Our latest Mail Pouch opus
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 07, 2008
We realize we haven't published a Mail Pouch since like last summer. Our fault, really, too much mail and not enough little worker Trolls to answer it all, especially here when we're balls deep in the statistical sheep that is the 2007-08 season. (We do try to answer each email individually as they come in.)
But here's a fairly lengthy look at some of the mail we've received since the New Year, with a couple of more interesting e-mails from December tossed into the mix. Pretty good collection of stuff.
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: This is absolutely the best and most entertaining site that I have found that is dedicated to the greatest of American sports ... football!! A suggestion: All your stats could be split into home/away, normal gametime/primetime, under a dome/under the sky, fair weather/bad weather, warm temp/cold temp, grass/artificial turf...the list of possible combinations goes on and on.
You're right ... I don't have anything better to do, except for trying to pick playoff winners (I was 0-2 Saturday), than to spend my time trying to think up crazy but needed stats. – Jeff Forrer (from Germany)
CHFF: Thanks for the ideas, Jeff. Improving the way our Quality Stats are published and broken down is high on our list of priorities in the off-season.
TROLL: As usual, you were spot on with your prediction of Bob Sanders for Defensive Player of the Year (the winner was announced Monday). But this Colts fans doesn't think our team is infallible by any stretch. All I can say is that I hope the Colts and Pats both win this weekend because this rivalry is now the best in North American team sports, by a wide margin. The only thing that rivals it is probably OSU-Michigan football or Duke-NC basketball, but both of those are very regional. Lakers-Celts is a thing of the past, Red Sox-Yankees is very regional, and they play about 19 times a year, so hard to have any one game being real key. But it seems every time that these juggernauts, Indy and New England, lace 'em up the last several years, something is on the line, homefield advantage, a playoff game, or the AFC championship. It is just great stuff! Here's hoping the Pack, Colts, and Pats all win next weekend and the following weekend you have three of the greatest QBs of all time playing on the same day with a Super Bowl date up for grabs. – Tim Powell
CHFF: You're right ... it is the one true great national rivalry right now, with the ratings to prove it. We declared Brady-Manning the greatest QB rivalry ever before their regular-season meeting back in November. An Indy-New England AFC championship game rematch will be the highest-rated game in years (other than Super Bowls). Also, you point out the absolute ultimate importance of quarterbacking in the NFL. There is no more important position and sports and none that has such an immediate impact on a team's fortunes each and every week. There's a reason why Indy and New England are in the mix this late in the season, as usual, and Green Bay and Dallas are back in the mix: the first three teams have great QBs and the fourth team has a player on the way to proving he's great.
TROLL: Love the site. You have finally convinced an Indy fan to take your site seriously. Everyone talks about how the Patriots' defense has looked weak against teams with weak offenses (most notably Baltimore and Philly, and, to a lesser degree, the Giants). I have noticed, however, that the QBs on those teams looked good against the Patriots then sucked before and after playing the Pats. I am arguing that those QBs were hyper-focused against the Pats but could not maintain that edge for more than one game. Could you folks research how opposing QBs have fared before and after playing the Pats this year? I have been accused of weak analysis and didn't really have any Cold, Hard Football Facts (if there are any) to back up my assertions. – Jack Kranefus
CHFF: Well, we're sorry it took you so long to take us seriously, but glad you've come around. Clearly, we pull no punches ... no matter who we're talking about. We think a lot of Colts fans took offense to the fact that we didn't fellate the team like everyone else back at a time when they didn't deserve it. But the Colts are the defending champs and have finally earned the praise. They're a scary team for anyone who might face them. And, in fact, we believe we're the only outlet in print, broadcast or cyberspace that has pointed out that the 2007 Colts may in fact be the best team in franchise history, pending the outcome of the playoffs here. We can promise you and all other Colts fans: we will ALWAYS be guided by the Cold, Hard Football Facts, not by storylines that are hot and trendy. Because "hot" and "trendy" are often euphemisms for "wrong" and "factless." And the "pundits" have already cornered the market on that segment of the industry.
TROLL: What happened to your cool article about "other sites for Football stat geeks?" It's off the main page (understandably - you're always updating that) ... but it's not in the archives anymore. If it's not just a slip-up, could you please drop me an e-mail to let me know it's not coming back. Otherwise, I'll just keep checking obsessively every 15 minutes until it re-appears in the archives. Thanks for keeping up your excellent site.
PS: My girlfriend (yes, I have one) is jealous of the attention you're getting from me lately. But hey, there's only one month of season left, how can I stop now? – DK
CHFF: First, we f*cked up and mistakenly deleted that article from our archives a few hours after we published it. Naturally, we don't have a back-up copy and our web host couldn't retrieve it through their back-up process. We really dug the piece and are rewriting it as close to the original as possible. We hope to have it back up very, very soon.
Second, what's a girlfriend? Is it like having Guitar Hero II or something?
TROLL: To my heroes at CHFF: I just read your article by Frank Cooney on why he voted for Brett Favre. Pretty good argument. I've been a Favre fan for years. But ... I ask you to pass this question on to Mister Cooney: Did he vote for Tom Brady at any time over the last six years? If not his rationale, and his argument, are full of crap. Thanks – Otto Pozzo, Maui, Hawaii.
CHFF: Well, the rationale to vote for Favre is pretty solid. No problem with his vote, as we noted in the article. But we do agree the one flaw in his argument is the one you point out: if Favre deserves the MVP this year, then Brady probably deserved it 2001, 2003, 2004 and probably in 2006, too. Definitely in 2001 using Cooney's argument: the one player most singularly responsible for changing the fortunes of the team. The Patriots were 5-11 in 2000 and 0-2 in 2001 and could barely mount more than two TDs per game. He comes in and the organization changes over night.
TROLL: To the Keyholders of Football Sanity: When I began viewing your site a little over a year ago, I had been living a life of ignorance towards the football pundits found drinking choco-mocha lattes on set while pointing their powdered noses up at what could truly set them free, the COLD HARD FOOTBALL FACTS. Sure, I noticed flaws in their statements and was always quick to snicker at one of Jerry Glanville's ridiculous rants, but I never thought the depths, which these bozos make with their myopic, factless insights, were so cavernous.
My eyes were opened by Pigskin Detention one fateful day and I have never watched a pre or postgame show the same way. I would love to see more of it and I think it should become a weekly segment because, as sad as it seems, the national pundits will provide you enough material.
This email was spawned by what I believe should launch a full body cavity anal probe of Sterling Sharpe on the NFL Network who exclaimed "the Steelers had the Patriots right where they wanted them ... until Tom Brady hit a 63-yard touchdown pass" without a hint of sarcasm to be detected. Brady hit that pass in the 2nd quarter of the game when the Patriots were winning 7-3 and went on to shut out the Steelers in the 2nd half while posting 17 more points themselves. That's when I punched my father in the face to make sure I wasn't dreaming and the ensuing belt thrashing left me with no doubt.
Ultimately I am looking for the credibility of national media members to be dragged to the mat and humped into submission by the one thing you cannot run from, the COLD, HARD FOOTBALL FACTS. – Mitchell
CHFF: Thanks, Mitch. We'll be sure to steal several of your Cold, Hard Football Facts metaphors and pass them off as our own. It's something of a specialty of ours. And, also, sorry your dad kicked your ass. But sounds like you deserved it.
With that said, we get more requests for "pundit" beatings in Pigskin Detention than we do on any other topic. Unfortunately, we don't get to it as much as we'd like, but look for particularly perverse examples of fact-less hackery on which to pounce like a fat, jelly-bellied carnivorous lemming. Not sure if this one statement from Sharpe qualifies for a full-body-cavity anal probe. We say just be thankful he didn't adopt the Mushmouth (pictured here) "ubbi dubbi" speech pattern of his brother, Shannon. But in the meantime, we'll keep the monocle over our lazy eye aimed in Sterling's direction.
TROLL: I can not find the article about the Patriots going 5-0 against No. 1 seed teams in the playoffs. Can you send me the link? P.S. LOVE your site and content. Absolutely the best football site. – George Godfrey
CHFF: Here ya go, George. You'll find the data in the No. 2 section. The piece ran after New England beat No. 1-seed San Diego last year in the divisional playoffs. Thanks for the kind words.
TROLL: As Mike Reiss of the Boston Globe pointed out in a recent column, Tom Brady had a lower QB rating in 2007 than Peyton Manning did in 2004 even though Brady had completions, a higher completion percentage, more yards, more TDs, and fewer incompletions. Doesn't that prove how flawed the QB rating system is, and what are your suggestions for improving it? Thanks. – Jim Thomson
TROLL: In comparing Brady's 2007 to Manning's 2004, I believe Brady was better in total yards, completions, touchdowns, completion percentage, and interceptions. Manning had fewer fumbles and was sacked less. If you could breakdown how Manning ended up with a higher QB "rating" than Brady, given the above, it would be an interesting piece, as SO CHFF. – Jay Hickman
CHFF: It's pretty easy to explain, Jim and Jay. Passer rating is based upon efficiency, not volume, and measures four key pieces of data: TD percentage, INT percentage, completion percentage and yards per attempt. Manning 2004 boasted solid leads over Brady 2007 in both TD percentage and yards per attempt. So that explains why Manning's final passer rating was higher.
Also, just for the record, it's not "QB rating." It's "passer rating." It measures only a player's efficiency passing the ball, not the various other elements that go into playing the quarterback position.
TROLL: Congrats on getting Harpoon Brewery as a sponsor for the Friday Beer Run. It never hurts to have a few extra bucks in your pocket. That said, there is no excuse for removing the Friday Beer Girl from the Friday Beer Run page. In fact, she's been missing for a couple of weeks now. Unacceptable! Bring her back! – Wayside
CHFF: Yeah, we didn't take that into consideration: here is the original Friday Beer Run girl in all her blond, busty, sudsy Germanic glory.
TROLL: How did Bryant Gumbel ever get the job on the NFL Network? He must have film and stills of Goodell. – Stinky Steinberg
CHFF: Gumbel is incredibly unpopular among the Trolls. We're not sure if he has pictures of Goodell ... but we'd settle for pictures of Goodell's wife, though, Fox fox Jane Skinner.
By the way, here's a video of the Gridiron Godfather's wife Skinner making a serious flub, replacing the word "cop" with one that ends with the letters "ck." We found this video courtesy of Michael David Smith at AOL Fanhouse. And, as he points out, it's Not Safe For Work. But it's always fun when a hot chick says "c*ck" on national TV.
show video here
TROLL: As the dust settles on another Playoff weekend the champion of the AFC North lies vanquished ... again! Why is it that the AFC North/Central champion cannot win the Super Bowl? Since 1979 the AFC North/Central division winner has won 0 titles even the five-year-old AFC South and NFC South both have a title each in their lifetimes.
It's not that the AFC North/Central can't produce a champion in fact two wildcards have done the job from that division (2000 Ravens and 2005 Steelers). To me its seems the AFC North title is cursed. The only problem is i can't see an amazing incident in the 1979 title win of the Steelers that would warrant such a curse except maybe offeneding the Lord of Postseason Stats by winning after throwing 3 picks.
Any ideas why the AFC North/central despite being won by some strong teams has never had a champion win the Super Bowl? – Andrew Bolts (from the UK)
CHFF: No idea. Never really thought of it. The biggest reason might be this: the division is handicapped by shitty organizations like Cleveland and Cincinnati. Clearly, those two organizations bring down the odds of success quite a bit. But we might investigate further during the off-season. Interesting topic.
CHFF: John, you should vary your interests. We, for example, are quite the Renaissance men and also think about beer, porn, Buffalo wings and classic hockey fights.
If you did vary your interests you'd know, for example, that the best pair ever belonged not to the 2007 Patriots but to Jane Russell (pictured here).
But to address things from a football point of view:
1) Not sure if Brady and Moss are the best combo ever. You could argue that they had the best season together ever. But don't forget about combos like Young-Rice, Manning-Harrison and Montana-Rice, who were highly productive together over long periods. You can even throw in old-time connections like Unitas-Berry with the old Baltimore Colts and Herber-Hutson with the old Packers. Right now, you'd have to put several of these combos, and probably others, ahead of Brady-Moss.
However, there is a certain Brady-Moss combo that might be the best campaign team ever. You'll find it here.
2) If you mean, "will Moss resign, ever" – well, sure. But not this year. See no reason why Moss would resign when he's clearly still got game left (and a big contract still to be gained). If you mean, "will Moss re-sign" (which we assume you meant) it all comes down to simple economics: how much will Moss want, and will it fall within the value the organization places on the position of wide receiver (which is not very high).
3) If Patriots win a Super Bowl, especially if they win it in impressive fashion, they will go down as the best team ever. But they're not there yet.
4) Brady is on pace to be the best ever. Right now, he's the best ever after eight years in the league and seven years on the field. Nobody in history can boast the same collection of team and individual accomplishments. Not Montana, not Unitas, not Starr, nobody. So that's a pretty good argument for a guy who could end his career as the best ever.
5) Moss is not the best ever ... maybe with a couple more explosive years. But the big chasm in his career in Oakland spells "not best ever."
6) Belichick, like Brady, is on pace to become best ever. He's right up there. But he, like Moss, has a dark period on his record. He was just 42-58 as a coach before Brady became his starter three games into the 2001 season. Whereas someone like Lombardi never had a losing season and his Packers teams hit the skids the day he left the organization.
7) This photo at left has nothing to do with anything.
TROLL: You guys mentioned in your Monday Morning Hangover today that Jacksonville's official web site accused the Patriots of cheating and that you couldn't find it on their web site. Jaguars.com may have taken it down from their website, and I haven't been able to locate it either. But here's some evidence from a cached google page that they said the Patriots cheated on the team's website. – nameless dude from Lyford Beverage
TROLL: Here is the asterisk from Jaguars.com. – Peter Stevenson
CHFF: Thanks, fellas. Just a rare bout of stupidity for one organization to so blatantly slap another in the face like that, especially when the slapee is 16-0 and about to hose the untested slapper in a divisional playoff game.
TROLL: I like your site. I wish your site was just a little more unbiased when it came to the Colts/Patriots. – Patrick Lauterio
CHFF: Thanks for the kind words. You're right. We probably do give the Colts a little too much credit given the comparative achievements of the two teams in recent years. But we're pretty fair to both teams.
Obviously, New England has set every team winning streak in the entire history of NFL football, including the two longest regular-season winning streaks in NFL history, the longest postseason win streak in NFL history, the longest overall win streak in NFL history, the first 16-0 season in NFL history and is favored to become the first-ever 19-0 team and win its fourth Super Bowl this decade, and currently fields the single most dominant team in the history of football. So you're right. We probably do give too much credit to the Colts given their achievements over the same period. But, as we noted many times this season, the Colts probably have a very good shot of beating the Patriots in the playoffs. They nearly beat the Patriots earlier this season. Don't forget that.
With a site in which every conclusion is based solely upon the statistical evidence at hand, you figure the Patriots might merit more significantly more positive feedback than the Colts. But we pride ourselves on being fair to all teams based upon their on-field performance. And maybe in this instance we're a little too biased in favor of the Colts given the comparative achievements of the two franchises this decade.
TROLL: The press releases you put on the website for access are awesome. Could you let me know of a link or website for all teams, particularly St. Louis. Thanks. – Kerwin Evans (from the UK)
CHFF: Hey Kerwin, those press releases are published on an NFL site devoted to the media and not accessible by the general public. We think they're an incredible resource and, as we mentioned, we cut out the middlehack they're intended for and provide them to you when we can in their entirety. Unfortunately, not every team publishes the press releases in a timely manner. We'll do what we can to make this a better and more robust feature in the months and seasons ahead.
TROLL: I have a question for you. I'm hearing all the talk about rest-your-starters vs. play-your-starters here at the end of the season. Different pundits say different things, so I'm looking for some Cold, Hard Football Facts. In the past 10 years, what is the winning percentage of playof teams resting their starters in the last game or two, as opposed to those who did not. Let's define it as three or more starters playing less than three quarters of the game. I'm betting that resting starters (disrupting the rhythm of playing weekly, etc) is a detriment in the playoffs. – Stephen McGuire
CHFF: We don't have any data on this right now but the anecdotal evidence in favor of playing to the bitter end is fairly strong. Denver, for example, had some postseason trouble early in the Shanahan Era when they sat their regulars at the end of the season. New England, meanwhile, has had a fair amount of success playing well into the last regular-seasaon game. In 2004, we had a great contrast in styles: the Eagles were 13-1 before calling off the dogs, losing their last two games and then losing by a mere three points in Super Bowl XXXIX to the Patriots, who played out the string. And simply look at Sunday's Giants-Bucs playoff game for another example. The Giants fought to the bitter end against New England last week. The Bucs hit the breaks a couple weeks ago. The Giants rolled in their playoff meeting, winning 24-14. If we dig up any solid Cold, Hard Football Facts that confirm or refute your opinion and this anecdotal evidence, we'll pass it along.
TROLL: You may remember me as a Cowboy apologist, but I am not necessarily writing in to promote DeMarcus Ware as NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Instead, I write, to find flaws in your choice of Bob Sanders as DPY 2007.
Number one, defensive backs hardly ever win DPY, and when they do, they had better post some monstrous stats. Take Ed Reed (2004) and Deion Sanders (1994), the last two DBs to win the award. They each had at least 6 INT and 300+ return yards. Bob Sanders has a measly two interceptions. Hey, I know INTs aren't the end all indicator of defensive back greatness, but when it comes to defensive backs who win DPY - they are.
Also, Sanders is coached by a defensive-minded coach who has implemented the same defensive system for years. Meanwhile, a player like Ware has a new coach and a new system, yet he is thriving.
And it's not really fair to note that a defensive team is worse without a key player, i.e., Sanders and Haynesworth. How is someone like Ware supposed to fight against that logic? He's never been injured (knock on wood) so there's no way we can tell how much his team would suffer during his absence. By your reasoning, Greg Ellis should be considered for DPY, because the Cowboys defense was top ten in 2006 until he went out with a season-ending Achilles injury, with the Dallas D finishing 24th last year but bouncing back to 6th in 2007. Ellis has come back from that potentially career-threatening injury to register 12.5 sacks.
So how about Ware for NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Ellis for NFL Comeback Player of the Year. The Cold, Hard Football Facts speak for themselves. - David Hickey
CHFF: We think we made a pretty good case for Ware as a tremendous defensive player and one of the best in the league. So we don't think we slighted him. And you bring up some very good points. In the end, though, we believe our case was fairly solid.
But you bring up one particularly interesting point about DBs like Indy's Bob Sanders not usually winning DPOY honors. But that's not a problem with our selection. It's more a problem with the folks who vote for football honors and overlook DBs. They usually slight defenders in general, and DBs in particular.
Simply look at no less an august institution than the Pro Football HOF, which in the modern era inducts offensive players at a rate of 3 to 1 over defensive players. DBs are the most often slighted.
Let's put it this way: among all the DBs who have joined the league since 1978 (the dawn of the Live Ball Era that accentuated passing), only one (1) (ONE!) DB who joined the league since then is in the HOF: Ronnie Lott. Among all the DBs who have joined the league since 1971 just two (2) (TWO!) are in the HOF: Lott and Mike Haynes.
That's it, our friend.
We've done quite a bit on this topic on CHFF, and have generated quite a bit of concerned reaction from HOF voters who realize they've dissed defenders. It's pretty amazing at the struggles defenders in general have to gain recognition, especially DBs.
By the way, a former Cowboys defender, LB Chuck Howley, is high on our list of deserving defenders who belong in the HOF but have been douched in favor of offensive players. See here and over here.
In any case, Ware is a great player. If the overall Dallas defense was better, he might have got the nod from us. Maybe unfair, but it's the way we look at things. Also one reason we're so high on Howley, who's just completely overlooked by history.
TROLL: What is the winning percentage of the team that wins the coin toss in overtime in NFL games (with the current overtime rules)? – Kirk Nieberlein
CHFF: The NFL Record & Fact Book publishes this information each year. Heading into this season, there were 402 OT games since the NFL adopted its OT policy in 1974. Teams that won the toss won 213 games (53%), teams that lost the toss won 173 games (43%) and 16 ended in ties. Not sure about this year's results, however. Though the handful of OT games this year would have done little to change 34 season's worth of percentages. Hope that helps.
TROLL: You, the king of Cold, Hard Football Facts, in your lust to overly praise any and all things New England, conveniently forget to look at strength of schedule when assessing the "best QB seasons of all time." The AFC East is so pathetic this year it is beyond question that Brady has piled up stats against terrible competition. Manning took a knee with a first down and the ball at the Ravens 4 yd line with a minute to play (plenty of time for 4 chucks into the end zone if he wanted to), and played ONE series in the 16th game that year. Brady NEEDS to play game 16 to break the record, and everyone knows they ran up the score in many games this year. Brady is great, don't get me wrong, but the greatest season ever? Please! – name deleted by accident
CHFF: We appreciate the email, but wish you would read the site a little more closely and not let your emotions and anti-Patriots bias cloud your judgment and opinion of our utterly unbiased and emotionless analysis.
We literally just published a story that compared Brady's 2007 season unfavorably to Manning's 2004 season, saying that Brady's is no longer the greatest season ever. How is that overly praising New England? It's overly praising the Colts, if anything.
We praise anything that's good. Like Bob Sanders, who we just named our Defensive Player of the Year with no Patriots player in site. Seems you missed that story, too.
Generally speaking, what the f-ck are we supposed to do, criticize a team that owns every winning streak in history and just became the first-ever 16-0 team? Seriously. What is there to criticize about the Patriots, other than the fact that the coach's postgame handshakes aren't up to par? That's not really a topic we would address, and it's the ultimate sign of hackery when a journalist has nothing better to offer you than his commentary on the postgame handshake (a rule of thumb: if someone is writing about a postgame handshake, he's a hack). And only some moron who lets emotion cloud their analysis would find much cause to criticize this history-making juggernaut. They are the greatest victory machine in history. There's no rational counter-argument there. We could make up reasons to criticize them and whip up publicity from the vast anti-Evil Empire crowd out there, but that would be counter to our mission of emotionless, fact-based analysis.
If you followed the Cold, Hard Football Facts more closely, you'd know that we brought up the same exact topic of Manning throwing his 49 TD passes in 15 games (and sitting in the final game) on, of all places, Boston sports radio WEEI recently. The facts are the facts: Manning threw 49 TDs in 15 games; Brady threw 48 in 15 games. We even offered a link to the podcast where we discussed this topic on the site.
As far as we know, we're the only folks outside of yahoo Colts fans who made this point. But maybe you missed it in your lust to overly overlook all things Colts.
As for the Quality of the competition, there is literally no QB in history who performs better in big games against top competition than Brady. Your assertion that Brady has piled up great numbers against bad competition is simply factually incorrect. If you don't believe it, again, you're letting your personal biases cloud your judgment.
The 2007 season provides yet another example of how well he plays against top competition. Brady didn't play well against some sub-par teams this year, like the Jets and Dolphins. But he also faced, and shredded, four division champs (Dallas, Indy, Pittsburgh and San Diego) and all four of those teams have among the best pass defenses in football.
Here is Brady's cumulative performance in those four games against division champs with great pass defenses:
- 109 for 155 (70.3%), 1,321 yards, 8.5 YPA, 15 TD, 3 INT, 120.4 passer rating
Step back and ask yourself, does that sound like a guy who piled up numbers against bad teams?
No. As you can see, he clearly destroyed four of the best pass defenses in football, and his team averaged 36.0 PPG in those four games. He exceeded every single one of his season-long stats when playing top teams and top pass defenses (including one in Indy that fields in its secondary our choice of Defensive Player of the Year).
The Patriots are also 7-0 vs. Quality Teams and have outscored those opponents by 19.3 PPG ... nobody in history has come close to playing so well against top teams.
Again, what are we to do? Deny the numbers and make up reasons to criticize the team?
Since you brought up the topic of Manning (and remember, we compared Manning's 2004 passing numbers favorably to Brady's 2007 numbers), there is literally no period in his history where Manning performed so well (indoors or our outdoors) against such tough competition. Manning has always put up his great numbers against bad teams and played more poorly against great teams. His record career passer rating against a single opponent has come against lowly Houston (which we also reported on recently).
Brady, conversely, doesn't bring his "A" game against bad teams (worst career games are against Miami) but shreds great teams throughout his history. Ask the 15-1 2004 Steelers, who were No. 1 in every defensive category and played at home in the AFC title game, and were ripped 41-27 by Brady & Co.
Bottom line: We praise who and what has merited praise, no matter what uniform they may wear. And we criticize who and what deserves criticism no matter what uniform they may wear.
TROLL: Firstly, I love your site. Your unsentimental approach is a breath of fresh air. However, regarding your revised approach of using scoring ratio exclusively to determine the most dominant teams is too simplistic and, ultimately, is an inadequate as a yardstick for dominance.
Point spread must be a key variable. For example, a 10-3 score does not constitute a "blow-out" while a 30-10 score certainly does. Yet both results yield the same scoring ratio. – Rick (from Singapore)
TROLL: I was looking over your list of historically dominant teams, and its Jan 1 revisionist version. I don't think that you got it right the second time, either. The key thing in a win is whether you get more points than the other guys. Note that Vegas gives point spreads, not ratios, so that your original notion of using point differentials corresponds more closely to an intuitive idea of which team is better. This is easy when you compare teams of a given era, but clearly breaks down when you cross eras.
I think that you'd do better to renormalize scoring and then compute differences. So for instance you could rescale all offenses so the league-wide average scores in every year is the same, and rescale defenses so the average points allowed is the same in every year. (These should of course be the same numbers!) Then compute differences, and compare.
I should add that this scheme has nothing to do with the fact that you downgraded the 2007 Patriots to #17. Really. – Daniel Ruberman
TROLL: I believe your articles on the most dominant NFL team during the Super Bowl era miss the point. I approached it from the perspective of standardizing the average points per game per team, for and against. This places each team on the same basis relative to how teams were scoring across the league that year. Looking at the standardized points for less the standardized points against was very telling. Of the top 20 all time (excluding the 2007 Patriots) 11 won the Super Bowl. Of the 9 that did not, the team with the second highest differential won 4 times. I have a spreadsheet with all the calculations if you are interested. The 2007 Patriots do come in with the best differential of all time. – George Aghjayan
TROLL: Gentlemen: I enjoy your website very much, but I must call you out on your latest article ranking the most dominant regular season teams of the Super Bowl era. Your premise of ranking teams based upon scoring ratio is highly flawed, illogical and leads to perverse conclusions. I would ordinarily ask you all to send yourselves to Pigskin Detention, but like I said, I'm a big fan of what you guys are trying to do and I'm just going to chalk this ridiculous list up to a case of an extreme New Year's Day hangover. I wish you guys a very happy and prosperous 2008. I'll keep reading! – Tom Carpenter
CHFF: Well, clearly the Trolls have spoken out against that article on a number of levels. There was some internal debate over that revised article, too. The point wasn't to say definitively that these were the best teams ever in order. The goal was simply to look at which teams outscored their opponents by the greatest relative differential over the course of the season. You gotta admit, those 1969 Vikings look pretty friggin' dominant in the context of their time. They outscored their opponents nearly 3 to 1. And, sure, their defense benefitted from playing in a more defensive-minded era (what we call the Dead Ball Era). But, naturally, their offense obviously would have suffered. At the end of the day, their average game was nearly a 27-9 blowout. That's impressive by any measure. (Then, of course, they blew it all by losing to the Chiefs in Super Bowl IV).
But we were simply offering another way of looking at these lists.
TROLL: Why don't you have a pre-draft board? I'm sure you can do better than Mel Kiper and most of the other pundits. Your Cold, Hard Football Facts are unbeatable during the season and playoffs. Hope you and your staff have a healthy and prosperous New Year. – Richard Pederzani
CHFF: Why get a pre-draft board when we have Bonzo the Idiot Monkey, who's only slightly worse than the "pundits" when it comes to draft knowledge? As we grow, we'll definitely get more done on the draft side. But, as we've proven each year, the draft is a complete crapshoot that the "pundits" always get wrong with their ridiculous and useless mock drafts. Hell, last season, Scouts Inc., with all the resources they devote into breaking down the draft, accurately predicted just 3 of 32 first-round picks (and, we believe, 0 after the first round). It's hard to build pre-draft analysis baed upon Cold, Hard Football Facts because it's such a subjective topic. Look no further than the inability of the so-called draft "experts" to figure out what's going to happen. But we'll definitely do more as we grow, as long as our draft analysis is built upon Cold, Hard Football Facts.
TROLL: I love your site and enjoyed the recent article about how great New Year's Day college football once was. However, the epic 1973 Notre Dame-Alabama Sugar Bowl and de facto National Championship Game was played on New Year's Eve (12/31/73). I guess major college FB was essentially f'd up back then too. Keep up the great work! – Jim Georges
CHFF: Thanks for the correction, Jim!
TROLL: Kerry J. Byrne, you seem to care more about your infantile sport than you do that Vick tortured, hung, electrocuted and beat to death helpless dogs. Is sociopathic behavior part of your game plan? – Gary
CHFF: Honestly, we have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. We don't think we've even addressed the topic of Vick's crimes. Maybe if you could elaborate we could help you.
TROLL: I just stumbled upon the question that appeared back on November 30th: "Is Dallas good enough to overcome the 'Curse of Doug Flutie?'" I have to admit, it has crossed my mind in the past about a "Flutie curse" as it may relate to the Buffalo Bills. I really do not believe in such things, but look what has gone on since they started Rob Johnson in that 1999 playoff game versus Tennessee. First, the Music City Miracle. A galvanizing moment for me as a Bills' fan. I have never been so high and so low in my life within such a short expanse of time.
Since then? No playoffs and only Arizona has a longer playoff drought. They find amazingly creative ways to fall to defeat. Even this season, ahead for 60 minutes of two games yet still lose (as the ball goes through the uprights with no time left vs. Denver & Dallas.
By the way, Flutie's punctuating exit from Buffalo? His last game versus Seattle on December 23, 2000: 20 of 25 (80%), 366 yards, 14.6 YPA, 3 TD, 0 INT and a perfect rating of 158.3. No Buffalo quarterback since has had a perfect passer rating.
He may not have been the "be all and end all" as the Buffalo quarterback, but I never saw more exicting games then when he played there. And I do think he got jacked when he did not get the start versus Tennessee in the playoffs. Are we cursed now? Even if I choose to disbelieve it, can anyone show me evidence to the contrary???? Ha! Merry Christmas! – Greg Nichols, Kissimmee, Florida
CHFF: Great info, Greg. Weren't aware of Flutie's perfect passer rating in his final game with Buffalo. We'll add that to the list of "Curse of Flutie" evidence. Just wondering if the "Curse of Flutie" will rare its head again with Wade Phillips in Dallas, the coach who benched Flutie and launched the Curse. Since then, Phillips suffered two huge upset losses with San Diego (where he was defensive coordinator), both at home and both in games in which his Chargers were favored. Dallas is favored at home against the Giants this weekend ... and were clearly the superior team this season. A loss to the Giants would be yet another brick in the wall of the Curse of Flutie.
TROLL: Hey guys. I noticed the Eagles have played 10 Quality Opponents so far this year (ed: they ended the season with nine games against Quality Teams). I didn't get a chance to look back over the years of your Quality Standings, but have any other teams played 10+ quality opponents in a season?
CHFF: We're looking to build a historic database of our Quality Standings so we can answer these questions pretty easily, but aren't quite there yet. Looks like a 2008 off-season project.
We do have the Quality Standings for every Super Bowl competitor which you can find here and in our "Charts & Lists" section. The list includes the playoff games for all these Super Bowl competitors.
For now, we have league-wide Quality Standings going back only to our first season, 2004. Several teams have faced 10 Quality Opponents. And one in our records, the 2005 Raiders, played 11. Even without the historic database, we know it would be extraordinarily rare for a team to face 10 or more Quality Teams and end up having a good season, as the Eagles are learning this year.
- The 2004 Dolphins went 1-9 vs. Quality Opponents.
- In 2005, a whole bunch of teams played 10 Quality Opponents, including the Raiders, who played 11.
- Last year, the Raiders again led the league with 9 games vs. Quality Teams.
Hope that helps and thanks for the note.
TROLL: Love your site/Quality Stats and all that goes with it. I have to say that I feel you guys are a bit off when dissing Dallas (yes a fan, but not a typical "douchebag fan" that I read about weeks ago, at least I think so) for giving up more points than scored in the quality wins standings (1 point). I am sure I am being a homer but I think winning vs. quality teams is all that matters. I never felt less of New England winning Super Bowls vs. the much weaker NFC conference teams (Carolina/Philly) by only 3 points. They were obviously the much more dominant team. Now obviously I would want Dallas to have a better point differential but still feel true quality teams win the close ones more often than not.
I also have to say I take a bit of offense to the statement: "But we also know that if the Good Brett Favre shows up for a rematch, instead of the Rex Grossman/Old Yeller hybrid we saw throw the game away (2 bad picks) in their regular-season meeting, that the Packers have a very good shot of winning a rematch."
Don't the cowboys at least get a TINY bit of credit for the way he played? Watching that game until Brett got hurt they got pressure on Favre as good as I have seen them get to anyone this year. On his horrible pick to Ken Hamlin he was under severe pressure. I hear that from casual fans all the time so I guess it irks me a bit that most feel Brett just played like garbage and nothing but his bad play was the cause.
Keep up the great work with this site, which I visit every day. Dallas could very well lose their first playoff game or maybe the next one. But I have enjoyed the ride. Regardless they have no prayer against the Pats when they already wiped the floor with them ... in Dallas. But I guess I think the Cowboys have a damn good team yet feel like I am constantly having to defend them when I should be thrilled they are 13-3, won the tough NFC east, and had homefield secured going into the last week. But then again the last 9 yrs as a boys fan have been tough so I am just trying to enjoy it and feel too many are looking for reasons to dismiss what they have done this year. – Jason
CHFF: We tend to favor storylines that are supported by a mountain of data and run counter to conventional wisdom, because we're usually correct. Our data tends to indicate that Green Bay has been stronger across the board than Dallas and that, for the Cowboys to beat the Packers twice, it would be quite a feat. And Dallas has also generated plenty of praise from the mainstream media and elsewhere. There's no need for us to join in the parade if our data indicates a few weaknesses. And we've never NOT given the Cowboys credit. We've just pointed out where they may have some flaws that have been overlooked. If we're proven right, it won't be the first time. And if we're proven wrong, we'll congratulate the Cowboys and move on. But if we were betting men, we'd expect some of those flaws to rear their heads before it's all said and done this season.
As for Favre being under pressure, our general philosophy has always been this: whatever you do, no matter how much pressure you're under, do NOT throw the ball into the hands of the other team! This is what killed the Packers over the past couple of years and it's what killed the Packers against the Cowboys back in November. It's pretty funny that Aaron Rodgers came in off the bench and suddenly had plenty of time to pass the ball down the field. Tat's all.
TROLL: Wow, who did the lobotomy on Borges??
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