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February 04, 2006

Who 'You Callin' "Frou Frou"? The Fuzzy Math of Matthew Yglesias, Part II

Posted By Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math. See also Part I.

It's time for another round of our guessing game, this time with mystery football teams. Here's a table of various egghead measures of how "tough" a football team plays (setting aside questions of whether or not catching a pass in middle of the field when the Strong Safety is about to pounce requires toughness), with the team's rank within the NFL in parens:

                                               
Team ATeam B
Rushing Attempts per Game34.3 (1)32.4 (7)
Rushing Plays/All Plays57.2 (1)50.1 (6)
Passes over 20 yards44 (T-10)44 (T-10)
Passes over 40 yards14 (1)11 (T-11)
Yards per Completion12.8 (1)11.8 (11)
% Receptions Resulting in 1st   down69.6 (1)68.0 (3)
Weenie pass percentage9.6 (27)9.4 (31)

[In the "weenie pass percentage" category, a lower ranking means the team makes fewer passes of five yards or fewer. In this case, this mean team B makes fewer dink-and-dunk tosses than team A.]

Any guesses?

  Your intuition is right this time. Team A is the Pittsburgh Steelers Health Care Workers, while team B is the Seahawks. The point here wasn't to surprise anyone; it was just to show that while they're not the league leaders in running the football and passing Only When It Matters, the Seahawks are at least top third of the league.

No, the Seahawks do not run as much as the Steelers. But that's because no one runs as much as the Steelers. In the past few years, no one has  ever really come close to running as much as the Steelers. If the Steelers are ahead in the second half, Bill Cowher simply refuses to pass the ball in situations where other teams would put it in the air. If people are going to call the Seahawks a bunch of nancy boys because they run the ball 32 times per game instead of 34 times per game, that's their right, but I think their desires for a run-only offense are highly unrealistic. After all, even the Steelers in the past few years have needed a high-octane passing game in order to advance in the playoffs.

To go along with their top-tier (though not as top tier as the Steelers) defense, the 'Hawks run an extremely effective vanilla offense, with lots of 3-7 yard runs and 9-16 yard passes. This is not an offense that looks like this year's Eagles, Patriots, or thid 1996 Green Bay Packers, all of which would count as "West Coast Offenses" that run slants or quick outs instead of handing the ball to a running back. There's no shame in what Holmgren has put together this year.

Personally I think there's no shame in the 1999 or 2001 Rams offense, but my views on that subject are clearly outside the mainstream, which demands that Real Men play football by having large guys run up the middle for four or five yards as frequently as possible, and win games through Defense and Running The Football. How the pass-wacky Patriots have avoided being called "soft" is beyond me.

February 4, 2006 in Sports, Weblogs | Permalink

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Comments

Pretty right on. Except Seattle's secondary is pretty crap.

You belong at Football Outsiders.

Posted by: Fnor | Feb 4, 2006 6:48:55 PM

Where do you think I got all of this stuff? :)

You're right about the secondary. Trufant has had a bad year, especially in the second half of the season.

Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Feb 5, 2006 4:54:36 PM

I have to say you have a great blog, i really enjoy reading it, i have bookmarked it so i can find it back

Keep up the good work

Greets
Gerda

Posted by: Gerda | Dec 7, 2006 9:06:36 AM

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Posted by: judy | Oct 1, 2007 5:20:20 AM

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