This Is Media Uses Data to Deceive You!

With just over a week until SuperBowl 54 (LIV), you are going to hear a lot of different story lines. You will hear stats being twisted around to fit the narrative that is being pushed. For the upcoming few days, be cautious of all the stories that tend to throw just one or two unrelated stats at you and try to convince you that reason X is the reason that the Chiefs or 49ers are vastly superior to the other.

If you’re not someone who watches a lot of games, it may be hard to know what’s real and what’s being pushed at you. It’s probably better to give some examples and show what’s happening. With that in mind, I’m going to give a narrative in bold and use stats to support the point, but I’m going to leave the player name out. Feel free to guess the player for each one! Here’s some help to narrow it down a bit. I’ll only be using examples of narratives around NFL quarterbacks from this season.

It’s time to move on! This quarterback killed his team week-to-week! He had a 3-4 record, but it was much worse if you look at his TD/INT ratios, which are 13 touchdowns to 23 interceptions. A few more interceptions were dropped by his opponents too. That’s the mark of a bad quarterback! It’s time to just cut ties and move on!

There’s no reason the franchise hasn’t locked this guy down to a long term deal yet! It’s just absurd that a quarter can have 3-4 record when he throws for over 2000 yards, 16 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions. It’s not his fault that the defense is giving up so many points!

There is no place like home! With a 5-2 record at home, this quarterback is lights out at home. He threw for over 2000, 16 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. I don’t want to be going against this guy when he’s in the comfort of his home.

When he’s on the road, he falls apart! No matter how you look at it, this quarterback is just a different player on the road. With both road wins being by a field goal each, this quarterback could have easily been 0-7 on the road. He turns the ball over too much and his team needs to bail him out of games.

If you force this guy to throw a lot, he will throw the ball to the other team! In games where this quarterback had to throw the ball 44 times or more, his team was just 1-5. More importantly he threw 18 interceptions in those games! You can’t keep giving your opponent a chance to beat you! This guy needs to make smart throws!

The coach needs to let this quarterback to pass more! You don’t want them throwing just 20 to 30 passes a game. When he’s thrown 30-40 times a game, he’s been electric throwing for 20 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and the team is 5-4 in those games. If I’m their coach, I want him throwing more!

Who do you think those quarterbacks are? Now let’s take away the narrative part and just look at what the stat lines are for each of these quarterbacks. Here’s what that would look like in a table.

Quarterback Record Percentage Yards Touchdowns Interceptions
Move On 3-4 60% 2369 13 23
Lock Him Down 3-4 64% 2238 16 3
Home 5-2 64% 2171 16 4
Away 2-5 60% 2436 13 22
Make Him Throw 1-5 61% 2197 11 18
Throw More 5-4 62% 2611 20 10

 

 

 

 

The answer though is that they are all Jameis Winston! The only difference is that the games were cherry-picked to push each point. When I started looking into the absurd season that Jameis had, I noticed a trend between home and away splits. Then I came to realize that I only need to tweak those slightly to create a different talking point with roughly the same stats thrown in. JameisWinston2019

 

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