• 02/16/2009, 05:16PM ET

LODT, Round 1- Austin vs. DFW- Are sacks an overrated stat?

Nickb23 - Holland has arrived! (146-39-16) vs Tha Fizz (27-10-5)


I realize overrated means something different to everyone. In the case of the sack, I think it gets a fair shake for being what it is. I have never heard someone say "Sacks win championships". The thing sacks do is help win games and the guys that get them are talented players, who get appropriate respect for what they do.

Are you sure they help teams win?

Of the top 12 teams in the NFL at recording sacks, 11 had a winning record and 9 of them went to the playoffs. Coincidence, I think not.

Of the top 12 sacks artists (the only guys with double digits), 10 of these guys football teams went to the playoffs, all had a .500 or better record.

I know where you are going, at the top of both categories you have the Cowboys and DeMarcus Ware, who didn't sniff the playoffs. Unfortunately sacks don't cure cancer (TO). DeMarcus Ware and the sacks the Boys accumulated are the only thing that kept the D from giving up 35 every week.

My point is sacks are a very important part of football. Guys that get sacks help their team win games. They go to pro bowls and are deserving of doing so.

Sacks can lead to turnovers and can quickly end a drive, it is not an overrated stat

Last season in the NFL there were 1036 total sacks. Sounds like a lot right? It is, until you consider that there were 16,508 passing attempts last season.

Last season DeMarcus Ware led the NFL with 20 sacks. QBs dropped back against the Cowboys 508 times. So if he played baseball his batting average would be .039. Would you want him hitting for your team?

Things more important than sacks to a team.

QB Pressures: a stat that is not even calculated by the NFL, are what lead to turnovers, not sacks. If you get to a QB he goes down and loses yardage. BUT, if you put pressure on him and force him to make a bad throw, you put your DBs in a position to make an interception.

Forced fumbles: this stat is calculated by the NFL, but gets much less attention than it deserves. A pass rushers main job is to not only get to the QB and disrupt the play, but also to separate the QB from the ball.

So, I would much rather have a pass rusher with the ability to pressure the QB and force him to make bad throws or one who can separate the ball from a ball carrier or QB over one who only gets sacks.

So yes, IMO, the sack is one of the most overrated stats in football.

2009 AFC Championship- 65 Yard TD pass, Ben to Santonio
Super Bowl 42- A highly instrumental play dubbed the Helmet Catch

What do these plays have in common?

Other than being key plays for our last 2 Super Bowl Champs, they are a product of a QB pressure.

With a sack you either get
a) a big loss to force a tough down which can lead to a forced mistake or better field position
b) a punt, which means your team is getting the ball back
c) a fumble 5+ yards behind the line of scrimmage.

All of these things hype up a team and help lead to points.

With a QB pressure you get
a) the possiblity of a turnover
b) an incomplete pass
c) the QB and WR buying enough time to beat the coverage.

Only one of those things is a huge help for your football team, the other can ruin your day.

"who only gets sacks."

This is a theory full of holes, Of the top 11 sack guys, all of them have more than 1 FF and all but 3 have more than 4. Coincidence, I think not.

With sacks comes fumbles.

Your batting average theory also shows the difficulty of a sack, thus emphasizing it's importance to a team when it occurs.

Getting a sack finishes a play, a pressure prolongs one.

With a tackle for loss in the rushing game you get...

A.) A big loss to force a tough down which can lead to a forced mistake or better field position.
B.) A punt, which means your team is getting the ball back.
C.) A fumble 5+ yards behind the line of scrimmage.

So what is the difference between a sack and a tackle for loss? Nothing. Then why are sacks heralded as the be all end all stat of the NFL defensive player?

Sacks are a super inflated, chest beating stat that mean no more than tackling the RB in backfield for a loss.

Without pressure, you get no sack...PERIOD. With a sack, if you get no forced fumble, all the team does is lose yardage and a down, which is exactly what you get with a tackle for loss.

With interceptions or recovered fumbles come short fields and opportunities for the offense to score...if the defense already didn't.

Anytime there is a turnover, whether it be an interception or a ball bouncing around on the turf, it is an opportunity to make a game changing play.

Stripping ball carriers of the ball is a specialty that does not go unnoticed by scouts. Players that can do that are difference makers in the NFL today.

The QB has the ball in his hands every play, his confidence or lack of, feeds off onto his teammates in the huddle. If he gets rattled it effects everyone. A negative running play is much easier to deal with than a sack, it is also usually not nearly as big a loss of yards.

A running loss is expected from time to time. What if the sack came on the one play the QB had the deep bomb open. That chance may not come the rest of the game and the QB knows it.

A sack does rattle a QB and the quicker the better. Look at the Boys drubbing of the Giants this year. The first play of the game Ware sacked Eli and set the tone for the game. 8 sacks later it was 20-8. What if he just pressures Eli and he completes the pass? Eli's confidence in his O-Line was shaken and he had a bad night because of it.

"Then why are sacks heralded as the be all end all stat of the NFL defensive player?"

UNTRUE. They are the be all end all stat of a great PASS RUSHER. Bob Sanders was DPOY last year, he was not a sack man. Like I said Overrated means many things. If the DPOY isn't always the leading sack guy that tells you it is a stat that is properly put into perspective by most.

Overrated - to rate or appraise too highly.

That is exactly what people do with sacks. Football is a team game and it is all about winning, end of story. Turnovers give teams the chance to win. Sacks do not create turnovers.

Sacks are a chest thumping personal glory stat. They are no different than a tackle for loss in the running game.

"A running loss is expected from time to time."

That makes about as much sense as saying that interceptions are expected, so don't worry about that stat either.

"A sack does rattle a QB"

Matt Cassel spent more time on his back last season than T-Fos mom does on Navy weekend. He was sacked a league leading 47 times. Yet he only threw 11 INTs.

In fact of the top 5 leaders of taking a sack, none of them had more than 15 INTs. And if sacks "rattle" a QB as much as you say they do, why do these QBs not throw more INTs?

Sacks = overrated stat.


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