Colossal, ass-kicking playoff Mail Pouch
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 27, 2007
These are just some of the more interesting e-mails we've received here in the playoff run of the past couple weeks.
Some are filled with congratulatory laurels of praise for the CHFF crew. Some are filled with venemous anger. We try to treat all of them equally. Also, we've been corrected on a number of items in recent weeks. We're going to publish a follow-up Mail Pouch Monday or Tuesday with many of those corrections, as well as our responses. It's just one more thing that makes the Cold, Hard Football Facts a more valid football authority than the dreaded mainstream media, which tends to treat its errors like lepers, hiding them among the auto dealership ads in a little corner of Page C14.
The Cold, Hard Football Facts, however, revel in the joy of knowing our readers take the time to correct our errors.
Remember, the glory of the Cold, Hard Football Facts is found here: Even our letters page is filled with more facts and data than your average column from the "pundits."
TROLL: I'll give you credit, that is the best mastication of crow I have ever had the pleasure to observe. BRAVO! – Robert Drummond
CHFF: Even when we suck, we aim to please. For the record, crow tastes good with a little barbecue sauce. That piece is also proof, if there were ever any doubt, that the Cold, Hard Football Facts have no loyalty to any team, player or storyline. We care only about reporting the evidence – especially when it contradicts the "pundits" who are too lazy or stupid to actually study the data themselves ... and often when it contradicts our own earlier assumptions.
TROLL: I saw your article on Super Bowl quarterbacks. You have Kurt Warner listed as a "Champion," but not Steve Young? Steve Young won the only Super Bowl in which he started, and he put up some pretty impressive numbers. Kurt Warner is .500 as a Super Bowl starter, and really only had a few good years. Steve Young, on the other hand, had a better (and longer) career. I know all quarterbacks could not make your list, but c'mon! To not include Steve Young is an oversight. – Todd Toepfer
CHFF: Hey, Todd, Young clearly had a better career than Warner and a better single Super Bowl performance. But as the article mentioned at the outset, only QBs who made multiple Super Bowl appearances were included ... It eliminated the one-hit Super Bowl wonders (like Young and Simms) and the one-time Super Bowl failures (like Jaworski and Gannon).
TROLL: Just read your Super Bowl QB ratings ... where's Joe Namath? Wore No. 12 for one of the New York teams. – Tim Sparks
CHFF: Not sure if you read the piece on MSNBC.com or on Cold, Hard Football Facts, but the piece on CHFF states pretty clearly that we looked only at QBs with multiple Super Bowl appearances.
The CHFF story also includes a spreadsheet showing the stats on every single Super Bowl QB, including Namath. For the record, his numbers were pretty ordinary that day in Super Bowl III: 17 for 28, 206 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT. The key stat for him was that 0 INTs. As the Cold, Hard Football Facts have proven time and again, when you don't throw picks, you win postseason games. Pretty simple equation. His opposing QBs that day, Johnny Unitas and Earl Morrall, were picked off a combined four times.
TROLL: Nice article, but what about Phil Simms's '86 performance? – Rich Lanahan
CHFF: See above. We did talk about Simms and his remarkable performance in Super Bowl XXI last week. His '86 season, to this point anyway, was a lot like Rex Grossman's '06 season.
TROLL: You have an amazing product here. You keep the best sport/league of the land real by your unrelenting attack on idiotic pundits. Are you seeking investors to take this to the next level? – Dave Sawyer
CHFF: There's a level above rock bottom? Seriously, we're talking to many people right now and considering offers from a number of investors, marketing and media partners. You can always send more information, or open checkbooks, to the Chief Troll.
TROLL: Hello, angry trolls. Two commentaries: That sentence, "If Tony Romo played soccer for Colombia, he wouldn't live through the end of the week" is definitely a classic. As a Colombian and a longtime soccer fan, I find very compelling that the "gringos" know their soccer facts.
Also, nice piece of work with "The case for Marty." I like that coach. I get goosebumps when I hear his "gleam" speech. I'd love to see him enshrined in the HOF and I believe, for all of his records, Tomlinson's greatest achievement would be winning a Super Bowl for a Schottenheimer-coached team. Keep up the good work. – Alejandro Mina Calva, Departmento Nacional de Planeacion, Government of Colombia
CHFF: Nice to hear from our friends in Colombia. Didn't know we were so big in Southeast Asia. That "gleam" speech is pretty neat. But we're not sure pep talks work so much in the pro game. Schottenheimer's history would serve as Exhibit A in that argument. Thanks for the kind words. If only our parents had been so giving with their love ...
TROLL: I run the Bears website Windy City Gridiron. I am looking to possibly interview someone with your site in regards to the Super Bowl matchup. It will be around 10-15 questions. If this is a possibility, I would appreciate hearing from you. – Adam
CHFF: Folks can see the interview here. It's a couple entries down in his blog, and we preview the Super Bowl. If you want to see some real comedy, the Chief Troll did an interview with the folks from DarkPartyReview, a blog up in Boston, before the conference title games. The Chief Troll, said the blog's publisher, "can talk the talk better than anyone in the business." To our surprise, he was talking about football, not adult chatrooms. He must be reading Boston Globe sportswriter Bob Ryan, a giant of the industry, who recently called the Cold, Hard Football Facts "a must read for pigskin folk."
TROLL: You guys wrote that "It seems like Peyton Manning might have to cede the title of 'Picasso of Choke Artists' to somebody else." It seems to me that Tom Brady would fit the bill.
In the last two years, he has thrown costly interceptions at crucial points in the game that have gotten the Patriots ejected from the playoffs. Sounds rather Peyton-esque, doesn't it? Brady's postseason passer rating this year was 76.5, which was significantly lower than his regular season passer rating of 87.9. Sounds rather Peyton-esque, doesn't it? – Chad
CHFF: Brady clearly has underperformed in a couple of recent playoff games – but it's hard to call a two-time Super Bowl MVP, and three-time champion, a choker. By your logic, Joe Montana must be a choker for losing three straight playoff games from 1985 to 1987 – and he had Jerry Rice to throw to those three years. Please. Let's be serious here.
Just to put Brady's career in context: He has 12 postseason victories; Montana didn't win his 12th playoff game until his 11th season in the NFL. Brady won his third Super Bowl in his fifth year in the NFL. Montana won his third Super Bowl in his 10th year in the NFL. Montana won 16 playoff games in a 16-year career. Brady has won 12 playoff games in a seven-year career. Are you going to tell us that Brady has been surrounded by better talent in his early years in the NFL?
We're not saying Brady's better than Montana. We're just saying that, whatever happens from here on out, Brady's legacy is fairly secure.
Manning clearly had a great game against New England – one we marveled at, like everyone else. It wasn't the greatest statistical game, but it was a champion-caliber performance in a clutch situation, and that's all that really matters. The truth, though, as you no doubt know, is that Manning has consistently played his worst games in the playoffs year after year – that's a far cry from Brady having a couple subpar performances on the road against good teams.
TROLL: Please!! Turn of that goddamn flashing ad for the 42-inch TV. Thank you. – Sal (and about 100 other people)
TROLL: I love your web site and tell others about it quite frequently. But I can't take the flashing ads. Please stop them. Quite frankly, I am amazed that you can tolerate looking at them. – Gary Murphy
TROLL: Hey guys, I know they help pay the rent, but can you get rid of the f***ing flashing ads. It's hard enough to read this shit with a hangover ... never mind topping it off with a god-damned light show!!! – John C.
CHFF: Hey, even we can take a hint. Sorry about that folks. They're gone. We couldn't stand them, either.
TROLL: Hey guys. Love the site - found it last year through your rantings on the one and only Ron Borges. Anyway, I co-host an afternoon sports radio show in New Hampshire. We had a caller ask if we knew of a Kansas City Chiefs player from back in the day (they claimed it was Otis Taylor) that stood in the end zone, jumped and actually blocked a George Blanda field goal. He was wondering:
a. Did it really happen?
b. Is it legal for a player to jump and block a field goal like that in the end zone as the ball is about to pass over a crossbar?
I've Googled it to death and I can't find anything. Any help you might have would be much appreciated. Keep up the great work. – Mike Mutnansky, Sports Radio WGAM
CHFF: Hey, Michael, we've seen pictures of Taylor being used for that purpose ... But don't know if he ever actually blocked one, from the foot of Blanda or any other kicker. With that said, it's perfectly legal to block a kick that way ... No different than blocking a field goal at the line of scrimmage, really. In fact, if the kick is short, you can stand there, catch it and return it, as if it were a punt. Chicago's Nathan Vasher did it last year in a win over San Francisco – setting an NFL record along the way with a 108-yard TD return.
TROLL: I was just wondering if you guys have ever compiled a list of the best single postseason performances by a QB, as far as passer rating. I can find the best Super Bowl performances, but not entire postseason performances. You guys seem to have a wealth of stats at your disposal ... any chance you could do an article on it? – Chad
CHFF: Great idea. It's probably too late for us to pull it together before the Super Bowl. But it could be a good offseason article, or for next year's playoffs. Thanks for the idea.
TROLL: You should do a daily article in the vein of the recent "Pigskin Detention: A tale of two sports." You guys are the most readable football site and your insights are the best. Keep up the good work. I read you every day and have for over two years. – Bob Blinder
CHFF: Thanks for the kind words and thanks for making CHFF a regular part of your sports diet. We want to expand on that and a lot of other features for next season. Contributors Josh Bacott and Pat Imig do a great job with that stuff. You can also check them out regularly on their web site, JoeSportsFan.com.
TROLL: I must very strongly disagree with you about Vince Young not being Rookie of the Year. Sure, he plays the QB position and being the good soldier that you are, you only want to judge his deserving the award by what you expect the QB's performance to be. I say, look beyond that, and see what Young's impact on the entire Titans team was. He is a great leader and he inspires others to play beyond their capabilities. The Titans believe in him, both offense and defense. Young had 19 TDs this season, which is more than some veteran QBs have. – Willie Wiley
CHFF: Hey, Willie, believe you us, we're driving the Vince Young bandwagon. We have been since his college days. We just think, in this instance, that San Diego's Marcus McNeill simply did more: He played the entire season and was probably the top lineman, at the toughest position (blind-side tackle), for the No. 1 offense and No. 1 ballcarrier in the NFL, MVP LaDainian Tomlinson. That's a pretty damn good season. Had McNeil played a position that garnered more attention, we think more people would have agreed with us. But saying McNeill had a ROY season hardly takes away from what could be a brilliant career for a great player and leader like Vince Young.
TROLL: Your "Cold, Hard Football Facts" are as slanted and ideologically bent as your notion that Brady is on par with Manning. Ridiculous, utterly. Manning is far superior and most experts admit it. But let me tell you why crow will become a familiar taste for you in, well, two weeks. Manning owns Brady in every category except post-season performance and Super Bowl rings. You are right, these are enormous, and a major benchmark for establishing the legacy of QBs. Once Manning wins a Super Bowl, he will categorically smash the silly idea that Brady is superior. Your only argument has two weeks of life left. Enjoy it, cherish it. It's all you've got. Manning will exit Miami airport the undisputed greatest QB of this generation. – Will
CHFF: Clearly, you fail to comprehend the greatness of the Cold, Hard Football Facts. Brady has routinely been lauded more than Manning by the CHFF because he routinely produced far more often in the bigger games. There's really no argument there.
See how we operate? It's like this: Weigh evidence and THEN draw conclusion! It's brilliant, isn't it? For example, let's show you a simple mathematical equation:
* Player A produced X, Y & Z.
* Player B produced 2X, 2Y & 2Z.
* Ergo, Player B > Player A.
Now that Manning finally has a signature performance to his credit, the Cold, Hard Football Facts will change accordingly. In fact, we saw proof of this change this week. Manning gave us a spectacular performance in a big game; our reporting and our laudatory praise of Manning (including information about his effort not reported anywhere else) reflected that new evidence.
See, your problem is you have an emotional attachment to your favorite team and/or player. This emotion clouds your vision. You wanted us to write that story about Manning BEFORE the evidence was in.
You're not alone there. All fans seem to let emotion get in their way. It's why the Cold, Hard Football Facts exist: to help emotional fans see the truth, whether it pleases them or not.
In this case, one player deserved more praise than the other, based solely upon an icy-cold study of the empirical evidence at hand. We still fail to see how Manning winning a Super Bowl in his ninth year in the league would somehow equate with Brady ripping off three titles in four years, winning two Super Bowl MVP awards, doing it with a patchwork collection of offensive weapons, and almost single-handedly changing the fortunes of a laughingstock franchise and a losing coach. (Belichick was 42-58 as an NFL coach before Brady took over the Patriots in 2001, and the franchise was 0-3 in championship-game play in its history.)
But, clearly, should Manning win a Super Bowl, he'll merit more consideration among the all-time elite QBs. He may even someday earn all the praise he's been getting, most of it underservedly, throughout his career. He's now starting to earn that praise. Our estimation of him will change as long as the empirical evidence supporting him continues to change.
That's how we do it here: Collect evidence and THEN report what it tells us, no matter how bad it pains our readers.
Here's how "pundits" and fans do it: Create emotional attachment to player or team and then draw conclusions that make them feel happy.
* Ergo: Cold, Hard Football Facts > "pundits" and emotional fans.
TROLL: You have said a number of times that New England's 2004 postseason schedule is the toughest in the history of the NFL. No ... it really wasn't. The 2005 Steelers had the toughest schedule. If you take out Cincy (the extra game the Steelers had to play in wildcard weekend that the Patriots didn't due to seeding), Pittsburgh's adversaries last year had a combined record of 40-8 ... the same as the 2004 Patriots. Now add the extra game and the fact that every game the Steelers played was on the road, the argument isn't even close anymore. Do you guys critically think your statistics at all?
Even if the 2004 Patriots had to play a 2-14 team during wildcard weekend (impossible but for the sake of argument), their opponents' records would be 42-20, but is it not still a harder schedule than three opponents at 40-8 considering they now have one more game to win a SB?
Or maybe you guys just skew the data to make New England's accomplishments seem more impressive than they really are... – Kevin Cropp
CHFF: Did you even read the story? Or were you too caught up in a violent, emotional time-space pigskin continuum to do so? The article clearly states, and we're quoting directly, that "the 2005 Steelers can certainly lay claim to overcoming the toughest postseason schedule in the Super Bowl Era" by virtue of that fourth game.
Nobody's skewing anything. The data was reported exactly as the numbers dictate it be reported ... and with a stated effort to point out that Pittsburgh can, in fact, claim a tougher road, even though the overall record of New England's playoff opponents was greater at the end of the day. We went out of our way to make the same point you're making. Not sure what more you want out of us.
If you consider this a case of skewing the data, you have some issues to work out.
TROLL: Merril Hoge is an a-hole, however he was 3-1 with his divisional picks and 7-1 for the first two weeks of playoffs, PLAYOFFS! What was your winning percentage last week? Fifty percent? But I still love you guys. You explain beer really well, and your chick pics are awesome. Let's hire the fired Carolina Panthers cheerleaders for a beer bash and other activities. – Howard Goldstein
CHFF: We're 6-4 picking playoff games this year. Not so hot. When Hoge has a better record than we do, it's time to commit pigskin hari-kari.
TROLL: We always knew Ron Borges was an unobjective, hardened Belichick hater. But he is now a proven, two-faced fraud. After picking the Colts to beat the Patriots in the Boston Globe, Borges apparently has picked NE in a very compelling pro-Patriots MSNBC.com article – Dave Sawyer
TROLL: Less than 12 hours after pontificating on New England Sports Network (Jan. 17) about why the Colts would beat the Patriots, Borges wrote this little gem for MSNBC, praising the New England organization in haughty terms.
Borges hasn't been right about the Patriots since Reagan was elected. It seems some time late at night, he woke up in a cold sweat with a dark plan to turn the tide on his enemies. He would pick New England to win and thereby cause them to lose! Can you recommend a good counselor for him? Maybe an intervention with Dr. Phil would help. I'm just worried he'd punch the good doc. – David Rushforth
CHFF: A meeting with Dr. Douche might be better. Borges will feel right at home.
Not to defend Borges too strongly, but he never actually picked New England to win in that MSNBC.com piece. However, he did pretty much suck the organization's ball bag. It's a tone from Borges that folks up in Boston, who have the misfortune of coming across his articles on the bathroom floor as they sit on the shitter, have never seen. We don't think it's his most egregious error. His most egregious one might be possibly plagiarizing the Cold, Hard Football Facts, which we'll discuss in more detail this week.
TROLL: Nothing bothers me more before the big game than whoever breaking down each team position by position and comparing them to each other! Why compare offensive line to offensive line? They don't ever line up against each other, why not give the breakdown of one team's o-line vs. the other's d-line? Wouldn't that make more sense? Can you guys make it happen? Love the site! – Max McCann
CHFF: Good point. We're even guilty of it to a certain extent, when we stack up each team in our game previews and picks. This is something for us to work on next season. Must be a shock, isn't it? Folks from the media actually taking their readers' ideas into consideration.
TROLL: I know how much you guys love digging up stats, so I have a request. Could you put together the best coach & quarterback playoff tandems ever? – Bob from New Hampshire
CHFF: We believe the NFL has this data. We'll try to find it. But we're fairly certain right off the top of our head that Lombardi-Starr (9-1) is the most successful postseason combo. They also won five NFL championships (along with the first two Super Bowls) in a seven-year period from 1961 to 1967. That's unprecedented.
Don't you want to adjust your power rankings and bring them up to date? – Vince Lombardi
CHFF: Nice to hear from you, Vince. We like the work you did with that Starr fella up in Green Bay 40 years ago. Nice job. With that said, we published our final 2006 rankings at the end of the regular season. We'll update it again some time after the Super Bowl, with the champ at No. 1, of course.
TROLL: Hey, hey! Are there any trolls under this bridge? Let me in! I've already throwed a half a beer up against the wall over this shit, and that's alcohol abuse and must answer to the beer Gods and I must say 3 "I hate T.O.'s" in a row. Jus kiddin'. I say that every day, LMFAO. Hey, I would appreciate the chance to get on your forum and be attacked by ugly trolls and attack a bugger myself. Screen name xxxx. HAIL TO THE FOOTBALL GODS. – Rick Alsup
CHFF: We've had a few folks encounter this problem. We're happy to manually upload the names until we get the issue resolved. If anyone else encounters this problem, just shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll take care of it. Sorry about that. Ironically, none of the spammers on our Football Forum seem to have this problem.
TROLL: When are you guys going to put together an All-Douched Pro Bowl team this year? I look forward to reading it every year. – Jim L.
CHFF: Our first two All-Douched Teams were big hits, thanks in large part to the annual winner of the Massengill Award as the most-douched player in the NFL – the guy who absolutely deserved a spot on a Pro Bowl roster but did not get it. The All-Douched Team in our first two years came out right around the time the Pro Bowl teams were announced in late December. We simply didn't get around to it this year. But we'll shoot to get it out before the Pro Bowl in two weeks. Honestly, the errors in naming the Pro Bowl squad this year weren't quite as egregious as they were in 2004 and 2005.
TROLL: In your comparison of the performances of Brady and Manning in the regular season and in the postseason, did you consider controlling for the difference in other quarterbacks' ratings between regular and postseason? I think it reasonable to expect that on average, a quarterback's performance and rating would be lower in the playoffs, given the higher caliber of the average defenses that he is facing compared to the regular season.
It seems only fair that you should control for this factor in your analysis. I'd come up with a way to normalize Peyton's regular and postseason performances to take this factor out (what is the difference for all other quarterbacks with a some minimum number of postseason appearances during the years you are analyzing Peyton's data?) – Harold Pickens, MD
CHFF: Wow, a doctor's note! We get these from time to time and it always makes us feel smart. We didn't necessarily do a statistical control in that piece, but we did reference the quality of the opponents and the defenses Manning and Brady each faced in the postseason.
We think the bigger issue is this: It shouldn't matter who you play. If you're truly a great QB, you need to perform well against the toughest opponents. Brady, for example, had his greatest postseason game (130.5 passer rating) on the road at Pittsburgh in 2004, against a team that ranked No. 1 in both total and scoring D. Manning finally had his signature performance last week against New England when, as we stated in our wrap-up of the game, he shredded the league's No. 2 defense like pork at a barbecue festival.
The important thing is that when you see quarterbacks who "couldn't win the big game," you ALWAYS find that their play declined in the postseason.
Guys like Bart Starr, Joe Montana, Brady, Bradshaw ... all put up better or highly comparable numbers in the regular season and postseason. Starr remains the highest-rated postseason passer in history, even though he played back in the 1960s. Bradshaw put up amazing numbers in his Super Bowls.
When you see a team that won a lot of championships, you will, without fail, find a QB who performed great in big games. When you look at teams that "couldn't win the big game," you'll find QB performances that were subpar. The correlation is so strong, it's amazing.
Troll: Dennis & Callahan on WEEI sports radio in Boston mentioned your name as someone who eats this stuff up. They mentioned stats on the Patriots with and without Rodney Harrison in the lineup. It's more than striking. It'd be great if you guys could do a piece on this. Incredible numbers ... the truth hurts! – name deleted by accident
CHFF: We appreciate the plug from those guys. In fact, the Chief Troll was on with Dennis & Callahan a couple weeks ago. You can listen to the interview here. With that said, it's kind of an old story for us. We looked at this topic last year. Harrison has been in and out of the lineup there in New England for a couple years now, with a bunch of major injuries. Not sure if it's worth looking into the numbers because fans in New England have probably already seen Harrison's best days.
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