Reading and Thinking Football

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Minor housekeeping note: earlier today, I added some old posts from where I used to write, most notably a review of Pro Football Prospectus 2005. Pardon the lack of more substantive work, but I spent most of the previous week on my butt with a nasty stomach bug and I’ve long overlooked this for other stuff.

Interesting but not necessarily meaningful: road team record, by number of visits to stadium. Data dump by Jason Lisk of PFR.

Also from Jason, he continued his series on the AFL versus the NFL with looks at the Super Bowls and most-merger results before concluding by posting the annual power ratings. Overall, a very interesting exercise by Jason.

A story we’ll probably end up hearing more of: ex-NFL’er Dave Pear: “I wish I never played football.”.

Players reporting to teams on other players having concussions: “We ain’t no snitches over here.” See also, of course, the Matt Bowen article where he reported he flubbed the healthy standards test so he wouldn’t get benched if he did have an actual injury. And, of course, pain is part of the game.

It’s fun to read interviews with cranky older guys, like this one with Fran Tarkenton. Best quote: “And the quarterback for the Jets, I mean he looks like he’s never picked up a football. The Jets don’t even let the guy play anymore. They play him, but they make him hand the ball off 80 times a game because he doesn’t get it.”

All-Decade teams for college football, as selected by Dr. Saturday and friends: Offense and Defense.

The NFL’s Rooney Rule is wracked with loopholes, ignored by teams when they want, and generally broken. NFP’s Andrew Brandt suggests how to fix it: with the ubiquitous cure-all of the blue-ribbon panel! Michael Lombardi has written before about how minority candidates should embrace it and use it as an opportunity to show their stuff and learn notwithstanding the shambolic nature of their interview, but teams have no incentive to really go along with that. And don’t expect Roger Rex, a card-carrying member of The Exclusive Country Club, to push for meaningful change.

One thing I bookmarked a few links and have been deleting is Big Ten expansion. If you’re interested in the subject, the guy to read on this is Frank the Tank. Bookmark and read, because he’s thinking right and people who tell you otherwise (the Big East could add Cincinnati, or Iowa State, or West Virginia!) are entirely wrong. Start here, then read followups one, two, and three.

Random interesting newspaper series: Tulsa World on high school football recruiting.

Why the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective is not on the blogroll and will not be on the blogroll: this post on kickoff return length is a good example of why. It looks at average kickoff return length as a measure of the effect of the NFL’s wedge ban. This figure is calculated by calculating per team averages. But, it ignores that we’re operating in a dynamic environment here, and the key effect is where teams start after a kickoff as opposed to where we end up after the length of the return. After all, we could see things like teams choosing to return fewer kicks, or teams intentionally kicking the ball shorter on kickoffs. The simple things I checked were average kickoff length, without adjusting for team variations or onside kicks. It increased from 64.12 yards last year to 64.81 yards this year, so the purported non-change in kickoff return now looks like a .72 yard difference in field position. The percentage of touchbacks also increased from 14.48% to 16.50%. So, rather than the no effect found by the HSAC post, it seems like the wedge ban may have had a major effect on kickoff returns, reducing their frequency and shortening their distance. Note that I’m not actually sure this is the case, but I think it’s a plausible result given the data here.

Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana, playoff mediocrities before they were playoff superstars. It seems quite fitting while watching the NCAA tournament to write about massively overrating small sample size theater.

Not really a news flash: successful teams in college football spend a lot of money.

I’ve long felt, intuitively, that the people who use conventional statistics to argue that Joe Namath is overrated and should not be a Hall of Fame quarterback are wrong. To those people, I present this post by Jason Lisk supporting my case.

Finally, for now, I’ll be writing a Total Titans post on this PFR post on which quarterback stats stay consistent when a team makes midseason quarterback changes.

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Written by Tom Gower

March 20, 2010 at 23:58

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Hello. And Bye.

    Anonymous

    March 21, 2010 at 19:47

  2. Thanks for stopping by. Have a nice day.

    Tom

    March 21, 2010 at 21:50


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