My Unfinished Inglourious Basterds Essay: 10,000 words, 12 years, one unfinished draft

The cast of Inglourious Basterds, with writer-director Quentin Tarantino (seated, second from right)

On March 9, 2010, I started an essay on Inglourious Basterds.

I wrote it on and off until May of 2011, and then stopped, with no further progress.

Now, in June 2022, I am declaring it officially unfinished for reasons I will explain here. To read my annotated draft of this essay — 10,000+ words, with screenshots from the movie — click here. If you’re a fellow writer and you want to talk shop, you should be able to drop comments directly in the Google Doc. If not, hit me in the comment section here, or on Twitter, or at readjack6@gmail.com.

Now then… what happened?

Continue reading “My Unfinished Inglourious Basterds Essay: 10,000 words, 12 years, one unfinished draft”

The complete history of Black NFL starting quarterbacks — ranked by franchise

***September 8, 2021 NOTE***

With the 2021 season kicking off tomorrow night, it’s time to finalize the updated version of this article. Data is updated through the 2020 season and 2021 NFL Draft, and in the event that numbers changed in 2020, or could change in 2021, the team blurbs are updated too.

I won’t be updating data through the season on any consistent schedule, so as always, if you want to use this piece as a source at any point in the 2021 season and need updated figures, please reach out to me at readjack6@gmail.com or DM me on Twitter.

Lastly, I caught some mistakes on the 2020 data, and obviously if this were published anywhere but on my independent blog, other people would check my numbers with me. If you see a mistake, please tell me. Thank you!

Best,

Jack

***April 30, 2021 NOTE***

I was already working to update this post, and planned to release new numbers after the draft. In light of the Bears selecting Justin Fields in the 1st round, I ran through my spreadsheet and updated everything there.

I will still update this overall story, but if you’re a journalist, radio/pod host, blogger, whatever, and you’re using this as a source, feel free to email me at readjack6@gmail.com or DM me on Twitter, but this spreadsheet is up to date. Thank you!

Best,

Jack

***

ORIGINAL INTRO, 17 SEP. 2020

This all started last November, when a pair of Bears-related news stories intersected and sent me down a rabbit hole.

The first came Nov. 12, when Rich Campbell and Dan Wiederer of the Tribune did a deep dive on Ryan Pace’s decision to draft Mitch Trubisky in 2017 over both Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes, including the unsettling details that Pace and co. never met Watson for a private workout or dinner, and that they drafted Trubisky in part because Pace — who came from the Saints — was looking for “the next Drew Brees.”

The second came four days later, when Colin Kaepernick held a workout for all 32 teams, with only a handful sending representatives, seemingly not the Bears.

The Bears were 4-5 at the time, and would drop to 4-6 shortly after, with Trubisky struggling the year after what seemed like his breakout season. Trubisky’s struggles combined with the great play of Mahomes and Watson combined with the Tribune story combined with the Kaepernick workout led to a lot of conversation about the Bears’ quarterback decisions (what else is new).

But among many Black Bears fans, and plenty of white ones too, these events brought more debates on whether the Bears organization fundamentally did not want a Black quarterback to lead the franchise. I was involved in plenty of these debates, and had wondered about this myself, since the team has only had one long-term Black starting QB in my conscious fan life, Kordell Stewart in 2003, and only two in the franchise’s history, with Vince Evans the other.

As a result of this question, I wanted to see what the numbers said. This article is the results of that search.

Methodology

To track this data, I started with Greg Howard’s invaluable two-part series on Deadspin in 2014, “The Big Book of Black Quarterbacks.” I wrote down all of those names, and then used Pro Football Reference to check their starts. I also followed a lot of the exemplary work from The Undefeated, including its 2017 story on the first Black starting QB per franchise.

(And though I did not use it in my research, I highly recommend this Football Outsiders from February called “The 100-Year History of Black Quarterbacks in the NFL.”)

For my list, I made George Taliaferro on the 1953 Colts the starting point of what constitutes a quarterback. 1950 was the year when the NFL changed its substitution rules, ending the era of the automatic two-way player and creating specialty around the quarterback position.

1953 was also the year that the Bears signed Michigan State’s Willie Thrower, who is credited as the first Black traditional QB in the league.

Once I had my list, I counted starts in both the regular season and playoffs. I also tabulated each franchise’s percentage of games that a Black quarterback started out of total games in franchise history, albeit starting in 1953.

I also looked at how each team has drafted quarterbacks in the first four rounds since 1995; the first four rounds, because you draft a QB that high, he’s your future starter. (I’ll explain the 1995 cutoff very soon, in the Titans/Oilers section.)

Lastly, if you’re interested, here is my spreadsheet. It’s not really made for public consumption — this is more a “peak behind the curtain” scenario. I will be updating it periodically, and there are also tabs that are very much works in progress. As such, if you want to cite it in a tweet, article, wherever, check with me first at readjack6@gmail.com, or hit me on Twitter.

Enough chatter. On the 100-year anniversary of the meeting that launched the NFL, and in the season when a record 10 Black quarterbacks started in Week 1, here are the results.

(Note: As of 9/9/21, numbers are through the conclusion of the 2020 season.)

Continue reading “The complete history of Black NFL starting quarterbacks — ranked by franchise”

6 Rings: the true story of the Chicago Bulls dynasty

 

1996 Bulls GOAT

Twenty years ago, the dynasty ended.

The Chicago Bulls of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson won six championships in eight seasons and reshaped the NBA forever.

My latest story celebrates their final game together, Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, and completes (for now, I guess) an ongoing series of pieces that I have written over the past 13 years on what was easily my favorite era as a sports fan.

Here, all together, are those pieces about “YOUR World Champion Chicago Bulls!”

I will never get tired of hearing that. Continue reading “6 Rings: the true story of the Chicago Bulls dynasty”

A Look Back At Michael Jordan’s Flu Game 20 Years Later

An unknown stat makes that legendary game even more impressive and helps explain why fans get angry when stars rest.

(Originally published June 8, 2017, at the now defunct 16WinsARing.com)

If you want to fully understand Michael Jordan’s “Flu Game,” you first have to understand one of Michael Jordan’s greatest statistics: 357.

It’s a stat that is rarely discussed. The number most associated with MJ, besides 23, is 6. As in “6 rings.” Once upon a time, MJ’s career was defined by a melange of numbers. People thought about 63 and 69. They pictured him in 9 and 45. They were astounded by 7, and later 10, for his scoring titles. They grimaced at .202 and glowed with pride over 72–10.

Now, it’s 6. The only number of consequence. The one MJ chased more than any other. The one to which he drunkenly crooned after reaching it in 1998. He started counting after the first championship, flashing victorious fingers. Two in 1992. Three in ’93. Four in ’96. Five in ’97. Six in ‘98.

No number in NBA history serves as more of a mic drop in current hoops debates than MJ’s 6. The figure may be augmented in different ways, like “6–0” (his Finals record) or “6 for 6” (his Finals MVPs). But, unquestionably, 6 is the number. He likes it like that.

I like it too. I also like 357. Continue reading “A Look Back At Michael Jordan’s Flu Game 20 Years Later”

Lovie Smith’s final lesson

Lovie Smith had a different relationship with players than with media and fans. The way it should be. (photo: AP)
Lovie Smith had a different relationship with players than with media and fans. The way it should be. (photo: AP)

Lovie Smith’s final lesson: reflections on a Bears head coach

by Jack M Silverstein (@readjack)

I didn’t know how beloved Lovie Smith was until he was gone.

On Dec. 31, 2012, the day after the final Bears game of 2012, the day Lovie Smith was fired, emotion flowed from the locker room at Halas Hall. Charles Tillman told the Sun-Times he was “shocked” to hear that Lovie was gone. Brian Urlacher told ESPN 1000 that “We’re all mad right now. We just lost our head coach.”

Devin Hester memorably stood at his locker that day and told reporters that he was considering retirement. Though he tweeted the next day that Lovie’s firing did not cause his retirement talk, Hester’s locker room comments made it clear how he felt about the only NFL head coach he’d ever played for. Continue reading “Lovie Smith’s final lesson”

Jan. 14, 2011: Imagine me and you, I do…

From November 2010 to May 2011, I wrote for a site called “The Sports Blog Network,” a sports website launched by Chris Reed. The site folded, as websites do, and at some point in the past year (maybe longer?) the content was removed.

I loved the work I did there and appreciated the opportunity Chris gave me (thanks man!) so I am reposting all of those stories on ReadJack.

***

Imagine me and you, I do…

Originally published on Sports Blog Network January 14, 2011

Rivals don't shake hands. Rivals gotta hug! (pause) Oh wait, rivals shake hands.
Rivals don’t shake hands. Rivals gotta hug! (pause) Oh wait, rivals shake hands.

“Yeah but, just imagine it,” Ricky said in the second quarter of the Packers-Eagles wild card game. “Bears. Packers. NFC Championship.” The Packers had just scored their second touchdown of the game, and possessed a stout 14-0 lead over Philadelphia, the two and a half point home favorite and employer of the NFL’s hottest commodity of 2010, Michael Vick.

“No. Let’s not start revving ourselves up for that,” I said. “Two quarters and two games to go. Lots can happen.”

But he’s right: an NFC championship game at Soldier Field between the Bears and the Packers, regardless of outcome, immediately becomes the greatest Bears-Packers game of my life, and of my father’s life, and probably of all-time, because who really goes around talking about the 1941 NFL divisional tiebreaker anymore? Continue reading “Jan. 14, 2011: Imagine me and you, I do…”

Dec. 31, 2010: I’m bringing chicken back

From November 2010 to May 2011, I wrote for a site called “The Sports Blog Network,” a sports website launched by Chris Reed. The site folded, as websites do, and at some point in the past year (maybe longer?) the content was removed.

I loved the work I did there and appreciated the opportunity Chris gave me (thanks man!) so I am reposting all of those stories on ReadJack.

***

I’m bringing chicken back

Originally published on Sports Blog Network December 31, 2010

Johnny Knox, the comet.
Johnny Knox, the comet.

Christmas 2010 will live in my mind for a few reasons, only one of them upsetting. First the good: It was my first proper Christmas, the first time I woke in a home on Christmas morning with Christmas presents beneath a tree – a Christmas tree – surrounded by a family that gathers in the living room to exchange gifts, to tell stories, to laugh and love and hug. I have attended Christmas parties before, even on Christmas, but never gone wire-to-wire with Christmas celebration, wiping sleep from my eyes and closing my eyes to sleep.

I also indulged my first taste of homemade fried chicken, another highlight of the weekend. I was in Indianapolis, spending the holiday with my girlfriend’s family, and I am happy to report that they are a lovely and delightful bunch, that we got along splendid, and that I was the only celebrant of the season other than Mr. Sawyer to eat chicken back. Continue reading “Dec. 31, 2010: I’m bringing chicken back”

Exavier Pope’s story continues

Exavier Pope of the Pope Law Firm tells his DWB police abuse story in support of St. Louis boy Mike Brown, shot and killed by police. (Ben Speckman for Chicago Daily Law Bulletin)
Exavier Pope of the Pope Law Firm tells his DWB police abuse story in support of St. Louis boy Mike Brown, shot and killed by police. (Ben Speckman for Chicago Daily Law Bulletin)

If you follow my work at the Law Bulletin, you probably read about Exavier Pope, the sports and entertainment lawyer whose harrowing & uplifting backstory was our front page story for Law Day 2014.

Ex and I spent a day together — it started with him talking to students at Hyde Park Academy High School and continued as we visited his childhood home where he lived with his foster mother, toured parks where he played ball, was attacked by gangs and later slept, went to the projects where he nearly sold crack and finally to one of his two law offices, this one at Lacuna Lofts.

While the story was packed with episodes from Exavier’s life — it included a sidebar strictly on his Twitter game — there were a few anecdotes from later in Exavier’s life that we had to leave out of the story. One of them was the story of how Exavier and friends were pulled over in Kentucky when they were in college, leading to Ex spending nearly two weeks in prison for a traffic stop.

In light of the Mike Brown murder, Ex decided to share that story on Twitter. Here it is, tweet by tweet: Continue reading “Exavier Pope’s story continues”

“A fun listen!” — a proud mom reviews 7 Sins by The Nocturnals

The Nocturnals - 7 Sins
The Nocturnals – 7 Sins

My buddies the Nocturnals have released “7 Sins,” their third album following 2010’s “Next Time It’s Personal” and 2011’s “To Be Continued.” Like those two, this record fuses the duo’s personalities into a playlist of weird bravado.

To celebrate the album, The Nocturnals are playing a FREE SHOW this Saturday night at Weeds (1555 N. Dayton, a few skips from the North/Clybourn/Halsted area and the Red Line.

Here is the event info.

Thank you to everyone who is spreading the word about the album, especially Tibs at GoWhereHipHop and Tumelo at Chicago Slam Works. More to come… Continue reading ““A fun listen!” — a proud mom reviews 7 Sins by The Nocturnals”

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin archives, 2013 – 2015

With Newton Minow in his Sidley, Austin LLP office on June 25, for my July 28 story. (Chandler West for Chicago Daily Law Bulletin)
With Newton Minow in his Sidley, Austin LLP office on June 25, for my July 28 story. (Chandler West for Chicago Daily Law Bulletin)

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin archives

click on years on the left for stories

2013 – 2014 ARCHIVES: 182 stories — 45 Amicus Curious, 47 Law School Notes, 7 In Chambers, 2 Chicago Lawyer stories, 1 Leading Lawyers story, 4 videos

2015 ARCHIVES: 120 stories — 19 Amicus Curious, 32 Law School Notes, 6 In Chambers, 1 Chicago Lawyer story, 3 Leading Lawyers stories