Raheem Finds Another Stats Hater

April 18th, 2011

One of the more entertaining off-field moments of the 2010 Bucs season was Raheem Morris telling St. Pete Times columnist Gary Shelton that “stats are for losers” and then immediately following up telling Shelton he can worry about stats while the head coach worried about winning.

It was a great slap back at Shelton and the other scribes in the press room. But then Raheem proceeded to overuse the “stats are for losers” line in a big way.

History shows other coaches have used the phrase “stats are for losers,” including Bill Belicheat, so Raheem’s hardly alone.

And now CBS analyst Phil Simms has taken it all to a new level, per Peter King’s popular Monday column on SI.com. King quotes Simms recent comments to TheBigLead.com.

Simms was asked about a stat I had in this column recently, quoting Mel Kiper saying Blaine Gabbert had completed 44 percent of his throws on third down at Missouri last fall, while Andrew Luck was 71 percent on third down at Stanford. The inference being, of course, that not only was Luck a better prospect but also, seemingly, better on the most important down, which some might take to mean he’s a better clutch player. If you’re 27 percentage points better on third down, it’s a brick in the wall (to me, anyway) that you’re a better quarterback than the much-lesser guy on third down. A brick in the wall, I might add — not incontrovertible proof.

This, apparently, made Simms go volcanic for some reason. I’ll leave the emphasis the way The Big Lead wrote it for the rest of Simms’ quote about third-down efficiency for quarterbacks: “That means nothing. I could not care less. My face gets red thinking about that stat. WHO CARES! Well get him out of there on third down! Keep him in on first and second down! You’re not drafting his college coach or his college team. You’re drafting Blaine Gabbert. These numbers … why do I need numbers? … Believe what your eye tells you. I have never looked at one quarterback ever on tape through all the years and then when it’s done, I have never even thought, ‘What were his numbers?’ I never have. It has never even crossed my mind.”

Wow. The anger. What makes a man go off on statistics?

Joe applauds Simms, and him going off the deep end is well understood by Joe. Nice to a see a big shot fired at the stats crowd.

All the endless stats jammed down fans’ throats by TV executives, computer geeks and talking heads trying to fill time and impress people has gone off the deep end in professional baseball and in the NFL.

Enough already. Sure many stats are relevant and interesting. Yeah, Joe gets that lots of people love fantasy football and its interest has exploded league popularity, but the whole numbers jibberish has gotten out of hand.

16 Responses to “Raheem Finds Another Stats Hater”

  1. Dave Says:

    Could not agree more. Stats mean NOTHING in football. By comparison, stats mean everything in baseball for some reason and where does it get you? It gets you reasoning that BJ Upton is worth 10 million a year because he has 40 stolen bases the last 3 years and had 60 extra base hits last year to boot…. At least that is the argument of a phone call to a radio show this morning. You can look at ALL the numbers you want, the bottom line is BJ has been here for 5-6 years now and has produced all of about 3 months including the playoffs.
    That is how stats lie.
    Look at the federal budget. Democrats are going to crunch the numbers one way, Republicans another. It is the same numbers and two different outcomes to serve their purpose.

    I find stats fascinating. I spent alot of time in college on it and almost majored in it and I will say this to the dat I die:

    Stats mean NOTHING when it comes to football

  2. Joke Says:

    Good point, Phil. Chris’s stats at UT & with the Bucs are completely misleading — the tape tells the tale of just how damn _pretty_ he was!

  3. BigMacAttack Says:

    Freeman didn’t have the best college stats, right? But look at him now. Simms has a point, but I can’t stand him as an analyst.

  4. Sander Says:

    Simms is railing against people that don’t exist. No one argued that Colt McCoy was supposed to be the number one pick in the draft, and no one is arguing that stats are the be-all-end-all to anything. They’re just another tool to understand what’s really going on in that beautiful game of football.

    Every ‘stathead’ worth his salt will tell you that you need to look at stats in context, and combine them with scouting and other analysis to get a complete picture. Yet whenever someone wants to rail against stats they pretend that there are analysts out there who look at stats and nothing else. In baseball, maybe. In football? I haven’t met a single one.

  5. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Stats are for both winners and losers.

    I don’t mind reading stats so long as its understood that stats are not the ONLY thing I judge a player by.

  6. Joe Says:


    No one argued that Colt McCoy was supposed to be the number one pick in the draft

    Trent Dilfer argued he should have been the first quarterback picked in the draft… before doctors cleared him of the nerve damage he sustained in the BCS title game where his arm went dead.

    Oh, Dilfer and McCoy share the same agent. But Dilfer swears that did not influence his premise. Right.


    If my kid was Chris Simms, I would refuse to look at stats too…

    /long live Major Applewhite

  8. Sander Says:

    Joe: That’s interesting, I hadn’t see that before. Though knowing Dilfer, I don’t think he was arguing that based on stats. Whenever he’s evaluating quarterbacks he touts leadership skills, being a winner and intangibles as the most important factor in evaluating quarterbacks.

    Which is obviously important, but the ability to consistently make throws is even more important. We could all see that when the Cardinals trotted out Max Hall at quarterback against the Bucs and he simply couldn’t make the throws.

  9. Meh Says:

    McCoy sure looks like he was a better pick than Tebow or Clausen.

  10. Ish Says:

    As a Sooner fan, I LOVED hearing that Simms was starting for Texas, it meant we’d win the Red River Rivalry!

    Stats tell a part of the tale and must be considered. BUT, they don’t tell the most important part of the tale, and must never be the main point considered.

    As Mark Twain said, “There are three types of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

  11. Matt Says:

    Anybody that says stats are COMPLETELY useless is an idiot.

    For example, numerous stats of late have reinforced the claim that not only is having a great passing offense is better than having a great rushing offense, but also that having a great offense, in general, is better than having a great defense.

    The point is, no, they are not a cure all. And no, they aren’t nearly as important in football as in baseball. But yes, they do have a purpose and yes, you CAN learn a lot and predict future performance based on stats.

  12. McBuc Says:

    When were these defense vs offense stats published?

  13. McBuc Says:

    San Diego is a great example of statistics and football.

  14. Bucnjim Says:

    Stats have been working well for Vegas, but stats don’t show heart and that’s the difference between perception and reality. Simple formula being Heart + Talent usually = Superstar.

  15. BamBamBuc Says:

    I went back 20 years to 1991 draft to see some top players and their college statistics and see if they were an indicator of their future performance.

    The first QB taken was Dan McGwire at 16th overall by Seattle. His last year at San Diego State in 1990 he played 11 games, threw for 3833 yards, 27 TDs and only 7 INTs, with a 148.57 QB rating. He sat his first pro year behind Dave Krieg. His second year, when he was supposed to take over as starter, he couldn’t beat out Stan Gelbaugh and Kelly Stouffer, and was 3rd string QB. He was in the NFL for 5 years, never produced.

    The 3rd QB taken was a guy by the name of Brett Favre in the 2nd round by the Falcons. He played for Southern Miss and his senior season started 11 games with stats like 1572 yards, 7 TDs and 6 INTs. I think we know where his story goes.

    It’s not always about stats, sometimes stats “lie” because there are other intangibles that can’t be taken into consideration. Who were the opponents, what were the specific strengths of the opponents, who was the supporting cast of the player in question, things like that. You can’t compare apples to apples, because there are too many variables to factor in. Seriously, if I had left out the names and just asked if you want the guy that threw for almost 4000 yards and a 27/7 TD/INT ratio or the guy that had about 1600 yards and a 7/6 TD/INT ratio, there’d be no doubt in your mind who you’d want.

  16. Tom Says:

    The only person I disagree with on this topic is Dave.

    Stats mean “NOTHING”? So the fact that you can look up every all-time leader and top 10 player in yards, tackles, sacks etc and find, with a very high correlation the players who are considered by fans subjectively as the all-time greats how can you say that they are worthless?

    As has been said already, stats can be a useful tool to aid the human eye on evaluating a player in any sport. Generally speaking those that are successful at the lower levels of sport have a better chance to do well in the higher ones than those that do not (independent of all other qualities). The exception does not make the rule.