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The Insanity of Vague Comparisons

Years Team Wins, Year 1 Wins, Year 2 Wins, Year 3 Wins, Year 4

1984-87 Vikings 3 7 9 8.5

1994-97 Redskins 3 6 9 8.5

2000-03 Falcons 4 7 9.5 5

2000-03 Browns 3 7 9 5

2009-12 Lions 2 6 10 ???

via The insanity of crowning a team the next great thing and the NFL’s Top 100 Players list – Grantland.

This dude went in way too hard on random statistics to show a pattern that the Lions, after improving from Year 1 to 2 and to 3 will decline in 4.

I disagree. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apophenia:

Apophenia is the experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data.

Problem with comparing these teams? First, the Detroit Lions are improving with a great QB and WR tandem, above all. Elite QBs change the game. That 2003 Browns team? Split quarterbacking between Tim Couch and Kelly Holcomb (http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/cle/2003.htm). Wonder why they sucked in ’03?

We could look up the rest – and I will – but none of the above mentioned probably ever had a QB throw for 5,000 yards. Staff Dog.

1987 Vikings – 3 horrible QBs, one who started 7, one who started 3, and one who started 5. A dysfunctional season that makes the win stats less meaningful.

1997 Redskins – Gus Frerotte, the staple of mediocrity, goes 6-6-1, and Jeff Hostetler goes 2-1. Man, if only.

2003 Falcons – Another bad example. The end of the Doug Johnson era (1-7 record), the shit Kurt Kitt era (1-3), but the finale: the birth of Michael Vick (3-1 in final 4 games). Great comparison to entrenched starter Matthew Stafford.

There you have it, snarfs.

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3 Comments

  1. Young $narf's Gravatar Young $narf
    June 27, 2012    

    Sometimes stats just don’t tell the whole story.

  2. oldschool's Gravatar oldschool
    June 28, 2012    

    …………………………I guess ESPN must be swamped with Apopheniacs then eh snarfs!

    • Young $narf's Gravatar Young $narf
      June 28, 2012    

      No doubt.

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