Sometimes the bigger picture makes us overlook a smaller picture that isn't important, but adds more nuance and context to what actually happened. So did you know the following things about Greg McElroy's senior season?
- His completion percentage was 10 points higher than it was in 2009.
- His average yardage per attempt was a full 1.8 yards better than his junior season.
- His passer rating was nearly 30 points higher than the year before and ranked fourth among quarterbacks nationwide.
In fact, by the numbers, McElroy was great in two of Alabama's losses (to division winners Auburn and South Carolina) and average in the other (against LSU). His only subpar passer rating was in the clubbing of Florida in early October, largely because Alabama spent the majority of that game coasting to a win.
At the same time, he was applying for a Rhodes scholarship. Oh, and graduating from college, you know.
So why was 2010 seen as a disappointment? The easy answer is that Alabama won a national championship in 2009 and didn't even get to a BCS game this past season. But it's more complicated than that. McElroy's larger picture also makes it harder to see why his season at times went off the rails. One of the most telling changes in McElroy's numbers is that the number of times he was sacked shot up from 18 in 2009 to 30 in 2010. Of those sacks, 14 came in the Tide's three losses -- including seven in the South Carolina game alone, a game that made it clear that the offensive line was not entirely to blame.
But it's also worth nothing that McElroy overachieved in his junior season. Few expected him to win a national championship in 2009, and fewer expected him to have a 14-0 season en route to that trophy.
Of course, McElroy can't claim credit for all 14 wins in 2009 on his own, and he shouldn't take the blame for all three losses in 2010 either. But he was still a part of something special at Alabama, and the fact that his final season didn't turn out quite as planned shouldn't take away from that.
Greg McElroy at Alabama, 2007-10