Predictions: Rob Gronkowski’s Chances of Making it Through the Season

August 13, 2014 Statistics

In the 2011 AFC Championship Game against the Ravens, Bernard Pollard happened to Rob Gronkowski. And the Patriots offense ground to a halt for the rest of the game before being held to just 17 points in the Super Bowl.1 In 2012, it was a freak injury on an extra point and then a reinjury […]

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The Value of a First Down

June 25, 2014 Statgeekery

What is the value of a first down? By that I mean, how many marginal yards is a first down actually worth? Here’s another way to word the question: If 3 first downs and 80 yards are worth X, then 2 first downs and [???] many yards are equal to X? Calculating the marginal value […]

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Vikings, Jaguars, differ on approaches to finding a quarterback

May 19, 2014 Draft

Interesting tidbit from Peter King this week about how the Vikings nearly acquired Johnny Manziel: As the picks went by, starting soon after the Rams chose at 13, Cleveland GM Ray Farmer worked the phones, trying to find a partner to move up from their second pick in the round (26th overall) to grab Manziel. […]

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Analyzing Position Values In the 2014 Drafts

May 12, 2014 Draft

The 2014 NFL Draft is in the books. The three-day event gives us a unique peek behind the NFL curtain; teams can and do say all sorts of ridiculous things, but the way the draft unfolds is the ultimate in what economists refer to as a revealed preference. For example, NFL decision makers might say […]

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Which Teams Exercised Fifth Year Options For 2011 First Rounders?

May 2, 2014 Current Events

As part of the new collective bargaining agreement, most rookies sign four-year contracts. But as further evidence of the owners’ success during negotiations in connection with the 2011 lockout, teams were granted a club option for a fifth year for all players selected in the first round. The option is only guaranteed for injury, however, […]

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Analyzing the last ten years of trading for future first round picks

April 28, 2014 Draft

Last Wednesday, I looked at every time a team traded away a future first round draft pick in the last ten years. Today, the reverse: the times a team traded for a future first round pick.  I’ll again be focusing on the general manager or other person responsible for making the trade: that’s because future […]

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Analyzing the last ten years of trading away future first round picks

April 23, 2014 Draft

When a general manager trades away a future first round pick, it’s worth wondering if the transaction was the effect of the principal-agent problem. A general manager is supposed to act in the best interest of the franchise, but he may instead choose to act in his own self-interest. If he’s on the hot seat, […]

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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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Film Room: Manning against Seattle in the preseason

January 21, 2014 Strategy

On August 17th, Denver traveled to Seattle for each team’s second game of the preseason. Some people think the preseason is meaningless, but I thought it would be worthwhile to rewatch the first half of that game. If you’re interested, there were a pair of good recaps written in August from Field Gulls, the Seattle […]

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Cap Space Versus Production For DEN/NE/SF/SEA

January 16, 2014 Strategy

It’s not much of a stretch to say that the Patriots, Broncos, 49ers, and Seahawks, and are four of the best organizations in the NFL. Over the last two years, these four teams are the only to win 23 games in the regular season or 26 games if you include the playoffs. In the salary […]

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Trailing in the 4th quarter, send out the kicker!

October 3, 2013 Coaches

Through four weeks, there have been 28 cases where a team, trailing in the 4th quarter, sent in the kicker or the punter. In general, that’s a pretty low rate — it’s just under once every two games. But while going for it on 4th down isn’t always the right decision when trailing in the […]

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Chip Kelly, Two Point Conversions, and Failing Unconventionally

September 28, 2013 Strategy

“Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for the reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally.” – John M. Keynes. Last Thursday night, Chip Kelly was widely criticized for an unconventional decision that turned out to be unsuccessful. Trailing 10-0 in the first quarter against the Chiefs, Michael Vick threw a 22-yard touchdown pass […]

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Chuck Pagano Went For 1 Up 12 With Under Five Minutes Remaining

September 27, 2013 Coaches

I can’t believe I’m writing this article. Everyone loves Chuck Pagano, but he made a pretty embarrassing blunder at the end of the Colts upset win in San Francisco on Sunday. The Colts led 13-7 when Andrew Luck scrambled for a six yard touchdown on 3rd-and-3 with just over four minutes left in the fourth […]

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2013 RSP Football Writers Project: My Picks in Rounds 12 through 17

May 11, 2013 Strategy

Previously on the 2013 RSP Football Writers Project… Introduction/My Picks in Rounds 1 and 2 My Pick in Round 3 My Picks in Rounds 4 and 5 My Picks in Rounds 6 through 11 You can also view every pick in this draft recap. Rounds 12/13 Already on team: QB Josh Freeman, WR Julio Jones, […]

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Are Big School Prospects Overrated in the NFL Draft?

April 24, 2013 Draft

We already know what the average draft pick is worth, thanks to the Football Perspective Draft Value Chart. If we assign the draft value associated with each pick to the college of that player, then we can determine which school had the most draft value in any given year. As it turns out, the best […]

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Which positions are most consistent from year to year?

April 9, 2013 Strategy

Here’s the introduction to an old fantasy football article by my fellow Footballguys staffer Maurile Tremblay: In most fantasy football leagues, eligible players are divided into 6 different positions: quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, placekicker, and special teams/defense. Imagine a league that includes a seventh position, team captain, which earns points each week […]

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How can teams best take advantage of the rookie salary cap?

March 18, 2013 Draft

[Special thanks goes out to my co-writer Maurile Tremblay for his help in co-authoring this piece with me. Any points with which you may disagree are almost certainly due to my error, and not Maurile's.] The new NFL collective bargaining agreement that ended the 2011 lockout instituted some pretty big changes to the salary […]

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My thoughts on trading Darrelle Revis

March 8, 2013 Strategy

There are four things the Jets could do with Darrelle Revis. Option 1: Trade him before the draft to the team (not in the AFC East or in New York) willing to offer the most. Option 2: Trade him during the five-month period after the draft but before the trading deadline, under the assumption that […]

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2013 RSP Football Writers Project: My Round 3 Pick

March 7, 2013 Strategy

On Tuesday, I discussed the RSP Football Writers Project, a 32-team start-up draft of every player in the NFL.  I was assigned the 32nd pick, which does bring with it one advantage.  In order to balance the values assigned with the random draft order, the selection picks for the third round is “reversed”, a common […]

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2013 RSP Football Writers Project: My Picks in Rounds 1 and 2

March 5, 2013 Strategy

Matt Waldman and Sigmund Bloom are once again running the RSP Football Writers Project this off-season. Last year, a salary cap value was assigned to each player and we were asked to assemble our team within the confines of a salary cap. You can see my team here, but my basic philosophy was to invest […]

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John Harbaugh outcoaches Jim Harbaugh, wins Super Bowl

February 5, 2013 Coaches

“He’s the best coach in football right now.” That was what John Harbaugh said about his little brother after the game. It’s hard to argue: I’ve said a few times that I think Jim Harbaugh is the best coach in the league, too. (Although I gave my mythical COTY vote to Pete Carroll.) It was […]

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From the Colorado School of Mines to the NFL

December 15, 2012 Coaches

Unless you follow Division II football, you probably aren’t familiar with the name Bob Stitt. He’s the head coach at the Colorado School of Mines, and here is what Bruce Feldman wrote about him in the summer of 2011 in connection with the One-Back Clinic, an annual meeting of a few of the sharpest minds […]

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What to do on 4th-and-7 in No Man’s Land

December 14, 2012 Coaches

Twice in close games in the last month, an NFL team has arrived at a three-way junction with seemingly no desirable path. In each case, the team faced a 4th and 7 from so-called ‘no man’s land.’ On November 25th, trailing the Atlanta Falcons 24-23, the Buccaneers had the ball on 4th and 7 from […]

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Interview with Aaron Schatz

November 28, 2012 Strategy

Last week, I sat down with Brian Burke and discussed the work he’s done with NFL teams. Aaron Schatz, founder of Football Outsiders, an indispensable resource for fans of advanced football statistics, has been consulting with NFL teams for years. Schatz is also the lead writer, editor, and statistician on the book series Football Outsiders […]

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Checkdowns: Lane Kiffin’s 4th down decision

November 26, 2012 Checkdowns

Lane Kiffin is not a very good coach, and that’s putting it mildly. He’s one of the most hated men in college football and he’s the face of a USC team that has had the worst season of any preseason favorite since at least 1964. With a 7-5 record, no one is defending Lane Kiffin. […]

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Are advanced statistical analysts the next Pete Gogolak – Part I

November 20, 2012 Strategy

You know the name Pete Gogolak, don’t you? The former Buffalo Bill placekicker is a famous figure in football history for two reasons. First, he played a key role in the merger between the AFL and NFL in the 1960s.1 He’s also remembered for what he did on the field: Gogolak is widely credited with […]

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Mike Mularkey went for it on 4th and 10 in overtime

November 19, 2012 Coaches

With 2:36 remaining in overtime, the Jacksonville Jaguars were at the Houston 47-yard line. It was 4th-and-10, following two short incomplete passes that were sandwiched around a run for no gain. Surprisingly, Mike Mularkey kept his offense on the field. The only similar example I can find of such an aggressive move in this situation […]

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Checkdowns: Are teams more risk-averse than ever in 2012?

November 17, 2012 Checkdowns

Scott Kacsmar posted an interesting article yesterday, noting that teams are punting or kicking on 4th down in 2012 more frequently than at any other time in the last 20 years. So far in 2012, just 1.27% of all plays are 4th down attempts. Scott also noted that teams have been less aggressive on 4th […]

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Creating a NFL draft value chart, Part I

November 13, 2012 Draft

Nearly five years ago, I came out with my own draft value chart to replace the “Jimmy Johnson” draft chart commonly cited by draftniks. What I did then was assign the career approximate value grade to each slot for each player drafted over a 30-year period, smoothed the data, and came up with a chart […]

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A good shorthand to remember whether or not to go for 2

November 12, 2012 Coaches

Falcons head coach Mike Smith made a couple of interesting decisions in the 4th quarter of Atlanta’s loss to the Saints on Sunday. And by interesting, I mean conservative. The first strategic blunder came when his team scored a touchdown with 13 minutes remaining, to cut the lead to 28-23 pending the point after. Smith’s […]

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