How to Argue like a Phinsider.


The Art of Word

"An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a definite proposition... A contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says."
No, it's not..." ― Graham Chapman

The Argument Clinic

We, at the Phinsider are interested arguments of the first order. At the end of the exchange everyone signs off enlightened and invigorated; happy that we spent our time on-line in a productive and positive manner. One person doesn’t win and argument – everyone involved wins an argument.

(Insert sound of record needle dragged across the turntable.)

Meanwhile back in the real world we all know that until we get some football the only satisfaction we’re going to get is to have it out here in battles of wits with our fellow Phinsiders. (We'd do this with the guys at GGN but battles are no fun when your opponent is unarmed)

The goal, of course is to leave your adversary standing gob-smacked on the curb, eating your intellectual dust. We can be talking about what has happened i.e.: whether Jay Fiedler sucked or not, what is happening: whether Colin Kaepernick would be allowed to work at McDonalds (you had to be there) or what will happen: whether Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson and Dustin Keller can score 19 tds between them, but the point is proving your superiority. The Dolphins are not only our favourite team, but during July they are the club we use to beat those who would disagree with us senseless. In the words of Ricky Bobby: "If you’re not first – you’re last."

So here are some hints and tips on how to win the off-season* here at the Phinsider.

* The Dolphins have already done this which is a good/bad thing: discuss amongst yourselves.

1: No Argument is so convincing that it can’t be ignored

Once you have started a discussion, or entered one which interests you, ignore the points the people disagreeing with you make. Avoid the temptation to read what they are saying and stick to your guns. Reading what they post might weaken your resolve as you might find yourself agreeing, at least in part, with some of what they’re saying. This is a sign of weakness and is the start of the slippery slope which might lead you to back down from your claims (read lose). Remember the words of Conan (the Barbarian – not the TV guy), the best thing in life is: "To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women."

2: We don’t handle the Truth!

Don’t let facts, or reality get in the way of your point. This is what Belichick does. He doesn’t look for bulletin board material, he makes it up. If you never believe you’re wrong, it doesn’t matter what the other person says, you’re still not wrong. I’m not going to advocate hacking the webcams of other posters to spy on them, which has been proven effective, but it’s just creepy.

3: Commitment is more important than reality.

If you can’t out-think someone out-last them. This is known as the Survivor Technique. It doesn’t matter if what you’re saying can’t be proven or backed up, just keep saying it and eventually people will start to accept it. Most posters here don’t check the stats or dive into Pro Football Focus to verify what you’re saying is true. Only a complete maniac would go through something like Mike Wallace’s snap counts game-by-game to prove a point. Most people will question you once or twice, but eventually give up. Note: if you’re going to use this technique you have to commit to it. Bring up the point on multiple threads over extended periods of time, eventually even the people who know you’re full of fecal coliform will just quit.

4: Weapons of Mass Distraction.

Never confine you posts to just one point. Always have at least two to three things people will take issue with. Most people will respond to one thoroughly and one partially. Attack the weaker response and ignore any points they make which might actually be accurate. Try to take the argument in another direction, just keep introducing vaguely related information and hopping on tangents to avoid being pinned down.

5: Find a drum and beat it.

Just as all road lead to Rome, you want to create an on-line presence where all arguments lead to your favourite target. Have one or two issues (Tannehill is nowhere near as good as people say he is, Ireland can’t draft, Hartline sucks, and Philbin gets out-coached) and don’t just beat them into the ground, but steer as many discussions as you can onto the ground you know better than anyone else. Once you have pissed on all the trees around it people will learn not to step into your territory. Then the real fun happens when someone new to the site violates the territorial imperative.

6: The only good stat is your stat.

The beauty of football stats is there are a billion different ones and they can all be equally relevant or useless, depending on what you want to do with them. Football teams have 53 guys doing 53 jobs, most of which factor in one way or another. When someone hits you with a number, throw another, unrelated number back at them. I.e.:

Jay Fiedler was a better qb than people gave him credit for: he won 10 games his first season.
Response: Jay Fiedler was a scrub! We had the 27th ranked passing attack in the NFL his first year. The defense was the only reason we won those games.

If they use yds, you use TDs. If they use TDs you use wins or first downs or TDs per target or carry or any other stat where the player in question was weak. When we’re talking about the Dolphins EVERY player has some week stats.

7: In the immortal words of Crash Davis: Learn your clichés.

There are many clichés you can use to derail, obfuscate and sabotage people’s arguments. Some of them are even native to this blog. Here’s a short list of essentially meaningless phrases you should keep at your disposal.

- It’s a quarterback-driven league

- That was a different era (can be applied to any season other than the one we’re in)

- Football is a team game

- This is America (then say anything you want…what’s the point of the First Amendment if you don’t use it?)

- He wouldn’t have done that if he wasn’t playing with….

- Average is unacceptable.

- He would be second (third, fourth) string on any other team in the league. (Can also be phrased as "how many other teams would he start for?"

- He doesn’t pass the eye test. (Which can literally mean anything)

- Those are last year’s numbers; you can’t use them to predict future performance.

- Until I see it with my own eyes…

- You can’t compare (anyone) with Marino (or any other Dolphin/NFL great)

- It’s the media (next to Jeff Ireland, the best and most flexible scapegoat out there.)

- In any discussion where sex or sexual issues might be inferred, refer to Alpha.

8: No personal attacks.

You should never let an argument deteriorate to the point you are attacking the person you are debating with. Clearly if they are so dumb that they are disagreeing with you have no reason to care about them or their opinion.

Have at it!

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.

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