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Football Perspective asks: How can I improve the site?

by Chase Stuart on March 24, 2013

in Uncategorized

I’m usually the one doing the talking, but we’ve got a long off-season ahead of us. I generally advise people interested in becoming writers to write what they want to write about, but it’s also important to give your audience the type of writing they want to read.

This week I looked at a wide range of topics. Monday’s post was about how can teams best take advantage of the rookie salary cap, which fits into the football strategy and theory parts of Football Perspective. On Tuesday, I went all statgeekery on you with a look at the youngest and oldest teams in the NFL last year.

I changed courses on Wednesday and went the player profile route with an in-depth look at Arrelious Benn, while on Thursday I did a social economics-style post when I examined the correlation between birth months and making the NFL. On Friday, I did the sort of data dump that was a specialty at PFR with a post about players who played with the most coaches.

Those are five very different types of posts, and I like to think that there’s generally an wide variety of posts at Football Perspective. But I’d like to make the site as reader-friendly as possible, and I know there are some devoted readers who check in every day. If I can produce content you’re interested in reading about, all the better.

So, how can I improve the site? What would you like to read about? Nothing is off-limits, so make your suggestions in the comments.

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam March 24, 2013 at 12:43 am

I have a specific question I’d be curious to know the answer to. Don’t know if that is what you’re looking for here. If it is, I’m curious whether you or anyone else has ever looked at whether certain players are actually “injury prone.” Certainly some players have particular injuries which reoccur, but, besides that, is there any evidence that past injuries are predictive of future ones? Teams seem to act as if they are, but I’m pretty skeptical–seems like a classic case of over-active pattern recognition, like the hot hand or Kickers’ records in “clutch” situations. Of course distinguishing reoccurring injuries from novel ones may not be possible given available data.

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Chase Stuart March 24, 2013 at 10:45 am

It’s a great question, Sam. I have never been a big fan of the injury prone label, and I sort of hit on that in this post on Darren McFadden: http://www.footballperspective.com/random-perspective-on-the-2012-oakland-raiders/

I think the issue is every injury is different, making it hard to compare apples to apples (and grouping all injuries together is tough, too). There are certain styles that you would think could lead to more injuries (slot receiver who takes a lot of hits vs. a Randy Moss type, running quarterbacks vs. a quarterback like Peyton Manning (but not Ben Roethlisberger)) but even then the sample sizes are too small to really be confident about anything.

That said, injury data is becoming more readily available, so we might be able to make some progress on this at some point.

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Sam March 24, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Thanks for the response, and I should say that, like other readers, I enjoy everything on here. I started reading your site last season as I’ve gotten more interested in analytics, but you must have put that post up before I started reading you.

I wonder if an easier question to test might be whether bigger players (using BMI maybe?) are less prone to injury than smaller players. That seems to be the standard assumption, but its not obvious physically that it should be true. If you looked at all wide receivers, for example, you might get a big enough data set. Or perhaps college receivers? Wouldn’t answer the “injury prone” question but it would still be interesting.

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Chase Stuart March 24, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Good stuff, Sam. I know many have tried to look into this (myself and others at FBG, I’m sure the FO guys have done some studies, etc.) and I don’t think anyone has ever found anything too definitive. But I think this is a good thing to put on the to-do list. I know PFR has added some injury report data which could help.

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Danny Tuccitto March 24, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Ask keeper of the FO injury database, I’ll echo Chase here: Properly examining the “injury prone” question is HARD. More than anything else, it’s hard because of measurement error in the data. Here’s what I mean by that. If a guy is listed on the injury report with a “foot” injury, what exactly does that mean for his recovery timetable given that the foot has a ton of different bones and soft tissue? If a guy is listed as probable, is he really “injured?” Hell, with NE this year, we can’t be so sure even questionable players are actually hurt that bad. While it’s certainly better to have a database like ours than NOT to have it, there’s just a ton of noise in the data. In both of these situations, we’re captives to the question, “How hurt is this guy REALLY (if at all)?” And if the answer is to only look at doubtfuls, outs, IRs, and PUPs, then we’re really restricting our sample to the point of introducing a ton of Type II error (aka false negatives).

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Ben March 24, 2013 at 6:41 am

The player profile, and the football strategy and theory are my fav types of posts. When you did season preview stuff for the Jets that was cool. Maybe write more about my Cowboys lol.

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Chase Stuart March 24, 2013 at 10:45 am

Thanks Ben. Glad you have enjoyed. I like the player profile articles, too — and I have one coming up — but sometimes I wonder if anyone else likes those. Good to hear I’m not alone.

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Wintermute March 24, 2013 at 10:14 am

Unfortunately my comment will not be very helpful to you. I enjoy reading your work on all topics, whatever you find interesting will be worth my time. My favorite are fantasy football related posts but that topic is first among equals. Keep up the great work.

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Chase Stuart March 24, 2013 at 10:45 am

That’s okay, Wintermute. I’ll allow positive feedback this one time.

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Bowl Game Amonaly March 24, 2013 at 11:02 am

I read all different types of posts, but my favorites are probably the GOAT and HOF posts.

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Chase Stuart March 24, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Thanks BGA. I love those too.

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drobviousso March 24, 2013 at 11:50 am

I’m kind of with wintermute, in that I’ll take a good article from you on any of those topics.

That said, if I had to pick something for you to focus on, it would be a request to look at ‘historic truths’ with a bit of an objective eye. Have the Broncos really been screwed out of the HoF? How good, or bad, was Terry Bradshaw, anyway? WTF happened when Belichick was Cleveland’s coach? That kind of thing.

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Chase Stuart March 24, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Thanks drobviousso. I think those are good things to look at, too. I’m not sure when, but I do have a massive Elway post on the offseason to do list.

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Danish March 24, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Good suggestion. Theres tons of “myths” like that to be busted or confirmed.

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Richie March 25, 2013 at 3:16 pm

WTF happened when Belichick was Cleveland’s coach?

Isn’t part of the answer that he took over a 3-13 team, got them progressively better and went to the playoffs in 1994. Then in 1995 with the threat of a franchise looming, the team just kind of fell apart, and he got fired and they moved to Baltimore. Also, he didn’t draft Tom Brady.

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thad March 24, 2013 at 1:55 pm

I like almost everything you write. What i would like to see are three specif things.
1. Jason Garrett’s time management skills seem really bad, if you could write more posts on good and bad time management that would be really cool.
2. Jason Garrett’s playcalling early in the game seems way too conservative. If you could write more posts about which teams call more passes on first down early in the game and also how teams acquire leads early in the game that would be neat.
3. Under Jason Garrett the Cowboys seem to be involved in more than their share of close games. If you could write about which teams win close games and which teams kick the holy snot out their opponents and how each of these two sets do in the playoffs that would also be really cool.

Keep up the great work!

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James March 27, 2013 at 12:55 pm

I can answer #3: Teams that win close games are no better than teams that lose close games. If you treated every game that finished within 7 points as a tie and only counted wins and losses for games with margins of greater than 7 points you’d have a better measure of team quality than their actual W/L record.

That is, kicking the snot out of the opponents is vastly more important than winning close. Winning close games says nothing about team quality (but it helps you get in the playoffs!).

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sunrise089 March 24, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Using the list of post types you gave, plus a few others, I’d rank from last to first:

*Data Dump
*Statgeekery
*Player profile
*Social Economics
*Strategy and Theory
*Fantasy
*PFR Podcast Redux

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Chase Stuart March 25, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Thanks sunrise089. While I’m sure you know, for others out there, most of my fantasy writing will take place over at Footballguys.com.

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Tim Truemper March 24, 2013 at 6:21 pm

I haven’t read any of the other posts so I apologize ahead for any duplicate suggestions. My favorite aspect of this site (and the former blog posts PFR) are history related. So two areas come to mind. 1) The college to pro player list is interesting to me from PFR and perhaps there can be an All (some school) list for anyone’s favorite colleges. And even more general lists such as the All Ivy League graduate team. 2) I think it would be statistically interesting (if only from a descriptive standpoint) to break down the raw cumulative statistics into different eras. I have examined some of the major changes including rule changes, influence of media, length of seasons as ways to somewhat demarcate different periods of NFL History. But I will only share that notion later if there is any other interest by others. I’d like to cite a particular series from the PFR blog posts in which Chase did an analysis of when the NFL reached parity. I thought that was fascinating. Lastly, I think some recognition needs to go out to noteworthy assistant coaches. They are group that does not get proper recognition as they are not ranked or statistically evaluated.

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Chase Stuart March 24, 2013 at 7:16 pm

We’d love to read your stuff, Tim. What series are you talking about re: parity? Sadly, I don’t remember that one, either. My brain may be going on me.

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Wintermute March 26, 2013 at 12:16 am

I believe he is referring to the AFL vs. NFL series of articles at PFR.com and trying to identify the ‘moment’ when the AFL achieved parity with the NFL. I remember that series, that was some of the best stuff I read in years.

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David March 25, 2013 at 9:44 am

I love history posts, Hall of Fame, and echo the comments above regarding a Mythbusters type series

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Chase Stuart March 25, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Thanks David. I dig those, too, although they often take the longest to write. It’s good to know that there’s an audience for it, though.

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Richie March 25, 2013 at 3:20 pm

I like most of the posts, but I’m not as big of a fan of team preview/analysis. I can read that stuff anywhere, and it just doesn’t interest me a whole lot.

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Tim Truemper March 26, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Regarding my previous post, I did a poor job of reviewing and editing one part. And I’m sure it confused the hell out of you Chase because it made no sense of all. I was referring to the series of when the AFL was reaching parity with the NFL. Thanks for the encouraging feedback despite my bonehead miscue.

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James March 27, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Chase, I love your posts that put the past into modern perspective and end up using the PFR indexes to compare players all the time. But I’ll read just about any quality piece on the NFL.

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Chase Stuart March 27, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Thanks James!

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George March 27, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Sorry for being slightly late on this – I’ve had a busy week. Generally I love the general principle of the site, and how it approaches something (e.g. lets find a problem, lets take some data see what it tells us and see if we can solve it – e.g. on a basic level how can you make game projections with a degree of validity, take game results, do the SRS and then interpret what it tells us – best one off the top of my head the first Broncos vs Chargers Monday Night game from last year – when looking at it there was so many things that were wrong about it with the general public perception and the line). Best current example of this (different sport admittedly) but Oklahoma have won less games in the NBA than Miami but in terms of SRS (and various other rating systems that make an allowance for scoring in game which shows bias admittidly) Oklahoma projects out as the better team (the question I guess is are they?).

Generally I do like the looking at the games and season projections most (as with the Vegas lines you have something to compare your number to even though it isn’t that basic). I also like that you can dig a bit deeper (e.g. the Home Field Advantage post) to look at a specific variable which can be then used to improve game analysis (or just treat it as a study of HFA). I also love the Data Dumps and Stat Geekery and just the general fact that both you and Neil have taken the time to comment on how you do things and provide general pointers on how you do some of the things you have posted about.

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Chase Stuart March 27, 2013 at 9:56 pm

Thanks George. Glad you’re a fan of the site.

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