SITE NEWS: We are moving all of our site and company news into a single blog for Sports-Reference.com. We'll tag all PFR content, so you can quickly and easily find the content you want.

Also, our existing PFR blog rss feed will be redirected to the new site's feed.

Pro-Football-Reference.com » Sports Reference

For more from Chase and Jason, check out their work at Football Perspective and The Big Lead.

Archive for December, 2007

Playoff Proposals: No Automatic Home Game for Division Winners, and “Making the Cut”

Posted by Jason Lisk on December 31, 2007

[NOTE from Doug: this post was written prior to yesterday's games. It's my fault, not JKL's, that it didn't get posted at the end of last week. As you'll see, it doesn't affect the content of the post, but you may have to mentally adjust some tenses.]

This year, seven of the eight divisions were decided prior to week 16. The only one that was not, the AFC Central, was determined when Cleveland lost at Cincinnati on Sunday. All four of the teams that would have bye weeks in the playoffs were decided prior to week 16 as well. Only six of the sixteen games in the final week of the 2007 season have any potential impact on which teams make the playoffs, or specific playoff seeding.

13 Comments | Posted in General, Insane ideas, Rule Change Proposals

What to expect from this blog: short and long term

Posted by Doug on December 26, 2007

Short term: holiday stuff has me pretty busy for the next week or so. I think JKL has something brewing, but aside from that, there won't be much happening at the blog until 2008.

Long term: while I hesitate to promise too much, I do plan to re-allocate some of my free time back to the blog in the upcoming year. I got away from it, for lots of reasons, in 2007. But as I've said before, writing is Good For You, and I haven't been doing enough of it. I hope to fix that soon.

Enjoy your holidays, everyone. I'll be back in a week or so.

1 Comment | Posted in General

Four starting QBs

Posted by Doug on December 24, 2007

I got an email last week from a reader named Ben. Here it is:

The Carolina Panthers have had another year where they didn't live up to expectations. However, they've had four quarterbacks start games for them, and all four have won at least one game. Jake Delhomme beat St. Louis and Atlanta, David Carr beat New Orleans, Vinny Testaverde beat Arizona and San Francisco, and now Matt Moore has beaten Seattle.

How have other teams fared when they've started four quarterbacks in a single season? Has any other team had a season where four or more quarterbacks started and won at least one game apiece?

The new database, which includes a GS column, makes the first question easy to answer. Here's the list of all teams since the merger that had at least four QBs start at least one game apiece.

9 Comments | Posted in General, Trivia

Pre-formatted Text Tooltips

Posted by Sean on December 22, 2007

Tom Brady Statistics - Pro-Football-Reference.com

One of the reasons I always like pre-formatted text over tables was that it could be copied into my fixed width e-mail program and the columns would just line up. Most people don't use those any more, but there are still cases like forum posts where having a fixed width output is nice. Now you can get a fixed with output. You can even sort and then get the fixed-width output. Right now Brady is the only one with this, but it will be site-wide tomorrow morning. Just look for the pre-tooltip above his stats tables. An example after the break.

1 Comment | Posted in General

Year-by-Year Leaderboards Added

Posted by Sean on December 22, 2007

Year-by-Year Adjusted Net Yards per Pass Attempt Leaders - Pro-Football-Reference.com

This is another feature that didn't make it onto the very first launch, but we've added them back now. All of the leaderboard stats now have year-by-year leaders, so you can see just how good Kurt Warner was for that three-year stretch.

Comments Off | Posted in General

Front page tweak

Posted by Sean on December 22, 2007

Pro-Football-Reference.com - Professional Football Statistics and History

Made a few tweaks to the front page. Stretched out the left hand side. Moved the quick index, toned down the color palette a touch. Let us know if there is something that isn't working for you.

1 Comment | Posted in General

Player index now with position indices

Posted by Sean on December 22, 2007

Football Encyclopedia of Players - Pro-Football-Reference.com

After some feedback, we brought back the positional indices. We've added indices for the linemen, LB's etc that we didn't have before.

Comments Off | Posted in General

College Bowl Pool Madness: My Picks

Posted by Chase Stuart on December 20, 2007

For anyone that missed yesterday's post, you still have until 9 PM EST to enter the Bowl Pool Contest. As of 3:30 EST, we've got 9 entries, so the competition to win some sponsorship dollars isn't too heavy. Join in!

Let's start with a few notes. I'm going to use the Sagarin Ratings and point spreads to make my picks. I'm using Sagarin's Pure Predictor ratings as the base, but I also need point spreads because Sagarin ratings are subject to a key problem: teams like Oregon (Dixon injury) are going to be vastly overrated. So the point spread helps to alert me to those things. To be clear, neither I, PFR, "Doug" nor sports-reference.com promote gambling or advise you to wager any money on any sporting event, ever.

First notes: here are the Sagarin ratings for the longshot games:

Cincinnati	85.63	Southern Miss	65.63	20.00
Florida		95.57	Michigan	80.80	14.77
Boise State	83.60	East Carolina	69.43	14.17
Southern Cal	89.44	Illinois	81.54	7.90
Georgia		85.05	Hawaii		79.91	5.14

So we get the same credit if Southern Miss upsets Cincinnati as if Hawaii upsets Georgia. But Georgia looks significantly more likely to fall. I expect Southern Miss and Michigan to get blown out. I think the other three teams probably all have small chances to win. FWIW, here's how these teams look according to the SRS:

Cincinnati	14.3	Southern Miss	-2.5	16.8
Florida		19.4	Michigan	 7.3	12.1
Boise State	 7.9	East Carolina	 0.0	 7.9
Southern Cal	17.0	Illinois	10.0	 7.0
Georgia		16.3	Hawaii		 8.1	 8.1

This confirms not to pick Southern Miss or Michigan. Carroll's record in Bowl games plus this game being in USC's backyard is a big plus, so I'm going to take the supremely talented Trojans. Their SRS is arguably deflated by an unhealthy team playing poorly in mid-season. And while I know nothing at all about East Carolina, Boise State's only losses are to Washington and Hawaii (#52 and #29 according to the SRS, respectively). East Carolina lost a close game to Va Tech (the week before the LSU thrashing), lost to Southern Miss (#73), lost by 41 to West Virginia, lost to North Carolina State (#77) and to Marshall (#101). Those are four bad losses. Their best win was at Houston, who isn't even any good. Boise State's best win was in Fresno State, and they have some history at Hawaii. It's a long travel for East Carolina fans. I know all these reasons are the reasons why East Carolina is a long shot, but I don't see a lot of upside here. So I'll grab Boise State, and even though I think Hawaii isn't any good (as I wrote here), it's good to have one longshot in there.

I'm still not sure if I'd rather join Cincinnati and Florida with one of these three teams, or if I prefer to match them both up with strong dogs. One problem with picking the longshots is you really lose out on pairing a strong dog with someone like USC.

2 Comments | Posted in BCS, College

College Bowl Pool Madness: Contest inside

Posted by Chase Stuart on December 19, 2007

I've got a good friend that is a big college football fan and a pretty snazzy programmer. Let's call him "Doug". Every year, "Doug" conducts a college bowl pool that's half for fun, and half so he can create a nerdy webpage. Here at PFR we'll be running the bowl pool for you guys, too, so feel free to join in on the fun and geekiness. The prizes are:

75 sponsorship bucks for 1st place
30 sponsorship bucks for 2nd place
20 sponsorship bucks for 3rd place

As for the rules, well, here's the e-mail "Doug" sent out every year:

There are 32 bowl games. For each game, one team will be designated the favorite and one team will be designated the underdog. In some games, the underdog will be designated a "longshot." The list is below, along with a sample entry.

Step #1: pick a winner for each game (straight up).

Step #2: group your picks into groups of 1, 2 or 3, subject to the condition that a group of two must have at least one underdog and a group of one must be a longshot.

To get credit for a group, ALL teams in the group must win. Whoever gets the most groups wins. Tiebreaker is whoever picks the most total games correctly (ignoring groups). [NOTE: I think there's a decent chance that the tiebreaker will come into play; that's part of the strategy.]

29 Comments | Posted in BCS, College

PFR Re-Launch!

Posted by Sean on December 18, 2007

Tell your neighbors! Tell your friends! Just in time for the Playoffs we've rolled out the new site.

We hope you enjoy the new look. We're a running around squashing bugs, so don't be shy letting us know if something doesn't look right, or if you just want to say, "Huzzah!" (or "Boo!").

86 Comments | Posted in P-F-R News

Rushing, passing, and sacking simplicity II

Posted by Doug on December 18, 2007

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the plan for today is to try to determine The Greatest Statistical Accomplishment Of All Time. Of course, it is to be understood that "All Time" means "since the merger," and only a pretty small subset of statistical accomplishments are eligible for consideration. To be more specific, here is the plan:

1. Look at the following stats: points, rushing yards, passing yards, total yards, sack yards, turnovers. For each stat, we will look at offense, defense, and margin (offense minus defense). So we have 9 x 3 = 27 different statistical categories to consider.

2. For each category, we give each team (1970--2006) a rating that accounts for how well they did and how tough their schedule was. Full methodology described in yesterday's post (linked above).

3. Then, for each category for each season, we compute the standard deviation of the league's ratings in that category for that season. To jog your memory, the standard deviation measures how spread out that collection of numbers is. You may recall from your stat class that, for normally distributed things (and it's probably pretty safe to assume these ratings are), about 68% of the observations will be within one standard deviation of the mean, about 95% will be within two standard deviations, and about 99% will be within three. The mean, in this case, is necessarily going to be zero, so we can simply divide a team's rating by the league standard deviation to get a measure of "how remarkable" a team's performance was in a particular year in a particular category.

Essentially, the above process is a way to express the all the numbers from yesterday's post --- all years and all categories --- on a common scale. This allows us to compare not only 1970 point margins to 2006 point margins, but also 1983 sack margins to 1999 rushing yardage totals, and so on.

According to this methodology, the most remarkable team achievement is the 2001 Pittsburgh Steelers' rushing yardage total. They amassed 2774 rushing yards against a slightly tougher-than-average schedule of rushing defenses. The league average was 1788. The second place team had 2240. The Steelers were 3.6 standard deviations away from average.

The worst team effort was the 2005 San Francisco 49ers passing yardage margin. They ranked last in the league in both passing yards and passing yards allowed. According to these calculations, if the 49ers were to square off against an average team, they would get outpassed by 146 yards. They were 3.63 standard deviations on the wrong side of average.

Here are the top 10 best and worst lists for each category.

9 Comments | Posted in General, History, Statgeekery

Rushing, passing, and sacking simplicity

Posted by Doug on December 17, 2007

As regular readers know, I frequently refer to a scheme that I call the "simple rating system." There are lots of rating systems out there, and I'm not saying the SRS is necessarily better than any of them in any particular sense. I just think it's, for lack of a better word, neat. It creates a set of rankings that are easily interpreted, that "add up," and that just generally make sense.

Here is the post where I explained all the nuts and bolts of the system. Since then, I (and Chase) have used it many times for various things. In this post I talked about decomposing a team's overall rating into an offensive and defensive component. To be more precise, I should probably say a "points scored" component and a "points allowed" component. As was pointed out in the comments, points scored is not a measure of just offense, and points allowed in not a measure of just defense.

Anyway, the point of this post is to apply that same thinking to other stats. Mathematically, there's no difference between points scored and, say, rushing yards. Or passing yards, or sacks, or turnovers. All you have to do is tell the machine that the "score" of the game was the rushing yards for and against and you've got schedule-adjusted rushing ratings. So I finally got around to doing the programming, and I now have Simple Ratings for rushing yards, passing yards, total yards, turnovers, sacks, and sack yards. (If you want to do Simple Ratings for rate stats, like yards-per-rush or sack percentage, it gets a little more complicated, but it can be done. I'm still working on the programming for that, and I'll show it to you when it's done. For now, we'll limit ourselves to counting stats).

So this post will be mostly a data dump with just a bit of commentary thrown in, but I'll follow up on it tomorrow with some (possibly) more interesting analysis that I'll preview after the dump.

All these rankings are for the period 1970--2006.

Points for

best

MIN  1998    13.2    15-1-0
STL  2000    12.6    10-6-0
WAS  1983    11.7    14-2-0
WAS  1991    11.7    14-2-0
IND  2004    11.7    12-4-0
SDG  1982    10.5     6-3-0
BUF  1975    10.4     8-6-0
STL  2001    10.4    14-2-0
KAN  2004    10.0     7-9-0
SDG  2006    10.0    14-2-0

6 Comments | Posted in General, History, Statgeekery

Tentative grand opening of the new p-f-r: next Tuesday

Posted by Doug on December 14, 2007

This is not quite a lock, but that's what we're shooting for. If you go to the makeshift front page of the new p-f-r and start clicking around, you'll find very, very few dead links. While we still have lots of things on the to-do list, it should be complete enough that we will be ready to make the switchover early next week.

A few things of interest that have been added since the last time I did a post like this:

  • On these nifty player register pages, you can now click a box to hide the non-qualifiers on rate stats, so you don't have to sift through the Brad Maynards and Bubba Frankses to find the league leaders in completion percentage.
  • All-Pro and Pro Bowl pages have been added for each season.
  • A frivolities section has been added, which includes links to player registers by birth state and birth date, a random page feature which is kind of fun, and a few other odds and ends.
  • The search box in the upper right hand corner of each page now works, and it's a lot better than the one at old p-f-r. In addition to player or coach names, you can now type things like "2004 nfl" or "leaders" or "broncos" and get the expected results. In just the few days it's been implemented, I've found myself frequently using the search box to quickly take me to a particular team page. E.g. "1983 cle"
  • There is now a draft section. Right now, it just has draft round (not slot), and it only has players who eventually played in the NFL. While it's much better than no draft section at all, we realize that there is much room for improvement here. It's a high priority.

6 Comments | Posted in P-F-R News

Prediction of the week: Jets shock world

Posted by Chase Stuart on December 13, 2007

Here's my weekly prediction for our Samsung’s HDTV Defining Moment of the week. Please either submit your own thoughts or vote for mine.

Last week I predicted a Pats blowout victory over the Steelers, and was told that predicting the sunrise isn’t very interesting. So this week, I’m going to go out on a limb. Way out there.

1) The game is in New England — advantage Jets? New York has *never* beaten Brady at home, and lost each game since ‘01 by an average of 12.67 points per game. In Foxboro, the Jets have lost by an average of just two points per game in the Brady era.

2) While the Pats are riding a 10-game winning streak at home, the Jets are the last team to win in Foxboro. New York won 17-14 in week ten last season. In the playoff game in January, the Jets were down just 17-13 with under 20 minutes to go before imploding. In a week 16 game that ended up deciding the division, the Jets crushed the Patriots in Foxboro in 2002, knocking New England out of the playoffs. That was the only time in a four year period where the Patriots didn’t win the Super Bowl. This Jets team has shown an ability to fare better in New England than nearly all other suitors.

3) The Jets, despite an ugly 3-10 record, are a lot more talented than you’d think. This team actually is on par with the playoff team of just a year ago, and with Thomas Jones, has a better rushing attack. Since the bye week, the Jets defense has improved, as we saw in an upset win over Pittsburgh, a thrashing of Miami, and a near upset over the high powered Browns.

4) Eric Mangini knows Belichick, and won’t leave anything behind in this matchup. This is the Jets’ Super Bowl, and expect New York to play it as if the team has nothing to lose. That will make them a more dangerous team, and I suspect we’ll see a good number of fourth down attempts, a possible fake punt, and some trickery courtesy of Brad Smith. Leon Washington and Smith may prove to be too elusive for the Patriots aging linebackers.

5) The Jets played a lot more competitively in the season opener than you might imagine: the Pats scored only fourteen points in the first half, and got their fourth offensive touchdown of the game with two minutes to go. Against ordinary teams, that’s embarrassing; against New England, that borders on impressive. If the Jets can keep the Patriots under 30, New York will have a chance to win, because…

6) Believe it or not, the Jets’ passing attack has fared well the past two seasons, since Mangini left New England. In four games, Chad Pennington completed 63% of his passes, at an average of 7.2 yards per attempt, while throwing 6 TDs and 3 INTs. Kellen Clemens, Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles — if both receivers play — should see similar success in New England on Sunday. And to complement that passing attack? New England has allowed over 165 yards on the ground in each of the past two games, since putting linebacker Rosevelt Colvin on injured reserve.

7) Thirty-mile per hour winds are expected in Foxboro on Sunday afternoon, which will do more to shut down Brady-to-Moss than any human being ever could. That means one streak should continue: Tom Brady has never had a 300-yard passing game against the Jets. Don’t ignore the elements as a possible neutralizer, as New York is one of the few teams in the league that won’t be out of their element on a cold New England day.

Will the Jets beat New England? Who knows. But they should be in the game late in the third quarter, and be a bit more competitive than most suspect. Watch out for rookie CB Darelle Revis, who just might turn in the defining play of the week.

14 Comments | Posted in General

Green jersey, #12

Posted by Chase Stuart on December 12, 2007

I was sitting at a coffee shop yesterday when I saw a guy across from me wearing a green shirt/jersey with the #12 on it. It wasn't a real jersey, and there were no logos or stripes on it. It was a shirt with the #12 on the back, but it was also clearly an NFL shirt/jersey. Automatically, I assumed it was a Joe Namath jersey. It turned out, when the guy got up, that it was a Randall Cunningham shirt/jersey.

This led me to wonder how our readers would answer a series of questions:

1) If you saw (or say, read in a blog post title) a green jersey with the number twelve on it, would Joe Namath or Randall Cunningham first come to mind? In a sense this is a question of which player is more popular, or more associated with a given jersey.

2) Who do you think was the better player?

I have a theory that Doug wrote about here:

The reason rings are overvalued in discussions like this is because people confuse the question “would you rather have been a fan of Favre’s actual team during Favre’s actual career or Marino’s actual team during Marino’s actual career?” with the question “which guy played better during his career?”

To put it another way, people interpret the question “which guy was better?” to mean “which guy would you rather have been?”

Quite clearly, I think, you'd rather have been Joe Namath (or rooted for Joe Namath's team) than Randall Cunningham, for two simple facts. One, Namath won a Super Bowl (and a Super Bowl MVP), and earned nearly unmatchable fame, glory and notoriety; two, Namath is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

But leaving aside that question, which quarterback was actually better? So:

2a) Who was the better QB over the course of his career: Joe Namath with the Jets, or Randall Cunningham with the Eagles?

2b) Who was the better QB over the course of his career: Joe Namath, or Randall Cunningham (the prior question was to obviously exclude Cunningham's incredible season with Minnesota in 1998) ?

2c) Which QB was the best in his prime?

2d) Which QB had the best single season? If you choose Cunningham, 1998, which QB had the second best single season?

3) Has there ever been a player whose best season isn't associated with the player's career quite like Cunningham? The modern equivalent would be maybe Corey Dillon?

4) Which player changed pro football history the most? Namath helped legitimize the AFL (and the AFL/NFL merger), and his guarantee changed professional sports. Not to be outdone, he was the first player to ever get a large contract, which has left an indelible mark on the game. Cunningham, conversely, paved the way for the Kordell Stewarts, Steve McNairs, Donovan McNabbs, Mike Vicks and Daunte Culpeppers of the last fifteen years. While James Harris was the first black player to make the Pro Bowl at the position, he was not a running QB and had a largely unproductive career (ironically enough, Harris -- number 12 on the Rams -- was later traded for Joe Namath, which freed up that number for Joe Willie). It was another fourteen years until another black QB made the Pro Bowl, when Moon and Cunningham did so in 1988. But while Moon and Doug Williams saw success in the late '80s, Cunningham was clearly a different breed of QB. Black or white, Cunningham held four of the top five single season rushing marks by a QB by 1990, and revolutionized the position.

5) Any other questions you've got on picking between Cunningham and Namath, throw them out. Both seemingly have earned reputations that exceeded their actual on field performance, as both players probably had more potential and historical significance than actual results. Of course, this is just a matter of degree, as each player certainly enjoyed incredible success. But with Namath especially, there's always a question of "what if" with respect to his injuries.

14 Comments | Posted in History

My annual post about the SEC

Posted by Doug on December 11, 2007

I grew up a fan of a team that was in the Big 8, but I never considered myself a "Big 8 fan." What does that even mean? Why would I care what Missouri or Colorado does in their out-of-conference games? Rooting for a conference is something that never occurred to me, and so I always considered people who did so to be a little weird. But since moving to the south six years ago, I've become a weirdo in a weirdo's world. I now have conference awareness for the first time in my life, but I don't have conference pride. I have conference animosity. Animosity toward the SEC, to be specific.

As long as this blog exists, I will continue to write at least one post per year that urges people not to hate the SEC as I shamefully do, but to at least think critically about its place in the college football world. Last year I pointed out that the SEC had a record of 72-72 against other BCS conferences in the BCS era (1998--present). That was before the bowl season, during which they went 5-3 (I'm counting Notre Dame as a BCS team). This year, they were 7-7 against the other BCS conferences, which brings their record in the last ten years to 84-82.

84-82.

Anyway, my annual SEC post for '07 was going to be sarcasm-laced and confrontational, but while it was brewing in my brain I happened across this post at SundayMorningQB.com which, in all seriousness, might be the best post ever written in the history of blogs. SMQ has inspired me to be reasonable, to say what I have to say frankly and without gratuitous insults. I'll start with an anti-fisking of his post:

The worst result of last year's mythical championship game was the growth and perpetuation of this absurd notion of superior "SEC speed," based not on the collective 40 times and shuttle drills of hundreds of players on a couple dozen teams that make up the SEC and Big Ten, but on a handful of plays in a single game that was decidedly outside the season-long patterns of both participants, and not demonstrably decided by "speed" (unless you're willing to suggest Tennessee and Arkansas were done in a week earlier by "speed," too, which was at least as plausible). These conferences need to play more often [bolding added by Doug].

This is the crux of the problem. The SEC is 84-82 against the other BCS conferences in the last 10 years. That means there are about 16 games per year featuring an SEC team versus another team from a power conference, and a high percentage of those are bowls (otherwise known as meaningless exhibitions). That's just not enough to conclude anything at all. The fact is: we don't know and we can't know, given the current scheduling norms, how the conferences stack up against each other. Not last year, not this year, not any year.

One would think the false sense of inevitability that followed Ohio State prior to last year's championship (or USC the year before that, or that very, very fast Miami team in 2002, or, I don't know, LSU, Ohio State, West Virginia, USC, Oregon, Michigan, Oklahoma, California, Florida or LSU again prior to stunning upsets over the last three months) would demonstrate the virtues of humility to fans everywhere, and lead them to stop for a second to recognize --- last year's anomalous championship beatdown is a great example of this --- that anything can happen in one game, on one night, and "anything" will not necessarily reconcile itself with the accumulation of disparate performances that precedes it. It only adds to the accumulation; it doesn't define it. [bolding by Doug again]

The last sentence is a beautiful one. Of course, it needs to be interpreted correctly. In a sense, what happens in the championship game does define the season, because that's how the season will be remembered. But what SMQ is arguing against is the all-too-common notion that what happens in a given game was inevitable, that the loser was exposed. No. The loser lost. There might be some larger lessons to be learned from it but, even when the loser loses spectacularly like Ohio State did last season, there might not. Sometimes teams just lose.

Based on everything we know from the dozen "samples" on both sides leading up to last January, that Florida team couldn't beat that Ohio State team by 27 points again in a whole season of trying. There's a reason the Gators were underdogs, and it's not because they kept the fast guys under wraps when squeaking out wins against South Carolina and Vanderbilt.

I'm veering off topic just a bit here, but this hits on my main beef with the treatment the SEC seems to get in the media. It seems self-evident that little if anything can be learned about a conference's strength, relative to all the other conferences, by the results of intra-conference games. But somehow SEC games are viewed differently by a large and vocal contingent of college football fans. When LSU loses to Arkansas or a top 10 South Carolina team loses to Vanderbilt, it means There Are No Off Weeks In The SEC. But when Ohio State loses to Illinois, it means that the Buckeyes have been exposed.

The SEC rallying cry is that SEC teams "beat up on each other," which is of course true --- every conference has a .500 record against itself. But when a team that was 6-3 in the SEC loses to a team that went 3-6 in the Pac 10, what are we to make of that? It's just one game? Possibly a bit of a fluke and not necessarily representative of the true strengths of those teams? That seems obvious, which is why SMQ's post is so perfectly on point. The relative strengths of the conferences, to the extent we can judge them at all, must be measured by looking at all the data, not just one game.

Cal/Tennessee is certainly a convenient talking point for an SEC-hater like me, and there are others, but not too many. Which is why, when I look at all the data, I have to conclude that the SEC has in fact been the best conference in the country so far this year.

But let me put that into context. To do so, I've come up with an analogy that I hope SEC supporters can understand.

The SEC is the best conference in the country in the same sense that LSU is the best team in the SEC.

At times this season, LSU has looked clearly better than the field. At others, they've struggled to assert themselves against mid-packers like Kentucky, Arkansas, and Alabama. In the end, we're not really even sure they're better than Georgia is right now. Likewise, many bits of evidence point to the SEC being the class of college football while others tell a different story. In both cases, it's more of a best guess than a certainty.

But the more important part of the analogy is its implications for next year and for last year. The fact that LSU is the best team in the SEC this year doesn't mean Auburn or Florida or someone (the Pac 10 or the Big Ten or someone, in case you're having a hard time following along) wasn't better last year, or won't be better next year. Remember, my position isn't that the SEC is bad --- that's untenable --- it's that the SEC is JAC: Just Another Conference. It's one of a handful of conferences that vie for the top spot each year, with roughly equal long-term success. Just like LSU, sometimes it's up, sometimes it's down. Overall, it's 84-82.

Finally, just because LSU is better than Florida or Arkansas doesn't mean that Matt Flynn is better than Tim Tebow or that Jacob Hester is better than Darren McFadden. In the same way, the SEC's overall 2007 superiority over the Big Ten really says very little about a matchup between two individual teams from those conferences. There's nothing stopping the country's best team from coming from somewhere other than the best conference.

Not that I'm saying Ohio State is the country's best team. I don't have much of a feel for what's going to happen on January 7th, but the only thing I know for sure is that neither team will be exposed. To the extent that the word means anything, both teams --- and every other team in the country --- have already been exposed this season. One more game isn't going to change that, no matter what happens.

16 Comments | Posted in College

New college pages

Posted by Doug on December 10, 2007

I think this page, and the places you can get to from it, are pretty cool.

3 Comments | Posted in P-F-R News

Big game trivia

Posted by Doug on December 10, 2007

A trivia quiz in honor of the latest new p-f-r feature. How many of these can you get right without peeking?

Most 100-yard rushing games in a career (fill in the blanks)

1. Emmitt Smith
2. Walter Payton
3. Barry Sanders
4. Eric Dickerson
5. _____________
6. Jim Brown
7. Curtis Martin
8. _____________
9. Franco Harris
10. Thurman Thomas

ANSWERS: 5 = Bettis, 8 = Edge James

Most 300-yard passing games in a career (fill in the blanks)

1. Marino
2. Favre
3. _____________
4. Moon
5. Manning
6. Montana
7. Warner
8. ______________
9. Elway
10T. _____________
10T. _____________
10T. _____________

ANSWERS: 3 = Fouts, 8 = Bledsoe, 10 = Testeverde, Trent Green, and Kerry Collins

Most 100-yard receiving games in a career

1. Rice
2. Harrison
3. Moss
4. ________________
5. ________________
6. Jimmy Smith
7. Holt
8. Owens
9. Lofton
10. _______________

ANSWERS: 4 = Don Maynard, 5 = Michael Irvin, 10 = Isaac Bruce

Bonus questions

In NFL/AFL history, there have been three teams that had six different players record a 100-yard receiving game. What three teams?

ANSWERS: 2003 Chiefs (Blaylock, Gonzalez, Hall, Holmes, Kennison, Morton), 1988 Dolphins (Banks, Clayton, Duper, Edmunds, Jensen, Schwedes), 1984 Chargers (Chandler, Duckworth, Holohan, Joiner, Sievers, Winslow)

In NFL/AFL history, only one team has had five different players record a 100-yard rushing game. Who?

ANSWERS: 1978 Chiefs (Mark Bailey, MacArthur Lane, Ted McKnight, Arnold Morgado, Tony Reed)

12 Comments | Posted in Trivia

More new features: game logs

Posted by Doug on December 7, 2007

This site has always had individual (skill position) player game logs going back to 1995. In 2003 (I think), I also started including postseason game logs as well. Those are both integrated into the new site now, as can be seen, for example, here and here. Note that the sortable tables come in handy here. If you want to see how many 2-TD games LaDainian Tomlinson has had, just click on the TD column to sort the list.

In addition, we've got an exciting new feature: a list of all 100-yard rushing or receiving games, and all 300-yard passing games. Here are all 58 of Jim Brown's 100-yard games, for instance.

1 Comment | Posted in P-F-R News

Random trivia: draft class edition

Posted by Doug on December 7, 2007

The Steelers' 1975 1974 draft class is generally regarded as the best in history. It's tough to argue with four hall of famers:

+-----------------+-------+-----------+
| name            | round | pro_bowls |
+-----------------+-------+-----------+
| Lynn Swann      |     1 |         3 |
| Jack Lambert    |     2 |         9 |
| John Stallworth |     4 |         4 |
| Mike Webster    |     5 |         9 |
+-----------------+-------+-----------+

Those 25 pro bowls are the most ever from a single draft class. However, since the merger, there have been five draft classes that produced more than four players who would go on to make a pro bowl at some point in their career. Who were they?

ANSWER UPDATE:

+------+------+------------------+-------+-----------+
| team | year | name             | round | pro_bowls |
+------+------+------------------+-------+-----------+
| dal  | 1989 | Troy Aikman      |     1 |         6 |
| dal  | 1989 | Daryl Johnston   |     2 |         2 |
| dal  | 1989 | Steve Wisniewski |     2 |         8 |
| dal  | 1989 | Mark Stepnoski   |     3 |         5 |
| dal  | 1989 | Tony Tolbert     |     4 |         1 |

| dal  | 1975 | Randy White      |     1 |         9 |
| dal  | 1975 | Thomas Henderson |     1 |         1 |
| dal  | 1975 | Bob Breunig      |     3 |         3 |
| dal  | 1975 | Pat Donovan      |     4 |         4 |
| dal  | 1975 | Herbert Scott    |    13 |         3 |

| pit  | 1971 | Frank Lewis      |     1 |         1 |
| pit  | 1971 | Jack Ham         |     2 |         8 |
| pit  | 1971 | Dwight White     |     4 |         2 |
| pit  | 1971 | Larry Brown      |     5 |         1 |
| pit  | 1971 | Mike Wagner      |    11 |         2 |

| ram  | 1975 | Doug France      |     1 |         2 |
| ram  | 1975 | Dennis Harrah    |     1 |         6 |
| ram  | 1975 | Monte Jackson    |     2 |         2 |
| ram  | 1975 | Rod Perry        |     4 |         2 |
| ram  | 1975 | Pat Haden        |     7 |         1 |

| ram  | 1985 | Jerry Gray       |     1 |         4 |
| ram  | 1985 | Dale Hatcher     |     3 |         1 |
| ram  | 1985 | Kevin Greene     |     5 |         5 |
| ram  | 1985 | Duval Love       |    10 |         1 |
| ram  | 1985 | Doug Flutie      |    11 |         1 |
+------+------+------------------+-------+-----------+

10 Comments | Posted in NFL Draft, Trivia

Page 1 of 212