Dan Pompei – I can smell your bias

*Editor’s note:  Since we started this blog we’ve had many of our idiot friends say they could do a better job (which they probably could) and claim that they are better writers than us (which most undoubtedly are).  So we decided to give those friends who have a reasonable Bears thought, and can put two or three sentences together, a voice from time to time.  This post from KVS, aka Derek Norton, is the first in our “Guest Blogger” series.

In response to Dan Pompei’s lazy, mailed-in piece (found here:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/columnists/ct-spt-0919-pompei-bears-chicago–20120919,0,3966505.column) that appeared in the Trib yesterday, I decided to do some fact-checking of my own. 

First, let’s take a look at the “big games” Mr. Pompei selected.   Pompei writes that Cutler has gone 4-8 in his “biggest games” as a Bear, with 13 touchdowns and 19 interceptions for a 67.7 passer rating.  Yikes – that sounds bad.  But let’s look deeper.  Pompei mysteriously includes a road game in San Francisco that took place in the middle of the 2009 season – in which Cutler threw 0 td’s and 5 int’s.  That game combined with the 2 GB road games gives us a god-awful looking 2 td’s and 13 picks in just 3 of the games selected.

So let’s review – in 3 of the 12 games selected – Cutler threw 2 td’s and 13 picks.  Holy shit that’s bad.

In the other 9 “big games” – he threw 11 TD’s and 6 picks.  But yet another look at the games included reveals Pompei decided to include the infamous “lets get Cutler killed” game in 2010 in which he got sacked 9 times and threw a total of 11 passes(completing 8 of them).  And then it dawns on me that the Eagles game in week 12 of the 2010 season – which had the exact same importance as the Giants game (as well as being later in the season) – has been mysteriously left out.  What did Cutler do in that game?  4 td’s and 0 int’s in a dominant performance that cemented the Bears as the favorite for the 2 seed in the NFC.  So Pompei decided to look at 2 games of equal importance….and pick the game in which Cutler was concussed by the 2nd quarter and leave out a key conference game in which Cutler turned in one of his best games as a Bear.  I smell selection bias. For my purposes – I’m going to include the Eagles game.  See how easy that is?

So another review – in the other 9 “big games” – Cutler threw 15 td’s and 6 picks.  Wow.  That suddenly looks pretty good.  Big game player!

 What’s the overall message?  It’s easy to skew the numbers when you are trying to make them fit the narrative you are looking for (oh – and pageviews!).  What Pompei should have written is that Cutler has been wildly inconsistent in “big games” – he’s had some really good games, and he’s had some awful games.  The awful games tend to be more awful than the awfullest of awful games – and the good games are pretty goddamned good. 

KVS

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