View Full Version : TE Factoids, How important are they, anyway?

06-07-2005, 01:43 PM
After the Steelers drafted Heath Miller, I wondered how much he would be used as a receiving TE v. a blocking TE. Being that he was picked in the 1st round, I figured the Steelers had bigger plans for him than him just being an additional lineman. But that's predominantly what Steeler TE's have been in recent history. So I started to google up info on past Steeler TE's. And I came across this info:

Retrieved from this site: http://maximumgrilledsteelers.com/index.php?showtopic=2999

1. During the Steelers' 4 Superbowl title runs, the Tight End position accounted for 19.3% of the team's overall recieving yardage.

2. Averaging the Superbowl title runs of all 39 previous winners, the Tight End position accounted for 17.6% of the teams' overall recieving yardage.

3. During Chuck Noll's tenure ('69-'91) as Head Coach, the Tight End position accounted for 13.8% of the team's overall recieving yardage.

4. Since 1969, the Steelers have won 11+ games ten times. During those years, the Tight End position accounted for 13.1% of the team's overall recieving yardage.

5. Since 1969, the Steelers qualified for the playoffs 20 times. During those years, the Tight End position accounted for 13.0% of the team's overall recieving yardage.

6. During Bill Cowher's tenure ('92-present) as Head Coach, the Tight End position accounted for 9.5% of the team's overall recieving yardage.

It shows a pretty good overview of TE's during Noll's era and Cowher's era. Looking back to the time that Eric Green was on the team, the TE accounted for quite a bit of the total receiving yards. What the info. doesn't tell us is TD's and catches/catches for 1st downs which is important info too.

06-07-2005, 01:44 PM
If you look under the 2nd spread sheet listed in the link at the beginning of this thread, since the first Superbowl, only 5 of the 39 teams winning the Superbowl have had TE receiving % in the single digits. That percentage represents the TE's % of the overall annual passing yards.

What does that say? Something? Nothing?

What it doesn't look at is number of catches or TD's. And that can sometimes be more important that yardage.

What it might say is that it isn't absolutely necessary to involve the TE in the passing game in order to win the Superbowl. But it probably hints that modest involvement of the TE in the passing game is a characteristic of teams winning the Superbowl. While catches or TD's aren't listed, the yardage that the TE's account for is in the double-digits for most Superbowl Champs.

06-07-2005, 02:27 PM
Good post! The facts speak for themselves.......I have always said we must throw the the TE more.

I think the most telling facts are that the last 39 SB winners averaged 19.5, and only five were in single digits like us.

06-07-2005, 02:42 PM
Thanks! New here but always looking for info on the Steelers.

The spreadsheets don't give info on TD's but I guess those could be misleading too. Tuman (who I think is a reasonable #2 TE) had 3 TD's last year and had a TD-to-catch ratio of 33%. Which looks damn good. But breaking that ratio down a bit more shows he had 3 TDs on 9 catches, which makes the % good but overall shows we're lacking in utilizing the TE in the passing game. So the number of catches becomes important too.

06-07-2005, 05:24 PM
I`m all for spreading the defense. But is a TE necessary for our type of offense. Probably not, but it will be nice having that extra option in our arsenal. Great defense, a great running game. a smart qb with a cannon for a right arm. WR`s like Hines , El, and Wilson, and now a TE. Look out ! Detroit here we come!

Great Research stillers!

06-07-2005, 06:56 PM
I think the threat of a receiving TE is enough to keep defenses honest.

06-07-2005, 11:46 PM
I`m all for spreading the defense. But is a TE necessary for our type of offense. Probably not, but it will be nice having that extra option in our arsenal. Great defense, a great running game. a smart qb with a cannon for a right arm. WR`s like Hines , El, and Wilson, and now a TE. Look out ! Detroit here we come!

Great Research stillers!

You can make a case for a TE being a big part of our offense and making a difference..but unless BC has a HUGE change of mind.. which he could but.... the TE is always going to be mainly a blocker and basically and extra OL w/ good hands to make the occasional catch down the middle of the field, or in the corner of the endzone, or catching a Bettis TD throw.

06-08-2005, 01:49 AM
S4S, I hope you get comfortable here at SF cause I love crunching numbers.:chef:

For the numbers, lets see who those four teams are: Green Bay '68, San Fran '85, Wash, '92,
St. Louis '00. No slouches for teams in their time by any means so something else must be the reason? I think it does go back to the principle of keeping teams guessing. You can't be skewed too far in one direction. Those four teams had the talent to run and pass. Just turns out they didn't pass to the TE those years. Why not? Didn't need to. My numbers:

'68 Pack - 446 rushing attempts. Lowest back had a healthy 3.2 avg per carry. Sorry no NFL rankings back then I guess.

'85 49'ers - 534 rushing attempts. #2 NFL rank in YPAttempt

'92 Skins - 540 attempts - #1 NFL rank in Attempts

'00 Rams - 431 attempts - #2 YPAttempt

So you see, having a TE to bail out an average running game is good, but if you can run effectively and not just consistently you can winn as well. Our problem last year...

'04 Steelers - 618 attempts - #19 YPAttempt

So then question back at the forum...will Miller be the TE that helps an average/above average running game, or that threat that allows us to run effectively better by pulling one guy deeper for an instant longer to give us a couple yards more on the ground?
Well, if this thread doesn't make us the M.I.T. of fan boards I don't know what will. Lets see the others keep up.

06-08-2005, 11:42 AM
A guy like Miller with good hands and is able to get open may catch a lot of passes or at least the important ones, watching them in the red zone will be interesting.

06-08-2005, 12:40 PM
Ironcitychef....I do enjoy looking at numbers and trying to figure what they represent/don't represent v. what they were intended to represent.

That being the case, I should say that the guy who wrote the article is the one compiling the data and doing a pretty good job of it IMO. I'm just trying to pick it apart.

I think, as with almost anything in stats, there absolutely isn't a cause-effect relationship between involving the TE in the passing game and winning the Superbowl. Now there might be a correlation between the two. I think you have to first determine how much involvement by the TE in the passing game is acceptable as "enough" or "ample." Since the guy looks at percentages, maybe rising into the double-digits of percentages is a market for adequate usage. That's just a subjective mark on my behalf but since we were sitting at 6.5% last year, a move to 10% would be a 65% increase. The 6.5% of course represents the TE receiving yards as a percentage of total receiving yards by the team. Ultimately, I think you have to set your own acceptable mark for TE involvement. There might be some kind of objective standard that could be accepted to reduce biases and errors. But it probably won't come from me. Football stats seem inherently subjective to me...at least how they're interpreted so different personalities will see and use them differently.

That said, I noticed he updated his thread this morning to look at the 39 Superbowl winners and how they spread the ball around. This includes to the TE but also the WR's and RB's.

I'm not sure if I should cut and paste what he posted today or not. I don't want it to come across as though I wrote/compiled the data because I didn't. But he posted it under a section of the board where you have to register for the board to view the info. So I'll post the link for anyone really interested in viewing the numbers. In the meantime, I'll try to contact the guy via email to see if it's okay if I copy/paste and post any more of his info for others to see.

Here's the link: http://maximumgrilledsteelers.com/index.php?showtopic=3077

06-08-2005, 02:25 PM
Chef are you a chef or an accountant? LOL :D

06-08-2005, 10:03 PM
Before becomming a chef, I was getting a business degree, but had to change my minor from accounting to economics. Sometimes just didn't understand why some things went on one side of the balance sheet and not the other. However economics worked out cause I tend to be able to grasp how the little picture ties into the big one most of the time.

S4S, I'm like you, I don't always make the numbers I use but putting them to use in this forum is a fun hobby for me. I'll take a look soon at the new page, cause I do believe % can be a little misleading as well. Thanks for the link, I'll add it to my resources.

06-08-2005, 10:41 PM
So all that being said so far, do we all think that using Heath Miller, and Jerame Tuman.. one or both of them is really a key, not the key, but a key, to getting to and winning the SB ? Just curious on your thoughts.

Good Stuff!!!

06-09-2005, 12:01 AM
Sorry, in the home stretch for wedding plans, meant to do a Cliff Notes version of this thread.
Here's what I got so far...

First BRC I think the question is wrong. It is not about a player being a key. See NE, 3 of 4, on this reasoning. So I want to make sure we focus this on Steelers and the TE position first.

Seeing how 4 teams broke the mold, says two things. Either you don't have a need for a TE or you need to get one more involved. My response on this is we have had too many years of being #1 in rushing and defense(or close enough)to say the first of the two is false, or its a harder road to tow. We could pull it off and join the ranks of those 4 teams, but lets see what the other option holds. The second option is why I want it to be position specific first. On those 4 teams, the rank of receptions to TE's is as follows: Rams 32, 49ers 30, Skins 21, and even Packers 13. Yes they did throw the ball a little back in the day, huh? So what did we do being so close to success last year? Steelers 17 caught passes to TE's. If your read S4S post you see our TD % is great but misleading(17 catches from TE's, 5 TD's). Bottom line we would have to get our TE involved 2x as much to even be included in those 4 teams. The math is rounding a little but the point is simple. Logic dictates even to be stat long horse, we must involve the TE more to be better balanced. Now to your question.

As for which player depends on performance. (Odds are Miller and Tuman, but since we are being very geeky on this thread...) The TE position is one that can cause not so much a match up nightmare, but more like a mistake from time to time where a CB ends up covering, or a LB ends up covering one on a run play opening a hole. By passing a little more(notes Millers size should make him more visible in the middle) to the TE we can come back in balance to keep teams honest. See Bettis 4th and 1, teams knew who and where. I knew and I "flip burgers" for a living. Miller is a talent and Tuman skills outmatch the respect given him on defense. So I see these two as being a huge key to a Super Bowl because the three keys as discussed in other threads are running effectively(YPA), third down defense(bend but don't break), and turnovers(it is still just 1 game and TO's kill). I see TE's involved in 1 1/2 of these keys.

BRC that actually is as simple as I could make it, but at least I made it. This next to the Q&A thread has been quite fun.