Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

30 May 2011

MMQB: Chiefs, Rams Lend Aid to Joplin

This week, PK sets the table for his upcoming vacation, talks about how two teams are trying to help a city in peril, continues his own Top 100, learns a few things from hockey, reconsiders the "Ken Anderson in Canton" argument, and says that Rex Ryan may have revealed too much.

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 30 May 2011

39 comments, Last at 01 Jun 2011, 11:46pm by tuluse


by giraffesturbation (not verified) :: Mon, 05/30/2011 - 11:34am

"In 1994, when Matt Cassel was 11, his home was at the epicenter of the Northridge earthquake in California. Water from the inground swimming pool came crashing into the Cassel home, and a huge marble pillar pinned his father, Greg, beneath it. The family home was condemned. That's a heck of a thing for an 11-year-old to cope with."

I think King is trying very hard to make some vague point about wealth and the power of nature, and failing. Godawful writing.

by ab (not verified) :: Mon, 05/30/2011 - 2:33pm

I bet there are very few players in the NFL who managed to grow up without marble pillars and a swimming pool.

by Marko :: Mon, 05/30/2011 - 2:55pm

What I noticed about this quote from King is that he called it an "inground swimming pool." In California, we call it a "swimming pool" or just a "pool." I know King is from the east coast and lots of people back there have swimming pools that are above ground, but this just struck me as odd.

by Karma Coma :: Mon, 05/30/2011 - 3:05pm

He was doing the same thing as he was with "marble pillar," making sure we know the Cassels don't eat much Top Ramen.

by Jerry :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 3:47am

Would you have been happier if it was about how the Cassels' trailer was destroyed in an earthquake?

by ab (not verified) :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 4:31am

I wouldn't have been happier necessarily, but I'd have been more inclined to believe that it was a real hardship for the 11 year old Cassell.

by Karma Coma :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 5:19am

Not really sure what you think happiness has to do with this, but, as ab pointed out, those details don't help elicit sympathy. King might as well have talked about the time dry lightning struck Greg's solid gold polo mallet and despite their manservant's best efforts at CPR, the chauffeur couldn't get the Rolls to the private hospital in time to save him. I'd still feel for young master Cassel growing up fatherless, it'd just be harder given the details.

by Dean :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 9:17am

It can't have affected him that much. If it had, he'd have grown up to be batman.

by big_jgke :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 10:48am

Wow. I LOL'ed. Excellent work.

Also, Cassel has the look of a Robin to me.

by GlennW :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 10:35am

I was impressed by the initiative of Jonathan Baldwin (who hasn't made a dime in the NFL), who's supposed to be this horrible selfish person according to the draft experts.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Mon, 05/30/2011 - 11:53am

There are a lot of legitimate arguments to consider Ken Anderson for the HOF. The ones King actually mentions are pretty weak.

by big_jgke :: Mon, 05/30/2011 - 12:52pm

You mean comparing handpicked stats against players handpicked by Andersen himself isn't an objective way of qualifying greatness?

by Dennis :: Mon, 05/30/2011 - 5:22pm

There is nothing to indicate that Anderson was using YPA to imply that he should get into the HOF because his was the same as Marino. Maybe he was, but from what PK wrote, PK is the one linking it to Anderson's HOF consideration.

by Independent George :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 12:27pm

What's really weird about PK's cite of PFR is that he's not even using their best metric. Y/A is a good stat (better than QB rating, at the very least), but PFR also calculates nY/A (which includes sack numbers) and ANY/A (which includes TD & Int numbers). Marino's NY/A is 6.9, and his ANYA is 6.5; Anderson's drops all the way down to 6.1 and 5.5.

I'm not saying this as a slam against Anderson, whom I do think of as a legitimate HoF candidate. It's just weird that he'd cite PFR for a stat that anyone could pull from a sports almanac, while skipping the in-house stat that makes PFR unique.

by Dean :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 2:29pm

I think - and I can't believe I'm defending King here - that he tried to use a metric that wouldn't cause the (his) average readers eyes to glaze over. We sometimes forget that even after all these years, we stat geeks are a minority still. The casaul fan would be reaching for the X in the upper right hand corner rather than try to make sense out of something that features both upper and lowe case letters in the acronym.

by Independent George :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 3:08pm

I get what you're saying, but that actually makes even less sense to me. PFR also has their ANY/A+ scores (which scales for the era), or the AV values. Both of those numbers are actually much more generous to Anderson, but also require a lot more explanation. ANY/A can be summed up in a single sentence - it's the Y/A with a bonus for TD passes and a penalty for sacks & interceptions. That's not especially difficult. The only problem is that it puts him just slightly below his peers:

Anderson (1971-1986): 7.3 Y/A, 5.5 ANY/A:
Bradshaw (1970-1983): 7.2 Y/A, 6.0 ANY/A
Fouts (1973-1987): 7.7 Y/A, 5.9 ANY/A
Griese (1967-1980): 7.3 Y/A, 6.2 ANY/A
Staubach (1969-1979): 7.7 Y/A, 5.7 ANY/A
Stabler (1970-1984): 7.4 Y/A, 6.2 ANY/A

Again, I'm actually moderately pro-Anderson. ANYA+ and Career AV both score Anderson very high, and I think he gets special marks for being the prototypical QB for the West Coast Offense. I think it's perfectly acceptable to make a qualitative case (which I'm inclined to agree with), or a quantitative case (which I'm also inclined to agree with), but it's wrong to make a bad quantitative case, and it's downright dishonest to make a qualitative case while cherry-picking data to disguise it as a quantitative case.

by dbostedo :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 5:59pm

I think Y/A is pretty well accepted, and that King would shy away from trying to introduce ANY new stat - because it would require a lot of explanation. Sure "...it's the Y/A with a bonus for TD passes and a penalty for sacks & interceptions" but I'm guessing that would lead to a lot of questions about validity, what the bonuses are, why he wouldn't just use Y/A, etc.

by Marko :: Mon, 05/30/2011 - 2:13pm

"Belichick had a great line to the 127 grads -- that there's no 'I' in team, but there is an 'I' in win. He talked about the best leaders he'd ever seen being guys who just went out and did their jobs with the right attitude, humbly."

It's not as if Belichick made up that line. Michael Jordan said it years ago after scoring a bunch of points late to lead the Bulls to a comeback win. As the team was walking off the floor, an assitant coach, Tex Winter, said to Jordan, "There's no "I" in team!" Jordan looked at Tex and said, "There's not, but there's an 'I' in win!" Of course, Jordan's line had an entirely different meaning than Belichick's.

by Karma Coma :: Mon, 05/30/2011 - 2:23pm

I've been seeing "No I in Team" posters since my peewee hockey locker room in the '80s There's usually a guy holding the Stanley Cup above a statline like 10 Goals 50 Assists, or a RB busting through the line with an OL pancaking someone in the background. Whether King has never heard it before, or he gave Belichick credit anyway, i'm probably more surprised than i should be.

"Profit is limit ONLY by your ability to BANG SPORK"

by dbostedo :: Mon, 05/30/2011 - 7:27pm

That's not the part that's unique though. The "No I in Team" phrase is very common, and I'm sure King has heard it a million times. It's the "But there is an I in 'win' " part that he's crediting (at least in part it seems) to Belichick.

by Spielman :: Mon, 05/30/2011 - 7:51pm

My personal favorite rejoinder is "Oh yeah? Well, there's no 'u' in 'win'."

by Karma Coma :: Mon, 05/30/2011 - 7:52pm

Mine is, "There's an M and an E!"

by justanothersteve :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 12:25pm

There's also an ATM.

by ab (not verified) :: Mon, 05/30/2011 - 2:35pm

"Parents, kids, came from everywhere. All they wanted to do was help.''

"It's a Midwestern thing. It's an American thing."

Of course Peter. I bet after the recent natural disasters in Japan and New Zealand, people just walked on past their neighbors. Because they weren't American.

Xenophobic moron.

by Dennis :: Mon, 05/30/2011 - 5:17pm

We're supposed to be impressed that the Rams and Chiefs donated $25k and $35k, respectively? The NFL is a multi-billion dollar business and we're supposed to be awed that they gave what amounts to pocket change?

by Karma Coma :: Mon, 05/30/2011 - 5:52pm

"What they could have done, but didn't" isn't a good measure of charity. Are you going to criticize everyone who joined the Gates-Buffet giving pledge because they kept literally billions of dollars for themselves instead of giving it to charity? What selfish bastards!

Also, while it's true that the NFL is a multi-billion dollar business, neither the Rams or Chiefs are even billion dollar teams. They're both small market teams without much recent success. It wouldn't be surprising if they netted less than $20 million profit each last year. $25,000 - $35,000 for a single charity - out of the many they contribute to - doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

by Dennis :: Mon, 05/30/2011 - 6:14pm

I'm not criticizing them, I'm just saying I don't see why we should fawn over them for doing it like PK is. I know they aren't obligated to give anything so it's great they are helping out. At the same time, with the economics of the NFL what they are (small market teams still get 1/32 of the TV billions), $35k is not an amount that makes me think "Wow - that's a huge donation!" Obviously other people have a different opinion.

by Karma Coma :: Mon, 05/30/2011 - 6:46pm

The effusiveness was for the overall relief effort, not the amount donated by either team. I didn't see an opinion expressed about the amount, unless mentioning it at all in a national column amounts to gushing. If that's what you're going with, i'll disagree and leave it at that.

by Nathan :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 8:53am

are the constant Starbucks references product placement or something?

by Dean :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 9:13am

I e-mailed King and told him to have Mike Tanier do one of his guest columns. It'll be about as effective as pissing in the wind, but I at least made the effort.

by dbostedo :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 12:27pm

In his Tuesday column, he had this to say :

"MMQB vacation update. Guest columnists you want for my four vacation Monday Morning Quarterbacks, according to your Tweets and emails:

-Cris Collinsworth.
-Drew Brees.
-Nnamdi Asomugha. (I think you all liked him last year.)
-Army Sgt. Mike McGuire. (On the column for Monday, the Fourth of July.)
-Joe Posnanski.
-Steve Sabol, or, in his absence while he deals with his brain tumor, another smart guy like Ron Jaworski or Greg Cosell from NFL Films.
-Bill Simmons.
-Chester Pitts.

Most of you are dead-set against rehashing the labor dispute, but I may leave open the possibility of dueling player-NFL columns on a week when or if some significant progress happens in the labor talks. I'm still open to your nominations, and I've got a few lines out to people to see if they can and will do it. Best to send me your wishes on Twitter. Thanks."

by justanothersteve :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 12:35pm

Great idea, but he already is published a couple places. I think we should organize a raiderjoe guest column request to PK - both because I enjoy his perspective and knowledge, and from the editor's nightmare aspect.

by Jimmy :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 10:59am

I suspect that Rex Ryan knows Holmes well enough to know that the last place Santonio is going to find out what Rex said about him was in a book.

by Independent George :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 11:42am

I can't resist the inevitable anymore. I think we should do our own FO Readers' Top 100 list, using the same methodology.

by justanothersteve :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 12:31pm

It's an interesting idea. But I can't help but wonder how many teams might be over/under represented. I think it's been reported there are a high percentage of Pats fans here. If Gostkowski makes the top 100, I think we'd have proof.

by Independent George :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 1:21pm

Raiderjoe aside, I think most FO regulars can be pretty objective about players at the top of the list. Pats fans might might skew the Manning-Brady debate, but I can't imagine a lot of Pats fans putting Jerod Mayo on their Top 20 list.

I'm more interested in how the position representation shakes out more than teams. I think we'd have more DL, and a lot less WRs and RBs. OL would be interesting - like many others, I have a lot of trouble gauging OL play. Living in Chicago, I can write a treatise on bad OL play, but I'd have a lot of trouble telling you who the best offensive linemen in the league are. I would argue for Nick Mangold being in my top-20, but that's only because I actually got to watch him 4-5 times last year (including the postseason). Ryan Clady? Joe Thomas? Jordan Gross? I couldn't tell you one way or another.

by tuluse :: Tue, 05/31/2011 - 10:53pm

What would be more interesting to me (and I always mention this whenever I hear about top N lists) would be positional rankings. So we would each order the top 10 (or however many people feel comfortable ranking) players at each position. I don't know about you, but I'm not exactly sure how to compare say Brian Urlacher to Roddy White, or Trent Cole to Chris Johnson.

by Independent George :: Wed, 06/01/2011 - 10:24am

That's essentially an all-pro ballot - not a bad idea for the FO Awards at season's end, but the 'Top 100' lists are something else. Yes, I know it's purely a media creation, but it's still a fun thing to play around with, and I'm curious as to how the FO readers would score it differently.

As for the FO All-Pro Team, I suspect that FO readers are just as susceptible to the same biases as the AP ballots - the defense consists mostly of 4-3 DEs, 3-4 OLBs, and 3-techniique DTs that rack up lots of sack numbers, a 4-3 MLB who gets lots of tackles. I think we'll be better about DBs, FBs, and RBs, and our opinions will probably match with QBs and WRs. OL is, as always, a crapshoot.

by tuluse :: Wed, 06/01/2011 - 11:46pm

I think top 10 players at each position is a little bit different from an all-pro ballot which is more like top 2 players at each position.

As for your assertions about FO reader biases, there is only one way to find out.

Also, 4-3 MLBs who get lots of tackles are generally good players.