Hearne: Star’s Mellinger Obliterates Memory of Past Sports Columnists

Who doesn’t love a good, I told you so?

So allow me to take just a moment to congratulate myself and remind you guys what I told you in 2010 about Kansas City Star sports scribe Sam Mellinger:

"The Star Sports Kings – Jason Whitlock and Joe Posnanski – are dead," I wrote. "Long live new King, Sam Mellinger…Rome wasn’t tacked together overnight and rookie columnists don’t always hit full stride the first few steps out of the blocks. But Sam started out good and is attaining critical mass. He’s been kicking some pretty high quality journalistic butt. And dishing out corporal punishment when called for."

Some readers probably wondered at first how Sam might shake out. Would he be a bombastic Jason-ator? A painfully passionate Posnaski? Something inbetween?

And after more than a decade of W and P, did any other form of sports column writing even exist? Well, Sam has now proven that indeed that is the case. He’s totally his own man and Kansas City is the better for it.

A prime example being today’s column about the sorry state of the Chiefs quarterback situation.

The headline: "Chiefs dream big, except at quarterback."

"The first dichotomy of the Chiefs’ grand-ish experiment is that it depends upon Matt Cassel while the team tries to make sure it doesn’t," Mellinger begins. "The second dichotomy is that they are now very clearly trying to win a Super Bowl without a great quarterback at a time when great quarterbacks have never been more important in the NFL."

The column’s a little long (like Posnanski) and it definitely has some edge (like Whitlock), but what really distinguishes it from both former sports scribes is it’s way too brainy for Whitlock and way too well-reported and succinct for JoePo.

In other words, it’s excellent.

Mellinger’s thesis: "(That) for the most part, we know what their competition will look like, and we know that the Chiefs will try to win games with a very promising roster around an ordinary quarterback as the rest of the league shifts to find star passers."

Mellinger then proceeds to do a top notch job of supporting his contention that the path the Chiefs are now on is a risky and unlikely one.

"Look around the league," he writes. "With the help of a league scout, I came up with no fewer than 26 teams that are either thrilled with the quarterback they have (like the Packers and Patriots) or recently spent big resources on a new quarterback (the Seahawks and Colts, for instance).

"That leaves six teams: the Chiefs, 49ers, Bills, Ravens, Jets and Bears (who, the scout pointed out, could have been in the bigger list after Jay Cutler won seven of 10 starts before a season-ending thumb injury). We talked about the 49ers and Ravens already, and the Jets made two AFC Championship games with Mark Sanchez.

"And so looking at it this way, there is an argument that the Chiefs — with Cassel starting and Brady Quinn backing up — have one of the very least promising quarterback situations in a league largely driven by quarterbacks."

Mellinger backs his contention with a blizzard of interesting facts and stats. When was the last time someone remembers Whitlock pulling off anything like that? Posnanski? Maybe. But by the time you waded through the flowery prose, could anybody remember the supporting stats?

Check out this factoid by Mellinger: "Cassel is now the worst quarterback in the AFC West, meaning the Chiefs need to make up for it across the rest of the roster."

Boldly raising the question of how slim are the Chiefs chances of going anywhere excellent with Cassell at the helm? 

Mellinger’s answer: it’s something "no team in the last five years of the quarterback-centric NFL has managed."


There are no more imaginary shoes for Mellinger to fill; it’s down to a simple case of Joe, who? Jason, who?

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/05/01/3588043/chiefs-dream-big-except-at-quarterback.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/05/01/3588043/chiefs-dream-big-except-at-quarterback.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/05/01/3588043/chiefs-dream-big-except-at-quarterback.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2012/05/01/3588043/chiefs-dream-big-except-at-quarterback.html#storylink=cp
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9 Responses to Hearne: Star’s Mellinger Obliterates Memory of Past Sports Columnists

  1. Merle Tagladucci says:

    Mellinger doesn’t know what kind of writer he wants to be. He has no clear voice as a columnist, although he does have nice syntax. His opinions on nearly every subject aren’t even that hardline; instead of taking a stance, he merely offers up opposing points of view and leaves it up to the reader to fill in the blanks he leaves, which more or less leaves me as a reader right where I was before I read his column. He will however come out and say the Royals stink, as if that’s a hard line to take. Or that we simply don’t know what Dontari Poe will be so why rush to condemn the pick. Well no shit Sam. At least Whitlock’s columns had a pair of nuts, like it or not. Sam plays it very safe in the Star. He is amusing on Twitter though.

  2. Old Man Kissil says:

    I agree with Merle. Mellinger is boring. No real substance. Star could do better.

  3. balbonis moleskine says:

    I like Mellinger, although he is a KU homer. But this is the KC star and KU fans are the most vocal.

    I disagree with his conclusion. Why? Because there are teams with mediocre QBs at the helm that win lots of games, division titles, superbowls, etc. It just becomes an Ex post facto evaluation on the QB once his team has had success. Nobody would have said Eli was elite, but 2 super bowls later and people have him in the top tier.

    The ESPN line of great teams always have HOF qbs is dishonest and intellectually lazy (it is a favorite of 810 kietzman too). It shows someone who has a fundamental misunderstanding of how football works. Not suprisingly, it is usually uttered by people who havent really played much football.

    The NY football giants were a team with an amazing, once in a decade d-line. They had the biggest and strongest offensive line in football. They had TWO running backs who provided power and speed running at any time, running through truck sized holes. They had a solid corps of big play receivers. Eli didn’t make big mistakes.

    That is why they won, they controlled the trenches on both sides of the ball and consistently were the stronger, tougher team.

    I don’t consider Joe Flacco, Alex Smith, or Eli Manning elite QBs or even pro bowl talents. But their teams probably have the best chance of winning it all this year.

  4. Cliffy says:

    I could not disagree more. I never missed Joe’s and Jason’s columns. I rarely bother to read Sam’s. It does not suprise me that Hearne holds him in such high regard.

  5. Jim says:

    Sam the Sham
    Melly wants to us that we are all CONSPIRATORS in Seau’s death? This is good writing? I am no more complicit in his death than I am in the drug overdoses of Hollywood stars when I watch their movies……..or in the death of NASCAR drivers when I watch their races…….or any number of comparisons I could make. If Sammy wants to be outraged at suicide rates, try digging into the military or physicians or firefighters or lawyers or real estate agents. We won’t even talk about boxers! It’s a cruel world out there. Depression and suicide are a part of it. We have free will to chose our path in life KNOWING what risks and pitfalls come with it. I am not responsible for anyone’s path but my own. Please don’t tell me Junior is dead, in part, because of something I did. My guess is that Sammy keeps right on covering the sport he claims is killing people. That is HIS path.

  6. Gerald Bostock says:

    hearing voices
    Put me in the pro-Mellinger camp. I disagree with those who say his columns have no “voice.” The problem is that his predecessors–Whitlock and Posnanski–had “voices” that were so overdone and exaggerated that it might seem Sam’s is lacking. Mellinger’s writing offers well-reasoned (most of the time) opinions without the cartoony bluster of Jason or the Hallmarky sentimentality of JoePo. Another plus is that he can take criticism and openly engages readers–unlike Whitlock, who is a thin-skinned baby, and Posnanski, now in his 7th month of impersonating an ostrich regarding criticism of his Paterno problem.

  7. Hearne says:

    I’m with Gerald…
    Whitlock fashioned a career out of pimping people with over-the-top, overwrought statements and then further infuriated them by mindlessly doing about faces when he was dead wrong. He was kinda from the pro wrestling school of sports journalism and lots of people ate it up. Just like lots of people eat up pro wrestling.

    Joe had some great columns, but the heart on his sleeve routine played out in endlessly-long column after endlessly-long column got a little old.

  8. chuck says:

    Jim is correct imo.
    Today’s Mellinger column was unintentionally hilarious.

    I love this, —–Melliger referring to us “all” being conspitators in Junior’s death. “It

  9. balbonis moleskine says:

    I remember the day the music died at Arrowhead
    I do remember the day Derrick Thomas died. My mom called me up at school, hysterical and in tears. They layed him in state at Arrowhead for his fans to see him. The mayor could have died and less people would have gone to the funeral.

    Maybe he fornicated and sinned, but I see his money went to build schools. Maybe he wasn’t a good practice player, but he was on when it counted on Sundays.

    My job as a tackle was to block the OLBs and DEs. It was amazing to see someone who was literally unblockable for seasons at a time. Seeing the 7 sack game that was a loss against the Seahawks was the greatest individual performance I have ever witnessed at Arrowhead.

    In a way, the great 90s chiefs era died when DT did. Greatest athlete to ever put on a Chiefs uniform. Period. Full Stop.

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