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Coming up, BS podcast Hall of Famer Chuck Closerman. Next. We're also brought to you by the Ringer podcast network, where we put up a new rewatchables on Monday night. It's the live show we did from New York City on Rounders. Also the prestige tv podcast. I think I'm going to be on there either this week or next week on Stick the Landing, which is Andy Greenwald's podcast about famous last episodes of a show we did, the Larry Sanders show, one of my favorite shows ever. So that's either going to be this week or next week. Keep an eye out for it. Also covering showgun on that podcast feed with Joanna and Rob. Everybody loves that show. We covered it on as well. Last but not least, I am on David Chang's live cooking show on Netflix today. By the time you hear this, it will already have aired. But you can watch it on Netflix. You can watch the replay of it. Can't wait to be on. I think that's a really good show. So that's all that is up with me. All right, Chuck Closerman, sports culture going in a bunch of directions.


You know the drill at this point. It's next. First, our friends from pro Chip. We're taping this Tuesday morning, Pacific time. Chuck, closer than it's here. It's been a while. Every once in a while I realize, oh, man, a couple months have passed. We haven't talked to Chuck and I just text you and then we start thinking topics. And now you're here, you see.


When was the last time we spoke? I feel it was before Wembanyama was in the league because I thought we had kind of a gentleman's bet over what he would average his first year scoring in the league.


Who's winning it?


I think you set the over under at 19.8 and I took the over.


Does that sound right, doing the over?


Yeah, maybe you said it at 21 and I took the over. I know I took the over, but.


He'Ll end up hitting the over at the end. Have you been watching Webinar? What's your Wembanyama relationship?


Well, I watch him when I get a chance to see him, of course. It's real interesting. It's strange in a way how they're using him in the sense that every time he seems to get the ball within 10ft of the basket, he scores every single time. And that's a very small part of his game. But maybe it's smart, maybe they're taking him along in this way that they're going to sort of really let him sort of become as well rounded as he would have become naturally if he was playing, say, college or amateur for this period. My prediction with this is next year he is going to have similar numbers to this year and in some ways will seem like the same player. But I feel like his third year, he's going to have a massive season, like a statistical season that we probably have not seen in a very long time, and he will be the best player in the league for three or four years. But I think his career will be.


Relatively short because of the history of super tall guys.


That's part of it. There's just a lot of things that could happen, I guess, and it's hard to imagine him playing for 17 years or something, but we'll see. I shouldn't say that he may have a long career, but I think his dramatic peak is going to be about three or four seasons.


There's an Olympics piece with him this summer that I think is going to be pretty great. I think the Olympics in general is going to be amazing for basketball. It's probably the most teams that could have a chance to beat each other once we get to the quarterfinals. But the french team is going to be good. The canadian team is going to be good. Our team's going to be a little weird because some of the old guys still want to play and it's pretty clear they should push the old guys out and really build around some of the younger guys. So it's going to be this little, like, what happened to the women's World cup team where you have some of the older players? Like, I'm still here. And it's like, I'm sorry, Lebron's not one of our five best players anymore, and just once he's there, you kind of feel like you have to play him. Same thing for Durant. And I think that part's watching how they navigate the old and new eras is going to be fascinating to me, and then the french team is going to be really just.


It's so funny you mentioned that a couple days ago, my neighbor was texting me about the French Olympic basketball team and I was like, I assume this was some niche interest, but I guess maybe it's expanding.




Although this happened a couple years back, I remember, with the team.




Like, Nash was coming, was taking over, and Wiggins was there and there was all this. And now it seems like maybe these conversations are short and it's always know it's America and who else? And then we talk about another country for a while, although we'll have to see.


Well, and then there's going to be the yokage, just him running a team, Luca running a team. So you're going to have the quarter finals. I've been really thinking about whether I want to go this summer or not because when I went in 2012 in London, the quarterfinals were incredible because it was just four straight games and it was basically all the best players in the tournament were there. So in 2024, it's going to be even better because we have more better players, we have more foreign players, like the whole thing. And I think that's going to be one of the great basketball days. And it's interesting because we're headed toward this playoffs where the Celtics and Denver right now, the odds on that finals is only five to one on Fanduel, which is like, that means you're basically the prohibitive favorites to make it. And I'm wondering if this just becomes Boston and Denver in the playoffs. We have some fun storylines, but that's really where we're headed, and it's not going to be that fascinating. And then the Olympics will be more fascinating.


I think the west is going to be very interesting. It does seem like Boston is the best position in the east, but tell me this, knowing what we know now, and we look at the league as it is, would you say that the 1992 dream team is the biggest thing that happened to basketball in the last 50 years in terms of opening this game up in a global sense to where now the four best players in the league are not from America, whatever number of the top ten guys are not american players, the way that that sort of changed the way the rest of the world looked at professional basketball, which I think they had been interested in, almost like it's a spectacle or an oddity. Look at these. Know, they all go to Barcelona and people are gawking at them like they're Godzilla walking the streets. Or like if we were going to change the all star game and it was like America against the world, I think it's pretty clear who has the better team.


Yeah. So I've heard the dream team argument before. I think there's another piece of it because they started doing those overseas games. I think it was called, like, the McDonald's game, or they would play in Italy and they play in these different countries. And that was when they started to realize what the celebrities of the players were. They didn't. They knew, but they didn't really know it's not like we have all the same mechanisms we have now, but once those guys were overseas and being treated like rock stars in Italy or whatever country combined with the dream team, I think that was it. I still feel like Jordan is the biggest thing that's happened in the last 50 years.


Just his existence as a person, not.


Him becoming basically Ali for basketball, I think, is the most important thing that happened because I think he brought the most fans into it. And if you remember, even the dream team, magic had already retired. Bird was about to retire. None of the other guys are really that famous. It was really the fame of Jordan that levitated above everything. He pulled those other guys with him. Barkley came out of that whole summer as like a guy. He just wasn't a guy like that before. But I just think them striking oil with MJ in all these different ways, with the slam dunk contest, with the fact that the bulls got good, they beat the Lakers in 91, and I think that was probably the catalyst, but.


You'Re talking about a bunch of years there. The thing about the dream team is that's like two weeks. That's like two weeks in one year that it seems like all of. I mean, there had been international players before, of course, but there was almost like an exponential move after that in terms of the number of great international players that suddenly started appearing. We're like, in 20 years, what percentage of the NBA will be us born players? 50% or less?


Yeah, I think right now it's like 75%, something like that. Which is lower.


Yeah, I would guess 50%, probably, because it's just, it's an international game now, and it's washing. I mean, there really haven't been a huge number of players from China. And I think when that happens, how many seven foot people are in China right now? I would be curious what that number is.


Yeah, it feels like this has been a 35 year kind of crawl to getting where we are now. It's funny, we're watching this happen a little bit with the UFC. Like Arrow Hawani was talking about in France, because it was like, basically MMA was banned in France for a while, and then it was unbanned, and now there's like this explosion in France, and you're seeing in MMA in all these different countries, these fighters are coming out because it's been around long enough to kind of impact these kids growing up being like, oh, I want to do that. And I feel like that probably started in basketball with know, because think of the international players we had when we were growing up and it was like.


Oscar Schmidt, Marshall lones. Well, yeah, Oscar Schmidt never played here.


But we couldn't watch.


Yes. Petrovic.




Yeah. Let's see who else it was.


Dino Raja. But there just wasn't that money. And then I think by the time we got into the mid 2000s, all of a sudden, Argentina is beating America in the Olympics.


I remember, okay, so when Oscar Schmidt in Brazil beat the US in the Pan am games, I remember watching that. I think Denny Crumb was the US coach at the time. But even the assumption then was that, okay, Schmidt might be the best player outside of America right now. He still probably couldn't play in the NBA. He looked know the entire team was based around him shooting every shot. I remember his quote was like, some people are born to play the piano, most people are born to carry the piano. And he was talking about his teammates. So even then, when he was seen as the best international player outside of Sabonis, who I think might have been injured at the time, the idea was that he probably couldn't be an NBA player, certainly not an effective all star type player. That's not how it is now with these somebody, in just a completely blind test, if somebody said, okay, you can get the best international player from Europe right now who's 19, or the best us born player who's 19, I think everyone would take the european player knowing nothing else. The best american player right now coming out is the kid from Colorado.


Is that correct?


Am I right about that? Yeah. So I don't feel confident that he is going to have a great career the way I feel confident about so many of these guys to come over and seem to immediately be suited to play and are only getting better.


This is a big discussion right now with the smarter people that are involved with the NBA. How do we fix what happened here? Because I think all the coaches and the feedback from the Steve Kerr, Splstra, like Popovich, all those guys, the people that Adam Silver would ever listen to and have a conversation with, all them are saying how the american basketball players are coming in at a disadvantage compared to the foreign players because, and Kerr's talked about this recently because of the way in the other countries how they have basketball. It's way less games, it's way more practice, it's skill stuff, it's individual work, and they care less about actually the competition of it. It's more about the fundamentals and just getting better. And here it's all about the games and it's all about what AAU team are you on? What high school team are you on? If you don't like your high school team, just transfer another. You go to AAU, you play like seven games on a weekend, and nobody thinks this is good for basketball. And you look at where Cooper flag, I think is he's going to be a duke next year.


He'll be the number one pick. And I've had people in my life who follow this shit tell me that they think he's one of the best high school basketball players ever, and that this is like the first guy that's come into college in a while where they're like, holy shit, this guy has a chance to be great.


But that's happened with Zion, too, so he's the last.


But that Zion, and that's not that long ago. Zion was six years ago, though, so think about that. And then before that, it was probably maybe Anthony Davis, if you're just talking about. Yeah, and then, you know, Tatum, looking back, was a little more of a sure thing than I think we gave him credit for. He was always in the top of every class he was in in high school. He goes to Duke for a year. Fundamentally, like, he's kind of the perfect package for the last ten years, how it turned out. Pretty safe bet.


Yeah. Except when Ange made that move, people were like, I don't know about this. It wasn't overwhelming confidence in that.


It was not.


Yes, if you're talking about basketball, but it's almost everything. There's very few things in America where, if you're talking about the future, it's hard to make the argument that America is the best position to succeed in sports, in culture, in technology, and almost everything. It's like, if you're talking about what the future looks like, the american model that we've been using, very rarely, that doesn't mean it's going to necessarily work out that way. I'm not saying this is destined, but I'm just saying the way it looks, that the way that we're sort of putting together basketball talent seems to be considerably worse than the way it's being done in Europe.


And I think everybody knows it. It's interesting when there's a major problem and it just keeps going and nobody does anything about it because part of the problem. Gladwell and I talked about this a couple of months ago in the pod. There's so much money in place for the whole U. S. Sports infrastructure that all these people who are basically either bad actors or people that are just there to profit off of these, like they're incentivized to keep the structure as it is. Right. And I watch this with California soccer as I watch my daughter go through it. It's just these major clubs. They edge out all the smaller clubs. They try to turn into these little mini corporations basically. And it's all about the games and selling the hope to your kid that your kid might get a d one scholarship. Right? And that's what they do. And you pay and you pay extra and try to do it. It seems like it's way less about, hey, how does my kid learn how to be a good player and a teammate? And how does my player get better at shit?


Okay, when you said that it's interesting when there's a problem and there's like no way to fix it or whatever, what are you saying is the problem here? The idea that in the future there will not be many american born basketball players or that there are american born basketball players who will not succeed because of the system we've built? What's the problem?


That is the problem. The problem, the stuff that they're learning from basically I would say 7th grade on is this hopping around on different teams. The type of basketball is really rewards like the point guard or people who can shoot. So now you have all these big men that come in and they all want to be Carl Anthony towns. None of them want to post up and then just.


Although Wen. But Yaman doesn't want to post up either. I mean it just seems like that's true. The entire world seems to be moving on beyond that. I mean except for the guy at Purdue. Like Etney is the last guy posting up in the world.


Right. Well then you see the Celtics. And one of the biggest advantages they have this year is poor Zingis can post up and has this little like twelve foot game. So there's some sort of balance. But I just think the kids that are coming in now, they're just bouncing around on these different teams and that's kind of what they're learning. And they're learning like as long as I did well, it's okay. They don't even see the wins and losses. It doesn't really matter because you're just on in the next game and the Bruce Brown type of style of how to play basketball, those guys end up being more just like some of the guys the Knicks went after. I think it's interesting. The Knicks were just like this Villanova team really played well with each other and they're super close. Let's get as many of these guys as possible. Like it was an actual strategy by them that seems to be working, and bridges will be the next guy. He'll end up on the Knicks at some point, but probably just sort of like, how do you sacrifice stuff? The Celtics are going through this now.


One of the reasons I'm becoming more optimistic about them is the main guys are really starting to sacrifice. And the culture that we've created, I just don't think rewards sacrificing for the better of the team.


Well, I suppose that's true, but when we were going to do this podcast, we were just kind of texting back and forth very kind of casually about what we might talk about, and you'd sort of mentioned in passing. It's really weird to you that you're more into women's college basketball now than men's college basketball. And I totally understand that. You're not the only person like that. I mean, it is incredible in some ways that the most famous college basketball player in the country is a woman. When you think. And it's not even close, not even really that close. But to me, the reason this has happened, there are a couple. One is that the women's game has improved quite a bit. And we have this one kind of spectacular person who is kind of a game changing experience. But we've just professionalized college sports to the point where it just sort of seems like a JV version of the NBA in basketball. At know, with with on the women's side, that difference is less dramatic. But when I watch a men's college basketball game now, it's sort of alienating. I mean, when I think of the things in my life about sports that have changed in a disappointing way over time.


And I don't mean like Len Bias dying. I mean like sort of big kind of picture. The deterioration of college basketball is the biggest thing to me. I mean, it's just the most disappointing thing, but it's just like they've professionalized everything. What do you think of this idea to stop courtstorming, which is what people are talking about right now. Okay, what is your opinion on that?


I can't believe it still happens because the NBA got rid of it in the mid 80s after there was a couple of moments where players were in danger. Like in the end of the 88 finals, the Pistons still had the ball with 3 seconds left, and people are coming on the court when they were down three with a chance to potentially tie the game. So they just got rid of it and that was it. And it's weird to me that college just, we've now had. Two people got hurt. To me, it's like pretty obvious. Get rid of it.


Two people got hurt. Two people had incidents, and they're high profile people and they're not going to miss any time. I am not a big, like, you know how I am. I'm kind of anti fan to begin with. I don't like sitting next to people who cheer. I don't like going to concerts where people stand up. I am sort of pretty aggressively anti fan, but this is absurd to me. The idea of storming the court in these situations. That is a wonderful thing about college sports. It's an amazing thing to see. It happens a little too often now. I mean, I do wish that schools were a little more, a little classier about what scenario necessitates.


That's the big issue.


That's not that fucking dangerous. You're already playing a sport. Like, there's some danger involved, but it's this professional. It's like we look at these people like they're professional athletes and they're being paid. So I guess in some ways that they are. But I see a lot of the coaches who are coming out today saying, like, we got to ban this or whatever. And it's like, well, yeah, if you're a duke or Kansas or whatever, your kids aren't going to storm the court. You're not going to have a home game that you're not supposed to win. But, I mean, for these small programs, it kind of bumps me out that they would think that, oh, this is too dangerous to, on the rare occasion when something legitimately dramatic happens that kids are going to pour onto the court and because there is, yes, there is more risk. We've had two incidents this year, so that, of course, seems like a big deal. But how many times over the last five years have people stormed the court? What is the real risk?


I thought it was a couple of times a week that someone got hurt.


Or that someone storms the court.


Yeah, that someone storms the court. Happens quite a bit.


We usually can seem to survive it, right? I mean, are these kids not supposed to go to rock concerts? Are they not supposed to go to anywhere where there might be large crowds? Because you look at these people, you look at these kids now, and there is so much money at stake. I don't really blame them at all. It's like they sort of have to. I'm not going to play in the Liberty bowl or whatever. I got to get ready for the draft. I guess that makes sense. But I think that this is part of the reason that college sports are changing in this way that is making somebody who is pretty interested in this stuff less interested.


First of all, incredible zag by you. I've not heard a lot of pro courtstorming and I thought you pulled it off.


It's dangerous, but it's not that dangerous.


I don't think it should be as frequent as it is. I've been in courtstorm situations because it happened with the Celtics a couple of times. It happened after when I was there when we beat the Sixers in 1981 and it happened when we beat the Lakers in 1984 in game seven and then in 86. But it was kind of the game was over at that point. But it's pretty scary as it's happening now. Granted, I was smaller, so maybe I was a little worried about in 1981 I was eleven.


Did you stay in your seat or did you go into the melee?


No, I stayed in my seat. Oh, it also happened to me.


You're saying it was just scary, the people spilling down?


Well, the scariest was I went to the triple overtime Sun Celtics game, the famous game. So after Havocheck hit the shot at the end of double OT, everyone stormed the court and I was legitimately scared. Now it's six, but it is really chaotic, like people are coming. You feel for like 5 seconds like oh my God, what's happening? So if you're a player on the other team on the court, I do think it opens up a lot of stuff. Like at that triple OT game, the referee Richie Powers ended up getting punched and you're adding elements.


Wouldn't that game have ended at like 1130? Why were you a six year old in a game at 1130?


The game started at 09:00. It was the latest I'd ever been up.


Well, you knew this story.


I've told you this.


Well, I know, I've heard. I was just kind of putting the timeline together now.


We got home at 01:00 I thought it was amazing.


I will concede that kids storming the court could be dangerous to a six year old.


That's true. But yeah, let's take a break because I want to talk about women's college hoops. Bet the NBA with a no sweat. Same game parlay from Fando every Thursday with TNT Thursdays doesn't matter if you're new to Fando or already have an account. You'll get bonus bets back if your same game parlay doesn't win on any NBA on TNT game NBA same game parlay is the perfect way to combine your bets for a chance to score a bigger payday. What are the TNT games? Oh, we got Warriors, Knicks, then Heat Nuggets. All right, well, Heat's Nugget Heat Nuggets just do 20 points and up on Yokich, ten points and up on his rebounds and assist and the Nuggets to win. Throw that all together and see what happens. However you want to play, just head to BS to bet the NBA with a no sweat same game parlay with TNT Thursdays. BS make every moment more with Fanduel, an official sports betting partner of the NBA, you must be 21 plus in president select states gambling problem? Call 1800 GAmbLER. Visit rg. Minimum three leg parlay required refund issued as non withdrawal, but bonus bets which expire seven days after receipt Max refund $5 unless otherwise specified restrictions apply.


C terms at Sportsbook handle all right, so I texted you, and this is genuine. I care more about the women's college basketball and the tournament than I do about the men's. At this point in my life, I am the same person who once upon a time I did not want to watch women's college basketball. I did not like the product. I remember when Obama had to start doing men's and women's brackets. I was like, come, like, what are we doing? And a couple things changed with women's college basketball that the last few years, especially like that final four that Friday, like, I've gone out of my way to watch it now. I find myself following it during the regular season. And it's not just because of Caitlin Clark, who's the most fun college player, but LSU, South Carolina, Yukon, Juju Watkins on USC, who was in the same class as my daughter, and we're in the same LA school thing. She was so good as a kid that she wasn't allowed to play in the elementary school games and she just would sit them out. It was like, she's literally the best player in America at her class.


So watching all these people, plus the continuity of oh, I know these Iowa kids, I watched a bunch of their games last year. Most of them are, you know, Caitlin Clark. The fact that they can make money with the nils, it actually makes more sense for her to stay in college as long as she possibly can. So there's continuity. The style of play is good. It's got a lot of the fundamental stuff that it used to have, combined with the slash and kick and the threes. But the continuity which Menz is now, it's gone like it doesn't exist. Cooper Flagg is going to go to Duke next year. He's going to play for one year. He's going to leave. He's going to be on the NBA. But in women's college basketball, it actually makes sense to stay as long as possible. It's the highest profile sport you're going to have. It's more high profile than WNBA. I'm really genuinely excited for the women's tournament this. So where do you stand on it and why do you think this is happening?


Well, I watch it now. I think everyone does. The final four last year was very interesting when there was just suddenly everybody I knew who liked basketball was simultaneously into this, and there was not really a bandwagon feel to it. It was like, this is great. This is really entertaining now. Okay, my question for you, I guess, is, do you think that you are going to now follow some of these people who you've kind of been come engaged with into the WNBA?


No, I'm going to follow Kaylen Clark. To me, I think she has a chance to be the most fun basketball player, male or female, when we get to the pros. If she's just going to make 30 footers routinely, it's basically all the same curry stuff, just with a female. But it's all the same things I love about watching Curry and how they play off teammates and the dribble handoff. She's also a good passer, but I just like watching her play. I would like watching her play in any format.


One thing that I sometimes think is, okay. So, like, in 1979, when it was the Indiana State and Michigan State national title, biggest rating of a college basketball of any basketball game ever. Okay. And then for about ten years, college basketball was still slightly more popular than the NBA. And then that changed. I wonder if last year's final four for women was the equivalent of that final four, which is that it was this widely watched thing that people were really involved with, and maybe it'll be ten years now before the WNBA becomes as popular or more popular.


Right. So we have a window right now where it makes more sense to stay in college, but it won't in ten.


Years, and there's just a lag situation. Sometimes I wonder if there's going to be a similar kind of like, ten year lag where the last year's women's Final Four was this, maybe, I'm sure, the highest rated women's college basketball game ever. And that then for ten years, it'll seem as though women's college of basketball is still considerably like a much bigger deal than the WNBA, and then maybe ten years in, it will start to sort of equalize, and then the WNBA will end up becoming the dominant thing. In the same way that this happened with men's basketball, where college basketball was more popular, and then eventually, really, it was kind of like post magic and bird in the NBA, the league became so much more dominant than the college game.


Yeah. All right, so here's the case against that. With the colleges and the infrastructure of the coaches who now have replaced the men's coaches, I would say Gino and Mulkey are more famous than, would you say any men's coach at this point.


Other than Kyle Perry, but Tom Izzo.


Tom Izzo. Okay, so is that the top people? Have people had more conversations the last five years about Gino and Moki or Tom Izzo?


Well, Michigan State's been down a bit. I don't know. He just seems still real famous to me. I mean, Rick Patino still know. Granted, St. John's is not really in the news. I don't know. They're all pretty famous. I guess it would be hard for me to say who actually is the most famous.


But you have the colleges themselves. You have people staying there for a few years. I guess the case for college basketball, for the women's side continuing to be the same, is that what's the ceiling of the WNBA as a league? And we're going to know with Caitlin Clark, if she can come in and flip it, where she's an actual attraction, like she's been in women's college, then that's going to lift the whole league. And then now we're in trouble, probably, with women's college basketball. But I don't know if that's going to happen because she's going to be competing against the best, you know, at least for the first part of the season.


My argument is sort of that one of the problems with men's college basketball now is it's not differentiated enough from the NBA, whereas it seems on the women's side, there's still, like, watching these women's college basketball. It feels like you're watching college sports. To me, it has that feeling, which is the desirable feeling that people who like college sports want, where when I'm watching men's college basketball, it doesn't often seem that way.


It feels like a way worse version of the NBA. It's like all the same kind of shot selection, but just done by guys that aren't as good.


Team, like Alabama or whatever. It's kind of fun watching them, but that's an all new team. It's like all new guys. Grant Nelson wasn't there last year. Now he's one of their best players. You watch a team and it's like, well, what relationship am I going to have with this team? Is it going to be completely reinvented in a year? And that is less fun. It's troubling.


I think the point you made about this is like you being the most bummed out that college basketball doesn't matter the way it did. It's hard to explain to somebody under like age 30 how important college basketball was compared to all the other sports. It's basically like how people feel about college football now. I would say they felt that way about college basketball. It was probably more important than the NBA up until Jordan started winning titles. I think at least in the 80s. All the way through the Leightner shot, I think I cared about, just from an anecdotal standpoint, from people in my life, what we talked about. I had much more trouble finding people to talk about the NBA with than college basketball. Everyone cared about college basketball. And then something shifted as the last 30 years went. I don't know if that ever comes back. I just don't see for it.


And you say describing it to someone under 30, what? It's kind of like it's trying to describe college sports to somebody from Europe. Like they're very baffled by this always. I remember just when I was over in Germany, living briefly, it was just very difficult to describe to people why college sports exist at all. It's like, it's really a very an american thing. It's not something that's in a lot of different countries. And now they're not amateur athletes, now they're getting paid. I mean, it's weird how all this nil stuff, how fast that mean from initially, like, well, somebody like Tim Tebow or somebody like Johnny Manziel, they've earned so much money for these institutions, they should be able to benefit now. It's know a school in Arkansas asking their boosters like, hey, we got to get some new linebackers, like, what are you going to give us for that? Speaking of which, did you watch the Johnny Manziel interview with Shannon Scherr?


I did not watch it. I read some of the transcript highlights what stuck out to you.


Well, okay, there was one part in particular that I just think it really illustrates how the world has completely changed in a short period of time. So Manziel's there for two years, and he's going to go to the NFL. So then apparently, Manzel's father went to Kevin Sumlin, the coach at Texas A. M. And says, hey, if you give us $3 million in cash, we'll stay the last two years. And apparently, Kevin Sumlin kind of, like, scoffed at him. But in the conversation between Manzel and Shannon sharp, they're almost like, can you believe this fucking idiot? What a jackass. All we needed was $3 million. And he acted like. And then he goes like he was the same thing. When Cliff Kingsbury wanted to be the highest paid offensive coordinator, he just kind of scoffed. And it was like, in my mind, this reflects well on someone. But it's presented as this idiot did not care enough about the team and Johnny Manziel to find $3 million, which is nothing for him to play two more years. And it's like everything is reversed. So then I started wondering, so are we supposed to now rethink the period of college sports when it was illegal to do this and no longer see anything wrong with the teams that were paying players?


Because it's not know. They always go like, everyone was doing it. Not everyone was doing it. That's not true. There were a lot of programs that know. I know he's kind of a troubling figure historically, but Bobby Knight was super angry at Steve Elford for posing for a charity calendar that cost them one game or whatever. He'd bring it up, like, years later, like, you fucking cost us that game, Alfred, or whatever, with that calendar. It's like the players were terrified of him. There was no way they were going to take money. Now it's different, of course, when a guy's already at school and someone starts paying him. I think that kind of happened, like, in Miami and stuff like that in Oklahoma. But the idea that there were some schools who were giving kids money to get them to go, mean, like, you know, SMU gave Eric Dickerson a car to get him, or maybe we did.


Pony express or that Baylor gave him.


A car and then he went to SMU anyways. But regardless, it's like, are we supposed to now look back and sort of think that all the schools that were playing players were actually morally correct, that they were supposed to be doing that? And that the schools who weren't playing players, the schools who were playing at the time above board, are they actually the illegitimate ones? Is that how it's supposed to be? Now.


So coincidentally, I just watched blue chips because it was on and I was doing emails. I needed something to watch. I'm like, oh, I'll put blue chips on. Because it had just started on one of the cable channels. It's such a fascinating movie as the years pass with what the concept of the movie was, which was basically Pete Bell, the Nick Nolte character. And he's like, he's effectively Bobby Knight, but he's like, I can't compete with all this money that's in college basketball anymore. He's going to lose his job. And there's the one booster played by JT Walsh, and he's kind of like, I'm going to look the other way. You do what you need to do. And all of a sudden, JT Walsh works his magic. They have this awesome team, and Nolte, in the end, feels like he's completely sold out. He sold out the kids and he's done. He's not going to do it. This movie, I think, was 1993 or 1994 maybe, because Shaq and Penny are in it. It's like it saw all of this coming. And I actually think it's a better movie than maybe we realized at the time for the things that it was trying to tell us because we knew all of it, but we were kind of at the same time, like, hey, man, as long as it was like the line for all of us was Jerry Tarkanian.


Well, don't do what he does. But for the most part, yeah. They always said with UCLA, with John wooden in the. Everybody got taken care of the other way.


Yes. He didn't want to know anything about it.


Don't tell me.


Yes. And there was probably. I'm not like, saying this was a rare. I'm sure it was common, but it wasn't unilateral. It wasn't every school. And it's strange how when something completely reverses a complete reversal from the idea that the worst thing you can do is pay a kid to go to your college, to play cheating, to now that if you don't do it, you don't really care and you're, in fact, exploiting the kid, that if a kid were to only get a full ride scholarship, that that somehow is a completely unfair transaction, which is just the kids got to do what they can. They got to make as much money as they can. I understand that you can't expect or you can't say to a college kid, it's like, well, for the good of the sport and for the future of this enterprise, it would be better if you didn't take as much money as you can. Of course anyone's going to take as much money as they can, but this is damaging over time. It's not good. I don't think that there's anybody who cares about the actual sport, college football, college basketball, whatever, who thinks that this is actually good, or like all these conference realignments and the idea of Cal being in the ACC or whatever.


I don't think there's anybody who's like, well, that'll be good for the sport. It's like it's going to be bad for it, and we just sort of have to accept it.


Well, think about how that's changed since the 60s, where Kareem goes to UCLA and not only is he the best player in college basketball, but probably one of like the twelve or 13 best basketball players already, and he can't play as a freshman because they have these rules. You're not allowed to play to freshman. They changed that. They used to have the rule that some of the guys fought in the 70s about, you have to stay in college three years, 21. So that changed. But then for the most part, it became a wink, wink. We kind of knew who was cheating. We kind of knew who wasn't. All of a sudden, the new freshman star on some team would have braces I always thought were a big tell. Like, oh, I've just randomly decided to get braces now. At age 18. You just kind of knew shit was going on, and we kind of knew who the teams were, and then stuff would come out after. But now I don't think anyone would care in the same way. To me, it reminds me of how we really cared about performance enhancing drugs in the don't think we do.


And I think the leagues look the other way. I think a lot of shit is still going on, and I don't think people care anymore.


There does seem to be sort of this shift that the progressive viewpoint is to not ever sort of penalize the action of the athlete. Wouldn't you say that 100% if you're going to set these things up in, like, oppressor and oppressed, it's like the athlete is oppressed no matter what the situation is, and that it's like the modern way of thinking. It's a more modern way of understanding it. So I can't really say it's necessarily bad. It's just different. It seems strange, though.


Well, let's say. Let's pick any top a player and that person's in a ped scandal in the NBA, and it comes out that they did peds and they did. What's that? The EPO, the one that allows you to have more endurance. And it was just, oh, my God, this person was. There's all these emails, and this person was definitely cheating for the last couple years. What would happen?


Well, there's two versions here. One is almost anybody else, and then one is LeBron. If it's LeBron, it's a huge deal. It's a huge deal for a whole bunch of reasons, because of just the role he's played in the league, his longevity over time, all of these things. The fact that he is in the same way that with Jordan at one point where it seemed like LeBron has power, that's not that far from the. It would. If it were him, that would be one thing. If it were almost anyone else, I think it would just be four or five days of conversation, and then if the player later in his career played in the championship series, that would come up again. But it would not be that big of a deal. It certainly wouldn't be like. Certainly not career ending, but even, like, reputation destroying.


What if it happened in tennis? What if it turned out either a player that we just had that won a bunch of titles or a player that's on the rise now was doing EPO? And that's why they're playing these five hour matches, because they're all cheating, which some people seem to think anyway. What if the drugs are better and the detection for those drugs is harder than ever, and the people are way better at cheating, and we just have no idea. I find it hard to believe that people were doing performance enhancing stuff in the. It's just stopped. Even though the drugs are better, even though they're way more focused. Like, think about micro dosing with mushrooms. Like, how much better micro dosing has gotten just in the last ten years. So you're saying peds wouldn't be getting better in 2024, that there's no way some of these guys aren't doing some of that stuff, but I just wonder if anyone would care.


Yeah, I think that there's probably an unspoken chunk of sports fans who are like, I kind of like peds. Like, I actually like them. This is definitely true, like, in track and field, that there are, as a percentage of people, maybe a large percentage of people who are. If they're interested in track, they're like, I want to see how fast these guys can run.




I'm interested to see a number on the clock that blows my mind. And I don't really care how it gets there. And I'll just admit it, I'm one of these people. I follow track probably more than the average person, which is still not a ton, but I would like to see the fastest times, the highest heights possible. And I'm not super concerned over how that is achieved because to me, that seems to be something like this is just in a sport. Like, as I've mentioned this before, I'm always kind of interested in track, and I'm always kind of interested in boxing because it's really like the distillation of fight or flight. Who would be best suited to run away from someone, who would be best suited to fight someone. And I kind of like the idea of seeing people really sort of push the limits of what health and science together can do.


But the problem is MMA and boxing are the two that they still have to regulate because you can really, I mean, that's one. You're not getting hurt in a basketball game playing against somebody who's a little juiced up. But I think MMA is a little different.


There's a couple, but also isn't like, you're in, you are, you're entering something in.


You're not a book club.


Well, it's beyond that. I mean, you're entering a combat sport where the intention is to knock the other person unconscious. I mean, you're going into it knowing that. It's hard for me to be like, jeez, we got to be careful here. Like, sure, this guy's getting punched in the face 15 times. Just think if the footpounds was slightly higher. It's like he's taking the risk. It'd be pretty weird for me to be like, it's okay to storm the court, but I'd be like, oh, but we got to protect these guys. Court stormer who have entered basically, like they have taken, they're consciously doing something where they're going to get hit in the face many times for many, many years.


You know, what's a big sport right now for the limits is golf because the clubs and the balls have almost gotten too good. And especially the balls, I think they're going to have to walk back some of the golf ball stuff because these balls are just like, they're like basically the juice baseballs in the 1999 home Run Derby and then tennis. I still play tennis every, like two years. The rackets are just way better. It's almost impossible if you have a nice racket now, if you hit the ball pretty square, almost square. It's going to be like exactly the shot that you wanted to hit. Whereas if you used a racket from one of those slazinger rackets from 1980 or something, there was so much skill involved.


Sean McEnerro used to always be like, they should go back to wood rackets. It would be a better sport.


It probably would be, but let's take a break. All right, Taylor Swift. I have to ask you, as somebody who has written a lot about celebrity and fame over the years, is this the most famous person, singer, actor, athlete that we've had since Michael Jackson?


Well, she's more famous than Michael Jackson.


Okay, let's start there.


I've had this conversation with several people, and the question is, could the Beatles have sold out six nights at Shay Stadium the way she sold out all those nights at Sophie? Now, the Beatles stopped touring in 1966, and part of the reason that Taylor Swift is in this position is because her career is so long now that there are many people at these shows who have never lived. When she wasn't putting music out like it has existed this whole time. The Beatles, they stop in 66. Let's say they had kept going. So let's say it's 1969, and the Beatles are trying to do the largest american tour possible. Could they have sold out these places for as many nights as she has now? Granted, the ticket at that time would be $6.50, probably, maybe less, maybe $4.50. So it is possible that they could have done it. But there, again, that's four people putting together what still has kind of stood up to be the greatest music ever built within a genre, like, within the rock pop genre. They've done the best. So Taylor Swift's an individual, and I don't think that there has ever.


Now, I don't know how, if she will have, say, the international reach that Michael Jackson had. I don't know how famous Taylor Swift is.


I think she's pretty famous everywhere.


Yeah, but Michael Jackson was. Sometimes people have said they would go to a different country, and Michael Jackson was literally the only american they'd ever heard of. They didn't know Ronald Reagan was. It was 1985 or they had never. They didn't, you know, but they knew Michael. Okay, so I don't really do journalism much anymore. I don't really write columns or essays that much outside of books. Taylor Swift actually makes me miss that, because just kind of watching her gives me just almost limitless thoughts about the world. Not all positive, but, man, like, here's one. Here's the big thing I was thinking about first thing. So how is she so massive? How is she so colossal? Well, to me, the key seems to be that she has almost completely saturated both the youth market, the consumers of pop as teenagers, but also, like their moms and their parents. Right? She is as popular among 60 year old, 50 year old people, especially women, as she is with 13 or 14 year olds. I was like, well, this is really the king.




But then I thought of something else. So first, that seemed real remarkable to me. Then I was like, okay, let's say it was 19. Five. What was entertainment in 1905?


It was like musicals.


Well, maybe the circus comes to town. Whole family goes to the circus. Oh, they're going to have a rodeo in town. Oh, let's all go. Maybe our brother is going to ride. It's like, oh, there's a dance. There's a dance and there's going to be a jug band playing. We're going to bring the whole family. The kids will play to the side, mom and dad will dead. Okay, so now it's, let's say it's 1940. Okay, well, what is entertainment? Well, there's the radio, which is in the middle of the house. You only have one. You all listen to the same thing all day. You go to the biju, right? It's every kind of film there is. It's a cartoon, then it's a newsreel, then it's a serial, then it's the actual, whatever, future presentation. So the whole family goes together. I'm starting to wonder if maybe 1945 to the end of the 20th century is actually the one blip where there is a chasm between what young people listen to and what adults listen to and what adults care about and what kids care about and what the entertainment is for both. And that she is like the first person to really capitalize on this, not because of anything she did, but just the way thing worked out.


I think that when.


So you wouldn't say thriller hit everybody.


I'll tell you what, I bet you probably did not find a lot of 55 year old moms being like, oh, gosh, I love thrillers so much. Eddie Van Halen's guitar is incredible. There was still a. You. How old were you when the thriller came out?


I was 8th grade.


Did you buy it?


Of course.


Did your dad like it? Your mom like it? That wasn't the way it fucking was, man.


Yeah, you're right.


There was nothing I liked in the parents liked, except sports.


That was the one thing.


And that's maybe. And I think that's a big reason why sports in the.


There weren't some tv shows you didn't have. Everyone like cheers, everyone like family.


Absolutely. There were things that the whole family would watch, but those were kind of exceptions, and they were called family entertainment, so they were almost consciously made to do it. It's like you don't, you don't think of a pop star building themselves as, like, family entertainment, you know? And it's like you don't think of them thinking like, but they kind of do now. And I'm just starting, I just, I'm curious if maybe that we always kind of grew up in a world where we assumed that there was just this built in, kind of generation gap, that what somebody liked and what their parents liked are automatically at ods. But I wonder if we were living through the period where that was the only time that's going to happen and that moving forward now, because you see this all the time. I take my kids to a lot of movies, right? I talk. The kids movies used to be, I would guess, I mean, I never really went to them growing up, but I would guess it'd be a few Disney movies, a know and a know, the Apple dumpling gang or whatever. But for the most part, it's like, if you took your kid to a lot of movies, you would have to take them to adult movies.


I mean, my wife was just talking. Her parents took her to see do the right thing in the theater, and so she would have been like, she's born in 78, or whatever, so it's like she was like, but they just were going to this or like, you know, we're going on.


I had a lot of those.


Yeah. Now my kids could go to a movie every other week and never really see an adult movie. They could watch tv every night and never see any adult programming. It's set up for that. And I kind of go along with this, too, because I'm in the same room with them and we're having the same experiences together. And if they do watch something, it's like my son's getting into action movies or whatever. I watch them with him. It's not like something he's doing separately. So Taylor Swift makes me think that part of her sort of her kind of supernova massiveness is the end of the idea that Taylor Swift would only be music for young people, that she is music for all people. She's 33 or 34. She kind of, kind of acts like a teenager in a lot of ways. She seems to sort of have the sort of worldview of someone younger than herself. She has sort of the business sense of somebody who's older. It's like kind of this built in thing. It's interesting to me. That was the thing I was just thinking about. It was like, maybe that the idea that there is a gap between kids and their parents and their grandparents and all that, we just happen to live through the one time in human history where that's going to be the case.


Because obviously, if you go back even further, we go back to who's drawing on the cave or we're all watching. It's like there was no teenager in the ice age.


It's so hard to stay as relevant as she stayed. I mean, you've written about this a bunch. We've talked about it a bunch, but, like, the arc of when somebody's at their peak musically, and it could be four years, it could be five years. Sometimes they can get to, like, 1012 years. But my daughter is 18 and a half, and Taylor Swift's been making music her entire life, and she's more famous now than any other point in my daughter's life. There's that. There's also, like. And I don't know whether this was intentional or semi intentional or how it played out, but there's been a couple of points in her life when she did things that just resonate with people. And I think it was intentional, but I don't know if it like the fact that she redid all her songs because somebody else owned her music, and she said, you know what? I'm going to just remake these albums and do my version of them and sell them. And people are like, that's fucking cool. Awesome. You took ownership of your stuff. She had the 2009 thing with Kanye and then the 2016 thing with Kanye and Kim Kardashian, where she took a lot of shit, right?


And it's like, that's the kind of thing that we've watched celebrities, they can go sideways after that when they're made to look bad or they're embarrassed, and it could kind of spin them the wrong way. And instead, it seemed like it gave her strength and made her stronger and even more competitive. So you have that piece, and then she's figured out how to keep reinventing herself in these subtle ways, and all of them have worked, which I don't really remember seeing. Like, even you think, like, when Michael Jackson was trying to do that and it would just get weird. He did that weird Michael Jordan magic Johnson video. What was that video? Remember the time we're like, oh, this is awful. Why'd you do this? We've seen so many celebrities just, you too is famous for this, right? They're like, oh, it's time to zag. And they would zag. And half the time, the zag would be terrible. And every time she zagged, it's been the right move. Even like, this Travis Kelsey relationship. I don't know if it was intentional, semi intentional. Not intentional at all. But her dating a famous NFL star was, like, just a fantastic career move.


So when you were saying how in some points she seems like she's arrested at the point she became famous, which people always talk about, like, she seems younger than she is. She's in her mid thirty s now, in some ways, but in other ways, she seems like a fucking genius at how to have a career. And the most interesting thing to me about all this is everyone is afraid to make fun of her. I've never seen a celebrity before where it's like, Beyonce had it too, and there's been a couple, but not like this, where, like, SNL doesn't go after.


Mean, okay, she's brilliant. Her music is great. She's a generational talent. Her fan base is not particularly discerning in a way. I mean, it's like, it's hard to even to almost construct what would be, like, the fatal mistake for her, what she would have to do. That would cause her fan base to be like, no, we hate that. I just can't see it happening.


It would almost have to be like a leaked video of her talking about her fans and just shitting on them in some way. She didn't realize she'd be taping.


That wouldn't be enough. That would not do it, because most of her fan base would be like, that's true about the other.




It would have to be something like, it would have to be political. It would have to be that. It would have to be something involving Trump.


Well, do you buy this whole thing that Trump is literally afraid of her getting involved in the election in some way and that she could swing it? I mean, think about that. What other artist or athlete would we have ever said that about over the last 40 years that somebody, a celebrity, could come in and actually nudge an election?


Well, yeah, because she could definitely juice turnout. Because right now, Biden is in a situation where I think that there is concern from his camp about people who are 18 to 25, some people who really don't even have a memory of 2016 or whatever, that they look at these people who see him and they think to themselves, it's like, oh, he's very old and he doesn't support palestine enough or whatever. So we're just going to sort of back off this. I think that Taylor Swift could know. It's like, you've got to vote in this election, and if you don't vote in this election, there's something wrong with you. Then they would vote, and they would just sort of reflexively vote for a Democrat because that's kind of what the reflexive vote of a young person is.


But she's also too smart to do that because she's not going to disenfranchise anyone who might be a fan of her. So that's why, if she actually does it, I'd be surprised.


But we know what her political views like. Okay, there was this thing for a while when. Okay, so there were these Republicans who were upset about the relationship between Swift and Kelsey. Okay. And then their response was like, it's a young female pop star embracing her football hero boyfriend. This is coded as classically conservative, but it's not coded as classically conservative because we know their views. This is what the thing people get confused about signifiers and coding things that are coded as conservative or liberal or signify conservative or liberal. These are things where we don't know what the actual answer is. So we just sort of use the image and we use sort of the cliche, but we know what her political position is. We know what his political position is. So, I mean, that's why it wasn't as though they were, like, kind of that these conservatives upset about this were kind of contradicting themselves, but they were attacking somebody as a really high profile, left leaning people. Her relationship with Kelsey is like, part of me thinks it's like, when you look at her life, I wonder if he is the closest to a normal person she's ever been with.


Like, he eats real food, he looks at Twitter, but not constantly. Maybe four times a day. He could describe what the inside of a McDonald's looks like. I think for her, it must be like I'm getting a coal miner or something. This person who's, like the salt of the earth. I think that her life is so separated from culture that she sees him as. Even though he's like, this very famous, atypical football hero, he's unlike other pro football players in almost every way. He has clearly aspirations to be in entertainment. All these things that sort of give the idea that this relationship is transactional. I mean, I can see where someone can make that argument, but I don't know if it is or not. I can't get inside their mind. I do think it's possible that maybe she wants to have a family. She's maybe at a point in her life when she's like, I wonder if I need to find somebody who would be a good person to have kids with and a life with or whatever. And I'll tell you what. If Taylor Swift had a baby and made a record about being a mom and the experience of motherhood with one song at the end, which was like a lullaby to her kid, that is the one thing that could actually push her to yet another level of fame.




Because the one thing she has not done, because it's very rare to do this, is to write a truly timeless song that outlives your existence. There are many artists who have never done this, who are great. I mean, like, led Zeppelin is the biggest band of the 70s. They have one song that's going to outlive their career. There are major artists who have never done this, and she hasn't done that yet. She doesn't have any song that will be a point in the future, at least. I mean, I can't see into the future, but I don't think she has made a song that there will be a time when people know the song and have no relationship to her. Like, they have no idea who wrote it, who came up with it. That's like the one last thing she has not achieved.


It sounds like you're laying down the gauntlet for.


Well, some people are going to hear this and they're going to freak out. They're going to say they're going to start listening. You're going to fucking send me songs. Oh, what about this song? Off lover? What about this song? It's like. No, I'm talking about a very specific thing. The Rolling Stones have had the longest career of any rock band. They have been the biggest rock band in the world for many points over that stretch.




They have two songs that I think maybe only one song that's going to exist outside of them even after they're gone. It's hard to do. And sometimes it's strange, like, finn Lizzie has a song like this. Finn Lizie has one song that's going to do this. Led Zeppelin has one song. Led Zeppelin was much, much bigger than Finn Lizie. But the idea of this song, like a Mariah Carey has one. Mariah Carey's Christmas song is going to exist beyond her life seven nation Ironman is going to exist way beyond the.


I was going to say magsa, stars fade into. You will exist forever because people keep throwing it on the tv shows and movies.


Well, but that might stop. That might stop at some point. It's got to be like the idea of, say, seven Nation army. It's like now they're playing it, the crowd is seeing it at soccer stadiums in Europe that they have no idea where it kind of came from.




It's really very hard to do know. I love Van Halen. I don't think Van Halen has a song like.


Jump. Jump should have been like an amazing basketball song that stood the test of time.


They do play those opening chords on a keyboard a lot of times before the jump ball at a game or when they jump. But the kind of songs I'm talking about are. It's like they need to have a meaning that is almost detached from the experience of listening.


So you're talking about, like, imagine or yesterday.


Yesterday, definitely imagine. Probably, yes. Imagine. I would put in that class. The real key is that you have to get some generations removed. But people who know the song and they have no idea about anything about it, they have no idea if it was popular in the past or if it was unpopular, if they discovered it for the first time. All these things, it's very hard to do. And my son listens to a lot of Taylor Swift music, so I listened to a lot of these full albums of hers, which before I'd kind of just sort of heard the singles, and now I'm sort of listening to the whole thing. It's interesting because she's a pop artist, so every song, every song she makes, in theory, seems like the origin of it was, could this be a single? Could this be a hit? And as a consequence, there aren't a lot of super interesting, deep tracks on her, really. There aren't situations where you play a Taylor Swift album, or at least I don't. Once again, I know people are going to lose their mind over this because they just do. But it's really.


Yeah, people would say love story. I think love story would be the one that people would say, come.


It's. It could be. That could happen. But I would have never said this about seven Nation army. When it was new. I would have been like, oh, it's the first song off this.


Or how about Sweet Caroline, which is now in, like, decade six.


There's one of those songs, right, by an artist who. That I don't care much for, but I know that song is that you can put this in a commercial of people singing the song in a know that has a relationship now to a city, too. That's a part, it's related to the idea of what it's like to be in Boston. So as long as Boston exists, that will happen. I love la. That's like a song that's criticizing Los Angeles and yet will always be part of the Los Angeles experience.


Yeah. All right, let's take a break. All right, we have one last segment. We could go speed round. I'm just going to give you some topics. You tell me what is exciting to. Well, what? Go ahead.


There's something I wanted to ask you about.




Do you think the Patriots take a quarterback at three? Because you're a guy who does not watch a lot of college football. So I'm wondering what you think about them drafting third and who they should take. Because I have a take on this, but I want to hear yours.


First of all, I really appreciate you thinking about me and asking where I stand on this because it's been dominating. The only two things I care about are the Celtics season and what the Patriots are going to do with three.


Well, I have this fear. Have you talked about this on like six other podcasts?


Because you have not. Because I've really gotten into it since the Super bowl and I've been trying to study the three guys and trying to figure out where I'm leading and what I like and reading all the features, trying to find out what they're like as teammates and leaders and all that shit. And first of all, they have to stay at three and take a quarterback because I just think if you hit with a franchise quarterback, which is basically 45% ods, 40% ods with the way it's gone, but if you hit, you're set. And they're in a conference with Burrow and Mahomes and Herbert, they have to get one. So when I see stuff like, oh, trade back, get picked or there was this dumb story today, they're trade the pick from other stuff for Justin Jefferson. Well, that's, we don't have a quarterback to throw to him. Trade back to the Raiders at eight, pick up more stuff. Okay. So now I'm keeping my fingers crossed with JJ McCarthy. These three guys seem like really good bets to be good franchise quarterbacks. And people that I talked to in college who love college football really like all of the quarterbacks and they each kind of pick one.


So Caleb, it's, eh. Why was his last year so bad? What's going on there. Is he going to be happy in the right situation? And it seems like more off the field stuff with him. With Drake May, it's like North Carolina. We've seen this before. We've seen guys like this that they win you over with the highlights, but go watch the film. It's not as good as you think. And then Daniels is just too skinny. Daniels, they list at 210. I don't think there's any way he's 210. We're going to find out at the combine this week.


And he plays pretty recklessly for his size.


Well, so they talked about this on the ringer NFL draft show. Nate Tice described him as having some Johnny Knoxville in him, which is a great way to put it. He takes huge hits and I think like Lamar came in the league, he was six foot, 2215. This guy is six foot four. He's probably like 205. So even if you put a little bulk on him to me, and I'm not going to finalize this yet, but it seems like if Drake may fell to three for them where it was supposed to be him or Caleb Williams a couple of months ago, oh, who's going to get number one? And now he falls to three and he has the chip on his shoulder and he's already six. 4230. He can already make a ton of throws. If you go back and you read all this stuff about him in Carolina, everybody's like, this guy's fucking amazing. I love this guy. He's a leader. He's changed the culture here. Like, he went there and changed the culture of their football program. And it just seems like, he seems like a safer bet than Daniels, who would be amazing, who would be like an athlete in a QB I've never rooted for before but could just get hurt immediately.


So I'm kind of leaning toward Drake May. So what do you think?


Well, I got to say I've been thinking about this and I disagree with you.


Okay, good.


Okay, this is my thinking on this. If you have the number one pick and Williams is there, you take him because he is a situation where if he's not elite, he's a bust, but that sort of is like his floor is a great NFL quarterback. He seems to have the body, the skills. It seems to be like a package that's too good to pass up.


So you're saying his floor is, he would be like the 10th best quarterback?


No, I don't know what his floor is, but he's the only, like, okay, if Drake May has a career like Chad Pennington or if he has a career like Kurt cousins or something.


Well, could he be Josh Allen?


No. Well, what I'm just saying is that Drake make. If he's just a starting quarterback and he has some pretty good years, some average years, it's like that's a successful career.


But I think he's higher ceiling than those guys.


Well, no, I know, but what I'm saying, if that's what happens to him, if that's what his career ends up being, it's still okay. It's like he was still a starting quarterback for many years on some probably pretty good teams.


Could he be poor man's? Josh Allen would be kind of the floor for him because he's going to be 245 pounds.


You say the floor? The floor. The thing is, I don't know. I think for most of these guys the floor actually is pretty low.


Yeah, the floor is bus.


So my thinking is this now this may have changed because know if I'm picking may if he falls to three, it's a tough thing. But I would almost be more interested in taking Marvin Harrison Jr. And drafting Bonix if he's still there.


Like in the second round, they have the 35th pick.


Yeah. And then drafting Sam Hartman late in the draft. Or maybe even if he doesn't get big because to me, Bonix and Sam Hartman, he was the guy from Wake Forest who went to Notre Dame. Those seem like the two guys who are in the best position to play immediately. I think Hartman looks like 26 or 27 or whatever. He looks like he could play immediately. Now granted, it seems as though his ceiling would be being a good NFL backout, but it seems as though these attempts to find these quarterbacks, it's too much of just rolling the dice. There's as much. I mean, we can't just use Brock Purdy as the only example. But it seems possible that if you get the right guy in the right situation he can succeed. But if you put the right guy in the wrong situation, it doesn't matter how right he is.


You know what saying, like it would.


Almost seem to be better to build everything around it and hope. I know it sounds kind of like a desperate thing, but kind of hope that somehow a quarterback ends up there over time. I mean, like, okay, maybe you take a great pick on Joe Milton. Okay, he was the guy from Tennessee. He threw an orange 102 yards or an apple. Apple. He threw some produce 102 yards. Well now that doesn't make him a great NFL quarterback, but it means he kind of has the body and he has the arm. To me, if these guys, the main thing you want, you don't want to draft somebody who can't make the throws, and you don't want to draft somebody who's not mobile. Those are the two things. Everything else seems to be very situational, and I don't know if I have enough confidence in any, like, even Williams, he might not succeed, but it's like, it's too good to pass up. You got to do it. But outside of that, I think the idea of, well, the quarterback's the most important position, so we just got to pick whatever is the best quarterback available. I think that's bad thinking, and I don't think it's working out for people.


I mean, like, young. It's like, do you think Bryce Young is bad, or do you think it's the situation he's in? Because I think it's impossible to tell.


Well, he had no weapons, but he also seemed really short.


Well, that's the thing.


Watching the games, it was like, man, he can't even throw over the middle at all. Like, he can't see these guys.


The question is, is he just a little too small to be great, or is he just not quite good enough to succeed at that size?


But I think the surprise to me was that I thought he would be more athletic because I knew he was short. Obviously, you read anything about it, but I thought he'd be able to maneuver around and buy himself time, and that's what he couldn't really do. Like, that's what Kyler Murray does. And some of these know the smaller quarterbacks can move around. That's what Russ Wilson was able to do early on with Seattle. I just think these three guys might be better as a threesome than some of the other ones. This goes back to the whole cluster theory, right? When it's you, it's like the Trey Lance draft, where Zach Wilson and Trey Lance and Mac Jones, and you go back and you're like, oh, maybe those guys weren't that just okay.


We did a podcast years ago when there was the whole big class of quarterbacks coming out.


Which class?


Well, no, because you and I both liked. On the upside, we both liked Josh Allen. He stood behind you at a target.


No, I met him. I met him at the masters, and he was six foot five and really charismatic, and we were like, oh, this guy seems cool. That was it. I had no real reason.


I thought you saw him in a target for some reason. But anyways, anyways, we were right about that. But then I was also like, oh, Baker Mayfield, they should move him to slot. Also, we like Lamar. We thought he was great. But then I also liked, I remember thinking like, oh, maybe Josh Rosen will be the best of all these guys. Or like, we're right and wrong. Okay? Now, obviously, this isn't our job. We're just guys talking. Me particularly, I'm just a dude talking. I know it seems like drafting a quarterback now, not even drafting, developing a quarterback, having a quarterback who's successful, it's too, not even too difficult. It's kind of impossible to look at these guys in college and actually know who's going to succeed. I mean, look at the Browns. Last year, the Browns did pretty good just shuffling through quarterbacks because they built all around him, right? They had the running game, they had defense and all stuff. San Francisco has done this, right, this idea that we need to start with the quarterback. I think that's just a way to fuck these guys up, particularly with this idea, with the way contracts are set up now.


And you have to succeed when your guys on a rookie contract or whatever, they need to change how that is structured because what they're really doing is just damaging these so well in some.


Cases, because you could argue CJ Stroud, which to me, CJ Stroud is why this is so fucking hard. Because everybody stared at that all spring, and it went back and forth. And there was some test that he took that he got a low score on, and people got scared about that. And then it was like, Ohio State? Is he a system guy?


I remember every other guy from Ohio State underperformed, right? Every other quarterback.


People are like, no.




And then immediately you could tell. I remember Sal and I were talking about it the first two weeks of the Sunday pods. We were like, CJ Stroud's good. Like, this is a rap. This guy has it. You could see it. And that's part of this where it's weird that we don't know. We don't know. We don't know. And then when they go out and they start playing, you kind of immediately know.


But, okay, because of this, I think because he succeeded in this way, that was very unexpected. It actually makes people like, we want to draft a quarterback, then we got to draft one of these guys. You have to me, it's the opposite. The fact that the guy who clearly was the best from that class did not seem that way when he was coming out of college, that no one, now, I'm sure there's somebody out there who was like, I had him number one on my board. But for the most part, that was not the case.


Okay, yeah, but flip this the other way. Just in the last six years, Mahomes, Josh Allen, CJ Stroud, Herbert Burrow, Brock Purdy. We've had real guys that can now lead teams that were in the draft.


Yeah, but pretty was literally the last draft. Okay, Burrow makes sense. Okay. Lamar. What? He went 27 28 to the Ravens.


The Pats passed on him twice.


Yes. Or was it 20? Like, anyways, they're actually sort of.


Lamar is another one.


Yes. They're kind of all over the.


But not really because we've had seven in the last six years that are now franchise guys.


I know, but look where they're, but like we said, purdy was the last guy drafted. It was like it would be one thing if for the last years, the number one pick every time succeeded because that hasn't been the case. Mahomes was the 14th pick. Am I right about that?




Somewhere in there, okay, maybe somebody put an old, I see an old tweet or whatever it was like when he got drafted. Nick Reich, the guy who basically talks about, know, like, he's like his son or like, he had a tweet that was like, I don't know about this. We'll have to see if it works out. I hope it does. There's like no way you can look at this. You can look at these drafts and be like, well, picking a quarterback early is the right move. It doesn't seem like that's true to me. So it almost seems better to maybe draft multiple quarterbacks later.


Well, you could do that. That could be a strategy. You take like fourth, 5th, 6th, 7th round. You take four quarterbacks.


I don't know if you want to use all those people, but you could get a guy, let's say bo nicks. Now, some people think, I heard somebody saying they think he might actually go to Denver at 15, which is real early, but let's say he goes at the front of the second round kind of like the way like Drew Brees did or so you, you take him in the second round, you take Hartman late. Maybe you take one other guy in there kind of in the mid range. You have three guys in camp and you can sort of maybe see, well, do any of these have the potential to play now or be great? Know?


Yeah, but here's the thing. But everyone operates out of fear. So if Drake may goes three, the Patriots don't take him, and then Drake May is awesome. You're getting fired.


Well, sure. But if Drake may goes to the Patriots, what is the best he could be? You think he could with what they have on the really good.


They're going to have a really good defense next year. Try to get him some receivers. Maybe he doesn't start in the first. Don't. I actually think it's a pretty good.


So, like, the thing about Caleb Williams is he does look like somebody who could take a bad team and make them average, an average team and make them good. He seems as though that if he fulfills this potential, he actually could be somewhat transformative in like the way Joe Burrow was on and off the field, too. I don't know if I feel confident about any of these other guys, and there's a lot of them. I mean, there was a time at the beginning of this year I was listening to Gary Danielson on the radio and Gary Danielson said there are 15 quarterbacks in college football right now who, if they play to the apex of their potential, will be top five picks. Like, he's like, it won't happen. Of course, all 15 can't do that, but there are 15 guys who, if they play as well as their biggest supporter believes they could do, they will be a top five pick. There's just a lot more quarterbacks know it's OD because at the NFL level we seem like we're always missing them. We don't have enough. But at the college level there seems to be a lot of good ones, these seven on seven camps and all this stuff has really changed.


Right. The opposite of basketball.


So I'm not confident.


So you feel like more qbs are coming?


I feel like the difference between the very best quarterback and the 11th best quarterback in college football has really microscoped and it is more the situation you put them in. So I wouldn't feel confident being like, well, I'm going to use this draft capital on a quarterback who's just kind of at the top of the draft, who doesn't seem necessarily much more secure than a quarterback who might be the 7th guy picked. I mean, 7th quarterback picked.


Well, you know what? So there's two things with this draft being in the spot that pats are in. First of all, as a fan, if they got Daniels or May, I would immediately like if they got Daniels, I'd be so excited. I'd be so fearful of his injury potential, but he would be the most exciting even probably since like Randy Moss, we've never had anybody who does some of the stuff he does. I'd be nervous the whole. But, but anyway, Arizona is at four and they're all in on Kyler Murray. Like they just did the tweet yesterday, Kyler Murray, our quarterback. So, you know, they're taking Marvin Harrison at four and it would seem like the move for the Patriots would be to pretend they're taking Marvin Harrison at three and then try to flip with the cards and get a little something. And now you're at four. And now if you decide to do the closeterman plan, now you're at four. I got an asset from Arizona. I still am going to get the last of the quarterbacks at four. Do I want to now move back to eight and pick up more stuff from the Raiders?


The Raiders hop up to four to get Jaden Daniels. Now I've got their second and their first next year, and then I'm at eight, and then maybe I take the best receiver there and I'd take, like, they're. I've talked about all these scenarios with all my pats, fans, friends, but just like, I don't know how they pass on May or. It's so hard for me to wrap my head around that.


I'm just saying I would. You mentioned Moss. What do you think of dynasty? The Apple tv thing? I like it. You don't like it?


It's very well edited and very well done. It is so anti Belichick.


It is.


And so pro craft. I know that it's hard for me to wrap my head around be, I was saying to somebody, it's the equivalent of if the HBO executive who greenlit the Sopranos and then was running HBO during the Sopranos, then did a documentary about the Sopranos and David Chase was just shit on and dismissed half the time. That's what it feels like watching it. Like they skipped over in 90 seconds. The second and third Super bowl wins, a 21 win streak that we had Belichick elevating into one of the greatest coaches, not just in football, but in any sport. The culture that he created, like trading Drew Bledsoe, getting rid of Laura Malloy, the fact that he was able to get these guys to do your job and play well and do all these different things while at the same time being completely cutthroat and over and over again. It was like, if you're not doing your job, you're out of here. They spent 90 seconds on it and they were immediately like, we need that 25 minutes for Spygate. You're going to tell me 25 minutes on Spygate in 90 seconds on two Super Bowls and a win streak.


Okay, I got three things.


Quick. Okay.


One, what is perhaps most fascinating about this part of what you're describing is that Billichek seems to know this. You can see his posture during this interview.


I know for a fact he didn't want to do the interview because he knew what was happening, and they made him do it. It's 100% true.


It is very clear. And I respect him, though, for being like, I'm going to go in here nonetheless, and I'm going to treat this like a goddamn press conference. And he has his head back. There's a lot of interesting stuff, like the way Brady looks in this. I don't know why, but they seem to have styled his hair to make it seem as though he literally woke up ten minutes ago.




They're trying to give him a naturalistic look. It's just strain. Yeah. It's very anti Billicheck. And of course, I love Billicheck, but I like the fact that it's like he seemed to know this, and I'm doing it, is, I think the stuff about Bledsoe, I was pleased that they did that because they could have very easily made that a very small part of it or skipped it almost entirely. And he comes across real well in it. And it's an interesting thing, skipping that second Super bowl. That was a little bit of a surprise to me how fast they went over that. But I'll tell you what, it was a great move by the guys putting this together, because I did fear when I started watching this. This is going to get boring. It's going to be this year, then this year, then this year we had success. Oh, we overcame all this. They're going right for the problems. That's like. It's like the Super bowl. Second Super bowl is interesting, but Spygate is the problem, and because as we. I feel like. Yeah, but as someone who makes documentaries, you must realize this. I mean, like, people's characters are illustrated not through their success, but through their, like, I do not need to see these guys talk about how wonderful it felt to win the Super Bowl.


I want to hear them talk about these problems, and it seems like that's going to be the emphasis. So I'm looking forward to all the deflate gate stuff. I'm looking forward to the Hernandez stuff.


I'm not Malcolm Butler, but that's what the documentary is. I think that the parts were only 40 minutes, right?


Yeah. Well timed because they go fast. They go faster than I thought they'd feel.


But if you're going to do a dynasty, and you're going to dive into some of the problems. You have to build the foundation of what they built in the first three episodes, and it could be five minutes, it could be ten minutes, whatever. But them becoming not just the best team in the league for two straight years and beating the Colts a bunch of times when Manning was like the pretty boy face of the league, going into Pittsburgh in the third Super bowl season, the AFC title game, all the stuff they did with the way they did it and the mentality they had to me, is worth five minutes to try to build. Like, here's why this was special, and this is why when they're talking about Spygate, jeopardized everything we built. You didn't show us what you built. You skipped over. They won a Super Bowl, Super Bowl 36, and it was a little fluky. And they were underdogs, double digit underdogs, multiple times that year and in the last two games, and it was amazing. It was one of the great fan experiences of my life. But the real heart of this dynasty starts with those second and third Super Bowls and the win streak and beating the Colts 38 to 34 in Indy, having the goal line stand, and it's like, yeah.


And the fact that these guys, even.


As you're describing it, to me, it seems boring.


They're sacrificing for Belichick, even though he just slit Bledsoe's throat and he slit Laura Malloy's throat, and they're still playing as hard as possible.


Oh, sure.


That's worth something. And then the Brady Manning thing, when Brady was basically turning into Bill Russell and Manning's wilt, and we're reliving that as that's going through the three, I just felt like there was some meat on the bone.


Well, there's still a lot left of it. There's still six episodes, so we still got 5 hours.


But the basic thing is it's pro Kraft and it's anti Belichick. And it is little stuff that you can watch if you go through. Like they keep cutting a kraft, celebrating the luxury box. They keep making it seem like Kraft was in him late. Kraft owned the team. Belichick did everything. Belichick.


I mean, the real x factor is, will they discuss Kraft's arrest? Will that?


There's no way.


But you don't think they'll even talk about it?


I don't think so.


Well, because to me, if they don't, then that's a real problem.


I would bet. No, on that one, they do a lot on that Super Bowl 36 season. I think that is the greatest coaching job in the NFL history of somebody overachieving with the roster that they were given, with the decisions they had to just not just how they beat all these teams as double digit underdogs over and over again, but the fact that when Bledsoe was coming back, giving Brady the job, sticking with it, they covered it in a thing. But it was like I was living in Boston that year. This was all we talked about.


What was your position at the time?


Brady, I was writing was, we got to stick with Brady because I think the people that were really watching the team, we were like, man, Bledsoe hasn't been good in a couple of years. And they did a good job of mentioning that in the doc that he had just been hit too many times and it was starting to change how he played. But he stuck with them there. Then he stuck with them heading into the Super bowl. That was the other thing. When Brady was hurt, he still stuck with them.


I always thought the gutsiest move to make with a quarterback was when Nick Saban benched Jalen. Hurts at halftime for two, right?


For two.


But this would be second, I would say, because there were so many ways he could have went back to. Were there? There were so many opportunities for it that he could have done that and that it would have seemed justified and people would have said like, well, even if it didn't work out, it'd be like, well, he played it safe, he got conservative. That would be the worst thing. But he did not. He did not.


They really didn't dive into everything they did in that Rams game with the game plan, which was one of the great game plans anyone's ever come up with. And it know, kind of the little brother of the game plan he came up with against the Bills in the first Bills Super bowl.


And that was a crazy one, too. Going back to that, I just felt.


Like they discounted like, this guy was the best coach I've ever had. And Kraft seems very focused, really, the last few years of shitting on him every chance he can get and making it seem like it was the three of them together as a dynasty. And I just don't think it was the three of them. I think Kraft, the best thing he ever did was hire Belichick. But after that, this was Belichick and Brady for 20 years. They didn't even spent, like, there's stats now. They've spent the least money in the last ten years of any NFL franchise. And it just craft over and over again. Like that story he tells about Spygate when I was like, how much did this advantage help you? And Kraft's telling the story and he's like, was it out of one out of 100? How much did this help you? And Belichick's like a one. And Kraft says, well, you're a schmuck. He says, he said that to Belichick. I just don't believe that story. I don't think Belichick would be like, oh, yeah, it was one out of 100. It wasn't meaningful at all. And then Kraft calls him a schmuck.


Well, I feel like what have happened is Belichick would have said, well, it's one out of 100, but there are 100 circumstances like this. It's one piece of 100, but there are also 99 others. And if you add them up, it makes a difference. But that's all we're going to have. Before you ask me your speed rounds, did you like the we are the world documentary? I did. You did?


Yeah. I really liked was, uh, I thought a pop culture tour de force, huge fan. You liked it?


Liked it. I liked know I'm not the world's biggest Bruce Springsteen fan, but I appreciate that he was the one guy in the documentary who was like, song's not very good. It's kind of like. And he said it in the nicest possible way. I mean, the one thing I'll say about, I gotta say about Springsteen is anytime he's in a documentary, whether it's know, he's in the history of rock and roll, that one that was on PBS, he shows up in these things. He comes across so well when talking about art and music and just sort of know it's a great interview. Well, it's not even. He's a great interview. He comes across as a real thoughtful person. Okay, so go to your speedrun.


We're done. We're out of time. Yeah, we got to save it for the next time. I had so many good things left, but we're not going to be able to talk about ufos and JFK and the follow Buzzfeed and Vice and Bronnie James. We'll save it for another time.




Chuck Closerman, a pleasure as always. Good to see you.


Thanks for having me.


All right, that's it for the podcast. Thanks to Chuck, as always. Thanks to Kyle Creighton and Steve Cerruti. If you want to watch clips from this podcast, you can go to slash Bill Simmons. I will be back with another podcast on Thursday. See you next.




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