Mail Pouch for early August 2005

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Aug 02, 2005



Let's see the new "Brady vs. all-time greats" revision. Love the facts! – Craig

CHFF: We published the updated numbers back in March. Apparently, a lot of people missed it, because we get a lot of questions about it. In any case, his numbers look even stronger after five years in the league than they did at four.

Could you possibly revisit who is the biggest moron between Prisco and Bayless? My vote is Bayless and my evidence is his bold prediction back in 2002 that Brett Favre was the most overhyped and overrated quarterback in football.
 
Favre and the Packers had dominated the 49ers in both the regular season and playoffs. They were 9-1 since 1995 and had outscored the 49ers, 267 to 173.
 
With this backdrop, Clueless went on to pick the Whiners to beat Green Bay back in Week 12 of 2003 and predicted that Tim Rattay would outshine Favre. Well, the Packers won, 20-10, despite being saddled with the washed-up Favre, who no longer had any arm strength.
 
Last season, the over-the-hill Favre went on to throw for more than 4,000 yards (4,088) with a 64.1 completion percentage, 30 TDs and a passer rating better than 90.
 
Clueless apparantly did not learn anything, as he was equally quick to jump on Brady. The guy is a repeat offender when it comes to stupidity. - J Goemans
 
CHFF: Unfortunately, science has yet to give us the tools to measure the stupidity gap between Prisco and Bayless. When we get the tools, we'll let you know how it ends up.
 
Suffice it to say, we agree that Bayless is a repeat offender. We also agree that Favre is far from washed up. He had a spectacular season last year – one of the best ever by a quarterback his age and he's one of our key players to watch in 2005 (our complete list of "10 players to watch" will be out before the start of the season). He also carried the Packers last year to their 10-6 record and NFC North division title. His defense was simply atrocious (23.7 PPG allowed), especially against quality opponents (40.0 PPG allowed).
 
With that said, Favre does have a serious problem with his postseason interceptions: 17 in his last eight playoff games. These INTs have cost the Packers dearly. They're just 2-6 in those eight games and a lot of the blame must fall on Favre's shoulders. If he can keep the INTs in check, the Packers have a fighting chance to do some damage in 2005.
 
Fact: you haven't produced in over a week. How bout putting the freakin' knockwurst down and writing something? – JP
 
CHFF: It's been much longer than a week since we last produced. Just ask our wives. However, if you're referring to the time since we last published new material, we had a good reason. We were up to our lifeless ballbags in the redesign of the Cold, Hard Football Facts. We hope you like it.
 
Fact: Peyton Manning makes pro bowlers. Who was Harrison before 1998? Look at Pro Bowel performances of Manning versus Brady. Manning can perform great with any talent and make them better. Brady, on the other hand, is an above-average player who plays on a great team with a great coach. Take away his team and coach and you see the real Brady as is evident in his pro bowel performances. Manning on the other hand is two-time MVP for a reason. He is the best player in the league. Not on the best team, but he's getting it there. – A factless Manning fan who refused to leave their name.
 
CHFF: Well, sorry to report you're a little late to this party. One, we assume your repeated references to the "Pro Bowel" was intentional, and not a sign that Pete Prisco taught you how to spell. Two, we wrote about Brady and Manning's respective Pro Bowl performances a few days after the 2005 game. Three, typical of a Manning fan, you place a premium on meaningless games like the Pro Bowl, where Manning shines and Brady is pissed because he just finished winning a Super Bowl seven days earlier and now has to miss the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Four, typical of a Manning fan, you tend to forget about Manning's performances in games that do count, like the playoffs, where Brady shines and where Manning turns into Craig Krenzel. Five, you mention that Manning is getting his team "there" – meaning, he's helping it become the best in football. Actually, if you took the time to read the "Complete & Unabridged Guide to Why Tom Brady is Better Than Peyton Manning, Vol. II" you'd realize that the Colts have reached a plateau under Manning's leadership. They're no better today than they were in 1999, his second year in the league. That's just an irrefutable Cold, Hard Football Fact, son.
 
The Patriots today, meanwhile, are the undisputed best team in football. Yet the day Brady took over, they had one of the worst offenses in football and had gone 5-13 in their previous 18 games. They're 57-14 in the four years since, with three Super Bowl rings. It's clear to one and all that Brady has had a far more profound impact on the fortunes of the Patriots than Manning has had on the fortune of the Colts. Sh*t, Tony Dungy reached the NFC title game once with Shaun King at quarterback. He's done no better in the AFC with Manning as quarterback.
 
Do us a favor: just convulse violently if you want us to let you up for a little air.
 
Are you annoyed or pleased that ESPN's "Quite Frankly" host is stealing your thunder about the Patriots' success? – Gordon
 
CHFF: We haven't seen the show yet, but we'll look for it. If they're using our material without quoting us, well we'd be more than annoyed. But if they're simply stating some facts that sound like our facts, there's not a whole lot we can do about it. A little love from the show would be nice, though.
 
It's difficult for me to unveil any truths that have been obfuscated, omitted or, more commonly, reported incorrectly by that momo Pete Prisco. Why? Because you (plural or singular, I'm not sure) do it on a regular basis. I've inserted the term "uber-hack" into my weekly rotation of insults, aimed at people of all trades. Anyway, just wanted to drop you a line and let you know that I disagree with one thing you've written. The snowy night in January 2002 was NOT when it was clear to see, to anybody with one eye or however you phrased it, that Tom Brady was something special.
 
As I recall, that revelation took place in October 2001, when Brady came from behind AGAINST FLUTIE (and San Diego) IN FOXBORO, forced the game to OT, then orchestrated the first of his game winning drives, with half the stadium conceding another losing season and basically rooting for Flutie.
 
That game included poise, come-from-behind drama and the finest exhibition of pocket elusiveness, to a degree that, before the Super Bowl against the Rams (I attended), Marcellus Wiley said on Jim Rome's show "New England's line isn't that good ... it's all Brady. I came free off the edge a couple of times (in a 2001 regular-season game against New England) and I just couldn't get to him."
 
To conclude, there's nothing more liberating than watching someone get bitchslapped by the Cold, Hard Football Facts. - JC, Providence, R.I.
 
CHFF: The world's mass collection of Prisco anti-fans need a secret greeting of some sort so we know we're among fact-filled friends when we pass on the street. Maybe we'll stick our right arms out in front of us at a slight upward angle and say "Fail Prisco" as we snap together sharply the heels of our black leather boots. Nobody's ever thought of that one.
 
In any case, you're talking about New England's 29-26 win over San Diego in October 2001. It was Brady's third NFL start and he was pretty remarkable, completing 33 of 54 passes for 364 yards, 2 TD and 0 INT. We have to agree, that's not too shabby for a "game manager" in his third NFL start. You're right – all the attributes that make Brady the undisputed best quarterback in the NFL were on display that day.
 
We tend to cite the Oakland game as his signature early performance (32 of 52, 312 yards, 0 TD and 1 INT) if only because of the blizzard-like conditions, the fact that he was virtually flawless in the fourth quarter and overtime and because it was a nationally televised playoff game. This confirmed what we had seen in the regular season: performances against teams like San Diego, Indy (16 of 20, 202 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT) and New Orleans (19 of 26 for 258 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT), when the team depended very heavily upon its young, inexperienced quarterback. All these games (and many others) defy the notion that Brady was a "system" quarterback who managed the team his first year. He carried the team in many instances. For our money, the Oakland game was the one where we finally bought into him. If you were already ahead of us banging the tin cans and blowing the tuba on the Brady bandwagon, we tip our caps to you.
 
For the record, system quarterbacks don't throw the ball 50-something times a game when his team needs him most. A "system" quarterback is someone like Bob Griese who, in Miami's victories in Super Bowls VII and VIII, put up the following COMBINED (two games) stat line:
 
* 14 of 18, 161 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.
 
Miami ran the ball 90 times in those two games combined. That's a game manager. Griese, by the way, now has a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
 
The truth about Indy and Manning is spreading! See this story on FoxSports.com – Loyal reader Bruce Manchester.
 
CHFF: We're encouraged to see that a number of different outlets are finally acknowledging what the Cold, Hard Football Facts have long been preaching. The problem with Indy is not the defense, but the piss-poor postseason performance of its quarterback and its offense. Not only did Fox write the story that you sent, but Street & Smith's addressed the topic in its 2005 NFL preview issue.
 
Keep up the good work. Fans tire of the biased and factless reporting of Prisco and people like him. I would prefer to look at the CHFF regarding a player or team's performance. You stand almost alone in that way. – Bob
 
CHFF: You sell us way too short. We stand alone in many ways. Especially when we step out into public or try to talk to women.
 
How is Belichick doing since you seem to be his biggest friend these days? Will the Cleveland failure finally be able to call plays on offense this year? I hope so considering Weis won't be there to hold his hand this year. We all know what happened last time he did that. He got fired! 
 
This season was not the toughest postseason schedule in NFL history.  It's laughable to think you consider New England to be better than Dallas of the early 90s or that their competition was better. Why? You think records alone indicate how good a team is? If that's the case, then wouldn't 15-1 Pittsburgh be better than 14-2 NE?
 
NE beat great units this year. No one said "Wow, what a great job by NE to score 20 points on Indy's D or giving up 27 to Pittsburgh's potent O." Philly had TO on one leg with no complementary receivers and he still torches them. Today's best teams are not teams, but they are units. It's laughable that Indy can make it as far as they have with a defense that gives up a ton of yards. 
 
Let's take the most recent real dynasty Dallas for instance. Both Buffalo and SF had great offenses and defenses. Buffalo's K gun offense was awesome and Dallas forced a SB record 9 turnovers off of it. They also had a 100-yard rusher against a team that didn't allow one all season and Troy Aikman threw 4 td's against the AFC's top secondary in pass defense.  SF's Steve Young got beat two years in a row as did Jerry Rice by Dallas's defense. Two sure be it HOF's.  Unlike Indy and St. Louis though, that team actually had a defense.  Dallas won big in those games too.
 
Even if you wanted to concede NE had tougher opponents (LOL) than those two teams loaded with HOF's, wouldn't it balance out since Dallas won by bigger margins.  Dallas won SB's by 35, 17, and 10.  Their smallest margin of victory in the SB is bigger than NE's 3 put together (9). 
 
How is doing less with less more impressive? Humor me Mr. Belichick lovers! – Brian
 
Wow, this is literally the worst letter we've ever received. Like we say in the intro, come armed with an arsenal of Cold, Hard Football Facts or expect to be mocked.
 
So let's deconstruct your effort. One, what makes us Belichick lovers? We've written about two or three articles about him (far fewer than most football outlets over the past year) and we stand by all of them. The first was back on December 1, 2004, when we were the very first sports outlet in the country to report that Belichick had a chance to become the winningest coach in postseason history. As far as we're concerned, breaking the postseason record of the man for whom the Super Bowl trophy is named sounds like the very solid basis for a story. We wrote about him again at the end of the season, when the record actually fell. Again, very solid reason for an article.
 
Two, he may struggle in his role as offensive coordinator. We'll see. But wait for it to happen before you call us out for simple speculation.
 
Three, the Patriots just overcame the toughest postseason schedule in NFL history. How do we know? Easy. Their opponents had the best combined record any Super Bowl champion has ever faced. If you have a different formula for gauging the quality of opponents, present it to us. We're all ears.
 
You also say that records alone don't indicate how good a team is. We agree. And we've accounted for this, too. We measured the performance against quality teams of every Super Bowl participant in history. The best Dallas teams of the 1990s went 7-2 against quality opponents. The 2003 Patriots went 10-0. The 2004 Patriots went 10-1. In other words, not only did the 2003 and 2004 Patriots boast better overall records (17-2) than the best Dallas team (16-3), but they did it against better opponents. Again, if you have some information we do not, let us know. Finally, the 2004 Patriots had a greater scoring differential (+177) than even the best team of the Dallas dynasty (+162 in 1992). So, there you have it: the 2004 Patriots won more games against tougher teams and by a wider margin than even the best Dallas team of the 1990s.
 
Four, the strength of each team's postseason opponents is addressed pretty thoroughly here. In a nutshell, Dallas' Super Bowl teams of the 1990s played and beat just two teams that were 12-4 or better. New England's Super Bowl teams beat seven opponents that were 12-4 or better.
 
Five, you woefully overestimate the Bills teams that Dallas beat. The 1992 Bills were an 11-5 wildcard team that scored just 381 points (23.8 PPG) and surrendered 283 (17.7). Good numbers, but hardly earth-shattering. What do you expect from a team that didn't even win its division? The 2004 Steelers offense that you mocked in your letter scored 372 points. In other words, the mighty K-Gun offense of the1992 Bills was a mere three field-goals better on offense.
 
The 1993 Bills had a better record but were even worse offensively. In fact, they had one of the worst offenses in Super Bowl history, scoring just 329 points all season (20.6 PPG). Compare that to the 2004 Colts, who scored 522, or the 2004 Patriots, who scored 437. Eight of New England's nine playoff opponents in its Super Bowl run had a better scoring offense than the 1993 Bills.
 
See, it's idiots like you that we despise. All you remember is that the Bills had the great "K Gun" offense and you throw that out there like you know what you're talking about. You clearly do not.
 
Yes, the Cowboys won their Super Bowls my much bigger margins. But you can either put your stock in those singular performances against questionable opponents, or you can look at New England's ability to consistently beat teams better than any Dallas ever faced. It's your call. But based on your track record, we think it's time you take up a new philosophy, one that puts a premium on Cold, Hard Football Facts.

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