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Just how important is "clutch", really?

Discussion in 'Miami Dolphins Forum' started by Pauly, May 30, 2016.

  1. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

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    Do you understand the argument about comparing +4 with -4, and +14 with -14? Don't compare +14 with -4. There isn't a massive skew in the stats that argues against what I'm saying. IF +X implies less pressure than -X, then yes "ahead/tied" has less pressure than "trailing".
     
  2. Fineas

    Fineas Club Member Luxury Box

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    Again, I don't agree, at least as it pertains to football or sports. In pretty much all team sports, there are two teams that are trying to do different things at different times. Sometimes they are on offense and sometimes they are on defense. When offensive performance appears to be down in "pressure" situations, it isn't necessarily due to pressure at all. It may just be that the opposing defense is playing well (which would presumably mean they are responding well to pressure if there actually is pressure). And the opposite is true too. When it may appear that the defense is responding poorly to pressure, it will generally appear that the offense is responding well to it. In other words, due to the opposing forces, it will appear statistically like one team is responding well to pressure and the other is responding poorly to the same pressure. So no, the patterns are not consistent or stable across people.

    We generally don't see vastly different levels of play in the post-season. In football there may the weather factor we discussed, but playoff games otherwise look like other games. Some are offensive shootouts and others are defensive struggles.
     
  3. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

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    More assertions, no evidence. Where's your evidence professional athletes follow a different performance vs. pressure curve than practically everyone else?
     
  4. resnor

    resnor Derp Sherpa

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    Yeah, I know it's now involved, was just giving a basic example.

    I didn't realize you were saying Brady is a career 88.3 when asked. That's actually very unimpressive. Especially if league average is 104. Perhaps Brady does get far too much credit. It would appear he's basically an average/slightly above average QB at all times.
     
  5. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

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    Yup it is unimpressive. Brady is way BELOW average when leading with <4 minutes left. I'd accept that as a "clutch" stat too, but it's a weak one compared to the "ahead" vs. "trailing".

    Anyway, here are his stats:
    http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/B/BradTo00/splits/
     
  6. Fineas

    Fineas Club Member Luxury Box

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    Yes, I understand it. While I might seem stupid, I am at least a little smarter than I seem. And I've expressed disagreement with it a number of times in a number of different ways. For the reasons I have stated several times, I don't think there is more pressure when leading by 7 than when down by 7. And the available "last 4 minutes" stats don't attempt to equalize or account for score or margin.
     
  7. Fineas

    Fineas Club Member Luxury Box

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    Do I need to provide evidence that whenever there is a set of offensive players trying to gain yards and score TDs there is also a set of defensive players trying to stop them? I thought that was pretty obvious to anyone who has ever watched a football game. So if there is what you consider a pressure situation, e.g., a playoff game, any time the offense seems to be performing well under that pressure, the defense will appear to be playing poorly, at least judging by the stats. So the exact same conditions will result in apparently opposite performance levels. So when you look at a QB's stats and see a 120 rating you'll conclude that the QB played well under pressure and is clutch. But maybe it is more that the defense didn't play well. And vice-versa.
     
  8. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

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    Good.. then let's not revisit this anymore. Like I said earlier there's no point in debating if you're actually arguing pressure is equal in conditions where I (and I think many others) think they aren't. Neither side can prove what the actual levels of pressure are because we can't directly measure pressure in this situation.

    Yeah, but none of that has any bearing on how professional athletes respond to pressure (the current topic). You're just throwing out another possible explanation for any observed data, and there are an infinite number of such possibilities. Evidence is key here.

    In any case, if pros are like the rest of us and follow the same performance vs. pressure curve, then you just need to put them in a high enough pressure environment and they will crack. btw.. the issue in the scientific literature isn't settled. There just aren't enough controlled studies with professional athletes to see whether they're different than everyone else.
     
  9. resnor

    resnor Derp Sherpa

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    Ahhhh...your looking at leading WITH 4 MIN left. My impression, from Fineas saying "first 56 minutes," he is looking at his rating for the first 3 quarters, at least, compared to 4 min and under.
     
  10. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

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    Yes, both stats are acceptable, but arguably have different weight for this debate. You look at Brady's drop-off from first 56 minutes to <4 minutes trailing and he's average.

    That's a decent stat btw. Comparing ahead vs. trailing BOTH with <4 minutes left I'd argue is even stronger (but at least as strong for sure) because you've conditioned on whatever the effect of <4 minutes is.

    A much weaker clutch stat (the one I just mentioned) would be comparing first 56 minutes to <4 minutes ahead. That's a clutch stat too but pretty weak because I don't think you can easily argue the level of pressure is necessary greater in the <4 minutes ahead situation, or if so it's nowhere near the pressure when behind.

    All those stats are fine, but when you weight them (as I think most people would), you'll find for the most part Brady is either average or above average in drop-off for the key clutch stats.
     
  11. Fineas

    Fineas Club Member Luxury Box

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    The thing is that some seem to believe that a difference in performance in what they believe to be pressure conditions is the evidence of clutch. So explanations for why any such differences in performance for any given player or set of player may be due to something else is very relevant. You seem to feel that Flacco's playoff stats are actual evidence of his improvement in clutch situations. I don't, for the numerous reasons I have expressed. Among those reasons is the fact that similar apparent trends or patterns occur with no logical explanation whatsoever.

    As for the scientific studies you are referring to, I haven't seen them and can't speak to their validity or relevance to this discussion. In the context of sports, when you refer to a "high enough pressure environment," is there anything more pressure-filled than late, close game situations in championship games? Because we have seen all kinds of players in those situations and they don't all crack. Most don't. Most perform the same way they do in regular situations most of the time. And the relatively few apparent "cracks" may be due as much or more to good play by the other team or opposing player. Did Russell Wilson crack when he threw that goal line INT at the end of the Super Bowl, or did Butler make a "clutch" play? Or neither? Looking at the stat, those that agree with you might say Wilson choked. But I don't believe that at all. But if he did choke under that maximum (for sports) level of pressure, then Butler apparently didn't.

    When you talk about everyone cracking under a high enough level of pressure, I'm imagining tasks like trying to thread a needle while running through a minefield while being chased by a bunch of lions. Yeah, at that level of distress and pressure few people would be able to complete the task. But sports aren't anything like that. The task and level of duress is the same in championship games as in regular games. And its a level that these guys have been used to their entire lives.
     
  12. resnor

    resnor Derp Sherpa

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    I find it hard to argue that, though, given how far below average he is in the ahead stat. Granted, he doesn't drop much, but he's certainly playing at a far lower level than average with a lead. I think it actually lends credence to the idea that much of "clutch" is media narrative.
     
  13. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

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    Yeah, there's actually a difference between that 0.21% probability Flacco's postseason record was not due to Flacco improving, and the 0.23% probability his NFC South numbers came from the same distribution as his regular season numbers (I'm choosing this example because the probabilities are so similar).

    The difference is that with Flacco's postseason record, I looked at the sequence of passer ratings, meaning the set is ordered, while with his NFC South numbers (or all the others) that set is unordered, meaning you can shuffle those numbers around and you get the same 0.23% probability. Of course you shuffle the numbers for Flacco's postseason record around and you can't talk about improvement anymore.

    So those two really aren't directly comparable. They're separate arguments.

    Let me ask you this. Are there any stats (say in the splits) that you would personally say represent conditions where pressure is much higher than average?

    Based on previous discussion, you don't think being behind with little time left represents greater pressure than being ahead with little time left, and you've said regular season, playoffs and now championships are not different conditions pressure-wise. So is there any stat for a QB that represents performance in a much higher pressure situation than average in your mind?
     
  14. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

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    That's taken into account by looking at two stats, not one: the drop-off from first 56 minutes to <4 minutes trailing, and the drop-off from <4 minutes ahead to <4 minutes trailing. Like I said, both are important. You're pointing out it would be more impressive if he was above average in both cases (which would mean his <4 minutes ahead would be real high). And you're right, but it doesn't change the interpretation of that stat nor does it change the result that Brady is either average or above average in drop-off for key clutch stats.

    The other key ones where he's above average are winning 69% of close games (0-7 differential) while being ahead in only 50% of them at the end of the 3rd quarter, and also GWD's and 4th quarter comebacks being really high, but those last two overlap with each other a good deal and also with the <4 minute trailing stats.
     
  15. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    Well for starters, over the last 10 years playoff teams in the NFL have their average passer rating reduced by 7% in the playoffs, compared to their regular season averages.
     
  16. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    Rather than supposition do you have evidence that this is happening?
    Do you have evidence that this is happening in a large enough proportion of cases to skew the stats?
    If we take that roughly 50% of games are close and 50% not close why is there a general drop off for trailing when behind in the last 4 minutes if the 'no pressure' situation cancels out the 'pressure situations'?
    While your scenario can affect a season's stats significantly, how will that affect that QB's overall career stats?

    I personally don't like >4 minutes and trailing as a stat. The sample sizes are small, there is a lot of inconsistency from season to season, QBs can get better or worse at handling pressure over time, OCs can change. Having said that roughly 50% of the time over a QBs career it will encompass extremely high pressure situations. So it serves as a reasonable proxy for high pressure situations, given that we don't have stats for trailing by 0-7 in the 4th quarter generally available to the public.
     
  17. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    As far as the 'clutch' arguments that have been made by cbrad and I we're talking about shifts that show up in the whole of career stats, or runs of 4 years or more. The single season stats are too up and down, and as for single game,let alone single plays you cannot draw conclusions from that. Neither are we trying to.

    If a QB is clutch and wins 57% of his 0-7 games, over a 2 year period he'll go 9-7 in 0-7 point games when an average QB would go 8-8. There is no way to identify which particular game of those 16 was the one that he won because of 'clutch'. What we can say is that based on various measures of high pressure situation that QB A is more likely to go 9-7 because he is better at handling pressure, QB B is more likely to go 8-8 because he's average and QB C is more likely to go 7-9 because he's worse than average.

    What you describe about people executing tasks under high pressure is true for execution of physical skills (hitting a layup, swinging a bat etc.). Which is why for those type of things the regular season stats and the post season stats generally line up. There are literally hundreds of QBs in NFL history who were better at the physical act of throwing the ball than Joe Montana, Ken Stabler or Bob Griese but those three ended up in the HoF because of their superior decision making skills. Decision making is what deteriorates under pressure well before the physical skills screw up.
     
  18. roy_miami

    roy_miami Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the QB winz club.
     
  19. resnor

    resnor Derp Sherpa

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    No. We're simply talking right now about QB play. Better QBs, I expect, will have better performance, regardless of wins, in all situations.
     
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  20. roy_miami

    roy_miami Well-Known Member

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    Nice try...

     
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  21. resnor

    resnor Derp Sherpa

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    Yep. And I've also stated many times on here that I believe HoF QBs are usually on very good teams.

    Look, you can try to pick single sentences out of a debate that has nothing to do with QBs being solely responsible for wins, but that is not what I believe. Further, I was speaking about HoF QBs and their win percentage in 7 point or fewer games, and in that case, certainly a HoF QB is going to give you better chance of winning than a non-HoF QB. So, if we change the NFL format to first team to 7 points wins, then I'll change my stance to QBs being responsible for wins.
     
  22. Fineas

    Fineas Club Member Luxury Box

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    In any given case, that 9-7 record in close games (which only finished close, which may have been due to a gimme TD as the clock expired) is pretty much indistinguishable from the 8-8. And if that QB has a a good team around him it will be much easier to win those games than if he has a bad team around him. So those close game wins, to the extent they are relevant at all, are affected by a whole lot more than the QB.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  23. Fineas

    Fineas Club Member Luxury Box

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    That doesn't make it a different condition in terms of clutchness. The teams in the playoffs are much better, on average, than teams overall. The same is true of playoff defenses. And there's the weather factor, as there is a higher percentage of cold and bad weather games in January than during the regular season. Etc.
     
  24. Fineas

    Fineas Club Member Luxury Box

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    Evidence that what is happening? That a lot of games that end with a 7 pt differential were not close games, but ended that way due to a gimme TD? I don't have a specific league-wide stat for it, but I have seen it happen with my own two eyes literally hundreds of times. Earlier in this thread I used the Pats' 2015 "close" games as an example and I believe that happened in roughly half of their supposedly close games. I don't believe there is any genuine argument that it isn't something that happens quite often.

    I'm not sure what you are referring to when you say there is a "general drop off for trailing when behind in the last 4 minutes." I haven't seen any actual evidence for that. Do you have any, or just supposition? Also not sure where you get your "roughly 50% of the time" figure for those being "extremely high pressure situations."

    And no, simply trailing in the last 4 minutes is not a reasonable proxy for high pressure situations. Remember, we know that more than 50% of NFL games are decided by margins of greater than 7 points and many 7 pt games were really 14 pt games until a late gimme TD made them 7 pt games. The Titans last year lost games 28-14, 38-10, 20-6, 27-10, 30-8, 22-16 and 34-6. Do you seriously contend that the Titans TD was acting in a pressure-filled situation in the last 4 minutes of those games?
     
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  25. Fineas

    Fineas Club Member Luxury Box

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    Passing a football with DLs chasing after you is a physical skill. That is what we are talking about, not decision making. All of the passer rating stats are stats for throwing a football.

    To a large extent, what put Griese and Stabler in the HOF was the success of their teams, which was in large part due to the players around them. They were good QBs who certainly contributed to their teams' success, but on less talented teams and with no Super Bowl rings those guys would not be in the HOF. Griese's playoff stats are very unimpressive (68.3 rating). You think the playoffs are a pressure condition, so maybe his decision-making under pressure wasn't really so great and maybe he wasn't really so clutch. Stabler's numbers went up in the playoffs, but decision-making wasn't really his strong suit, at least when it comes to interceptions. For his career, he had an INT% of 5.9%, which is pretty awful. For comparison's sake, Jamarcus Russell, Akili Smith and Ray Lucas had INT% of 3.4, 2.8 and 3.5 respectively.
     
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  26. jdang307

    jdang307 Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Damn. That's a gotcha if there ever was one.
     
  27. resnor

    resnor Derp Sherpa

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    No, it's not. I was referring to great QBs having a better win % in 7 point or less games. Obviously a better QB is going to have more influence over the outcome when down by 7 with under 4 to play.

    That's far, far different than attributing all wins and losses largely to the QB.

    Clean yourself off, that mess you made is embarrassing.
     
  28. Fineas

    Fineas Club Member Luxury Box

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    Teams win games, not QBs. The QB of a team that wins 75% of its games should be expected to win roughly 75% of its 7 pt or less games assuming a corresponding distribution of leading, tied and trailing. If a team wins 75% of its games after 60 minutes of play, one would typically expect it to be leading after 56 minutes, i.e., going into the last 4 minutes, about 75% of the time. There will be some variation from team to team, but that would be the normal, or average expected leading %. Conversely, the team that wins only 25% of its games, i.e., is winning after 60 minutes only 25% of the time, would be expected to be trailing after 56 minutes roughly (on average) 75% of the time. The QBs for those teams have different tasks in the final 4 minutes of those games. The good team is a good team that probably has a lead 75% of the time going into those final minutes. The QB of that team generally need to only "not F!@K up" in order to hold those leads, which would mean winning 75% of those games without any kind of comebacks or rallies. The QB of the bad team faces a much bigger challenge. He will generally be trailing going into those final minutes and has a bad team around him. He has to overcome a score deficit and his bad team to win the majority of those games. I don't think win% in close games is any kind of reliable measure of QB clutchness.
     
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  29. 54Fins

    54Fins "In Gase we trust"

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    over there
    Clutch was great back in the days of muscle cars and true, balls to the walls horsepower.
    These days, I'd rather have "automatic".

    Sounds like more wins to me? :stuart:
     
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  30. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

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    Still waiting for your explanation of Brady and NE in this case. In games that end with 0-7 point differential, Brady is leading 50% of the time at the end of the 3rd quarter. Yet he wins 69% of those games.

    Now.. according to you there is absolutely no difference in pressure between the first 3 quarters and the 4th in precisely these situations. But clearly, if the situations were the same you'd expect the performance to be the same. 50% to 69% is HUGE over his career (91 games). Doesn't add up.

    Either way, whether you believe there's more pressure or not in the 4th in those situations, Brady (and NE) is playing better than average precisely when it's needed most. That's "clutch" performance, and I'd think you have to give him credit for that even if we don't talk about differences in pressure.
     
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  31. Fineas

    Fineas Club Member Luxury Box

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    I haven't seen that end of 3rd quarter stat you refer to and I have my doubts about it. But assuming it to be true and accurate, I have a few observations and comments. First, Brady doesn't win that 69%, the Patriots do. I suspect that having the NFL's best coach, maybe by a country mile, probably helps a fair amount. If the Patriots cheat, and there is certainly some evidence of that, I suspect that helps too. If it didn't they probably wouldn't do it. Second, I would point out that the 4th quarter is Brady's worst quarter from a passer rating standpoint. Third, I would point out that a lot of close games are decided by field goals and the Patriots have had outstanding kicking for Brady's entire career. Indeed, several of the Pats biggest wins, including Super Bowls and AFC Championship games, were won by late FGs.

    Since Brady's 4th quarter passing efficiency is worse than in any other quarter, he is not playing better in the 4th quarter, i.e., the pressure situation you describe as "when it's needed most."

    Brady is a great QB. He's great in September. He's great when the margin is 15+ points. He's great in the first quarter. In other words, he's great in relative non-pressure situations. And he's almost as great in the pressure situations, which is hardly a shock. But there is no real evidence of a general dropoff for most players in such situations. And no, the playoffs do not show that. Most of what we see in the playoffs is due to better defenses, specifically pass defenses. Of the 21 QB-games (i.e., games played by a QB in the playoffs -- 2 per game) in the 2015 playoffs, 11 of them were against the NFL's top 5 pass defenses. The average (here I took a shortcut and just averaged the teams' passer rating allowed and weighted it by the number of games they played) playoff pass defense last year allowed a passer rating of 81.3 in the regular season. The overall average passer rating allowed in the NFL last year was 88.4. So, on average, the playoff defenses "are responsible" for a 7+ pt drop in passer rating by the opposing QB. Elsewhere in this thread it was shown that late season conditions, likely weather, appear to be linked to a 2-3 pt drop on passer rating. And those two factors alone appear to account for the reputed 10 pt rating drop in the playoffs, with no indication that "pressure" is a factor at all.
     
  32. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

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    I collected that stat myself, going through all except one of the boxscores (90 out of 91 games, and he was ahead 44 out of those 90 games at the end of the 3rd). Did that long ago in post #419 on pg. 21. Feel free to double check it. I doubt I made a serious error in the compilation.

    Brady's drop in 4th quarter rating from his rating in the first 3 quarters is NFL average, so he's not losing anything there relative to his opposition. Furthermore, there are other stats, like 4th quarter comebacks, GWD's, and those trailing stats I've posted that show that in situations that count most (without mentioning pressure) he delivers above average.

    And whatever the contributions of the coach, defense, kickers, etc.. there is NO way you cannot give a big dose of credit to the QB for this 50% to 69% jump. Don't see how you can explain away this one (or others like that <4 minute trailing thing if one just removes the word "pressure" from the conversation and talks about delivering when it matters most).
     
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  33. danmarino

    danmarino Winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is. Club Member

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    Clutch is not real. It's a myth created by sportswriters and others who want people to be drawn to the sport.

    Dan Marino played like Dan Marino. He had great games, good games, and bad games. He is a HoF QB because his greats and goods were more than his bads.

    The same goes for Manning, Brady, Reggie Jackson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, etc etc...

    Great players play great at all times. They don't play better in certain parts of a game.
     
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  34. roy_miami

    roy_miami Well-Known Member

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    By this logic why shouldn't a team that wins 75% of its games be expected to win 100% of all games?
     
  35. Dol-Fan Dupree

    Dol-Fan Dupree Tank? Who is Tank? I am Guy Incognito. Club Member

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    Explain
     
  36. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    Stop right there.

    You cannot directly compare int% or passer rating from the 1970s to int% in the 2000s. Changes in the rules as to what DBs could do, allowing OL to use their hands and offensive play design have completely altered what is a good int% and what is a bad int%.

    In 1975 the NFL average int% was 5.3%
    In 2005 the NFL average int% was 3.1%

    Stop pretending to be ignorant in order to make your points.
     
  37. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    Instead of making BS assertions post some stats that prove it.
    My initial post proved flat out that you are wrong.
     
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  38. cbrad

    cbrad . Club Member

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    OK.. check this out. I compiled the comparable 0-7 stats for Brady for the playoffs.

    Brady had 16 playoff games in which the final result had a point differential of 7 or less in the playoffs. His record: 11-5 for a 69% win percentage there too, so in that sense no difference between regular season and playoffs.

    Number of such games where NE was ahead at the end of the 3rd quarter? 7 out of 16 = 44% of the time. That btw is easier for others to double check if they wish (just 16 boxscores).

    So once again, NE finds a way to win in games that end up close by outperforming the opposition specifically in the 4th quarter, and no way all the credit can go to everyone except the QB.
     
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  39. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    2015 General drop off from NFL Average (88.4) to >4 minutes (78.5) 9.9 rating points
    http://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2015/splits.htm
    http://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2015/

    2014 General drop off from NFL Average (87.1) to >4 minutes (77.0) 10.1 rating points
    2013 General drop off from NFL Average (84.1) to >4 minutes (72.6) 11.5 rating points
    2012 General drop off from NFL Average (83.8) to >4 minutes (73.8) 10.0 rating points
    2011 General drop off from NFL Average (82.5) to >4 minutes (69.6) 13.9 rating points

    In 2013 profootbll reference did splits according to game win probability and passer rating
    0 -19%; 59.7
    20- 39%; 75.0
    40-59%; 81.4
    60-79%; 98.3
    80-99%; 120.0

    So your repeated assertion that throwing when down by 21 'with no pressure on you' leading to better passer is false.
     
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  40. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    Please re-read my initial post. There is a 0.67 correlation between passer rating and team win% over the last 10 years.

    What your QB does is, on average, the single biggest factor in explaining a team's performance.
     

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