Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sportswriting Moron Of The Week

The pandemic of moronic writing continues. With this being such a continued, ongoing theme in this blog, it's just occured to me that I might as well start handing out a regular award for all the inaccurate columns, terrible analyses, and half-witted commentary with which we are beseiged. So, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I present to you, the inaugural Sportswriting Moron Of The Week Award, which goes to: ESPN NFL Blogger Adam Schefter!!! *golf clap and cheers*

Of note, in the above-linked blog, which analyzes the 4 potential Super Bowl matchups, Adam, while discussing a potential Patriots/49ers game, includes this fantasic gem of historical inaccuracy:

And once, the 49ers played the way the Patriots do today: high-flying offense, limited defense.

Limited defense Adam? Excuse me? Were you awake, or even alive, during the 49ers run? Mercy me. Where do I begin? Well, since we're discussing the Super Bowl, let's just start with a number from there: 17.8. That's the average number of points scored by 49er opponents in their 5 Super Bowl victories (26-21, 38-16, 20-16, 55-10, 49-26). Limited?

But naturally, it's far too simplistic to stop there. It's just one game, right? After all, the Buffalo Bills were a great team, but you'd never know it from their final three Bowl appearances. So how did the 49ers defense fare over the duration of those Super Bowl years? Well, for starters: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, and 8th. Those are where their defense ranked among the league in points allowed during those runs. An average of 4th-best in the league in limiting the amount of points by the opposition. Limited? Was that perhaps a typo for limitING?

It gets worse. For four of the 5 Super Bowl runs, the 49er defense actually ranked just as high or *higher* in the league than their offense. In 1981, the defense actually carried the team more than the offense, ranking 2nd in the league in points allowed, as compared to the offense's 7th-place points-scored rank. In 1988, the defense was 8th and the offense again 7th. The 15-1 '84 team and 14-2 '89 team -- the two best of the dynasty -- had an offense-defense rating of 2-1 and 1-3 respectively. Do you really think that the 1984 team that shut down the high-flying, Dan Marino-led, record-setting Miami offense to a tune of 16 points is something to call "limited"? Nope. #1 in points allowed, the stingiest defense in the entire NFL that year. What a coincidence.

The only year you could make so much as a weak case for the offense carrying the team would be in 1994, when the offense ranked 1st and the defense 6th. However, good luck trying to convince anyone with a pulse that a defense that ranked 6th out of 30 teams is somehow "limited".

It is commom knowledge by now, among football circles, that the idea that the 49ers were all flash and no substance is ridiculous. Bill Walsh, Joe Montana and the West Coast Offense certainly made all the headlines, but anyone who truly follows football knows they had a stout defense each and every year, chock full of pro-bowlers and eventual Hall Of Famers.

Ronnie Lott. Charles Haley. Dwight Hicks. Keena Turner. Dana Stubblefied. Eric Wright. Fred Dean. Those names mean anything to you? They should. Hell, that 6th-rated 1994 defense had nearly their entire secondary (Tim McDonald, Merton Hanks, Deion Sanders) in the Pro Bowl.

Seriously, when you really take a good look at those 49er teams of yesteryear, you realize just how complete they were from top to bottom. Among the best teams the NFL has ever seen. There isn't a team among the 5 that even remotely resembles top-heavy teams like the 2011 Packers and Saints.

By the way, for the sake of comparison, this year's New England Patriots ranked 15th in the NFL in points allowed; 31st in yards allowed. (The 49er Super Bowl teams ranked 5th in the league in yards allowed on average, only once as low as 10th). Nevertheless, our dear Adam saw it fit to compare a defense that ranks 15th and 31st to one that averaged 4th and 5th. Sure, that makes sense.

Adam Schefter, hands off your keyboard, stand and take a bow; you are this week's sportswriting moron. Congratulations!

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