Chris McCoskey is tricky

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September 17, 2012

Here [article has been removed] is Chris McCoskey’s column on the Detroit News web site, titled “Lackluster Lions come up short again on big stage”. Overall, it is a fine opinion column by McCoskey that addresses the Lions inability to beat good teams. A fine opinion shared by many people including myself. If you look at the numbers, it really isn’t even an opinion. It is fact. They simply do not beat good teams. Especially if you use the numbers used in this column.

Here is his 5th paragraph:
The Lions now are 0-6 against NFC playoff teams since the start of last season. Until they beat an NFC playoff contender, they are going to be referred to as Paper Lions, a team whose recent success has been built on a deceptive 9-1 record against non-playoff teams.

Wow that is horrible. And it is horrible. Even correctly including all games, it is horrible. Even being completely honest, it is horrible. Even when you do not omit games to enhance your point…it is STILL horrible. So, why be dishonest Mr McCoskey?

McCoskey writes this using deceptive math to make something bad look even worse.

Let me explain my point:
Lions are 0-6 against “NFC playoff teams” and 9-1 against “non-playoff teams”.

Doing simple math, this equals an overall record of 9-7 since the beginning of last season. But that is only 16 games when it should be 18 (16 in 2011, plus 2 in 2012).

By his clever wording, he avoided including a win over AFC playoff team Denver last year. See, by saying “NFC Playoff team” and “non playoff teams” he avoids accounting for this game in either bucket. Pretty sneaky, sis!!!

But wait, the math still doesn’t work. That would still just be 17 games, not 18.

So what other game was ignored?  My best guess as to the other game he chose to ignore, is last weeks win over the Rams. You could argue that he was really talking about last season and not this season, so he need not include it. But, he included this years loss to the 49ers. His overall point was their inability to beat good teams since the beginning of last year. Meaning from September 2011 to the current day. If you include the losses from 2012 and you are being completely honest with your readers, then you must include the wins also. Even if it does not support your overall point.

So, his paragraph should read:
The Lions now are 1-6 against playoff teams since the start of last season. Until they beat an NFC playoff contender, they are going to be referred to as Paper Lions, a team whose recent success has been built on a deceptive 10-1 record against non-playoff teams.

It is still bad. Very bad. Since the start of last season, the Lions record still supports the idea that they get fat on bad teams and generally lose to good teams.

So…why stretch the truth and use fuzzy math? It kills your credibility. It’s embarrassing, Chris, really.