You won’t find “Fumblitis” in any medical journal, but it is an unfortunate ailment. It occurs in the fall along with the onset of winter, as do colds and flu. It is also a very serious affliction, which will bring migraine headaches to offensive coaches and coordinators. Sometimes fumblitis can be fatal, like an offense. It will also turn wins into losses.
Fumbled balls can end a violation and even change games. Sunday saw an example, with the Vikings winning 405-137 over the NY Giants, but somehow they managed a 24-21 victory! 5 turnovers were the difference, which included a fumble. A fumble also turned the Patriots / Dolphins game upside down. With Miami leading late in the second quarter and already up 7-0, TE Randy McMichael fumbled in the 9th after a long win. Instead of a 14-0 or 10-0 lead at halftime from Miami, the Patriots marched down and kicked a field goal to get back into the game.
Fumbled balls can kill an offense. Here’s a current list of the team with the most fumbles in the NFL: New Orleans (14), Chicago (12), Washington (12), NY Jets (11), St. Louis (9), San Francisco (9) , Tennessee (9), Arizona (9), Minnesota (8), Miami (9). Two of those teams have a winning spread record (Bears, Redskins) and the combined spread records are 35-53 ATS.
Sometimes more fumbles can mean the team likes to run the ball more. This would be the case with the Bears and Redskins, who are actually decent teams. But others have stumbled a lot this season, both directly and against numbers, and too many fumbles are a big reason.
Let’s go back to 2004. The teams that finished with the most fumbles were the Bears, Browns, 49ers and Bucs. Those teams didn’t even get anywhere near the playoffs, with the Browns and 49ers battling for last place in the NFL. Holding onto football is a matter of concentration and effort, and those teams lacked in 2004.
Turnovers can change everything. Take a look at Sunday’s Jets / Carolina box score. Total yards: NY 214, Carolina 220. The Jets held the advantage in rushing yards 137-101. It looks like a defensive game, maybe a final score of 13-10? Be aware enough. Try Carolina 30, Jets 3. You can guess what’s next: Jet’s 6 turnovers, including 2 fumbles. The Panthers weren’t wrong at all.