Monday, January 21, 2008

Wisdom From the Football Outsiders

When it comes to well-written analysis, the sport of football lags far behind baseball, primarily due to the success of Bill James. For years I've searched in vain for something about football that approached the brilliance of James' Baseball Abstracts. For two years in the late 1980s there was "Football By The Numbers" by Allen Barra and George Ignatin, which was great but disappeared after only two years.

Well, now I think I've found the mother lode - Football Outsiders. Too bad I found it in January instead of September or October, but better late than never. I look forward to buying their Football Prospectus next year. Here's a sample, from Editor-in-Chief and lead writer Aaron Schatz:

...the difference between the 2007 Patriots and the 1999-2001 Rams is flexibility. The Mike Martz offense is what it is. If you can figure out how to stop it, you stop it. He doesn’t want his quarterback to call audibles to adjust at the line. He doesn’t come in with power running. He runs what he runs. The 2007 Patriots are flexible. Brady audibles whenever he wants. If they can’t pass the ball — and they could not today, due to the wind and Brady having perhaps his worst day of the year — they bring in two tight ends, three tight ends, and they stuff it down your throat with a power running game. Not that Laurence Maroney is better than Marshall Faulk, since he certainly is not, but the 2001 Rams could not have adjusted to do what the 2007 Patriots did in the second half of this game. That’s why the 2007 Patriots have the greatest offense in NFL history.

Great stuff! Of course, as a lifelong fan of the team that now has Martz as its offensive coordinator, I have to wonder what will happen in the 2008 season.

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