Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Blizzard: remember that return to the mean

Dan Marino followed up his 48 TD season in '84 with 30 TDs in '85. And he followed up his 44 TD season in '86 with 26 TDs in '87 (in 12 games).

Kurt Warner followed up his 41 TD season in '99 with 21 TDs in '00 (in 11 games).

Peyton Manning followed up his 49 TD season in '04 with 28 TDs in '05. I remember fanball's fantasy preview magazine for '05: they listed each of Manning's season TD totals, and said "one of these things is not like the other." And in the next three seasons, Manning has dropped back closer to his still incredible pace.

Tom Brady threw 50 touchdown passes in '07. It's nuts to believe he'll get anywhere close to that next season.

In his previous five 16-game seasons going into 2007, Brady always threw between 23 and 28 touchdown passes. 2007 was a career year; it's more likely that Brady is the kind of QB who throws 23-28 TDs a season. Some might make the argument that he reached his previous numbers with mediocre WRs, and if he still has Moss, Welker, and Stallworth next year, he can keep up the ridiculous numbers. But I don't think that's very likely. Looking at his regular and postseason game logs, you could argue the return to the mean has already started. Brady threw 38 touchdown passes in his first 10 games, and 18 in his final 9 games. Obviously a two touchdown per game average is very good, but it's not record-breaking or otherworldly. If Brady has all of his receivers back next year, and he plays very well again, I think he could get to 35 touchdown passes. I think it's more likely that he throws right around or below 30, since I expect the Patriots to run for more touchdowns next season too.

That obviously still makes Brady a great quarterback and a great fantasy quarterback (just like Marino, Warner, and Manning were great fantasy quarterbacks), but if somebody is planning on making him a first-round pick in a snake draft or a high-priced player in an auction draft, it's not going to be me.


Dr. Z ranks all the Super Bowls by his own personal feelings, and calls Giants-Patriots the best Super Bowl ever. I'm a little leery of calling the most recent close game the best ever: as time passes, the previous close games develop an aura of historical inevitability, and we forget how suspenseful those previous games really were. However, Z does get at what made this game so special for me: it was a defensive slugfest where everything the offenses did was earned. That's very fun to watch. looks at a few different numbers to show that the 2007 Giants are the worst Super Bowl champion ever. That doesn't diminish my appreciation for what the Giants just did (it takes a special team to go on the road to knock off 9-7, 13-3, and 13-3 division winners, then go to a neutral site and beat a 16-0 team). And Giant fans shouldn't be bothered by this either: they have a championship, and quality points for that championship don't matter (better to be the worst champion than the best non-champion). But the numbers are convincing, and can leave us with some doubt about where the Giants are going in the future.

Cold, Hard Football Facts discusses legacies in relation to Super Bowl 42.

True Hoop compiles links to some of the reaction to the Miami-Phoenix trade. A lot of the focus is on Shaq going to Phoenix (rightly, as the Suns are a contender this year), but I'm definitely intrigued about Shawn Marion going to join Dwyane Wade in Miami. Isn't this some smart management by the Heat? They trade some of their future (Lamar Odom and Caron Butler), they get a friggin' championship out of it, and now they trade an aging and expensive Shaq for a very good 29 year old player? I like the move (assuming they keep Marion).


  1. Anonymous10:59 AM

    As long as you're giving examples of QBs with large TD variance, let's look at our old friend Daunte: 39 TD in 2004, 6 in 2005 (7 games ... that's still like 15 or 16 for the entire season).


  2. I just listed the 40+ guys. But the most impressive QB not to fall off was Brett Favre, who from '94 to '98 threw 33, 38, 39, 35, and 31. I think if we looked closer, we'd see that very rarely does a QB follow a 35+ season with a 35+ season. Favre in the mid-90s was really as good as a QB could be (hear that, RK?).

  3. Anonymous5:08 AM

    PV I'm glad you said it because I was thinking it and holding it in. I think Brett is the only player to have 3 35plus seasons and the only one to have a 35plus back to back. I may be wrong.

    I'd also like to stick up for Deion Branch, Troy Brown, David Patten and the other one, the one who went to the Titans and got hurt. Well those are all very good players--Troy Brown was the least talented of the lot. I know since leaving they haven't done much other than a couple stretches of excellent play because they seem to all have some sort of injury jinx placed over them by the same Devil Tom Brady sold his soul to. Maybe it isn't Randy Moss and Dante Stallworth, two of the most physically talented players at the position, but they were much better (and deeper) than what people will have you believe. Probably they compare most with the Marks Brothers or those old Washington receivers. Little speedy guys.