Greg Blache Says Stats Are For Losers
Greg Blache, as you might have noticed, remains more quotable than Barack Obama at a San Francisco fundraiser.
"Those folks are terrorists with the double move," Blache said today of the Eagles receivers. "I don't think they can go to the bathroom straight."
Or how about this, in response to a question from Comcast SportsyNet's Jill Sorenson about the best-dressed member of his defense. (Look for Jill's "Class Yearbook" piece during Sunday's pre-game show.)
"In my opinion, Shawn Springs could be a male model," Blache said. "Shawn Springs is clean. He is. Of the big guys, you've got to think about Cornelius Griffin. For a big man, Griff dresses like a pimp daddy sometimes. He really does. He's pretty darn clean."
And if mixing in terrorist-and-potty talk with pimp daddy name drops wasn't enough, here's how Blache responded a bit later when asked an innocuous question about his defensive line, a question that involved numbers.
"We don't worry about numbers here," he said. "Statistics are for losers. I'm not a stat guy. I'm not interested in them, because you can do anything you want with numbers, you can manipulate them, and work around with them. Look at all the financial [problems] we're having in Wall Street right now. That's all those guys lying and playing with numbers. And now all of us are suffering. So I don't believe in numbers, because any crook can play with numbers....It angers me. You know? That's the whole thing, people play with numbers."
Obviously the Moneyball debate has long since migrated from baseball to other sports, and obviously some folks have done very innovative things even with supposedly unworkable football stats (see Doug Farrar's column on our very site). But Blache isn't having it. Call him the Don Zimmer of the NFL. I can't wait for Tracy Ringolsby to blame the securitization of subprime mortgages on Billy Beane.
Anyhow, I asked Blache for more. He obliged.
"When the game's over, I'll look at the flip sheet, the play-by-play," he said. "I want to see what the turnover ratio was, what we did on third downs, what we did in the red zone. But past that, we've got boards and boards up in our meeting room, I don't pay any attention to those statistics. If you won, what does it all mean? And if you lost, what does it all mean?
"When you lose, you go to statistics, 'Well, we did this well.' You're making an excuse. I don't see the sense in it, and I cringe when I sit in a meeting and I hear coaches spouting off their statistics. To me, it doesn't make any sense. It's like they're grading themselves. Our job is to win and lose football games. And on Sunday, you either won it or you lost it. The rest of it's for you guys to write about. You know? For me, you either win or you lose; you don't get second place because you had great stats....I've been around a ton of guys that will just sit and spout their statistics. Drives me crazy. It's meaningless."
I wondered whether this was a reaction to the newfound love of stats in every field of athletics, but Blache said that he's felt this way his whole career.
"Honestly, when I was a young coach I got raised old school," he explained. "I was raised in the old school and I coach old school. You win or you lose. When the media started saying, 'Well, this guy's a guru' or 'This guy's a genius,' the guys started planting their numbers or throwing their numbers around to get jobs. And that became a big thing: numbers.
"Like I said, I'm old school. I have no interest in a head job. All I want to do, I want to win Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins a Super Bowl championship, that's my goal. Past that, a good glass of wine, a good Cuban cigar, and hell, life is beautiful."
As for the financial crisis, someone else asked Blache whether he'd be turning into the vice presidential debate tonight.
"I don't believe in politics," he said. "I learned as a kid: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and politics."
And for the record, he specifically praised Sambuca. Although presumably he doesn't rely on Wine Spectator ratings.
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