Monday, April 28, 2008

You can quote me on that

Yesterday on my blog, I did a simple post reviewing the NFL draft. Today, I get a voicemail from a friend I used to work with telling me I was quoted in the USAToday.

My initial reaction: Say what?!

So after work, I picked up a USAToday, and darned if they didn't quote me in an aricle about the allegedly "winning" Kansas City Chiefs draft:
A dissenting voice belongs to Ed McGonigal (an Oakland Raiders fan) of the Politics and Pigskins blog. "I am putting the Chiefs in the losers category for now," he writes, "only because they got a lot of players with question marks. Even their top pick, defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey, was probably the most questionable among the top 10 picks in the draft."
While my little blog appreciates the free publicity, I probably should add something to what I said about the Chiefs draft, since what I said was more of a summary of my opinions of what a lot of teams did.

First off, I am an unashamed Oakland Raiders fan, which the USAToday quote correctly states. However, when it comes to AFC West teams, I don't really hate the Chiefs. Truth be told, I kind of liked them when Dick Vermeil was there. I grew up with Vermeil's Eagles, so I have always been a fan of his.

Then when the Chiefs hired Herm Edwards as head coach, I was overjoyed, after Edward's less than auspicious years with the Jets. I knew the Chiefs were going downhill soon, so I didn't really need to worry about them too much in the AFC West. It is hard to hate, or even dislike, the pitiful.

I far more despise the Broncos. If the Raiders beat the Broncos twice in a season, it's a good year (even if the Raiders go 2-14).

So when I wrote my little blurb about the Chiefs, I was NOT doing it out of spite for a division rival. I was merely going through the various teams and seeing how they did after three rounds.

But there is a final aspect to my comments which I did not mention: Herm Edwards has never developed a potential Hall-of-Famer in his coaching career, let alone a Super Bowl contender. How can anyone be enthusiastic about a team's draft when the head coach has NEVER shown any ability to develop talent?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

NFL Draft Review

This year's NFL draft is not a deep one in terms of talent. But there are gems here, and winners and losers among the drafters.

RAIDERS: Of all the offensive skill position players in the draft, there was only one "sure thing": RB Darren McFadden. I was downright giddy when my Raiders got him. There is the argument the Raiders didn't need another running back, with Justin Fargas, Michael Bush, and Dominic Rhodes already there. But McFadden is a special back, the kind who makes your offensive line better just because he is so good. And fast.

FALCONS: My hometown Falcons did well, getting the top quarterback in the draft, Matt Ryan, and an offensive lineman for him, Sam Baker. Add in linebacker Curtis Lofton, and things look good for the future of this franchise. However, cornerback Chevis Jackson is a little slow and small for his position.

DOLPHINS: Say what you will, but when you go 1-15, there are offensive line problems. Adding the top offensive lineman in the draft, Jake Long, makes perfect sense. And let's not forget quarterback Chad Henne and two defensive linemen, Phillip Merling and Kendall Langford.

BEARS: There were a lot of needs on the Bears, and they filled a few of them. Tackle Chris Williams, running back Matt Forte, and wide receiver Earl Bennett, may all end up starting right away, considering the lack of quality ahead of them.

COLTS: Even without a first round pick, the Colts got some quality prospects in center Mike Pollak and linebacker (although I think he'd make a better safety) Philip Wheeler. Especially Wheeler, who has a good motor.

JETS: Even though tight end Dustin Keller has some question marks (great receiver, so-so blocking skills), the Jets definitely got a good one in defensive lineman Vernon Gholston.

PACKERS: Like the Colts, no first round picks here, but they got some quality prospects anyway. Getting quarterback Brian Brohm in the second round was a steal.

PATRIOTS: When I see two linebackers going to a team coached by Bill Belichick, I know I am looking at two potential all-pros. Belichick spends more time with his linebackers than any other position, and his defenses show it. Even though the Pats linebackers were all studs last year, they are also OLD. Adding youth to this experienced corps of linebackers makes the Patriots scary.

In addition, the Pats picked up a super-speedy corner in Terrence Wheatley. Expect to hear his name a lot over the next few years.

STEELERS: Even though running back Rashard Mendenhall is the big name of the Steelers draft, I like the guys they got in the second and third rounds better: WR Limas Sweed and DE Bruce Davis. Davis may end up getting switched to linebacker and will be a project because of it, but he has a good motor and attitude. Sweed is another solid prospect.

RAVENS: Think the Ravens learned from the mistake of letting quarterback Derek Anderson go? They went and drafted an Anderson clone in Delaware quarterback Joe Flacco. That said, Delaware quarterbacks have rarely excelled in the NFL, with Rich Gannon being the only exception, and it took Gannon many years to become an outstanding quarterback. In spite of the fact the scouts have become enamored with him, and I personally wish him well as a Delaware grad myself, I predict Flacco becomes a journeyman quarterback who may or may not find success in the NFL. If he does, it will take longer than the Ravens want to wait, and it will be with another team (similar to Rich Gannon).

The rest of the Ravens draft has question marks, although Tom Zbikowski might turn out to be a quality safety.

BROWNS: No picks until the fourth round? It is not like this team doesn't need help.

CHIEFS: I am putting the Chiefs in the losers category for now, only because they got a lot of players with question marks. Even their top pick, defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey, was probably the most questionable among the top 10 picks in the draft.

As for the other five players the Chiefs got in the first three rounds, the scouts are calling them "quality" picks, but I still see "wait and see" picks.

What I saw of the rest of the NFL was a bunch of question marks in this draft, which was the weakest draft I have seen in many years.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Observations on Carville-Matalin

Some random thoughts on seeing James Carville and Mary Matalin last night:

1. I was surprised at the lack of young people in the audience. This was at Brenau University, and the tickets for students were free. I could count on one hand the number of students there, yet the auditorium was packed. Either young people aren't as involved politicially as I would hope/expect, or Carville and Matalin just don't resonate with the young (which is possible).

2. I was there with my dad, my step-mother, and my wife. Pretty scary when you consider the "baby" of the group was me (age 43).

3. I finally figured out the mystery of their marriage. They aren't ideologues. Sure they tease each other mercilessly about ideology, but they don't take it seriously. For them, it is all about political strategy, and they mutually respect each other's abilities in that area. They just happen to work for opposing sides.

4. They made some VERY good points about our current election, specifically about how we have never had one like it. Matalin said that McCain's early leadership followed by his slump, allowed his campaign to regroup. Carville correctly pointed out that the last election which did NOT involve a sitting president or vice president was in 1928 (President Coolidge chose not to run for re-election, and Vice President Charles Dawes did not run). We are in new territory for political strategists.

5. Carville talked about his test for the best vice presidential choice: It makes the opposing campaign manager "throw up". He suggested the best choice for McCain would be Colin Powell. Ironically, both my dad and I had the same thought at this: Why not Condi Rice? Later it occurred to me that Rice is too closely associated with the Bush administration, and an opposing campaign manager might salivate at that choice.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Looking at politics from both sides

I will get a political treat tonight when I will be seeing James Carville and Mary Matalin appearing together over at Brenau University.

Some of the luster has been taken off their political shine by their support of losing candidates this year (Matalin supported Fred Thompson and Carville supported Hillary Clinton's slowly dying campaign), but it should still be interesting.

When I have seen them interviewed in the past, I found them both very partisan to an extreme, although I hope to gain some insight into the concept of partisanship by listening to them. Specifically, is it possible to find a middle ground without giving up your political beliefs?

That is the political anomaly of the Carville-Matalin marriage.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Aussie sent home and other Idol-atry

There are too many headlines today calling Michael Johns being sent home on American Idol a "shocker". As much as I liked his voice, he had too many weeks of bland performances not to see the writing on the wall.

Of course, the entire group of singers presented nothing but bland performances this week so sending any of them home this week wouldn't have shocked me. "Idol Gives Back" week was a dud (and I am NOT referring to the Idol-Aid show on Wednesday night).

As for the remaining singers:

Cook is the clear frontrunner at this point, thanks to several weeks of kickass performances, not the least of which was his innovative take on Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean", which is already being lauded as one of the greatest Idol performances in the history of the show.

On the downside, he has set the bar pretty high.

Watching Castro, and the judges' glowing assessments of him, and the fact he has only made the bottom three once that I can recall, makes me feel like I am not from this universe. This guy is LAME!

Take his ukelele version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow from Tuesday night. The judges, including Simon Cowell, gushed over him for it. Taking one of the most beautiful slow songs of all time, increasing the tempo, and adding a ukelele, is NOT a great idea, and Castro's performance showed it. No one can come close to Judy Garland's version of it.

As for Castro, all I can figure is that he is a pretty boy with decent vocal abilities. Simon described my feelings about Castro best earlier this season: If I heard him on the radio, I would change the station.

Kristy is no Carrie Underwood. However, as the only remaining country presence in the show, Kristy could go far if she doesn't stumble.

David could sing the phone book and it would sound good. But Idol's wunderkind is not flawless.

In recent weeks, I have noticed him singing more than enunciating song words. That's wonderful if you're doing opera, where no one expects to understand the words. Not so good for American Idol.

That said, his version of John Lennon's Imagine earlier this season still stands out for me as the best version of the song ever done, including Lennon's version.

But David has had trouble with uptempo songs after his disastrous version of Shop Around earlier this season.

Whether Carly wins or not, I am a fan. She had me when she did Shadow of Your Smile back in the beginning. That is one of my favorite songs, and she nailed it.

She has done some good songs since then, although this week's rendition of Queen's The Show Must Go On was a bit of a head scratcher for me. Undoubtedly it was the reason she ended up in the bottom three in the voting.

I still believe she is capable of winning the whole contest, but she will need a huge performance next week.

One thing I have to give Syesha credit for is guts. She doesn't back down from any challenging song. Some people think she is too cocky, but I find her to be refreshing, especially because she has the pipes to take on just about any song.

Two songs she's done this season stand out for me: The Beatles Yesterday, which she performed flawlessly, and Dolly Parton/Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You, which I absolutely despise, but she nailed it.

But she is in the same boat as Carly Smithson. She will need a strong performance next week to stick around. This week, Syesha's performance of Fantasia's I Believe was forgettable, mostly because the song itself is forgettable. Her bottom three finish was testament to that.

Brooke can be very good, and she tends to be consistent, but she never quite outshines her competition.

Take her rendition of The Beatle's Let It Be. While it was outstanding, David Archuleta's Imagine outshines it. That's basically her story: Every week a bridesmaid, never the bride.

She is the only Idol contestant I can look at and say she will definitely not win.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Comparing the Candidates Part 2: Iraq

Following is part 2 in a continuing series comparing the presidential candidates and where they stand on the issues. (part 1 link)

While all three candidates are pretty clear on their overall view of Iraq, they each have subtleties in their positions which are not as well known (all quotes are from the candidates' websites linked to their names below):

Hillary's position is clear: Get the troops out of Iraq. However, her position relies on a diplomatic initiative which will require the support of the U.N. and cooperation from "key allies, other global powers, and all of the states bordering Iraq."

Obama's position is similar to Hillary's, with one key exception:
He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.

Based on that loophole, Obama could conceivably keep troops in Iraq for the entirety of his presidency.

Everyone knows about McCain's "100 years" comment about Iraq. His position supports that view, as he plans to INCREASE the number of troops we have in Iraq:
More troops are necessary to clear and hold insurgent strongholds; to provide security for rebuilding local institutions and economies; to halt sectarian violence in Baghdad and disarm Sunni and Shia militias; to dismantle al Qaeda; to train the Iraqi Army; and to embed American personnel in Iraqi police units. Accomplishing each of these goals will require more troops and is a crucial prerequisite for needed economic and political development in the country. America's ultimate strategy is to give Iraqis the capabilities to govern and secure their own country.

If Iraq is your primary issue going into the election, the choices are pretty clear. McCain wants to fix Iraq, Clinton wants us out of Iraq, while Obama wants us out but is willing to consider staying there if circumstances require it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Comparing the Candidates Part 1: Energy/Environment

Beginning today, I will be writing on where the three remaining candidates for president stand on the issues.

The first issue covered will be Global Warming, arguably the greatest scam of our time. Let's see how much damage the candidates will do in order to save our country (and the world) from nothing (all quotes are from the candidates' websites linked to their names below):

To take the steps necessary to transition to a clean and renewable energy future, Hillary will urge all of the nation's stakeholders to contribute to the effort. Automakers will be asked to make more efficient vehicles; oil and energy companies to invest in cleaner, renewable technologies; utilities to ramp up use of renewables and modernize the grid; coal companies to implement clean coal technology; government to establish a cap and trade carbon emissions system and renew its leadership in energy efficient buildings and services; individuals to conserve energy and utilize efficient light bulbs and appliances in their homes; and industry to build energy efficient homes and buildings.

Sounds lovely, doesn't it? But as usual with anything Clintonian, the devil is in the details:
An aggressive comprehensive energy efficiency agenda to reduce electricity consumption 20 percent from projected levels by 2020 by changing the way utilities do business, catalyzing a green building industry, enacting strict appliance efficiency standards, and phasing out incandescent light bulbs

Read: more government regulation, which you will pay for at the pump and in your electricity bills.
A $50 billion Strategic Energy Fund, paid for in part by oil companies, to fund investments in alternative energy.

Read: more oil company taxes, which you will pay for at the pump.
An increase in fuel efficiency standards to 55 miles per gallon by 2030, and $20 billion of "Green Vehicle Bonds" to help U.S. automakers retool their plants to meet the standards

Once the automakers retool their plants, how is this investment paid back? If this operates as a loan to the automakers, what if they don't take the loan? It is still an intriguing idea, but I am not sure how it will work, or if it can work.
A new "Connie Mae" program to make it easier for low and middle-income Americans to buy green homes and invest in green home improvements

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae work so well, why not do the same thing for green houses? In the middle of a housing crisis which was brought on by loans to people who shouldn't have been buying houses in the first place, is adding more government loans a good idea?
A requirement that all publicly traded companies report financial risks due to climate change in annual reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission

A new reporting requirement for ALL public companies which we can all pay for in the higher cost of goods! I can't wait!

What does she think companies do when they are impacted by "climate change"? They increase their prices to cover their costs. So we need companies to comply with a new government regulation for what reason?
Creation of a "National Energy Council" within the White House to ensure implementation of the plan across the Executive Branch.

A new government agency! Woohoo!

Seriously, there isn't an existing government agency to handle whatever it is she wants the NEC to do?

One thing I like about McCain's issues statement on the environment is that it is light on details. He basically says we have to maintain a strong economy first, which I agree with 100%. He also mentions using more nuclear power, with which I also agree.

A speech he made on April 23rd of last year provides a lot of the details his issue statement is missing:
Alcohol fuels made from corn, sugar, switch grass and many other sources, fuel cells, biodiesel derived from waste products, natural gas, and other technologies are all promising and available alternatives to oil. I won't support subsidizing every alternative or tariffs that restrict the healthy competition that stimulates innovation and lower costs. But I'll encourage the development of infrastructure and market growth necessary for these products to compete, and let consumers choose the winners. I've never known an American entrepreneur worthy of the name who wouldn't rather compete for sales than subsidies.

...I want to improve and make permanent the research and development tax credit. I want to spend less money on government bureaucracies, and, where the private sector isn't moving out of regulatory fear, to form the partnerships necessary to build demonstration models of promising new technologies such as advanced nuclear power plants, coal gasification, carbon capture and storage, and renewable power so we can take maximum advantage of our most abundant resources.

It is safe to say he plans to leave it up to the free markets to decide how we handle this problem, with a little bit of help from tax breaks.
The barriers to nuclear energy are political not technological. We've let the fears of thirty years ago, and an endless political squabble over the storage of nuclear spent fuel make it virtually impossible to build a single new plant that produces a form of energy that is safe and non-polluting.

Cutting BACK on government regulation? Can he do that?

Probably not, but it is refreshing to hear a politician say it.

All three candidates promote "cap and trade" systems. Obama's is a little different:
Some of the revenue generated by auctioning allowances will be used to support the development of clean energy, to invest in energy efficiency improvements, and to address transition costs, including helping American workers affected by this economic transition.

In other words, a tax on companies which sell their allowances. It is unclear how much the tax will be.
Obama will invest $150 billion over 10 years to advance the next generation of biofuels and fuel infrastructure, accelerate the commercialization of plug-in hybrids, promote development of commercial-scale renewable energy, invest in low-emissions coal plants, and begin the transition to a new digital electricity grid. A principal focus of this fund will be devoted to ensuring that technologies that are developed in the U.S. are rapidly commercialized in the U.S. and deployed around the globe.

...Obama will double science and research funding for clean energy projects including those that make use of our biomass, solar and wind resources.

...Obama will also create an energy-focused Green Jobs Corps to connect disconnected and disadvantaged youth with job skills for a high-growth industry.

...Obama will establish a federal investment program to help manufacturing centers modernize and Americans learn the new skills they need to produce green products.

More government spending. He has more ideas of different ways to spend government money in a lot of different areas, but no specific energy direction. From biofuels to solar to wind to others, he hits all of them with our tax dollars.
Obama will create a Clean Technologies Venture Capital Fund to fill a critical gap in U.S. technology development. Obama will invest $10 billion per year into this fund for five years. The fund will partner with existing investment funds and our National Laboratories to ensure that promising technologies move beyond the lab and are commercialized in the U.S

Aside from the spending aspect of this, is he SURE we can get this done in 5 years?
Obama will establish a 25 percent federal Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to require that 25 percent of electricity consumed in the U.S. is derived from clean, sustainable energy sources, like solar, wind and geothermal by 2025.

I will give Obama some credit for mentioning geothermal as a possibility. Of all possible energy sources, we really don't hear much about geothermal.
Obama will significantly increase the resources devoted to the commercialization and deployment of low-carbon coal technologies. Obama will consider whatever policy tools are necessary, including standards that ban new traditional coal facilities, to ensure that we move quickly to commercialize and deploy low carbon coal technology.

This sounds good on the surface, but is a lot more difficult in practice.

Coal energy is derived from the carbon in coal. Low carbon coal provides less energy. Therefore, you have to burn more low carbon coal in order to get the same amount of energy as you would from high carbon coal.

The problem is NOT the coal, but HOW we burn it to produce energy.

The three candidates show some marked contrasts in energy/environmental policies. As expected, McCain is the farthest from the other two, in that he plans to leave most of it to the free market. Obama wants to spend, spend, spend. Clinton wants to spend too, but she seems to rely on government regulation a bit more than Obama.

Monday, April 07, 2008

R.I.P. Charlton Heston

With the death of Charlton Heston, it seems an appropriate time to bring up his best movies. Whether you agree with his politics or not, Heston's movies were unforgettable. The top five, in the order they were released:

1. The Ten Commandments(1956): I don't know if it still does, but this movie used to air every year around Easter. And I remember watching it every year as a kid. And it never got old.

Incredibly, Cecil B. DeMille made a silent version of The Ten Commandments back in 1923. But the 1956 version is the one everyone remembers, for good reason: It was a lavish spectacle. This movie was the definition of the phrase "Hollywood epic". DeMille took some liberties with the historical accuracy, even the Biblical accuracy, but he was true to the intent of the story.

Of course, Heston's Moses was the rock-jawed hero at the center of the story. But the rest of the cast reads like a "who's who" of mid-20th century Hollywood: Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson, Yvonne De Carlo, John Derek, Vincent Price, and John Carradine.

I won't call The Ten Commandments Heston's finest work as an actor. But taken as a whole, this movie was the best he did, simply because the film has become a cultural icon.

2. Ben Hur(1959): This movie did for Ancient Rome what The Ten Commandments did for Ancient Egypt. I can almost picture the executive in the movie studio: "Ok, we're making a movie about a guy who goes through a deep religious struggle, set against the backdrop of an ancient period. Now who would be a good actor for the lead? Hmmm..."

Seriously, Heston was a little better in this role, but the movie as a whole pales next to The Ten Commandments, simply because the supporting cast wasn't as good.

3. The Agony and the Ecstasy(1965): This one is my personal favorite of Heston's films. One of the few films where Heston wasn't the big-chested, rock-jawed hero. Instead, Heston played the artist Michelangelo, offset by Rex Harrison's Pope Julius, as Julius gets Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Chapel.

Heston's character struggles in this film aren't quite so "over the top" as in his more famous films. This was Heston at his finest.

4. Planet of the Apes(1968): "Take your stinking paws off me you damn dirty ape!"

Everyone remembers that line, but what they forget about this film is that it was made during the peak of the Civil Rights movement. Science fiction, at it's best, gives us a mirror to the human condition. Planet of the Apes looked at racism.

In the movie, you can hear apes justify their own superiority to humans, such as humans aren't smart enough, and you are reminded of the old racist arguments against blacks.

The great irony of Heston's most famous line from the film is that it shows our own prejudices when it comes to apes. Within the framework of a planet where apes rule over humans, it becomes an example of reverse racism.

Even more ironic is that Heston's most important film is considered just another science fiction film today.

5. The Omega Man(1971): I was so proud of myself when I saw an ad for Will Smith's I Am Legend and thought, "Boy, that sounds like The Omega Man." It should, since it's based on the same novel (I Am Legend, written in 1954 by Richard Matheson).

The point of The Omega Man is that the same science which can destroy mankind can also be used to save it.

Heston's character, as "the last man on earth", would be an unusual role for any actor, and still stands out among his many movies.

-El Cid(1961): It has been a long time since I have seen this one, and it doesn't really stand out for me, but most critics rate it as one of his best.
-The Three Musketeers(1973) and The Four Musketeers(1974): Heston was deliciously evil in a supporting role as Cardinal Richelieu.
-Airport 1975(1974): In my opinion, this one was better than the original Airport. Also, it is a classic example of the 1970's disaster films genre.
-Midway(1976): One of the greatest WWII movies, but Heston almost gets lost in the all-star cast (Henry Fonda, James Coburn, Glenn Ford, Hal Holbrook, Toshiro Mifune, Robert Mitchum, Cliff Robertson, and Robert Wagner).

Friday, April 04, 2008


With the news that 80,000 jobs were lost in March, it is time to tell my story about my job.

I was laid off in November. Fortunately, I got a nice layoff package that pays me full salary through part of May.

While I did not start job hunting until January, it took me a little over three months to find a job, which I will be starting later in April. Obviously, I was lucky to be able to have time to look without facing financial hardship.

But I did learn some job hunting tips, which I will share:

1. LOOK IN YOUR AREA FIRST. I know this is a no-brainer, but it bears repeating, specifically for the first word: LOOK. If you don't look, you won't find it. Also, make sure you use ALL possible resources, from friends and relatives, to newspapers, to business contacts, to...

2. USE THE INTERNET. Use all your resources, including the internet. I recommend and, but use any website where you can post your resume. I got mine through Kelly Services, but that worked for me because I was willing to accept a contract position. Which brings us to...

3. BE FLEXIBLE. If you go into job hunting saying, "I will ONLY take a job in my field within my industry within 10 miles of my home", you probably won't find a job unless you are incredibly lucky. If your line of work can transfer to another industry, then look in other industries. For example, most job skills under Information Technology can be utilized in all industries.

4. BE WILLING TO RELOCATE. 12 million Mexicans can't be wrong. If tip #1 above doesn't work for you, then tip #4 is crucially important. For some people, finding a job with their skill set is just a matter of changing employers. For other people like me, finding a job where I live is close to impossible ( there are plenty of IT jobs, but there is also an overabundance of IT workers).

The first two tips above are common sense for any job hunter. The last two are necessary when you are having trouble finding a job.

To use myself as an example, I got laid off from an IT job working for a bank in Alpharetta, GA (about 30 minutes from Dawsonville, where I live). I found an IT job in Savannah, GA (about 5 hours from Dawsonville) working for an airplane manufacturer. While I will have to move my family to Savannah, I will also be getting a 31% salary increase over what I was making before. Did I mention Savannah is on the Georgia coast? Hello, deep sea fishing!

Recession? Ignore it. There are opportunities out there IF you are willing to go after them, no matter where they are.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Rating Quarterbacks

When I did my recent post about "The Best NFL Quarterback of All-time", I put together some criteria that I thought were important qualities for any quarterback. Since then, I have had some time to think about it, and there are four qualities that stand out for me that any successful quarterback will have.

This is the one area where quarterbacks can be fairly judged against other quarterbacks, regardless of the talent around them. While quarterbacks may be unfairly blamed for some mistakes (i.e. a wide receiver runs the wrong route on a timing pattern which leads to an interception, or the running back fumbles the ball on a handoff and the quarterback gets credited/blamed with a fumble), over the entire course of a career these mistakes become very minor statistical blips.

There are three basic ways for a quarterback to do this: throw the ball deep, throw the ball short, or run with the ball.

DEEP PASSING: The deep pass is a high reward/high risk play. Older era quarterbacks threw a lot more deep passes than modern era quarterbacks. Because of this, the older era quarterbacks tended to have higher yards/attempt, but also had higher interception percentages.

SHORT PASSING: The short pass is a medium reward/low risk play, hence the popularity of the West Coast Offense. While short passes do get intercepted, it occurs less often than longer passes. As for the reward, consider this: If a quarterback is averaging 5 yards per pass attempt, he is having a bad year; whereas, when a running back averages 5 yards per rushing attempt, he is having a stellar year.

RUNNING: Whether a quarterback run is a good idea varies. Bad running quarterbacks will tend not to run with the ball, and opt to throw it away if they don't think they can complete the pass. Good running quarterbacks have another weapon in their arsenal which they can use on defenses.

This goes hand-in-hand with the last category, but it is a separate skill. Throwing or running in the "red zone" is much harder. Consider how many times you have seen a quarterback with 4,000 passing yards in a season, but only 20 touchdown passes.

In any team sport, winning the championship is the whole reason to play the game. All players on any team, regardless of their position, are judged by this criteria.

In categories 2-3, a quarterback relies on his receivers for success. If they don't catch the ball or run the right routes, it doesn't matter how well the quarterback throws the ball. But in the 4th category, the quarterback relies on the ENTIRE rest of his team for success. If the defense is a sieve, then the whole team will be lucky to make it into the playoffs, let alone make it to a championship.

In judging any quarterback, is there any one category which should be weighted more highly than the others? Is there a subcategory of one of these which deserves equal consideration?

Personally, I think these 4 categories should be sufficient, and close to equally weighted. I am also changing my rating system to reflect these. Following is a list of the new calculations:

1. Avoid Mistakes: (Interceptions + Fumbles)/(Pass Attempts + Rush Attempts)
2. Gain Yards: (Pass Yards + Rush Yards)/(Pass Attempts + Rush Attempts)
3. Score Touchdowns: (Pass TD's + Rush TD's)/(Pass Attempts + Rush Attempts)
4. Win Championships: Total number of championships won

Please let me know in the comments if you feel I am overlooking something or not giving enough weight to a specific category. Remember, this rating system is ONLY a statistical starting point for discussion. Intangibles can be brought to the argument later.