Monthly Archives: January, 2019

Today’s Sportstat: January 31, 2019

Super Bowl 53 MVP? Brady? Goff? Other?

If you are looking to predict who might be the MVP of the Super Bowl this year, you won’t go wrong by picking either of the opposing QBs… Tom Brady or Jared Goff. In the past 52 Super Bowls, there have been 29 quarterbacks chosen as the MVP, well over half of those honored.

But there’s more to the story. Here’s a handful of stats you may not know about QBs and the Super Bowl MVP Award. Did you know…

  • Joe Namath is the only Super Bowl MVP QB who did not throw a TD pass in that game.
  • Of the 53 Super Bowl winning quarterbacks who threw five or more passes in the game (the Baltimore Colts in 1971 had QBs Earl Morrall and Johnny Unitas each attempt five or more passes in that game), 45 had at least one TD pass in the game.
  • Every Super Bowl winning QB who threw three or more TD passes in the game was selected as the MVP… one threw six TD passes (Steve Young), one threw five TD passes (Joe Montana), four had four TD passes, and seven had three TD passes. That’s 13 of the 13 Super Bowl winning QBs who had three or more TD passes was selected as the game’s MVP.
  • Of the 15 Super Bowl winning QBs who had two TD passes in the game, eight were chosen as the game’s MVP. Of the 17 Super Bowl winning QBs who had one TD pass in the game, seven were chosen as the MVP. Eight Super Bowl winning QBs did not have a TD pass in the game.
  • Of the 28 Super Bowl winning QBs who had two or more TD passes in the game, 21 went on to win the MVP… that’s 75%. Good odds for any Super Bowl winning QB who can get at least two TD passes on his stat line.

There have been a few Super Bowl winning QBs who, statistically speaking, did not have very impressive games. Topping that list would probably be Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger. In the Steelers’ 2006 Super Bowl win over Seattle, Roethlisberger had a Passer Rating of 22.6, the lowest Passer Rating of any Super Bowl winning QB. He had no TD passes and two interceptions in the game.

Following are the five Super Bowl winning QBs who had the lowest Passer Rating in the contest.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh, 2006… 22.6
John Elway, Denver, 1998… 51.9
Earl Morrall, Baltimore, 1971… 54.0
Peyton Manning, Denver, 2016… 56.6
Joe Theismann, Washington, 1983… 75.1

In addition, did you know…

  • Four Super Bowl winning QBs completed less than 50% of their passes in the big game: Roethlisberger 42.9% (2006), Morrall 46.7% (1971), Terry Bradshaw 47.4% (1976) and Trent Dilfer 48.0% (2001).
  • Eight Super Bowl winning QBs did not have a TD pass in the game: Roethlisberger (2006), Elway (1998), Peyton Manning (2016), Morrall (1971), Namath (1969), Troy Aikman (1994), Jim McMahon (1986), Bob Griese (1974).
  • Four Super Bowl winning QBs had multiple interceptions in the game: Bradshaw (three in 1980… he was still selected MVP in the game); Tom Brady (two in 2005… also selected MVP of the game); Joe Theismann (two in 1983); and Roethlisberger (two in 2006).

Just to add a little balance to this piece, there have been six Super Bowl losing QBs who had three TD passes in the game: Roger Staubach (1979), Brett Favre (1998), Jake Delhomme (2004), Donovan McNabb (2005), Kurt Warner (2009) and Tom Brady (2018).

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: January 24, 2019

Which team will be the winningest MLB team this decade?

Will it be the New York Yankees? The Los Angeles Dodgers? The St. Louis Cardinals? Or could the Boston Red Sox make a run at this title? And, do the Washington nationals have a shot?

This year will be the final year of this decade and that means it’s the final season of the baseball decade. Entering 2019, there are three MLB teams which have won 800 or more games this decade: the Yankees with 818, the Dodgers with 813, and the Cardinals with 808. The Red Sox are a distant fourth on this list with 788 victories since 2010. Washington is fifth on the list with 786 wins.

With a 30-game lead over the Red Sox, the Yankees appear to be a lock for the winningest A.L. team this decade. The N.L., on the other hand, appears to be a two-team race with the Cardinals only five games behind the Dodgers. The Nationals are still in the picture, but trail L.A. by 27 games.

Here’s a look at the number of wins each franchise has this decade. It’s is broken down by each league (current city is listed for each team).

American League
New York Yankees, 818
Boston, 788
Texas, 765
Tampa Bay, 764
Cleveland, 762
Anaheim, 750
Oakland, 742
Detroit, 735
Toronto, 727
Baltimore, 701
Kansas City, 699
Seattle, 690
Chicago White Sox, 671
Minnesota, 664

National League
Los Angeles Dodgers, 813
St. Louis, 808
Washington, 786
Atlanta, 746
San Francisco, 744
Milwaukee, 735
Chicago Cubs, 733
Pittsburgh, 723
Arizona, 708
New York Mets, 707
Philadelphia, 706
Cincinnati, 700
Colorado, 681
San Diego, 669
Florida, 650

The Houston Astros, who spent time in both leagues this century, have 682 wins since 2010. That places them 25th overall.

By the way, how many of you would have thought that the Brewers have more wins this decade than the Cubs?

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

It’s time to change the NFL’s OT rule

by Jerry Tapp

Let me preface what I’m about to say with this one statement: I am not a die-hard Kansas City Chiefs fan.

With that out of the way, something has to be done about the ridiculous overtime rule in the NFL. We saw it firsthand this past weekend when the Chiefs and New England went into OT in their AFC Championship Game. By winning the coin toss, the Patriots got the ball first and drove down for a TD, thus ending the game. The Chiefs did not get a chance to even touch the ball on offense.

This has been the rule for some time now. And it’s now time to change it. It’s time to make sure that each team, especially in the playoffs, get at least one time to have possession.

Think about it: In what other sport does a team that wins a coin toss get to have possession and then can win a game without their opponents even having a chance? Baseball? Nope. If the game goes into extra innings, both teams get to bat. Think of the outrage if MLB changed the rule and the first team that scored in extra innings would win (that would have to be the road team in this case). Stupid, right? You bet. At least in baseball each team gets an at-bat in extra innings. If the road team scores a run in the top of the 10th, the home team must either score one or two runs or the game is over.

Basketball? No, again. There is a five-minute overtime period in the NBA. Both teams get multiple chances to handle the ball. How about we change the rule and the first team that scores wins the game? Absurd, right? You bet.

Even in the NHL, there is sudden death. But I think it’s pretty rare that a team would win an OT face-off and would immediately score a goal without the other team handling the puck.

Winning a coin toss should never be the factor in a team winning a game in OT, again, especially in the playoffs. Why the NFL would think that this is okay is beyond me. I know in biblical times they would cast lots if an important decision had to be made, but I don’t think the NFL based their OT rule on Old Testament biblical principles. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am.

As it states right now, the team that wins the coin toss in an NFL overtime game wins if they score a TD. If that team has to punt or commits a turnover, or if they kick a field goal, the other team has a chance to have possession. I say that even if that team that wins the toss scores a TD, let the other team have a possession. If they don’t score a TD, then the game is over. If they do score a TD, then, and only then, do you make the game sudden death. At least each team had one possession. If you want to reward the team for winning the coin toss, at least let the other team get one possession. What happens after that is fair game.

For Patrick Mahomes not to get a chance to match Tom Brady’s overtime drive just seemed wrong. Both teams need to get a fair shot. If the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball can make sure that their overtime (or extra inning format) is fair for both teams, the NFL has to figure out a way to get on par with its fellow professional sports.

Other people are advocating the NFL go to the overtime system used by college football. I’m okay with that as well. At least both teams have the same chance to win.

But the way things are now in the NFL, the way this year’s AFC Championship Game ended (and the way other OT games have ended in past where only one team had possession) has to be changed. There are people a lot smarter than me that should be able to figure out a plausible way to play overtime.

If, however, the NFL comes out and says its overtime policy is based on Old Testament principles and the coin toss must remain in its current form, well, then I guess divine intervention has spoken. I highly doubt that is the case.

We lost out on a possible terrific scenario when Mahomes and the Chiefs did not get a chance to match the Pats. Heck, I would’ve watched another hour of the game if both teams marched up and down the field matching TD in OT. Must-see TV? You betcha.

It may not have lessened the outcry from fans who thought the officiating in both title games was sub-par, but at least we wouldn’t be listening to the ever-present outrage because of a stupid overtime policy.

NFL… The ball is in your court. Or should I say, you have possession. Let’s end this discussion about how unfair the overtime format is once and for all.

Today’s Sportstat: January 17, 2019

How many points will a team need to score to win the AFC or NFC title game?

We’re down to the final three games of the NFL season: In the AFC, the New England Patriots will travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs; in the NFC, the New Orleans Saints will host the Los Angeles Rams. The winners will square off in the Super Bowl.

Since the NFC-AFC merger back in 1970, it appears that if a team scored 20 or more points in a conference championship game, they had a pretty good chance of winning the game and advancing to the Super Bowl. Since 1970, teams that scored 20 or more points were 82-25 (.766 winning percentage) in the conference title game. In the AFC Championship Games since ’70, teams that scored 20 or more were 43-11 (.796) while NFC teams playing in the title game were 39-14 (.736) when they scored 20+ points in the title contest.

Here’s a breakdown of record of teams in each conference championship game based on the number of points they scored in the contest.

Points scored             AFC                     NFC                     Total

0-9                                 0-10                     1-16                     1-26 .037

10-19                             5-27                     8-18                     13-45 .224

20-29                            26-9                     21-14                    47-23 .671

30-39                            12-2                     14-0                     26-2 .929

40 or more points         5-0                       4-0                       9-0 1.000

As you can see, only two teams that scored 30 or more points in a championship game since 1970 lost the title game: Indianapolis defeated the New England Patriots 38-34 in 2006 and the Denver beat Cleveland in a 1987 season title game, 38-33. The only team to win a conference title game by scoring fewer than 10 points were the Rams in 1979; they defeated Tampa Bay 9-0.

Following are 10 stats you may not know concerning the AFC and NFC Championship Games since the 1970 merger:

Most appearances: AFC (Pittsburgh, 16), NFC (San Francisco, 15)

Most wins: AFC (New England, 10), NFC (Dallas, 8)

Most losses: AFC (Pittsburgh, 8), NFC (San Francisco, 9)Last title: AFC (NY Jets, Jacksonville, Cleveland and Kansas City have never won an AFC Championship Game; Miami has the longest drought of teams that have previously won a title since 1970… they last won in 1984/ NFC (Detroit has never won an NFC Championship Game since 1970; Minnesota has the longest drought of teams that have previously won a title since 1970… they last won in 1976.

Most home games: AFC (Pittsburgh, 11), NFC (San Francisco, 9)

Most home wins: AFC (New England, 7), NFC (Washington, 5)

Most home losses: AFC (Pittsburgh, 5), NFC (San Francisco, 5)

Most away games: AFC (New England & the Raiders, 6 each), NFC (Dallas, 9)

Most away wins: AFC (New Englland, 3), NFC (Dallas, 4)

Most away losses: AFC (Raiders, 5), NFC (Dallas and Minnesota, 5 each)

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Today’s Sportstat: January 14, 2019

Luka Doncic: Have we seen him before?

Back in 1986, there was a very popular song by Suzanne Vega titled “Luka.” The first few lines of the song went like this: “My name is Luka. I live on the second floor. I live upstairs from you. Yes I think you’ve seen me before.”

I mention this because one of the compelling stories from this NBA season has been the play of Dallas Mavericks rookie “wunderkid,” Luka Doncic. The 19-year-old (he won’t turn 20 until February 28) from Slovania, was the third overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Through the first half of this season, Doncic has been putting up some really impressive numbers for a rookie and seems to be the front-runner for this year’s Rookie of the Year Award. With his impressive skill set and overall game, in some circles, it might be said (unlike the song, “Luka,”) that we have not seen someone like him before.

Doncic leads the Mavs (through games of January 13) in points per game (20.2), and is second on the team in minutes played, rebounds per game (6.7) and assists per game (5.0). What makes these numbers all the more impressive is that if Doncic should finish the season with 20 points per game and five rebounds and five assists per game, he would join a very short list of rookies that have achieved these numbers.

Here’s a look at the four rookies in NBA history who averaged 20 points per game and had five rebounds and five assist per game in their rookie campaigns in the league:

Oscar Robertson, 1961, Cincinnati (30.5 points per game, 10.1 rebounds per game, 9.7 assists per game)

Michael Jordan, 1985, Chicago (28.2 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game, 5.9 assists per game)

LeBron James, 2004, Cleveland (20.9 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, 5.9 assists per game)

Tyreke Evans, 2010, Sacramento (20.1 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game, 5.8 assists per game)

Robertson and Jordan are already in the Hall of Fame and James will certainly join them when he hangs up his sneakers. Evans? His name on the list might have surprised more than a few NBA fans.

In addition, Doncic is on pace to total more than 1,600 points in his rookie season. That has happened 39 times in league history. Since 2000, we have seen the following rookies top the 1,600-point mark in their first season: Elton Brand (Chicago-2010), LeBron James (Cleveland-2004), Carmelo Anthony (Denver-2004), Kevin Durant (Seattle-2008), Blake Griffin (L.A. Clippers-2011) and Donovan Mitchell (Utah-2018). Of the 39 rookies who had 1,600 or more points in their rookie campaigns, 21 are currently in the Hall of Fame, with others like James, Anthony, Griffin, Durant and Tim Duncan likely joining that group in the future.

Wilt Chamberlain tops the list of most points scored in a rookie season with 2,707. He is followed by Walt Bellamy (2,495). The Dallas Mavs team record for most points by a rookie is 1,732 held by Jay Vincent in 1982.

It’s still early in Luka Doncic’s career, but he appears headed to that upper echelon of NBA players

 

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp