Archive for October, 2008

Peter and the Giant Ketchup Bottle

October 2, 2008

I’ve got to hand it to The King—not only did he defeat me again in our weekly picks, he also delivered editions of MMQB and MMQB Tuesday Edition devoid of his usual exasperating analytical issues. Unfortunately for His Majesty, though, even his most valid arguments are usually undermined by his inability to properly fact check the statistics he uses to back them up.

In this week’s MMQB Tuesday Edition, The King writes the following in his analysis of the Steelers/Ravens Monday night game:

Pittsburgh, needing a field goal to win in overtime, had a third-and-14 from the Baltimore 35. This would have been a 52-yard attempt if the Steelers got nothing on this play. Problematic, seeing that there’s never been a field goal of 50 or more yards at Heinz Field. The Steelers needed four, maybe five yards to feel comfortable about Jeff Reed making a field goal.

While The King is correct in his assertion that Heinz Field is a very difficult place to kick long field goals, the validity of his argument is compromised by his use of an inaccurate statistic.

First of all, there HAS been a successful field goal of greater than 50 yards at Heinz Field—a 51-yard kick by West Virginia kicker Pat McAfee on November 16, 2006. His Majesty never specifies that an NFL kicker has never kicked a field goal from that distance—he states, “there’s NEVER been a field goal of 50 or more yards at Heinz Field”.

Secondly, even if we do give The King the benefit of the doubt here and assume that he is referring only to field goals attempted in regular season NFL games, he is still wrong. Again, he writes that no kicker has ever successfully kicked “a field goal of 50 OR MORE yards” in the stadium. The Steelers’ Jeff Reed, the very kicker His Majesty is writing about in his analysis of the Monday night game, successfully converted a 50-yard field goal at Heinz Field in a 20-3 victory over Tampa Bay back in Week 13 of the 2006 NFL season.

Again, while I am willing to give The King credit for his unusually coherent columns this week (as well as his success in picking the outcomes of the games so far this season), I cannot give him a free pass on yet another statistical gaffe.