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Tecmo Super Bowl Game of the Week: Cowboys at Saints

Posted by Neil Paine on December 15, 2009

Courtesy of Matt Knobbe and the Tecmo Super Bowl Repository, here's your Tecmo Super Bowl Game of the Week for Week 15, featuring the Dallas Cowboys and the undefeated New Orleans Saints. The highlights:

(How did we 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 2009 version of Tecmo here, and play to your heart's content. And be sure to check back at Matt's site for roster updates and more Tecmo-related goodness all season long.)

4 Comments | Posted in Tecmo Super Bowl

Fifth Down Blog post

Posted by Chase Stuart on December 15, 2009

Every Tuesday for the remainder of the season, P-F-R will be teaming up with the New York Times' Fifth Down Blog. This week, I looked at the most unlikely playoff participants in NFL history, a list the Miami Dolphins may soon join. If Miami reaches the post-season, the Dolphins would become just the 20th team in NFL history to earn a playoff berth after falling three games below .500 at any point during that season. Do you know which team started off 1-6 and made the playoffs? They ranked #1 on my list.

11 Comments | Posted in Announcements

AFL versus NFL: post merger results

Posted by Jason Lisk on December 15, 2009

This is the final piece of evidence before we get to the conclusions and overall team power rankings for the decade. Let's get right to it. Here are the point differentials and the win/loss records (from the perspective of the former NFL teams) for all regular season matchups involving an AFL team and a former NFL team from 1970-1974.

Year NFL AFL DIFF W L T WIN PCT
1970 21.5 15.6 5.9 39 19 2 0.667
1971 22.2 17.4 4.8 35 19 2 0.643
1972 21.1 17.6 3.5 33 26 1 0.558
1973 20.2 19.4 0.8 27 27 4 0.500
1974 18.8 21.4 -2.6 21 36 1 0.371

These results include matchups involving Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Baltimore against the AFC opponents. The AFL was not good relative to the NFL in 1970, the first season after the leagues merged. The next set of numbers are weighted by team quality. For example, Houston and Cincinnati played more games against former NFL teams than did Kansas City, Oakland, San Diego and Denver after the merger. Baltimore, Cleveland and Pittsburgh played more games against the AFL (by virtue of joining the AFC) than other NFL members. As Kansas City, Oakland and San Diego were three of the four best AFL teams in the late 1960's, and two teams that had been frequent playoff participants in the NFL were now joining the AFC, this might bias the results slightly in the NFL's favor.

Even considering this, though, the NFL dominated in 1970, and in fact, that year shows as more of an outlier than the raw numbers would indicate. This is because Baltimore and Cleveland show up as worse based on regular season SRS in 1970 (though Baltimore won the Super Bowl), and then they bounced back and Pittsburgh improved steadily over the next five years. Here are the schedule adjusted differentials between the teams from the two leagues during the first five years post-merger.

5 Comments | Posted in AFL versus NFL

PI Finds: Can Welker Still Challenge Harrison?

Posted by Neil Paine on December 14, 2009

On Sunday, New England Patriots WR Wes Welker continued his remarkable 2009 campaign, snagging 10 Tom Brady passes for 105 yards, bringing his reception total to 105 so far this season. It was his second consecutive 10-reception game, coming on the heels of a performance against the Dolphins that made him the second-fastest to reach 95 catches in a single season, and it gave him the 2nd-highest reception total in NFL history through 13 team games:

Rk Player Age Year Tm G Rec Yds TD
1 Marvin Harrison 30 2002 CLT 13 118 1394 8
2 Wes Welker 28 2009 NWE 11 105 1158 4
3 Cris Carter 29 1994 MIN 13 102 1041 7
4 Herman Moore 25 1995 DET 13 101 1417 12
5 Keyshawn Johnson 29 2001 TAM 13 100 1196 1
6 Michael Irvin* 29 1995 DAL 13 98 1391 10
7 Hines Ward 26 2002 PIT 13 98 1166 11
8 Terance Mathis 27 1994 ATL 13 97 1201 10
9 Torry Holt 27 2003 RAM 13 96 1418 10
10 T.J. Houshmandzadeh 30 2007 CIN 13 96 966 11
11 Wes Welker 27 2008 NWE 13 96 1002 1
12 Cris Carter 29 1995 MIN 13 95 1080 14
13 Sterling Sharpe 28 1993 GNB 13 93 1016 9
14 Wes Welker 26 2007 NWE 13 93 974 8
15 Andre Johnson 27 2008 HTX 13 92 1201 5
16 Andre Johnson 25 2006 HTX 13 92 1059 5
17 Johnny Morris 28 1964 CHI 13 92 1195 10
18 Terrell Owens 29 2002 SFO 13 92 1225 12
19 Jimmy Smith 32 2001 JAX 13 92 1137 7
20 Brett Perriman 30 1995 DET 13 91 1176 8

Of course, Welker's terrific play so far in 2009 (he became just the 4th player in NFL history to have 3 consecutive 100-catch seasons, joining Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison, and Herman Moore) has also allowed us to reflect back on just how insane Harrison's production was during his peak. First, he is the only player in NFL history to have four straight 100-catch campaigns. Also, notice that the difference between #1 and #2 on the list above, in terms of receptions through 13 games, is the same as the difference between #2 and #15! In order to catch Harrison's staggering record of 143 catches in a season from 2002, Welker will have to haul in 12.7 catches per game for the remaining 3 games of the regular season.

That said, the real gap between Welker and Harrison isn't anywhere near as great as it sounds from the raw numbers, because Welker has suffered a handicap in his pursuit of Harrison this year -- he missed 2 games early in the season. If Welker played at his current pace, but in 13 games instead of 11 (remember, Harrison didn't miss any games during his 2002 season), Welker would have 124 catches through 13 games, which is actually 6 more than Harrison's record pace!

Thanks to the 2-game absence, we'll probably never know whether a full season of Welker could have challenged or even broken Harrison's record, but we should still count ourselves as lucky to see two of the great possession-receiver seasons of all time separated by just 7 years.

11 Comments | Posted in PI Finds

HOF 2010: Aeneas Williams

Posted by Chase Stuart on December 14, 2009

7682015_Rams_v_BillsPrevious HOF 2010 Bios: John Randle; Roger Craig; Russ Grimm; Steve Tasker.

For ten seasons, Aeneas Williams toiled in the desert. While Williams made six Pro Bowls and was selected by the Associated Press to its 1st- or 2nd-team All-Pro roster four times, the Cardinals went just 56-104 during Williams' time out there. After moving to the St. Louis in 2000, Williams' fortunes improved dramatically. He was part of the 14-2 squad that made the Super Bowl and never lost double digit games with the Rams (after suffering that indignity in half of his seasons in Arizona). The HOF has not typically been kind to players on losing teams; among its members, only O.J. Simpson, Lee Roy Selmon and Ollie Matson played on teams with winning percentages worse than the .350 rate Williams' Cardinals put up.

Cornerbacks often receive recognition for playing on teams in big markets and making big plays in big games; sometimes they're considered elite just because they start on great teams or teams with great defenses. Williams' Cardinals usually had terrible defenses, and rarely played in big games. To much of the nation, he was an unknown star. Williams started for the Cardinals his first three years out of Southern University in Louisiana, and then received national attention when his nine interceptions led the league in 1994. He was a terrific cover corner for most of the '90s, and he was one of only three players to record 40 interceptions in the decade.

17 Comments | Posted in HOF, Player articles

PI Finds: Brandon Marshall does it again

Posted by Chase Stuart on December 13, 2009

Before today, only two players had grabbed 18 or more passes in a game since 1960: Brandon Marshall and Terrell Owens. Owens set the NFL record when he caught 20 passes against the Bears, in Jerry Rice's final home game as a San Francisco 49er. Owens stole the show that day from the future Hall of Fame receiver. Today, Brandon Marshall broke Owens' record, but didn't manage to steal the show from another future Hall of Famer, Peyton Manning.

Below are the games with the most individual receptions in the NFL since 1960. Brandon Marshall now owns two of the top three slots.

8 Comments | Posted in Checkdowns

Tecmo Super Bowl Game of the Week: Broncos at Colts

Posted by Neil Paine on December 12, 2009

Courtesy of Matt Knobbe and the Tecmo Super Bowl Repository, here's your Tecmo Super Bowl Game of the Week for Week 14, featuring the Denver Broncos and the Indianapolis Colts. The highlights:

(How did we 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 2009 version of Tecmo here, and play to your heart's content. And be sure to check back at Matt's site for roster updates and more Tecmo-related goodness all season long.)

Comments Off | Posted in Tecmo Super Bowl

PI Finds: Quinn’s Futility in Victory Not Unprecedented

Posted by Neil Paine on December 11, 2009

Sorry to pick on the Notre Dame guys again, but last night Brady Quinn completed a measly 6 of 19 passes for 90 yards in Cleveland's scarcely-watchable 13-6 win over the Steelers. Was this one of the worst games by a winning QB ever? Well, the performance (4.7 yards per attempt) was abysmal, to be sure, but it actually is not without precedent. Here are the NFL passers since 1960 who, like Quinn, tossed at least 19 passes and completed as many or fewer of them than the Browns' signal-caller did last night:

25 Comments | Posted in PI Finds

HOF 2010: Steve Tasker

Posted by Chase Stuart on December 11, 2009

Previous HOF 2010 Bios: John Randle; Roger Craig; Russ Grimm.

Steve Tasker is anecdotally considered the greatest special teams player of all-time. What that usually means is that, after leaving out the kick returners, punt returners, kickers and punters, he's the best special teams player ever. He was terrific in kick and punt coverage, blocked his share of kicks and punts, and was a pretty good kick returner and punt returner, too.

Tasker was one of those players who would be forgotten immediately if he had played on bad teams, but he had the good fortune to play on the great Bills teams of the '90s. Buffalo would go to the Super Bowl four straight years, and on a great team, Tasker's skillset was very valuable. Forcing a fumble on a punt return when your team is winning by 3 in the 4th quarter in the playoffs is valuable; it's not so memorable when you do it when you're trailing by 17. In that way, he's not that much different than another AFC East special teamer, Adam Vinatieri.

It would be impossible to determine whether or not Tasker actually was the best special teams gunner/ace ever. Let's assume, for the same of argument, that he was. Does that make him a Hall of Fame player? The NFL Network did a nice job profiling Tasker's candidacy here. For each person, Tasker's ultimate place in history depends on your normative view of the Hall of Fame should operate.

21 Comments | Posted in HOF, Player articles

NFL ratings through 13 weeks

Posted by Chase Stuart on December 10, 2009

Week 11 ratings
Week 12 ratings

The past couple of weeks, I've argued that future performance can better be predicted by breaking down each team into four parts and ignoring things like win-loss records, points differential, and betting lines. By looking at a team's offensive and defensive passing and rushing efficiencies, I think you get a better sense of how good each team really is. The more granulated the data, the better. In a game, you only get one win or loss and 50 or so points scored, but there are over 150 plays in most games. Understanding how each team does when they pass or run, and try to stop the pass and run, are key tools to understanding how good each team is.

Rk Tm P-O R-O T-O P-D R-D T-D T-T PTS
1 New Orleans Saints 2.28 0.36 2.64 0.43 -0.25 0.18 2.82 14.1
2 Pittsburgh Steelers 1.08 0.06 1.14 0.53 0.61 1.14 2.29 11.4
3 Philadelphia Eagles 0.56 0.29 0.85 0.89 0.43 1.31 2.16 10.8
4 Green Bay Packers 0.56 0.05 0.60 0.83 0.62 1.45 2.06 10.3
5 Dallas Cowboys 1.03 0.81 1.84 0.17 0.02 0.19 2.03 10.2
6 Indianapolis Colts 1.53 -0.40 1.13 0.66 -0.02 0.64 1.77 8.8
7 New York Jets -0.43 0.47 0.04 1.28 0.24 1.52 1.56 7.8
8 Denver Broncos -0.03 0.20 0.16 0.97 0.29 1.26 1.42 7.1

10 Comments | Posted in Statgeekery

AFL versus NFL: the Super Bowls, part two

Posted by Jason Lisk on December 9, 2009

Earlier in the series, I looked at how much we should take from the four Super Bowls, by looking at historical championship games, and how much the game results deviated from the team regular season ratings. I didn't want to actually discuss the specifics of the game until I had gone in depth on the other evidence. Now, it's time to turn back to those four Super Bowls, and the teams involved. I'll tell you right now that you can find a lot of resources that go very in depth on each of these games and teams, moreso than I have the knowledge or time to do here. I have no personal knowledge of these games, have only seen the highlights, and am going strictly off what I see from reconstructing the play by plays using our Super Bowl play finder.

It does, however, give me an excuse to give a sneak peak at the ratings I have for the AFL and NFL teams of the 1960's. You may have noticed that we added the Simple Rating System ratings to the team pages and standings going back to 1960. My ratings are going to differ slightly from those you see on those pages. My rating tweaks the simple rating system, similar to what Chase is doing with the college rankings. The primary changes between my ratings and what you see on the team pages are:

19 Comments | Posted in AFL versus NFL

2010 HOF Ballot with Stats

Posted by Sean on December 8, 2009

2010 Ballot With Stats

We have produced a summary of the players, coaches, and execs who are semi-finalists for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010. Our list of Hall of Fame players is here.

27 Comments | Posted in Announcements, General, HOF, P-F-R News, Site Features

HOF 2010: Russ Grimm

Posted by Chase Stuart on December 8, 2009

Previous HOF 2010 Bios: John Randle; Roger Craig.

Hidden in obscurity most of the time, offensive linemen have more busts in Canton than any other position; there are 34 modern-era offensive linemen in the Hall of Fame. Of course, offensive linemen take up more positions in a team's starting lineup than any other position, so this makes some sense. This year, there are only two offensive linemen candidates: Russ Grimm and Dermontti Dawson.

Grimm is currently the assistant head coach and offensive line coach of the Arizona Cardinals, where he won the NFC Championship last season. Before that, Grimm was the offensive line coach for the Steelers when Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl in 2005. Grimm has been around champions for all of his playing and coaching career. It is what he did as a player that's made him a semifinalist today.

Grimm was a member of the "Hogs", the outstanding offensive line that helped propel the Washington Redskins to four Super Bowl appearances and three victories in a ten-year span. None of the Hogs have made the HOF, which ranks as the chief complaint among Washington fans now that Art Monk has his bust in Canton. The most prominent members of the Hogs were T Joe Jacoby, G Russ Grimm, C Jeff Bostic, T Jim Lachey and G Mark May. They were the starting five for only one season, 1989, but combined for 37 of the 50 starting linemen spots from 1982 to 1991.

The two most productive members were Jacoby and Grimm. Redskins fans have rhetorically wondered how an offensive line that was so good have none of its members in the Hall of Fame? Grimm and Jacoby were both semifinalists last year; perhaps they split the ballot, as only Grimm advanced. He then had to compete with fellow guards Bob Kuechenberg and Randall McDaniel, and was not enshrined in 2009. Grimm had previously been a finalist in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Even if he were to make the cut again in 2011, voters may tire of Grimm if they don't choose to induct him now. With tackle Willie Roaf up for induction next year, the stakes are high: with no Jacoby, no other guards, and only other offensive lineman as a semifinalist, 2010 may be the best (and last) chance for Grimm to gain induction.

There are not too many ways to talk objectively about Grimm, or any offensive lineman. We know that he made four Pro Bowls and was named a first-team All-Pro three times by the Associated Press. Additionally, in '82 he was a 2nd-team All-Conference selection by the UPI and was a 1st-team All-Pro pick by the NEA and Pro Football Writers in 1986, and a second-team All-Pro choice by the AP that season. We know he was the starter for two Super Bowl champions, that he was the starter for a Super Bowl loser, and a reserve on another Super Bowl champ. The Redskins offenses were generally better than average when Grimm was around, and because of all of that, Grimm has a career AV score of 63. But off the 20 semifinalists for whom P-F-R calculates AV, Grimm has the lowest score.

There are 58 offensive linemen who have made more Pro Bowls than Grimm; consider that in the coming years, we'll see Will Shields (12), Larry Allen (11), Jonathan Ogden (11), Willie Roaf (11) and Walter Jones (9) eligible for induction. Alan Faneca and Steve Hutchinson are the dominant guards of this decade, and their resumes are much stronger than Grimm's. Steve Wisniewski made twice as many Pro Bowls as Grimm, but no one considers him a Hall of Famer.

For Grimm, his three first-team All-Pros from the Associated Press don't make him a slam dunk, either. Twenty-nine offensive linemen have three such selections and aren't in Canton, including 11 guards. Jerry Kramer has as much name recognition as Grimm and was a five-time first-team All-Pro choice; on the other hand, Joe DeLamielleure has only three first-team All-Pros and "only" six Pro Bowls, and he's in the short discussion of best guards of all-time. Sadly, when discussing offensive linemen, there just isn't that much to go on.

Super Bowl success? Gerry Mullins started and won four Super Bowls at guard with the Steelers; Joe Andruzzi (Patriots), Mark Schlereth (Redskins, Broncos) and Nate Newton (Cowboys) all started and won three Super Bowls as guards. Mickey Marvin won two Super Bowls with the Raiders at right guard, but that doesn't make him a Hall of Famer. Grimm, in fact, wasn't even the starter for the '87 Redskins in the Super Bowl; he started only five games that year (at center), but did not start any of his team's playoff games.

According to AV, Grimm's grade of 63 ranks ranks only 23rd among guards eligible but not yet in the Hall of Fame. Grimm was certainly better than some of those guys, and his AV score is hurt by his relatively short career: he started just 114 games. Could you argue for Grimm's induction ala Earl Campbell or Gale Sayers -- players who had a handful of dominant seasons and that was enough? Unfortunately, for running backs we have a lot more information than "first-team All-Pro." Those players had stats that even 30 years later, show how dominant they were relative to their peers. For Grimm, or any other lineman, it's tough to get enshrined without a decade's worth of success. Fair? Of course not. That's the curse of being an offensive lineman.

Chances he'll make the HOF in 2010? Poor.
Chances he'll ever make the HOF? Low.

29 Comments | Posted in HOF, Player articles

PI Finds: Clausen & Irish QBs In the NFL

Posted by Neil Paine on December 7, 2009

In news that really didn't surprise anyone, Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft today. There's not a whole lot in the decision to argue with -- his coach was fired last week, after all, and Clausen's career numbers are certainly solid for a QB prospect:

YEAR CMP ATT YDS CMP% YPA LNG TD INT SACK RAT
2007 138 245 1254 56.3 5.1 44 7 6 35 103.9
2008 268 440 3172 60.9 7.2 69 25 17 21 132.5
2009 289 425 3722 68.0 8.8 88 28 4 24 161.4

But I'm going to talk more about how Notre Dame, obviously one of the nation's top programs of all time, hasn't had much success with pro QB prospects over the past two decades. In their history, they have seen six of their 22 drafted quarterbacks develop into good pro players -- Johnny Lujack, Frank Tripucka, Joe Montana, Joe Theismann, Steve Beuerlein, and Daryle Lamonica are all Fighting Irish QBs who became Pro Bowlers or 1st Team All-Pros -- but since Montana was drafted in 1979, they've sent nine QBs to the NFL (Brady Quinn, Jarious Jackson, Rick Mirer, Kent Graham, Beuerlein, Ken Karcher, Blair Kiel, Tom Clements, & Rusty Lisch) and only Beuerlein even became an average player. The career marks of those QBs are as follows:

Player Pos G Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD TD% Int Int% Lng Y/A Rate
Steve Beuerlein QB 147 1894 3328 56.9 24046 147.0 4.4 112 3.4 88 7.2 80.3
Rick Mirer QB 80 1088 2043 53.3 11969 50.0 2.4 76 3.7 60 5.9 63.5
Kent Graham QB 83 694 1339 51.8 7801 39.0 2.9 33 2.5 87 5.8 69.0
Brady Quinn QB 12 168 317 53.0 1746 10.0 3.2 7 2.2 59 5.5 70.5
Blair Kiel QB 25 108 193 56.0 1296 8.0 4.1 7 3.6 50 6.7 75.4
Ken Karcher QB 4 62 114 54.4 756 6.0 5.3 4 3.5 74 6.6 78.0
Rusty Lisch QB 30 55 115 47.8 547 1.0 0.9 11 9.6 26 4.8 25.1
Jarious Jackson QB 5 11 22 50.0 114 0.0 0.0 1 4.5 19 5.2 46.4
Tom Clements QB 1 7 12 58.3 77 0.0 0.0 0 0.0 18 6.4 77.4

In all fairness, not all of these guys were drafted as highly as Clausen is likely to be selected (somewhere between Mirer and Quinn, I'd imagine), but the fact remains that Notre Dame quarterbacks are in the midst of a 20-year dry spell at the NFL level. The only question now is whether or not Clausen will be able to break that streak of mediocrity under center, or if he'll fade into obscurity along with almost every other name on that list.

17 Comments | Posted in PI Finds

College Bowl Rankings

Posted by Chase Stuart on December 7, 2009

After a very exciting weekend in college football, there are only 35 games left: Army-Navy next weekend, and then the 34 Bowl games. Here are the college football ratings for each of the 120 teams in the FBS after week 14:

Rk team conf Gms MOV SOS SRS W L
1 Texas B12 13 22.5 45.5 68.1 13 0
2 Alabama SEC 13 19.1 47.4 66.5 13 0
3 Florida SEC 13 19.8 45.8 65.6 12 1
4 TCU MWC 12 24.8 38.3 63.1 12 0
5 Virginia Tech ACC 12 13.5 48.4 61.9 9 3
6 Oregon P10 12 13.0 48.1 61.1 10 2
7 Oklahoma B12 12 13.9 46.5 60.4 7 5
8 Cincinnati BigE 12 18.8 40.3 59.2 12 0

10 Comments | Posted in BCS, College

PFR Milestone Tracker

Posted by Sean on December 4, 2009

PFR Milestone Tracker

Our intrepid basketball and hockey guru Justin Kubatko recently added a milestone tracker to our Hockey and Basketball sites. We prevailed upon him to port it over to the football site, and he has done so. Now for the most popular counting stats you can see who is approaching a significant milestone like 150 touchdowns scored or who is about to make a leap on a leaderboard such as third on the all-time receiving yards list with just 123 more yards.

Enjoy and see which milestones are about to be reached.

15 Comments | Posted in Announcements, Site Features

Tecmo Super Bowl Game of the Week: Vikings at Cardinals

Posted by Neil Paine on December 3, 2009

Courtesy of Matt Knobbe and the Tecmo Super Bowl Repository, here's your Tecmo Super Bowl Game of the Week for Week 12, featuring the Minnesota Vikings and the Arizona Cardinals. The highlights:

(How did we 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 2009 version of Tecmo here, and play to your heart's content. And be sure to check back at Matt's site for roster updates and more Tecmo-related goodness all season long.)

9 Comments | Posted in Tecmo Super Bowl

PI Finds: Manning Has Another Favre Record in His Sights… For Now

Posted by Neil Paine on December 3, 2009

When it comes to racking up the big numbers, few passers in NFL history have been as prolific as Peyton Manning and Brett Favre. Favre is, of course, the league's all-time leader in passing yards and TDs, but Manning isn't very far behind and ostensibly has ample time remaining in his career, so it should be fun to watch #18 gun for #4's records over the next few years.

One record Manning is already close to tying is the mark for most career 3,500-yard seasons in NFL history. Favre has done it 13 times from 1994-2008, but Manning is within striking distance, currently sitting tied with Dan Marino for 2nd place all-time with 11 3,500-yard campaigns, and needing just 85 yards on Sunday vs. Houston to give him 12:

Rk Player From To Tm Count
1 Brett Favre 1994 2007 GNB 13
2 Peyton Manning 1998 2008 IND 11
3 Dan Marino* 1984 1997 MIA 11
4 Drew Bledsoe 1994 2005 NWE/BUF/DAL 8
5 Tom Brady 2002 2007 NWE 6
6 Joe Montana* 1981 1990 SFO 6
7 Warren Moon* 1989 1997 TEN/MIN/SEA 6
8 John Elway* 1985 1997 DEN 5
9 Jim Everett 1988 1995 STL/NOR 5
10 Dan Fouts* 1979 1985 SDG 5

Of course, that's assuming Favre doesn't get to 3,500 again this year. Manning leads the league in passing yards with 3,415, but Favre in no slouch either, ranking 8th with 2,874. The Vikings still have five more games to go in the regular season, so at Favre's current pace he'd eclipse 3,500 as well on December 20 vs. Carolina. If that happens, Manning will have to wait at least two more years for a shot at tying Favre's record, one of many he'll have in his sights over the next handful of seasons.

25 Comments | Posted in PI Finds

The Playoff Pressure Project

Posted by Jason Lisk on December 3, 2009

3571014541441_Classic_FootballI had this idea to look at how teams performed in the final two weeks of the regular season when they had different types of playoff pressure on them. We have "against the spread" information going back to the 1983 season, so that would give us 26 seasons to check how teams performed under pressure. The problem, of course, is sorting through the various situations at the time, to figure out who controlled their own destiny, who still had a sliver of hope, and who owned the tiebreakers over other teams. It's not something I can easily set up a search to do, and so it is something that needs to be done by digging into the actual season schedules. Doing so, for example, I find that in 1984, the NFC East had three teams at 9-5 (Dallas, New York and Washington) and another at 8-6 (Saint Louis) who were all alive for the playoffs and division title, and that it was the Giants who actually controlled their own destiny in terms of winning out to win the division. Those teams played each other in game 15 (New York at Saint Louis; Washington at Dallas) and when the smoke cleared a week later, the Cowboys and Giants were eliminated from division contention, and the final game between Saint Louis and Washington was for the division title.

But like I said, I couldn't tell that by just looking at records. I had to get into the results and calculate the various head to head, division record and conference record tiebreakers, as well as the possibilities in the final two weeks. I found that it was going to take me about 20 to 30 minutes to put together the scenarios in both conferences for a season, depending on how complex the playoff outlook was in a season, and I don't think I have the time to put in 12-13 hours to just do the background research for this project. So, I'm throwing it open, as I don't think I have the time to complete it by myself.

If you think that it sounds like something cool to look at
AND
you are like me and like to look at old standings and results
AND
you are the type that likes to solve brain puzzles such as those involved in figuring out playoff scenarios
AND
you happen to have the free time over the next couple of weeks to do at least one or two specific seasons (30 minutes to an hour),

well, now's your chance. I don't know if anyone will be interested, which if not, will be my first hint that I shouldn't spend any more time on it. If you are interested in breaking down a season or two, post in the comments or send me an e-mail (it's my initials, "JKL", in place of "feedback" for the main site email address). If there are enough volunteers to justify going forward, we will then coordinate by e-mail and talk about things like dividing up seasons and the format for recording the information.

Hopefully, at the end, we will have something to talk about, and can answer things like: Do teams perform worse when they are the hunted (teams that have not clinched but control their own destiny) compared to when they are the hunter (teams that don't control own destiny)? Do teams that are fighting for just seeding perform better or worse than teams fighting for a playoff spot altogether? How often does the home team win in end of season showdown games where the winner gets the upper hand in the playoff chase? Which teams have overcome the longest odds to make the playoffs with two weeks to go?

17 Comments | Posted in General

Fifth Down Blog post

Posted by Chase Stuart on December 3, 2009

Every Tuesday for the remainder of the season, P-F-R will be teaming up with the New York Times' Fifth Down Blog. This week, I wrote about Steven Jackson's huge season for the last-place Rams. Jackson may become just the third player in league history to lead the league in carries on the team with the worst record. Do you know which two RBs have accomplished this feat?

2 Comments | Posted in Announcements

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