If you are a fan of Grantland.com, you are probably aware that they will occasionally share an email exchange between Bill Simmons & Malcolm Gladwell. Their long-winded emails show that somewhat ordinary conversations make for great blog material.
With that spirit in mind, the following is an actual email thread between Aaron Thuringer (author of Thuringer.me) and myself. The conversation took place over the last couple of weeks. We cover a wide range of topics including: the Super Bowl, the future of domain names & a re-cast of the movie The Expendables. Enjoy!
THURINGER – I have a question about the upcoming Super Bowl and I’m 90% sure you could probably guess the topic. Yup, it’s Richard Sherman. Now, I greatly dislike overblown media topics during Super Bowl week (and don’t get me started on radio row!) but I have to ask:
Was Richard Sherman’s now infamous post game interview wrong? Was it a bad thing to do?
BAKER – Is it ironic that the self proclaimed best cover corner in the NFL is the most covered player at the Super Bowl?
If I were Nike or Beats Headphones I would absolutely say that Richard Sherman’s post game rant was not bad at all. Just today I saw numerous website ads for products endorsed by Sherman. Would I have noticed them if Sherman wasn’t everywhere in the news right now? Not sure.
As for the question of was the interview wrong or bad for Sherman personally, that’s a tough one. Sure he is benefiting financially from being in the spotlight, but is his reputation taking a hit? From what I’ve read, he is actually a very bright person who does great things in the Seattle community. But most people don’t know that because all they see is the post game interview. I read a great article where a young boy compares Sherman to Wreck it Ralph. The boy’s point was that both are seen as bad guys but they are really just misunderstood. I thought this was both adorable and insightful.
In your email you said don’t get you started on radio row. I would like to get you started. As someone who worked in sports radio for a bit (mainly in setting up remote broadcasts) I appreciate all the effort and technology that goes into pulling off something like radio row. That being said, I don’t get it. Why do places like AZ have to send local radio shows across the country to cover something that doesn’t involve any local teams? Is it just to make it seem like the station is a big deal and to take advantage of the many interview possibilities? Would we think any less of a station if they did not cover the Super Bowl on site?
THURINGER – I 100% agree with you on the benefit Richard Sherman is getting from his rant. It made him a household name. That, in itself, is excellent marketing. He is currently in the top 10 in the league in jersey sales. To be a CB and be in the top 10 in jersey sales, well you must have done something extra-curricular to improve your brand. Do we think Deion Sanders would be as popular as he was today if he hadn’t branded himself as “PrimeTime” and rubbed a lot of people the wrong way? Richard Sherman’s rant guaranteed him two things: 1) a 99 overall rating in Madden 15 through 20 and 2) When he is 35 and a shell of his former self, he will still be a name you can sell for fans. Sherman is set for life because of one short rant after making the biggest play of his career.
I also think it’s important because sports need a heel (for you non wrestling fans, that means a villain). This Super Bowl gets a boost because we are now talking about America’s favorite son, Peyton Manning (note, he’s not my favorite son) against its biggest thug, Richard Sherman. This only amplifies what was already a historic offense against a historic defense. I bet his rant alone added a few million viewers to the Super Bowl. I think that’s fantastic.
Without going too far off the deep end, I don’t necessarily agree with Richard Sherman being labeled as a thug. Part of me thinks he deserves it after that rant, but part of me cringes at that term. Thug is a racial term. Can you name me a white guy who has been called a “thug”? I can’t defend Richard Sherman too much, however. One could chalk up his infamous interview to emotion, but in the hours and days after that interview he is still repeating the same talking points, albeit without the amazing, wrestling like theatrics. I don’t know if what he did was “wrong” but I do think he deserves the backlash he is getting.
As much as I love the Wreck it Ralph comparison, I have a better one for you: Bane. They’re both villainous, super smart, theatrical and were made famous on a football field.
I’m fascinated to hear your thoughts on Radio Row. I just don’t like the end product. It’s countless hours of the same interviews and the same people regurgitating the same talking points and then trying to sell a product or idea (even if it’s noble, like a charitable cause). I agree with your point, why does a radio station from AZ have to be there? I do think it’s a status issue. Maybe it’s because being there almost guarantees you high-profile guests – even if they have nothing to say. I’m just really not all that interested in hearing Jerry Rice give his 15th interview of the day about his Super Bowl pick then pitching www.jerryricecares.com or whatever he might be pitching.
BAKER – To answer your question, no I cannot think of one white guy who has been labeled a thug. My first thought was Miami Heat forward Chris Birdman Anderson, but maybe he would be just be called crazy. To your point of thug being a racial term, here is a Bleacher Report story from 2010 that is titled “NBA All-Thug Team” and only one of the 17 guys they list is white (Birdman). Granted there aren’t a ton of white guys in the NBA, but still.
Side note, I googled “White guy thug” just to see what came up and Google auto-corrected me to say “white guy thug life tattoo”. Just thought that was funny.
Not only is www.jerryricecares.com available but it is only $12.99. I just assumed that any domain with Jerry Rice in it would be taken or cost thousands of dollars. Not that I didn’t believe you, but I looked up jerryricecares.com to see what came up. Go Daddy said it was available and that I also might be interested in www.JerryTownsend.com. Why would they assume that I would even be remotely interested in JerryTownsend.com.
Let’s play a game called “guess how much the domain costs.” First up… www.JerryTownsend.com. I’ll give you a hint; it is more than www.jerryricecares.com ($12.99) but less than www.JoinJerry.com ($2,895.00).
THURINGER – I could have sworn Jerry Townsend was someone famous, but according to Google he isn’t. There is a JerryTownsendFoundation.com, so I’m going to imagine JerryTownsend.com was pretty pricey if the JT Foundation settled on a longer domain. $500?
I wonder if Richard Sherman will be a popular Halloween costume in 2014. Did his infamous rant happen too early in the year to remain in our national consciousness 9 months later? Hell, I can’t even tell you what the world events were from last week.
Speaking of domain names, have you heard about how there are going to be a flood of new domain extensions? We’re all used to .com, .org or .edu, but there’s going to be a lot more entering the market. Some of the current cool ones that exist are: .jobs, .museum, .name. Soon, there will be a whole lot of unique domain extensions. Think of going to cnn.news, food.food or jerry.rice. Being a digital marketing professional, I’m excited for the combinations. As you clearly know, it’s hard finding specific .com names anymore. That’s the reason you don’t own AdamBaker.com, but what if you owned Adam.Baker, AdamBaker.author or Maury.Moose. A little easier for your branding?
Will it really matter, however? I look for new websites via Google – I never type random web address. When do type in a web address, it’s something I’ve already visited and I am relying on auto-complete to do the actual work of remembering the address.
BAKER – Great deductive reasoning to guess at how much JerryTownsend.com costs. You almost got it exactly right, it is $588.
I am the wrong guy to ask about Halloween costumes. My idea of a costume is to wait until the last minute, realize you don’t have any costumes and then just throw on an old basketball jersey. I’ve probably set a record for number of times dressed up as a player on the Phoenix Suns.
I did not know that about the new wave of domain extensions. That is cool. Who determines what can or can’t be an extension? And how do they program it into the World Wide Web so that it is recognized?
You are right about hardly ever typing full domain names anymore. With Google and auto-correct it seems like all you need to know is the first couple of letters and the internet takes care of the rest.
With the new extensions, will you be allowed to have a specific category of extension if your site has nothing to do with that category? For instance, will you be allowed to have a .food domain if your site is not about food?
I am taking on online class taught by author and marketing guru Seth Godin and I just got to a part where he talks about the important of a name. He says that your company’s name gets people in the mood to hear what you have to say before you say it. I think this directly applies to the new extensions. It now seems as if the extensions will set the mood for you. If I see a domain for something.movies I can get in the mood for reading info about movies. It connects me to an environment of movies before I even show up to their site. I wonder if that is entirely good or if it will limit some creativity of names like Google or iBalooza.
THURINGER – As for who decides domain extensions, that would be the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Their name sounds like something from an Orwellian fantasy, but they are a non-profit based in California that has been handling this stuff since 1998.
I like Seth’s theory on a name setting the mood. To bring this back to sports, do you think it has any correlation with teams? Are you more ready for football if your team is named the “Broncos” as opposed to “Cardinals” or are team nicknames so synonymous with their sport that they set the mood regardless of their name? The New Orleans Pelicans is a relatively new name, and I definitely don’t think about basketball when I think “Pelican.” This could be the reason why so many sports teams are named after something fierce, like “hawks”, “warriors” or “generals” etc. When I hear a name like 49ers, however, I don’t think fierce but I instantaneously start thinking about Joe Montana, Steve Young, Patrick Willis and JerryRiceCares.com. I guess if the Pelicans started winning NBA titles, their name would get me in the mood for basketball.
A great name can take you a long way, but in the end you do need to deliver. Maybe that’s the moral of the story.
BAKER – I won’t ask too much more about ICANN, but I saw that their vision is “One world, one Internet.” Are they concerned that someone will start a 2nd Internet? Sounds like the makings of a great movie. Who would star in 2nd Internet, the movie? What would be the plot? And what would its tagline be?
Here are my suggestions:
Stars: Sylvester Stallone and James Franco
Plot: The internet has gone bad and Stallone & Franco are fighting to create a new one.
Tagline: 2nd Internet: World Lied Web
THURINGER – I’d watch. Did you pick Stallone because he is a classic action star? What do you think of his quest to continue to make classic, 80s style action movies well into the 21st century? I read somewhere that he made the Expendables franchise because he didn’t like the state of action movies in the 2000s.
If you were going to recast the Expendables today, who would you choose? Let’s play by these rules: 5 actors (or actresses) who are considered “action” stars today to be the heroes, and 1 villain. Can you do it without choosing more than one person who has been in a Fast and the Furious movie?
BAKER – Here are my 5 heroes for the Expendables: The Rock (used up my FATF actor with my first pick), Jason Statham (does he count as FATF?) Liam Neeson, Nic Cage & Chris Tucker (for comedic relief).
And my villain would be Tom Hardy (preferably as something similar to Bane).
Who would be your choices?
THURINGER – Statham is in the current Expendables movies, therefore I don’t think you could use him again.
The Rock is my number one choice as well. He is our biggest action star. I think Channing Tatum would play well with him. Let’s throw Gerard Butler into the mix too.
Now I feel like I’m running out of action stars. Liam Neeson is a great pick, but I’m going to leave him off this list. I’m still scarred by how bad Taken 2 was. Also, kudos to you for not casting Kevin Hart. I didn’t know it was legal to leave him out of a movie right now.
Speaking of Kevin Hart, I’ll take Ice Cube as my 4th pick. He might not be an action star, but few look tougher than him. He can be the heavy artillery guy. Johnny Knoxville is my comedic relief, plus he seems to work well as the goofy sidekick to action stars.
My villain? Kiefer Sutherland. Let’s turn Jack Bauer bad. That would be fantastic theater.
I’m totally in on this movie idea. Is it too soon for a remake?
BAKER – I will remove Statham and move Tom Hardy to the heroes. Then I would replace him as the villain with Abed from Community. For some reason I think he could play a funny bad guy.
THURINGER – Abed from Community as a bad guy? I would have never pegged that. Although, I remember thinking Heath Ledger was a terrible choice to be the Joker, so who knows.
Here’s another movie-related question for you: what unlikely actors/actresses would make the best villain? Abed is a good example. Let’s take another one: Paul Dano.
I first saw Paul Dano in The Girl Next Door (very underrated movie). He played Kiltz, an awkward high school senior that was comic relief. I never would have pegged him to be a villain in a movie, but he has shown he has the chops based on recent performances.
BAKER – I thought Abed did a good job as evil Abed in one of the Community episodes, so I think he could pull off creepy bad guy.
I had to look up Paul Dano, but I think that is a good call. I just watched Looper and he was in it and did a good job playing a darker character.
What about Jason Lee? Has My Name is Earl ever been a bad guy?
Another one could be Adam Scott. He played a jerk in Walter Mitty, but it was still humorous. I think he could step it up a notch and be a slick talking villain.
As I type this I am watching SNL’s Sports Spectacular where they are showing the best SNL sports skits. Which current athlete could make the smoothest transition into full time actor/actress? I think Peyton Manning would be great in a comedy. But maybe I am only saying that because I just watched a skit with him in it.
THURINGER – All your villains are stars of NBC sitcoms. Is that on purpose?
Peyton Manning is the obvious choice, although I think I’d pass on a Peyton Manning led sitcom because he’s more sports funny than actually funny. He’d have to be paired with someone who is actually funny, so he could play off of him. I could see him succeeding in a sitcom opposite of someone like Andy Samberg, who is currently crushing it on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, where the joke is Peyton is Peyton and Andy is a nerdish guy who clearly isn’t.
The key for a sports star making the transition is to be on a show whose main hook isn’t that he is an ex-athlete. Going back to my Peyton Manning example, people would stop caring that Peyton Manning is in a comedy after about four episodes. After that, you need substance. A non-sports example of this is “That 70s Show.” The 70s novelty wore off, but the show had good writing and a great cast, so it lasted for years. At the height of its popularity, they spun it off to “That 80s Show” which had bad characters and writing, and couldn’t survive when the nostalgia wore off.
So, perhaps this is another question: What athlete do you pick to star in a comedy and who do you pair him with?
I’ll take a comedy about Andy Roddick, loosely playing himself during his tennis career. His manager or agent can be Adam Scott, the master straight man. I’m going to bring Michael Richards (aka Kramer) out of retirement to play a way-to-into it member of the tennis media, and maybe former tennis star. I’m going to peg Adrianne Palicki (of Friday Night Lights fame) as the top woman’s tennis player in the world and ex of Roddick. Then I’m going to bring Richard Ayoade over from the IT crowd to play Roddick’s eccentric British tennis rival.
Would you watch? Or did I completely contradict my point about the show’s main hook can’t be that he is an ex-athlete?
BAKER – Haha, I didn’t purposely name only NBC characters, but I was watching SNL at the time, so I think NBC was sending me subliminal messages.
WOW, your show idea is brilliant! I would definitely watch that. I especially love adding Richard Ayoade.
I don’t know how I can follow that up.
I’ll take Grant Hill and star him in a comedy alongside comedian Hannibal Buress. Not sure the entire storyline, but I picture Hill as a dad and Buress as his brother in law. I’ll cast John Witherspoon (The Wayans Brothers) as his father in law. The rest of the show needs some work. Any suggestions?
THURINGER – I think I tapped myself out on my show idea. I have no idea how people work on multiple TV shows at once.
Now that the Super Bowl has passed, maybe we should bring this back to where we started, Richard Sherman. How does his trash talk look after his team’s performance on Sunday? Sherman may not have had the gaudy stats that Malcolm Smith or Kam Chancellor had in the game, but the overall team performance went a long way towards validating his rant. Now, people will talk about the Seattle secondary (and their defense overall) as being one of the best ever. They already have legendary swagger, they’ve set Seattle up to have a mini-dynasty and have given us fans a world-class heel to root against for years. I think history will look back kindly on this stretch from Sherman.
Thoughts on the Super Bowl? Do you consider Seattle one of the best defenses ever? Do you factor in the fact that they shut down Peyton Manning and the greatest statistical offense in NFL history, when teams like the 85 Bears and 00 Ravens beat average to above average offenses?
BAKER – More than anything I caught myself feeling bad for Richard Sherman once he got injured. For 2 weeks he was painted as a bad guy and you’d think I would be happy when the bad guy goes down with an injury. But I felt just the opposite. Maybe it was because the Seahawks were clearly going to win and I felt he deserved to be on the field celebrating with his teammates. I bet the Fox executives were sad too, because they probably wanted to get an interview with him as time expired, to see what he might say (or yell).
Overall I thought that the Super Bowl was pretty boring. Once I realized that Denver wasn’t going to do much against Seattle’s defense, I lost most of my interest in the game. I guess that speaks to just how good the Seahawks’ defense was. It was clear that they just weren’t going to be beaten. With the Sherman rant and the ability to shut down Peyton Manning, I think the legend of the Seahawks defense will only continue to grow throughout the years.