A lot of interesting football things flash across my computer screen on a daily basis. Such is life when you’re tasked with searching around the murkiest and mildew-filled corners of the web for interesting football things and deciphering their meaning, or at the very least passing them along to you fine people for the sake of discussion.
Often many of these things are filed away for future use. But sometimes a stat comes with enough quirk that it merits a quick mention on its own. As you’ve gathered from this poor foreshadowing, this is one of those times.
This one comes by way of Chad Parsons, and if you’re into fantasy footballing and fine statistical analysis that comes to your earhole in podcast form, he’s someone you should befriend. This morning, he directed us to something interesting and/or frightening in the Pro Football Reference database: Tom Brady has more career rushing attempts than C.J. Spiller.
It’s true, as Brady has 402 career rushing attempts, while Spiller has been given the ball and asked to run with it 388 times over his three-year career. At first your reaction here may be a resounding “meh”, as you casually observe that although Brady is a mostly stationary quarterback and Spiller is an elusive and shifty running back, the former has still been in the league far longer than the latter (Brady will start his 14th season next fall). You’ll also note that Spiller only started to receive carries with any consistency this past season after he was the Bills’ first-round pick (ninth overall) in 2010.
Yeah sure, but once we look just an inch or two past that cozy surface, you’ll see how much Spiller’s rushing attempts total is an insult to mankind when compared to Brady’s. That’s because Brady — again, a quarterback who runs only on sporadic QB sneaks, or when he fears for his life, or when he really wants to kick Ed Reed in the balls — has played in 177 career games, meaning he’s averaged 2.2 attempts per game. This past season, Brady’s highest per game attempt total was four (twice), but he also had five games when he didn’t record an official rushing attempt at all.
Yet for reasons only the now fired Chan Gailey truly understands, a running back who averaged six yards per carry logged six games with single-digit rushing attempts in 2012, which greatly contributed to the mind melting 24-carry gap between a pocket statue, and a dude who can dodge tackles in a phone booth. Steven Ridley and Alfred Morris are behind Brady too, but they’ve played only one season apiece, so comparatively the gap is much smaller. That’s especially true when we remember that Ridley gave up carries to both Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden at times (Ridley has 377 carries, while Morris finished 2012 with 335).
I haven’t used this in a while, and it seems pretty appropriate right about now…