Football for Academically Challenged British Plonkers, Ed. 4: Fugazi QB Stats
Good day, and I welcome you Plonkers back to the fourth edition of FACBP. This week, we discuss some things that people claim are QB stats but aren’t really. These are known as “Fugazi Stats”. To explain this term, I’ll hand it over to Mark Hanna…
Turnover Worthy Plays (TOWPs)
When I read this tweet, I laughed. And laughed. And laughed.
Of all the dense and unprompted tweets to send, this is what was chosen? On top of that, finding the two stats that literally don’t mean anything? Hilarity.
So, why is this so funny?
To begin, it’s best to discuss what a TOWP is.
What is it?
You know when you’re in a bar/crowded room watching the game and then suddenly everyone makes that ungodly “OOOHHHHH” noise? That one tinged with curiosity, excitement, fear, and just a smidge of horniness?
That sound, is the sound of an outrageous play. The kind of play that all you sad-sacks dream about when you lie awake at night thinking about what could have been. The kind of highlight-making, Super-Bowl-winning, MVP-locks kind of plays.
Basically, when the QB — not including Carson Wentz because he makes no one horny — makes such a play, there is obviously some risk attached to that COULD result in a turnover. If there was no risk, it wouldn’t be fun and no one would care about it.
Now, the dudes over at PFF (is anyone honestly surprised?) decided to take the term “risk factor” and create a stat called TOWP. No one asked for this, yet here we are. They take fumbles, interceptions, and PLAYS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN INTERCEPTED(???) and quantified it. It’s dumb and they need to apologize immediately because this stat allowed dude-bros, like the previously mentioned Cowboys fan, to use it as a way to “determine a good QB”. [Insert one million laughing and rolling eyes emojis.]
Bad QBs, like Wentz, Darnold, and Goff, get away with stats like this. Wentz had the fifth-lowest TOWP last season. Does this mean he’s a good QB? Absolutely not, you just need to look at his games and realize that it might be time he takes a backup job instead (#HEINICKESZN). This stat makes him look accurate and perfect. But, when you look at most of his games, he rarely threw more than 30 passes. You know why? Because. He. Sucks.
TOWP exists to make teams feel better about their crappy QBs, when everyone knows the best QBs take risks and make the game 100% more entertaining (i.e. Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes). Cowboys fans are delusional anyway but woof. PFF just gives them that ammunition. I mean, using his own logic, Wentz is a better QB than Dak Prescott…
Now, if you’ve been keeping up-to-date with my FACBP pieces, you should be well aware that football is a TEAM sport. A big team consisting of 53 players, 46 of whom are active on gameday. My point is, that it’s a team sport.
So, I can understand the confusion when analysts tally a win next to the QB. He didn’t win the game on his own. He wasn’t throwing the ball to himself. One QB wasn’t sacking the opposing QB. So why? Yet another (bullshit) way to compare Quarterbacks.
Last season, Jameis Winston had a win percentage of 71.4%. That was better than Mahomes (70.0%), Burrow (65.0%), and Allen (63.2%). Can you seriously sit there and tell me that Winston is a better QB than all of these guys, including the AFC Championship-winning QB? Are you high? Winston is admittedly far more entertaining off the field than the rest of these guys, but using win percentage to say that he’s a better QB is just plain stupid. Plonkers. Another dumb stat that needs to be immediately retired.
WR YAC Inflates QB Passing Yards
Remember when we talked about wide receivers in Edition 2, and how they are responsible for catching the ball and taking it as far up the field as they can manage? They work hard, and it shows on the field when they’re running around like crazy, making acrobatic leaps for a one-handed catch, breaking people’s ankles, etc.
So, to quantify their tremendous effort, the analysts implement a stat known as YAC (Yards After Catch). This is the yards that the WR moves after the catch is made. People, it’s self-explanatory and it disappoints me when these simple terms are misunderstood. Which is exactly what “experts” do.
A QB’s PASSING yards seem to include YAC. That makes zero sense. Why? The QB didn’t run those extra 100, 200, 300 yards. His receivers did all that. This stat is that guy on your project who doesn’t actually contribute any work but, because you’re marked as a group, he still gets full credit. No one liked that guy in school, so why is it okay to apply the same thing here?
And the exact opposite works for WRs too. Why do they get “receiving yards” to include passing yards? The QB did all that work for the throw. Or, in Sam Darnold’s case, tried to do all that work.
Basically, analysts will do anything to kiss the ass of QBs because they’re “THe mOSt iMPorTANT pLAyer ON tHE TeAM”. Well, that’s just not true, is it? Because the Colts did just fine without one last season.
In my humble opinion, only one thing matters: the team hoisting that Lombardi. Everything else is, well, Fugazi.
I hope this was helpful for all you Plonkers! What football topic do you want explained next week? Let me know in the comments or send a Tweet, Carrier Pigeon, DM, Telepathic Energy, FB Message, Letter, Postcard, etc. But, for the love of God, DO NOT send me an email. Because I live in the stone ages and don’t use email. (Pfft. Idiots.)
Featured Image: Alamy.com