Sunday, November 13, 2005

Erik Kuselias: Mr. ESPN Radio

by BH

Long ago, I made it one of my personal missions in life to make fun of all those in the national media who dabble in hyperbole, yet don't get that what they are saying is an exaggeration. Over the past two seasons, we have heard that the Forty-Niners just don't have the talent to compete in the NFL. It's been sort of an annoyance, yet this morning, Erik Kuselias of The NFL on ESPNRadio , while introducing the Niner/Bears game, said the Niners were, "devoid of talent."

Now, Kuselias is on ESPNRadio, where guys are rewarded for saying stupid, inflammatory crap, but I felt as though his statement needed a little investigation. With a little word replacement, Kuselias said that the Niners are "completely without talent" (I think he actually said "completely devoid of talent," which would have made his statement even more ridiculous, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt). That's an interesting thing when you think about the number of guys in the NFL and those who would like to be in the league. I would wager, and I have no real way to measure this or back it up, that the talent pool in the NFL looks something like 5/85/10. That is, 5% of the players in the NFL are awesome, being legitimately better than the rest of the league. These would be your Ed Reeds and Peyton Mannings and Ladanian Tomlinsons. 85% of the league are good players that aren't really stars. They'll put up numbers, and maybe make a Pro Bowl, but aren't on the same level as the 5% These are guys like Tony Parrish and Trent Dilfer. Then there are the 10%. This number may be a little high, but these are the guys who are kind of lucky to be on a team, but are still good players. They just aren't the 5 or 85%. These are guys like third tight ends and special teamers. They'd probably still be the best players to have gone to your high school. Now, to make things clear, they are all more talented than me on a football field, and they are a hell of a lot more talented than Erik Kuselias. I mean, they're in the NFL.

So let's look at his statement that the Niners are devoid of talent. There's Bryant Young, a twelve-year vet who, going into Sunday, was tied for the league lead in sacks. There's Julian Peterson, who's gone to a couple of Pro Bowls. It was pretty unanimous that Alex Smith was talented when he was chosen by the Niners in the draft. I guess there are some other guys who have done some good stuff, and have, despite Kuselias' assertion, some talent. Undoubtedly the Niners have more of the 10% variety than most teams, but come on Erik, they still play in the NFL. I guess you focused on the fourth-string QB starting for the Niners, or the two converted QB wide receivers on the roster. Those guys are probably of the 10% type, and don't look good when compared to Ray Lewis or Steve Smith or Tom Brady. But don't let your easy seat at the self-proclaimed "worldwide leader" lull you into thinking that you actually have any real ability to judge or evaluate the level of talent possessed by individual players or teams. Use your brain before you start to talk.

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