On the Sad Sorry State of the Detroit Lions…

Posted in Grumblings on September 13, 2020 by chemiclord

Yep… I’m breaking my silence to talk sports. To my six readers or so, sorry.

The Detroit Lions, or as Homer Simpson would put it, “The sorriest bunch of sucks who ever sucked.” A team who on any given Sunday will add another example to the definition of “futility.”

There’s no real analogy I can make to describe this team outside of the realm of sports; because in no other field could anyone or anything be allowed to fail so utterly for so long before the rest of the industry simply refused to have anything to do with such an absolute disaster.

The closest examples I can think of would be if you’re a movie buff to picture Ed Wood. Try and wrap your brain around his filmmaking career. Now have that career go twice as long as it did.

Even other sports examples really don’t quite capture just how awful of depths this franchise has sunk to. You can cite the Chicago Cubs or Boston Red Sox or the Cleveland Browns or Liverpool (if you’re fans of the English Premier League), but those teams actually had moments during their trips in the wilderness where they actually got your hopes up, like there was a chance. They had stretches of competence that just for one reason or another didn’t end with a championship.

Not the Lions. This is a team that has been perennially awful for over sixty years. They have yet to even see their league’s championship game. Hell, they’ve only seen their league’s semi-final once. And it doesn’t look like this season is going to end that wandering through the wilderness either with another opening day that ended in the same agonizing fashion as so many games did the last two years… jumping out to an early lead, and unable to close the deal, eventually losing just before the end in spectacular fashion.

The problem, at least on the field, is two fold. Firstly, they have a defense that simply can’t stop anyone if they don’t stop themselves (if I follow up on this, I’ll delve into the systemic ineptitude of the franchise’s management and ownership). I say that quite literally; the Lions have routinely had one of the worst, if not the worst, defensive teams in their league for the last three years.

In this most recent game, the Lions defense gave up three consecutive scores in the last quarter of play to go from a solid lead to losing. To futbol fans, it would be roughly analogous to a side giving up three consecutive goals in the final twenty minutes.

This puts constant pressure on the Lions offense to keep scoring points, rather than play a more conservative game plan that limits mistakes that would give an opponent new life. Unfortunately, the Lions try to play more conservatively anyway… then go into panic mode when that proves foolhardy, and eventually making the sort of mistakes in their panic that they were trying to avoid making in the first place.

And thus, you have a consistent recipe for failure that has happened with almost eerie regularity, almost like they are reading from a script. The National Football League only plays 16 games a season, and this particular script has played out 11 times for the Lions in the last two seasons and now one game.

I’d argue the root cause of this repeated, catastrophic failure is arrogant pride on the part of Matt Patricia, the Lions current head coach. He is a man whose entire career has been on the defensive side of the game. He has to trust in his defense to shut down the opponent, and refuses to suffer the idea that the defense he has is simply incapable of doing that.

It’s the sort of pigheaded stubbornness you have to settle for when you’re a neophyte General Manager without any real connections, and thus the number of people you know is dreadfully small…

Okay. I’m not mentally ready to dive down that rabbit hole. I’m just gonna stop now. Sorry for rambling.

My Home Town Burned Last Night.

Posted in Grumblings with tags , , , , , on May 31, 2020 by chemiclord

I’ve struggled much of today trying to decide how best to write this. But this isn’t something that can really be encapsulated with a witty headline or some clever wordplay. All that I can manage is a stream of consciousness, so here goes.

Firstly, I have no evidence of what transitioned the event from peaceful protest to violent and destructive rioting. I’ve heard a ton of accusations. I’ve seem a ton of finger pointing. But I don’t know.

Was it the police finally getting sick of it? No clue. Protesters having enough and escalating on their own? No idea. Outside influences deciding this was their chance to throw gasoline on the fire? Couldn’t say.

And I’m not even going to judge anyone on the side of the protests if they were the ones to up the stakes. Frankly… nothing else has gotten White America to listen. We’ve happily ignored police brutality because it’s never happened in our gentrified enclaves.

We had no problem picking up our guns, and storming the state capitol building, and presumably would have had no problems using them, all because we’ve been told to stay home for the last month and a half. But we’re going to sneer disdainfully at people who have watched their brothers and sisters and husbands and wives and sons and daughters killed for decades? Fuck off with that nonsense.

I personally witnessed police harass my mother into paranoia, because they decided they needed to protect my father’s integrity during a messy divorce. And we were a lower-middle class YUPPIE family. You think they aren’t going to circle the wagons here? Just like they have every other time they crossed the line?

I see the Medical Examiner in Minneapolis already trying to run cover for the murderer. Because apparently, the police officer isn’t guilty because the victim wasn’t healthy enough to be strangled for almost nine minutes. And we wonder why those at the bottom of society protest, or why those protests would escalate into rioting.

And at the end of the day, my home town about 450 miles away, burned because of those crimes. And I can’t say with complete honesty that we didn’t have it coming.

We all have it coming. Wake the fuck up and change.


On the Final Fantasy 7 Remake (Addendum)…

Posted in Grumblings on April 12, 2020 by chemiclord

(Disclosure: I have not personally played this title ((yet?)).  But I have watched it played by several others who had advance copies, so I am comfortable enough commenting on the narrative.

And while I by nature try to avoid massive spoilers, there’s going to be no avoiding some mild ones, due to their importance to the story as a whole, and the critique that follows.  So, as always, proceed only if you’re willing to accept that choice.)

So, as we begin to dive in, what’s important to acknowledge is that regardless of medium, 1:1 faithful adaptations are rare, nor did Square Enix at any point pretend this was going to be either.

That said, if you are going to significantly alter a classic story (and no matter what some fans might tell themselves, Tetsuya Nomura and his team have already significantly altered it, and even threw down the gauntlet in game that they intend to significantly alter it further), you better know what you’re doing and why.  Because if you don’t stick the landing, you’re going to have a swarm of outraged former fans that are ready to burn down your studio.

And I wish I could say that was hyperbole.

The “why” in this case isn’t hard to suss out, because Nomura isn’t half as clever as he thinks he is.  The wraiths of fate are representative of old fans, who demand the story proceed in very specific ways, and get increasingly aggressive as the remake pushes forward; whereas Nomura sees himself as a visionary trying to get said fans to accept that things can (and should) change.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with “meta” story-telling and high concept narratives winding through an otherwise played-straight story.  Hell, my most notable series is built on the characters are self-aware MMO characters that don’t realize they’re part of a game, and I’m pretty proud of that work.  I think I did pretty damn well with it.

There’s also no inherent sin in challenging the audience, even doing so directly.  Let’s be honest, the overwhelming majority of fans… aren’t very good at storytelling or even comprehending a story.  Any given fanbase will often have mutually exclusive desires and be very unwelcoming of change, even if its needed.

But if you’re going to take on your fans, and have them appreciate you for it at the end… it takes some very clever storytelling and a very deft mind for getting to the heart of what the narrative is supposed to be about and convincing them that you can give them a satisfactory experience.

A remake of Final Fantasy 7 could have been a lay-up; fairly easy money for Square-Enix.  Nomura and his team are going for the 360-tomahawk dunk.  If they pull it off, the fans will be out of their seats in awe.  If they don’t, it’s gonna be on blooper reels and mocked for the rest of their lives.

Good luck, guys.  You’re gonna need it.

On Remaking Final Fantasy 7…

Posted in Grumblings with tags , , on April 10, 2020 by chemiclord

In 1997, I bought an original first generation Playstation in order to play Final Fantasy 7 specifically.  That was not a throwaway expenditure for a freshman college student.  I had been enthralled with the series since the time it used an entirely different numbering system for the North American releases.

I even played Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest and for the most part enjoyed it.  I have a fanfiction in which I create an entire unique Final Fantasy world.  So yeah… I was (and to a degree still am) a fan of the series, and was ready to bend over backwards to acquire at the time it’s latest entry, intrigued by the promise and potential that it had.

I was not disappointed.  It remains, to this day, one of my favorite games, and I respect how it had no small part in the legitimizing of video games (and of RPGs especially) as a story-telling medium.

So, surely, I should be ready to do the same on the day that the highly-anticipated remake of that all time classic releases to the general public, right?

Eh… not exactly.  There is a very strong chance I won’t get it (or its future episodes) at all, even when the exclusivity deal drops and the PC version is released.

And no, it’s not because I’m some “classic gamer” irate that it’s being chopped up into parts, or that Square-Enix dares to change it.  I’m actually glad that they are remaking it rather than take what would have been the easy money of just remastering the original title.

There’s plenty about the original game that has not particularly aged well, which I am glad to see Square-Enix seems to understand.  It sounds like the updated Wall Market and Honeybee Inn were a successful alteration that needed to be made for the game to not be rather offensive to today’s audience, to put it mildly.  It gives me confidence that other parts of the game will get a suitable repainting job as well.

No, the long and short of it is that I simply do not trust today’s Square-Enix business side of things, and there’s little that they’ve done to assuage me on that score.  The lack of any sort of roadmap as to just how many parts this game will be in, or whether it will have Playstation 4 support through it all is not very confidence boosting.

I’m especially wary because it shouldn’t be hard to have a roadmap in place.  We’re dealing with an already existing framework.  It’s not like this team is developing it whole cloth as they go.  That they don’t know just how many episodes this title is going to be parceled into is because they don’t want to know.  They want to ride this train as long as they can get away with over as many console generations as possible.

I have little desire to get locked into a Kingdom Hearts scenario, where meandering story-tellers waste over a decade rehashing a mess of a story and still haven’t resolved its most salient plot points because the series is such a damn money maker.  I have little interest waiting years as multiple directors repeatedly scrap everything a la Final Fantasy XV because it has to be an 8-million copy seller just to break even.

Come back to me when you’re willing to be straight with us about what you’re doing, Square-Enix.  Until then… I’ll save my money and my frustrations.


On Medicare for All…

Posted in Grumblings with tags , , on March 26, 2020 by chemiclord

Again, apologies for “getting political.”  If you simply want nothing to do with this topic, back away now.

First things first, what you’re about to read here is not a defense of the current system of healthcare in America.  It’s a disgusting mess of hideous failings that isn’t even doing the bare minimum.  It needs to be dipped in bleach and then run under ultra-violet light until the germs that infect it die, then set on fire afterwards just to be sure.

This is something that the entirety of what passes for the left in the United States of America (and even a fraction of the right) agrees with.  Where the reservations begin is with the idea of a single-payer government run and administrated “Medicare for All” is the best (or even a good) answer to the problem.

I will acknowledge that I am one of those people.  I do not see any scenario where Medicare for All ends up being much more than an equal disaster of a different vein.  And here are the primary reasons why (in no particular order)…

Firstly, anyone who wants “Medicare for All” most likely has never been on Medicare.  Admittedly, this is a messaging bit, but Medicare is unmitigated garbage.  You spend your time on it desperately trying to scavenge the money to get off it.  Its means, compensation, and providers are routinely below par.  Wait times are horrific.  Quality of service varies so greatly that you’re basically flipping a coin that you’ll even be able to arrange for care at all, much less that it’s actually going to help.

After a severe injury to my back that required “immediate surgery,” I nonetheless waited four months while Medicare weaseled through every alternative (against the spinal specialist’s recommendations), until I was able to swing into a private plan that got me the surgery I needed with a nationally acclaimed surgeon in two weeks time.  This was fortunate, as the surgeon noted that the herniated discs had started to calcify and if I had waited much longer I would have likely required a wheelchair for the rest of my life.

To make Medicare a viable national single-payer system would basically require it to no longer be Medicare.  Which is fine, but if you’re gonna have to tear it all up anyway, let’s not cling to the wrapper.

Secondly, the cost analysis of it makes a dangerous assumption that the government will be able to lock in or reduce medical costs.  This is a flawed assumption because there is literally no precedent where this government has demonstrated that ability.  In fact, and you can probably ask the same college kids who are clamoring for M4A how well the government has managed the prices of their higher education.

When this government gets involved, prices inevitably go up, and usually go up in astonishing fashion, and that can be found quite literally everywhere that government is involved.  There is no evidence whatsoever that it is capable of bringing costs down, and the burden of those increased costs will nigh assuredly fall into the laps of the people who can’t afford it, because…

Thirdlymy grandfather used to have a saying whenever he would talk to me about politics.  “Never give your government a power that you don’t want your opponents to use.”

Internet Leftists seem to operate on an idea that their ideas will be so amazing once implemented that the populous would never dream of handing the reins back to Republicans.  Problem is, (once again) that there is absolutely no precedent of that, and every precedent that Americans will not only give power back to conservatives… but that they will do it in depressingly quick fashion.  It took Americans about thirty years to forget how bad things were before the New Deal.  It took them about five to forget how despicable of a man Nixon was.  Obama’s growth policies didn’t even have time for the ink to dry before enough of America was willing to hand power to Donald Trump.

America will not hesitate to give this single-payer Medicare to the Republicans that will either immediately gut it to the point that it can’t function, or use it as a weapon to impose their draconian, Evangelical leanings.  When, not if, the GOP starts requiring Medicare to deny any and all abortions, transitional therapy, or requiring gay conversion treatment in order to see benefits, I would want there to be another option for our most vulnerable to have, even if it’s not cheap.

Today in Gamer Rage…

Posted in Grumblings with tags , , , on January 16, 2020 by chemiclord

Hello darkness my old friend…

I’ve come to talk to you again…

I’m actually not much of a fan of that old song, which is annoying because it pops into my head every time I watch gamers willingly taking control of the hype train completely on their own, driving it straight into a wall, then getting furious at developers after it crashes.

This time, it’s because of (*sigh*) another Fire Emblem character in the Smash Bros. series.  And hoo boy is every loud mouthed aggressively online gamer east of the International Date Line pissed about it.

Let’s get a few things squared away first.

  1. I’m not excited about the addition of Byleth myself.  I enjoyed Fire Emblem: Three Houses a great deal, but I’ve never really been all that much of a FE fan, and have played absolutely zero of the FE characters in Smash Bros.  That… almost assuredly is not going to change this time.
  2. Like it or not, Sakurai and Nintendo consider Fire Emblem to be a tentpole IP for the Nintendo brand.  Considering it is 14 exclusive games strong, and Three Houses released to critical acclaim, stunning sales worldwide, and multiple awards, it doesn’t seem like that is an incorrect sentiment.  No, the IP is not particularly strong in North America (though Three Houses sold extremely well even here), but at some point, you have to accept that it’s going to receive considerable representation, on par with the Mario series, Pokemon, and Legend of Zelda.  Gamers in the west are just gonna have to deal with it.
  3. The rage, in my opinion, really isn’t about “another Fire Emblem character.”

See, gamers have a problem.  We love to be hyped.  We love to shoot for the moon.  That, in and of itself, wouldn’t necessarily be a problem… if we didn’t get furiously angry at everyone but ourselves when our moonshot falls short.

In this case, Smash fans had convinced themselves that the fifth DLC character was going to be Dante from Devil May Cry.  They were duping themselves with a bogus scam account of one of Capcom’s lead developers.  They clung to a Capcom announcement happening the same day as the Smash fighter announcement as incontrovertible proof  that Dante was going to be the guy.  This was a stone cold lock, guise!

Did Nintendo hint at any such thing?  Nope!  But hell if we didn’t convince ourselves they did!  Did anyone actually at Capcom make such a connection?  Nope!  But we were damn sure of it nonetheless!

Did we get mad at ourselves for duping ourselves yet again?   HA!  Of course not!  We got righteously irate at the developers who didn’t promise what we decided they promised!


It’d be funny if it wasn’t so damn toxic.

Gamers are what’s wrong with gaming.

On a (Not-So) Rise of Skywalker

Posted in Grumblings with tags , , , on December 25, 2019 by chemiclord

(Note: This will NOT be entirely spoiler free.  I really can’t avoid it in this case, I’m sorry.)

Let’s get this out of the way.  “Rise of Skywalker” is an entirely average Star Wars movie.

Kinda like the other eight.

It’s end goal is to keep you mildly entertained for two hours without having to think too hard.  It does that.  Rian Johnson wanted to try and make it broader than that, but the old guard clearly refused to allow that, so… here we are.  Back to the old formula.

That’s something to keep in mind as I proceed through my thought space here.  For as much as I scoffed at Episode 7 (https://tkocreations.com/2015/12/29/on-an-awakening-force/) or lauded Episode 8 (https://tkocreations.com/2017/12/17/on-the-best-last-jedi/), there’s really not all that much of an overall quality difference between any of the Star Wars films.

Because there is a problem that really emerges with this trilogy especially; Rise of Skywalker suffers for it, and I fear every successive film is going to suffer even more as inevitably this story continues.

It is trying way too hard to placate a segment of the fan base that is frankly going to be impossible to placate.  Rise of Skywalker does everything it can to get back in the good graces of the “long time fan.”  You guys had a big problem with Rose?  Okay, she’s a bit player now.   Hated that Ray was just a nobody without any ties to a noble bloodline?  Hey!  We fixed it!  Couldn’t stand that some woman that could have been Ackbar tried to tell Poe what he couldn’t and couldn’t do?  He’s the general now!  We brought back all these old faces that you remembered from thirty years ago!  Isn’t that awesome?

Guys?  Please, don’t be angry anymore!  We’re trying to give you what you want!

The problem is what the “old guard” wants isn’t something that they’ll ever get.  They want to be 10-15 years old again watching “A New Hope” for the first time.  They want that magic back.  But they can’t get that feeling back.  They are going to be perpetually enraged no matter how many times you try to callback.

Stop trying.  Let Star Wars be for a new generation.  Yes, the perpetually online old guard will be pissed about it.  But guess what?  They’re gonna be pissed at anything you do.

On Becoming Useless…

Posted in Grumblings on December 17, 2019 by chemiclord

In 2014, I was hit by a car in a rather “classic” hit-and-run while exiting a biking trail.  While the damage definitely could have been a lot worse, what did happen was bad enough, nasty scarring on my right calf for one, some lacerations, some bruises, and most significantly, a severe herniation of the L5/S1 disc that required emergency surgery.

My surgeon for the procedure was excellent, explaining that this was as close to a routine surgery of the spine as you can have.  But even then, she also told me that it was never going to completely heal.  I was never going to go back to what I was.  It was merely a matter of sustaining function as long as I could before the inevitable.

A sign of that inevitability came this morning, as I was informed that I would be given “lifelong” restrictions at my day job.  There are going to be elements of what I did that I shouldn’t ever do again for the sake of my health (and ability to walk).

It’s… been a blow, to be honest.  I did everything I could to avoid having this meeting, because I knew this was what I was going to hear.  I spent most of my adult life trying to be the guy that you could count on, that could do anything you needed.  And now I can’t.  Now I get to be lumped in with the stigma of “lazy” people.

“If you can do [x], why can’t you do [y]?”

“If you can do [y] for twenty minutes, why can’t you do it for eight hours?”

Here in the US of A, this is part of the “working man” motif, and not even I am immune to it.  Even if by all rationality, I should be celebrating this good thing… I can’t.  I’m no longer the “good worker.”  I can’t be.  Now I’m the “useless worker,” the “lazy” one.

And it hurts.

It’s probably going to hurt for a while, at least until a new normal sets in.

Here’s hoping.

Plucking the Splinter (News)

Posted in Grumblings on October 10, 2019 by chemiclord

Not going to lie, it was a site I loved to hate.  And boy, did it make itself very easy to hate at times.  Perhaps fortunately, as of today, there’s nothing more to hate about it, as its parent company G/O Media formally pulled the plug this afternoon.

Whether it was Hamilton Nolan quietly and cowardly trying to subtly incite class violence in his articles, or Katherine Krueger (an editor in name only as I didn’t see any semblance of actual editorial control at any point during her tenure) hypocritically snarling at the aggressively online while being aggressively online herself, or Rafi Schwartz spouting endless conspiracy theories that the neoliberals were in league with the right (despite all evidence to the contrary), or Jack Mirkenson doing a disservice to journalism with sparse “articles” (I hope he wasn’t paid by the word, let’s put it that way), to the aggressive lack of anything resembling an attempt at journalistic standards…

It was the sort of site for people who were mad at the world, didn’t really understand why, but were at least socially aware enough to know that they couldn’t overtly blame Jews and black people for them.

Don’t get me twisted, you could still think that… you just had to make sure you didn’t say that part too loudly.

It didn’t exactly start on the best of terms.  From the beginning, it existed as a site for disaffected white millennial trust fund baby fauxgressives after co-opting the webspace from latinx interests and articles.  It was almost like watching online gentrification in real time, and boy did they hate anyone who noted that.

The thin skin didn’t exactly thicken over time either.  After a series of absolutely hideously awful articles (one of which being so inflammatory that it got blowback from inside the house) two of their writers made absolutely horrible (and arguably sabotaging) attempts to dampen interest in the 2018 elections, and the entire site went on a purge; ostensibly to combat trolls.

Splinter’s definition of “troll” seemed to be anyone who called out the awful election takes for what they were, because they certainly didn’t purge any of the aggressive (and occasionally violent) rage addicts.

At that point, the writing was on the wall.  The more they tightened their echo chamber, the less they were able to actually interest potential readers with their content.  Turns out there wasn’t much of a niche in class-warfare inclined privileged whites that refused to acknowledge anything outside of that niche was actually a problem and that anyone who didn’t prescribe to their “lefter-than-thou” brand of fauxgressivism was the enemy that needed to be destroyed.

By the end, they made Jacobin look rational.  Believe me, that takes doing.

This is honestly more mercy killing than injustice.  Whatever Splinter wanted to be at its inception, what it became was a blight on discourse, often as much of a problem as the alt-right outlets it claimed to despise.

Good riddance.  You won’t be missed, Splinter.

On Jim Caldwell

Posted in Grumblings on September 8, 2019 by chemiclord

Pardon me while I dive into sports talk here, but because 256 characters is an awful forum for full bodied discussion, I want to move my thoughts here pertaining to a coach that has been done dirty by awful people.

I’ve had the privilege of following Jim Caldwell’s career from the time he “broke out” in Indianapolis (having been living there and scavenging at the margins as a failing sportswriter at the time).  I met him once, and that experience along with all the other accounts told me that he was a very sharp tactician with an endless encyclopedia of knowledge.  Give him a week to assemble a game plan, and he’d be able to pick apart anyone’s team.

He was (and is I’m sure) a great guy on a personal level.  Very calm yet assertive, and even felt like he respected the presence of some wanna-be loser like me.  I wish I could have met him face-to-face more often, especially outside of a practice field parking lot.

But… what very quickly emerged once he was given the big headset was that he was not particularly good managing a game in real time, and it wasn’t a skill he was able to refine.  He was very quickly overwhelmed trying to juggle all the balls that a head coach has to, especially in “crunch time” at the end of games.

That alone should not be a condemnation of anything.  That should not be shameful.  A coordinator and a head coach require two very different skill sets.  Lord knows I’d never be able to pull it off.  Hell, 25 of the people currently employed as NFL head coaches can’t pull it off even at a bare minimum level.

Now, let’s add in the absolute den of clusterfuckery that is arguably the worst franchise in professional sports; the Detroit Lions.

By every measure, Jim Caldwell was Detroit’s best head coach in damn near 30 years.  That is absolutely and measurably true, but at the same time we are not talking about the highest of bars to clear.  All that inherently means is that you are entirely mediocre; which is probably the easiest way to describe Jim Caldwell, head coaching candidate.

It’s also absolutely true that the Lions did him dirty, and turned him into the scapegoat for all the franchise’s problems.  This is a narrative that the organization has run with for sixty-plus years, and not one particularly unique to Caldwell.  Pin all the blame on one person, make them out to be the sole reason why success hasn’t happened, fire that person, then don’t change anything else.

Rinse and repeat ad nauseum.

Do I believe that Bob Quinn fired Caldwell to cover up the fact that he can’t put together a replacement level roster?  Absolutely.  Do I think he was fired as an excuse to get Bob Quinn’s buddy from New England into the head coach’s seat?  Without a doubt.  Do I think that it was easy for Quinn to do so because Caldwell is a black man and the standards required to toss a minority coach out on his ear is a LOT lower than if the coach is a generic white dude?  Yep.

But at the same time… Caldwell’s body of work as a head coach frankly is not particularly impressive.  Any team firing him solely on the merits of him not being the guy that was going to take the team to the top of the mountain… frankly isn’t wrong.

So, you have my conundrum; because when it pertains to Jim Caldwell… there seems to be two very different questions being phrased the exact same way, but have two very different answers.

“Should Jim Caldwell be an NFL head coach?”

Now, if the question means, “Given the current crop of head coaches in the NFL, is Jim Caldwell good enough to be one of them?”  The answer to that question is, “Indisputably yes.”  There is a ton of recycled trash patrolling the sidelines of NFL teams.  I can think of eight names just off the top of my head that should have expended every single one of their chances to show they can do the job, yet inexplicably haven’t been fired, or even worse, been hired by a different team.

(Those names are: Matt Patricia, Jay Gruden, Bruce Arians, Kyle Shanahan, Jon Gruden, Adam Gase, Sean McDermott, and Matt Nagy for the record.  I’m certain there are more that I could add to this list if I gave it fifteen minutes of thought.)

But here’s the problem.  Jim Caldwell’s name should be one of them on that list.

Because if the question is supposed to mean, “Do I think Jim Caldwell would be one of the 32 best head coaches if all things were equal?” The answer to that question would be “Absolutely not.”

There are only 32 of those very well paying jobs.  There should be 32 people patrolling the sidelines that make Bill Belichick look like the guy that thinks there’s an “F” in “pharaoh.”  Merely average game managers shouldn’t even be sniffing these positions, and the fact that those sort of minds are actually above the Bell Curve distribution is as damning an indictment of the supposed meritocracy that sports claims to be as anything.

But hey, perhaps that’s just me overthinking things again.  If Jim Caldwell was patrolling a sideline right now, he would not be out of place.  But I also think that there are far more people (especially minorities) that deserve a first chance before Caldwell gets his third.