A year ago, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked to explain the decline in statistical production from Randy Moss, and he bristled at the question.
“Stats are for losers,” Belichick said then. “The final score is for winners.”
Belichick no longer has to defend Moss, but he does still have some thoughts on stats. And although he’s not exactly backing down on his statement that the score is what matters, he did revise and extend his remarks about stats when asked by reporters whether the statistical numbers have any meaning.
“I think they all have meaning; it’s just the priority of the stats,” Belichick said. “Wins is number one. Points is number two, because that correlates to winning.”
Although points haven’t correlated to winning for the Detroit Lions this year, in general Belichick is right about that. And he said the other stats he looks at are all related to points.
“And then you get to the things that correlate to scoring, which [are] red area, big plays, and third down becomes a part of that because of being able to sustain drives and that type of things,” Belichick said. “But if you make big plays, then third down becomes less important. You can offset any good numbers with bad numbers. You can offset bad numbers with good numbers, but in the end, it’s about getting points on the board and keeping them off. . . . I’m not saying they’re not significant, they are, but the ones that correlate the highest to winning, you still have to consider them as the most important.”
So stats aren’t necessarily for losers. As long as the stats in question correlate to the Patriots becoming winners.