Einstein's Theory Of Relatively Bad Football

When a FanPost gets this many comments, it's probably a good idea to move it to the main page and make sure everyone gets a chance to see it. Sorry for the delay on that. - Chris

Offensive linemen selections in the top 5 are an automatic failure to improve your team dramatically. There have been 32 offensive linemen selected in the top 5 (40 in the top 6) going back to 1966 by my count. Do you know how many super bowls were won? 3. Do you know why, in 12 first round selections, Scott Pioli has selected 4 DT/NT's for his 3-4 (3 starters) and only one offensive linemen (5 starters)? What is it he knows we do not? Or is he simply wrong about how to draft for a 3-time super bowl champion. 33% of 1st round picks go to 13.6% of a team's starters. Is he crazy? Why did John Madden get his left tackle in round 3 instead of putting Al Davis' picks where Madden's heart lie? A lot of us grew up listening to Madden preach on T.V. about how important offensive line is, so why do I claim the facts do not support making the big leap and spending a third overall selection on the position?

Join me after the break when I try to lay out the case with some discussion of the picks made by the winners and hard evidence on why the results are as they are.

Super Bowl winners & their top 5 picks:
I, II Green Bay Packers
LB, Fred Carr


IV Kansas City
none (Aaron Brown, DE 6)

V Baltimore
Bubba Smith, DE 1

VI Dallas
Craig Morton, QB, 5 John Niland, G 5

VII & VIII Miami
Rick Norton, QB 2 Griese, QB 4,

IX, X, XIII, XIV, Pittsburgh
Bradshaw, QB 1, Greene, DT 1 & JT THomas CB 4.

XI, XV, XVIII Oakland/LA
none (roman Gabrial, QB #1 overall, but in 1960)

XII Dallas
Ed "two tall" Jones,DE 1 Randy White,DT 2 Tony Dorsett 2 RB

none (Ronnie Lott, CB 8 )

XVII, XXII, XXVI Washington
none (Skins mostly traded picks for players)

XX Chicago
Payton, RB 4, Hampton, DT 4, McMahon, QB 5 (covert @6)

XXI, XXV NY Giants
Taylor, OLB,

Aikman, QB 1 Walsh, QB 1 Maryland DT 1

XXXI Green Bay
Terrell Buckley, CB 4 (Reggie White, DT)

Elway, QB 1

XXXIV St. Louis
Orlando Pace,1 LT Todd Lyght, CB 5, Gilbert, DT 3,(Torry Holt 6 & Grant Wistrom, DE 6's \ Marshall Faulk was top 5 by Indy)

XXXV Baltimore
Jon Ogden, LT Boulware, olb, J. Lewis, rb

Bledsoe, QB 1 McGinest, OLB

XXXVII Tampa Bay
None (lots of high picks, but no top 5's that were still around. Testeverde qb1, & Paul Gruber, OT 4 gone or retired, dilfer went 6, etc.)

XL, XLIII, Pittsburgh

XLI Indianapolis
Peyton Manning, QB 1 Edgerinn James, RB, 4 (Marshall Faulk went to St. Louis)

Phillip Rivers, QB 4 (traded 4 eli, 1)

XLIV New Orleans
Reggie Bush, RB 2

XLV Green Bay
A.J. Hawk, mlb 5 (Charles Woodson, but he was Raider pick)


15 to 23 QB picks helped super bowls, depending on how you wanna count dynasties & guys that get replaced.(2 dolphins/double pick, 3 cowboys/double pick, 3patriots/replacement)

13 DT/ DE SB's were helped with top 5's
9 LB's
6 DB Super Bowl wins
5 RB super bowl wins
2 LT's
1 guard.

Going back to 1966, I counted 32 offensive linemen selected in the top 5, with another 8 selected at pick 6 (if you wanna count Jimbo Covert) 4 super bowl wins outa 40 selections, or 3 out of 32.

Basically, a 1 in 10 shot you win a SB before your OL retires. So, let's review the Ogden selection & the Pace selection.

For the Ogden plan to work, you need an expation draft where you get stocked with talent instead of what the NFL has changed the rule to. Then, you end up, after a few great defensive choices, with the greatest defense in NFL history. If you do that, you can afford Ogden.

For the Orlando Pace selection to work, what happens is each year your team does worse with Pace playing left tackle. In year 3, Pace then allows your franchise QB to get obliterated in a preseason game, ending his year. You hold tryouts at the local gas station/convienience store & you find a HOF QB (ok, maybe he got invited for arena ball & not tossing the charmin ) who then immediately takes you from 4 wins to the Super Bowl championship on his back, winning league MVP & super bowl MVP in the same year. It seems like a bit of a long shot. :) ==========================

So, what is it that makes winning football & why is that NOT protecting a quarterback's blind side with maximum resources? Think I'm visiting Cali for "medical reasons", do you? Well, you might feel even more strongly about that in a minute.

A team's running game effeciency does not matter. That is, it does not matter if you average 5 yards per run or 3 yards per run in terms of the win/loss percentage. But how can that be, you ask? Simply put, you will eventually have your drive stall if you run the ball. The NFL has good enough defenses - none of them are Gophers stopping Badgers - to make the running attack stall out. You merely run the ball to make the defense commit enough resources to make your passing attack effective. If you are the Packers or Patriots, that is less than if you are the Vikings or 49rs. The reverse is also true. What is most important to your team defense is the ability to stop the pass, not the run. You can always put 11 in the box & stop the run, but then you get destroyed in the air. So, we're talking about effiecency. Here's one of the articles that lays it out:

So, 56% of world champions finished 1st or 2nd in passer rating differential. that is, your YPA on offense minus the YPA you give up on defense, to simply what we're talking about. So, you want more yards, less picks/sacks when you throw V. the other team. The bigger the premium you have on your throwing, the more you'll do it, too, and the less you will have to "set up the throw" by running and all teams eventually throw to convert 3rd downs.
So, why does Kalil not help the differential enough to where he would make sense? Simple. Pass blocking is reactive. We do not get to decide where the defenders come from to stop the pass. That is, a team can choose to send their best rusher against our weakest lineman. Which would make sense, right? Most guys like getting paid millions of dollars for coaching defenses, I can imagine. So, maybe James Harrison does not do the expected & rush your LT & instead drops back & picks off a slant, winning a super bowl, but I digress. An offensive lineman who is a good pass blocker is important, but they do not need to be great, since the line doesn't get extra credit if only one guy, instead of 3, sacks your QB. OL is only as good as it's weakest link, so an elite at one spot doesn't help a great deal if you are starting a guard who got cut from the 2011 Dolphins, likely, in 2012. You'd need near-elite talent everywhere before it worked & that would limit your ability to do other things. The NFL does not allow a NY Yankee team to operate. There is a draft, there i a roster limit & there is a salary cap. This means there is a parity of total talent level, potentially. So, if your talent is spent on the offensive line, instead of QB or defensive line, what happens?

Well, but the Vikings can run the ball & decide where the action takes place, you say. You can run behind your best blocker. In our case, maybe that is Loadholdt. However, running does not equal winning. You can't know if a team was 3-13 or 13-3 by looking at the yards per average rushing the ball. It does not correlate to championships, because people are smart & they react to outside stimuli. Eventually, you're gonna run into a stunt & it will be 3rd & long. Now, we have to throw & we have offensive linemen that are bad at pass blocking & running backs that have to be pulled from the game because they are bad blockers/pass catchers. And the defensive coordinator knows our trends, so we go 3-13. Loadholdt gave up 9 sacks last year to Charlie Johnson's 7, according to PFF.

So, limited resources. What to pick at 3? We can't take enough high offensive linemen to matter - it hasn't worked before! we have to learn from the mistakes of the past & stop doing what doesn't win. Einstein said "a definition of insanity is doing the same things over & over & expecting a different result." We see tackles do not work. Simply, one defensive lineman getting through wrecks the work of 5 offensive linemen (and how ever many backs/TE's you keep in). One quarterback with the ability to get the ball out accurately under pressure helps negate the power of the pass rush & it means you do not have to have 3 to 5 all-pro offensive linemen (if you're gonna only have one, why bother) which is cap-busting. So, if a QB is there, like an RG3 & you do not have one potentially destined for the HOF, that is always the first choice and the stats bear that out. Your second choice would be to negate the other team's passing attack as cheaply as possible. When Justin Tuck sacks Brady, he's doing just that. Logan Mankins did not win the super bowl for his team; Justin Tuck did, it can be argued & supported. To get really good at stopping the pass, you need some cover guys to take advantage of a rush. Interceptions are king, so the the third area is to have Ronnie Lott or Todd Lyght or Ty Law, if you don't. Now, I'm sure some of you are thinking, "well, Ponder has to have someone elite to throw the ball to if he's not gonna have an elite pass blocker." Please review how many wide receivers were selected by a team in the top 5 that helped their team win a championship. you see what i wrote on WR's? Nothing. there hasn't been one yet. An elite QB simply throws to whoever happens to be open. Maybe that's Jerry Rice (16) or maybe that's Victor Cruz (UDFA). In terms of successful team building: 1. QB 2. DL/rush OLB 3. DB Anything else in the top 3 has no track record for success! Do not try that which does not work, historically. Learn from the mistakes of the foolish GM's who did not learn these simple truths.

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.

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