Friday, October 26, 2012

A Rebuttal to Rick Reilly: Luck or RG3

If you haven't had a chance to read Rick Reilly's article about Andrew Luck being better than RG3 this year, then consider yourself lucky.  Because rather than giving sound evidence and explaining his point, he gives you misleading statistics and tries to be the funny guy.  I'm still not even sure how this guy got a job with ESPN--he should be writing for the Bristol gossip column.  But enough about him, let's focus on why RG3 is, without a doubt, having the better season at quarterback.

First, I would like to preface with the fact that both of these players are great.  Not just good, but they are both playing at an extremely high level for rookies, and they both have incredibly bright careers.  But I've been in love with Robert Griffin III since I wrote about him December 8, 2011.  And so far this year, everything has come true.  So this article is meant to take nothing away from Andrew Luck--it is meant to take everything away from Rick Reilly, while anointing RG3 even more than he has been already.

Reilly's first point, "Luck runs more successfully than Griffin.  He's had 10 scrambles for first downs.  Griffin has had 9."  Stop the presses.  10-to-9!  Reilly, you son of a bitch.  You win this round.

Oh wait, no you don't.  while a 10-9 victory in "runs for first downs" is surely a reason to say Luck's better than RG3, I think looking at a complete scope of rushing statistics would be a bit more effective.  Considering RG3 averages 7.3 yards/carry, compared to Luck's 5.8, says a bit more than your 10-9 statistic.  And he's doing all of this while teams are specifically game-planning to take away his running ability.  And, since it seems like you didn't see it, here's Griffin vs. the Vikings.  Luck is a good runner in his own right, but to even make the case that he's a better running quarterback is asinine.  Griffin is 13th in the league in rushing, while Luck fails to crack the top 40.

Reilly's next point, "Luck is asked to do more than Griffin and is doing it.  His average pass completion travels 8.6 yards in the air, highest in the NFL.  Griffin's is 5.8, one of the lowest." This sounds like a statement from a guy who's never watched a game of football in his life, not an "esteemed ESPN columnist."  Many uneducated football fans use this "yards in the air" stat for quarterbacks, and it's a terrible statistic.

Reilly says, "Sixty-nine percent of the Colt's passing yards are gained while the ball is in the air, the rest after the catch.  Only 49% of the Skin's passing yards come through the air.  In other words, Griffin still has his training wheels on.  Luck has his license."

Merrill Hoge (and I don't like citing him on football knowledge because he's not very knowledgable, but he was very astute in his breakdown of Luck and RG3), while analyzing Luck vs. Griffin before the draft, showed tape where, time after time, RG3 would throw a football and lead his receiver to open space.  His Luck-counterpoint was tape where, time after time, Luck would make the receiver go down to catch the football or throw behind the receiver, limiting yards after the catch.  This analysis has been the most accurate of any in comparing Luck and RG3 in their rookie years, and it holds true in Reilly's cited statistics.  Yes, Luck may be completing 8.6 "air-yards" for every completion, but RG3 is completing 70.4% of his passes, compared to just 53.6% for Luck.  And he's done it all without his #1 receiver, Pierre Garcon.  It's not like he's got a future Hall of Famer to throw to like Luck does in Reggie Wayne.  Also, while QB rating can be a misleading statistic, RG3 is 3rd in the league in QB rating, while Andrew Luck is 31st.  That sort of discrepancy is never misleading.

Then, Reilly goes on to say that "Katy Perry in heels" could complete 60% of her passes in the Redskins offense, another reason why he should apply for a job with the National Enquirer.  Tom Brady always used to get blamed for throwing short passes, too, but why wouldn't you?  There's less risk involved, you still get the ball in the hands of your playmakers, and it's clearly effective in today's NFL.

He also says that Luck has been more heroic.  More heroic?  I'm not even sure what that means, to be honest.  But I think what RG3 did against the Giants was the definition of "heroic."

All of the points Reilly makes are points that my sister, who hasn't watched a football game in 10 years (she's too busy doing yoga and not eating anything with a face), would make.  He might as well have started the article with, "The Indianapolis Colts have prettier colors!"  At least I wouldn't have wasted my time reading it.

Do us all a favor, Reilly, and stop writing articles.  To quote Coach Riley from the Mighty Ducks, "You're not even a has-been, you're a never-was."

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't of said it better myself. I also like how he refers to the Redskins "babying" RG3. AHAH, what a joke! He has lost all credibility, he knows it; but he still wants the attention...What a pathetic attempt. Sorry Rick, nobody is buying your BS anymore.