Please take a look at #111 on this list.
Last night I dreamt I was back in college. While I don’t know if this dream was set in the present day, I was much older than the rest of the students. Chaos was the operative idiom as people seemed to be everywhere and always in a frenzy.
I simply could not keep up. I was way behind in my reading for my classes AND I had lost my textbooks. Part of the dream was my frantic search for those books. To use a present-day expression for not the first time, what’s up with that?!
The vast majority of sports announcers are AWFUL in understanding context. In particular, they become breathless when talking about the latest NFL passing record that falls.
When it comes to passing, NFL stats from today cannot be compared to those from, say, fifty years ago without a whole lot of massaging. For the last 40 years, the NFL has gone out of its way to make passing easier and that effort shows in the stats.
The NFL and AFL merged into one league beginning with the 1970 season. Here are the league passing statistics from 1970 and 2019:
Someone with an expected completion percentage of 63.8% is 780 times more likely to complete 30 passes consecutively than someone with an expected completion percentage of 51.1%. Someone with an expected completion percentage of 70.0% is 12,598 times more likely to complete 30 passes consecutively than someone with an expected completion percentage of 51.1%.
Of course all of the records for yards, completion percentage, etc. are being set now. The season is longer now as well, 16 games compared to 14 games in 1970. Hey announcers, stop going ga-ga over passing records being set today. They are inevitable given the context. To paraphrase Shakespeare, there is nothing good or bad but context makes it so. Speaking of context, it is easier to have gaudy passing stats playing half of your games indoors:
Drew Brees, 2015-2019
Home Passer Rating 114.7
Road Passer Rating 96.5
The idea of keeping facts in context applies to cars as well, of course. We are spoiled today in that we have automobiles with gobs of horsepower and torque that also get better gas mileage, produce fewer emissions and are intrinsically safer than cars from not that long ago. When I began working in baseball full-time in 1988, a road car like my C7 Corvette Z06 was unimaginable. Even the 1988 Corvette had only 245 HP. The car didn’t have a Tire Pressure Management System, for example, a system now mandatory on all cars. From corvsport.com a picture of a 1988 Corvette:
I have to admit that those wheels look suspiciously like a set from a later generation Corvette, but what do I know? Going off on a tangent (what else is new?!)…I have written before how much the C4 Corvette is growing on me. I really think if someone wants to buy their first Corvette, a later C4 model (say, 1992-1996) is a very good place to start.
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