After the development of the Nick Foles Logarithmic Interception-Facepalm Scale (NFLIFS), and the charting of Foles' 2014 interceptions (painfully) on this scale (Part I, Part II, Part III), we flipped the switch and changed our focus to the POSITIVES of Foles 2014 season before a week 9 clavicle injury ended his season: his touchdown throws. Some were near, some were far, some were very pretty, some were just par (for the course). How the throws made us FEEL is the most important thing in this series: did we see anything to get us excited for 2015? We must define a reaction scale.
The NFLTM Scale
This scale, which measures the number of pleasure neurons activated (due to dopamine or another chemical signal intake) during a Nick Foles touchdown, is, like the Richter Scale and the NFLIFS, logarithmic-based. We discussed the Richter scale analogy in our first NFLIFS piece, but here is a refresher:
(Image courtesy www.sdgs.usd.edu)
This means because the magnitude vs. amplitude is not linear in terms of devastation, a magnitude change of 8 to 8.9 results in MUCH greater amplification than a change of 7 to 7.9, or 6 to 6.9. A magnitude of 8.9 is the largest recorded (see above), while a magnitude of 1 is not really felt by humans.
Our Nick Foles Logarithmic Touchdown-Mindblown (NFLTM) scale tries to represent another type of extreme sensation: the beauty/wonder of a touchdown vs. how many pleasure neurons fire off in our brains and make us haz a happy:
The human brain, by some estimates, has 86 billion neurons. That's a lot. Now, imagine if a BUNCH of those fired off at once, like when you're overcome with emotion or you have a sudden "Eureka!" idea. When we are watching exciting football plays, dopamine is one of the chemical signals responsible for communicating this information (in the expectation of a reward) between neurons. Hence the term "pleasure neurons". I'm no neuroscientist, but I feel it's important to make up phrases to sound very glamorous and uber important. Now where was I. Ah, yes...
We have charted each of Foles' 2014 touchdowns, with All-22 GIFs and game situations, and have placed each touchdown appropriately on the NFLTM Scale. A "1" would be like "I could have thrown that TD there", and an "8" would be like "Torch the couch! We're going to the playoffs!"
Week 1: Jaguars
Situation: 17-7 Jaguars, 7:40 left in 3rd quarter, 3rd & 5 on the Jaguars' 25 yard line.
NFLTMS Magnitude: 6.2
This was pretty beautiful. I derived pretty solid pleasure from this. Note that the LHS safety (they are in a Cover 2 look) is drawn pre-snap to the slot WR running a quick out. Foles sees this immediately and does not hesitate to throw it where only TE Zach Ertz (running the seam between the safeties) can receive it, splitting the safeties in a textbook way. Part of this is playcall, of course, but Foles has excellent touch here and puts it right where it needed to be on time. I hope that Jared Cook watches this.
Foles had a very rough start to this game (fumble and a bad interception), so this was promising to see on a must have 3rd and 5.
Situation: 17-17, 7:09 left in 4th quarter, 1st & 10 on the Eagles' 32 yard line.
NFLTMS Magnitude: 6.4
BOOM goes the dynamite. I loved seeing this throw, it shows his above average arm strength. This was a designed roll out to get Foles in space, and LeSean McCoy gives Foles just enough time to set his feet and throw against blown coverage. The single high safety bites hard on Ertz (in the inner slot), coming up 5 yards to jump his route (and fall down), as Jeremy Maclin in the outer slot simply runs by the slot corner (after turning him completely around) on a skinny post. There was NO ONE left down the field to stop Maclin (I laughed at the "WTF" way the slot CB threw his hands up). All Foles had to do is throw the ball on a rope about 50 yards to hit Maclin in stride. Done did.
This play gave the Eagles the lead, and they didn't look back.