Good games, weird data

Somehow, Ryan Fitzpatrick outlasted Andrew Luck

Somehow, Ryan Fitzpatrick outlasted Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck’s surprise retirement shocked the sports world and revved up a week-long news cycle. I’d like to imagine the radio jocks like Doug Gottlieb setting an alarm in the morning, editing and rewriting his nuclear tweet over some coffee, and then smugly hitting publish and tossing his phone into the trash as the notifications and roasts pile up.

I’m devastated to see not only Luck leave the sport, but the anguish and pain in his eyes. As someone who also struggles with my beard extending to the end of my neck, I hate to see a brother in arms in such pain.

While Luck now joins a group of young retirees like Rob Gronkowski, Barry Sanders, Jim Brown, and Calvin Johnson, he’s the first quarterback to leave this early. I pulled together a list of quarterbacks’ final season on Pro Football Reference to try and see the rarity of someone of Luck’s caliber walking away.

Andrew Luck’s Retirement compar

Quarterbacks with at least 8 games started in the final season had an average passer rating of 75.4 and a completion rate of 58.4%. Roger Staubach had the best total output of this cohort, tossing 27 touchdowns and only 11 picks in 1979. In Fran Tarkenton’s final year, he put up 3,468 passing yards, 25 touchdowns, and a bonkers 32 interceptions.

Luck posted a career-best year last season, which only gets sadder when compared to his fellow retirement seasons.

While Luck leaves us, the gift of Fitzmagic returns.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, the man so tumultuous I named an entire volatility score after him, returns for another season. I celebrated his signing in the offseason by recapping his career to date, with this section particularly relevant today.

He faces no incumbents in Miami, and barring a highly drafted rookie or surprising trade for a prospect like Josh Rosen, he’ll come into the year as the wizened commander of a likely tank. Yet, if history shows us anything, the ride will be anything but smooth, and sandwiched between moments of glory will be abject misery and a 6-10 record. Enjoy the season, Dolphins fans, and when you wake up in January of 2020 with a middling draft pick and an extension offer for Fitz, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

WELCOME BACK TO THE AFC EAST, FITZ! Can’t wait for him to beat the Jets in New Jersey and break my heart one last time.

Suggested readings

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Deontay Wilder is a bad, bad dude, and this GQ profile lets his personality shine

Look at this gross and disgusting trailer for NBA 2K20’s not-at-all gambling mode.

Data visualization of the week

I often reference Sprawlball as the pinnacle of cool data visualizations. Here’s a fun version for soccer, looking at the passing tendencies of the Man City center back.

A non-problematic YouTube suggestion

I am plugging SB Nation’s YouTube every week, but with content like this, it’s hard not to appreciate. 

Philip Rivers might be the unluckiest franchise quarterback of all-time. This video on the lost 2010 Chargers season showcases everything snake-bitten about his career.

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Jamie Larson