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Are the 2007 Steelers Better Than The 2006 Steelers? AOL Fanhouse Doesn't Think So

I typically enjoy what the Steelers writers for AOL Fanhouse have to say about Pittsburgh and the NFL. The writing's always sharp and clean, and there's often worth-while, thought-provoking analysis in the stories. However, today's latest entry is not, in my opinion, well-reasoned.

The argument:

What if I told you that the domination we've watched this past three weeks is no different than what the Steelers did last year?  You might think I'm crazy, but there's nothing the Steelers have done in their first three games that they didn't do during a three-game stretch against the Bucs, Browns and Panthers last year.

The author then goes on to cite scoring differential statistics and Willie Parker's statistics to 'prove' that we were in fact just as good last year. Hmm. Ok, so you're taking the Steelers best three-game stretch of a long, 16-game season and using that data as a mircrocosm of our entire season? I don't even need to explain why that is a proposterous method of comparison. What's to say that the Steelers won't continue to improve in 2007? If we take the players for their word, they most certainly will improve, as most all have claimed that they still have not played their best football.

Using Fanhouses' logic, one could argue that the Dallas Cowboys also are not playing any better than they did a year ago. After all, in Weeks 10,11, and 12, Dallas also went 3-0. They outscored their opponents 86-34 in those 3 games and have outscored their opponents 116-65 this year. The difference in the margin? 1 point better in 2006 than in 2007 so far. Hey, they even beat the Indianapolis Colts in that stretch! So, sorry Cowboys fans, as Bill Parcells once said, 'don't bring out the annointing oil just yet'.

Absurd, the Cowboys and the Steelers are clearly better football teams than they were a year ago. One can almost always find outliers in large data sets. To then compare them to limited data sets to make general claims about their similarities is unproductive. And if we weren't talking about something as trivial as football, I'd even say is dangerous.