Ass-kicking off-season Mail Pouch

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Mar 18, 2008



Soak in the eternal wisdom of the Cold, Hard Football Facts, and the maniacal passion our beloved trolls have for the game of football, in our latest Mail Pouch opus and first since January 8 and the start of the 2007-08 playoff run.
 
A lot has happened since that last verbal thrust and parry with our readers. Namely, New England's inevitable conquest of the history books came to a screeching halt. We have a few emails on that topic, of course, but mostly fill the page below with a smattering of the topics we've covered in the two months since the NFL playoffs.
 
As always, you can e-mail us here. The Cold, Hard Football Facts reserves the right to edit for brevity, language and general stupidity and factlessness.
 
And, as always, even our Mail Pouch is filled with more statistics and entertaining, fact-filled analysis than your average column from the pigskin "pundits."
 
TROLL: You didn't see the Pats losing so now you chalk it up to them choking. What a bunch of phonies. Have fun piling on now because the Pats will be kicking ass next year you f*cking losers. And the rest of the league can cry cheat all they want. The fact is most of their teams suck. P.S. F*ck you.Bob Evans
 
CHFF: Wow, it's a pigskin miracle! Bob Evans writes from the beyond! Love the biscuits & gravy, by the way.
 
TROLL: F*ck you CHFF. I am sick of you acting like the Giants are this great team. Don't you morons think the Pats were due for an off day sometime? What a bunch of ass kissers you pussies are. Go f*ck yourselves.Bill Mooney
 
CHFF: Must be that CHFF "New England bias" that has Patriots fans so pissed off. Or maybe it's the fact that their team pulled the biggest choke job since John Bonham in 1980.
 
TROLL: Congrats on the Pro Football Writers award. Reminds me of the old Groucho Marx line about not wanting to be part of a club that would have me as a member. You have been anointed by the mainstream media – does that now make YOU mainstream? Seriously, it's a great validation of your outstanding work. CheersDan Shanoff
 
CHFF: Hey Dan, we agree there is a certain irony there, isn't there? We spend half our time ripping mainstreamers for hackery above and beyond the call of duty ... and then trumpet their wisdom when it makes us look good. Actually, that's not irony. That's called being a fraud. Hey, we ARE mainstream.
 
TROLL: Hello and good day. I was looking for an article that showed how the yearly passing leaders have never won a championship.  Can you help me find this article? I am pretty sure I saw it here, but I may be mistaken. Thanks. – Jeff Ammons
 
CHFF: Hey, Jeff, this is probably the original article that you had in mind: "Slingshot bikinis and the great passing offenses." Basically, Johnny Unitas in 1959 was the last quarterback to lead the NFL in passing yards and win a championship in the same season. Tom Brady, of course, led the NFL in passing yards in 2007 ... but the curse of the passing yardage leader continued with New England's loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.
 
TROLL: Thanks for a great tribute piece on #4. Too many people (them darn "pundits" again) are already focusing on the flaws of a great athlete, but those flaws only appear great in contrast to his unique talent. Thank you for recognizing that.
 
Oh ... and thanks for the great insight into the game of football that you guys generally provide to us trolls. Whoa! WTF was that? EMOTIONS? Never! Hope you did'nt get anything in your Cold, Hard Football eyes :) – Cheers, Martin Sorensen
 
CHFF: Hey Martin, thanks for the nice note. Any apparent emotions on our part were purely coincidental.
 
TROLL: I appreciated the article on the magic of Favre very much. You guys criticized his late career as much as anyone and yet, unlike so many online sports sites, are able to put his entire career in perspective and acknowledge that while the last few years may have been so-so, taken as a whole, his career has been one for the ages.
 
I'm not a Packers fan, or even much of a Favre fan, but it's nice to see someone able to honestly talk about it even when it means they had to change their mind a little (which, admittedly, you started doing pretty early into the 2007 season, giving him credit for a good year even if the last few weren't).
 
I'm sure you don't get called things like "mature" very often, but bravo. You've set the bar on mature, honest appraisals of Favre's career without subjugating yourselves to a saccharine-laden heroic homage. – Aaron
 
CHFF: Aaron, one thing you need to know about the entire CHFF concept is that we never change our minds. The Cold, Hard Football Facts often change, however, and we report what they're telling us – even if it refutes earlier reports. We just let the evidence – not any emotions, opinions or assumptions – dictate the story. We do agree it's a concept that's lost on virtually everyone else in the sports media, who cling to their tired old opinions no matter how heavy the evidence weighs against them.
 
As for accusations of maturity, they're like our emotions: any evidence of it was purely coincidental.
 
TROLL: The piece on Doug Flutie and Flutie Flakes is tremendous. My company, PLB Sports, created Flutie Flakes with Doug, believe it or not, 10 years ago.  The target was 25,000 boxes, the reality was over 3,000,000 sold! I love watching Wade and Jerry on the sidelines during the final minutes of the Cowboys loss to the Giants. All that was missing was Jimmy Johnson throwing a box of flakes onto the field or a highlight of Doug and Gerard Phelan and The Pass.
 
Please keep up the great work.  There is one Doug Flutie and never will another brand from PLB Sports that remotely compares to FF. Regards Ty Ballou, President, PLB Sports, Inc.
 
CHFF: Thanks for the note ... Flutie was truly one of the most exciting players we've ever seen. If your Flutie Flakes are any indication, it seems his magic worked off the field, as well as on it.
 
TROLL: You know, guys, I just have to speak out about Brett Favre. For years he was one of my favorites. Ahhh, but then ... Do you remember the 2001 season when he purposely took a dive to give Michael Strahan the single season sack record?
 
Consider ... a Green Bay quarterback purposely taking a sack to give the enemy a record. Think Vince Lombardi was clawing at the dirt covering his grave on that one?
 
We were so stunned and saddened we had a protest burning at my house. ALL our Green bay memorabilia went into the fireplace and we lit it with our heads bowed (and we had much). And Favre's career, from that point on, went into the crapper. This is when we knew the football Gods agreed. Then came last year. We thought the Gods were forgiving him. We were wrong. Retire, Brett. Vince Lombardi AND the Football Gods will NEVER forgive you for taking a dive for the enemy. Traitor. Fool. Almost was. Bye.Otto Pozzo
 
CHFF: We gotta admit, that was a cheap pussy move on Favre's part. But moments like that are so outweighed by his production that it's mostly forgotten ... or so we thought. You're the first Packers fan we've heard of who went so far as to actually BURN his Favre memorabilia.
 
TROLL: Just wanted to congratulate Kerry Byrne for the most accurate article I've ever read on the controversial subject of the Top 10 NFL Quarterbacks of all time. To me, Bart Starr combined all the aspects one looks for in a field general, and he proved time and again that he was an incredible big-game performer. For more persuasive ammunition proving Starr's excellence, Kerry might be interested in the second chapter of Allen Barra's book entitled "Big Play: Barra on Football." That chapter unequivocally proves that Starr was a "better" quarterback than Johnny Unitas, effectively dispelling a myth that has disturbed me for quite some time. Thanks for acknowledging Bart Starr's greatness.Todd Miller
 
CHFF: Barra has written quite a bit for Cold, Hard Football Facts in the past and is one of the folks who first inspired us to re-investigate the career of Bart Starr. He was clearly a better and more productive quarterback than Unitas by any measure other than hype and volume stats, the latter of which, the Cold, Hard Football Facts have so often shown, are fairly useless. Just ask Tom Brady.
 
TROLL: Love your assessments of the Super Bowl quarterbacks. Dead on. I have to say that my two favorites have always been Bradshaw and Montana. Especially when you consider the era in which Bradshaw played and the fact that he did, for the most part, call his own plays. I do have one note for you though. In your quarterback stats excel sheet (which I downloaded thank you very much) I don't see Ken Stabler or Mike Rae. I haven't gone over it completely yet to see if anyone else is missing. I would assume since you have running backs in there that only tossed one pass this must be an oversight.Joe Palazola
 
CHFF: You know what, Joe you caught us in transition. We had that piece in the archives while we updated it. Stabler's in there with the updated spreadsheet (the one you had was missing Stabler, along with Manning and Grossman from Super Bowl XLI ... we'll have to update it again with the results of Super Bowl XLII). As for Rae, we don't believe he attempted a pass that day in the Super Bowl (he was a rookie with the Raiders in 1976). Can't find anything that says he did. But if we're wrong, let us know.
 
TROLL: Though I mentioned several times to you in an email, the most powerful stat was the Defensive Hog rankings. This stat went 10-1 in the playoffs. Of course, you ignored this stat which explains your irrelevance in the playoffs. Once again, hubris rules.Buddy Taylor
 
CHFF: Wait, we ignored this stat? Isn't the Defensive Hog Index one of our stats?
 
TROLL: I won't repeat what I wrote but I disagree with your article on the NY Giants' tough run to the SB. Check out my entry on www.5goldenrings.net. The 2005 Steelers had a tougher road. – Dave Nicodemus
 
CHFF: If we had feelings, we'd love the passion of Steelers fans. The problem with passion though, Dave, is that it clouds reason and wisdom. There's simply no comparison, for example, between the 13-3 Seahawks that the Steelers beat in Super Bowl XL and the record-setting 16-0 Patriots that the Giants beat in Super Bowl XLII. You won't convince us, or anyone, otherwise ... except maybe some Steelers fans.
 
TROLL: Regarding the article on the Greatest Rushing Attacks in NFL History, the stat of yards per attempt just does not seem to be the most accurate of qualifiers. 
 
For example, I see that Lions of the 1990s listed a few times here. They certainly, as a team, did not possess what would be considered a "great rushing attack." Instead they possessed Barry Sanders, who racked up approx 90% of the entire team's yards. Replace Barry with "average running A" and the Lions would probably have ended up with a below average rushing attack. 
 
Now, since we are talking about teams, and not individuals, I would assume that the above scenario would want to be avoided. To quote Bill Cosby (the funny one from the 60s, not today's lecturing, finger waving douche); "I told you that story so I could tell you this one." The fact that the 1978 "Super Patriots" did not even make you list is appalling. This team gained an ungodly 3165 yards on the ground, more than any team on your list. 
 
Apologies if they averaged "only" 4.7 yards per attempt. The 78 Pats also compiled a ridiculous 11 games with over 200 yards rushing. The Pats leading rusher that year? The very good, but hardly great, Sam Bam Cunningham (pictured here) rushed for 768 yards. Therefore, especially considering that Sam had the lowest yards per carry output on the team, if you substituted Sam for "average running back A" you would have gotten the same (if not better) results.
 
For these reasons, based soley on CHFFs, I am laying the claim that not only do the 1978 Patriots rank amongst the best rushing teams of all time, they might actually be #1.Chris Bailey
 
CHFF: Thanks for the note ... our pal Mike Carlson (who covers the NFL in the U.K.) did something for us pretty in depth on the 1978 Patriots a couple years ago, as the 2006 Falcons threatened their single-season rushing record of 3,165 yards. It includes a breakdown of each ball carrier's output and a lot about the history of the league at that time. You can see it here.
 
The list that you're talking about that we recently updated isn't really "analysis" of any kind. It's just a list in order of the teams with the highest average YPA, which in and of itself has its own value. We believe we're the only outlet that has ranked teams this way. It makes no human judgment (like many of our other stories) on which team might have been the best, it just lists which teams were most productive.
 
The 1978 Patriots certainly stand as one of the more interesting teams in history. Four guys each over 500 yards rushing is probably something we'll never see again in a league where the pass has clearly become the preferred way to, as Hank Stram might have said, matriculate the ball down the field.
 
TROLL: Going for it on 4th-and-13: the science. Thanks for failing to mention the option of punting. Who needs science when an internet douchebag can just alter the options to reach his conclusion. – Bill Belichick
 
TROLL: As the largest publisher of mathematics research articles in the US, I have to take some issue with Johnathan Comey's Going For it on 4th Down: The Science. In short – if you are going to apply a mathematical analysis such as this, you will of course subject such an analysis to what a mathematician might correctly call "faulty reasoning." 
 
The bottom line is when you have a chance for points in the Super Bowl or any playoff game, you go for the points. If you choose to go for it, you have a 50% chance of making it – either you will or you won't. If you kick the field goal, the percentages are the same. However, if you fail, the outcome of both is the same. Given that, and since there are no points for a first down, you try for the points.
 
Anything else is faulty logic.  And let's not forget, the Patriots lost by 3 points.Brock
 
TROLL: The 4th and 13th article was overall very good.  In one particular way, it uses statistics poorly. 
 
"Over the season, approximately 27 percent of all Patriot dropbacks resulted in passes of 13 yards or more." True, but why focus on the season as a whole? Why not the last 8 games? Why not the playoffs?  Why not the actual game you were in, aren't all these better baselines than including games from far back in the season? 
 
Maybe you could go one better and use the average statistics for entire NFL, like Easterbrook regularly does in TMQ to "prove" why teams should run.Brad Goldman
 
CHFF: Well, we haven't seen that kind of uprising against the Cold, Hard Football Facts since our crew emptied the Eternal Tap at the Straub Brewery in St. Mary's, PA.  
 
TROLL: I would love to know the top ten quarterbacks ranked in terms of number of career wins as a starting QB (Regular Season). Is there any place I can get that data? I have been looking (and asking various sources) for months.  ThanksNic Bruns
 
CHFF: Hey Nic, if you're looking for top winning percentages by active quarterbacks, you can find it here at The Sports Network. As for total victories, you might have to do some digging yourself to find the top 10. You might check out the quarterbacks page on ProFootballReference.com, an incredible database of football information.
 
TROLL: Death of a fascist! I am a Patriots fan, season ticket holder and all. This is my favorite football website. The Patriots defense blew it. The offense did what it had to do, but this time there was time left on the clock. The Patriots played two kinds of opponents this year, those that could put unrelenting pressure on the quarterback and those that could not. Of the games where the opponent put unrelenting pressure on, as soon as the defensive line got tired, the Patriots scored.
  • Dallas: tired at the end of the 3rd
  • Indy: tired at the end of the 3rd
  • Baltimore: never really tired but they did "meltdown"
  • Philadelphia: tired at the middle of the third
  • Giants (regular season): Not enough pressure but a lot of scoring
  • Giants (Super Bowl): tired with 3 miniutes to go Pats score immediately.
Eli Manning looked like Rex Grossman, in both the Giants games. This game came down to 4 plays: Pats defense missed three INTs and Giants offense made one catch off the top of the helmet.
 
As Belichick says each week, every game comes down to one to two plays. I leave it to you guys to find some analytical way to explain this. I leave it to you. TD Deacon
 
CHFF: The explanation is simple as one-two. 1) The Patriots choked, playing their worst game in the biggest game of the year; and 2) the Giants still needed a miracle to win, and they got it.
 
TROLL: looks like your days of  giving brady head are over they choked choked i say choked in the soper bowl o not to mention the colts beat them 3times in a row after this brady vs manning message was created in route to indy winning super bowl41 to brady choking in 2006 afc championship game remember it was the biggest come back in afc championship history and if it wasnt for moss catchig that deep ball this season against indy who knows the colts coulda fiished undeafeted brady played like shit against the chargers if sd couda got in the end zone ne wouldnt of even made the sb and i am from michigan dont make brady to be a stud at big Blue he was average n was what a 6th round pick? as a huge college fb fan and again living in a big10 state everybody knows the sec is far superior look who always wins the bcs campionship and ya manning in college lost big games i agree but it was against much better competition wheres te vols went sence he left? the whole colts team played poorly this season in the playoffs but manning actually played pretty good we know that 1 pick was a tip and marvin harrison fumbling turnovers cost usthe game but hey guess what a maning beat up on brady last year and this yeartalk about a choker 18 n 1 baby colts will handle buisness next year so save your tears and bjs for another qb or day cause its mannings from hear on out bu byeeGammy
 
CHFF: ur clarely a morronn. Can u spell Ever herd of punkctuation! Reee-tahd.
 
Sure, Brady and New England choked the big hog in the Super Bowl. But we'll fellate anybody we want. The guy is still 14-3 in the playoffs and still owns three Super Bowl rings. And he's only been on the fields of the NFL for seven seasons. It's a remarkable career and just now in its peak. Let's not erase history here just because he blew this game and you're an idiot.
 
If we could decipher your entire e-mail, we'd shred it in such excruciating detail that your mother's vagina would quiver in pain. A couple points worth mentioning: we're the kings of declaring the SEC's dominance over the Big 10. In fact, we just did it again fairly recently.  
 
But maybe you forget that Brady was brilliant in the 2000 Orange Bowl when his Big 10 Michigan team beat Shaun Alexander SEC Alabama team, in the last college game for both. Brady led Michigan to victory in overtime and set numerous Orange Bowl passing records that day.
 
And, just for proof you're a dysfunctional retard, you asked what Tennessee has done since Manning left? Well, maybe you forgot they won the national title the year after he graduated.
 
So stuff thhaat in yur π-hole and smok it. Idit.
 
TROLL: I am a disappointed Pats fan who was at the game. I realize that nothing changes the outcome, but do you have any insight on what happened to the game clock during the final two minutes? It seemed like there was a complete breakdown of the time keeping by the officials.
 
This is not sour grapes, nor will it change anything, however, the NFL really should look into it and explain why it happened, or ensure that it does not happen again. This is after all, the biggest game of the year (this one perhaps of my lifetime), and is supposed to have the very best staff.
 
I respect the facts that you find and report on. If there is nothing to this, so be it, but if anyone can determine what happened it is the Cold Hard Football Facts.Philip Bennett
 
TROLL: Check out this link to video showing playclock mismanagement during the Super Bowl... – John
 
CHFF: We got a lot of emails about the clock management in the Super Bowl. There may or may not be something to the conspiracies. But the bottom line is this: the winning team made the plays it needed to make and the losing team did not. If you want to find clock management to criticize, perhaps you should ask why New England mismanaged the clock so badly themselves on their final drive. They had 35 seconds and three timeouts to advance the ball 50 yards and get into field goal range. They went deep on every play, looking for the big kill. Obviously, they didn't get it. For years, the Patriots made hay by playing smartly. In this instance, they fell victim to the same "big-play" mentality we've seen hijack so many other great passing teams in the past. Basically, greed takes over.
 
TROLL: Do you have Cold Hard Facts for Arena football?John
 
CHFF: For what? It sounds like you think there's a league out there where they play football indoors or something. That's stupid.
 
TROLL: Hi Guys. I am trying to find data on penalty yards for each team in 2007. Do you know where I can find this data? Jonathan Weiler
 
 
TROLL: Have you heard of the new book titled "PLAY HARD, DIE YOUNG: FOOTBALL DEMENTIA, DEPRESSION AND DEATH." It is a very enlightening book on the dangers of blows to the head sustained from the play of football. It is a must read for all amateur and professional football players, parents, coaches and trainers to clarify the issues about chronic brain damage, football and concussions. It can be ordered from Amazon.com or any other major bookstore's website. Cheers!!Bennet Omalu
 
CHFF: Wow, thanks for the unsolicited sales pitch and info-mercial. The Cold, Hard response is this: every person in the America knows that football is dangerous and that players can suffer traumatic injuries. Players make a deal with the devil, hoping for fame, riches and glory. They can always choose another career.
 
TROLL: Could you tell me which pad does wes welker wear? Thanks, Enno
 
CHFF: We couldn't find a pad we can trust for football players, but we found this one apparently meant for hockey players.
 
TROLL: Question: How many times did Bill Belichek wear the red hoodie throughout the years and lose the game? ThanksTim Lee
 
CHFF: Sorry, Tim, we don't really have a red hoodie index. Fashion ain't really our thing. If you've ever peered into the abyss of indignity that is our staff, you'll realize all of CHFF is pretty much a fashion don't.
 
TROLL: What is that saying about statistics?  While all the stats you state are true, games are not won on paper. I am a fan of neither team, so I think I can be objective.  By the way in one of your columns you did say that the Pats were not playing as well at the end of the season as they were at the beginning. And the Giants started to play better, especially on defense. If the Pats hold them on the last drive then there is no choke. Lets face it that pass completion was just pure luck. That happens some times.Sanford Sklansky
 
CHFF: Of course, our perfect and flawless Cold, Hard Football Facts don't play the game. Flawed humans do. We're the first to say that. But that's the beauty of sport. If all you had to do is look at the numbers, there'd be no reason to play the game. We could just run computer simulations. We hate to steal a cliché here, but it's the human drama of athletic competition that makes sports so enjoyable. We just use the Cold, Hard Football Facts as a guide. More often than not, they treat you right. In the case of Super Bowl XLII, they certainly didn't  treat anybody right.
 
As for the issue of luck, we don't buy it. The Giants made the plays they needed to make. The Patriots did not. It's really not more difficult than that.
 
TROLL: I am doing research for a documentry on the first night football game under lights.  I know it was plaied in 1892 in mansfield Pa.  However I would like to know what the gear looked like.  I'd also like to find some actual gear to use in the documentry.James
 
CHFF: Can anyone help James here? Email us if you can and we'll facilitate a meeting of the trolls.
 
TROLL: You had a couple of inquiries about Frank Cooney's MVP vote for Favre. Several acknowledged that his arguments are not inane - you gave him credit for being reasonable - but several asked, dubiously, if he voted for Brady in the past based on his thinking.
 
I had an email exchange with Cooney, and he indicated that he DID vote for Brady last year. So old Frank gets points for consistency, even though any argument for not giving Brady the nod, after an historic season in which he elevated the play of his receivers and offensive line - not the reverse, and made all the big plays in critical situations, under duress and without much separation from his receivers, in the four games the Pats almost lost, not to mention the 12 game highlight reel in the rest of his games, fails the incontrovertible sniff test. Forgive the run-on. - Jay Hickman
 
CHFF: We never saw a single vote for a postseason award in any sport generate so much attention as Cooney's vote for Favre last year. Hey, the guy took an unpopular position, got pilloried for it in some quarters. But at least he stood up for his choice. But at the end of the day, it's really no big deal. Brady got 49 of 50 MVP votes last year. What more do people want? The record books will simply indicate that Brady was MVP of the 2007 NFL season. It won't list a vote count.
 
For the record, Cooney (who we defended for his vote) wrote to us to bust our balls after our tribute to Brett Favre when the Packers quarterback retired earlier this month. He seemed to think our tribute to Favre sounded a lot like the reasons he listed in in MVP vote.
 
TROLL: Yes, the 2007 Colts were a good team, and would have been 14-2 had they actually played that last game. However, if you wish to preserve some credibility in the eyes of this football fan, how about writing concerning the incredibly beneficial officiating that the Colts have been on the receiving end of going on three years now?
 
Last time I checked, no team enjoys so many calls in its favor and against their opponent in big games, with regularity. You can't dispute it: it's a fact. Now you can go back to your papers and stats which is all very well. But I wish you paid some attention to the officiating (and not just the percentage of calls made by different crews, but maybe, just maybe, percentage of BS calls and non-calls made in favor of a certain team) which is a very real problem. Good day.Pilgrim
 
CHFF: Well, Pilgrim, we can dispute it because what you tout is not a fact. It's a conspiracy theory with some anecdotal evidence that you choose to see.  The Cold, Hard Football Facts generally don't discuss officiating conspiracies. First, there are calls in every game which we would dispute, but they typically go both ways in a given game. Second, there's nothing we can do about it anyway. People will always bitch about officiating. At the end of the day, results are results. And third, the NFL simply can not afford to be caught up in some sort of officiating conspiracy. Doesn't mean there aren't bad officials and bad, even intentionally bad calls. But rantings like yours, Pilgrim, are generally the sign of a deluded fan of another team. We suggest you take up a hobby ... like maybe go out and learn about girls or something.

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