My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Tuesday, January 5

NFL Football Statistics

I know this topic will be a real snoozer for many readers, but if you’re a sports fan you might find it interesting. Ever since the movie Moneyball, we’ve all become acquainted with metrics (originally called “sabermetrics,” a term that applies only to baseball) to determine how good or bad a team is, how good or bad a specific player is. But metrics, what we used to call statistics, is now used extensively in other sports, gaining a certain mystique about its efficacy. Take football, for example, especially that of the NFL. We judge a quarterback by how many yards he’s realized via the pass, how many completions compared to incompletions, how many touchdowns, how many plays he’s involved with that result in negative yardage. Take that first one, yardage gained by passing. He gets credit for all the yards gained on a play even if he only flipped a little screen pass with which the receiver then ran 85 yards and a score. The quarterback gets credit for all 85 yards as a pass as well as a pass for td? That makes no sense, and metrically it really skews the results (or screws up the results). How about interceptions? A quarterback throws from the opponents’ one-yard line and it’s intercepted (think Mark Wilson’s baddie in last year’s Super bowl, or Kurt Warner’s really baddie in the 2009 Super bowl, an interception that was run back a hundred yards for a score). How does one metrically equate those two examples with an interception from mid-field on a third-and-long that gets picked at the goal line? It’s not at all painful or disastrous since it’s almost exactly the same as a punt that went fifty yards. No foul, no harm. But the quarterback gets stuck with a metrical interception. Rush yards: a running back gets credit for yards gained only when it isn’t a pass. But what about all the yards he gained after a reception? A team’s rushing yardage and its gain per rush? How does one figure in three or four kneel-downs at the end of a half or the end of a game? Each kneel-down loses a yard, each is called a play from scrimmage, yet metrically all they do is skew (or screw up) the rushing statistics. How about sacks? There are sacks and there are sacks, but not each one is equal metrically. A sack of the opposing quarterback for a fifteen-yard loss should weigh more than a sack of only one or two yards. And why should a defender get credit for a sack if it’s only because he was the nearest one when a quarterback runs out of bounds for a short yardage loss? There are other statistical considerations that might tell us how good or bad a game was, but one doesn’t really need a stat sheet to know who’s winning or losing. He just has to watch the game.
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