Yesterday I read an article about coach Bill Cowher that proposed the struggles he would face should he revisit the sideline. Cowher has not denied a return, and sensible speculation has him linked to the New York Giants. Cowher’s recent purchase of a 2-bedroom condo on East 64th Street in Manhattan’s upper east side adds fuel to that flicker.
The author’s assumption is that the game has evolved beyond Bill Cowher, who retired in 2006, and his ground-and-pound run-heavy style is outdated. I recognize we write opinion not journalism. I deploy suppositions based on stats and trends. I get that. I do that. But it got me curious about all the talk of a pass-first league and how the game has evolved over the last 6 years. Numbers don’t lie so I peeled back the pages and delved into glorious stats and this is what I found.
In 2006 the regular season passing yards totaled 104,861 (16,389 attempts, 6.4 yards per attempt). The rushing totals topped 60,061 yards in 14,447 carries with an average of 4.16 yards per carry. Conversely in 2012 passing yards spiked at 118,418 in 17,788 attempts (6.65 yards per-pass average), a difference of 13,557 yards and 1,399 attempts. However the completion statistics were off by a mere .25 yards per-pass. The league may have seen a rise in pass attempts but the productivity was minimal.
The 2012 rushing stats decreased only by 522 attempts, where teams ran the ball 13,925 times in the regular season and amassed 59,349 yards. Teams actually ran less but more effectively in 2012. The average per attempt in 2012 was 4.26 yards to the 4.16 of 2006, a one-tenth of a yard difference.
If you field a multi-faceted team of talented men who realize their job and play the game, who are led by a coaching staff capable of recognizing an opponent’s tendencies or weaknesses, you are likely to best them in the 60 minutes given to execute your game plan. Suppositions and speculations are for pundits to stay current in the forefront of public attention. To float our opinions into the ether with the hopes the reader (or listener) will grab hold and float away with us.
Having said that I propose Baltimore will have a flaccid 9 – 7 campaign in 2013. The Pittsburgh Steelers likely fair another year of finding their footing to bounce back and field a dynamo in 2014 (and win a 7th Lombardi by 2017). And in 2013, Cincinnati wins the AFC North for the first time since 2009.
Stats Taken From Pro-Football Reference
2006 Regular Season Passing Yards Total 104861 (16389 Attempts) 6.4 yd per att
2012 Regular Season Passing Yards Total 118418 (17788 Attempts) 6.65 yd per att
Difference of 13557 Yards 1399 Attempts 0.25 Yd Per Attempt
2006 Regular Season Rushing Yards 60061 (14447 Attempts) 4.16 yd per att
2012 Regular Season Rushing Yards 59349 (13925 Attempts) 4.26 yd per att
Difference of 712 Yards 522 Attempts 0.1 Yd Per Attempt
Opinions Taken From My Face
John Thomas Menesini