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Saturday, October 17, 2009
Your AFC East mailbag delivered



Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham


Charles in Vicksburg, Miss., can't understand why Bills fans would want the front office to fire head coach Dick Jauron. He notes the Bills are only two games out of first place with at least one game remaining against each AFC East opponent. "Throwing away the season right now is just ludicrous," Charles says.

I love your spirit, Charles. You're one of the last holdouts of Bills optimism. I don't think it matters one bit whether the Bills fire Jauron. Regardless of who the coach is, they're in too deep of a hole, too banged up and too out of synch. Mathematically, you are correct the Bills can make up substantial ground with six AFC East games left, but the other teams have at least one divisional victory already, and the Bills have lost their past eight in a row.


Clay from Sacramento, Calif., takes offense to my post that points out Tom Brady has been about average in many statistical categories. Clay writes, "To measure the effectiveness of an NFL quarterback in the manner you have done is, for lack of a better word, idiotic." Clay thinks fantasy football geeks are ruining football. "The obsession with statistics in a team sport like football," Clay says, "is causing generally intelligent people, like yourself, to judge a three-time Super Bowl champion quarterback based on their statistics over a five-game span."

Five games is a third of the season. If that's an insignificant sample, then Charles in Vicksburg comes off as coherent. But if you don't like data, how about this? Based strictly on my observations and not taking a single statistic into consideration, Brady -- a great quarterback, mind you -- is playing at a mediocre level right now. There you go. I've delivered the same message that upset you in my post without mentioning a single stat.


In reaction to the same Brady post, Mike in Halifax, Mass., takes the time out of his day to write "I dislike you as a writer, or shall a say a data collector." He says he "hates articles like this" and instructs me to "get a life."

Sadly, a big part of my life is getting paid by ESPN to gather analytical material for reader consumption in the hopes of getting them to read my blog and, if I'm lucky, click on my mailbag to drop me a line. And I reveal that with a heavy heart.


Wil in Albuquerque, N.M., clearly doesn't get out much. He calls my AFC East trade-deadline analysis a "killer article. Way to have the pulse of all the situations congrats on the excellent piece of journalism!"

Thanks, Wil. The reason that story worked is because I didn't use any stats and resorted to pure speculation. As Mike and Clay point out, facts are for suckers.


Masoud in Fairfax, Va., wants to know if I thought Rex Ryan's quotes after getting beaten Monday night were disrespectful to the Miami Dolphins.

Only slightly, Masoud. Ryan did cross a line when he said of Chad Henne "We made that quarterback look like Dan Marino." While that was the snippet that caught everyone's attention, Ryan quickly added before drawing his next breath that Henne "was pretty good, though. He deserves credit." I thought Ryan delivered his postgame comments with the intention of blistering his team. In the process, Ryan insulted the Dolphins a tad. No biggie in my book.


Lee in Columbia, Mo., wants to know how long the Monday night's game lasted.

Not your typical mailbag question, but I have that answer. The game kicked off at 8:38 p.m. EDT and ended at 11:42 p.m. That's a duration of 3 hours, 4 minutes.


Brian in Albany, N.Y., wants to know if I've heard the rumor Mike Holmgren might join the Bills with full organizational control.

I haven't heard that one aside from the usual shotgun theories involving every unemployed big-name coach such as Bill Cowher, Mike Shanahan, Jon Gruden and Holmgren. But I would be ecstatic for Bills fans if football operations were to be turned over to someone who could establish front-office credibility. I'm pessimistic Ralph Wilson would do that, but I'd love to see a proven football mind be given authority.


Mr. Anonymous from Nashville writes "I just discovered your blog this week. I like the tone and the substance. Looks like ESPN has made their best decision since getting Buster Olney."

Do you and Wil ever get together in New Mexico to take turns hitting each other in the forehead with tire irons? In all seriousness, thank you for being delusional in my favor.