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Archive for January, 2011

Quarterback post-season records and Simpson’s Paradox

Posted by Chase Stuart on January 31, 2011

I almost deleted this post before I hit "Publish." There are so many caveats I'm urged to proclaim, and so many nits at which any reader could pick, that I'm still not sure if this is worth posting. Further, on some level, I fundamentally disagree with the not-so-subtle argument this post implicitly endorses. Allow me to cut you off, by noting that yes, this post is stupid, yes I forgot about X, Y and Z, yes, this doesn't even make sense once you realize M, N and Q, yes I've never watched a football game before, and yes I'm biased against Player A and Player B. And, of course, I am Player C's mother. Note that I've categorized this post under both Rant and Insane ideas.

The comments to Neil's post on The Rivers Index raised some interesting questions. Commenter Sean played the role of Marino backer and noted how Miami was always being outrushed in those playoff losses. He pointed out, correctly, that Dan Marino is the only victor of the 52 quarterbacks to start a playoff game in the last 60 years when his team was outrushed by 150+ yards .

I started wondering how to break down each playoff game based on the level of support each quarterback received, from both the running game and the defense. Game-ending stats are deceiving -- just one of the many caveats in my head as I wrote paragraph 1 -- but I figured there was little harm in doing some back of the envelope calculations. If nothing else, this post can just add some layers to the typical discussion of post-season records. Here's what I did:

55 Comments | Posted in Insane ideas, Quarterbacks, Rant

Tecmo Super Bowl XLV: Steelers vs. Packers

Posted by Neil Paine on January 31, 2011

It just wouldn't be Super Bowl week if I didn't post a Tecmo Super Bowl simulation of the game somewhere (a tradition I've maintained since 2008).

This year's version once again comes courtesy of Matt Knobbe and our friends at the Tecmo Super Bowl Repository:

(How did they do this? Matt and the other dedicated folks at the Knobbe.org message board have spent a lot of time over the years updating this classic Nintendo football game, including the introduction of a 32-team ROM a few seasons ago. Sounds complicated, but don't worry, it's easy for you to enjoy the fruits of their labor: just get yourself an NES emulator, download the 2010 version of Tecmo here, and play to your heart's content.

5 Comments | Posted in Tecmo Super Bowl

2011 Hall of Fame Polls: Chris Doleman and Charles Haley

Posted by Neil Paine on January 31, 2011

It's time for your decision on two more 2011 Hall of Fame finalists: Chris Doleman and Charles Haley. And to help you sort out whether these feared pass-rushers belong in Canton, here's a re-run of Jason Lisk's January 2010 post about Doleman, Haley, and their contemporary Kevin Greene:

We'll talk about these three men together because they were contemporaries in the late 80's and early 90's, and regardless of their nominal position--outside linebacker in a 3-4, defensive end in a 4-3, they filled the same role throughout their careers: pass rush specialist. As I noted last year when talking about Derrick Thomas for the Hall of Fame, there were only six outside linebackers (now seven) who began their careers since 1950 who are in the Hall of Fame. More defensive linemen are in, but these three players are part of the generation that came of age right after the sack became an official statistic and began to define and quantify pass rushers.

In the last decade, we have seen two dominant all-around defensive ends who racked up high sack totals, Reggie White and Bruce Smith, go into the Hall. In the last two years, Derrick Thomas, Fred Dean and Andre Tippett have also been selected. These three players were not slam dunks, and they certainly don't give us enough precedent to know how the selectors are going to handle the post-1982 generation of pass rushers.

How will they view players who were known at times in their career as one-dimensional and focused on their sack totals? What will matter more, high peak, or longevity of getting consistent sack totals? How much will rings and post-season success outweigh raw sack totals?

Doleman, Greene and Haley's chances depend on the answers to those questions. All three were, at various times, game changers for the opponent to plan around, and team changers because they caused a few too many headaches in their own locker room or groused over their contracts. Like wide receivers who needed the spotlight, these three represent a new breed of pass rusher that came with the official tallying of taking the quarterback to the ground, and their tradition is carried forward by the various dances of the sack specialists today.

11 Comments | Posted in HOF

Aaron Rodgers, career passing leader

Posted by Chase Stuart on January 30, 2011

Mike Tanier, a regular contributor at Football Outsiders and the New York Times' Fifth Down blog, recently penned an article for MSNBC discussing Aaron Rodgers' ridiculous quarterback rating. Believe it or not, he's number one all-time in that metric:

                                                                                        
                                        Game    Pass                                    
Rk                Player From   To  Tm     G     Cmp   Att  Cmp%   Yds  TD Int Rate  Y/A
1          Aaron  Rodgers 2005 2010 GNB    54    1038  1611 64.4% 12723  87  32 98.4 7.90
2          Philip  Rivers 2004 2010 SDG    84    1564  2455 63.7% 19661 136  58 97.2 8.01
3           Steve  Young* 1985 1999 TOT   169    2667  4149 64.3% 33124 232 107 96.8 7.98
4              Tony  Romo 2004 2010 DAL    89    1326  2070 64.1% 16650 118  62 95.5 8.04
5              Tom  Brady 2000 2010 NWE   145    2996  4710 63.6% 34744 261 103 95.2 7.38
6         Peyton  Manning 1998 2010 CLT   208    4682  7210 64.9% 54828 399 198 94.9 7.60
7            Kurt  Warner 1998 2009 TOT   125    2666  4070 65.5% 32344 208 128 93.7 7.95
8     Ben  Roethlisberger 2004 2010 PIT    99    1766  2800 63.1% 22502 144  86 92.5 8.04
9           Joe  Montana* 1979 1994 TOT   192    3409  5391 63.2% 40551 273 139 92.3 7.52
10            Drew  Brees 2001 2010 TOT   138    3145  4822 65.2% 35266 235 132 91.7 7.31
11           Matt  Schaub 2004 2010 TOT    92    1288  1987 64.8% 15457  83  52 91.5 7.78
12       Chad  Pennington 2000 2010 TOT    89    1632  2471 66.0% 17823 102  64 90.1 7.21
13      Daunte  Culpepper 1999 2009 TOT   105    2016  3199 63.0% 24153 149 106 87.8 7.55
14           Jeff  Garcia 1999 2009 TOT   125    2264  3676 61.6% 25537 161  83 87.5 6.95
15         Carson  Palmer 2004 2010 CIN    97    2024  3217 62.9% 22694 154 100 86.9 7.05

18 Comments | Posted in Quarterbacks

2011 Hall of Fame Polls: Jerome Bettis

Posted by Neil Paine on January 28, 2011

Yesterday's poll on Marshall Faulk was truly a no-brainer, with 98.6% of PFR readers considering him HoF-worthy. So let's challenge the voters with a more interesting question: is Jerome Bettis a Hall of Famer?

The facts on Bettis' career:

NumYrs Players whose career was of similar quality and shape
3 Robert Holmes, Don Bosseler, Marion Barber, Kevan Barlow, Howie Ferguson, Floyd Little*, Gary W. Anderson, Napoleon Kaufman, Travis Henry, Marshawn Lynch
4 Ted Brown, Lynn Chandnois, Reggie Bush, Brian Westbrook, John Riggins*, Greg Pruitt, Floyd Little*, Dickie Post, Kevin Mack, Alex Webster
5 Brian Westbrook, Frank Gore, Sam Cunningham, Neal Anderson, Delvin Williams, John Brockington, John Riggins*, Larry Csonka*, Jim Taylor*, Sherman Smith
6 John Brockington, Sherman Smith, Sam Cunningham, John Riggins*, Jim Taylor*, Neal Anderson, Delvin Williams, Chuck Muncie, Don Perkins, Larry Csonka*
7 Sam Cunningham, Don Perkins, Tony Nathan, Neal Anderson, Delvin Williams, John Riggins*, Floyd Little*, Mark van Eeghen, Earnest Byner, Larry Csonka*
8 Floyd Little*, Corey Dillon, Don Perkins, Neal Anderson, Earnest Byner, John Riggins*, Earl Campbell*, Greg Pruitt, Jim Taylor*, Ollie Matson*
9 Corey Dillon, Floyd Little*, Earnest Byner, John Riggins*, Jim Taylor*, Ollie Matson*, Ken Willard, Greg Pruitt, Don Perkins, Chuck Muncie
10 Corey Dillon, Floyd Little*, Freeman McNeil, Jim Taylor*, Earnest Byner, Ollie Matson*, Leroy Kelly*, John Riggins*, Ken Willard, John L. Williams
11 Corey Dillon, Freeman McNeil, John Riggins*, Earnest Byner, Floyd Little*, James Brooks, Jim Taylor*, Ollie Matson*, Greg Pruitt, Leroy Kelly*
12 Corey Dillon, John Riggins*, Earnest Byner, Freeman McNeil, Larry Csonka*, James Brooks, Ollie Matson*, Floyd Little*, Herschel Walker, Jim Taylor*
13 Corey Dillon, Earnest Byner, John Riggins*, Ollie Matson*, Freeman McNeil, Larry Csonka*, James Brooks, Floyd Little*, Herschel Walker, Jim Taylor*
Career Corey Dillon, Earnest Byner, Ollie Matson*, Freeman McNeil, Larry Csonka*, James Brooks, Floyd Little*, Herschel Walker, Jim Taylor*, John L. Williams
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/28/2011.

So what do you think about Bettis?

49 Comments | Posted in Great Historical Players, HOF, PI Finds, Running Backs

2011 Hall of Fame Polls: Cortez Kennedy

Posted by Neil Paine on January 28, 2011

Before you vote in our next 2011 Hall of Fame poll, let's revisit Cortez Kennedy's career with a post Chase made in January 2010:

Outside of Seattle, the Seahawks are a blip on the radar of most NFL fans. The Seahawks are one of the youngest franchises in the league, one of the most geographically remote, one of the least successful, and have been one of the most devoid of star power. They've had only five superstars since Seattle entered the league in 1976. Steve Largent is the only Seahawk in the Hall of Fame and was one of the greatest wide receivers in league history. Safety Kenny Easley had his Hall of Fame-like career derailed due to injuries and kidney disease. Walter Jones and Shaun Alexander - both of whom may be Canton bound - helped form one of the most potent offenses in the NFL in the middle of this decade, and earned Seattle an NFC Championship. Bridging the gap between Largent and Easley of the '80s and Jones and Alexander of the '00s, was Cortez Kennedy.If you weren't paying attention, it would have been easy to forget about the Seahawks while Kennedy was there, with the Seattle sports scene dominated by the likes of Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez and Randy Johnson, Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton. The most memorable football moments of the '90s from the Pacific Northwest are the split National Championship the Huskies won in 1991, Drew Bledsoe becoming the first pick in the 1994 draft, and Ryan Leaf taking Wazzou to its first Rose Bowl in 57 years.

Despite playing in Seattle for eleven seasons, Kennedy's teams played in just one playoff game during his tenure. But to forget the easily-forgettable '90s Seahawks would be to throw the 305-lb baby out with the bathwater. After starring at "The U" during its prominence -- Kennedy's Hurricanes went 45-3 during his time there -- Kennedy was the #3 pick in the 1990 NFL draft. He lived up to expectations quickly: his 1992 season is easily one of the most uniquely incredible seasons any defensive player has ever had.

11 Comments | Posted in HOF

Checkdowns: Football, concussions and the future

Posted by Chase Stuart on January 27, 2011

it's hard to have anything besides a nuanced view regarding the subject of football, concussions and the future of the sport. Most hardcore fans want to preserve the status quo in almost every manner, while it's difficult to be comfortable with exposing your 15-year-old son to the possibility of repeatedly suffering serious concussions and potentially life-threatening injuries in high school athletics.

Instead of spending the time to formula my own thoughts, I'm going to check down to an article written by Ben McGrath in the New Yorker this week, titled: Does Football Have a Future? The N.F.L. and the concussion crisis. McGrath's lengthy work is worth the read. P-F-R friend Chris Brown has some thoughts on McGrath's piece, in his recent blog post about the future of football and the wave of brain issues:

I’ve written about this subject before, and I am still sure that the brain-injury/concussion problem remains the most serious threat to football, and it will not be resolved by tweets from Greg Aiello, the NFL’s spokesman. Yet — and this may sound harsh — I don’t really care about the risks to current NFL players. Like professional boxing, no one can, with a straight face, say that they don’t understand the risk of playing such a dangerous, high speed collision sport, and they are all compensated handsomely for it. (I have more sympathy for older NFL players who played before high salaries and before these risks were well understood.) Indeed, I think the NFL as spectator sport will continue to survive through more “Black and Blue Sundays” or even serious injuries like paralysis, potentially even a live-on-the-field death. Some quick cuts to show Roger Goodell solemnly addressing “the problem” with fines and rule changes will be enough to placate the masses and change the narrative on ESPN back to who will rally for the postseason.

2 Comments | Posted in Checkdowns

2011 Hall of Fame Polls: Richard Dent

Posted by Neil Paine on January 27, 2011

Continuing our Hall of Fame re-runs/polls from yesterday, here's Chase's post on Richard Dent from January 2009:

Joe Namath. Larry Csonka. Lynn Swann. John Riggins. Marcus Allen. Those men aren't the first to pop into most minds when they think of Richard Dent, but that's my implicit association when hit with the question "Richard Dent: Hall of Famer?" All five men capped careers that were squarely "Hall of Very Good" with incredible playoff and/or Super Bowl performances that made them "Hall of Famers." They were the MVPs of Super Bowls III, VIII, X, XVII and XIII, respectively, and without those rings all of them would have had tough times making it to Canton. One day, we might remember the MVPs of Super Bowls XXXII (Terrell Davis) and XL (Hines Ward) the same way, as both of those players are still in the "HOVG" in most people's eyes.

How does this relate to Richard Dent? In the playoffs following the 1985 season, Dent recorded six sacks and five forced fumbles in three playoff games, culminating in being awarded the Super Bowl XX MVP trophy. Dent's fantastic performance isn't as fondly remembered as the men above, as his team's games were never in doubt. Chicago blew out all three opponents en route to being crowned champions; the Bears would score all the points they needed in the first quarter of each game. But while it lacked a dramatic flair, Dent's performance was still impressive. I noted that Terrell Davis set the single-season rushing record (regular and post-season combined) in 1998; well, Dent set the single-season official sack record (regular and post-season combined) in 1985, with 23 sacks. His 1985 season was one of the best in NFL history, as he also chipped in with 12 forced fumbles (regular and post-season, combined), scored a touchdown on an interception return, and was named first-team All-Pro on one of the greatest defenses of all-time.

9 Comments | Posted in HOF

Super Bowl notes: Stat of the Year and Updated SRS Standings

Posted by Chase Stuart on January 26, 2011

My vote for Stat of the Year, courtesy of Big Lead superstar/PFR family member JKL: the Packers haven't trailed by more than seven points at any point this season. Let's take a look at Green Bay's six losses:

  • In Chicago, the Packers got up 7-0 and 10-7, trailed 14-10, took a 17-14 lead, and lost 20-17.
  • In week five in Washington, the Packers led for most of the game before the Redskins scored 10 fourth quarter points to force overtime. Washington won 16-13. Yes, Washington beat this team.
  • In week twelve, the Packers lost another close one in Atlanta. The teams exchanged scores all game, alternating with a Falcons field goal, Packers field goal, Falcons touchdown, Packers touchdowns, Falcons touchdown, Packers touchdown, Falcons field goal.
  • In Detroit, playing the majority of the game without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers lost 7-3.
  • The next week, a loss in New England without Rodgers looked disastrous in the standings but respectable on the field. The Packers got up 3-0 and then 10-7 and 17-7. Two Patriots touchdowns made it 21-17, but Green Bay responded with another touchdown. The Patriots scored last, winning 31-27.

The Packers never trailed by a score in any of their 13 victories, either. Even trailing early wasn't an impediment to a big game, like when the Falcons went up 7-0 in the playoff game. So how rare is it for a team to go an entire season without trailing by more than 7 points? As you could guess, extremely.

34 Comments | Posted in Simple Rating System, Statgeekery

Site Features: Check Out the Play Index!

Posted by Neil Paine on January 26, 2011

Here's another reminder for everyone to check out the Pro-Football-Reference Play Index. In case you don't already know about the PI, it's a set of research tools that allow you to create customizable queries on our database, save the results, and share them with others. With the PI, you can:

  • Use the Player Season Finder to search through every player's stats (since 1920) for single or combined seasons that match your criteria.
  • Use the Player Game Finder to search through our game logs (since 1960) for individual games that match your criteria.
  • Use the Player Touchdown Finder to search through every TD since 1940 for plays that match your criteria.
  • Use the Team Game Finder to isolate specific games or seasons matching certain criteria.
  • Use the Super Bowl Play Finder to search through every play in Super Bowl History (we'll be adding 2009 soon as well -- our apologies for the delay!)
  • Use the PFR Draft Finder to search through every NFL and AFL draft pick.
  • Use our Boxscore Search Tools to find head-to-head results, or all-time games matching a particular score.

And best of all, these features are 100% free to use!

So go ahead, give them a try, and you'll wonder how you ever got along without them.

2 Comments | Posted in Announcements, P-F-R News, Play Index, Site Features

2011 Hall of Fame Polls: Tim Brown/Cris Carter/Andre Reed

Posted by Neil Paine on January 26, 2011

With the 2011 Hall of Fame announcement coming the day before the Super Bowl, we want you to weigh in with your opinions on the candidates. To help get things started, here's what Chase had to say about a trio of receivers -- Tim Brown, Cris Carter, & Andre Reed -- back in December of 2009:

Over the past few decades, no position has evolved more than that of the wide receiver. It wasn't until 1986 that the NFL had its first ever 750-catch receiver (Charlie Joiner). Today, 28 players have hit that benchmark, with over half of them having begun their careers in the '90s or '00s. Wes Welker is now the fifth player with 330 receptions over a three-year span (joining Marvin Harrison, Jerry Rice, Cris Carter and Herman Moore), and he's not even the best receiver on his own team. The average first-team All-Pro WR, as selected by the Associated Press, averaged 53 receptions, 961 yards and 9.5 touchdowns in the '70s; this decade, those averages are up to 97 receptions, 1439 yards and 12.5 scores. Wide receiver records are constantly being broken, and numbers that looked terrific in the '70s looked mediocre in the '90s and are underwhelming today.

With that backdrop, it makes sense to analyze Tim Brown, Cris Carter and Andre Reed together. Each player's HOF case largely depends on how he compared to his peers during his playing days and how he now stacks up against others already in Canton. Brown's and Carter's career perfectly overlapped; both were drafted in the late '80s, were elite for most of the '90s, and were still productive at the beginning of this decade. Reed was a couple of years older, but was still a contemporary of Brown and Carter, and peaked during roughly the same time. All three made the Pro Bowl in 1993 and 1994. All had long careers and then chose to play one final season in a new uniform over retiring. Reed played for 15 seasons with the Bills and then one with the Redskins; Carter played 12 years with the Eagles and Vikings, before finishing up with the Dolphins; Brown played for Al Davis Raiders for 16 seasons before reuniting with Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay. Ultimately, at least one but not all of them will make the Hall of Fame. So who gets inducted?

10 Comments | Posted in HOF

Super Bowl Preview: Blast from Halloween 2006

Posted by Chase Stuart on January 25, 2011

Stop me if you've heard this one. Mike Tomlin owns the league's fiercest run defense, a unit so difficult to penetrate that he forces opponents to become one dimensional. In a prime-time matchup, he faces a pass-heavy team with a star quarterback and a constantly shifting ground attack. Is this the perfect opponent for Tomlinon's troops, an offense that will have no choice but to be one dimensional? Or the kryptonite to his super defense, a team that will play to its strength knowing it can't possibly win without playing basketball with cleats? On October 30th, 2006, the answer was very clear:

6 Comments | Posted in General

Which Super Bowl Starting QBs Had the Biggest Hot Streaks Going Into the Game?

Posted by Neil Paine on January 25, 2011

While the Conference Championships put a damper on any hot streaks Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger may have had going into the Super Bowl, where does their recent play stand relative to all SB signal-callers prior to the game? And does a string of successful games before the Super Bowl actually correlate with playing well on Super Sunday?

To answer these questions, let's bust out the single-game opponent- & era-adjusted QB performance metric I introduced here. To make a long explanation short, eYAR is an estimate of the QB's Yards Above Replacement against an average opponent in the modern era. We can use it to rank games, seasons, careers, etc., and we can also use it to gauge how well a QB was playing in the games leading up to a Super Bowl start.

For instance, here are the hottest QBs over the 2 games prior to the Super Bowl:

Player Year Tm Prev2G Player Year Tm Prev2G
Roger Staubach 1975 DAL 252.8 Donovan McNabb 2004 PHI 88.3
Jim Kelly 1990 BUF 247.0 Joe Namath 1968 NYJ 87.9
Peyton Manning 2009 IND 241.6 Joe Theismann 1982 WAS 86.9
Dan Marino 1984 MIA 211.1 Fran Tarkenton 1973 MIN 85.9
John Elway 1989 DEN 207.5 Vince Ferragamo 1979 RAM 85.9
Joe Montana 1988 SFO 204.6 Terry Bradshaw 1975 PIT 83.8
Joe Montana 1989 SFO 188.9 Mark Rypien 1991 WAS 82.5
Bart Starr 1966 GNB 163.8 Jeff Hostetler 1990 NYG 82.1
John Elway 1987 DEN 162.4 Eli Manning 2007 NYG 81.9
Troy Aikman 1992 DAL 161.9 Fran Tarkenton 1976 MIN 77.2
Bob Griese 1971 MIA 157.8 John Elway 1998 DEN 77.2
Earl Morrall 1968 BAL 154.5 Roger Staubach 1971 DAL 76.9
Troy Aikman 1993 DAL 151.1 Jim Plunkett 1980 OAK 72.3
Kurt Warner 2008 ARI 151.0 Len Dawson 1969 KAN 71.6
Joe Montana 1981 SFO 149.4 Joe Montana 1984 SFO 69.1
Joe Theismann 1983 WAS 148.9 Bob Griese 1973 MIA 67.4
Terry Bradshaw 1978 PIT 148.6 John Elway 1997 DEN 66.3
Aaron Rodgers 2010 GNB 148.3 Phil Simms 1986 NYG 61.1
Matt Hasselbeck 2005 SEA 146.3 Jim Plunkett 1983 RAI 59.9
Troy Aikman 1995 DAL 145.7 Tom Brady 2001 NWE 57.0
Bart Starr 1967 GNB 142.9 John Elway 1986 DEN 54.8
Billy Kilmer 1972 WAS 139.8 Peyton Manning 2006 IND 54.4
Rich Gannon 2002 OAK 136.8 Tony Eason 1985 NWE 52.8
Craig Morton 1977 DEN 136.1 Kerry Collins 2000 NYG 51.6
Terry Bradshaw 1974 PIT 133.0 Brett Favre 1997 GNB 50.5
Ken Stabler 1976 OAK 130.7 Brad Johnson 2002 TAM 49.6
Terry Bradshaw 1979 PIT 129.0 Stan Humphries 1994 SDG 45.5
Jim McMahon 1985 CHI 128.1 Daryle Lamonica 1967 OAK 41.6
Kurt Warner 1999 STL 126.4 Trent Dilfer 2000 BAL 41.5
Ben Roethlisberger 2005 PIT 123.0 Steve McNair 1999 TEN 36.4
Joe Kapp 1969 MIN 120.7 Bob Griese 1972 MIA 35.4
Chris Chandler 1998 ATL 119.7 Fran Tarkenton 1974 MIN 35.3
Len Dawson 1966 KAN 118.2 Rex Grossman 2006 CHI 33.8
Roger Staubach 1977 DAL 108.1 Roger Staubach 1978 DAL 28.3
Johnny Unitas 1970 BAL 107.7 Doug Williams 1987 WAS 11.8
Jim Kelly 1993 BUF 106.9 Ben Roethlisberger 2010 PIT 10.4
Tom Brady 2007 NWE 105.5 Tom Brady 2003 NWE 9.3
Jake Delhomme 2003 CAR 101.3 David Woodley 1982 MIA 6.5
Kurt Warner 2001 STL 100.8 Neil O'Donnell 1995 PIT 0.7
Ben Roethlisberger 2008 PIT 100.4 Jim Kelly 1992 BUF -0.8
Brett Favre 1996 GNB 98.6 Drew Bledsoe 1996 NWE -3.3
Ken Anderson 1981 CIN 98.6 Jim Kelly 1991 BUF -20.8
Drew Brees 2009 NOR 95.4 Boomer Esiason 1988 CIN -40.0
Tom Brady 2004 NWE 95.2 Craig Morton 1970 DAL -53.8
Steve Young 1994 SFO 91.4 Ron Jaworski 1980 PHI -96.4

Prior to Super Bowl X, Staubach ripped the Vikings and Rams for a combined unadjusted 33-55-466-5-1 line (plus 78 rushing yds) that is pretty impressive when seen in the light of the era and opposition. Likewise, Kelly torched Miami and L.A. for 320 YPG in the 1990 playoffs, and Manning was nearly flawless against one of the best pass defenses ever in last year's AFC Championship Game. (All three of those QBs went on to lose the Super Bowl, though.)

6 Comments | Posted in Best/Worst Ever, Quarterbacks, Statgeekery

Checkdowns: 2010 All-Pro selections by the Associated Press

Posted by Chase Stuart on January 24, 2011

Today, the AP announced its selections for the All-Pro roster of 2010. All-Pro selections are a big component of the Approximate Value system here at P-F-R, and always play a role in Hall of Fame debates. Here are your All-Pros:

FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

Quarterback — Tom Brady, New England.
Running Backs — Jamaal Charles, Kansas City; Arian Foster, Houston.
Fullback — Vonta Leach, Houston
Tight End — Jason Witten, Dallas
Wide Receivers — Roddy White, Atlanta; Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis.
Tackles — Jake Long, Miami; Joe Thomas, Cleveland.
Guards — Logan Mankins, New England; Jahri Evans, New Orleans.
Center — Nick Mangold, New York Jets.
Placekicker — Billy Cundiff, Baltimore.
Kick Returner — Devin Hester, Chicago.

Only three offensive players repeated in 2010, and all were lineman: Thomas, Mankins and Mangold.

23 Comments | Posted in Checkdowns

The Most Storied Super Bowl Matchups of All Time

Posted by Neil Paine on January 24, 2011

Is Super Bowl XLV going to feature the most prestigious franchise matchup in the Big Game's history?

Here are the most storied matchups by total franchise regular-season wins (in all leagues; ties count as half a win):

Year SB Team A rsW Team B rsW Combined
2010 XLV Green Bay Packers 682.0 Pittsburgh Steelers 551.0 1233.0
2006 XLI Indianapolis Colts 454.5 Chicago Bears 725.0 1179.5
1985 XX Chicago Bears 725.0 New England Patriots 405.5 1130.5
1967 II Green Bay Packers 682.0 Oakland Raiders 423.5 1105.5
1996 XXXI Green Bay Packers 682.0 New England Patriots 405.5 1087.5
1997 XXXII Denver Broncos 403.0 Green Bay Packers 682.0 1085.0
1966 I Green Bay Packers 682.0 Kansas City Chiefs 401.0 1083.0
1979 XIV Pittsburgh Steelers 551.0 Los Angeles Rams 521.0 1072.0
2008 XLIII Pittsburgh Steelers 551.0 Arizona Cardinals 507.5 1058.5
2007 XLII New York Giants 652.5 New England Patriots 405.5 1058.0
1986 XXI New York Giants 652.5 Denver Broncos 403.0 1055.5
1990 XXV New York Giants 652.5 Buffalo Bills 362.0 1014.5
1995 XXX Dallas Cowboys 443.0 Pittsburgh Steelers 551.0 994.0
1978 XIII Pittsburgh Steelers 551.0 Dallas Cowboys 443.0 994.0
1975 X Pittsburgh Steelers 551.0 Dallas Cowboys 443.0 994.0
1983 XVIII Los Angeles Raiders 423.5 Washington Redskins 560.5 984.0
1974 IX Pittsburgh Steelers 551.0 Minnesota Vikings 417.5 968.5
1987 XXII Washington Redskins 560.5 Denver Broncos 403.0 963.5
1982 XVII Washington Redskins 560.5 Miami Dolphins 396.0 956.5
1972 VII Miami Dolphins 396.0 Washington Redskins 560.5 956.5
1980 XV Oakland Raiders 423.5 Philadelphia Eagles 522.0 945.5
2004 XXXIX New England Patriots 405.5 Philadelphia Eagles 522.0 927.5
2001 XXXVI New England Patriots 405.5 St. Louis Rams 521.0 926.5
1991 XXVI Washington Redskins 560.5 Buffalo Bills 362.0 922.5
1989 XXIV San Francisco 49ers 516.5 Denver Broncos 403.0 919.5
1984 XIX San Francisco 49ers 516.5 Miami Dolphins 396.0 912.5
1994 XXIX San Francisco 49ers 516.5 San Diego Chargers 389.5 906.0
1999 XXXIV St. Louis Rams 521.0 Tennessee Titans 380.0 901.0
1970 V Baltimore Colts 454.5 Dallas Cowboys 443.0 897.5
1977 XII Dallas Cowboys 443.0 Denver Broncos 403.0 846.0
1976 XI Oakland Raiders 423.5 Minnesota Vikings 417.5 841.0
1971 VI Dallas Cowboys 443.0 Miami Dolphins 396.0 839.0
1969 IV Kansas City Chiefs 401.0 Minnesota Vikings 417.5 818.5
1973 VIII Miami Dolphins 396.0 Minnesota Vikings 417.5 813.5
2005 XL Pittsburgh Steelers 551.0 Seattle Seahawks 262.0 813.0
1968 III New York Jets 355.0 Baltimore Colts 454.5 809.5
1993 XXVIII Dallas Cowboys 443.0 Buffalo Bills 362.0 805.0
1992 XXVII Dallas Cowboys 443.0 Buffalo Bills 362.0 805.0
1988 XXIII San Francisco 49ers 516.5 Cincinnati Bengals 287.0 803.5
1981 XVI San Francisco 49ers 516.5 Cincinnati Bengals 287.0 803.5
2000 XXXV Baltimore Ravens 128.5 New York Giants 652.5 781.0
2009 XLIV New Orleans Saints 288.5 Indianapolis Colts 454.5 743.0
1998 XXXIII Denver Broncos 403.0 Atlanta Falcons 292.0 695.0
2002 XXXVII Tampa Bay Buccaneers 218.5 Oakland Raiders 423.5 642.0
2003 XXXVIII New England Patriots 405.5 Carolina Panthers 119.0 524.5

10 Comments | Posted in Best/Worst Ever, History

Road playoff victories

Posted by Chase Stuart on January 22, 2011

Obviously the number of road playoff wins a quarterback has earned is as meaningless a piece of trivia as one could drum up, but that hasn't stopped people from discussing the point this week. With a win tomorrow night, Mark Sanchez will become the all-time leader in road playoff wins. Below is a list of all quarterback with two or more road playoff wins since 1950. Note that Super Bowl games are considered neutral site games, but championship games in the pre-Super Bowl era were not.

road wins	
4	Jake  Delhomme
4	Roger  Staubach
4	Len  Dawson
4	Joe  Flacco
4	Mark  Sanchez
3	Donovan  McNabb
3	Eli  Manning
3	Tom  Brady
3	Ben  Roethlisberger
3	Mark  Brunell
3	Steve  McNair
3	John  Elway
3	Brett  Favre
3	Tony  Eason
3	Vince  Ferragamo
2	Peyton  Manning
2	Trent  Dilfer
2	Randall  Cunningham
2	Jim  Harbaugh
2	Joe  Montana
2	Mark  Rypien
2	Jim  Everett
2	Richard  Todd
2	Dan  Fouts
2	Jim  Plunkett
2	Dan  Pastorini
2	Terry  Bradshaw
2	Craig  Morton
2	Earl  Morrall
2	Johnny  Unitas
2	Bart  Starr
2	Bobby  Layne
2	Aaron  Rodgers

17 Comments | Posted in Checkdowns, Quarterbacks, Trivia

Bears-Packers: Oldest rivals meet for just 2nd playoff game ever

Posted by Chase Stuart on January 22, 2011

Green Bay and Chicago are the oldest pair of rivals in pro football. The Packers and Bears have battled 180 times in NFL history and once in 1921 as members of the American Professional Football Association. The Lions have met both NFC North rivals just over 160 times, and only three other pairs of NFL teams have met even 130 times: New York and Washington (158), New York and Philadelphia (158) and Philadelphia and Washington (154). As two of the three oldest franchises in the league -- the Arizona Cardinals franchise, playing in Normal Park on Racine Avenue in Chicago, trace their history back at least one year further than Green Bay -- the Packers and Bears have a storied and long history together. Chicago won the head to head serieses in the '20s, '30s, '40s and '50s, before Vince Lombardi flipped the script in the 1960s. Chicago edged out Green Bay in the '70s and '80s, but Brett Favre helped Green Bay get the upper hand over the past two decades. As the Bears and Packers begin their 10th decade of battle, the teams split their two games in 2010. Tomorrow, they'll meet for just the second time in playoff history. The first one, in 1941, was a titanic clash of the titans, with George Halas and Curly Lambeau on the sidelines.

The 1940 Bears assembled more Hall of Fame talent on offense than any team before or since, as six starters would one day wind up in the Hall of Fame. In addition to QB Sid Luckman and back George McAfee, the '40 Bears were one of just two teams (the '71-'73 Raiders) to start four HOF offensive lineman. LT Joe Stydahar, LG Danny Fortmann, C Bulldog Turner and RG George Musso all have busts in Canton (and Stydahar, as you may recall, would coach one of the greatest offenses the football world has ever seen a decade later). Ed Kolman replaced Stydahar on the blind side in '41 while Ray Bray stepped in at right guard. Behind a still dominant offensive line, George McAfee graded out as the most dominant running back of the '41 season. Chicago quarterback Sid Luckman was the top quarterback in the league and in the prime of his Hall of Fame career.

5 Comments | Posted in History

The Rivers Index, Playoffs Edition (2001-2010)

Posted by Neil Paine on January 21, 2011

Back in November, I developed what I called "The Rivers Index" (so named for Philip Rivers), a metric that measured how many games a QB should have won based on nothing more than his own passing performance. Today, I'm going to apply that same concept to the last 10 years of playoff competition, this time using 10 years of data and adjusting for opposing defenses + weather.

124 Comments | Posted in Quarterbacks, Simple Rating System, Statgeekery

Follow Pro-Football-Reference on Twitter and Facebook!

Posted by Neil Paine on January 20, 2011

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