Amidst all the hysteria of the play call second-guessing and the "did the Jets forget they have Brett Favre?" nonsense (and by the way, that is nonsense … the Jets are running many of the same plays Favre ran in Green Bay … but I digress), what seemed to be lost in the background noise after the Patriots game was the single biggest reason the Jets came up short. Field position was, by far, the single most important statistical story teller last week.
Bill Parcells always had a theory about "hidden yardage" inside the game. Too often when analyzing the stats it seems people look at total offense, total defense, etc., stats that can easily be rendered meaningless if field position is a big factor. Well, I don’t think I’ve ever done a game where it played as big a part as last week.
According to Parcells (and he’s not the only one to use this formula, he’s just the one that I learned it from), 100 yards of "hidden yardage" or field position is worth 7 points.
Put simply, Team A has 10 possessions in a game and they start all 10 at their own 30-yard line. Team B has the ball 10 times and they start their 10 drives at their own 20-yard line. So before either team even runs a play on offense, Team A has a 7-point advantage on Team B. The theory being that if you start 10 drives 10 yards further up the field than your opponent, you’re going to score a TD at some point your opponent won’t score simply because your drives are easier to execute, you’re starting a first down ahead on every possession, etc.
Well, apply this to the Jets-Patriots game and you’ll see why most of the hand-wringing over playcalling this week was completely misplaced. The Jets had nine possessions and the Patriots had nine possessions. The Jets’ average starting field position was their own 21-yard line. The Pats started on average at their own 42! New England had a 21-yard advantage PER DRIVE. They opened 5 possessions IN JETS TERRITORY!
That means that before either offense even ran a play in the game, by the hidden yardage theory, the Pats had a 189-yard advantage in the game and were up by 13 points. Look at the result, the Jets lost by nine.
Everything in this game fed off field position. Brett Favre never got the short field to get the Jets offense going. Matt Cassel never once had to deal with the pressure of the crowd, deep in his own end, up against his own goal line, needing to drive his team 75 to 90 yards. This wasn’t the only factor in the game, but it was without question the most important.
Tags: Bill Parcells, Brett Favre, patriots
Posted in Bob Wischusen | 56 Comments »