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I’m on vacation this week, but fortunately, there have been some great guest posts in the interim. But we have a long offseason ahead of us, so I figured I’d use this time wisely.

What topics would you be interested in reading about this offseason? Feel free to throw out there whatever you want: it’s brainstorming time. If there’s something you want me to research and write about, now’s the time.

  • sacramento gold miners

    How about the greatest multipurpose RBs by career and season? This must include kick return yardage, these type of players are basically extinct today. I think Glyn Milburn of the Broncos owns the highest output for a single game, Lionel James for a single season, and Terry Metcalf for yards per game over a season.

  • I like profiles or spotlights on “unique” players. Guys like Tiki Barber and Percy Harvin, (historically, it’s extremely rare for an RB to return only punts or a WR to return only kickoffs), Terry Metcalf, (the only player with a pass, rush, receiving, punt return, and kickoff return TD in the same season), Michael Lewis, (the only player to lead the league in KR yards and PR yards in the same year), etc.

    I always like returner pieces, too. I’d love to see someone go back and separate out pro bowls and All Pros a player made as a returner and list those all somewhere, (so for instance, PFR tells us Tim Brown made nine pro bowls, but not that 8 of them were at WR and one was as a returner). I know multi-pro-bowl returners are relatively rare.

    For a big project, I’d love to see someone tackle how to figure the relative value of playoff performance vs. regular-season performance. So, e.g., let’s say a WPA model suggests a player accounted for 1.0 wins above replacement in the regular season, 0.2 WPA in the divisional round and 0.1 WPA in the Super Bowl. Which one of those three numbers did more to increase his team’s title odds? I think the answer to that question is one of the biggest missing pieces in the quest for a “one stat to rule them all” descriptive take on player values. I’ve seen some stats assign additional weight to playoff performance, but as far as I know those weights are always completely arbitrary, which is I suppose at least better than nothing.

    (There should definitely be some weight, though. If we’re comparing greatest QB seasons of all time, the fact that Flacco was unstoppable in the 2012 playoffs is incredibly relevant. Where does that season rank compared to one where the QB was tremendous in the regular season but laid an egg in the wildcard round?)

    • Adam

      “I’d love to see someone tackle how to figure the relative value of playoff performance vs. regular-season performance.”

      I second this. The regular season / playoffs dichotomy is such a central part of player analysis, yet we really don’t have any objective evidence on how to measure it. On a related note, I’m interested in the difference between evaluating players based on their accomplishments vs. evaluating players by how good they are. Two separate things which are often blurred together when we’re talking about the “greatest.”

      • Four Touchdowns

        I’m unsure what you both mean by “relative value of playoff vs regular-season performance” — does that mean figuring out whether good QB play is more important in the regular season or the playoffs? What exactly are you asking be measured?

        • Adam

          I want to know how much weight to assign playoff performance compared to regular season when evaluating a QB’s career. I think most people overvalue the playoffs, but I wish there was some numerical method to quantify this.

          • Tom

            Adam – I’m sure you’ve seen this post, but if not, check it out. Might not be exactly what you’re looking for, but it’s in the ballpark…the basic idea is that each playoff game is “worth” twice as much as the one before. Of course, I’m not sure how this would relate to the regular season, but it’s a start…


          • sacramento gold miners

            Don’t think we’ll ever have a way to accurately quantify playoff vs. regular season performance when talking about QBs. Postseason success will always be the ultimate goal, and history has generally shown the larger sample size of the regular season is reflected in the postseason. Of course, they will always be exceptions, Carson Palmer and Tony Romo have been better regular season QBs, while Jim Plunkett was a superior postseason QB. Because of the larger sample size and totality of the career, we can accurately say Palmer or Romo > Plunkett.

      • The “accomplishments vs. talent” dichotomy is a good one. It’s like the descriptive vs. predictive debate– both have their place, and it’s important in any discussion to clarify which we mean.

        The other day, Chase asked on Twitter who was the better RB, Eddie George or Bo Jackson. There are two camps on that, and both side thinks the other is crazy. The reality is, they’re interpreting the question different ways. Descriptively, Eddie George was clearly a much, much, much better NFL running back than Bo Jackson. Predictively, if I could have one of them at perfect health in their prime to play one game for me, I’m taking Bo. (Though I think the edge George has over Jackson descriptively dwarfs the edge Jackson has over George predictively; people pay too much attention to his ypc and underrate just how good Eddie George really was at his peak.)

        • I think Eddie George was really good at his peak, but I often struggle to show how other than looking at pure rushing yards.



          • I think Eddie George is really the poster child for the idea that workload represents a conscious decision and therefore should serve as a proxy for… something. Talent, whatever.

            George touched the ball 330 times a year every single year for eight straight seasons, averaging 374 touches per season during that span. *ON AVERAGE*. Which doesn’t even count another 229 postseason touches, which are enough to bring his average up to over 400 per year. Which is incomprehensible.

            George and Tomlinson are the only players in history to touch the ball 330 times in eight straight years. Second place is James, Smith, and Watters with six straight. If you don’t care about them being consecutive, the only ten players with six or more 330+ touch seasons are:
            Payton (9)
            George, James, Martin, Smith, Tomlinson (8)
            Sanders (7)
            Anderson, Faulk, Watters (6)

            I’m not trying to build a Hall of Fame case for him or anything, but the Eddie George haters, (and I definitely used to count myself among them!), seem to ignore what those touches mean. If he’s really such a not-great running back, how do we explain that an NFL team felt it so imperative he touch the ball 400 times a year for EIGHT CONSECUTIVE SEASONS?

            Were those coaches just absolute morons? Was the team just terrible? No. During those eight seasons, the Titans (/Oilers) were 80-48 and never finished worse than 7-9. So how much of an anchor could George’s 3.66 yards per carry realistically have been?

            The year after George left, they fell to 5-11. Yes, McNair missed half of the season, but they were only 3-5 with him, and McNair produced arguably his worst season as a pro even when he was on the field. Out of the eleven seasons where he played at least eight games, (i.e. excluding his first and last season as a pro), McNair’s 2004 ranked last in Y/A+, last in AY/A+, last in NY/A+, last in ANY/A+, and last in INT%+, (the latter by a huge margin: he was more than a standard deviation below league average in interception rate, which represents the only time in his entire career that he was below league average by any amount).

            Again, I’m not exactly trying to build a Hall of Fame case, but I do think he’s exactly as good as his career totals, (including his four pro bowls, one first-team AP All Pro, one second-team AP All Pro, and Offensive Rookie of the Year award), would suggest. To pick another back with a very similar resume, for instance, it’s not immediately obvious to me that Eddie George was a worse player than Shaun Alexander.

            • Adam

              Hell, I’m not convinced Eddie George was a worse player than Jerome Bettis. Playing in Tennessee provides far less publicity than playing in Pittsburgh, and Bettis’ story is what got him into the HoF. If George had compiled that same eight season stretch for the Steelers, he’s probably be at least a HoF finalist by now.

        • Adam

          That’s a great example. And yeah, I’ve had some major misunderstandings with people because of this issue. FWIW, I think Eddie George is the poster boy for carry count being a better performance indicator than YPC. His coaches wouldn’t have kept feeding him the ball if he wasn’t doing something useful with his carries.

          Edit: I typed this before reading your reply to Chase below. Talk about being on the same page 🙂

  • Topher Doll

    I’d love to see updates on old tables and topics, from beating both Super Bowl participants (http://www.footballperspective.com/checkdowns-beating-both-super-bowl-participants/) to your QB ranking posts. I also love your thought experiments (http://www.footballperspective.com/category/thought-experiments/)

  • Tom

    Would love to see a post on PFR’s Win Probability Model, which is basically the formula Wayne Winston provided in his “Mathletics” book, adding Expected Points to give us the in-game probability. This would be pretty math-heavy, of course, but I think it would be interesting nonetheless. With Brian Burke lost forever to ESPN, and his WP Calculator soon to follow I assume, PFR would be all that we have if we want to screw around with this stuff. Not sure what the article would cover, but maybe how it works, examples of where it falls apart, how to get around sticky situations, etc.

    I find this interesting because there’s been a lot of talk recently here on FB about the greatest QB’s, the greatest defenses, etc., and the discussions always included comments like “Well, that was in garbage time when he made those throws”, or “The game was already in the bag, so the defense was playing prevent”, etc. And those are justifiable comments when we’re trying figure out who’s really the best (incidentally, why we’re so keen on this I don’t know…something in our nature demands that we have an indisputable winner I guess).

    • One thing I always disliked about using WP added to judge players in single games is that it gives too much credit to players who play well in close games and not enough to guys who play so well their team wins big. Joe Montana in the 1989 Super Bowl comes to mind; he threw two touchdowns when SF’s WP was already ~100. Interestingly, there’s also a weird statistical blip at the end of the game where, when trailing 55-10 with 5 minutes left, Denver’s WP jumps from 0.0 to 0.2 after a 13 yard completion from Steve Young.

      • Tom

        I agree with you (that players or teams won’t get WP “credit” when the game is already in the bag), but that’s the whole point of WP – it’s context dependent. So I think it works well side-by-side with the other stats (ANY/A, your TAY/P, etc.), but yeah, not that great on its own, especially when judging single players (are we supposed to just ignore that Joe Cool threw two TD’s?).

        That being said, I’m a huge fan of it. I like the idea of approximating how important certain moments are in games, I like the fact that we have a mechanism (and I know it’s nowhere near as sturdy as we’d like) to show us that a 1st-and-10 on your own 20 at the beginning of the game is very different than that same state when you’re down 6 points and there’s 3 minutes left.

        Finally – yes, you’re right, there’s all kinds of weirdness in the 4th quarter and other places. When gathering WP data for a game (I’m more into game analysis than single players), I punch the numbers in for each play using Burke’s calculator (yes, it’s time consuming, but I don’t mind), and you just have to look at each play and use common sense.

        (Obviously, this is something I’d like to see a post on!)

        • eag97a

          Agree, I’m also big fan of the WPA and EPA metrics. I also like that its agnostic to scoring regardless if its a rush, pass or fg. And if you think about it overvaluing players during close games could be a good evaluation tool. In todays NFL where IMO blowouts are rare and most games are competitive and within one score it makes sense to value player execution during crunch time in tight games. I believe there is only so much value in placing a large emphasis on blowouts when most games are tight specially in the playoffs.

        • I agree that using WP to determine the importance of unique moments, or a series of moments, is a great feature. However, I have seen writers (not here) play a little fast and loose with WP and present it as if it is a situation agnostic metric, which is absurd. It’s almost as if they just found out about WP and wanted to use it in an article to sound smart but only succeeded in sounding smart to readers who themselves were just as uninformed as the writers.

          When we use WP alone as a measure of performance, we might end up with Ricky Proehl as the greatest postseason receiver in modern history (I cannot take credit; Chase pointed that out to me). I guess what I’m saying is I like the stat, but I don’t like the irresponsible use of the stat. Of course, I feel that way about all stats.

          • Tom

            Bryan – 100% agree. I’m doing a lot of messing around with WP right now, and it’s tricky…it certainly demands that you take a look at the actual plays before just putting up numbers grabbed from PFR or AFA. This is especially important when we’re talking about single games and individual performances.

            Here’s a good example (and Proehl is a part of it):

            In the Rams-Patriots Super Bowl, I’ve added up the WPA (using AFA’s numbers) for both Brady and Warner, strictly using the before and after states of each play these guys were involved with. Putting aside methodology and details (for now anyway), I’ve got Brady at +0.02 and Warner at -0.26. This is a pretty huge difference, especially considering Brady’s ANY/A was 5.6 and Warner’s was 5.7.

            Where is that -0.26 coming from? If we’re saying Warner cut his team’s chances of winning the game by 26%, shouldn’t we look into that? Well, he threw a pick-six, which naturally, carries with it a huge WP swing, in this case -0.28. Warner should get dinged for the pick, but should he take the heat for the TD run back? The cost for the pick alone was about -0.10. And then there’s Proehl…he catches a pass from Warner, runs a few steps, gets slammed and loses the ball. That was a 10% swing…should Warner be dinged for that? He threw a good pass, the guy catches the ball, then loses it. I don’t have the answers, but yeah, you can’t just throw these numbers out there.

            Sorry for the long reply, but my head is into this right now, and I find it pretty interesting.

            • You should talk to Chase about doing to guest post or guest series. He’s always been open to that.

              • Tom

                Bryan – thanks, I’ve been trying to put something together, but my darn life keeps getting in the way!

            • Four Touchdowns

              That’s why there’s a limit to what stats can tell you about how a player truly performed and never paint a full picture — there are times when throwing an incomplete or even taking a sack are the best options among those available during any given play.

              Isn’t there a difference between a QB who is under intense pass pressure with no one open, throwing the football away as the best option among those available, and a QB who has an incompletion because he made a poor read and missed an open receiver or just threw a poor pass? Why shouldn’t the first QB get credit for making the best decision available in a poor situation?

              What about a QB that throws a perfect pass that’s dropped versus a QB whose pass should be intercepted but is instead deflected into a receiver’s arms? Should the second guy get more credit than the first despite not generating the same WPA?

      • AFAIK, this is why WPA is typically used in tandem with EPA. EPA tells you what a player produced, while WPA gives an idea of when that production came, (while the game was in doubt or already decided).

        For something like “estimating the relative importance of one playoff game to one regular season game on a team’s title odds”, WPA seems like self-evidently the proper measure.

        • There was a guy who showed up in the comments a couple years ago trying to push his metric (SBNI -https://sites.google.com/site/snbifootball/texmacsexport). The math he used to determine weights for playoff games versus regular season games wasn’t much different than I’ve seen Chase and Neil use in playoff leverage articles (http://www.footballperspective.com/super-bowl-leverage-and-the-best-postseason-passers-since-1966/; http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/tom-bradys-statistical-place-in-the-pantheon-of-nfl-qbs/).

          At the very least, these articles provide the groundwork – if not the final solution – for “estimating the relative importance of one playoff game to one regular season game on a team’s title odds.”

          I imagine you’ve probably already read the Chase and Neil articles, but the other guy’s is worth looking at too. I don’t agree with a lot of it, but it still has value.

          • Tom

            I took a look at it…quite the manifesto. Looks interesting, going to have to sit down with that one for a while!

  • 1. We currently use -45 as the interception penalty, and recent work by Brian Burke suggested that it should be closer to -60 for interceptions thrown on first down in the modern (past five years) game. I don’t have the resources (and you may not either) for this, but I would love to see a model to at least estimate what interceptions were worth in the 70s or earlier. Presumably, the fact that it was much harder to score, combined with the higher average depth of target back then, meant that turning the ball over wasn’t quite as big of a deal. My completely made up guess is that the INT penalty in ANY/A should be closer to 30-35 for the dead ball era, and 35-40 in the 50s and early 60s preceding that era.

    This would also have implications for WP models, as 1st and 10 with 80 to go and 5 minutes left and down by 9 would likely have different WP in 1977 than in 2015.

    2. One thing I’ve been talking with Adam Harstad about recently is the value of receiving yards for running backs (how should we value them relative to rushing yards?). We seem to be in agreement that receiving yards are more replaceable than are rushing yards, and that a 1300-300 season is more impressive than a 1100-500. However, we also concede that some backs (like Marshall Faulk or Lenny Moore) didn’t just rack up receiving yards on dumpoff passes, but were integral parts of their teams’ passing offenses. How should we account for these type of players, historically? Should we say each receiving yard is worth 0.8 rushing yards, unless the RB gained at least 15% of his team’s receiving yards (0.8 and 15% are arbitrarily chosen numbers)?

    3. By now you know I’m a sucker for first downs. Adam and I seemed to be the only ones mentioning Julio Jones breaking the NFL record with 93 receiving first downs in a season. I think looking at that number is more instructive than just looking at the number of receptions a guy had and calling it a day. His 93 1Ds on 136 catches comes to a 68.4% 1D rate, which is great but doesn’t tell us much about the other 43 catches. I don’t have the resources personally, but I’d love to see a study showing the number of successful catches receivers had. I know FO has success rate for WRs (even though they don’t publish it with the rest of the WR stats), but I think it would be useful to see the gross number instead of the rate. Using Julio as an example, we know at least 93 of his grabs were successes. If just half of his other catches with successes, he’d have ~115 meaningful receptions. Heck, if we can’t get a study like that done here, maybe we can convince Aaron and co. at FO to post the numbers over there.

    • Adam

      First downs are probably the most underrated stat in football. Basically success rate with a higher bar to clear.

      • I’m a huge fan of using first downs as part of my analysis. It’s one reason I’m probably higher on Bettis than most of the compiler crowd is. I would, however, like to see all successes for receivers.

        If WR1 and WR2 both catch 120 passes for 1500 yards, they look like the same guy. But if WR1 has 85 first downs and 15 other successful plays, then he has a “good” catch 83.3% of the time. If WR2 has 65 first downs and 10 other successes, then he’s only making good plays 62.5% of the time. I’d rather have WR1.

        I’d love to separate it further to see how many of a receiver’s yards were gained on successful versus unsuccessful plays. I imagine a guy like Henry Ellard would have an insanely high ratio; it wouldn’t surprise me if Ellard gained over 90% of his career yards on successful plays.

        I’m going on an Ellard tangent now…

        I only have first down data back to 1991, but look at these numbers:

        In 1991, he had 58 first downs on 64 catches (91%)
        1992 – 37/47 (78%)
        1993 – 46/61 (75%)
        1994 – 71/74 (96%)
        1995 – 50/56 (89%)
        1996 – 49/52 (94%)
        1997 – 29/32 (91%)
        1998 – 6/7 (86%)

        1991-1998 – 346/393 (88%)

        1991 was his age 30 season. So from ages 30-37 he had a first down on 88% of his catches, which is insanely high even for a guy in his athletic prime. It’s not hard to imagine him having at least 8 more successes to get his success rate over 90%… over a fairly significant volume, in the twilight of his career.

  • Carson Jenkins

    I’d like to see some research into how Adrian Peterson is Actually No Longer That Great™ or how he is not really needed by the Vikings/hurts their offense.

  • Kyle

    I would like to see a series of posts about the All-Decade Teams — whether the selectors made the best choices and what the teams would look like if they had started in the middle of decades (e.g. 2006-2015, 1996-2005).

  • Nuclear Badger

    I think I mentioned this last year, but a look at how the Packers of the 60s morphed from a dominant offensive team to a dominant defensive team (but public perception never really switched).

  • eag97a

    I’d like the latest iteration of your GQBOAT series preferably with a WPA and/or EPA component to it but I’m okay without. I also would love to have a discussion on all historical dynasties and “near-dynasties” like 90’s Bills, the 80’s Broncos and even the 80’s Browns since they went to 3 AFC championships in a short span of time etc. A discussion and/or ranking of the best o-lines in history is also a good one for me.

    • Adam

      I would also like to see GQBOAT measured by EPA / WPA, but unfortunately the publicly available data only goes back to 1998. I wonder if someone could create a regression to estimate EPA from standard boxscore stats?

    • I’m sure Chase has his own take on this, but if you’re interested in an inclusive article on NFL dynasties, you might like a pair of articles I wrote in 2012, one focused on basic stats and the other on Hall of Famers. I did something similar in 2005, but the 2012 pieces are probably a little better.

      All those articles cover the ’90s Bills, as well as other “losing dynasties” like the ’70s Vikings, but you need an extraordinarily inclusive standard to get the Bernie Kosar Browns. From 1986-89, Cleveland went 41-21-1 (.659) and reached 3 AFC championships. But they had no other winning seasons between 1984-93, they never reached the Super Bowl, and their record was inflated in the very weak AFC of that era. The ’80s Browns are an interesting team, but they’re not among the top 50 dynasties, maybe not even the top 100.

      If you prefer a more in-depth look at dynasties, following the 2007 season I ranked the top 15 dynasties in history. That obviously excludes teams like the Bills, though.

      • eag97a

        I’ll check the articles in a bit. The reason I incluse the Browns is post merger this was the highest point for the Browns success and I charcacterized them as probably a near-dynasty derailed by Elway and the Broncos. Like the 00’s Eagles and a few others I’m always fascinated with their performances and the context behind their SB and/or championship losses.

      • eag97a

        Reading your article on dynasties, very interesting! You might want to update but regardless very inclusive besides the 80′ Browns… 🙂

      • Tom

        Brad – just read your dynasty articles, great stuff! I was working on something like that myself last year, weighting playoff games more heavily, etc. I like the way you broke out the 5-, 6-, 7-, etc. year dynasties. The hardest part, I found, is deciding when a dynasty ends and when it begins – Montana/Walsh dynasty? Montana/Walsh/Young/Seifert dynasty? Can the 1990’s Cowboys be a dynasty when they only lasted around 4 or 5 years? Anyway, great read.

        • Thanks, Tom. I agree about the cutoffs, it’s a problem that plagued me for years. I think the 5-, 6-, 7-, etc. year is the most workable method; I’m glad you liked it. If you didn’t already check out the 2005 piece, it might interest you: there’s a section focused on playoff production.

  • Adam

    Maybe I’m just a super nerd, but I’d find it fascinating to look at the history of football statistics to see how they’ve changed over time, and which stats were used during each era. Like, which stats did newspapers bother to print when Johnny Unitas was ruling the NFL? I have no idea.

    • Tom

      That’s actually pretty cool, I’d be interested in that as well.

    • Richie

      Did you read “The Hidden Game of Football”? It covers a lot of this.

      Also, I just got done reading “The Numbers Game” which is a deep history into the evolution of baseball statistics. If you are a stats nerd, but also have any interest in baseball, I think you would appreciate this one. http://www.amazon.com/Numbers-Game-Baseballs-Fascination-Statistics/dp/0312322232/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1456163765&sr=1-1&keywords=numbers+game

      • Adam

        I haven’t read The Hidden Game because I figured it was outdated. Sounds like I need to pick up a copy…

        I don’t enjoy the game of baseball, but I am fascinated by the stats it produces. And since baseball has always been ahead of the curve in stat keeping and analysis, I’ve learned a lot of things from sabermetrics than can be applied to other sports.

        • Richie

          I first read Hidden Game about 5 years ago. I think it is still pretty relevant. If I remember correctly, the only parts that are dated are the parts that talk about “recent” seasons, and then show charts with Neil Lomax, Dan Marino, Dan Fouts, etc.

          But the principles are relevant (that’s pretty much where ANY/A comes from), and it has some good history lessons.

          Likewise, the baseball book is interesting. For example, it reminds us how difficult it was to even track batting averages 100+ years ago. There was a famous batting championship between Ty Cobb and Nap Lajoie(?), that the AL President couldn’t even name the champion for a few months after the season. Not like today where batting averages (and every other stat) are updated to the minute.

        • Tom

          The Hidden Game is “old”, but I wouldn’t say outdated…and while I hate when people say, “Hey man, it’s require reading”, I do strongly recommend checking it out. It has the early genesis of Expected Points, Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt (it’s not called that, but they play around with the Passer Rating stat, etc.), and other stuff. Also, the ideas in there form the basis of DVOA – the rewarding of success points for first downs, etc. Basically, it’s cool to read about two dudes who were throwing these ideas around 20 years…

          • sacramento gold miners

            Something I hope we don’t see in the offseason here(or ever), would be baseball type of projections for the upcoming season. There are people putting together all kinds of numbers about teams and players, and these projections are frequently wrong. As a fan, it reduces the enjoyment when someone tries to tell me exactly what will happen. Let’s enjoy the games, and use what we can for greater knowledge.

  • Munir Mohamed

    I would love to see another version of the QBGOAT, but with more data. I liked the addition of adjusting for opponent. The next step is weather adjustments. Im pretty sure the old QBGOAT article had weather adjustments, so im not sure why the last version didn’t have one. especially when you factor in that we have more weather data for each game. QB’s should be adjusted for weather of the game, wind speed, and dome. Another addition would be to add playoff numbers to it. A simple 1.25, 1.5, 2, 3 multiplier for each round of the playoffs seems fair.

  • Ryan

    Hmmmm, the readership (myself included) are stats and or rankings fans, so the analysis centered around all-time rankings by position always fascinate me. Doing a reboot of past QB/RB/WR/K would be a delight for me.

    Not sure if enough actionable data is available, but putting a best guesses to all-time defensive rankings by position would be a thrill also.

    MY BIGGEST: I love personal halls of fame…if you could start Canton from scratch, keeping the same number of guys elected today, who would you keep/add/remove. Second part – has the HOF elected enough players, what’s the appropriate total, do we have a pecking order of top 5, 10, 20, 30 that we should highlight/delve into and help gain awareness for election.

    I don’t comment often, but I am an avid reader of the posts by Chase and company, #1 football site for me personally.
    Thanks for all the hard work guys 🙂

    • Richie

      I think about 5 HOFers per year is fine. When you think of it from the other side – that means approximately 5 guys who were rookies in 2015 are HOF quality.

      From 1964-2016 there have been 264 players (I’m excluding coaches and contributors) inducted. That’s almost 5 per year. The problem is, the HOF began in 1964. So there is a backlog of players that retired prior to 1960 and weren’t part of the current induction process. 64 current HOFers retired prior to 1960. So the NFL is probably under-represented from 1920-1960. Though there were fewer teams, and the league was not as organized, that’s still just a little over 1 HOF player per year. It seems like there should probably be 2 or 3 per year from that period.

      So, if you removed those 64 players (because they “took” the place of modern candidates), and instead replaced them with 64 more modern players, I think the modern HOF would be fairly well represented.

      I’m not sure if I’m making my point, but I think the number of HOFers should probably be increased by 100+ members.

      • Four Touchdowns

        I don’t think they should have an artificial limit like five players per year — I think those types of restrictions prevent very worthy players who didn’t play glamour positions from getting their due, such as offensive linemen. Just hold a vote on the players and if they get in, they get in.

      • On the contrary, older players are overrepresented in Canton. The league was tiny then, and rosters were tiny, too, because everyone played both ways. About 1/3 of all regular starters from the Pre-Modern Era are already in. There are 13 Pre-Modern Era RBs in Canton, for instance. We don’t need the 6th-best RB from the 1930s, when there were usually about 8 teams playing a full schedule, in the Hall of Fame. In fact, I think it’s important that we not dilute the PFHOF with any more good-not-great talent from the NFL’s early years. Of the top 50 in Games Played…

        From 1920-45: 19 of them are in the HOF
        From 1946-70: 25 of them are in the HOF
        From 1971-95: 9 of them are in the HOF

        We need recent players much more than we need more old ones.

        • Richie

          I’m not sure if there are too few or too many pre-1960 players in the HOF. I don’t know enough about the league at that time to have a strong opinion. 63 players in ~40 years doesn’t seem like very many. But, I realize the league was smaller and rosters were smaller (due to 2-way players), so maybe 63 is too many.

          But that wasn’t really the point I was trying to make.

          Maybe I wasn’t making my main point clear, so I will try again.

          From 1920-1963 the HOF voted in zero players, because it did not exist. But, 63 players that retired before 1960 were eventually voted in. Theoretically, those players should have been voted in before 1963 (when inductions began). But instead, they were inducted over the course of the next 50 years, taking the place of post-1960 players that should have been inducted instead.

          • Okay, I misunderstood. I agree that adding modern players is needed. I’ve been pleased to see the HOF elect the max number of spots in recent years; there’s still a quality backlog at most positions. A few years ago I updated my article on HOF snubs, and while some have gotten in since then, there are still some clearly deserving players on the outside.

            • sacramento gold miners

              I would lose interest in the HOF if the membership was tiny. Great players who did unique things deserve the highest recognition, even if they aren’t inner circle types. Those players took over games, and were often the focal point of the success. And while I’m not a Raiders fan, that 13-1 team was tremendous, and I’m glad Ken Stabler finally reached Canton.Stabler was more feared than Ken Anderson was, and I would bet the players from that era would agree.

        • Adam

          “About 1/3 of all regular starters from the Pre-Modern Era are already in.”


  • JeremyDeShetler

    Not sure if anyone else would be interested, but I’d be interested in something akin to a Keltner lists for Canton. Both the creation of the criteria for a list, and in reviewing/discussing individual players.

    • Richie

      This would be good. I actually started a similar project a few years ago, but didn’t get too far.

      • JeremyDeShetler

        I didn’t get too far, but I did take a stab at trying to tailor the Keltner to be more NFL-friendly. There were 4 factors that I felt required the questions to be a little more inclusive than the MLB version: Hall class size, shorter seasons, number of significant players receiving playing time, and strictness of roles defined in the sports. This doesn’t mean I am advocating for a larger Hall, just that the NFL already votes in (rightful so imo) twice as many modern players on a yearly basis than MLB or NBA, and the range of factors to consider are wider than in those sports.

        1.Was he considered one of the top 5-10 players in football at any position?
        2.Was he considered the best player at his position? If not best, was he one of the top 3-4 players at his position?
        3.Was he one of the top 3-4 players on his team?
        4.Did he impact a number of playoffs (ie Divisional round or later)? Was his team typically in the playoffs or at least in the hunt?
        5.Was he a good enough player that he could continue to play regularly after passing his prime?
        6.Are most players who have comparable careers/statistics in the Hall?
        7.Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?
        8.Is he the very best player in football history at his position who is not in the Hall?
        9.How many MVP or All-PRO type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP or All PRO award? If not, how many times was he close?
        10.How many Pro Bowl-type seasons did he have? How many Pro Bowls did he play in? Did most of the other players who played in this many go to the Hall of Fame?
        11.If this man were the best player on his team, how far would his team advance a) playoffs b) divisional c) conference championship d) super bowl e) super bowl champion?
        12.What impact did the player have on football history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way? Memorable moment?
        13.Wisdom of the crowd. If you asked 100 relatively knowledgeable fans, would they vote yes or no on this player? How about 100 players who played with/against this player?

        I changed Questions 1 to say the best 5-10 players instead of ‘the best’ because of how much more difficult it is to identify the best NFL player in the league. Cam Newton was the MVP. JJ Watt was the AV leader. If you told me Aaron Donald, Carson Palmer, Antonio Brown, or Von Miller was ‘the best overall player’ last year, I might disagree with you, but I couldn’t truly refute you. This was also along the same lines of why I expanded the ‘if this player was the best on a team would they win a ring’ because unless a player is a QB (or maybe a RB), the question is moot.
        Questions 2-3-9, I said 3-4 at a position or on their team for pretty much the same reason. If a player is on a loaded team (70s Steelers, 80s Niners) or at a position that is absolutely loaded (WRs in 1995), I don’t think a player should necessarily be faulted for playing at the same time with or against. Noted definitely, but not necessarily faulted.
        Not sure if Question 13 is even worth the thought. I’m not sure if public perception really matters, but this is a relatively subjective list of questions, so it was just a thought.

        Perhaps I’m off-base in these alterations. I usually need a little time/distance for perspective on my own thoughts.

        • Richie

          Yes, time/distance is good. I took a look at my Keltner list. It looks like I last updated it in 2008. It is similar to yours, but I like the way you adapted to the NFL a little better.

          My next step, which I didn’t get very far, was to answer the questions for all of the inducted HOFers, to see how the actual results play out. I only did it for 4 players and apparently got bored and ignored it for the past 8 years.

        • Adam

          Would you consider doing Keltner lists as guest posts during the offseason? I would really enjoy that!

          • JeremyDeShetler

            I would consider that although I don’t know if I could equal the awesome content (guests or otherwise) already offered here.

  • I want to know how everything turned out with the 38 Questions! Did I miss that?

    • JeremyDeShetler

      You did not, or at least that I’ve seen. I calculated my own total because I had some downtime at work. For a few moments of insanity, I was tempted to try to make a spreadsheet of everyone’s picks because I wanted to see how the distribution.

      • Coming in the next few days !

      • Richie

        My brief moment of insanity was to build a website with standings updated on a weekly basis during the season.

        • JeremyDeShetler

          Who is more insane? you for building it or me for repeatedly viewing it if it existed.

          “If you build it, he…”

          Loved the 38 questions. More props! Next time the 100 questions. 🙂

          Actually a nice little thrown together website with a bunch of drop downs and a back end database would probably make it a lot more manageable.

  • Mixitup

    Heat Map! Heat Map! Heat Map!