This week I read an article on Bill James. The basics of the article was most people don't understand his impact on baseball at all. It's not that he was a stats guy, or invented new stats, or the famous quote made baseball as fun as doing your taxes. It was he challenged the bullshit and did it with data. To me probably the most important thing was he challenged the data (batting average) with other data (OBP and runs created). Luis Aparicio and Bert Campaneris should have never batted leadoff, that was bullshit, but they did.
Football doesn't have that guy, or anyone really challenging the bullshit and bullshit still rules so many teams.
Let's take Terik Cohen. He has all that speed, and 'elusiveness'. He can 'do it all' with great stats in returns and receiving and he runs that 4.4 - 40 . So what, he sucks. Two plays Thanksgiving day. Play number one, the Lions line up with 4 men down, 1 linemaker and 1 safety at 20 yards. 5 men in the box, 5 out wide. Easy defense to read, I did it from my couch. Cohen takes the hand off and bounces outside for a loss. Outside? Against 5 men in the box?
Latter, Lions go 4 down, 3 linebackers at 3 yards, safety up and one at 20 yards. Classic 8 men in the box. Cohen gets the ball and grinds it right up the middle. He's hit behind the line but manages a short gain. He only ran the ball three times, and two he made terrible reads/plays.
Let's take Frank Gore, and his 20,000 yards gained. Gore has one of the lowest wonderlich scores ever. I remember watching him run in 2014 and thinking, he was at that point slower than all the punters in the league and probably 3/4 of the place kickers. I'm pretty sure I could have chased him down from behind. Maybe right now Janikowski is the only guy slower in the league.
Gore never reads a defense wrong, never. The last blocking assignment he missed was during the Clinton administration. He never has to come out of a game because of a down and distance situation, which means he can fire off 8 yard gains on 3rd and 7 even though any one of the cheerleaders could tackle him if they had read the play right.
Last night I watched Colin Kaepernick, disguised as Marcus Mariota play for the Titans. What a stat line 22-23, 300+ yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions. He sucked, sucked.....sucked. Six sacks, and they had little to do with the Texans, he regularly held the ball for 4 even 5 plus seconds. When he wasn't getting sacked he was scrambling for 2 yard gains. Exciting, and terrible quarterback play. Is he fixable? Do the Titans even know he's broken? An incompletion is better than a sack, every time. Someone needs to do the data to stop the bullshit.
That leads to the Jags and the dreaded playoff run that teams playing a 4th place schedule (2016 Cowboys and Raiders, 2017 Jags) get themselves into. It creates delusion, teams buy into the bullshit. The Jags needed to rid themselves of Bortles, but the wins and stats created an illusion of success. Then there's Fournette. Everyone participates in the bullshit. He's a great fantasy player, always gets at least 70 yards (usually on 25 carries) and scores touchdowns. He gets a lot of fantasy points, and somehow realy NFL GM's, who really should know better can't see the bullshit. He puts your team in 2nd and 9 and 3rd and 8 all the time. That sets up failure for a QB who struggles with 2nd and 2. Two wasted top 5 picks. But the bullshit says they're 'ok'.
The Jags won last year on turnover margin, something I'm sure even a quick look at the data would show is more luck than anything and subject to correcting back to .500 year over year. The Jags convinced themselves they had something special. Maybe they can hire Gruden in a couple years to fix what was always broken, but they refused to see.