McCarthy Makes New OT Mistake

Kicking a field goal on the two is like kissing your sister.

I could not have said it better myself. Nothing is more annoying when trying quantify a season and run simulations than coding for a tie. The Packers and Vikings tied 26-26 on Sunday after both teams kicked field goals in overtime. On the opening drive, Matt Flynn led the Packers to the Vikings 2-yard line before Mike McCarthy decided to kick a field goal, sending the game into the "chance to match down three" format. In the new overtime format, was this the optimal decision?

A field goal from the two is a virtual certainty (an extra point essentially) and a made field goal gives the Packers a 79% chance to win according to Brian's new overtime win probability adjustments. If the Packers go for it on 4th-and-Goal from the 2, it converts league-wide at 55%. I would caution that the Packers offense is likely below average with Matt Flynn at the helm, although Eddie Lacy had been having a solid game. If the Packers convert and score a touchdown, the game is over, giving them a 100% chance to win. If they fail, the Vikings get the ball inside their own 2-yard line, but Minnesota would then only need a field goal to win the game.

From a team's own two, a league-average offense will score a touchdown 11.8% of the time and a field goal 6.6% of the time according to our Markov model. Using Brian's OT win probability model (which has similar conversion rates), that would put the Packers' chances to win at 76% after turning the ball over on downs. The expected win probability for the Packers is as follows:

E[WP FG] = 100% * 79.0% = 79.0% WP
E[WP Go-for-it] = 55% * 100% + 45% * 76% = 89.2% WP

That is a huge difference. The break-even point for when to go for it is if you believe you can convert at 13% or better (13% * 100% + 87% * 76% = 79.1%). The truth is, if the Packers were terrified of the Vikings being able to move the ball down the field (I don't see why they would be), kicking the field goal is not much different from failing on fourth down.

Edit: After digging a little deeper, I believe the conversion rate is actually closer to 45%, not 55% as listed in Brian's fourth down tool. That would put the E[WP] of going for it at 86.8%, still well above the 13% threshold.

The Packers should have gone for it; ideally they would have avoided the tie and eliminated a lot of future frustration in my statistical life.

Keith Goldner is the Chief Analyst at numberFire.com - The leading fantasy sports analytics platform - and creator of Drive-By Football.  Follow him on twitter @drivebyfootball or check out numberFire on Facebook

69 Responses to “McCarthy Makes New OT Mistake”

1. Anonymous says:

But the Packers are led by people that kicked out one of the greatest QBs in league history, so what did you expect?

2. RyanJosephson says:

You mention from a teams own two they scored a TD 11.8 % and a FG 6.6% of the time. Are these numbers flipped? It seems logical that a FG would happen more than a TD.

3. nottom says:

Are the 11.8% and 6.6% based on standard game situations or on 4-down situations? Obviously, we are in the later category which should be significantly higher.

4. nottom says:

"But the Packers are led by people that kicked out one of the greatest QBs in league history, so what did you expect?"

Yeah, I'm sure they really regret it too. That Aaron Rodgers kid sure hasn't worked out.

5. Keith Goldner says:

The 11% TD and 6% FG is based on a standard drive when starting on one's own two yard line, nothing to do with fourth down situations.

6. Anonymous says:

This example assumes the Packers score/win 100% of the time if either the FG or TD from the 2 fails. I would think the 76% is too high. Am I missing something?

7. bejeeble says:

If the Packers don't convert that 4&G, the Vikings wouldn't be in 4 down mode until they got into fringe field goal range. Kicking the field goal gives them ~20 yards of field position and an extra down to work with. Just don't like it.

Would the additional fact that the Packers could win on any safety committed by the Vikings factor in to the final win probabilities? I can't imagine the probability of a safety being that high, but I'll take my chances with Ponder dropping back into the end zone on the road. He's no Dalton, but he can try.

8. Keith Goldner says:

Anon - no it doesn't assume the Packers score 100% on the following drive, they would just have a good chance given the Vikings poor field position

bejeeble - Good point about the safety, at the 2 there would be a 3.3% of a safety, and at the 1 there would be a 7.6% chance, those are fairly significant as well.

9. baldingpastor777 says:

I don't know what the #'s say, but given the way their defense has played the last 6 weeks, MM should've gone for the touch just on the chance that the wouldn't have to see his team's rush D get punctured yet again.

If a tie counts as half a win, put me among those who find the 76% figure unintuitive. Say MIN starts on its 2. If they have an 18.2% chance of scoring on that drive (quite plausible) and GB's WP is 76%, then the conditional WP of GB given that MIN doesn't score on that drive is .76/(1-.182) = 93%. GB might auto-win with a safety or all but win with a red-zome turnover, but that just seems too high since there's very much a non-trivial chance of a tie if MIN doesn't score.

11. Anonymous says:

Rodgers' has nothing to do with the fact that these guys cut one of the greatest QBs ever to play. Anyone that brings Rodgers into that picture is rationalizing stupidity.

12. Anonymous says:

Let's not forget that the Packers went 6-10 in the first year after the stupid decision and they were swept by there stupid decision in the following year. So these guys make stupid decisions and they lose because of it. Face the facts.

One could even argue that Rodgers leaving the pocket is a play style that McCarthy condones and that style of play is therefore directly attributable to the recent losses suffered by the team.

You get the bad with the good and Rodgers and the Packers wouldn't be nearly as effective is Rodgers stayed in the pocket.

13. James says:

Rodgers has EVERYTHING to do with trading Favre. They spent a first round pick on Rodgers, saw him in practice and a couple times in injury relief, and his contract was going to expire soon. Without Rodgers I bet the Packers drag out the retirement dance a few more times, just like the Vikings did.

14. Anonymous says:

Oh yeah... There's football fans and then there's the wack-o's that think talking about retirement is something to follow.

They still went 6-10 and then were swept by Favre. Stupid move getting rid of him.

15. Anonymous says:

Although I'm all for the math and typically dislike McCarthy as a buffoon who would brush these numbers aside without acknowledgement, I think the Pack would be well below average on just about every relevant statistic. They have been terrible in the red zone no matter who is at QB, they can't stop anyone late in games regardless of field position or intent, and 3rd and 4th and short have been the Achilles heel for decades. I'd like to say McCarthy messed up, but that team is just downright bad in all factors relevant to this analysis.

16. Anonymous says:

Dear Negative Nelly,
You sir are in need of a BJ! SEA-Hawks!!!!!

17. Anonymous says:

I'd like to echo what RyanJosephson asked: why would a drive starting from a team's own 2-yard line be nearly twice as likely to end with a touchdown rather than a field goal? Could you please elaborate?

18. Anonymous says:

In 2008, Favre played for the Jets and didn't play GB. In going 6-10, they actually beat the Vikings once that year (so didn't lose to Favre in 08 or get swept by Min as someone was saying earlier). Min swept GB in '09 (GB went 11-5 and went to the playoffs, losing to AZ). The next year GB swept Min (still with Favre) and won the Super Bowl.

19. Bobby Lang says:

I can't believe people would rather have kept Favre a few more years than suffered one down year and ended up with as good a replacement as you could ever find. Is this for real? You would have rather had a 37 year old Favre than a 26 year old Rodgers? Unreal. You don't deserve a team like the Packers if that is how you think.

20. Bobby Lang says:

Also, I'm guessing the TD rate is higher because you can score a TD from ANYWHERE on the field. Whereas you have to get to the 35 or so to have even a decent chance of a FG.

21. Anonymous says:

"The next year GB swept Min (still with Favre) and won the Super Bowl."

Without that win, they wouldn't have been in the playoffs.

In addition, assumptions about the Packers without Rodgers are only assumptions. Rodgers would probably be a nobody if he was drafted by say, the Raiders. But there's a very good chance that another QB would have flourished in GB. Especially since they would be passing to Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Jermichael Finley, and Donald Lee. In fact, a decent QB wouldn't have taken a 13-3 team back down to 6-10. (see Ben Roethlisberger, 13-0 as a rookie(!!) starter)

When you put what appears to be a mediocre player, like say, Drew Brees (Between 2001-2005 with the San Diego Chargers he was at best mediocre.) and place them in the right environment, people suddenly started calling him "elite". So don't make a bunch of assumptions and expect everyone to buy into them. You can fool the people that like to follow retirement hype. The people that buy into Ted Thompson's BS about Favre can be fooled. But some people look at things with their own eyes. Those people don't fall for Ari Fleischer's (You did know Ted Thompson hired George Bush's Press secretary to sell all this crap right? see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ari_Fleischer) propaganda about Brett Favre.

22. Anonymous says:

Let's not forget. The Packers still went 6-10 on the stupid decision and were swept in the following year.

In fact, that same kind of stupid decision making has cost them this year too. Instead of assuring themselves of a quality backup, they decided to go with a couple of cast-offs from the 49ers in the week preceding their game with the 49ers. I would be willing to bet (if there was a way of confirming) that Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy thought they were being REAL SMART by getting some inside information on how to beat the 49ers. How's THAT working for them?

23. Aaron says:

"But there's a very good chance that another QB would have flourished in GB. Especially since they would be passing to Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Jermichael Finley, and Donald Lee"

Hasnt this argument been pretty much dis proven over the past couple of years? Yeah it helps to have good receivers to throw to, but doesn't quarterback play trump how talented the receiver is (unless your name is Calvin Johnson). People always questioned whether Manning was that good, or was his receivers (Harrison, Wayne, Clark) the reason his stats where so good. Well, how is Manning doing these last two year? With some of the same receivers Tebow threw to he could barely crack 50% completion while Manning as been his normal self for the most part.

Im not sure what your beef with the management of the packers is, but you should consider looking at situations objectively in the future and not use fallacious arguments to back up your claims.

24. Anonymous says:

Packers needed to go for the win stealing that game without Aaron Rodgers should of been option number 1. There shouldn't of even been a decision other than to dial up the best play you got in the playbook for 2 yards. If they didn't get it, you stack the line (to stop AD of course) and make Ponder beat you. I like might chances of making Ponder beat me. Besides most NFL teams play it so conservative when backed up inside their 10 yard line, there was slim to no chance the Vikings were going to get into FG range. Now if it was the Saints, Broncos, Pats you know a team with a real good QB then you may want to think about it. But I got to believe all NFL teams have that one play in the playbook that can get them 2 yards.

25. Anonymous says:

Uh... Flynn beat every other QB in Packers history with those receivers. I suppose you're going to tell me he did that because he's an elite QB? No, he did that because he had the best receivers in the league. That's also why Favre went 13-3 in his final season with the Pack. Nobody could stop the 5-wide set. They certainly weren't winning on the strength of their running game or defense.

So I think the people that buy into Ari Fleischer's propaganda machine are the ones that need to be objective.

26. Anonymous says:

Beating Joe Webb proves something?

Or was it beating Caleb Hanie? That proved something?

Oh yeah, that 6-10 season? 2 of those wins were against an 0-16 team, weren't they?

27. A H says:

As a Packer's fan it sure is depressing that Farve won a superb owl in Minnesota and Rodgers doesn't have a ring.

Oh wait, I meant the opposite of everything i just said.

28. Anonymous says:

The Vikings scoring form there own two is different now then in a normal situation. There is no reward for the Vikings going for a td since a fg will win the game. So we need to get rid of the cases where the team would kick a fg in overtime, yet go for a td in a regular situation and then turn it over. So I argue an overtime team has a better chance to score then a team in an average situation, which increases Minnesotans chances of scoring and lowers green bays chance to win. In a normal game teams turn it over inside the opponents red zone, but in this case you would kick a fg before that could happen, increasing your scoring chances. Also if green bay scored a fg, then Minnesota would never punt, giving them a slight better chance of scoring since they would go for it on 4th down, the numbers you use are a good guess but since they are close already I would venture to say the game specific choices of overtime favor the Vikings and in this situation the Vikings have a better chance of winning then you give them credit? I'm. A statistician, this overtime possession is independent of normal game possessions. Comment if you have any questions

29. Anonymous says:

uhh... Favre DOES have a SB ring.

He was on pace to win another but Ted Thompson wanted to get rid of him and go 6-10 instead. And a bunch of fools bought into it being a good idea because otherwise they would have to endure "drama" (OMG! DRAMA!).

The way people bring up "drama", you'd think they were more interested in soap operas than football. Anyone that thinks making football decisions based on "drama" is ignorant about football and deserves 6-10.

Seriously, if you get sidetracked by made-up "drama" propaganda, you really are a fool.

30. Anonymous says:

Ted Thompson kept Eric Walden for an extra year after being arrested for beating his girlfriend on Thanksgiving two years ago. I guess that kind of drama is no reason to get rid of anyone. He didn't hire Ari Fleischer to get a media storm fired up for that fiasco.
Ted Thompson didn’t cut Johnny Jolly after being arrested and convicted on felony drug charges. Nope. He maintained his rights to Jolly and gave him a new contract after being released from prison. He didn’t hire Ari Fleischer to fire up the media for that fiasco. Nope. He gave Jolly a giant paycheck instead.
But Brett Favre, who Ted Thompson DIDN’T draft, was too much drama for the team. I mean this guy, who never had a losing season before TT came along needed to go! He was just too much “drama”. Therefore, Ted Thompson used team money to pay Ari Fleischer, who is probably the most expensive PR guy and George Bush’s ex-spokesman, to make sure everyone agreed that this was simply too much drama.

31. Anonymous says:

Obviously, when you've got morons like Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy running the show, you can't expect a good decision on 4th and goal at the 2 in OT. After all, they make their football decisions based on the outcome that they think produces "less drama", not wins. They think 6-10 and less drama is the way to go.

32. Anonymous says:

This guy bashing Thompson and McCarthy is an idiot. You must be still living through that 6-10 season. Come join the rest of us in 2013. Aaron Rodgers has become the best quarterback in the NFL. The Packers have won a Super Bowl. Their recent success the last 3-4 years has been almost entirely dependent on Thompson building the team through the draft and McCarthy developing those players. More so than any team in the NFL. What do you think Rodgers would have done if the Packers had let Favre come back for another year or 2 or 3? His rookie contract expired in like 2009 or 10 I think. He would have almost certainly signed somewhere else where he would have had the chance to get on the field. And who would be our quarterback now? Christian Ponder? If you can't understand this now; 5 years after the fact, you're an idiot. Get over it.

33. Anonymous says:

Only a complete moron would tell someone to leave the 6-10 season and join them in a totally embarrassing 2013 season. You're the total idiot.

34. Anonymous says:

Before Ted Thompson, the Packers had what, 13 seasons in a row where they didn't end with a losing record? Well, this year they look pretty bad. Ted Thompson also took a strong team down to 4-12 and he also turned a 13-3 team into a 6-10 team. Out of his 8 seasons, 3 have been .500 or below. That's much worse than the Packers before Thompson, especially if you add the current year into the picture.

So I think criticism of Ted Thompson is far from idiotic.

35. Anonymous says:

I guess Flynn's turkey yesterday shows how valuable Rodgers is...I'm a Vikings fan who loved the Favre pickup, but that's because we can't draft a franchise QB. I'd rather have a gimpy Rodgers for 10 years than an ancient Favre for 2 or 3. As any rational person would. Like the Colts brain trust. In fact, I wish the Pack had kept Favre, and Rodgers signed with the Vikes, as he's the primary difference between the teams, as the tie last weekend showed.

36. Anonymous says:

Well if that's what you think, then you must also think Flynn's multiple record shattering game against the Lions in 2011 proved how worthless Rodgers is.

I don't think that, but you can't have it both ways.

I think Rodgers is susceptible to getting sacked, as Flynn was yesterday, so it's likely that if Rodgers would have played yesterday, he'd be blaming the receivers for his own lousy performance, just as he normally does when things don't go his way.

37. Anonymous says:

I agree with going for it. Excellent analysis with one major flaw. The ball isn't spotted at the two it is spotted at the 20. Major difference.

http://www.nfl.com/rulebook/fieldgoal

38. Anonymous says:

Well, you can't have it both ways either. Favre must also have been a product of the GB system, as obviously shown by his horrible year with the Jets. And his one good year with MN was only because of AD and a good set of receivers and a good offensive line. In reality, the one good Flynn game resulted because of a great offense clicking against a poor defense. On Thanksgiving, the Lions clearly had no respect for the passing game. The rush was good, and Rodgers may also have lost, but he would have done enough to make it a game because he's simply better. As would Favre in his prime. But not as a 40 year old sexter.

39. Anonymous says:

The closeted Viking fan yapping about the greatness that was Brett Favre doesn't have a clue. At the time, I wanted Thompson to bring Favre back -- and if that meant Rodgers walked as a FA, so be it. That was because GB had a Super Bowl caliber team the year before -- you'll recall that team was supposed to be the sacrificial lamb for the Pats in their 19-0 year. But Favre suddenly looked like an old man in the cold in the second half and threw an awful pick in OT, Giants win, Tyree makes the helmet catch and the Giants wind up with a Super Bowl. At the time, I wanted to take another shot and not risk the growing pains that would come with the switch to Rodgers. Rodgers first year, the 6-10 was in part due to some defensive lapses in the final couple of minutes and/or OT that resulted in some come-from-ahead losses. But in hindsight, Thompson made the absolutely correct call. Had they kept Favre (who, by the way, had started the will-he-or-won't-he crap about 4 years previously), the franchise would be in the same place as the hapless Vikings or the Packers the last five weeks -- desperately searching for a competent quarterback. You want to kill Thompson, criticize him for the decision to carry only 2 QBs on the active roster -- one of whom was the has been/never was Seneca Wallace. Or criticize him for waiting a week to bring Flynn or someone else in. The QB play has obviously not been very good the last five weeks, but Capers' defense has been giving up big plays in the passing game down the middle of the field all year and gets gashed in the run game in he fourth quarter. Since Woodson got old and Collins got hurt, the secondary hasn't been good enough to be a championship team. Rodgers and the offense has covered up some of these flaws the last couple of years, but the flaws are much more noticeable now that the offense is impotent. In the moment, I was ok with taking the FG. I'm all in favor of this sort of sabrmetricy analysis based on score/field position/time state, but it looks at averages and obviously can't take into account in game factors. The number crunching doesn't account for (1) whatever value is associated with a half-win from a tie if you kick, (2) the reasonable assumption that the Packers chances of converting from the 2 were probably less than "average" in that game situation -- bad QB, no Finley/Cobb, no running ability for QB to run a rollout pass/run option play, crappy O-Line, opportunity to sell out and key the run and (3) the Vikings offense hadn't done much on their last few drives and their QB stinks too. I'm the first to criticize McCarthy when he goes Andy Reid and screws up timeouts and replay challenges, but this is ex-post armchair coaching that isn't warranted. Ex-ante, there were not many people shouting at their TV to go for in that situation. The shouts were about the crappy plays and execution on first/second/third down.

40. Anonymous says:

It's already been stated that Favre went 13-3 because they had the greatest set of receivers in the league. Switching to the 4th year guy made them 6-10 with pretty much the same team otherwise. That was TT and MM's decision. So I'm not having it both ways.

As for Favre's ranking, he went through enough teams, good and bad, to prove himself. When Rodger's loses, all we here is excuses. He's even blamed the "rookies on the practice squad",

41. Anonymous says:

Someone doesn't know his GB front office history. The last three guys who were running the show were Ron Wolf, Mike Sherman and Ted Thompson. Holmgren worked under Wolf and McCarthy works under Thompson. Wolf and Thompson have both built successful and sustainable programs. Sherman was a disaster whose early success was based on what Wolf left behind. But Sherman was an even worse GM/front office guy than he was a coach.

Thompson has made some bad decisions (so did Lombardi by the way, his last few drafts weren't so great), but he's better than most and has a ring, plus a 15-1 season on his resume.

42. Anonymous says:

Could the guy babbling about old men give Rodgers any more excuses please?

43. Anonymous says:

Someone doesn't know that football teams have head coaches.

44. Anonymous says:

By the way, Favre was "on pace to win another" Super Bowl in GB. And then he crapped it away in OT at home vs. the Giants in the NFC Championship game. By the time 2010 had rolled around, Rodgers was the better QB and Favre was at the end of the road. So no, Favre wasn't going to win another Super Bowl in GB. His last best chances were the last game in GB and the chance with the Vikings vs. the Saints. I'm glad Favre had the chance to play for you guys -- and I wish Favre and the organization had handled the divorce with the same graciousness that Manning/Irsay handled theirs in 2012. But Favre's five years of threatening to retire and waffling and his passive-aggressive behavior toward Rodgers at times was Favre's fault. And the Packer front office should have made the deal with the Vikings and not the Jets and not worry so much about Favre playing in Minnesota --- they owed him that for what he did for the franchise. No one deserves to be traded to the stinkin' Jets.

45. Anonymous says:

Or do you just rely on Big Lead headlines? I'm not going to spend a day verifying the math, but a 2 minute scan of the article you cite contains these nuggets:

"So, while Rodgers is down at the bottom of the list, if Green Bay had maintained leads at the same rate as the other elite quarterbacks, he would be ahead of Rivers, and a lot closer to Romo, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees. Some of maintaining the lead can fall on the QB – like picking up a key third down with the lead and not turning it over. A lot of it involves other factors like the defense, coaching, and luck.

How has Rodgers played late in close games? Here is a summary (from the pro-football-reference play finder) of the numbers for each of the eleven quarterbacks in the article, since 2008 (when Rodgers became the starter), in the final five minutes of a game when trailing by 8 or less, or tied.

[there is a chart here that has Rodgers second in QB rating, and with stats comparable or better than his peers]

That list is sorted by passer rating, and Rodgers is second. The poor record in close games is shocking given his overall caliber of play in the final five minutes compared to other elite quarterbacks. What are we missing? Ordering of plays and a few key moments, special teams and field position, running game contribution, luck, and the defense.

So far, while Rodgers’ close game record has not been great, it also involves a lot more than him. If his teams were holding leads like New England has for most of Brady’s career, we probably would not be reading about him today."

You Viking/Favre trolls are entertaining cretins. I was a big Favre fan, but go look at his home playoff losses some time.

46. Anonymous says:

"And then he crapped it away in OT at home vs. the Giants in the NFC Championship game."

As Rodger's did in 2009, 2011, 2012, and the next time he's in the playoffs. And the times that he DIDN'T crap it away, he played guys like Joe Webb and Caleb Hanie.

So there's no reason to think Favre couldn't do better. He DID do better. Of course, you seem to think that if he doesn't do better for the next century, then they made the right decision. GET REAL!

Also, You seem to think Rodgers is some sort of god and has no faults at all. No Packer weakness can be attributed to Rodgers. I hate to tell you pal, but when Favre was going to the NFC Championship game for the 2nd time in 3 years, you were crying about the officiating in Arizona and how Rodgers fumble that lost the game shouldn't have counted.

47. Anonymous says:

Pick and chose what you want. Nobody is saying he sucks, he just isn't the GOD that you make him out to be. You need to get up off your knees in front of Rodgers.

http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2013-09-23/aaron-rodgers-not-clutch-fourth-quarter-comeback-failures-5-17-close-games

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/9711636/nfl-why-aaron-rodgers-not-truly-great

http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/aaron-rodgers-needs-work-on-his-clutch-b99101874z1-225119782.html

48. Anonymous says:

The Viking guy who keeps babbling about losing seasons under Thompson needs some perspective. (A Viking fan should be quite familiar with topic of losing seasons).

In 2005, the Packers did go 4-12. You'll recall that Sherman was stripped of his GM duties and essentially a lame duck coach that year. Thompson took over as GM. And Favre threw 29 interceptions. Think about that for a minute. We killed Michael Vick in Philadelphia for far less. Nearly 2 picks a game!

I guess that's Thompson's fault because they drafted Rodgers that year and a rookie who fell through the first round was responsible for a HOF vet throwing 29 picks because he was looking over his shoulder? Or it was just Favre reverting to form because he was running the team at that point and he didn't have a strong coach (Holmgren) reining him in from his worst tendencies? Charitably, he was probably forcing balls and trying to do too much on a team that was retooling and just made it worse that year.

And the other losing season was the transition year to Rodgers which other posters above have discussed.

If you want to rip Thompson, rip him for letting the team go 0-4-1 with Rodgers out. If they miss the playoffs this year, it'll be because of the lack of a competent veteran backup who could have beat the Eagles, Vikings and Bears. That's on the front office. Much like the Colts 2-14 demonstrated the value of Manning, this last month of zero wins against the soft part of the schedule has demonstrated the value of Rodgers. Meanwhile, Favre is coaching high school ball and riding his tractor. I think it's pretty clear that the organization made the right call on that one.

49. Anonymous says:

Just for fun, let's look at drive killers, also known as sacks. You know, those things that often make your defense or other part of your team look bad because they ARN'T taken into account when computing the QB rating:

Favre
====
2002 26
2003 19
2004 12
2005 12
2006 21
2007 15

Rodgers
======
2008 34
2009 50
2010 31
2011 36
2012 51

50. Anonymous says:

For the idiot that makes assumptions and pretends they're true. (Like I'm a Viking guy among others.)

"If you want to rip Thompson, rip him for letting the team go 0-4-1 with Rodgers out. (ASSUMPTION #1: You're giving him those wins, huh?)

If they miss the playoffs this year, it'll be because of the lack of a competent veteran backup who could have beat the Eagles, Vikings and Bears. (ASSUMPTION #2, But the lack of a backup was glaring and stupid.)

...

zero wins against the soft part of the schedule has demonstrated the value of Rodgers. (ASSUMPTION #3. See my post on sacks. The Packers were pounded with sacks. No reason to believe Rodgers would be better. Probably same or worse.)

Meanwhile, Favre is coaching high school ball and riding his tractor. I think it's pretty clear that the organization made the right call on that one. (DUMBASS ASSUMPTION: Joe Montana is also not playing. Has nothing to do with a dumb decision in 2008)"

51. Anonymous says:

""And then he crapped it away in OT at home vs. the Giants in the NFC Championship game."

As Rodger's did in 2009, 2011, 2012, and the next time he's in the playoffs."

Get your facts straight. Rodgers has only lost one home playoff game, the game to the Giants in the 15-1 year. Like Favre's last game, GB shouldn't have lost that game. Giants were a bad matchup for them because of the NYG running game, GB lack of running game and GB soft run defense in both years. Still a bad loss.

I'll help you out -- the criticism of Rodgers in the playoffs is that he's lost one home game and hasn't won on the road yet. Your man Favre beat the Niners on the road twice during the Super Bowl years. After that, he lost 3 playoff games at home: Falcons, Vikes and Giants. Both lost to Giant teams that wound up knocking off the Pats and winning the Super Bowl. The Falcons and Vikings losses were bad losses at home to teams that weren't that good.

So Favre had 2 road wins, 3 home losses and 1-1 in the Super Bowl. Thus far, Rodgers has 0 road wins, 1 home loss and 1-0 in the Super Bowl. Still time for Rodgers to have either a better or worse playoff record. Right now, pretty comparable once you adjust for fewer seasons for Rodgers -- and not exactly the lede for either's case as great QB which rests more on regular season success and the one Super Bowl that validates both in the eyes of many.

By the way, the 6-10 year you are so hung up on: GB went 1-7 in games decided by less than 7 points. Since you frequent this site, I assume you are familiar with concepts such as regression to the mean and the notion that bad teams have better records in close games than they do in games decided by a greater margin. That year, GB was 5-3 in games decided by more than a TD, 1-7 in games decided by less. Rather than indicating some sort of character flaw -- more likely it was a small sample size fluke.

You might also be familiar with pythageorean concepts. GB scored 419 points and gave up 380 that year. So they were +39. (Favre/Rodgers had little to do with the 380 points allowed which was nearly 100 points more than they allowed in 2007 or 2009). GB's expected record that year was 9-7 (per football reference).

As has been noted above, there are some valid criticisms of Thompson -- but deciding that enough was enough when Favre "retired" for the final time isn't one of them. You may not like Rodgers, to each his own. Hell, one can construct arguments "proving" that Manning or Brady are currently overrated based on postseason results in the case of Manning and postseason results since the third Super Bowl in the case of Brady. Each of them could QB my team. Although neither of those guys could win a Super Bowl in Minnesota either. That franchise is cursed. The Eagles or the Cardinals will win one before the Vikings do.

52. Anonymous says:

Rodgers has won at least one road playoff game, the smack down in Atlanta the super bowl year. Straight fact.

53. Anonymous says:

Oh yeah, then at Chicago for NFC championship.

54. Anonymous says:

Who cares where Rodgers craps away games? He still craps them away.

Do I like Rodgers? Yes, but I don't kneel down in front of him. I can give a fair assessment. The problem is that most GB fans have bought into Ari Fleischer (Remember that Ari Fleischer was paid big bucks by TT to get you to believe Rodgers was a GOD. See my previous post.) that they haven't the ability to be objective. They believe 6-10 was a good idea. They think Rodgers was in high demand in 2008. Well, I hate to tell ya, but Rodgers was cheap in 2008 and 6-10 was NOT necessary.

55. Anonymous says:

1) Choosing Rodgers over Favre was "dumb" in 2008 the same way in which choosing Luck over Manning was "dumb" in 2012.

2) You do realize that the Packers offensive line is terrible the last few years. Have you actually watched them play the last couple of years? They aren't very good. (While I agree with a lot of what Josh Sitton had to say about the Lions -- they are a dirty team, he and his mates haven't played well enough the last couple of years to be talking).

3) As I said before, at the time I preferred staying another year with Favre. I was wrong. The organization knew what they had and made the right decision for the long term. Thompson deserves credit for that.

4) No guarantees they win against the Vikings, Bears, Eagles if Rodgers was playing, of course it is an assumption. Just like you "assume" that GB would have made a championship run in 2008 with Favre as the QB and a defense that gave up 380 points.

5) The point about Favre riding a tractor is that Thompson isn't playing fantasy football. He's running a real football team and has to balance the short term with the long run. Just like the Colts did. Just like the Niners did with Montana, by the way. Tough, painful decisions. Sometimes they don't work out, but as Branch Rickey once said "Better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late".

6) The only one on his knees is you in front of Favre. No one is elevating Rodgers to the level of a Unitas or Montana. He's a very good QB, one whose name can reasonably be part of a discussion of the top 5 guys in the game today, he's won a Super Bowl and he's put up numbers if either of those are important. That's all. For what it's worth, I'd wager a beer that Rodgers will have the more impressive resume than Favre when its all done, if only because Favre's career from the Bronco's game onward was kind of frustrating for Packer fans in the postseason. But who knows.

56. Anonymous says:

You are correct. I screwed up Rodgers playoff record and should have looked it up. He won 3 on the road in 2010 as I recall. (Hell, I was at the Eagle game when Vick threw it away on the final drive and Reid decided it was all David Akers fault and threw him under the bus instead). Which probably makes Rodgers postseason record look more impressive than Favre's. 3 road wins vs. 2 in a much longer career. 1 home loss vs. 3 in a much longer career. 1-1 vs 1-0 in Super Bowls.

57. Anonymous says:

The discussion in 2008 wasn't about football. It wasn't even about money. And Aaron Rodgers wasn't even a part of it. It was all about "how we (Packers) just can't deal with the drama anymore."

How fricken stupid is THAT! When a football team creates a media storm around drama, you know one of two things are happening. (1) They are the most inept decision makers because they take "drama" into account, or (2) They have a hidden agenda.

This whole discussion started because I pointed out that the Packers have incapable leadership. They can't make the right game-time decisions (4th and 2 in OT) and they can't make the right personnel decisions as evidenced with the biggest blunder of that type (Favre).

The fact that Rodgers is a good player shouldn't keep anyone from realizing that conclusion. But it does. Because people have been duped and when people are duped, they have a hard time seeing it, even in hindsight.

58. Anonymous says:

This isn't about Rodgers vs Favre. You can go ahead and have your favorite player.

But you insistence that going 6-10 was a good decision, especially in hindsight, is plain stupid. It's never a good decision to weaken your team.

The fact that you bought into Ari Fleischer's propaganda speaks volumes.

59. Anonymous says:

http://www.jsonline.com/packerinsider/66600162.html

60. Anonymous says:

Actually it was a decision to see if the 25 year old guy could do what they thought he was capable of or whether they needed to find someone else in the draft. That was favres third retirement and that spring the organization took him at his word that he really meant it and moved on. The drama was created when favre and cook said they wanted to start or be released. Packers thought having him as a backup would be a distraction (and of course it would have been). The pissing contest was because they didn't want to deal him in Minny. They should have done that and moved on instead of the circus that sent him to the jets because it would have been the right thing to do even if not to the packers advantage. That front office is far from incompetent however. Chi minn det dall banners eagles Snyder's redskins are six examples of incompetence from only 2 of 8 divisions. Plenty more out there.

61. Anonymous says:

In a nutshell, you could be quoted as saying, "Our incompetence is better than their incompetence, so therefore ours is good." What a joke.

62. Anonymous says:

"That was favres third retirement and that spring the organization took him at his word that he really meant it and moved on."

Straight from Ari Fleischer.

63. Anonymous says:

"the drama was created when favre..."

You are such an idiot. Did you even read the link that was posted?

64. Anonymous says:

If incompetence means winning a Super Bowl, then yes,,, I suppose Thompson is incompetent. As noted above, Green Bay didn't handle the divorce very well. Once they decided to move on, they should have just cut a deal with the Vikings if that is where Favre wanted to go and not worry so much about the PR in the short term. I said that earlier, and your Fleischer conspiracy article by Cliff Christl actually says the same thing that I did. Procedurally, not handled as well as it should of been. But substantively it was obviously the right move. But I guess you think letting Manning go and drafting Luck was also "incompetent". Your irrational hatred of Thompson, McCarthy, Rodgers and the Packers is really odd. (Which was why I assumed your were a Vikings guy, by the way. Vikings fans aren't terribly rational when it comes to the Packers.)

By the way, if you actually read all of Christl's article you would have noticed that his real target was the executive committee. As he points out at the end of the article, the front office should have just made the change, articulated why they went with the younger guy and not worry so much about the PR. Some of the guys on executive committee, many of whom are prominent locals, were concerned about bad press along the lines of "How could you stand by while they traded away Brett Favre?" What this has to do with the competence of the head coach to kick/go for it on fourth down or the GM to build a football team isn't readily apparent.

Just curious which organizations you think are "competent". If the current regime in Green Bay doesn't fit the definition, you must have a really short list of competent organizations. Maybe you are a Lion fan. If so, enjoy the season. Cutler and Rodgers got hurt and the Vikings thought Christian Ponder was the answer. So even the Lions shouldn't be able to screw it up this year.

65. Anonymous says:

"Your irrational hatred of Thompson, McCarthy, Rodgers and the Packers is really odd. "

I never said that I hated them. I just think they're inept (except for Rodgers who I said more than once had nothing to do with it). YOU can't seem to admit that they were wrong. Mainly because you refuse to admit that "drama" is a pretty lame excuse to part ways. You want to pretend it was something else.

There's no reason for me to explain anything else if you can't agree to the obvious.

66. Anonymous says:

"Fleischer conspiracy article by Cliff Christl "

This was no conspiracy. The fact that they hired him is well documented. Are you implying that they hired him to clean their pool or something? You stupid do you have to be to not see why they hired him?

67. Anonymous says:

I'm not a "fan" of any team. Leave that for the people that want to emulate teenage girls following pop stars. That's what most "fans" act like. That's what YOU act like.

I don't "follow" ESPN or any other news organization. Sure, I'll glean information from them and I'll even use them as references. But the so-called "news" is often not fair, nor is it likely to be balanced. So don't be a sucker. Simply admit the Packers are led by self-indulging dimwits that signed Senaca Wallace and Scott Tolzien because they thought that they didn't really need a backup QB and instead wanted to get "inside information" on the 49ers. Granted, that is an improvable assertion, but also the obvious and simplest explanation for those two QBs to be signed in the week prior to playing the 49ers. There were a ton of QBs that could have been signed. Matt Hasselbeck, Kevin Kolb, and Ryan Fitzpatrick were all signed earlier in the year and in all likelihood any of them would have proven adequate for the past 5 weeks with GB (among others).

Don't let the front office off the hook because their GOD got hurt. They didn't have a back up plan. They were caught with their pants down and they should pay for it.

In addition, Rodgers didn't just get hurt because "that's the way it goes sometimes". He got hurt because they play a high stakes game and they lost. Most teams don't try to win by blowing out the other team with a \$120 million QB, who they have running around the field at high risk. Rodgers got hurt because of their (and HIS) style of play. So whether its McCarthy's decision or Rodgers' decision to run out of the pocket because they can't afford to give up the ball, these past few weeks are on THAT decision and it's THEIR fault. So these losses should be chalked up to THEM. Not some fluke. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

68. Anonymous says:

The conspiracy comment was sarcasm. You know, sinister forces with ulterior motives and things not being what they appear. The Soviets/Cubans/CIA/Mafia killed JFK. That sort of thing. You tinfoil hat types take everything too literally.

You keep accusing them of being inept and wrong to make the switch and cite Ari Fleischer and the fact that the team went 6-10. I already addressed the 6-10 record and the points scored/points allowed expected win-loss record. I don't feel like looking up DVOA, but that shows whatever it shows. But let's take your claim that it was a bad decision substantively.

Why were they wrong? They decided (correctly) that it was time to make Rodgers the starter. They decided (correctly) that Favre backing up Rodgers would have been a recipe for disaster. The organization was far too worried about the PR fallout of parting ways with a legend. As I've said many times now, they should have dealt him to the Vikings if that's where he wanted to go as a courtesy, even if not in the best interests of the organization -- which is probably an "incompetent" sentiment on my part as opposed to a rather cold-blooded calculation that it was best for the Packers organization to send him to the AFC.

You never did address whether the Niners were inept when they exiled Montana, arguably the greatest QB in the history of the game, to KC or whether the Colts were inept when they decided in the middle of last season to Suck for Luck and try and trade Manning. And that's because those were the correct decisions.

As your Christl link points out, someone (probably some rich guys on the board who are RNC donors that were overly sensitive about getting flak at the country club for dumping Favre) hired a PR flack to spin an ugly situation. Favre really was considered a do-no-wrong legendary figure in Wisconsin. At the time, public opinion backed the old guy who had won a Super Bowl -- not the unproven young backup. None of which has much to do with what happens on the field. If the football guys didn't think Rodgers could play, I'm sure they would've tolerated yet another unretirement. But they thought he could play and they knew they needed to find out empirically whether their observations of the guy in practice/preseason were correct or not. If Rodgers couldn't play, they would have needed to draft or sign a QB anyway regardless of whether Favre was welcomed back that year.

Also, do you really think Favre had a better 2008 than Rodgers did? 22 interceptions wasn't acceptable. Because that's really the crux of your argument (if you had an argument, rather than pointing to the sinister PR guy behind the curtain and shouting about 6-10 and ignoring the 380 points the GB defense gave up and the 419 points the offense scored that year). Favre might have been good Brett instead of bad Brett had he stayed with the Packers -- but when you look at the last three years of his career, it's hard to say 2008 and 2010 were good years.

The facts are that Rodgers had a better year than Favre every year from 2008 onward with the exception of 2009. And Rodgers/GB/Thompson won a Super Bowl. I'm sure most organizations hope they can one day attain this level of incompetence before they are fired.

I liked Favre too. He was my favorite player. I wanted him back in 2008 to take another shot with the Packers. When he wound up with the hated Vikings in 2009, I still wanted him to beat the Saints and at least get to the Super Bowl one last time. Would have been great to see him be the first guy to win Super Bowls with two different teams. But like most GB fans, I'm glad they had the stones to make the difficult decision.

69. Anonymous says:

2008
====

I know you don't want to believe it because you're a "fan" (see what I think of those above), but prior to this

http://www.newsday.com/sports/football/jets/jets-fined-125-000-for-not-listing-favre-s-injury-1.1454530

Favre was 8-3 and having a career year.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brett_Favre#New_York_Jets_.282008.29

So after 11 games, Favre beat an as yet undefeated team and had a 6 TD game. YES, THAT IS BETTER THAN 6-10. My guess is that you didn't watch or follow any Jets games because you're a "fan" of GB. You obviously don't know what you're talking about when it comes to Favre's 2008 season and just how well he was doing before becoming injured.