The Least/Most Lucky Teams When It Comes To Rings

April 22, 2014 History

By now, you know about guest blogger Andrew Healy, an economics professor at Loyola Marymount University and author of today’s post. There’s now a tag at the site where you can find all of his great work. He’s back with a cap to his excellent series about playoff performance, and today’s post will not disappoint: […]

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Running backs getting shorter and heavier

April 20, 2014 History

In December, I noted that fewer rushing yards are coming from first round picks. That’s a trend that seems very likely to continue in 2014, and perhaps for the foreseeable future. As it turns out, running backs are also getting shorter and heavier. LeSean McCoy, Alfred Morris, Frank Gore, Knowshon Moreno, Zac Stacy, DeAngelo Williams, […]

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Ranking the Almost Dynasties, Part II

April 15, 2014 History

Andrew Healy is back with a sequel to his popular post. As always, we thank him for his generous contributions. Andrew Healy is an economics professor at Loyola Marymount University. He is a big fan of the New England Patriots and Joe Benigno. A couple of weeks ago, I went decade-by-decade since the 1970 AFL-NFL […]

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Head Coach Retention Rates

April 7, 2014 Coaches

In the footnotes (always read the footnotes!) to one of Neil’s posts at 538, he included a fun chart displaying the likelihood that a baseball manager would be retained by his team X seasons from now. That made me wonder: what is the NFL head coach retention rate? And, as is often assumed by the […]

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A Passing League

April 6, 2014 History

In some ways, the premise of this post is geeky even for this site. And that’s saying something. There is a debate over the proper way to measure league average. For example, when we say the average completion percentage in the NFL is 61.2%, this is generally assumed to reflect the fact that in 2013, […]

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Scoring Distribution Since 1940

April 3, 2014 History

We all know that scoring is on the rise. The 2013 season was the highest scoring season in NFL history, just narrowly edging out the … 1948, 1950, and 2012 seasons. Scoring soared in the aftermath of World War II, but quickly dropped off in the middle of the 1950s. Scoring fell to its nadir […]

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The Best Kickoff Returners in NFL History

April 2, 2014 History

Two weeks ago, I looked at the best punt returners in NFL history; today, a look at the top kickoff returners. Again, we begin with a graph of the league average yards per kickoff return from 1941 through 2013. The variation here has been relatively minor, falling in a 5-yard window from 18.9 yards per […]

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Ranking The Almost Dynasties

April 1, 2014 History

A couple of weeks ago, Andrew Healy contributed a guest post titled, “One Play Away.” He’s back at it today, and we thank him for another generous contribution. Andrew Healy is an economics professor at Loyola Marymount University. He is a big fan of the New England Patriots and Joe Benigno. What teams do we […]

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How will DeSean Jackson age?

March 25, 2014 History

If you believe the rumors, the Eagles are desperately trying to trade wide receiver DeSean Jackson; absent an eligible suitor, and Philadelphia may even cut the three-time Pro Bowler. This is a pretty weird situation; what’s even weirder is how few tangible reasons have been given as to why the Eagles desire to remove him […]

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Which Quarterbacks Produced Peak Years For Their Receivers?

March 23, 2014 History

Some quarterbacks and wide receivers just go together. Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison. Dan Marino and Mark Clayton and Mark Duper. Joe Namath and Don Maynard. John Hadl and Lance Alworth. But quarterbacks play with lots of receivers, and receivers generally play with several quarterbacks. We don’t remember most combinations, but that doesn’t mean they […]

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The Best Punt Returners in NFL History

March 17, 2014 History

Six years ago, I wrote a series of posts looking at the best returners in NFL history. Today, I want to update that list by examining the best punt returners in NFL history. As with most statistics, yards per punt return has fluctuated throughout most of NFL history. The graph below shows the average in […]

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Homer Jones Is the Leader in Average Length of Receiving Touchdown

March 16, 2014 History

In November, I noted that Chris Johnson was the career leader in average length of rushing touchdown. Since then, he’s actually dropped to number two, as his six rushing touchdowns covered “only” 84 yards in November and December. But what about the career leader in average length of receiving touchdown? That title belongs to former […]

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One Play Away

March 10, 2014 History

Football Perspective accepts guest posts, and Andrew Healy submitted the following post. And it’s outstanding. Andrew Healy is an economics professor at Loyola Marymount University. He is a big fan of the New England Patriots and Joe Benigno. The Catch. The Immaculate Reception. The Fumble. We remember all these plays, but which mattered the most? […]

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Does Vegas undervalue bad teams and overvalue good teams?

March 8, 2014 History

The prevailing view is that Vegas is an example of an efficient market. If there were obvious trends that oddsmakers ignored, it would be easy for people to make money gambling on football, and we know that’s not the case. But I thought it would be interesting to investigate some claims I’ve heard over the […]

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Comparing The Stats Of Terry Bradshaw And Kurt Warner

March 5, 2014 History

Terry Bradshaw finished his career with 212 touchdowns, 210 interceptions and a 70.9 passer rating. Kurt Warner threw 208 touchdowns against only 128 interceptions, and his 93.7 passer rating ranks 8th in NFL history and 2nd among retired players. But Bradshaw played from 1970 to 1982, while Warner played from 1998 to 2009. As a […]

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The 1956 NFL Season: The Forward Pass on Life Support

February 25, 2014 History

The history of offense in the NFL is not a linear one. The early ’70s was the dead-ball era of the passing game, and it’s largely true that pass frequency and efficiency have steadily increased since then. But NFL teams passed more frequently in the ’60s than they did in the ’70s, and passing ratios […]

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Estimated DVOA Ratings From 1950 to 2013

February 23, 2014 History

For over a decade, Football Outsiders has been publishing its DVOA grades. Last week, Andreas Shepard, a loyal reader of both FO and this site, came up with estimated DVOA ratings going back to 1950. You can read the fine print on how he derived the formula in the Methodology section at the end of […]

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Should Division Winners Get Home Field?

February 20, 2014 History

In the 2013 playoffs, the 12-4 San Francisco 49ers had to play a road game against the 8-7-1 Green Bay Packers. It’s hard to justify situations like this, especially when the NFC West was one of the best divisions in football history and the NFC North was below average. Division winners are automatically given a […]

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The Best Scoring Offenses Since 1932

February 6, 2014 History

On Monday, I looked at the greatest defenses — measured simply by points allowed and adjusted for strength of schedule — in NFL history. Today, I want to look at which offenses were the greatest in regular season history, and see where the 2013 Broncos stack up. As noted in the post on defenses, during […]

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The Best Scoring Defenses In NFL History

February 3, 2014 Defense

Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks and their fans on winning Super Bowl XLVIII. With the win, Seattle has confirmed its status as one of the greatest defenses in NFL history. The Seahawks defense produced a game for the ages on Sunday: facing Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, and one of the greatest offenses ever, Seattle’s defense […]

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Super Bowl XLVIII: The Greatest Passing Showdown Ever

January 27, 2014 History

Regular readers know I’m not prone to exaggeration. I’m more of a splits happen kind of guy. But Super Bowl XLVIII will, in my opinion, be the greatest passing showdown ever. This year’s Super Bowl checks in as the greatest offensive/defensive showdown in Super Bowl history (and the greatest of any game, regular or postseason, […]

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Are Teams Afraid To Pass Against Seattle?

January 26, 2014 History

We know that the Seahawks pass defense is historically good, but the title of this post sounds like it was written by a Seahawks homer, right? I mean, who else besides a green-and-blue fanboy (or maybe Richard Sherman or Earl Thomas) would write something as absurd as “Seattle’s pass defense is so good that teams […]

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The NFC West Won 75% of Non-Division Games

January 23, 2014 History

It was a very good year for the NFC West. Seattle is heading to Super Bowl XLVIII, as king of the best division in football. To get to MetLife Stadium, the Seahawks had to defeat the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, which is only fitting after the scorched-earth run by the division during the […]

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Super Bowl Metrics

January 19, 2014 History

The table below shows each Super Bowl champion since 1970 and its rank in various categories. At the top, I’ve included an average of the ranks of the teams over the last 10 years and since 1970, and each team is hyperlinked to its Pro-Football-Reference team page. The categories in this first table are record, […]

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Trivia Podcast with Jason Lisk of The Big Lead

January 7, 2014 History

Longtime readers know that Jason and I started together at the Pro-Football-Reference blog. Over there, Doug, Jason, and I would compete in trivia podcasts from time to time, which was as geeky as you think it is. Well, Jason and I got together last week and asked each other multiple questions in three separate categories. […]

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Checkdowns: Division Round Results From 1990-2012

January 5, 2014 Checkdowns

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 […]

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Bottom Five Scoring Offenses and the fates of the HC, OC, and QB

January 2, 2014 Coaches

It stands to reason that when a team has a bottom five scoring offense, they’re going to make some changes. But today we’re going to quantify what we all know. By definition, there were 55 teams to rank in the bottom five in scoring from 2002 to 2012. What changes did those teams make? 29 […]

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Ryan Tannehill had one of the worst passing games ever

December 28, 2013 History

Did you happen to notice the stat line produced by Ryan Tannehill last week? He completed just 10 of 27 passes for only 82 yards in a 19-0 loss to the Bills. A 37% completion rate and a 3.0 yards per attempt average are ugly numbers in their own right, but Tannehill was also sacked […]

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More Impressive Passing TD Record: Manning 2013 or Marino 1984?

December 26, 2013 History

With one game remaining, Peyton Manning has already set the new single-season record with 51 passing touchdowns (two months ago, I projected Manning to finish the season with 52 touchdowns). But all records must be viewed in their environment, and NFL teams are averaging 1.58 touchdown passes per team game this year, the highest average […]

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Fewer Rushing Yards Are Coming From High Draft Picks

December 21, 2013 History

In 1990, there were 22 running backs who rushed for at least 700 yards. Of those players, Barry Sanders, Ottis Anderson, Sammie Smith, John L. Williams, Emmitt Smith, John Stephens, Lorenzo White, James Brooks, Cleveland Gary, and Neal Anderson were former first round picks. In addition, Bobby Humphrey, Mike Rozier, and Kevin Mack were selected […]

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