ANOTHER SAD SACK EFFORT ON MONDAY NIGHT A STUNNING THOUGHT:

TStecker

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ANOTHER SAD SACK EFFORT ON MONDAY NIGHT A STUNNING THOUGHT:
Phil Mushnick-NY Post
Isn?t just amazing that Patrick Kerney and the Seahawks win games when they get a lot of sacks?
November 16, 2007 -- DEATH and statistics - two topics sportscasters should avoid because they always stretch too far to reach dubious conclusions. In the first quarter of Niners-Seahawks, Monday night, ESPN, led by Tony Kornheiser, pursued both.

After Mike Tirico noted that Niners' coach Mike Nolan, following the death, the day before, of his father, said there was never a question whether he'd be on the sidelines for this game - he would be - Kornheiser could have left it at that.

Instead, in keeping with Monday Night Football on ESPN tradition, Kornheiser eschewed silence in favor of my-turn, me-too noise-making. ?That's how you honor your father," he soulfully declared.

So then, had Nolan chosen to be with his grieving mother, on this night, what would that have meant? That he dishonored his father? For crying out loud.

After the passing of his father, Tiger Woods withdrew from competitive golf for nearly a month. What should we make of that? All this time we thought he loved his father.

A few moments before Kornheiser had explained how to honor just-deceased loved ones, he followed the appearance of a stands-to-reason graphic showing 20 of Seattle's 23 sacks having come in wins with the following conclusion: ?When they get a lot of sacks, they win." Ugh.

Just what we need - another football commentator who thinks that stats make games when it's the games that make the stats, another who would tell us that umbrellas cause rain.

Sack totals, more times than not, are a by-product of the score. If a team falls behind by, say, two TDs, it stands to reason that it'll be forced to pass more, creating more sack opportunities, not to mention blitzing opportunities.

You can't sack a quarterback after he hands the ball to a running back. And if you play an all-out pass-rush against a team that doesn't have to pass, you're going to get burnt. You just can't decide, as Kornheiser suggested, to go for more sacks.

In the Seahawks' case, their two big sack games were in semi-blowouts. Naturally. In Week 4, they had six in a 23-3 win. In Week 7, they had seven in a 33-6 win. Their opponents totaled 70 pass attempts, not including the attempts that led to the 13 sacks.
Beyond simply watching the games to grasp how they play out, there's a useful rule of thumb in understanding the statistical nature of sacks, the Richard Dent Rule of Thumb.

Dent, the fabulous Bears defensive end in the 1980s, in 1985 led the NFL with 17 sacks. That year, the Bears went 15-1, forcing teams to pass early and often, thus allowing Dent maximized opportunities for sacks.

Dent then had 10 or more sacks every season until 1989, when he had ?only" nine. That drop-off was widely and simply explained as Dent having had ?an off-year." But at 29 he was as good as ever. The Bears, however, weren't. That year they went 6-10, their first losing season since Dent had been drafted. Nine sacks for a 6-10 team ain't bad.

Two years ago, Seattle, 13-3, led the NFC in sacks. New Orleans, 3-13, had the NFC's fewest. Aberrations, however, occur. Michael Strahan had a record 22.5 sacks for the 2001 7-9 Giants. But sacks are far more available to teams that are winning. If you pay attention to games instead of stat sheets, you can't help but notice.
 

bobafett

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#3
Are sacks for more available to winning teams?  Wouldn't that be a testable hypothesis?  You drag someone through the mud for bringing stats into the telecast, you better do the legwork and prove or disprove it, rather than point to case studies.
 

Bill Lehecka

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#4
I've learned to ignore Mushnick. He's a preening, currmudgeonly schmo who hates everything. It makes me wonder why he still  watches sports if he hates it so much...
 

johnfarris

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#5
Bill Lehecka said:
I've learned to ignore Mushnick. He's a preening, currmudgeonly schmo who hates everything. It makes me wonder why he still  watches sports if he hates it so much...
Because someone is stupid enough to pay him to write this garbage.  I've long thought Mushnick was nothing more than a useless hack.
 
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