JaMarcus Cable: Football's Mendoza Line
According to Wikipedia,
the Mendoza Line is an informal term used in baseball as
the threshold of incompentent offense. The standard is named after former
shortstop Mario Mendoza and is achieved when a player's batting average falls
below .200. It is often thought of as the offensive threshold below which a
player's presence in the Major Leagues cannot be justified.
QC submits that the football equivalent should be known as the JaMarcus Cable.
Here is QC's argument.
ESPN's Bill Simmons attempted to define a football equivalent of the Mendoza
Simmons wrote: "I wanted someone obscure; after
all, nobody was more obscure than Mendoza. I wanted somebody bad. And I wanted
a funny-sounding name. Well, who better than Jack Trudeau? Played for nine
years, lost his first 11 starts, 42 TDs, 69 INTs, 103 sacks, never played in a
playoff game, 63.3 lifetime QB rating. The Trudeau Line. Perfect."
Simmons effort was noble, but alas it is flawed as it commits a cardinal sin:
It it treats football like baseball. As QC repeatedly emphasizes, in baseball,
you can only change the players. In football, you can change the players,
change the plays, or change both. Baseball is one
dimensional and, therefore, a one-dimensional line
is perfectly appropriate as the measure of incompetence.
Obviously, in baseball, offense is an individual activity. One of the reasons
that Mario Mendoza was such an incompetent offensive producer is that he had to
produce all by himself. While at the plate, neither his manager nor his
teammates could help him. Football is different. In football, offense is never
an individual activity. Rather, football offense is always a collective
activity in which success is determined by the combined efforts of coaches and
players. In football, an offensive player never has to produce all by himself.
Joe Montana always had Bill Walsh and Jerry Rice to help him on every play.
Football is three dimensional. Thus, a three-dimensional standard that is
similar to line, such as a cable, is necessary.
cable is two or more wires or ropes running side by side and bonded,
twisted or braided together to form a single assembly. In football, a coach and
a quarterback are bonded, twisted or braided together to form a single
assembly. Thus, a cable is the perfect standard of incompetence for football.
productivity statistic (ðHY) defines how productive NFL
players are on the football field. Through 12 weeks of the 2009 season, NFL
teams whose player productivity has been below 2.00 are 13-51, a .203 winning
percentage. In other words, NFL teams that produce at 2.00 or lower win about
as often as Mario Mendoza got a base hit. Thus, 2.00 player productivity is an
appropriate threshold of incompentent football offense. It is the offensive
threshold below which a quarterback's presence on the field cannot be
In 2009, no coach and quarterback combination has produced below this standard
more consistently than Oakland's eponymous Tom Cable and his quarterback,
JaMarcus Russell. Before Cable benched Russell, the Raiders were 2-7. In those
9 games, Oakland's offensive player productivity was below the standard 7
For all of these reasons, the football equivalent of the Mendoza Line
henceforth shall be known on QuantCoach.com as the JaMarcus Cable. (ARCHIVES;