Redskins & Colts fans on RG3 v. Luck

Yes, I know. Another fanpost about RG3 v. Luck. What could possibly be new? In truth, not much, but there are some interesting nuggets from the 2 parallel surveys I conducted on HogsHaven and StampedeBlue (Colts blog) about RG3 v. Luck.

Obvious caveats - this is not a scientific survey, nor even a representative sample of Redskins fans and Colts fans. However, given all the "discussion" on these blogs about how much Redskins fans prefer RG3 (apparently 80 / 20, according to this poll) and how much Colts fans prefer Luck (apparently 95 / 5, according to this poll), I thought it would be instructive to see exactly how much more each fan base values one quarterback prospect over the other. The results might surprise you - after the jump.

Method: It's very difficult to compare the value of people (even merely as draft prospects). One method used in economics to make difficult comparisons is something called stated preference surveys, where you create hypothetical scenarios to try to isolate the value of the things you are comparing (very loosely speaking). In this case, I was trying to separate the fact that everyone assumes the Colts will draft Luck first and the Redskins will draft RG3 second, from how the fanbases actually value each quarterback compared to each other.

To do that, I created a hypothetical scenario for the Redskins where the Colts actually draft RG3 #1, and Redskins fans have to decide how much RG3 is worth in a trade. For the Colts, I had to make up a more convoluted hypothetical scenario to get the same effect - the Redskins have Luck, and Colts fans have to decide how much Luck is worth in a trade.

First, the Colts:



A few surprises here:

1. A plurality of Colts fans (43%) would actually prefer to keep RG3 - to them, trading for Luck isn't even worth giving up a 7th round draft pick. And this is in a year when the Colts have 10 draft picks, 3 of them in the 7th round, including Mr. Irrelevant. The stated preference analysis would say that Colts fans think Luck < RG3 + Mr. Irrelevant.

2. This is a "bimodal distribution" which means the Colts fan base is divided. Nearly as many fans who would keep RG3 would give up a 5th round pick or more to get Luck (the surveys only asked for as much as a 5th round pick).

3. A surprising number of fans (9-12%) thought that RG3 was actually more valuable than Luck in a trade. It's possible they felt RG3 was more valuable to the Redskins, but nevertheless, the stated preference analysis would say those Colts fans think RG3 > Luck + 5th round pick or more.

4. Given that 95% of Colts fans responding to the earlier poll think Luck > RG3, but a large percentage think the difference is very small - ie Luck - RG3 < 7th round pick - that suggests many Colts fans' preference for Luck is weak - in stark contrast to many of the claims being made about the "blind love-fest" that Colts fans are showing Luck. It's also possible that Colts fans prefer Luck for reasons other than their perception of his value over RG3. Among other things, it may have to to with risk aversion (ie Luck is the "safe" pick at #1), or it may be confirmation bias - we've all assumed Luck is the pick, so that's the guy we want.

Next, the Redskins:



If the Colts survey is surprising, the Redskins survey should be considered shocking:

1. The vast majority of Redskins fans would simply keep Luck. In fact, a larger percentage of Redskins fans would keep Luck (87%) than the percentage that preferred RG3 in the original poll (80%). Again, the stated preference analysis would indicate that for Redskins fans, RG3 < Luck + 7th round pick (#213, or the 21st pick in the 7th round).

2. About as many Redskins fans think Luck is more valuable as those that think RG3 is more valuable. About the same percentage would give up a 5th rounder to get RG3 as would demand a 5th rounder to give up Luck. Again, the latter group of fans may think Luck is more valuable to the Colts, but the stated preference for those fans is Luck > RG3 + 5th round pick or more.

3. Given that 80% of Redskins fans preferred RG3 in the original poll, but 87% would not actually trade Luck away to get him, suggests that the Redskins fan preference for RG3 is a strong case of confirmation bias. They say they want RG3 because that's whom they expect to get - in fact, they made one of the biggest trades in NFL history to get him. One might even say, if the Redskins end up with Luck, more Redskins fans would be happier. As one Redskin fan commented on my poll, "If the Colts draft RG3, we should give them a 7th rounder just to say thanks."


Again, this is not a scientific survey, and one should be cautious about trying to draw too strong conclusions from this data. But here are some possible interpretations of these surprising results:

1. The pro-RG3 campaign by some bloggers on StampedeBlue has been successful in creating some division among Colts fans about the value of Luck over RG3. While the vast majority of Colts fans still think Luck should be the #1 pick, a significant percentage don't actually value him that much more than RG3 as a prospect. That suggests the Colts would have some support within the fan base if they do choose, for whatever reason, to draft RG3.

2. At the same time, there is a large contingent of Colts fans who strongly prefer Luck over RG3, to the tune of a 5th round draft pick or more. Those fans would certainly disagree with a decision by the Colts to draft RG3.

3. Finally, despite the excitement that Redskins fans have about RG3 coming to town, Redskins fans don't actually prefer RG3 to Luck in a trade. If the Colts gave them Luck, they would keep him. Put another way, a Colts decision to draft RG3 might, at this point, please more Redskins fans than Colts fans.


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