Benny Friedman NPR, and a word on statistical completeness

Re: Benny Friedman NPR, and a word on statistical completene

Postby Brian wolf » Tue Nov 23, 2021 8:08 pm

In your opinion Tanks&Spartans, did you feel Dunn was a HOF caliber player or strictly HOVG ? Even if he has a case, it would be hard to put him in over Dilweg and Lewellen but also preceding Herber, who I believe is underrated, while others like Isbell for the HOF despite too short a career.
Please weigh in as well JL and Zero26 ...
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Re: Benny Friedman NPR, and a word on statistical completene

Postby rhickok1109 » Tue Nov 23, 2021 9:43 pm

JameisLoseston wrote:
Bryan wrote:
Bob Gill wrote:The first publication was called "The Sports Encyclopedia: Pro Football: The Early Years." (It cuts off at 1959, and was followed by another volume that went on from there.) That came out around 1982. But about a decade later the two books were combined into one volume that covered the entire span from 1920 on. That one was just called "The Football Encyclopedia," and there were at least two editions of that.

The later ones are slightly better, because Neft must have found a handful of additional play-by-plays in the interim, so it's slightly more complete. (I don't think Friedman's numbers changed, though.) And the later ones are hardback, while the first one was paperback, so they're a little more sturdy.

P.S. I just checked on ebay, and found at least one copy of the 1982 "early years" book for $12 or so, plus two copies of one of the 1990s editions (with a green cover) for $6 or $7.


I still use my 1991 hardback edition on a regular basis. I like the layout of the statistical tables, and they give a yearly subjective review of each team's season. I use PFR for looking up individual player data, but I use the Neft/Cohen book for pretty much everything else. It's a truly remarkable piece of research, like the PFRA version of the Book of Kells.


Great! I'll pick it up for sure.

@tanks, I really need to compile a list of guys I want to nominate annually for HOVG. I've certainly talked about enough options.

However, I think I may have unearthed what is holding Dunn back: he shared passing downs almost evenly with Verne Lewellen, so it's harder to credit him unambiguously as the QB of those championship teams. Verne was a great player, obviously, but I cannot comprehend why they kept giving him so many chances to throw. He was a halfback and hence a non-native passer of the ball, who offered absolutely no value in that capacity. Give Dunn all of his attempts, and he likely approaches Friedman's level of production.

The single-wing tailback, who was expected to be a triple threat (runner/passer/kicker), was a halfback, so most passers were halfbacks in those days.
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Re: Benny Friedman NPR, and a word on statistical completene

Postby JeffreyMiller » Tue Nov 23, 2021 9:58 pm

Now I need to go back and look at the film ... ;) ;) ;)
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Re: Benny Friedman NPR, and a word on statistical completene

Postby TanksAndSpartans » Wed Nov 24, 2021 12:01 am

I know! We need the film.

I think we talked about this before and @rhickok1109 already answered this question. The QB was the blocking back in the s-w, so not taking snaps. The tailback or LHB took the snap. But in passing situations, they would have lined up in the short punt formation and Dunn would have taken the snap, right?
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Re: Benny Friedman NPR, and a word on statistical completene

Postby JameisLoseston » Wed Nov 24, 2021 12:12 am

Brian wolf wrote:In your opinion Tanks&Spartans, did you feel Dunn was a HOF caliber player or strictly HOVG ? Even if he has a case, it would be hard to put him in over Dilweg and Lewellen but also preceding Herber, who I believe is underrated, while others like Isbell for the HOF despite too short a career.
Please weigh in as well JL and Zero26 ...


That's really tough. Much more so than today, all of them deserve equal credit for that run of titles, along with of course Johnny Blood who's been in the HOF from the get-go. So let's use him as a barometer. Lewellen is easily the most comparable to him statwise, but also hurt the team by continuing to throw instead of letting Dunn handle it. Dilweg seems to have been the best on defense, even better than Blood, while Dunn wasn't entirely one-dimensional, but passing was by far his strong suit. The typical modern football logic of putting a large amount of the credit for winning on the QB doesn't necessarily apply here, so it's hard to say Dunn is on the same level as the others, especially given his relative lack of versatility, but it's hard to say for sure he isn't, either. I don't think I'd mind any of them as HOFers, personally.
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Re: Benny Friedman NPR, and a word on statistical completene

Postby TanksAndSpartans » Wed Nov 24, 2021 12:20 am

Brian wolf wrote:In your opinion Tanks&Spartans, did you feel Dunn was a HOF caliber player or strictly HOVG ? Even if he has a case, it would be hard to put him in over Dilweg and Lewellen but also preceding Herber, who I believe is underrated, while others like Isbell for the HOF despite too short a career.
Please weigh in as well JL and Zero26 ...


For an All-20s team I think Dilweg is a no-brainer and Lewellen has a strong case for 1st team as well, so they are HOF to me. There is enough competition at back, that I think Dunn is HOVG.
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Re: Benny Friedman NPR, and a word on statistical completene

Postby Bob Gill » Wed Nov 24, 2021 2:37 am

TanksAndSpartans wrote:I think we talked about this before and @rhickok1109 already answered this question. The QB was the blocking back in the s-w, so not taking snaps. The tailback or LHB took the snap. But in passing situations, they would have lined up in the short punt formation and Dunn would have taken the snap, right?


The names for the different positions varied from team to team, too. For instance, it seems that the Lions/Spartans almost always listed Dutch Clark as quarterback, but he was playing tailback. Sammy Baugh was usually listed as a halfback in his single-wing days, but he also showed up as quarterback sometimes. So it can be just a matter of terminology.

Having said that, though, it does look like Dunn was more or less a standard single-wing quarterback, albeit one who did a lot of passing.
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Re: Benny Friedman NPR, and a word on statistical completene

Postby Bob Gill » Wed Nov 24, 2021 2:43 am

JameisLoseston wrote:That's really tough. Much more so than today, all of them deserve equal credit for that run of titles, along with of course Johnny Blood who's been in the HOF from the get-go. So let's use him as a barometer. Lewellen is easily the most comparable to him statwise, but also hurt the team by continuing to throw instead of letting Dunn handle it.


I think that's a misinterpretation. For one thing, Lewellen's 1929 and 1930 passing stats (as compiled by David Neft) seem quite good for the era. And even if they were terrible, when you say he "hurt the team by continuing to throw" it sounds like it was his choice -- like he was a basketball player who hogged the ball and took too many shots. Unless Lewellen himself was calling the plays, which I don't think is the case, when he threw passes it was because somebody else -- probably Dunn, who I'd guess was the play-caller -- told him to.
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Re: Benny Friedman NPR, and a word on statistical completene

Postby JameisLoseston » Wed Nov 24, 2021 5:10 am

Bob Gill wrote:I think that's a misinterpretation. For one thing, Lewellen's 1929 and 1930 passing stats (as compiled by David Neft) seem quite good for the era. And even if they were terrible, when you say he "hurt the team by continuing to throw" it sounds like it was his choice -- like he was a basketball player who hogged the ball and took too many shots. Unless Lewellen himself was calling the plays, which I don't think is the case, when he threw passes it was because somebody else -- probably Dunn, who I'd guess was the play-caller -- told him to.


Ha, Lewellen actually had a higher PR in 29 than Dunn, in one of the latter's worst years. Both were about league average... wait, hold up. How did this particular team manage to hand Benny Friedman at the absolute height of his powers his only loss of the season, thereby directly denying him a championship?! I swear "any given Sunday" is a fundamental law of the universe that began with the Big Bang.

I would assume Lambeau was calling the plays, would that not be accurate? Either way, Lewellen's unnecessarily high passing frequency certainly falls on playcalling; I meant that Lewellen's lack of effectiveness falls on Lewellen, but rereading what I said, I can see how you'd read it the wrong way.

While Lewellen was in fact fairly close to league average in the title years, the issue is obviously that Dunn was also on the team, making the division of work puzzling. I guess I just don't see the point of having a 2-QB system when one is clearly 3 times the passer the other is; this was no Waterfield/Van Brocklin, more like Waterfield and say, Whizzer White (OK, maybe Verne's passing was slightly better than that). Obviously it didn't ruin the team, but I wonder how much more they could have won by with Dunn throwing 150 times a year.
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Re: Benny Friedman NPR, and a word on statistical completene

Postby JeffreyMiller » Wed Nov 24, 2021 7:43 am

Just a thought ... I am no expert in the Notre Dame shift, which was the basic formation utilized by Green Bay at the time, but would the nomenclature used for backfieldmen in that configuration be different than that used in the single wing, which was the Giants' basic formation?
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