Kerry Byrne is still a statistical hack Lard

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! I don't bother linking to Kerry Byrne anymore because the guy is a statistical hack, and his latest column is no exception. But it also mentions the 1998 Broncos, so I figured why not take a closer peek.

I should have resisted the urge, because it gets ugly, and fast.

As expected, the whole thing is a joke, because Byrne tries to make the case that in 1998, the SB 33-losing Chris Chandler had the best year that any QB had had in 42 seasons. Yeah, better than seasons by Joe Montana, Dan Marino, and Steve Young. The guy completed 58.1% of his passes with a very high INT rate of 3.7%, and it's a historically peerless season?

Not quite. As usual, the problem with Byrne is that he picks a stat, declares it to be the best, and then claims it to prove everything thereafter. In this case Yards Per Attempt is his obsession. And yes, it's a good stat - as we always note, rate stats are far better than counting stats. But as we've also discussed plenty of times, there are better QB rate stats than YPA, including AY/A, NY/A and ANY/A, all from PFR. These figures all correlate better to winning than does YPA.

In classic Byrne chest puffery, he writes:

The list is important, as intelligent devotees of the Cold, Hard Football Facts know, because passing YPA is the single easiest measure of passing success and, therefore, of team success. It's much easier to understand and to explain than passer rating. More than just easy, YPA is also a very effective measure of passing success and of team success.

Wow. Talk about intellectual laziness. Mixed with equal part arrogance, and we have a powerful combination of hubris. YPA > NY/A and ANY/A only because Byrne has to stick to the premise of some article he wrote years ago, and he ignores the higher correlation to winning of other stats.

ANY/A, of course, incorporates TDs and INTs into the metric, which is notable in this case because Chandler threw a ton of picks in 1998. To wit, a look at those 42 years of data that Byrne is using (why 150 attempts is the threshold is beyond me) shows that Chandler's 1998 season was only the 13th best in terms of ANY/A.

If we shorten the time period (because of course, passing has gradually become more prevalent over time), it's only the 12th best season in terms of ANY/A in 15 years. See how that works? You go back an extra 27 years, to when QBs had much less efficient stats, measure with a rate stat shown time and again to be inferior to others, and suddenly Chandler's stats seem historically great. The 12th best season in 15 years according to ANY/A is instead the single greatest passing year in 42 years according to Byrne.

He even has the nerve to specifically say that Chandler's 1998 season was better than Marino's 1984 campaign:

Hall of Famer Dan Marino averaged 9.01 YPA in his record-shattering signature 1984 season

Funny that there's no mention of any of Marino's other stats. Let's compare the two seasons:

Year Age G QBrec Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD TD% Int Int% Y/A Y/G Rate Sk Yds NY/A ANY/A Sk% AV
1984 Marino 16 14-2-0 362 564 64.2 5,084 48 8.5 17 3 9 317.8 108.9 13 120 8.6 8.9 2.3 21
1998 Chandler 14 13-1-0 190 327 58.1 3,154 25 7.6 12 3.7 9.6 225.3 100.9 45 283 7.7 7.6 12.1 15

Chandler had a terrific season, really.

But Marino's was far superior by every measure in terms of counting and rate stats, except for one - Yards Per Attempt. And Byrne wants to use that one figure to declare Chandler's was better.

My head hurts, and frankly, I wish I could unsee this abomination.

Okay, better go back to ignoring Byrne, for sanity's sake.

Broncos

At the official site, a look at the team's safeties, and assistant secondary coach Sam Garnes sits for a Q&A. Plus, a BTV video on how new strength coach Luke Richesson is modernizing and improving how the team trains. Honestly, it's all a no-brainer, and a wonder that all pro sports teams aren't using these methods.

In considering the most notable likely AFCW camp battles, Sam Monson expects the Broncos to feature new TEs Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme quite heavily in the offense this season, lauding Dreessen's completeness as a tight end and Tamme's familiarity with Peyton Manning.

PFW's AFCW camp preview includes a prediction that Ronnie Hillman will impress and cut into Willis McGahee's playing time in a big way.

Vance Johnson discusses his love for food and Grand Junction in a local news interview from his new restaurant there.

Drew Magary pulls no punches in explaining why the Broncos will suck this season.

Not much really newsworthy here; just something funny about finding John Elway mentioned over at CNET. Elway calls Virgil Green the team's "most consistent blocker" among tight ends, despite Woody Paige's claims the seventh-round pick was a bust last season. Bummer to see Elway using a long putter.

Trimmings

Andrew Luck got a $14.5M signing bonus as part of a fully-guaranteed $22.1M four-year contract with the Colts.

After months of speculation, San Diego released veteran DE Luis Castillo.

The Steelers and WR Mike Wallace are finally getting closer to a long-term contract. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh cut tackle Jonathan Scott.

Bears DT Nate Collins was suspended one game for violating the league's substance-abuse policy; Rams DE Robert Quinn was arrested for DWI; Terrell Owens will avoid jail by paying his delinquent child support; a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by fans still pissed about the Cowboys' seating snafu from SB 45.

Brett Favre admits his primary motivation for coming back to play in 2010 was the money.

Scrapple

Michael Vick says he wants his Eagles to become dynastic (saying there's the potential, not that it's going to happen, mind you), people are flipping out, and Christmas Ape explains why reacting that way is ridiculous.

Sincere congratulations go out to Sexy Rexy, who has lost 100 pounds since lap-band surgery.

Matt Bowen analyzes a zone blitz with a nickel corner; Bucky Brooks explains why the Titans should start Matt Hasselbeck over Jake Locker, at least for now.

Doug Farrar kicks off his team previews with a look at the Colts.

Offal

The Jets reportedly plan to use Tim Tebow in the red zone, at times in place of Mark Sanchez. This will not end well.

Young MC wants to help give Jay Cutler another shot at 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame.'

Chase Stuart agrees that a death penalty for the PSU football program would be overly punitive, and that the NCAA would be overreaching its authority instead of leaving things up to our justice system.

Damn, it's been 25 years since Guns N' Roses put out Appetite for Destruction. Drew Magary offers an appreciation.

Our thoughts go out to all those affected by the horrors in Aurora.

Who do you think will lead the Broncos in rushing yards in 2012?

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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