Thank you for getting it. All kidding aside, who doesn’t like a list, right? After all, it gives us something nebulous to debate over way too much beer at the local dive bar. But can we stop pretending that these lists actually mean anything? Look, I’ve got all the respect in the world for Mel Kiper and the ridiculous amount of work he must put into his NFL draft prospect breakdowns. But ultimately, it’s all still a bunch of crap.
Lists, ultimately, end up being opinion. Nothing more and nothing less. There’s nothing wrong with having opinions, and even publishing them. Goodness knows, it’s what we do. But the world would be a better place if it could be done in a way that doesn’t attempt to assign a number value to something. Without further ado, here are top five reasons sports lists are dumb.
5) They deal in things that are not quantifiable.
They can’t. Those already all exist in essentially indisputable form. If you want to know who the top power hitters of all time are in MLB, just look at the list of career home runs. And if you were going to make a list of the top power hitters of all time, and wanted to include someone who isn’t near the top of the statistical category, you’d better have a compelling reason. And you don’t. So drop it.
4) They obsolete themselves.
Some do it quickly, like every week. Take a look at any NFL power rankings list before week 1 last season, and then again before week 17. Now, how many of these lists do you think had the Atlanta Falcons somewhere between 25 and 30 in week 1? Exactly. Sure, it’s fun to see where your team ranks, unless you’re a Rams fan like yours truly, but it’s ultimately meaningless.
3) They’re pure conjecture.
There’s no doubt that a lot of research goes into compiling an NFL mock draft. But how many picks do even the most respected experts nail in their mocks? Eight? Five? Now, how many do they nail outside of the top three (which are often consensus picks)? Exactly.
2) They bring out the idiots.
Take me, for example. I read some dumb list about the best defensive catchers in MLB and am immediately infuriated by the omission of AJ Ellis. So I take my vitriol to the comments section and unload. And then nobody responds. And I lose self respect. So I fix myself a drink. And then I remember that it’s nearly 7 am and time to go to work. Then I have to rush through my drink, which martinis were not designed for, making it less enjoyable. Nobody wins.
1) They promote lack of accountability.
Few things are more important to the delicately woven fabric of today’s society than fantasy football. I concede, “few” is a relative and subjective term. That said, few people know fantasy football better than Matthew Berry, but not even he gets them all right. So if you read his weekly list of players to sit and start, like I do every week, and one of his bits of advice went poorly for you, it’s his fault. Not yours, of course, because making your own choices based on your own research is not an option. His.
Stay tuned for an upcoming feature on the top 5 reasons sports lists are integral reading for every sports fan.