Vince Lombardi

No Monday Morning Quarterbacks

The 7th Commandment

A team that averages 10 yards per pass attempt is virtually unstoppable.

In 43 Super Bowls, teams that have averaged 10 yards per pass attempt are 11-0.

A team with a 10 YPA is infinitely unstoppable as such a team would average (and thus could expect) a first down on every passing play. Such a team could do whatever it wanted on first down (run or pass) because it would know that as soon as it decided to pass, it could expect to achieve a 10-yard gain and a first down.

In football, downs are resources. A team that averages 10 YPA is continuously replacing a down that it consumes with a fresh first down. The net result is that the team never consumes any resources (downs). Such a team's system is infinitely sustainable. Simply, for such a team, it is always first down.

In the biography of New England Patriots' coach Bill Belichick, The Education of A Coach, David Halberstam illustrated this point. In the Patriots's 2001 regular season loss to St. Louis, the Rams' quarterback Kurt Warner averaged close to 10 yards per pass attempt. Of the game, Belichick told Halberstam, "It was almost as if they didn't need a second down."

However, a team with an 11 YPA or 12 YPA would not be any more unstoppable than a team with a 10 YPA. A team that is infinitely unstoppable (10 YPA) cannot become more infinitely unstoppable. Infinity plus one is still "just" infinity. Thus, 10 YPA is the limit on the productivity of play design.

© 2009 is not affiliated with the National Football League or any of its members.
The material contained on is for entertainment purposes only.