More and more fans and even media people are employing the grades offered by the website Pro Football Focus to support their arguments about players, but one NFL head coach advises against treating the PFF graders as god-like beings with the power to end all disputes.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer offered up his take on the PFF folks spontaneously and with apparent irritation to reporters at his Monday press conference (via startribune.com):
“I look at the grades and I can’t tell you what a 0.7 is or anything like that,” said Zimmer, who is in his first year as head coach. “I know the people that are grading our games and our defenses and our offenses, they don’t know if the tackle gets beat inside he wasn’t sliding out to the nickel, or who our guys are supposed to cover. I guarantee they don’t know who’s in our blitz package and what they’re supposed to do. I would just ask that everybody to take that with a grain of salt, including our fans. We as coaches get paid a whole bunch of money to do the jobs that we do, evaluate the players that we evaluate and grade them how we grade them, not based on something else.”
Zimmer is probably not alone among NFL coaches in being disdainful of Pro Football Focus and the authoritative but still objective assessments they offer up. In the end, PFF only offers more data, and it’s up to the people using the data to grasp how much actual value it has.
In other words, there’s no such thing as a final authoritative voice when it comes to subjective analysis. PFF doesn’t have all the answers. But then, neither does Mike Zimmer.