Stats Don't Lie, But They Don't Tell You Everything

Ahmad RashadAnalyst IJanuary 29, 2010

Do you see this guy to your right? He is living proof of my theory. By now you have probably read my article Despite The Stats, Polamalu Was Better Than Reed This Decade. For over 100 comments this other Ravens fan and I debated who was better.

He based his whole argument around Reed's stats and I based mine around watching Polamalu play. I was trying to tell and prove to him that stats don't tell you everything and watching a player does. My way is more reliable and accurate and I will prove it with a story.


You and a blind man are watching TV (except for the blind man who is listening) when the football game comes on. The blind man can't see so has to rely on stats to see how the players did. At the end of the game the stats say Reed had 8 tackles and a pick. Polamalu had 6 tackles and a pick.

Judging by the stats the blind man will think that Reed had the better day. But you saw the game. You saw that 3 of Polamalu's 6 tackles were for either a loss or for no gain. All of Reed's were beyond the LOS. Now Polamalu has had the better day. But the blind man wouldn't know because he couldn't see the game.

That's why I said stats don't tell you everything. Watching a player does and it's more accurate and reliable. So the moral of this story is don't judge a player just by his stats. Judge him by how you see him play. Let me know whether you agree or disagree with me in the comments.