A lot of people can't stand the 4000 different Peyton Manning commercials on TV. For the most part, however, I don't mind them. Because at least the guy is an amazing QB and probably one of the ten best quarterbacks to ever to play the game. So, I'm fine with his being on every single commercial during an NFL game.
It's the other guys. You know, the guys Nike nominates to front their new sneaker before they've ever played a down or thrown a pitch or shot a free throw. The guys who are featured on the nauseating "NEXT" issue of the ESPN The Mag. The guys who, if you just listened to the jock-holes on ESPN, have single-handedly saved us from AIDS, terrorists and Original Sin.
I have a term for these guys. I like to call them...."overrated." And to prove I'm not just talking smack, I am going to hold a trial for each of these five guys to see if they are indeed guilty of being overrated:
And I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Defendant: Reggie Bush
The Evidence: A quick look at YouTube.com will tell you that Reggie Bush has been on commercials for basically, every major American brand today. From Diet Pepsi, to Subway, to Madden, to ESPN, to MasterCard. All of which led to ask....
...exactly why is he asked to shill all this stuff?
The guy doesn't even have an average-yard-per-carry that beats falling forward. His "explosiveness" translates to a punt return average of a little over 7 yards per return—or 8 yards less than Devin Hester, on average. When Deuce McCallister went out last year, it was the perfect opportunity for Reggie to take over, and show what all the hype was about. But all he showed was that there was no way he was capable of carrying the load for his team. He couldn't run inside and he definitely couldn't carry 20 times a game. Overall, he is a nice decoy that defenders have learned to funnel inside, as he can't beat NFL defenders to the sidelines. For a demonstration of this, see last season's Dec 2nd game against Tampa Bay, where the Bucs played Bush perfectly, and Reggie ended up only running for 9 carries and a few catches out of the backfield—and was routinely replaced by the immortal Aaron Stecker.
Verdict: Guilty of third-degree overration.
Defendant: Carlos Beltran
The Evidence: Carlos Beltran is a nice player. He's got a nice glove for center field and has some pop (sometimes) in his bat. But 7 years at 119 million. You gotta be kidding me.
A lifetime .278 hitter, Beltran has batted even lower than that for the Mets in spacious Shea Stadium. His lifetime slugging percentage is a hardly-Ruthian .494 (including a scorching .414 slugging percentage in 2005), placing him in the company of Joltin' Geoff Jenkins and Tony Clark. In Bill James Grey Ink Test, which counts how often a player is in the top ten of the league in offensive stats, Beltran rates a 57, which ties him with Sluggin' Tim Salmon. Juan Pierre has a 59.
But more importantly than all these stats is simply how the Mets are playing. He simply put, is not a guy who can be counted on to lead his team. In fact, they often don't follow his lead at all. For example, after the Mets got off to a hot start last year (while he batted under .230), the Mets collapsed horribly down the stretch. As a team leader, did Beltran put the Mets on his shoulders and carry them? No, he did not at all. While the Mets got off to a cold start this year and are wildly underperforming to a 28-27 record, has he carried them? No, as a matter of fact, he's batting .260 with 6 HRs. Simply put, for a guy getting team leader money, Beltran, while a nice player, is not a team leader.
Verdict: With the mad money he is getting, Beltran is way, way, overrated.
Defendant: Vince Young
The Evidence: Regular readers of this blog know my feelings towards Vince Young. And frankly, Young has done nothing to dissuade me from my first opinions of him. And that is, he is wildly overrated.
Young has throw for 21 TDs and 30 interceptions in 30 games. Fellow 2006 draft mate, Jay Cutler, meanwhile, has thrown for 29 TDs and 21 interceptions in his first 2 seasons. Cutler (who played last year with diabetes) has a QB rating of 88.2, Young a 69%. And for these numbers, Vince Young appears on the 08 NFL Madden game, a Chunky's soup commercial, a Reebok with Allen Iverson, a Vizio television commercial, and an interview with 60 Minutes. Needless to say, Cutler has not (though he did appear in a South Park episode where the boys said he sucked.)
Look, Young might be great someday. He can certainly improve his accuracy, improve his QB smarts, but as of right now...he's not there. And the fact that he is on Madden 08 when there are about 75 more worthy candidates—for a guy who doesn't have the passer rating of Joey Harrington, who makes Rex Grossman look steady—is lunacy. And off the field, he has shown nothing that makes anyone think he is a team leader and a guy you can depend on and rally around.
Frankly, until Young grows up, takes his job seriously, and can freakin' approach Sage Rosenfeld's completion rating, he should not appear on any commercial or anywhere except on the practice field.
Verdict: Are you kidding me? This dude is a retirement-contemplating Wonderlic-failing overrated mess.
Defendant: Tracy McGrady
The Evidence: Ladies and gentlemen, when, exactly, does Tracy McGrady show up?
Ever since he game out of high school as the latest "Next Michael" the whole world has been waiting for McGrady to put his stamp on the league. And despite some nice stats, we're still waiting.
Sure he gets his points, but it takes him, like, 618 shots to do it. Despite being a physical marvel and having a God-designed NBA body, Tracy is shooting a crap .43 percent for his career. And what's worse, now having Yao Ming as a teammate and someone else to draw double-teams, McGrady has only gotten worse, shooting only 41 percent last season. (For comparison, Rip Hamilton shot 48%. Richard Jefferson shot 46%.) According to The Talented Mr. Roto, he places 92 on his shooting percentage chart, placing him between 'Mad Dog" Maurice Evans and "Pose A Problem For Me" James Posey. His 3-point shooting percentage is even worse, just 33.1%, putting him comfortably nowhere near the same galaxy as the league leaders. And that stat doesn't go up in the playoffs; he shot 4 for 15 on 3-pointers during the Rockets 08 playoff series loss to Utah.
Despite possessing long arms and good reflexes, McGrady is no defensive stalwart, often displaying no interest in that end of the floor. What's worse, he seems to have regressed, and 11 seasons into his career, continues to make poor decisions, having never learned how to elevate himself or the players around him. But the final nail in the "Overrated" coffin is that McGrady, despite having played in the NBA since 1998, has never taken a team out of the first round of the NBA playoffs. And that's with three different teams and a bunch of talented players surrounding him. Any guy, who fancies himself one of the NBA's best, and a potential future Hall-Of-Famer, has gotta do better than that.
Verdict: Tracey McOverrated.
The Evidence: Andaplayertobenamedlater is still trying to figure out how a guy who batted .296, had a .344 OBP and a .531 slugging percentage won the MVP last year. Especially when you consider, one of the guys he beat, Matt Holiday, led the NL with a .340 BA, was 7th in the NL with a OBP of .405 and was 3rd in the NL with a .607 slugging percentage. Rollins, by the way, was not in the top ten of any of these categories.
Continuing with the numbers, yes, Rollins had some nice numbers. He was first in the NL in runs and was a Gold Glover. Also, his OBS+ number was 118, which was good for 6th....on HIS OWN TEAM!! (Holliday had a 150.) And while Holliday led the NL not only in .BA, but also in hits, total bases, doubles, runs created, extra base hits and RBIs, Rollins did lead the league in one category big with MVP voters; his mouth. Apparently, if you talk smack and play well enough, you can get the MVP over other people (Matt Holiday to name one) who play better, but who don't have the mouth you do.
Verdict: Most Valuable Overrated Player.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury...while these players are all talented, and some are even very good players, they all, for varying reasons are overrated. Some are overrated due to good college careers; others due to their self-promotion. However, when you look—coldly look—at the evidence, I'm sure you will find them all guilty. Guilty of being rated better than they truly are.
I rest my case.