Hot takes for Feb. 2-8 revolved around the Super Bowl and the Olympics.

Welcome to another edition of This Week In Hot Takes, this time breaking down the hottest sports media takes from Feb. 2-8.

5. Tony Dungy suggests Nick Foles played well because of his Christian faith: NBC analyst Tony Dungy is known for promoting his own Christian faith outside of that job, but he brought it into the job Sunday, suggesting first on-air and then on Twitter that Eagles’ quarterback Nick Foles played well because of his faith.

On Monday, Dungy then doubled down against critics:

Kyle Koster had a good analysis of this over at The Big Lead, writing that yes, it’s possible faith helped give Foles confidence and keep him calm, but viewers should have some skepticism of that take from Dungy given his own personal bias:

Dungy is absolutely correct that NBC pays him for his opinions. And the facts of the case here suggest that Foles’ confidence is just as responsible for his on-field success as anything else. Religious and non-religious minds alike can agree that a sense of calm and self-assurance go a long way in this world. Whether that be a belief in a higher power, a steadfast commitment to a spouse, or the transformative nature of parenthood, security in one’s place in the universe is a net positive.

When viewed through that lens, Dungy’s assertion isn’t as controversial as it may seem. The problem, though, is that one must consider the source of such a narrative when assessing merits. And it would be naive to think Dungy trumpeting the benefits of faith is something being done from a distance while only wearing an analyst’s hat.

His long history of evangelizing must be weighed. Would Dungy have credited another faith for grounding a quarterback? Would he have credited the birth of a child or a social awakening? I am not passing judgement, or suggesting he wouldn’t have. But it’s worth wondering.

Dungy, a very public and proud Christian, pushed a narrative favorable to Christianity that may or may not be true. His possible agenda should come into play here, just as it would if an outspoken vegan was trumpeting Tom Brady’s revolutionary diet or an outspoken atheist crediting Arian Foster’s worldview for his performance.

Exactly, and that’s what makes this a hot take. This came across not so much as Dungy breaking down why Foles is a good quarterback as him advocating for his own faith, and while he does that at plenty of speaking engagements and so on, it’s odder to see it on the NBC airwaves. And there are plenty of Christians on the Patriots, too, something The Simpsons once reminded us about God and sporting events.

Rating: ??

4. Rob Parker argues that Joe Montana is better than Tom Brady because of Brady’s Super Bowl most recent Super Bowl loss: For some reason, Rob “Is Robert Griffin III a brother, or is he a cornball brother?” Parker still has a job shouting about sports on television, and his takes haven’t gotten any better since ESPN decided to not renew his contract in 2013 in the wake of those comments. This time around, he’s arguing that Brady was the greatest quarterback in history, but lost that position to Joe Montana thanks to losing this Super Bowl:

Never mind that Brady threw for a Super Bowl-record 505 yards and had a great night. It’s all about quarterbacks’ wins and losses, which is a terrible way to judge them. Except it isn’t all about wins and losses, because Brady previously lost two Super Bowls with New England (and didn’t put up anywhere close to the passing stats he achieved Sunday in either one, throwing for under 300 yards in both of those games). And that didn’t stop him from being the GOAT in Parker’s mind. So it’s not even like Parker’s using bad but consistent logic. He’s just spewing hot takes.

Rating: ???

3. Dan Shaughnessy argues that Patriots’ fans should doubt Bill Belichick because he didn’t explain his Malcolm Butler decision: Speaking of Patriots’ takes, there have been plenty of calls for head coach Bill Belichick to explain his decision to bench Malcolm Butler, and there’s maybe some merit to some of those. However, Boston Globe columnist and noted hot-take artist Shaughnessy went predictably over-the-top on that front, arguing that Belichick’s refusal to discuss Butler somehow makes him a bad coach and not deserving of fans’ loyalty:

How are you feeling about your coach today, Patriots fans?

Still got “Do Your Job” and “No Days Off” tattooed somewhere on your body? Still blissfully living the life of “In Bill We Trust”? Still applauding the coach for giving the media the finger every time we ask Bill Belichick a football question? Still believe his decisions are none of anybody’s business?

I sense a crack in the blind loyalty the Hoodie traditionally receives from Patriots Nation. The Patriots lost a very winnable Super Bowl Sunday night in some part because Bill benched cornerback Malcolm Butler for some undisclosed infraction or violation of the Patriots code.

Questioning that decision and questioning Belichick’s defense of it can be perfectly fine. But Shaughnessy does so in a dumb matter, suggesting that this one move by Belichick somehow negates all the accomplishments he’s had over the years.

Rating: ???

2. Marni Soupcoff says “The Olympics aren’t fun, they’re gross,” “the world should just take a pass,” and “Many women are perversely fascinated with the perfect, puberty-delayed girls competing fiercely and injuring themselves repeatedly in women’s gymnastics, for example”: Soupcoff, an opinion columnist for Canada’s National Post, dropped one hell of a hot take on the Olympics this week. Yes, there are reasonable arguments to be made about IOC corruption, the bidding process, and the cost to hosting cities, to say nothing of particular issues that have arisen in Sochi, Rio and now PyeongChang, and there are cases to be made for modifications to the Olympics to make them less ruinous for the cities involved. But Soupcoff doesn’t really do any of that, instead going “Please don’t like this sport” with arguments that the Olympics bore her, plus some really weird commentary on gymnasts, hygiene and more:

Other than acting as a useful tool for convalescence, though, the Olympic Games are not very fun.

In fairness, there are people who are truly into the games. Many women are perversely fascinated with the perfect, puberty-delayed girls competing fiercely and injuring themselves repeatedly in women’s gymnastics, for example. (Not that I’d know anything about that.) But on balance, we’d be better off without the Olympics, especially now that we only get a couple of years break between them. That’s not enough time to forget that they aren’t as fun as we pretend they are.

Even though the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Games haven’t even started as of this writing, they have already helped prove my point. Over 40 Winter Olympic security guards there have been hit by a norovirus outbreak, forcing South Korea to take all 1,200 guards off the job (to prevent spreading the sickness) and replace them with 900 members of the military. Norovirus, you may recall, also goes by the charming name “winter vomiting bug” — an accurate moniker — and is highly contagious. Olympic organizers are now busy getting buses and sleeping quarters disinfected, and having water and food tested. Which is both comforting and disturbing at the same time.

…In Rio, the concern was the Zika virus, which causes severe birth defects in babies infected in utero and, in very rare cases, triggers paralysis in adults. Zika virus is a mosquito-borne disease, but it can also be spread from human to human through sex.

And here’s the thing: there’s a lot of sex going on at the Olympics. I mean, really a lot. At the London Olympics in 2012, they went through 100,000 condoms at the Olympic Village in a single week. Organizers had to put in an emergency order for more. In Rio, organizers learned their lesson and gave out 450,000 condoms (sustainably produced ones at that), which amounted to 42 condoms per athlete.

What?! The Olympics are bad because athletes had sex in Rio, possibly spreading the Zika virus, even though she goes on to admit in the next paragraph that “Perhaps that helps explain why Zika does not seem to have caused problems at the Rio Olympics, where people were either not infected at all, or infected without knowing or reporting it, since Zika usually causes mild or no symptoms”? How does that make any sense? And disease outbreaks somehow show that the Olympics are bad? And because Soupcoff doesn’t enjoy the Olympics, no one else can? There’s a whole lot of weird hot takery going on in this one, and not much of an actual argument.

Rating: ?????

1. John Moody says the USOC wants their motto to be “Darker, Gayer, Different”: Amazingly, Soupcoff didn’t manage to post the hottest Olympic take of the week. That comes from Fox News executive vice president and executive editor John Moody, who took a Washington Post story about the United States Olympic Committee’s efforts to find more diverse Winter Olympians (through programs to help those from backgrounds with economic or time challenges get involved with or stick with winter sports, or to target top athletes in some other sports to potentially switch to winter sports that might be a good fit for them, thus providing more competitors in those sports for U.S. Olympic berths and raising the medal chances of the U.S. team overall) and sewed an entire blanket of misinformation and ridiculous conclusions out of it, arguing that this was about the USOC valuing “quotas” over winning and trying to change the Olympic motto to “Darker, Gayer, Different.”:

Unless it’s changed overnight, the motto of the Olympics, since 1894, has been “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” It appears the U.S. Olympic Committee would like to change that to “Darker, Gayer, Different.” If your goal is to win medals, that won’t work.

A USOC official was quoted this week expressing pride (what else?) about taking the most diverse U.S. squad ever to the Winter Olympics. That was followed by a, frankly, embarrassing laundry list of how many African-Americans, Asians and openly gay athletes are on this year’s U.S. team. No sport that we are aware of awards points – or medals – for skin color or sexual orientation.

For the current USOC, a dream team should look more like the general population. So, while uncomfortable, the question probably needs to be asked: were our Olympians selected because they’re the best at what they do, or because they’re the best publicity for our current obsession with having one each from Column A, B and C?

…Insisting that sports bow to political correctness by assigning teams quotas for race, religion or sexuality is like saying that professional basketball goals will be worth four points if achieved by a minority in that sport – white guys, for instance –  instead of the two or three points awarded to black players, who make up 81 percent of the NBA. Any plans to fix that disparity? Didn’t think so.

If someone is denied a slot on a team because of prejudice, that’s one thing. Complaining that every team isn’t a rainbow of political correctness defeats the purpose of sports, which is competition. At the Olympic level, not everyone is a winner. Not everyone gets a little plastic trophy to take home.

Sorry. “Faster, Higher, Stronger” still works better than “We win because we’re different.”

Moody is missing a whole lot there, including that the USOC doesn’t select Olympic athletes (the national sports federations do that, and by strict performance-based criteria; in many sports, it’s not even a subjective decision, but just who posts the best times) and that the committee’s ultimate goal is to win (and that that’s the main goal of these diversity programs). There are no “quotas,” and the diversity efforts are to try and bring more people into the sports who might not compete otherwise; if those people either earn Olympic berths through competition or provide tough competition to those who do get the berths, that’s a boost for the U.S.’ medal chances, and that’s what Moody seemingly wants. So he gets a lot of points for a circular hot take that’s really defeating his own argument. Sounds like someone’s a little Moody.

Update 2/9/18:

Fox News pulled the column. According to a statement from a Fox News spokesperson:

“John Moody’s column does not reflect the views or values of FOX News and has been removed.”

Rating: ?????

Honorable mentions: Brian Kenny’s thoughts on leprechaun mascots, Bill James arguing that MLB players shouldn’t benefit from labor laws, Michael Lombardi’s Josh McDaniels takes.

Notable absences: Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless, Phil Mushnick. (All for the second straight week, amazingly enough.)

Hot Take Standings:

Stephen A. Smith – 177
Skip Bayless – 136
Phil Mushnick – 112
Colin Cowherd – 46
Shannon Sharpe – 35
Rob Parker – 29
Doug Gottlieb – 22
Charles Barkley – 19
JT The Brick – 17
Albert Breer – 16
Don Cherry – 15
Ray Lewis – 14
Bill Plaschke – 14
Rick Morrissey – 13
Bob Brookover – 10
Jeremy Roenick – 10
Berry Tramel – 10
Kristine Leahy – 10
Chris Broussard – 10
Keith Olbermann – 9
Dan Dakich – 9
Ryen Russillo – 9
Garth Crooks – 9
C.J. Nitkowski – 9
Frank Isola – 8
Michael Rapaport – 8
Tony Massarotti – 8
Jason McIntyre – 8
Bart Hubbuch – 8
Pat Forde – 7
Danny Kanell – 7
Dan Shaughnessy – 6
Pat Leonard – 6
Mike Francesa – 6
Michael DeCourcy – 6
Luke Kerr-Dineen – 6
Terry Bradshaw – 6
Greg A. Bedard – 6
John Moody  – 5
Marni Soupcoff – 5
Ryan Rishaug – 5
Kurtis Larson  – 5
Rod Watson  – 5
Dan Wolken – 5
Britt McHenry – 5
Chuck Modiano – 5
Joel Klatt – 5
Steve Buffery – 5
Joe Morgan – 5
Michael Felger – 5
Howard Eskin – 5
Nancy Armour – 5
Richard Justice – 5
John Middlekauff – 5
Ameer Hasan Loggins – 5
Jesse Watters – 5
John McGrath – 5
Ross Tucker – 5
Mike Sielski – 5
Gordon Monson – 5
Scott Fowler – 5
Mike Bianchi – 5
Terry Frei – 5
David Jones – 5
Sabrina Parr – 5
Abbey Mastracco – 5
Terry Cushman – 5
Rob Rossi – 5
Rick Bozich – 5
Michael O’Doherty – 5
Simon Briggs – 5
Dan Wetzel – 5
Mike Parry – 5
Bob Ryan – 5
Robert Reed – 5
Pete Dougherty – 5
Dan Le Batard – 5
Marcus Hayes – 5
Kyle Turley – 5
Mike Ditka – 5
Erril Laborde – 5
Lowell Cohn – 5
Rosie DiManno – 5
Alex Reimer – 4
Joan Vennochi – 4
Graham Couch – 4
Matt Yglesias – 4
Andy Benoit – 4
Bill Livingston – 4
Michael Irvin – 4
Shawn Windsor – 4
Brock Huard – 4
Byron Tau – 4
Maggie Gray – 4
Michael Powell – 4
Mark Spector – 4
Chad Forbes – 4
Gary Myers – 4
Mark Schlereth – 4
Andy Gray – 4
David Fleming – 4
The Sporting News – 4
Jeff Pearlman – 4
Tony Grossi – 4
FanSided – 4
Cris Carter – 4
Kirk Herbstreit – 4
Tony Kornheiser – 4
Mike Felger – 4
USA Today op-eds – 4
Nathan Ruiz – 4
Elise Finch – 3
Kevin Skiver  – 3
David Bahnsen – 3
Harold Reynolds – 3
Kevin Reynolds – 3
Mike Sheahan – 3
Bob Ford – 3
Steve Greenberg – 3
Matt Burke – 3
Malcolm Gladwell – 3
Mike Milbury – 3
Mac Engel – 3
Nick Kypreos – 3
Jason Smith – 3
Caron Butler – 3
Don Brennan – 3
Robert Tychkowski – 3
Mike Johnston – 3
Jeff Mans – 3
Joe Browne – 3
Mike Harrington – 3
Greg Mitchell – 3
Tony Dungy – 2
Bruce Jenkins – 2
Chris Wesseling – 2
Seth Greenberg – 2
Doug Smith – 2
Newsweek – 2
Teddy Cutler – 2
Will Cain – 2
Bill Cowher – 2
Paul Finebaum – 2
Charley Casserly – 2
Amin Elhassan – 2
Jim Henneman – 2
Mitch Lawrence – 2
Nick Wright – 2
Domonique Foxworth – 2
Gary Parrish – 2
Michael Farber – 2
Andy Furman – 2
Donovan McNabb – 2
Seth Davis – 2
Jon Heyman – 2
Jason La Canfora – 2
Booger McFarland – 2
Joe Schad – 2
Cork Gaines – 2

Thanks for reading! Tune in next week for more This Week In Hot Takes. As always, you can send submissions to me via e-mail or on Twitter.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.