Friday, May 11, 2007

A lousy player's football card: 2006 Topps Arnaz Battle

Here's what card #142 of Topps 2006 collection says about 49 WR Arnaz Battle:

After making eight catches in his first two seasons, Arnaz snared 32 passes for the 49ers in 2005 (including his first three touchdown grabs) despite missing six games. His performance has convinced Coach Mike Nolan that the former college quarterback has a bright future in San Francisco. "He will be a part of this as we go forward," Nolan said.

How do you make 32 receptions in one season sound impressive? By comparing it to eight catches in two years (actually, it was 0 in '03 and 8 in '04). Suddenly you can think, "Wow! In 2005 Battle caught FOUR TIMES more receptions than he had in his previous career! That's improvement!" But really, going from "completely inadequate" to "just below mediocre" isn't that impressive.

Topps also editorializes that Mike Nolan thinks Battle has "a bright future with San Francisco." What Nolan said was, "He will be a part of this as we go forward." Does "he will be a part of this" mean "bright future" to you? Not to me.

However, maybe Battle does really have a bright future. After all, in '06 he improved to 59 receptions for 683 yards in 16 games, improving from "just below mediocre" to "simply mediocre." Though the 49ers deemed it worthy to acquire Darrell Jackson and Ashley Lelie this offseason: despite Battle's "bright future," he's probably a good #3 WR.

See for more information.

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