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Archive for October, 2010

NCAA: SRS ratings through nine weeks

Posted by Chase Stuart on October 31, 2010

No change at the top -- Oregon, Boise State and TCU look to be the best three teams in the country. The Horned Frogs might be the only defense in the country that could contain the Ducks. A title game featuring TCU's #1 ranked defense in points allowed (8.67) and yards allowed (217) could at least contain Oregon's explosive offense that tops the country in both points (54.9 per game) and yards (573). The more balanced approach would come from Boise, Idaho, where their football team ranks in the top five in yards, points, yards allowed and points allowed.

Rank Team Gm MOV SOS SRS Rec Conf ConRk SOS Rk
1 Oregon 8 32.1 40.4 72.5 8-0 P10 1 54
2 TCU 9 28.2 37.5 65.7 9-0 MWC 1 68
3 Boise St 7 27.2 37.0 64.2 7-0 WAC 1 74
4 Stanford 8 17.9 44.7 62.6 7-1 P10 2 17
5 Alabama 8 18.3 42.7 60.9 7-1 SEC 1 33
6 Missouri 8 15.4 44.9 60.3 7-1 B12 1 16
7 Nebraska 8 16.9 42.7 59.6 7-1 B12 2 30
8 Ohio State 9 22.4 36.9 59.3 8-1 B10 1 76
9 Utah 8 25.1 34.1 59.2 8-0 MWC 2 91
10 Oklahoma 8 13.0 46.1 59.1 7-1 B12 3 12

3 Comments | Posted in College

Scary Good

Posted by Chase Stuart on October 30, 2010

With a full slate of games scheduled on Halloween this year, I thought it would be a good time to look back and note some of the best performances on October 31st over the past 50 years. First, the top 50 quarterbacks, measured by adjusted yards per attempt:

Name Year Team Opp W/L Score Cmp Att Yd TD INT AY/A Rsh Rshyd Rshtd
Earl Morrall 1971 BAL PIT W 34-21 11 19 286 3 0 18.2 0 0 0
Drew Bledsoe 1999 NWE ARI W 27-3 14 22 276 4 0 16.2 0 0 0
Scott Hunter 1976 ATL NOR W 23-20 10 11 138 2 0 16.2 2 3 0
Elvis Grbac 1999 KAN SDG W 34-0 11 15 194 2 0 15.6 1 -1 0
Drew Brees 2004 SDG OAK W 42-14 22 25 281 5 0 15.2 2 21 0
John Hadl 1971 SDG NYJ W 49-21 19 27 358 4 1 14.6 3 38 1
Chris Chandler 1988 IND DEN W 55-23 10 13 167 1 0 14.4 3 8 0
Tim Couch 1999 CLE NOR W 21-16 11 19 193 3 0 13.3 2 5 0
Greg Landry 1976 DET GNB W 27-6 12 19 211 2 0 13.2 2 11 0
Trent Green 2004 KAN IND W 45-35 27 34 389 3 0 13.2 3 -3 0
Bob Griese 1971 MIA RAM W 20-14 13 19 209 2 0 13.1 3 17 0
Scott Mitchell 1993 MIA KAN W 30-10 22 33 344 3 0 12.2 3 12 0
Michael Vick 2004 ATL DEN W 41-28 18 24 252 2 0 12.2 12 115 0
Peyton Manning 2004 IND KAN L 35-45 25 44 472 5 1 12.0 0 0 0
Johnny Unitas 1965 BAL SFO W 34-28 23 34 324 4 0 11.9 1 7 0
John Brodie 1965 SFO BAL L 28-34 20 28 289 2 0 11.8 2 13 0
Jeff Hostetler 1993 RAI SDG L 23-30 20 32 424 2 2 11.7 5 9 0
Chris Chandler 1999 ATL CAR W 27-20 14 21 201 2 0 11.5 1 -1 0
Gary Kubiak 1988 DEN IND L 23-55 12 16 138 2 0 11.1 4 21 0
Craig Erickson 1993 TAM ATL W 31-24 18 28 318 4 2 11.0 3 8 0
Fran Tarkenton 1965 MIN CLE W 27-17 17 27 234 2 0 10.1 2 -9 0
Norm Snead 1965 PHI WAS L 21-23 11 19 196 2 1 10.1 1 7 0
James Harris 1976 RAM SEA W 45-6 14 25 208 2 0 9.9 0 0 0
George Izo 1965 DET RAM W 31-7 9 19 168 1 0 9.9 0 0 0
Ben Roethlisberger 2004 PIT NWE W 34-20 18 24 196 2 0 9.8 5 3 0
Peyton Manning 1999 IND DAL W 34-24 22 34 313 1 0 9.8 0 0 0
Brad Johnson 1999 WAS CHI W 48-22 15 25 204 2 0 9.8 1 1 1
Mark Brunell 1999 JAX CIN W 41-10 11 19 145 2 0 9.7 2 11 0
Jim Hart 1976 STL SFO W 23-20 16 31 271 3 1 9.2 0 0 0
Jeff George 1999 MIN DEN W 23-20 17 29 218 2 0 8.9 1 0 0
David Carr 2004 HOU JAX W 20-6 26 34 276 1 0 8.7 3 15 0
Jim Hart 1977 STL NYG W 28-0 9 13 113 0 0 8.7 0 0 0
Roman Gabriel 1971 RAM MIA L 14-20 23 35 277 1 0 8.5 0 0 0
Kurt Warner 1999 STL TEN L 21-24 29 46 328 3 0 8.4 2 22 0
Sonny Jurgensen 1965 WAS PHI W 23-21 23 35 293 2 1 8.2 3 -10 0
Bill Nelsen 1965 PIT DAL W 22-13 18 35 272 3 1 8.2 2 7 0
Dick Wood 1964 NYJ BOS W 35-14 22 36 325 3 2 8.2 0 0 0
Jake Plummer 2004 DEN ATL L 28-41 31 55 499 4 3 8.1 2 5 0
Jim Harbaugh 1993 CHI GNB L 3-17 15 19 149 0 0 7.8 3 26 0
Jim Hart 1971 STL BUF W 28-23 15 27 171 2 0 7.8 4 2 0
Joey Harrington 2004 DET DAL L 21-31 19 32 255 2 1 7.8 1 -1 0
Steve Young 1993 SFO RAM W 40-17 22 34 245 1 0 7.8 7 57 0
Steve McNair 1999 TEN STL W 24-21 13 29 186 2 0 7.8 12 36 1
Jeff George 1993 IND NWE W 9-6 18 26 200 0 0 7.7 4 -2 0
Dave Krieg 1993 KAN MIA L 10-30 12 19 126 1 0 7.7 1 20 0
Craig Morton 1976 NYG PHI L 0-10 17 28 215 0 0 7.7 2 5 0
Jeff Blake 1999 CIN JAX L 10-41 13 23 155 1 0 7.6 2 10 0
Boomer Esiason 1993 NYJ NYG W 10-6 12 17 129 0 0 7.6 3 15 0
John Friesz 1993 SDG RAI W 30-23 13 25 162 1 0 7.3 2 0 0
Rodney Peete 1993 DET MIN W 30-27 20 28 273 1 2 7.3 8 13 0

The 66 running backs with at least 100 yards from scrimmage:

6 Comments | Posted in Insane ideas, Voodoo and witchcraft

Friday Philosophy

Posted by Chase Stuart on October 29, 2010

Courtesy of Brian Burke, one of the best things I've ever read about football:

Gregg Easterbrook thinks the 3-4 defense is part of a cyclical fad. ... [I think he] is right about the 3-4 trend being part of a cyclical trend. But it's much more meaningful than a fad. It's part of a concept I call strategic intransitivity, something I learned from Michael Maubossin, author of Think Twice.

A good example of intransitivity is the game rock, paper, scissors. Imagine a paper-scissors world, one where one strategy has a strong upper hand over another. That's where today's defenses find themselves. Defenses have been the paper, shredded every Sunday by scissors-wielding Peyton Mannings and Tom Bradys. Slowly the paper strategy will adapt towards a more rock-like strategy, pounding the scissors into little pieces. Then offenses respond with more paper-like tactics, and around we go. The evolution of these strategies occurs over decade-long periods. The bottom line is that there is no single "best" strategy, only successful strategies given the current strategy choices of your opponents.

It's tempting to think of football strategy as something akin to Maslow's hierarchy: after satisfying one need, you move on to the next, more advanced stage. The high-risk deep passing game gave way to the safer, ball-control power running attack, replaced by the more-rewarding-but-still-safe West Coast Offense which, aided by certain rule changes, was followed by the high accuracy but big play yielding spread offense. But that's probably not the best explanation of things. Offenses today are averaging 21 to 22 points per game, just like they did in 1995 and 1987 and 1967 and 1953. And the rock-paper-scissors analogy is a good way to remember that.

5 Comments | Posted in Checkdowns

How many Super Bowl winning quarterbacks are there?

Posted by Chase Stuart on October 28, 2010

On Monday Night Football this week, one of the announcers noted that there are six Super Bowl quarterbacks currently playing in the league. Is that a lot or a little?

A couple of years ago, I noted all the quarterbacks to ever win a Super Bowl in this post. No surprises there, although I split up Super Bowl V between Unitas and Morrall, assigning them each half a win. [Note: Teams win games, not quarterbacks. This goes double for Super Bowls. Disclaimer out of the way.] Once you add in Brees' championship from last season, it's easy enough to see how many quarterbacks in any given season have won the Super Bowl. As it turns out, 2007 and 2008 represents the high-water mark for active bling in the NFL:

Year # QBs Quarterbacks
2010 6 Drew Brees; Eli Manning; Peyton Manning; Ben Roethlisberger; Tom Brady; Brett Favre
2009 6 Eli Manning; Peyton Manning; Ben Roethlisberger; Tom Brady; Kurt Warner; Brett Favre
2008 7 Eli Manning; Peyton Manning; Ben Roethlisberger; Brad Johnson; Tom Brady; Kurt Warner; Brett Favre
2007 7 Peyton Manning; Ben Roethlisberger; Brad Johnson; Tom Brady; Trent Dilfer; Kurt Warner; Brett Favre
2006 5 Ben Roethlisberger; Brad Johnson; Tom Brady; Kurt Warner; Brett Favre
2005 5 Brad Johnson; Tom Brady; Trent Dilfer; Kurt Warner; Brett Favre
2004 5 Brad Johnson; Tom Brady; Trent Dilfer; Kurt Warner; Brett Favre
2003 5 Brad Johnson; Tom Brady; Trent Dilfer; Kurt Warner; Brett Favre
2002 4 Tom Brady; Trent Dilfer; Kurt Warner; Brett Favre
2001 4 Trent Dilfer; Kurt Warner; Brett Favre; Mark Rypien
2000 3 Kurt Warner; Brett Favre; Troy Aikman
1999 3 Brett Favre; Steve Young; Troy Aikman
1998 4 John Elway; Brett Favre; Steve Young; Troy Aikman
1997 5 Brett Favre; Steve Young; Troy Aikman; Mark Rypien; Jeff Hostetler
1996 5 Steve Young; Troy Aikman; Mark Rypien; Jeff Hostetler; Jim McMahon
1995 5 Steve Young; Troy Aikman; Mark Rypien; Jeff Hostetler; Jim McMahon
1994 5 Troy Aikman; Mark Rypien; Jeff Hostetler; Jim McMahon; Joe Montana
1993 6 Troy Aikman; Mark Rypien; Jeff Hostetler; Phil Simms; Jim McMahon; Joe Montana
1992 5 Mark Rypien; Jeff Hostetler; Phil Simms; Jim McMahon; Joe Montana
1991 3 Jeff Hostetler; Phil Simms; Jim McMahon
1990 3 Phil Simms; Jim McMahon; Joe Montana
1989 4 Doug Williams; Phil Simms; Jim McMahon; Joe Montana
1988 4 Doug Williams; Phil Simms; Jim McMahon; Joe Montana
1987 3 Phil Simms; Jim McMahon; Joe Montana
1986 3 Jim McMahon; Joe Montana; Jim Plunkett
1985 3 Joe Theismann; Joe Montana; Jim Plunkett
1984 4 Joe Theismann; Joe Montana; Jim Plunkett; Ken Stabler
1983 5 Joe Theismann; Joe Montana; Jim Plunkett; Ken Stabler; Terry Bradshaw
1982 4 Joe Montana; Jim Plunkett; Ken Stabler; Terry Bradshaw
1981 3 Jim Plunkett; Ken Stabler; Terry Bradshaw
1980 3 Ken Stabler; Terry Bradshaw; Bob Griese
1979 4 Ken Stabler; Terry Bradshaw; Bob Griese; Roger Staubach
1978 4 Ken Stabler; Terry Bradshaw; Bob Griese; Roger Staubach
1977 5 Ken Stabler; Terry Bradshaw; Bob Griese; Roger Staubach; Joe Namath
1976 4.5 Terry Bradshaw; Bob Griese; Roger Staubach; Earl Morrall; Joe Namath
1975 5.5 Terry Bradshaw; Bob Griese; Roger Staubach; Earl Morrall; Len Dawson; Joe Namath
1974 4.5 Bob Griese; Roger Staubach; Earl Morrall; Len Dawson; Joe Namath
1973 5 Bob Griese; Roger Staubach; Johnny Unitas; Earl Morrall; Len Dawson; Joe Namath
1972 4 Roger Staubach; Johnny Unitas; Earl Morrall; Len Dawson; Joe Namath
1971 4 Johnny Unitas; Earl Morrall; Len Dawson; Joe Namath; Bart Starr
1970 3 Len Dawson; Joe Namath; Bart Starr
1969 2 Joe Namath; Bart Starr
1968 1 Bart Starr
1967 1 Bart Starr
1966 0

The least impressive year was probably 1981. After Griese retired, you had just three QBs that had won a Super Bowl playing that year: a 32-year-old Terry Bradshaw, one year away from retirement; a 36-year-old Ken Stabler playing for the Oilers; and Jim Plunkett, and career underachieving Jim Plunkett, owner of a 43-55 record at that time. Although 1991 is pretty close: only three active quarterbacks with rings, and two played for the same team.

25 Comments | Posted in Quarterbacks

New York Times Post: Week 7

Posted by Chase Stuart on October 27, 2010

This week I took a look at Mike Williams' unusual career path: he's now the top receiver on the top team in the N.F.C. West. I also noted that there have been 11 sets of round robin results this year where three teams played each other and all went 1-1. The most bizarre one? The Denver-Oakland-Tennessee triumvirate, where the Titans crushed the Raiders, the Raiders demolished the Broncos, but somehow, Denver beat Tennessee. Expect this to lead to a future post on the PFR blog about the craziest such round robins in league history.

6 Comments | Posted in Announcements, Checkdowns

NCAA: SRS ratings through eight weeks

Posted by Chase Stuart on October 24, 2010

Last week, I unveiled the simple rating system scores for each of the 120 major college football teams. After this weekend's games, how do the rankings look?

Rank Team Gm MOV SOS SRS Rec Conf ConRk SOS Rk
1 Oregon 7 33.2 39.3 72.5 7-0 P10 1 59
2 TCU 8 27.4 38.9 66.3 8-0 MWC 1 67
3 Boise St 6 27.6 37.3 64.9 6-0 WAC 1 77
4 Missouri 7 19.2 43.7 62.9 7-0 B12 1 24
5 Stanford 7 15.6 45.9 61.5 6-1 P10 2 17
6 Alabama 8 18.3 42.5 60.8 7-1 SEC 1 35
7 Utah 7 27.5 33.0 60.5 7-0 MWC 2 96
8 California 7 12.1 48.0 60.2 4-3 P10 3 10
9 Ohio State 8 20.9 39.0 60.0 7-1 B10 1 64
10 Nebraska 7 17.7 42.0 59.8 6-1 B12 2 41
11 Arizona 7 17.4 42.3 59.6 6-1 P10 4 37
12 Oklahoma 7 11.0 48.1 59.1 6-1 B12 3 9

4 Comments | Posted in General

New York Times Post: Week 6

Posted by Chase Stuart on October 20, 2010

What's going on in the state of Texas? Houston saved their season in the second half on Sunday, while a weak N.F.C. means all is not lost for the Cowboys. For more on the Texans and Cowboys, Chris Ivory, and the similarities between Tiki Barber and Ahmad Bradshaw, check out page B19 of the Times today or the Fifth Down blog.

1 Comment | Posted in Announcements

Checkdowns: Schaub to Johnson, in Tecmo Form

Posted by Neil Paine on October 18, 2010

A few weeks ago, PFR Blog fan Jordan Slocum sent us his Tecmo Super Bowl re-creation of Joe Flacco's game-winning TD pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh, and today he has another one for us... In Jordan's words, "it's Gus Johnson-tastic":

Compare it to the real Matt Schaub-Andre Johnson hookup here.

2 Comments | Posted in Checkdowns, Tecmo Super Bowl, YouTube Finds

NCAA: SRS ratings through seven weeks

Posted by Chase Stuart on October 17, 2010

Regular PFR readers will recall that we published college football SRS ratings every week last season. With seven weeks in the books, and the BCS opening rankings coming out tonight, it made sense to start up the project for 2010. So how do we come up with SRS grades for college football teams?

PFR has used the Simple Rating System to grade college and NFL teams for years. All ratings or rankings are meaningless without explanation, and the link above explains what the SRS tries to do. The SRS version that I'm implementing below is most useful to predict future results; the SRS is predictive, not retrodictive. That means the SRS will have no trouble at all ranking a team that's undefeated and beat a team with one loss behind the very team it beat. Why? One, because we know that one game is just one game, and never is conclusive proof that one team is better than another; and two, because the SRS weighs each game equally. Of course, sample size issues are always present here; while I've waited for seven weeks before presenting the SRS, we really need to see a couple more weeks of action before we can have full faith in this system. For now, though, maybe they'll make you rethink your perception of a couple of teams.

So how am I calculating these simple ratings?

1) For each game, 3 points are given to the road team (unless it's a neutral site game). After that adjustment, all wins and losses of between 7 and 24 points are scored as however many points the team won by. So a 24-10 road win goes down as +17 for the road team, -17 for the home team.

2) Wins of 7 or fewer points are scored as 7-point wins and losses of 7 or fewer points are scored as 7 point losses, except that road losses of 3 or fewer and home wins of 3 or fewer are graded as 0 point ties. So a 21-20 home victory goes down as a tie for both teams. This is not as drastic as it sounds, because the SRS ultimately is not concerned with win/loss records. There is no distinction between a win and a loss (you don't need to make such distinctions in predictive systems) except for when the game is close. So three 10-point wins scores +30, just as two 20-point wins and a 10-point loss scores as +30. However, three 3 point wins (+9 before the adjustments, +21 after) is worth more than two 10 point wins and a 1 point home loss (+21 before, +13 after).

3) Wins/Losses of more than 24 points are scored as the average between the actual number and 24. This is to avoid giving undue credit to teams that run up the score. Oregon bludgeoned New Mexico on opening day, 72-0, but that "only" goes down as a 46.5 point win. Why? Because the game was in Eugene (dropping it to +69) and the average of 24 and 69 is 46.5. However, in FCS/I-AA games, there is no run-up-the-score modifier. Why? Otherwise, the elite teams could beat the FCS cupcakes by 64 points and go down in this system. Major thanks to Peter R. Wolfe for providing the game scores.

8 Comments | Posted in BCS, College

Are the Jets (again) setting their fans up for a hard fall?

Posted by Chase Stuart on October 16, 2010

On the surface, it's easy to think that all is well for the Jets. They're tied for the best record in the league, rank in the top three of the SRS standings and are in the top five of nearly every set of power rankings out there. New York's only loss came by a single point to another consensus powerhouse, Baltimore. And in that game, the Ravens only touchdown followed a penalty on a field goal attempt earlier in the drive. Even still, despite 14 penalties and a bunch of ugly looking offensive plays, the Jets were in position to win the game at the end until Dustin Keller channeled his inner Helen and ran out of bounds before the first down marker on fourth down. The short of it? The Jets have beaten some good teams, and lost a toss-up game to another elite team. So surely the Jets are elite, right?

I'm not so sure. Digging into the statistics, the Jets look like a classic team that's not as good as their record. For starters, they lead the league with a sparkling +11 turnover margin. That's because the Jets tied an NFL record by going four straight games without an interception.

Yes, there are explanations one could give for the Jets great streak when it comes to protecting the ball. But most of them are meritless. From 1990 to 2009, 28 teams had a turnover margin of +9 or better through five games. Those teams, on average, had 5.2 turnovers, forced 15.6, and won 3.9 games. The Jets have had one turnover, forced 12, and won 4.0 games. But what should we expect for New York over the next eleven games? One way to answer that is to take a look at how those 28 teams did in their remaining 11 games:

Teams         Int    Fum   OppInt OppFum  Margin  Wins
First 5 gms    2.6   2.6    9.1   6.5     10.5    3.9
Last 11 gms   12.6   8.1   12.1   8.5     -0.2    5.9

What more needs to be said than this: the 28 best teams with respect to turnover margin through five games, of the last 20 years, turned the ball over more often than their opponents did over their remaining 11 games. They went from a 0.786 winning percentage over the first third of the season to a 0.532 winning percentage over the final two-thirds. If a team's success is predicated on winning the turnover battle, that team isn't likely to keep winning for long.

7 Comments | Posted in Statgeekery

Most pick-sixes in NFL history

Posted by Chase Stuart on October 15, 2010

Note: The initial post was based on an inaccurate query. Our apologies for the mistake. The below numbers are now accurate.

Which quarterback has thrown the most interceptions that have been returned for touchdowns in league history? While we don't have that exact data available, we can do a reasonably job of answering that question based on the tools we do have here at PFR, which include:

  • Individual game logs for all players, showing all interceptions thrown, dating back to 1960
  • Individual season logs for all players, showing all interceptions thrown, dating back to 1920
  • Scoring logs for all scores, showing all interceptions returned for a touchdown, dating back to 1940

For any game from 1960 to 2009 (2010 data not included), we can do a very good job approximating who threw the pick-six. For the vast majority of teams, only one player (at most) will throw an interception in any given game. Fifty years from now, if you look at the box score from this past Monday night, you will be able to know for sure that Brett Favre threw the interception that Dwight Lowery returned for a touchdown. The Vikings threw just one interception, and it was by Favre, so Favre must have thrown the pick-six. It doesn't matter if the team has thrown five interceptions, as long as all were thrown by the same guy, such as Keith Null against the Titans last year.

24 Comments | Posted in Quarterbacks, Statgeekery

New York Times Post: Week 5

Posted by Chase Stuart on October 13, 2010

A two-part post this week:

  • First, a look at the absurdly inefficient San Diego Chargers, who have piled up the yards but left the wins behind. The Chargers have the second best yardage different in league history through five games. They've gained 1,078 more yards than they allowed, more than twice as high a differential as any team, ever, with a losing record after five games.
  • Sunday also was a rough day for a quintet of former number one picks; also, some quick hitting trivia on the Cardinals, Antonio Gates, Todd Gollins, Max Hall and the Jets turnover-free offense.

6 Comments | Posted in Announcements

Lying in the weeds: The Tennessee Titans?

Posted by Chase Stuart on October 12, 2010

After five weeks, three teams appear to have separated themselves from the rest of the league: the Ravens, Steelers and Jets. Pittsburgh and Baltimore have navigated the two toughest schedules in the league, and came out with only one blemish. The Steelers beat the 4-1 Falcons, won on the road against the Bucs (whose only loss was to the Steelers) and Titans (3-2), and lost in the final minute to the Ravens. Baltimore handed the Jets and Steelers their only losses of the season; meanwhile, the Ravens only loss came in Cincinnati, in a game where they were -4 in the turnover margin and still came within five points. The Jets lost a one-point game to the Ravens where they were flagged for 14 penalties, including a decisive one on a field-goal attempt that led to Baltimore's only touchdown of the game. New York then gave the Patriots their only loss, beat 2-0 Miami, obliterated Buffalo and outlasted the Vikings.

The NFC looks particularly weak this season, and lacks anything resembling a dominant team. Meanwhile, the AFC appears to have three very strong teams, the usual suspects hanging within shouting distance (Patriots, Colts and Chargers) and a couple of upstarts (Chiefs, Texans). But when you look at the SRS ratings through five weeks, the ratings reveal a surprise:

Rk.                     W  L  PF    PA   MoV    SoS   SRS    OSRS  DSRS
1. Pittsburgh Steelers  3  1   86   50    9.0   6.2   15.2   5.1   10.1
2. New York Jets        4  1  135   81   10.8  -0.4   10.4   6.5    3.8
3. Tennessee Titans     3  2  132   95    7.4   2.6   10.0   6.7    3.3
4. Baltimore Ravens     4  1   92   72    4.0   5.4    9.4   0.5    9.0

Maybe I'm the only one not paying attention, but I was pretty surprised to see Tennessee's name in the top three. Since Vince Young moved into the starting lineup in week 8 last season, Tennessee has an 11-4 record, second best in the league:

6 Comments | Posted in General

Why is Norm Van Brocklin still a record holder?

Posted by Chase Stuart on October 8, 2010

Proof that we read your e-mails: Eddy Elfenbein e-mailed us on September 28th, asking:

I was curious if you had thoughts on the possibility of someone breaking Norm Van Brocklin's single-game passing mark of 554 yards. This might make for a good post. The odd thing about this record is that it doesn't seem at all "beyond reach." I don't know exactly how you can measure such outliers, but consider that there have been 227 400-yard passing performance, including five already this year. Yet no one has managed to catch Van Brocklin's record, which is 59 years old today. We all know that Joe DiMaggio's streak is in another realm. We get excited if someone gets half-way there. But with the passing mark, it's as if there are three or four 45-game streaks each season but they all seem to peter out.

That's a great question, Eddy. Why is NVB, in this modern age of passing, still a record holder? Consider:

27 Comments | Posted in General

New York Times Post: Week 4

Posted by Chase Stuart on October 6, 2010

How many quarterbacks have thrown for as many yards after four games as Kyle Orton? Which team has two of the leading three receivers in receptions and yards? Tomlinson's yards per carry average is how rare for someone his age? All that and more, available on Page B13 of the New York Times today or at this link to the Fifth Down blog.

7 Comments | Posted in Announcements

Checkdowns: Flacco to Houshmandzadeh, in Tecmo Form

Posted by Neil Paine on October 5, 2010

Given my tradition of posting Tecmo Super Bowl videos last season, PFR reader Jordan sent me his own re-creation of Joe Flacco's game-winning TD pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh this past Sunday. Enjoy -- and to all the Steeler fans out there, I'm sorry...

3 Comments | Posted in Checkdowns, Tecmo Super Bowl

LaDainian Tomlinson: Not Toast

Posted by Neil Paine on October 4, 2010

Sometimes you just gotta admit that you were wrong.

First of all, I was wrong to doubt the Jets before the season. In fact, after Sunday's 38-14 shellacking of Buffalo (admittedly not the greatest opponent, but one which at least played New England and Miami relatively close), I'm beginning to think New York is at worst the 2nd-best team in the NFL -- perhaps even the best if Ben Roethlisberger shows rust upon his return to Pittsburgh's lineup. Here are our Simple Ratings through week 4 (adjusted for a home-field advantage of 2.5 points, and obviously excluding Pats-Fins):

Rank Team Games Rating Rank Team Games Rating
1 PIT 4 13.72 17 HTX 4 -0.13
2 NYJ 4 12.60 18 CHI 4 -0.65
3 RAV 4 10.64 19 MIN 3 -1.07
4 KAN 3 9.45 20 SEA 4 -1.13
5 SDG 4 7.29 21 WAS 4 -1.21
6 OTI 4 5.85 22 RAM 4 -1.50
7 GNB 4 5.27 23 TAM 3 -2.61
8 ATL 4 4.99 24 DET 4 -3.29
9 CLT 4 4.27 25 NOR 4 -4.02
10 NWE 3 3.44 26 NYG 4 -6.08
11 CLE 4 2.75 27 JAX 4 -7.57
12 CIN 4 2.51 28 SFO 4 -9.18
13 PHI 4 2.30 29 RAI 4 -10.09
14 MIA 3 1.58 30 BUF 4 -10.28
15 DEN 4 0.85 31 CAR 4 -12.80
16 DAL 3 0.50 32 CRD 4 -13.58

In a year where it's looking like parity rules, the Jets are one of only a handful of teams that have separated themselves from the pack at all.

But the main purpose of this post isn't so much a mea culpa about the Jets in general, but rather one about a specific New York player... Back in April, I scoffed at NY's acquisition of LaDainian Tomlinson, calling him (among other things) "toast" and "completely washed up". I cited the fact that when a running back over age 30 posts a sub-3.5 YPC average, it almost universally means he's finished as a productive NFL player; in fact, among the 11 backs who had worse age-29 + 30 YPC averages than LDT did in 2008-09, all but Bill Brown & Dorsey Levens were totally out of the league by age 32. Simply put, 31-year-old RBs who play as badly as Tomlinson did in 2009 don't tend to play pro football much longer, much less contribute high YPC averages again.

15 Comments | Posted in Rant, Running Backs, Simple Rating System, Statgeekery