Marshall Faulk: Not a Huge Believer in the Steelers

It’s too bad NFL.com just doesn’t have an entire section devoted to “Stupid Things Marshall Faulk Says” because it would make my job a lot easier. Instead, I spent 20 minutes perusing their video archives to unearth some recent nuggets of wisdom.

We talked about it on the podcast yesterday, but the trap that we all fall into time and again is that we expect the former players who show up on our televisions and call themselves analysts to, you know, actually know what they’re talking about. That, clearly, is asking too much.

The obvious exceptions: Ron Jaworski, Merril Hoge and Mike Mayock. I also like Deion Sanders because, despite the occasional misguided rant, he’s a smart dude who understands the cornerback position. Some folks are also high on Trent Dilfer. And there are others, too, I’m sure.

But Marshall, the former Colts and Rams running back who deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame, speaks with the certainty of high school math teacher working through a proof, but his analysis usually lands squarely between absurd and patently wrong. Time and again. (If nothing else, he gets points for consistency.)

And, look, we’ve all been wrong. That’s not my point. My issue with Faulk is that he’s allegedly an expert, but it’s obvious that he doesn’t prepare for his job. It’s one thing to say that the Steelers will lose because their offensive line is in shambles and they have inexperienced wideouts. It’s something else entirely to suggest that Dick LeBeau won’t be able to employ his “fancy defenses” because the Jets will run all over the Steelers.

(And if the NFL Network argues that Faulk does prepare then, well, that’s even worse. It would be less embarrassing if they just said, “Yeah, he just rolls out of bed, shows up, inhales a few bear claws, and just starts making shit up.”)

It wasn’t unreasonable to think that the Jets had a chance against the Steelers in the AFC Championship game. New York did beat Pittsburgh in Week 15. It’s just that Marshall has no use for logic when formulating his argument.

Before we get to the damning evidence, a word about why I even care. No idea. Really, I can’t explain it. I’m a grown man with plenty of other things to occupy my time. And it’s not like I haven’t been writing on the internet long enough to know that this type of myopic analysis is a staple of sports network programming. Maybe it’s because the Steelers are in the Super Bowl and my senses are heightened. Or perhaps it is because I’m getting older — and more crotchety (is that possible?). Whatever it is, I just don’t have the patience for stupidity like I once did. I can’t help myself. And who knows, maybe this’ll inspire Marshall to not suck at his job.

Onto the unintentional comedy…

Here’s Marshall on January 20, explaining why he likes the Jets over the Steelers:

“Listen, I’ve been riding with the Jets all year and I’m not gonna stop now. When I look at the way Ben plays … the fact that he’s a guy who holds onto the football, and that they are not committed to the run, you become a one-dimensional team against the Jets. You can’t beat that defense one dimensional.

“[Rex Ryan] came up with a game plan to beat the great Peyton Manning. He came up with a game plan to beat the great Tom Brady. Well, look who’s next … look who’s next. I’m a ride with the Jets.”

It took me 15 seconds to find the stats from the Week 15 get-together to refute Marshall’s allegation that the Steelers “are not committed to the run.” Net rushing yards against the Jets in that regular-season matchup? 146. And the Steelers averaged 5.8 yards per rush, including Rashard Mendenhall’s 99 yards on 17 carries. Weird.

There’s more, of course. Here’s Faulk from January 16:

“I don’t like this matchup for Pittsburgh because when I look at Pittsburgh defensively, going up against the Jets, Dick LeBeau don’t get to use his fancy defenses because the Jets are gonna pound the football on you and make you play the run. And now your corners have to play one on one against two receivers that could be dangerous if you play them man. And on offense, when the Steelers have the ball, Ben — this defense of the Jets, they want the quarterback to hold the football. And you know what Ben does: he’s the pat, pat, pat, pump, pump, pump kinda guy. And if you stand back there, the sacks will happen, just like they did the first time.”

God almighty. In the first game, the Jets ran for 106 yards, 15 coming from Mark Sanchez. Shonn Greene had 40 yards on 12 carries (3.3 YPC), and LaDainian Tomlinson had 49 yards on 11 carries (4.5 YPC). Not exactly 2009 Chris Johnson-type efforts there. Might have had something to do with the Steelers’ No. 1 defense.

As for the Jets two dangerous receivers: Braylon Edwards had 8 catches for 100 yards, Santonio Holmes had six for 40 yards. And Sanchez ended the day 19 of 29 for 170 yards and no touchdown passes.

That’s not to say that Edwards, Holmes and Sanchez couldn’t get hot and put up points, but they didn’t do in the first matchup — without Troy Polamalu. What made Marshall think that would suddenly change?

For what it’s worth, some noteworthy stats from the AFC Championship game:

– Sanchez: 20 of 33 for 233 yards, 2 TDs
– Edwards: 3 catches, 50 yards, 0 TDs
– Holmes: 2 catches, 61 yards, 1 TD
– Cotchery: 5 catches, 33 yards, 1 TD
– Greene: 9 rushes, 52 yards, 0 TDs
– Tomlinson: 9 rushes, 16 yards, 0 TDs

Solid work, sir.

I’m nicknaming Faulk “Costanza.”

“If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.” Sounds familiar.

Here’s to hoping Marshall likes the Packers or I’m going to have to do some serious reevaluating.

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  • Kev4heels

    Marshall Faulk is a clown. He has obvious hate to wards the Steelers. If he wants his career to continue he needs to start seeing things objectively. Unfortunately for him, the team he hates (Steelers) happens to be pretty good…so he is generally wrong about any game they are playing.

  • Randy Steele

    It’s not just Marshall Faulk. With the exception of Mike Mayock and a couple others, the entire cast of analysts for the NFL Network has boogers for brains. These guys cannot put a coherent thought to word. It’s maddening.

    And Ryan, yes, it’s not only possible to get more crotchety as you get older, it’s guaranteed. Look at me.

  • Anonymous

    I’d throw Brian Billick and Brian Baldinger as solid positives for the NFL Network. Solomon Wilcots, Sterling Sharpe (who cannot refrain from shouting every word of his analysis), and Joe Theismann ruin everything they’re on.

    • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

      Yep. I’ve mentioned it a couple times throughout the season, but I’ve grown to appreciate Billick, teevee analyst. He’s smart and actually understands what he’s talking about. And you know what? Nobody cares that he’s partial to the Ravens since, you know, he won a Super Bowl with them. But at least he can articulate why he may or may not like a certain team’s chances.

      • Randy Steele

        Yeah, but I always have the feeling with that that he’s in a hurry to get off the air to go to a wine tasting.

    • Anonymous

      Is Wilcots still saying “Mendinghall?” If so, we should keep saying “Wilcox.”

    • drinkingclub

      But Solomon Wilcots has the best name of people on the NFL Network. I like him for that reason alone.

  • Dcorbett1

    Good to see others notice this with Faulk! In 2006 he said he couldn’t wait to see Palmer and crew carve up the Steelers. The Steelers destroyed the Bengals to keep them out of the playoffs.

  • Roynd1

    Ive met a lot of athletes over the years and Faulk was by far the biggest jackass I’ve ever met!! I met him in Tampa at the SuperBowl.Every other NFL network guy(except Sharpe who was a lesser jerk) took time out for fans and was cordial. He was a complete ass, hated him ever since and of read the same stuff from others. He sucks as an analyst and obviously hates the Steelers. Glad others notice too. Add Simms to the list of haters too.

  • NohSpinZone

    Go faulk yourself, Marshall.

  • Steelcurtainradio

    I think Phil Simms is just as dumb.

  • Steelcurtainradio

    Why spend so much time on this subject?

    • Anonymous

      When #119 goes up, we can talk about you. Bwahahaha.

  • Randy Steele

    If you’re looking for a story idea to do during the off-season, perhaps you could explore something like, “Analysis of the Analysts,” maybe a Top 10/Bottom 10 sort of thing. Dissect the good, the bad, and the ugly among the TV color commentators and various football analysts who litter our lives every weekend.

  • dennisonschili

    I’ve got to say that Colin Cowherd is by far the worst on television or radio. He is the most opinionated guy I’ve ever heard yet it seems he puts absolutely no thought into it his contentions. He has a serious case of arguement diarrhia.

    • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

      Well, you’ll love this: some network is making a sitcom about Cowherd’s life. Can’t make this stuff up.