Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

10 Dec 2012

MMQB: Awards Races Up in the Air

This week in MMQB, Peter King has the latest on the very tight races for all the major awards, plus struggling Chicago, surprising Kirk Cousins, and "starting at quarterback for the Cardinals, from Utah State University, No. 00, Kent Somers."

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 10 Dec 2012

43 comments, Last at 12 Dec 2012, 5:56pm by jimbohead


by DavidL :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 11:54am

"The 2013 schedule metric, planned long before Peyton Manning signed with Denver last March, has the AFC West winner playing at the AFC East winner (as in 2012, for some bizarre reason)"

Has Peter King, Professional Football Writer, just never noticed that every division winner plays every other division winner in that conference every year?

by Ben :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 12:04pm

I hate to be the one to defend King, but I think it's the fact that the game is at New England two years in a row is what he was getting at.

by DavidL :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 12:15pm

Except he points out that before this there were two straight Colts-Patriots games in Foxboro, and before that, three straight in Indy. So it's hardly unprecedented for the same division to host two years running.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 12/11/2012 - 2:30am

It does seem a little wonky. It seems like it could (and probably should) rotate off and on every year. I.E., Year one AFC West nth place should play on the road at AFC East nth place, year two AFC West n hosts AFC East n, year 3 (the year that the two divisions play all of each other) same as year one. But maybe if I sat down and actually tried to apply that to all of the schedule it would become apparent why that's not the way things are done? It seems like there must be some logistical hurdle preventing that arrangement. Maybe the home/away flips every time you play a whole given division, regardless of finishing position or something?
The strangest one (to me at least) is that the last two times the AFC and NFC West have played each other Seattle traveled to Denver both times and the Broncos traveled to Arizona both times. It seems like pure common sense that the home/away should completely flip for the inter-conference divisional slates on each cycle.

by Jerry :: Tue, 12/11/2012 - 6:47am

After 2009, the league decided that non-West division teams shouldn't have to go to the West Coast twice in the same season. (I'm just reporting this, not defending it.) So, for instance, the Steelers hosted the Chargers instead of the Broncos this year, and that's also what you saw with the Seahawks and Cardinals. The rotation should be "purer" now, at least until the next arbitrary change.

Locations for the two games against teams that finish in the same position are arbitrarily determined well in advance, This year, the AFC West hosts the teams from the South and visits the East. Next year, they'll host the North and visit the East. To be fair, if the Broncos weren't playing the Pats again, it'd be much less noticable.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:48pm

Thanks for the clarification. So just to make sure I've got the concept, whenever a division is scheduled to play the NFC West, each team will play either @Seattle or @San Francisco but never both. Same for AFC West and Oakland/San Diego. And this even applies when the Wests play eachother.

Yeah, this season in the AFC may point out some quirks because all four number ones look likely repeat from last year.

by Jerry :: Wed, 12/12/2012 - 5:49am

You do indeed have the concept.

by Ben :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 12:04pm


by Anonymous88 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 12:05pm

I believe that he was referring to the fact that it has already been determined that the AFC West is.... AT....the AFC East winner.

by katespider (not verified) :: Tue, 12/11/2012 - 5:42am

I agree with you.
I recently saw someone writing his personal experience and insights with using a football betting system on this review site, gagareviews .c0m. I
think his review is just impartial and sound. He said it can predict games result very acuratedly.

by nat :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 12:14pm

I'll take the quarterback with the longest winning streak...
That's just about the worst possible reason to pick among QBs for MVP. The only thing worse would be to explicitly (instead of implicitly) take the "best" QB as determined by having the best and healthiest defense.

That being said, Manning and Brady are the top two in DVOA and DYAR. Either is a reasonable choice.

by jimbohead :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 1:13pm

In a year when the QBs have had good but not great years, why not give the MVP to a non-QB for a change? I'd be happy to see it go to AP, and I'd love to see it go to a defensive player like Watt, Miller, or Aldon Smith.

by dmstorm22 :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 1:34pm

I think a case can be made for Watt, but I'm getting behind the Peterson bandwagon, even as a staunch Manning supporter.

What he has done, especially facing bad fronts because of how purely bad Christian Ponder is, is just incredible. He also has the story of coming back from a late ACL injury.

I still think Manning will get it though, or Brady if they win out.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 2:34pm

Mr. Hubble says trophies are for people with self-esteem issues.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 3:32pm

Who's Mr. huvvle?

by nat :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 3:42pm

Mr. Hubble is a character from a State Farm advertisement. In the ad, a child tells Aaron Rodgers that "Mr. Hubble says trophies (like his MVP award) are for people with low self-esteem."

by Boots Day :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 5:47pm

Yeah, I think RJ knew that.

by nat :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 6:23pm

But I gave him an answer, in case he didn't. He's usually pretty straight with us. No harm if he already knew.

by tuluse :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 6:27pm

You missed that he was continuing that joke, that's what Rodgers asks in the commercial :)

by nat :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 6:32pm

Oops. Missed that.

by John Doe (Lazy) (not verified) :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 6:46pm

It's Ron Hubble.

by Raiderjoe :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 8:18pm

Name rmeind of Ron Herbel pitcher Gainrs mostly. Guy jorrotble Hitler. Bat .029 carrrreer

by dbostedo :: Tue, 12/11/2012 - 12:34am

I don't care if he hit .029... any guy that jorrotble'd Hitler is OK by me.

by nat :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 5:10pm

FYI: Brady is on pace for the fifth best DYAR since 1991 (when the stat starts). Good, but not great?

His DVOA is also great, but not quite as highly ranked. I think this season ranks 17th or 18th among all ranked QBs in that same period.

The game has changed since 1991, with QBs driven to throw more often because even "over used" QBs are more productive than most running games. If he played in 1991, he probably would have had a lower DYAR but a higher DVOA, since he wouldn't be called on to throw as many passes in less favorable situations.

Call it around and 10th or 11th best, and you'd be about right. That's a pretty great season.

So far, anyway.

Edit: to be clear, the main point of this is to refute the notion that there are no QBs having great seasons this year, not necessarily to push Brady over Manning, or either over the other candidates for MVP.

by Malene, copenhagen (not verified) :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 5:29pm

It is a weird subplot of the FO season that apparently nobody's allowed to mention that Brady's pretty much kicking ass this season. I think it's some sort of gun-shy reaction to the typical NE-homerism accusation lofted at Aaron each year.

Every week, we read about the greatness of other QBs in Quick Reads. Brady usually get a bemused or semi-snarky comment. Seems weird. For about half the season he's been at the top in both DYAR and DVOA. What gives?

by nat :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 6:48pm

Meanwhile, Peterson is fifteenth in RB DYAR and thirtieth in DVOA. Brady's season is quite a bit more remarkable by FO stats.

This isn't the right year to go nuts over a running back for MVP.

by Phill S (not verified) :: Tue, 12/11/2012 - 4:37am

You seem confused. Peterson is 1st in RB DYAR and 2nd in DVOA (and 4th in success rate, for what its worth)

by nat :: Tue, 12/11/2012 - 8:15am

Since 1991? Hardly.

by jimbohead :: Wed, 12/12/2012 - 5:56pm

I stand corrected! I genuinely did not realize he was having that great a season. My far-off impression was that the team's been beating up the AFCE, and that he's had a few mediocre games. This is what I get for posting loosely without watching enough patriots games.

by Ryan D. :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 2:40pm

That's how everyone determines who the greatest QB of all time is, isn't it?

Player A has more rings than player B. Thus, Player A is definitely a better QB than Player B.

No one cares that Player A had a great defense/kicker/luck for 5 years, while player B never had a defense to share the load.

by Jeff M. (not verified) :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 3:12pm

Save it for the irrational letter discussion thread.

by nat :: Tue, 12/11/2012 - 1:51am

π > e

by tuluse :: Tue, 12/11/2012 - 2:46am


by Danish Denver-Fan :: Tue, 12/11/2012 - 11:28am

Here's how my mind went:

"Heh irrational number. Hey that's not irrational? -(sqrt(-1)^2) is -1! Wait +1! Oh. +1. Never mind."

I love this site.

by Johnny Socko (not verified) :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 4:32pm

You got it. But remember, this argument only applies to QB's. The greatest at all other positions can be determined without any regard to rings. See: Barry Sanders, Dick Butkus, et al.

by Nevic (not verified) :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 5:32pm

PK's first four "non-football" thoughts were all about football...

by Ryan D. :: Mon, 12/10/2012 - 7:01pm

To be fair, those are NCAA topics listed under his "non-NFL" thoughts.

by Honest Abe (not verified) :: Tue, 12/11/2012 - 7:48am

Somebody being fair to Peter King? That's a stunning change on this site.

by Tballgame (not verified) :: Tue, 12/11/2012 - 2:37pm

Just in from Peter King and his Tuesday Morning edition, the last 7 Super Bowl winners were undefeated on the road in the playoffs (not including the Super Bowl - although presumably they were undefeated there as well).

by Ryan D. :: Tue, 12/11/2012 - 3:14pm

Wow. That's some insight there...

by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 12/11/2012 - 3:41pm

Direct quote:

Since 2005, Super Bowl winners are 12-0 on the road in the playoffs.

Genius. Makes me wonder what the combined road playoff record of Super Bowl winners was before 2005.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Wed, 12/12/2012 - 1:42am

I've not read his Tuesday edition, but was the takeaway from that fact supposed to be that Super Bowl winners have been *playing* on the road a lot more than might be expected (like, we're seeing more lower seeds and wild-card teams winning)?
To put it more simply, was his point that fans and the media put way too much emphasis on teams getting one of the top two seeds?

by The Hypno-Toad :: Wed, 12/12/2012 - 1:50am

I see that that is exactly what he was talking about. He probably should have used some cleaner phrasing, something like "the last seven Super Bowl winners have won a combined twelve road games in the playoffs compared to just seven home games" rather than something that makes it look like the main point is the undefeated-ness of those teams... But at the same time, I thought his meaning was plenty clear.

Edit - I'm as guilty as anyone of playing "gotcha!" with King's writing, so I'm not trying to sound like I'm judging anyone for pointing this out.