Today’s Lesson In Misleading Stats

December 17th, 2014
Bucs QB Josh McCown has an Andrew Luck-like stat. No, really.

Bucs QB Josh McCown has an Andrew Luck-like stat. No, really.

Joe knows there is a sect of society that lives in the dark world of stats. Oh, stats can be enlightening alright. They can also be terribly misleading.

Joe learned back in high school folks can twist numbers any which way to reinforce any premise they are trying to float. That’s why Joe is suspicious of the numbers crowd.

And below is an example. Anyone walking around with a white cane can see Bucs quarterback Josh McCown is struggling. Whether you want blame that on various factors like his offense, his teammates, his horoscope, a collection of tarot cards, whatever. McCown is in a terrible rut of late with no signs of reversal.

Joe doesn’t discount all the numbers crunchers. Some date is interesting, some bogus. Personally, Joe thinks “quarterback rating” may be the single-most misleading stat in the free world.

Now Ben Fennell is a guy who does a good job digging up information with his spreadsheet software. There is a stat he listed in reference to McCown that caught Joe’s eye.

Notice that McCown’s third down completion percentage is nearly idential to Andrew Luck’s? If one were to read only numbers and reach a conclusion, then one would have to say McCown is on par with one of the best young quarterbacks the NFL has seen in years.

Does anyone want to take a swing at that notion?

Simply put, McCown is not Luck, no matter what a third down statistic might read.

12 Responses to “Today’s Lesson In Misleading Stats”

  1. JRock Says:

    He’s also taken just as many sacks as Luck in half the attempts on 3rd down.

    And he’s tossed 8 fewer TDs than Luck on 3rd town.

    [Try that again and you are the one who gets blocked (for good). — Joe]

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Speaking for Pablo

    ” Pablo thinks if you rely on stats then every persona should have one teta & one cajone”

  3. Hawk Says:

    The difference is that Luck doesn’t fumble or throw an INT on second down.

  4. INDYbucsfan Says:

    Wait McCown ISNT as good as luck?!

  5. brett Says:

    picking out one stat from a list is asinine , qbr ,however , is calculated using a conglomerate of stats (meaningless or otherwise). c’mon joe , you can do better than this , I’m guessing Christmas party hangover.

  6. Zam Says:

    Third down efficiency is over-rated… Good teams get first downs on first and second down. Crappy teams have to get them on third.

  7. ddneast Says:

    Actually Hawk has it right. it’s not that McCown can’t toss the rock or play the position, it’s his many turnovers come at bad times in regards to field position. It’s one thing to fumble or throw an INT, but when you keep doing both near the end zone on both sides of the field it sucks the life out of a team.

  8. Buccfan37 Says:

    McCown has some good attributes as a QB, his toughness stands out mainly. He is just too old to fix what ails the Bucs.

  9. SteveK Says:

    Notice that Glennon is ranked well above the Philly QBs and McCown.

  10. Hawk Says:

    ddneast said:

    “It’s one thing to fumble or throw an INT, but when you keep doing both near the end zone on both sides of the field it sucks the life out of a team.”

    It makes you wonder if the team is really behind having McCown be the starter. Although they may publicly tow the company line, EVERYONE has an opinion of their own.
    It would a scary (I mean scarier) thought if the offense is actually trying harder because they know they have to take up the slack from McCown’s play.
    No, can’t be. They’re slacking too. Sorry for the momentary lapse of judgement.

  11. Rick D'Alessandro Says:

    I did see Glennon is ranked higher……but really that’s what this article is about… misleading some stats are. If you look closely, Napoleon Dynamite’s completion percentage is more than 10% less than McCown’s on third down. It’s idiotic to be rating any Buccaneer quarterback playing behind that offensive line, not to mention some of the worst play calling in NFL history. Neither quarterback had a chance! And I’m hopeful Glennon never gets another chance in a Bucs uniform.

  12. Another J Says:

    Love doesn’t like Stats!