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Insane idea: teams play 18, players play 16

Posted by Doug on February 12, 2011

I think this is a compromise that still generates a big chunk of the benefit the owners see in an 18-game slate while alleviating the concerns of the players who would prefer 16.

NFL teams have a full 18-game schedule, but each individual player can play in at most 16 regular season games.

As far as I know, it would be unprecedented in any non-little-league sport for a healthy player who wants to play, and whose team wants him to play, to be forced to sit for non-punitive reasons. For that reason alone, this idea could probably never gain any traction. I'm aware of that. And yes, some games would be devalued. There would be lots of local news stories about 7-year-old Tom-Brady-idolizers whose parents paid a month's salary so he could watch Brady explain Polaroids to Brian Hoyer for three hours.

But I think there are some benefits here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Insane ideas, Lockout | 42 Comments »

YouTube Finds: UConn QB Johnny McEntee’s Trick Passes

Posted by Neil Paine on February 11, 2011

Fun video here of Connecticut backup Johnny McEntee, showing off his best passing tricks:

I have a feeling he was inspired by UConn women's basketball player Caroline Doty's trick shot video from 2 weeks earlier.

(H/T: Huffington Post.)

Posted in Totally Useless, YouTube Finds | 8 Comments »

Which QB is Likely to be Best in 2011?

Posted by Neil Paine on February 10, 2011

File this under Chase's "Insane Ideas/Rants/Almost deleted before hitting Publish" category...

In light of the research Chase & JKL have done about the consistency of passing stats between seasons, I was wondering which quarterbacks were likely to be best in 2011 -- assuming there is a 2011 season -- if we take their 2010 numbers and strip away the factors that were heavily influenced by luck or other elements beyond a player's control.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Insane ideas, Quarterbacks, Rant, Statgeekery, Totally Useless | 18 Comments »

The Greatest Drive in NFL History

Posted by Scott Kacsmar on February 9, 2011

Eighty-seven yards away from the end zone. 119 seconds on the clock. One timeout remaining. Down by six. The Super Bowl is on the line. This is the stuff football fans dream of watching, and players dream of performing on the biggest stage. This is the stuff legends are made of.

This is what the Steelers had staring them down at the end of Super Bowl XLV against the Packers. If they were successful, there would be only one way of describing it. The Steelers may not have known it when they took the field, but they were looking at the greatest drive in NFL history.

What is currently the greatest drive in NFL history? There are many great moments that stand out in NFL lore, but this is not a question that has had a definitive answer to it. I will go back now and review the candidates.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Best/Worst Ever, History, Quarterbacks | 34 Comments »

Checkdowns: Packers Win Super Bowl, in Tecmo Form

Posted by Neil Paine on February 7, 2011

A fitting way to cap off the 2010 campaign, here's Jordan Slocum's recreation of the Steelers' last play in SB XLV and Green Bay's celebration:

Thanks for a great season of Tecmo highlights, Jordan!

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

Checkdowns: How likely to be a close game?

Posted by Chase Stuart on February 6, 2011

Good post by Nate Silver over at the NYT Fifth Down Blog. I thought I'd build on some of Nate's work.

As of game day, the Packers are 3-point favorites over the Steelers and the game has an over/under of 44.5 points. Over the 20-year period from '88 to '07 (we're a little behind at entering point spread data into our database), there were 425 games that featured a point spread of between 2 and 4 points with an over/under ranging from 42.5 to 46.5. Some notes on those games:

  • Based on the above numbers, the favorite has won 63.5% of the games, with an average margin of victory of 11.4 points.
  • The biggest blowout came against the Steelers in a season opening game against the Browns. Cleveland opened the 1989 season as 2-point road favorites: they covered the spread with ease, winning 51-0.
  • On average, when the underdog wins, they win by 8.7 points. Atlanta started the 1996 season 0-8, but after squeaking past Carolina 20-17, they were 2 point favorites in St. Louis, who had just lost 42-6 in Pittsburgh. The 2-7 Rams pulled the upset, winning 59-16.
  • On average, the favorite has scored 24.3 points while the underdog has scored 20.2 points. Favorites, against the spread, have a 209-197-19 record. The "over" was hit less frequently, with 195 games going over, 11 games "pushing" and 219 games finishing "under" the line.
  • 121 of the games, 28.5% of the data-set, had final margins of victory of within three points. If you're hoping for a close game, there's a better than even chance you'll get one: 53% of the games were decided by one touchdown or less. Only 16 games had final margins of 30 points or greater, but just over one in every four games were decided by at least 15 points.
  • Hoping for the first Super Bowl to go to overtime and the first playoff game to feature the new overtime rules? 5.8% of the games in this data set went into a fifth quarter.

Posted in Checkdowns | 10 Comments »

2011 Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

Posted by Neil Paine on February 5, 2011

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the results of the 2011 voting tonight; here were those who made and missed the cut, along with the readers' opinions from our recent Hall of Fame polls:

"Does This Player deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?"
Player Votes "Yes, and he will get in" "Yes, but he won't get in" "No, and he won't get in" "No, but he will get in"
Deion Sanders 279 90.7% 0.7% 1.1% 7.5%
Marshall Faulk 345 96.8% 1.2% 0.6% 1.5%
Shannon Sharpe 139 77.7% 10.1% 2.2% 10.1%
Richard Dent 225 44.9% 30.2% 11.1% 13.8%
Ed Sabol 216 69.0% 23.6% 2.3% 5.1%
Les Richter 91 27.5% 14.3% 28.6% 29.7%
Chris Hanburger 110 74.6% 18.2% 3.6% 3.6%
Missed Final Cut:
Curtis Martin 191 68.1% 15.2% 5.2% 11.5%
Dermontti Dawson 154 68.8% 22.7% 4.6% 3.9%
Cortez Kennedy 250 43.6% 41.6% 11.6% 3.2%
Andre Reed 289 25.6% 29.1% 32.2% 13.2%
Willie Roaf 220 82.3% 14.6% 2.7% 0.5%
Missed 1st Cut:
Tim Brown 285 70.2% 17.9% 4.6% 7.4%
Charles Haley 135 20.0% 13.3% 31.9% 34.8%
Jerome Bettis 543 56.2% 7.0% 6.1% 30.8%
Cris Carter 280 79.3% 7.1% 3.6% 10.0%
Chris Doleman 137 47.5% 24.8% 19.7% 8.0%

Based on the voting, if PFR readers could pick seven players from this year's class to induct, they would be (in order from most deserving to least):

Richter was deemed the second-most undeserving of all finalists by the readership, ahead of only Charles Haley. Dent was also voted 6th-most undeserving, but Sharpe was narrowly behind Brown in terms of the % of readers who felt he did deserve the HoF.

PFR readers would probably consider the biggest snub to be Roaf, whom 96.8% of the voters felt was deserving; also, 91.6% felt Dawson deserved HoF honors, and both failed to survive the final cut. Brown over Sharpe, though, was so close in the voting that it's hard to call it a snub.

Posted in Checkdowns, HOF | 43 Comments »

2011 Hall of Fame Polls: Curtis Martin

Posted by Chase Stuart on February 4, 2011

I won't pretend to be objective here: Curtis Martin is my favorite player of all-time. To maintain credibility as a football writer, one must be objective. Still, I feel comfortable avoiding such responsibility this time as long as I announce it. I've sponsored his P-F-R page since we rolled out the sponsorship option several years ago, and have no plans of ending my sponsorship. The quote I use to sponsor him was uttered by Martin late in the 2005 season, when he finally had to shut it down for good:

But early last week, the pain prompted a visit to the coach's office.

''Herm said: 'Curtis, just for us to be having this conversation, it must be a very bad situation. There is no way you'd be sitting in Herman Edwards's office if this wasn't drastic,' '' Martin said Sunday afternoon. ''It was. Yesterday, I felt like there was probably no way we're going to be able to do it. We got up this morning and said no.

''If the Raiders had said, 'Curtis, we're not going to tackle you' and gave me the ball on the 1-yard line and let me run 99 yards, I don't even think I'd have been able to get it.''

In each off-season, Martin submits himself to savage workouts, to prepare his body for the inevitable punishment. Martin once played through a season with two severely sprained ankles. He played through another even though a ligament was tearing away from the bone in his buttocks. He played two consecutive seasons with torn knee ligaments that did not slow him.

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Posted in Best/Worst Ever, Great Historical Players, History, HOF, Player articles | 31 Comments »

Reminder: Super Bowl Squares App Now Available!

Posted by Neil Paine on February 4, 2011

Another friendly reminder that our Super Bowl Squares mobile app is available for $0.99 at the iTunes store and the Android Marketplace.

If you're playing Super Bowl squares this weekend, this app will tell you which squares have the best chance of winning (based on game data from 1994-2010). For more information about features, as well as links to posts about Super Bowl squares theory, click here.

Posted in Announcements, Business, P-F-R News, Site Features | Comments Off on Reminder: Super Bowl Squares App Now Available!

2011 Hall of Fame Polls: Chris Hanburger

Posted by Jason Lisk on February 4, 2011

Chris Hanburger was born at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, just months before the start of United States' involvement in World War II, and when he graduated from high school, he served a stint in the Army as well. After the Army, Hanburger went to play for the University of North Carolina, and was twice selected as the all-ACC center. Hanburger's age (24 when he entered professional football) and the fact that he was more accomplished on the offensive side of the ball help explain why he lasted until the 18th and final round of the 1965 draft.

He was quite a find, though, as he moved into the starting lineup at linebacker late in his rookie year, and would remain a staple of the Redskins lineup for well over a decade. Hanburger may not have been the most explosive athlete at the position, but he was a heady and instinctive player who is often attributed with being a quarterback on the defensive side of the field. His knowledge and game smarts was a natural for George Allen, who had a strong preference for veterans, and Hanburger was a key member of the "Over the Hill Gang" that led the Redskins to their first Super Bowl appearance following the 1972 season.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Great Historical Players, History, HOF, Player articles | 18 Comments »

2011 Hall of Fame Polls: Les Richter

Posted by Neil Paine on February 3, 2011

Moving on with our 2011 Hall of Fame finalist polls, here's Les Richter, a linebacker from the 1950s/60s who was nominated as a senior candidate in this year's class. The rundown on Richter's career:

What do you think? Is Les Richter worthy of HoF induction?

Posted in Best/Worst Ever, Great Historical Players, History, HOF | 9 Comments »

2011 Hall of Fame Polls: Deion Sanders

Posted by Neil Paine on February 3, 2011

I've been looking forward to this Hall of Fame finalist poll... Let's run down the fact list for Mr. Deion Sanders:

NumYrs Players whose career was of similar quality and shape
3 Bill Simpson, Joe Scudero, Shawn Springs, Ken Konz, Milt Davis, Herb Rich, Jerry Gray, Billy Stacy, DeAngelo Hall, Leon Hall
4 Jerry Gray, Bobby Dillon, Darren Woodson, Jim Marsalis, Ray Rhodes, Roger Wehrli*, Everson Walls, Mark A. Carrier, Abe Woodson, Darrell Green*
5 Darren Woodson, Jerry Gray, Charles Woodson, Everson Walls, George Saimes, Abe Woodson, Bobby Dillon, Frank Minnifield, Troy Polamalu, Lindon Crow
6 Kenny Easley, Darren Woodson, Charles Woodson, Bobby Dillon, Mike Haynes*, George Saimes, Eric Allen, Everson Walls, Abe Woodson, Frank Minnifield
7 Kenny Easley, Nolan Cromwell, Charles Woodson, Joey Browner, Roger Wehrli*, Merton Hanks, Asante Samuel, Bobby Dillon, George Saimes, Willie Brown*
8 Erich Barnes, Mike Haynes*, Eric Allen, Cornell Green, Roger Wehrli*, Aeneas Williams, Lem Barney*, Chris McAlister, Joey Browner, Mel Blount*
9 Roger Wehrli*, Mike Haynes*, Eric Allen, Lem Barney*, Aeneas Williams, Mel Blount*, Darrell Green*, Ed Reed, Erich Barnes, Cornell Green
10 Mike Haynes*, Paul Krause*, Lem Barney*, Mel Blount*, Champ Bailey, Mel Renfro*, Ronnie Lott*, Willie Wood*, Roger Wehrli*, Herb Adderley*
11 Mike Haynes*, Paul Krause*, Willie Brown*, Champ Bailey, Mel Renfro*, Lem Barney*, Willie Wood*, Ronnie Lott*, Aeneas Williams, Mel Blount*
12 Mike Haynes*, Mel Blount*, Willie Brown*, Paul Krause*, Ronde Barber, Night Train Lane*, Champ Bailey, Mel Renfro*, Willie Wood*, Lem Barney*
13 Mike Haynes*, Willie Brown*, Champ Bailey, Ronde Barber, Night Train Lane*, Mel Blount*, Willie Wood*, Lem Barney*, Aeneas Williams, Mel Renfro*
14 Mike Haynes*, Willie Brown*, Champ Bailey, Ronde Barber, Willie Wood*, Night Train Lane*, Lem Barney*, Mel Blount*, Mel Renfro*, Aeneas Williams
Career Mike Haynes*, Champ Bailey, Lem Barney*, Willie Wood*, Ronde Barber, Yale Lary*, Night Train Lane*, Willie Brown*, Mel Blount*, Mel Renfro*
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 2/3/2011.

So, does Canton make room for Prime Time?

Posted in Best/Worst Ever, Great Historical Players, History, HOF | 15 Comments »

Quarterbacks: Career Playoff Drive Stats

Posted by Scott Kacsmar on February 3, 2011

Robert Duvall once said "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" in Apocalypse Now. I have never smelled napalm before, but there is something I enjoy. I love the smell of freshly produced spreadsheets on quarterbacks that will provide the data to expose myths and spit in the face of conventional wisdoms. I want to know why certain teams succeed and others fail, especially in the postseason. Well after my latest research efforts, I feel much more knowledgeable about certain quarterbacks and why their playoff record is what it is.

Just in time for a big quarterback match-up in Super Bowl XLV between Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers, I compiled playoff drive stats for two dozen quarterbacks that have played in the last thirty years. It was my goal to get every quarterback with at least 8 playoff starts since 1980, and I almost succeeded. Only Phil Simms, Joe Theismann, Jim Plunkett and Danny White were left out due to lack of complete career data. I also included a few active quarterbacks with 4-7 playoff starts to their credit. I used official NFL gamebooks to get this data. While many of these gamebooks offer drive summaries, I actually went through the play-by-play for each drive (over 3400 of them) to get a better understanding of how the game progressed and for more accurate statistics.

Here is a table of stats that you may be familiar with for the quarterbacks involved:

Player GP W L Att. Comp. Pct. Yards YPA TDs INTs Rating
Aaron Rodgers 4 3 1 135 94 69.63 1212 8.98 10 3 112.9
Kurt Warner 13 9 4 462 307 66.45 3952 8.55 31 14 102.8
Drew Brees 7 4 3 285 189 66.32 2052 7.20 15 2 102.0
Joe Montana 23 16 7 734 460 62.67 5772 7.86 45 21 95.6
Peyton Manning 19 9 10 718 453 63.09 5389 7.51 29 19 88.4
Troy Aikman 16 11 5 502 320 63.75 3849 7.67 23 17 88.3
Brett Favre 24 13 11 791 481 60.81 5855 7.40 44 30 86.3
Steve Young 20 12 8 471 292 62.00 3326 7.06 20 13 85.8
Tom Brady 18 14 4 637 395 62.01 4108 6.45 28 15 85.5
Ben Roethlisberger 12 10 2 329 201 61.09 2598 7.90 17 14 85.4
Warren Moon 10 3 7 403 259 64.27 2870 7.12 17 14 84.9
Jake Delhomme 8 5 3 226 130 57.52 1847 8.17 12 10 83.3
Matt Hasselbeck 10 5 5 360 211 58.61 2483 6.90 15 9 83.1
Tony Romo 4 1 3 135 80 59.26 832 6.16 4 2 80.8
Donovan McNabb 16 9 7 577 341 59.10 3752 6.50 24 17 80.0
John Elway 22 14 8 651 355 54.53 4964 7.63 27 21 79.7
Philip Rivers 7 3 4 229 134 58.52 1820 7.95 8 9 79.2
Eli Manning 7 4 3 193 113 58.55 1297 6.72 8 7 77.6
Dan Marino 18 8 10 687 385 56.04 4510 6.56 32 24 77.1
Randall Cunningham 12 5 7 365 192 52.60 2426 6.65 12 9 74.3
Dave Krieg 12 5 7 282 144 51.06 1895 6.72 11 9 72.3
Jim Kelly 17 9 8 545 322 59.08 3863 7.09 21 28 72.3
Steve McNair 10 5 5 311 184 59.16 1764 5.67 6 11 66.7
Mark Brunell 11 5 6 307 156 50.81 1833 5.97 11 11 66.3

Those are your conventional passing stats. Drive stats are something I have taken much interest in the last few years. I guess it started with my work on fourth quarter drives, and has since carried over to the full game. They offer more measures of efficiency and give better insight into how productive a team's offense or defense is and what style or tempo they may play at. Think about basketball and how the stats for a run and gun/fast break offense are going to be different than the numbers of a half-court offense.

The number of possessions a team gets in a game or season is one of the most overlooked parts of football. Every offense and defense is held to the same standard of points and yards scored/allowed, but did the defense that allows 20 points on 8 drives really play better than the defense that allowed 24 points on 13 drives? Some teams get the ball less than others year after year, meaning their offense has to play at a higher level on fewer opportunities. This would make the offense's stats look better, and the defense's look worse since they are not on the field as much as other teams. The Colts have often been a team in recent seasons that are at the bottom or close to it in offensive possessions every season. Jon Gruden, on a Monday Night Football telecast in Miami in 2009, is probably the only analyst I have heard reference this fact in the media.

If you are not familiar with drive stats, I would highly recommend a visit to that section on the FootballOutsiders site, where Jim Armstrong does a great job of putting out the drive stats on a weekly basis each season. They are listed for 1997-2010. You can familiarize yourself with the kind of numbers you can expect from an offense that is ranked at the top of the league, the average, and at the bottom, to use as a reference when you look over these playoff drive stats.

Disclaimer: the stats presented here are in the quarterback's name, but even more than usual this is really about the team's offensive performance as a whole rather than the individual quarterback. There are certain parts, like the breakdown on interceptions, that are mostly all about the quarterback, but overall drive stats are something you have to keep the team in mind first for. There are of course drives where a quarterback does nothing but hand the ball off every play. The entry "Joe Montana" is another way of saying "1981-90 49ers, 1993-94 Chiefs". Also I will note that I tried to include every drive a QB played in during the playoffs, whether or not they started the game did not matter. I will point out several things, but I will also leave the reader to make their own observations on all the various data presented below. Kneel down drives at the end of either half are excluded.

With that cleared up, on to the data.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Best/Worst Ever, History, Quarterbacks, Statgeekery | 25 Comments »

2011 Hall of Fame Polls: Willie Roaf

Posted by Neil Paine on February 2, 2011

After covering Dermontti Dawson yesterday, we now come to the other offensive lineman in this year's group of Hall of Fame finalists: Willie Roaf. The facts on Roaf's career:

NumYrs Players whose career was of similar quality and shape
3 Stan Jones*, Gary Zimmerman*, Lou Creekmur*, Jim Parker*, Jonathan Ogden, Ralph Neely, Bob Brown*, Dick Stanfel, Tony Boselli, Gene Upshaw*
4 Tony Boselli, Gary Zimmerman*, Lou Creekmur*, Jonathan Ogden, Bob Brown*, Richmond Webb, Gene Upshaw*, Jim Parker*, Tom Newberry, Ralph Neely
5 Jonathan Ogden, Lou Creekmur*, Gary Zimmerman*, Bob Brown*, Tony Boselli, Marvin Powell, Larry Allen, Logan Mankins, Ralph Neely, Jim Parker*
6 Jonathan Ogden, Lou Creekmur*, Gary Zimmerman*, Jim Lachey, Bob Brown*, Marvin Powell, Mike Kenn, Gene Upshaw*, Kent Hull, Bob Vogel
7 Gary Zimmerman*, Bob Vogel, Dick Stanfel, Marvin Powell, Mike Kenn, Jonathan Ogden, Bob St. Clair*, Rosey Brown*, Lou Creekmur*, George Kunz
8 Gary Zimmerman*, Bob Vogel, Gene Upshaw*, Bob Brown*, Rosey Brown*, Randall McDaniel*, Stan Jones*, Marvin Powell, Jonathan Ogden, Ron Mix*
9 Gary Zimmerman*, Bob Vogel, Marvin Powell, Jim Tyrer, Rosey Brown*, Gene Upshaw*, Bob St. Clair*, Tom Mack*, Walt Sweeney, Alan Faneca
10 Gary Zimmerman*, Jim Tyrer, Rosey Brown*, Walter Jones, Alan Faneca, Bob Brown*, Lou Creekmur*, Tarik Glenn, Gene Upshaw*, Bob Vogel
11 Gary Zimmerman*, Jim Tyrer, Rosey Brown*, Walter Jones, John Hannah*, Jonathan Ogden, Mike Webster*, Richmond Webb, Bob Brown*, Alan Faneca
12 Gary Zimmerman*, John Hannah*, Gene Upshaw*, Rosey Brown*, Walter Jones, Richmond Webb, Jonathan Ogden, Randall McDaniel*, Jim Tyrer, Jim Ringo*
13 John Hannah*, Gary Zimmerman*, Gene Upshaw*, Jonathan Ogden, Rosey Brown*, Randall McDaniel*, Jim Ringo*, Walter Jones, Jim Tyrer, Art Shell*
Career Gary Zimmerman*, Jonathan Ogden, John Hannah*, Forrest Gregg*, Walter Jones, Rosey Brown*, Gene Upshaw*, Art Shell*, Jim Tyrer, Jim Ringo*
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 2/2/2011.

What's the verdict on Roaf?

Posted in Best/Worst Ever, Great Historical Players, HOF, PI Finds, Play Index, Player articles | 12 Comments »

P-F-R News: Super Bowl Squares App Now Available!

Posted by Neil Paine on February 2, 2011

Just in time for the big game, our Super Bowl Squares mobile app is now available at the iTunes store and the Android Marketplace.

If you're at a Super Bowl party this weekend and there's a game of squares set up, this app will tell you which squares have the best chance of winning based on game data from 1994-2010. Also, if you're new to the game, there's a page devoted to basic rules that will help you navigate your first SB squares experience. The app costs $0.99, but will pay for itself many times over if you win the pool.

For more information about its features, as well as links to posts about Super Bowl squares theory, click here.

Posted in Announcements, Business, P-F-R News, Site Features | 1 Comment »

2011 Hall of Fame Polls: Shannon Sharpe

Posted by Neil Paine on February 2, 2011

After our look at Ed Sabol yesterday, it's back to players for the next 2011 Hall of Fame finalist poll. Here were Chase's thoughts from a year ago on Shannon Sharpe:

We continue the [Hall of Fame profiles] today, with a look at Shannon Sharpe. Part I of this post is a re-post of something I wrote last year:Part I

It took Art Monk eight years to make the Hall of Fame. While his career numbers were terrific, Monk's biggest problem was the lack of statistical single season dominance. He only ranked in the top 10 in receiving yards three times -- finishing fourth in '84, third in '85 and tenth in '89. But arguably Monk shouldn't have been compared to the star receivers of NFL history. As argued by Sean Lahman in the Pro Football Historical Abstract:

Even though Monk lined up as a wide receiver, his role was really more like that of a tight end. He used his physicality to catch passes. He went inside and over the middle most of the time. He was asked to block a lot. All of those things make him a different creature than the typical speed receiver.... His 940 career catches put him in the middle of a logjam of receivers, but he'd stand out among tight ends. His yards per catch look a lot better in that context as well.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in General | 2 Comments »

2011 Hall of Fame Polls: Ed Sabol

Posted by Neil Paine on February 1, 2011

Continuing our 2011 Hall of Fame finalist polls, let's get some opinions on Ed Sabol -- and, specifically, the role of NFL Films in shaping football's success in the second half of the 20th century.

Since 1964, when Sabol convinced the NFL that it needed its own motion picture company to document games for posterity, NFL Films has marketed pro football in an epic style that clearly resonates with fans. Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune summed up Sabol's influence nicely in an article this week:

"There are only 18 contributors in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Sabol never owned an NFL team or served as commissioner. But that doesn't mean this 94-year-old visionary doesn't deserve to be recognized for his unique contributions since starting NFL Films almost 50 years ago.

'I think NFL Films was as important to the growth and success of the NFL as any one single thing that ever took place,'' says former 49ers owner Ed DeBartolo, who lives in Tampa. 'It put the teams and players in the forefront of fans' minds.'

At some point in the 1960s, pro football vaulted past baseball as America's most popular sport; NFL Films played a pivotal role in that transformation."

Now, for some sample videos... This is 100% classic NFL Films:

And here's a good example of the modern NFL Films style:

So, what do you think? Should Sabol be in the Hall of Fame for his contribution to the NFL's success over the past 50 years?

Posted in HOF | 25 Comments »

2011 Hall of Fame Polls: Dermontti Dawson

Posted by Neil Paine on February 1, 2011

Shifting from defense to offense, our next 2011 Hall of Fame finalist poll regards longtime Steelers center Dermontti Dawson. This is what Chase had to say about Dawson in December 2009:

Teams almost never replace one Hall of Famer with another. The 49ers replacing Joe Montana with Steve Young, the Bears filling Bill George's absence with Dick Butkus and the Browns handing the ball off from Jim Brown to Leroy Kelly are exceptions to the rule. Things aren't supposed to be that easy for a team. But in Pittsburgh, fans didn't have to worry about their center for a quarter-century. From 1976 to 1988, Hall of Famer Mike Webster manned the middle for the Steelers offense. Pittsburgh drafted Dermontti Dawson in the second round of the 1988 draft, and he played next to Webster for one season. After Webster left for Kansas City, Dawson moved to the middle, and would start for the Steelers from 1989 to 2000. Those in Pittsburgh still debate who was the better center. But things didn't end there for Pittsburgh, as Jeff Hartings would replace Dawson similarly to the way Jeff Garcia followed Young. From '01 to '06, Hartings continued the Steelers tradition of excellence at the position: he was named to two Pro Bowls and two Associated Press All-Pro teams. But today, we're going to focus on Dawson, and his fantastic accomplishments during his twelve seasons in Pittsburgh. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in HOF | 6 Comments »

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:
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Insane ideas, Quarterbacks, Rant | 55 Comments »

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 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.

Posted in Tecmo Super Bowl | 5 Comments »