Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

23 Nov 2007

ESPN: Why Miami Will Not Go Winless

By complete coincidence, MDS and I each wrote our columns today about the Dolphins -- him for FOX, me for ESPN -- and came up with opposite conclusions.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 23 Nov 2007

22 comments, Last at 27 Nov 2007, 8:19pm by Unshakable Optimist


by QB (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 8:11pm

This article makes a lot more sense than the other.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 8:35pm

I agree this was very well reasoned. But randomness has a way of being unreasonable. One sentence stood out for me: "One reason the Dolphins keep losing by three points: Opposing kickers don't screw up, and there isn't much the Dolphins can do about it."
I have heard this before in other contexts and that trend will change, but there is no way of telling if it's next game, or in 7 games... (i.e. next season). If they have 4 more games in domes left, I'd say it's less likely that a kicker will screw up.

That being said, even if 0-16 is unlikely, it is certainly not impossible. Some of those stats (points for) were when Ronnie Brown was in the lineup, no? He's gone now. Maybe Ricky Williams will be a beast for them down the stretch, or maybe not. It's still pretty random and hitting tails six times in a row is not crazy. That's without even looking at the schedule--they may have some tough opponents making those games relatively assured, and meaning they only have to hit tails 3 times out of 6.... which is about what you'd expect.

by fish shure (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 8:53pm

Liked the article and I agree. Still, the NFL is a crazy place, and I always root for streaks, so here's hoping the Dolphins tank the rest.

Also, I think there is an omission in the article. Second to last paragraph: "The Dolphins' first 10 opponents have a combined record after the first 11 weeks. That's the fourth-hardest schedule so far."

by Costa (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 9:08pm

The first sentence of the second-to-last paragraph is missing the actual record.

"The Dolphins' first 10 opponents have a combined ____ record after the first 11 weeks."

by Joon (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 10:07pm

the mike harris simulations have the dolphins at 95.7% likely to win a game, and 75% likely to win at least two.

by register_allocation (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 11:25pm

The Dolphins have a fight song??

by Jim G (not verified) :: Fri, 11/23/2007 - 11:33pm

"Why Miami Will Not Go Winless"

Because they have a game coming against the Jets, who will be making a real run a becoming the worst team in the league after throwing overboard their one and only real strength, a high percentage intermediate passing game near the top of the league at converting 3rd downs, for a "QB of the future" who's hitting 49% of his passes and converted 5 of 27 third downs in his last two starts.

But apart from that, if one figures the Fins have only a 33.3% chance of winning each of the Jets, Bengals, Ravens and Bills games -- which seems rather pessimistic, even for the Fins -- they still have a less than 20% chance of losing all of them and a greater than 80% chance of winning at least one. So, yeah, they really shouldn't lose out.

by Athelas (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 1:09am

Yes, the tune was stolen from the Houston Oilers.

by Jake (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 1:34am

#6 - With the inspired chorus - "Miami Dolphins. Miami Dolphins. Miami Dolphins Number 1"
Not to be a jerk, but this contrast between Aaron and MDS artiles show why the latter doesn't really belong on FO. Aaron and most of the staff : Well reasoned analysis, presented in an accessible, informal style. MDS: Worst kind of holier than thou poop stirring and random declarations of opinion as fact.
When I read almost every Football Outsider piece I get something interesting and new (or at the very least something I would not have heard outside FO). When I read MDS, I generally feel like I'm reading a more amateur version of Skip Bayless, Woody Paige, Jason Whitlock, Jay Mariotti, or any of a hundred old guard columnists that is the opposite of why FO is so loved. Why have the Internet version of Ron Borges (minus any sources or investigation) when the research that is the foundation of the site was based those very mindless columns?

by Derek (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 6:43am

Wow, hey, look! It's an article with a hypothesis, and some reasoned explanations! As opposed to a blow-hard making shit up in his head!

Was MDS on a deadline? Did he forget he had an article to turn in this week? WTF? Wasn't his article the antithesis of everything you're trying to do here?

by tylerdolphin (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 12:43pm

I cant see the fins winning. i know the stats favor them to win at least one, but as a dolphins fan i just always feel like they will find a way to lose. Maybe im just a negative person.

by Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 12:51pm

Yeah and the Pythegorean system had the Eagles winning at least 11 games and projected them as the favorite to win the NFC. So screw your stats.

I'm a very bitter, angry man.

by raffy (not verified) :: Sat, 11/24/2007 - 1:40pm

An article next week looking at the great NFL teams and their opponents won-lost record, pretty please! ;-) The MDS mention that the '72 Fins faced opponents with a combined winning percentage less than .400 was priceless. Can't wait to see a Patriot Hater (or Montana Worshiper, Da Dancing '85 Bear Fan etc. )blow a gasket when I land that one on them!

by Matt Saracen - QB1 - Dillon Panthers (not verified) :: Sun, 11/25/2007 - 7:43am

To address the MDS flak first, yes it looks bad for MDS for he and Aaron to write similar articles and for Aaron's to be more convincing. However, the MDS report is meant to be opinionated, while Aaron is looking for stats to back up his issues. See MDS's every play counts to get some excellent play analysis - I don't think he is slipping in that area at all. I (and most others it seems) just don't agree with his opinions regarding the Dolphins and Pats chances. That is my (and your) prerogative.

As for this article on the Dolphins, it looks good in theory. The change to John Beck may not help though. Surely if the Dolphins were more likely to win with Beck at QB he would have started much sooner. That tells me that they are just taking a peek at his abilities - and fair enough too. Also, Ronnie Brown is now on IR and Jesse Chatman is out this week too, so bringing in a guy who hasn't played for 2 years at RB probably decreases the chances of winning a game a bit further.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Mon, 11/26/2007 - 4:07pm

Re: 9

You may not be a jerk, but you are an idiot. Go read some EPC articles and shut the hell up. And please stop assuming you talk for everyone. I'd bet my life that your opinion of MDS puts you are in the insignificant minority.

by johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 11/26/2007 - 4:22pm

The tune was not stolen from Houston. As the story goes: Miami had the song written for them, but were apparently to cheap to pay for it. The the song writer sold the song to Houston. When that deal was up the Dolphins finally paid for the song or the song became free use at that point. Their fight song was written for them and not Houston. But yes the two teams have the same fight song.

by johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 11/26/2007 - 4:29pm

OMG the 1972 Dolphins only won 14 regular season games. What bastards for not demanding 2 extra games. Of well they made up for it by playing the AFC championship on the road. Here's a reason I as a Dolfan don't get to worked up about the 1972 Dolphins. The 1973 team was better even if it lost a game:)

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Mon, 11/26/2007 - 4:54pm

Don't look now, but one of the commenters on the "ESPN Conversation" at the end of the article actually put together a well-reasoned critique of the basis of the column. Normally I just read those for the amusing bluster.

by johonny (not verified) :: Tue, 11/27/2007 - 4:33am

After tonight it's hard to imagine anyone watching if Miami goes winless. That was a really hard game to watch.

by Jerry Garcia (not verified) :: Tue, 11/27/2007 - 1:36pm

Dolphins win a game?

Sounds kind of fishy to me ...

by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Tue, 11/27/2007 - 5:01pm

Last night I was really hoping they would go 0-15-1...

by Unshakable Optimist (not verified) :: Tue, 11/27/2007 - 8:19pm

I hope the Dolphins win. I like the fact that the '76 Bucs were the only winless team in history. It's certainly not something I'd ever like to witness as a fan, but I kind of like it on its own merits as a distinction.