Divisional Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v Atlanta Falcons

Wait. NFL analysts don’t factor in context?


Tom Verducci — a baseball guy — has a football-related column up over at Sports Illustrated today in which he throws in some baseball spice to the NFL soup:

Baseball fans get the importance of context on performance — especially where the game is being played — going all the way back to the debate over what would have happened if Ted Williams were a Yankee taking aim at the rightfield short porch in the Bronx and Joe DiMaggio were a Red Sox swatting away at the Green Monster.

Football, however, treats teams and quarterbacks with almost no regard for context. Sure, unlike baseball, the dimensions of the playing field are uniform, but football is a very different game depending on where it is played because of the elements.

Verducci then proceeds to explain how Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are somewhat overrated due to the fact that they play in domes, and how Aaron Rodgers is underrated because he plays outside in the cold all the time. He goes on to note that Ben Roethlisberger indoor/outdoor splits aren’t as pronounced, thus Rodgers has the advantage in the Super Bowl. Which is fine as far as it goes.

But with the caveat that I read absolutely zero NFL analysis and don’t really plan to, I have to ask:  is it really the case that no one analyzes this stuff already?  I know there are football websites and blogs who have followed in the footsteps of baseball sabermetrcians. This stuff has to have been covered a decade ago, right?  It seems fairly basic even to a non-analytical, non-football guy like me.

Am I wrong about that? Is it like Verducci says and football “treats teams and quarterbacks with almost no regard for context?”  Or is that just teams and mainstream media who haven’t embraced advanced analysis like baseball teams and media have?  Or is Verducci just wrong about it all and both teams and media covering the game have factored this stuff in years ago?

The NFL is a mutli-billion business and guys are on the firing line way more on a football team then any baseball manager or coach is. I have to think, then, that folks in the NFL are well aware of this kind of thing.

Tigers GM Al Avila confirms that his son likely won’t be back next year

Detroit Tigers' Alex Avila, right, is congratulated by third base coach Dave Clark after his solo home run in the third inning in the second game of a baseball doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox, Monday, Sept. 21, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio
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After seven seasons in Detroit, impending free agent catcher Alex Avila will likely be playing elsewhere next season. Avila’s father, Tigers general manager Al Avila, confirmed as much in his comments to the media Thursday.

Here’s a quote from Chris Iott of MLive.com:

“I don’t really see it as a priority,” Al Avila said Thursday during a season-ending meeting with media members. “Right now, (James) McCann is our starting catcher and (Bryan) Holaday is coming back but is out of options. Basically, Holaday has to be our backup catcher or he’s out of options.”

Avila has had a heck of a run in Detroit, including an All-Star appearance in 2011, but this is a business and it’s logical why the Tigers are moving on. The 28-year-old dealt with knee problems this season while batting just .191 with four home runs and a .626 OPS in 219 plate appearances. He actually had more walks (40) than he did hits (34) while falling into a backup role.

With McCann now at the top of the depth chart and Holaday as his projected backup, Avila believes that his son will likely find an opportunity on the open market “that might be more beneficial to him.”

Adrian Beltre unsure if he’ll be ready for Game 3 of the ALDS

Texas Rangers' Adrian Beltre takes batting practice during baseball practice in Toronto, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. The Blue Jays start the American League Divisional Series against the Texas Rangers in Toronto on Thursday. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP
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Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre sat out Game 2 of the ALDS on Friday due to a lower back strain and he told Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News that he’s unsure whether he’ll be ready to return when the series resumes Sunday in Arlington.

“I can’t really say,” Beltre said after sitting out the Rangers’ 6-4 14-inning win over Toronto on Friday because of a lower back strain. It got a little better as the game went on. But I can’t say if I will be ready to play or not.”

Beltre tweaked his back on a slide into second base in the first inning of Game 1 on Thursday. He received a cortisone injection in an effort to stay in the game, but his back locked up on him again while running to first base on an RBI single in the third inning. While he was in a lot of pain at the time, Rangers manager Jeff Banister said that there’s been “some improvement” since. Beltre was able to take a few swings off the tee during Game 2 yesterday.

There’s obviously no replacing someone like Beltre, but the Rangers have managed to grab a 2-0 series lead over the Blue Jays without him. His replacement, Hanser Alberto, committed an error yesterday which opened the door for two runs to score, but he later redeemed himself with a go-ahead RBI single in the 14th inning.

Video: Jacob deGrom pranks Daniel Murphy in postgame press conference


After dominating the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLDS last night with 13 strikeouts over seven scoreless innings, Jacob deGrom‘s best performance might have been pranking Daniel Murphy in the postgame press conference.

As you’ll see in the video below, deGrom sat down between David Wright and Murphy. Wright appears to lower the seat of the shaggy-haired right-hander. This gave deGrom the idea to do the same for an unsuspecting Murphy. The reaction was priceless…

Yes, Murphy let out a “yowzers.” Appropriately enough, “yowzers” is likely how the Dodgers would summarize facing deGrom last night.