Wednesday, November 5, 2008

WMTMQR Part 2: Please Make the Dumb Man Stop

There is no intro I could possibly write that would do this justice. Let's begin.

This recent New York Times story about the work habits of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow and Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen is both unintentionally hilarious, and disquieting.

Irony. So much delicious irony in that sentence.

The hilarious part: "The hours Mullen and Tebow spend together are geared around 1.3 seconds, the amount of time Tebow has to make a decision after the snap." This is another instance of the sports world's nutty obsession with claiming to be able to sense tenths of seconds.

Yeah, everyone knows that defensive linemen and blitzing linebackers and safties only move towards the QB in full second increments. Why bother practicing for a 1.3 second release when the defenders will only arrive after either exactly 1 second or exactly 2 seconds? How silly is that? I mean, come on, Tebow. Why bother with precision? Like, for example, say you need to throw a precisely timed pass to a receiver who's running an out route. Shouldn't it be good enough to say "Hey, I'll throw it about 3 seconds after the snap?" I think so. I mean, how much more precise could you get.

While we're on the subject, I think it's worth pointing out that a player who runs the 40 yard dash in 4.6 seconds is clearly no faster than one who runs it in 5.4 seconds. Why bother measuring the tenths? What a waste.

Gregg Easterbrook is so fucking stupid that I can't even creatively express my rage.

The NBA season has started, so it won't be long until an official somberly instructs a timekeeper to put a tenth of a second back on the clock.

Hopefully, because then he will write about it and then I will get to write a blog entry that looks exactly like this one in response.

There is no chance Tebow or any quarterback under game conditions can tell the difference between 1.2 seconds, 1.3 seconds or 1.4 seconds.

Very true. However, idiot, that's not the point of whatever these drills are. It's to give Tebow an innate sense of how long is too long to hold onto the ball. Say he runs drill X 100 times. He releases the ball after 1.2 seconds 25 times, after 1.3 seconds 50 times, and after 1.4 seconds 25 times. You think he couldn't pick out at least a few of the times he held the ball that fraction of a second too long? I'm reasonably sure he could. And while he may be incapable of doing that kind of thinking during a game, the point of a drill is to make it so you don't have to think when the game rolls around. You just act.

Probably a good quarterback can tell the difference between one second and two seconds under game conditions, which is impressive enough.

I can tell the difference bewteen 1 second and 2 seconds when I'm playing a pickup game with my friends. I am not a good quarterback. Anyone with a working brain should be able to make that distinction.

But, "Tim, make your read in 1.3 seconds" is a meaningless instruction.

You're a fucking idiot.

Coaches, officials and others in football and basketball talk about tenths of seconds because it makes them seem super-skilled -- obviously only an incredible genius could plan events down to the tenths of seconds!

Actually, they do it because tenths of seconds are often the difference between sacks and touchdown passes, or buzzer beaters (hence the name!) and waived-off non-shots.

No human being accurately senses the passage of tenths of seconds.

It doesn't take ESP or some kind of supernatural "sense." It takes an awareness of what it feels like to do something a certain way. This is what drills are for.

Sadly, Easterbrook is exactly right about what he considers the "disquieting" part of the NYT article (college athletes who devote excessive amounts of time to sport at the likely peril of their studies), so I won't rip it apart here. Moving on.

TMQ Accuracy Improves by 0.14 Percent: Over the weekend, Mike Pereira, the NFL's chief of officials, said officiating accuracy, which was 97.78 percent in 2007, was down this season to 97.64 percent. That's a difference of 0.14 percent! About 14,500 plays had been run in the NFL this season to the point of Pereira's statement; the difference breaks down to 20 more officiating mistakes leaguewide this season compared to last season. TMQ has always believed that most officiating decisions are correct, in college and high school as well as the pros. But 97.64 percent accuracy seems like runaway pseudo-precision.

So apparently, we can't trust division anymore. sure, my calculator says 25/4 is 6.25. But doesn't that seem a little too precise? Very suspicious. This is what astounds me about Gregg- his inability to follow a chain of logic that arrives at a sensible conclusion. If you told me "NFL officials were 97.64% accurate last year," I might be a little intrigued. I might say "oh yeah, how do you know?" And then, if you showed me this study, which shows that there were X blown calls on Y plays, and that (Y-X)/Y = 97.64, I'd say "Oh. Cool." Gregg's inability to do the same is mind boggling.

Stop Me Before I Blitz Again! Minnesota leading Houston 14-7 and facing third-and-3; seven-man blitz; long touchdown to Bernard Berrian.

See below for the Chiefs being hung out to dry by TMQ for not blitzing on a two point conversion, which, as you know, is roughly the equivalent of a third and three. (I admit that the compressed field a defense faces on a potential 2PC mitigates the "long TD" problem and makes a blitz seem slightly more logical. Still... shut up, Easterbrook.)

Arizona leading St. Louis 17-7; six-man blitz; long touchdown to undrafted Division III player Jerheme Urban.

If you'd seen this highlight, you would know that the defensive back who got "burned" for the TD literally had an interception in his hands on this play which he then miraculously flipped/tossed to Urban. This extremely unlikely occurrence is not the fault of the defensive coordinator who called for a blitz.

OK, time to wrap up with an angry and critical one-liner. Uhhhh.... Gregg Easterbrook is ugly.


Chris W said...

Man, Easterbrook's stupid.

That refereeing shit...seriously. dude is really stupid.

Tonus said...

Easterbrook's next column: baseball batters can't think in terms of tenths of a second, which is why they all hit .000 every year.