If Ronde was playing during the era of massive film watching and Advanced Metrics, this wouldn’t even be a conversation. He would have trivially have been first ballot and “system player” would have been as wrongheaded an idea as “Earl Thomas being a ‘system player’ as a Cover 3 Zone Single High S.”
“System Player” as a term seems to have been overwhelmingly developed and deployed as a weaponized, shallow abstractions for memetic water cooler talk in an era when analysts were even more lazy than they are now.
It’s 90 % rubbish (applicable for extremely specific, narrow, deviant situations of which Barber is one if every member of the Legion of Boom was and if FREAKING DB was as a coverage-heavy, run-and-chase WLB in a 43 Over Cover 2 Zone heavy scheme…meaning; it’s nonsense).
Here is a devastating rejoinder to the “Ronde as System Player” thesis.
The exact same thing would happen with that Buccaneers Defense. They would have been understood to have been even better than they were historically with the suite of advanced metrics and tape study available then that we have now.
That 99 Bucs Defense (for instance) was a historically good Pass Defense. It was profoundly better than the #2 Pass Defense in Baltimore.
But the 2002 Bucs Defense? It would almost surely go down as the greatest Defense of all time. Total DVOA it was better than TWICE as good as the next best defense! It was #1 Run and #1 Pass DVOA. Meanwhile, the league median Pass Defense DVOA that year was 2.7. The #2 Pass D that year? -18.3 DVOA. The Bucs Pass D? An UNREAL -49.1 DVOA!
The vaunted 2003 Ravens defense was barely better than #2 in DVOA Pass Defense and not even close to crushing the league median like the Bucs, wasn’t even close to the Bucs 2002 Defense in overall or Pass D and was almost the exact same in DVOA Run D.
No one on that kind of defense is a “system player.” Its an embarrassing assessment to say so. And certainly not one of the guys in the most absolutely pivotal roles on that historically great (and historically misunderstood just how great) defense.
We do have tape available and advanced metrics for 2010. This is a WAAAAAAAY past his prime, 35 year old Cornerback.
That was a Raheem Morris Defense that played a lot of 2 Man Under and a lot of Cover 1 Man Pressure.
That 35 year old Ronde Barber, playing a majority Man to Man defense in the post Illegal Contact era of the NFL?[/strong]
* #8 in the NFL for CBs in Yard/Snap just behind Darrel Revis with .9 vs .8 Yards Per Snap.
* Only a 73.1 Passer Rating given up (the median of the top 50 that year was 20 points higher Passer Rating given up!). This was with the significant bulk of his Coverage Snaps being on the boundary as well.
* He was also #2 CB in the NFL in Run Stop % (barely behind Woodson) and he was the #1 CB in Run Stops.
* And, of course, he was by far the #1 Pass Rush Productivity CB (blowing away Woodson).
* The players around him were awful, but he still managed to be a part of the # 15 DVOA Pass Defense.
* Week 17, they dominated the Brees/Payton NO Saints Offense w/ Ronde playing 26 Boundary CB and 18 NCB Snaps and giving up a total of 13 yards on 2 Receptions against 6 Targets (and 2 PBUs).
[strong]”System Player”, 35 year old Ronde Barber, in a predominant Man defense, playing predominant boundary Snaps, with mostly crappy personnel around him.[/strong]
Great points but perception is pretty important it seems for the HOF, both him having to be at his professional peak thought of behind some of the bigger names on that bucs defense, and more importantly looking at the HOF class as a whole and figuring how he ranks each year.
He’s disrespected because of the same reason Lynch isn’t in. The 2002 era defense doesn’t get the respect it deserves. It really is maybe the best defense of all time. The voters already have Sapp and Brooks in, and they think no defense sans the Steel Curtain can possibly have 4 guys in. Don’t event get me started on the disrespect to Simeon Rice. He should be considered as well.
Agree wholeheartedly. Ronde was a fantasic football player who did everything you can do on a football field well. I don’t think he’s a first-ballot HOF’er, but Barber should be no-doubt HOF’er. He has a much better case than John Lynch IMO.
I firmly believe if this defense during their late 90’s – early 2000’s run was say the Giants, Cowboy, Steelers or Patriots……everyone and their mother would be saying they were the greatest defense of all time and players like Ronde, Simeon and John would get in.
But it’s Tampa and no one respects the Buccaneer franchise. It sucks, but it’s reality.
I went online to see who the voters are. One from Tampa and one from Miami. The upper Midwest, the Northeast, TX and California is well represented. It is a popularity contest with the voters voting for their guy.
Keyshawn Johnson even mentioned is briefly on NFL primetime last night when they were comparing the 02 defense to this defense. He mentioned that defense had 7 should be HOF and mentioned Barber and Rice by name.