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You are what your record says you are

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  • You are what your record says you are

    I believe it was John Madden who was most famous for having said 'you are what your record says you are'. This may seem like an offseason topic, however it came into my mind and I wonder what you guys think about it.

    I don't necessarily agree with it literally, however I do agree with what I believe Madden generally meant when he said it. Essentially, that I don't buy into the idea of teams being 'better than their record' very much. At the same time, I also don't usually buy into the idea of teams being 'worse than their record'.

    At times, I hear things about why a team is better than their record. The worst is when it's based on the paper roster. If your a team with an apparently stacked record that plays like a mediocre team on the field, imo your a mediocre team. If your a 13-3 team that may not look great on paper, imo your still a great team. Being a good team is about playing like it on the field, and there are 'non paper' aspects involved in the game. How good you are at those could make a huge difference in whether or not your a good team.

    Another may be that most of their losses were close. I heard it about the 08 Chargers, 8-8 but lost only 1 game by more than a score. However, they still lost as many games as they won. Finishing games consistently is part of being an elite team. My Niners in 08-09 often lost close games, playing even of the league's best teams close however, they couldn't quite get over the hump until 2011, and needed a new coach, and to either add or develop several great players.

    Sometimes, we may see a 9-7 Chargers of 2013. They may be able to play like an elite team on a good day, however playing well consistently is part of being elite.

    On the flip side, sometimes I hear things about how x team is a 'pretender' despite their record. I don't buy that, because for a team to have a record of say, 12-4 they have to consistently win. The only time I can maybe buy it is if they manage to get that record without facing very many good teams, or something like AZ where they win a lot of games before getting injuries or something of that sort, and maybe aren't of the caliber their record indicates at the end of the year.

    When I don't buy it though, is when people claim teams seem to get a lot of close wins, or win a lot of games by pulling it out at the end means a team is a 'pretender'. The Jets of 2010 come to mind, who went 11-5, and often had close wins against mediocre teams, or pulled wins out at the end. However, they also showed they could beat good teams. The Falcons of 2010 who went 13-3 are a good example also, however the Jets I think make a better one because they didn't go 1 and done in the playoffs.

    The Jets showed that a team that wins games like that can have post season success, so when we see a 13-3 team go 1 and done, I doubt it usually has anything to do with that team finally being 'exposed' as not being as good as their record indicates. They may have played well in a loss, and if they didn't, it may be more that they had a bad game over being 'exposed'.

    Also, there are instances where some people say a team benefits from a lot of 'fluky' plays, however...imo if it happens a lot it may be a sign that it's not a fluke. Some Bears teams in the past have been accused of that, however they were great at making those types of plays happen. They had excellent special teams, an were great at making various great special teams plays. Kick returns, punt returns, blocked punts, blocked field goals, returning missed field goals, even forcing fumbles on opposing kick or punt returners. They also were great at forcing turnovers, they had a knack for picking off the ball, and Tillman especially was a master at forcing fumbles.

    They were good at making those big plays, and those plays are part of the game. If you make them consistently, and it leads to you being a winning team, then I would say you are a good team.

    So for this reason, I largely believe in what I think the 'spirit' of the football saying 'you are what your record says you are'.

    What are your thoughts?