Early this morning, the Pardon My Take podcast addressed the ongoing Jay Cutler/Handball controversy.
Listen here: Link (Click “Play” below the logo and go to 48:50 for the “handball discussion.”)
Some Hot Takes From the Podcast
- They are a bit surprised with the uproar among “handballists”
- “The “Olympics” for handball is not actually the Olympics. It’s responding to everybody that says that U.S. could dominate in the Olympics if we put our other athletes in handball.”
- “I mean it’s 100% true. No offense to Handballists. I’m sure you’re very nice people but you play a sport that if we decided to stop playing all the other sports that there would be a lot of guys better than what you’re doing. I’m sorry. I apologize for absolutely nothing. We’re right.”
- The U.S. would also dominate rugby if our American football players grew up playing the sport
- Soccer is different. We couldn’t do that in soccer since it’s a world class sport.
- Handball is not “world class” like soccer. It’s recess
- Handball is not easy… It would take 3 months for U.S. pros to train and get acclimated
- Handball is a game you invent to kill time at your office
- But it looks like a really, really fun sport to play
Context and Analysis
I’m not a regular listener to the Pardon My Take podcast, but it’s a big time podcast. In fact, it’s the number one sports podcast in the U.S. and each episode gets between 750,000 and 1,500,000 downloads. That is a lot of listeners.
And, if it’s not obvious, the show is satirical. It is intended to be fun and the style and delivery of the two hosts, Big Cat and PFT Commenter, pokes fun at more serious sports shows. PFT Commenter, in particular, is playing a persona (not himself) and from time to time has had a few controversies. And, the defense has essentially been, well, that’s not me, that’s my persona.
So, the digs at handball, are mostly a mixture of shtick and ignorance. Mostly… There is also a bit of good ol’ fashioned American arrogance. Honestly, as the conversation bounced back and forth from somewhat rational analysis to absurdity it’s hard to think what they truly believe.
As an example they make the rationale point that the U.S. would be much better at rugby if we had our top American football players playing and… they grew up playing the sport. The last part of that analysis is key. I’m not a rugby expert, but I watch a bit, and if Lamar Jackson did grow up playing rugby he would be phenomenal. Much the same way LeBron James would be phenomenal at handball if he grew up playing it. But, to think that it would only take 3 months to put together an Olympic handball squad is… absurd. Yes, there’s quite a bit of difference between growing up playing the sport and a 3 month training camp.
The Proposed Pardon My Take Roster
The hosts also put together a hypothetical team simply using recurring guests on their show. Here’s every single name mentioned along with their their Age, Height, Weight and background:
- Stu Feiner: ~60 year old sports handicapper (c’mon)
- Jay Cutler: 36, 6’3″, 231 lbs, former NFL QB
- Kyle Long: 31, 6’6″, 332 lbs, former NFL Offensive Guard
- Phil Hughes: 33, 6’5″, 240 lbs, former MLB pitcher
- Sam Dekker: 25, 6’9″, 219 lbs, basketball Forward for Lokomotiv Kuban (Russian League) (their proposed GK)
- Blake Bortles: 27, 6’5″, 236 lbs, backup NFL QB (LA Rams)
- Blake Griffin: 30, 6’9″, 250 lbs, NBA Forward (Detroit Pistons)
- Brooks Koepka, 30, 6’0″, 209 lbs, Pro Golfer (“a maybe even” afterthought)
- Danny Woodhead: 35, 5’8″, 204 lbs, former NFL running back
- Matt Dellavedova: 29, 6’3″, 200 lbs, NBA guard (Cleveland Cavaliers) (Huh? He’s Australian)
- Jared Goff: 25, 6’4″, 222 lbs, NFL QB (LA Rams)
- Patrick Mahomes: 24, 6’3″, 230 lbs, NFL QB (Kansas City Chiefs)
- Gary Busey or Samuel L Jackson (Potential coaches)
This is not a strong roster. The younger QBs (Bortles, Goff and Mahomes) would be fine players as would the two basketball players (Griffin and Dellavedova), but beyond that it’s pretty slim pickings. I suppose 36 year old Cutler could play a little. Dekker as a GK would be a disaster. I don’t think anyone is left handed too, so forget about the right side of the court.
A Challenge from USA Men’s Coach, Robert Hedin
USA Men’s National Team Coach, Robert Hedin has had enough and has issued the following challenge:
This sounds like a lot of fun. For sure it would be entertaining. And, if it’s the Pardon My Take roster above my money is on the U.S. With just 2 practices to prepare and no real goalie they would be hurting. The U.S. would be able to score pretty easily and I think the Pardon My Take team would only score on fast breaks. Keep the turnovers down and they have little chance at cracking 10 goals. Overall, I’m thinking a 40-7 scoreline.