Joseph Fell wrote an article for "The Cold Hard Football Facts" (http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com-or just CHFF) about Pete Carroll's "mistake" of naming Russell Wilson over Matt Flynn entitled, "Icy Issue: Pete Carroll's big mistake starting Russell over Flynn." (http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com/content/icy-issue-pete-carrolls-big-mistake-starting-russell-over-flynn/16393/).
Normally CHFF bases their articles on facts. Many times they use satire and mockery to get their point across. This article was so rife with opinions and gross inaccuracies that it could single handily destroy their credibility.
I began by looking into their archives, and contributor page to get a feel for Fell's previous work. He wasn't listed on their about us page entitled, "Meet the trolls." Normally, they use the troll moniker as a reference towards anyone that believes in the facts about football, rather than opinion. Unfortunately, this time it comes across in the more common internet usage for the art of trolling. This may be his first foray into the cold hard football facts realm. Previously he has been a major contributor on footballnation.com. Most of his non-playoff articles deal with the Cleveland Browns and the AFC North. The only articles that he's written on the Seahawks for Football Nation dealt with last year's game against Cleveland. The oldest article Football Nation had of Fell's was from August 31, 2011. Google only had six links to his work. He has contributed 68 articles to Football Nation.
I don't know if he has anything against the Hawks, but it is obvious that he hasn't seen any of the preseason games. In addition, this article makes it look like he would prefer to regurgitate pundits opinions, rather than stating the facts. Let's get to his inability to even pantomime facts before we counter his opinions.
"But here's one take on Carroll you can take to the bank: his decision to name rookie Russell Wilson the starting quarterback ahead of Matt Flynn will prove Carroll’s worst move during his tenure as Seattle's head coach"
CHFF has a tendency to state outrageous claims at the beginning of their articles. I guess that they do this to get people to read their articles, or just like to have fun, I honestly cannot tell you why they prefer to write this way, I can only guess at the reason. They normally do back up their claims with facts though. This article followed the first tendency, but deviated from the second. CHFF has had controversial articles, such as Jim Brown not getting credit for one more 1,000 yard season, Ken Anderson not being in the Hall of Fame, and the Seahawks getting jobbed in XL, but all were backed up with facts. Fell states an opinion, then tap dances around his argument with pseudo facts and conjecture.
"Flynn became the second coming of Tom Brady in many general managers’ eyes after he threw for 480 yards and 6 touchdowns against the Detroit Lions in the last game of the season, and he was the most highly sought-after quarterback in the free agent market during the past offseason."
Has Fell ever heard of Peyton Manning? Matt Flynn did receive $19.5 million for three years, but Manning nearly equaled that for 2012 alone. If Flynn was the second coming of Tom Brady, wouldn't he have received a better offer from a Miami team that has needed a qb for more than a decade, after he visited the Seahawks? Wouldn't Flynn have visited more than two teams, if he was a true franchise quarterback?
"Flynn: 27 of 26, 65.4%, 102 yards, 3.92 YPA, 0 TD, 1 INT, 56.9 rating"
I guess Flynn should start when you consider that he's completed more passes than he's attempted. I'll chalk this one up to Fell's inability to see Seahawk games, and editor inattentiveness. The yards per attempt are not good at all.
"A closer look at Seattle's 3-0 preseason reveals that Carroll’s decision to start Wilson is at best foolhardy and at worst dangerous to the short-term future of the franchise"
Let's look at his arguments for this statement:
"First, Wilson was given more opportunity to prove himself than Flynn, who didn’t even play in Seattle's third preseason game, a 44-14 win at Kansas City Chiefs. Would Flynn have made up the difference in yardage and touchdowns? Probably not. Could Flynn have shredded the Chiefs’ defense like Wilson did? Possibly. Is it sensible to hold a quarterback competition in which one quarterback has three games to prove himself and the other quarterback only has two games to prove himself? No."
Fell never mentions anything about Flynn being injured. Fell actually does state some honest to goodness facts as he futilely tries to argue this latest point:
"In the first two preseason games, Flynn passed the ball only 26 times, while Wilson attempted 33 passes"
I guess that Fell feels that a disparity of seven attempts over two games is just not fair. (I know that this is conjecture on my part, I just wanted to see how it feels. Not that great, actually.) When comparing the three games that both men played in, Wilson has five more attempts, one fewer completions, and 72% more yards. In addition, Wilson's passer rating was nearly 30 points higher, and his yards per attempt was significantly higher than Flynn's (8.50 versus 5.23).
"Wilson feasted on defenses consisting largely of backups and inexperienced young players, while Flynn faced the first-team defenses of the Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos. The 2011 Titans ranked fifth among all NFL defenses in CHFF’s Defensive Real Passing Yards Per Attempt, limiting opposing quarterbacks to an average of 5.86 yards per pass."
These are facts, but they fail to compare the three defenses. KC was fifth, but Flynn also faced Denver's starters, which were 21st, at 6.44 yards per attempt. Flynn actually did worse against Denver than Kansas City. Wilson did start against KC (79.06) and Oakland (81.27), which were #7 and #11 in defensive passer rating, respectively. Flynn started against the #18 Titans (85.06) and #28 Denver (93.12) defenses. Nor does Fell state that Wilson faced second and third team defenses with second and third team offenses. Tennessee's final defensive DVOA was 15th, Denver's was 19th, and Kansas City's was 13th (without Eric Berry). Those are last year's statistics, but will the teams remain the same? We'll have to assume so, because until the regular season starts, we won't know for sure. Except in KC's place; they will be better with the return of Berry.
"Third, there is no pressing reason to start Wilson immediately. This isn’t Cleveland, where the Browns imported a 28-year-old rookie quarterback who needs to play right away. Wilson is only 23 and has at least 10 years of productive football ahead of him. Flynn is 27. Why not start the older, more experienced quarterback, and if he fails, turn the reigns over to the rookie quarterback? Unexplainable."
Wilson does not need to start immediately. That actually is a fact. It's sound reasoning. The only problem is that Pete Carroll has stated his reputation, and entire coaching philosophy, on why he needs to start Wilson: Always compete. If Carroll were to announce Flynn as the starter, it would undermine everything that he has said, and done for over two years. Politicians flip-flop. Employees that do the same thing are fired. If Carroll were to lie to his employer and subordinates, he would be gone. Plain and simple. Pete Carroll cannot afford to lose control of the Seahawks, he needs to keep his word, and "stay the course" under all circumstances.
Wilson is a rookie, but in one season at Wisconsin, he attempted more passes in games than Flynn has since high school. Flynn has been in the NFL longer, but the experience argument is moot.
Fell is not a fan of Seattle, that's why I included the part about starting Wilson immediately. Since he isn't a Hawks fan, he does not understand Carroll's stance on competition. That's why this situation is "unexplainable" to Fell.
"A fan base whose energy shook the Earth with earthquake-like force during the 2010 playoffs deserves better than a coach who treats the Seahawks’ roster like his own personal Madden 13 franchise. Perhaps Carroll will have the opportunity to sit with those fans in 2013. His experiments with reclamation projects at wide receiver have had limited success, and his inability to maintain continuity at the quarterback position resulted in a lost 2011 season with the inept Tarvaris Jackson behind center. Starting Wilson will most likely lead to another wasted season, and this move may be the one that leads owner Paul Allen to fire Carroll."
Perhaps Carroll will have the opportunity to sit with those fans in 2013. His experiments with reclamation projects at wide receiver have had limited success, and his inability to maintain continuity at the quarterback position resulted in a lost 2011 season with the inept Tarvaris Jackson behind center.
Starting Wilson will most likely lead to another wasted season, and this move may be the one that leads owner Paul Allen to fire Carroll."
These three paragraphs sum up Fell's lack of ability to understand the Seahawks. You'd think that someone that watched the Seahawks play with Charlie Whitehurst, against his own team, would understand why Carroll stuck with Tavaris Jackson over Whitehurst. An injured Jackson gave the Seahawks a better chance of winning than a healthy Whitehurst. Case closed. Fell is a fan of another team, so he didn't know that one simple fact. Fell ended his article with a restating of the general topic, unfortunately he failed to have substantial facts in between his opening and closing statements.