Neil Paine

A Monte Carlo-Based Comparison of College Football Playoff Systems

January 6, 2014 College

Love the Bowl Championship Series or (more likely) hate it, tonight marks the end of college football’s 16-year BCS experiment. Designed to bring some measure of order to the chaotic state college football had been in under the Bowl Alliance/Coalition, the BCS did streamline the process of determining a national champion — though it was […]

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Insane Idea: Spotting Points in the Playoffs

January 4, 2014 Insane Ideas

One of my favorite sabermetric baseball articles of all time was written by Sky Andrecheck in 2010 — part as a meditation on the purpose/meaning of playoffs, and part as a solution for some of the thorny logical concerns that arise from said mediation. The basic conundrum for Andrecheck revolved around the very existence of […]

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What’s the Correct Margin-of-Victory Cap For the NFL?

December 24, 2013 SRS

The Simple Rating System is a many-splendored thing, but a known bug of the process is that huge outlier scoring margins can have undue influence on the rankings. Take the 2009 NFL season, for instance, during which the Patriots led the NFL in SRS in no small part because they annihilated the Titans 59-0 in […]

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Checkdowns: The Complete History of Brady-Manning Matchups

November 25, 2013 Checkdowns

Presented below, without comment, is a table of every matchup featuring Tom Brady & Peyton Manning as the starting quarterbacks. Enjoy: Tweet

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Checkdowns: Worst. Monday Night Football Matchup. Ever. (By combined winning percentage)

October 21, 2013 Checkdowns

(I originally posted this at the S-R Blog, but I thought it would be very appropriate here as well.) Just a quick hit of a post to let you know that tonight’s MNF matchup between the 0-6 Giants and the 1-4 Vikings is, in fact, the worst ever this late in the season by combined […]

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Receiving WOWY Extended Back to 1950

September 24, 2013 Data Dump

Last week, we announced that our True Receiving Yards metric has now been calculated back to 1950, so it’s only fitting that we also compute WOWY (With Or Without You) for all of those receivers as well. Skip the paragraph after this if you don’t care about the gory mathematical details, and just know that […]

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The Most Inexperienced/Least Accomplished Receiving Corps Ever

September 21, 2013 Data Dump

As Jason Lisk and I wrote about before the season, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger have become something of the poster children so far this year when it comes to veteran QBs working with inexperienced and otherwise less-than-notable receiving groups. And, lo and behold, each has put up career-low RANY/A marks through 2 games. But […]

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True Receiving Yards (v2.0) Extended Back to 1950

September 19, 2013 Checkdowns

About a month ago, Chase & I developed a stat called True Receiving Yards, which seeks to put all modern & historical receiving seasons on equal footing by adjusting for the league’s passing YPG environment & schedule length, plus the amount the player’s team passed (it’s easier to produce raw receiving stats on a team […]

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WOWY: Which Receivers Elevate Their Quarterbacks the Most?

September 5, 2013 G.O.A.T.

In 1998, 21-year-old Randy Moss made a stunning NFL debut, racking up 17 touchdowns and 1,260 True Receiving Yards, the 2nd-best total in football that season. The Vikings’ primary quarterback that year, Randall Cunningham, was a former Pro Bowler and MVP, but all that seemed like a lifetime ago before the ’98 season. He’d been […]

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Ben Roethlisberger and Receiving-Corps Quality

August 28, 2013 History

While the state of the Steelers’ receiving corps isn’t as shaky as say, that of the New England Patriots, it could certainly be called an area of potential concern for Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh offense going into 2013. One of the biggest moves on the first day of free agency involved Mike Wallace departing […]

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The Best “Real-Life” Fantasy Teams Since the Merger

August 25, 2013 Data Dump

More than a decade ago (on a side note: how is that possible?), Doug wrote a series of player comments highlighting specific topics as they related to the upcoming fantasy football season. I recommend that you read all of them, if for no other reason than the fact you should make it a policy to […]

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The Biggest Fluke Fantasy Seasons Ever (Part II)

August 10, 2013 Fantasy

Yesterday, I set up a method for ranking the flukiest fantasy football seasons since the NFL-AFL merger, finding players who had elite fantasy seasons that were completely out of step with the rest of their careers. I highlighted fluke years #21-30, so here’s a recap of the rankings thus far: 30. Lorenzo White, 1992 29. […]

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The Biggest Fluke Fantasy Seasons Ever (Part I)

August 9, 2013 Fantasy

There’s nothing like a truly great fluke fantasy season. Because they can help carry you to a league championship (and therefore eternal bragging rights — flags fly forever, after all), a random player who unexpectedly has a great season will often have a special place in the heart of every winning owner. And even if […]

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Another Quarterback Aging Curve Post (Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt Edition)

August 6, 2013 Passing

Back in March, Chase wrote a post investigating how quarterbacks age, finding that they peak at age 29 (with a generalized peak from 26-30) in terms of value over average. Today, I thought I’d quickly look at how quarterbacks age in terms of their performance rate — specifically, their Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt (ANY/A). […]

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Cross-Post: Help Wanted! Help P-F-R Identify Historical Teams’ Offensive & Defensive Schemes

July 18, 2013 Bleg

(I originally posted this at the S-R Blog, but I thought it would be very appropriate here as well.) Here is a google doc containing every team-season in our database since 1957, including the Head Coach and offensive & defensive coordinators. It also specifies those coaches’ preferred offensive or defensive schemes (depending on which side […]

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Another Note on the Relative Impact of Offense vs. Defense on Scoring

May 8, 2013 History

Last week, Chase had a great post where he looked at what percentage of the points scored by a team in any given game is a function of the team, and what percentage is a function of the opponent. The answer, according to Chase’s method, was 58 percent for the offense and 42 percent for […]

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Are the Super Bowl-Winning QBs Getting Worse?

February 4, 2013 History

Now that we live in a world where Joe Flacco and Eli Manning have quarterbacked 3 of the last 6 Super Bowl-winning teams, you might be tempted to think that winning a Super Bowl as a QB doesn’t mean what it used to. After all, the playoffs are getting more random — as Aaron Schatz […]

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The Manning Index (and The Brady Effect)

January 23, 2013 Data Dump

Eight years ago — almost to the day — our old PFR colleague Doug Drinen wrote a Sabernomics post about “The Manning Index”, a metric designed to roughly gauge the clutchness (or chokeitude) of a given quarterback by looking at how he did relative to expectations (he revived this concept in version two, six years […]

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Checkdowns: Pre-Conference Championship Sunday Weighted SRS Ratings

January 19, 2013 Checkdowns

Presented without comment, the most current Simple Ratings, weighted for recency: “Upper” and “Lower” are the 95% confidence intervals around each estimate. Roughly speaking, this means we can be 95% confident that, say, the 49ers’ “true” SRS rating is between 3.66 and 16.80. Tweet

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Data Dump: Schedule-Adjusted Pythagorean Ratings (1970-2012)

January 4, 2013 Data Dump

This is mostly a huge end-of-regular-season data dump, but I’ll explain a little before the table… PFR’s Simple Rating System can be broken into offensive and defensive components, which represent the number of points per game the team scored/allowed per game compared to the league average, after adjusting for the strength of opposing offenses and […]

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Checkdowns: Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt “FIP” for Quarterbacks

December 22, 2012 Checkdowns

I’ve been on a major QB kick lately, and there’s no reason to stop now. Today, I want to look at a method that might tease out a quarterback’s “true talent” better than if we simply use his raw stats from the season. Three years ago, our colleague Jason Lisk had a post on the […]

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Checkdowns: Quarterback Yards Above Bench (QBYAB)

December 21, 2012 Checkdowns

After posting about SRS-style quarterback ratings on Monday, I was thinking about other things we can do with game-by-game data like that. In his QBGOAT series, Chase likes to compare QBs to the league average, which makes a lot of sense for all-time ratings — you want to reward guys who are at least above-average […]

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Checkdowns: SRS-Style Quarterback Ratings

December 17, 2012 Checkdowns

Here’s a quick set of quarterback ratings I was messing around with, based on Doug’s Simple Rating System. The basic setup: I took every passer-game (Att > 0) since the 2010 season, weighting for recency according to Wayne Winston’s method. I ran the data through the SRS to adjust for the quality of opponent pass […]

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Checkdowns: Vick’s Masterpiece vs. RGIII’s Payback Game

November 19, 2012 Checkdowns

On November 15, 2010, Michael Vick humiliated the Washington Redskins before a national television audience on Monday Night Football. The big news right before kickoff was that the ‘Skins had signed former Eagle QB Donovan McNabb to a five-year, $78 million contract extension, an ironic note that wouldn’t be lost on observers as McNabb’s replacement, […]

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Checkdowns: Weighted NFL SRS Ratings (through Monday 11/05/12)

November 6, 2012 Checkdowns

Here’s my weekly set of power ratings, according to a weighted version of the Simple Rating System: KEY: Talent – Regressed WPct talent for 2012; Talent = (W + 5.5) / (G + 11) PWAG – Probability of Winning Any Game Off – Offensive SRS (positive = better) Def – Defensive SRS (negative = better) […]

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Checkdowns: How Much Does Last Year’s Record Matter When Predicting This Year’s Games?

November 1, 2012 Checkdowns

In Tuesday’s post, I outlined a method of regressing a team’s record to the mean to estimate its “true winning percentage talent” (the trick is to add eleven games of .500 ball to their record, at any point in the season). In the comments, FP reader Dave wondered if we could incorporate last year’s true […]

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Estimating NFL Win Probabilities for Matchups Between Teams of Various Records

October 30, 2012 Statgeekery

(I originally posted this at the S-R Blog, but I thought it would be very appropriate here as well.) WARNING: Math post. PFR user Brad emailed over the weekend with an interesting question: “Wondering if you’ve ever tracked or how it would be possible to find records vs. records statistics….for instance a 3-4 team vs. […]

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Checkdowns: Weighted NFL SRS Ratings (through Sunday 10/21/12)

October 22, 2012 Checkdowns

Here are the current SRS Ratings, weighted for the recency of each game, along with each team’s quarter-by-quarter Win Probability Added (WPA) so far this season: Tweet

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Checkdowns: Weighted NFL SRS Ratings (through Thursday 10/19/12)

October 19, 2012 Checkdowns

Here are the current SRS Ratings, using the recency-weighted system I described on Monday: Also, just for fun, here’s how SRS sees this weekend’s games going (with the Vegas lines and over/unders for comparison’s sake): Tweet

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Checkdowns: Weighted NFL SRS Ratings (through Sunday 10/14/12)

October 15, 2012 Checkdowns

Here’s a quick Monday data dump… I ran the Simple Rating System (for offense and defense) on this year’s NFL results, but instead of weighing each game equally, I used Wayne Winston’s method of giving more weight to recent outcomes. Winston’s system is simply to give each game a weight of: λ ^ (weeks ago) […]

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