Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ed's Sunday Sermon: Happy Earth Hour!

Everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it. - Mark Twain
I was reading "Cities go dark to mark Earth Hour" over at
From Rome's Colosseum to the Sydney Opera House to the Sears Tower's famous antennas in Chicago, floodlit icons of civilization have gone dark for Earth Hour, a worldwide campaign to highlight the waste of electricity and the threat of climate change.
Ah "the threat of climate change". It is almost like being afraid of the sun rising in the morning.
The environmental group WWF has urged governments, businesses and households to turn back to candle power for at least 60 minutes Saturday starting at 8 p.m. wherever they were.
Candle power? I don't suppose the brain surgeons at the WWF know what candles produce? Good old carbon dioxide, that infamous cause of "Global Warming". But why let a little science get in the way of a good cause?
The campaign began last year in Australia and traveled this year from the South Pacific to Europe in cadence with the setting of the sun.

"What's amazing is that it's transcending political boundaries and happening in places like China, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea," said Andy Ridley, executive director of Earth Hour. "It really seems to have resonated with anybody and everybody."
Stupidity knows no national boundaries.
Earth Hour officials hoped 100 million people would turn off their nonessential lights and electronic goods for the hour. Electricity plants produce greenhouse gases that fuel climate change.
Fortunately, the other 5.9 billion people aren't in the dark.

The truth is that Earth Hour isn't about saving the planet. It is about spreading the political belief that humans are responsible for something the Earth does anyway. Climate change has been happening since the Earth was created, and will continue to happen regardless of whether humans are on this planet.

Once more, let me remind everyone that manmade Global Warming is a scientific THEORY, not a fact. Considering the huge number of factors that go into changing the Earth's climate, and considering the limited amount of time we have been measuring the Earth's climate, this subject requires far more objective study before any actions are taken.

Let's move from theories to some simple facts:

What happens when the air is warmer? More water evaporates.

What happens when you get more water in the atmosphere? More clouds are formed.

What happens when more clouds are formed? More of the sun's light is reflected away from the planet.

What happens when the Earth gets less sunlight on the surface of the planet? The planet cools.

What happens when the air is cooler? Less water evaporates.

What happens when you get less water in the atmosphere? Fewer clouds are formed.

What happens when there are fewer clouds? More of the sun's light hits the surface.

What happens when the Earth gets more sunlight on the surface of the planet? The planet warms.

This isn't rocket science folks. This is the never ending cycle of warming and cooling this planet goes through every year.

But at least the Irish got it right in the story:
Ireland's more than 7,000 pubs elected not to take part, in part because of the risk that Saturday night revelers could end up smashing glasses, falling down stairs or setting themselves on fire with candles.
For the Irish, "Happy hour" is more important than Earth Hour, as well it should be for the rest of us.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Best NFL Quarterback of All-time (Revisited)

Back in September of 2006, I did a blog post on "The best quarterback of all time". At the time, I did not include active quarterbacks. Now that Brett Favre has retired, it is time to revisit this subject.

This time around, I decided to come up with a list of all possible contenders for the best of all-time (feel free to mention in the comments if I overlooked a reasonable contender). As before, I am NOT considering active quarterbacks (sorry Tom Brady and Peyton Manning fans).

The contenders (in alphabetical order by first name): Bart Starr, Brett Favre, Dan Fouts, Dan Marino, Fran Tarkenton, Joe Montana, Joe Namath, John Elway, Johnny Unitas, Otto Graham, Roger Staubach, Sammy Baugh, Sid Luckman, Steve Young, Terry Bradshaw, Troy Aikman, and Warren Moon.

The criteria:

Accuracy is an area where it is difficult to compare quarterbacks from the modern era, where short passes are more frequently thrown, with those from previous eras. on the other hand, quarterbacks from previous eras tended to throw longer passes, so this category tends to balance out with the "arm strength" category below.

Completion percentage is the simplest statistic for accuracy. The top five from the list are:
1. Steve Young - 64.3%
2. Joe Montana - 63.2%
3. Troy Aikman - 61.5%
4. Brett Favre - 61.4%
5. Dan Marino - 59.4%

By itself, arm strength is nice, but it won't win games.

Early in his career, Doug Williams had the strongest arm I have ever seen. Unfortunately, when he threw little passes into the flat, the ball would bounce off the receiver because it was uncatchable.

For arm strength to be effective, it has to be combined with touch on shorter passes.

In this category, average gain per pass attempted tells us the quarterback is using his arm strength to its ultimate advantage. The top five of all-time:
1. Otto Graham - 8.98 yards/attempt
2. Sid Luckman - 8.42
3. Steve Young - 7.98
4. Bart Starr - 7.85
5. Johnny Unitas - 7.76

In a team sport, the championship stands out as the ultimate test of how much a quarterback is helping his team.

The top five championship winning quarterbacks of all-time:
1. Otto Graham - 8
2. Bart Starr - 5
3t. Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, and Sid Luckman - 4

The first quality all rookie quarterbacks must learn is game management. By this I mean the ability to avoid mistakes, specifically interceptions.

The top five in lowest career interception percentage:
1. Joe Montana - 2.5783%
2. Steve Young - 2.5789%
3. Troy Aikman - 2.99%
4. Dan Marino - 3.01%
5. John Elway - 3.12%

A quick release is not necessary to be a great quarterback, but it seems the great ones tend to have quicker releases than most quarterbacks.

The reason for this is the quicker the ball is gone, and the fewer hits the quarterback has to take, thereby cutting down on fumbles (as well as sacks).

If you take the number of fumbles and divide it by the total number of rush and pass attempts, the overall result shows the two quarterbacks generally considered to have the quickest releases of all-time: Dan Marino and Joe Namath.

The top five quickest releases of all-time (based on fumbles/rush + pass attempts):
1. Dan Marino - 0.48%
2. Joe Namath - 0.86%
3. Joe Montana - 0.91%
4. Troy Aikman - 1.15%
5. Fran Tarkenton - 1.18%

The key to any quarterback's running ability is how many times do they score touchdowns? More specifically, does the defense have to respect a quarterback's ability to run with the ball?

The best way to judge this is to take the number of rushing touchdowns and divide it by the number of rushing attempts AND passing attempts. The top five running quarterbacks of all-time:
1. Otto Graham - 1.45% rushing td's/total attempts
2. Steve Young - 0.88%
3. Terry Bradshaw - 0.74%
4. Roger Staubach - 0.59%
5. Fran Tarkenton - 0.45%

In order to throw a lot of touchdowns, you have to be able to throw the ball in the red zone. You won't make a career out of only lobbing 70 yard bombs. You also have to be able to toss the little two yard pass to the tackle eligible in the end zone.

The top five all-time in touchdown percentage:
1. Sid Luckman - 7.24%
2. Otto Graham - 7.19%
3. Sammy Baugh - 5.91%
4. Steve Young - 5.65%
5. Terry Bradshaw - 5.62%

If you sum the rankings of all the quarterbacks on the list, the final ranking would then be determined by the lowest total (assuming all categories are weighted equally) of ranking values.

The final ranking of the 17 quarterbacks:
Rank. QB - Overall score (lower is better)
1. Steve Young - 29
2. Joe Montana - 34
3. Otto Graham - 38
4. Roger Staubach - 54
5. Bart Starr - 56
6t. Dan Marino, Fran Tarkenton - 61
8. Johnny Unitas - 64
9t. Sid Luckman, Troy Aikman - 65
11. Terry Bradshaw - 69
12t. Brett Favre, John Elway - 73
14. Dan Fouts - 74
15. Sammy Baugh - 77
16t. Joe Namath, Warren Moon - 81

Before everyone starts crying about how their favorite quarterback played on a lot of bad teams or didn't have enough talent around them, consider two things. How good would Archie Manning have been if he had played on a good team instead of the horrible Saints teams of the 70's? Also, if championships are removed as a criteria, the top 4 remain the same (and Steve Young gets an even better score).

As I stated in my previous post, Steve Young is the best of all-time. And now that Brett Favre is retired, we can put to bed the notion that he was somehow the best of all-time.

Let the argument commence.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Favre beaned

This post is my way of giving a bloggy high five to ESPN's Sal Paolantonio. Finally, somebody in the Media gets it! Brett Favre is overrated!

In a recent column for, Paolantonio had this to say:
We interrupt the continued deification of Brett Favre -- a first-ballot Hall of Famer and the most durable player in NFL history -- with the following reality check.

Yes, Favre played long enough to throw the most touchdown passes and collect the most wins by an NFL quarterback. But let's examine the second half of No. 4's career. The truth is, Favre did little over the past decade to earn the gushing praise heaped upon him by our fawning brethren in the media.

Sal even goes on to point out something I have already said: Favre is NOT even the best Packers quarterback of all-time. That honor belongs to Bart Starr.
Oh, you say Starr was surrounded by a Hall of Fame roster with a legendary coach. But Starr still is the NFL record holder with a 104.8 career playoff passer rating, nearly 20 points higher than Favre's. That wasn't Vince Lombardi or Ray Nitschke throwing those passes for Starr, whose career postseason passer rating, by the way, is 38 points higher than Johnny Unitas'.

Favre's career playoff record was 12-10. Starr's was 9-1 -- without the benefit of wild-card games. Favre threw 28 interceptions in 22 playoff games. Starr threw three in 10. Think about that -- just three picks in 213 postseason attempts.

But Bart Starr gets the Ringo Starr treatment -- underappreciated and overlooked. Favre gets put on a pedestal. Yes, he had a Pro Bowl season in 2007 with the youngest roster in the NFL. But his final moment on Lambeau Field was a wildly errant pass that turned into the NFC title for the Giants.

By the way, how do you think Favre would have done playing for Vince Lombardi? Frankly, Lombardi would have benched Favre a long time ago for throwing too many interceptions. Gunslingers don't make great quarterbacks, because they don't win championships.

If you look at Favre's career numbers, you will see that after Mike Holmgren left the Packers, Favre's interceptions went up each year, and his touchdowns went down. Holmgren made Favre play within his own limitations. After Holmgren, Favre became the gunslinger, throwing way too many passes he shouldn't because none of the succeeding Packers coaches could control him. Favre became larger than life, and woe be to the coach who might criticize the almighty Favre.

Of course, the Packer fans didn't help the situation by deifying Favre, thereby making it harder on the Packer coaching staffs to try and control Favre's interceptions, which were fueled by Favre's out-of-control ego.

But that brings us back to Sal Paolantionio, who got his start as a sports reporter in Philadelphia. Try to picture what would have happened to Favre if he had been a quarterback in Philadelphia instead of Green Bay? The Eagles fans would have run Favre out of town years ago, with all those playoff interceptions.

Kudos to Sal for giving Favre the Philly treatment. Favre has been playing Santa Claus for too many Packer opponents for too long, and we all know what the Philly fans did to Santa.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Oh Glorious Happy Day!!!

Packers QB Brett Favre retiring!

I'm looking forward to next season already. I won't have to listen to announcers gushing over him any more.