Remember the column in the Houston Chronicle last week where it was suggested that the Texans were a team to be feared because of the pain and injury they inflict on the field?
That piece may have been a steaming pile of sarcasm for all we know, but for every fan that went ‘huh?’ after reading it, there are probably now ten others who believe we’re entering the era of House of Pain 2.0.
Not so fast. Let’s examine this a bit, because that’s what we do.
The article cites injury statistics from 2011 published by Edgeworth Economics, and specifically a chart on page six of this set of statistics which show “total injuries by opponent, by team and severity.”
My first reaction (and probably a lot of yours) after looking at the stats was ‘what were those injuries and how did they occur?’
I contacted Edgeworth and obtained the details of the major and moderate injuries attributed to the Texans and sure enough, more than 1/3 of the major injuries (6 of 17, or 35%) “caused” by the Texans were non-contact injuries (various strains and sprains) suffered by opponent’s special teams players while covering punts and kickoffs.
Let me stress again the term, “non contact.” That means a Texans player didn’t touch them.
So from that we crown the Texans the league’s most intimidating and fearsome team? I can hear Texans fans yelling ‘Hit the Beach’ as we speak. ’85 Bears, Steel Curtain, Fearsome Foursome, Purple People Eaters step aside.
Talk about spin. Or poor research, take your pick.
‘Bulls on Parade’ is the best defense we’ve seen around here in a while, and yes our offensive linemen still cut block (and it’s legal), but it’s not like these Texans are flirting with scandal.
Let me digress for just a second.
For the younger crowd, ‘Hit the Beach’ was a battle cry of Glanville’s Oilers’ defense and special teams units and players (Johnny Meads, Eugene Seale, et al) that used to walk up and down the sidelines during pre-game in military fatigues and helmets. For real. Ah, the glory days of the old AFC Central, we miss you so. And yes, Glanville was a clown, but he helped drag us out of the disaster that was the post Luv Ya Blue era of Biles, Studley and Campbell (Hugh, not Earl).
Anyway, back to articles about the Texans being one of the most feared teams in the league. Like some famous person said, ‘don’t believe anything you hear and only half of what you see.’ Or was it ‘lies, damn lies, and statistics?’ Or maybe it’s ‘the devil is in the details.’ Again, take your pick. As long as you impress your boss, all is well I guess.
I asked Michael Kheyfets, Principal Consultant at Edgeworth, about the additional injury data which he was kind enough to provide and whether we should be drawing such conclusions.
Kheyfets said “I think that given the small sample size (only one year) and the relatively small variance in the numbers across teams, it is difficult to draw a strong conclusion about one team causing significantly more serious injuries (either intentionally or not) than another. For example, the Texans were about average in major injuries against in 2010, and the difference between 2010 and 2011 may be due to a change in style of play, or just statistical chance.”
So there you have it. If anyone would like more details on the specifics of the 32 opponent injuries attributed to the Texans, let me know. It was too much to get into here. Moral of the story is there’s more to the story than the chart on page six.
Now, back to the waiver wire, practice squad, and arguing about Shiloh Keo, Troy Nolan and Trindon Holliday.