ESPN Radio Host Don La Greca Melts Down During Rant on Advanced Football Stats

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2017

On Wednesday, Don La Greca auditioned for a Sports Shouting appearance with a belligerent rant against sabermetric stats.

When discussing the New York Giants' struggling offensive line, the ESPN Radio host admonished anyone with the gall to back up a claim with facts. In the worst "sports pundit mocking geeks" stereotype imaginable, he disgustedly brought up the Pythagorean theorem in reference to a statistic that measures a team's expected record based on point differential.

The Giants went 11-5 with a plus-26 scoring margin last year, which meant they overperformed their 8.8 expected wins (via Pro Football Reference). The Baltimore Ravens (plus-22) and Minnesota Vikings (plus-20) each went 8-8 with similar point differentials.

After the offense ranked No. 22 in Football Outsiders' DVOA last year, the Giants did not upgrade their offensive line during the offseason. Through the first two weeks of the 2017 season, it ranks No. 26 in pass protection with a 10.1 percent adjusted sack rate.

One could have used these metrics to anticipate a regression this season. La Greca, however, dismissed data and bullied those who prefer information over mindless yelling.

He contradicted his crusade against stats by citing the Giants' current eight-game stretch of failing to score 20 points—including a 38-13 postseason loss to the Green Bay Packers—as their longest such drought in over three decades.

Sports fans deserve better analysis than Homer Simpson yelling "Nerd!" from his car, and only Eli Manning should be this angry about the Giants offensive line.

[Alex Seixerio]