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NFL Draft Recap & NBA Playoff Update

This week's podcast features discussion of Will Levis's predictable NFL Draft fall, the Philadelphia Eagles' SEC bias, and the NBA's wide-open Playoffs. Check out more Fanalytics content at ⁠fandomanalytics.com⁠.


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Transcript

[00:00:00] Mike Lewis: Welcome everyone. Welcome to the Fanalytics podcast, brought to you by Emory's Marketing Analytics Center. My name is Mike Lewis, and I'm joined by Mr. Doug Battle. How are you, Doug?

[00:00:10] Doug Battle: I am doing well, Mike, I enjoyed the N F L Draft and Game one of Warriors Lakers last night, so can't complain over here. As a Georgia guy, I gotta say I. I might have become an Eagles guy this last week, which is crazy because I'm a Giants fan and the Eagles and Giants are rivals and the Eagles have ruined so many seasons for us, but here we are.

[00:00:34] Mike Lewis: The other Pennsylvania team, showed a little love to the

boys from math. Well,

[00:00:38] Doug Battle: right. Yeah. You're Steelers.

[00:00:40] Mike Lewis: okay, so the, the NFL draft ratings are up about, I think 20% from last year. So

talking about, I think six or seven, six or 7 million people watching that. Now I am.

[00:00:49] Doug Battle: Yeah.

[00:00:50] Mike Lewis: I think we're seeing a general rebound in sports.

I think the ratings continue to build since whatever it was that Covid did to sports fandom and sort of knocked it around a little [00:01:00] bit.

The recovery very slow. It'll be interesting to see where it in fact gets to. Doug, what I wrote down about the NFL draft, though. And you're too young for this, but in around the year 2000, there was a documentary called The Merchants of Cool. So the, the point they were making in the Merchants of Cool was that, very often you see kind of these organic phenomena arise.

Something is kind of cool, a subculture builds around that, it then becomes sort of blown up into the mass market and then it dies. And so as I'm watching the N F L Draft, all I could think of was. watching this 20 years ago, it was so, in a way it was so different, right? It was like, what?

There's this weird guy that, Mel Kiper Jr. That absolutely fixated on,on, on scouting thousands of players

and

doing these, all these kind of, webpages related to this stuff. And then as I'm watching, I'm like, why are they all hugging Goodell? [00:02:00] Right? And so

it seemed to me that it was just,

[00:02:03] Doug Battle: up. he had like a secret handshake with some of those guys. Jalen Carter being one of them.

[00:02:06] Mike Lewis: But it just seems like it's, it is now and again, that number of six or six and a half million people that is as well as any Playoff game is gonna do. I think it was just short of the I think the only n b a playoff series that did better in the ratings than that was Golden State. the first game of the Golden State series, against Sacramento actually.

And Doug, just as a, I mean, cuz you're a music guy, the example that they would talk about in Merchants of Cool, or one of their primary examples was the Insane Clown Posse. Do you know them

[00:02:37] Doug Battle: Oh yeah, we, it's funny you bring that up. One of my professors, at Georgia, he had like a fixation on the Insane Cloud Posse and he used them as an example. So there's something about professors and the insane cloud poss, I think that's their niche audience. I

[00:02:50] Mike Lewis: well,

what they

would, it was the, because. They had such a, such a wealth community around them, right? They would lit, literally [00:03:00] travel to see these guys perform. They would drink Faygo, red Pop. I mean, , I don't know what it was about, but the band that they sort of said that the major media companies created to sort of capture the, the mood and the style of the Insane Clown Posse was Limp Bizkit,

And, and Limp Bizkit was enormous for a couple of years. And

then just,poop. And so the theme that I'm getting at is something we talk a lot about, right? So fandom is something that's kind of, it belongs to a group of people.

Like it, it's a subculture when it starts to belong to everyone, when it gets too big, it becomes a little less cool, right? A little less interesting to, let's say, the hardcore people that that build

it up

[00:03:39] Doug Battle: I I think that's why you've always had the fans who are, I was a fan of before they were big. I was a fan of Taylor Swift when she was in middle school and she was just singing in my high, at our high school dance or whatever. Like those fans that are like kind of past it now.

[00:03:53] Mike Lewis: My favorite Taylor Swift song is absolutely that one where she just goes, why you gotta be so mean.[00:04:00]

[00:04:00] Doug Battle: why. Yeah. Why do you gotta be so mean, Mike? I think that needs its own separate episode, the Tswf fandom, because I don't know if you've been on social media lately, but that's like event. Every city that I know, a person she's going to, and every girl I've ever known is at that show at least once,

[00:04:18] Mike Lewis: Like 35

[00:04:19] Doug Battle: constantly, and

[00:04:21] Mike Lewis: and you have,

[00:04:22] Doug Battle: fandom.

[00:04:23] Mike Lewis: You have to wear a dress that matches one of the albums.

[00:04:26] Doug Battle: Yeah. See, you.

[00:04:28] Mike Lewis: Amazing fandom. It's.

[00:04:29] Doug Battle: it's an amazing fandom. I don't know if I've seen as much passion from any sports franchise in recent weeks, including the draft, including the NBA playoffs as I have with her fandom. So shout out to her and her marketing team for, for building that up over the years.

But yeah, so, I, do Mike, before the draft we kind of predicted, I say we, it was really you, we were kinda expecting Anthony Richardson to maybe be one of the guys that fell. I thought it might be Jalen Carter, which wasn't, and you fell a little bit but not really ended up being Will Leviis, our guy, [00:05:00]

[00:05:00] Mike Lewis: Yeah.

[00:05:00] Doug Battle: your guy, Mike, big Will Levis guy who eats the banana with Peel, falling.

through the first round. And I don't know if you noticed, Mike, I think there was a different girl next to him on like three different occasions when they cut back to him. Is this guy like, is he a legend in the making? I don't know how much of that was family members or not, but it's fun to imagine that it wasn't.

He's like a real life Bruce Wayne coming in to play quarterback in the N F L.

[00:05:29] Mike Lewis: I'm rooting for him, right? I mean, it doesn't take, it doesn't take much to get me on a player's side and Will Leviis, I had, I kind of thought he was a goof early on with, but you know, it all worked out, I became something of a fan. Now here, let's go back to what I said, and it's like this idea of these forced moments in the draft.

Full on conspiracy theory. Doug, I'm gonna drop it on you. ESPN wants to have a guy every year looking [00:06:00] disappointed as the draft unfolds.

[00:06:01] Doug Battle: I think they picked Will.

[00:06:03] Mike Lewis: Will Levis was almost perfectly positioned to do that. Mayonaise in the coffee. And again, when the women started showing up and they were like filtering in and out, I almost wanna say, maybe someone at ESPN put out that rumor on Reddit

that thought That he was gonna be drafted first overall.

It's almost like ESPN has this every year now in the Draft. It's like TaylorMade subplot of, uh, oh, let's go back to Will Levis

[00:06:28] Doug Battle: Well if, I mean, if you go back. I mean, I know two years ago there was a time where it was like, is will ever gonna be the number one pick in two years? but he kind of fell back. And I don't think during the season that was ever really a consideration or a conversation that was being had. It was like, this guy might be a first round pick.

He might be someone's franchise quarterback, who knows? But it was more of like a Kenny Pickett situation than then. Cam Newton situation where it's like, okay, this guy's like legitimately in consideration for first round pick during the season while he is actually playing. And so [00:07:00] all of that now in retrospect, does seem totally fabricated because it's like, were any N F L teams coming out and saying that?

Or was that pure speculation on behalf of media entities who. It helps drive ratings to see a guy and feel like, oh, they're falling. This guy was supposed to go in the top five and now he's dropped out of the top 10. How far will he fall? And that was Will Leviis this year. I mean, I remember Brady Quinn kind of being the classic example.

Lamar Jackson,was another really noteworthy one and one that of course made a lot of teams pay for it. and so, and now it sets up a whole new story of. Can, will Levi, every team in the N F L passed on Will Leviis every, and now it's a revenge tour for him. Starting with that video of when, as soon as he got drafted, he looked like me watching a Georgia game.

The amount of passion and enthusiasm I was, that's when he got me. I was like, all right, I'm on board. I'm, I'm on Ford. Will the will Levi train. Unfortunately, he went to the Titans, right, Mike and.

[00:07:59] Mike Lewis: [00:08:00] Yeah.

[00:08:00] Doug Battle: The My Player comparison for Will Levies is actually the Titans quarterback. So I, that's who I felt like I could see him having a career like that guy.

And it's, of course the Titans fans want something more than that, so I don't know. But

[00:08:15] Mike Lewis: Well,

[00:08:16] Doug Battle: I think the comparison you'll see of like Upside is always Josh Allen, because he's physically of similar.

[00:08:23] Mike Lewis: yeah,

[00:08:23] Doug Battle: I would love it

[00:08:25] Mike Lewis: well,

[00:08:25] Doug Battle: Josh Allen career.

[00:08:28] Mike Lewis: Isn't it remarkable how different, getting picked one position earlier would've been. Right. I mean, just

being a first rounder versus a second round

totally changes dynamic and the expectations of his career. I mean, I think that's true with like Jalen Hurts as well,

right? When you're in the second round, you're not supposed to be, that, you're not supposed, you're an underdog for the rest of your career.

Look, Doug, I'll also go back to these, to the three quarterbacks that were drafted early. How many of them are gonna be bus and this is nothing related to any of them specifically, [00:09:00] but you have three quarterbacks drafted in the top four or top five? Top four. Inevitably. I mean, it's almost like there should be a betting line of how many are gonna be busts, right?

It, what's the over under? I mean, it's probably two, maybe all three.

[00:09:15] Doug Battle: Yeah, I was gonna say it'd be more shocking if one of 'em was a boom,the

[00:09:19] Mike Lewis: Yeah.

[00:09:20] Doug Battle: nowadays. And

[00:09:21] Mike Lewis: One. Too small, number one was too small. Number two had some questionable issues in terms of some test he took, maybe blowing off the mannings. And number three had no real kind of history of success at Florida.

Uh, I mean, I get where I come back is like, so I think the NFL tends to, they, all, this happens every year, right?

There's this like herd mentality of you gotta get these quarterbacks. But I think in general, The, the, casual fan would be shocked if all three of these guys have, pro bowl like careers.

If it's like a Rothlisberger. Phillip Rivers,

Eli Manning.[00:10:00]

[00:10:00] Doug Battle: Yeah. And that's probably the best class and recent memory, which is crazy cuz I mean, none of those guys, they're all great. None of those guys are Tom Brady or

[00:10:08] Mike Lewis: Yeah.

[00:10:08] Doug Battle: Rogers. None of them had that kind of career. statistically, Philip Rivers and Eli both had years with their top five I think. Statistically, and of course Ben Roethlisberger and Ben and Eli both won multiple Super Bowls. So you know, any draft that has multiple quarterbacks winning multiple Super Bowls, that is a anomaly. and so we'll see. We'll see what happens. But man, you know what's interesting to me, kind of piggybacking on what you were saying with these quarterbacks, it's like, The position is, I'm not gonna say overvalued, but it's so valuable in the eyes of fans and of teams that taking a guy who's like that is probably gonna bust, like, I think most people would say, will Leviis or Anthony Richardson are likely to bust, but the fan base is way more enthused than say, the Falcons [00:11:00] taking a running back in the top 10 who.

Is almost a guarantee to be like Pro Bowl caliber, his rookie year, because running backs, running back that goes in the first round, I is just about a guarantee to be one of the top guys in the league. first couple years, I mean, historically and traditionally we've seen Ezekiel Elliott and Todd Gurley and all these guys.

I mean, even Nick Chubb was the second rounder. but those kind of day one Derrick Henry tho, those day one running backs tend to light it up right out the gate, instant contributor, instantly make the offense more dynamic and. downer on them is that the average N F L lifespan for a running back is like three years.

You're not getting a franchise player in the sense that this is a guy that's gonna be on your team for the next 10 to 15 years, helping you in a way that a quarterback can, but they've got a

[00:11:53] Mike Lewis:

[00:11:53] Doug Battle: higher floor, lower ceiling as far as long-term contributions to quarterbacks.

But fans do not like that. I remember in the Giant Scout [00:12:00] Saquon Barkley. People were mad that the giants drafted Saquon Barkley over Sam Donald. Saquon Barkley has been like an MVP level player at times in the years that he's been healthy. And Sam Darn has never been a good starting quarterback, but it was still graded out and I think there's still people that will look at that draft and say, the Giant should have traded that pick because somebody overvalued the quarterback enough to give up a lot of assets for it.

It was a waste to take Saquon Barkley. I think that's the situation this year with looking at the Falcons, for example, taking a running back who by all. I mean, anyone who's watching play would say he's NFL ready. He's a day one starter. No doubt at all. would rather see team take a gamble on an Anthony Richardson.

Not saying that the Falcons, he wasn't even on the board for them. But if he were on the board, that would've been viewed as a huge miss for the Falcons. And I think there's two sides to that and I don't think the, I don't think enough people understand the importance of bringing in a [00:13:00] guy that you know is going to succeed early on.

and the value in that, I think that gets overlooked in the draft nowadays.

[00:13:09] Mike Lewis: Yeah, I mean it's, I, look, I'm, I got mixed feelings on the whole thing as well, right? I mean, I think the NFL does a, and I'm not, Gonna make any claims that anyone could do it better. I mean, I think that there's just not enough information to really accurately predict NFL success

based on collegiate performance.

And so you see an enormous number of guys that are bus, I don't know if it's a, if it's a higher percentage than you see, if you look at, let's say safeties or wide receivers or offensive tackles, but it does strike me as a very risky proposition. the o the other side of it is, of course, the NFL salary market.

Does not make any sense. something needs to, it's a very curious market,

right? you look at the top paid guys and at any moment the top [00:14:00] paid guys barely resemble the best quarterbacks in the league.

We,but that being said, that quarterback position really does dictate success.

And so, if a fan, if the only way a fan is happy, Doug as a Georgia guy, are you happy when you win, when you don't make the college football playoff and you win the sugar ball.

[00:14:22] Doug Battle: No.

[00:14:23] Mike Lewis: No, so, so,so it really is kind of this all or nothing deal. and I mean, so this brings up along with the N F L draft.

we finally saw movement with Lamar Jackson

and, and Aaron Rodgers. And, And, it goes along with what you're saying. The amount of enthusiasm in New York is now off the charts or the jets. And I assume that the Baltimore fans also feel really well, they feel a lot better than they

did a week ago.

[00:14:49] Doug Battle: yeah. A hundred percent. And I think the, like my takeaway is that the nfl, in the nfl the quarterback position is so important that it might be, it's [00:15:00] debatable as to whether it's a better move to take a quarterback who has a one in 10 chance at being a pro bowler or Super bowl caliber quarterback one day over a running back who has, eight outta 10 chance of being a pro bowler in year one.

Cuz that position is that important. To winning and to winning Super Bowls. And that's how teams are making decisions. And so that, that's just fascinating to me. And I love watching the rookie quarterbacks.

[00:15:25] Mike Lewis: that though is they also make that decision to give the Derek Cars of the World and the Kyler Murrays of the world. 40 or 45 or 35 million a year. Right. And I

think that that's the part where it kind of falls apart. I think Kyler Murray was one of the top, might still be one of the top FI five highest paid quarterbacks in the league, right.

[00:15:48] Doug Battle: Yep, he is.

[00:15:49] Mike Lewis: I don't think anyone wants Kyler Murray as their, as their quarterback. And so that's the disconnect. It's like the worst thing you can do is not, it may not even be the quarterback bust [00:16:00] the Sam Darnold kind of bust. Right. It might be the guy that's just good enough to get you to nine and seven.

[00:16:09] Doug Battle: Yeah.

[00:16:09] Mike Lewis: Yeah.

[00:16:10] Doug Battle: and, I mean, I do think there's something to say for, a league where rewards losers. it's much better to be a big loser in the N F L than it is to be a perennial 500 team, because that, that gives you a better shot at being a Super Bowl caliber team eventually. And I think that a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars has recently seen the benefits of being so bad for such a long time.

I think that the Cincinnati beagles, well, I mean that's the, probably the clearest example. Getting a guy like Joe Burrow, getting a guy like Jamar Chase, all of a sudden there's zero to Hero. Had they had a couple 500 seasons in there, instead of Joe Burrow, it would be some mid-level quarterback instead of Jamar Chase, it would be [00:17:00] a.

Some average wide receiver and that team would still be stuck in N F L for purgatory. And so I think that, don't think it's, going for a boomer bus quarterback, I don't think, my personal take is, it's not as bad of a move as people think. Like I know a lot of people who hate it on the Anthony Richardson draft, including my family members cuz they watch Georgia games and like, this guy's terrible.

All he does is throw interceptions and I'm sitting there like, you take a guy like that, you put him in a system like the Eagles, try to simplify the game for him, leverage his athleticism. maybe it doesn't work. I don't know. I think he could be an elite tight end, Mike. I think he could switch positions and salvage that.

an athlete that impressive. There's gotta be a way to make him useful on the football field. Same with like Justin Fields. I've always felt like, ah, he could play running back and he'd be one of the top

[00:17:51] Mike Lewis: I, I feel, I feel like there's something in here about Georgia fans thinking Florida quarterbacks should just play tight end. I feel like there's.

[00:17:58] Doug Battle: no. I'm not saying that. I'm saying [00:18:00] I draft him as quarterback. Okay. And if it doesn't pan out, you can salvage the pick, you can get, you still get a decent player out of it. It's not all a loss. or you get a total bust and you're number one again next year, and you go take who's number one next year, who, whoever that guy ends up being.

And so it's just like, I mean, would rather be in that position than draft a guy that's like Tana Hill is who I was talking about, will Levis reminding me of, want a guy like Tana Hill. I don't want to get a mid first round, late, first round guy who's going to throw a couple more touchdowns than interceptions, get my team maybe barely into the playoffs every other year.

never be competitive for what really matters. I

[00:18:45] Mike Lewis: Uh,

[00:18:45] Doug Battle: have a total bust. I'd rather have the worst case scenario. Anthony Richardson,

[00:18:49] Mike Lewis: I don't think.

[00:18:50] Doug Battle: a Tana Hill.

[00:18:51] Mike Lewis: I mean, I don't think you're wrong because a, again, it's that difference between paying a guy, you 5 million at the tail end of, paying a guy [00:19:00] 5 million for five years

versus to pay these guys pay a guy 45 50 Joe Burrow, the first,Joe Burrow the first half billion dollar contract

percoming down the pike, but, I don't think you're wrong.

I mean, and there probably is, it is probably one of these things where, you know, the math says you should never punt, right? Or the math says that you

should, you. Go for two. The reality is you, these guys probably should take more quarterbacks and,draft more quarterbacks and especially draft more, let's say physical specimens right at the at quarterback position and just see what works out.

Right? More competition at that position.

[00:19:44] Doug Battle: Yeah, so I'm not as, I'm not as down on it as some other folks. can we talk about, I mean, I touched on the Falcons for a second. I think that the fandom response in the state of Georgia to the Falcons taking Bijan [00:20:00] Robinson, who by the way, at one point I believe was favored to go to Georgia, a huge recruit.

ended up going to Texas. Had a phenomenal career. One of the best running backs since, I think since Saquon, barky really on the college level, and the Falcons take him over Jaylen Carter, a Georgia guy who won two national championships, who had some very concerning off the field. issues in the eyes of a lot of managers in professional sports

[00:20:33] Mike Lewis: Well, and

[00:20:34] Doug Battle: fans

[00:20:34] Mike Lewis: seems like. Concerns kind of coming into play now too, like whispering kind of background

[00:20:40] Doug Battle: what's that?

[00:20:41] Mike Lewis: with Carter. It sounds like there's almost more like whispering in the background too, that he was difficult at Georgia or couldn't stay in shape. These kind of

things

[00:20:48] Doug Battle: Right. And I've

[00:20:50] Mike Lewis: take that.

[00:20:51] Doug Battle: more positive things from folks at Georgia in regards to Jalen Carter, and I do think he's in a perfect situation in Philadelphia, with his old [00:21:00] teammates. But that aside, I think that the fandom, like my fandom observations of the draft, one of the biggest takeaways was like, I. If you have a local college team and you pass on their stars for

[00:21:15] Mike Lewis: Hmm.

[00:21:15] Doug Battle: might even be better for your team. Who knows? and if it happens over and over again, you're gonna be under a microscope. And if those guys bust you are, it is off with your head.

If they pan out, if Bijan Robinson is an N F L MVP in two years, I think Falcon's fans forget that. But I've heard more talk of I'm gonna become an Eagles fan. I'm switching teams. am because I'm sick of the team that pool for not picking the players from the team that I love. And instead picking players that end up performing worse than those guys do anyway.

And so it feels like a lose, for those fans. And I've seen, I know the, the Eagles posted, like they're, I think it's still their header on Twitter [00:22:00] is like the Phil Georgia Bull Eagles and all this, like, all this content surrounding. Georgia and Philadelphia and the connection between those two now that so many players were drafted by the Eagles in the last two years.

[00:22:13] Mike Lewis: But hasn't been a long time thing with, the Georgia faithful

that the and the Falcons never take the Georgia players, and again, the Falcons don't have this. They've been hanging a lot of banners in the rafters. if you know what I mean.

And, and, and, so I think it does end up being, I mean, look, I've always, as an outsider to the UGA Falcons kind of back and forth between the fandoms. I, I, when I hear the stuff you're talking about, part of me goes. these Georgia fans are one of the top fan bases in all of America to the point where they're just a little bit crazy. so I don't know if there's something in the Falcons history where they go,where they [00:23:00] stay clear of Georgia players or they prefer not to take Georgia players.

I mean, when you're going through the Falcon str. It's an interesting one, right, where they seem like they're gonna roll the dice on this third round pick, right? And they're gonna build up the offensive talent around that third round pick.

That's an unusual strategy in the nfl. It might be a smart one because the, you may have more of a cost controlled quarterback for the longer term.

For the longer term. I don't know. I mean, the only Georgia players that seems like they've gone through the Falcons over the last few years were, well, didn't Todd Gurley have a cup of

coffee?

[00:23:34] Doug Battle: a year. I mean, the deal with girly was when he was. When he was in the N NFL draft, every Georgia fan wanted the Falcons to take him. They loved Todd Gurley and they were ready to buy the Jersey and the Falcons. He was on the board when the Falcons picked and they passed on him. I don't know who for, but I know it wasn't someone that became an N F L M V P and Todd Gurley did in St.

Louis. now the Los [00:24:00] Angeles Rams and. Became a legend. And by the time the falcons got around, so they passed on him on a rookie contract, MVP caliber player on a rookie contract. And then when he was toward the end of his career, and he has arthritis in his knees and he's dinged up all the time, they paid him more

[00:24:20] Mike Lewis: Okay.

[00:24:21] Doug Battle: his rookie contract was for a much lesser player. And so I don't think Falcons fans were super thrilled about that move. Even though it was a Georgia guy. It was like, okay, now we get the guy. Now we pay him, but his best days are behind him. And so that's kind of been an ongoing story. Like I, when I was a student at Georgia, it was every year everybody wanted the Falcons to take whoever it was and like, There's two sides to it.

On the one hand, as a sports fan, like I'm a Giants fan, and when I look at the draft, like if the Giants had taken Stetson Bennett in the second round, I would've been like, what are we doing? Like that was not a good move. Like I genuinely, I care about the Giants enough to just want them to take the best player available at any given [00:25:00] point.

And the Falcons fandom is a little different though, because they're like, Georgia really comes first for them.

[00:25:08] Mike Lewis: Look,I know what you're, I know what you're getting at, and it's almost a, it's an interesting question, right? How much of that transfers? Right. I mean, because, my understanding is that there's been a surge in jet season ticket purchases with Aaron Rodgers coming in.

And so,is there an actual surge if the Falcons were to take u G A players?

I

[00:25:29] Doug Battle: would be.

[00:25:30] Mike Lewis: I mean, I don't know. if they pick Jalen Carter, maybe a little bit. I think what's interesting about the Falcons Georgia story, it's not sort of what happens in any given year. It seems to be that there's a long term history of this, and that's the part that gets a little bit, that gets a little bit weird, right?

[00:25:49] Doug Battle: I'm not like a conspiracy guy that thinks that, oh, the Falcons hate Georgia players, which is, that is the narrative on Georgia Twitter. the Falcons hate Georgia players and they refuse to take 'em even [00:26:00] when they're clearly and obviously the best available. You could have Jaylen Carter fall to you in the seventh round and they still wouldn't take 'em.

That's the narrative,

[00:26:08] Mike Lewis: Well, Doug, here's an alternative and again, this doesn't really make a lot of sense either, right? Because the idea of not taking the best player doesn't make sense for your career. I. As an NFL executive, but could it almost be that the Falcons just are annoyed by Georgia football? they're the NFL team and they probably have, maybe the fan bases are about the same size, depending on how, what you wanna measure it.

But I don't think they have the level of intensity that

Georgia has. Maybe that's an annoying thing that just sort of almost. Comes into the background in their decision making. Right. It's not a conscious thing. Right. Because I do want the Georgia fans, but it's just a nuisance.

And I'll tell you, lemme give you one other fact.

in in the state of, in the city of Chicago, the University of Illinois is not a competitive draw [00:27:00] against the Chicago Bears. Okay.

a very different, it's probably very unusual for an NFL team.

Might be the only team.

[00:27:07] Doug Battle: My, my one other thought about like a subconscious bias would be that they hear about Georgia all the time. They see these guys week and. They convince themselves that just because we see them all the time doesn't mean that they're better than the players. We don't see as much then they over-Correct for that wanting to not bias themselves toward the local team and they over-Correct.

That's like one other explanation, but on the flip side, I have noticed. That the Philadelphia Eagles, they love to take national champions because people talk about them being the Georgia Eagles or whatever. their offense has like five Alabama players on it. They have their quarterbacks, Alabama, Devonte Smiths, Alabama got an offensive lineman.

Alabama, like they, they got an Alabama offense. Georgia Defense, [00:28:00] I genuinely think. not a terrible idea. Win endowed in the draft to take the best player from the best team that's on the board and try to build a team of guys that have won championships that know what it takes that have been in those huge programs.

I think that's what the Eagles are doing. I respect it. I'm very curious to see how it pays off because you look at the N F L when you're watching a game and all the guys were saying, I'm so-and-so, and I played at so-and-so. Almost 90% of them played at some school you've never heard of.

[00:28:26] Mike Lewis: Doug if I'm thinking back to watching the college football playoff the last couple years.

[00:28:30] Doug Battle: Yeah.

[00:28:31] Mike Lewis: I think it's entirely reasonable to adopt a strategy of I'm gonna just pick players from Georgia and Alabama

and not from Michigan and tcu.

I.

[00:28:40] Doug Battle: when in doubt take the guy that against the other top four team every time I mean, that seems to be what the Eagles are legitimately doing, it seems like why aren't more teams doing this? These guys have proven that they're elite. But on the flip side, you can look at those guys and say, well, they look better [00:29:00] because of the talent that's around them.

look better because they're just on a better team than T C U. It's easy to dominate your guy. It's easy to run for eight yards when your offensive line is making these massive holes every play. So there's two sides to that. and when Trent Richardson busted at Alabama, everybody was like, well, the reason he looks so good and won the Heisman is because he had such a great offensive line.

And in college you don't have. Escaping holes and you don't play, Fresno State at home at noon in a, in 90 degree weather in Tuscaloosa and put in the second string by the second quarter. it's a different ballgame when you're playing equal competition.

[00:29:38] Mike Lewis: What it is, kind of, Doug, in some ways. and look, you see this everywhere. You see this in the corporate world when big consulting companies and investment banks want to go hire someone, where do they go hire 'em, right? they go hire 'em from Harvard or Chicago or Stanford. Right?

[00:29:53] Doug Battle: Yeah.

[00:29:54] Mike Lewis: And it's the same, it's the same sort of logic.

Like, it's like you've got people that have been [00:30:00] pre-screened. Cuzto me that's kind of an interesting thing about it. It's like you got an Alabama player, well they were pre-screened by Nick Saban.

[00:30:06] Doug Battle: Yeah.

[00:30:08] Mike Lewis: I, I mean, that makes, you, you can do your due diligence, but it's like that's a big check mark that you're probably not gonna make too bad of a mistake.

So,

[00:30:15] Doug Battle: It's like Nick Saban handpicked this guy and then developed him

[00:30:20] Mike Lewis: and he's practicing against 40 pros.

[00:30:23] Doug Battle: Yeah, he's playing against an N F L defense or offense every day and he's outperforming them. he's one of the stars. He's one of the, the shining lights on a team that's full of stars. And so, and I think about, I mean just I talk about Georgia so much cuz I know Georgia Tyke Smith, he's on the Georgia Defense.

He was an All American at West Virginia two years ago, all American. Transfers to Georgia, everyone's thinking this guy's gonna be the star. He's gonna be, he's gonna be the shining star on the defense bringing in this all-American. We've got this weak secondary he's hardly played. [00:31:00] Mike in two years.

All-American at West Virginia hardly plays at Georgia. I actually don't think he helped his draft stock by transferring to the school where it's like, oh, now we can get the Harvard degree instead of the, other school's degree. But, I, I don't, and he might start this year, and I hope he does for that kid's sake.

Like he's, I think e everybody's pulling for him in that fan base, because it's tough to see that. but with that said, it just goes to show you could look like a. A first round you could look like an All-American talent playing in a league that's lesser and playing with surrounding talent that's lesser.

But when you are a star on a team that is manhandling everybody and you're one of the players that stands out on that team, like to me it seems like those guys should be targeted higher. And it's kind of amazing to me that they're not. And I think that the Eagles, I thought they got some steals, Jaylen Carter.

that was a good value in a lot of people's eyes. I think the bigger steal was Nolan Smith in the, at the end of the first round, he's a guy that, had he been healthy, I thought he was gonna be a top 10 pick. I thought any, it's [00:32:00] not an injury that's gonna affect him, I don't think in his career.

And so I think that's strategy. I think it's smart and I'm just very curious to see how that goes, but it's, it was just so funny how obvious it was. I don't think it was a coincidence that they ended up with all these Georgia guys. Like statistically, the odds of that are pretty tiny. you look at the number of players drafted, the number of players from Georgia, they, they clearly have a bias toward on these great teams, players that have played under. in systems that are very N F L. and I'm excited to see, I'm also excited to see those Alabama and Georgia guys team up because that's kind of become, It's not really officially a rivalry, but it feels like more times than not the national championship and or s e C championship comes down to those two teams and they kind of hate each other.

And I made a comment during the draft this weekend. I was like, man, it'd be way more exciting than a flag football pro ball game would be if they just had a full pad's Alabama, Georgia game every year. Alabama, Georgia alumni game, all the N F L [00:33:00] guys from those two schools. Put or do a college football playoff, N F L version.

Get Ohio State, Georgia, Alabama. know what that fourth team's gonna be. I know lsu, U'S got a lot of guys, Clemson's got some guys in the future. Uscs gonna have some guys,

[00:33:13] Mike Lewis: Yeah.

[00:33:14] Doug Battle: But, I think fans will get fi I think that would be bigger than the Super Bowl. watching your former college

[00:33:20] Mike Lewis: The pro.

[00:33:21] Doug Battle: play each other in full pads and compete for school pride.

[00:33:27] Mike Lewis: Okay. Another NFL draft in the books, one of the, look what, in some ways, even though I'm saying it does feel a little bit sort of forced moments,

it is. Always gonna be one of my sort of touchstones in the world of sports because it's, it's just this special thing. Look, I mean, Doug, your enthusiasm for Georgia comes through a lot, but the N F L draft is definitely one of the, one of the high points for that.

Right. Because you have this relationship with these guys, you want see them succeed. Your [00:34:00] fandom transfers to Philadelphia for other fans. This is all about hope. It ends up being this kind of truly special event. I just kind of hope at this point that the NFL doesn't sort of just overly commercialize it and kinda end up killing it.

Okay, Doug, the other thing that's going on is, of . Course, the N B A playoffs

Playoff TV ratings seem to be. Up a little bit.

I got mixed feelings. I tend to really like the first couple rounds of the N B A playoffs, cuz this seems to be the, we're seeing the next shining star start to break through.

I don't feel like we got that this year. it is, this is kind like the, I I don't know. There's probably some Star Wars, analogy to this. This is the, this is LeBron and Steph, right?

So far.

[00:34:42] Doug Battle: when they, yeah, it's like if they did a show with like old man Luke Skywalker and Man, even older man Ben Kenobi. It's like, woo, this is exciting. no, I think that, think Anthony Edwards had his moment. We talked about that on another podcast, but largely this was [00:35:00] or has been kind of a

[00:35:01] Mike Lewis: I look at some pictures, I'm not convinced on the, I love the idea that he's Michael Jordan's son and I'm not gonna dismiss it cuz I love that kind of stuff. I was looking at those pictures. I'm not convinced.

[00:35:12] Doug Battle: Yeah, I got kind of caught out on social media. Some people saying, the only things that those two have in common and stuff. And I'm like, I don't know. I think they look alike, but yeah, I mean, he had his moment, but largely it's been a legacy. Playoff Couple rounds so far, and I will say I personally expect this Warriors Lakers series to get better ratings than the finals period, cuz last night at my house, several people watching that game who have not watched basketball all year.

Of course it was a good game. It was a really good game. It had a lot of great moments. It's two teams that are, it's really like genuinely, I think it's an interesting matchup because the Lakers are a little bit scrap. They're just a scrappy defense, not a three ball team, but they got, like, they [00:36:00] dominate in the paint.

They've got,

[00:36:01] Mike Lewis: Yeah.

[00:36:02] Doug Battle: powerful and the warriors are more of a finesse team. They're more traditional. They're moving the basketball, like it's more of poetry with them and it's more like rap with the Lakers. And I think that, The star power with LeBron James and Steph Curry. The fact that those two have played each other in finals so many times

[00:36:21] Mike Lewis: Let's kinda,

[00:36:21] Doug Battle: many eyeballs to the,

[00:36:22] Mike Lewis: let's pause for a second. I mean, I, would you have any pushback if I said they may not be the two best players in the league? They are the two biggest stars in the league.

[00:36:31] Doug Battle: Yeah,

[00:36:32] Mike Lewis: I mean,

[00:36:33] Doug Battle: true.

[00:36:34] Mike Lewis: and I don't think, you throw out Giannis and Kevin Durant in

terms of, mass media fandom. I think those guys are number one and number two, and I don't even think number three is all that close.

When you really start to get to, let's say, middle America, that it's Steph Curry, and then it's a big jump down to Kevin Durant. I suspect,

[00:36:55] Doug Battle: Yeah. Speaking of Kevin Durant, sun's down two [00:37:00] Oh in the second round. I mean, if the suns don't do it this year. It's gonna be the biggest disappointment since the nets and the common denominator of those teams is Kevin Durant. And so, the pressure's on in, in Phoenix, I think, but I think that the 76 ERs Yeah, that Boston Philly series.

Is, that's two classic franchises, two great fan bases, a really tight game. One and some veterans not, maybe not the stars of the caliber that LeBron James and Steph Curry are, but it is a series featuring James Harden, Joellen Bead, Jason Tatum, it is a really good series, two great franchises teams that have played each other in the playoffs before and what feels like,Eastern Conference Finals.

Much like how the Lakers Warriors SE series feels like a Western Conference finals, This is the second round. There's still another round before the N B A finals, and people [00:38:00] forget about teams like Denver, teams like Miami, the lesser star studded teams. They get written off real quick, and that's why it feels like everyone's just agreed that this Lakers Warrior Sea Series is the defacto of Western conference finals, and that this Boston, Philly series is the defacto Eastern Conference finals.

Mike, how's that make you feel?

[00:38:22] Mike Lewis: I am all about Denver.

[00:38:23] Doug Battle: All about Denver

[00:38:25] Mike Lewis: I'm, I want Jokic out there. it's,I want something new and I want a new, look, I, maybe that's my thing in the nba. I always want something new and Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. If the Denver Nuggets ever been to a finals,

[00:38:42] Doug Battle: Not the mellow, not in my lifetime. Cause those best teams were Carmelo Anthony. They did not

[00:38:48] Mike Lewis: Yeah, I don't think, I suspect they haven't then, cuz I'm like thinking back to like the eighties and every once in a while Denver has a nice basketball team,

but I don't think they ever sort of had those iconic guys that got things over the top. [00:39:00] So, yeah. I'm doubling

down on, uh,

[00:39:02] Doug Battle: Jokic Yoki is a true generational player in this. He's just so unique. Like I don't think basketball's ever had a player like him. And I don't know that basketball ever will I mean it, I could see future big men learning from him and becoming more developed in terms of passing, in terms of their three point shooting.

I mean, we're already seeing that with three point shootings, really the passing that separates him from the rest and we haven't seen that. So to, to be a guy that's revolutionizing the game. I think it would be great for basketball. I do.

[00:39:30] Mike Lewis: Out of the Western Conference with Kevin Durant, Steph Curry

in LeBron,

James Jok and the Denver Nuggets. I mean, look,I think I'm rooting for, he, I don't know, he's probably second in the v MVP voting this year

or

is going to second. They haven't done. But this is a complete MAR like marketing underdog.

I'm

rooting

on this one.

[00:39:51] Doug Battle: yeah. And I think that the. The NBA community might not welcome that as much. That's why I'm saying I think that this [00:40:00] Warrior's Lakers series will have better ratings than the finals, cuz the finals, it's still in play to have Miami versus Denver. to have, I mean there's a number of scenarios.

Mike would be very happy about that, as would I, but still in play and I would imagine that would not get the kind of ratings that Warriors Lakers are getting right now. I was gonna say, Mike, In sports, like in retrospect, it always feels like, how do we not predict that? Because that was just such a storybook story that played out.

the way I see it down is I think the winner of this Warriors Lakers series, I think it's their last dance. I think it's

[00:40:40] Mike Lewis:

[00:40:40] Doug Battle: they're low, they're seated low. It's like a six and a seven seed. Imagine a seven seed LeBron and you're, at age 38. Going and winning the N B A finals.

Can't you see that documentary already?

[00:40:52] Mike Lewis: And wasn't there something that came out? I think LeBron, this is the first year LeBron had zero votes for the

mvp.

[00:40:58] Doug Battle: Yeah.

[00:40:59] Mike Lewis: Okay.

[00:40:59] Doug Battle: it's just [00:41:00] like, it's like the writing is almost on the wall with that and I can't, it's hard to imagine. I mean, I think it's gonna be the Lakers, but even if, let's say the Warriors win the series, the Warriors still have a championship team. I mean, you, it's tough to knock out a champion and if they win this, Probably Denver in the next round. A less glamorous series, less eyeballs on it. Again, they're tough to knock out and at the point they're in the finals. who are they playing? The Celtics, who they beat pretty handily last year, or Miami or Philly, who hasn't been there with this squad.

And so it's like, I really see it playing out. It's the last dance for LeBron or Steph Curry. And I think it's kind of, don't always be making Star Wars references. I think it's due of the fates right now. I think it's due of the fates in that series where, you know who, whoever wins the duel is the, they're the one that, that goes all the way.

And so that's how I see it playing out. But I'm [00:42:00] like you, Mike, I don't want it to be like this predictable story. That would be a movie. I want it, I want chaos. I want to see, I want Miami versus. I want Miami versus Denver and the NBA finals with radio. I want 5,000 people watching it every night,

[00:42:17] Mike Lewis: Yeah, we. Funny about Miami is a strange franchise in some ways, cause I, I don't think we tend to put them in that they do well in my fan base rankings when I do the nba. I, it's like we tend to forget about Miami. But Miami really has kind of an interesting history right. with Shaq and, and, Dwayne Wade

and, LeBron and even was a couple years ago, Miami with almost a no name roster.

was it in the bubble that

Miami made it

[00:42:46] Doug Battle: yeah, they made the finals.

[00:42:47] Mike Lewis: to the finals?

And

[00:42:50] Doug Battle: could be a rematch. We could see Lakers heat finals, again,

[00:42:53] Mike Lewis: I mean, I'm looking at the bracket and Yeah, I mean that classic, I mean, and if it is LeBron's kind of last, if it is the last [00:43:00] dance kind of storyline, if there is a conspiracy then it's gotta be LeBron versus the Boston Celtics in the finals.

Right.

[00:43:07] Doug Battle: Lakers, Celtics.

[00:43:09] Mike Lewis: Yeah,

[00:43:09] Doug Battle: That would be the most, that would feel so forced, like neither of those teams have felt like. Destiny's team. I would feel so for, I remember thinking it felt forced when it was Kobe's Lakers against Kevin Garnet Celtics

[00:43:24] Mike Lewis: I mean, Doug, from my perspective, would be the most fascinating would be from a fan of pure fandom perspective would be Denver versus the New York Knicks.

[00:43:34] Doug Battle: Oh, I forgot about the Knicks.

[00:43:37] Mike Lewis: The

long story Knicks fans without a lot of, marquee level names on that team, that would be spectacular to see the, I mean, the way the Knicks fans would come out of the woodwork for their team being in the finals and then playing, you know, Denver and that'd be spectacular.

[00:43:56] Doug Battle: Yeah, I think that Hawks series did some damage to the Knicks a couple [00:44:00] years back cuz they were starting to come outta the woodworks. People were starting to get excited about the Knicks again when they lost that series. Trey Young, I haven't heard of Peep about the Knicks, even this playoffs, and they made it outta the first round.

just kind of going under the radar, but we'd love to see that. I don't expect that to happen. Like I said, I'm expecting. Lakers are warriors in the West and then the east. I still think it's Boston. I mean, you could really easily see that Lakers Celtics rivalry making a comeback in the finals once again for like the hundredth time.

[00:44:34] Mike Lewis: For the, NBA marketers, that is probably exactly what they need.

[00:44:38] Doug Battle: yeah, I mean I think having lil, I think not having LeBron in the finals for a couple years has probably. Taking some eyeballs off of the nba, frankly,

[00:44:49] Mike Lewis: Let me ask you a question. cuz Jason Tatum is a guy. That they're almost trying to move him up into that upper [00:45:00] eche. And I'm not talking about as a basketball player, I'm talking as like a star. As a star. They've tried to move him up. I see him on Subway commercials. I see him on, I think bags of ruffles or lays potato chips.

So he has the marquee marketing. Deals. Has he started to cross over with the younger, has he started to establish himself as a true star, an iconic star for the younger generation? Because I, like, I would put him below folks like John Morant

in terms.

[00:45:32] Doug Battle: Damien Lillard or, yeah. Yeah. I think that he's like a Gen Z star.

[00:45:38] Mike Lewis: Okay.

[00:45:38] Doug Battle: Because he's a younger dude. He's, I mean, he's still, I know he is been in the league for a while. He's still pretty young, and I think the marketing efforts have

[00:45:46] Mike Lewis: Okay,

[00:45:46] Doug Battle: more of a chord.

[00:45:47] Mike Lewis: let me ask a que, let me ask the question a little bit different. Okay. So be like Mike, classic marketing campaign. Does anyone wanna be like Tatum?

[00:45:57] Doug Battle: They still want to be Steph Curry. They still wanna be [00:46:00] LeBron. He hasn't risen to that level and a championship would not hurt. He's had his chances. I mean, the Celtics have had their chances they have not. I remember when Phoenix, I. Made the finals in wanting Devin Booker to become one of those guys, cuz he's been on that.

I mean, he's kind of on par with Jason Tatum where he's a really good basketball player and he's in that younger generation. But it's never felt like this guy's gonna totally take over the league. And the only player that's really felt like that is Luka Donk as far as those younger players. And Luca's, a guy that's not even in the playoffs.

So of the guys on good teams, it's really. I mean you could include Jamant, but it's really Devin Booker Jason Tatum and both of them have made the finals and both of them more or less disappeared for a good chunk of their time in the finals. And their teams did not put up the kind of fight you would want to see the kind of fight that would cement them as one of those like NBA alpha stars, cuz the NBA's always [00:47:00] had star tiers.

Like there's a major difference between that kind of first. First team all NBA and some of those second team guys

[00:47:07] Mike Lewis: I think it's. I think it's almost the first half of the all MBA team versus the second half of

right? yeah.

[00:47:14] Doug Battle: like I was saying, you watch Team U s A, some of the best team s A teams, you look at the roster and half of the guys, it's like Michael Red was on that team like. McGee, like there's just guys on the team that, kind of shock you. There's really only a handful of like a-list

[00:47:33] Mike Lewis: definitely. Yeah.

[00:47:35] Doug Battle: yeah.

Yeah. So I think Booker and Tatum, they just, they gotta do it in the playoffs. They gotta get their team the hump. They gotta win the finals. I think the odds are against both of them this year. Boston, maybe not as much. I mean, on paper, Phoenix should be the favorites with what they, I mean, take Chris Paul outta the equation.

He's hurt right now, but take him outta the equation. Even without Chris Paul, you got a team with [00:48:00] Kevin Durant. Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton at Center. I mean, they're, the roster is unbelievable If they don't make the Western Conference finals, I do think that's gonna be one of the biggest failures.

The, I mean, I said, the only thing that compares is the nets. So I think it's a legacy moment for Durant. I think that his reputation, as much as it's taken a hit, I don't know that he's ever coming back from this. If they don't make it to the Western Conference finals.

[00:48:26] Mike Lewis: Okay, Doug, I think I'm gonna call the episode at this point. A lot to look forward to this summer. we're gonna, now now that I'm look at my day job as a college professor, now that I'm done grading grades are in, uh, no complaints to be dealt with, I've started seeing a little bit of freedom.

We will start to get into our summer programming, which is gonna include the Next Generation Fandom Study, the N F L Team Fan Equity rankings. And the other thing we've been talking a little bit about [00:49:00] you is I, you and I, is this idea of like five minutes of education or 10 minutes of education.

So a quick topic, kind of an academic or professional topic, sort of blasted out there in, in like 10 minutes or less. So all that's on the agenda sort of coming up here very rapidly. If you wanna check out the webpage, it's at www dot fandomanalytics.com.

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