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Checkdowns: GM Genius

Ramin Mohajer is a good friend of mine and one of the most genuinely good human beings I know. He’s been working at a nonprofit for years, but alerted me to a new development yesterday: his nonprofit is launching an educational fantasy football platform and scholarship competition based on fantasy football! The new program, GM Genius, was recently featured on ESPN.

Here’s some more information about it, straight from the source: [click to continue…]

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There’s no debate: FP is really good and a team effort.

On June 15, 2012, I launched Football Perspective. Since that day, Football Perspective has posted a new article every single day. Remarkably, this is the 1,998th post published at this site.  You can fact check that claim here, and at the top of every page is a link to the Historical Archive, a page that is updated after each post is published.

There’s no way this site could still be up and running — much less producing content daily — without this community.  Getting to know you, getting help from you, and just learning and enjoying football with you is an awesome experience. Your contributions to Football Perspective is what makes this a website and not a diary. A special thanks to all the guest writers, who help keep this site fresh and interesting.

Every day, I consider myself lucky to be able to participate in a community where people willingly take time out of their busy lives to check this little site.  But today, I consider myself just that much luckier.  Thank you to the many people who have helped me get this site to where it is today. I hope you forgive me if the site’s 1,998th post is a little shorter than most, but hey: we have a birthday to celebrate.

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It’s early June, but pretty soon we will all be gearing up for 2017. So I thought I’d open things up and ask what you guys want to read (or write — freelance articles are always welcome!) about over the next three months.

Do you want more analysis of the 2016 season? Articles covering NFL history? Preview articles for 2017? Deep stat dives?

Throw it all out there, and I’ll chime in in the comments.

Thanks,

Chase

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Matt Waldman 2017 Rookie Scouting Portfolio

Every April 1st, friend-of-the-program Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) releases his Rookie Scouting Portfolio. The RSP is, well, insane. It’s a 395-page draft guide that not only provides rankings and analysis of 158 players, but also provides 1,684 pages of scouting checklists and play-by-play notes.

Matt does top-notch work year round, and I can confidently state that the Rookie Scouting Portfolio is the most comprehensive analysis of rookie draft prospects at the offensive skill positions I’ve ever seen. But it’s not just about rankings and his analysis; he makes the evaluation process as transparent as possible to the reader, by identifying:

Matt documents what he sees with play-by-play detail. Yes, that’s a lot of work. No, you don’t have to read that part of the book to get tremendous value from the RSP. And here’s something pretty neat: Matt ranks every player graded by position and then writes a post-draft analysis with rankings assembled in a tiered cheat sheet. This is free with the RSP purchase and available a week after the NFL Draft.

The RSP is $21.95 and available at www.mattwaldman.com. Matt donates 10 percent of every sale to Darkness to Light, a non-profit that combats sexual abuse through individual community and training to recognize how to prevent and address the issue. You can read more about why to buy the RSP here.

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The 2017 NFL Schedule

The color-coded schedule is back!

Download the Excel file here

Best version for an iPhone 6s

Who Plays On What Days?

There are 17 games on Thursdays this year, which matches the number of weeks of the season. There is one game each week of the season most weeks, but there are no Thursday games in weeks 16 and 17, and three on Thanksgiving (week 12). The three Thanksgiving games: Vikings at Lions, Chargers at Cowboys, and Giants at Redskins. The Browns and Jaguars do not get one, but the other 30 teams get at least one Thursday game. That means four teams play twice on Thursday: the Chiefs (week 1 at New England, week 7 at Oakland) and Patriots (week 5 at Tampa Bay) play in both the NFL Kickoff Game and during the regular Thursday night schedule. And Washington and Dallas — who play different opponents on Thanksgiving — play against each other on Thursday the following week.

Once the college regular season ends, the NFL does take over two Saturdays: December 15th and December 23rd. Those games are all rivalry games: Bears/Lions and Chiefs/Chargers in week 15, and the Colts going back to Baltimore and the Vikings and Packers the following week.

There are 17 games on Monday night football, and 18 games on Monday: one each week for 16 weeks, with no week 17 game, but two in weeks 1 and 16. The Saints travel to Minnesota in the early MNF game in week 1, while the Chargers visit Denver in the last game. At the end of the year, the Steelers head to Houston on Christmas Day, which falls on a Monday, to play in the 4:30 time slot. That night, the traditional MNF game is Raiders/Eagles, which is sure to feature a pair of merry fanbases.

Neutral Site Games

There are five special site games: the Patriots play “at” Oakland at 4:25 on the east coast in week 11 in a game in Mexico City, to go along with the four London games. The Jaguars, Dolphins, Rams, and Browns all lose home games, too, to face the Ravens, Saints, Cardinals, and Vikings respectively. Those London games take place in weeks 3, 4, 7 and 8: all but the Rams-Cardinals game in week 7 kick off at 9:30 on the east coast, while the NFL thankfully isn’t making west coast fans wake up at 6:30 to see the Rams/Cardinals, which kicks off at 1:00 on the east coast.

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2017 Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

I’ll be speaking at one of the panels at this year’s Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. The panel is titled “Football Analytics: Please Stop Punting” and I’ll be joining Mike Lombardi, John Urschel, and Sandy Weil in a general discussion about football analytics and ways to improve the game. I suspect that I am up to the task, but to the extent I am not, moderator Bill Barnwell should keep me in line.

If you’re attending, give me a shout.

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Welcome to the 2017 Offseason

Welcome to the offseason. It was another long year, but a good one, here at Football Perspective.

There should be some exciting news to announce in the coming weeks, and that may keep the posts here short. This would be a great time for guest submissions, so if you would like something posted here, don’t hesitate to send. Otherwise, what sort of content are you hoping to see this offseason? Now is the time for all the crazy ideas and topics on your mind, so let ’em rip.

Chase

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2016 NFL Awards: Voting Breakdown

On Saturday night, the awards were announced for the 2016 NFL season. It’s good to have a record of the voting breakdown, so in the interest of preserving history, I have reprinted that below.

Most Valuable Player

Matt Ryan, Atlanta (25); Tom Brady, New England (10), Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas (6), Derek Carr, Oakland (6), Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (2), Dak Prescott, Dallas (1)

Ryan was a pretty obvious pick: he easily led the NFL in ANY/A and Value added over average.  I’m a bit surprised that Brady was as close as he was, but the biggest surprise was Carr somehow receiving 6 votes.  Ryan received 29 votes for the first-team All-Pro slot at QB from the same AP voters; Brady received 15, and Rodgers received 5.  Given that the quarterbacks had to compete with Elliott for MVP, it makes sense that all received more votes at the QB-specific slot than at MVP.  But then there’s Carr, who earned just 1 vote for first-team All-Pro at QB, yet received 6 here.  How five voters thought Carr wasn’t the best quarterback but was the Most Valuable Player in the NFL is a question I’m not comfortable answering.

Offensive Player of the Year

Matt Ryan, Atlanta (15½), Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (11), David Johnson, Arizona (8), Tom Brady, New England (7), Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas (5½), Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (1), Derek Carr, Oakland (1), Drew Brees, New Orleans (1)

Ryan was a worthy choice here for the same reasons he was a worthy choice for the All-Pro team and the MVP award.  There were 9.5 voters who thought Ryan was the MVP but not the OPOY; there were also 9 voters who thought Rodgers was OPOY but not MVP.  That implies a decent amount of ballot-splitting among voters.  What do we make of Ryan/Brady/Rodgers?  For the All-Pro team, the voting was 29–15–5; for MVP, it was 25–10–2; and for OPOY, it’s 15½–7–11.  That strikes me as inconsistent.  Johnson, Elliott, and Bell all received votes here, which makes some sense.  Oh, and Carr only got 1 vote here, too. [click to continue…]

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Week 6, 2016: Gameday Thread

Last Sunday, I posted a gameday reaction thread, and we had over 50 comments. Let’s try it again this week: Write about whatever you want — emotional reactions, interesting observations, statistical questions, whatever — in the comments below. I’ll do my best to respond to each of them.

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Week 5, 2016: Gameday Thread

Wanted to try something different today, so let’s see how it goes. I will be posting gameday reactions today in the comments here, and I invite you guys to do the same. Write about whatever you want — emotional reactions, interesting observations, statistical questions, whatever — in the comments below. I’ll do my best to respond to each of them.

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Football Perspective’s 2016 NFL Contest

In 2002, the league realigned its division format with the addition of the Houston Texans. From 2003 to 2015, of the 156 teams that made the playoffs, 75 of them were not in the playoffs a year ago. In other words, about 5.8 teams each year make the leap from out of the playoffs to into the playoffs, with the remaining 6.2 teams being repeat entrants.

If we had run this study four years ago, those numbers would be flipped: from ’03 to ’11, 6.3 of the playoff teams each year were new, but in recent years, there has been less turnover among playoff teams. Last year, only four teams — Kansas City, Houston, Minnesota, and Washington — took the leap. The graph below shows the number of teams to make the jump from out of to into the playoffs in each year:

playoff tms [click to continue…]

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Football Outsiders Almanac 2016

If you’re reading this, chances are you already know about our friends at Football Outsiders and the terrific analysis they provide every year. However, if by some chance you don’t know of them, or maybe you haven’t heard about their outstanding annual book, they now have copies of the 2016 Football Outsiders Almanac available for purchase. The book is jam-packed with FO’s signature data (including game-charting stats), plus the usual stat-geeky essays, team and player previews, and 2016 projections.

Football Outsiders has been a supporter of Football Perspective from the very beginning. But don’t confuse this for charity post: the FOA is a great guide, and I’m sure anyone who buys it will be very happy. It’s one of my favorite reads every year. Here’s the link:

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/store

After working on the Almanac in 2013 and 2014, due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to contribute the past couple of years. But I am still happy to endorse one of the most thorough football products produced every year.

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Foster prays for good health in Miami

Foster prays for good health in Miami

Arian Foster‘s emergence as a star was almost as sudden as his (likely) exit. An undrafted free agent in 2009, Foster rushed for 100 yards in his first start — in week 17 of the ’09 season. Then, in 2010, he led the NFL in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, beginning a five-year stretch of dominance.  A ruptured Achilles tendon ruined Foster’s season in 2015, and he signed with Miami yesterday; at 29, it’s fair to wonder if Foster has much left in the tank.  A one-year, $1.5M contract is a sign that the NFL isn’t too optimistic about his future.  But that doesn’t make his past any less incredible.

From 2010 to 2014, Foster played in 70 games. But in two of those games in 2013, injuries limited him to just 9 combined snaps. And in the season finale in 2014, a hamstring injury caused him to exit after 10 snaps. In those three games, Foster had a total of 9 carries for 34 yards. [click to continue…]

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If you have been to PFR in the past couple of days — and if you read this site, you’ve probably been there in the last few hours — you’ve seen that PFR has undergone a redesign. Most website redesigns are frustrating, but I think PFR has done a nice job of making it both easier to use on mobile while not changing too much around.

The PFR guys will be checking the comments section here, so if you have any bug requests, suggestions, comments, or just want to give those guys a well-deserved “Thank you!”, let your voice be heard.

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Football Perspective Turns Four Years Old

Welcome to footballperspective.com. Football Perspective is a blog about football history, football stats, and football stats and history.

That’s how this website started, four years ago today. Moments later, I published my first piece of football analysis at the site, about… newly-drafted Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon. Forget election cycles, there’s your reminder that four years is a really long time.

It’s hard for me to talk about this site without talking about The Streak: every day since June 15, 2012, Football Perspective has published a post. Now, at various times over the last couple of years, I had decided to end The Streak.  Heck, a year ago today, here’s what I wrote:

I say that because a few months ago, I decided to slow things down. Instead of posting daily, I decided to cut back to 3-4 posts a week. That plan was supposed to go into effect in … March.  So far, I’m off to a really bad start.

In the intervening twelve months, I’ve switched jobs, endured the end of a long-term relationship, and twice watched Ryan Fitzpatrick implode against the Bills. Yet even when times are tough, the last thing I want to do is devote less time to this site.  Perhaps especially when times are tough. And that’s because this community is awesome.

And that’s because of you. I can’t emphasize how cool it is that smart, successful people, most of whom I have never met in real life, are coming to this site just to see what’s going on. How lucky is a writer to have a community where people are willing to take time out of their busy lives to check in on what you’ve written? That’s a daily shot of adrenaline that’s hard to beat.

But if there’s one thing I’m even more proud of than that, it’s how you guys conduct yourselves. The comments sections on the internet are known for being awful, but you go out of your way to be civil to others and to provide thoughtful, intelligent, and meaningful responses. There really is a Football Perspective community, and it’s a very cool thing. I know many of you guys feel it and know exactly what I’m talking about, so my inability to articulate how different it feels here doesn’t matter. Let’s just be glad it is the way it is.

I can never answer the question about the long-term plans for the site, because there are none.  And when your site launches with a Justin Blackmon article, short-term planning may be more up your alley. But I know how honored and lucky I am to be part of the Football Perspective community, and I just hope you guys get a sliver as much joy out of this site as I do. So today, let’s all celebrate: four years running, this thing is as strong as ever. And that’s thanks to you.

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Last offseason, Adam Steele helped administer a Wisdom of Crowds experiment on running backs and quarterbacks. Today, an update from Adam, along with some news. Below are Adam’s words:


Thanks to the opportunities Chase has given me at FP to publish my research and writing, I’ve decided to branch off and start my own website, quarterbacks.com. Ultimately, my mission for this site is to build the most complete database of NFL quarterbacks on the internet, a resource for statistics, history, opinion pieces, and FP-esque engagement among the readership. However, I can’t do this alone, so consider this an open invitation to the FP faithful to collaborate with me for this admittedly ambitious project. I welcome all types of submissions, including custom stats you’d like to publish and op-eds about anything related to NFL quarterbacks. If you think a certain QB is overrated or underrated and want to make a case for him, send it to me! At this juncture, the site is still under construction, and it will be a month or two before anything is published, so consider this the foundation building stage. For any aspiring writers out there, I’d like to help give you the same opportunity Chase gave me. Please email all inquiries and submissions to quarterbacks1031@gmail.com.


Wisdom of the Crowds: Ideas

Last offseason, Football Perspective ran crowdsourcing experiments to determine the greatest quarterbacks and running backs of all time. Given the amount of interest the community showed in WotC, I will be running more crowdsourcing projects this offseason! Before any votes are cast, I want your feedback on what you’d like to see in this year’s iterations. I definitely want to run a WotC for wide receivers (didn’t happen last year) and quarterbacks again (draws by far the most interest), but I’m certainly open to doing more if the readership desires. What other positions or units would you like to see crowdsourced?

Last year there were three main problems that I’d like to address and fix before the next go-around:

1) Lack of precision from ordinal rankings. An ordered list may be the simplest method to evaluate players, but it’s not the most accurate. Ordinal rankings don’t allow the voter to show the magnitude of difference between players. For example, if you think two players are head and shoulders ahead of the pack, that won’t be reflected in the linear gap between #2 and #3. My proposed solution is to switch from rankings to ratings, most likely on a 1-10 scale.

2) Difficulty comparing players across eras. It’s hard to compare a modern player with someone from the 50’s, and a number of participants last year voiced their struggle in dealing with this. I think the best solution is to separate players into groups based on their era, then rate all the players from each era together. This would help voters put players in proper context, knowing that we’re evaluating them only in relation to their direct peers. I would then take the winner from each era and put him in a pool for the overall GOAT title, which would involve a re-vote.

3) Voters accidentally leaving players off their ballot. Even for a football historian, it’s a daunting task to pick out X number of players from everyone in history who’s ever played the position. With an open ballot, it’s easy to forget a few players by accident, which several participants lamented in last year’s edition. This year, I’d strongly prefer to use a ballot with a predetermined pool of players for each participant to rate. I’m thinking maybe 15-20 players per era depending on the position. This solves the issue of forgetting players, forces voters to think about players they might not otherwise have, and provides statistical symmetry since every player will receive the same number of ratings.

Now I’ll open the forum to the FP readership. What do you think of my proposed changes? For those of you who participated last year, what did you like and dislike about it? I welcome any suggestions to make Wisdom of the Crowds a better experience for all!

Oh, and one note from Chase: does anyone have any recommendations on how to automate this process? That would obviously save us lots of time on the back end.

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Matt Waldman 2016 Rookie Scouting Portfolio

Every April 1st, friend-of-the-program Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) releases his Rookie Scouting Portfolio. The RSP is, well, insane. It’s a 300-page draft guide that not only provides rankings and analysis of 167 players, but also provides over 1,548 pages of scouting checklists and play-by-play notes.

Matt does top-notch work year round, and I can confidently state that the Rookie Scouting Portfolio is the most comprehensive analysis of rookie draft prospects at the offensive skill positions I’ve ever seen. But it’s not just about rankings and his analysis; he makes the evaluation process as transparent as possible to the reader, by identifying:

  • Players that have boom-bust potential, players who may have already maxed out their potential, or players with great upside.
  • Breakdowns/rankings of players by individual skills at the position.
  • Player comparisons to past NFL players based on style and builds.
  • Overall rankings and comparisons in cheat sheet/table format with pertinent measurements and workout results.
  • Overall rankings with written explanations in paragraph form.
  • Overrated, underrated, and long-term projects.
  • Fantasy-friendly tiered cheat sheets.

Matt documents what he sees with play-by-play detail. Yes, that’s a lot of work. No, you don’t have to read that part of the book to get tremendous value from the RSP. And here’s something pretty neat: Matt ranks every player graded by position and then writes a post-draft analysis with rankings assembled in a tiered cheat sheet. This is free with the RSP purchase and available a week after the NFL Draft.

The RSP is $19.95 and available at www.mattwaldman.com. Matt donates 10 percent of every sale to Darkness to Light, a non-profit that combats sexual abuse through individual community and training to recognize how to prevent and address the issue. All told, the RSP contains nearly 1300 pages this year. If you’re the type who likes to read testimonials, well, Matt has lots of those. He’s also provided a few sample evaluations from prior years that you can review.

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Some Thoughts on the 2016 NFL Schedule

Some thoughts as I review the 2016 schedule:

Monday Night

  • There are 17 games on Monday evenings this year: two during the opening week (Pittsburgh/Washington at 7:10 Eastern, Rams/49ers at 10:20), one every other week, and as usual, none during week 17.
  • Carolina, Chicago, Houston, Minnesota, the Giants and Jets, Philadelphia, and Washington each have two MNF games this year. Meawhile, the Browns, Jaguars, Chiefs, Dolphins, Chargers, and Titans do not play on Monday this season.
  • Since hosting two games on Monday Night Football in 2011, the Jaguars have not played on Monday Night Football. Every other team has played on MNF at least once since 2013, but Jacksonville’s streak will extend to at least 2017 now.
  • The Vikings host the Giants in week four. Minnesota has not had a home game on Monday Night since December 20, 2010. That was the second-longest stream in the NFL, a week shorter than Houston. The Texans streak will continue for another year: Houston plays two Monday Night games this year: in Denver and in Mexico (against Oakland).

Thursday Football

  • There are 18 games on Thursday this year, although not all are on what is labeled the Thursday Night Football schedule. There is no game in week 17, but three on Thanksgiving — Minnesota/Detroit, Washington/Dallas, and Pittsburgh/Indianapolis — and one every other week during the season.
  • Every team plays on Thursday at least once this year, with Carolina, Minesota, Dallas, and Denver getting that honor two times. The Panthers and Broncos play in the season opener and then later during the traditional TNF schedule, while the Vikings and Cowboys play (other teams) on Thanksgiving and then each other one week later on TNF. The NFL seems to be making a new trend out of this: last year the Packers and Lions played a memorable TNF game a week after both teams played on Thanksgiving, the Bears and Cowboys played seven days after both franchises played on Thanksgiving 2014.

[click to continue…]

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The 2016 NFL Schedule

The color-coded schedule is back!

Download the Excel file here

That Excel file contains full page and wallet-sized copies of the schedule, in both color and black and white. On the wallet-sized copies, the line between weeks 8 and 9 has been enlarged — that is where you want to fold the paper in half to put in your wallet.

iPhone 6s page: http://www.footballperspective.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/nfl-2016-iphone-6s.png

Go to that page on your phone, then hit your power and home button at the same time to take a photo (or hit the button on the middle of the Safari browser and click ‘save image.’) The schedule has been formatted to fit an iPhone 6s screen, so you can always carry the schedule with you.

Go to that page on your phone, then hit your power and home button at the same time to take a photo (or hit the button on the middle of the Safari browser and click ‘save image.’) The schedule has been formatted to fit an iPhone screen, so you can always carry the schedule with you.

2016 nfl schedule_final

Commentary to follow, but for now, enjoy! And, of course, please report any bugs you see.

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NFL Team Job Posting

Given the smart minds that frequent this site, I wanted to pass along a job opening. An NFL team is looking to hire a full-time analyst for football operations (scouting and coaching). The candidate would need to relocate. The ideal candidate would be someone who has:

    Experience in the field (e.g. written a sports analytics paper, authored a blog, worked for a team, created a website, etc). Not necessarily football.
    Majored in statistics or computer science or another quantitative field
    Excellent communication skills

Please pass along all applications to me via email or in the comments below, and I will pass them on to the team.

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38 Questions In Review: Part III

Before the season began, I hosted a contest where I asked you to submit 38 questions. Each question asked you about 38 pairs of numbers, with the contestant trying to guess which number will be bigger. I also calculated the percentage that each “side” of the bet received, based on 82 entries.

In early January, I looked at the first 19 questions (that post has been updated since the playoff results).  Yesterday, I looked at the remaining set of questions. Today, the contest results.

Here were the answers to each question, along with the percentage of entries that guessed correctly: [click to continue…]

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I’m on vacation this week, but fortunately, there have been some great guest posts in the interim. But we have a long offseason ahead of us, so I figured I’d use this time wisely.

What topics would you be interested in reading about this offseason? Feel free to throw out there whatever you want: it’s brainstorming time. If there’s something you want me to research and write about, now’s the time.

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Help Shape The Future of Football Perspective

We’ve built up one of the most intelligent and loyal communities on the internet here at Football Perspective. But writing a post every day can be a bit of a challenge. That would have turned into an even larger time commitment had I not been lucky to receive some great guest articles. And while I have been fortunate enough to receive some free-lance submissions in every sense of the word, a better scenario would be one where those writers get to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Right now, the site doesn’t make any real money. That’s somewhat by (lack of) design, and somewhat the product of poor management. I didn’t create Football Perspective to make money; I created it to have an outlet for my thoughts. The fact that I have posted an article here for 1,341 consecutive days is a point of pride, but no one owes me anything. It’s my choice to write, or not to write, and the fact that I have repeatedly chosen to write must mean it makes sense (or that I am an irrational actor).

But as the site has grown, and as the time commitment to FP has increased, and as guest writers are getting more interested in creating great content, I’m realizing that I have done a poor job of keeping up with the growth of the site. There is just one ad at the top of the page, and that doesn’t bring in any notable revenue. If I, as a site owner, was generating revenue, I’d be able to compensate guest writers. So that falls on me, and to the extent it limits my guest submissions, well, then it falls a little bit on all of us.

I have spent some time trying to think of what’s the right vision for this site, but my readers are much better at this stuff than I am. Nobody knows this site better than you, and nobody is more interested in hearing your thoughts than me. The great thing about this community is that I believe the future of this site is just as important to you guys as it is to me. Does that mean going to a real ad-based model (which I would probably need some help in implementing)? Does it mean teaming up with a larger site — bringing FP to a different platform? What other solutions are out there? I don’t really know, which is why I open this up to you.

I end a lot of posts asking you to please leave your thoughts in the comments. But today, I really mean it.

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As always, the AP All-Pro selections need to come with a few disclaimers.

  • The way the AP selects its second team is dumb. Well, that’s being kind, because it assumes the AP actually selects a second team. It doesn’t.
  • The way the AP selects its first team is kind of dumb, too. Voters can vote for the same player at different positions! That can lead to odd “splitting the ballot” scenarios, and also to the crazy result that happened in Oakland this year. Kudos to Jason Lisk for shining some light on this topic every year.

With that said, let’s get to the results.

Quarterback

Cam Newton, Carolina, 40; Carson Palmer, Arizona, 6; Tom Brady, New England, 3; Russell Wilson, Seattle, 1. [click to continue…]

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Thanks to the tireless work of Mike Kania and his team on the P-F-R staff, PFR has now generated the Approximate Values for every player in the NFL this year. For the uninitiated, you can review how AV is calculated here. And if you’re so inclined, you can thank Mike or PFR on twitter. [click to continue…]

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Football Outsiders Almanac 2015

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you already know all about our friends at Football Outsiders and the terrific analysis they provide every year. However, if by some chance you don’t know of them, or maybe you haven’t heard about their outstanding annual book, they now have copies of the 2015 Football Outsiders Almanac available for purchase. The book is jam-packed with FO’s signature data (including game-charting stats), plus the usual stat-geeky essays, team and player previews, and 2014 projections. And it’s not just the NFL, as Football Outsiders has some pretty sharp minds (Matt Hinton, Bill Connelly, Brian Fremeau) covering the college game, too.

Football Outsiders has been a supporter of Chase Stuart for a while and Football Perspective from the beginning. But don’t confuse this for charity post: the FOA is a great guide, and I’m sure anyone who buys it will be very happy. Here’s the link:

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/store

After working on the Almanac for the past two years, due to time constraints, I wasn’t able to contribute in 2015. But I am still happy to endorse one of the most thorough football products produced every year.

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On June 15, 2012, I launched Football Perspective. Since that day, Football Perspective has posted at least one new article every single day. This is the site’s 1,249th post, so I won’t blame you if you’ve missed an article here or there. At the top of every page is a link to the Historical Archive, a page that is updated after each post is published.

In what is becoming an annual tradition, I use this space every June 15th to thank the people who have helped make this site successful.  And, as it turns out, every year I feel indebted to even more people.   And this year, that starts with you.

“Never read the comments” is a meme that has near-universal support on the internet.  But that’s not true here, and that’s because Football Perspective’s regular commenters are not just some of the smartest football minds on the planet, but some of the nicest.  And that means the world to me.

Consider, for a minute, what Brad Oremland is doing.  Brad’s a senior writer at Sports-Central, and he planned on writing a series on the greatest quarterbacks of all time this off-season.  And while he’s running that series there, he’s co-running it here, too.  Why? Because of you. Because when smart people put out great work, they want to hear what other smart people have to say.  The fact that a great football mind like Brad is eager to post stuff here just to get feedback from this site’s commenters is a remarkable advertisement for this community.  I remain indebted to the many great folks who comment on this site, and your love, intelligence, and civility motivates me to keep this thing going. [click to continue…]

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The 2015 NFL Schedule

The color-coded schedule is back!

Download the Excel file here

That Excel file contains full page and wallet-sized copies of the schedule, in both color and black and white. On the wallet-sized copies, the line between weeks 8 and 9 has been enlarged — that is where you want to fold the paper in half to put in your wallet.

iPhone page: http://www.footballperspective.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2015-iphone-schedule1.png

Go to that page on your phone, then hit your power and home button at the same time to take a photo (or hit the button on the middle of the Safari browser and click ‘save image.’) The schedule has been formatted to fit an iPhone screen, so you can always carry the schedule with you.

Of course, you don’t need an iPhone or Excel to view the NFL schedule: [click to continue…]

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1,000 Days

1,000 days ago, Football Perspective opened its doors. There has been a post every day since then.

So while yesterday was the most exciting day in the NFL in a month, we will be taking the rest of the day off.

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Rex Ryan Fired

This article should have been written two years ago. At the latest, it should have been written last year. Technically, we’re still a few hours away from the title of this article being accurate and/or breaking news, but there’s no drama left in New York. Ryan is going to be fired as the Jets head coach.

The Jets went “all in” from 2009 to 2011 in the hopes of winning a Super Bowl. New York got very, very close, reaching consecutive AFC Championship Games in 2009 and 2010. After the 2008 season, the Jets had a talented roster but were in need of a new head coach and a new quarterback. Then general manager Mike Tannenbaum tabbed Rex Ryan as that man. Ryan retained offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, and then New York traded up to acquire Mark Sanchez.

At that point, the fates of Tannenbaum, Ryan, Schottenheimer, and Sanchez were aligned. Other than the owner, the general manager, head coach, offensive coordinator1, and the quarterback may be the four most important men in any football organization. Together, the quartet began a new era of Jets football. And it was very successful… for two seasons.

The 2011 season was very disappointing, with a cherry on top being a disaster of a finale in Miami. The Jets then decided to move on from Schottenheimer, which made sense: things roll downhill in all walks of life, and the NFL is no different. Sure, Sanchez had turned into a bust, and maybe Ryan had lost control of the team, and perhaps Tannenbaum’s drafting had taken a turn for the worse, but maybe, just maybe, the team’s troubles were all the fault of the offensive coordinator! As a first step, keeping the nucleus intact but with a new coordinator made sense: it was the path of least change.

Unfortunately, Schottenheimer’s replacement turned out to be Tony Sparano, so you can imagine how that ended. After the 2012 season, the Jets fired Tannenbaum, and Sparano, and the majority of the defensive coaches moved on, too. ((DC Mike Pettine went to Buffalo,while Ass. HC/LB coach Bob Sutton, Ass. DB coach Jim O’Neil, OLB coach Mike Smith, and Ass. DL coach Anthony Weaver all left, too.) Sanchez was only retained because of his enormous cap figure, but he had also played his last regular season game for the Jets. At that point, firing Rex made a lot of sense. [click to continue…]

  1. Particularly when the head coach has a defensive background. []
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