2003 was that they made success when it finally came even sweeter. Except for Shaughnessy.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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You know that in the same piece he wrote about five paragraphs about how awesome the Red Sox are compared to what a bunch of creeps the Yankees are in regards to playoff shares.

Though he also advocates for SiaS to be elected to the Hall of Fame.

Mixed bag!
 

TheoShmeo

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Dan's AFC East Tomato Can mantra ignores that the Brady's winning percentage against the AFC East (.798) is only 40 points higher than it is against everyone else (.758). (Credit to @BaseballJones for that one.)

He also ignores that in most years, the question is not whether the Pats will win the division but rather whether they will get a bye. The competition is the whole AFC, not just the East.

I guess Dan could argue that the Pats' overall percentage would be lower if they didn't have 6 cupcake games every year. They would have more wear and tear if they played in a tougher division.

I e-mailed Dan this morning and pointed these things out, and he simply huffed and puffed and said that the AFC East teams are weaklings.

He's right about the latter but his lack of intellectual honesty in the conversation was profound.

I have not seen the numbers but I am guessing that the Pats' overall strength of schedule is not materially weaker than that of any of their opponents over the last 18 years.

JMOH, I don't exactly see the mixed bag. George, thankfully, is dead. As much as I would love to blame him for the extreme dickishiness of his players, that's a tough one. Perhaps you meant in a more broad sense...taking the MFYs to task and praising SiaS in one article.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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JMOH, I don't exactly see the mixed bag. George, thankfully, is dead. As much as I would love to blame him for the extreme dickishiness of his players, that's a tough one. Perhaps you meant in a more broad sense...taking the MFYs to task and praising SiaS in one article.
Sorta. George Steinbrenner does not belong anywhere near Cooperstown, if you ask me. He was a shithead owner (it doesn't matter that he owned the Yankees in this assessment) for the vast majority of his tenure. He was suspended for MLB for two seasons and was a petty tyrant who made the lives of those in his employ incredibly shitty. Yes, you could argue that you can't tell the story of Major League Baseball without George M. Steinbrenner, but you can't also tell the history of man without mentioning the Black Plague or the Spanish Inquisition or John Mayer. I suppose that they're all important (in their own way) but it doesn't mean that you have to honor them.

As far as the AFC East being tomato cans, he is right. Yes, 40 points doesn't sound like a lot but in proper context; the Pats have won 80% of the teams that they play twice a year, every year for almost 20 years. That's a pretty big advantage. Let's be honest, when you see the Bills, the Dolphins and Jets on the schedule, you pretty much assume that at worst, they're going to win four out of six of those games, right (and that's in a down year)? That's a pretty big leg up. Yes, the Jets and the Dolphins have had a year or two when they were really good, but it hasn't been sustained.

I don't think that it's wrong to admit that. I mean, it is what it is (to quote someone close to the Pats), at this point. Miami, Buffalo and NY are all playing musical chairs to see who finishes second.

As for him not responding to you, that sucks. But he never responds well to people writing him, which is bullshit. That's part of his job. For a failing industry that could be completely out of business in ten years, he should be bending over backwards to please his readers. That's just being a dummy.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I don't think that it's wrong to admit that. I mean, it is what it is (to quote someone close to the Pats), at this point. Miami, Buffalo and NY are all playing musical chairs to see who finishes second.
Agreed. There's arguably a chicken or the egg dilemma when it comes to the rest of the AFC East. Are the Pats dominant because the other three teams are incompetent or are they incompetent because they're impatiently trying to keep up with the Pats?
 

TheoShmeo

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As far as the AFC East being tomato cans, he is right. Yes, 40 points doesn't sound like a lot but in proper context; the Pats have won 80% of the teams that they play twice a year, every year for almost 20 years. That's a pretty big advantage. Let's be honest, when you see the Bills, the Dolphins and Jets on the schedule, you pretty much assume that at worst, they're going to win four out of six of those games, right (and that's in a down year)? That's a pretty big leg up. Yes, the Jets and the Dolphins have had a year or two when they were really good, but it hasn't been sustained.

I don't think that it's wrong to admit that. I mean, it is what it is (to quote someone close to the Pats), at this point. Miami, Buffalo and NY are all playing musical chairs to see who finishes second.
They beat AFC East Teams 80% of the time and everyone else 76% of the time. I fail to see how that makes much of a difference, whether it's over one year or 20. Maybe I am missing it.

I have no problem admitting that the AFC East blows. In fact, I LOVE it. Whatever makes my team more likely to win the SB is good with me.

I just happen to think that that 4% difference in win percentage is not enough to support his conclusion.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Agreed. There's arguably a chicken or the egg dilemma when it comes to the rest of the AFC East. Are the Pats dominant because the other three teams are incompetent or are they incompetent because they're impatiently trying to keep up with the Pats?
I agree. Like TS's numbers show, it's not like the Pats run the table on the AFC East and shit the bed against everyone else. They're (obviously) really, really fucking good. But having three (mostly) shitty franchises in your division is helpful. Why are they so crappy? Who knows. There's a lot of reasons, I guess.

But that doesn't diminish the fact that the Pats have won five out of eight Super Bowls or have gone to umpteen AFC title games. I mean, it's not like they're playing their division mates in the AFC Title Game and then playing another one two weeks later in the Super Bowls. They've beat some really strong teams. I think that's what Shaughnessy is trying to get across but for whatever reason he has to be dickish about it (probably because he's a dick).

They beat AFC East Teams 80% of the time and everyone else 76% of the time. I fail to see how that makes much of a difference, whether it's over one year or 20. Maybe I am missing it.
It's because they're playing the same three shitty teams twice a year, year after year times 10. That's a guaranteed four wins plus, which if you need ten to make the postseason most years means you're already have way there. You can play less than .500 against your out of division games if you want and coast into the playoffs.

At least that's the theory. The Pats haven't done that, obviously and he's said that's to New England's credit. But Patriot fans don't need to see this as some sort of weak point, because it's not.
 

tims4wins

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They beat AFC East Teams 80% of the time and everyone else 76% of the time. I fail to see how that makes much of a difference, whether it's over one year or 20. Maybe I am missing it.

I have no problem admitting that the AFC East blows. In fact, I LOVE it. Whatever makes my team more likely to win the SB is good with me.

I just happen to think that that 4% difference in win percentage is not enough to support his conclusion.
I agree with this - based on the 6 division games, it is worth a quarter of a win more per season vs. how they play against everyone else (0.8 x 6 vs. 0.76 x 6). That adds up to like 4-5 wins total over the entire BB/Brady era. It doesn't move the needle at all.

Also worth noting that their 76% against out of division opponents is a slightly harder slate due to the nature of of NFL scheduling. Divisional games usually means the Pats play the second place team twice, third place team twice, and fourth place team twice. Out of division means they play six similar games against second through fourth place teams, but they ALSO play four games against first place teams per season (basically). That alone more than explains the 4% difference IMO.

Also, at one point I think I calculated the average second, third, and fourth place wins per season in all of the other NFL divisions and IIRC the AFC East was in the middle of the pack. Or maybe I calculated the non-division record, something like that. Either way, the AFC East didn't shake out any different from any of the other divisions.

Edit: lo and behold, the Pats are 3-0 against other first place teams so far. Tomato cans, indeed.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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To the point of the scheduling, let's look at their record against the 8 teams every year they're required to play, absent the other 2 division winners.

2002-week 8 of 2017 (because I had it sitting somewhere):
Brady is 47-13 vs. the NFC (78.3%)
44-14 vs. the scheduled AFC opponents (75.9%).

So that's 77.1% vs. the 8 opponents they have to play outside of their division that aren't simply because of their slot in the division.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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This is the type of crap that makes me loathe him. It's perfectly reasonable not to want Kimbrel on a six year deal. But Shank turns it into a character issue.

Kimbrel had 16 one run saves this year for crissakes. His issues in the postseason were due to tipping, and it was found and fixed. It's not a fucking character flaw.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Guys, may I respectfully suggest that you're reading a bit too much into what Shaughnessy wrote. He didn't say that the Patriots stink or that this run should be invalidated because the Bills, Dolphins and Jets are terrible. Here is what he wrote:

"It’s OK to admit. It does not diminish the Patriot greatness. But every other division has teams that rise and fall. Only the AFC East has three hopeless teams with new quarterbacks and coaches just about every other year.

The Bills and Dolphins have not won a playoff game since Tom Brady took over at quarterback for the Patriots in 2001. The Jets are an annual dumpster fire. Don’t push back and pretend it’s not true, Patriots fans. Just sit back and enjoy the free ride."
(Emphasis mine)

Over the last 20 or so years, the Pats haven't had a foil in their division. There is no Colts or Steelers or Ravens who (for the most part) year-in, year-out give the Patriots someone to worry about. Over the last 20 years, the Red Sox have always had to worry about the Yankees (and vice versa). Yes, there are a few years here and there where one or the other isn't very good and they don't push the other team, but for the most part if the Sox are good, the Yankees are too.

The Pats don't ever have to worry about Miami or Buffalo and only sorta worried about the Jets the first few years of Rex' tenure. That's actually a pretty great thing because it allows the coaches to focus on teams that do matter: the Colts, the Steelers, the Ravens, etc. When you division is sewn up on September 30, life is pretty good.

And to be honest, I'm a little surprised that the Pats only have a 80% win mark against their division opponents. I would have guess (and expected) it to be a lot higher but again, when you're so far ahead of the rest of the teams in your division, you can have Doug Flutie drop kick the ball and not worry about whether you need to have that W.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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JMOH, don't kid yourself: OF COURSE HE'S SAYING IT DIMINISHES THEIR GREATNESS. This is what he does. This is what he's been doing for years.

You're also dismissing the real issues the Pats have had in Miami (7-9 down there in the BB/Brady era) and with the Jets at times. It's Buffalo that's always stunk against the Pats, but that's one team out of the others.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Apr 12, 2001
20,183
JMOH, don't kid yourself: OF COURSE HE'S SAYING IT DIMINISHES THEIR GREATNESS. This is what he does. This is what he's been doing for years.

You're also dismissing the real issues the Pats have had in Miami (7-9 down there in the BB/Brady era) and with the Jets at times. It's Buffalo that's always stunk against the Pats, but that's one team out of the others.
My sarcasm detector is broken. He literally wrote, "It does not diminish the Patriot greatness."

And you're right, the Pats have had trouble in Miami; I grant you that. And we can find all sorts of stats to prove that the Pats have had trouble against AFC East team A, B or C ("Have you checked how they do against Buffalo at home on Thursday nights after a full moon in December? Fucking brutal." -- I have no idea if this is true.) but the overall point is that the Dolphins, Jets and Bills have stunk over the last 20 years.

I mean we can all agree to that, right? That's the point.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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My sarcasm detector is broken. He literally wrote, "It does not diminish the Patriot greatness."

And you're right, the Pats have had trouble in Miami; I grant you that. And we can find all sorts of stats to prove that the Pats have had trouble against AFC East team A, B or C ("Have you checked how they do against Buffalo at home on Thursday nights after a full moon in December? Fucking brutal." -- I have no idea if this is true.) but the overall point is that the Dolphins, Jets and Bills have stunk over the last 20 years.

I mean we can all agree to that, right? That's the point.
No we can't. Because it's not true compared to the rest of the NFL. As mentioned above, taking the Pats out of the AFC East and comparing the records of the non-leader teams to the other non-leader teams in the league, the AFC East falls into the middle of the pack.

The Pats' dominance makes the division appear weak, but their winning percentage against the rest of the league is the same, so the division itself is entirely typical save that there's one dominant team, not a rotation like the garbage NFC East that never gets the same team good for two years in a row because every team there is completely incapable of maintaining success over the long run.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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Jul 13, 2005
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From 2001-2017, those three teams combined for 367-449. If you remove 1.2 wins and 4.8 losses (that's a 20% win rate against the Patriots) per year, you're looking at 347-367, a 48.5% win rate, or approximately 7.8 wins per 16.

This is the point - the reason they look so bad is because they have to play the Patriots twice a year.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I can't believe anyone gives Shank the benefit of the doubt as regards to his having an honest opinion at this point. NONE of his opinions are honest. They are all designed to generate maximum outrage and attention. He's a professional troll. Nothing he writes is sincere in the slightest.
 

tims4wins

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Jul 15, 2005
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From 2001-2017, those three teams combined for 367-449. If you remove 1.2 wins and 4.8 losses (that's a 20% win rate against the Patriots) per year, you're looking at 347-367, a 48.5% win rate, or approximately 7.8 wins per 16.

This is the point - the reason they look so bad is because they have to play the Patriots twice a year.
Right, and in the same time frame I think the second through fourth place teams from all other divisions would have similar records
 

tims4wins

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I think this is pretty simple, by the way.

When you look at it from the perspective of how the average second through fourth place teams in the AFC East compare to the rest of the league, it is pretty middle of the pack.

But where Shank is correct is that there have been basically zero great teams to come through the AFC East during this era. The closest thing we saw was the 2010 Jets who finished 11-5, second place, and went to the AFCCG. But there have been zero 12+ win teams in the AFC East outside the Pats. This is different from every other division. Multiple times the Titans and Colts finished with 12+ wins each. It is possible to have a great team and also have the presence of another great team in your division within a single season. The Pats have never encountered this.

Whether or not that has had a favorable impact on their record, I don't know. Miami hasn't been very good during this era but the Pats are still below .500 there. If anything you would think the Pats division record should be better than it is.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Apr 12, 2001
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No we can't. Because it's not true compared to the rest of the NFL. As mentioned above, taking the Pats out of the AFC East and comparing the records of the non-leader teams to the other non-leader teams in the league, the AFC East falls into the middle of the pack.

The Pats' dominance makes the division appear weak, but their winning percentage against the rest of the league is the same, so the division itself is entirely typical save that there's one dominant team, not a rotation like the garbage NFC East that never gets the same team good for two years in a row because every team there is completely incapable of maintaining success over the long run.
Alright. I must've been watching three different teams, I had no idea that the Bills, Jets and Dolphins were the 85 Bears, 70s Steelers and 90s Cowboys. And I just looked this up:

Since 2001, the Dolphins have had six seasons over .500, two seasons at .500 and nine under .500, with 11 wins in a year the most that they won in a season, one division and one win the least amount of victories over that time.
Since 2001, the Bills have had three seasons over .500, two seasons at .500 and 12 under .500, with a high of nine wins and a low of four.
Since 2001, the Jets have had nine seasons over .500, one season at .500 and seven under .500, with a high of 11 wins and a low of four (three times) and they won a division.
Since 2001, the Pats have been above .500 all 17 seasons, have won 15 divisions with a high of 16 wins and a low of nine wins.

Funny fact: the two years that the Pats did not win their division, they were tied with the division leader for wins.

What I've learned, the Jets weren't as bad as I thought -- my bad on that. The Bills and the Dolphins have been pretty shitty for most of this run. So maybe they haven't had three tomato cans, but two definite and one that is a mixed bag.

I think that the point still stands.

I can't believe anyone gives Shank the benefit of the doubt as regards to his having an honest opinion at this point. NONE of his opinions are honest. They are all designed to generate maximum outrage and attention. He's a professional troll. Nothing he writes is sincere in the slightest.
Dude. You need to stop reading him. Seriously. Get him out of your life.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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"This is different from every other division. Multiple times the Titans and Colts finished with 12+ wins each."

Only twice:
2003: Both 12-4
2008: TEN 13-3, IND 12-4
TEN hasn't won double digit games since then. It's generally not a strong division. TEN has been medicore, HOU has been up and down, JAX has been terrible overall.

Two 12+ win teams in the same division isn't common at all, it only happens every couple of years in the league. Let's take a look instead at the times there's been multiple teams with 10 or more wins in the AFC East:

2016: 12-4, MIA 10-6
2015: 12-4, NYJ 10-6
2010: 14-2, NYG 11-5
2008: 11-5, MIA 11-5
2006: 12-4, NYJ 10-6
2004: 14-2, NYJ 10-6
2003: 14-2, MIA 10-6
2001: 11-5, MIA 11-5, NYJ 10-6

More often than ya thought, huh?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Jan 23, 2009
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"This is different from every other division. Multiple times the Titans and Colts finished with 12+ wins each."

Only twice:
2003: Both 12-4
2008: TEN 13-3, IND 12-4
TEN hasn't won double digit games since then. It's generally not a strong division. TEN has been medicore, HOU has been up and down, JAX has been terrible overall.

Two 12+ win teams in the same division isn't common at all, it only happens every couple of years in the league. Let's take a look instead at the times there's been multiple teams with 10 or more wins in the AFC East:

2016: 12-4, MIA 10-6
2015: 12-4, NYJ 10-6
2010: 14-2, NYG 11-5
2008: 11-5, MIA 11-5
2006: 12-4, NYJ 10-6
2004: 14-2, NYJ 10-6
2003: 14-2, MIA 10-6
2001: 11-5, MIA 11-5, NYJ 10-6

More often than ya thought, huh?
I don't think he was suggesting that two teams have won 12+ in the same division at the same time. He was suggesting that other divisions have had multiple teams eclipse 12 wins at some point in the last 18 years. Whereas the AFC East has had only one team do so since 2001.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Using the AFC South as an example of a strong division is.....unfortunate, I guess.

TEN hasn't won double digit games since 2008. HOU has only done it twice in their history. JAX has done it 3 times since 2001. That division stinks.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
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Using the AFC South as an example of a strong division is.....unfortunate, I guess.

TEN hasn't won double digit games since 2008. HOU has only done it twice in their history. JAX has done it 3 times since 2001. That division stinks.
Actually when I originally wrote the post it was to prove that the Colts had it just as "easy" as the Pats. And in terms of having a second place team with 10+ wins, that actually happened more times in the AFC East from 2003-2010 than in the AFC South.

But I am saying that there has never been a second great team within the division, which does seem to happen outside of the East from time to time.