I spent some time discussing Gary Clark’s 1991 season yesterday. It was really impressive in two notable respects: he accounted for a huge percentage of his team’s production, and his team’s production was easily the best in the league.
What was even more impressive? What Gene Washington did in 1970. That year, the 49ers had a phenomenal passing attack: San Francisco averaged 7.6 ANY/A, while no other team was above 6.0. John Brodie was the AP MVP because of his great passing numbers, but what was arguably more impressive is what Washington did that year. Playing for the best passing offense in football1, Washington caught 23% of the team’s passes, 37% of the 49ers receiving yards, and 48% of San Francisco’s receiving touchdowns.
If you calculate Adjusted Catch Yards with a 5-yard bonus on receptions and a 20-yard bonus on touchdowns, Washington had 1,605 ACY out of the 49ers 4,620 total team ACY, or 35%. That’s even higher than what Clark did on the ’91 Redskins (33%). On the other hand, WR1s tended to get slightly more attention on 1970 offenses than on 1971 offenses. So here’s what I did:
1) Calculate the ACY for each receiver on each team since 1970. For Clark in ’91, this was 1,890.
2) Calculate the percentage of team ACY for each receiving season since 1970. For Clark, this was 33%; for Washington, it was 35%.
3) Calculate the average percentage of team ACY for the top N receivers in the league each season, with N being equal to the number of teams in the NFL. For 1970, this was 29%; for 1991, it was 27%.
4) Calculate each receiver’s percent over average; for both Clark and Washington, this means +6%.
5) Calculate each receiver’s team RANY/A for each year. Clark’s Redskins were at +3.14, while Washington’s 49ers were at +3.45.
6) Plot those seasons in the graph below. [click to continue…]
- And along with the ’66 Packers, the only offenses to average at least 7.50 ANY/A from 1961 to 1975. [↩]