Category Archives: Sports

Sports

Andy Reid: By The Numbers

In her Friday ESPN Column, Ashley Fox posits that “Reid will survive Eagles’ nightmare.” She presents a good case, and tops it off with this nugget:

Reid is also under contract through 2013. Buying him out would not be cheap.

So take a deep breath, and be prepared for a Reid Redux in 2012. That said, I’m worried. I’m worried because if you’re not getting better in the NFL, you’re getting worse. I broke down Donovan McNabb’s numbers here back in April 2010 when McNabb was traded. So let’s dissect the Reid era.

Andy Reid, Wins By Year

1999-2004: On the Way Up

Obviously 1999 was the beginning of the rebuilding. Interestingly, Reid’s first year, 5-win total actually improved upon 1998′s 3 win campaign, the last under Ray Rhodes. Throw out all the other stats: wins matter. And win he did, steadily rising up to 2004′s 13 win total (which, had they had anything to play for the last few weeks of the season, would have undoubtedly be greater). Note the consistency.

1999-2004: Summary

4 consecutive division titles, 5 consecutive trips to the playoffs, 7 playoff wins, 4 consecutive NFC Championship Games, and a Super Bowl appearance.

1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 GP W L Pct.
5-11 11-5 11-5 12-4 12-4 13-2 96 64 31 .667

2005-2011: On the Way Down

To quote the Wikipedia entry on the matter, “The 2005 Philadelphia Eagles season was a complete disaster for the team.” Between the Terrell Owens show and the injuries – and the post-Super Bowl hangover – it got ugly. Since 2004′s 13 wins, the Eagles have failed to win more than 11 games – and they’ve done that only once.

2005-2011: Summary

In the 7 seasons from 2005-2011, Reid’s earned 2 division titles, 4 playoff appearances, 3 playoff wins, and 1 NFC Championship appearance. Granted 2011 isn’t over yet, but I’m willing to bet that they aren’t getting to the playoffs this year.

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 GP W L Pct.
6-10 10-6 8-8 9-6-1 11-5 10-6 3-6 105 57 47 .543

End of an Era?

Not only has Reid been on a downward spiral since 2005, but he has also been maddeningly inconsistent. And not only from season to season, but within seasons. Consider 2006; the Eagles were 5-6 before miraculously running off 5 consecutive wins to seize the division.

In 2009 they seemed to catch lightning in a bottle, but still came up short.  Mike Vick’s 2010 season clouded the reality of a team in disarray. The team we saw at the conclusion of the 2010 season was in fact the Real Eagles – the Eagles we see before us now. A bad team.

His teams since 2005 have shown Zero signs of the steady, consistent improvement that marked the first half of his tenure here.

The Reid era ended in January 2005.  The numbers bear it out.

NFL 18 Game Schedule: Could It Fix the Playoffs?

The Nuts and Bolts of the “Enchanced” Season

I have some vacation time this week, so I figured I’d try to shore up the NFL game and solve some of the business issues they’re having. The Nation Football Post has a great series of articles about the NFL’s labor situation, and how it might shake out. Seems the 18 game season is going to happen. Some of the interesting ideas, all of which seem sensible to me:

  • Addition of a second Bye Week
  • Larger Roster Size
  • Change in Vesting Requirements for Pension
  • Increased Roster Size
  • Increased Gameday Roster Size
  • Decreased Offseason Work

For all the details, please read Andrew Brandt’s excellent article at the National Football Post.

Playoff Problems

The sorry state of the NFC West draws attention to the problem of 4 team divisions in each conference. A division goes in the tank and a couple of 10-6 teams miss the playoffs. The Patriots missed the playoffs at 11-5 in 2008 when the AFC West sent the 8-8 Chargers.

The problem as I see it is that 4 teams are too few for a division. Only 6 games are in division. The bulk of the season – 10 games (as presently configured) – is determined outside your division. It seems unreasonable that 62% (67% in an 18-game season) of your

Do we want Steve Spurrier in the playoffs?

schedule lies outside of your division and yet winning your division gets you in automatically. Assuming the Rams win on Sunday they’ll be in the playoffs at 8-8, sporting an in division record of  4-2. Outside their division: 2-6, 6-6 in conference. So the best teams in the conference aren’t going.

That’s a problem. Right now, there are 3 teams in the NFC that have better records than the Rams within the conference (in fact, no matter what happens Sunday, all 3 will finish with better conference records): The NY Giants, Green Bay Packers, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Two of those teams will not make the playoffs. All of them may well win 10 games.

I Say Realign!

I say realign. And the 18 game schedule presents the perfect opportunity to do so. Realign into the 4 divisions of 8 teams each, 2 divisions per conference. And do it simply: merge the East and North Divisions and the South and West divisions of each conference. And give the divisions real names.

National Football Conference

Halas Division

Chicago Bears
Dallas Cowboys
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings
New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles
Washington Redskins

Rozelle Division

Arizona Cardinals
Atlanta Falcons
Carolina Panthers
New Orleans Saints
San Francisco 49ers
Seattle Seahawks
St. Louis Rams
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

American Football Conference

Rooney Division

Baltimore Ravens
Buffalo Bills
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Miami Dolphins
New England Patriots
New York Jets
Pittsburgh Steelers

Hunt Division

Denver Broncos
Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars
Kansas City Chiefs
Oakland Raiders
San Diego Chargers
Tennessee Titans

Playoffs

Playoffs are simple: division winners get automatic bye and home advantage in divisional round. Wildcards are the next 4 best teams in each conference.

NFL Week 17 In Progress: Singletary Out

Singletary-ed Out

Mike Singletary does not have a head coaching job. As it turns out, football requires preparation, practice, effective staff, offensive and defensive game planning, flawless special teams, extensive study of the opposition, and decisive leadership, among other things. It’s very exciting to see all that Rah-Rah emotional, passionate, exuberant stuff. But it just doesn’t get it done in the NFL. In the NFL, the smooth, business-like operations are the ones that fare best. Here’s the plan, execute it or get cut or fired. Or get publicly humiliated by a middling coach if you’re Donovan McNabb.

There’s no plan in San Fracisco. Hasn’t been one in some time. Singletary was not seasoned enough for a head coaching position – he may not have the temperament

Sadly, Divine Intervention Was Not Forthcoming

for it at all. He never should have been hired in the first place – regardless of whether he has what it takes to be a head coach, he certainly didn’t have enough Xs and Os experience.

Great players rarely make very good coaches, and without experience and guidance, they never do. This isn’t any great new idea. More often than not, it’s a fringe guy, one of the ones that really had to bust it to make the team who become great coaches. Why? I think it’s simple: the harder you have to work for it, the better you understand the persistence and preparation required to be successful.

Take a look at Phil Jackson’s playing career. Or Bill Belichik’s (assuming he had one). Now I’m not saying it’s always a lock that just any fringe player can become a Superior Head Coach. I am saying that The Great Talents in sport almost never do. Bart Starr was the Packers’ Head Coach for 9 seasons. He made the playoffs once. Wayne Gretzky coached the Phoenix Coyotes for four seasons and never made the playoffs – in a league in which everyone makes the playoffs.

Conversely, Sean Payton (a 1987 NFL scab, no less) sports a 3 game career NFL Passer Rating of 27.3. Any person who’s never played an NFL game in their life has a 39.6 rating. A 27.3 is so mind-bogglingly poor it defies description. And yet the man surely has at least one more Super Bowl Ring than I have.

To his credit, Jed York says first things first: he’s getting himself a General Manager. That’s a start, and should be of some comfort to Niner Fans.

And after the GM is hired – and assuming the CBA is sorted out – a coach will be selected.

And then a quarterback. The 49ers don’t have one.


"We should have known after this rant."

NFL Week 16 – Eagles Grounded, Game Postponed

The Eagles Sunday Night game has been postponed until Tuesday night, the 27th 28th. This annoys me beyond all reason, primarily because I didn’t particularly want the game “flex’d” to begin with – it was originally scheduled for 1pm.

This Man Can Play in the Snow, Dammit!

And anyway, now I’m a tad embarrassed that we have Minnesota in town and can’t handle a little snow. Well, OK, maybe it’s a lot. Mayor Nutter asked everyone to stay in after about 2pm, which is fine by me.

And I’m not making any picks this week. The Rams and Niners are playing for the division, or the NHL playoffs or whatever, which is shameful. And the Eagles aren’t playing.

So to heck with it.

Merry Christmas, everybody!