More Damn Lies…and Statistics

More Damn Lies – and Statistics

By Michael-Louis Ingram, Editor


(first presented august 1, 2009) 


PHILADELPHIA (BASN/BASN NEWSROOM) — Previously on “Who’s Afraid of Michael Vick?”

The point was made about Vick being an NFL quality quarterback; punctuated by his won-loss record, completion percentage and passer rating versus 44 current starting and significant backup QBs in the league.

Vick graded out at number nine on the list (Brett Favre’s vacillation on retirement notwithstanding); but the haters wanna throw in the completion percentage as a barometer that Vick is not a complete quarterback.

Well, like we say, the figures don’t lie; so we’re gonna take some “complete” quarterbacks and slap some of their numbers against Vick’s and see what we shall see…

Now every quarterback on this list is either a Hall of Famer, played in a League Championship game or Super Bowl, or was All-Pro at one time or another.

We will compare their career completion percentage, passer rating and touchdown-to-interception ratio. As an extra added bonus, we will include their won/loss records as well.

Now, here are Vick’s present career statistics for the aforementioned categories:

53.8% completion rate, 75.7 passer rating; 71/52 touchdown/interceptions…

Doug WILLIAMS, Super Bowl Champion, Super Bowl MVP, All-Pro: 49.5, 69.4, 100/93; won-loss 38-42-1:

(Williams’ completion rate in his Super Bowl year was 56.1%)

Norm Van BROCKLIN, two-time NFL Champion, member Pro Football HOF Class of 1971: 53.6, 75.1, 173/178; won-loss 61-36-4:

(Van Brocklin’s highest seasonal % was 55.1; in the 1951 Championship year for the Los Angeles Rams, he threw at a 51.5 rate; in 1960 Championship for the Philadelphia Eagles, he threw at 53.9 %)

John UNITAS, two-time NFL Champion, Super Bowl Champion, HOF Class of 1979; 54.6, 78.2, 290/253; won loss 118-64-4:

( Johnny U. threw 51.7% when he led the Baltimore Colts to the 1958 NFL Championship; 52.6% when the Colts repeated in 1959)

Y.A. TITTLE, two-time League MVP, seven-time Pro Bowl selection, HOF Class of 1971; 55.2, 74.3, 242/221 won loss 78-52-5:

(Tittle threw 60.2% in his MVP year, 1963, where he lost to Chicago in the championship game)

Vinny TESTAVERDE, two-time Pro Bowl selection; 56.5, 75.0, 275/267; won loss 90-123-1:

( Testaverde averaged 61.5% in his best season, 1998, when he took the New York Jets to the AFC Championship game, where they lost to Denver. Give Vinny credit for sticking around long enough to erase his negative TD/INT number; this is a QB who once threw 35 picks in one season!)

Fran TARKENTON, MVP, six-time All-Pro, nine-time Pro Bowl selection, HOF Class of 1986; 57.0, 80.4, 342/266; won loss 124-109-6:

(Tarkenton threw a career high 64.2 % in his MVP season of 1975, where he was beaten by the “Hail Mary” Staubach to Drew Pearson – who should also be in the Hall of Fame)

Roger STAUBACH, two-time Super Bowl Champion, six-time Pro Bowl selection, 1970s All-Decade team HOF Class of 1985; 57.0, 83.4, 153/109; won-loss 85-29:

(Staubach’s HOF profile notes his ability to “scramble out of trouble”; if he were Black, the line would read, “He utilized his natural athletic gifts,”- no knock on Roger the Dodger – I’m just tired of the bullshit. If you play QB, then you’d better know when to scramble…)

Bart STARR, two-time Super Bowl Champion, five-time NFL Champion, league MVP, four-time Pro Bowl selection, HOF Class of 1977; 57.4, 80.5, 152/138; won loss 94-57-6:

(Starr threw 58.3, 62.5, and 62.2% in three of his championship years, while throwing for less than 25,000 yards)

Ken STABLER, Super Bowl Champion, two – time All-Pro, four-time Pro selection, MVP, 1970s All-Decade team; 59.8, 75.3, 194/222; won loss 96-49-1:

(Stabler had a 66.7% completion rate and a 103.4 passer rating in the Oakland Raiders Super Bowl season)

Frank RYAN, NFL Champion, three-time Pro Bowl selection; 51.1, 77.6, 149/111 won loss 57-27-3:

(Ryan threw at 52.1% in the Cleveland Browns championship year – 1964)

Jim PLUNKETT, two-time Super Bowl Champion, Super Bowl MVP, AFC Rookie of the Year, NFL Comeback Player of the Year; 52.5, 67.5, 164/198; won loss 72-72:

(Plunkett threw at a 51.6% rate in the SB year of 1980)

Joe NAMATH, Super Bowl Champion, two-time MVP, four-time league All-Star, Pro Bowler, Comeback Player of the Year, HOF Class of 1985; 50.1, 65.5, 173/220; won loss 62-63-4:

(Namath’s Super Bowl season of 1968 had him tossing at 49.2%)

Warren MOON, five-time Grey Cup Champion, NFL MVP, two-time CFL MVP, CFL Most Outstanding Player, three-time All-Pro, nine-time Pro Bowl selection, Canadian Football HOF Class of 2001, Pro Football HOF Class of 2006; 58.4, 80.9, 291/233 (NFL) 144/77 (CFL); won loss 102-101 (NFL):

(Moon threw a career high of 64.7% at the height of the “Run and Shoot” offense in the NFL; and 57.5% during his five consecutive Grey Cup championship seasons; an amazing accomplishment considering the pass-first style of the CFL)

Bobby LAYNE, two-time NFL Champion, five-time Pro Bowl selection, All-Decade Team (1950), HOF Class of 1967; 49.0, 63.4, 196/243; won loss 80-51-4:

(Layne threw at a 48.4 clip in 1952, and 45.8% in 1953, the Detroit Lions’ last championship years)

Jack KEMP, two-time AFL Champion, MVP, five-time All-AFL, seven-time League All-Star; 46.7, 57.3 114/183; won loss 65-37-3:

(Kemp led his Buffalo Bills team in 1964 to a 12-2 record on a TD/INT ratio of 13/26; when “relief pitcher” Daryle Lamonica left to go to the Raiders, Kemp led the Bills to a repeat championship in 1965, and a third division title in 1966 with a career best completion mark of 52%)

Sonny JURGENSEN, NFL Champion, five-time All-Pro, five-time Pro Bowl selection, All-Decade team (1960s), HOF Class of 1983; 57.1, 82.6, 255/189; won loss 69-73-7:

(A classic drop back passer, Jurgensen thru at a 62% clip in his best season)

Ron JAWORSKI, Player of the Year, Pro Bowl selectee; 53.1, 72.8, 179/164; won loss 73-69-1:

(Jaworski, whose present beat is breaking down the art of quarterbacking, has a career high of 57.0 in his Super Bowl season (1980), but has a lower career percentage than Vick)

Len DAWSON, Super Bowl Champion, Super Bowl MVP, three-time AFL Champion, four-time All-AFL, six-time AFL All-Star, HOF Class of 1987; 61.0, 82.6, 239/183; won loss 94-57-8:

(Dawson threw at a 59% clip the year the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl)

John BRODIE, MVP, two-time All-Pro, two-time Pro Bowl selection; 55.8, 72.3, 214/224; won loss 74-77-8:

(In Brodie’s MVP year (1970) he threw at a 59% completion rate)

Terry BRADSHAW, four-time Super Bowl Champion, two-time Super Bowl MVP, MVP, All-Pro, three-time Pro Bowl selection, All-Decade (1970s), HOF Class of 1989; 51.9, 70.9, 212/210; won loss 107-51:

(Although Bradshaw threw as high as 57.7% in his Super Bowl heyday; his career completion percentage remains below Vick’s number thus far)

Tell Me Lies – Tell Me Sweet Little Lies…

Now this laundry list of 20 quarterbacks showed various levels of fluctuation above and below Vick’s numbers.

What is significant is the modern era lacks one key ingredient from previous decades: the trust of the head coach to allow his quarterback to call the game as he sees it on the field.

Quarterback is a position that relies and thrives on the human factor, and must be played as much boldly (in passion) as coldly (in analysis). Every field general in this piece has been to at least one championship; yet only a handful have overall stats in the categories in question which would qualify as on par with the present day NFL and their number games.

Passers like Bobby Layne, Jack Kemp and Terry Bradshaw would catch shit about their completion percentage from idiot bloggers (who likely never played) and fantasy football wonks who would offer mind-numbing explanations as to why so-and-so should be benched; in spite of the fact they all won consistently at the highest level…

What kind of pressure would those champions receive from mainstream media on sports talk shows from inane, innocuous and insipid idiots looking to be shit-disturbers for sake of ratings; instead of in-depth analysis as to why the team (under that QB’s leadership) is winning?

And a new breed of journalist would render their efforts null and void because some would utter nonsensical statements about too many interceptions and how their mother-in-law could throw a more accurate pass; depriving these champions fair assessment of their talents – and greatness.

The risk/reward aspect of leading and taking gambles and relying on teammates to appreciate working as a defined unit determined to succeed with the quarterback as triggerman is gone from the equation; replaced with push-button passing with little X factor to consider.

The championships earned and accolades amassed by these quarterbacks had more to do with their ability to work the field than have the field (the head coach & media) work them.

A Flick of the Vick

So out of the 20 passers listed, Vick’s completion percentage was better than nine QBs: Williams, Van Brocklin, Ryan, Plunkett, Namath, Layne, Kemp, Jaworski and Bradshaw.

Would anyone who truly understands this game deny the ability of this bunch – which happens to include four Hall of Fame quarterbacks? And one, Terry Bradshaw, who was responsible for guiding the Pittsburgh Steelers to four of their six Super Bowl victories?

Vick’s dark skin and demeanor make him uncomfortable to the NFL status quo – and let’s be honest; if it wasn’t his completion rate, it would be some other bullshit excuse about why some think he’s not a great quarterback.

But when he’s under center, he runs faster and perhaps thinks faster than anyone who ever played the position; but, of course, the thinking aspect is conveniently overlooked; and the fear of that combination is what scares the fuck out of the NFL’s inner circle.

When it was alleged this man was the so-called mastermind/ringleader of a criminal enterprise, they spoke of him as some sort of evil genius, yet on the football field he is Mandingo in cleats; a reactive, non-thinking animal who is all brawn and no brain.

Vick doesn’t have the luxury of white skin that will allow others to ignore his human failings – like Ty Cobb’s racist ass, or Gaylord Perry’s cheatin’ ass, or Paul Hornung’s cheating by betting on football and being banned from the sport for a year; but all of them still made their respective Halls of Fame.

If, for arguments sake, Vick were to double his output and maintain his current ratings, he would throw 142 touchdown passes, 104 interceptions and rush for 42 touchdowns over a 12 year career, and earn six Pro Bowl selections – reasonable goals if healthy; and if allowed to continue to play at quarterback.

I believe Vick has the same skill sets as these greats; but whether he will be fairly graded is the real issue. Whatever greatness lying in Vick’s soul will be rendered dormant if forced to move to a wide receiver, running back, or Slash-type anomaly; the latter sufficiently emasculating Kordell Stewart’s presence and destroyed his desire to be innovative.

In this NFL, “audible” is a bad word, calling a game is from the sideline and not under center; and the desire to win is not equally shared among football’s present day deities – those owners of NFL franchises.

The business of fantasy football has spawned a fantasy environment – and the reality is that more people covering the sport mean less understanding of the sport; and more agendas conductive to better business, more racism – but worse football.

always outnumbered – never outgunned.


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