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One man's passion leads to intriguing player analysis

Posted: Wednesday June 22, 2005 1:49PM; Updated: Wednesday June 22, 2005 1:50PM
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According to KC Joyner's analysis, Broncos WR Ashley Lelie is the NFL's scariest deep threat.
John W. McDonough/SI
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It must have been about 15 years ago. I was at a dinner party in San Francisco, and I'd come from the 49ers' practice field, and I had my Big Book with me. I had it with me because I didn't feel safe leaving it in the car -- if it were ever lost or stolen, I'd have to kill myself.

The Big Book was, and is, my record of everything that happens to each team, week-by-week box scores, plus notes (game notes in black, trades and player movement in green, injuries in red, anything else, such as arrests or contract situations, in blue). It is 250 pages long and it lives in a five-subject binder made by Dennison Company in Framingham, Mass. They stopped making the 250-pagers a few years ago and cut down the size. I went into mourning. I should have stocked up and laid in a supply of about 50 of them, because I vitally need the 250 pages. If anyone still has any, please let me know and I'll buy them off you.

If I write small enough I can get three years into one of those big ones. But the key is writing small, real small, so small that sometimes I can't read it. Anyway, the Big Book was sitting there, minding its own business during dinner, and some woman reached over and picked it up and started thumbing through it.

"Oh my God, you've got to see this," she said to her husband. So they began tee-heeing and then they passed it around and people were practicing their one-liners on the poor thing. I made a noise like an oyster because I was used to it. Who cares what a bunch of Bay Area hoity toits think?

But one woman, actually the one I liked best at that gathering, got furious.

"Don't you understand what you're looking at?" she said to them. "You're looking at passion!"

Now let's fast forward 15 years. KC Joyner of Altamonte Springs, Fla., has sent me a copy of his magnum opus, Scientific Football 2005, a 467-page analysis of the NFL passing game, featuring the damnedest array of charts you've ever seen. And in tiny agate type, no less. KC Joyner calls himself The Football Scientist, and I could be a wiseguy and say that his book looks like a lab report, but I wouldn't do that.