Friday, October 19, 2007

This is why ESPN doesn't let Sal Paolantonio share his opinions

Somehow Sal Paolantonio's descriptively named book The Paolantonio Reports: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players, Teams, Coaches, and Moments in NFL History is the number one selling football book in America (according to Wikipedia. According to Amazon it's 11th). Personally, I hate saying movies or athletes are underrated or overrated, because they're wrongly rated to me. For example, I think Brian De Palma's Mission: Impossible is underrated, and Scarface is overrated. But by what measure? Who's doing the rating that I have to debunk? With teams I don't have as much of a problem with it, because you can at least imagine teams across seasons or eras playing each other. I don't mind using it in terms of draft prospects, as long as it's not referring to their college career. For example, J.J. Redick was overrated as a draft prospect but was a great college player. He was overrated because he has underperformed in relation to where he was drafted, and there is statistical evidence to support where he was rated (his draft slot) and where he should have been rated (his effectiveness as a player).

Some of Paolantonio's poorly defended declarations include Barry Sanders and Brett Favre as overrated, and Dave Krieg and Bart Starr as underrated. His argument for Barry Sanders being overrated center around his 2.8 yard per carry in the post season, which jumps to 5.0 if you take away one game at Lambeau where he had -1 yard on 13 carries. So one bad game on the road against another of his most overrated players takes away from the legacy as the most exciting athlete anyone has ever seen. Paolantonio is underrating the importance of a supporting cast.

His argument for Bart Starr being underrated centers around his postseason quarterback rating, particularly his record low interception rate. Tom Brady, throwing to no receivers of note last year, dropped from first to second behind Starr all time in lowest postseason interception rate last year. Phil Simms is third; is he underrated or are all New York athletes overrated, as he says Tiki Barber and Michael Strahan are as part of the "New York Hype Machine?" Starr threw 3 TDs, no picks in the 1967 postseason after throwing 9 TDs, 17 picks in the regular season. Maybe Paolantonio is overrating the importance of the postseason?

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