Fun with numbers, NFL Hot Takes edition: Hoge vs. Richardson

"Fun with numbers/NFL hot takes" was inspired by this graphic, flashed during the Week 3 preseason Bengals-Cardinals game, that compared Andy Dalton and Peyton Manning over the first three years of their NFL careers. Even without context, it's a preposterous notion. So preposterous, in fact, that we thought we'd get in on the fun, too.

Below, we prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that former Steelers running back and hot-takes expert Merril Hoge, and current Colts disappointment Trent Richardson are exactly the same player.

It's almost like you're looking in a mirror. (USATSI)
It's almost like you're looking in a mirror. (USATSI)

Until a few years ago, Hoge, who last played in the NFL in 1994, was best known for his X's and O's breakdowns alongside Ron Jaworksi on ESPN's weekly NFL Matchup show. Now people know Hoge as "that crazy guy who likes to blast young quarterbacks." There's been Vince YoungTim Tebow and recently, Johnny Manziel.  

(Hoge also proclaimed that Brian Brohm would be a better NFL quarterback than Aaron Rodgers, and listed Joe Flacco ahead of Rodgers, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Ryan. So, yeah.)

Meanwhile in Indy...

For months, the coaching staff and front office have offered excuses for why Richardson has struggled, and always with the understanding that he would eventually return to the form that made him a standout at Alabama. But last month, for the first time that we can remember, general manager Ryan Grigson publicly veered from those talking points saying that, “Trent, he needs to answer the bell and do his job to the best of his ability."

Well, Ryan, we've seen Trent's future and it involves a few more years of uninspiring football followed by a lot of unhinged rants about underachiving whipper-snapper quarterbacks, complete with a ridiculously oversized tie knot.

* Hoge only carried the ball three times in 1987, his rookie season, so we used 1988 and 1989 in the graphic above when comparing him to Richardson's first two NFL seasons. Seeing that this is one big goof anyway, we're not sure that it matters, though we suspect somebody will whinge about it. 

** And just in case this wasn't blindingly obvious: We're joking -- about all of it. No one -- not even people who think Dalton and Manning are comparable talents -- thinks Richardson  and Hoge will have similar career arcs. Everybody knows Richardson isn't nearly the player Hoge was. (Another joke!)

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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