There are quite a few Bleacher Report copycat sites, or sites that appear to be Bleacher Report copycats, popping up on the Interwebs. I believe I have mentioned this before. They are mostly fan-driven sites with hot take commentary and headlines used for the sole purpose of pageviews. You know the articles are written for pageviews because the number of pageviews for the article is right there for you to look at. SEE HOW POPULAR THIS COLUMN IS? THAT MEANS IT CAN'T BE SHITTY WRITING! 2000 VIEWS CAN'T BE WRONG!
So the headline on this site, which is called "NFL SpinZone" (a wonderful title by the way since it indicates there will be "spin" accompanying the hot take), is "J.J. Watt and Other Elite Pass Rushers Overrated in the NFL? The Facts Say Yes." You can't argue with pageviews and facts. Thank you to the reader who found and emailed me this hot take. Apparently this NFL SpinZone is in some way attached to FanSided, which links articles from Bleacher Report. It's all very confusing. So here is why elite pass rushers are overrated. Spoiler alert: It's because quarterbacks are more valuable. Because that makes sense. This is why knives are overrated, because a gun is a much better weapon for combat while in a vicious cock-fight.
How could elite pass rushers be overrated? Here’s how.
Here's how! This is how the author pulls a JemeHill and makes a statement that most probably don't believe is necessarily is true and disproves it.
"How could chocolate not serve as the primary source of protein for adults? Here's how."
"Do vaccinations cause spontaneous combustion? The facts say "no" and here's why."
"Are ants really aliens gathering weaponry to take over Earth? Probably not. Here's what the facts say."
Most people belief that pass rushers, whether DE or OLB, are one of the most important positions on a football team.
I mean, it's the first sentence. Can we maybe not have a grammatical error in the first sentence? I just belief that if you are going to write for a web site then you should probably do your best to make sure your very first sentence doesn't have grammatical errors. And yes, I'm sure I have grammatical errors in my writing, but I try to avoid them in the first sentence. I belief that's the way to go.
Oh, and also..."most people" believe this to be true? Is that a factual statement or just a statement the author is making in an attempt to disprove something that most people don't believe anyway? I think I know the answer I belief is the correct one.
Some people believe that an elite pass rusher can have as big, or almost
as big, of an impact on an NFL game as a great quarterback can.
Yes, and some people are Scientologists. I would put both sets of people on the same craziness level. Okay, that's not true. Scientology is WAY crazier than believing an elite pass rusher can have as big of an impact on an NFL game as a great quarterback can. You get my point though.
So far the author has told us what "most" people believe and then stated what "some" people believe. He's well on his way to disproving a belief that he in his own mind thinks "most" and "some" people have. He's totally JemeHill'ing this article all up. He's creating all sorts of beliefs people have so he can prove just how overrated pass rushers are.
It’s often thought that the best teams in the NFL feature the best pass rushers. However, the facts starkly suggest otherwise as Justin Houston and J.J. Watt have both been on their couches for weeks.
(coughs) Based on a sample size of one year.
Both Houston and Watt impressively hit the 20-sack plateau in 2014, but
the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans didn’t make the playoffs. The
NFL’s top-5 pass rushers in 2014, as far as sacks recorded, were Elivs
Dumervil (17 sacks), Connor Barwin (14.5), and Mario Williams (14.5). Between those five players (including Houston and Watt) only Dumervil’s Ravens made the playoffs.
Although there is no correlation between their great play and their team’s ultimate success.
Right, because they are a member of a team and the entire team has to play well in order for that team to win. The quarterback position is the most important position in football and I don't take seriously those "some" people who think an elite pass rusher is on par with an elite quarterback. So the author is disproving something that informed people probably wouldn't believe. Also, who is "Elivs Dumervil?" Is he Elvis Dumervil's evil twin? I bet Elivs Dumervil has a goatee.
That begged the question, “How much of an impact do elite pass rushers really have on an NFL team’s success?”
Get ready for the author to prove elite pass rushers aren't as important as an elite quarterback. I know this may come as a shock, since this is probably something most people already knew. The bottom line is an elite pass rusher is great to have, but there has to be a great defense around that elite pass rusher. Football is a team sport.
As stated above, only one of the NFL’s top five sack leaders led their teams to the playoffs.
Fact #1 from me:
In 2013, three of the NFL's top five sack leaders led their teams to the playoffs.
In 2012, four of the NFL's top five sack leaders led their teams to the playoffs.
In 2011, two of the NFL's top five sack leaders led their teams to the playoffs. Jason Pierre-Paul was one of these players and his team won the Super Bowl.
In 2010, three of the NFL's top five sack leaders led their teams to the playoffs. Clay Matthews was one of these players and his team won the Super Bowl.
In 2009, three of the NFL's top five sacks leaders led their teams to the playoffs. Will Smith was one of these players and his team won the Super Bowl.
So out of the last five seasons, 15 of the 25 players in the top 5 of the NFL in sacks led their teams to the playoffs. That's 60% of the players who appeared in the top five of the NFL in sacks over the last five years (prior to 2014) whose team made the playoffs. No correlation there I'm sure.
So, how much of an impact do elite pass rushers have on their teams? Clearly not as much as some people like to think.
Based on the 2014 season, these "some people" are wrong. Based on the five years prior to that, these "some people" have a better case.
Whereas nearly every NFL team with a quarterback that is widely referred to as ‘elite’ did make the playoffs.
The author is relying on a lot of opinions and definitions of "elite" here that I don't care to get into. The important thing to note is quarterbacks like Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, and Matt Ryan didn't make the playoffs. Teams made the playoffs with non-elite quarterbacks like Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Andy Dalton. You can have your own opinion about Joe Flacco and Matthew Stafford too. Not sure I would call them "elite."
Five pass rushers have recorded at least two sacks in the playoffs this
year and none of those five player’s teams made it to a Conference
This is a dumb statistic to use. Pass rushers who play the most games in the playoffs will naturally have better sack totals, but ignoring that, taking a sample size of two games is a terrible way to prove elite pass rushers are overrated. The #1 and #2 seeds in the AFC and NFC both will have only played one game prior to the Conference Championship Game, so naturally it's expected those pass rushers won't have as good of a sack total in the playoffs prior to the Conference Championship Game. Chandler Jones could have 1 sack in the one game he played prior to the Conference Championship Game. This doesn't mean he isn't elite or he didn't help his team win the Super Bowl.
The four teams that made it to Championship Sunday do not feature a
single pass rusher that has recorded two sacks in the playoffs yet.
Further evidence that dominant pass rushers do not directly equate to
winning in the NFL.
Again, over the last six seasons (including the 2014 season) 16 of the 30 players in the top five of the NFL in regular season sacks have also appeared in the playoffs. That's 53%, which by the way, is more than half. Sure, more elite quarterbacks have appeared in the playoffs during that time span, but no reasonable person is arguing a pass rusher is as valuable as a quarterback. The fact a pass rusher isn't as valuable as a quarterback doesn't mean an elite pass rusher is overrated.
Oddly enough, it seems the opposite is true.
Oddly enough, you use one season's worth of data to show this to be true.
The trend I’m noticing is that teams with multiple above-average pass
rushers win with much more consistency than teams with one elite pass
Well yeah, that's true too. A team with multiple pass rushers that are very good will win more games than a team with one elite pass rusher and shitty pass rushers around him. That's blindingly obvious. Are elite offensive linemen overrated because a team with one elite offensive linemen and a bunch of useless assholes around him doesn't win with as much consistency as a team with multiple above-average offensive linemen? I think not. The author's argument is so terrible. He misunderstands that football is a team sport. A team with better players at more positions will win more games than a team with better players at just a few positions.
The league’s most dominant pass rusher, and defensive player, couldn’t lead his team to the playoffs.
Fact #3: This is information gathered from one season. Over the past six seasons a player who has appeared in the top 5 of the NFL in sacks during the regular season has been on a team that won the Super Bowl three times. That's 50% of the time a team with an elite pass rusher wins the Super Bowl. I know, I know, I'm cheating by using a sample size larger than one season. How dare I try to get to the truth of whether pass rushers are overrated because they don't lead their team to the playoffs by searching out information and data that covers more than one NFL season!
The Texans’ Watt is the undisputed king of the NFL,
on the defensive side of the ball that is. Yet, even his incredible
impact couldn’t raise the Texans to the postseason. Would the Texans be
worse without him? Certainly!
Does this mean an elite pass rusher is overrated? Certainly not! It just means the Texans didn't make the playoffs in the AFC this season.
But if the Texans added Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady would it become a playoff team? I’m inclined to say yes, of course.
And because Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady would take the Texans to the playoffs when J.J. Watt could not, this means a quarterback is more valuable than a pass rusher, which means an elite pass rusher is overrated. So OF COURSE an elite pass rusher is overrated, because there are unnamed people in the world who think an elite pass rusher is as valuable as an elite quarterback. Obviously.
So do elite pass rushers really equal success in the NFL? Or is
one player, even so great as one of 2014’s five elite pass rushers, not
enough to truly make a huge difference in today’s NFL.
Based on one season's worth of data, these two questions aren't even worth answering with a definitive answer one way or another. Also, you forgot a question mark in the second question you asked.
None of the for teams playing on Conference Championship Sunday boast an ‘elite’ pass rusher.
Fact #4. This information from one season doesn't mean elite pass rushers are overrated. Also, Clay Matthews has 61 sacks in his six year career. I would say he's pretty close to an elite pass rusher.
Also, the author's Fact #4 basically says the same thing as Fact #1.
As far as 2014 statistics are concerned, the Patriots, Seahawks,
Packers, and Colts do not feature as single elite pass rusher. That
isn’t to say they’re bad pass rushing teams — that isn’t the case. These
teams can get the quarterback, but they feature multiple players that
can get to the quarterback and don’t rely on just one elite player.
Which is a nice thing to be able to do, just like having one elite pass rusher and multiple other players who can rush the quarterback on the same team is also a nice thing to have.
Look at the top pass rushers of the last four teams standing. The Packers’ Clay Matthews was 12th in the NFL in sacks in 2014. The Patriots’ Rob Ninkovich was 26th in the NFL in sacks in 2014. The Seahawks’ Michael Bennett was 36th in the NFL in sacks in 2014. The Colts’ Jonathan Newsome was 40th in the NFL in sacks in 2014.
It's one year's worth of data. If you take a larger trend out of one season then you are the idiot here, not anyone who thinks an elite pass rusher can still help his team get to the playoffs. Data over the last six years shows defensive players in the top 5 of the NFL in sacks have led their team to the playoffs more often than not.
None of these pass rushers would be considered ‘elite’ pass rushers if
just this years’ statistics were referenced. Matthews is the possible
exception to this, although he hasn’t been lining up as a pure rusher in
2014 as much as he used to.
And yet, he still had 11 sacks on the season. Don't try to state Matthews isn't a pass rusher because he isn't lining up as much as a pure rusher in 2014 as he used to. If you are going to judge a player by sack totals, be consistent.
The top four teams in the NFL didn’t have a single pass rusher ranked in
the top 10 in sacks this year and only one (Matthews) ranked inside the
You can restate the same thing 100 ways and it still doesn't take away from the fact you are using information based on one NFL season.
Quarterbacks don’t just get more media
attention because it’s the flashy position, it’s because their impact on
games is tremendous. Look at the quarterbacks of the last four teams
standing. Brady, Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Andrew Luck.
All four can either be considered elite or on the verge of elite at the
quarterback position. It seems as though quality quarterbacks are still
much more valuable than elite pass rushers.
Yes, quarterbacks are more valuable than elite pass rushers. I'm not sure anyone is arguing otherwise. Guess what though? That doesn't mean an elite pass rusher is overrated. An elite pass rusher can be less valuable than an elite quarterback and still not be overrated.
These facts cannot be disputed that 2014’s elite pass rushers are in every way overrated,
I literally just disputed the fact that 2014's elite pass rushers are in every way overrated by pointing out how the information you gathered for 2014 is contradicted by data from the previous five NFL seasons. Besides who is overrated and who isn't overrated is a purely subjective opinion. There are no "facts" that can definitively disprove a purely subjective opinion. It's an opinion and it's subjective. Facts can only go so far. Nice hot take to call J.J. Watt overrated in your title. I am sure it pumped up some pageviews for you.
That is, if we all agree that winning
games, going to the playoffs, and winning the Super Bowl is the main
goal of every NFL team, how can these elite players not be overrated?
Because three of the Super Bowl-winning teams over the last six playoffs had a pass rusher rated in the top 5 of the NFL in sacks for that season. I would go further past six seasons, but this bullshit article isn't even worth it. I think six seasons pretty much proves the point I want to prove. Over the last six seasons, 53% of the players in the top 5 of the NFL in sacks made the playoffs. So winning games, going to the playoffs, and winning the Super Bowl IS the main goal of every NFL team. More often than not over the last six seasons, a team with a player in the top 5 of the NFL in sacks has made the playoffs. Over the last six seasons, 50% of Super Bowl-winning teams had a player in the top 5 of the NFL in sacks. So that's why these elite pass rushers are probably not overrated. I'll call that Fact #5.
I’m a huge
idiot for using one season's worth of information to jump to a conclusion?
Watt fan, don’t get me wrong, but perhaps investing in elite pass
rushers isn’t as paramount to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy as most
Or perhaps you should go stop writing hot takes like this if you aren't willing to go back more than one season to come to the conclusion your hot take supports. Football is a team sport. Investing in elite pass rushers is worthless if there aren't other good pass rushers on the roster, but an elite pass rusher does help in hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Simply because quarterback is the most important position on the field, doesn't mean elite pass rushers are overrated.
This article was an embarrassment.