Man, This Guy Can Write:

Though I’m not that much of an NFL football fan, I can’t help but noticing the extraordinarily good writing of Mike Tanier, who writes for FootballOutsiders.com (and the New York Times from time to time). Here are some examples, from his discussion of this week’s games:

On the Jets v Browns: “Eric Mangini is on a cross-country quest to silence his doubters, joined by a ragtag company of spunky rookie quarterbacks, castoff veterans, fleet-footed punters and other misfits. Having conquered the defending champion Saints and vanquished his mentor Bill Belichick, Mangini hosts the Jets, whom he coached through his metamorphosis from Boy Genius to baby-faced Machiavelli before being ripped apart by the tectonic forces of Big Apple expectations and Brett Favre egocentrism.”

And even better, Seahawks v. Cardinals: “The N.F.C. West stages one of its sad little round robins this week to see who gets to go 8-8 and lose, 31-7, to the Saints or Eagles in the playoffs. It’s like a college basketball-style play-in. In fact, don’t give the N.C.A.A. any ideas, or the winner of this game will face the winner of Canisius versus Towson University.”

And Eagles v. Redskins: “All of the campaign strategists who produced effectively virulent political smear advertisements went straight to Washington after the election and, with nothing else to do for 11 months, started writing the copy for Mike Shanahan’s news conferences. Shanahan & Son (you can picture the truck and junkyard in your head, can’t you?) stopped just short of accusing Donovan McNabb of shipping jobs overseas, but they effectively created a divisive, rancorous environment that will make it impossible to get anything done. In other words, our nation’s capital gets the football it deserves.”

Really terrific stuff.