A Plea for Change in Sports Commentary
December 3rd, 2005

Here is one football statistic that I never want to hear again:

Team X is 40-0 when they have someone rush for 100 yards.

The conclusion you are supposed to draw is that Team X should try to run the football. Here’s one way you could rephrase the statistic:

Team X does a pretty good job of winning when they’re winning.

It’s post hoc reasoning, people! Come on! I’m starting to think Howard Cosell was on to something when he spent years hating on Frank Gifford because he was not a trained sports journalist. I don’t have a high opinion of journalists either, but now the Giffords are the norm in the commentary business. The intelligence of the analysis suffers. I’m all for coaches-as-commentators, but I think we should all agree that players-as-commentators is not working out.