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Have one of these? Good, you can run a sports team.
Posted: Wednesday, 03 September 2014 11:05AM

Everybody knows everything

Soon the Bills will have a new owner, and conversation about who should make important football decisions for that new owner will get heavy. If the Bills don't challenge for a playoff spot, Doug Whaley's and Doug Marrone's futures will be big storylines. Actually they're pretty big already.

Fans won't come to a clear consensus on whether Whaley should stay on. He only started last year and there've been good and bad moves. (Go figure. More on that later.) If Whaley is dismissed you'll hear plenty about different men with varying degrees of experience and success, and fans will have their favorites.

There's one related topic, however, that most fans agree about. And guess what, I think the majority opinion on that is wrong, or at least short-sighted.

That is that the new owner should stay out of it.

I think there was a time when scouts and general managers held wide-ranging amounts of knowledge, of inside information, that set them apart in their respective sports. Some teams had more scouts than others, or better scouts, and gained an edge.

I think those days are over.

These days, everybody knows everything.

Common sense tells you so. Information is at everyone's fingertips at all times. Apply that to sports. You can find any stats, including workout results, in seconds. You can watch any game you want, from any season. Football fans can watch the coveted "All-22" film and have a chance to see breakdowns as well as coaches do.

A little better than setting for Howard Cosell's Monday Night highlight package to peek at most teams, don't you agree?

Speaking of coaches, think about how their jobs as teachers have changed because of technology. Coaches can pick out plays from a series of games, or even seasons, to illustrate a point, or a tendency. How much easier do you think Chip Kelly finds isolating this type of thing for his players and showing it to them than, say, Bill Walsh did?

Football teams used to benefit from having their scouts on the road, seeing games that weren't televised. Now, dozens of college football games are televised every week. In the day, your NFL team could see things fans or teams not present couldn't. No more.

When it was established that scouting made the difference for teams, scouts traveled by train. Um, travel is easier now. It might take less time for a hockey scout in Buffalo now to get to and see a Russian league game than it took one 40 years ago to catch a game in Flin Flon, Manitoba. And NFL teams print money so no expenses need be spared there. Plus, leagues are so rich now that the jobs pay better, bringing in keener eyes.

Why shouldn't a team owner think himself clued in on organizational decisions. Moreover, clued in or not, why should he not be involved? Isn't that why you buy a sports team, to run it? That's the fun part. That's why we play fantasy football -- we want that control.

I've made the point in this space often enough that at draft time children could grab a few magazines, open a few websites, and be up to speed. The premise is at least as true now as ever.

Ever listen to a sports radio show? Really, you have? Who are these people purporting knowledgable opinions on players, even prospects? How do they come to these opinions? Are these callers actual football and hockey scouts that don't give their real names? Or are they regular guys that watch sports and have smartphones? And have you ever before read seven straight questions in a sports column?

It's likely in the comments section below (warning: don't read the comments section below) there'll be something about Jerry Jones. How Jones is an example of why owners should stand down because Dallas has one playoff win since 1996. (Never mind those three Super Bowl wins that immediately preceded, right?)

If Jones is an example of something it's about how to get press and make money. Why can't an owner make decisions without permanent residence in the public eye?

I think the time has come to recognize that most avid sports fans know most things. Information abounds, as does access.

As has been shown, teams are not consistently better than other teams at drafting anymore. The biggest differentiating factor in pro sports drafting now is luck. Surely Whaley knows more football than most people; the question is, how much value in that is there anymore? When I got started in sports media I prided myself on an encyclopedic knowledge of Bills history and baseball statistics. It helped me get work. Well, guess what, computers came around and oh well, there went that edge. Congratulations.

Everybody knows everything now. Even really rich people.

Filed Under :  
Topics : Sports
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Locations : Dallas
People : Bill WalshDoug MarroneDoug WhaleyJerry Jones
09/03/2014 11:34AM
Everybody knows everything
Please enter your comments below.
09/03/2014 12:09PM
Jerry Jones
I have to disagree about Jerry Jones, this guy doesn't just run the operation, he doesn't have a GM making football decisions. Who do you fire when the owner makes one bad personnel move after the next? He is the reason fans believe the owner should but out. ( 2 t's makes that word profanity Lol.)
09/03/2014 12:15PM
If that were true...
there would never be any draft,"busts".
09/03/2014 12:18PM
how were the sabres' drafts when golisano cut the staff to a bare minimum and relied upon the "video-scout 3000?"...players are human...when you write, "children could be up to speed" through a few articles and websites, your premise is flawed...numbers do not tell the whole story, just like video never tells the whole story...fans running a team is a recipe for disaster...same with owner who are fans who stick their noses in...see dallas and washington
09/03/2014 12:19PM
I know the truck drivers have iPhones waiting for the signal to run a move.
09/03/2014 12:20PM
those three dallas super bowl wins...
were a product of jimmy Johnson and his vision of a championship team...since then, mediocrity...which is the height of what a fan or owner, can accomplish via your methods
09/03/2014 12:42PM
Crowd Sourcing doesnt make you an Expert
I think theres a flaw in Mikes argument. He mentions how a child could read a draft book and pick good players, and that owners and fans can be good scouts. But how often are you just cheating off of someones elses paper? If you didnt have a book or TV show telling you who to draft, could you really choose the best players from over 100 different colleges? Mike is confusing crowd sourcing with actual knowledge. Someone else does the work, and then you think you are an expert just because you read their work.
09/03/2014 12:44PM
Jerry Jones
Obligatory "Jerry Jones should stay away from team decisions" comment.
09/03/2014 12:53PM
Correction Mike
Most people, like yourself, just THINK they know everything. Blowhards spouting off OPINIONS of what they hold the truth. There's a big difference between truth and opinion - the ease of data nowadays doesn't change that. Plus, isn't sports "knowledge" truly useless anyway? To say you're an educated, knowledgable, wisdom driven person when all you dedicate your life to is sports data and statistics is ludicrous to say the least. At least you'll feed your family doing it.
09/03/2014 1:05PM
Simply the best
I will rank Mike Schoop up there with some of the greatest writers of our time. Just spectacular stuff. Really makes you think. GOD BLESS YOU MIKE SCHOOP!!
09/03/2014 1:08PM
When are you going to quit?
Schopp you clearly don't enjoy talking to the callers and I know I'm not the only one begging WGR to fire you. Why don't you just give up and quit, Sal and Bulldog would be a much better show from 3-7
09/03/2014 1:10PM
Information alone does not enable people make smart decisions. The intelligence that it takes to analyze the information enables smart decisions. Information abounds. Intelligence does not. If it did, then the Bills would be Belichick more regularly.
09/03/2014 1:21PM
Who has been with the Bills in management the longest
I sit and listen to all the so called experts, predict another dismal season for the Bills, the QB gets ripped, the offense is unimaginative, Marrone is too tough, Whaley should go, the one person who has been here for the entire losing streak, is the coach, or the G.M., It's Russ Brandon, and his number crunchers, the new owner needs to take a look at the inner management first, losing breeds losers, what have you done for us lately Russ? Your a marketer, not a football man, time for a change....
09/03/2014 1:43PM
Maybe more
Sometimes I think that fans may know more than those in charge. Not just about players but game management. We WANTED the Panthers to kick a field goal last year to go up by only 6. They did. We were right. We WANT to go for it on 4th down. We KNOW it's nearly impossible to win without a high quality QB. Why not draft at least one QB every year. The only way to ensure failure is to not try. Who knows... maybe someday the league will catch up to us fans.
09/03/2014 1:53PM
This has to be the most clueless editorial I've ever read
The fact that you believe that winning and losing is based on luck is absurd. The problem with you is that you have no accountability. You don't have to produce. If you did, you would be fired because the things you say and do are childish and ignorant at best. What a mess at WGR...
09/03/2014 2:06PM
Schopp's next article will be
"If you've ever played Madden you to can coach an NFL team." Why is this guy employed in sports media? Is the Buffalo market so starved for talent that a guy like Mike Schopp can get a job in sports media? Technology may make scouting easier, game planning easier, it may make college games more accessible, but it doesn't make scouting obsolete. It's nothing but another tool in the box to be used for effective scouting. I can look up all the statistics I want, but if I don't know specifically what to look for or how to interpret what I'm seeing, guess what Schopp? It does me no good. It does you no good. It doesn't do anybody any good. Scouts have to know what to look for, and that's why there are scouts still employed in every sport. For being so much smarter than us mere mortals Schopp, this is beyond dumb, even for you.
09/03/2014 2:11PM
Aren't you the same guy who used to get upset with Ralph Wilson making football decisions?? Ironic.
09/03/2014 2:28PM
Whaley is the opposite of what we have had here for 20 years Vanilla
what's wrong with win big or go home compaired playing it safe year after year alot of good that did safe choice coaches and gm's Vanilla, vanilla, vanilla.
09/03/2014 4:36PM
Know this!
The Bills trust is going to take the highest bid. Everything they have done so far points to that. I do not believe Ralph did us any favors. I also believe that bid will come from Canada,a foreign nation with an appetite for American companies. They encourage this with help when needed, See Niagara Falls Ontario.Mr.P is up against it. His bid better be much more than the Bills will be worth for many years. I don't see him doing as Trump said something really stupid. Hello Toronto!
09/03/2014 4:57PM
Difference Between Knowledge and Wisdom
Mike - Knowledge abounds. You're absolutely right. Everyone know everything. But, there is a big difference between knowledge and wisdom (The ability to apply your knowledge in a way that is most beneficial). Just because you know something does not make you an expert. I really am not sure what the point of your article was other than to point out knowledge abounds. But, let's focus. Whaley is in essentially his first year and I have to say I have been very satisfied with his decisions since he has been in charge. He has brought in some real talent to this team it did not have 5 years ago. WRs, O-Line, LBs. These are the three areas the Bills have improved in. Can you imagine the D if Kiko hadn't been injured? Scary Stuff. No GM is going to have a hit with every pick or FA signing. But look at the real taint we have picked up in just two years. Jerry Hughes - An even trade for a D-Lineman who had, what, 10 sacks. Kiko - He got robbed with his ROY. Kiko was by far the best rookie last year. Brandon Spikes - one of the best run stuffers and leaders. Sammy Watkins - Everyone who know everything should recognize Watkins is something special. This alone is a good job, but put into this Mike Williams, Corey Graham, Dixon and Brown at RB. There is some serious talent there looking to the future. Sentrel Henderson - A seventh round pick starting based on earning it. Great pick. Keith Rivers - Solid LB. All of these moves prove to me Whaley has his head in this game and deserves to stay. I haven't even mentioned probably half of the other good decisions he has made. So, let's look at the bad decisions. No veteran to back up EJ starting last year until now. Finally he pulled the trigger and got the best one available. Next, he gave away our 1st round pick next year in a year we may need a QB. I totally understand his move. First, He was all-in for going to the playoffs, which is everyone is clamoring for. Of course he's trying to save his job, but Watkins again is something special. It remains to be seen whether he was worth the cost. Let me ask you this, if you had to give up the same amount to pick up Kiko would you have did it??? Like one of the best lines on Blacklist this year Ït is not a science, it's an art." And IMO Whaley's art is appreciating and if we don't keep him here we may be looking at another many years of poor picks. He's earned his position in this organization. Go Bills!!!
09/03/2014 5:31PM
I agree, and I don't
I think that the basic premise of the article is probably partially correct. There is no doubt that the availability of information brings everybody a level of access that has not existed in the past. If you want to know something, chances are you can know it. And what's more, if a regular guy was given the reigns of an NFL franchise, I am sure he would have even more access to certain kinds of information than even the general public. So yes it makes a lot of sense that the availability of information could serve as an equalizer in terms of a persons ability to perform their job (such as scouting). Buuuuuuuuut...having access to information is only part of doing an effective job, or solving a problem effectively. I think the other important part of the equation is experience within that realm of knowledge. The new owner of the Bills will not have conceivably spent 60 hours a week for their entire adult life immersed within a specific sphere of knowledge. One could go and take an open book exam in quantum physics, with a laptop and textbooks at hand...but one would probably bomb it if the questions were anything more than straightforward. But if instead one were to go to school for ten years and earn a bachelors and then a PhD and then dedicated much of their time thereafter to this subject, they could probably do very well. Simply having access to information is not always enough - you have to synthesize that information and know how to use it effectively, which in large part CAN (but not always, I yield) come from experience. So in the end, its an interesting thought from Schopp and it would probably be true in a lot of cases for the new owner. But the new owner would have to be able to be smart enough to know when even having access to all the information is not enough, and hopefully he selects the right people to do that job around him and get him up to speed.
09/03/2014 5:35PM
Fast Fact
Paulrus seems to know it all in his write ups with out rebuttals. How to be arrogant that is. Manuel will be the back up soon after the train wreck in Chicago. Manuel proved it on the field in the preseason how to suck. Have another cheeseburger Hamilton. You don't have a clue about football. Let Joe do the Bills like it supposed to be. The Harbor Center will be hiring bus boys soon. Just a hint.
09/03/2014 6:46PM
This team will continue to go nowhere...
with the likes of Russ Brandon, Doug Whaley, or Doug Marrone. I would imagine that whoever spends millions of dollars for this wretched franchise would be smart enough to not only dump the entire dead men walking organization, but also have a new leader with his entire staff ready for action. Attention to detail and hard work made most of these prospective buyers the elitists they are today. Please don't run this team on the cheap with guys who are masquerading as front office personnel.
09/03/2014 8:00PM
Mike, you might be right...
I say that with the same patronizing, condescending tone that you use on your show...get it O Smart One?
09/03/2014 8:30PM
Dismiss Whaley. Hire Bill Polian.
09/03/2014 10:09PM
Two jurks in a pod
Schopp is an idiot and always will be an idiot. When is the management at 'GR finally going to fire this idiot? If it ever happens, FIRE JEREMY WHITE TOO AT THE SAME TIME. Putrid radio and write ups.
09/04/2014 12:21AM
It's Like This, Really...
It is certainly true, as Mike just loves to say, that everyone has access to the info -- but there is a naivete in concluding that anyone with access can therefore run a successful team. This is largely a conceit of the young and/or immature, who suddenly think they know everything because they're gaping at computers all day and night. Everyone has access to medical info but I want my surgery to be done by a surgeon not a geek; everyone can get online access to flight simulators but I want my airliner flown and landed by a pilot not a geek. Life has never been that simple, and neither is sports -- as long as players are human beings, emotional and intuitive and erratic, and not robots, success in games will always be about more than the STATS STATS STATS that are increasingly dominating the conversation and making Sports Talk generally less enjoyable than ever.
09/04/2014 1:29AM
Yeah, it's not luck...
The teams that do well are usually run by skilled, intelligent people. Look at the clowns that have been running the bills over the past decade or so, that's not bad luck, that's bad management. Why are the Bills going to be terrible this year? Because of bad luck? Nope. Because they picked a coach who could only win about half of his games at a mediocre college. Because they reached on a QB that most experts believed would go in the second, third or even later rounds and who was a development prospect at best. Because they put all their chips on that QB, even after he showed after a full year of play that he couldn't even hit mediocre in the NFL. And if they continue to suck next year it won't be due to bad luck, it will be due to the bad decision to waste next years first round pick on a receiver when we don't even have a QB yet. Luck doesn't get you wins, good management and good decisions get you wins.
09/04/2014 7:14AM
Super Hero
This from a guy who devoted my entire drive home this week, talking about batman and robin.
09/04/2014 8:47AM
I really dont listen to sports radio anymore, mostly because your show is so bad.
09/04/2014 9:17AM
Led by SchLOPP... Drowning in irrelevance and MEDIOCRITY.
09/04/2014 9:54AM
Bills have shown to know very little for most of their history
This is a team that with the exception of the Polian and Butler years has shown itself to know very little about making sound personnel decisions and building a team. They have been arguably the worst in professional sports over the last 15 years in their selections of players and coaches. It's just unacceptable how little value they have put around the importance of the QB position since Jim Kelly retired. Yes with access to adavanced sports statistics and player metrics that measure the attributes of both college and pro players...the Bills should be looking to get smarter and gain an advantage over the larger market/wealthier counterparts throughout the NFL. However nothing they seem to do is cutting edge. What their personnel decisions over the last few seasons suggest is that this team is operating like it's the era between 1986-1994 rather than 2014. They were cutting edge on defense last year I will give them that. While their offense was pedestrian at best last season and nauseating at worst the defense was the one bright spot. They took a step back this season in that area though. They brought in a defensive coordinator who has installed an archaic model of a defense that is chillingly similar to the Dave Wannstedt defense that was in place here two seasons ago and they are without their two best playmakers at forcing turnovers from a season ago with Jarius Byrd gone forever via free agency and Kiko Alonso out for the season. You stop teams by stopping the pass not so much the run anymore. The Bills pass defense is absolutely worse in 2014 and could be much worse. There will not be bushels of turnovers and sacks in 2014 like there were in 2013. Ralph Wilson is gone, yet this club functions like Ralph Wilson is alive, well and thriving. That is not meant to be a slight against the legendary owner...it's just that Ralph Wilson was never the most aggressive, forward thinking owner and he became even less so as the years went on and he got older. New ownership can only be good for this team in terms of a change in philosophy and the brain trust.
09/04/2014 10:25AM
Totally Clueless
An owner needs to have the ability to control his emotions and do what's best for the team. Sure it would be "fun" to call the shots in the draft room but that wouldn't be in the best interest of the team. The ability for an organization (including the owner)to put the good of the team above all else is what characterizes a winning organization. The Pats do this well - quick to cut draft choices if they don't pan out in lieu of the standard move in which all of your high round picks make and stick with the team for an extended period so you don't get backlash for having a bad draft or putting all of your eggs in one quarter back. I hate the Pats but they would bring in 2,3,4 quarterbacks have an open competition and see who sticks. How much better off would we be right now if we had drafted Manuel and Nassib? Nobody hits on every draft pick but the good organizations move on from their mistakes quickly. You might think about doing the same with this article.
09/04/2014 12:09PM
re: Difference Between Knowledge and Wisdom
You really need to take off those rose colored glasses. Here is where you are dead wrong about Whaley...EJ Manuel never should have been the QB they drafted in the first place. Now it's debatable as to whether or not Manuel was even Whaley and Marrone's guy. I suspect Marrone wanted to draft Ryan Nassib and he was overruled by Buddy Nix as was Whaley because Nix fell in love with Manuel's arm and size but completely failed to take into account Manuel's decision making and accuracy. Big mistake there and Whaley is at fault for it because he should have stepped up and told Budddy Nix it was the wrong move. Instead he sat back and let it happen. Secondly anyone and everyone should not at all recognize that Sammy Watkins is something special because if the QB can't get him the ball in the first place then he is bringing zero value to this offense. Third Corey Graham, Dixon and Brown are hardly serious talents. Graham is old and in the twilight of his career which is why a much more accomplished and smarter organization like Baltimore Ravens let him walk. Brown and Dixon will contribute nothing. They were unwanted castoffs and trade bait for the teams that they were previosuly with. The wisdom and and longterm vision is severly lacking with these decisions. If this results in a 4 or 5 win season (and the odds are it will)then Doug Whaley should be one of the first individuals to lose his job when new onwership takes over.
09/04/2014 4:07PM
RE: simply the best
You must be facetious!! Mike Schoop is one of the biggest twits around!!
09/04/2014 5:18PM
You should know! You act like you know everything.
09/04/2014 11:04PM
This guy is a joke
For some reason, it likely is ratings, WGR management continues to justify employing this self professed expert. Week by week, his nonsense goes by without anyone holding him accountable. His daily ripping of the sports teams that make his job possible has become a joke. He can never get into a legitimate conversation with people who disagree with. The conversation, if it is allowed by his screener, quickly escalates into him barking into his microphone, indignant that someone would actually disagree with him. I know several people that have sent letters to WGR seeking a change yet all we get is "his opinions are his own and not that of the station". Its gotten to the point where it is simply embarrassing that this station still employs him. Its time for this station to make a stand and restore itself professionally.
09/05/2014 1:15PM
It 's Just Sports
From his start on 'GR, Mike Schopp has styled himself as a sort of sports intellectual, but his remarkable lack of depth is actually embarrassing -- how can any adult think that capability in any field is a mere matter of scanning stats on a computer screen. For all his pretensions, and his analytics fetish, he is merely what most sports talk "personalities" are, another lad who never grew up, cocky and glib and infatuated by the sound of his own voice -- notice how he's better with callers when he is hosting alone, without Chris or Sal, when he hasn't much choice but to cool his usual disdain and be more patient. And it might humble him a bit if he admitted that real intellectuals don't waste time in the playground that is sports (or analytics), they take on big challenges in science and medicine and public service and such... sports can be a fun diversion for anybody, but it's just sports.
09/05/2014 1:57PM
re. this guy is a joke
I do agree with his inability to engage in a disagreement with someone. He takes pride in this Rush Limbaugh self righteousness, where any caller that disagrees with his opinion is quickly either cut-off or beraded as being wrong. Which is ludicrous because at least 90% of what he talks about is opinion anyway, so there's really no right or wrong. Of course his opinions are known facts to him, and he knows what he knows. There's no use calling in, because unless you agree with him, it goes nowhere. WGR seems to think that employing know-it-all on-air personalities who constantly make outrageous comments are what Buffalonians want to hear. We don't - but we're forced to endure it because it's the only show in town, unfortunately. At least he's not quite as bad as the morning guys. Those 2 clowns cannot be listened to
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