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Just The Sports: The Exception To The Rule

Just The Sports

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Exception To The Rule

When I wrote about the way in which college completion percentages translate to completion percentages on the NFL level, I alluded to the fact there was a small chance that there was an NFL quarterback walking around who had bucked the trend and had an NFL completion percentage that was significantly superior to his college one. By happenstance, I stumbled on such a quarterback and his name is Brian Griese.

During his time at the University of Michigan, Griese posted a 58.5% completion percentage in games where he either attempted the most pass attempts or amassed the most passing yards. Yet, after taking over the starting quarterback job for the Denver Broncos and later the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Griese did not allow his mediocre college completion percentage keep him from completing 62.9% of his passes in games that saw him attempt at least fifteen throws.

Yet, although I have labeled Griese as the exception to the rule, I really feel the rule does not apply to him at all and not just because his quarterbacking career disagrees with my precious theory. There is a reasonable, plausible explanation behind my thinking. While at Michigan, Griese only played an extended number of games in two seasons, those being his sophomore (9 games) and senior (12 games) ones, according to the critera I have already laid out. There were only two such games his junior year as a result of his having been relegated to the sidelines in favor of Scott Dreisbach. Because of this gap in his collegiate playing career, I have grave doubts about how representative his numbers really are. In other words, Griese was unable to use his junior year to build upon his sophomore season and then use his senior year to build upon his junior season. Therefore, no one can say with great certainty that his college numbers represent the true ability of Brian Griese. His senior year ended up being his best, but how much better could it have been had he been allowed to play an entire junior season? Would it then have put his career completion percentage in college on par with his NFL one? These are legitimate questions.

Furthermore, since I doubt there will be many other careers that mirror Griese's, I still have great faith in saying NFL quarterbacks will most likely never out-perform their college completion percentages.

NOTE: College completion percentage total does not include 1997 game against Michigan State.



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