Saturday, November 2, 2013

Frank Gore and the "But If" Game

I thought maybe it would be fun to play a game today.  The name of the game is "But If", and it goes something like this, "X player averages 8 yards per pass attempt, but if you take out Y he averages Z".

We've all seen this type of argument made repeatedly, and recently it was made regarding Frank Gore.  In the case of Gore it went something like this, "While Gore is averaging 4.2 yards per carry, if you take out his explosive runs of 10+ yards he averages under 3 yards per carry."

As you can imagine, while that statement is true it created quite a stir on one of the message boards that I frequent.  After all, 49ers fans don't want to see one of the pillars of the current team knocked in any way.

Again, this was a true statement, and when I took a deeper look into the numbers of the top 10 running backs in the league by yards I found something very interesting, 80% of them average under 3 yards per carry when their explosive runs are taken out.  The two that are the exception are averaging 3.1 and 3 yards.

The author of the piece that originally brought this up has been an advocate of the Dallas Cowboys, having predicted that they will go to the Super Bowl.  You can imagine my surprise when I looked up the stats of their leading rusher, DeMarco Murray and found that if you take out his explosive runs he too averages under 3 yards per carry.

With this as a background let's play the game, come up with your best "But if".  Here I will start it off for you,

Colin Kaepernick has the 6th highest yards per pass attempt in the league, but if you take out his throws to Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis he falls to 30th.


  1. Nicely done, Jack.

  2. .......but when you add Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree.....
    HE RISES TO 1st!!!

    1. I hope you are right. We'll see what happens.

  3. These but if analysis have been pretty hilarious. However sometimes it can be a useful tool. I remember feeling like Alex Smith was getting a bit of a bad rap (back in 2010? -- not sure) He did not have a ton of attempts and receivers were dropping a ton of passes and a noteable # of ints off his recievers. Happily adavanced stats accuracy did all the work. if I recall he had a huge gap between QB rating comp% ranks and accuracy% rank.

  4. Sorry for the off-topic, but if Jack will allow me,
    I'd like to share something which happened to me ..
    long ago ..

    South San Francisco (aka South City) was a very ethnic
    town back when I was growing up ..
    For the most part, Italians, Portuguese, and Spanish families made up a good portion of the population, there ..

    (I sold the SF Call-Bulletin on the corner of Grand and Linden for 10 cents.. to earn enough for a vanilla coke
    at Piwalds )

    One day, while my cousins and I were hanging out
    at Orange Ave Park.. a small train was making its
    once-a-day sojourn north ..
    (through the trees behind the park)

    We decided to hop on and take a ride...
    and we ended up in
    The City ...

    We hopped .. off and after awhile found ourselves
    in Golden Gate Park ...and after hearing the sounds of
    a P.A. system .. decided to investigate ..

    The sounds were coming from Kezar Stadium ..
    Walking around it .. we discovered a place we
    could crawl through the chain link fence.. and
    voila ! .. we were in !! ...

    (The place was practically empty.. so we could sit
    just about anyplace we wanted)

    I was about to witness something that would leave
    a lasting impression on me ..

    The San Francisco 49ers were playing the Detroit Lions !
    (this was my first exposure to pro football)

    Don't remember the final score .. however, seems to me
    the Niners lost that game .. but .. afterwards .. as we
    were heading for the same hole in the fence we
    sneaked in ... one of my cousins (behind me)
    shouted ... "It's Brodie !! .. it's Brodie !"

    I turned around .. and saw this giant of a man ..
    walking through the tunnel .. carrying his helmet
    and looking like he had been beaten to a pulp ..

    As he walked by .. he looked down at me and smiled..
    I craned my neck to look up at him .. and said ..
    "May I have your autograph, sir ?"

    Since I had nothing for him to sign .. nor a pen for
    him to use ... he said ..

    "Hang on, kid" ...
    and disappeared into the locker room ..

    He came out a few minutes later .. and signed my
    (white) Fruit of the Loom t-shirt ...

    I became a Niner Faithful on that day .. and that has never
    wavered ..

    We all got our butts wupped for hopping a train and
    going into The City .. because one of the uncles
    had to come to bring us home ...

    and all my cousins were jealous of me for getting
    the autograph ..

    I would love to meet John Brodie ..
    and tell him this story ...
    I think he might get a kick out of it ..

    Thank you, Jack for allowing this ..


  5. That's an awsome story MWN. Thanks for sharing.