Monthly Archives: February, 2011

The NFL’s Over Hyped Quarterbacks

The NFL and its fans have never had a wild devotion to statistics the way Baseball fans have.  After watching the Super Bowl this past Sunday and seeing much of the playoffs leading up to the big game, I noticed more announcers use statistics to implore the greatness of a particular player.  The comparison of the Quarterbacks of today to the gunslingers on yesteryear is especially appealing, since the numbers racked up by today’s QBs are so much better than those of the past.  This is primarily due to rule changes made by the NFL over the years making it easier for the passing game to succeed, and not because of increasingly talented players at the Quarterback position.

During the pregame banter leading up to the game, one pundit mentioned how Aaron Rodgers had already had a two passer ratings of more than 100 and Brett Favre had only done it once in his career.  Well, in 1996 when Favre went to his first Superbowl at age 27, he had a completion percentage of 59.9 and a passer rating of 95.8.  The league that year had a completion percentage of 57.6 and passer rating of 76.9  In 2010, Aaron Rodgers won the big game at age 27 with numbers of 65.7 and 101.2.  The league averaged 60.8 and 82.2.  Comparing the individual performance to the league’s, and without doing much more analysis, it seems Rodgers and Favre had essentially the same season.

This pattern of improving QB statistics goes back a long time and has trended upwards over time.  In 1970 the completion percentage for Quarterbacks averaged 51.1 percent and the Passer Rating was 65.6, well below today’s numbers and still well below numbers from the 1990s.

In the Business Intelligence and Data Architecture professions, we need to make sure the data we deliver is put in the proper context.  The business world has seen improvements in productivity and new processes over the years and we need to make sure our data models continue to be relevant as things change.

Database Mediocrity

A common method of developing applications today involves a lot of web developers and no data modelers.  Even now when relational databases are a proven commodity, it’s hard to believe how messed up they get.

One of my clients has a vendor application that follows this pattern, essentially no database design for a high-volume application.  They  break all the rules and then some; no foreign key constraints, poor relations among tables, and they create tables on the fly, implementing their own strange partitioning scheme.  As inevitably happens, it broke yesterday.  Large amounts of locking and blocking ground the system to a halt. 

I received a call, dug into it, and determined they were doing a full table scan on 46M rows more than one per second.  An obvious index was missing.  I built it, recompiled the stored procedure where the problem surfaced, and they were off and running.  A familar problem for DBAs, but I have to say I’m surprised how often I still see this kind of thing happen, and it seems to be worse in the web-centric world of software development.

Dejected but unbowed, I enjoin the DBAs of the world who blog, speak, write and work in the trenches to continue educating, reviewing, and fixing this all too common error!

Back to Blogging

I haven’t blogged lately but I think about it a lot.  I just don’t make time for it in my day.  When I get to my computer in the morning I have, like most people, loads of email to wade through.  I try to respond to any important emails right away, so there are usually a couple of those.  Some of the other email is industry news so I quickly scan them to see if I notice anything new.  If something catches my eye I click on the link to read the full article.  I normally don’t read the article but instead leave it up in my browser for later reading.  Most of the time I don’t even get to it later.  After reading a couple of blogs and forum comments, it seems like an hour has gone by and now I need to get to work.

Instead of being a captive of the information delivered to me, I want to contribute.  I have a lot to say about Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing, Analytics and Data Integration.   I also come across a nugget or two concerning SQL Server every week that would be worth writing about.  These days I’m involved in a couple of major SSIS and SSAS projects and have to solve a new problem every day that could be passed along to others to help them out.  I can write about Consulting  as I’ve been doing that for quite a while now.  And I can write about baseball and football and other sports, music and books and other passions I have.

This isn’t the first time I’ve made this resolution, but almost everything I’ve accomplished in my life hasn’t succeeded on the first attempt.  So here goes another try.