Monday, December 25, 2006

Be a pretentious football fan: read statistical websites

I know that title sounds sarcastic, but it's not. You will be smarter if you read websites like Football Outsiders and Cold, Hard Football Facts.

Cold, Hard Football Facts has an article about the Viking run D you should read. Here's a key passage:

With just one game left in the 2006 season, the Vikings have held their 15 opponents to a mere 817 yards on 312 attempts. That's an average of 2.62 yards per carry. You have to go all the way back to the 1951 Giants, who surrendered 2.3 yards per rush attempt, to find a defense that was tougher against the run.

Here's how the Vikings now stack up against the greatest run defenses of the Super Bowl Era. As we discussed last week, one thing will jump out: Most of these teams were not very good. Note the 2000 Chargers. Only four defenses in the Super Bowl Era were tougher to run against. The 2000 Chargers went 1-15.

Kinda punctures a big hole in the whole "you must stop the run to win" theory. The truth is that you must do a lot of things well to win. No matter how well you do one thing, like stop the run, it won't help you if you suck in several other areas.


  1. It seems to me that the Outsiders are committing a common logical fallacy by confusing necessary conditions for sufficient ones. Having a good run defense is necessary for success (especially in the playoffs) but it is not sufficient.

    So the fact that the very best rush defenses were on teams that were bad only goes to show that it is not enough to stop the run in order to be a good team. You need a good offense and pass defense as well. My guess is if they looked at the teams that were successful in the Super Bowl era (say, the champions of each conference), they would find teams that were successful in stopping the run, backing up the old saw about needing to be able to stop the run.

  2. I'd agree with tbird, but is there anything these teams also share in common? Besides sucking? Low rush against attempts? Lossing by large margins which might indicate backups playing big minutes? Hmmm...

  3. It's true, the Cold, Hard Football Facts point proves lack of sufficiency, not lack of necessity. If Indianapolis wins the Super Bowl, then it would show lack of necessity (or be a glaring exception to the rule).