FanPost

Land of 10,000 Snaps

What if I told you that the one thing that makes Tom Brady be "Tom Brady" is that he sat out for a year? Would you believe it? All of those statistics and all of that work, that his success could be boiled down to just him sitting out for a year seems a bit preposterous, which honestly, it is. There is no one thing that anyone could point to that makes him great. However, I can (and I will) prove that him sitting out and not starting for a season made him better. Think of it this way. For all of you Stanzi the Manzi fans out there, I am about to load you up with enough ammunition to make even the toughest sailor (whoops, too easy) soldier turn tail (but only the reservists, I will be nice to the regular Hoooeys).

As I was going through my (completely inaccurate) draft preview, I noticed that there wasn’t a lot of info out there on guys that sat versus guys that didn’t. And, being the curious sort, I wanted to delve into the "bust" stats that everyone looks at in regards to where QBs are drafted. So, using profootballreference.com almost exclusively (in case numbers are wrong, it’s their fault, I hope), I looked at every QB drafted since 2000, and sorted by the round they were drafted in. I have to admit, I got the results I was hoping for, but it still shocked me a bit. I will warn you, I am about to bombard you with charts. The first one is just a simple chart to explain the big chart. For space reasons I left out the obvious ones

Abbreviation

Meaning

ABY

Average bench years

SSA

Seasons started average

DNS

Never had a season as the starter

DNSG

Never started a game in career

*

Number includes backup QB drafted in 2011

**

Number does not include Brad Smith

Sorry about that, now for the actual informative chart.

Round

Start/Sit

ABY

Win %

SSA

DNS

Win % of DNS

DNSG

1

Started

50.9

3.6

Sat

1.8

56.7

3.4

1

0

1*

2

Started

47.9

1.5

Sat

1.25

54.2

3.5

6

13.3

2*

3

Started

40.5

2

Sat

1

39.4

2

8

17.9

4*

4

Started

46.1

3.3

Sat

1

28.6

1

7**

33.3

4

5

Started

0

0

Sat

1

33.3

1

22

30.6

13*

6

Started

41.1

4

Sat

1

74.6

5.5

22

12

16*

7

Started

35.4

4

Sat

2.3

40.5

2

22

15

16*

Some of the numbers here should pop out at you. I’m going to ignore that win percentage coming out of the sixth round (Tom Brady just skews everything up) Other than that, notice that the top two win percentages come from the group that sat? In fact, second rounders that sit do better than first rounders that start! Here is another quick shot for you, the average overall winning percentage.

Average Win %

Rookie Starter

43.7

Sat as Rookie

46.8

Shocked? Still not convinced that sitting is better than starting? Well then, let’s look at apples to apples. Here are the career statistics of the poster boy for sitting versus the poster boy for starting as a rookie.

Record

Win %

Playoff Record

Completions

Attempts

Cmp %

Yds

TDs

TD %

Int

Int %

Peyton Manning

141-67

67.8

9-10

4682

7210

64.9

54828

399

5.5

198

2.7

Tom Brady

124-35

78

16-6

3397

5321

63.8

39979

300

5.6

115

2.2

For me, the thing to look at is percentages. Obviously Manning has several more years in the league, which gives him a distinct advantage if you just look at numbers. However, percentages are eerily similar in everything except that pesky win percentage. And Tom Brady wins that by a mile. Advantage goes to the sitters. And advantage goes to Todd Haley, and/or whoever refused to throw a rookie into the wild, giving him a chance to see how things work, thus dispelling the "he couldn’t beat out Palko" BS myth.

Now that I have fed you almost as many charts as paragraphs, let’s talk a little bit (with hopefully only one more chart to go). The other thing that jumps out at me is that somewhere between the 4th and 5th round there is a line. Before that, most of the QBs taken get a chance to start. (Quick side note, in every round, roughly half of those who don’t get a chance to be a starter for the season, never actually got a chance to start a game! More on that in a bit). But for some reason, QBs that are taken just shouldn’t expect to do anything. And before you bring up the (sometimes) admittedly abysmal win percentage, know that most of those numbers come from 0-1, 0-2, 1-2 records with a couple 3-10 records. So these guys that get a "chance" to start don’t actually. All they got was a starting QB that needed to sit out a game, and then went right back to the bench.

My point is this. These late round guys just aren’t getting the opportunity to shine. Since 2000, over 150 quarterbacks have been drafted. That is a new quarterback drafted every other year, per team. One third of those never got to start a game. Another third weren’t even allowed to be a starter for the season. 100 QB picks wasted. Still think those "bust" averages are accurate? Tell ya what, look at this roster list and see if you can see something weird. Thanks for this part goes to Malcolm Gladwell’s book "Outliers". If you haven’t read it, or any of his other books, I highly recommend it. Fascinating stuff.

2007 Czechoslovakian National Junior Soccer Team

Player Name

Birth Date

Marcel Gecov

Jan 1 1988

Ludek Frydrych

Jan 3 1987

Petr Janda

Jan 5 1987

Jakub Dohnalek

Jan 12 1988

Jakub Mares

Jan 26 1988

Michal Held

Jan 27 1987

Marek Strestik

Feb 1 1987

Jiri Valenta

Feb 14 1988

Jan Simunek

Feb 20 1987

Tomas Oklestek

Feb 21 1987

Lubos Kalouda

Feb 21 1987

Radek Petr

Feb 24 1987

Ondrej Mazuch

Mar 15 1989

Ondrej Kudela

Mar 26 1989

Marek Suchy

Mar 29 1988

Martin Fenin

Apr 16 1987

Tomas Pekhart

May 26 1989

Lukas Kuban

Jun 22 1987

Tomas Cihlar

Jun 24 1987

Tomas Frystak

Aug 18 1987

Tomas Micola

Sep 26 1988

Anything? Here is a hint, Czechoslovakia used January 1st as the cutoff date for age groups within soccer leagues.

Got it yet? Of fine, here it is. Of the 21 kids on the roster, 15 (71%) were born in the 1st three months in the year. All but two were born in the first half of the year. What causes this is a bit in depth, so please try and hang tough on this. Look around the next time you are with a group of kids, kindergarten age or younger. Who are the bigger ones, the faster and seemingly smarter ones? It’s the ones that were born earlier in the year. At age 5, being even just 6 months older than someone else makes a huge difference. And age 5 is when these kids started to play in soccer leagues. Some of these kids got noticed as being "better" (really just older) got to play in higher level divisions, with better coaching and more games. This better coaching and more games led to better players. Compound this every single year for 10 or more years (think exponents not multiplication), and the boys who rise to the top are actually the best talented, but only within the older age group, thus reducing the effect of talent.

Now comes the part about how this applies to professional football, and quarterbacks specifically. Remember Casey Printers and the "Chicken Salad with Chicken Shit" video? The coach openly admitted that Printers did not get the same chances as the "better" guys, and told him he had to actually be better with less talent around him. So he could have had good enough talent himself, but because he was labeled as probably not going to make it (probably because he was undrafted) he didn’t get the same chances as the guy who was the starter, and so he didn’t make it. Seems a bit too much like a self-fulfilling prophecy for me to be comfortable with.

Within the current business world there is something known as the 10,000 hour rule. Basically, it refers to the fact that research shows that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice for anyone to become "good" at something. This applies to pretty much every discipline, from music (the Beatles) to computer technology (Bill Gates). However, you can’t just practice however you want. It takes effective practice, and a developing practice. Sure these guys get similar amount of snaps as the 1st rounders. But the 1st rounders get NFL level snaps, with NFL level guys to throw to, and NFL level guys on defense. A 5-7th rounder gets little more than All-Star college level snaps, with All-Star college level guys to throw to, and All-Star college level guys on defense. It may be a small step up from regular college, but how can a guy with NFL level talent be expected to prove himself there? The biggest difference between a backup and a seasonal starter is not talent. Rather it is the fact that the starter gets the most snaps with the best team from the moment they step on to the practice field in the offseason until the last game is played.

Yes, I do understand that someone has to be labeled the starter, and that the starter needs the most snaps. My big issue is with all these late round guys being discarded, and those stats that people like to throw around about needing a 1st round pick to be your QB. They are complete bunk, because GMs and head coaches just don’t give the attention and the snaps to the late rounders, which skews the numbers to the point that they are. Just something to think about next time you say Ricky Stanzi can’t be a good QB simply because he was drafted in a late round. Maybe if Pioli gives him a chance, he might surprise you.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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