Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Lemmings, Nature's Sports Writers

You guys ready to vote for Ryan, I am, yeah me too, I don't watch the games, but they let me vote and write stories, it's great

So for those who are not in the know, like me because I have that fancy ESPN, well actually my neighbor does, but he hasn't noticed me leering yet, Matt Ryan won the AP's Offensive Rookie of the Year award by a land slide. Ryan collected 44 votes with Chris Johnson (3), Ryan Clady (2) and Matt Forte (1) rounding out the vote. While Matt Ryan and his Atlanta teammates surprised the NFL world by finishing 11-5 and earning a trip to the playoffs in the wake of the franchise's QB being imprisoned for his role in a dog fighting ring and their coach making a midnight getaway to Arkansas, he was not head and shoulders above the rest of the field as the vote indicated. But why did the vote turn out as it did? Because the voters, like most sports writers, decided to ignore the numbers and go on the hype of a rookie QB being under center of a winning team. Geez, that's becoming a theme this decade.

Here's what the AP ad to say about Mr. Ryan:

"Ryan ranked 11th in passer rating at 87.7 and had 16 touchdowns to go with 11 interceptions. But it wasn't the numbers as much as his command of the huddle and his cool under pressure that made him -- and the Falcons -- winners."

Yes, he was certainly calm and cool under pressure. In the 4th quarter of games when the Falcons were up or down by 7, Ryan completed 57% of his passes, averaged 6.5 ypa, 3 TD to 2 INT and had a QB rating of 79. THUD!!! I'm sorry, that was me falling over myself looking at what he did.

Hold on, wait for it, wait for it.........

"In just his sixth start, Ryan rallied the Falcons to a come-from-behind victory over Chicago in the final 11 seconds."

.....ah, yes, thank you Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Ryan did lead an improbable comeback against the Bears, but there is this thinking amongst the media that because he is a rookie, and was very successful in this one instance, that we should forget about the other games the Falcons would have lost because of Ryan's inability to get the job done in those situations he was suppose to be so "cool under pressure", and yet were saved because of the running game or another facet of the team. Did anyone notice Michael Turner? Jerious Norwood maybe? No, okay

Exhibit 1: Week 17 vs St. Louis

Prior to the Falcons' game winning drive, Ryan gave the ball back to the Rams at the Falcons' 30. The Rams were held to a field goal and Atlanta took over with 6:39. Now before I forget to mention it, Michael Turner did fumble the ball at the St. Louis 4 after a 70 yard scamper on the drive prior to Ryan's pick. However, who did the Falcons go to on the game winning drive? Well, Turner saw the ball the first four plays for 22 yards, Ryan completed his only pass and the Falcons watched Jerious Norwood scamper 45 yards to the end zone. Matty Ice certainly was cool and calm handing the ball off.

Exhibit 2: Week 5 vs Green Bay

Up 17-10, the Falcons were in the red zone ready to put the game out of reach all of a sudden......Interception thrown by number 12, Matt Ryan. So what happened? The "Matt Ryan led Falcons" came back thanks to a long kick return by Norwood, a costly pick by Aaron Rodgers deep inside Green Bay territory, and the running game of Atlanta. OH YEAH, MATTY RYAN THROWING 2 PASSES, YOU THE MAN MATTY!!!

Exhibit 3: Week 11 vs Denver

On the go ahead drive Ryan did not get picked, went 3/4, but it was once again a score from a big run from a back, this time it was Turner picking up 28 of his 34 yards. Well, Denver goes down, scores, Falcons get the ball back and put the ball in Ryan's hands.....who finds the turf on 5 of his 9 throws on that drive. Falcons lose, Denver wins, Ryan is still God.

So, yes, Matt Ryan was the starting QB for an 11-5 playoff team, but so wasn't Joe Flacco. What's the difference? Numbers? Well okay, let's look at some numbers. Let's look at the numbers of Matt Forte. Now, granted he loses points because he could not get the Bears into the playoffs, even though he did have all world QB Kyle Orton spreading out defenses making things easy for him, but he did have some decent numbers, if you call finishing in the top ten in various categories decent.

Mr. Forte finished 7th in the league in rushing, led the Bears with 12 TDs (tied for 8th in the NFL) and 63 catches (1st among all NFL RBs), and oh yeah, accounted for 36% of the offense. Meager numbers I know. But then you will hear the idiotic argument of, "well, he didn't play on a playoff team". So what? Look at what he did throughout the season. By the "playoff" logic we would say Kerry Collins is the best QB in the league because he started for the team with the best record.

Am I saying that Forte should have the award over Ryan? Yes, actually, but that is not to say Ryan is undeserving or did not have a good year. The point is not who should have won the award, it's these sports writers and voters should not vote solely because, in this case, a rookie QB led a team to an 11-5 record as though there is absolute causation there. People can say the Falcons would not have made the playoffs without Ryan. Fine, fair assessment, but would they have made the playoffs without 1,699 yards from Michael Turner?

So do yourselves a favor voter and writers. Look at the numbers, stop listening to the garbage hype--which might be hard since most of you buffoons generate it--and look at the numbers. Yes, reading is required Woody Paige. Ryan had a solid year, but the sole reason for the season he was not, and that shouldn't even enter into the discussion.



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