The Great Dumbing Down of America doesn't stop there -- of course, it extends to sports. Fed up with the play of the defending AFC champions, Raiders coach Bill Callahan called his squad "the dumbest team in America" on Sunday. Our playing fields are filled with countless examples of athletes who aren't exactly "Norman Einstein" material.
Meanwhile, the Writers' Bloc is filled with a bunch of smart ... uh, smart alecks. So, we asked all the Bloc members to embrace the "dumb" trend by answering three questions today: 1) Who is the dumbest celebrity in America? 2) What is the dumbest team in sports? 3) What's the dumbest thing you've ever done?
We might be dumb, but we're not stupid ...
Dumbest sports team: My beloved Redskins. The litany: Jack Kent Cooke builds a godawful stadium in the sticks. Cooke dies, but doesn't even leave the team to his son. Dan Snyder gets it. Dan Snyder thinks he knows football. Dan Snyder watches NFL 2Night to get ideas. Snyder wants to trade draft rights to Lavar Arrington for Keyshawn. Is talked out of it. Snyder signs has-beens (Deion, Bruce Smith, Jeff George) but doesn't keep young bucks James Thrash, N.D. Kalu, Kenard Lang, Stephen Alexander, Cory Raymer. Snyder lets Brad Johnson walk, too. Snyder hands team over to hick, Steve Spurrier. Spurrier brings in Danny Wuerffel and any other Gator who can walk and chew gum. Goes 7-9. Snyder lets Stephen Davis go (see top of NFC rushing chart). Spurrier drafts another Gator, Taylor Jacobs, even though personnel people want Bethel Johnson (see Indy-Patriots game last week). Snyder cuts Wuerffel. Spurrier's wife is upset because Wuerffel is like their long lost son. Spurrier almost quits. Spurrier nearly fires his line coach Kim Helton, but Spurrier's wife and Helton's wife smooth things over. Bad idea, because Helton lets young QB Patrick Ramsey gets maimed. Snyder lets Spurrier re-sign Wuerffel, but Wuerffel says forget it. On pace for 4-12 season. Snyder watching NFL 2Night to decide what's next.
Dumbest thing I've ever done: Asking Goose Gossage to do an interview after he blew a save on Mother's Day.
Goose's response? "I'll do an interview on YOUR day: Motherf****'s Day."
The dumbest person in America is Mo Vaughn. He ate himself out of a career. And then he moved to Columbus, Ohio, presumably to be near his idol, Buster Douglas.
The dumbest team in America is the New York Mets. They brought in Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar and Tom Glavine in an attempt to get back to the World Series. And now they're talking about trading Mike Piazza and moving Jose Reyes … for what? So they can bring in Johnny Bench and Cal Ripken?
The dumbest thing I ever did was buy five field box seats to a Mets game last September.
Dumbest sports team: Portland Trail Blazers -- how do you lose $100 million in the NBA? -- and the Milwaukee Brewers (is an explanation really necessary?).
Dumbest thing I've ever done: Geez, once again, the choices are overwhelming. I'm all kinds of dumb but it's interesting how many involve computers. Like the time I decided to edit my story on deadline while eating a bowl of French onion soup (fortunately, I was able to get it working again by drying the soup out of the keyboard with the hotel hair drier). Or the time I backed up and ran over my computer with my car and then, wondering what that bump was, drove FORWARD over it (and amazingly, it still worked -- kind of).
Dumbest sports team: St. Bonaventure men's basketball. Fans may be evenly split on how sympathetic to feel towards college athletes (Exploited jocks? Expletive jerks?), but by up and quitting on their season when things didn't go their way, the Bonnies managed to split the difference and turn everyone against them.
Dumbest thing I've ever done (or so I've been told): Days after I graduated from college, I gave away my ticket to see the Grateful Dead (for the first time) at Soldier Field, which turned out to be the last show they ever did before Jerry Garcia died. Chalk it up to a residual Senior Week stupor, which in retrospect I think Jerry would have appreciated.
Dumbest team: MIT Football. These guys are in the top academic incubator for the world-shaping geniuses of the future ... and they're wasting valuable study time hitting tackling dummies and barfing through two-a-days? Go figure.
Dumbest thing I've ever done: Agree to a flat, weekly fee for my contributions to Writers' Bloc. I should have held out for a 5-percent cut of the merchandising rights -- particularly since the Bob Lipsyte action figure looks to be the holiday's hottest toy. (And really, who wouldn't pummel a fellow Wal-Mart shopper to get their hands on one?)
Dumbest team: SO the Florida Marlins are purchased by an art dealer who had run the Montreal Expos even further into the ground. Who hires his son-in-law as team president. Who hires a GM who reportedly gets ticked off at the book "Moneyball" because it dares question conventional baseball wisdom. Who trades his best player, Preston Wilson, to the Rockies, and then somehow ends up paying Mike Hampton $38 million to pitch for the Braves. Which somehow frees up money to sign Pudge Rodriguez. Who has a reputation for not working well with young pitchers. Who then see their staff leader -- A.J. Burnett -- blow his arm out. Who is replaced by some callow rookie with barely any innings above Class A. Man, was all that really dumb. Especially hiring that old guy to manage.
Dumbest thing I've ever done: Join an 18-team fantasy baseball league with co-workers. Not that any money was involved or anything.
Fast-forward to Foxboro, and Brady is replaced another Drew as starter and everyone's just wondering when Brady will move off the stage so Bledsoe could take over again. And Brady's flashing his goofy smile and making everyone think he has no idea tension is brewing. And I thought, "Brady, are you dumb?"
Then I wrote a story about speed. Not foot speed, but mental speed. I found out thinking actually ruins speed because it brings hesitation. Athletes who realize they're in a tough spot make it tougher by taking the milliseconds to realize they might be nervous or about to fail. And then it clicked. Tom Brady isn't dumb at all. He just doesn't overthink. Yogi Berra has a rep as the dumbest athlete ever, but he played the classic "thinking" position and he has more rings than Liz Taylor. Tom Brady is just a latter-day Yogi Berra. In fact, wasn't Brady drafted by the Expos as a catcher? Check out the latest issue of ESPN The Magazine, where Dan Patrick asks why Brady wasn't a pitcher. Brady says, "Pitchers are too mental." There you go.
So back to NFL Countdown, with Brady talking about the supposed pressure of the late-game comeback. He grins and says something like, "We're already behind. It can't get any worse." And I thought, "Brady, you're a genius."