Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

27 Jan 2006

A Look Back at a Season of Truths

If nothing else, you have to give Jason Whitlock credit for revisiting a season's worth of "truths," especially when they include gems like, "the Raiders are the lone winless NFL squad with a chance to qualify for the playoffs," and "the 0-4 Green Bay Packers will win the NFC North." To be fair, Whitlock's midseason predictions (Nov. 3) were all pretty accurate, and when you consider that this is the same guy who still thinks Jeff George is the best QB in the NFL, it's worth noting.

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 27 Jan 2006

19 comments, Last at 30 Jan 2006, 4:20am by tim


by David (not verified) :: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 12:48pm

Those Nov. 3 predictions were pretty spot-on (aside from the untestable one about Vick). The only one that didn't completely pan out was the Bengals comment, and only because a freak accident killed their playoff chances before their defense had to shoulder the burden.

I like how he doesn't mention the "The Tampa Bay Buccaneers do not beat the Vikings if Randy Moss is still wearing purple" part of his first "truth." Great season #18 had, huh?

I'm surprised he didn't try to defend his "Green Bay is better than its record" statement, even though they obviously didn't exactly catch fire down the stretch. Maybe he noticed their godawful composite DVOA.

Finally, I like that he refers to the Patriots as "hot" and "streaking" at the end of the regular season, apparently ignoring his own prediction that they would ride a fake "hot streak" (his quotation marks) into the playoffs since their schedule ended so easy.

by B (not verified) :: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 1:20pm

Wow, his hatred of Marty is disturbing. I'm not Marty's biggest fan, but somehow it's Marty's fault that Brees got injured, and therefore he should be fired? It's amazing how long Whitlock can hold a grudge against somebody for not giving Jeff George a shot.

by Adam (not verified) :: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 1:23pm

I love seeing the legend of Troy grow because in his rookie season when he struggled to grasp the defense people in the Steel City were already writing him off. Not all, not really many, but they were there.

The low point for Troy was in the Steelers 1,000th game against the Rams. Troy was coveraing Kevin Curtis (I think) near the endzone and Marc Bulger threw a ball off of his back foot, Troy, like only he can, made a lightning quick break on the ball jumped the route put his hands up...........and let the ball go right through his hands into the waiting arms of Kevin Curtis (I think) for another Rams touchdown.

Holy crap. The call in shows after that game were rippin' Troy for being troy. Colbert/Cowher for trading up and taking Troy. It was bad.

But Jim Wexell stuck with him. "Wait until you see him next year" Wexell remarked one night after a game. "He'll be a star. Just wait."

Good call Jim. Great call actually.

by David (not verified) :: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 1:41pm

I’m not Marty’s biggest fan, but somehow it’s Marty’s fault that Brees got injured, and therefore he should be fired?

Well, yeah. Remember that people were lambasting Schottenheimer for putting Brees in the game, as opposed to on the sidelines where the risk of injury is noticably less. It was a meaningless game against a team that was resting its starters. You've got the world's highest-paid clipboard stand sitting on your sidelines, he hasn't even attempted a pass all year, and eventually you're going to have to either cut him loose or release your current starter and give him the job. What's more, it's possible that your current starter will force the issue by bolting (heh) as a free agent. All of this points to "time to see what Philip Rivers can actually do!"

Instead, Schottenheimer risked his starting QB's health in a meaningless game, and found out why people call it a risk.

by B (not verified) :: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 1:44pm

Well, considering how poorly Rivers played in that game, maybe keeping him on the bench would have protected his potential trade value. I see your point, though I think teams who don't make the playoffs should play thier starters and try to at least end the season on a positive note.

by Mikey (not verified) :: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 1:48pm

#3 -

Adam, what are your Super Bowl plans? Are you in or out for Detroit?

by Matt Weiner (not verified) :: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 1:52pm

Remember SD-Den was a game with potential, though arcane playoff implications -- if the Steelers had lost, that game would've decided whether the Steelers or Chiefs made the playoffs. (Or, given the timing, if the Chargers had won, then the Steelers would've clinched whether or not they beat the Lions.)

So some people might say that Marty shouldn't have played the backup in a game with playoff implications. Of course the Patriots didn't seem to follow that rule....

by Luz (not verified) :: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 2:05pm

also, profootballtalk contends that marty had a big bonus in his contract if he won 10 games...

by JonL (not verified) :: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 2:21pm

While most of these "truths" are pretty ridiculous, is it that hard to say that Aaron Brooks makes terrible decisions, or that Jamal Lewis would be affected by spending time in prison?

by Parker (not verified) :: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 2:34pm

#1 - I think Moss was hurt most of the year. Still, he had 1000 yards and 8 TD's. Not exactly a bust.

I realize that's using old school stats, but still.

by Alan Milnes (not verified) :: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 2:48pm

re 8 - yes and he seems to be criticising Marty for it. If you give someone a bonus like that (not for winning the division or making the play-offs) then you are telling him its important so why shouldn't he use his starters.

by Adam (not verified) :: Fri, 01/27/2006 - 4:38pm


Not sure yet. We're still holding out list ditch hope that we'll stumble upon some tickets, but this is growing less and less likely with each passing second. But thats okay.

We were thinking about just driving up to Detriot and experiencing the Super Bowl atmosphere and what not, because when's the next time the STeelers are going to be in the Super Bowl WITHIN DRIVING DISTANCE?!?! Probably not anytime soon. Hate to miss it.

Or we could just hang out at a local watering hole. Or we could........You know what. I don't know what i'm doing.

by JC (not verified) :: Sat, 01/28/2006 - 12:48pm

I agree with the Marty comments. The only way he will ever be effective in the playoffs is if he lets someone else take over in January. 5-12 playoff record is pathetic.

by jebmak (not verified) :: Sat, 01/28/2006 - 2:53pm

As far as Marty goes, does anyone know his teams' record versus playoff teams during the regular season? If his teams constantly win in the regular season and then lose to those same teams in the playoffs, then there may be a problem. If they are losing to those teams in the regular season and the playoffs, then maybe he is just losing because his team isn't good enough overall.

Disclaimer: I don't agree with measuring success with playoff wins because sports have too much luck involved. I agree with Billy Beane when he said that his job was to get the team to the playoffs, and that too much could happen in a short five (or seven) game series where the better team could be upset. Football has a one game series.

by Ted (not verified) :: Sat, 01/28/2006 - 8:55pm

Re #2,
"It’s amazing how long Whitlock can hold a grudge against somebody for not giving Jeff George a shot." Whitlock is a big Chiefs fan and has often said his biggest problem with Marty was not Jeff George but rather choosing Elvis Grbac to QB his team and letting Rich Gannon go. Fair enough too.

by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Sun, 01/29/2006 - 5:11pm

Not sure yet. We’re still holding out list ditch hope that we’ll stumble upon some tickets, but this is growing less and less likely with each passing second. But thats okay.

It's my understanding that you can almost always get tickets to a sporting event, at the event. You might have to wait until the end of the first quarter to get a decent price, but it can be done.

by tim (not verified) :: Sun, 01/29/2006 - 8:28pm

is troy polamalu really worth his 1 play a game?

by JC (not verified) :: Sun, 01/29/2006 - 10:41pm

RE: #17
Didn't see many Steeler games?

by tim (not verified) :: Mon, 01/30/2006 - 4:20am

yeah, i live in quakertown, pa.

did you see him get juked by dallas clark for that td?