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19 Jan 2011

Scramble for the Ball: Smooth Outliers

by Tom Gower and Mike Kurtz

Statistical Oddities

Tom: So, Mike, one of the things Aaron Schatz wrote about in this recent XP is that our statistics are not always perfectly accurate and reflective of the quality of player involved. There are lots of other things that go into statistics for individual players that may make a player look better or worse than their "true" level.

Mike: Le shocque! We should note that Aaron has never claimed that they are perfectly accurate.

Tom: Wait, are you trying to suggest that Vince Young was not the fifth-best passer in the league on a per-play basis this year, as DVOA indicates he was?

Mike: Yeah, sometimes weird things happen. And while Dear Leader is working behind the scenes to figure out all the strange things that lead to results like that, it's an interesting exercise to look at the strangest of the strange, like Young.

Tom: As you might guess, as a Tennessee Titans fan I've spent a lot of time thinking about Vince Young's play this year. I could expound at length, and probably will later in the offseason, but it's been a frustrating year as an analyst looking at his play. All the statistics -- DVOA, passer rating, YPA, ANYPA -- are very high on his performance. I'm much less so.

Mike: His YPA is good, but not fifth-best good. He also has around a 60-percent completion percentage.

Tom: And, of course, the Titans have opted to part ways with him. A large part of that is his performance off the field, but the on-field stuff is an issue as well.

Mike: Could DVOA be seeing the Chris Johnson of quarterbacks?

Tom: I think it's more that the Titans preferred a run-heavy attack that concentrated on downfield passing. And downfield passing, if you complete it at a decent rate and don't throw many interceptions, shows up nicely in the various statistical measures.

Mike: Interesting.

Tom: Of course, relatively small variations in the absolute numbers of interceptions and completed deep passes can have a larger effect when you're looking at only 176 passing plays.

Mike: The interesting thing is that DVOA is my go-to stat for players who have fewer attempts.

Tom: Well, it is and it isn't. The third wide receiver phenomenon seems to have about a 50 percent hit rate. (Note: I haven't actually run the numbers on that.)

Mike: Ha!

Tom: Take Austin Collie, who was targeted on roughly 10 percent of Peyton Manning's pass plays, or less than 40 percent of Reggie Wayne's targets. Collie isn't that much better than Wayne to the point where his second-best DVOA and Wayne's 47th are reflective of their respective abilities. (Yes, Collie's target numbers are affected by his injuries.)

Mike: True. Obviously you have to use all your stats in conjunction.

Tom: The college basketball stats analyst Ken Pomeroy, who's been featured on this site before, had a useful post a couple years ago on how to use and not use numbers. That "statistical and visual analysis go together" thing is something we always, always, always have to keep in mind.

Mike: It's at the top of the introduction page, even.

Tom: As Aaron said in that Extra Point post, it gets tedious to write it in every single article, and sometimes we run with straight numbers just to see if they say anything interesting.

Tom: The interesting thing about this year's receivers' table is that we don't get the 52-target guy at the very top. The players with fewer targets who are at the upper end of the DVOA leader board are mostly good players who missed time.

Mike: The other interesting thing about the wide receivers is that a lot of the guys near the top both missed time and played for teams with non-elite offense, like Kenny Britt, who is somehow third in DVOA. So yeah.

Mike: Rashard Mendenhall is surprisingly low on the list (22nd by DYAR, 26th by DVOA) of running backs, considering Pittsburgh has an essentially average rushing offense.

Tom: Well, Mendenhall's DVOA is about the same as it was last year (down from -0.8% to -2.7%).

Mike:: Yes, but the theory this year is that Mendenhall has improved, particularly in his ability to hold on to the ball.

Tom: Well, he has improved in that regard, but not hugely. He went from three fumbles in 242 carries to two in 324. That's twice as many carries between fumbles, but one every 80 carries is not a particularly high rate.

Mike: Not absolutely good, but like you said, twice as many carries between fumbles is still quite nice.

Tom: Of course, the Kansas City disparity in running backs still cracks me up. In 2008, when the Titans had a similar carry split between the mediocre LenDale White and the much better Chris Johnson, they at least used White in the situations where running backs tend to be more successful, and he was still relatively useful.

Mike: I think the theory in vogue of tandem backs with the purpose of keeping your premiere back fresh does have a breaking point. Kansas City may have found it. It's one thing to keep your main guy fresh, but it's only a winner for you if the platoon mate isn't actively hurting your team.

Tom: Well, I'd have to look at the Thomas Jones-Jamaal Charles carry splits to be more confident in that conclusion. With Jones, coaches also tend to be somewhat risk-averse and value highly a veteran's knowing the assignments and showing up every day ready to play. Not to bring up Vince Young again, but there's a certain level of tradeoff between reliability and performance that coaches seem willing to accept. That sort of thing is something we as outside analysts have a hard time seeing.

Mike: Well, it's also different between coaches and teams. Tom Coughlin, for instance, seems to be happy with big performance over reliability, whereas Lovie Smith is all about a steady pace and putting together a large number of small victories. I think the trick in all cases is to find a nice balance. Bill Belichick is good at that, constantly reshaping his offense to get the most out his players. He uses rushing and play action if he has a good back, deep passes if he has a burner, and quick crossing patterns if he has a team of Welkers. That's probably why DVOA has liked the Patriots offenses so much the past few years.

Tom: How very timely. My fantasy team thanks you for bringing up that team.

Playoff Fantasy Update

Tom: Aaron Rodgers not only had a great real game this weekend, but also a great fantasy game.

Mike: Woe be unto us, who do not have Rodgers.

Tom: The beneficiary was Sean, who also had double-digit totals from Shonn Greene, Braylon Edwards, Mason Crosby, and Ravens defense. He's up to 163 points and has six players remaining. Ben Muth is next, with only 95 points, and he's down to just LaDainian Tomlinson.

Mike: So, in other words, we all lose.

Tom: Pretty much. If Ben Roethlisberger throws for like 400 yards and four touchdowns, all of them to Hines Ward, in each of the next two games, Dave stands a chance.

Mike: I would have no problem with this result.

Dave: (Me neither.)

Tom: No, I figured you wouldn't. My team is also a lesson in the downside of the "putting all your eggs in one basket" strategy. My six Patriots are all done, and I'm down to Matt Forte with 61 points. You also have 61, but you have three players left. And Tim is currently in the rear, but he also has three players left.

Mike: Go me.

Tom: Personally, I'm just hoping to beat half of the Best of the Rest teams, but that's a tall order based on the current standings.

Mike: How are the Best of the Rest doing?

Tom: The top two best of the rest teams are doing great. Nevic has 146 points with six players remaining, and our friend Mr. Dembsky has 144, though with only two players left. There are 12 Best of the Rest teams with at least 100 points. A big reason has been the quarterback play. I reached for Tom Brady early, hoping he'd give me a lot of points. He had 20, which was nice, but that's a far cry from the 52 I'd have received from Matt Hasselbeck. That's between the last two weeks. Jay Cutler also put up 37 this week.

Mike: Ah. Yes, the problem with having your pick of the quarterbacks remaining is that if you screw up, it's much more noticeable. I chose about as poorly as I could have.

Tom: You could've done worse than Matt Ryan. You could've chosen Matt Cassel.

Mike: I certainly could have, in that he was available and I don't actually suffer a bizarre illness that keeps me from picking Matt Cassel. Of course, I also don't have the kind of illness that would lead one to pick Mr. Cassel, either.

FO Playoff Divisional Round Results

Mike Matt Ryan 7 Ray Rice 15 LeSean McCoy 7 Marques Colston 6 Anquan Boldin 12 Johnny Knox 4 Heath Miller 9 Matt Bryant 3 Bears -2 61
Tom Tom Brady 20 Matt Forte 13 Pierre Thomas 0 Roddy White 11 Deion Branch 11 Brandon Tate 0 Rob Gronkowski 3 Shayne Graham 7 Patriots -4 61
Dave Ben Roethlisberger 18 Michael Turner 9 Joseph Addai 6 Greg Jennings 10 Wes Welker 5 Hines Ward 8 Jacob Tamme 4 Adam Vinatieri 14 Falcons -2 72
Sean Aaron Rodgers 56 Jamaal Charles 13 Shonn Greene 20 Reggie Wayne 0 Santonio Holmes 12 Braylon Edwards 17 Dustin Keller 5 Mason Crosby 16 Ravens 24 163
Tim Peyton Manning 15 Rashard Mendenhall 15 Reggie Bush 4 Mike Wallace 2 DeSean Jackson 4 Blair White 5 Brent Celek 2 David Akers 4 Steelers 8 59
Ben Drew Brees 28 BenJarvus Green-Ellis 5 LaDainian Tomlinson 31 Dwayne Bowe 0 Pierre Garcon 17 Jeremy Maclin 7 Tony Gonzalez 0 Garrett Hartley 12 Saints -5 95

"Smooth" is the New "Epic"

Mike: So, there is a new trend of great regional beers. Some micro-, some not. Keystone is not one of these.

Tom: Oh, senior year of college. I lived in a house with a couple other guys, one of whom had lived there the year before. We had a can of Keystone Light in the fridge. It was the "pet beer." Nobody ever drank it. Nobody ever thought about drinking it.

Mike: My family has a long tradition of drinking Iron City, and they look down on Keystone, so this is a very low bar.

Tom: Yes, but that's why this commercial is so fitting. So perfect, even. It's an incredibly bad beer, and so you'd think it would probably have an incredibly bad commercial. And it does.

Mike: It is true that these commercials give us exactly what we'd expect. However, that isn't helpful when what we expect is being lit on fire, and then cut into pieces, and then having those pieces kicked around in the dirt, and then burning the dirt.

Tom: Isn't dirt sort of what they use for firebreaks?

Mike: This commercial would find a way.

Tom: Even better, it's a national ad campaign. These are well-produced commercials, not something a local company threw together. This sort of camp is absolutely intentional.

Mike: I don't know if that makes it any better.

Tom: I can't decide which of these commercials I like better, though.

Mike: "No?"

Tom: Probably the stuck in a tree one. And I said "better." It's a comparative word, not an absolute one.

Mike: That's the joke.

Tom: I just made a barking noise like a sea lion laughing. If we were doing this in person, you'd have heard me. And probably smacked me, not that I'd blame you for doing so.

Mike: That's ... OK, then. Moving on.

Tom: The bride one kind of bothers me. We don't know why she ran into the store. Did she run away from her bridesmaids and friends? Did she lose her cell phone? Did the groom run away? Was she kidnapped and escape? She could have been calling the police, and Keith Stone just decides that because he's smooth (obviously), he has the right to hang up the phone on her.

Mike: Keith Stone is better than the police due to aforementioned smoothness. There is no situation in which she would not benefit from calling his smoothness.

Tom: Obviously. That's why he's hanging out in a convenience store.

Mike: Heck, even if she was just complaining of pain in her arches due to her wedding pumps, Keith is a licensed podiatrist. He also buys and sells feet.

Tom: So you're telling me Rex Ryan and Keith Stone are really just alter egos of the same person?

Tom will be benched for the first section of the next segment --ed.

Tom: I read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde last fall. It's a very boring book, because the whole point is that Jekyll and Hyde are the same person, even though they don't look alike. And, now, of course, approximately everybody who reads it knows that they are indeed the same person. I just felt like mentioning that since I got us on the subject of alter egos.

Mike: Knowing is half the battle?

Tom: And knowledge is power.

Mike: Also, why is he chewing on his rifle? I mean, who is dumb enough to aim a firearm at his own head?

Tom: That's not actually a rifle. I'm not sure what it is, but despite a barrel-looking thing, I'm pretty sure it's not a rifle.

Mike: Oh wow, it's not. I'm sorry, I gave Keith more cool points than he deserved.

Tom: I think it might be a giant stick of beef jerky.

Mike: How do you have jerky that is rigid enough to ... he ... what ... I can't talk about this commercial anymore. It makes me too sad.

Tom: Fine, let's talk about the second commercial, and its ridiculous extension ladder. Or the two guys in the background at various points seemingly engrossed in conversation, not even trying to look up at Kiki in the tree.

Mike: Random conversation, just hanging out on the sidewalk in front of what we assume is the old lady's house. I suppose they had random extras on hire and figured they'd get their money's worth?

Tom: Hm, I guess. Maybe they're the guys who actually owned the ladder, and their everlasting fame from being in the commercial was the price for borrowing it.

Mike: That is a solid guess. We should also note that they did not follow proper safety protocol: There was nobody spotting the ladder. Smooth, perhaps, but not safe!

Tom: I didn't notice that at first. You're right.

Mike: I'm not sure how carrying someone down a ladder is smooth, but I'm willing to go at least that far.

Tom: Maybe that's related to why Keith Stone (and Keystone) is smooth, but obviously not rich. Actually, it now bothers me that our two bystanders go in and out of the background when they should be there the whole time.

Mike: It is weird, though, because there's no indication that he gets the girl. This is a beer commercial. It's supposed to show that if you just drink the beer, you will get the women, but he just kind of carries her down, brushes a lock of her hair and then walks away.

Tom: Instead, he gets the thanks of the old lady.

Mike: So Keystone Light is the gentleman's drink? Should Keith be wearing Todd's GILF T-shirt?

Tom: This sort of thing was nicely subverted in the recent Heineken commercial, where Guy asks Grandma and not Attractive Girl to dance.

Mike: That is actually an excellent commercial. There's no actual real-world application, but it's a commercial, so who cares?

Tom: I could come up with a vaguely scurrilous story about why Mr. Stone does that, but I'm not sure it's worth the effort.

Mike: Much like both of these commercials, it really is not.


KEEP CHOPPING WOOD: The Ravens have spent a little money trying to upgrade their receiving corps. They signed Derrick Mason after the Titans cut him in 2005, and he's been fairly productive for them in the past. They signed T.J. Houshmandzadeh as a free agent in the offseason. They also traded for Anquan Boldin this offseason. What did they get out of their pricey targets on Saturday? Four catches on 13 targets, a big pass interference penalty, and two key drops late in the game, one by Boldin in the end zone and the other by Houshmandzadeh on fourth down. Back to the drawing board for GM Ozzie Newsome and the rest of the Baltimore brain trust.

MIKE MARTZ AWARD: The Pittsburgh Steelers may have won this weekend, but Mike Tomlin got to show off his affection for blowing challenges early in the game and decided several times it would be wise to squib kick against what our numbers show was a very average kickoff return team.

COLBERT AWARD: Your Scramble writer wishes the Auburn-Oregon BCS Championship Game had been this week, so we could have awarded it to that game for the general boldness displayed by both teams rather than picking a winner from this more humdrum NFL week. Alas. The boldest call in the NFL this week was the Patriots' failed fake punt in the second quarter, so credit goes to Bill Belichick, no matter how angry he looked at his team after the failed execution and no matter whether or not he actually called it or merely didn't tell his team not to call it.

Posted by: Mike Kurtz and Tom Gower on 19 Jan 2011

52 comments, Last at 23 Jan 2011, 9:14pm by Sid


by Bjorn Nittmo (not verified) :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 4:30pm

"Tom: ...downfield passing, if you complete it at a decent rate and don't throw many interceptions, shows up nicely in the various statistical measures.

Mike: Interesting."

Why is this interesting? Isn't this exactly what we'd expect? Isn't the puzzling over how some rate stats played out this season just the product of small samples?

by djanyreason :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 4:34pm

Notwithstanding whether Tomlin's challenges were wise or not, saying he has an "affection for blowing challenges early" is kinda innacurate. Tomlin has one of the lowest challenge rates of any NFL head coach. If anything, his use of two challenges early was aggressive and uncharacteristic.

by DGL :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 4:38pm

I think others have said it previously, but seeing as how the Ravens had more kick returns of greater than 30 yards (two out of eight returns) than drives greater than 30 yards (one out of 12 drives), squibbing sounds like a perfectly justifiable strategy.

by rk (not verified) :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 4:49pm

Yeah, I'm pretty sure the squibbing is happening because Pittsburgh best coverage player, Jason Worilds, has been out. And on the last kickoff, they were without Will Allen as well. If you don't trust your guys to tackle the speedy return guy, you squib it to the blockers and play defense. It worked very well.

by drobviousso :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 4:58pm

Is Worilds better than Sylvester?

by dbostedo :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 6:11pm

Or Fox?

by Jim in Pgh (not verified) :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 4:51pm

You're not giving Martz the Martz Award for the Forte pass? Is there a rule against giving Martz the Martz Award?

by Eddo :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 5:18pm

I'm of the opinion that the Bears ran that play for the sole purpose of giving Green Bay one additional thing to have to prepare for this week. I'm not sure it was intended to succeed (though I'm sure they didn't want Forte to make The Worst Throw In NFL History).

by Marko :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 6:11pm

I had the same thought about the purpose of that pass. Although the way it was executed, I think the Packers won't bother to prepare for it and will hope the Bears call it again.

As for that being The Worst Throw in NFL History, I think Garo Yepremian has earned that distinction and is not likely to be seriously challenged. I wouldn't even call it the worst throw this weekend; Matt Ryan's end of half throw to Tramon Williams was far worse in my mind, as it basically caused everyone watching to say "Game Over."

by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 7:02pm

Doesn't the Aaron Brooks Pass deserve some mention on the worst ever pass list? Madden added it as a glitch for god's sake! Or is that considered the only Hail Mary Fumble in NFL history?

by Eddo :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 7:06pm

Yeah, Yepremian's pass is clearly worse. Maybe "The Worst Planned Throw In NFL History"?

I forget to whom Forte was throwing, but he was wide open. Forte underthrew him by about fifteen yards, when you account for the direction the receiver was moving.

by Marko :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 9:51pm

Joe Theismann's pass at the end of the first half in Super Bowl XVIII has to be in the conversation for worst planned throw. It was a pointless and disastrous swing pass from around his own 10 yard line that easily was turned into a pick 6 by LB Jack Squirek. I always think of that whenever Theismann criticizes a player for a bonehead decision during a game.

As for Forte's pass, he was throwing it to Hester. If it was Cutler throwing, maybe he was open. But for someone to be open when a running back is making the pass, he better be WIDE OPEN with no defender in the area at all. That wasn't the case here.

by tuluse :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 3:12am

Actually, I think the pass was on target. Hester was running a crossing route and Forte lead him just fine. The problem was the defender that Forte never saw. He thought he was throwing to a wide open receiver.

by Marko :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 2:28pm

I thought the pass was underthrown and behind Hester. In any event, the fact that Forte never saw the defender is all the more reason why the pass shouldn't have been thrown. Why would you have a running back throw to a receiver running a crossing route? A pass from a running back should only be thrown if the receiver is comfortably behind the deepest defender. And the running back should make sure the pass isn't underthrown.

by RichC (not verified) :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 4:51pm

This entire article doesn't make any sense.

DVOA isn't trying to tell you who is better. Its telling you who was more effective. These are completely different things.

by dbostedo :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 6:15pm

I'm not sure how you're defining "more effective" versus "better". But for large enough samples should they be the same? The DVOA should be telling you who is better, since it's adjusted for the defenses played again.

by Tom Gower :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 10:00pm

In a way, this is precisely the point of this article (and the one we did along the same theme last year): DVOA, especially for individual players, is a context-dependent measure of performance, not an absolute measure of player quality.

by drobviousso :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 4:55pm

The Kieth Stone commercials are great, even if the beer... isn't. They are great spoofs on stupid beer commercials, and I like spoofs.

by RickD :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 5:58pm


How do we tell the spoofs of bad beer commercials from the bad beer commercials?

by JCRODRIGUEZ (not verified) :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 5:05pm

What about giving Big Ben the COLBERT AWARD for calling his own number on that 4th and 1? at least the Steelers got some points on that drive.

by Eddo :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 5:17pm

The Colbert Award is for coaches.

by Pass to Set Up ... :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 5:15pm

I'm pretty upset that Cam Cameron is going to stay around in Baltimore. How anemic does an offense have to get before you start looking for new gameplans?

Additionally, I wince every time I see Flacco trotting back over to the sidelines to receive advice from Jim Zorn. That cannot be helping.

by Ben Stuplisberger :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 5:19pm

The assumption here is that Young was not a good (or effective?) quarterback in limited action this year. Why make that assumption?

by RickD :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 6:01pm

Yeah, that point kind of snuck through, didn't it?

I thought VY had some very effective games before Kenny Britt was injured. But after that, his conflicts with Fisher became crippling.

by Tom Gower :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 9:42pm

Think of that as an assertion I made but didn't bother supporting because I didn't bother writing the 2000-5000 words necessary to flesh out my opinion because I was tired of him after the Redskins game. I plan to write in depth about him in the offseason, which could be anywhere between now and July, on the Titans blog I write at. Put simply, he didn't appear to make any progress from last year to this year, still struggling to read defenses and throw short or intermediate passes with the required accuracy. His good numbers are the result of having an exceptional deep receiver in Britt and a gameplan that had him throw a disproportionately high number of deep passes, plus taking too many sacks due to disappointingly poor pocket presence.

by 3.14159265 (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 12:41am

Didn't his own coach make that assumption?

by alexbond :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 5:32pm

It is really a shame that Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde has been throughly spoiled for everyone at this point. I read the book a while ago and was thinking to myself the whole time "This would be really tense and suspenseful if I didn't already know the ending." It is really a great thriller but it is tough to enjoy with the twist already spoiled.

by Lance :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 6:40pm

I actually came across the same thing with Dracula. It's written assuming you have no idea what a vampire is, so all the shocking/frightening stuff isn't a surprise and thus not frightening because by 2011, you've seen/read it all a hundred times in TV, movies, and books.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 8:37am

See, I kinda think that while Dracula may not be quite as scary as it was, it still fundamentally works, in broadly the same way that Buffy or any other modern vampire piece works, because the characters and their interactions are developed enough for you to care about them, and what happens to them. Seward and the girls, in particular. Francis Ford Coppola's Bogus Journey is a disaster for all sorts of reasons, but the single biggest one is that it fails to realise that we need to care about Lucy. By making her a vapid, cruel turbo-slut, Hart, Coppola and Frost undermine our ability not only to feel for her but to take seriously the characters who do (Harker doesn't know her, but Keanu's quite capable of eliminating our ability to take Harker seriously all by himself).

by witless chum :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 3:27pm

Frost, like most of that movie, just seemed like she was there to be nice to look at. She and it both succeed at that. And I can't dislike a movie with Anthony Hopkins behaving as insanely as that.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 7:29pm

Oh God, Hopkins! What was he playing at? I mean, Van Helsing's an extremely difficult part to make credible, but . . . And why the hell was he playing, like, everybody? In fact, I'd just love to have sat in on the casting discussions for that film.

HART: We need an intelligent, bookish English guy. Better be a solid actor - he needs to do a pretty convincing gradual mental disintegration.

COPPOLA: The role Keanu was born for. He's so hot right now.

HART: Perfect. A mild-mannered, depressive psychiatrist full of controlled self-loathing and dignified despair?

COPPOLA: He takes drugs, right? Hey, what about that Withnail guy? He's British, he does drugs. And isn't there a bit where they go to London zoo? This guy's been to London Zoo, I saw it! And he was awesome in Hudson Hawk! Damn, I love that movie.

HART: Cool. Next up, an eccentric Dutch doctor.

COPPOLA: That's pretty much the same as a creepy Welsh Shatner, right? Sure it is, like the Pennsylvania Welsh. Get Hopkins on the case!

HART: Ok, now we need a Romanian priest.

COPPOLA: But that's in a different time period, right? So that can be Hopkins too. It'll be, like, foreshadowing. And introduce the reincarnation thing. Or something.

HART: I . . . guess. A Russian sea-captain.

COPPOLA: Hopkins! My man Tony's got range - you name it, he can do it. Creepy Shatner who's Welsh. Welsh Shatner who's creepy. Creepy Welsh man who's Shatner. I'm telling you, the man's a genius.

HART: Right. The narrator . . .

COPPOLA: Hopkins!

HART: A Sri Lankan midget chiropodist?

COPPOLA: Hopkins.

HART: A lovable talking bear who speaks every other sentence backwards in Klingon and -

COPPOLA: Hopkins.

HART: You do know I made those last two up, right?

COPPOLA: You do know your script sucks, right?

HART: Um, yeah. But Winona gives really goo . . . is a really sweet girl, and it was what she wanted.

COPPOLA: And I'm going to direct the cast solely through the medium of armpit farts.

HART: Fair enough.

COPPOLA: Except for Oldman, who's too good to be that easily confused. Him, I'm not going to tell where his mark is for the lights and then I'll make him re-do every entrance and move until he finds it by fluke. He'll go stir crazy!


COPPOLA: And Roman's doing the effects.


I do love that film. It's one of my all time favourite bad movies. But damn, is it ever bad.

by matt w (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 9:23am

Well, Dracula isn't as unprecedented as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was -- J.S. LeFanu's Carmilla (lesbian vampires!) came 25 years before and I think was pretty well known, and vampires existed in folk belief even before then.

While looking up stuff for this post I ran across Wikipedia's article on "Vampire pumpkins and watermelons," which would be the awesomest thing ever except I suspect it's a joke. Sample:

"People have little fear of the vampire pumpkins and melons because of the creatures' lack of teeth."

by matt w (not verified) :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 9:17pm

Seriously. The whole book everyone's like "Oh my God! What is the mysterious connection between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?" and I'm like "They are DR. JEKYLL and MR. HYDE. It's in the title." I found it pretty hard to get past.

by Podge (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:16am

Why didn't Mr Hyde call himself Dr Hyde though? I mean, if you've gone to the trouble to become a doctor (although I assume this was less trouble way back when) you might as well let people know. Otherwise they will think you're hiding something.

by Kevin from Philly :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:15pm

Mr. Hyde was the name the London press gave to the murderer, because he commited the crimes in Hyde park.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 6:53pm

Keep chopping wood everyone who could have but did not fall on the loose ball after it flew from Roethlisberger's hand.

by Podge (not verified) :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:18am

What I particularly liked about that play was Haloti Ngata. He runs to the ball with his eyes as wide a dinner plates, clearly thinking "FUMBLE! FUMBLE!" Then he has a quick look around, sees no one else going for it an just stands next to the ball looking a little bit sad. Then Redding ambles up and steals his glory.

by Newjamarcus (not verified) :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 8:06pm

"I read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde last fall. It's a very boring book, because the whole point is that Jekyll and Hyde are the same person, even though they don't look alike."

To respectfully disagree, I think it's a classic for good reason. And the whole point, as Jekyll discovers too late, is that "Appetite begets appetite." So pithy. So utterly true.

by Drunkmonkey :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 12:32pm

OK, I'm going to start this only because, once again, I have nothing better to do between classes.

What is the criteria for a book being defined as a "classic"? I have read so many books deemed "classics" for school that make no sense, that are probably only around because the people assigning the reading were told by their teachers and/or influences in life that this book is a classic, and give no value for reading to any person in this day and age that I'm really starting to wonder what a book has to accomplish to earn the title of "classic". I'm not disagreeing that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a classic, I'm simply asking what criteria was fulfilled that allowed it to be deemed that.

by tuluse :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 3:30pm

If it's old and still remembered. People must still remember for some reason, thus it is a classic.

by Drunkmonkey :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:07pm

NO! Don't start that! I'm being serious, that's the only argument I ever hear. By those standards, is Mein Kampf not a classic?

by tuluse :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 4:29pm

Well I guess it's like the difference between famous and infamous.

So, remembered is the wrong word. Remembered fondly by good number of people is what I really meant.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:33pm

It's the same as the criteria for what makes a quarterback great - whatever the loudest person in the room says.

by Nevic (not verified) :: Wed, 01/19/2011 - 11:51pm

Alright! Looks like my strategy of picking as many Packers as possible is paying off. Go Pack!

by NYExpat :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 2:45pm

Tom: That "statistical and visual analysis go together" thing is something we always, always, always have to keep in mind.

Mike: It's at the top of the introduction page, even.

Funny, I clicked on the link and didn't find anything like that. It's certainly true, and if FO does it more often as a result of the Lehman article, so much the better (though that article wasn't really about that; see my reply in that thread), but let's not rewrite history, folks.

Also, as we're one game away from the Super Bowl, you guys need to step up your game: I expect to see a straw man in the first paragraph, not the second. I don't know anyone that claimed Aaron claimed the stats/analysis here are perfectly accurate.

by Tom Gower :: Fri, 01/21/2011 - 2:31pm

From the second paragraph of the first question:
We don't just have reams of stats, though; we'll also have in-depth articles explaining these statistics as well as articles to answer specific questions and challenge conventional wisdom about the game. We'll also have articles that aren't necessarily based on statistics, but still give a more intelligent viewpoint on professional (and college) football, combining fan obsession with a bit of acerbic wit.
We're a stats website, yes, and without DVOA this site probably wouldn't exist, but we're more than just a stats site.

And I'd wager a decent-sized sum of money that every FO staffer who's written about the NFL has written something like player X (a) has a better DVOA and (b) is better than player Y without directly making it clear that (a) does not automatically imply (b).

by Kevin from Philly :: Thu, 01/20/2011 - 5:19pm

You know, considering how many really good young receivers have been drafted in the last 3-4 years and the general competence of the Ravens front office, it's REALLY surprizing how they haven't gotten a good wide out through the draft.

by Wikitorix (not verified) :: Sat, 01/22/2011 - 3:31pm

Keystone is actually pretty good as far as bad beers go. It has very little flavor, so it's easy to drink. When I was in college (late 90's) Keystone cost 6 bucks a case, so we'd get Keystone for parties and such. I actually prefer Keystone to Iron City (or Ahrn, as Yinzers pronounce it).

I actually have some experience with bad beers. A couple guys in my fraternity and I undertook a quest once to find the worst beer possible. The one we decided was worst was called Schaeffer. Only time I've managed to get hungover without actually getting drunk first.

by tuluse :: Sun, 01/23/2011 - 5:23am

Keystone out of a keg tastes exactly like water.

The worst beer I've ever had is warm Natural Ice. Such a thing is actually a travesty against nature.

by Sid :: Sun, 01/23/2011 - 1:39pm

I took Vick and I still think it was the right decision.

Clearly the best fantasy guy of the best of the rest, and he had a 50% chance or even a little better of getting to a second game.

Hasselbeck or Cutler would've worked out better, but:

A)Hasselbeck - I figured he had about a 35% chance of advancing, and he's simply not close to the fantasy player Vick is.

B)Cutler - There was a solid chance he was getting only one game. Had you told me he'd be facing Seattle, though, he would've been under consideration.

by Mr Shush :: Sun, 01/23/2011 - 1:48pm

The problem with picking Vick was that the optimal strategy is probably to pick multiple players from one team that does well, and the best candidate, based on the remaining players then available, seemed to be Green Bay. Vick + multiple Packers was a no-win strategy. I went with Flacco, on the basis that the Ravens were very likely to win one game and weren't a hopeless proposition to win two, three or even four, and couldn't face GB before the Superbowl.

by Sid :: Sun, 01/23/2011 - 9:14pm

now, taking the Packers looked great, but I didn't love the Packers left over anyway.

I took no Packers and went Vick, figuring if I got 2 games from him I'd be in good shape.