Does it feel like kicking accuracy is down so far in 2014? Detroit rookie Nate Freese was just 3/7 before the Lions cut him on Monday, with all four misses coming in the 40-to-49 range. Bengals kicker Mike Nugent has also missed four attempts so far this year; for him, a 38-yarder balances out his 55-yard miss, to go along with a pair of unsuccessful tries in the 40-to-49 range.
Tampa Bay placekicker Patrick Murray had a 24-yard attempt blocked in a game Tampa Bay lost by two points. Randy Bullock, the Texans kicker who was Freese before Nate Freese existed, saw his 27-yard attempt blocked by Justin Tuck.1 Eight more kicks were missed in the 30-to-39 range, too, so if you feel like you’ve seen a bunch of missed field goals, well, I won’t tell you how to feel.
But are kickers actually faring worse this year? I broke down field goal attempts in three yard increments (18 to 20, 21 to 23, 24 to 26, etc.) for the first three weeks of each year beginning in 2002. The blue line shows the data from 2002 to 2005, the red line represents kicking from 2006 to 2009, and the green line covers the last four years. Since the data can be choppy, I included larger, smoothed lines, for each four-year period. [click to continue…]
Two 2-0 teams have ridden the short-passing game to success. For the Cincinnati Bengals and the Houston Texans, the best players in their passing attacks are not the quarterbacks. As a result, both teams have constructed offenses that focus on high-percentage passes and getting the ball into the hands of their best playmakers.
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is averaging 9.1 yards per attempt through two weeks and 13.8 yards per completion; both marks are the highest in the league. But Cincinnati players have averaged 9.2 yards gained after the catch per reception, easily the highest mark in the N.F.L. Running back Giovani Bernard is responsible for 25 percent of Dalton’s passing yards, but most of the credit there goes to Bernard. On his 11 receptions, he has gained 141 yards, with 158 yards coming after the catch (Bernard’s average reception came 1.6 yards behind the line of scrimmage). For wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, 90 of his 120 receiving yards have come after the catch, with the majority of those coming on his long touchdown against Atlanta.
As a result of the efforts of players like Bernard and Sanu, 67 percent of Dalton’s passing yards this season have come after the catch. That is the second highest percentage in the league behind Minnesota’s Matt Cassel. While it is easy to be impressed by Dalton’s gaudy numbers, it is fair to wonder how much of the credit belongs to Dalton and how much belongs to his talented teammates.
You can read the full article here.
A good article today from our pal Neil Paine, who asks whether Antonio Gates is the second best tight end in NFL history. I won’t weigh in on that subject, but after catching three touchdowns against the Seahawks on Sunday, Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates have now connected on 63 touchdown passes.
That’s the 10th most in NFL history, and the most by any quarterback/tight end pairing. The table below shows all quarterback-receiver combinations that scored at least 50 touchdown passes, including playoffs (and the AAFC). The final column shows the last year in which the duo scored a touchdown; as you can see, one other active combination is on the list, although Drew Brees and Marques Colston have not connected for a touchdown yet this year. [click to continue…]
The weekly New York Times posts are back! This week, I look at how unusual it is for the Patriots to occupy the AFC East cellar.
After seven months without meaningful football, it is easy to overreact over the first week of the N.F.L. season. This does not mean Week 1 is unimportant; it is as important as any other week.
Still, what happened Sunday, at least in the American Football Conference East, was not any less extraordinary. For only the third time in a single week since 2001, the Patriots lost while the Jets, the Dolphins and the Bills won. The other times that happened were Week 6 in 2012 and Week 15 in 2004. New England ran away with the division title in both of those years, so do not declare the king dead just yet. But to put that statistic in perspective, consider that there have been 17 weeks since 2001 when the Patriots won while the Jets, the Dolphins and the Bills lost.
To understand the A.F.C. East is to understand its history. New York, Buffalo and Miami finished with a better record than New England in 2000. Since then, none of them has. Recent history shows this to be a remarkably stable division: in fact, the 2013 A.F.C. East had the fewest changes in wins of any division from one year to the next since the N.F.L. realigned divisions in 2002. The Patriots have long been the overlord of the division; most expected more of the same in 2014, but it may be time to re-examine that narrative.
You can read the full article here.
We know that the Jaguars spent some time watching tape of the Miami offense, since Jacksonville used a third round pick on Hurricanes guard Brandon Linder. Perhaps that tipped them off to Hurns, who provided immediate returns in week one. What sort of returns?
- Hurns caught four passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns against the Eagles in week one. Prior to the Calvin Johnson explosion on Monday night, those numbers put Hurns tied for fifth in the league in receiving yards, and tied for second in receiving touchdowns.
- Hurns became just the 5th player since 1970 to hit the 100-yard receiving mark and catch two touchdowns in week one of his rookie season.
- Hurns produced the 2nd best performance by an undrafted rookie wide receiver in a season opener since the merger.
Some folks have the point of view that rookie quarterbacks should sit and learn. Some folks have the point of view that the only way a young quarterback can learn is by getting a ton of first team reps in practice and then playing real games. Do the numbers say anything about this?
“This is always going to be an impossible question to answer. We don’t live in a counter-factual world, and nobody knows what would have happened to David Carr if he sat on the bench for a couple of years. Ryan Mallett might benefit from having sat behind Tom Brady for three years, or he might just be the next Curtis Painter (or Brian Hoyer or Jim Sorgi or Rohan Davey).
That said, I’m pretty skeptical of the idea that a quarterback needs to sit and learn. There’s nothing wrong with sitting and learning, but I don’t think it makes a quarterback better. Aaron Rodgers was great right away after sitting for three years; had he started right away, he almost certainly would not have been that good, but I don’t doubt that he would have still turned into the superstar he is today.
One thing that isn’t really true: rookie quarterbacks aren’t really starting much earlier than they used to. In general, top picks always got a chance pretty early in their careers.”
You can read the full article here.
The AFC East was a very stable division over the past two years. The Patriots won 12 games in 2012 and 12 more in 2013. The Bills, with six wins in 2013, also repeated their 2012 win total. Miami won 7 games in 2012, and then 8 last year. And the Jets followed up a 6-10 season in 2012 with an 8-8 season last year. That’s about as stable as a division can get. The four teams saw their win totals move by an aggregate of just three wins, making the 2012-2013 AFC East the most stable division since realignment.
On the other end of the spectrum: the NFC South. The Falcons dropped from 13 wins in 2012 to just four last year. The Panthers jumped from 7 wins in 2012 to 12 last year, and it didn’t even take Bill Parcells to do it. New Orleans also won seven games in 2012, but jumped to 12 wins in 2013. The team that saw the least movement in the NFC South last year was Tampa Bay, but the Bucs still fell from 7 wins to 4 wins, matching the total movement by all AFC East teams. As a group, NFC South teams had a change of 21 wins from 2012 to 2013, the most of any division since realignment.
That’s hardly new for the NFC South, or for that matter, the AFC East. Since realignment, the NFC South has easily been the league’s most unstable division: the Falcons, Saints, Bucs, and Panthers have seen their win totals fluctuate by an average total of 18.8 wins per year, beginning with the 2002-2003 seasons. The AFC East has been incredibly stable: no team has ever finished with more wins than New England, while the Bills have finished last or tied for last eight times since realignment. As a result, the average movement among AFC East teams — in the aggregate — has been just 6.3 wins.
Change in Wins/Yr
Change # Wins/Tm Yr
The Cardinals won 10 games last year, only the second time the team reached double digits in victories since moving to Arizona in 1988. Their run defense was the key. The Cardinals allowed just 1,351 rushing yards, the fewest in the NFL. They ranked first in rushing defense DVOA, Football Outsiders’ main defensive statistic, and stuffed opposing ball-carriers for no gain or a loss on 28 percent of runs, the most in the NFL.
But three of the key players responsible for that success are gone, including inside linebacker Karlos Dansby. Dansby was one of just two players in 2013 to record 100 tackles, more than four sacks, and more than four interceptions. He is a very good run defender, but he is also a strong pass-rusher and is excellent in pass coverage. Of course, that’s why the Cleveland Browns signed him to a four-year, $24 million deal on the first day of free agency.
The Cardinals were prepared for Dansby’s departure, but the other two exits left the team with little time to find a solution. In June, starting inside linebacker Daryl Washington was suspended for the season for (again) violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Like Dansby, Washington is a versatile player: He’s a great pass-rusher (his nine sacks in 2012 were the most by an inside linebacker since Bart Scott’s 9.5 in 2006) and above-average in coverage, in addition to being a strong run-defender.
And last Monday, defensive end Darnell Dockett was lost for the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee. Dockett is not just an above-average 3-4 defensive end against the run, but a team leader and — along with superstar wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald — the player on the team with the longest tenure.
You can read the full article here.
In early January, the Associated Press announced its All-Pro team. The voting process is pretty simple: 50 voters select their top players at each position, and a first-team All-Pro squad is announced. The runners-up at each position are placed on the second-team, but that leads to some very odd results. If fans, teams, and Hall of Fame voters are going to put weight on a player being considered a 2nd-team All-Pro, then the voters should actually vote for both a first and second team. Simply naming the second vote getter (or third and fourth vote getters at positions with two starters) as the second-team All-Pro(s) invites significant abuses of the system.
Let’s take a look at the detailed voting breakdown. I’ve bolded the first-team All-Pro(s) at each position, and italicized the second-team “choices.”
Peyton Manning, Denver, 50.
This one’s pretty easy.
Did you hear that Eddie Lacy was a second-team All-Pro choice in 2013? That’s because one voter — presumably one in Wisconsin — decided that Lacy was better than McCoy or Charles in 2013. And that’s it. Is Lacy, or for that matter, Peterson, a more-deserving choice as a 2nd-team All-Pro than Matt Forte, Marshawn Lynch, Alfred Morris, Knowshon Moreno, or DeMarco Murray? Who knows — and that’s the point. The 2nd-team All-Pro honors going to Peterson and Lacy are essentially meaningless pieces of information. All we know is that 1 voter out of 50 decided that those two were top-2 running backs in 2013. Gregg Rosenthal noted that it was a shame that Forte was passed over for 2nd-team honors, and I agree with that sentiment. But Forte wasn’t passed over in the literal sense: had the 50 voters actually selected a second-team pair of running backs, I suspect Forte would have been chosen.
It’s also worth noting that it appears as though 3 voters selected only one running back. Brilliant.
Anyone want to offer me 49:1 odds that the AP voter who selected Kuhn also selected Lacy?
Vernon Davis was a 2nd-team All-Pro in 2013 because…. 2% of all voters thought Davis was better than Jimmy Graham. Graham should have been a unanimous pick, but we all know what happened here: some voter decided that he wanted Davis to get some love, and figured he could ensure such accolades by placing Davis on the 2nd team by casting just one vote for him. I love Davis, and think he’s probably an underrated player nationally, but how can anyone give any credibility to this “accomplishment”?
Last year, I wrote an article about Super Bowl squares. Well, it’s that time of year again, so here’s your helpful cheat sheet to win at your Super Bowl party.
Every Super Bowl squares pool is different, but this post is really aimed at readers who play in pools where you can trade or pick squares. I looked at every regular season and postseason game since 2002. The table below shows the likelihood of each score after each quarter, along with three final columns that show the expected value of a $100 prize pool under three different payout systems. The “10/” column shows the payout in a pool where 10% of the prize money is given out after each of the first three quarters and 70% after the end of the game; the next column is for pools that give out 12.5% of the pool after the first and third quarters, 25% at halftime, and 50% for the score at the end of the game. The final column is for pools that give out 25% of the pot after each quarter — since I think that is the most common pool structure, I’ve sorted the table by that column, but you can sort by any column you like. To make the table fully sortable, I had to remove the percentage symbols, but “19, 6.7, 4.1, 2″ should be read as 19.0%, 6.7%, 4.1%, and 2.0%. [click to continue…]
It’s Christmas in January. Again. Thanks to the tireless work of Mike Kania and 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. (You can still thank Neil, although he has now officially moved on.)
Here’s a list of the top 100 players. AV is also listed for each player on each team’s roster page on PFR (for Seattle, it’s Richard Sherman). You can use the PFR player finder for all sorts of AV-related fun, too. For example, you could see the player with the most AV on your favorite team (for the Jets, it’s Muhammad Wilkerson), or by position (among wide receivers, it’s a three-way tie between Antonio Brown, Alshon Jeffery, and Demaryius Thomas), or by age (among those 35 or older, it’s Peyton Manning, or John Abraham for non-quarterbacks; Vontaze Burfict and Luke Kuechly lead the 23-and-younger crowd.)
Here’s a list of the 25 players with an AV of 15+ or greater:
The table below shows the results of every game in the division round of the playoffs from 1990 to 2012. Each game is displayed from the perspective of the home team. For example, last year, Denver hosted Baltimore in the second round of the playoffs, and you can click on the Boxscore link to see the full boxscore at Pro-Football-Reference. Denver lost 38-35 as a 9-point favorite, and the Over/Under was 44.5. The “dnc” means that the Broncos did not cover.
Overall, home teams are 67-25 and 49-42-1 against the spread.
Just a quick data dump here for those inquiring minds. Here are the leaders in NY/A differential, which is simply Net Yards per Attempt (which incorporates sack data) for each team minus the Net Yards per Attempt allowed by that team. Seattle ranks #1 in NY/A differential, as Russell Wilson‘s offense has averaged 6.97 NY/A (which ranks 6th) and the defense has allowed just 4.85 NY/A (which ranks first), giving them a +2.13 NY/A differential.
NY/A A Rk
|4||New Orleans Saints||7.15||4||5.58||7||1.56|
|7||San Francisco 49ers||6.53||10||5.68||9||0.86|
|9||San Diego Chargers||7.54||2||7.1||31||0.44|
|12||New York Giants||5.91||19||5.63||8||0.28|
|13||Green Bay Packers||6.94||7||6.79||25||0.15|
|15||New England Patriots||6.12||15||6||11||0.12|
|21||Kansas City Chiefs||5.69||24||6.2||14||-0.51|
|24||New York Jets||5.56||26||6.3||18||-0.73|
|27||St. Louis Rams||5.77||22||6.75||24||-0.98|
|32||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||5.03||32||6.54||21||-1.51|
On Sunday, Fletcher, a Washington captain, will play in his 256th straight game, the third-longest streak in N.F.L. history for a player who was not a kicker, behind only Brett Favre’s 299 games and Jim Marshall’s 282.
Having somehow survived for 16 seasons without sustaining any kind of disabling injury, all while playing amid the chaos and attrition rates that are parts of an inside linebacker’s life, Fletcher has said he plans to call it quits after Sunday’s game while he is still ahead.
By the end of this week, though, he was hedging a bit, not quite sure he was truly ready to walk away.
Five weeks ago, Fletcher moved ahead of Eugene Robinson, a safety for 16 seasons, and became the career leader in games played by an undrafted defensive player. Earlier this season, he broke Derrick Brooks’s record of 208 consecutive starts at linebacker. On Sunday, Fletcher will start his 216th consecutive game. He has, in effect, dodged a million bullets in a game that is tough for any player to endure physically.
This year, the NFL has eliminated the AFC/NFC distinction, and just selected Pro Bowlers at each position. The results:
Six of the seven rushing leaders, with Gore jumping ahead of Alfred Morris (fifth in rushing yards).
Clear-cut picks if you read my Fullback Report.
Wide receiver: Antonio Brown, Steelers; Dez Bryant, Cowboys; Josh Gordon, Browns; A.J. Green, Bengals; Andre Johnson, Texans; Calvin Johnson, Lions; Brandon Marshall, Bears; Demaryius Thomas, Broncos.
Six of the top 7 leaders in receiving yards made it, with Alshon Jeffery missing out. Marshall is 11th in receiving yards but in the top seven in both receptions and receiving touchdowns, while Bryant ranks 15th in receiving yards but is tied for the lead among wide receivers in touchdowns.
If Cameron had 16 more receiving yards, these would be the top four tight ends in fantasy points. Instead it’s four of the top five, overlooking Tony Gonzalez. There’s a good chance Gonzalez makes his 14th Pro Bowl by the time the game comes around.
If you look at the Patriots’ PFR page, you’ll see that the Patriots are a 10-3team that’s played like an 8-5 team that has a 6-7 record against the spread. I wondered how often a team with such a good record was below average against the spread. The answer: pretty frequently. Which I suppose isn’t too surprising, since Vegas doesn’t like to make it so easy to win money that all you need to do is pick winners.
New England has mirrored its ancestors from 35 years ago, who also started 10-3 but posted a 7-6 record against the spread. The table below shows all teams from 1978 to 2012, excluding the strike years, to win at least 3 more games outright through 13 weeks than against the spread. In an expected turn of events, the top 4 teams on the list all made the Super Bowl in the prior year. That leads to being favored frequently, and if you win enough close games, you’ll make this list.
[click to continue…]
I don’t know if any of us have ever seen a game quite like the end of Baltimore-Minnesota. With 2:05 left in the game, Baltimore faced 4th-and-goal from the Vikings 1-yard line. The Ravens trailed 12-7.
On the next play from scrimmage, Matt Cassel hit Jerome Simpson for 27 yards. With 1:27 left, Toby Gerhart rushed up the middle for a 41-yard touchdown, which looked to be the game winner. The Vikings now led 19-15.
But Jacoby Jones returned the ensuing kickoff for what looked to be a game-winning, 77-yard touchdown, to put Baltimore back on top, 22-19.
Matt Cassel then threw a couple of incompletions, before throwing a screen pass to Cordarrelle Patterson…. that the rookie to the house for a 79-yard touchdown. That looked to be the game-winner, as Minnesota now lead 26-22.
But then Joe Flacco drove the Ravens down the field, and hit Marlon Brown for a nine-yard touchdown with four seconds left, in what was actually the game-winner. Baltimore left with a very unlikely 29-26 victory.
Add in the Cassel-to-Simpson touchdown on the second play of the fourth quarter, and that means there were six touchdowns in the final quarter that were lead-changing scores. That’s an NFL record.
Prior to this game, only four games saw five lead-changing touchdowns in the fourth quarter. A Bills-Raiders Ryan Fitzpatrick/Jason Campbell shootout from 2011, a Bruce Gradkowski-fueled comeback win over Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers in 2009, a Monday Night thriller between the great Mark Sanchez and Chad Henne earlier that same season, and a Giants-Cardinals shootout from 1962. Hat/tip to the great Scott Hanson for alerting me to the record.
I contributed to this New York Times graphic regarding the Jets struggles.
Cleveland’s Josh Gordon caught 14 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers last week. Against the Jaguars this afternoon, Gordon caught 10 passes for 261 yards and two scores. In the process, he became the first player to ever record back-to-back 200+ yard receiving games, and set an NFL record with 498 receiving yards in two games.
The table below shows the 53 players to record 350 receiving yards in back-to-back games from 1960 to 2012. Until this year, Houston’s Andre Johnson had the modern record for receiving yards in consecutive games, set just last season. Then Calvin Johnson had 484 yards in two straight games, setting a record that stood for all of five weeks.
|2001-09-30||NWE||CLT -11.5||13-23, 159 yds, 0 TD, 0 Int, 6.63 ANYPA||25-43, 240 yds, 1 TD, 3 Int, 2.72 ANYPA||+3.91, NWE||44-13, NWE|
|2001-10-21||CLT||CLT -10.5||17-21, 262 yds, 4 TD, 0 Int, 16.29 ANYPA||22-34, 305 yds, 1 TD, 0 Int, 8.55 ANYPA||+7.73, NWE||38-17, NWE|
|2003-11-30||CLT||CLT -3.5||26-35, 226 yds, 2 TD, 2 Int, 4.76 ANYPA||29-48, 272 yds, 4 TD, 1 Int, 6.14 ANYPA||+1.38, CLT||38-34, NWE|
|2004-01-18 (C)||NWE||NWE -3.5||22-37, 237 yds, 1 TD, 1 Int, 5.73 ANYPA||23-47, 208 yds, 1 TD, 4 Int, 0.94 ANYPA||+4.79, NWE||24-14, NWE|
|2004-09-09||NWE||NWE -3||26-38, 320 yds, 3 TD, 1 Int, 8.38 ANYPA||16-29, 244 yds, 2 TD, 1 Int, 7.97 ANYPA||+0.41, NWE||27-24, NWE|
|2005-01-16 (D)||NWE||NWE -1||18-27, 115 yds, 1 TD, 0 Int, 4.50 ANYPA||27-42, 230 yds, 0 TD, 1 Int, 4.30 ANYPA||+0.20, NWE||20-3, NWE|
|2005-11-07||NWE||CLT -3||25-40, 254 yds, 3 TD, 0 Int, 7.48 ANYPA||28-37, 321 yds, 3 TD, 1 Int, 9.08 ANYPA||+1.60, CLT||40-21, CLT|
|2006-11-05||NWE||NWE -2.5||20-35, 201 yds, 0 TD, 4 Int, 0.60 ANYPA||20-36, 301 yds, 2 TD, 1 Int, 7.59 ANYPA||+6.99, CLT||27-20, CLT|
|2007-01-21 (C)||CLT||CLT -3||21-34, 226 yds, 1 TD, 1 Int, 5.74 ANYPA||27-47, 330 yds, 1 TD, 1 Int, 6.10 ANYPA||+0.36, CLT||38-34, CLT|
|2007-11-04||CLT||NWE -5||21-32, 237 yds, 3 TD, 2 Int, 6.09 ANYPA||16-27, 210 yds, 1 TD, 1 Int, 6.17 ANYPA||+0.08, CLT||24-20, NWE|
|2009-11-15||CLT||CLT -1.5||29-42, 364 yds, 3 TD, 1 Int, 8.61 ANYPA||28-44, 316 yds, 4 TD, 2 Int, 6.80 ANYPA||+1.81, NWE||35-34, CLT|
|2010-11-21||NWE||NWE -4.5||19-25, 178 yds, 2 TD, 0 Int, 8.38 ANYPA||38-52, 396 yds, 4 TD, 3 Int, 6.56 ANYPA||+1.83, NWE||31-28, NWE|
|2012-10-07||NWE||NWE -6||23-31, 193 yds, 1 TD, 0 Int, 6.09 ANYPA||31-44, 324 yds, 3 TD, 0 Int, 8.35 ANYPA||+2.26, DEN||31-21, NWE|
|2013-11-24||NWE||DEN -2.5||34-50, 324 yds, 3 TD, 0 Int, 7.25 ANYPA||19-36, 132 yds, 2 TD, 1 Int, 3.34 ANYPA||+3.90, NWE||34-31, NWE|
(I originally posted this at the S-R Blog, but I thought it would be very appropriate here as well.)
It is not, however, the worst by combined PPG margin. That honor belongs to this 1972 game between the 2-5 Patriots and the 1-6 Colts (Baltimore ended up winning 24-17):
Anyway, today’s post is basically a data dump to let everyone know we’ve extended TRY data back to 1950 (before, it was only computed for post-merger seasons). Here are the new all-time career leaders among players who debuted in 1950 or later (see below for a key to the column abbreviations):
[click to continue…]
An interesting tweet from Adam Schefter today: Matt Ryan has 56 regular season wins in his first five seasons, the most in NFL history. Ryan has started 78 games, one of only three quarterbacks (Peyton Manning, Joe Flacco) to start at least 75 games in their first five seasons.
I thought it would be interesting to take a look at not just quarterback wins, but quarterback winning percentage (minimum: 15 wins) and wins minus losses (as a compromise between winning percentage and wins). As it turns out, Ryan ranks 1st in wins, 7th in winning percentage, and 1st in wins over losses (or wins over .500) among all quarterbacks to enter the league since 1960.
Win % Rk
|Dave M. Brown||1994||20||27||0||47||0.426||-7||95||109||107|
Of course, having a good (or bad) winning percentage early in a quarterback’s career doesn’t tell us how much of a “winner” that quarterback will be in the future.
(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 of the ball they specialize in), and attempts to figure out the general offensive family (i.e. Air Coryell, Erhardt-Perkins, etc) each team-season fell into.
THIS IS BY NO MEANS COMPLETE. In fact, it’s very much incomplete at this stage — and that’s where you come in. In the comments of this post, or in an email, we’d love to hear corrections and/or additions to the data, if you see an entry about which you know more than we do (and it’s a good bet you do). Thanks in advance for your help, and hopefully we can assemble a more complete listing of teams’ systems/schemes, which will let us do things like compute splits vs. a certain type of offense or defense, analyze whether 4-3 or 3-4 defenses were better in a given season, etc.
So let those corrections/additions pour in!
Long-time commenter Richie has been kind enough to create an Elo Ranking System where users can rank each of the 32 teams in the NFL. He’s hosting it on his site, but has come up with a Football Perspective-sounding url for us:
You can read more about how Elo Rankings work here, but the beauty is in its simplicity. All you need to do is answer one question: is Team A or Team B going to be better in 2013?
Vote early and often. The more results, the better. And please share with your friends. It will be fun to see what the wisdom of crowds tells us about team strength as we gear up for the 2013 season.
And a big thanks again to Richie for doing all the legwork!
On September 13, 2008, Doug Drinen wrote this post, which I reproduce in full below.
With the combination arrest/release of Aaron Hernandez stacked upon five surgeries in seven months for Rob Gronkowski and the departure of Wes Welker to Denver, it’s fair to say that many are wondering about the fate of the New England passing game. In addition to those three, Tom Brady is without Brandon Lloyd (free agent) and Danny Woodhead (San Diego), the fourth and fifth leading receivers on the 2012 Patriots. As Jason Lisk pointed out, that puts Brady in historically bad territory when it comes to roster turnover.
I’m hearing and reading a lot of crazy stuff this week.
So I just want to document my predictions that (a) the Patriots will win at least 11 games this year, (b) the Patriots will clinch the East before week 17, and (c) Matt Cassel will be a top-12 fantasy quarterback from here out.
That is all.
So today’s post doubles as a temperature check and a contest entry. Please predict the following for Tom Brady in 2013, based on the assumption that he is responsible for 99.4% of all Patriots pass attempts by quarterbacks for the second year in a row. To the extent he is not, I will pro-rate his numbers for purposes of judging the contest. To enter, simply copy and paste this table below in the comments and fill out each line.
Brady’s number of pass attempts:
Brady’s number of passing yards:
Brady’s number of passing touchdowns:
Brady’s number of interceptions:
Brady’s number of sacks:
Brady’s number of sack yards lost:
[click to continue…]
Last week Chase announced this contest in honor of Football Perspective’s first birthday. Here’s the backstory…
A couple of years ago, I moved. The house I was moving into, like many houses, had walls. The walls did not have artwork pre-installed, so I spent a good six months of my life obsessed with finding good wall-art. Somewhere in there, I stumbled on the open-source visualization program called Gephi. It looked super-cool, so I decided to play around with it.
The bug/bean/Australia/peanut/hairball Chase posted last week is the result. In addition to framing one for my own wall, I framed one each for Chase and Lisk, and I mailed them off. I don’t use the word “hero” very often, but really, what other word is there for someone who is talented enough to create world-class art and generous enough to send it to his friends? This was a good thing I had done. So what’s a hero to do when he is told, tactfully of course, by both Chase and Lisk, that his art kinda sucks? I thought the bean’s worth was self-evident.
The mechanics are straightforward. I don’t even remember the specifics but, as you all figured out, this is a roster of the best players in modern-ish NFL/AFL history. The size of a player’s dot represents his quality, as measured by career AV or 100-95-90-… AV — I can’t remember which. The strength of a connection between two players is the number of games they played with and against each other. So Peyton Manning is strongly connected to Marvin Harrison, less connected to Tom Brady, still less connected to Brian Urlacher, and not at all connected to Dan Fouts or Bill George. The layout was determined by Gephi’s “force atlas” algorithm. My understanding is that it pretends the connections are elastic bands — the stronger the connection the tauter the band — and then lets the physics take over. Manning and Harrison naturally end up close together because they are connected by a tight band. Urlacher sort of wants to be close to Manning, but there are tighter bands pulling him in other directions so he doesn’t get too close. He does get closer than Dan Fouts does, though.
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On June 15, 2012, I launched Football Perspective. Since that day, Football Perspective has posted a new article every single day. This the site’s 445th 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. To get in on the celebration, you can enter the Football Perspective Birthday Contest.
A couple of weeks ago, I thanked many of my friends and colleagues who helped mold me into the writer and person I am today. All of those people are responsible for this site getting to see its first birthday, so I thank them again right now. I also want to give an added thank you to Neil, who occasionally adds another voice to this site and is a wonderful sounding board. And I want to thank you, the reader: without you, there wouldn’t be a site. It means a lot to me that you’ve chosen to come here and stop by every day, once or week, or whenever you like.
I checked the stats, and the five most viewed posts in Football Perspective history were:
- What are the odds of that? – July 23rd
- The youngest and oldest NFL teams in 2012 – March 19th
- The best drafting teams from 2000 to 2007 – March 26th
- Chip Kelly is as likely to be the next great coach as anyone else – November 15th
- The History of Black Quarterbacks in the NFL – February 13th
If you’ve been to this site, there’s a good chance you’ve read at least one of those posts. But to the newer readers, I thought I’d take a quick a stroll through the Historical Archive and point out some of my more memorable (at least, for me) articles.
- Before last season, I looked at running back records in the context of Steven Jackson‘s adjusted sub-.300 career winning percentage. And now he’s on a Super Bowl contender in Atlanta.
- I projected Peyton Manning to help the 2012 Broncos set the record for the largest increase in pass completions in a post-Tim Tebow world. That’s one prediction that came true.
- I enjoyed researching this post from before the 2012 season that seems even more true today: unlike for most of NFL history, the best quarterbacks are now passing most frequently. That’s one of the reasons the league average passing averages are rising.
- Does it get any worse than predicting Jacksonville Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey to win Coach of the Year?
- One of my favorite posts ever breaks down what percentage of each receiver’s yards came from which quarterback.
- Before the season, I highlighted how impressive it was for Ray Lewis and London Fletcher to still compete at high levels. Fletcher is back for 2013, which is mind-boggling for an inside linebacker.
- Neil wrote a really interesting article last October: how to estimate NFL win probabilities for matchups between teams of various records – Neil is a very smart dude.
- I argued against taking a left tackle high in the draft a few months before three teams took right tackles with the first four picks. Nice.
- In November, I said Joe Flacco had the 9th most ‘it’ of any quarterback in the NFL. You might think that rating was off, but I’d argue that my low ranking of his “it” caused him to have even more ‘it’ going forward, which ended up in a Super Bowl victory.
- On December 1st, I noticed that the Buccaneers were in the midst of one of the greatest statistical turnarounds ever. As it turned out, Tampa Bay jumped from 32nd and 31st in rushing yards allowed and yards per carry allowed in 2011 to 1st in both categories in 2012.
- In December, Larry Fitzgerald caused me to look at other great receivers who had terrible years in their primes. The two most promising examples were Randy Moss and Steve Smith, who rebounded with new quarterbacks (Tom Brady, Cam Newton) in Year N+1. Will Carson Palmer be enough of an upgrade for Fitzgerald?
- We’ve done a lot of data dumps here at Football Perspective, but Neil’s post of SOS-adjusted Pythagorean Records for every team since 1970 may set the record for packing the most information into one post.
- I know I’m a sucker for graphs, but I loved how this graph on passing turned out.
- My playoff predictions: Denver 31, Baltimore 13 based on stats; Baltimore 23, New England 21 based on gut; San Francisco 27, Baltimore 21 based on Xs and Os. I am sure we can all learn a valuable lesson here. I just don’t know what it is.
- I had no idea that pick-sixes were steadily rising before shooting through the roof in 2012.
- My most time-consuming project might have been figuring out the salary cap values for veteran players.
- I think the discovery that scoring is 60% of the game has a lot of applications.
If you had a favorite post or two from this year, let me know in the comments. One of my goals for Year Two is to get comments section to become a little more active.
Brandon Jackson rushed for 115 yards in an overtime loss against the Redskins on October 10, 2010. How long ago was that? Washington’s quarterback that day was Donovan McNabb. Two months later, Jackson rushed for 99 yards in a loss in Foxboro, and Ryan Grant had 92 rushing yards in a September victory in Chicago in 2011, but no Packer has hit the century mark in a regular season game since October 10th, 2010. (It’s worth noting that James Starks rushed for 123 yards in a playoff victory against the Eagles in the 2010 playoffs, but NFL game streaks routinely exclude postseason performances.)
The table below lists all teams since 1960 to go at least 32 games without a 100-yard rusher. Here’s how the second row of the table reads: The Washington Redskins went 72 games without a 100-yard rusher. The team’s last 100-yard rusher came in a game on December 17, 1961, and the streak finally ended on September 24, 1967. The player to break the streak was Bobby Mitchell, and you can see the boxscore from that game in the final column.
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