Archive for May, 2008

Against Anti-Grade Zealots, Part II

May 2, 2008

Aaron has responded to my post questioning his curious anti-grade fervor. His answer contains lots of words but few new insights. Like his first post, it never really gets to the roots of his rage, which leaves the reader wanting desperately to understand better his fervent opposition to post-draft grading.

This is as close as he comes:

Perhaps it’s because I start each post here at Cheesehead TV with the assumption that you, dear reader, are not an idiot. That every person compelled to follow a professional football team to the point where they check multiple blogs about their team is well aware of the tried and true axiom of needing to wait AT LEAST three years before one can truly begin to take stock of what transpired on draft day.

But that, dear reader, is precisely my point.  Of course we can’t know whether the draft is going to be great right after the draft and of course readers know this.  But the same is true for evaluating individual players.  Brian Brohm is only a “steal” — as Aaron put it — if you’re projecting future performance based on his play in college.

Aaron answers this objection — or tries to — by writing:

Assigning value to individual selections is a much more subjective exercise (and therefore well suited to blogging) than giving out letter grades for an entire draft, with a universally agreed upon standard of what constitutes “A” through “F”.

First of all, I don’t agree with his claim that individual evaluations are “a more subjective exercise” than giving out grades for a class.  How is that true?  They’re both subjective.  And I’m not sure that there is such a “universally agreed upon standard” of the meaning of grades A through F.  (What accounts for the difference between my English grades from, say, Mr. Bearden and Miss Shapiro, with consistent effort and quality?)

More to the point, doesn’t this claim undermine his broader argument?  If draft grades are “bullshit” because they are an attempt to apply universal standards to the unknowable, then aren’t these “more subjective” evaluations of the unknowable even more meaningless?

Now I think it’s completely harmless to slap a grade on a draft immediately after the draft is over. Real fans don’t take grades too seriously and understand that we won’t be able to evaluate a draft for years.

But I agree with Aaron that it’s possible to get carried away with the whole grading thing. The guys at footballoutsiders.com, for instance, have aggregated grades given by so-called experts and run standard deviations to evaluate the evaluations.  This is what a friend used to call mental masturbation (unlike, say, the rest of this post).

Aaron Rodgers, Delicate Flower

May 1, 2008

BratsNBeerGuy has the last (and funniest) word on the inane commentary suggesting Aaron Rodgers might have had his feelings hurt when the Packers drafted Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn.  Here.

Plus, he demonstrates that drinking beer can curb global warming.  Even if you’re skeptical of global warming alarmists, you should not be skeptical about beer as a problem solver.

Brett Favre, Mediocre?

May 1, 2008

That’s what a commenter called “Cheeseheads” wrote to protest our labeling of Peyton Manning as a “whiner.”  This Manning fan also wrote that Favre has been “stuck in mediocrity” for years.  (Anyone in reading the entire comment can do so at the end of this post.  If you do read it, be sure to treat yourself to PackerBelle’s devastating smack-down immediately afterwards.)  Let me address that second point first, because it’s so easily dispensed with, and return to the second.

A quick check NFL.com’s passing statistics rankings for 2007 show that this guy simply has no idea what he’s talking about.  Brett Favre is #4, Peyton Manning is #7.  Favre had three fewer touchdowns than Manning and one more interception.  But Favre had more yards, a higher completion percentage, a higher yards/game average and was sacked six fewer times than the cement-legged Manning.  Put simply: Favre was better this year than Peyton Manning.  And Favre was statistically the fourth best quarterback.  That’s not mediocre.

The “interception machine” point is something you hear frequently about Favre.  Yes, the guy threw a lot of interceptions.  288 to be precise.  But what this kind of claim fails to recognize is that Favre threw more passes than any other quarterback in NFL history.  When you consider interceptions-per-attempt, Favre’s numbers are worse than several Hall of Fame quarterbacks and better than several others.

Brett Favre

Att: 8759

Int: 288

Ratio: .0328

Peyton Manning

Att: 5405

Int: 153

Ratio: .0283

Joe Montana

Att: 5391

Int: 139

Int: .0257

Troy Aikman

Att: 4715

Int: 141

Ratio: .0299

Steve Young

Att: 4149

Int: 107

Ratio: .026

Dan Marino

Att: 8358

Int: 252

Ratio: .301

Johnny Unitas

Att: 5186

Int: 253

Ratio: .0487

Bart Starr

Att: 3149

Int: 138

Ratio: .0438


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