Checkdowns: Judging QBs By Their Top 5 Seasons

March 19, 2014 Quarterbacks

While working on a different post, I needed to derive a quick-and-dirty formula to identify the top 100 or so quarterbacks in NFL history. Here is how I went about doing that: 1) Calculate the Relative ANY/A of each quarterback in every season since 1950. ANY/A, of course, is Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt, defined […]

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Reminder: Neil Paine now at FiveThirtyEight

March 18, 2014 Announcements

In December, I let you know that Nate Silver’s new FiveThirtyEight had made the smart decision to hire Neil Paine.  On Monday, the website opened its doors, so I wanted to make sure my readers were aware that Neil is (thankfully) back in the writing game.  You can read all of Neil’s posts here. Of […]

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College Quarterback Passing Stats From 2013

March 18, 2014 College

Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that it’s 2014. With draft season now in full gear, I wanted to take a few minutes and look at the stats of the top college quarterbacks from last year. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. I couldn’t find a site that presented a full list of all college quarterback […]

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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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How Bad Was Ray Rice in 2013?

March 15, 2014 Rushing

The 2013 season was a disaster for Ray Rice, and 2014 isn’t off to a very good start, either. Last season, Rice carried 214 times for just 660 yards and four touchdowns, producing an anemic 3.1 yards per carry average. On November 9th, I asked whether Rice was already washed up; at the time it […]

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Free Agency Roundup

March 14, 2014 Current Events

Happy Friday, folks. Dr. Jene Bramel (@JeneBramel), who always has interesting insights on defensive players and injuries in the NFL, is producing multiple daily updates for his excellent blog over at Jene is very high on DeMarcus Ware (calling the Broncos as good a fit as any schematically for Ware), a bit lukewarm on […]

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How Have Previous Eric Deckers Fared?

March 13, 2014 Receiving

Just a few minutes before press time, the Jets signed Eric Decker, generally considered the best wide receiver available in free agency. But for weeks, the #hotsportstake on Eric Decker has been pretty clear: he’s a product of playing with Peyton Manning and alongside Demaryius Thomas (and Wes Welker and Julius Thomas). It would take […]

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Recapping the News From Day 1 of Free Agency

March 12, 2014 Current Events

Free agency kicked off at 4PM yesterday, the start of what may be the dumbest day of the year. Some absurdly large contracts were dished out, as always, but free agent signings weren’t the only news stories on Tuesday.  The new regime in Tampa Bay appears ready to move on from the Darrelle Revis era, […]

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Predictions in Review: AFC North

March 11, 2014 Stat Recap

During the 2013 offseason, I wrote 32 articles under the RPO 2013 tag. In my Predictions in Review series, I review those preview articles with the benefit of hindsight. Previously, I reviewed the AFC West, the NFC West, the the AFC South, and the NFC South. Today, the AFC North. Marvin Lewis, Jim Mora, and […]

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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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Would A “Mandatory Go For Two” Rule Lead to More Upsets?

March 9, 2014 Theory

The NFL’s Competition Committee is currently considering rules changes to eliminate the boredom associated with the extra point. As you can see from the graph above, extra points are practically automatic now, to the tune of a 99.6% conversion rate in 2013. In fact, extra points have been close to automatic for awhile; the success […]

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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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Rams/Colts Was the Least-Conforming Game of 2013

March 7, 2014 SRS

In week 10 of the 2013 season, the Rams traveled to Indianapolis. By the end of the season, St. Louis had an SRS grade of +2.2, meaning they were 2.2 points better than average. The Colts finished 2013 with an SRS grade of +4.1; if you award three points for home field, we would expect […]

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What Teams Might Sign Jimmy Graham?

March 6, 2014 Current Events

On February 28th, the Saints elected to use the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jimmy Graham. The big dispute now is whether Graham should be classified as a tight end or a wide receiver; if Graham is classified as a tight end, the tag is worth $7.0 million, a number that jumps to $12.3 million if […]

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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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What do Geno Smith’s Final Four Starts Mean For 2014?

March 4, 2014 Quarterbacks

In Geno Smith’s first 12 NFL starts, he completed 179 of 327 passes (54.7%) for 2,256 yards, with 8 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. Those numbers translate to a 6.9 yards per attempt average, quite respectable for a rookie, and a 4.8 Adjusted Yards per Attempt average, abysmal for anybody. But over the last four weeks […]

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The Top Ten Free Agent Acquisitions of 2013

March 3, 2014 Review

On March 11, the 2014 League Year — and the start of free agency — officially begins. But before we turn our attention to Michael Vick and Eric Decker and Greg Hardy and the free agent class of 2014, I thought it would useful to look back at last year’s free agency class. If there’s […]

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Book Review: The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

March 2, 2014 Non-Football

Reviewing a work of fiction falls pretty far outside the normal parameters of this site,1 but I’ll give it a shot with Donna Tart’s newest book, The Goldfinch. Her novel will be one of the more popular books of the year: it’s 8th on the list of best-selling E-Books and the number two best-seller on […]

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Predictions in Review: NFC South

March 1, 2014 Stat Recap

During the 2013 offseason, I wrote 32 articles under the RPO 2013 tag. In my Predictions in Review series, I review those preview articles with the benefit of hindsight. Previously, I reviewed the AFC West, the NFC West, and the the AFC South. Today, the NFC South. Who Will Win 2013 Head Coach of the […]

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Pittsburgh’s Aaron Donald Was Your Combine MVP

February 28, 2014 College

Building on yesterday’s post, I decided to crown a combine MVP because it’s February and there’s nothing else to do. I looked at each player’s combine results, courtesy of the great, in four different tests. 40-yard dash There were 268 players with 40-yard dash times posted at NFL Savant. I ran a regression using […]

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Thoughts on Jadeveon Clowney’s 40-yard dash time

February 27, 2014 Draft

Jadeveon Clowney ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds, which only confirmed that the South Carolina star is an incredible athlete. But how freakishly insane is that time? The 40-yard dash, like every other aspect of the combine, is only useful when placed in proper context. The dash is biased in favor of lighter players; […]

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Predictions in Review: AFC South

February 26, 2014 Stat Recap

During the 2013 offseason, I wrote 32 articles under the RPO 2013 tag. In my Predictions in Review series, I review those preview articles with the benefit of hindsight. Previously, I reviewed the AFC West and the NFC West. Today, the AFC South, beginning with a straightforward case in Tennessee. Can Kenny Britt become the […]

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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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Antonio Brown led the NFL in True Receiving Yards in 2013

February 24, 2014 Receiving

Wide receiver is a notoriously difficult position to analyze using statistics. Era adjustments are arguably more important here than at any other position, but even within the same season it is not easy to compare wide receivers. Most people, myself included, would probably say that Josh Gordon or Calvin Johnson was the best wide receiver […]

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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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When will a team go an entire game without running?

February 22, 2014 Theory

The record for fewest rush attempts in a game is 6, set by the 2004 Patriots and tied by the ’06 Cardinals. The circumstances there are as you would expect. The Patriots fell behind 21-3 in the first quarter to the Steelers in 2004, and Pittsburgh owned the league’s top rush defense. In 2006, the […]

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Journal of Sports Analytics Seeks Contributions

February 21, 2014 Announcements

I’m confident that Football Perspective’s readers are some of the brightest on the internet. Now, perhaps, comes a chance to prove it. The Journal of Sports Analytics is asking for submissions, and this new journal aims to be the central forum for the discussion of practical applications of sports analytics research, serving team owners, general […]

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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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Predictions in Review: NFC West

February 19, 2014 Stat Recap

During the 2013 offseason, I wrote 32 articles under the RPO 2013 tag. In my Predictions in Review series, I review those preview articles with the benefit of hindsight. Last week was the AFC West; this week, the NFC West. Let’s begin in Arizona, where I actually got one right. Questioning the Narrative on Larry […]

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