Certain statistics in sports are deemed to be sexy, and are therefore assigned a much higher valued than they deserve. Chicks dig the longball, but they don’t care about the speedy little leadoff man who’s consistently getting on base in front of the slugger, giving him the opportunity to collect those RBIs.
Chicks dig the long pass too, but they don’t care about the poor pass defense that ranked 30th in the league, leading to a number of shootouts for New Orleans this year that had no business happening, and an inexplicable mid-season loss to St. Louis.
This mini rant and that preamble isn’t meant to minimize what Drew Brees accomplished this year, a year that ended tonight with the Saints quarterback being named the offensive player of the year. And I’m trying not to repeat too much of the same rant that I used earlier to support the easy decision to name Aaron Rodgers the MVP over Brees. Brees had a tremendous season, but there’s a number on his stat line that was given far too much emphasis during the decision to name him this year’s best offensive player.
That number is, of course, 5,476, Brees’ final total in passing yards. He easily passed the previous single-season passing yards record held by Dan Marino (5,084).
But so did Tom Brady (5,235), and Matthew Stafford came within just 46 yards of Marino (5,038), while Eli Manning missed by just over 100 yards (4,933). Tonight Cam Newton was also honored, a quarterback whose skills were heavily scrutinized one year ago prior to the draft, yet he still set a rookie record for passing yards, and become the first quarterback to throw for more than 400 yards in each of his first two games.
All of those numbers add up to an era that’s decisively slanted towards prolific passing, one that could lead to passing yardage records being set and re-set. So as that era potentially begins, we’re already setting the precedent of honoring the highest yearly accumulator, even though Rodgers had a far superior passer rating, and was much more efficient with each pass attempt (Rodgers had 9.2 yards per attempt, to Brees’ 8.3).
And we’re cool with that?