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Archive for August 2013

Pro Football HOF (and others) Does Have A Credibility Problem

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Image I watched about an hour of the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony last night and overall I agree with the choices.  Five out of the seven were around the majority of the 80’s-90’s, so they didn’t need any introduction to most of us. Two of them however would be a bit more obscure. David Robinson and Curley Culp.

I often feel as if I should have been born in an earlier time. It usually fluctuates between Colonial America/Revolutionary War period, a frontiersman, a variety of 19th archtypes, etc… In the 20th century, I would have loved to have been a cinematographer, movie/TV producer or what not.

The other thing I would have loved to have been was a football player and coach. I’m good with baseball too.  Given my physical size of 5’9″, 160 pounds or so, I would have would have played sometime around 1920’s-40’s, then gone into coaching. I would have absolutely loved to have been a head coach during the 60’s-80’s and have to go up against the caliber of Landry, Lombardi, Madden, Bum Phillips, Shula, you name it from week to week. I think a great fit would have been the Saints (or Falcons) and perhaps if Archie Manning had a better supporting cast around him, who knows what might have been. Of course, that was a different era.

One of my particular questions that doesn’t seem to be asked very much (at least in more mainstream circles) is for the merits of the coaches, executives and players who are voted into the Hall of Fame, who doesn’t get voted into the Hall of Fame who ought to? Being a Bengals fan, I wonder why doesn’t Ken Anderson or Ken Riley get in?  Is it because Anderson’s passing statistics aren’t the jaw-dropping figure that Dan Marino or Peyton Manning have?  Does Riley not get consideration because he played corner at a time when corner was considered something along the lines of a 2nd class citizen?  Is it because you can’t just pull up an interview of theirs on YouTube or read countless newspaper articles since they played in a city that isn’t exactly the media capital of the world. Now if they had been Dolphins, Steelers or Raiders, it would have been a different story.  Donovan McNabb and Boomer Esiason have more passing yards than Troy Aikman and Anderson has around the same number of passing yards plus his Yards PPA is the same as Marino’s 7.3. Yet what is the perception: Marino was the long ball thrower where Anderson was a short range passer. At least, his game against the 49ers was interesting when the Dolphins blew a big whopper in their SB because of a bad quarter. Hell, 95% of pass attempts are going to go within 10-15 yard range. But because those long touchdown passes (of which was a defensive back blowing the coverage or mis-tackle) make the highlights, that has too much sway with voters who are no different than the average person.

Highlight reels and big statistics are overblown especially when considering that in today’s football, it is a given that quarterbacks will attempt 40-50 passes a game. The set-up enables such a thing and big offenses sells tickets.  In another time, ball control and strong defenses were preferred.  If today’s quarterbacks and receivers had to play football the way it was played anytime from 100 years ago up until about the 20 years ago, obviously statistically speaking, they would be along the same lines.  Anybody notice that today you don’t have the great fullbacks and middle linebackers?  1,000 rushers are becoming a sideshow rather than the featured attraction.  That is because today’s football is passing friendly and so it is bound to happen.  Many of the HOF voters themselves grew up during the era of TV highlight reels and soundbites and are swayed unduly because of it.  The style has changed from running pretty much all the time, then it shifted to the 50/50 “balanced offenses” to today’s 40+ passing attempts per game.

So how does Curley or Robinson manage to get in now when if based on the merits of their careers, how come they didn’t get voted in 10 or 20 years ago? Did they uncover something that made them stand out to voters now that didn’t stand out way back then?  Your guess is as good as mine.  Until the people who sit on these committees explain their rationale a little better, we can come to our own conclusions as to why they vote the way they do.  Shoeless Joe and Pete Rose don’t get in because of gambling (and iffy as to whether they actually did), and we raise questions about whether Barry Bonds, McGwire or Clemens are HOF worthy because of connections to performance enhancing drugs.  But O.J. Simpson  remains even after being connected to two murders.  Beats the heck out of me.

Written by chrisforliberty

August 4, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Posted in General

Are NFL Players Really Faster Than College Players?

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One regular comment made in the past 5-10 years is that the NFL game is faster than college or that certain kinds of offenses don’t work in the NFL because the defensive players are faster overall than their college counterparts. But wouldn’t pro offensive players also be faster than college offensive players? I find this theory often stated as fact to not hold water. Actually my feeling is that the college game is played at a faster pace than the NFL. Or why do high school games have a better pace than either college or NFL games? There are several factors such as TV timeouts, subsitution rules, regulation time, etc… But what about the notion that NFL defensive players are overall faster than college players? Is the proof in 40 yard times? 40 yard times are vastly overrated and way too much hype surrounds its significance. There is a big difference between running sprints like you do in a track meet and running at angles while wearing about 30 pounds of gear on you. Also overall, college and NFL players tend to get bigger due to improved weight-lifting techniques, nutrition, and they are still growing physically into their 20’s,

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Why are the same style of offenses that seem to work very well at the college level like the various option offenses, spread type of offenses, “Fun ‘n’ Gun“, etc… don’t mesh in the NFL? The biggest reason is the way field is arranged. This can be gleaned from a little known comment that was made by a well-known quarterback almost 25 years ago:

The biggest difference Aikman has noticed between college and the pros is how much easier it is for NFL defensive backs to disguise their intentions. “Because the hash marks are narrower in the pros, the ball’s always closer to the middle of the field,” he says. “So if you’re a defensive back, you can wait a lot longer before committing to a certain part of the field.” As a result, NFL quarterbacks must read defenses as they drop back. “In college I was making a lot of presnap reads,” says Aikman. “It was much easier.” Troy Aikman, August, 21, 1989

In American football and Canadian football, the hash marks are two rows of lines near the middle of the field that are parallel to the side lines. These small lines (about 1 yard long) are used to mark each of the 5-yard lines, which go from sideline to sideline. All plays start with the ball on or between the hash marks. That is, if the ball is downed in between a hash mark and the nearest sideline, it must be reset on the hash mark for the next play. Prior to the adoption of hash marks (which were first utilized at the first NFL playoff game in 1932), all plays began where the ball was declared dead, including extra point attempts.
In most forms of professional football, including the National Football League, Canadian Football League, and most forms of indoor football, the hash marks are in line with the goal posts, both being 18 feet 6 inches (in the NFL and CFL) apart. Both high school football and college football have hash marks significantly wider than the goal posts. The college football standard is 40 feet apart; the high school standard is one-third of the width of the field (53 feet, 4 inches).

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Written by chrisforliberty

August 1, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Posted in General