First Monday Musings Of 2021

Thanks to everyone who read Disaffected Musings yesterday, which saw the most views in the history of this blog for a day without a post. Actually, a year ago I would have been happy with yesterday’s number of views for a day with a post, but things change.

Human beings almost never judge events by objective reality, but against expectations and the status quo. If the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers each have an 8-8 record next year, for the Bengals it would be a successful season while for the Steelers it would be a failure even though it’s the same record.

Speaking of sports and football…It’s a badge of American manhood to think you know a lot about sports, but it’s often not a merit badge. On a related thought, fantasy football is well-named because it bears little or no resemblance to the real thing. Actually, the same thing is true about all fantasy sports.

When I was Director of Baseball Operations for a major league team, one of my “responsibilities” was to hobnob with wealthy season-ticket holders. I can’t count how many of them said something like, “I could run a major league team. I finished second in my fantasy league last year.”

I would bite my tongue hard and then ask them a question or two about running a team or evaluating players. I am still waiting for my first correct answer.

Long way ’round…in this post I showed a table of NFL quarterbacks ranked by something called TOTSC. This metric uses the two individual stats that matter most in passing performance: yards per attempt and interceptions. With the regular season over, I thought I would show the final rankings and make some comments including the fact that the guy at the top of the charts is not going to win the MVP award:

 

    RANK TOTSC
Deshaun Watson HOU   1 3.28
Aaron Rodgers GB   2 2.82
Patrick Mahomes KC   3 2.57
Ryan Tannehill TEN   4 1.78
Derek Carr LV   5 1.36
Josh Allen BUF   6 1.36
Drew Brees NO   7 1.12
Matthew Stafford DET   8 0.87
Kirk Cousins MIN   9 0.68
Baker Mayfield CLE   10 0.68
Philip Rivers IND   11 0.60
Tom Brady TB   12 0.57
Justin Herbert LAC   13 0.57
Matt Ryan ATL   14 0.50
Joe Burrow CIN   15 0.34
Gardner Minshew JAX   16 0.27
Teddy Bridgewater CAR   17 0.17
Russell Wilson SEA   18 -0.02
Kyler Murray ARI   19 -0.35
Lamar Jackson BAL   20 -0.40
Jared Goff LAR   21 -0.58
Ryan Fitzpatrick MIA   22 -0.60
Ben Roethlisberger PIT   23 -0.78
Tua Tagavailoa MIA   24 -0.90
Can Newton NE   25 -1.02
Daniel Jones NYG   26 -1.21
Mitchell Trubisky CHI   27 -1.40
Andy Dalton DAL   28 -1.53
Nick Mullens SF   29 -2.07
Nick Foles CHI   30 -2.55
Drew Lock DEN   31 -2.80
Alex Smith WSH   32 -2.96
Dwayne Haskins WSH   33 -2.99
Sam Darnold NYJ   34 -3.03
Carson Wentz PHI   35 -3.72

 

Coming into this season, I had always thought that DeShaun Watson was a tad overrated, that he was a good quarterback who was thought by most to be great. One season does not a career make, but in light of everything that happened to that franchise, including the trade of their best receiver, I think his performance was great in 2020.

Along the lines of one season does not…, but still giving a player his due, I never thought Josh Allen could play at this level. Despite his obvious physical skills, he was a mediocre player in a non-Power Five conference in college. College is not more difficult than the NFL. Give Allen credit for his tremendous work ethic and give the Bills’ coaching staff tremendous credit for ironing out his flaws. I will also give Tom Brady his due as he played much better than I thought he would at age 43.

It is interesting to note that the two quarterbacks at the bottom were both drafted among the top three players overall in their respective draft years and that their futures with their current teams are less than clear. It’s also interesting to note that the two best running quarterbacks in the league, and two of the best of all-time, ranked a middling 19th and 20th with one team in the post season and one team out. Oh, the disclaimer: TOTSC does not pretend to measure leadership, the ability to audible to a better play, running capability or anything else except passing productivity. This metric is not adjusted for strength of schedule, although it could be. The quality of talent surrounding the quarterback and his system fit are not measured, either.

The biggest drawback to TOTSC, in my opinion, is that a player’s rating will almost certainly change even if he isn’t playing, say because of an injury. That could be partly mitigated by using more than one season as the basis for comparison. The current NFL system is flawed because it is no longer possible to really compare passing performance across different seasons, which was one of the reasons the system was developed.

The theoretical average in the NFL system is 66.7. The current system is based on data from 1960 to 1972. For 2020, the average passer rating for all qualified quarterbacks was 95.3. A quarterback with a 95.3 rating in 1970 was an effective passer, not an average one.

Anyway…enough of this scribbling. Because this type of analysis has nothing to do with fantasy football, few football fans would be interested in reading it. It would also not be considered advanced enough for football teams to have interest. I still think, though, that similar analyses and writing WOULD be of value to companies like Barrett-Jackson or Mecum. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Speaking of cars…

On this day in 1930, and not being the best of timing, Cadillac first introduced its V-16 engine/car to the public at the New York Auto Show. The car was offered in two generations through 1940 despite that it’s likely Cadillac lost money on every car. In its first model years, depending on the exact variant, the car could have had a price as high as $9,700. One could have purchased a 1930 Chevrolet, Cadillac’s GM stablemate, for $495.

 

 

From the 2019 Elegance at Hershey is a picture I took of a 1930 Cadillac Series 452, meaning a V-16 powered car. It made an in-person impression far beyond what is conveyed in this photo.

 

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3 thoughts on “First Monday Musings Of 2021

  1. OH, I love that Cadillac!

    I don’t follow sports much, I pay attention to the Vikings (almost always a disappointment), the NDSU Bison, and since Carson Wentz, the Philadelphia Eagles. My most favored team, however, is the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the American Association of Professional Baseball, an independent league.

    Due to the pandemic, we only attended one game in 2020. Our remaining ticket vouchers are still good in 2021, and my wife again bought me a 13-voucher pass for Christmas this year. We hope to make up for the games we missed last year.

    Happy New Year and happy blogging!

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      1. Good question. Probably. He’s a home-grown North Dakota boy, so unless he moves on from football, I’ll be wondering what he’s up to.

        With his first big NFL paycheck, he did some great things for North Dakota right off the bat.

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