Kirk Cousins on MNF: Perception vs Reality

Photo: Minnesota Vikings

Kirk Cousins’ winless record on Monday Night Football was well-documented going into (and during) his latest attempt last night in Chicago vs the Bears. This is what networks like ESPN do. They find a narrative they like and they slam it down our throats.

Did Steve Levy need to remind us of Cousins’ MNF record 77 times per quarter last night? No, but ESPN’s graphic designers spent a lot of time on cartoon Kirk Cousins and who wants to talk about anything other than Cousins, Joe Namath or Archie Manning’s winless record on Monday nights? Everybody Nobody, that’s who.

Per usual, ESPN provided ZERO context to Kirk’s 0-9 record on Monday Night Football. Letting narratives run wild isn’t just an ESPN problem. All sports networks, radio shows and media outlets took his 0-9 record and blew it into the biggest balloon possible.

The QB is praised when a team wins and he’s the first scolded when they lose. I get that, but football is the ultimate team game. Blaming a singular player on the outcome of a football game is ignorance. But for the fun of it, let’s take a look at (the now 1-9 MNF QB) Kirk Cousins’ MNF numbers BEFORE last night’s win. They must be repulsive, right…?

Perception vs Reality

You can see it everyday if you turn on the news. Stations will take, or even create, narratives that are completely biased and unobjective. It’s the same things when you flip to a sports station. Research can kill narratives sometimes and we wouldn’t want that…

So let’s dive into how bad Kirk Cousins really is on Monday Night football and how much different last night really was.

Cousins on MNFPre-11/16Post-11/16
Pass Att.323359
Comp. %64.1%64.6%

How much of his MNF struggles can be blamed on forces out of Kirk’s control? I went all the way back to 2014, when Cousins’ made his first MNF start for Washington and ran some numbers on the defenses he’s had to partner with. It’s not pretty

Can Kirk Cousins play defense…?

In the nine Monday night games prior to last night’s win (via pro-football-reference), Washington/Minnesota defenses were surrendering an average of 28.2 points per game. That’s a big primetime hole to climb out of. The Vikings gave up 13 point to the Bears last night. That’s the least amount of points Cousins’ has had to overcome, in his MNF career.

I’m not a Kirk Cousins’ apologist. I wouldn’t even call myself a Kirk supporter… but the attack on his Monday Night record is just silly, when you scratch beyond the surface. No, Kirk Cousins can’t play defense and he can’t control what happens on special teams (which we saw last night. 14 TD’s, 7 INT’s and a 64% completion percentage shouldn’t translate to a 1-9 record.

Don’t be fooled by narratives (even if they come from the outlet you’re currently reading). Cousins, for the most part, has not lived up to his contract. But let’s cut him some slack for his first 9 Monday Night Football games and give him some well-deserved credit for last night’s W.

There, I’m glad I could put an end to this bogus Monday Night football narrative. I’m sure we’ll never hear about it again…….

Stephen Strom | Minnesota Sports Fan

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