Saturday, August 30, 2008

I'll hum "What Do You Do With A Drunken Sailor" and you start reciting "The Autumn Wind Is A Raider." Ready?

It was hard for me tell if this Slate article was a review of HBO's Hard Knocks or a promo for writer Stefan Fatsis' own book. By the end, though, what is clear is that Fatsis can look at a group of men -- some with bad attitudes, some with criminal records, some with an inexplicable need to seek out TMZ cameras -- and pick out the "blowhard coaches [who are] taking their jobs way too seriously" as the real villains.

"We want the speechifying, Princeton-educated Garrett brothers, both offensive coaches, to be drowned in a training-room ice tub." We do? Because I think Jason Garrett is pretty well-regarded. And he's the next head coach.

But here is where Fatsis completely loses me: "In one scene, safety Roy Williams reveals the players' dim view of their bosses after one compliments him. 'I'm sure the coaches will find something to say,' he sniffs. (Sure enough—and credit to NFL Films for showing it—we cut to a staff meeting were a coach criticizes Williams for reacting too slowly on a play.)" Roy Williams, who each week desperately wiggles his way into every HBO shot, has sucked hard for quite some time now. I don't think the coaches are the problem.

Fatsis is right to say that Hard Knock is "terrific entertainment, but it's not journalism." Otherwise, we'd know the identity of the player who's "been a bum the whole camp."

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