The Electric Commentary

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Winnerness

If you go to NFL.com right now to check out the scores, you will notice that the Falcons have 32 points. You might think that the Falcon QB Michael Vick has had a good game, but this really isn't the case. Mikey is having a nice game as a RB, hitting the 100 yard mark, but he's only thrown for 157 yards to this point, and he's thrown a pick (which was returned 99 yards for a TD).

If you check out the individual scores in that game you will notice that the Falcons have kicked 6 field goals, not exactly the mark of a dominant offense. You will also notice that the two Falcon TDs came on a DeAngelo Hall interception return for a TD, and a long Jerious Norwood TD run. Vick had little, if anything to do with either of these plays.

Yet I'm sure that at some point this week I will hear someone refer to Michael Vick as a winner. I hate this. He's not as terrible as I often make him out to be. Sure, he can't pass, but his running is nothing to sneeze at. That said, Atlanta wins primarily because of a good O-Line and a solid defense, not a stellar QB.

Believe it or not, I have a few friends who happen to be Bear fans who still maintain that Kyle Orton should be starting because "he's a winner."

There seems to be a strong human compulsion to attribute some mystical "winner" quality to any member of a plus-.500 team. It's very irritating. Baseball is the best example. Baseball routinely awards its Cy Young award, which is to award the best pitcher in baseball, to the guy with the most "Wins." "Wins" is probably the most annoying stat in baseball, because a pitcher will be more likely to get a win if he plays on a team with a good offense. and pitching has nothing to do with the pitcher's team's offense. Roger Clemens is routinely the best pitcher in the National League, rarely giving up more than 2 runs a game, but his team, the Houston Astros, boasts one of the most inept offenses in baseball. As a result, Clemens routinely misses out on "wins" through no fault of his own. Only his name recognition has allowed him to win the Cy Young in more recent years.

(Don't even get me started on the MVP award and its focus on the deplorable RBI.)

So, people (And sportswriters) apparently care a great deal about the mystical voodoo quality of "winnerness." Rather than seek out the true cause of the winning they just assign everyone a slice and assume that if not for that person's winnerness the team would cease to win.

The fact is the Kyle Orton (and Michael Vick) aren't winners. They're members of the "Winner" entourage, shamelessly mooching off of the winning contributions of others while grabbing as much spotlight as they can while their patrons allow it.

3 Comments:

  • Yeah--wins are one of those stats that grate on me as well. It's a team stat. At the All Star break Jason Marquis of the Cardinals had 11 wins, but an ERA over 5.

    And there's no doubt that the win by the Falcons will "prove" Michael Vick is a great QB to the lazy football analysts. The end result is the only thing many of these guys will look at. Falcons Win = Vick Good.

    By Blogger Chris, at 5:11 PM  

  • There are clearly some guys who do what it takes to win, especially at QB, but you've got to be able to pick those guys out from the guys who just get credit for the strength of their team.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 7:27 PM  

  • I agree in general, but in defense of Vick, his receivers have has a bad case of the drops lately. Vick hit at least five receivers in the hands on Sunday. Crumpler - ATL's most reliable hands guy - has had it bad lately, he dropped an easy TD pass on Monday night and several other gimmies on Sunday. He did catch one TD pass though but it was brought back on a BS holding call.

    While Vick will never be Peyton Manning or Dan Marino, he actually has been pretty decent at quarterback this year. People also have to realize that a few of his incomplete passes are sideline dumps from where he is running from rushes that every other quarterback gets sacked on. Since he doesn't throw as much as the average quarter back, a couple of those plays can have a material impact on his accuracy numbers. But yeah, the net reality is that he is still fairly inaccurate.

    At the end of the day though, it is about the wins, and while the O line and defense deserve a lot of credit, we can't ignore the production that comes out of the QB position or the way that he opens up the running game for everybody else. If you don't think that the defense honing in on Vick during play action plays has anything to do with the NFL-leading explosive runs by the Falcons backs then you're not watching the same games that I'm watching.

    I don't think that we should throw out the numbers, but the Falcons offense is definitely a unique beast. With that said, tf they dropped Ashley Leile in as the #1 receiver (I still don't know WTF White has done to deserve that distinction) and gave Norwood about 10 touches per game, the Falcons score 10 more points per contest.

    By Anonymous Rashid Z. Muhammad, at 1:58 PM  

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