Josh Allen's 4th-Quarter Blues; Eagles' Suh Factor

Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 11 - In this whiparound NFL Week 11 end-of-week edition of Walkthrough:

  • Kirk Cousins, Hall of Famer? We go off our meds so you don't have to;
  • The Philadelphia Eagles try to stave off an emergency on their run defense;
  • The New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams square off on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams; and
  • Justin Fields scrambles everyone's minds.

But first…

Josh Allen, Unnecessary Risk-Taker

You don't need Walkthrough to point out that Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills have gotten a little over-aggressive when leading in the fourth quarter. But you may need us to add some data to the conversation. We're happy to help!

Here are Allen's passing statistics when the Bills are leading by 14 or more points: 25-of-44, 427 yards, four touchdowns, two interceptions, two sacks, a 56.8% completion rate and 9.7 yards per attempt. Note the low completion rate in circumstances when high-percentage passing would be beneficial. Patrick Mahomes is the only other quarterback with two interceptions when leading by 14 points. (All splits from Sports Info Solutions unless otherwise mentioned.)

Believe it or not, Allen does not lead the NFL in pass attempts while winning big. Joe Burrow is 41-of-54 for 410 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions, six sacks, a 75.9% completion rate and 7.6 yards per attempt. Notice Burrow's high completion rate and relatively low yards per attempt. Much of Burrow's production came in the Bengals' wins over the Falcons and Panthers, where they raced out to huge halftime leads. Burrow had to do something for the entire second half of those games, so he threw lots of short passes to help move the chains.

To get a better gauge of real risk-taking with a lead, here are Allen's numbers on passes of 10 or more air yards with a 14-point lead: 10-of-19, 275 yards, four touchdowns, one interception. Allen's interceptions have come when opponents have pulled within 14 points. It's likely that Allen's two late-game sacks also came on what were expected to be 10-plus-air yard passes. What we see is a rather significant boom-bust ratio: some touchdowns to be sure, but a 50-50 shot at a counterproductive incompletion (stopping the clock) or sack. Burrow is 13-of-16 on such passes.

Naturally, Allen only gets lots of pass attempts with a 14-point lead because he and the Bills are good enough to regularly mount 14-point leads. So let's come at this from another angle.

The Bills have rushed 42 times for 224 yards and 5.3 yards per rush when leading by 14-plus points. The Bengals lead the NFL with 59 rushes and 271 yards in such circumstances, again largely because they spent entire halves goofing around against the Falcons and Panthers.

So the Bills have run 42 times and passed 46 times (counting sacks) with a 14-point lead. But wait! There are five Allen scrambles (not designed runs) for 59 yards in the data. Counting those scrambles as passes gives the Bills a 42% run rate. When leading big. That's very close to the overall NFL run rate in every situation. And the numbers don't change meaningfully if you slide the definition of "winning big" down to 13 or up to 16.

Take Allen's scrambles out of the Bills rushing data and they still average 4.5 yards per carry. Devin Singletary and the others are capable of grinding out yardage to protect a lead. Instead, Sean McDermott and coordinator Ken Dorsey keep calling Allen's number, often on deep passes. And yes, he's Allen. But the Bills coughed up a big lead against the Vikings and a more modest one against the Jets, and they allowed the Packers to climb back into what looked like it was going to be an easy win. They should save the Allen superheroics for when they face the Chiefs. Late in the game, against most opponents, less is more.

One final thoughts before the next segment: the leaders in pass attempts while leading by 14 or more points since 2015 are: Tom Brady in 2015 (118 attempts), Tom Brady in 2016 (104), Tom Brady in 2019 (96), Tom Brady in 2021 (94), and Matt Ryan in 2016 (92), with Lamar Jackson a surprising sixth with 89 attempts in 2020. Again, this is a split which rewards quarterbacks whose teams blow out opponents. The Bills just need to focus on securing those blowouts.

Kirk Cousins Chasing History

You know what keeps Walkthrough awake at night? The thought of a Kirk Cousins Pro Football Hall of Fame debate keeps Walkthrough awake at night.

Kirk Cousins is 51 yards away from 35,000 passing yards. He will likely reach that milestone before halftime on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.

A modest 250-yard performance by Cousins will push him past Jay Cutler and Ryan Fitzpatrick into 31st on the all-time passing yardage list with 35,199. In a week or two, he will climb over Jim Kelly and into 30th place. Donovan McNabb and Boomer Esiason are also comfortably within Cousins' sights this season.

Over on the all-time touchdown list, Cousins and Andy Dalton are tied at 29th with 237 touchdowns. With three touchdowns, either or both of them (we'll discuss Dalton's Saints in a later segment) will pass Len Dawson. A modest 13 more passing touchdowns will push Cousins (and/or Dalton) past Dawson, Y.A. Tittle, John Hadl, Esiason, and Tony Romo into 24th place with 250 touchdowns.

Cousins is entering the leaderboard territory of real and near-Hall of Famers. The Minnesota Vikings are 8-1. The NFC is wide open. Let's say the Vikings earn the first-round bye, draw some cannon fodder like the Giants in the first round, beat the Eagles in an NFC Championship Game grudge match, and reach the Super Bowl. Two weeks of Kirk Cousins takes will then ensue. You can hear it, right?

DAYTIME TALK-SHOW SOCK-PUPPET: If Kirk Cousins wins the Super Bowl, he's a no-question first-ballot Hall of Famer, and anyone who disagrees is a hater.

(Screaming into a pillow for seven solid hours.)

Now, you may be thinking that Cousins might deserve Hall of Fame consideration if he indeed leads the Vikings to a Super Bowl win. You may have thought the same about Matthew Stafford last year. You may somehow still feel that way about Stafford now.

Stafford's 2022 season did increase his Hall of Fame probability from about zero to maybe 10%; if he were leading another Rams charge this season, he would be mounting a more serious case.

A Super Bowl win could do the same for Cousins. But—and this is a huge but—Stafford and Cousins will likely hit the ballot at about the same time. Even if you think (very incorrectly) that voters wave all quarterbacks with rings into Canton, do you think voters would wave two of them in simultaneously? And Matt Ryan too, why not?

What's more interesting about this season is that Cousins has probably bought himself another 12,000 career passing yards and 50 career touchdowns: the rest of this year, two more seasons as an uncontested starter in Minnesota or elsewhere, a short Ryan-like denouement. There was no guarantee entering 2022 that Cousins would not start to taper off quickly like Dalton. He's now likely to stick for a while longer.

If Cousins ends his career with 47,000 passing yards, he will rank either 15th or 16th on the all-time list, depending on what happens to Russell Wilson (now 23rd) in the next few years. Cousins would be right behind Fran Tarkenton, Warren Moon, and John Elway in all-time yardage. Fifty more career touchdowns would place him just behind Johnny Unitas in 18th place overall. Cousins would be ahead of Joe Montana and Dan Fouts, among many others, in both categories. That's the region of the leaderboards where the engagement-parched start yammering about the Hall of Fame, rings or no rings.

The all-time passing lists remain a reliable indicator of longevity and a horrendous indicator of excellence. Cousins is a fine quarterback who has played for a long time. The 35,000-yard mark is a noteworthy accomplishment and a testament to the value of the sturdy "win with" quarterbacking we all love to denigrate. The Vikings are enjoying an odd-though-not-totally-unexpected ride at the top of the standings. Walkthrough just hopes it doesn't all turn into some nightmare of takesmanship.

The Philadelphia Eagles Get Serious on Run Defense

For the Eagles, the first step to improving their run defense was admitting there was a problem. The second step was signing every thirtysomething former Pro Bowl defensive tackle who wasn't nailed down.

The Eagles allowed 152 rushing yards in Monday night's loss to the Washington Commanders after allowing 168 yards to the Texans in Week 9. Five straight opponents have rushed for over 100 yards against the Eagles, whose defense ranks 28th in DVOA against the run. Some breakdowns:

  • First-down rushing defense: 24th in DVOA, 4.7 yards per carry allowed.
  • Second-down rushing defense: 21st, 4.7.
  • Third-/fourth-down rushing defense: 28th, 5.2.
  • Red zone rushing defense: 27th, 3.5.
  • Power success: 86%, 32nd.
  • Stuff rate: 14%, 28th.

It goes without saying that a defense which allows nearly 5 yards per carry on every down, rarely gets a stuff, and cannot stop red zone and short-yardage runs has a problem.

The Eagles have compensated for their run defense by outscoring everyone early in games (always the best way to protect a bad run defense) and playing outstanding, turnover-happy pass defense. The Eagles have the best pass defense in the NFL on third-/fourth-and-long, with nine sacks, five interceptions, and a 42.9% completion rate allowed on 35 attempts But the Commanders demonstrated that opponents will rarely find themselves in third-and-long if they are willing to run on first and second downs. That created an easy avenue for weaker opponents to stay in games that future opponents were likely to exploit. With Jonathan Taylor healthy, the Colts offense can do one thing very well, and even a novice game-planner should figure out what to do. The Packers just remembered they have running backs. Derrick Henry is coming.

The signings of Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph would be a much bigger deal if it were still 2016. Joseph, once a Pro Bowl-caliber run-plugger for the Vikings and Giants, was part of the Chargers' woeful 2021 run defense. Suh was still effective in bursts for the Buccaneers in 2020 and 2021, but he is strictly a rotation player these days.

Still, the Eagles are not trying to fix their entire defense. They're addressing one specific problem. Joseph, Suh, and Fletcher Cox each playing 30 or 40 snaps per game should give them fresh legs at defensive tackle whenever they need them. Javon Hargrave, who is best on passing downs and in a 40-snap role, won't get overused. Marlon Tuipulotu won't be asked to play much, especially over the center. And when Jordan Davis comes back, the Eagles run defense could turn from a weakness into a relative strength.

One final thought: Suh is a little like the defensive line version of Odell Beckham Jr. He still has special moments and can upgrade the players around him. He can also be a bit of a mercenary and comes with a high name-recognition-to-production ratio. But he was on the waiver wire in November because he had the opportunity to wait and choose a contender to contribute to. Suh is coming back for another ring. That's the version of Suh the Eagles want and need. And for a team that's as strong as the Eagles elsewhere, a handful of stuffed runs will go a long way.

Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints: The Hopelessness Bowl

Sunday's Rams-Saints game will feel like the election night party for a candidate who spent tens of millions of dollars on their campaign but loses by 30 points.

It's not just that Cooper Kupp is injured and Michael Thomas doesn't really exist. It's not just that the Saints are depressingly dickering between Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton (they chose Dalton) or that both teams are now ravaged by injuries. It's the dashed preseason expectations. And the waste. Oh, the waste.

Rams-Saints is probably the first matchup in NFL history between a 3-6 team and a 3-7 team with a combined negative-$72 million in effective cap space and zero first-round draft picks in the following year. It's an all-time battle of persistent hopelessness.

Walkthrough has done the Saints cap situation to death, and we have warned many teams about Theoretical Jameis, the turnover-free version of Winston folks always seem to think is just one coaching change or optical procedure away. So let's set them aside for a moment.

The Rams, per Over The Cap, are effectively over $5 million in the salary-cap red for 2023: they show a $6.8-million surplus, but so few players are under future contract that all of that money would be eaten up just by filling out the bottom of a 53-man roster with minimum-wage randos.

Five million in the red may not sound that bad, at least compared to the Saints at $67.5 million. Ah, but the Rams are also already $12 million in the red for 2024, when the Saints at least can start climbing out of their worst contract situations. Aaron Donald is on the books for $34 million in 2024, Jalen Ramsey $26.7 million, Kupp $26.3 million, and Stafford a cool $45.5 million. The solution to the Rams' future cap situation is probably Donald's retirement and some off-the-wall restructuring for Stafford. Luckily, the Rams have ideal replacements waiting in the wings like … um … well maybe they can draft … oh … right.

The Rams traded it all for a Super Bowl, so it was worth it. But any future NFL owner/general manager/showrunner who considered dabbling in Win Now tactics in February—including teams such as the Broncos and Raiders who have already dabbled—has probably come down from the sugar rush by now.

Imagine if the Bengals had held onto their fourth-quarter Super Bowl lead or came back on their final drive. Imagine if the 49ers had held onto their late lead in the NFC Championship Game. What would this Rams season look like? The Rams and their fans don't need to imagine such scenarios, but any imitators had better.

The Rams are not a year away from rebuilding. They are a year away from becoming the Saints. And the Saints are still paying for a Super Bowl window that closed two seasons ago.

Hopeless.

Justin Fields: Scramblin' Man

We saved Justin Fields for last because other Football Outsiders are featuring him this week. But last does not mean least!

Fields leads the NFL in scrambles (47) and scramble yards (448) by a wide margin. Josh Allen is in second place with 33 scrambles for 354 yards. To fully clarify: this is scramble data from the Sports Info Solutions datahub, not overall rushing data.

Fields already has the fourth most scramble yardage in the SIS datahub, dating back to 2015, with seven games left to play. Here are the top five. Remember, these are full-season stats for everyone but Fields:

Most Scramble Yards, Single-Season, 2015-2022
Player Team Year Scrambles Yards
Josh Allen BUF 2018 47 508
Russell Wilson SEA 2020 54 460
Josh Allen BUF 2021 49 450
Justin Fields CHI 2022 47 448
Russell Wilson SEA 2017 54 441

If you are curious, Lamar Jackson scrambled for 390 yards in 2021 and 384 yards in 2019, 12th and 13th on the list. Most of Jackson's most productive runs are designed.

On the one hand, it's encouraging to see Fields on a list with Allen and Wilson. On the other hand, Fields is on pace for 79.9 scrambles for 761.7 yards, so he is not really on a list with Allen and Wilson, but in nearly uncharted territory. Michael Vick and Randall Cunningham likely gained 700-plus yards on scrambles in their scrambliest seasons. That doesn't leave us with a lot of data with which to analyze Fields.

To frame things another way, scrambling yardage accounts for 20% of Fields' overall production and a whopping 13.8% of the Bears total net yardage.

Fields is a thrill to watch and appears to have taken a step forward from where he was in 2021 or September. But it's impossible to make any firm judgments on a quarterback who has either scrambled or been sacked on 83 of his 290 dropbacks (29%). The ratio of out-of-structure chaos is simply too high.

Fields also has lots of scrambling production while the Bears trailed opponents by two scores in wild 'n' wooly games. What works when trailing by two scores might not work in higher-leverage situations.

For example, the Bears had two possessions after the Lions took a 31-30 lead in the fourth quarter. They ran twice on the first, then Fields scrambled for 1 yard on third-and-six. The second drive? Three incomplete passes (plus a defensive penalty), one 7-yard pass on third-and-15 and two sacks. It sounds like teams—even the Lions, with their awful defense—can clamp down on Fields' scrambling to a degree if they have to.

Fields could grow into an Allen-/Wilson-level scrambler, designed rusher, AND passer in 2023 or beyond. There is evidence that will happen. But there is no guarantee that it will happen. And please don't pretend that it has already happened.

Comments

107 comments, Last at 20 Nov 2022, 9:52pm

#1 by Pat // Nov 18, 2022 - 10:18am

And when Jordan Davis comes back, the Eagles run defense could turn from a weakness into a relative strength.

Davis is turning into a bit of a "magic pill" for Philly fans. They had problems with run defense when he was healthy, because he was a liability outside of the 5-man fronts, so they didn't play him then. So then the tactic that opponents (see the Dallas game) took was to just run hurry-up when Philly's in the nickel under front when he's off the field, and wheeee watch the disaster.

That's how you get this big "run defense with Davis vs not" split - they can't just play Davis more, he's still a rookie. In a lot of ways they've got to hope that Cox improves with lighter usage (and not that he's already run down for the season), because he's really struggled this year. I was worried when they brought him back for ~$15M/yr this year that they were tossing money down the drain, and those worries are just coming back.

So I question the idea that Davis coming back will make the run defense good - they're still a patchwork line, and you can always abuse a patchwork line.

Sigh, said in the beginning of the year that it was too early to be shocked at "how good" Philly was. It's easy for an all-in team to look great at the beginning of the year.

Points: 0

#2 by KnotMe // Nov 18, 2022 - 10:28am

It's starting to look like another year of "no great teams". Might get a 14+ win team at least. 

Points: 0

#6 by Pat // Nov 18, 2022 - 10:54am

I just think it's a function of the COVID pullbacks still. Some teams are choosing to go all-in, accepting that they're going to take a step back, a hard crash, or have to rely on rookies. You've had tons of high-end QB and WR movement, which almost never happened before.

Teams just had to make hard choices, and it shows.

Points: 0

#3 by theslothook // Nov 18, 2022 - 10:36am

I'd be curious to see how teams with QBs like vintage Rodgers, Brady, Manning etc behaved when up by 14 points. Defenses are now going to start playing the run and playing the shorter routes, essentially inviting you to throw. If you trust your quarterback, and with the names listed above you definitely should, wouldn't you be tempted to put it in their hands. 

14 points sounds like a lot, but that isn't quite an insurmountable lead as it might sound depending on how much time is left. 

Perhaps we are being too swayed by events we see this time. By that I mean, in other universes, Allen completes a few more long passes and these games get rendered over rather than nail bitters and close losses. It's hard to evaluate small samples.

Points: 0

#9 by Will Allen // Nov 18, 2022 - 11:04am

Allen seems as likely to be a dumbass on a short throw as a long one; his last pick against the Packers was as situationally idiotic as any pass I've seen, and it travelled about 6 yards. May as well go for the larger reward.

 

Points: 0

#25 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 18, 2022 - 11:56am

Situationally, he made the correct decision on both of the picks against the Packers. Execution was the issue there - he failed to throw the one into the ground and Davis ran the wrong route on the other.

The ones against MIN were, ahem, less excusable. The first one against the Jets was the real mind-bender.

Points: 0

#49 by IlluminatusUIUC // Nov 18, 2022 - 2:30pm

Situationally, he made the correct decision on both of the picks against the Packers. Execution was the issue there - he failed to throw the one into the ground and Davis ran the wrong route on the other.

Both of them came in the 4th Quarter of a game with a 3 score lead. No pass at all would have been better than those throws, doubly so on the Alexander pick which took 3 points off the board.

Points: 0

#55 by Will Allen // Nov 18, 2022 - 2:46pm

You're up 3 scores in the 4th quarter, in chip shot fg range, with the fg making it not just 3 scores,but 3 tds. Keeping the clock running before the fg attempt just makes victory more probable. Throwing the ball is just a losing proposition. Throwing the ball within 10 yards of a defender is literally the only way the Packers still have a chance. 

Points: 0

#12 by takeleavebelieve // Nov 18, 2022 - 11:15am

The Dungy/Moore/Manning era Colts definitely took some heat in the media for continuing to pass in blowouts. Dungy’s response was basically that defenses loaded the box expecting a run to eat time, so he was going to do the thing that was more likely to result in a successful play.

It definitely also depends on the supporting cast. Young Brady had Clock Killin’ Corey Dillon for a couple years, so those teams ran a lot to close out games. When Brady had Moss and Welker at WR but Laurence Maroney at RB, they threw. 

Points: 0

#50 by IlluminatusUIUC // Nov 18, 2022 - 2:33pm

The Dungy/Moore/Manning era Colts definitely took some heat in the media for continuing to pass in blowouts. Dungy’s response was basically that defenses loaded the box expecting a run to eat time, so he was going to do the thing that was more likely to result in a successful play.

Manning was also more than willing to take easy gains when offered. Josh's problem has been forcing the ball downfield when it wasn't necessary and easier options were available. The game-ending pick vs. Minnesota happened on 2nd and 10 in comfortable FG range with Singletary uncovered for at least a 6-8 yard gain just to Allen's right. He had absolutely no reason to try jamming the ball into a mailslot there.

I've said it on here before, but Allen is really missing Cole Beasley. For whatever reason, he either doesn't look for or trust underneath options nearly enough with him gone. Jamison Crowder was supposed to be that guy, but he's likely gone for the year. Shakir is too young, McKenzie too inconsistent, and I have no idea what the deal is with Knox.

Points: 0

#29 by All Is On // Nov 18, 2022 - 12:27pm

Nascent Packers fans (myself among them) spent a LOT of time complaining about the turtle-mode playcalling of Mike McCarthy back in the day. Those teams really turned a lot of comfortable wins into nail-biters as a result.

I don't think two scores is really that big of a lead outside of the late fourth quarter, especially in the modern scoring environment. If you get a two-score lead, your objective, imo, should be to turn it into a three score lead. Lots of teams will roll over at that point, regardless of how much time is left, and you buy yourself quite a lot of margin for error.

Points: 0

#42 by OmahaChiefs13 // Nov 18, 2022 - 1:55pm

I'd be curious to see how teams with QBs like vintage Rodgers, Brady, Manning etc behaved when up by 14 points. Defenses are now going to start playing the run and playing the shorter routes, essentially inviting you to throw. If you trust your quarterback, and with the names listed above you definitely should, wouldn't you be tempted to put it in their hands. 

I'm not sure how illuminating that would be for thoroughly modern teams, because the trend you mentioned (offenses start running, defenses clamp down hard and dare the QB to throw) doesn't tend to happen that way against those teams anymore.

KC in the AFCCG is a great example. We didn't quite have a 14 point lead, but it was 11 points (2 scores) at the half, and would have been 14 if we hadn't squandered that final play before half.

Cincy came out in the second half sticking to their 2 high shells, and we either would not or could not run against or throw underneath into the light boxes we continued to see all 2nd half...they essentially went the opposite way and allowed Mahomes to work underneath, and he kept refusing (and largely failing).

Something similar seems to be the case for Allen recently...it feels like the conventional wisdom for any offense with The Very Model Of A Modern Moble Passer is now to keep doing what they'd been doing whether they have a lead or not, thus defenses continue to defend that.

Basically, the notion that defenses tempt QBs and coordinators to keep putting the game in the QB's hands doesn't appear to be true....the cause and effect are reversed.

Points: 0

#94 by HitchikersPie // Nov 19, 2022 - 8:47am

My assumption would be Rodgers doesn’t do it much because he’s not really a high volume passer, outside of 2011 his most yards is 4,400 and that was the only time he averaged over 300 Y/game.

 

I also ran the query on nflindex and going back to 1999 the top is

1. Brady ‘07 (181 plays, 90.8 EPA)

2. Newton ‘15 (173, 45.1)

3. McNabb ‘04 (160, 44.8)

4. Ryan ‘16 (144, 45.5)

5. Warner ‘01 (144, 0.8) this wasn’t a typo

6. Warner ‘09 (143, 3.1) nor was this

7. Brady ‘15 (141, 19.3)

8. Brady ‘14 (141, 17.3)

9. Brady ‘16 (138, 34.2)

10. Brady ‘12 (134, 56.8)

 

Peyton shows up a few more times on the first page, as does Rodgers in his 2011 season but also 2014. I’m not sure what takeaways there are other than Kurt Warner should not be allowed to pass when up 14, and Brady definitely should.

Points: 0

#4 by halfjumpsuit // Nov 18, 2022 - 10:40am

Marlon Tuipulotu won't be asked to play much, especially over the center.

This is undeniably true, because in addition to the signings they put him on IR, so he won't be playing at all. Which is why they signed two DTs.

Points: 0

#5 by mehnsrea // Nov 18, 2022 - 10:47am

The all-time passing lists remain a reliable indicator of longevity and a horrendous indicator of excellence.
 

Exactly. And there are only 26 QB’s total in the HoF. And only 3 active/recently retired QBs will qualify per PFR’s HoF monitor (Brady, Rodgers, Brees). Ryan, Roethlisberger, and Rivers are just below the cutoff. Guys like Aikman, Kelly, Moon, and Namath are also below the cut but in. Russell Wilson lingers with them.

Stafford ranks way down below the likes of Cam Newton. Cousins is down with Jim Everett and Kerry Collins, where he belongs. Not one player down where those two are is in the HoF. I’m not sure longevity saves either guy. I guess we’ll see.

The Rams traded it all for a Super Bowl, so it was worth it.

I’ve never agreed with this sentiment. I’d rather my team be consistently relevant and in the mix than have a one and done title. In five years, who cares that the Rams beat the Bengals in a Super Bowl that had no memorable moments? As an Eagles fan, I can speak to this. But the Eagles are seemingly always relevant. The Rams have few real fans.

Points: 0

#7 by billprudden // Nov 18, 2022 - 10:57am

Sir - As a 51 year old Raiders fan, I can tell you that I'd trade say a .300 record for all the years I've got left for a single ring I get to witness.  

Bill 

Points: 0

#20 by Shylo // Nov 18, 2022 - 11:40am

As a 34 year old Titans fan I'd make the same trade in a heartbeat, and probably where some of the Animus comes from. There are no guarantees.

Points: 0

#27 by ImNewAroundThe… // Nov 18, 2022 - 12:19pm

I can say it's worth it. Screw trying to constantly plan for the purgatory future (cough Jordan Love cough). I was fully prepared to shed and suck once Rodgers retired. Turns out we suck with him and our bright spot... is MVS 2.0

Points: 0

#52 by IlluminatusUIUC // Nov 18, 2022 - 2:37pm

I follow the Colorado Buffaloes, who will never be relevant again. However, we have one ring (tarnished as it may be) and they can't take that away.

Unless someone got a few free tacos. Then they'll take it away. But until then!

Points: 0

#107 by jonsilver // Nov 20, 2022 - 9:52pm

As a 75 year old Lions and Jets fan,* I'm sure you can guess what I'd do.

*When I became a Lions fan, the Jets (ok, The Titans of New York) weren't even a gleam in anyone's eye...and when they did come into existence, there was no chance there would ever be a Lions-Jets game.

Points: 0

#8 by Pat // Nov 18, 2022 - 11:04am

There's no HoF monitor "cutoff." That's the average. The only way you get an average is if there are people below it, too, and in fact Manning's blowing up the average hard. The median is 93.5, and Rivers, Roethlisberger, and Ryan are all well above that.

I actually personally think that only Brady, Brees, and Rodgers should get in, but that's a personal opinion on what the Hall of Fame should be. Realistically it's going to be interesting if any of Ryan, Roethlisberger, and Rivers get left out, although there are precedents for guys like Ryan/Rivers. Roethlisberger would be nearly unprecedented if he didn't.

I’ve never agreed with this sentiment. I’d rather my team be consistently relevant and in the mix than have a one and done title

I think that's because many Philly fans understand that the only way to win a Super Bowl is to be consistently relevant. It'd be a lot different without that Super Bowl victory in '17 (or Reid's Super Bowl victory, which in my opinion solidified the idea that "can't win the big one" is horse crap).

Points: 0

#11 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 18, 2022 - 11:10am

The Rams traded it all for a Super Bowl, so it was worth it.

I’ve never agreed with this sentiment.

I'd like to welcome you to Lions fandom, where you'll never have the threat of winning a Super Bowl.

Points: 0

#14 by theslothook // Nov 18, 2022 - 11:22am

I’d rather my team be consistently relevant and in the mix than have a one and done title.

I'm guessing you are in the minority of fans with this line of thinking. A good contrast is the 2000s Bucs vs the 2000s Eagles and I leave it to fans of those teams to chime in how they feel. If you were to plot expected utility against number of wins, you'd see basically a flat curve of expected utility with one giant spike to infinity occuring at the very last win. When last year's Bengals' season was over, FO Bengals fan Rob Weintraub didn't say, "Boy what a hell of a run that was." Instead he said, "Welcome to my first sleepless night of the year".

It's also, btw, why McNabb isn't even given the courtesy hall of Fame consideration, basically a flat no and yet Eli Manning is at worst a debate and likely going to be a hall of famer.

And I think the reason why is two fold. Part of it is driven by the media pumping up SB victories and the white washing of history that comes with it. Stafford has legitimate Hall of Fame backers as soon as the glitter fell.

But also part of it is the rarity that comes with being a SB champion. Lots and lots of teams have been really really good and not won. Few teams actually win. Its also tied to this. If you don't win, every season by definition ends in some kind of disappointment. Again I'll posit this to NE fans. How do you look back on the 07 season? Or Packers fans for the 2011 season? For my part, I can't even bring myself to look back at 09. 

Points: 0

#24 by Pat // Nov 18, 2022 - 11:54am

It's also, btw, why McNabb isn't even given the courtesy hall of Fame consideration, 

You mean except for the fact that he detonated as soon as he was without Reid and has had super-toxic media controversy since retiring?

Lots and lots of teams have been really really good and not won.

Literally every team in the top 10 winning percentage since 2000 has won the Super Bowl over that stretch. And by the time you get down to the 11th team (your Dallas Cowboys, America) you're already pretty close to a 50% win percentage (192-170). There are only 4 franchises above 50% since 2000 who have not won a Super Bowl.

So while many teams have been really really good and not won, no franchises have been consistently good and not won.

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#32 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Nov 18, 2022 - 12:38pm

I don't think he's in the minority at all.  Fans come out to individual football games to watch their teams compete and hopefully win that particular game.  Yes, they want Super Bowls because they want their team to continue to win right through to the end.  But at the end of the day, the total number of wins (and close losses) a team garners is a better reflection of fan entertainment than the number of championships.

It's a bit of a theoretical discussion, though, because there's little evidence that "tanking" plus "win now" cycles increase the chance of winning Super Bowls compared to building teams that are consistently relevant.  And I think that was the part of his comment missed by some other posters.  Nobody wants the Lions experience, but a team that is consistently competitive is a fun team to be a fan of AND is also more likely to garner championships than boom-and-bust franchises (although we'll need a few hundred years of NFL football to confirm or refute the latter part of my assertion, as we only get one data point per year).

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#35 by theslothook // Nov 18, 2022 - 12:53pm

I agree, you can't really do the sort of plastic surgery sb win strategy. The teams who win are almost always good for a long period of time and interestingly win during the off years so to speak. I like to think of the Broncos, who were eliminated in the divisional round when they boasted top flight units on offense and defense, but got to the SB and won it during their extremely imbalanced years. Was also true for the 06 Colts.

However, I took his sentiment in more of a completely hypothetical kind of way. As others have said, if you went to Mr Needful and he sold you a sb ring but what came with it was 10+ years of misery. Hell maybe even 20 years of abject misery, would most fans take that? I suspect they would. 

Right now, with the Colts facing what I think could be a very prolonged drought of terribleness, there is joy knowing that I have that memory of the SB to fall back on. Maybe it's silly, but I've met fans of the Chiefs(prior to 2019) and the Jets who have only foggy memories if at all about their team's first title and opining with great sorrow if they will ever get to see it/appreciate it as adults. Chase Stuart and Jon Licht used to talk about this together as long suffering Jets and Chiefs fans. Of course, 2019 changed all of that. Lord knows, Ive even met a Browns fan who swears Bryan Sipe was the best QB he ever saw and bemoans his incredible patience with the franchise. I've also met Raiders fans who cherish the 80s and it gets them through any prolonged drought. 

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#44 by KnotMe // Nov 18, 2022 - 2:05pm

While the "consistent relevent" strategy works to win rings, I think there is a sort of minimum threshold. If your consistently say, a 1-4 seed, I think it's working.  Consistently 5-7....it's probably not. That's probably enough to make you "interesting" during the off years. 

Football is such an injury driven game, that I feel the all-in is pretty difficult and it's pretty rare to get movement at the difference maker level. (There didn't seem to be much this year). 

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#48 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 18, 2022 - 2:30pm

There was a lot of movement at the "difference maker" level, it just all happened in the offseason. (Adams, Hill, Kahlil Mack, etc.) Some worked out (Miami is not competitive without their trades), some didn't (the Chargers are still the Chargers).

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#63 by KnotMe // Nov 18, 2022 - 3:23pm

It's actually kinda amazing that only 1 was worked out (MIA) so far.  Denver and LV are "most disappointing" or close to it, The Browns are pretty much out of it this year unless something crazy happens and other QB traded got multiple people fired. 

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#74 by IlluminatusUIUC // Nov 18, 2022 - 4:13pm

It's actually kinda amazing that only 1 was worked out (MIA) so far. 

Also AJ Brown but your point is well-taken.

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#36 by DisplacedSaintsFan // Nov 18, 2022 - 12:57pm

I think most fans forget the "one and done" Faustian bargain a couple of years down the road. I do agree there is a difference between "never won it" teams and "won at least one" teams. As a Saints fan since the 70s, I know the pain of irrelevance without even the consolation of a single trophy.

Also, I think luck plays a bigger part in the outcomes than many would admit. The year the Saints won the SB, we only got the home field advantage after Washington missed a short Field Goal at the end of regulation. I doubt we'd have beat the Vikings in Minnesota. Likewise, if not for a missed interference call in 2019, maybe we go on to win that year. Usually, you've got to be really good and a little lucky (or pretty good and REALLY lucky).

Every year, 97% of teams fail to win the title. I accept that, and I just want a relevant competitive team who might get lucky. Unfortunately, that's at least a couple of years off at this point.

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#37 by crw78 // Nov 18, 2022 - 1:01pm

Again I'll posit this to NE fans. How do you look back on the 07 season?

As a Pats fan I look at '07 as a tremendous accomplishment that was soured by the fact that they did not win the SB, and that they lost to a very mediocre team in doing so. The Pats have won several super bowls even though they were not the best team that year, so as a fan I obviously cannot complain. But 2007 and 2010 hurt more than the others cause joy, because they were the best team and SHOULD have won those years. Doesn't really matter all that much in hindsight, but at the time 07 and 10 were pretty devastating, because I (and many other Pats fans) came to believe that they would always be really close but never win again, which was kind of torturous. A lot of people seem to forget that the Pats under Brady and Belichick went 10 years without winning a SB, but were right there every single year, and getting that close every year but not winning is difficult for a fan (of course, not as difficult as being a Lions fan, Browns fan, etc, I get it).

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#46 by KnotMe // Nov 18, 2022 - 2:11pm

I've heard NE fans say they would trade 2 for a 2007 win just bc it would have been so insane. I also knew one who said 28-3 was when they kinda made peace with it. Sorta losing one you should have won and winning one you should have lost kinda(not quite bc history) balance. 

I do think 2007 and 28-3 are some of the most painful SB losses ever although it's not like there are any good ones. (He also mentioned 86 was the reverse...everyone knew there was no chance going in)

 

 

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#86 by Sixknots // Nov 18, 2022 - 5:40pm

Painful SB losses!  PAINFUL SB LOSSES!!  Just ask any Seahawks fan about "should have run the ball".

weeps and blows nose

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#87 by Romodini // Nov 18, 2022 - 6:23pm

I'd rather never see my team get to a SB than have them make it and lose the way the Seahawks and Falcons did.

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#90 by BigRichie // Nov 18, 2022 - 9:01pm

As a semi-Seahawks fan, no you wouldn't. The one they crushed definitely makes up for the two they coulda-won-but-lost. Would make up for a bunch of such.

As to the Falcons, well ... I'll defer to (any??) Falcons fans here. But I'm reasonably certain that fans of the Ryan era enjoyed their team more than fans of the Vick/Bartkowski??/Glanville? did their's.

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#92 by duh // Nov 19, 2022 - 12:21am

'Again I'll posit this to NE fans. How do you look back on the 07 season?'

 

In my 50+ Adult years of watching / being a fan of sports it still stands as the single most painful moment of my sports fandom I recall. I literally didn't read about, watch or otherwise interact with football close to 10 months afterwards.  That's what I remember from 2007 not the great run that preceded it. 

There may have more painful moments when I was a kid, but then sports are different when you're a kid!

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#16 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 18, 2022 - 11:25am

I’d rather my team be consistently relevant and in the mix than have a one and done title.

In other news, welcome to the board, Mr. Schottenheimer!

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#26 by Pat // Nov 18, 2022 - 11:56am

Or the Titans or Vikings. Those are the three classic (modern) decent franchises with zero titles. That being said, it's a pretty low bar for "relevant."

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#47 by KnotMe // Nov 18, 2022 - 2:19pm

I'm kinda curious how Houston fans look at it. Obviously they arn't in a good place right now, but they havn't feen around that long either. 

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#53 by Pat // Nov 18, 2022 - 2:39pm

Houston's a pretty textbook example of "go all in, win a few years, fall apart." They've actually won their division fairly often, but they've got an abysmal won/loss record over the same stretch.

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#19 by Joey-Harringto… // Nov 18, 2022 - 11:40am

'The Rams traded it all for a Super Bowl, so it was worth it.'

"I’ve never agreed with this sentiment. I’d rather my team be consistently relevant and in the mix than have a one and done title. "

I don't know...if the devil appeared offered me a Lions Super Bowl victory next year...but in exchange they would have to re-hire Matt Millen as GM with a 20 year contract, I'd take it in a heartbeat.

I would see it like a great vacation to an exotic place, or a fun but short-lived romance.  It's over too quickly and you'll never be able to do it again, but the pleasant memories stay with you.

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#30 by riri // Nov 18, 2022 - 12:33pm

"I’ve never agreed with this sentiment. I’d rather my team be consistently relevant and in the mix than have a one and done title."

This coming from an Eagles fan who gets to have both

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#33 by Pat // Nov 18, 2022 - 12:46pm

It's not really an either-or situation. Being consistently relevant will get you a title. It's easy to point at the Chargers, Vikings, and Titans (or ignore the 90s and go with the Cowboys) but even those teams are a stretch for "relevance." Chargers, Vikings have 5 division titles in 22 years, Titans only have 4.  Philly's got 9 in the same stretch of time. Green Bay has 12. New England has a billion, obviously.

You have to lower the "relevant" threshold pretty far to get a team that hasn't won a Super Bowl. So it's more like saying "I don't mind if my team hasn't won a Super Bowl yet if they're consistently the best team in their division." Because that's how you win Super Bowls.

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#41 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 18, 2022 - 1:54pm

Being consistently relevant will get you a title. 

Since 1967 (Bud Grant's first season), the Vikings have 9 seasons in which they were more than 1 game below .500 -- so seasons with no realistic playoff chance. They have had 3 or fewer losses in a season 8 times.

They've been to the playoffs 30 times. They've lost 4 SBs. They've lost in the conference finals another six times.

They have 0 titles.

Consistently relevant only gets you consistent relevance. 

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#45 by Pat // Nov 18, 2022 - 2:06pm

 

Since 1967 (Bud Grant's first season), the Vikings have 9 seasons in which they were more than 1 game below .500 -- so seasons with no realistic playoff chance.

You're just setting a different (lower) bar for "relevance." That's the problem with these discussions. The Vikings have been the best team in their division 11 times since 1980. That's 43 years. Since the move to a 4-team division in 2002, the Vikings have won their division 5 times. 5 times in 20 years is 25% of the time. So a quarter of the time, they're the best team in a 4-team division - meaning there's exactly zero evidence that they're significantly better than random. Same stretch of time, the Packers have 12 division titles.

Having lots of seasons with a "realistic playoff chance" does not mean you're a consistently relevant Super Bowl contender.

Again, top 10 franchises in winning percentage since 2000: every single one has a Super Bowl, and every single one has more division titles than Minnesota. And that includes 2 teams in the same division.

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#58 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 18, 2022 - 2:49pm

I provided multiple different criteria. You only read one of them.

They've been a semi-finalist 20% of the time, with zero titles to show for it.

They've made 9 NFCCGs since the merger. Everyone else with as many appearances has at least two titles. Everyone with half as many CCG appearance has a ring -- other than the Bills.

The Vikings have been relevant for 50 years and have zero rings to show for it.

\there's also the Chargers

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#62 by theslothook // Nov 18, 2022 - 3:16pm

I don't really get the point of grouping teams by their historical win loss record. The point is, successful teams get a window of time. If they are elite QBs, that window can go a decade and a half. Sometimes its compressed to just half a decade or so. By definition, not every one of those teams can win the title. So repeat success does not imply that you will win a title. You might have a good shot at it, but certainly no guarantee.

I said the Bills with Allen will have plenty of chances. But plenty of chances could also lead you to a Dan Marino/Jim Kelly/Dan Fouts type of career. 

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#65 by Pat // Nov 18, 2022 - 3:36pm

The point is, successful teams get a window of time. If they are elite QBs, that window can go a decade and a half.

The majority of the teams in the top 10 have won with multiple QBs and multiple coaches. For most of them, it isn't a single stretch.

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#67 by theslothook // Nov 18, 2022 - 3:44pm

I don't understand how the '70s dolphins winning titles has anything to do with Dan Marino not winning one.

Or conversely the Steelers winning titles in the '70s has some impact on the Ben roethlisberger Steelers winning titles

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#70 by Pat // Nov 18, 2022 - 3:57pm

 

Or conversely the Steelers winning titles in the '70s has some impact on the Ben roethlisberger Steelers winning titles

Because organizations have inertia. Things get set up a certain way, they keep doing it that way. They hire similar kinds of people. The Packers had exceptionally similar front office management/structure for 20+ years. You occasionally have exceptional talent that can shine at poorly run organizations, but those things are flash in the pan.

I'm not actually saying that you need to look at the entirety of a franchise's record. But a 20-year stretch is a good example, especially because once you go back more than 20 years, the NFL's almost entirely different. Not just from a "strategy" standpoint, but from a media, structural, and financial standpoint.

I don't actually know if the Patriots, for instance, have a solid organization or if it's just Belichick's singular talent. But the Steelers, for instance, were a winning organization before Ben Roethlisberger, and even though they didn't win a Super Bowl until Roethlisberger was there, he was being heavily protected in his early years. I mean, Roethlisberger sure as hell wasn't the reason they won that first Super Bowl! He completely 9 passes with 2 picks and a passer rating of 22.6!

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#78 by BigRichie // Nov 18, 2022 - 4:28pm

Slots simply thinks quarterbacks explain everything.

Once you believe something like that, no data will change anything. It just gets creatively interpreted as so needed.

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#79 by theslothook // Nov 18, 2022 - 4:42pm

For you, I think I can sum this up quite well.

"Between brain and mouth, there's no interlocutor"

Honestly, comments like these are a great example of people who think they're the smartest person in the room, when in fact they are the fish at the poker table.

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#82 by Pat // Nov 18, 2022 - 4:59pm

Honestly, comments like these are a great example of people who think they're the smartest person in the room, when in fact they are the fish at the poker table.

Honestly, comments like these are a great example of people who think they're the smartest person in the room, when in fact they are the fish at the poker table.

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#85 by theslothook // Nov 18, 2022 - 5:18pm

I am not the smartest man in the room. I never claim to be. I try not to ridicule other posters, even when they have views I think are zanny. I try to have respect for people at all times. Age and wisdom have taught me that. And if someone disagrees with me and offers cogent reasons why; well it sucks to be wrong but I'd rather be better informed.

EDIT

I don't want to continue this back and forth which is bordering on antagonistic. Its not why I come here to FO and I also regret my comment above.

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#96 by Noahrk // Nov 19, 2022 - 9:40am

You do sometimes post as if you were the smartest man in the room. Personally, I don't think such a thing exists. You have blind spots and you have strong and weak areas, like everyone else does. It's impossible to compare. Just like speaking of the GOAT is meaningless. 

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#100 by theslothook // Nov 19, 2022 - 12:45pm

I appreciate you letting me know. I guess I can be quite vociferous in my arguments; especially in topics I spend a lot of time thinking about. Of course, humillity is absolutely critical and I like to think I have been. I wrote below, I am open to knew ideas and for the record, absolutely no one should feel like the smartest person in the room. Everyone makes mistakes. 

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#71 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 18, 2022 - 3:59pm

Nothing. This is why good organizations can have windows across multiple QBs.

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#64 by Pat // Nov 18, 2022 - 3:30pm

That's because all of the other characteristics - conference game appearances, specifically - are just bad predictors. The sample size is too small. You make 9 NFCCGs, your base expectation should be somewhere around 4 trips to the Super Bowl, and 2 Super Bowl wins. Expecting 2 and getting 0 is not "OMG they're cursed."

I mean, I know NFCCGs are small sample size, obviously. I lived through Philly over that same time period. It's heartbreaking to go to so many of them and not get a Super Bowl victory. But it isn't surprising.

368 games is a large sample size. 188 wins would have a standard deviation of +/-14 or so, and the top 3 teams have 259, 229, 227. They're significantly off from that. The Vikings, Chargers, and Titans are "fringe" relevant teams. If you want to put a cutoff for franchise success that guarantees a Super Bowl, you set it a fair amount higher than them, and you're golden.

Yes, I agree the Vikings are the most heartbroken franchise in the NFL. Obviously. They're not consistently relevant, especially over the past 20 years. They've consistently been an afterthought to the Packers, and only barely above the Bears in terms of relevance. 

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#66 by theslothook // Nov 18, 2022 - 3:42pm

It would help if you could define consistently relevant, because the definition to meet the muster of that standard is get yourself a first ballot Hofer at QB or be the Ravens.

For every interloper title winner like the Giants, there's a team like the Chargers or the 2000s Eagles who made the playoffs a bunch and have nothing to show for it.

Once again, I really don't get why you're lumping together title runs separated by decades and talent. It's a cute story to talk about the 49ers, but the Joe Montana 49ers have absolutely to do with the Jimmy 49ers.

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#72 by KnotMe // Nov 18, 2022 - 4:00pm

If you want a cutoff for consistently relevant, I would do "average playoff seed of  4+". If your consistently getting into the top 4 for 10 years I feel like you have pretty decent chance of breaking through at least once. 

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#73 by theslothook // Nov 18, 2022 - 4:02pm

Well, how many consecutive years in a row do you need to do that to qualify? 

Also 10 year windows are next to impossible to maintain unless your QB is an obvious hall of famer. The Ravens look a lot like the Vikings or Titans but they happen to have 2 SBs. The giants look a lot like the Cardinals, but they have 2 SBs. For every Steelers type run, there are the Chargers.

Also think about a team like the Chicago Bears? They made the playoffs something like 50% of the time in the 2000s, but during that stretch they had 4 years where they were a top two seed. 

Then there's the 2000 Seahawks who made the playoffs more times but still didn't come away with a championship. 

We seem to be veering very far off from my main point which is being good does not guarantee you a super bowl. It seems to guarantee a super bowl appearance I suppose.

 

 

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#80 by KnotMe // Nov 18, 2022 - 4:44pm

We can probably agree that there isn't any guarantee. 

My point was you need to be a bit better than "reach the playoffs" to have a reasonable expectation if a ring. And even then, as mentioned stuff can happen. 

It would be interesting to figure out what threshold of say, win% or seeding over a window of, say 5 years, gives say, an 80% chance of a SB win. 

I admit it's diffuse bc you are tuning both the window and the other variable at the same time.

 

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#75 by Pat // Nov 18, 2022 - 4:14pm

It would help if you could define consistently relevant

I agree. That's the entire problem. You might think the Vikings have been consistently relevant over the past 20 years. I don't.

So I'll define it as top 10 winning percentage over a window of 20 years. :)

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#76 by theslothook // Nov 18, 2022 - 4:20pm

This is where I say that criteria can make no sense. There's absolutely nothing in common between the 2000 Seahawks and the Russell Wilson Seahawks.

I know if you search hard enough you will find a list of scouts or ball boys who were present for both regimes but that means nothing to me and is hardly establishing any kind of causality.

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#77 by Pat // Nov 18, 2022 - 4:23pm

There's absolutely nothing in common between the 2000 Seahawks and the Russell Wilson Seahawks.

I could not disagree more, and this is where we've disagreed many times over.

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#81 by theslothook // Nov 18, 2022 - 4:47pm

Maybe you could posit a coherent theory that at least concretely establishes the cause and effect mechanism.

You can start with explaining which people in the organization specifically. Is it just the owner or the GM or do you need some combination plus the scouts and the ball boys?

And then while you are it, explain what they are doing specifically so this all doesn't just feel like post hoc correlation narration.

To go back the Seahawks, the coaches ran completely different schemes. The players involved were completely different. Even if you argue that they were drafting a certain archetype Al Davis style, that wasn't true in this case either. The entire identity of both teams were constructed in completely different fashions. The QB's were as different as you could get in terms of how they played. 

Also, if you think this is all organizational, care to make a prediction that the Packers next quarterback is going to be a Hall of famer? If you think that bar is too high, then predict how good he will be?

 

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#83 by Pat // Nov 18, 2022 - 5:10pm

Maybe you could posit a coherent theory that at least concretely establishes the cause and effect mechanism.

You can start with explaining which people in the organization specifically.

It's not always a person. It's not necessarily anything. It's organizational. It's standards and structure. These things aren't immortal, they can degrade and change over time as well. It's not something you can point to and say "oh thisthis is what it is." 

It's not hard to figure out when an organization is changing and when it isn't, you just need to look at the overall turnover. It's not that the scouts sticking around are the key to the whole organization. The scouts sticking around indicate that the organization isn't changing.

I don't know why this seems so strange. Every large organization I've been part of acts the exact same way. Governments, academia, research projects, they all have massive inertia. You've got staff setups, partnerships, other organizations that all drive the overall organization.

care to make a prediction that the Packers next quarterback is going to be a Hall of famer? If you think that bar is too high, then predict how good he will be?

It literally has nothing to do with what the quarterback is or does. It sets the floor for performance, not the ceiling. And Green Bay's not a good example, I think things are changing there rapidly. It's not common for a single player to be able to exert so much control over the organization there.

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#84 by theslothook // Nov 18, 2022 - 5:14pm

You are giving me nothing that can be tested in data with anything you've said. Basically if it works, your theory on organizations is correct. If it doesn't work well, your theory still holds.

I won't claim it's not possible. Sure. But theories without any kind of testability to me are no less or more credible than someone claiming it's invisible dark matter that's the reason

Probably for the best we simply say we agree to disagree.

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#88 by Pat // Nov 18, 2022 - 7:42pm

You are giving me nothing that can be tested in data with anything you've said.

Sure you can. Just autocorrelate team strength over longer periods with variables consisting of coaching changes and QB changes.

The equivalent of this has already been done with regards to the salary cap - it's one of the primary ways that economists looked at whether or not the changes from the '93 CBA had the effect that was desired, although not as detailed because it's a trivial show - team "inertia" was so insanely strong prior to the 1990s that talking about pre-cap/post-cap NFL years as the same league is a bit silly. Search for "competitive balance sports NFL" or the equivalent in Google Scholar and it should turn up a fair amount.

 Basically if it works, your theory on organizations is correct.

I don't have a "theory" on organizations. I have evidence, based on years of experience with many different kinds of large organizations. My evidence also happens to line up with other evidence, including many studies on how democratic governments behave and (on this site!) how college football operates. Plus, of course, other people.

I am applying this evidence to conclude that the high level of success of certain football organizations over an extremely large period of time is not random.

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#89 by theslothook // Nov 18, 2022 - 8:27pm

Against my better judgement, I will try once more. 

Sure you can. Just autocorrelate team strength over longer periods with variables consisting of coaching changes and QB changes.

You've sort of unwittingly revealed the biggest problem I have with your whole argument. You run a surface level regression, conclude it can't be the head coach or the QB or the other coaches, thus it has to be the "organization" without ever venturing a cause and effect about how.

And when it fails, all you can conclude is, "well, the organization must have eroded now". Well, my dark matter theory also holds by this same test. How helpful.

Economics warns about empirical work without theory. And why there is a whole discipline of microeconomics and why micro foundations are a thing in econ. 

As a technical footnote, simply stating to run a regression and test the ar term should also consider the assumptions of stationarity, especially in finite samples. Going further, having lived in this data, almost any summary metric in the NFL IS non stationary. Even ratio metrics, which is how one achieves stationarity, are at best trend stationary and 20 observations is absolutely the definition of violating the assumptions about asymptotics. Frankly, any time series regression on an n=20 sample is already suspect. And no, a Bayesian methodology doesn't solve that issue either.

I don't have a "theory" on organizations. I have evidence, based on years of experience with many different kinds of large organizations.

Yet nothing you have cited is empirical as relates to the NFL.  Reread your earlier paragraphs. It's full of conjecture on how and why organizations matter. When I asked for something testable, you cite an empty regression which even if the underlying assumptions are swept under the rug, it doesn't even test for anything organizationally. It's basically summarized as, "It can't be coaching, it can't be QB, ergo 'dumbass' it's the organization".

Absolutely no real factor variables are mentioned. It's all latent and assumed. And when it doesn't work, it's explained post hoc. "The winning stopped? Whoops the organization  must have declined"

 

 

 

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#98 by Pat // Nov 19, 2022 - 10:39am

thus it has to be the "organization" without ever venturing a cause and effect about how.

I have literally stated, multiple times, the cause and effect. It's the structure. The coaches and players change, but the buildings, staff, structure, owner all stay the same over time. The fact that you dismiss my argument as "not making any sense" doesn't matter. It makes perfect sense to me - you're simply refusing to acknowledge it.

Again, you previously criticized someone for "thinking they're the smartest person in the room." I'm not claiming I'm right here. I'm claiming there is such an idea as organizational inertia (not my idea) which has been well studied in other industries (provable claim) and that it can be an explanation. Not that it is. That it can be. Your claim is "but.. but.. the data's too weak, you can't prove it."

Yes. Of course you can't. Theoretically, you could, but practically, the noise would be way too large. But something being practically untestable does not mean false. You don't like it. That's fine. Whatever. But the difference is that you're criticizing other people who do. With no evidence. You're simply criticizing someone else for not having evidence, which is not a valid criticism of a hypothesis.

Your random "dark matter" comments are actually apropos, because, of course, that's how the discovery of dark matter started out, and it was a totally valid criticism of the idea. Except, with more time, every other idea just fell apart and by now we can image dark matter, and everyone crowing against the idea sounds like a nutjob. Practical issues don't affect the intrinsic value of an idea. There are tons of ideas that are practically untestable but are interesting theoretically.

Organizational inertia's been studied with regards to governments, the IT industry, the computer industry, manufacturing, and God knows what else. Teams are organization of humans. Saying "that has no relation to the NFL" makes no sense.

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#101 by Pat // Nov 19, 2022 - 1:03pm

Huh. Turns out organizational inertia's even been studied in the NFL, in terms of persistent team reputation affecting officiating perspectives (Z. McDaniel, "NFL Penalty Analysis, Referee Influence, and Penalty Trends Over Time", 2021: it's an undergraduate paper, the references are more interesting than the paper itself). Hadn't thought of that before.

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#54 by JoelBarlow // Nov 18, 2022 - 2:45pm

one and done

They've been/were good for about 4 or 5 years, including making and losing a SB. Last year was the "getting over the top" year, ala the early 2000s Bucs

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#59 by theslothook // Nov 18, 2022 - 2:50pm

That's true. But through a sequence of decisions, they definitely borrowed from the future to pump their chances in the present. Because they won, those series of moves feel vindicated. But its the binary nature of things that makes those moves questionable to me. If they had lost to the Bengals, we'd now be regarding those decisions in a much more negative light. 

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#103 by turbohappy // Nov 19, 2022 - 3:25pm

I can't think of a true "one and done" in football. There really aren't teams like the Marlins that come to mind, the way the salary cap and trade deadline and everything works makes it much tougher to truly do this in football.

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#38 by almon // Nov 18, 2022 - 1:02pm

I would pick consistent relevance over one Super Bowl too

lifelong giants fan … it’s been hard to have nothing to root for the last 10 yrs…

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#68 by justanothersteve // Nov 18, 2022 - 3:44pm

Easy to say when you have TWO Super Bowl wins this century. 

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#39 by mansteel // Nov 18, 2022 - 1:17pm

I strongly agree with you about being consistently good vs. winning a championship. Some of my favorite sports memories (NYG home playoff wins, UNC beating Duke in basketball, Southampton beating Liverpool in the League Cup (the three places I've lived, if you're curious)) have come in seasons in which my teams were good but didn't win it all. The fact that UNC lost to Kansas in the NCAA finals last year will never sully the amazing feeling of the SF win to end Ratface's career. Hell, I even enjoyed the heck out of going up to NY to watch the Giants beat the Texans last week even though a SB is pretty much out of the question this year. 

Every win is fun and adds value to my sports-fan life; every loss sucks; every game where your team is bad and isn't playing for anything is a bummer. I wouldn't trade years of weekly downers for one moment of glory (reflected glory, obviously).

Having said all that, I'm obviously in the minority. Different strokes, I guess.

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#43 by OmahaChiefs13 // Nov 18, 2022 - 2:01pm

I’ve never agreed with this sentiment. I’d rather my team be consistently relevant and in the mix than have a one and done title. 

Many years of having had exactly this allow me to say that consistently excellent regular seasons, but a reputation for one hitter quitters in the playoffs, is its own special hell. Nobody ever calls that "relevant"....they call it "cursed".

At a certain point (10 years maybe?), "constant relevance" definitely loses its shine.

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#104 by turbohappy // Nov 19, 2022 - 3:27pm

They said that about the Manning era Colts until they finally won one. I enjoyed it as a fan even before that though - playoff games every single year, always felt like there was a chance. I'm quite sure I would see that as a wonderful era to be a fan even if they had never won a SB in that stretch.

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#102 by KaosTheory // Nov 19, 2022 - 2:48pm

I wonder how many people feel this way, because I would definitely take the title. As a Ravens fan, I view the half-decade after our 2012 championship as the penalty — and that’s totally fine with me.

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#10 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 18, 2022 - 11:05am

Imagine if the Bengals had held onto their fourth-quarter Super Bowl lead or came back on their final drive. Imagine if the 49ers had held onto their late lead in the NFC Championship Game. 

If the Bengals could hold onto a lead in the Super Bowl, they wouldn't be the Bengals.

If Shanahan could hold onto a lead late in a playoff game, he wouldn't be Shanahan.

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#56 by JoelBarlow // Nov 18, 2022 - 2:47pm

Blew a massive lead to the Bucs and needed a FG to avoid OT

it was just about as star-crossed a run as the Bengals, but we've all decided McVay is a genius and Stafford is a HOF qb so we just rolled with it

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#93 by greybeard // Nov 19, 2022 - 2:36am

While I agree with your sentiment about Shanahan that is really not a great example. Had Tartt held onto the gimme interception that Stafford directly threw to him Rams most likely would not have won the game despite Shanahan’s playoff history. 

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#13 by Will Allen // Nov 18, 2022 - 11:15am

I'm a Vikings fan,and thus have completely abandoned any hope of ever witnessing a championship. I now lean into it. I want to see them end every season in the playoffs, alternating between ridiculous blowout defeats, and ridiculous last second soul- crushers.

My money's on the former this year. Then again, it's still mathematically possible for them to be stuck on 8 wins, and lose in week 18, on the last play, and miss the playoffs, like in 2004, when a ref awarded a td on the old force-out rule. Good times,and something to hope for!

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#15 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 18, 2022 - 11:23am

I was never so happy as when Minnesota pulled out that week 17 game against Green Bay in 2012, after the refs let McCarthy skate on throwing a challenge flag on a turnover play in the 3rd quarter after the league hammered the Lions earlier in the season for the same thing.

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/201212300min.htm

Because the actual rules never apply to the Packers.

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#34 by Romodini // Nov 18, 2022 - 12:50pm

I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that one reason the Cowboys are so penalized is because McCarthy never actually had to learn the rules in Green Bay.

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#17 by theslothook // Nov 18, 2022 - 11:25am

Oh Will. Come on. You can't be an eternal pessimist forever. And besides, this is exactly the sort of team to believe in. To me, they read like a paper tiger all the way. So isn't it the perfect type of team to actually win the SB? I have personally witnessed worse teams get to the SB and can even name a team or two that I think looked worse coming into the playoffs that ended up actually winning. At least, some SB winners have had QBs I regard as far worse than Cousins.

More realistically, the Vikings could improve. That's always possible and this paper tiger may begin to look more like the real thing. 

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#21 by Will Allen // Nov 18, 2022 - 11:40am

"You can't be an eternal pessimist forever."

Stop trying to steal my bliss!

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#18 by mehllageman56 // Nov 18, 2022 - 11:39am

I'd be surprised if they miss the playoffs.  Doubt they'll get homefield over Philly, but maybe they'll get revenge for 2017-2018 blowout.  A Vikings-Bills Super Bowl would be great; both teams with 4 losses and no wins, and an all-time classic already played during the season?

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#22 by Will Allen // Nov 18, 2022 - 11:44am

They have a 6 loss lead over the Pack, 5 win lead over Bears and Lions, with 8 to play. 

Never give up!

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#31 by mehllageman56 // Nov 18, 2022 - 12:35pm

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Says a Packers fan.  Did you bother to watch the chaos that was last week's episode of The Greatest Game?

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#61 by IlluminatusUIUC // Nov 18, 2022 - 3:08pm

I hated the game for its outcome, but that had some absolutely all-timer highlights. Jefferson and Diggs dueled for catch of the year, Allen and Dalvin Cook had monster runs, there were massive defensive plays...

What else were you looking for?

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#105 by ImNewAroundThe… // Nov 20, 2022 - 10:42am

1 game =/= repeatable. 

Several better SB matchups. 

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#106 by Moridin // Nov 20, 2022 - 2:09pm

A Vikings Bills SB would be the first SB to end in a tie, when during the 3rd overtime period a storm comes out of nowhere, knocks out the power so the game stops, then gets evacuated when tornadoes are spotted, and the stadium ends up damaged and becomes unusable. The league and teams agree to let both teams share the trophy for a year, and both teams get an asterisks on their SB 'championship'.

:p

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#23 by Joey-Harringto… // Nov 18, 2022 - 11:48am

"like in 2004, when a ref awarded a td on the old force-out rule. Good times,and something to hope for!"

The McCown to Nate Poole TD, right? (I believe that was in 2003.  2004 is when the 8-8 Vikings made the playoffs and Moss mooned the crowd at Lambeau).

Paul Allen is one of my favorite play-by-play guys, and his call of that play is one of the all time classics.  Probably second to his call of Favre's interception in 2009 NFC Championship game.  That man is an artist when angst and disappointment are his canvas.

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#51 by Will Allen // Nov 18, 2022 - 2:34pm

Yeah, you're right; the force out td miss playoffs on the last play was 2003. I was in a Packers bar when that gem was dug up. Good times.

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#69 by TheAnonymousCo… // Nov 18, 2022 - 3:54pm

The comforting thing about being a Vikings fan is that every year, I know they'll disappoint me; the surprising thing is finding out how!  (By the by, Will, Nate Poole's pushout TD on 4th and 25 was in 2003: https://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/200312280crd.htm#all_pbp ; In 2004 they made the playoffs leading to Randy Moss's "disgusting act" in the wild card win over Green Bay)

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#40 by Led // Nov 18, 2022 - 1:36pm

"Fields could grow into an Allen-/Wilson-level scrambler, designed rusher, AND passer in 2023 or beyond. There is evidence that will happen."

What's the evidence that Fields will grow into Allen/Wilson level passer?  I'm not saying he won't.  When it comes to QBs (and the film industry), nobody knows anything.  It would be fun if he did.  But I don't see the evidence.  What I see in the last several weeks is an ability to be not the least effective passer in the league in a very limited passing offense.  That paired with generational talent as a runner is a reason to give him at least another year, and maybe reason enough to play him even if he never becomes an above average passer (as appears likely).    

 

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#99 by theslothook // Nov 19, 2022 - 12:42pm

Responding to Pat here because the thread was becoming hard to read

Let me try to bridge all of this with a source of agreement. It may have sounded like I completely dismiss the organizational argument. In fact, I actually do believe it.

Let's take an example of the Ravens. You can throw in the Steelers also if you like, but its easier with the Ravens. They have turned over the head coaches and gone in completely different directions. They have swapped out coordinator after coordinator. They have seen personnel come and go. They have won in spite of the QB, so the easiest explanation of all for long term success isn't there. They keep winning. And for me, more curiously, they keep winning in a very similar way up until recently because of Lamar. Contrary to my usual sense of it being driven by good fortune in the draft, this one is definitely harder to explain that way. Could be, but I am quite sympathetic to the organization being the key. Maybe its just Ozzie, but I suspect something else is going on. I reached out to Ravens fans and posed this very same question. I got interesting answers, but one's that were hard to prove in data. That frustrates me; but whatever, life doesn't always offer those opportunities. But just to be 100 percent clear, I do believe the Ravens have that organizational magic. It will go away one day, but here you and I are in complete argeement. So I hope you don't think I have completely dismissed your views. We are aligned in this case. And probably also with the Steelers. Less convinced because stylistically they have changed a few number of times, but whatever; I also believe something is there. I also believe bad organizations exist too. I think the Raiders are bad and fundamentally broken for reasons probably stemming to hiring decisions and a bunch of group think. They can still be good, but they need to be extra fortunate that their style of players happen to work out.

This is already a long post, but I think the source of our particular disagreement comes down to threshhold of classification. I think it takes me longer and requires more variables to qualify as organizational compared to you, I am guessing. That's fine. We can disagree. I certainly could be wrong. I am, in general, very slow to proclaim certain players great or even terrible. It took me forever to believe in Josh Allen for real. I am still stubborn to a fault in thinking Goff isn't god awful. I am still dumstruck by Rodgers being this bad when he doesn't LOOK old. Again my blindspots.

I hope we can move forward without acrimony. Never my intention in discourse for it go get acrimonious. I have strong views, but I also can be convinced and appreciate when people are able to pointedly explain where I am wrong. May not seem like it, but I have changed my views on many things through FO, including the infamous Gruden post. In large part to something you argued, Pat. 

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