Every year TLH laments the end of the NFL season, and not solely because there is no more football to watch – but because there is no more Tuesday Morning Quarterback to read. TMQ, as it identifies itself and shall henceforth be identified here, is one of the most brilliant and informative sports-related columns available for consumption.
TMQ is authored by fascinating writer Gregg Easterbrook and available, you guessed it, every Tuesday of the football season. Nowhere is it possible to find a more thorough examination of all things football. His column dissects the sport in a unique and critical way. Easterbrook covers the NFL with the fine-toothed comb of an academic – and he is an academic, also having written extensively for Reuters and still publishing for Atlantic Monthly.
For those of you sports fans not familiar with these publications, it’s because they extend far beyond the scope of TMQ and the NFL. Easterbrook writes exhaustively on topics ranging from science to politics to pop culture to education and beyond. He is intelligent, certainly, but it is his style and presentation that combine to make him such an essential read. Regularly reading TMQ and other Easterbrook offerings will make you a smarter, more well-informed consumer of information, and I recommend his writing to sports fans and non-sports fans alike.
(Also, it’s TMQ’s influence that has compelled TLH’s penchant for writing about himself in the 3rd person. Now I know why he does it – it’s just so fun and empowering!)
But in TMQ’s offseason I must seek out a replacement for the void left by its absence. And I have found a wealth of interesting writers who are carrying the banner for intelligent, fact-based, engaging conversation and opinion, both sports-related and otherwise.
There is Bill Barnwell, who has been very active discussing the NFL offseason episodes. He recently penned All Dollars and No Sense, which was an engaging piece about the patterns into which some NFL teams fall, and some interesting statistical analysis regarding free agent spending. He also recently took a peek behind the sportsbook curtain, which for the gambler in all of us was another interesting read.
Another writer worth following is Charles P. Pierce, to whom I was introduced through ESPN but tailed also to his politics blog on esquire.com. Pierce is an unabashedly blunt writer. His work on sports and politics is funny, entertaining, and enlightening, and sometimes uncomfortably honest. He is another writer who will make you smarter, more critical, and better informed.
Paul Lukas, who TLH has read for years, is not so much a remarkably skilled writer as he an adept researcher. He runs Uni-Watch.com and the Uni Watch column on ESPN.com, both of which singularly focus on the uniforms, clothing, and equipment of athletes, coaches, and everyone else involved in sports. He runs features on throwbacks, jersey designs and changes, and trends that have risen and fallen. He bills it as “the obsessive study of athletic aesthetics” and it is a visual cornucopia of sports imagery.
There’s a lot of garbage out there, a whole heap of fluff and filler. There are web pages upon web pages brimming with unfounded opinion, poorly researched arguments, and some of the laziest and most blasé excuses for journalism that it makes one wish he could see the pictures that some columnists are using to blackmail their bosses to keep their jobs.
(I’m looking at you, Sarah Phillips. This is one of the most lethargic, dullest excuses for a column I’ve ever read. I can’t believe I’m linking it. I can’t believe you got paid for it. Just because you’re cute doesn’t mean I’m going to continue to read slop like that.)
But stick with the meat and sweep all the rest of the nonsense to the side. I recommend the authors above because I think they make me a better-informed and more intelligent person. They may not be your style and that’s fine – but, take the time to educate yourself, it’s a rewarding feeling.