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When did Bill Simmons jump the shark?

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Bill Simmons has another mailbag column up today.

Shocking, I know.

This guy agrees with me on Simmons:

Or notice the frequency of mailbag columns lately, the truest sign of Simmons mailing it in.

(In fact, that blog entry went up just four days after my item I linked...hmmm....)

He also hits on one of the biggest problems, the place where I think Simmons jumped the shark:

3. Speaking of the Kimmel show, Simmons seemed to lose perspective once he started writing for it. The show isn't that good. Strangely enough, Simmons regularly claims that Adam Carrolla is the funniest guy in any room he's in. I'll be happy to be proven wrong, but I couldn't agree less.

Jimmy Kimmel sucks, and Adam Carrolla is one of the most egregiously unfunny people around...

Another blogger took Simmons to task on this issue last January...

Jesus, you wrote a column just two years ago about how much the sports purgatory of waiting for spring training to start once the Super Bowl is over sucks. And you can't think why people would want to squeak just one more game out of their beloved teams in their beloved sport? Do you have a team of helper monkeys belting these columns out lately?

"So why would anyone follow these meaningless college bowl games? I find the whole thing perplexing. Back to the column."

It's called pride you douchebag. That thing you had to swallow when it was time to admit to yourself you couldn't hack it on Kimmel's show. The thing you sold when you bombed on I Love the 90's Strikes Back Again for the First Time (after whining about how the first one shouldn't have existed yet in your column might I remind you.)

You know the thing you used to take in your writing before you started mailing it in every week like all of the Patriots, Celtics, and Red Sox you've thrown under the bus after they asked to be traded out of that shit-ass town and weren't.

See, it isn't just me. And I think the chorus is growing louder...Simmons' buddy Malcolm Gladwell, subject of a fawning, Arsenio-esque interview with Simmons not too long ago, defended him on his blog:

I thought of this as well the other day when I read a long post on a sportsblog ripping into Bill Simmons. I know, I know, I'm totally in the tank for Simmons. But here's why: because the degree of difficulty of the kinds of columns he writes is sometimes off the charts. He recently did a really long account of a trip that he and two friends took to Green Bay. It was a kind of running diary. Was it the best thing he has ever done? No. Was it perfect? No. But here's the thing. As someone who writes for a living, I know something that a non-writer can't know, namely how hard a running diary like that is to write. Try it sometime. Getting the tone right, and making the prosaic interactions of a group of friends interesting and funny to an outsider audience is really really difficult. That's what I wanted to scream at the bloggers going after Simmons. You don't like that? Try pulling that off yourself sometime!

The Awful Announcing blog takes Gladwell to task over this...and makes a very salient point about the recent Simmons decline:

Bill Simmons is the Dane Cook of Sportswriting.

Just like Simmons, Dane started in obscurity....put out good material.....got famous....and now sucks (see Employee of the Month). It's really that simple. It happens with everybody, and hell you can't even blame them. Of course a little bit of my ire is jealousy, but moreso it's disappointment. I probably would jump at the chance to write for ESPN (for six figures), and you could call me a sellout too. But here's the difference between Dane Cook and Bill Simmons....Dane Cook is at least trying. Even though he's making movies he still went out and did a comedy tour and a special recently. Bill on the other hand is putting out one good column every four months, screwing up stats left and right, stealing his reader's jokes (more on this later), formulaicly writing his articles (posts), and then acting wholier than thou to his readers and fellow bloggers.

AA nails it there, I think.

Kissing Suzy Kolber rags on Simmons as well, although it is more part of a Simmons-vs-blogs war that is ongoing...

There are some folks' whose opinions I respect, like Bob Sturm of the Ticket, for example, who are still defending him (or at least, Sturm was in July):

Now, you know my stance on the Sports Guy, Bill Simmons. His writing is phenomenal, and really his grasp of comedy, current pop culture, and sports is one of a kind. It has been suggested that we should get him as a guest on our show, but we cannot, for fear that like most writers, his spoken word is not near the genius as his written word.

But even Sturm recently noticed some of the flaws in Simmons' analysis...

In any case...I don't think there's any question that Simmons has jumped the shark. I've heard suggestions that he's just playing out the string, finishing his contract with ESPN and then going to write movies or something.

But I'm curious about what folks here think...was it the BoSox winning? Was it having a baby? Was it getting married? Was it joining the Kimmel show?

At what point did Simmons jump the shark?