Roundup 10/8/11

Reader and Community contributor Jim Glass points us to this NFL Films cut on the 1978 passing rule changes.

Hue Jackson wants the NFL to become a running league again. Good luck with that. Darren McFadden is breaking out this season, and Jackson's play calling may be part of the cause according to Brian Goff. This is something economists call complementary inputs. I think of it as 'interaction' effects. As I discussed in my podcast with Carson, football is all about interactions between player performance.

Say we could rate players on a 1 to 10 scale. In a sport like baseball, if you have a player who is a 4 and a player who is a 9, you get a total of 13 units of production. But in football, if you have an offensive line that's a 4 and a RB that's a 9, you get 4 units of production, maybe 5. This is because the RB isn't going to be finding many holes to showcase his abilities. If you have an o-line that's a 9 and a RB that's a 9, you don't get 18. You get 81.

A Q&A I did with Robert Vega of Battle Red Blog (SB Nation Texans blog) on how to interpret advanced player statistics. We discuss Arian Foster, Matt Schaub, and Shaun Cody.


I'm growing increasingly fed up with extra points. Good discussion here. Not sure why kickers would be against moving back the kick. Seems like it would make them more important.

 The nitty gritty of an NFL play-by-play database.

Comparing Wes Welker and Calvin Johnson. Plus, "The Patriots offense is the best offense through four weeks in league history, with the second best offense being whoever is playing the Patriots." Great line!

Over at the Community site, Jim Glass on appreciating players from previous eras.

Did the NFL discriminate against black coaching candidates?

Battling bad science.

Remember the outcry when the Patriots failed to pick up a 4th down to clinch the game a couple years ago? Tampa Bay did virtually the same thing last Monday night, but happened to get the conversion. The Bucs Know How To Close, but Belichick was "reckless." Got it. (Not picking on PFT here. Picking on the 'reckless' crowd.

Five Books interview on risk and statistics.

Busting the 3rd-year WR break-out myth.

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4 Responses to “Roundup 10/8/11”

  1. Jim Glass says:

    "Did the NFL discriminate against black coaching candidates?"

    That study claiming so was as cooked as any I've ever seen. And as a lawyer who is half-numerate I've been on both sides of some well-cooked ones. But this one came out of the industrial strength pressure cooker.

    First, it was funded by the (in)famous Johnnie Cochrane, who annouced to the press he was going to use "our report" to file a discrimination suit against the NFL if he didn't get the settlement he wanted. He entire succeeded in getting a lot of publicity among the public *and* the politicians about "the NFL's discrimination" using it (a vital part of negotiating such a settlement). His press release about it still was on his firm's web site until a few months ago, but is down now.

    The *substance* of the study was this complete data set: Five black coaches -- Shell, Green, Edwards, Rhodes and Dungy -- in 29 coaching seasons through 2002 had a 264-207-1, 56%, winning record, average per 16 games of 9.1-7.1

    This was proof of discrimination because their record should have been .500. It showed that a black coach had to be above-average to get hired.

    The study omitted the post-2002 records of Shell, 2-14; Green, 16-32; and Herm, 35-61; (Rhodes being unemployed after winning 42% careerwise). Yet really, a lot of people took it very seriously. It shows the power of a press release about an abstract. Everybody believes it, nobody bothers to read the study.

    Ronald Coase famously said, "Torture the data sufficiently and it will confess to anything". But really, this shoudla been ruled against the Geneva Convention.

  2. Alex says:

    Jim - The original study that (at least supposedly) led to the NFL adopting the Rooney rule occurred in 2002; the Rooney rule went into effect in 2003. It would have been pretty impressive if they had known how coaches would do after the study was done.

  3. Sam P. says:

    In one of the discussions on Football Outsiders on the new kickoff location, I made what I consider a radical proposal: eliminate all place kicks. This was an extension of the proposal to replace the kickoff with a 4th and x down at y yard line, where the intention is instead of a kickoff, you'd do a punt, or go for a first down in place of an onside kick. So eliminate the place kick for extra points and field goals, leaving drop kicks, which are much more difficult.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I wish when you click on links on this site, it would open a new window instead of navigating away from the current page.

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