49ers quarterback Alex Smith recently stepped way out of character, calling out Carolina quarterback Cam Newton while making a point about the relationship between stats and victories.
“I could absolutely care less on yards per game,” Smith said in May. “I think that is a totally overblown stat because if you’re losing games in the second half, guess what, you’re like the Carolina Panthers and you’re going no-huddle the entire second half. Yeah, Cam Newton threw for a lot of 300-yard games. That’s great. You’re not winning, though.”
Smith slid back into his more usual style during a Thursday conference call conducted in advance of the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, to be held on July 20-22 (and to be televised by NBC).
“Obviously I got carried away there,” Smith said, via Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News.
“I was going after more of the passing-yards statistic and I don’t really believe there’s a great correlation to winning in the NFL,” Smith said. “I don’t. I don’t buy it. If you’re looking for a statistic that has a better correlation to winning, it’s probably yards-per-attempt.”
Actually, only one stat truly correlates to winning: points scored vs. points allowed, as determined on a per-game basis.
Smith seems to get that, and he proved his point this time by tiptoeing toward a diss of the team the Niners beat in the divisional round of the playoffs. “For me it’s about winning games,” Smith said. “I said the same thing last year when we played the Saints in the playoff[s]. Yeah that offense is pretty prolific and threw for 5,000 yards. For me, I’m trying to score more points than the other team. I don’t really care how we do it.”
And now it’s only a matter of time before someone from the Saints reacts to what Smith has said.
(Can you hurry it up a little, Saints? It’s slow today.)