Professor Lewis opens this podcast with a discussion on College Football Playoff scenarios as well as the worst fandoms in college football today.
He then transitions to discussion on the NFL - most notably on Justin Fields, Trevor Lawerence, and the verdict on the 2021 quarterback class.
In the show's final segment, Professor Lewis questions the NBA's City Edition uniform design choices from a brand perspective.
Listen to the full podcast here:
Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, & Stitcher.
Mike Lewis 0:08
Welcome, everyone. Welcome to the next podcast. You know, we get a cap, we record on a new piece of software now something called Riverside fn. And it actually gives us a countdown so I don't know why froze like a deer in the headlights on that one. But this is the Fanalytics Podcast for, you know everything in sports analytics fandomanalytics and a little bit of popular culture. My name is Mike Lewis. We are brought to you by Emory University where my professor and as most weeks most weeks I'm joined by Mr. Doug Battle.
Doug Battle 0:40
Yes, I am here once again. Back my Georgia Bulldogs are undefeated college football playoff. Mike, I've been doing that thing that we talked about where you like on my phone in the notes section I have it's kind of a spreadsheet of college football playoff scenarios like what if TCU loses a game and USC wins out? What if Oregon beats USC what it you know, all the what ifs and it's that time of year where it's getting pretty interesting to figure out who's going to make it so I'm enjoying that. Of course we're in the swing of things with NFL and NBA as well. Good time to be a sports fan.
Mike Lewis 1:16
Okay, let's start with the little fandom in popular culture, popular culture. You know, it's it's kind of the elephant in the room like I'm the latest Heisman house right,
Doug Battle 1:25
the right Baker Mayfield
Mike Lewis 1:28
you know, but it's one of these things where I think we're gonna we're gonna keep our powder dry for a little bit. You know, Dave Chappelle went on Saturday Night Live addressed the Kanye and Kyrie situation. What I'm finding fascinating about all of this story is that it seems to be spiraling in some ways, right? We now have cryptocurrency exchanges, getting involved in this where there's something called coin base, which had a run in with one of their podcast hosts. But I'm saying, Doug, at this point, we're in yet another one of these political cultural moments. And I 100% want to stay out of it. Do you agree?
Doug Battle 2:07
Yeah. This is the part of the podcast where I say something, and Mike makes me take it out later. So I'll defer to you. I'm assuming you're referring to Twitter with all this.
Mike Lewis 2:17
Yeah. But again, this stuff, just, you know, like we do sports and popular culture. Politics will not stay out of sports. And that's just the that's just where we're at. But again, let's move on to happier topics, you know, and again, it's gonna be interesting to see how the all this plays out, right? It is sort of the big story out there. But it's one that, at least for me, it feels like I don't ever have enough information to really sort of talk about and I just want to talk about sort of the broad edges of the story. Right, still developing. Okay, Doug, now we spent this, we spent this football season talking a lot about fans of the week, or sort of fandom, that, you know, the cat that touches us is something kind of special and interesting. Most of the time, that means we talk about what the Tennessee fans are doing.
Doug Battle 3:08
Right? And right now, they're, they're still making a case for the college football playoff right now.
Mike Lewis 3:14
And that's gonna be glorious. But this week, I have a negative thing. In fact, I got two negative things in terms of fandom. Doug, I gotta ask you as someone that has traveled to you, have you been to all the SEC conference stadiums?
Doug Battle 3:30
Man, probably most of them. I don't know that. I've been to all I'm trying to think I guess the newer teams like a&m, I haven't been to Missouri. I actually haven't been to Kentucky. So there's a handful that I haven't been to.
Mike Lewis 3:43
Okay, so the traditions that every stadium has every fan base has, you know, if there's a theme for this week, it's going to be thinking about building brand equity or maintaining brand equity, Tennessee, you know, they got the overalls they got, you know, they got Rocky Top. They build that brand, right. It's something that they all share. Okay, Mississippi State, ringing cow bells nonstop for an entire game. I guess that's their effort to create something special and something distinctive, right? We are the school with the kettlebells. And our reason for existing is we want to create upsets later in the year. It's never going to be us. But we want to beat Alabama or Georgia near the end of the season and throw things to disarray. As they're pounding on those cowbells, I kept thinking, why not just give them all air horns. I mean, when you start to move to mechanical devices, that's just strikes me as I don't think I'd want to be in this stadium as someone that's been in this stadium. Right, terrible. And here's the second question. Do they eventually quit if they're losing by 30 or 40? Points?
Doug Battle 4:53
No, because ringing a cow bell. It's kind of a passive activity. I know. That's a Yes, that contradicts itself. But I mean, it's you're barely moving here. It's like people kind of do it as they as they doze off to sleep. They ring that cowbell. And there's there's just a noise frequent the audio engineer and me hears that there's a noise frequency that if I you know if our editing is podcast and if it were in your voice mic, I would go and I would notch it out, I would say Alright, we're gonna remove that. And the cowbell. It just emphasizes that very frequency. So you get a whole stadium full of granted. It's like a high school stadium. It's not very big, but full of that. And it I don't know how their season ticket holders to do it. I mean, they all probably have permanent hearing loss, not because of how loud it is, but because of like how, like it's just like the most annoying frequency possible constantly. I can't imagine that they're going to games there every week would be fun, particularly because I think I've been to three games there. And all of which have resulted in a loss for the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
Mike Lewis 5:56
Dogs versus dogs, though. I assume all three of those games. No, I
Doug Battle 5:59
actually believe it or not. I went to Georgia Tech game with a buddy whose dad played at Georgia Tech and we went down and Georgia Tech whipped up on him they had I think Jonathan Dwyer who went to play for your Steelers, and Nesbitt was the quarterback they had a pretty good football team back then. So kind of the the remaining, I guess the last remaining the last good Georgia Tech football team I can remember so. But again, Mississippi State's they're one of those teams that probably shouldn't be in the SEC like they've never been. I've never been relevant with the exception of Dak Prescott and Dan Moe and
Mike Lewis 6:37
let's go let's go all in. I was just gonna state worst fan base in the SEC. Probably ever step farther and kick them out of the SEC.
Doug Battle 6:47
I think you know, there's relegation I think that they would be in Vanderbilt, Mississippi State would be playing for relegation, you know whether or not they stay at SEC on a on a semi annual basis. And, you know, if if you go on the message boards for Mississippi State this week, there's a lot of complaints because, much like Vanderbilt, they gave up probably half their stadium to the opposing team this weekend. I you know, I don't blame their season ticket holders, they're probably just talking to the kettlebells they needed a break and they sold their take, they got their $50 and watch from home, watch their team lose from home instead. So I think that's a win for them. They save themselves, you know, probably some medical costs with the IRS stuff.
Mike Lewis 7:29
Yeah, like it. But you know, it's so clearly an effort to create something to create a tradition, you know, like jumping through tables or dressing up like dogs or you know what, wearing the overalls. They just chose a really annoying one. Okay.
Doug Battle 7:46
It couldn't, it couldn't be worse. And if you go on their campus, you feel like you're on a cow pasture too. So it kind of it feels right, almost like it's kind of endearing in a way. But I don't know. I don't know how they do it. I certainly couldn't do it. I certainly and like you said, why not? air horns? Why don't you know, I remember. I remember in high school people had those big. There was whalers? No, no, oh, I do remember the thunder sticks. But I mean, there are better noisemakers than cowbells. That's that's pretty, pretty annoying. So I think Georgia, I think the players are glad to be out of there. And the coaching staff and the fan base, everyone that went, I know, apparently was really cold too. So again, I don't play in the Mississippi State season ticket holders that sold their tickets. I actually blame the people who went to the game. Because I am I talked to my father about this because my parents were like, Oh, the tickets are cheap, we might go and I was like, my dad was convincing my mom not to go because he went before and he was miserable because the sound and it but the thing I love about as a Texas, I mean, not Texas, Mississippi State fans, they take a lot of pride in it. They love how much it annoys other people. It's like they're immune to it somehow. Even though scientifically I don't think that's true.
Mike Lewis 9:06
No, I think that's it are their brand is to annoy Alabama LSU Georgia, etc, etc.
Doug Battle 9:15
Yeah, and they might beat on one every 10 times but if they can annoy them every time that's kind of a win.
Mike Lewis 9:22
Okay, Doug so Mississippi State our worst fans of the week?
Doug Battle 9:30
Yeah, they're it's not like they're jerks or something. No, don't just just go just their traditions terrible. Let's just their tradition and their campus and their football are all really in this their education while we're at it.
Mike Lewis 9:46
It had been on record talking about the greatness of you know, pay, you know, cream and orange overalls. So our standards are not tremendously high. Right. Okay. So calmly
Doug Battle 9:58
fire that though. We Yeah, it's fun. anyhow, we we kind of worship the LSU and the the Tennessee fans. Now we're hating on. They're not I don't know there's something about them. It's not lame, like Mississippi State feels lame to me they they're just crazy and I love that.
Mike Lewis 10:13
Yeah. Okay. So college football is continuing to progress. Several tenant Oh teams at this point. The I saw one of the talking heads on ESPN make the exact same conjecture that I made of, we're headed towards an argument of three SEC teams being in the college football playoffs because LSU beat Georgia and a new making, making a guess here. Actually, it's not my prediction at all. But if LSU beats Georgia LSU beat Georgia and Alabama, Tennessee destroyed LSU Georgia has been the best team all year. How can you leave any of them out? I'll tell you why. I mean, I'm looking forward to the chaos I want. That's fun chaos. But that's almost standard SEC chaos. The chaos I want is the argument that we should have two big 10 teams squaring off against two SEC teams. And the rest of you. You know, it's not even it's a power to situation. And you other three, sort of power conferences. You're just watching.
Doug Battle 11:22
Yeah, and I worked out that scenario yesterday where there's let's see TCU loses a game. USC loses a game. So you got Georgia and actually so I had Georgia winning against LSU Tennessee jumping from five to four and then loser with TCU losing a game and then Michigan Ohio State One of them's gonna lose to the other one. So TC Tennessee's up at number three Ohio State Michigan winners number two and the loser that game at number four with perhaps, you know, competing for that spot with a one loss TCU or one one to two loss ACC champion. You know, I I could see that happening. And at that point, you're in a scenario where there's two potential outcomes that result in a rematch national championship, you could because you have Ohio State playing Tennessee and the first round Georgia play Michigan or vice versa, you know, Georgia playing Ohio State. So you could have Ohio State Michigan College Football Playoff National Championship, or we could have let's see, Ohio State vs Michigan or Georgia versus Tennessee for the natty I think either scenario, it's very entertaining. And the big 10 versus SEC rivalry would really strengthen from that. For that, I think that'd be a lot of friends reach out, right. I mean, as a Georgia fan, I've been pulling I was really disappointed see UCLA lose. I've been pulling for like the easiest Cakewalk of you know, to national championship in the playoffs. So we're still hoping I think right now like TCU are you I feel pretty good about USC as well. But I you know, I to be honest, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Tennessee, that might be the top four teams in the country.
Mike Lewis 13:10
It may well be Yeah. I think I think you know, you know, I was gonna say something positive about Georgia. It's not that I'm a homer and not that I'm trying to like, be nice to you as a Georgia fan. I think Georgia is in the playoff assuming that they beat Kentucky and Georgia Tech. I don't think it matters what they do in the SEC championship game. So I think they
Doug Battle 13:29
should I still I might have said this last week. I think they should forfeit the SEC championship just despite Tennessee because it would pretty I think it would lock Tennessee out. I think there's a lot of scenarios where it locks Tennessee out and that's a divisional rival you recruit against them. You don't want them in the playoff. Oh, statistically you don't want to rematch rematches have trended Well, for the losing team.
Mike Lewis 13:52
You know, Kirby wouldn't do this but like a mike leach or Steve Spurrier might, you can almost imagine it. Yeah, we're gonna forfeit the SEC championship game. Because we don't want to take the chance of having to play Tennessee on a neutral field.
Doug Battle 14:07
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I mean, that probably not the best look. But if you're wanting to increase your odds, I'd rather play LSU in the playoff, I'd rather just say alright, let's just play them in the playoff and locked in to see how that Tennessee is probably a better football team. So it won't happen, but I would love it.
Mike Lewis 14:28
I don't know that. Georgia has any fear of Tennessee after that game.
Doug Battle 14:34
I think that I think the smart fans do. Always back and forth. Or maybe back I don't know you're out of focus my area. If you're watching the video podcast, I have no idea what's going on in that side of things. But I think that the smart fans are just because having watched Georgia in recent years, get smacked by Auburn on the road in 2017 and then turn around Three weeks later beat them in the SEC championship last year gets smacked by Alabama on a neutral site, and a couple of weeks later beating them for a national championship. And so feeling like, oh, gosh, are we the team that that smacks the other team the first time and now they play the game of their lives in the second game. I know Tennessee fans, they are hungry, they are convinced that there's still a better team. They are all man that is a cocky group. And you kind of appreciate it, but you kind of you know, like I said, going into that first GA game, I was like, I don't know how this ends. Well. For this group, they don't seem to have experienced enough football to understand. You know how karma works. But now I think that Georgia fans are doing a lot of talking and I personally am like, I'd prefer not to play Tennessee. Like I don't like rematch is when if my team loses I love a rematch if they lose the first game. If we won the first one. It's like there's nothing to gain in that second game. You just hope you play as well as you did the first time.
Mike Lewis 15:56
100% Correct. 100% reasonable. I just like little more bomb throwing in my you know, college football rivalries. You know, I like Yeah, more.
Doug Battle 16:07
Man that rivalry though if it if there's a rematch, that rivalry is going to Georgia might go from Florida being their primary rival to Tennessee, like just like that. And one season, because Tennessee is the threat right now. They have the most outspoken fan base I've ever seen. They've got great pageantry. The media is in love with them, that that irks opposing fan bases. And, you know, like, if they were to get revenge, it would cause the hate for Tennessee to go up. If Georgia were to beat them. The trolling would would, you know, multiply. And so I think that rivalry certainly. And of course, on the other side of Michigan, Ohio State were to play each other for a national championship. I think that would break football. I don't know if the world can handle a Michigan Ohio State, perhaps the biggest rivalry in football, arguably, I think for national championship. Yeah, that that would be something.
Mike Lewis 17:06
Yeah, and the beauty of this time of year where the narratives just, they just start to form, right. I mean, they're, you know, Georgia, trying to repeat Tennessee, the biggest story in college football this year TCU playing with a chip on their shoulder because they've been given no respect. Throughout the entire year, Ohio State and Michigan finally the big 10 maybe gets two teams into the, into the championships. It's, you know, it's like I said, you know, football in America. It is just so built for drama, in story lines in building, even when you're going through some of these kind of I think in your scenario, you had Georgia playing Michigan in the first round. Oh, god, that's there's a redemption match. Right? That's either for horrible SEC. Beat Down are Jim Harbaugh takes it to the next level. I mean, it's, there's,
Doug Battle 18:05
there's it seems like yeah, and even looking at, I think, you know, Dark Horse right now, no one's been talking about everyone. We got all excited about Oregon, USC. In my eyes, they control their own destiny. I think they jumped in to see if they win the Pac 12. If you look at their remaining schedule, and they've got ranked opponents just about the rest of the way. That's that's another huge story. Lincoln Riley and his first year coming to usc, the National Championships in Los Angeles, by the way, of course. For some reason, though, right? By the way, I don't know Mississippi State their fans might. They might have been the second biggest loser this week. Because I do I do need to point out USC, they cannot fill up that stadium. Their top 10 football team, they'll have another game against a ranked opponent and the stadiums a quarter the way foot looks like a high school state championship game. That's a pretty poor showing for what's supposed to be one of the prominent fan bases. One of the prominent programs and college football particularly, they're having the same year. Tennessee's having in the sense of they've been a sleeping giant, they've woken up in Tennessee, they're dancing and they're throwing goalposts in the river. And at USC, you wouldn't even know there's a football game going on.
Mike Lewis 19:21
Can you even imagine someone putting together USA USC themed southern count, sorry, University of Southern California themed Trojan overalls right now.
Doug Battle 19:38
It's their operating thing.
Mike Lewis 19:40
They're operating at a different level, though, right? I mean, it's it's not the same. It's just not the same. In some ways. It's not even the same sport. It's not the it's not the same fan experience when you go to different regions of the of the country. I didn't know about the so the attendance in the Coliseum is so And then whilst it's horrible
Doug Battle 20:01
every time I watch or turn it on or see, I see screenshots on Twitter, it's atrocious. And every time I'll talk to a friend that's in LA and they'll say, Well, there's a lot going on that day in LA, you know, there was a big concert that day. And I think a lot of the students were more into that or more like there's, we're still a football town. But we've got other things. And I think that's the difference. Even Mississippi State like we talked about them. And that's what I'm saying maybe they're not. Maybe they're not the biggest loser of this last week, is that, you know, that's the only thing going on in Starkville football, and that's what the whole community comes around, which we talk about so much. And you see that in those southern, particularly in the southern but also kind of the Midwest, football culture, places like Southern California, you know, it's not something that everybody is rallying around that everybody is keeping up with and talking about at the watercooler or virtual virtual room.
Mike Lewis 20:58
I think that's an important part of this story. Right? It's under appreciated that in different regions, and looked us sees tradition makes them a top five top 10 program. Right and without question, yeah. You know, Heisman Trophy winners national championships being the dominant program in the in the Pac 10. I
Doug Battle 21:16
remember growing up, I thought of USC, the way people think of Alabama now, they were the standard. I mean, they were the standard for controversy,
Mike Lewis 21:24
because that was the Pete Carroll years, right? Where they just rolled in all the five stars every year, and beat the hell out of people.
Doug Battle 21:32
That that was USC football. And there was a time when I thought this is just growing up, you know, this is the way the world works. USC is number one every year, it's always going to be that way. And they probably have this awesome culture, awesome atmosphere. And come to find out, you know, maybe that died somewhere along the way.
Mike Lewis 21:54
No, I think I think there's certain programs, USC is like that the Miami Hurricanes are like that as well. When those programs are rolling, then suddenly there's, you know, going back to the 90s, they're so sad and started track jackets everywhere with those with those teams. But when they start to fall off a cliff, then those arenas and stadiums that they just empty out. And I think
Doug Battle 22:16
it's remarkable to me because like if Miami right now, if they were number seven, whatever, whatever USC is, if they were number seven, and they had a Heisman candidate, playing quarterback, I think that those fans would be rabid. And so for USC, to wake up like they have, and it's like, they might their quarterback might win the Heisman, you know, their coach might win Coach of the Year their team could win a national championship, there's two weeks last in the season, and they can't fill up a stadium against a ranked opponent. It's that's weird to me.
Mike Lewis 22:50
Well, and you know, there's something fundamental here, right? Where in Southern California, despite your friend saying it's a football town, in a way, it's, it's a town where football is one of the entertainment options. But in Athens, Georgia, or Knoxville, Tennessee, starting when the team plays, you know, there's 100,000 people in that community that feel like they're on the field. Right. And I don't I just don't think that happens in Southern California for whatever reason.
Doug Battle 23:22
Yeah, I don't think so either. And, like you said, there's there's a lot of options, but sports, I mean, I think that's kind of the stereotype with Dodgers fans, with, you know, they show up to the game late, you have to show up in the fourth inning and the World Series. In they're spoiled. Their team wins all the time. And they think they're baseball fans, they don't have that same dedication that maybe the Braves fans have, or you know, whatever, teams in other regions, so it is different. I think sports fandom by region, it would be an interesting thing to kind of do a study on because it's the behavior of the consumer behavior across regions that I've been in. It's just strikingly different. It's like, it's like being in a different country, depending on where you are. It's like, oh, this is, you know, like, Oh, we're in Spain, you know, football culture here is crazy. But then you go to America and go to MLS game, maybe it's cool at like Atlanta United game, but maybe not the same level of passion across the community, you know,
Mike Lewis 24:21
the word I would use, and this is based on some research is traditionalism, the importance of traditionalism in different regions and a lot goes into traditionalism, right in terms of, you know, how many people who are in the community grew up in the community, right, that, you know, is there, are there community traditions, that people have traditional values, are they engaged with established organizations? And I look, I suspect that if you talk about Southern California, you got a lot of people that have moved to that region. A lot of people that grew up there have moved out, right. A lot of people are more geared towards You know, it probably correlates pretty highly with even voting patterns in terms of progressive versus conservative. That it in when you're like there's you're going to operate in those kinds of regions. But when you're operating in those kinds of regions, it is going to be something fundamentally different being a, let's say, a St. Louis Cardinals fan base we don't talk a lot about but it's phenomenal. A St. Louis Cardinals fan base, is probably always going to have more passion than a California Angels fan base, right, or a Miami Marlins fan base. And it's because you know, they grew up there, the Cardinals have been there forever. It's tradition. You can't state this enough, but it almost sounds hack to say it. Tradition is so important in sports, I was thinking about something the other day that, you know, I wrote an op ed a long time ago saying that I was I didn't think team name changes mattered a whole lot. Because I was looking at college data. And when colleges changed their team names, it doesn't matter a lot in terms of revenue. But I think at the professional level, and when we talk some about this when we're talking about the NFL preview, or the whenever we do the brand equity studies, when teams move, or when teams change their name. It's like I'm flip flopping a little bit. I don't know that they ever recover from that stuff, you know, that they fundamentally changed the trajectory of their brands. And you never get, you know, you create a new team and you move that team, you are never going to become the New York Yankees. Right? And even like going joke about the Dodgers? Well, they were the Brooklyn Dodgers, right? Yeah. And so yeah, they've got an enormous fan base, they do very well on all the marketing metrics. But when you tell me that the fans show up in the fourth inning, you know, that strikes me is Yeah, that's probably how it goes out there.
Doug Battle 26:57
Yeah, they show up in the fourth leaving the eighth, right, you know, right after the seven things. Just got the full experience and time to go home and watch tick tock. Yeah, I getting back to USC, USC feels like a fan base, it feels like the team was relocated. You know, it seems like it feels like the Chargers or something like it feels like they had this history, it feels like the Brooklyn Dodgers moving to LA and it's like, it's gonna take a while for them to build fans. But you're like, Wait a second. Trojans have always been in Southern California, they've always played at the Coliseum.
Mike Lewis 27:32
And it's not going to get any better in two years when they're making a road trip to Champaign Urbana, in October, right. I mean, it's gonna get weird for them.
Doug Battle 27:43
It's, it is odd, I think something fundamentally changed about not with sports consumption. I mean, of course, that too. But with like entertainment, fandom and consumption from when USC was good to now, to where like, their core fan base is, it's maybe, you know, has drifted over those years. And it might take some time to rebuild what they once had, unlike Tennessee, which their fan base has been right there, waiting eagerly for a year like this.
Mike Lewis 28:15
Yeah, and look, I'm not gonna go into any depth on this. But demographic stability is probably part of the story in these markets as well. Right? I'm guessing the demographic profile of the Knoxville region has not changed much over the last few decades. But you know, LA has had a real fundamental shift in terms of, let's say, the number of Hispanics living there, and they're bringing look, fandom is about experiences, they're bringing different backgrounds and different experiences. I'll just put this out as pure conjecture. If the Mexican national soccer team played the US national soccer team in a friendly in the Coliseum, they might sell every possible ticket. Right. You know, it's just the reality of, you know, the the sort of the customer base in an area is gonna have an impact on what ends up showing up.
Doug Battle 29:10
Yeah, I think so too. I also think there's something Oh, college football. There's something different about the schools that have like a real true campus that have a true campus experience and tailgating experience, to where I feel like the loyalty of those fan bases tends to outdo that of the city schools. And I think that's another thing that probably isn't helping. USC. Just another thought, in regards to their situation,
Mike Lewis 29:38
Doug, here's your unfortunate hot take coming up. College football is either the first or the second most wholesome sport. In terms of a family atmosphere. It's first or second tied with Major League Baseball. And I think that goes coincides completely with your point about that big cap, campus atmosphere being Well as to where all the alumni live, they're showing up for the tailgates with their kids. You know, they're wearing sweaters, everything's sort of nice about it.
Doug Battle 30:09
I think it's I think baseball is far and away the the more family oriented, so I don't know, I certainly if I had a younger one, I wouldn't want them anywhere near some of the college football fans. I've been in close proximity to over the years following Georgia. So whether that's Georgia fans or opposing fans,
Mike Lewis 30:28
I don't think that's true. I'm gonna call you out on that. I think you're gonna rate you are in the spike squat. You're gonna have your four year olds at an LSU Georgia night game at some point, Doug, you know, trying to
Doug Battle 30:38
I'm trying to be objective and think like, if I were a normal person, that's what I would do. I don't know that it's like welcoming to the children. You hear a lot more profanity at a college football game than you will at a major league baseball game. But I think the most family oriented sport is minor league baseball, they do a great job of really, the savannah bananas being exempt exemplary when it comes to creating an environment that's welcoming to children and adults alike.
Mike Lewis 31:06
Yeah, and that's probably a topic for another day because that's, that's almost like a special edition of like, when you move completely out of the realm of competitive sports, to kind of family oriented. You know, it's I'm gonna say there's a continuum from and I don't know who's the most what's the most competitive most cutthroat sport, you know, maybe it is SEC football on one side, all the way to the Harlem Globetrotters on the other side. But you know, we'll have to figure out how to put that one together. Okay, Doug, got the clock. Let's move over to the NFL. Yeah. Okay, so Doug, am I supposed to Should I apologize at this point? Because Justin fields is the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL. He's had more six year. Okay, I think you see where I'm going with this. I was Justin fields is again, I think, a really unique player, a unique figure. And then I've never seen anyone get so much positive media attention. And so fields has had a very solid month. I mean, the bears are also I think three and seven. So you know, and up and up everything that he is now being hailed as the future. I think Rex Ryan on ESPN this morning said, Justin Fields was the future. So a couple of good games. And we're back in business in terms of the Justin fields hype machine. I think it's utterly fascinating how much the media loves this guy. And look, I saw some of the runs. He does seem like he's a problem for NFL defenses, all of a sudden as the bears shift to making him almost a maybe not a run first quarterback. But you know, past one, one a rush kind of quarterback. Yeah, kind
Doug Battle 33:03
of a Cam Newton formula. I find it fascinating with the media's darlings like IV, Tennessee as one. And this last week. It's as if the Georgia game never happened with Justin fields. It's like he plays one good game. And it's as if the whole rest of his career never happened prior. And people love to get all excited. And hey, if I'm a Bears fan, I am excited. I have always been high on Justin fields as a prospect. Obviously, his measurables are through the roof. And it's just a matter of putting the pieces together. And so there's a lot to be excited about when it looks like he's starting to put the pieces together. I just find it funny when people are jumping to conclusions of he was the future like he's the president he is. He's the guy right now, in a league where Josh Allen and Patrick mahomes are playing football. I think he might be the future. Still, I think there's a chance I also think he still might be somewhat of a bust in the sense of it's like if Ben Simmons goes out and scores 30 The night. I don't know that people are going to declare him the next LeBron James like you got to have consistency. And that's what we haven't seen from Justin fields yet. He's still young. We haven't seen it from Trevor Lawrence yet. We haven't seen it from Zach Wilson. We've seen it from Mack Jones like anyone in that draft class. They're still at an age where they have their ups and downs. So there is reason to be excited. I would just say if I were a Bears fan, I would consider myself cautiously optimistic rather than all in on Justin field. So we'll see how it pans out. But, Mike, I still think it's possible that your projections of him end up being accurate.
Mike Lewis 34:38
Let's come back to you mentioned the year two quarterback class. Yeah. So if you look at and again, we can look at different different metrics on these guys. If you look at the quarterback, the classic NFL passer rating, Trevor Lawrence, my notes kind of disappeared on me sir second, so we're going by memory is ranked right in about the middle of the league. I think just above half Thirteen's. I've got Justin fields at 25th. And but Matt Jones and Matt Jones and our favorite players, Zach Wilson, our favorite player from our absolutely having horrendous statistical years. The only people that Mack Jones and Zach Wilson are outperforming is last year's top selected quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who is you know, his his touchdown interception ratio is almost unheard of at this point. It's almost a question of is Mr. Bez Trubisky. Going to get back into that Steeler starting lineup. I'll give you some other numbers on Justin fields statistically 13th In terms of touchdown passes, not bad.
Doug Battle 35:56
Seven high in terms of rushing yards and touchdowns.
Mike Lewis 35:59
Well, I'll get 25th in terms of yards thrown. Okay. So statistically and again, you say, well, he's on the upswing, statistically, it's it's still a relatively ugly year seventh in terms of interceptions. Number one in terms of sacks taken.
Doug Battle 36:21
So worse in terms of interceptions savate. Yes. Okay.
Mike Lewis 36:26
Now, let me find the like I said, I apologize for this because I, I had an I lost it. He is in terms of rushing yards. Do you know where he's at?
Doug Battle 36:40
For the NFL or for quarterbacks? Probably he talked to him.
Mike Lewis 36:46
He's six. Yeah.
Doug Battle 36:49
It's it's a crazy errand because there's so many committee approaches at running back. I mean, I think at one point, Lamar Jackson might have been number one early in the season for a couple of weeks into the season. So it's a quarterback can do a lot of damage. I've always said with fields like, hey, if he doesn't, worst case scenario, you've gotten all Pro running. If he doesn't pan out, just put them in the Wildcat, LeBron, because he's terrific. He's got he's got wheels. He's strong. He's I mean, he's a full package as a runner, is a
Mike Lewis 37:17
little bit of a fan. How much do you have to see out of a running quarterback to be convinced, though, right, because Lamar Jackson is to me. Again, he's something I struggle with, in terms of interpreting the numbers, right? Because he's a, he says a different kind of, he's a different kind of thing. Like the longevity of him as a as a running back a lot of times he's running backs, you know, they blow up in a couple of years. I mean, one way to look at what's happening with fields, is has the NFL, is the bears coaching staff, three weeks ahead of the NFL defenses, right? Will adjustments being made? Or have they actually figured out how to leverage his talent? I'm not going to claim any particular insight. I have no idea. But how much do you have to see out of a running quarterback? To think that this is actually something real?
Doug Battle 38:05
I think the argument would feel has always been that he's not a running quarterback. That's just a bonus. Because he's, I've gone back to his high school days, I remember the elite 11 camp where the suppose supposedly 11 best quarterbacks in the country go and duke it out. And to for the longest time was kind of heralded as the best one to ever do it there. And Justin fields again, this is just quarterback play seven on seven, no running, outperform Trevor Lawrence outperformed every quarterback that had ever been to the camp and everyone that was there said he's going to be the greatest passing quarterback of all time, the fact that he can run the football like a running back, just makes him you know, arguably the best prospect of all time, best quarterback prospect of all time. So you know, I think that's the argument with him. But with running quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson. I think the verdicts still out, you know, I like Lamar, I think for a lot of people, the verdict is out. I think it's not as much about like, with a guy like him, I think he's proven he can make all the throws, and he can win football games, but it's like playoff success. And that's where it's like, with fields, even if he gets to the point where he's taking the bears to the playoffs. And, you know, if he loses a couple wildcard rounds in a row, there will be that perception that he's a running quarterback. He can't win, you know, in the come playoff time. That's when they are true elite passers, separate themselves. And we won't see that for at least another year. But likely more than that with the trajectory the bears are on.
Mike Lewis 39:35
Yeah, it's a tough one. I mean, it's amazing how much excitement though I think he's generated in Chicago over the last couple of weeks, you know, because he has said NFL records. I think I saw that. He's had more 60 yard runs than Walter Payton had, which again, seems astonishing, you know, maybe maybe they're wrong, and that's within a season, right? Like I love potentially being wrong. I You know, he still remains my favorite player in terms of watching. And I don't know if I'm arguing about him, but he's my favorite player in terms of watching both in terms of the statistical, the analytics, but also in terms of the media hype, and the Justin fields brand. I just cannot maybe I'm alone dog, but I can't take my eyes off of it. You mentioned another player and all this, though. And this is one that I didn't see this coming based on the data, too, as a heck of a player, too. You know, I thought I think government coming into the season, there were some question as to where the dolphins were going to go to is going to get his 100 and $60 million without question. And even more remarkable, I didn't think we were going to see him play after that hit in the way that Hans fathom. Look.
Doug Battle 40:50
I after that, I questioned whether he should play football. Yeah. Not not because it's not a great player, but just for his own safety and health. And my arguments against to have always been in regards to his injury history at Alabama. He was fragile. And when he was on the field, he was elite. And when he was, you know, when he wasn't on the field was most of the time because he was always hurt. It was always an ankle, knee, shoulder or something going on a wrist. And so to I my projection for him in the NFL was much like RG three, where it's like he's gonna tear it up, he's gonna light it up, as long as he's healthy, but I didn't expect him to be healthy for a long, we're seeing this year, kind of a first year of him. sustaining health. And I think a lot of people had that thought about like Steph Curry and the NBA. And he surprised a lot of people and ended up you know, early years, he was banged up a lot. Once he got healthy, he stayed healthy and has remained healthy for a very long time. He's had a great run. I guess that's probably what two is. That's the kind of career to wants in the NFL, and that dolphins fans are hoping for. But to me, he's just another example. I think that third year, for a lot of these high draft picks at quarterback, that's when you find out you know, that's when you fish or cut bait with these guys because and I think we're gonna see next year with Justin fields, Trevor Lawrence Mack Jones, that crew, like who emerges. Zach Wilson who, you know, doesn't make it and ends up being a career backup. The SAM Donald's if you will. So I think that third year, I think that's when Josh Allen turn the corner seems like it's when to was turning the corner. I expect Trevor Lawrence. I've seen glimpses of it from both Trevor Lawrence and Justin fields. I think next year, we'll have a much better idea what kind of quarterbacks they're going to be.
Mike Lewis 42:36
Well, Lawrence is progressing. Yeah, he's progressing really nicely in terms of those, what the metrics look like. So I assume
Doug Battle 42:45
that no one was excited about him going into last year, people were excited, but during the season after the season is like all the hype for him died, Jacksonville a fact right. It died. But he's, you know, new coach and new system and a quarterback who we know has a good work ethic. And you know, over time, he may end up being the best out of that class. After all,
Mike Lewis 43:09
I think, you know, look, I mean, based on the limited data and again, sort of some analytics in the background. And again, I You nailed it, because looking at the stats, as much time as I spend looking at it, it really is three years, you need three years of data to see where these, they need three years of experience in the NFL, to mature and see what they're actually going to do. Which is kind of crazy given the length of rookie contracts. Right, that it's like, you know, you just you just have them long enough to make that final decision. Yeah, looking at the data. Yeah, I think I think Lawrence is on the right trajectory that he's going to be a top 10 kind of quarterback. The only question is, is he going to be a borderline top 10 kind of guy that a team has to overpay to keep? Or is he going to be a top five guy that's potentially going to win you Super Bowls. I'm a hall a mahomes or an Allen a Tom Brady type.
Doug Battle 44:07
I think on the flip side to like we've seen quarterbacks
Mike Lewis 44:10
interrupt you I hate that I threw in Tom Brady and all there. I'm just sort of looking at the year to year stats. I don't ever want to make a Tom Brady comparison to any to any second so
Doug Battle 44:19
just want to say Tom Brady should never run around as a wide receiver ever again in his life. I don't know if you saw that Mike. But he made light of it on Twitter saying that he would have lost the guy you know, if it were under if he had slipped up. But Tom Brady the only few times he's gone out for a pass in my life have been epic disasters. I was good.
Mike Lewis 44:40
I ended up talking about Tom Brady and some media interviews this week. You don't know what
Doug Battle 44:46
about his wife?
Mike Lewis 44:49
No, no, apparently he was really big in that cryptocurrency exchange. Yeah. FTX that blew up and so the questions were does does This affects the brands, the sports brands that they were associated with. And you know, my answer was, you know what? There's almost nothing that's going to affect the Tom Brady brand at this point. Right? He may lose millions upon millions of dollars. But you know, and the brand front, this is just kind of a, that's just kind of a blip.
Doug Battle 45:25
Yeah, I think Tom's gonna be alright, and be more more concerned about the little guy, or maybe a real, you know, real hardcore Tom Brady fan with the number 12. Jersey and the fat head and the room that decided to put their life savings in a crypto exchange based on his endorsement. That's, I'm sure it gets a little dangerous. But getting back to the three year discussion, I think on the flip side, I think we've seen quarterbacks who looked like they were going to be special early, and over three years come to find out once teams adjust Once teams see their tendencies and defenses, kind of get a feel for them, that they're not a long term solution. I think an example of that, Matt Castle, when he started playing for the Patriots and Kansas City, calling him Kaepernick, he led the league of people treated early in his career, he was kind of thought of the way that Patrick mahomes was maybe his rookie year was like this kid is he's gonna be something he had all the tools. He was lightened it up. He was taking his team deep into the playoffs, playing on a very good football team. So RG three, a guy obviously just had injuries. There's been a number of quarterbacks that by year three start to learn in it, that might be the case for Mack Jones, who knows, but last year seemed like he was going to be the guy out of that class. Now, people aren't so certain. Who knows. But by year three, he might be out of the discussion. You know, he might be a career backup from that point on.
Mike Lewis 46:52
Yeah, you know, it's like, I mean, and, you know, especially when you talk about Mack Jones, you know, again, one of the things that I think needs some further analytics and some investigation is again, those quarterback coach pairs. Yeah. Now, you know, in the in case, in the case of Mack Jones, obviously, he's been with Bella check both years. But I think that is something that's completely underappreciated in this in this story that you got to evaluate those combinations. Because even you know, look, Matt Jones went down, and they put in, what was his name? zappy. Right, yeah, forgetting his first name, his first name, but he looked pretty good, too. Right. And it's almost like every one that the Patriots plug in. Looks pretty good.
Doug Battle 47:41
At least for Castle Castle back with Brady. They were I think they won 10 games that year.
Mike Lewis 47:47
And this is, you know, this is something I've been thinking about a little bit on the side that I really kind of wonder about. It's, you know, when Brady and Belichick had their divorce, you know, divorce used intentionally and unfortunately, that it was, you know, this this debate of was it Bella check, or was it Brady? Right, and people wanted to hash that out? Yeah, it's just like, I've been thinking about that, you know, because a lot of it made is the Steelers struggle that this will be Mike Tomlins, first losing season, I think in 15 years. And part of me now starts to think, Well, again, is this a Ben Roethlisberger effect, right, can you actually pull apart coaches and quarterbacks or are they essentially, you know, it's hard to disentangle the effect of one or the other. Because, you know, he got there Tomlin got there a couple of years after Roethlisberger, Roethlisberger has Roethlisberger may turn out to be one of those guys that never got the he's gonna be a Hall of Famer. Right, but I don't think anyone ever thought Roethlisberger was like a top one or two quarterback in the league. It may turn out that Roethlisberger was almost underrated.
Doug Battle 49:01
Yeah, and that's something where with the NFL, it's harder to decipher than with college we've seen time and time again in college. You find out pretty quickly. I remember Cam Newton and Auburn coming in under a new coaching staff with Gene Chizik. Gus Malzahn is the OC. And people were like, Auburn is going to be around they're getting this new five star the next year. They're going to be competing with Alabama every year. And they were horrible after that and they were never the same. On the flip side, you look at Nick Saban and you know what he did with go back to AJ McCarron it? Was there any question as to Well, maybe it's an AJ McCarron thing. Well, guess what the next guy comes in, you know, Coker sims or later to Jalen Hertz. Mac Jones like doesn't matter who their quarterback is granted there, they're getting a lot of talent. Their system and their coaching staff is able to win with a lot of different guys. But in the NFL when you have coaches who the majority of their careers with one player It's harder to tell it's harder to distinguish whether I mean, I think we're still at a point, even like in the NBA, where it's like a Steve Kerr good coach, or does he just have Klay Thompson and Steph Curry for his literal entire coaching career? I don't know if we'll ever know. I personally tend to think he's a good coach. But you can't really tell with these professional sports leagues where the coaches, essentially married.
Mike Lewis 50:25
In the NBA, though it's almost more a matter of Is it a coach that the superstar can tolerate? The NBA, it's also about getting along with your star players rather than Yeah.
Doug Battle 50:38
All right. And I've seen the argument for like, Gregg Popovich. You know, I'm one that I tend to think of him in the goat conversation with basketball coaches. I know a lot of people do, but if there's, there's an argument to be made when you look at it, it's like, was Tim Duncan kind of underrated in the same way you're saying Ben Roethlisberger was statistically right up there with Kobe for his era, not the buzz, not the retirement tour that Kobe had, but the same accomplishments and pop posts Tim, he's he's put together some, you know, relatively competitive leagues like kind of bottom tier playoff teams with without a lot of stars, but it's not like he's winning championships, you know, plug and play with LaMarcus. Aldridge. So okay, you know, just kind of an interesting trend in professional sports.
Mike Lewis 51:25
Now, let me ask you this. And I don't really know that we have time for a lot of depth on this because I want to get to the NBA city uniforms. Do you really think there's a debate about the coaches in the coaching goat in the NBA? Or does Phil Jackson have that wrapped up?
Doug Battle 51:42
I think Phil Jackson is like, is like Brady, and pop is like Aaron Rodgers, where there is a faction of people who will make that argument. I mean,
Mike Lewis 51:53
Bill really played that out beautifully in terms of always having the deck completely stacked in his favor, right, in terms of essentially getting to pick, you know, getting to pick, frankly, Michael Jordan to go to Warwick
Doug Battle 52:05
and then yeah, Jordan and Pippen and then Shaq and Kobe. I mean, it's how do you not win championships? So I think you'll never know in those situations like you want to see him coach, the same team as you want to see Steve Kerr and, and Phil Jackson, both coach like an average NBA like the Miami Heat, do something with the team that they have now and see if they can win a championship. And if they do, all of a sudden, you're pretty dang impressed. But I think that's the bill belcheck scenario in New England, where it's like they were able to win some games with Mack Jones, but of course, they're not winning championships without Tom Brady. And, you know, maybe Tom was a little bit more valuable than than his coach was.
Mike Lewis 52:47
That sounds fine. Five. Okay. That's it was gratuitous, pointless, cheap shot. Okay. So last thing for today, NBA season is just starting to get rolling. And then a couple of weeks, we'll put out the NBA brand rankings, you know, was sort of let the NBA season build, let the hype build and we'll come out with the analysis of the brands and the fan loyalty just before you know sometime in December, just before it really gets rolling and Christmas. But the NBA is always marketing. And one of the ways that the NBA likes to market and just about everyone does now is with more more uniforms, more throwbacks, you know, the one that suddenly the Chicago Bears are out there all in orange, right kind of drives drives you crazy a little bit, but the NBA has there city editions out there. And so Doug, I mean, I don't have we don't have time to go through the whole list. Who do you love and who do you hate? And I'm also willing to go first or I can go first or second on this one up to you.
Doug Battle 53:50
Okay, there's 29 City Edition uniforms. I think I hate 28 of them. exception being the Chicago Bulls, which looks exactly like a regular Chicago Bulls jersey. I'm a minimalist when it comes to uniforms. I like classic. I like you know, I don't like all this silly like Microsoft Paint being thrown on the Milwaukee Bucks jersey. I don't know what that is. I don't know I don't I don't understand these uniforms. Why every time I turn on an NBA game, at least one of the teams is wearing some bizarro costume out there. It's like, for me, I don't want to see my team wear like a rainbow jersey or like some gradient pink to blue. Whatever. You know, like I want to see that if I'm a Celtics fan, and I pay money to go to the garden to watch a game. I want them in those classic Celtics uniforms and if they're wearing like Navy green or like some candle floss or something, I'm just like, this isn't what I paid for. This isn't what Bill Russell wore. This isn't this isn't, you know the team that it loses its brand identity. And so I personally am not a fan of it. I understand there's probably a big financial incentive there. But to me, it's like ultimately it just kind of devalues the product.
Mike Lewis 55:10
Okay. My favorite of the City Edition uniforms. He sort of alluded to any sort of half mentioned that. I like the Celtics, and again 100% I think the Celtics may have the best uniforms in the NBA. And again, this is, you know, as I start to talk about this, I'm thinking God, I'm a fool. The Celtics uniform is using the script off of Bill Russell's barbecue restaurant from the 1960s, I think is the is the storyline. I don't know why I like it.
Doug Battle 55:45
It's weird to me, because it's the jersey itself is a tribute to Bill Russell, you read about it. And it's, you know, it's got champions of gold. It's got 11 Gold diamonds to represent his championships. And somehow I look at it and I see, I think Bill Russell would hate this jersey. I think the better tribute to Bill Russell would be to just wear the Celtics jerseys, the regular ones in Celtics screen. That's just my opinion. But I think the Celtics have had good alternates. It's not like I'm against alternate uniforms. But when they're so different, that it looks like you know, when you watch a movie, and you can tell they didn't want to buy the rights to or licensing fees for the professional team. So they make these kind of knockoff versions. It'd be like, instead of the New York Giants, it'll be like the New York big guys. And they were like red and blue instead of blue and red. are in the the helmets are just playing like the Cleveland Browns. Like, that's kind of how these feel. To me. It feels like okay, they look like a minor league team or a G league team. Not like the Celtics.
Mike Lewis 56:53
Okay, my favorite one. In terms of the one I'm kind of loving to hate, because I think I'm largely on the same page as you these seem. They seem largely unnecessary. The Miami Heat jersey? I'll let you find that one. Yeah, let me that one looks to me like they let the interns come up with it one afternoon. Oh,
Doug Battle 57:14
man, that yeah, magazine clippings as the letters. Basically, they retire their Vice City uniforms. By the way, which were the fan favorites. People wanted them to change their uniforms permanently to those. So that's an example of a team that had good alternates. The NBA can't stop changing alternates every single season. Sorry. It's just like, this is a passion point for me. And I'll say another one that I liked was the Houston Rockets again, because it's just a throwback uniform. It's a classic. And it brings back memories. You associate that with great players, great teams. And there's something about you bring back that old style. There's something fresh about it. We see that all the time in sports. I think fans love that. But the kind of new school let's just design something wacky and weird. That's eye popping. And put it on the court? I don't I don't know if that's the strategy I would go for?
Mike Lewis 58:08
No, look, I think you're almost you know, we started out talking about brand equity. And I think you've got a little bit of that kind of intuitive marketer about it. Because everything you're saying makes sense that the jerseys that work the best are the ones that kind of support the core brand. On the image and senators stay with the classics. If I'm going to do one takeaway from all these, it almost seems like they're too much. They played too much like have an inside game. Like the Bill Russell one. I thought was kind of cute. Maybe? Like maybe I was hungry. It was like, oh, a barbecue restaurant. Right? That they all seem a little bit too much on the inside, right in terms of like, why is there a gold flower on the, you know, on the bottom of the? On the Warriors jerseys? Yeah,
Doug Battle 58:57
I saw a gradient at Black to gold. And
Mike Lewis 59:03
I guess I'll point out another one. And I know he's sort of a famous kind of Brooklyn artist. But you know, this thing where they dropped the vowels from the word Brooklyn. You know, I don't know that.
Doug Battle 59:13
I mean, Brooklyn. Yeah.
Mike Lewis 59:15
I don't think they're, you know, they're not taking this as an opportunity to build something beyond kind of the casual fan. It's almost like these things end up being like a tribute to the hardcore. And maybe there's room for that in terms of the marketing, right? If you're Big Bill Russell fan, maybe you really want this jersey to add to your Bill Russell collection, but this doesn't feel like it feels like a missed opportunity to me to do something that should let's say it should bring in the larger city, which is where these teams are kind of suffering rather than appeal to sort of the really hardcore element of the fan base.
Doug Battle 59:54
Yeah, and I guess the word that comes to mind for me for the bulk of these is just tacky like I Love the Portland Trailblazers uniforms to make one that's pattern based off of the carpet in the airport, which I've been to a couple times and it's like, yeah, it's a carpet. A carpet jersey, that to me it's tacky ones that aren't particularly tacky, I think I don't think Toronto is is terrible, I don't think or Orlando or are Oklahoma City, Houston and Chicago, Dallas. It's a little bit of a tribute to a different era, which I can appreciate. Again, like I don't mind those throwbacks. And the mill Milwaukee, Minnesota was the one I meant to say earlier when I think I said Milwaukee Milwaukee is don't look terrible. And they actually include, they actually include the team's colors on the Jersey, which is rare. And these you look at, like you mentioned the nets with a yellow and blue and red, you know, figures Denver with orange and blue. Like oftentimes, it's completely different colors than the logos and in different fonts.