Football continues to be explained to the public primarily by use of lame statistics, and this just isn’t an issue for New York Giants fans.
Once upon a time, football was the cutting-edge sport in America. Since it was played in a confined space of a larger playing surface, the sport was perfect for television. In fact, the popularity of football is linked to the 1958 NFL Championship game between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants.
Ironically, as technology has evolved, football has mostly stayed the same. HD television has opened up new horizons on ice and the baseball diamond for sure.
In football, the networks now employ former officials to discuss replay calls that elongate the game further each season. In addition, football fans thrive on social media spending hours complaining about the officials. Yet players get to blow assignments, fumble, drop passes and commit penalties with increasing regularity.
Because it’s easy fodder for announcers to use to eliminate dead air. Of course, most, if not all, announcers have little to no training in officiating rules or mechanics. It doesn’t stop them from critiquing officials, however.
Still, either through sheer laziness, or lack of confidence in the football consumer, that they refuses to dive into player deficiencies or missed plays.
In fact, the same brand of pass happy football was employed by the American Football League in the 1960’s, exists today. Football metrics, what are they? Baseball, basketball and hockey have developed metrics that explain certain trends on the playing surface.
Metrics don’t explain everything because the human element remains within these contests. Some folks might want to do away with the inconvenient truth that the human element makes sporting competition interesting.
To hear CBS analyst Trent Green on Sunday, legitimate questions pertaining to the play of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning were fake news. After all, coming into this contest, he had the highest completion percentage of his career at 68 percent.
If you hang your hat on that statistic, then how do you explain Manning’s 21-44 (48 percent completion rate) performance on Sunday? Well, you blame the offensive line or dropped passes, when the truth is that Manning executed poorly.
Green’s booth sidekick, former Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, blathered about converting on third down. The Titans converted five of 14 third-down attempts, while the New York Giants were 3-16.
Neither team was great, and so the Giants were actually more pathetic. But it begs the question: did New York lose this game due to their lack of third-down conversions?
We’d like to say that the Titans defense caused the third-down demise for the G-Men, but truth is that the offense was stuck in the mud for most of Sunday’s contest. The third-down conversion discussion usually becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy for the losing team.
For example, in the Giants 40-16 drubbing of the Washington Redskins, New York went 4-13 on third-down. It was a non-factor in determining the outcome, so why discuss it? On the other hand, it seems obvious that the Giants were not proficient on third-down, yet they won by 24 points!
The simple truth remains is that teams want to stay away from having to convert on third-down, especially in long yardage situation. By nature, these situation are difficult for offenses to convert because they are strictly one-dimensional.
Just remember, if you have too many third-down attempts, it may mean your offense isn’t operating at peak efficiency.
There are far too many talking heads analyzing NFL today. At least, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo makes things interesting. He doesn’t spew in consequential stats, he diagrams why plays work or don’t work.
Real football fans don’t need statistics thrown at them at every turn. In most games, your team either passes or fails the “eye test”. Hopefully someone can get through to analysts that less is indeed more!