Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Spielman's Spiel

What would a draft, OTA, mini-camp, or charity event be without Vikings GM Rick Spielman reinforcing his "utmost confidence" that Christian Ponder will inevitably mature into the next great NFL quarterback?

How this usually goes is a reporter asks Spielman the same tiresome question relating to Ponder's development (e.g., "How confident are you that Christian Ponder is this team's starting quarterback of the future?") at whatever venue the team is currently at; in turn, prompting Spielman — as if on cue — to proffer the even more tiresome response he always gives about how he has thoroughly "researched" and compiled "statistical analysis" indicating that Christian Ponder is right on schedule to become an elite NFL quarterback.

In yet another installment of Spielman's... well, spiel (pun sort of intended), he offered this to reporter Ian Rapoport:

"If you look at his statistical analysis, and where (Ponder) was at the point in the season when he came in, he compared to some other (accomplished) quarterbacks," Spielman said. "Like when Eli (Manning) took over for Kurt Warner (with the New York Giants). When Jay Cutler took over for Jake Plummer (with the Denver Broncos). I went back and researched all this stuff. It was almost bizarre that Christian's (results) were very close to those guys, that are maybe top-five or six quarterbacks. I remember when Eli took over, he had one game where it was a zero quarterback rating (against the Baltimore Ravens in 2004). It just kind of gives you an indication of what to expect. ... You're trying to predict things."

Previously when asked, Spielman has compared Ponder's rookie year to those of Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford, as well as Carson Palmer and, dare he say it, Peyton Manning.

What has to strike a person when reading/listening to these comparisons — that is, besides Spielman avoiding the more appropriate comparisons to fellow first-year quarterbacks Cam Newton and Andy Dalton — is that despite having "went back and researched all this stuff," Spielman's research noticeably tends to ignore those comparisons between Ponder's rookie year to those of quarterbacks who have not exactly had stellar careers in the NFL. 

For example, a "statistical analysis" conducted by the Bleacher Report — without Spielman's permission and/or endorsement — found that Ponder's first eleven games in the NFL (along with other characteristics such as height/weight, arm strength and mechanics) compare most identically to those of Mark Sanchez. The statistical comparisons in some cases are surreal (e.g., the splits for completions/attempts). 

Here are some other names of quaterbacks whose rookie or first year starter stats also resemble and in several instances exceed those of Ponder's rookie stats:

But if you are looking for a practically interchangeable comparison, you need not look any further than at this QB's 2007 statistics!

Hopefully, Ponder will become a legitimate franchise signal-caller for the Vikings. In the case he does, though, it certainly will not be because his rookie stats compare to this or that quarterback's rookie statistics or other outside the box numbers Spielman concocted while posting bail for a half-dozen of his players on a Friday night.

After all, by Spielman's reasoning, fans should expect no less than three, possibly four, Super Bowl titles with Ponder at the helm since Eli Manning (two rings) "had one game where it was a zero quarterback rating" during his rookie year versus Ponder having had none. Hence, according to Spielman's statisical analysis, that gives the fans "an indication of what to expect," does it not?


  1. Point well made. Spielman is like a little child. That is what got him fired from two previous jobs. He thinks he is right, and if anyone challenges him on his decisions, he pulls "statistical research" out of his ass which is so profoundly ridiculous that it insults people of even average intelligence.

    The issue here though is whether Spielman could accept Ponder being a bust. If it becomes quite obvious that Ponder is over his head, will Spielman's ego allow him to cut ties? Probably not. He will just pull more research out his ass in order to defend his pick and not have to admit that he was wrong for drafting him in the first place.

  2. Did you read the part in Rapport's article that calls Ponder a "strong armed Texan." LOL! Pleeeeaaaase!! My 4 year old can throw a water balloon harder than Ponder can throw a football.