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"Monday Morning Quarterback" Law + Shout-Out:

The Seventh Circuit tells us:

Trial tactics are a matter of professional judgment, and ... we will not play “Monday morning quarterback”1 when reviewing claims that an attorney rendered constitutionally deficient representation in making decisions on how best to handle a case.

1 Of course, “Monday morning quarterback” is now passé since the advent of “Tuesday Morning Quarterback,” the terrific column regularly posted by Gregg Easterbrook on ESPN.com. See NLRB v. Cook County, 283 F.3d 888, 895 n.[4] (7th Cir. 2002). In light of the column and the marquee “Monday Night Football” NFL games from September through December each year, we think the term “Monday morning quarterback,” from now on, should go the way of the drop-kick, the “T” formation, the Statue of Liberty play, and offensive tackles who weigh less than 300 pounds. From now on, a second-guesser should be called a “Tuesday Morning Quarterback.”

Coincidentally, Gregg Easterbrook is the brother of Seventh Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook, who did not write the opinion but was on the panel.

Thanks to Greg Weber for the pointer.

rh:
I suppose it is also merely a coincidence that Easterbrook was on the panel for the previous case which cited his brother. Methinks "shameless family promotion" might be more apt than "coincidentally."
5.1.2007 2:20pm
pete (mail) (www):
Obviously they are not a Boise State fans since the Statue of Liberty play was part of one of the most entertaining games I have ever seen.
5.1.2007 2:25pm
JSA (mail):
Monday Night Football games are no longer the marquee matchups of the week. Since last year, with the new TV deal, the marquee game of the week is NBC's Sunday Night Football, with ESPN's Monday Night Football usually a somewhat less sexy matchup.
5.1.2007 2:34pm
Rex:
It's further ironic that Judge Evans makes a typographical error in citing to the previous case mentioning TMQ, a case which itself centered around a typographical error.
5.1.2007 2:36pm
Thales (mail) (www):
I've heard that Greg Easterbrook once wrote that he's in the stranger position of at family dinners being a nationally known sports (and other subjects) writer and is nonetheless not the most important or accomplished person at the table.
5.1.2007 2:53pm
blackdoggerel (mail):
Weak footnote. Not only is MNF not the marquee matchup it used to be (ever since it moved to ESPN and they can't find a consistently good group of announcers), but it completely overlooks Peter King's excellent "Monday Morning Quarterback" column on the Sports Illustrated web site.

This footnote reminds me of Judge Sheindlin's opinion in the NFL/Maurice Clarett case, where she kept trying to drop in football analogies but only ended up looking really silly.
5.1.2007 2:54pm
Matt L. (mail):
I clerked and was always happy to see funny footnotes that someone had slipped into an opinion. Even tried it myself. But the custom normally seems to be limited to civil cases. In an opinion affirming a conviction and 23-year prison sentence for a nonviolent crime, this feels to me like somewhat poor taste.
5.1.2007 3:13pm
mrshl (www):
I've been an avid reader of TMQ for some time, and I've wondered whether the two are related. Now, I'm no longer wondering.

Easterbrook's TMQ and Bill Simmons's The Sports Guy column are the only reasons I still visit ESPN.
5.1.2007 3:22pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):
The whole idea of a Monday Morning Quarterback was an anachronism for another reason. A Monday morning quarterback knows what plays to call with perfect hindsight. But QBs stopped calling their own plays long ago.
5.1.2007 3:25pm
Jeremy T:
I agree with Matt L.

I've always been a little uneasy about these sorts of things. While perhaps appropriate in the most minor of cases or in cases where the parties are not actually adverse, perhaps it's ok. But when you have people really fighting out a major legal battle, you owe it to them not to do anything that would lead them to believe you didn't treat their case with seriousness.

All lawyers, myself included, have certainly had cases where we didn't think the judge paid close enough attention to my arguments. I'd hate to get this sort of footnote in that sort of case.
5.1.2007 3:26pm
David Yashar (mail):
As soon as I read this post, I knew that the opinion author had to be none other than Terry Evans. As someone who practiced criminal defense in Chicago for many years, I can testify that Evans wrotes the clearest opinions on the 7th Circuit. Even if you disagree with his holdings, at least you can understand how he got there. I don't think that the footnote here indicated that Evans was not paying attention to the attorneys' arguments. It's just part of his way of making his opinions readable.
5.1.2007 3:40pm
normie (mail):
The excellent column didn't ignore Boise St's Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma. But apparently the 7th Circuit did. The winning play was a Statue of Liberty play.
5.1.2007 3:45pm
Felix Sulla (mail):
I hate to push analysis of what was intended to be a lighthearted footnote any further, and leaving aside anyone else's impressions of the relative merits of what the best game night in the NFL is...but isn't it just as appropriate (and possibly probably closer to the original intent of the phrase) to view the concept of "Monday Morning Quarterbacking" as referring to the criticism of college and possibly high school games (played in general on Saturdays and Fridays, respectively) after the weekend in which they were played?
5.1.2007 3:52pm
WHOI Jacket:
The Statue of Liberty play lives!

Go Broncos!

Bill Simmons may be the best sports columist ever. Even if he is a total Boston homer.
5.1.2007 4:03pm
Igglephan (mail):
But 'tis TMQ that is passe. Aside from flogging of dead horses, intellectual and moral condescention, and excruciating length, what is good about it? And Tuesday Morning Quarterback is just another one of Greg Easterbrook's bad puns, utterly dependent on "Monday Morning Quarterback[ing]." It's still better than his writing on religion, though.
5.1.2007 4:29pm
Igglephan (mail):
But 'tis TMQ that is passe. Aside from flogging of dead horses, intellectual and moral condescention, and excruciating length, what is good about it? And Tuesday Morning Quarterback is just another one of Greg Easterbrook's bad puns, utterly dependent on "Monday Morning Quarterback[ing]." It's still better than his writing on religion, though.
5.1.2007 4:29pm
Ubertrout (mail) (www):
It is interesting that this is the second time, on a panel with Judge Easterbrook, that Judge Evans has made a shout-out to TMQ. Anyone have any insight into this?
5.1.2007 4:31pm
Apparently Football Has No Offseason:
This is not a one-sided love affair. Gregg Easterbrook has mentioned Judge Evans in at least one previous installment of TMQ from Aug. 2004:


Indian team name sidelight -- see this recent decision by the Federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals concerning the University of Illinois' use of Chief Illiniwek as a sports figure. Legally the case turns on the "Pickering/Connick test," and of course you know what that is, right? The court decision cites cool college sports nicknames such as the University of Evansville Purple Aces. It contain important statistics, including that the most common college sports nickname is Eagles (56 schools), followed by Bulldogs (40) and Wildcats (33). Golden is the most common nickname adjective, with 15 colleges being Golden Eagles, others Golden Seals or Golden Suns. What team would want to be the Yellow Suns, anyway? But the really interesting part of the decision is that its author, federal appellate judge Terry Evans, is a serious Packers fan who attends games and once tried on a cheesehead in the gift shop of the Green Bay Hall of Fame at Lambeau Field. Judge Evans, you have your priorities in order! ( Here is the "authentic" cheesehead as sold by the Packers for $17.95. Accept no inauthentic cheeseheads!)

TMQ knows about Judge Evans' love for the Packers because an Official Brother of TMQ, Frank Easterbrook, is also a judge on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. See the How Appealing federal-courts blog for an interview in which Frank declares that, in order to maintain judicial impartiality, he roots equally for the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts, the three NFL teams under his jurisdiction. (The 7th Circuit has federal appellate jurisdiction over Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.) The How Appealing blog also provides a link to a Legal Affairs magazine article that inadvertently identified yours truly as a federal judge. Surely this means Sports Illustrated will inadvertently identify Frank as a football columnist!
5.1.2007 5:26pm
Shake-N-Bake:
Peter King's MMQB column is only excellent if you like having to skip at least half of the column due to his complaining about his travel woes, the quality of his latest Starbucks drink, his daughters' high school sports, and worst of all his colon problems and diarrhea on a plane flight.

To borrow from TMQB, ye gods! And this ignores the rather regular Patriots- or Favre-centric focus. Me, I'll stick with Football Outsiders. TMQB for some amusement, and Dr. Z for the 'get off my lawn' crotchety old man bit (with some good analysis still in there).
5.1.2007 5:55pm
DeezRightWingNutz:
Apparently this guy didn't watch the Fiesta Bowl. He didn't say the hook and ladder was a thing of the past, too, did he?

Worst... game... ever.

Oh, and Texas sucks.
5.1.2007 6:21pm
JRL:
. . . but it completely overlooks Peter King's excellent "Monday Morning Quarterback" column on the Sports Illustrated web site.

Didn't realize Sports Illustrated was even still in business.
5.1.2007 6:22pm
DeezRightWingNutz:
Oops.

Should have read the comments. As Toll Booth Willie would say, I'm an "unoriginal b-st-rd," and a "sack of f-cking repeating sh-t."
5.1.2007 6:24pm
Al Maviva (mail) (www):
Ye Gods, indeed.

Shame on you commenters who are misspelling the (more frequent) sportswriting Easterbrook's name.

Everybody knows, or should know, that he is tastefully named Gregg, not Greg.
5.2.2007 11:41am