Mark it Zero

The big deferral - why Josh McDaniels is still smarter than you

Yesterday, Josh McDaniels made one of his most interesting coaching decisions before the bodies even began hitting the turf of Lucas Oil Stadium.

He deferred the kickoff.

Although this decision is not controversial at the college level (Urban Meyer and many other coaches always defer), apparently it causes quite a stir when done by an NFL head coach.  As Mike Klis wrote today in the Denver Post:

The officials gathered the respective captains for a coin toss to see who would get the ball first. The Broncos called heads. It came up heads. What a break. The great Manning would have to wait . . .

What's that? McDaniels deferred. McDaniels' research had shown that the team that kicks off at the start usually has the final possession of the first half, and then gets the ball again to start the second half.

Score at the end of one half, score at the beginning of the next. Double-up the points while Manning waits on his sideline.

But even at its best, such decision would have to be considered counterintuitive.

Continue reading "The big deferral - why Josh McDaniels is still smarter than you"

Pour Some Sugar on Me: What happens when the Colts lose

The Broncos are like a bomb, baby, come and get it on.

What happens if the Broncos actually pull a miracle and beat the Colts tomorrow?  How will they have done it?  Is it actually possible?

Not only is it possible, I can already tell you what the game will look like.  As the lead singer for the band Def Depard (one of the finest poets of his generation) would say,"Red light, yellow light, green-a-light go." 

Since 2005, the Indianapolis Colts have finished 55-16, including the playoffs and Super Bowl season of 2006. That means the Colts have won 77% of their games.   That's an insane number of wins in a 4-year stretch.   If it helps you bend your mind around just how good this is, just imagine the Raiders losing percentage over the last 4 years and think about the exact opposite.  The Colts have been as good as the Raiders have been useless.

Continue reading "Pour Some Sugar on Me: What happens when the Colts lose"

The Dude Abides: The Stats That Don’t Lie, Week 13

"Stats washed over The Dude...darker than a black steer's tookus on a moonlight prairie night..." Sam Elliott

In almost every Hollywood movie there is a moment that comes, about three-fourths through the movie, in which the hero or heroin appears defeated.  This moment is called the "dark moment," and if you're paying attention, it appears in almost all stories.  The great mythologist, Joseph Campbell, wrote a book called The Hero With a Thousand Faces, in which he described the hero's journey, and briefly, the dark moment:

Beyond the threshold, then, the hero journeys through a world of unfamiliar yet strangely intimate forces, some of which severely test him...(page 246)

For modern day storytellers, this is the moment in which everything appears bleak and all is lost.  In the greatest movie ever made, The Big Lebowski (Citizen Kane, stay down), the dark moment occurs when The Dude is drugged by Jackie Treehorn (don't ask me for the rest of the plot, or you'll be here for hours).

Continue reading "The Dude Abides: The Stats That Don’t Lie, Week 13"

Shake, Rattle & Roll: Dumervil’s chase, the importance of sacks & keeping the king in the building

It's good to be the king--of sacks.

That's because sacks are critical in today's NFL.  Sacks have become such an important part of football, that today they are cause for orgasmic euphoria on the part of players and fans.  It seems that this single act of taking the opposing quarterback down two-to-ten yards behind the line of scrimmage is almost on par with touchdowns themselves. Gyrating, break-dancing, and in the case of Shawn Merriman, outright seizures disguised as celebrations are in order after just a single sack.

Deacon Jones might have fathered the sack.  Lawrence Taylor might have raised it through adolescence.  And Michael Strahan might have helped it pay for college.  But today, every roster is filled with a least one player trying to make a real man out of the sack.

That's because some sacks are hellaciously important.  Not because Ryan Clady makes a lot of money defending against them. Not because Michael Lewis says so.  But because a sack has real value.

So much value, in fact, that the Denver Broncos should resign Elvis Dumervil--before the king leaves the building.

Continue reading "Shake, Rattle & Roll: Dumervil’s chase, the importance of sacks & keeping the king in the building"

The Dude Abides: The Stats That Don’t Lie, Week 12

The Stats don't mean what they say on Thanksgiving, Mom. You know that. That's what the day's supposed to be all about, right? Torture.--Holly Hunter 

Thanksgiving and football.  It didn't get much better in Week 12.  Like you and your family, some teams greedily feasted on the mashed potatoes (Dallas on Oakland), some teams kicked up their feet and loosened their belts (Green Bay feeling fat and bloated as they coasted over Detroit), and some teams simply went straight for the pumpkin pie (New Orleans tasting a sweet victory over New England).

Your Denver Broncos stuffed the New York Giants like turkeys.

Continue reading "The Dude Abides: The Stats That Don’t Lie, Week 12"

The Dude Abides: It’s limerick time for the Chiefs!

Divisional opponents inspire hate.  And mockery.  So let round one of the Chiefs' Limericks begin!.  

Here are five that I created.  Please feel free to make up your own.   And Chiefs' fans, please participate if you have the inclination (or you're not already mocking your top-5-draft-pick).  

At the end of the season, I'll do a post with the top 10 limericks from all the division opponents to vote on, so please rec the limericks that you like the most.

These five should help you get the hang of it (if you have an extra syllable or two here or there, who cares):

Continue reading "The Dude Abides: It’s limerick time for the Chiefs!"

Knowshon Moreno & the Tiki Barber Slip ‘N Slide Index

Is Knowshon Moreno prone to fumbling?

This is a question I've been asked many times in the last several weeks.  Given that the Broncos invested the 12th overall pick in this year's draft on Moreno, it's an important question.  Moreno--barring injury--is going to be this franchise's primary running back for several years to come. You want this guy dropping jockstraps and jaws, not footballs.

So where does Moreno stack up?  Does he fumble more than the league average?  More than other rookies? More than other great Broncos running backs?

We can answer all of these questions with a handy little contraption called the Tiki Barber Slip 'N Slide Index.

Continue reading "Knowshon Moreno & the Tiki Barber Slip ‘N Slide Index"

The Dude Abides: The Stats That Don’t Lie, Week 11

"All stats and no play makes Jack a dull boy." --Jack Torrance

Week 11 in the NFL was a classic horror movie.   There were some spine-chilling moments (Chiefs over the Steelers), terrifying screams (Ravens fans watching their red zone offense), and when the Raiders beat the Bengals, things got downright bloodcurdling.

For their part, the Denver Broncos treated their fans to a B-movie slasher flick, in which they played the victim.  By the time the 4th quarter rolled around their rush defense had been so hacked to pieces, they simply tried to survive until the sequel.

Continue reading "The Dude Abides: The Stats That Don’t Lie, Week 11"

The Heyward-Bey Assault Index

One statement you hear frequently from fans and from the media is that certain quarterbacks are victims of bad receivers who drop a lot of passes.   The statement was made about Kyle Orton during the first three games of 2009.  It's also a constant mantra of Chicago fans this year with Jay Cutler.   The conventional thinking is that if only Jay's receivers could hold onto the ball, the Bears would be a playoff team.

But which quarterbacks in the NFL really are the victim?  And which QBs are just playing one on TV?

For the answer to this question, I'd like to introduce you to a fun little stat called the Heyward-Bey Assault Index.

Continue reading "The Heyward-Bey Assault Index"

Mitch Berger…he’s got a “good personality”

Sometimes the hot girl at the bar is only hot because she's wearing a lot of makeup and the lights are dimmed low.  And while she looks great now, you find out later it was all show, and perhaps you just had a little too much to drink.

Her friend, on the other hand, is only slightly above-average.  She falls into the "good personality" category.  But you know she's the kind of girl you could bring home to momma. 

Which one should you choose?  

Continue reading "Mitch Berger…he’s got a “good personality”"