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AFC East QBs, Mac McClung, & NBA All Star Weekend

As we approach an NFL free agency period featuring a number of noteworthy quarterbacks on the market, we will review each division's 2022 quarterback play in the coming weeks.


We begin in the AFC East with a discussion on Josh Allen, Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones, and Zach Wilson. And as sports media's focus shifts to the NBA, we also talk all things All Star Weekend in this episode.


Watch/listen here:



Transcript:

Mike Lewis 0:08

Welcome, everyone. Welcome to the fandomanalytics Fanalytics Podcast with Mike Lewis and Doug Battle brought to you by Emory marketing analytics center. Doug, how are you today?


Doug Battle 0:17

I'm doing well Mike. I'm coming off All Star Weekend with reinvigorated hopes of winning the dunk contest. One day, Mac McClung represented well this weekend, and honestly living out every kid's dream I remember as a kid I think the dunk contest to me as a kid was more of an aspiration than winning the NBA Finals. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I don't know why guys like LeBron guys like Yanis don't put themselves out there even like Anthony Edwards. I think I would think it would be great for him building that start on but Mac McClung straight out of the G league. I have to think that putting him in the dunk contest was somewhat of a push to include the G League and promotion of the G league on All Star Weekend. But man he he was impressive he had one of the better dunk contests I've ever seen.


Mike Lewis 1:11

Well, I you know, I don't know exactly how to respond because you know, you start talking about the All Star Weekend the dunk contest I don't even know if they still did the three point shooting day in the dunk contest dominated social media. But you know, in as you're talking about why the stars don't do it, it does bring up all sorts of kind of big picture issues about an an all star game, which is what the NBA All Star game is, you know, all the major leagues have them. And whether or not these things continue to work and I mean, they look these things used to be you're right, huge highlights of every season with the exception of the NFL Pro Bowl, but you know Major League Baseball's Allstate our game was a centerpiece of the you know, the summer the NBA All Star game, all star game, a centerpiece. And when they started the dunk contest, and they had Dominique Wilkins and Michael job. Yeah, Spud Webb and Larry Bird from you know, three point shooting. Yeah, those things were, those things were amazing. They were, they probably very quickly became the highlight of the weekend are the more memorable, no one remembers the actual games, right? With the exception of let's say, the All Star game where Michael Jordan was, what was the thing like the where he was froze out by Isaiah Thomas and then the next year, they froze out Isaiah, neck and nonsense. But yeah, I mean, the stars don't participate anymore. And so you're down to now what Mac McClung


Doug Battle 2:39

by the way hasn't been playing in the NBA. He's been in the he just signed a two way contract with the Sixers. But he's been playing in the G League. So this is a guy who High School phenom his videos were all over the place. It was like Zion Williamson, no one thought he was going to be Zion Williamson but he just was had spectacular highlights and went to Georgetown had a underwhelming career transferred to Texas Tech. Still kind of underwhelming and he's bounced around g leaks. You know, it's like it's like if the NFL. It's like if the highlight of NFL all star or pro bowl we can was somebody off of the practice squad, like Mac McClung, but hey, I gotta give it to him. He made I mean, that was his moment. That was his, he, he made some money, like he got that Puma endorsement. He's, I'm sure there's gonna be people buying Mac McClung jerseys, you know, because because of his performance on on Saturday, and you got to hand it to the guy went out there outperformed the NBA dunkers did something that, you know, yeah. I mean, it's a trophy that Michael Jordan has. It's a trophy that Vince Carter has like, he's got that same trophy. And, man, it was fun to watch. Even though going into it. I was like, Why do they have a G league guy at NBA All Star Weekend?


Mike Lewis 3:59

I guess I mean, so the problem, I think in terms of what they've created now is that none of the stars want to participate because they're worried about their brand, their brands right. And it's like, I think, you know, once you have a sporting League, an endeavor where people are concerned about their brands, you kind of know you, you're gone in the wrong direction, because no one wants to lose this thing, right? Yeah, no one wants it. No, no one wants to be defeated by MAC McClung in the in the slam dunk contest, when you are the greatest athletes in the


Doug Battle 4:36

world. Can you imagine how much LeBron would be getting cloud right now if he had finally participated in the dunk contest only to lose to Mac McClung? Like I get it. It's a and I was watching the three point shooting contest with a buddy and he was like, why is Damian Lillard fitness? Why would he do this? And I'm thinking, why when it downloaded like he is the three point you know, the premier deep ball guy, and the entire NBA A my buddies like yeah but if he goes out there and shoots a couple bad shots you know it's not a good look if he loses one of these you know Tyrese Haliburton or somebody and and I don't know I like guys like Damien that aren't worried about that like and of course Damian Lillard won the three point shooting contest but I like guys that that just aren't you know they don't have that scared to lose mentality and of course Mac McClung doesn't have that he doesn't have anything to lose, but I do think the NBA misses. You know, imagine a dunk contest with John Moran, Zion Williamson, LeBron James Anthony Edwards, like kind of representing the young crowd. I mean, that would probably get better ratings than the NBA Finals.


Mike Lewis 5:45

Okay, but Doug couple of things. I don't think any of those guys are better dunkers than Mac McClung.


Doug Battle 5:51

I think. I think I think Anthony Edwards and John Moran I don't know if they have the creativity that's the thing. Yeah, the


Mike Lewis 6:01

I heard someone say that McClung is an Instagram phenom, rather than an NBA phenom. No it's like


Doug Battle 6:08

he's like this first. He's like the first tick tock or to make it into like an NBA jersey. Like he's that Gen Z representing well and like he probably is more famous in his generation, than like Anthony Edwards, or some of these like legitimate you first round pick type players that are developing into stores in a genuine and traditional NBA way. McClung has been an internet sensation for 10 years. So he's kind of an influencer. And I'll be interested to see if he gets like kind of how in college sports with NFL sometimes it's not the best performers. It's the best personalities are the people with the biggest followings like that's why we've seen you know, these female athletes in college who are top of their sport, but the ones that are top of their game on Instagram are making more money than Heisman winners. And so I'm like is Matt McClung gonna be kind of that the professional version of that where he can I mean if all he does if you know if they drop Jack Harlow from White Men Can't Jump and add Mac McClung. He's, I've seen some people clamoring for that and he's he's kind of a legend now. And I'll be curious to see you know, if we start seeing him in subway ads alongside Steph Curry and people whose achievements on the court are far superior, but that have equivalent social following?


Mike Lewis 7:33

Okay, I'm gonna I'm gonna look up Mac McClung on Instagram. I don't I don't have a tick tock account so I can't do that if he's bigger there.


Doug Battle 7:44

It's got to be enormous because he's been like, viral sensation for


Mike Lewis 7:48

it's 1 million followers but he may have Oh, that's good. He may have gained me if he's been maybe he's some multiple that on Tik Tok and he maybe he's just gained a couple 100,000 followers because I think it's pretty clear that Mac McClung one off. He is the memory from this All Star Weekend. Sorry, Mr. Tatum.


Doug Battle 8:07

Yeah. The other interesting thing about Mac McClung is he's been on like, so many different teams like he, because he played at Georgetown and then he went to Texas Tech, then in the NBA, and this is a case for a lot of G league types you played for the Lakers, played for the bulls played for the Warriors. Now he's signed with Philly. I don't know if he played at all for any of those teams, probably they're affiliated G League teams more so. But then he's he's a journeyman at this point as a young guy, and I'll be curious to see I don't know how much filly signing them has to do with his potential as a real contributor versus like a like Mike situation where it's like, almost a butts and seats kind of thing. But we'd love to see him have a Jeremy Lin Linsanity stretch and set the world on fire because I think he's got the he's got the beginnings of something like that right now.


Mike Lewis 9:09

Oh, it's completely in the spotlight. I mean, I'm sorry, Doug. That was those were impressive, very creative kind of next level dunks, like, all of them went to sort of that next level, but he is definitely in that almost novelty care category with Spud Webb, right? Because he's not an NBA player. He's baby faced.


Doug Battle 9:31

Yeah. It looks like he's 15 or 16 for sure. Yeah.


Mike Lewis 9:37

And now you tell me that he's essentially in a tick tock influencer, man in some ways the story gets better and this is some ways maybe the very early on kind of perfect 2023 sports story. Because like, I don't know if the guy can play at all. I don't know if he can shoot. I don't even know how tall he is. But he has clearly taken a demonstrated one skill to an exceptional level. And you know you have a million Instagram followers and a few million Tik Tok followers. I think they said he won 100 grand and prize money for winning the dunk contest. You know, he may be making far more than that already just as an influencer.


Doug Battle 10:19

Yeah, and I don't know that he I won't I don't know he would be classified as an influencer yet, but I'm just saying like now he's got he's been such an internet legend for so long. It's like how is he not monetizing that? Given that he hasn't been on NBA contracts till now. Now he is. But you know, I wouldn't be shocked to see him kind of step into that world. I do see on his on his Instagram that he's got an endorsement with Jackson which is like a jewel men's jewelry like chains and stuff. So he has been so I guess he is an influencer in that way. He's, he's been modeling and representing that brand as I think they have a number of professional athletes sign with them. I know this because it adds.


Mike Lewis 11:05

I mean, if he never gets really, maybe he never even gets in a game with Philadelphia. He's definitely got the potential to error that ever see that guy, the professor? This dribbling? Oh, yeah. Yeah. I mean, there's no reason I suspect the professor makes a lot of money across the social platforms. McClung definitely has the capability to do something to do something similar across these platforms. So it's, it's kind of this new breed of this new breed of athlete where I don't know it's in some ways it feels a little little Logan, Jake Paul kind of internet


Doug Battle 11:46

because he kind of looks like them.


Mike Lewis 11:51

Beyond that, though, the the all star game. Okay, you push back on this? And again, I don't know if it's me, or, or if it's just, you know, the way these things are going? Terrible. The uniforms. I've said this every year, I don't want to see team LeBron vs. Team jhanas. I want to see something that actually you don't like if I'm Kevin Durant. I'm not even showing up for this. Like, I'm so annoyed that I don't get to be a team. You're telling me I'm not that that level, the complete lack of defense. I mean, I look I get it's a spectacle. But I don't at this point. I don't even know what is the spectacle of it struck me as kind of kind of boring. And then it becomes like, oh, well, this is the Jason Tatum tribute game for some reason.


Doug Battle 12:41

Yeah, Jason Tatum, definitely. I don't know, he's still the show. But it wasn't much of a show. I will say the all star game like winning MVP, that used to be when people would do like the Jordan comparisons to Kobe, they would have the finals Finals MVPs MVPs. And they would put all star game MVP is on there, like it meant something, you know, like, that was an achievement. And Yan is tapping out after one bucket, and the first like six seconds, and LeBron tapping out after 14 points, and you know, just sign the rest of his body the rest of the way, clearly doesn't mean anything to these guys. And I don't know if that's the lack of the competitive nature, whereas a guy like Jordan, just like because you don't, you don't accidentally win that thing like six times, or eight times, or however many times Jordan one. Like, you know, he went into that saying, I'm gonna be the guy, I'm gonna win this thing. I'm gonna get that trophy and add it to my collection. And I don't know if anybody seems to really care about that. Even like, from a selfish standpoint, you would think like LeBron or Yiannis would value that and I know you're honest, is hurt by and LeBron is, to some degree, but


Mike Lewis 13:50

okay, but let me let's even think about that scene in the last dance. The episode where Jordan is focused on making a movie. Yeah. And he's bringing all of his friends out to California. Right, but they got a court out there. And you can tell that there was more intensity in that pickup game than there is in the All Star game now. Yeah. Right. And that's kind of a curious thing, right? That the all star game has been completely divorced from, you know, kind of pride. And so here's here's an observation that you know, if I think back to why the Major League All Star game was a big deal, it was because it was something different, right? You're sitting there in your hometown, you're in Pittsburgh, you're in St. Louis. You most of your coverage is on the via the radio, sometimes you go to the games, but you're just really dealing with your team. And then every once in awhile, you get to see other players from across your league. The All Star game was the one time where you almost got to like it was like the first version of fantasy sports right? of all, you see these these legends from New York Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig, depending on the on the year and they're all together, right? So it's like this, you know, the little kids are like, can you imagine Sandy Cofax, pitching against, you know, this other kind of all star. But now, and I think this is especially true for the NBA, all of these guys, the top stars are featured in social media and national TV every day. And their games are almost all you know, the the availability of seeing them play each other, especially if you're just interested in video highlights. It's on Twitter instantly, right? And so, I might argue that at this point, this stuff has kind of lost its magic of being this unique thing. And then the fact that these guys are all now sort of more geared towards protecting their brands, rather than getting some competitive intensity. I almost wish they would stop it, Doug. I really do. I mean, I don't know what you do, instead, because it's become a tradition. But it's like one of those sporting events is out almost as actually painful for me to tune into.


Doug Battle 16:02

Yeah. And Mike Malone touched on that calling it the worst game ever played, I think worse basketball game ever played. The it's like there needs to be some incentive for the players, because it's


Mike Lewis 16:15

marketing at this point. Right? Yeah. It's so you're tuning into a marketing event, which is, you know, maybe that's fine once in a while. But


Doug Battle 16:24

yeah, I was. I was watching yesterday, and I told him, buddy, this is what people who hate on the NBA that don't watch the NBA think that the NBA is like when they say they don't play defense in the NBA. They don't all they do is shoot threes. All they do it, you know, there's no, there's no fundamentals. There's no like watching it, guys, we were getting out of the way, if someone was driving into the paint, it's just kind of a disgrace, as far as it spits in the face of everything we love about basketball. And you're right, as far as the pride thing, where it's like, don't these guys just, you know, care about their performance or the game enough to go out there and compete. And clearly, I mean, I understand there's money on the line for them, and they don't want to get hurt. I just don't know how much more you risk getting hurt playing in an exhibition game than you would practice in the offseason. Or in the Olympics, or any of these other you know, street ball games that we see these guys in drew league in the summer. Like they do all that and they compete in that. So why not compete in the All Star game? I'll never understand it. But if I'm the NBA, I'm trying to find some way to incentivize whether, you know, for the longest time, I always thought it was really good that the MLB had the home field advantage aspect of their All Star game were players were incentivized to want to win that game and it had some impact on the season. And that's something I wouldn't be surprised to the NBA consider that type of move.


Mike Lewis 17:50

Yeah. And again, I don't I just don't know how big of a deal that is. Right? I mean, maybe if you're in a first place team that that's something but it just strikes strikes me is. And again, I don't want to be like this this naysayer, but it's, it's it's like their spectacle in terms of bringing the stars together. But there's got to be a point to it. Right? There's gotta be something in it. For the fans beyond saying, you know this, you see all these guys together, right? There's got to be some, you know, for lack of a better term kind of something authentic about the level of competition, which I think is why we love Max McClung today, right. Is he was putting it all out there as opposed to you know, this kind of the worst game ever played.


Doug Battle 18:39

Yeah, you could tell that was the Super Bowl for him. And, and, and entertain I can't keep my eyes off the kid. I'm watching I'm on his Instagram right now. And dunk videos are just so fun to watch. And I got to take back something that I said I had said that he was an influencer and then I took it back so I don't know he's like technically an influencer. He's definitely an influencer. He's every other post is promoting to go I mentioned Jackson. He's got one with AT and T. He's got a jump program where he he's promoting like a sole program for helping people get their vertical jump better. He's got this one video of him missing a bunch of dunks, like easy dunks. And he's like talking to his buddy. And he's like, Dude, you should try these insoles they make you bounce here and then he puts them in and he's like doing all the crazy dunks he was doing in the dunk contest like the dudes in it. He's an NBA influencer. And he's probably getting more marketing attention than guys that are scoring 20 points a game. I've seen him and more you know, bare bottom clothing. Jackson like theragun Tara body he's it's just a it's an interesting deal nowadays with social media playing a bigger role in you know how marketable a player is or how much they're used in advertising than their actual on the court performance because I don't know, he probably averaged zero points per game and his NBA career though,


Mike Lewis 20:10

probably, but again, it's like it's, it's an interesting thing. It's almost like decomposing, decomposing the value of an athletic star, right? It's, he's obviously never gonna get to the level of LeBron or Durant in terms of the social media following. But his novelty act is spectacular dunks, it could be a very healthy income, right, a very healthy income, that is very sustainable, and something that he has, and this is an important part sort of total control over it. I mean, if he can build that audience across these platforms to you know, several million people, then he is in fact a brand and where does it go from there? You know, how long does it last? It's hard to say but again, it's interesting that we've have a clear winner for All Star Weekend. This happens sometimes usually, it's like someone that's almost anointed, right? It's like, oh, this person's this person's turn. But this one is, I think this one's great because this is almost like a rootless is like be honest. This is Rudy story. Yeah, this is this is Rudy or rocky or whatever it is. This is a guy that beat down the door and said, Hey, we're all you know. I'm as good as anyone here.


Doug Battle 21:23

Yeah, it's Rudy with like a five star high school athlete. He was he was a big big recruit, but six foot two 185 pounds. He's played in two NBA games, four points per game. Point five assists per game. So you based on the numbers 50% field goal shooting? I don't know, I'm guessing he took four shots, means two of them. So anyway, Mac McClung NBA legend. I, the more I watch him, the more I'm like, Okay, I'm gonna get a jersey. The problem is, I don't know what team to get a jersey for. Because he's played on like, he's technically he's played in two games, but he's played for like six teams already. And I imagine that trend continues as it often does for these these G league types.


Mike Lewis 22:14

Every time I've ever seen him. He's in a Philadelphia Jersey every time.


Doug Battle 22:19

The one time. And also, it's it's funny, because we feel like this is like this rookie or this young guy. He's 24. Like, he's the same age as Jason Tatum, Luka dodge. Yeah, yeah. So he's, he's been bouncing around the league for for a little bit. And, you know, I guess, I guess this is, this is his time, maybe he breaks in the league. Like I said, I want to see a Jeremy Lin situation. I'll be keeping an eye on it. But the NBA is biggest influencer perhaps now. We will see


Mike Lewis 22:52

this week. Okay, Doug, beyond beyond the NBA. And again, it's look, sometimes I think it's kind of an interesting play. If you have a more of a historical perspective on sports. You know, the NBA All Star game is the sort of the big thing of the weekend. It was also the Daytona 500. I mean, this is, you know, but But all this stuff, I think, still kind of pales in comparison to the monolithic professional football world of, of American culture. You know, as a strange aside, the XFL started, we could talk about the team names, but I'll be honest with you, just from watching the highlights this morning on ESPN. I'm so confused by the rules in terms of the kickoffs and go in or three, that I almost want to let some of this marinate for a while. I mean, do you get your thoughts on the XFL


Doug Battle 23:45

I think the NFL is going to end up adopting their kickoff rule because the kickoff as it stands, they've moved it so far that no one ever returns kicks in college. So maybe college football as well. But the I think there's Miss proportionally serious risk of injury on those kickoff plays. And so having them kind of line up but have the ball kicked to where they can actually return it and it's an actual play out of the game. I thought it was an improvement. So I kind of view I think what the NFL is doing, I think they're doing that intentionally to make it interesting like people like you and I kind of get confused by it and want to figure it out. But also for the NFL. It's probably like, you know, the NFL is able to take risks that they can't and do trial and error they can see what works see what doesn't work and pick what they choose. I know their instant replay change so like if the ball on a replay, they can change the spot even if they're reviewing something else. Like if they're reviewing for pass interference or something that ends up oh, he caught it. But he actually went down on the on the 25 not on the 2424 and a half or whatever, they'll move the ball. There's little things that got people talking on Twitter saying hey, why doesn't the NFL do this? So I think that's smart by the way CFL, I just can't ever get into minor league football, particularly with they're now being two different leagues. And of course college football being really the ultimate minor league football. I don't know how it sustains, but you know, something, keep an eye on. Well,


Mike Lewis 25:15

and I'll say this that the, you know, the other thing is there was one year where there was a new foot. And it was like the AE F for the A American something alliance


Doug Battle 25:26

of American, Birmingham.


Mike Lewis 25:30

I had the president of the Atlanta legends come to class in like, two weeks after his appearance, the league disbanded in the middle of the season. So I think on these things, it's almost like safe, we gotta, we gotta watch this play out to make sure they even meet payroll, and get to season number two,


Doug Battle 25:48

I remember there were players that like didn't get paid, and were petitioning to get paid for the longest time. So what a time


Mike Lewis 25:57

Okay, so what I want to talk about today is we want to look, the NFL, and the quarterback narratives continue non stop. So I want to start with the NFL, the AFC East and just sort of talk a little bit about where are these quarterbacks and where the teams were last year, and some reflections on where it looks like they might go this year. Now. There's gonna be a lot of movement. You know? As an aside, though, did you see this thing with Bryce young and Mina? Kimes, no, you got to see this. So Bryce Young is projected, you know, the big Bryce young story, right is is it going to be drafted by the Chicago Bears who already have a quarterback and Justin fields, but this was on Twitter that with, I think someone tagged it with a picture of Bryce young and Mina Kimes, who's an analyst for ESPN, saying, me and a minor or Mina, I'm not even sure may have cost him the worst photograph ever, in terms of draft prospects. Because if you pull it up, Doug, pull it up. So So you know, it looks like they're just about the same size. Oh, no. And so Bryce Young is listed at, I think, six foot 190. But this picture next to me and look, Bryce Young has essentially been playing against professional competition against Georgia and Tennessee, those kinds of those, those level of athletes. But he looks small, he looks tiny.


Doug Battle 27:30

I hope she's wearing heels.


Mike Lewis 27:33

There was a follow up tweet where she said she was wearing four inch heels. But that doesn't, that doesn't even help either. Because I mean, how tall? Does that mean? She's five, two, and she was getting to five.


Doug Battle 27:48

Also, you say that the same size? You're not just talking about height? No, and they have nothing to do with how you're built? Yeah, that's, that's your right. That's a little concerning for Bryce young. I know. Like, of course, the Georgia fan base has always pointed out there's one picture of Stetson Bennett and Bryce young after the game. And yeah, they're in the same draft class. And Bennett's kind of viewed as this will he get drafted? Or, you know, will he be like a seventh round mister irrelevant? Like, can he make a team or get drafted and young with young it's easy, the first number one pick, and the knock on Bennett has always been, he's just too short. If he were a couple inches taller, he'd be an NFL quarterback. He's just too short. And some people have pointed out he's at least the same height as Bryce Young. A similar accomplishments. I mean, of course, more championships, less highs, mins less yards, but more wins. And and so there's that debate as well, which I'm not picking aside on that. I'm just simply pointing out the fact that young has the same measurables as a quarterback who is maybe going to be drafted, maybe not. And he's in contention for the number one pick.


Mike Lewis 29:02

Yeah, but you look at that picture. And you'd be lying. If you didn't say you are now just terrified of drafting him. Because he just looks absolutely tiny.


Doug Battle 29:13

Yeah, I gotta say, Justin fields. You don't have to worry about the way he's built. He's got the NFL, NFL stature, Bryce young does not. I think the, you know, the Bears fans that want to trade fields or want to draft young see that they feel comfortable that young can read a defense better, that type of thing. fields can probably throw the ball further. He's faster, he's stronger, bigger, taller. But in the NFL. We've seen time and time again that sometimes it's not the measurables it's it's that sixth sense that Bryce young seems to have that a lot of people think Bryce Young has, and that's a huge story that I'll be following this offseason because I have no idea what the bears are going to do. And as we've talked about for years, when Justin fields in the mix Something dramatic will happen. It's just inevitable.


Mike Lewis 30:03

And the coverage will be weird. And we will get get to the bears in


Doug Battle 30:08

later weeks later we.


Mike Lewis 30:09

But so we thought I thought we'd start with the AFC East, like I said to you in the text, sort of just alphabetical order and based on geography working east to west, at the start of the year, you know, Doug, I, I put this out there as one of the more interesting divisions in terms of quarterback narratives. The way I looked at it was we had Josh Allen is this sort of the next guy up and this is this was preseason, right? This Superman in terms of physical potential the next guy up, I speculated that you might see a bit of a challenge between the excuse me between the Patriots and Mack Jones, as a second year quarterback making their next progression. My thinking on tour was that this guy who had been, you know, a little bit of a disappointment, his first couple of years. So he was playing for that next contract, the dolphins really assessing of whether or not he was going to be the guy. And going into the season, we had Zach Wilson, who Wow, coming off a disastrous freshman year for the New York Jets also had one of the most amusing off seasons with his mother getting involved in and I don't even remember the details, but I just remember loving Zach Wilson for about 15 minutes. Preseason. That was the way I I called it at the beginning of the season. A lot of that, you know, wasn't wasn't too far off. I think, you know, Mac Jones was kind of a disappointment in his second year. I think he's created some questions surrounding himself moving forward, I think to stepped up but statistically to or was very good last year, in terms of, you know, whatever metric you want to look at, but to also had, you know, up until Damar, Hamlin in what was that week 15, or week 16, maybe the two I had one of the scariest moments we've seen in the NFL, in a long, long time. And actually multiple scary moments. Like there was one moment where he was, I think, stumbling after a shot to the head. And the the one we're never going to forget right is where he was having some sort of spasm in his hands where I don't I don't know how to I think everyone knows recalls what I'm talking about.


Doug Battle 32:27

Yeah, the narratives kind of flipped between Jones and Mack Jones. It was like a freaky Friday situation. Because everyone was real optimistic about Mac Jones. You know, he was kind of getting Justin Herbert treatment after a year one, simply because he wasn't as terrible as the other two. Like, I don't know what your QB wins metric was, but I think he was like, maybe a plus one. Now he was given breakeven,


Mike Lewis 32:53

I think he was either slightly below or he might have been a minus one. But for a rookie minus one is pretty solid.


Doug Battle 33:00

Well, when when Fields was a minus four and,


Mike Lewis 33:03

and fields and Wilson were both minus fives.


Doug Battle 33:06

So I Trevor Lawrence was pretty bad. So it felt like Mack Jones might be the guy out of that class. And one and two, we were wondering, is he going to be a starting NFL quarterback for much longer? Is he going to get moved? Is he you know, what's, what's the deal with him? Now people talk about too, I think partially because of fantasy football. He had a really good year and statistically, where it's like he's definitely a franchise guy. There's no question about that. I still question that. And it's not because of his play, it's because of his durability. He's had issues since college and going into the league. I was always concerned about that for him and I still am I don't I don't know if I would keep playing football If I were him with with the toll his body took this year,


Mike Lewis 33:51

just in terms of the progression so statistically to in 2021 was 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, you know that so that 1.6 TD to interception ratio is very average very average I think that's where tool was coming from. In this last year, he moved that to 25 to eight so 321 which is pretty remarkable. He actually finished first in terms of the passer rating number and third in terms of QBR so to off for when he was on the field was literally as good as good as anyone.


Doug Battle 34:26

Yeah, and I think I don't know I've always felt I like coming into the league I've said this before I thought two is gonna be like an RG three, where he would be a star like an absolute star when healthy, but the question was whether he could stay healthy. Unfortunately to a hasn't had a career ending or career altering knee injury or anything of that nature's the kinds of things that derailed RG three's career, but the concussions are a huge concern with research and CTE recently. I mean, I genuinely am concerned for Whew, a ton of Milo, I think he's one of those guys. he's tough as nails, and he's going to be out there if he can be. So until a doctor tells him, you need to hang it up, or you need to play differently or whatever. He's going to keep doing his thing. And it's like, in a way I respect that. But in a way also, you know, you just hope the best for the kid because he's clearly bright young man with a good head on his shoulders, and you want it to stay that way. Well, Max, Max, yeah. Good. Let's, let's


Mike Lewis 35:23

finish with two. I mean, so the problem now with the two A has is he's the way NFL rookie deals work, right? You basically sign a three, you know, a four year deal. And then there's a fifth year option. So he's going into year number four, where he's going to be paid, I think about $9 million. So the dolphins, the dolphins do not need to make any commitment to to. So he's still at least a year away from getting that bump up to the mid 20 to about $20 million, which, you know, in some ways dug it, you know, if you're talking about, you know, Willie ever play football again, that one year or $20 million, is probably the one you want to have come. I mean, look, again, these are, these are definitely problems of affluence. But that $20 million, is probably the payout that creates the generational wealth, where you can sort of happily move on, but he's a year away from that. And the dolphins are, you know, based on whatever when seeing they're not going to make an extension. People might argue they should, but he's not going to get that money until following next year at a minimum. So


Doug Battle 36:30

yeah, I'll be I'll be curious to see. So next year, is he unrestricted? Next year,


Mike Lewis 36:35

his his fourth year. So then the fifth year option following that,


Doug Battle 36:39

gotcha. So he's, he's got the dolphins position, basically. Yeah. Because they don't they don't want him on the open market. But if he's, you know, if he's still under their contract, then the balls in their court and so, but Matt Jones, on the flip side, like coming into last year, I think a lot of people like I said, he thought he was on that Justin Herbert trajectory, and outplayed by zappi for a good chunk of the season. He had injury issues of his own, he but he had issues with performance. A lot of question marks arose in year two, was it a sophomore year slump? Or was it kind of a regression to the mean, where maybe this is who he really is, and the Patriots don't have their franchise? Quarterback? I think that's that's the question in New England. Well,


Mike Lewis 37:29

in in look, one of my one of the ways I look at quarterbacks is that I think you've got to consider the coach quarterback pair, and it looked like coming out of year one, that Mack Jones was really the big winner of that draft class where he was with Bella check. Right. And Trevor Lawrence was with us on what's the sorry, what's his name? Urban Meyer, Urban Meyer, right. And Justin Fields was with Coach of the bears quickly fired, right, that he walked into a much better situation. Yeah. Some key numbers him Mack Jones year 122, touchdown passes, 13, interceptions, regressed all the way to 14 and 11. So almost a one to one ratio also declined in terms of QBR and passer rating. So it really was, it was a really tough year. Now, the narrative that's going around is that, you know, New England, I think, had some disruptions in terms of how they approach having an offensive coordinator, they gotta get the right coaches in there. But 100% I think Mac Jones went from being, hey, look at the surprise winner of this draft class taken about what 15 or 16, I think, to now being this is this is a big time question mark. And he's going to get another year because it's a rookie contract. But you know, does New England start to look for who's next? You know, if anyone, if any of the quarterbacks are on the hot seat, Matt Jones has moved to a hot seat.


Doug Battle 38:57

Yeah, I think so. But I also need to point out that new offensive coordinator situation, and New England, bringing in Bill O'Brien, former offensive coordinator at Alabama, and so maybe that's belcheck doubling down on Mac Joe, or craft a belcheck. And company, doubling down on his development wanting him to be in a system that he's going to be comfortable in.


Mike Lewis 39:23

You know, I'll point this out. I don't think anyone in New England has said anything negative about Mac Jones, which might say something about that nature of that organization, as opposed to let's say the New York Jets where they seem to be very publicly pro Mac Jones, which again, second year player. Historically, I think we see a lot of improvement years one through three in these quarterbacks. So I think it's the smart play. It's just a question of what are they really thinking now what they're saying, but what are they thinking?


Doug Battle 39:51

Yeah, and I think that's always the question. You're never gonna get a big storyline coming off of what belcheck saying or what you know, they're portraying nationals in New England and we kind of have to read into their moves or I know when Max Jones was bench belcheck was still supporting them coming out saying great quarterback, you know, he's got a little injury issue. We got a guy we feel like it gives us a better chance right now. A lot of coach speak in New England.


Mike Lewis 40:20

Okay, now you we also we saw Mac John's might be moving to the hot seat. Wow, Doug Zack Wilson. I think the Jets picked Sam darnold At the third pick and ran him out of town after three years, Zach Wilson seems to be no longer in the New York Jets plans. After being the number two pick. You almost wonder what the real problem is in that organization, just dumb luck, or just a complete. And then maybe there's been almost complete turnover in terms of the general manager and the coaching staff. But if I'm the owner of that organization, I'm really worried about how that my organization works, that I'm running top three quarterback picks out of my town very, very quickly, you know that I'm not even getting to that third year to see this kind of steady improvement. It's just like not this is a, this is a disaster. And and now it's a disaster that's blown up. And it's time to move on. And I'll say this, the fact that they're talking about moving on to Derek Carr, who is a player that I statistically hate, it strikes me as a guy that is a like the definition of the slightly above average NFL quarterback that will lock you into just media mediocrity for a few years before it kind of starts to regress back to being below average.


Doug Battle 41:51

Yeah. And I think as an NFL fan, mediocrity is the last place you want to be in. I'd rather be in last place. Because when you're in last place, you get a shot at a Bryce young or CJ Stroud or you know, in years past, Trevor Lawrence, yeah, you have that hope. When you're right in the middle. I mean, it's the same in the NBA, it's like you're kind of at least from a quarterback standpoint, you're largely removed from having access to the elite prospects, you're probably not going to get a guy chasing championships and free agency, right, you're probably not going to get Aaron Rodgers or something like that. Tom Brady, if you were to come back again. And so you're you don't have access to those guys, but you win too many games to, you know, to get a high draft pick, but you don't win enough games to make the playoffs or to make you know, to position yourselves for a championship and so I as a fan, I'd rather I'd rather see my team win two games than when six or seven and the NFL. So that's, that's my take. But yeah, the Jets, Zach Wilson, of course, everyone fell in love with his meme ability in the offseason, wanting to see him.


Mike Lewis 42:59

I don't even remember what exactly was it? What is his mother? Oh, there was a story


Doug Battle 43:07

that I even have to say this, but he was accused by an axe of cheating on her with somebody's mom. So it became a cougar meme with Zach Wilson and his mom's friends and stuff. I think it was like his best friend's mom or something. I felt like I felt like Zach's mom got in and just like came out. And she was like she was she was on social media. And she was tweeting and posting stuff on her Instagram story and stuff like encouraging the discussion as far as insinuating that there was something there, playfully. And it became, I don't know, an internet sensation or a meme in a way and with Zach Wilson. You know, I think people wanted to see him become this legendary guy that had all this. All these stories off the field or no one knew if they were true or not. And, of course, his performance just has never been there. And the NFL. He's a guy I wasn't high on coming in. And still like you I'm sorry. I know. Like I the worst position in the NFL is to be drafting a quarterback every two years or something. Because you're not building your line and you're not built you know, when you finally get a guy they're not going to have any support around them. But with that said the Jets Can't they can't build around Zack Wilson, I think that's I don't think there's any rehabilitation program that's gonna get him right or any system he's gonna like, it's just it is what it is, at this point, the sunk cost.


Mike Lewis 44:42

No, look, I think that's fair. I just raised the question of why didn't it work with Sam darnold either. So is it this problem of evaluation or is this problem developing and nurturing right? I mean, I mean, in some ways, I darnold and Wilson were There are both interested in you almost wonder if there's sort of a little bit of a bias that the same bias kind of bid the Jets twice, right? I remember was that Donald making throws during that USC Pro Day that ESPN happened to be covering in the rain. And then the same type of scenario went down with Wilson have a look at this throw he's making as he turns his body or as he's rolling to the, to the left or the right. To the left, that it was, you know, they kind of got caught up in this little bit of magic, and maybe pick the guy a few positions before where they should have. drafting these quarterbacks is so I mean, you hear this all the time, right, that there's, there's not enough quality quarterbacks in the NFL. And so there's always going to be this tendency to, to reach for them. But, you know, so you know, maybe as an organization, you like the idea of Derek Carr to provide some stability, get yourself to, you know, an eight, an eight, kind of nine and eight kind of team. The other one that they're talking about in New York is, well, it's swinging for the fences, and it's the 50 plus log. So two questions, right. How much do you have to pay Derrick car? Right? How, what's the position of one of these guys? Because car was always interesting in that he got one of these big quarterback deals, not with a ton of guaranteed money, but with the 40 plus million dollar contract. Now that he's essentially washed out of Las Vegas. Does he get even more? Does he get $45 million again? Or does he take a step back? And now he's this? I don't know. $35 million, kind of above Mitch Trubisky. But below, but below Josh Allen kinda kind of contract. Or, and you know, I love this guy, Doug. Aaron Rodgers in New York, to put the Jets back in contention. No, no. Okay. Doug's shaking his head. No, no, I


Doug Battle 47:05

don't think Aaron Ross I think it I don't know. I remember when Brett Farve went to New York with the jets and it was that same you know, the veteran who could get them to finally have success and it didn't really happen. Think he was on the cover of Madden and then he got traitors, switch teams or something and then they had to reprint it with a different uniform photoshopped on but anyway, that's beside the point. I don't know i The more we talk about it, the more it's like maybe Derek Carr's, their best option and you look at the Jets. I think the most successful team they've had in the last like 15 years was probably with Mark Sanchez, a quarterback to give you an idea of their quarterback woes. So a guy like Derek Carr actually is an upgrade from anything they've had and in some time, maybe since Chad Pennington


Mike Lewis 47:48

Yeah, I heard on the radio. Oh, from Marshall. The heard I think, right. Yeah, the I think I heard on the on TV today that the last time the jets had a guy receive a vote for league MVP was Joe Namath. So if the plus years which says everything you need to know about, you know, the Jets quarterback? The Jets quarterbacks over the years. Okay, beyond the Jets. Okay. What do you think about Josh Allen? So has his narrative changed from being the next guy up to now being the guy that can't seem to get over the hump, that he's got all the talent in the world? And you know, the way the NFL works? It's hard to stay on top, you know, free agency, you're drafting in a lower position. Does Josh Allen's narrative change and this would be a heartbreaker, especially for the bill's fan base that everyone loves. That now. He's after mahomes burrow has passed him up. Herbert's coming. Is Josh Allen now fighting to be one of the sort of the elite quarterbacks in the AFC?


Doug Battle 49:04

I think that's the narrative. I think that's the narrative and a league of constant overreactions. So, the overreaction going into the season was that he was the quarterback. He was, you know, the bills were the class of the NFL, and they were going to win the Super Bowl this year. And now it's that you know, this point they haven't done it, they'll probably get stuck in that almost tear that like Carson Palmer was in in Cincinnati or someone like that, where you're just always almost there but can't get past Brady. And now it's it's mahomes and Joe burrow. So I think that's the overreaction. I think the bottom line is the bills have been competitive. They've been I mean, last year, they were pretty much a coin flip away because that that AFC Championship came down to the overtime rules were they didn't get tossed and they lost the game in a shootout where they didn't get the ball And overtime and so that's a team that's been competitive for Super Bowls. I think they're gonna continue being. And I think he's gonna continue being one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, but the pressure does accumulate, the longer it takes. It reminds me and I've said this before, it reminds me of LeBron James Early in his career where he kept getting really close. But every year that passed that he didn't win one, it was like Wait is he never is he always going to be like the almost guy that just can't get it done for whatever reason? Maybe because he's in the same league as some other great players, or maybe because he just doesn't have that it factor. And people start to attribute that to the quarterback when it's in the NFL. And so I think he's getting LeBron James treatment. But like LeBron, with LeBron, it was like you playing enough championships, it's just a matter of time, when you play on good teams and championships. And over time, you know, it kind of worked itself out for him. I think that's what's gonna happen with Josh Allen. But we also have to, we've gotten so critical of these quarterbacks, we judge everyone off of Tom Brady. It used to be that like winning a Super Bowl was a lifetime achievement. And that was something too, right. Yeah, winning too. Because, I mean, I remember when, Tom, I mean, when Peyton Manning won his first and it had been the longest time I mean, he was a veteran at that point. And it was celebrated. It wasn't Oh, he, you know, he finally did what he should have done all along. It was like he's reached the mountaintop. And now because of partially because the young guys like Patrick mahomes, having so much success, and start, you know, starting to build a dynasty early in their careers, but also really just going back to Brady, and the fact that he wants so many that anybody that's on that like talent level, there's that expectation of okay, they need to win six Super Bowls. And the problem is, there's a couple of those guys, right, Justin Herbert, Joe burrow, Josh Allen and Patrick mahomes. Can't all win six Super Bowls. And a few of those guys might not win any. And Josh Allen's is a guy that, you know, I think he's getting judged against mahomes and Brady, whereas maybe it's maybe he's Peyton Manning, and there's nothing wrong with being Peyton Manning. In fact, some people would argue that Peyton Manning was the best or, you know, the best of his era or whatever. It just is just a matter of circumstance. And so that's that's my objective view. But the overreaction and I think the perception right now is that the bills just can't get over the hump. They can't, you know, it's like how Georgia was for the longest time until they finally did.


Mike Lewis 52:24

Okay. And I think that's a good way to put it the overreaction. It's like overreaction Monday, right. And this is how the world of sports works. Right, especially with quarterbacks. We're calling out some of these narratives because you know, the reality and look, and I'll say this as a caveat to what I'm about to say, like the NFL is a machine that in general, churns teams, you know, you're in first place, you're playing a tougher schedule, you're drafting in a lower position, and you tend to fall down and teams at the bottom, you know, like the Jets were a remarkable improvement. I think they went from four games to seven games last year, right. But again, the Jets are gonna be drafted better than the bills, you might think on average, they're gonna have fewer free agency losses have to pay out less money. Okay, so that's, you know, the way the NFL works. But the reality is, even as we went through all this, and we sort of said, Yeah, Josh Allen, kind of the hot take is that he's, you know, he's he's may have dropped a little bit from being Superman, and now he's struggling to join the elite status. You know, to his great Mac Jones is struggling, Zack Wilson's, you know, out the door, the bills went 13 and three, right, so the bills were absolutely dominant, they were clearly separated from the rest of this division. And so we're saying the same and some negative things about Josh Allen, but you gotta bet the bills are back, even if they weren't wrestling that to winning that division?


Doug Battle 53:45

No, it's just gonna be a tough road where it's like, you know, you might if you're the bills, there's a chance in the playoffs, you're gonna have to play Cincinnati, and Kansas City. And yeah, and that's, that is before you even make the Superbowl, and then you play a team like Philadelphia, or a team like San Francisco like so. I mean, they probably have the hardest road. I would say that team in the Bengals have the hardest road of anyone. That's a Super Bowl contender because there's so many elite teams, they have to get through to win one. And it's just hard to do. And I think I still think it's a matter of time and buffalo, but Josh Allen's got to stay healthy. They got to keep pieces around him that you know, the playmakers that they've had, and in their system, I know that last year they lost, they lost their offensive coordinator, to the giants as a head coach, and it's tough to sustain the level of success that they've had. That said, I still expect them to.


Mike Lewis 54:38

Okay, but getting back to this issue of sort of these kind of unfortunate overreactions. The other teams in that division, you know, were saying great things about two they were nine and eight. Were saying really major questions about Matt Jones. They were eight and nine, right, literally one game separating the in terms of one, you know, games of inches in terms of you know, it easily could have been the Patriots at nine and eight and the dolphins at eight and nine and the jets with the disaster they had seven and 10. Yeah, right. So complete grouping and very different. Very different takes on these guys. Okay, Doug, we got about a minute here you know this is kind of a funny time of year in terms of in terms of sports. You know, the NBA now look This is now where the NBA kind of gets interesting. A lot of the pieces are in place in terms of you know, how are these trades going to work out? We can start to sort of smell Major League Baseball on the horizon. I saw there was a story that Aaron judge is the first Yankees Captain since Derek Jeter college basketball will start to heat up March Madness coming soon. March Madness coming soon and the NFL quarterbacks will be in a look Derek Carr Lamar Jackson on a franchise tag and Aaron Rodgers you know, we will always have kind of the you know, it's sort of the second guy you know, he's about to call this those sports the second tier sports but it's kind of the other sports time to shine and try and break through while the NFL kind of continually puts up the pressure so you got anything you looking at this week


Doug Battle 56:17

I'm excited to see some of these new look NBA teams that you know we're coming off the all star game so moving into the second half of the season a lot of trades, you know, you start to see how Kyrie and Luca mash start to see love it. That's my favorite thing to look at start to see the new look, Lakers. And I know some Lakers fans that feel like Westbrook is not on the team now. And they they've got a good core and LeBrons playing great and they're finally going to turn the corner and be a playoff team. And I'm just now seeing that Westbrook is going to sign with the clippers. So the clippers are gonna have Westbrook, Paul George and Kawhi. Leonard, something that isn't going to work. But it's a lot of stars on one team. But yeah, I'm excited for that. I think that's the big thing for me. And then in the world of fandom outside of sports. So I'm looking forward to some new new Star Wars content. And I'm also starting to the buzz is picking up back to the NBA for Victor when Bayana for this up, you know, this next year's NBA draft that guy is if you could take and guarantee you are getting the number one pick so many teams would be gunning for it right now. But man if he ends up playing for the Spurs under Popovich or something like that, that would be really exciting for the NBA. So I'm excited to see what happens with him. But that's that's a little bit out into the future. I would say the closest thing that I'm just stoked for is March Madness because it is like Christmas. It's like, I don't know, it's such a fun time that first week especially. And it's sneaking up on us like it is almost March, it is almost time for some madness.


Mike Lewis 57:53

And I'll just add two things. Ted last so season three, Oh, yeah. About a month out and drive to survive the Formula One documentary, which we should probably talk some about it at some point because that really is something that's changing. That's changing the way sports are covered in the way fandom is developed and developed. Season Five coming out in I think about a week from now. So a lot of kind of good sports. Adjacent content on the horizon.


Doug Battle 58:25

Hey, Ted, last year was my favorite my favorite soccer content, including soccer. So the one time you'll find me get really into soccer matches when it's AFC Richmond,


Mike Lewis 58:35

a and I'll say this, you know, Ted last Oh, season one. One of the greatest things I've ever seen Ted last offseason do absolutely terrible. I will be there to the end to help that they turn this back around.


Doug Battle 58:47

I didn't think it was terrible, but it wasn't as good as the first season. Okay, so.


Mike Lewis 58:51

Well, we'll be back talking to you guys next week. Thanks.



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