Quick Reads
The best and worst players of the week according to Football Outsiders stats.

Divisional Round Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

Osweiler (os•wi•ler,ˌäs-wī-lər)

1. noun: Surname of a Houston Texans quarterback who was paid approximately $1.4 million per touchdown pass in the 2016 regular season.

2. noun: Description of an NFL game in which a quarterback throws 40 or more passes and gains less than 200 yards.

OK, I made that last one up. But it's appropriate, because it's an accomplishment that has become routine for Brock Osweiler, but is still very rare across the league.

According to Pro Football Reference, there were five Osweilers in the 1950s (including the playoffs); 25 in the 1960s; 13 in the 1970s; 30 in the 1980s; 54 in the 1990s; 59 in the 2000s; and 37 from 2010 to 2015. There's a lot of fluctuation there, obviously, but in the past three-plus decades it has been a fairly steady average of about five or six Osweilers across the league in any given season. Over the entire timeframe from 1950 to 2015, Bernie Kosar led all passers with five Osweilers, followed by Sam Bradford with four and then 18 players with three. Remember, these are career totals, including playoffs. In 65 years, nobody ever had more than two Osweilers in a season -- and even that only happened 14 times.

Brock Osweiler's Osweiler against New England in the divisional round was his fourth in 16 starts this season. Nobody else had more than one (though with eight other quarterbacks posting an Osweiler, this would have been a big year for them even without the Osweiler). In just one year as a full-time starter, Osweiler has tied Bradford for second place in career Osweilers.

Part of this is due to the era in which Osweiler is playing. Rules have never been friendlier to passers than they are now, which means all quarterbacks -- even bad ones -- are getting more opportunities to pass than ever before. Even a struggling quarterback is more likely to be productive than your average running game. If we change our thresholds to 30 or more attempts and fewer than 150 yards (still worse than a 5-yard average per attempt), we find a lot more games -- Jake Plummer is the leader with nine, followed by Mark Malone with eight and eight players with seven. If we go to 20 attempts and 100 yards, we find Craig Morton and Norm Snead tied with 12 games, followed by Dan Pastorini with 11 and Roman Gabriel with 10.

So no, Brock Osweiler is not the worst quarterback we have ever seen, and he's not the first quarterback to have some bad days. He is, however, the first quarterback to play this badly and still get opportunity after opportunity after opportunity, both in the sense that the Texans kept calling pass plays even as he struggled, and that the Texans left him in the lineup even after it was clear they could not win a championship with him. With a contract that is going to make it very difficult for Houston to find a new signal-caller over the offseason, there's a good chance we will see more Osweiler -- and more Osweilers -- in 2017

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Matt Ryan ATL
26/37
338
3
0
3
156
156
0
SEA
Ryan had four passes inside Seattle's 15-yard line. He completed all four for 31 total yards and four first downs, including three touchdowns. His magic pass length was 9 to 18 yards. On passes of that distance, he went 10-of-14 for 211 yards, with every completion going for a first down. He threw only one pass to the deep middle area of the field -- Seattle's weakness, given the absence of Earl Thomas -- and that pass was incomplete. However, to the short middle of the field, he went 8-of-10 for 118 yards -- 51 yards through the air, and 67 yards after the catch, many of those after Thomas' replacement Steven Terrell missed tackles. On third downs, he went 10-of-11 for 135 yards, though that includes four completions that failed to pick up a first down.
2.
Aaron Rodgers GB
28/43
356
2
1
3
92
83
9
DAL
Rodgers led all quarterbacks this week in first-quarter DYAR. In the first frame, he went 8-of-11 for 126 yards. From that point forward, he was basically a replacement-level passer, with plenty of highs (three passes to Jared Cook: a 3-yard touchdown, a 26-yard gain in the third quarter, and of course the 36-yard gain on third-and-20 that set up the winning field goal) and lows (one interception; three sacks; and failures to convert on three plays with 3 yards or less to go for a first down).
3.
Dak Prescott DAL
24/37
302
3
1
2
74
70
4
GB
Prescott and the Cowboys opened the fourth quarter down 15 points to Green Bay, but came back to tie the game -- twice. So it's not surprising he was the NFL's leader in fourth-quarter DYAR this week, going 10-of-13 for 116 yards and eight first downs (including two touchdowns), plus a 12-yard DPI and a 5-yard sack.
4.
Tom Brady NE
18/38
287
2
2
2
31
32
-1
HOU
Houston's own offensive ineptitude masked just how ineffective Brady and the Patriots were for most of the second half. Brady's touchdown pass to James White put New England up 24-13 with more than 26 minutes left in the game. From that point forward, Brady went 4-of-16 for 48 yards and an interception. He cleaned up on third downs though: 5-of-8 for 145 yards with one touchdown and two sacks.
5.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
20/31
224
0
1
1
-4
-3
-1
KC
From his own goal line to the Kansas City 30, Roethlisberger went 14-of-16 for 215 yards and 10 first downs. Inside the Kansas City 30, he went 7-of-15 for 9 yards (not a typo), one sack, one interception, and zero first downs (also not a typo). Two of those completions went backwards, and only one was considered a successful play.
6.
Russell Wilson SEA
17/30
225
2
2
3
-34
-43
10
ATL
The vast majority of Wilson's passes (and successful plays) were thrown to his left. To the right, he went 5-of-9 for 60 yards (40 on one play); up the middle, he went 0-for-2. That's 12 of 14 successful completions thrown to his left. Wilson also took the biggest hit from opponent adjustments this week, though only 2 DYAR separated him from Aaron Rodgers, Dak Prescott, or Brock Osweiler in that regard.
7.
Alex Smith KC
20/35
172
1
1
1
-38
-35
-3
PIT
On third and fourth downs, Smith went 4-of-10 for 44 yards with four conversions and one sack. That includes two conversions on two fourth-down plays.
8.
Brock Osweiler HOU
23/40
198
1
3
3
-188
-195
7
NE
Osweiler had 19 plays in New England territory, plus one more at the Houston 46. He went 9-of-20 for 77 yards with three first downs and two interceptions. He is the first player to throw at least three interceptions and average less than 5 yards per attempt since -- well, since the last Houston game, when Connor Cook did it. Before that you have to go back to Ryan Fitzpatrick's six picks against Arizona in September.
Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Devonta Freeman ATL
14
45
1
4/5
80
0
60
30
30
SEA
Pretty much every team that played this weekend except Atlanta had a very good run defense. Eleven running backs had enough touches to qualify for our tables. Nine of those players gained DYAR after opponent adjustments, and five gained 30 or more. Freeman became just the second running back to break 125 yards from scrimmage against Seattle this season (David Johnson did it twice). He had three first downs on the ground, the longest a 13-yarder, while getting hit for no gain or a loss just three times. Most of his receiving value comes from one big catch, a 53-yard gain on third-and-4.
2.
Tevin Coleman ATL
11
57
0
3/4
22
1
58
35
23
SEA
Coleman had four first downs on the ground, including a 15-yarder, while getting hit for a loss just once. Two of Coleman's receptions produced first downs too.
3.
Ty Montgomery GB
11
47
2
5/8
34
0
52
34
19
DAL
Montgomery had four first-half runs: a 15-yard run for a first down, a 7-yard gain on first-and-10, and touchdowns of 3 and 1 yards. He did not run for a first down in the second half, but in the whole game he was hit for a loss just once. He added four first downs in the air, including one on a 10-yard DPI.
4.
Ezekiel Elliott DAL
22
125
0
1/1
-2
0
41
49
-8
GB
Five first downs on the ground, including gains of 22 and 12 yards, while getting hit for no gain just once.
5.
Jonathan Grimes HOU
2
11
0
4/4
43
0
25
6
19
NE
Three of Grimes' catches went for first downs; the other was a 15-yard gain on first-and-20.
Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Ezekiel Elliott DAL
22
125
0
1/1
-2
0
41
49
-8
GB
2.
Le'Veon Bell PIT
30
170
0
2/5
-4
0
13
40
-27
KC
Ten first downs on the ground, including gains of 11, 17, and 38 yards, with four hits for no gain or a loss.
3.
Tevin Coleman ATL
11
57
0
3/4
22
1
58
35
23
SEA
4.
Ty Montgomery GB
11
47
2
5/8
34
0
52
34
19
DAL
5.
Devonta Freeman ATL
14
45
1
4/5
80
0
60
30
30
SEA
Worst Running Back by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Thomas Rawls SEA
11
34
0
0/0
0
0
-13
-13
0
ATL
Rawls and LeGarrette Blount were the only qualifying runners this week to go down after opponent adjustments. He had three first downs on the ground, the longest for 11 yards, but was hit for no gain or a loss four times.
Worst Running Back by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Thomas Rawls SEA
11
34
0
0/0
0
0
-13
-13
0
ATL
Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Chris Hogan NE
4
4
95
23.8
0
68
HOU
All four of Hogan's catches went for first downs, and he gained a fifth first down on a 30-yard DPI.
2.
Dez Bryant DAL
9
12
132
14.7
2
54
GB
Only three of Bryant's catches failed to produce first downs, and one of those was a 19-yard gain on second-and-21. He also drew a DPI for 12 yards and another first down.
3.
Julian Edelman NE
8
13
137
17.1
0
52
HOU
Edelman's DYAR total includes 41 DYAR receiving, 10 DYAR rushing for his one carry for 12 yards. He had first downs on catches of 48, 26, 14, and 26 yards, but his last six targets resulted in one catch for 3 yards.
4.
Julio Jones ATL
6
8
67
11.2
1
35
SEA
Five of Jones' catches went for first downs; the sixth was an 8-yard gain on first-and-10. He converted both of his third-down targets.
5.
Jesse James PIT
5
6
83
16.6
0
34
KC
Four of James' catches went for first downs; the fifth was a 5-yard gain on first-and-10. In fact all of James' targets came on first-and-10.
Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Ryan Griffin HOU
0
3
0
0.0
0
-21
NE
It's actually worse than it looks. All of Griffin's targets came with 5 yards or less to go for a first down, two were failed third-down plays, and one was intercepted.

Comments

103 comments, Last at 18 Jan 2017, 8:51pm

1 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Packer fans don't want to hear it but Rodgers seems to be every so often underthrowing intermediate and deeper passes (non Hail Mary division) as it looks like he is trying to make some kind of long touch pass. His most success is on the send that sucker on a line pass. I am not going to try and meddle with a wizard as they are subtle and quick to anger but he might want to do a little more grip and rip it.

Granted he might be trying to help his receivers who have at times had a case of the dropsies .

3 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

The INT was just....so odd, and one of his worst throws of the year. As he was letting the pass go, I leapt off my couch, my arms raised triumphantly as I anticipated the ball hitting Adams - who had a step and a half on his man - in stride with an oncoming safety who was going to get there a step too late.

Instead I wound up with my hands on my head, looking on stupidly as the INT was returned.

64 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Adams broke the wrong way and gave up when he realized his mistake. That INT was nothing to do with Rodgers most likely though I guess it is plausible Adams ran the right route and Rodgers was wrong, most likely it wasn't the case though since Adams is a bit of an air head.

75 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

I have heard this floated around, but it doesn't make sense, and seems to be solely based on Rodgers looking pissed at Adams after the play.

Why would that route break to the inside, directly into safety help? It makes zero sense. Rodgers was probably annoyed Adams did nothing to try to break up the INT, which he arguably should have.

It was just a poor throw.

2 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

I think that a big part of what's happening with osweilers is a coincidence from particular cutoffs.

If you make the criteria "40+ attempts and below 5.0 YPA" then Drew Bledsoe leads the way with 11 followed by Sam Bradford with 8; Osweiler has 4 and Derek Carr has 5. Lots of Bledsoe's 13 high-volume low-yardage games involved 50ish attempts for 200-250 yards, which don't show up when you make 200 yards a firm cutoff.

Reduce the cutoff to 39 attempts instead of 40, and you add a couple more Bledsoe games (up to 13) and Kerry Collins moves into second with 9; Osweiler still has 4.

10 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

These sorts of stats are always arbitrary, but that doesn't mean they aren't useful. Ronde Barber was the first member of the "40-25 club", in that he was the first guy to ever have 40 picks and 25 sacks. It's not like that's a "real" stat, but it's useful to illustrate the fact that Ronde Barber was an incredibly versatile player who could do all sorts of things really well. Nobody was waiting for somebody to hit the magic 40-25 threshold, it's just useful to illustrate what he could do.

Likewise, the Osweiler is a useful stat to demonstrate repeated incompetence. Sure, you could put the cutoff in all sorts of ways, but this one's just a good, solid "Brock Osweiler sucks" stat as-is.

15 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Maybe.

There are a bunch of guys who played before 1982 with 40+ INTs and suspiciously high safety and/or fumbles recovered stats.

Willie Brown, Larry Wilson, Jimmy Johnson, Paul Krause, Willie Wood, Donnie Shell, Night Train Lane, maybe Mel Renfro

Lane, given his position, has a decent chance of having been a 40-25 guy.

40 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Yeah, which kind of serves the whole "made up stat" thing for Ronde; if Butler gets two more picks, he gets himself a membership in that incredibly-arbitrary club.

As for the players prior to sacks being an official stat, I'm sure there's probably a bunch of people who'd hit those levels, along with Deacon Jones presumably annihilating all sorts of sack-related records. Different time, less competition, all that.

5 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Jonathan Grimes was twice as valuable as LeVeon Bell? I don't think DYAR measures what you think it measures. Your simple definition "DYAR means a running back with more total value." It is absurd on its face. Bell wasn't even among the top 5 backs in the weekend games?

You need to come up with an adjustment that accounts for when a defense knows a back is going to get the ball over and over and they can't do much to stop it.

29 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

DYAR doesn't mean total value, it means value above replacement.

Bell appears to have had an awful day receiving. I agree that the eyeball test would have had Bell far ahead of Grimes.

Bell was getting the ball "over and over" because he was successful. It's not like he's the only weapon on the Steelers. I cannot think any defense would dare overstack the box when Antonio Brown is there to run deep routes.

6 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Legacy Time for the 4 superb QBs..

Brady can't do much more-- he is a consensus GOAT-- or at least if one can even compare between eras--he will pass Montana with 5 rings though and that means something. The real question is what might be happening should Rodgers win this year-- Brady gets the cumulative title but it may be eaten away a bit in terms of sheer brilliance;

Roethlisberger could be playing in his 4th SB-- and could win his 3rd... would place him at a level with Aikman and behind only the troika of Montana, Bradshaw and Brady for SB wins-- is he creeping into Top 10 modern era status? (Post Unitas-Starr 1960s, that is) If one accepts that Montana-Brady-Manning-Elway-Marino-Favre-Staubach-Young are in already-- and Brees and Rodgers are the two contemporaries Big Ben trails, it's hard to see him cracking that list under any circumstances. But 3 SB wins and conceivably an AFC title win over Brady and a SB win over Rodgers is pretty heady company;

Ryan is the simplest legacy claim-- he simply wants to move into at least the Hall of Very Good, which a 1-4 postseason record/failures prevents;

As for Rodgers he will never amass the cumulative stats of Favre or Manning-- and amost certainly not Brady either, for that matter. it is extremely doubtful that he will ever get near Brady's mark of 6 (and perhaps 7) SB appearances or the 4 SB wins of the two other No Cal compatriots-- Brady by birth, Montana by adoption... (Sorry, Terry. You don't fit in this comparison, and not simply because you come from Louisiana) But a Sb win with this team-- winning 10, in effect, win or go home games in a row (the finale in Detroit didn't turn out to be so, but that was only known at the last moment)-- Ben of course could be working on an 11 game win streak-- with the heroics he has already demonstrated, will cement his singular place in the Otherworldly Talent category and open the door for him to, as Jason Garrett opined last night, reach Top Three status all-time.

Should be fun-- this is a rare weekend to marvel at the abilities of four pretty special players.

49 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

AFCCG I don't think so. I think Peyton played well in that game, and came inches away from a TD in the 4th quarter that would have made it 24-12 and iced the game. To be fair, the throw wasn't great.

Super Bowl? Maybe. I think Peyton was better than the numbers. The Panthers defense dominated the OL, the INT was a bad decision but an incredible play by Ealy to catch it, and Peyton had a few nice throws on the FG drive to start the game and in the second half to make it 16-7.

77 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

I would have said yes at the time, probably, but this year has revealed that Osweiler was worse than we thought. (Or at least, worse than I thought. FO did a film room piece on him right after he signed in Houston that was basically "HE SUCKS" in flashing bold lettering.)

The first drive, where they surprised Carolina by having Manning come out throwing, was effective. He wasn't really effective for any consistent stretch after that. I think Osweiler probably brings it home if Manning got hurt after the first drive, but who knows.

55 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Poor Kurt Warner.

Three times he's tied or put his team ahead in the last 2:30. Those drives were 64 yards, 55 yards, and 73 yards. The longest drive took 3 plays and 14 seconds.

His defense, on those three next drives, have allowed drives of 53 yards, 87 yards, and 78 yards -- all in less than two minutes.

The one time he got the ball back after his defense was done screwing up, he drove 33 yards in 14 seconds before a sack ended the game.

Kurt Warner was terrifying in the playoffs, even given his Rodgerian luck.

60 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Skeeee-up, listen up now.

OK-- as the one who began this thread, i come down squarely in the middle of this discussion. it is as asinine to make the rings the only or supreme test of greatness as it is to give them no value whatsoever. For argument's sake, assume Montana's pass to Clark flutters a little higher and the 49ers don't even go to the SB in 1981, and then he either doesn't see John Candy or misses Taylor flashing to the middle, and they don't win the 3rd of his 4 rings either. He would be viewed differently by the vast majority of NFL fans, players, broadcasters, analysts, etc than in fact he is and has been for nearly 30 years... And if Rodgers' pass to Jennings in the 4th quarter is thrown four inches lower and either intercepted or falls incomplete, Big Ben gets the ball back and the Steelers score late to win SB 45, both of those guys are viewed differently now as well.

I think all 4 of these guys-- even Ryan-- have fairly secure places in terms of legacy. Even if Ryan loses Sunday he'll win the MVP and advance out of a more mediocre to good classification into a better group of QBs-- as he should... But don't tell me how any of the 3 remaining games play out won't color at least the nuances of how these four get judged-- they will and they should.

62 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

I kind of think you miss the point. It isn't that a small change in qb perfrmance switches the winner and loser of a close playoff game. It is that a small change in random events, or small change in something that has nothing to do with qb performance changes the winner and loser of a close playoff game. In other words, using "w" or "l" in a close playoff game in order to make significant delineation between greatgood qbs, is a very specious practice. The "w" or "l" isn't telling you what you think it is telling you. Again, change about 5 or 6 plays, that have nothing to do with QB performance, and Tom Brady's playoff wins drop from 23 to about 11, and he might only have 1, or even 0 championships. On the other hand, change a couple other plays that have nothing to do with qb performance, and he has 6 championships. When a metric can go from not even being among career leaders, to being GOAT, based upon 7 or 8 plays that have nothing to do with the player being evaluated, the metric is useless.

The outcomes of close playoff games tell us practically nothing, with regard to individual player performance, especially for an entire career. It is a metric that obscures a lot more than it illuminates.

66 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Oaktoon can correct me if I'm wrong but I think what he's trying to say is the nuances in judging qb performances are impacted by w-l and championships but not necessarily in a quantitative way. Its more about perception in ranking qbs but qualitatively. He does have a disclaimer that everything goes into judging qbs including "hard" individual stats like yards, tds, ints or advanced ones like ANY/A+ etc. And we all know those "individual" stats people are prating about are not really individual stats in a baseball sense since all of them require the efforts of the o-line and skill positions for the offense and obviously this applies to defense and ST as well. And to use your example of 7 or 8 random plays changing the narrative or perception of a certain player with regards to GOAT-hood among qbs, what the argument does is to make all the other accomplishments and effort that the team and the qb himself put into making it into those situations that matter (playoff games)almost valueless. That they manage to reap some good luck in those situations doesn't make those plays totally without value in the judgement of players. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that luck has a weak correlation with preparation and regardless of what others might think I believe that good/great preparation is a hallmark of an elite and good player and should be part of the evaluation of football players. Now preparation and work ethic could be hard to measure but it's definitely a skill and has better evaluation value than combine numbers which IMO are the only truly individual stats in football but worse than useless for evaluation purposes.

In short outcome of playoff games matter but evaluating it in a vacuum is not the best practice. That is why HOF voters put some weight in playoff games since its part and parcel of a team game like football. IMO individual performance in football is very hard to measure and it's a valid to question if there are any individual stats in football at all.

67 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Sorry, but if what you are trying to do is evaluate individual player performance, in a manner which has some resemblence to actual observation, the won/loss record of playoff games is a worse than useless metric.

At least with other metrics, for all their limitations, we know we are describing something the player did. Using playoff w/l record to describe player performance is akin to evaluating the performance of a 1st grade teacher by how a randomly chosen student in the teacher's class scores on the SAT 16 years latet.

68 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

I never said evaluating a players' performance using playoff w-l records solely. Its part and parcel of evaluation that includes trad stats, advanced stats, accomplishments etc. All of this factors into the evaluation.

As for other limited metrics that describe what a player did, its more accurate to state that those metrics describe what a unit (offense, defense, st)or what the players did. As I mentioned all football stats are team stats except for combine stats like 40 times etc. We seem to forget that passing TDs as an example is not just a qb throwing a football, its also receivers running their routes and/or blocking, linemen blocking and the play called by the OC. We should be reminded of that fact every now and then.

70 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

We have a conceptual difference here. You want to disregard w-l record completely in evaluating players in a game where the primary goal is to win and all stats are subordinate to the goal of winning. Taking the other side of the argument; a TD is useless as a measure when you lose.

73 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

That's just repeating the mistake of not understanding what you are attempting to measure. We aren't trying to measure team performance, and it simply is a logical fallacy that the "l" means the player's performance has no value. If this were true, the Falcons, for ecample, would have not tried to acquire Alex Mack from the Browms.

74 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Let me be clearer. You are trying to say that w-l record has no place in measuring individual player performance in a team game. What I'm saying is there is no individual performances in football, full stop. We can measure all we want but the performances are all team performances and only combine numbers qualify as indvidual performance measures. What we are doing here is not so much measure but evaluate performances in a team context. Some may be quantitative, others qualitative but the goal is to evaluate and part of that evaluation is measurement of quantitative metrics.

We obviously have different takes on evaluations and I'm a bit surprised you disregard playoff w-l records even just as minor data points in qb evals when qbs as a position have a very significant impact on winning or losing games. I'll let you go on now since its very clear you disregard w-l datapoints in your assessments.

83 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

I agree that giving playoff W-L zero weight is overstating the case. But it is literally one of the worst tools available; it's hard to come up with a stat that is MORE context dependent than the number of team wins you participated in, measured exclusively in games where your appearance in those games was conditional on the team having won previous games.

You're correct that all stats in football are context dependent, but some are much much more context dependent than others. Evaluating the results of plays where that player was directly involved, over the course of a long career, is at least smoothing out a significant amount of the noise (opponent strength, at least some of the teammate effects, just the random variation from play to play). Looking at something like rings does none of that.

101 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

I wouldn't have answered back since I believe football punditry including football stats are very similar to politics and its attendant polls and surveys, full of crap, biases etc but since you put in your 2 cents... I did not say w-l records are a tool, what I said is they are a minor part of the evaluation process. I did not say w-l records are a metric, what I said is they are a part of the evaluation process. It also is particularly difficult for playoff games because of the one and done format but that doesn't mean its valueless and has no minor merit in the evaluation process.

Football stats have different levels of context dependency but we cannot definitively assign weight to those stats about the level of "individuality" they possess so we can weed out those "team" stats and proclaim so and so player as the GOAT because of his "individual" stats. The problem here is people lose sight of the fact that all football numbers (again with the exception of combine numbers) are team efforts and IMO this mindset is the product of fantasy football and ESPN highlights which color the perception of people re football stats.

As an example I favor drive stats as more representative of a qb and his units' performance and I don't see a lot of people using them with the exception of Scott here in FO and few others. I did a qb comparison using Points For/ Game average per season as a very rough proxy for drive stats comparison. Obviously defense/st scores are ignored in this. I categorized their numbers into 3 buckets (>24 points, 24-29.99+ points, <= 30 points). They stand in arbitrarily for mediocre, competent and excellent offenses. They are arbitrary but 24 to 29.99 points is roughly equivalent to 3TDs and an FG to 4TDs approx. scored in a game. The study is only for the reg. season up to the 2015 season.

QB A QB B
mediocre seasons >24 3 3
competent seasons 24-29.99 7 10
excellent seasons <=30 4 4

Other than the fact that QB B has had a longer career they functionally have the same reg. season career but QB B is lauded as the GOAT at least for reg. season numbers. QB B actually won an MVP while averaging less 24 points scored in a game that season (albeit very close)

To close all I'm saying is football stats are team efforts and context dependent. We always have to keep that in mind.

Apologies for the formatting in short;

QB A has 3 mediocre seasons, 7 competent and 4 excellent
QB B has 3 mediocre seasons, 10 competent and 4 excellent

88 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Not just w-l data points, which are bad enough, but playoff datapoints especially, given the QBs with the most have about 30, which is just a worthless sample size. That's before we get to the implications of the playoff datapoints being accumulated in a one and done format, which means random events in an early playoff game have an inordinate effect on the generation of further data points. The whole thing is pointless, in terms of measuring the value of a player's performance.

At least when I look at at qb's career passing stats (hopefully DYAR, so I can get some sense of playing in a strong/weak division/conference) I am actually measuring something the I know the qb did individually, no matter how dependent on teammates, and, very, very, importantly, I am dealing with sample sizes which have several thousand data points. If qbs careers lasted 3000 years, using playoff w-l records would have exponentialy more utility, but until qbs are made immortal, I think I'll ignore that metric.

80 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

You don't have to even make the players themselves play incrementally worse. You can change the ring totals or playoff records of the great QBs drastically just by changing what happens in plays when they are not on the field. Someone just pointed out how Kurt Warner led tying or lead-taking drives in the closing minutes of both of his super bowl losses, only to watch his defense get shredded. Vinatieri's kick in the snow game against the Raiders, or in either of the first two Super Bowls. You can keep going.

85 Re: Divisional Round Quick Reads

Yeah, this is why "TEH WINZ" is a silly argument; it's about how a player plays, not whether the team in total wins that is the only vaguely logical way to evaluate how the player played. Win vs. loss is how you evaluate how the team in total played, not an individual.

Kurt Warner lost two Super Bowls, and was undoubtedly and inexpressably better in both of those losses than Peyton Manning was in winning the Super Bowl last year, or, honestly, was in all probability far better than Peyton Manning was in winning the Super Bowl ten years ago. Based on performance in three games each (which is totally the best way to evaluate a career, obviously), I'd easily rank Warner's individual performances in his three Super Bowls as 1-2-3, and Peyton's as 4 plus an extremely-distant 5 and 6.

Vinatieri's kick in the snow game is huge, but so is the fact that Vinatieri provided the winning points in the first three Patriots Super Bowl wins. If he misses a kick, Tom Brady is somehow a worse QB? "Warner" lost that Arizona-Pittsburgh Super Bowl when Santonio Holmes makes one of the all-time great catches and "Kaepernick" lost that SF-Baltimore Super Bowl because there wasn't a great final catch and how is this even an argument?

The fact this discussion is happening in the year after the Broncos won a Super Bowl with the festering corpse of what was left of the remaining embers of the last whiffs of what Peyton Manning used to be makes it extra bizarre. It's up there with the Super Bowl XL Roethlesberger stinkbomb over the Seahawks for the worst performances by a winning QB in the vaguely modern era.