Is Aaron Rodgers What We Think He Is?

Is Aaron Rodgers What We Think He Is?

To most, Aaron Rodgers is considered to be the most talented quarterback in the NFL. He can make every single throw from every single arm slot in every single body position. He can run just about as well as any other quarterback in the league. But are we missing something? If not for one playoff run as the number six seed to win the Super Bowl, how would we view him? I assure you it wouldn’t be anything close to how he’s viewed now. He would be considered a choker, he can’t win the big game, doesn’t have what it takes, not a good leader, and so on and so forth.

Let’s start with Rodgers in the postseason. Outside of 2010, when Rodgers won the Super Bowl, he only has three playoff wins in six appearances. Rodgers also only has one fourth quarter comeback (defined as an offensive scoring drive in the fourth quarter with the team trailing by one score and only games resulting in a win or a tie are counted) in the playoffs. Looking at Eli Manning, someone most people relegate to a lower tier of quarterback than Rodgers, he has more playoff wins than Rodgers (even when you take away one of his Super Bowl runs like I did with Rodgers) in two less appearances. Manning also has three more fourth quarter comebacks than Rodgers.

Even looking at the regular season, Rodgers hasn’t been the top level quarterback we all think he’s been. He has a passer rating under 100 in fourteen straight games. Blaine Gabbert has two games with a passer rating of over 100 in that span. Blaine Gabbert. The next closest streak to Rodgers’ is Alex Smith with six games with a passer rating under 100. In two games this season the Packers join the Los Angeles Rams as the only two teams without gaining 300+ total yards in either game. That’s terrible. Last season Rodgers threw for the second fewest amount of yards in his career, his lowest completion percentage, tied for the third most interceptions in his career, and the lowest quarterback rating of his entire career.

It would be very easy to chalk all of this up to a slump, but at what point does it stop being a slump? And without his Super Bowl victory, how exactly would he be viewed? Probably much closer to Tony Romo (someone people bash for not being able to win a playoff game) than Tom Brady. Rodgers has a lot of making up to do right now. Until he shows us more, you can’t put him in the top tier of quarterbacks.

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The SEC Never Was The Best Conference

The SEC Never Was The Best Conference

The Southeastern Conference (SEC) has been widely considered the elite conference in college football for a long time now. They have certainly won a lot of championships recently, but should one dynasty and one or two single championships lift an entire conference? Absolutely not. From top to bottom the SEC is far from elite. I’d go as far as to say they’re quite pedestrian.

Since 2006 a team from the SEC has won the National Championship eight times. Alabama has won it four times, Auburn has won it once, LSU has won it once, and Florida has won it twice. In the nine seasons prior, SEC teams only won the National Championship twice (one of those years LSU shared it with USC but LSU didn’t play in the National Championship game).

Let’s start with how the conference is structured. The SEC is split into two divisions, the East and the West. Each team must play eight conference games per year, consisting of the other six teams in their division, one school from the other division on a rotating basis, and one school from the other division that it plays each year. The East Division includes Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, and South Carolina while the West Division includes Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Ole’ Miss, and Mississippi State. Alabama is the one team in the conference that has been at the top during almost the entire ten year span while each year maybe 2-3 other teams in their division have been anywhere close to them. That gives Alabama possibly two difficult games in their division, one rotating school from the other division (could be Georgia one year and could be Kentucky), and Tennessee is their permanent opponent from the other division (during this span Tennessee has not been a very good team).

While I’m using Alabama as an example, that’s the SEC’s best case scenario. If you take a team from the other division, let’s say Georgia, it looks even worse for the conference. Georgia gets to consistently beat up on Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, and Missouri while sometimes getting a tough game against Florida and Auburn (that is their permanent opponent from the other conference). What this does is give the illusion of a deep conference when in actuality they don’t have to beat up on each other the entire year and get to their bowl games relatively fresh.

When you look at a conference like the Pac-12 on the other hand, they have a nine game conference schedule plus the conference championship game. They are also split into two divisions but they’re only required to play five games within their division and four games from the opposite division. With this kind of scheduling it is much more difficult to avoid the best teams in your conference. By the time a Pac-12 school gets to their bowl game they’ve played a lot more top contenders than an SEC school has.

Basically what all of this shows you is that of course an SEC team wins the championship most years, they’re more rested than teams from other conferences when it’s time to play their bowl games. They play one or two top teams from their conference, beat up on the bottom feeders, schedule a few directional schools (like Georgia Southern or West Alabama State), and benefit from the over inflated reputation of their conference. That’s why SEC schools lose most of their bowl games, they’re overhyped and always under perform.

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Tom Brady and Tony Romo – One Is Overrated And One Is Under Appreciated

Tom Brady and Tony Romo – One Is Overrated And One Is Under Appreciated

Tom Brady is widely considered one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game of football. He is mentioned alongside names like Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, and Dan Marino. While he has the career stats to back it up, is he really what people think he is? Is there someone in the league right now who is better? I think so.

Tony Romo doesn’t have the gaudy career numbers that Brady has, mostly due to injury problems, but he certainly has more talent. Put public perception aside and disregard the fact that Brady is a compiler. Let’s start with Tom Brady not only playing his entire career under one head coach but now make that head coach the best coach in the history of the NFL. To show how big of an effect this has had on Brady’s career, look at the Patriots’ record when Brady doesn’t play. Matt Cassel came in and went 10-5, completed over 63% of his passes, threw for 3,693 yards (better than some of Brady’s seasons), and threw 21 touchdowns (which is more than Brady had in his first season with the Patriots in equal games). What did Cassel do when he left New England? He basically did nothing.

Brady is also suspended for the first four games of this season. So far only one of those games has been played. It was against the Arizona Cardinals, widely considered to have one of the best rosters in all of football this season. Making the start in Brady’s place is Jimmy Garoppolo. It’s worth noting that not only is he going against a very good Cardinals team, it’s on the road and it’s his first career start. You would expect the drop off to be tremendous considering how great Brady is, right? Wrong. Garoppolo came in and went 24 for 33, threw for 257 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions, and, most importantly, got the win in a hostile environment.

Seeing what the Patriots are able to do in Brady’s absence, we can now take a look at what the Cowboys are able to do when Romo is out. Since 2006 Romo has started in 127 games with a record of 78-49 for a .614 winning percentage. Without Romo in that same span the Cowboys went 9-24 for a .272 winning percentage. That is an incredible drop off, something the Patriots never felt without Brady.

If you want to look at the passing numbers (not the ones Brady has compiled over all the majoritively healthy years of his career) then we can look at the advanced stats provided by Pro Football Reference. Romo is better in yards per attempt index (117 to 109), net yards per attempt index (116 to 112), adjusted yards per attempt index (116 t0 115), completion percentage index (115 to 110), passing touchdown percentage index (117 to 115), and has the same exact passer rating index.

If you were to switch Romo and Brady’s situations, giving Romo a hall of fame coach his entire career and a system conducive to winning no matter the pieces, would the public perception change on them? It most certainly would. Romo is the better quarterback of the two while Tom Brady is, frankly, overrated.


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Relax Eagles Fans, It Was Only the Browns

Relax Eagles Fans, It Was Only the Browns

The Philadelphia Eagles fan base might be one of the thirstiest fan bases in all of football. Not only are they starving for their first ever Superbowl victory, they’ve also been starving for a franchise quarterback ever since Donovan McNabb left (who they hated when he was there).

Well, back in April the Eagles and Cleveland Browns made a blockbuster trade sending Cleveland’s number two overall pick to Philly for two first round picks, one second round pick, one third round pick, and one fourth round pick. This trade is what started the unbridled enthusiasm in the City of Brotherly Love. With that second overall pick the Eagles took quarterback Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State, a guy who started for just two seasons (and was injured for a good portion of one of those) at an FCS school and threw just over 200 passes in the entire last season of his college career. The thirst for the elusive franchise quarterback in Philly was real.

Going through training camp Wentz was the third quarterback on the depth chart and was injured for the majority of it. The Eagles’ starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, was then traded and Wentz somehow leap frogged into the starting role. In the season opener against the Browns, Wentz had a solid game and made the throws he needed to make. Eagles fans were smitten. From just one game. Local newspapers and websites talked about how well Wentz did and how he is bound for an illustrious career in the NFL. From one game. Social media in Philadelphia was ablaze with how great Wentz was and that they won the trade already.

Calm down everyone, he had a solid performance against possibly the worst roster in the NFL (in Philadelphia mind you). The Browns’ starting quarterbacks were ranked last in the preseason according to Pro Football Focus. Their running backs were ranked 20th, receiving corps was ranked 30th, offensive line was ranked 21st, their front seven was 32nd, and their secondary was 25th. Let’s not get too excited about beating up on a team like that.

Of course, with the Chicago Bears coming up next the thirsty Eagles franchise will likely take those results out of context once again. With the 31st ranked preseason secondary, the Bears aren’t likely to stop any offense anytime soon. But don’t tell that to Eagles fans, because if you asked them they would tell you that the Bears defense is formidable with a lot of young stars on it. Don’t let them fool you. Proceed with caution.


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