Time for a generic Thanksgiving sports related article where I tell sports fans what they should be thankful. I truly believe these 4 people need to be appreciated instead of constantly booed by my friends and colleagues.
1. Brian Hoyer- I never thought in a million years that Hoyer would be this good. In fact I thought he would suck, and that the great Johnny Football would start. Now, however, I am happy I am wrong as Hoyer has proven that he is a good quarterback. Sadly though some of my Browns brethren are calling for him to be benched. The reasons they say this are because his completion percentage is very low, that he doesn’t throw enough TDs and that he doesn’t help us win. Hoyer’s completion percentage is due to the fact that he throws deep more often than any other QB besides Kaep and Foles. His lack of TDs is even easier to explain, because the only reason the number isn’t higher is because are goal line RBs have been excellent. No reason to pass when you can just #FeedTheCrow. The third idea is however a little trickier to measure.
To say that the Browns are winning in spite of Brian Hoyer’s performance, is in my mind ridiculous. It only takes a quick look at some advanced statistics to see how valuable he’s been. While he hasn’t been a top 10 quarterback overall this season, his stats show that he has been a key part of this team. For example on Brian Burke’s site Advanced Football Analytics we can see how many wins he created and how many points he added for his team. His Win Probability added so far this year has been 1.57 so far this year* meaning he has created 1.57 wins for the Browns this season. This puts him 15th in the NFL behind Alex Smith and ahead of Joe Flacco. I like Win probability added, but sometimes this stat can inflate due to clutch performances like his game against Atlanta, so I usually prefer expected points added, which is exactly how it sounds, it answers the question of how many points did player A add to his team. Hoyer’s EPa was 40.6, good for 17th best in the NFL still decent. If a quarterback was was harming his team then it would make sense that his WPa and EPa would be around 0 but it isn’t. So clearly the Browns have been winning with support Hoyer, though not necessarily because of him in a way Rodgers, Manning and Brady do. Brian Hoyer has been a part of the most exciting Browns seasons in recent memory, so we should take some time to appreciate all that he’s done.
2. Andy Dalton- Bengals fans confuse me sometimes, as I have met some fans, and even read some articles saying Dalton should be replaced. Really? Really? Andy Dalton is one of the most accomplished young QBs in the game right now. and you guys boo him. He has consistently played like a just outside the top 10 QB for a couple years now, and he is continuing to improve. When I hear a Bengals fan complaining about Andy Dalton, I just remind them that I would have eaten cow manure to have him over Brandon Weeden the past 2 years, and I know a bunch of other teams who’d feel the same way. Seriously Bengals fans you have a QB that has all the tools to lead to a deep playoff run in the near future, be thankful! (More on Andy Dalton here.)
3. Indians Upper management- I don’t know how many times I hear something along the lines of: Why can’t we ever have big free-agent pickups, or why can’t we make that big trade deadline move? Well for 1 signing big free agents almost never works out, and 2 our strategy right now is working. Here are 5 of our most valuable players and how long they’re locked up for.
Michael Brantley: 4 Years 25 mil. On team until: 2017 with an option for 2018
Yan Gomes: 6 years 23 million. On Team until: 2019 with 2 team options for 2020 and 2021.
Carlos Santana: 5 years 21 million. On team until: 2016 with a team option for 2017.
Jason Kipnis: 6 years 52.5 million. On team until 2019 with a team option for 2020.
Corey Kluber: Under Indians control until 2018, eligible for arbitration in 2016.
All of these players are very valuable for the Tribe and all look to have good deals compared to similar players, (except maybe Kipnis) giving us a great chance to contend now and in the future. Plus we have manager Terry Francona locked up long term too. All these good decisions justify giving the Antonetti and Shapiro some thanks this year.
4. Roger Goodell- Like him or not Goodell gets the job done. Since he has taken over NFL arrests have likely gone down, (Can’t tell for sure from the stats because NFL player arrests weren’t nearly as scrutinized as they are now) because he was the first commissioner to really focus on players off the field transgressions. In fact 2014 is on pace to have the fewest amount of player arrests Other accomplishments include reducing the number of concussions and greatly increasing the NFL’s revenue. Sure he’s made some mistakes, (but not as many as Gary Bettman) but I feel we should really get off this guys back and be thankful that he made the game safer while still making the game fun to watch. (I know everyone is complaining about all the defensive holdings, but that has nothing to do with Goodell, its all the officials.
Plus we should give thanks to sport in general. Sport is the greatest distraction ever created. But for some folks in the industry it is their job and how they pay for food. Sport engages us all differently, as some play, some watch, and some analyze, but its impact on the world is undeniable.
* Every play in the NFL is charted by how much it increases there odds of winning, this stat keeps track of all plays a player is part of and determines whether or not it helps them win. WPa is just all the percents added.