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Those Football Stats are Clearly Lacking

     As an avowed football fan, I demand my rights. All summer I’ve been captivated by the fascinating player stats coming down from the broadcast booth where the men of unending numbers and excruciating verbosity hang out. But that’s baseball. Football season’s here and the lack of really good player stats is ruining my viewing.

     Sure, they’ll tell you yards rushed and yards passed and passes completed and receptions made and how many sacks and percentage of field goals. But c’mon.  We’re looking for imagination. Creativity. We’re coming off a season of batting averages from the left side, from the right side, after the All-Star Break, before the All-Star Break, before the commercial, after the commercial, with men on base, without men on base, against right-handed pitchers, against left-handed pitchers, against the pitcher on the mound, against the pitcher warming up over there. We’re getting batting averages with the moustache, without the moustache, when mom’s in the stands, when mom isn’t in the stands – or he can’t see her –

     And of course there are the on-base percentages under every conceivable circumstance other than what kind of gum they’re chewing, and number of bases stolen at home and away, and -  

     Well, the NFL’s gonna hafta come up with something better than how many passes completed for how many yards if they want to keep my attention on the big screen. I wanna know how many tackles the guy made on left-handed running backs; how many he made on right-handed running backs. What’s his tackling average - completed tackles for number of attempted tackles? Who’s keeping the numbers on that?

     I expect to hear how many passes the quarterback completed with the temperature soaring over ninety degrees and how many he completed when the frost was on the turf. And the running back – give me a real average. Tell me how many total yards he ran – backwards, sideways and forward - to get that two-yard gain. If he runs thirty-five yards zig-zagging sideways across the field and ends up with a seven yard gain, isn’t his running average about two hundred?  Who’s keeping track of that?  And why don’t they tell us?

     Over his lifetime career in the NFL, how many receptions did the tight end make with a defender grabbing at his jersey? How many without?  What was the average number of defenders hanging onto him when he caught a pass last season?  How many passes does he catch before seven o’clock? After seven o’clock?

     Those interceptions – what’s the average height of the ball when it’s caught by the opposing team? How many calories are there in a turnover after the third quarter?

     C’mon, NFL guys. Feed us some interesting statistics. The possibilities are all over the field. You have your little markers to draw squiggly lines all over our screens and litter up the playing field, and sometimes they’re kind of interesting, those drawings you make. Sort of like Picasso.

     But we need more statistics. More imaginative statistics. You’ve got the same computers the baseball sportscasters have. If you just feed those computers a little more data from the playing field, they’ll spew out statistics that will impress us, educate us, entertain us. Statistics we can quote Tuesday morning. “Did you know he makes three quarters of his touchdowns when his mom’s in the stands?”

     Speaking of Tuesday morning, I just finished watching this season’s opener of Monday Night Football and given that it’s Thursday night and I watched it live, I’m even more convinced the NFL has got to get something going on those statistics.

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