Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

06 Dec 2005

Week 14 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

This week's extended commentary includes a quiz that should shed some light on this year's wacky strength of schedule situation and a long discussion of the Green Bay Packers, unluckiest team of all time. You'll find the extended commentary here on FOXSports.com.

The Colts drop out of first place this week -- for the season. But they're still in first place in WEIGHTED DVOA because of those two huge Cincinnati wins in Weeks 2 and 3.

All unit, individual, and line stats pages are now updated.

To save people some time, feel free to skip comments of this nature:

<team> is clearly ranked <too high/too low> because <reason unrelated to DVOA>. <subjective ranking system> is way better than this. <unrelated team-supporting or -denigrating comment, preferably with poor spelling and/or chat-acceptable spelling>

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 13 weeks of 2005, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)

OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted based on strength of opponent as well as to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver/Mexico City) and week of season.

WEIGHTED DVOA represents an attempt to figure out how a team is playing right now, as opposed to over the season as a whole, by making recent games more important than earlier games. This is the statistic used for the FOXSports.com Power Rankings. WEIGHTED DVOA for offense, defense, and special teams is available on those separate pages.

IMPORTANT: Beginning with Week 12 of 2005, DVOA is based on second-order opponent adjustments. Until other years are updated with this new system, only first-order DVOA (second table) can be compared to previous seasons.

As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.


TEAM
TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
W-L WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
SPECIAL
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 CIN 41.0% 2 9-3 39.5% 3 31.6% 3 -7.1% 11 2.2% 10
2 IND 40.0% 1 12-0 40.8% 1 33.2% 2 -12.3% 8 -5.5% 31
3 DEN 32.9% 3 9-3 39.8% 2 25.7% 4 -6.5% 13 0.6% 17
4 SD 32.4% 4 8-4 32.2% 4 34.6% 1 4.2% 22 2.0% 11
5 NYG 31.7% 5 8-4 30.4% 5 7.3% 11 -16.8% 3 7.6% 3
6 SEA 24.9% 9 10-2 26.9% 6 21.5% 5 -3.8% 18 -0.3% 19
7 JAC 23.1% 6 9-3 19.4% 8 4.1% 13 -15.9% 4 3.1% 8
8 KC 22.9% 7 8-4 25.7% 7 18.5% 6 -6.4% 14 -2.0% 25
9 WAS 17.6% 11 6-6 19.3% 9 8.3% 10 -11.1% 9 -1.8% 23
10 PIT 16.4% 8 7-5 10.1% 13 4.3% 12 -15.2% 5 -3.1% 29
11 CHI 14.9% 12 9-3 14.0% 11 -21.3% 29 -34.3% 1 1.9% 12
12 DAL 13.5% 10 7-5 11.8% 12 -0.7% 14 -12.7% 6 1.4% 15
13 CAR 12.9% 14 9-3 18.5% 10 -6.4% 18 -17.1% 2 2.3% 9
14 TB 6.2% 17 8-4 3.6% 15 -5.4% 17 -12.7% 7 -1.1% 21
15 PHI 4.2% 13 5-7 3.1% 16 -1.3% 15 -7.9% 10 -2.5% 26
16 OAK 3.6% 15 4-8 6.1% 14 8.4% 9 2.1% 20 -2.7% 27
TEAM
TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
W-L WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
SPECIAL
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 ATL -2.3% 16 7-5 -5.2% 18 8.7% 8 9.9% 25 -1.1% 22
18 MIN -3.5% 20 7-5 2.2% 17 -7.8% 21 -4.6% 16 -0.3% 18
19 MIA -4.0% 18 5-7 -10.4% 21 -15.2% 25 -6.6% 12 4.6% 5
20 NE -4.7% 19 7-5 -6.6% 19 14.7% 7 20.8% 29 1.5% 14
21 CLE -11.8% 22 4-8 -14.6% 23 -6.6% 19 6.9% 23 1.7% 13
22 GB -12.1% 24 2-10 -9.4% 20 -9.8% 24 -4.4% 17 -6.7% 32
23 TEN -16.7% 23 3-9 -12.7% 22 -6.9% 20 15.4% 28 5.6% 4
24 BAL -17.3% 21 4-8 -15.2% 24 -26.4% 30 -5.8% 15 3.3% 7
25 DET -19.6% 25 4-8 -21.4% 26 -15.6% 26 1.2% 19 -2.9% 28
26 BUF -19.9% 26 4-8 -24.3% 27 -19.7% 28 8.1% 24 7.9% 2
27 ARI -22.2% 28 4-8 -21.3% 25 -8.8% 22 14.7% 27 1.3% 16
28 NO -25.1% 27 3-9 -28.2% 29 -9.1% 23 11.7% 26 -4.2% 30
29 STL -29.3% 30 5-7 -26.2% 28 -2.3% 16 26.0% 31 -0.9% 20
30 NYJ -33.9% 29 2-10 -35.1% 31 -29.9% 31 2.2% 21 -1.8% 24
31 HOU -36.5% 31 1-11 -28.9% 30 -16.3% 27 31.1% 32 10.9% 1
32 SF -70.7% 32 2-10 -73.1% 32 -51.8% 32 23.3% 30 4.4% 6

  • 1st ORDER DVOA is the "older style" DVOA from before Week 12 2005 which only runs opponent adjustments once. This stat should be used to compare with previous seasons.
  • NON-ADJ TOTAL VOA is VOA without any adjustment for opponent strength, luck in recovering fumbles, or the effects of weather and altitude on special teams.
  • ESTIMATED WINS uses a statistic known as "Forest Index" that emphasizes consistency as well as DVOA in the most important specific situations: red zone defense, first quarter offense, and performance in thesecond half when the score is close.  It then projects a number of wins adjusted to a league-average schedule and a league-average rate of recovering fumbles.
  • PAST SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • FUTURE SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents still left to play this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road. CHANGE: AS OF THIS WEEK, IT IS BASED ON WEIGHTED DVOA, NOT TOTAL SEASON DVOA.
  • VARIANCE (VAR.) measures the statistical variance of the team's weekly DVOA performance.  Teams are ranked from least consistent (#1, highest variance) tomost consistent (#32, smallest variance).


TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L 1st ORD
DVOA
RK NON-ADJ
VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RK PAST
SCHED
RK FUTURE
SCHED
RK VAR. RK
1 CIN 41.0% 9-3 39.8% 1 40.4% 9.8 2 -0.4% 17 -8.7% 26 19.9% 14
2 IND 40.0% 12-0 36.3% 2 51.8% 10.6 1 -13.3% 32 14.3% 3 6.9% 31
3 DEN 32.9% 9-3 30.6% 4 26.5% 8.9 4 10.8% 2 -0.3% 17 19.6% 15
4 SD 32.4% 8-4 29.7% 5 26.6% 9.4 3 7.3% 5 24.0% 2 10.5% 28
5 NYG 31.7% 8-4 31.0% 3 37.1% 8.9 6 -1.0% 19 13.6% 4 20.3% 12
6 SEA 24.9% 10-2 23.2% 7 33.9% 8.9 5 -10.2% 29 -13.6% 28 12.0% 26
7 JAC 23.1% 9-3 24.0% 6 24.9% 8.2 8 -1.0% 20 -18.5% 31 20.8% 11
8 KC 22.9% 8-4 17.8% 9 17.5% 8.2 7 2.4% 14 28.5% 1 13.3% 24
9 WAS 17.6% 6-6 18.4% 8 0.0% 7.6 9 7.3% 6 6.0% 9 21.5% 8
10 PIT 16.4% 7-5 14.9% 10 16.8% 7.6 10 5.1% 11 -5.0% 23 19.0% 17
11 CHI 14.9% 9-3 12.7% 12 14.0% 7.4 11 -8.5% 27 -0.6% 18 29.9% 3
12 DAL 13.5% 7-5 11.2% 13 10.8% 7.2 13 5.9% 9 9.3% 7 20.1% 13
13 CAR 12.9% 9-3 13.6% 11 27.7% 7.4 12 -10.5% 30 -4.5% 22 17.7% 21
14 TB 6.2% 8-4 5.1% 14 15.7% 6.3 17 -12.1% 31 -5.4% 24 21.4% 10
15 PHI 4.2% 5-7 2.1% 15 -6.1% 6.3 18 9.0% 4 0.6% 16 22.1% 6
16 OAK 3.6% 4-8 1.4% 16 4.0% 6.3 16 11.1% 1 5.1% 10 6.3% 32
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L 1st ORD
DVOA
RK NON-ADJ
VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RK PAST
SCHED
RK FUTURE
SCHED
RK VAR. RK
17 ATL -2.3% 7-5 -1.5% 18 9.3% 5.8 20 -6.2% 26 2.0% 13 16.5% 23
18 MIN -3.5% 7-5 -1.1% 17 -9.4% 6.9 14 0.3% 16 -4.3% 21 21.9% 7
19 MIA -4.0% 5-7 -2.2% 19 -4.1% 6.0 19 -3.3% 24 -5.5% 25 18.0% 20
20 NE -4.7% 7-5 -3.2% 20 -9.5% 6.6 15 6.3% 7 -16.6% 30 9.2% 30
21 CLE -11.8% 4-8 -12.2% 22 -18.3% 5.2 21 2.1% 15 10.2% 5 17.6% 22
22 GB -12.1% 2-10 -10.5% 21 -9.6% 3.9 27 2.5% 13 1.1% 15 18.3% 19
23 TEN -16.7% 3-9 -16.7% 24 -8.3% 4.3 23 -2.0% 21 1.7% 14 19.3% 16
24 BAL -17.3% 4-8 -16.0% 23 -22.4% 4.2 24 6.2% 8 4.5% 11 18.7% 18
25 DET -19.6% 4-8 -18.0% 25 -21.3% 4.5 22 -0.9% 18 3.0% 12 34.0% 2
26 BUF -19.9% 4-8 -19.7% 26 -13.1% 4.1 25 -2.7% 23 9.4% 6 26.3% 5
27 ARI -22.2% 4-8 -20.3% 27 -12.5% 3.9 26 -8.8% 28 8.6% 8 9.8% 29
28 NO -25.1% 3-9 -24.1% 28 -22.6% 3.8 28 -3.7% 25 -1.1% 19 26.3% 4
29 STL -29.3% 5-7 -26.2% 29 -23.3% 3.5 29 -2.6% 22 -14.0% 29 11.3% 27
30 NYJ -33.9% 2-10 -32.4% 31 -40.1% 2.6 30 4.8% 12 -8.8% 27 12.2% 25
31 HOU -36.5% 1-11 -32.0% 30 -44.8% 2.5 31 9.4% 3 -21.9% 32 21.5% 9
32 SF -70.7% 2-10 -65.8% 32 -70.7% 0.9 32 5.2% 10 -2.2% 20 42.8% 1

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 06 Dec 2005

257 comments, Last at 12 Dec 2005, 9:46pm by Bencoder

Comments

1
by WhatAJoke (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:20pm

These rankings are a joke. The Colts beat the Bengals AT HOME by more than a touchdown, and you rate them as the best team? The Colts CRUSHED the Steelers, who beat the Bengals earlier in the year. This is a complete waste of time. If the FOs can't see who the best team is -- just give it up. No more tweaks to the "proprietary" system. Just shut it down for the year and try again next season.

2
by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:21pm

Somehow I thought the effects on DVOA of the Philly/Seattle game would be a more interesting topic than the Packers. Guess I'll have to wait to see the comments.

3
by sully (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:23pm

It looks a lot like a BCS poll. Number one team, with 3 losses is rated above undefeated team that has beaten them.

Why not just get opinions instead of massaging facts that don't mean much either.

4
by Drew (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:24pm

Houston has come back from historically bad to merely very bad. But San Fran seems to be running away with the worst DVOA ever record. They'd have to go on a pretty good run to even have a chance at blowing it. The real question is, can they set a "DiMaggio 56-games-hitting-streak" kind of record that will really stand the test of time?

5
by Kevin (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:28pm

Not to disagree with your lovely opinions, but if you could read you would see that the power rankings have Indy 1st, Denver 2nd, and Cincy 3rd. Maybe I assume too much.

6
by Jay (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:28pm

This really isn't making much sense??? I'm a Bengals fan, and even I can't make the case that they should be rated for the season over the Colts. What gives?

7
by Ray (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:29pm

Indy could be first, except their special teams are almost worst in the league. Those kickers and punters do count for something. I'm sure it doesn't help that Indy beat another horrible team this past week.

I'm kinda surprised by the aftermath of the MNF debacle as well. I didn't really expect the Seahawks to jump up tremendously, but I expected a much greater drop from the Eagles.

8
by Darth Goofy (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:32pm

I refuse to troll or complain as the first two posters did, and will try to understand.

These rankings are stating that CIN is better than IND, even though the facts stated earlier. Does this mean that per play, CIN performs better than IND so, even though IND has beaten JAX, CIN and PIT, they are still being penalized for having a weak schedule, or are the Colts just lucky, according to the DVOA?

9
by BkLandon (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:34pm

This reminds me of an article I read recently about Mark Cuban -- who was trying to prove how defensively tough the Mavericks were, by pointing to a spreadsheet showing how they defended the pick and roll. Numbers, formulas, averages, statistical manipulations -- just watch the games. The Bengals are a lot like the Colts circa 2002. All flash, no substance. Don't you have a field for common sense? For the season, Indy's been the best team in the league. And by a large margin.

10
by Kal (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:35pm

Well, the primary reason the Colts went down is because their special teams are still bad, and their strength of schedule compared to Cincy is much worse right this instant. In the next three weeks, expect this to change significantly. Especially if Pitt loses a lot in the next few weeks, which they may do.

11
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:36pm

Was #1 a joke... did Aaron write that in as a parody of the past couple of weeks? I predict this might get ugly with Vikings, Panthers, and Bucs fans joining in as well.

I guess having the Colts #1 in the Power Rankings doesn't help things either, or the fact they probably have the biggest unadjusted total VOA this late in the season.

Somehow I just don't feel like Washington is a top 10 team when I watch them, although in the past 2 weeks they haven't been as bad with turnovers.

12
by Drew (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:36pm

Re 1, 3

The Colts are still #1 in weighted DVOA, the more important number which rates how teams are currently playing. That is mentioned above, but as post 5 rightly points out, expecting people to actually read something before criticizing it is asking a lot.

Re 6

It's strength of schedule. The non-adjusted number has the Colts way above everybody.

13
by JAT (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:37pm

Re #7
The major problem is coverage on kick-offs, they're fine on punts. Some weeks they cover very well, but they have had a few where they were cover-your-eyes awful.

14
by pawnking (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:39pm

Okay, my question is this: When do you take the next step with FO Radio?

14
by Catfish (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:39pm

Yeah, if Indy had even average special teams, they would be at 45.5% and easy first place.

Why is it that the trolls seem to be the first to find these rankings?

16
by rk (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:40pm

Are all of the nay-sayers looking beyond the four boxes in the upper left corner of the first table? If you look at weighted DVOA, Indy is in 1st. They also lead the league in estimated wins. If there is a question about Indy playing better than everyone for the entire season, look at their past schedule rank: 32 as in easiest schedule in the entire league so far. There is a lot of info in these tables that says much more than "Indy's not the best."

17
by TH (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:41pm

Wow, that was fast for the complaints...

Look at the unadj VOA, it has the Colts way ahead of Cin and everyone else for that matter.

The reason Cin moves ahead in the season total is they have played an average schedule while the Colts have played the easiest schedule in the league.

If you want rankings based on who beat who(whom?) go to beat paths. If you want rankings based on won-less records check the standings or ESPN power rankings.

18
by Jake (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:44pm

Re the Colts having the 31st ranked special teams unit. If you have the worst punt team in the league, but they only see the field once or maybe twice per game, is that accounted for? If your offense scores on nearly every possession, is there any reason to give the punt team much influence in the overall calculation? Of course, your kick-off team will see action all that more often.

19
by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:44pm

#17,

You got it a little wrong. Cincinatti has a higher total DVOA, but a lower Weighted DVOA. The table isn't sorted by Weighted DVOA, though.

20
by Dman (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:51pm

DVOA is a tool that helps you quantify a team's performance more intricately than straight up points or wins/losses. It is not a replacement for personal judgement, merely a tool to give you some perspective. Having said that it is kind of ridiculous to say "team x beat team y and so these rankings are worthless". Nobody is saying that the bengals are better than the colts, merely that on a play by play basis they are more consistent when you factor in special teams. Every week this happens and folks, the answer is the same every week.

21
by sean (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:52pm

Funny. I wonder what the rankings would look like if DEN and SD and OAK had the schedule that CIN and IND had this year.

22
by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:59pm

Cincy and Indy have been sort of trading back and forth through the top 3 spots
for most of the year. Even now, they're rated as nearly equal. They played each other, yes - someone had to lose, and its not like the Colts blew the Bengals out of the water.

It's saying Cincy and Indy are nearly equal teams in terms of efficiency and that Cincy is marginally better - and you'll see its rating Indy as having both the better offense AND defense - It's Indy's abysmal special teams rankings that are hurting them.

Also, this is just me trying to understand it but why do people the second they see stats go "Omfg BCS?" Y'know, this might surprise a lot of people, but statistics with intent to predict have been around a lot longer then the BCS. Anytime people place a bet with a point spread involved why don't they say "omfg BCS statistics thats BS!" The people who use those stats to make point spreads must know something - these casinos aren't going out of business.

Yes, we all know the BCS is crap, no sane person has ever suggested that its even a remotely good idea to determine which teams get to compete for the national championship based on formulas. DVOA isn't being used to say "Well, Bengals and Giants are the best teams in their conferences. Only they should have a shot to compete!" It's just a ranking system. and its currently saying that at this moment "The Bengals are a marginally better team then the Colts. The Colts have a better O and a better D but a Special Teams ranking thats dragging them down".

If you don't like it, put forth suggestions to fix it or say what you feel is wrong with it. Statements like "all flash, no substance" not only don't make sense (How much substance is there in Peter King's effort to rate 15 teams in order? How much substance is it on ESPN's "fab five' where they just pick teams? You think these people actually watch every game?) but if you feel the substance is lacking, suggest ways to improve it.

People always keep saying "You can't rate things because of heart, swagger, intensity, its just a bunch of numbers". Football is measured in numbers. People don't say that "Brett Favre had a lot of swagger" when he throws 4 picks. They don't say "The Defense has swagger" when it lets up 40 points. Things like heart, swagger, intangibles - they ARE documentable because when teams HAVE them, their stats improve. If Tom Brady "just makes plays" then his statistics will show that he's played well. If a Defense has swagger, you'll be able to witness the result of said "swagger" by seeing that they let up very few points, yards, creating turnovers, etc.

23
by Kal (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:59pm

Another interesting note - Indy is one of the least variant teams from week to week in terms of their performance so far. I would have expected something different, given the nature of their wins, but apparently not. Only Oakland is less variant in their games.

24
by James, London (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 8:08pm

Aaron, what gives with FOX editing the commentary? Are they unhappy with it, are the trying to simplify it for the "mass readership", and are you planning to make the unedited version available on FO?

25
by Al (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 8:16pm

I think by "editing the commentary" he means reviewing it for typos and such and formatting it properly. And to take out the endless Bill Maas jokes.

26
by Catfish (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 8:17pm

re: 24

I think it's more of the spelling and grammar type of editing. Not, "our readers are too dumb to understand this" type of editing.

27
by Cinnamon Rolls (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 8:19pm

#24, I took "editing the commentary" to mean he wanted to post up the tables before FOX got done editing for typos etc... (which I assume they do every article).

28
by Richard (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 8:26pm

Thanks for all the work, Aaron. Hope you things settle down as the season progresses.

The trolls do seem to be getting worse. We all have opinions about DVOA, but the level of discourse from the discenting is reaching all-time lows for this board. It's too bad because the quality of the work is as good and as interestng (if not more, on both accounts) than ever.

29
by Jonny Eggenberger (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 8:29pm

I just had a question: The Minnesota Vikings have won 5 in a row, and are 7-5 overall and show no apparent signs of slowing down. Are u kidding me with having the Redskins (6-6) and the Raiders, that's right, Raiders (4-8) ahead of them? Wow! The Raiders are horrible. How do you even come up with this?

30
by Fnor (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 8:30pm

#18: DVOA calculates value by play, so if a team kicks off well and punts poorly but rarely punts, there's going to be more high-value plays than low-value ones and they'll end up on the high side.

31
by pawnking (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 8:30pm

Aaron, et. all.

When are you guys going to get your own radio show?

32
by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 8:36pm

#29,

How do you even come up with this?

If you check the top of the article, you'll see this paragraph:

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 13 weeks of 2005, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team’s performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)

If you click on the link under "here", I believe you'll get a breakdown of DVOA.

Alternatively you can click on my name below and get the same link.

33
by pawnking (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 8:39pm

#29, as part of your answer, look at who the Vikings have beaten in the past 5 games...
Sun, Nov 6 Detroit - Detroit is a very bad football team
10 Sun, Nov 13 at NY Giants - the game that knocked me out of my suicide pool, where the Viks had a punt, kickoff, AND an INT returned for a TD and STILL barely managed to win. In other words, a system like DVOA which measures not just the final score but the overall play should show the Giants outplaying the Viks that game.
11 Mon, Nov 21 at Green Bay - see comments under Detroit.
12 Sun, Nov 27 Cleveland - ditto
13 Sun, Dec 4 at Detroit - ummm, ditto, I suppose.

So, you have one, repeat, ONE quality win in a freaky game, and the rest are wins against teams who don't crack the top 20 in any scale.

Looking ahead, the Viks are playing St Louis at home (probably a win), Pittsburgh at home (possibly a win, but maybe not), Baltimore on the road (another bad team), and then Chicago at home (almost certainly a loss, but with Chicago's offense, you always have a chance).

That will get you to 10-6 and likely a wild card appearance. Enjoy the ride and don't complain about ratings you don't agree with or understand.

34
by Richard (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 8:39pm

re: 29

The Vikings haven't exactly beat high quality teams. Yes, they beat the Giants, but they were thoroughly outplayed in the process. They aren't winning games convnicingly, and even watching their games, there seem to be relatively few plays they're involved in that would illicit positive DVOA results for them.

Is it really that hard to imagine why they aren't climbing higher?

The Raiders have played a very tough schedule and have a couple of high quality wins (at Washington, vs. Dallas). Again, it is that difficult to imagine why they are ranked as they are?

To paraphrase you, How can you even come up with your post?

35
by admin :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 8:41pm

Yeah, back at the computer. Sorry about forgetting to stick on the generic troll comment, it is above. When I said FOX is editing the commentary, I meant "HTML-izing" more than "editing," actually I wish they would edit my grammar a little more than they do.

I think we had the discussion a few weeks ago about whether people wanted the rankings on FO in order of regular or weighted DVOA and most readers felt that since it ends up ranked by regular DVOA at the end of the season, it should be ranked by regular DVOA each week as well, and people would be able to read the damn table and tell the difference between regular and weighted DVOA.

I fully admit that this season's total lack of balance between the eight divisions is playing havoc with the idea of adjusting based on schedule strength -- didn't I say a few weeks ago that at one point eight teams had a larger schedule adjustment than any team from 1998-2004? The Indy special teams thing is an interesting discussion, though, I'll try to write something up on that.

Oh, and anyone who wants me to do a radio show is welcome to e-mail me. It is what I used to do for a living, after all, so I know my way around a studio.

36
by keith (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 8:44pm

#29 Who have the Vikings beaten?

Lions, Browns, Giants, Packers, Lions.

So basically it looks like this:
Terrible, Really Bad, Flukey win vs a pretty good team (it was flukey as it fetured 3 different returns for TD's- never happened before) Terrible, and Terrible.

Yeah! Vikings for Super Bowl XL.

37
by keith (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 8:46pm

Oh, wow. Maybe I shouldn't have been talking on AIM while typing my comment.

38
by MAW (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 8:48pm

Is it possible to "rescore" old individual performances as the season goes on? For example, I think Alex Smith's performance against Indy earlier in the season was considered the worst performance, ever. Does his weekly DVOA get adjusted as the season goes on and the system gets "smarter" about opponents, or is each game's performance treated by DVOA as occuring in a vacuum?

39
by admin :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 8:56pm

One more thing, Indy's consistency is fairly historic, and I think that tonight I'll put together one of those week-to-week graphs for the Colts and Bengals and stick it up above so people can see just how consistent the Colts have been, and just how much of the Bengals' value for the entire season is wrapped up in their huge wins over Minnesota and Chicago in Weeks 2 and 3. In other words, Colts fans should chill because as far as I know, the AFC Championship game is not played after Week 3, it's played after Week 19.

40
by James, London (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 8:59pm

25, 26, etc: Good. This is what happens when you jump to conclusions. I assumed that if it was worth mentioning that FOX were editing the rankings, they would be making significant changes to it. I'm glad I'm wrong.

Oh, and re #9, two things:

1: At the beginning of each commentary on FOX you can find this:

"Remember, of course, that any statistical formula is not a replacement for your own judgment, just a tool to use in analyzing performance."

So yes, there is a common sense field. You just have to fill it in yourself.

2: If you don't like statistical analysis, you're gonna' have problems here.

41
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 9:10pm

I think the strength of schedule discussion will shed a lot of light onto some of the issues here...

Washington Redskins are getting a 17.6 % bump on their DVOA! That is crazy!

42
by emcee fleshy (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 9:11pm

math very scary.
Grog hate math!

43
by emcee fleshy (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 9:14pm

“Remember, of course, that any statistical formula is not a replacement for your own judgment, just a tool to use in analyzing performance.�

What a load of Crap! I don't need FO!
I'm a good enough tool for analyzing performance all by myself!

44
by Nate (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 9:23pm

Re: 11 - Matthew Furtek:
I could be wrong, but I don't remember seeing the bold portion of the article (on incoherent b!tching) there when this was posted. I think Aaron added it after seeing the first few posts.

45
by thad (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 9:27pm

ok just to balence this out...
After 12 games the Texans are scoring 15.25 points per game.
Against the Colts in two games they have averaged 18.5 points per game.
This is the Texans for god sake. If the Colts are really all that, why are they puling the texans scoring average up and not stomping it into the ground?

46
by Paytonrules (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 9:28pm

I'm kinda surprised by Chicago still being in first place for defense. They were pretty average (admittedly for the first time in weeks) last week.

47
by johonny (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 9:29pm

There are still 8 AFC teams ranked higher than the best AFC east team. Once again leading me to wonder why exactly division winners "HAVE" to win a playoff spot.

48
by Jeremy Billones (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 9:37pm

Re: 45

Two of those TDs were a kickoff return, and a muffed punt on the 34 YL.

In other words, Indy's 32nd rank STs :)

49
by Beige Tangerine (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 9:39pm

RE: 41 and the Redskins

I was curious, so I looked up all the Redskins' opponents' full-season DVOA in the table above. The Redskins are themselves #9. That leaves fifteen other teams in the top half of the league. Washington has played ten of these teams -- the ones ranked 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11, 12, 14, 15, and 16. That's ten of twelve games against above-average teams, and that's not even primarily due to the tough NFC East, as the Redskins still have to see Dallas, New York, and Philadelphia again this year. I wonder if, as the Colts had seen the easiest schedule in DVOA's history, the Redskins have seen the hardest. Perhaps not, but it's got to be close.

50
by David Brude (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 9:39pm

How does DVOA treat the defnsive and offensive adjustments for games like Seattle vs Philly? Philly was a completely different team at the beginning of the season. I could see how Seattle's win over Philly would have been huge at the beginning of the season but I'm wondering how much that win was worth against a very decimated Philly team. Does it still use Philly's complete season stats making them look like a better team adjustment wise than they really were in this game?

I guess this is sort of a roundabout way of asking if there is any way to account for the effect of injuries in season matchups. Maybe something like a "full strength" DVOA.

51
by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 9:40pm

#46,

They've been historically good, to quote Aaron, so a week of so-so-ness isn't going to change too much.

52
by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 9:51pm

#50,

That's one of the things DVOA doesn't do, re: account for injuries. Rest assured, Seattle's had injuries on both ends as well, so the adjustments maybe wouldn't be as big as you might think. Not the same as losing TO and Chunky Soup McNabb, among others, but they've lost a very talented safety, their #1 receiver, their OLB, and they lost a corner midway through the game.

Most teams lose a lot of players over the course of a season, and while it's never even for any given matchup, my gut feeling is that it does tend to even out in an aggregate sense.

I think the real challenge is that accounting for injuries becomes something of a slippery slope. If you think DVOA is misunderstood now, wait until Tom Brady and Peyton Manning go down in the same season, and the adjustments for the loss of Peyton Manning are more than the adjustments for the loss of Brady. I'm getting a headache just thinking about it.

53
by Purds (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 9:55pm

Aaron:

I am almost ready to submit to this suggestion: you keep this thread open for the mindless nomads who hit-and-run with innane comments, and you have a second thread only accessible if you can first pass a test asking basic questions about the FO numbers system. Once through to that thread, those who know the value and limitations of DVOA and the like can talk about these rankings without wading through the numbskulls.

— Purds

54
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 9:59pm

The Vikings are ranked just about where I would have guessed, even if I hadn't been tracking this table throughout the season. People also tend to overlook the variance number, which is very important to understanding relative rankings.

On the other hand, I would dispute the notion that a team (Giants) which gives up kickoff, punt, and interception returns for touchdowns in a single game, while only scoring two offensive touchdowns, has outplayed anyone. Special team plays count just as much as 60 yard passes and runs off tackle. The Giants didn't outplay anybody that day, which isn't the same as saying the Vikings played well..

55
by robbbbbb (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:00pm

How is variance calculated? High per-game-VOA minus low-per-game VOA divided by average VOA? Same method, DVOA instead?

What I'm driving at here is that every measurement system has an uncertainty involved. DVOA is no different. I haven't played with it enough to know for sure how big the DVOA uncertainty is, but I suspect that 40.0% and 41.0% are statistically indistinguishable.

What I'm wondering is: How big a delta do you need before you say, "Hey, team A really is better than team B?" Can we say that the Colts (40.0%) are better than the Broncos (32.9%)? Is 7% a big enough gap? What about the Seahawks at 24.9%? Can we distinguish the Colts from the Seahawks? How about Colts-Broncos?

Some measurement systems are more precise than others. Knowing how big a gap has to be before you can call it "significant" is a big deal. In some systems (with a ruler), we arrive at that significance intuitively. Other times, we have to look at a lot of data to figure it out.

56
by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:01pm

Aaron:

The "VOA Explained" link at the top of the page (the one that I felt so clever referring to :() is not linking to anything. Just thought I'd pass that one on.

57
by Beige Tangerine (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:04pm

RE: 46 and Chicago

I didn't see the game (or even more than a couple of highlights later that night), but I'd gotten the impression that the Bears' defense was its usual self on Sunday. They held Favre under 5 yards per attempt (he reached 277 yards only because of 58 attempts), picking him off twice (coming out to -7.4 PAR, Aaron said), and it doesn't look like Gado ran wild or anything. The Bears' defensive DVOA is -34.3% this week after being -34.5% last week, so it would seem that the game was pretty much normal for them.

But as I said, I didn't actually see the game. I know I heard something about Favre hurting his hand; was it just that the injury was more responsible for his bad game than the Bears' defense was? Is there anyone else who saw the game who would care to comment?

58
by cowpoke (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:07pm

DVOA is a joke. I have lost thousands of dollars this year based on these ridiculous stats. Why would anyone...??#?#%
Just kid din, this is a great site. I agree with those who say DVOA is only a tool.
Actually, I rely more on personal comments and polls taken of the masses on their choices/picks. This I feel is as good or better than any human designed number crunching system. People who actually watch the games and then give their opinion based on visuals that include anomalies such as fluke plays, weather, and shoestring catches are the hammer in a sportsman tool bag. Other tools such as DVOA are tools to use but not the universal hammer.

59
by doktarr (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:08pm

Well, DVOA does not adjust for injuries, no.

But Aaron, when you do opponent adjustments, do you use the weighted DVOA for the opponent in the week they played each other? So, for example, say you're calculating week 13 DVOA, and you're adjusting the DVOA for team A's win over team B in week 8. It seems to me that the best approach would not be to use team B's DVOA, nor team B's week 8 DVOA. Nor even the weighted DVOA published in the week 8 rankings.

No, the best approach would probably be to calculate a new weighted DVOA for team B in week 8, that weights future games the same as past games. So full weight to their game in week 8, .95 weight to the week 7 and week 9 games, and so on. The use THAT weighted DVOA for team B to figure out team A's DVOA for their week 8 game against team B.

This approach would mean that you have to calculate an updated DVOA for every team for every week each time you update the rankings, so it would be time consuming for sure. I'm not sure how complicated your opponent adjustment algorithms are, but there are mathematical packages designed to tackle this sort of problem.

60
by Grog (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:09pm

RE 42,

I'd appreciate it if you didn't mock me. Math once ate my dog.

61
by asg (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:14pm

By the way, I don't know if anyone noticed, but DVOA was 16-0 this week in picking winners (when you subtract the earlier-recommended 17% from the road team).

62
by Comrade Jason (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:15pm

Was anyone else surprised that Seattle stayed at #5 in offense? They didn't even have 200 yards and essentially stopped trying in the second half: they only threw 3 times in the entire second half, and seemed happy to just to run it into the line three times and punt. Is that balanced out by the amount of points they scored, or is it just simply not enough to make a significant impact on an entire season's worth of data? Just hoping someone can enlighten me. Thanks.

63
by DavidH (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:18pm

doktarr, that is brilliant

64
by DavidH (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:19pm

asg -

my bank account noticed :)

65
by Beige Tangerine (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:23pm

RE: 62

DVOA adjusts based on situation, so I don't think that Seattle's "poor" performance in the second half will hurt them. That is, DVOA compares Seattle's drives when they're up by six touchdowns to drives by other teams that have similar leads. Since a typical drive in that situation is likely a three-and-out to grind the clock, I'd imagine that they'd have to do something pretty bad (large losses or a turnover) to do significantly worse than league average in that situation.

66
by asg (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:26pm

DavidH -- Mine didn't, unfortunately, because 3 other entries in my pool (about 130 total entries) also went 16-0, and the tiebreaker, our final combined score prediction was 34. Someone picked 45. Alas.

67
by asg (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:27pm

OK, it's 8:30. I want my extended commentary goodness! MAYPO!

68
by gripweed (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:29pm

re;22
This post is a must read for those new to this site or those that time after time can't seem to grasp the concept and content of what DVOA has to offer. Well said, and well done.

69
by WalterJonesMVP (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:32pm

Re # 59:

I have a similar (or perhaps the same)question: does FO go back and retroactively adjust weekly DVOA based on what we know now about the 2005 season? E.g., we know now the Bears have an incredible defense, so the DVOA for the Bengals' week 4 win should increases from the Bengals' calculated DVOA in week 4. Another example: the collapse of the NE secondary means that we should retroactively discount the DVOA of teams that passed against them i the early weeks of the season.

It seems to me that this shouldn't be too difficult to calculate. Or is DVOA already "dynamic" in this sense?

70
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:33pm

cowpoke, actually watching as many games as possible is invaluable, of course. The reason I get so amused by many power rankings is that they are produced by people who haven't watched all that many games. I mean, how many games does Peter King actually closely watch? Probably no more than the typical hard-core fan; two or three games a week, and perhaps four every once in a while. That isn't enough to really grasp the dynamics of 32 NFL teams. DVOA is an excellent tool for those of us who can't watch ten to twelve games a week, and also a good tool for those who can, and wish to better grasp what they have watched.

The old-style power ranker I like is Doctor Z, because I sense he watches a ton of games, and even charts them to get a better feel for what is happening.

71
by Reinhard (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:38pm

59: I want to know too!

Colts.. have their special teams really been so bad? It is interesting that the Colts and Bengals come out so close. And, Indy is good enough that they are 12-0 right now, but with a different schedule they might well be 10-2. The evidence? the similarily ranked bengals...

72
by Comrade Jason (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:42pm

#65--thanks!

73
by Mike (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:42pm

Most people should know that this is just a statistical analysis/formula, not a tired and true method of predicting who will win a game. Anybody who has ever played football should know that certain teams match up better against some teams and not as well as others. The reference "Any Given Sunday" refers that on any day, any team is capable of beating anyone else. Look at the Seattle-San Francisco game. On paper Seattle is clearly the better team, but they barely escaped with a narrow win. It is rare, but on occasion even a terrible team can wind up with a shot to win a game if there preferred scheme takes advantage of another teams weakness or even takes their advantage away. If San Fran. has the best defense in the league in stopping the run off left tackle, then they can beat Seattle because that is Shaun Alexander's favorite path to the end zone.

74
by Ted (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:47pm

As of yet the power rankings comments are not up but when they are I hope the Eagles comments mentions McMahon's and Detmer's DPAR. I think that if you add their numbers together you will get the worst quarterbacked game of the DVOA era.

75
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:48pm

Yeah asg, DVOA has been very good the past few weeks. This week it was 140$ good (I go against it sometimes and this week the one game I went against it I lost) :)

I really think it is going to soon be time to have these threads moderated. Ignorant posts should just be flag by moderators and replaced with a standard
"This is how DVOA works and these are the posting rules" message. The posting rules should require a civil tone and a general familiarity with the system (or at least a desire to understand it).

76
by asg (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:56pm

I'm still kicking myself for not going with my instinct and picking every home team in week one, which would have been 12-4 and paid me off in that pool (best pick set was 11 correct). I'll definitely do that next year.

77
by Fnor (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:58pm

Wait, Becephalus, you didn't just suggest that we replace all the ignorant posts with explanations? I don't know if I could stand reading how DVOA works as 50% of the thread content....

Moderation, sure. You could convert the whole thing to an IRC channel, too, if you liked, but even then you'd still have problems. After all, it is the internet.

78
by putnamp (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 11:02pm

I'd idle in an FO IRC channel.

79
by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 11:02pm

I think we're going to have to wind up having to go to an account system where you need an account to post. Even a relatively simple one will deter a lot of people. Or maybe full out forums though I do really like the blog format.

80
by Catfish (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 11:04pm

Re: 59

I actually had the same thought, and I think Aaron probably has too. Here's how I think the weights should work:
For a game in week x,
performance in weeks (x +/- 1) - 1.00
performance in weeks (x +/- 2) - .98
performance in weeks (x +/- 3) - .95
performance in weeks (x +/- 4) - .92
performance in weeks (x +/- 5) - .88
performance in weeks (x +/- 6) - .83
performance in weeks (x +/- 7) - .75
performance in weeks (x +/- 8) - .65
performance in weeks (x +/- 9) - .50
etc.
Of course, Aaron would have to fiddle with the weights to maximize correlation, but the basic idea is there.

81
by calig23 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 11:15pm

And to take out the endless Bill Maas jokes.

Are those worse than Kevin Maas jokes?

82
by oneofthem (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 11:32pm

WOW trolls do these words mean anything to you?

"ESTIM. WINS"
IND 10.6

As for the system itself, of course it cannot be totally accurate because it treats the team as a collective whole rather than a bunch of individuals. In goes synergy and change of approach and out comes total statistical nightmare.

83
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 11:33pm

No Fnor-

I am saying replace the stupid comments with the exact same 2 or 3 sentance response. Just a canned line with some links.

84
by stan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 11:36pm

#22,

Chris,

not interested in an argument, but I'm sane and I think the BCS is a helluva lot better than letting the writers and coaches vote to determine who plays in the two team playoff. The voters have a long track record of incompetence and bias (bordering on corruption).

I once coached on the staff of a major college power and helped the SID fill out the coaches ballot because the SID admitted he didn't have a clue. If I hadn't helped, he'd have just guessed. The head coach was too busy to screw around with stupid crap like the poll.

85
by admin :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 11:43pm

Commentary is now up here:
http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/5144614

I'm about to push the unit pages and top five boxes. "Old style" DVOA numbers are also now added to the table for comparison purposes. VOA Explained link fixed (thanks for the tip). Individual stats tomorrow along with perhaps some responses to other comments here. I also apologize for the continued problem with occasional server slowness. We thought our re-coding would solve that, but apparently there's more work to do.

86
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 11:55pm

That Tab Perry comment was priceless. Had me in stiches.

Did anyone else notice Taylor had stopped running for a few steps because he thought those 4 PIT guys betwen him and Perry would force Perry out of bounds? Taylor made this great OH !%@#^ face and turned it on just as Perry was drawing even with him (and past those 4 guys).

87
by LTA (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:02am

I seem to remember it being said somewhere that it doesn't improve DVOA's correlation with success if you throw out a teams best and worst games. Now I am wondering why this is the case. It just seems to me that there is no way that 1/12th of a team's schedule should be able to increase their ranking like what happened to Seattle's Defensive Ranking (went from 22nd to 13th).

88
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:04am

and the 1984 and carbon rod refences were even better.

DOWN WITH EASTASIA!!!!!!!!!!

89
by Fnor (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:08am

LTA: Best and worst games have a tendency to cancel each other out, or come close to.

#78: I suppose I'd idle in an FO channel, too. I wouldn't bother setting one up on my server if there was no interest, though, and I doubt there is.

90
by Drew (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:21am

Aren't we at war with Eurasia? I thought Eastasia was our ally.

91
by kleph (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:31am

hey aaron, you owe me a new keyboard after i spit up my root beer all over my keyboard upon reading the 1984 reference. good one.

92
by Catfish (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:31am

Re: 90

Don't say such things, the Thought Police will get you.

93
by Chris Owen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:32am

carbon rod: man of the year

94
by Chris Owen (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:44am

The saga of the fan with the “Fire Millen� sign and Monday’s blowout remind me of one of the best signs I’ve seen at a football game. Hopefully I’ve got the supporting details correct. Seattle blew out Philly 38-0 in Philly to start the 1998 season. At the time, Philly’s offensive coordinator was Dana Bible, who was fresh off coordinating the 8th-best offense in the Pac-10. A prescient Philly fan brought this sign to the stadium that day: “We’ve got a Bible, but we haven’t got a prayer.�

95
by Ron Stevens (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:46am

I am releaved to learn that the
Seahawks didn't get a big DVOA move,after
they pummeled the Eagles.

Seattle has played some very tepid
performances,coupled with opponents
botches,to have their current 10-2-0
record.
On a side note:
One thing for sure,whether Alexander
runs succesfully or not from here on out;he will be fed touchdowns.

96
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:54am

84

You won't get an argument. I think both ways are bad compared to a playoff system. An improvement over a bad system doesn't necessarily make it a good system, y'know?

97
by JonL (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 1:09am

I got all three questions right!

Inanimate carbon rod!

98
by Fnor (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 1:24am

I don't get where the weird formatting comes for some of these posts. For a minute I thought we were going back to haiku format.

Ben's bad decisions
Crushing our bright playoff hopes
As black autumn leaves

99
by Daniel (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 1:26am

I have a question.

How much can ST really matter?

I mean if Houston, SF, NO, Buffalo and Detroit are in the top 10 in terms of rank, do you not have to ask just how big a difference a good ST can really do for a team?

100
by JonL (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 1:33am

Sorry, I got a bit excited. I do have on minor quibble...you say that it's unfortunate that this is the year Gibbs put it all together. I submit that this is partially incorrect.

101
by JonL (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 1:35am

Just to clarify,
I don't think Gibbs has fully
put it together.

102
by T. Diddy (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 1:38am

#99: Well, looking at their overall ranks, I'd say the answer is not too much. (For an alternative opinion, see Norwood, Scott.)

103
by fish shure (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 1:40am

If you want to get rid of the knee-jerk trolls, I think the best way to do it is move to a registration system. Then, simply have a 24 hour waiting period before you're allowed to post for the first time. Most of those folks don't have enough patience for that.

104
by Fnor (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 1:46am

#103: I really, really hate that. I actually stopped going to a few sites that used scoop-like systems because they turned that on. Trolls are blocked, yes, but so are visitors with good things to say, and most people don't think websites are enough to hold on to that thought a whole day.

105
by Jon Fuge everybody (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 2:24am

How does a guy who clearly isn't a regular get the first post on the most important weekly article? For shame FO readers, for shame.

Registration really stinks man. Intelligent people generally don't have time for that type of thing unless it's a site they regularly visit. For instance Guitar-World.com does a registration system and since you'd think most musicians are intelligent, the registered users would also be intelligent. But in fact the message boards of that web site are enough to make you long for a 2nd grade class, raise your hands all at once and tell a story that has nothing to do with the subject at hand type of format. Wow what a runon, but it makes sense. Registration will reduce the number of comments, but probably won't affect the quality of them. The best way to keep morons out other than to break your contract with Foxsports is to just keep the articles as anti-math-o-phobic as possible. Keep up the good work. Finally, I'm pretty drunk so I appologize for any incoherent statements I have made.

106
by Tim Gerheim :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 2:33am

I think there are more posts in this thread to this point complaining about trolls and suggesting remedies than there are actually posts by trolls. One part relaxation plus two parts that little wheel on your mouse should clear that right up.

107
by Walt Pohl (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 2:33am

I think the trolls are tolerable, as long as they are restricted to the DVOA thread (which I think they usually are).

108
by Jon Fuge everybody (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 2:36am

I just want to say that while Cincy is considered ever so slightly better than Indy, Indy has more estimated wins! How freakin cool is that!? I bet there isn't another ranking system in the world willing to make a statement like that. When Aaron shows up on espn there is actualy intelligent football analysis on possibly the most PC sports network conceivable. His comment on Kyle Orton and Eli being in completely different categories because Orton is consistently terrible really brought about some laughs. The absolute truth can be funny sometimes. I also thought the point that the real meaning of Monday night's game was that Seattle is going to rock Chicago's world was quite an obscure yet logical conclusion. Aaron knows what he's talking about and I hope guys like him replace pretty much everyone who works for ESPN. I can't even imagine how overjoyed I'd be if the Sunday night crew was replaced by guys like Aaron who would actually research the matchup and teams before the game.

109
by Dr. Evil (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 2:49am

Re 95

If "tepid" means the 2nd best record in the NFL than I'll gladly take it.

110
by bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 2:52am

I need help that only FOers can provide:
I know the inanimate carbon rod reference, and I know it's funny, just... can't... place... it....

I for one am eager to put the weight of special teams to test with the Colts taking aim at 19-0.

111
by Jason-H (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 2:55am

RE: 95 - Ron Stevens
"Seattle has played some very tepid
performances,coupled with opponents
botches,to have their current 10-2-0
record."

As opposed to every other team, who have yet to give a tepid performance or capitalize on an opponent's mistake? Most other teams didn't seem to turn their tepid performances and opponent mistakes into the most YPG in the league, though, and only 1 has been able to turn it into a better record.

"On a side note:
One thing for sure,whether Alexander
runs succesfully or not from here on out;he will be fed touchdowns."

Yeah, Seahawks will probably start giving him the ball when they are close to the endzone...

112
by T. Diddy (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 2:56am

#110: It's the Simpsons episode where Homer goes into space. At the beginning of the episode, the inanimate carbon rod is named Employee of the Month over Homer (the last worker at the plant not to win it). Later, after Homer inadvertently saves the Space Shuttle by holding a door shut with a similar rod, the inanimate carbon rod gets all the credit, including a ticker-tape parade and a Time cover headlined, "In Rod We Trust."

And that's without looking anything up. I really do need a life, don't I?

113
by JonL (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 3:02am

RE: #110, 112

There's also a later episode, which I believe was written by Dana Gould (a fantastic comedy mind), in which Homer is shown a nuclear plant organization chart. He is the lowest ranked employee, just below the inanimate carbon rod.

114
by Thok (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 3:06am

So, the real question about Green Bay is whether they are "unlucky" in that there record doesn't represent their point differential, or whether they are "lucky" in that they've scored more/given up less points than teams with a comparable skill/DVOA. Are the Packers a particular good red zone team on offense or defense?

115
by bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 3:35am

Sorry about my last abbreviated post, I was interrupted by an infant who better learn to sleep through the night or he's grounded for the next 17 years.

Regarding ST and the Colts, their FG kicking and punting are actually good; it's coverage and KO/field position that bites. My suspicion is that the Colts are "really" a bit better than the DVOA system makes them out to be because the ST weighting is a little heavy. The total range of average KO field position is pretty small, less than 10 yards betwen the best and last. So giving, say, 5 extra yards in FP to every team when you kick off (when compared to the average) is not a huge deal if your D has high TOs (which the Colts do) and performs reasonably well, which they have as well. And if your O can more or less score at will, and combined ST/D flubs sort of disappear over the course of a game and season. They rarely punt, and Hunter Smith is quite good as a punter, even if coverage ain't super. The two "punt muffs" on the receiving end were not really muffs, but the opponents' punter kicking the ball about 25 yards, so short that Colt blockers got hit in the head on one play and leg on the other by the balls without realizing it. i.e. MAJOR flukes. Plus Troy Walters has been fair catching a lot of punts this year, presumably to better control the ball and take fewer risks. So their return numbers are anemic. And Rhodes's KO returns are below average, when he holds on to the ball (I think he had two actual muffs in one early game). Again, when your team leads the league in offensive and combined drive stats, this is not as much a drawback as it might be for a team ranked 10 spots lower in offensive DVOA, or drive stats. The Colts can overcome the relatively minor drawbacks presented by their ST, whereas most other teams cannot.

So, as the Colts take aim at 19-0, we'll see if ST really sinks their ship. It would be hard to prove if, in the playoffs for example, Cincy ends up with a 50 yard TD drive against the Colts instead of a 60 yard drive--who is to say they wouldn't have scored on the longer drive as well? That score generally gets blamed on the D, when part of it might be attributable to the ST. But I just don't see ST bringing them down. LT, maybe... but ST, no.

116
by bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 3:41am

#112 and 113: Thanks, you are Gods.
I once nearly won a big trivia competition among Pac-10 B-schools, *almost* by myself (my team helped, but, you know...). The entire Univ of WA contingent laughed out loud when they saw the category "Simpsons" because, well, I was expected to run the category. I ended up flubbing the $1,000 question about the band that played Burns's birthday party. Hint: They finished their gig by saying "You suck, Mr, Burns."

117
by T. Diddy (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 3:44am

Mr. Burns: Have the Rolling Stones killed.
Smithers: Sir, those weren't the Rolling Stones.
Mr. Burns: Do as I say!

Of course, Mr. Burns couldn't have enjoyed the soothing sounds of those minstrels the Ramones without his precious Bobo at his side.

Please, no more Simpsons trivia. I need to sleep sometime tonight...

118
by bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 3:59am

T Did,
Way to go. Of course I answered The Stones, even as I watched a friend in the front row shake his head "no." If only you were at Stanford 7 years ago we would have crushed UCLA's pathetic (but victorious) team.

Ah well, is there anything better than the simple pleasure of a monkey knife fight?

119
by Zach (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 4:12am

The best part of the ceremony to give the Worker of the Week award is how Mr. Burns starts it:

"Compadres, it is imperitive that we crush the rebels before the start of the rainy season. That's why I'm offering a shiny new donkey to whomever brings me the head of Colonel Montoya...(Smithers nudges him) and by that I mean, it's time for the Worker of the Week award!"

120
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 4:36am

#110/#112
I thought it was partial Simpsons reference, and partial Rod Gardner reference...

Although I suppose Gardner is more of a 4th WR.

121
by Brian (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 5:08am

#115
Well said, I was about to post something very similar.

A more high-level version of this could have been found by earlier posters by just looking at the ST breakdown page. If you rank each, Indy is:
FG/XP: 10th
Kick: 32nd
Kick Ret: 28th
Punt: 24th
Punt Ret: 25th

My confusing stat of the week: Only 5 teams in the whole league are above 0 in Punt Returning and none are above 5, whereas 10 teams are below -10. How is this possible?

122
by Brian (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 5:10am

Actually 8 teams are below -10. Foiled by the Count again.

123
by Brian (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 5:23am

This really didn't deserve a third post, but I realized I forgot that ST are based against a historical average, not against league average. It is interesting to see that punts overall in the league are FAR outpacing returns this year compared to the historical average.

BTW, I, for one, would love the "edit" feature a messageboard-style layout would bring.

124
by Richard (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 6:35am

Tremendous inanimate carbon rod reference. The 1984 reference wasn't half bad either. Keep up the fantastic work.

125
by Jake S. (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 6:57am

Does DVOA or the FO crew take into account what a team shuts down the offense after getting a big lead?

I know you compare a play to average, but does that include what teams usually do in a blowout situation? Just asking.

I wonder what Seattle taking out Shaun Alexander after the 1st did to last week's stats? This is an extreme example, so I ask it seperately. Or maybe DVOA handles it the same way?

126
by Jake S. (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 7:10am

Also,

I see the Bears are about average against #1 and #2 receivers. What does that say about their defense? Can teams exploit that kind of thing?

127
by ammek (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 8:24am

A word about the Packers’ luck: it seems logical that 4th-quarter performance would have an impact in close games. Has Green Bay’s DVOA been significantly worse in the latter stages of games? Last season they were 5-1 in games decided on the final drive; what has changed? Does DVOA suggest that a weak running attack is particularly detrimental when the game is close?

The Packers’ un-special teams are ranked 32nd, and that’s something of an over-estimation from what I’ve seen. This unit isn’t just bad, it’s a disgrace: DVOA ranks it 27th in punting, 28th in punt returns, 29th in field goals/PATs, 31st in kickoff returns. The team’s best starting position after a kickoff return this season has been its own 39-yard line. What’s odd is that Green Bay has the same kicker, returners and coach as last year (when the Packers ranked 13th overall); the significant new element, BJ Sander, the punter and holder, shanked a couple of 20-yard punts against Chicago, and has cost the team seven points with fluffed holds, but he’s clearly not the only one at fault - although taking him in the third round still doesn’t look like an act of genius.

The Packers’ two most obvious weaknesses in 2005 - offensive line and special teams - were strengths in past years. The unit coaches, Larry Beightol and John Bonamego, have previously done great things with modest materials. That tends to suggest the Packers’ problems have more to do with personnel than coaching - and leads me to agree with Aaron that they may not bounce back as quickly as Pythagorus would have us believe. Especially as they’re almost certain to have a top ten draft pick:

Packers drafting in the top 10 since 1985:
2nd - Tony Mandarich, 1989: bust.
4th - Brent Fullwood, 1987: pretty much a bust.
5th - Terrell Buckley, 1992: disappointment.
7th - Sterling Sharpe, 1988: excellent.
10th - Jamal Reynolds, 2001: bust.

Gulp.

128
by PFC1 (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 10:38am

I am a Colts fan. I have watched every game. I really don't care where people rank them, as long as they keep winning. There have been suggestions above that what has really hurt their ranking is their special teams performance. Looking at the numbers, it appears that there is some truth to that statement. However, it seems that there is a disconnect between their actual performance on the field, and how special teams performance is measured under this formula. I should set forth some of my observations regarding the special teams on field performance:

1) The Colts rarely punt. They have fewer punts this year than TDs. Of their 35 punts, a whopping 15 landed inside the opponents 20. Only one other punter has a higher percentage inside the twenty. (Berger NOR) Only 3 have gone in for touchbacks. According to Bill Polian, having very few touchbacks as a punter is important to the Colts, and is something that they track closely. Hunter the Punter is executing exactly as he is being asked to.

2) They don't kick that many field goals because they score touchdowns instead. They are 15 for 16 on field goals. The only miss is from 40-49 yards. When the Colts do kick, they only do so after long drives that get them deep into the opposition territory. Half of their attempts are from 20-29 yard. These are gimme's and they are 8 for 8 at this distance. They only have 5 attempts from 40 yards or longer. Thus, there is no bonus for difficulty of attempts.

3) Because they kick off a lot, due to the fact that they score a lot, the total yards yielded on kick offs is fairly large. Granted, their opponents often start at the 30, or even farther. It is also true that some have made a few nice runs back. But no points have been scored.

I am not saying that they should be ranked first in special teams. But it seems that there may well be some things that are anomolous about the Colts special teams performance that are not being taken into account by these numbers. As a results, the weight given to the Colts special teams deficiencies may be too much in light of what is actually happening in games.

129
by Brian (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 11:04am

#128
Your points 1 and 2 are the Colts' strengths and are reflected with positive ratings in those areas.

If you've watched all the games, you have to admit that their kickoff returns and punt returns have been pretty sad. You'd also have to admit their kickoff coverage is well below average. Not as bad as last year (no TDs yet), but since they do kick off a lot that's a lot of smaller negatives to add up.

The only thing that I might question numbers-wise is punting. Since this year has been very favorable to the punting team in general (compared to 2002 or whatever) and the Colts punt little, but return punts a lot, their score would likely be noticeably higher if based on this year's average. I haven't been around long enough to have participated in the discussions about ST ratings so I'll leave it at that!

130
by sully (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 11:21am

lol. I am a troll! Just what I always wanted to be. My aspirations to achieve great heights is realized.

And, I cannot read. Damn good thing I know how to write (albeit poorly). If anyone goes back through last year's posts they will discover I found this site long ago. I just tend to lurk. And, given the incredible coverage on FOX it is easy to pick up the basic information there.

I guess my point in my very early on (troll-like?) post was that the approach taken here has seemingly gained recognition in the FOOTBALL INSIDERS world. (i liked it better when it was still a FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS thing). One would hope that when something is obviously becoming the "gold standard" that it would more accurately reflect reality. The weighted average seems to improve the accuracy. But, one can hope (since one is not statistically oriented) that the gurus could figure out a way to get data to mean something without some clever massages.

Or, that the indicators in the raw data could help them throw out the meaningless categories when judging teams.

Yes, special teams are important. After all the Colts carry two kickers

(ever wonder why the Colts are tryig so hard to protect The "stupid kickers" leg. what do they know that they are not telling everybody. is there really a problem other than distance? because they are sure not getting distance from the kick-off guy. And, the "stupid kicker" seems to still be nursing the leg that was injured last year).

To base the ranking (weighted or not) on what is obviously such an insignificant portion of the colts game is at best interesting. Maybe with more punts taken over the course of the year the coverage team would get better. To argue that aspect of the game as a reason why the Bengals are better is simply ludicrous.

Two big blow-outs at the beginning of the season. Should that really be having such a profound impact on a teams rating this late in the year? And if it does, is the statistical model developed in need of some serious rethinking? Sounds as misguided as including last years results with this years, early on, to determine the early rankings.
|
Yep, am a Colts fan. Love the Bengals for what they have accomplished this season.

At least we are not discussing Brady v. Manning.

Maybe some people ought to lighten up. If Aaron and crew only heard the mindless, non ending praise they have so rightly earned they might not know what to do. A fly in the ointment might encourage them to make a good thing even better.

Oh well, time to go back and hide under my bridge. Maybe I will lure some innocent passerby into dinner.

131
by PFC1 (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 11:27am

No question, the Colts kick off coverage has yielded yardage. As a fan, I think that it has to get better. However, there are many positive things that are going on with the Colts special teams.

My point above, stated another way, is that the obviously positive things that are going on in the Colts' offensive performance (which are certainly reflected in the statistical analysis of the offense) may be directly causing certain outcomes in the special teams performance that get picked up as negatives in the statistical analysis of their special teams performance. If true, and there is no adjustment for this phenomenon, then the special teams ranking may be being given too much weight.

I would never say that the amount of yardage given up on kick off returns is insignificant. But it does seem to me that in the case of this year's version of the Colts, the formula may be giving too much weight to this consideration because of some outlier occurrances with this team.

132
by wr (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 11:56am

Aaron,

The Pythagorean formula as printed at Fox looks wrong. It's
((scored ** 2.37) / (scored **2.37)) + (allowed **2.37). That
boils down to (allowed ** 2.37).

133
by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:01pm

Please forgive me if I cover ground already in comments, but I have just finished reading the article and don't want to read through every comment.

I notice that the comments for the Vikings say that their defense against number 1 receivers has improved dramatically since Smoot went out with injury and was replaced by Brian Williams.
My question is: is Williams actually covering the #1 receivers? I would have thought that would be Antoine Winfield. Is it possible that the drop in #1 receivers numbers is because teams are concentrating their passes on Williams' man?
I'd really appreciate it if somebody could comment, as I haven't watched any of Minnnesota's games during their winning streak. Correct interpretation of these stats is important to deciding if Smoot is a complete bust or not.

134
by DGL (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:09pm

Is the weighting of offense/defense/ST fixed for all teams, or does it vary across teams?

So, for example: The Colts punt rarely (having the fewest punts of any team) - does their 24th DVOA Punt ranking contribute to overall DVOA as much as does, say, SF's third-best DVOA Punt ranking (with more than twice as many punts)?

135
by Kevo (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:09pm

Re: 132

No it doesn't. The numerator is scored x 2.37 and the denominator is (scored x 2.37 + allowed x 2.37).

136
by Tootie (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:13pm

132:

no, thats like saying:

2/2+3 boils down to 3. The numbers in the denominator are being added, not multiplied.

137
by GBS (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:14pm

DVOA went 16-0 if you subtract 17% from the home team? I don't see how DVOA picked Minnesota to win at Detroit with that adjustment. I know there are numberous ways people use DVOA to pick games but it appears to me that DVOA liked Detroit at home whether you use weighted DVOA or standard DVOA. If you take out special teams it was even more in Detroit's favor.

What am I missing?

138
by Duane (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:19pm

Unluckiest. Team. Ever. That will go a long way to assuage my concerns about the Packers, except for that nagging feeling that, down the road, "the 2005 Packers will look a lot more like the 1981 Patriots than they will the 1979 49ers." But who has been the Luckiest. Team. Ever.

139
by DavidH (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:27pm

130:

One would hope that when something is obviously becoming the “gold standard� that it would more accurately reflect reality. The weighted average seems to improve the accuracy. But, one can hope (since one is not statistically oriented) that the gurus could figure out a way to get data to mean something without some clever massages.

My reading of this, correct me if I'm wrong, is that you don't want them to have to use the wieghted average or any other statistal "massaging" to improve the numbers.

Then later in the post:

Two big blow-outs at the beginning of the season. Should that really be having such a profound impact on a teams rating this late in the year? And if it does, is the statistical model developed in need of some serious rethinking?

This is the whole point of the weighted DVOA, to lessen the impact of early season results, and more accurately reflect how teams are playing right now.

My point is, first you say that the more accurate weighted numbers are no good because they've been massaged. Then you say you wish they would weight the numbers to make them more accurate.

Also, when talking about special teams:
Or, that the indicators in the raw data could help them throw out the meaningless categories when judging teams.
...
To base the ranking (weighted or not) on what is obviously such an insignificant portion of the colts game is at best interesting.

I can't tell if you are talking about basing the overall rating on the ST rating, or basing the ST rating on the punt coverage rating. Either way - ST is just a small part of the overall rating, and punt coverage is only one part of the ST rating. It sound like you are arguing that we should throw out the Colts' weakness, because clearly they are a better team other than that. Well, in case you hadn't noticed, special teams are involved in a lot of plays, and sometimes change the outcome of games (see Minnesota vs. NY Giants).

I feel like I am just rambling here.

My overall point is that complaining about the rankings is only useful if you stop and think before you make your complaint, and see if it actually makes sense and is consistent. If you do that, nobody will think you are a troll.

Oh, and about the not being able to read accusations:
I think most regulars on the site view weighted DVOA as the real rankings, since they correlate better to future wins. This is definitely not indicated at the top in the commentary, although it does mention that the weighted numbers are used for the ranking. So people were probably (wrongly) thinking that it was obvious that the weighted were more accurate, yet you were ignoring that fact. When really, the fact was not there, so it's not your fault.

Somebody probably beat me to this response, huh.

140
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:31pm

RE: 132

You are correct in that the formula was written wrong in the article. The way it was worded suggests the formula is
PS^2.37/PS^2.37+PA^2.37
But he simply left out the parenthesis in the denominator - Likely just to keep the sentence less confusing.
PS^2.37/(PS^2.37+PA^2.37)

141
by admin :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:46pm

The FOX editors fiddled with my italics, I'll try to clarify.

142
by DavidH (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:50pm

Dammit, GBS!

I've been exposed as a fraud. I admit, I didn't actually know/think that DVOA had gone 16-0, I just knew that I won all of my bets this weekend, which were heavily informed by DVOA. So I assumed that the previous poster was correct in his 16-0 assessment.

But we all know what happens when I assume something. I make an ASS of U and ME.

By the way, my favorite variation on this is from Fresh Prince of Bel Air, when Will is on the basketball team, and another player makes an assumption at practice. The coach says something along the lines of "You know what happens when you make an assumption? You look like an ass, and the ump shuns you."

Man that was a great show.

*starts dancing like Carlton*

Back to football - my formulas that take into account the pass off, rush off, pass def, and rush def numbers (plus HFA), had the game as a tie - 17.5 to 17.5. But I add/subtract FG's sometimes based on recent play, and I had actually ended up on 20.5 - 14.5 Minnesota.

Of course, that was pretty much the closest prediction of the week. Here's a real gem:
Seattle 28 Philly 22
Of course, I don't use DVOA to bet on Philly, since their whole team is made of glass this year.

143
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 1:02pm

Yah, I can't even look at Philly's DVOA this year, other than defense. It just brings back so many bad memories. Like "oh, remember last week, when they were moderately positive in offense, and McMahon and Detmer were both two of the very few backup QBs that didn't suck."

Seriously, go look at QB ratings (which don't include the Monday Night game). McMahon is ~0% DVOA, and Detmer is amazingly high thanks to getting the fun bonus of playing versus San Francisco. Wow, they're both going to plummet amazingly.

144
by asg (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 1:11pm

137: Woops, you are right. I had thought my friend and I made all our picks based on DVOA but it looks like we played a hunch with the Vikes due to Detroit's turmoil.

145
by sully (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 1:19pm

DavidH. Easy to throw out accusations and decide intent from a post on-line. Unfortunately when someone attempts to crystal ball the intent of a post they often screw up and get it wrong.

I offered a comment. Not a condemnation.

My point is any statistical model that when applied misrepresents reality is obviously flawed. Especially when the reality is so different than the result.

Just a commnet. Not an insult. Not a complaint.

146
by james (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 1:26pm

I don't think we need to censor the "trolls". They don't agree with what most of us agree to, so what? The last thing I feel like doing is taking a test or having to register just so some people can be kept out of "the club". I feel like some regulars secret dreams are to transport back in time so they could be a juror at the Salem witch trials. Lighten up my friends.

The skates, guts article last week was amazing. If you want to pick games just look at that. The only games I am picking wrong these days are really really close. Gambler's side not finished.

With parity running rampant in the league is a strength of schedule adjustment redundant? I can see needing it in the first half of the season but after that it doesn't add any perspective or useful information about a team. It only takes away from the formula. Couldn't Aaron just put an asterisk next to a team with an out of this world VOA and a very easy schedule, similar to the Colts out of this world 7th ranking early this season.

As far as the home field advantage adj. It has a much bigger affect on road offenses. The defense is not really affected. IMO the offense point totals are what vary widely between rd/home.

Furthermore, after the guts/skates research I'm more convinced that estimated wins are whats most important. I don't know how you came up with that formula but it seems to be pretty accurate and correlates with the guts/skates theory.

Nice work FO

147
by Dave (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 1:39pm

Just a thought, but since the trolls seem to only look at the first column, why not sort the table by weighted DVOA? Those of us who care will read the whole table. If it reduces the trolls by a few it's well worth scanning over a couple of columns to find Total DVOA.

Dave

148
by Joon (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 1:50pm

i suppose i'm slightly late to the party here, but i want to weigh in on the special teams numbers. in answer to #134, i think the colts' punting numbers are appropriately weighted (though that's hurting them because they actually punt well, and suck at kickoffs). but as far as their returns are concerned, i think the numbers are underrating them a little. the "point value of field position" is used to calculate the correct weighting of special teams relative to offense and defense DVOA, and i am pretty sure that historical averages are being used. that's why the numbers don't average out to zero, as brian pointed out back in #120-122. but the value of field position is sensitively dependent on the level of offense. for the colts, it matters much less than it does for, say, the bears, who can only score when they start out in opponents' territory (but they manage to do this frequently).

somewhere on this site, some time ago, i saw a link to an article that discusses the point value of field position and how it depends on the level of offense. it would be cool if this were taken into account in doing the ST rankings.

of course, maybe they are already taken into account. if that's the case, then 1) FO rocks, and 2) okay, i guess the colts really do suck that badly at special teams.

149
by Mark (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 1:53pm

You have not posted any of my previous comments, so I doubt this one will show up. Until you quit changing the rules as you go and come up with something meaningful, this ranking system of yours is worthless. Any real NFL fan can figure out who is good and who is bad. Statistics are for nerds. A computer will never be able to display common sense. My guess is that most of the people who visit this site are looking for some positive recognition of their favorite team. That would probably not include any Packer, Texan or 49er fans.

150
by Ray (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 1:53pm

I agree with James that we shouldn't lock out 'trolls' who just come in and make idiotic comments. The only people who should be locked out are the ones who make outright offensive comments (swearing, insulting, ect). Everyone else should be allowed to display their intelligence openly. If you don't like what they say, then just ignore it and scroll to the next comment.

RE: Sully "Why not just get opinions instead of massaging facts that don’t mean much either."

"Just a commnet. Not an insult. Not a complaint."

Everything we say here is a comment. That doesn't exclude it from being an insult or a complaint at the same time. And your comments will definitely be construed that way when you lace them with snide and sarcastic comments which question the validity of the statistic as a whole just because it doesn't agree with your subjective opinion.

"Especially when the reality is so different than the result."

So different? The Colts are rated a single percentage point behind a team they beat by a single score in a shoot-out game in the statistic that measures a teams performance over the whole season (as opposed to how a team is doing now, which is Weighted DVOA). Is that really an unbelievable break from reality? Especially when the statistic designed to better rate a teams current performance does in fact have the Colts #1. What, #1 isn't good enough for the Colts?

I don't think it's crazy to see why the Colts special teams would bring down their overall rating. Maybe they are average or better at punting, but as you said they don't punt much, so why should that matter? The fact is they're horrible on kickoff coverage, and they kick off a LOT, so bad kickoff after bad kickoff will add up and lower their ST rating. Whether the ST rating is too much of the overall rating is certainly up for debate. But the Colts own ST ranking seems pretty on target. They're bad at what they do the most (which sort of also shoots down your "Maybe with more punts taken over the course of the year the coverage team would get better." contention, becuase you could say you'd expect the same on kickoffs, but it certainly isn't the case there).

Anyway, those are just my comments on your comments. No need to get all up-tight and defensive. It's a comment, not a condemnation.

151
by Stagerlei (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 2:07pm

RE: 146
Could you link that article?
thanks

152
by admin :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 2:12pm

Until you quit changing the rules as you go and come up with something meaningful, this ranking system of yours is worthless.

Last time you went to the doctor with a cold, did he give you drugs, or did he get out the leeches and start sucking the blood out of your body?

Since the scientific method was used to create Tylenol and Advil and "change the rules" of medicine, I'm sure you prefer the leeches.

I'm not sure what's up with 149's complaint about not posting his comments, since there have been almost no comments sent to moderation in the last couple days.

And since this seems to be the biggest topic of coversation around here, I should say that I too think there might be something hokey in the Colts' special teams rating. When I get a chance to look into it and study similar teams over the last eight years, I will do so.

153
by Erik (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 2:15pm

Isn't it odd that the team with the smallest variance has the largest difference between actual wins and projected wins? What is up with that?

154
by Kevo (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 2:16pm

I'm guessing 149 thinks the Preview page is for nerds, too.

155
by M (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 2:16pm

#138

Don't know the exact numbers (Points For & Points Against) for Pythagorean Calcs, but candidates off the top of my head include:

1965 Cleveland Browns
1985 LA Raiders
1991 Detroit Lions
1992 Indianapolis Colts
1999 Tennessee Titans

156
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 2:17pm

One of the troll problems is your average troll just skims the table. They don't make the distinction in the numbers. They just see for example - Cincy is rated higher then Indy. If you look at the DVOA number, they're rated nearly identical, with a signifigant drop off before Denver at 3rd.

149, When you post a comment, it doesn't immediately post it. It brings up a confirmation page and then you have to post it again.

It was never intended to replace your own judgement anyway. I personally keep reading it because FO coincides with my own judgement and tells me things about teams I didn't already know much more accurately then other sites or ESPN does. (For example, the Vikings D is playing really well right now). I think most people here would agree in that they never look at it as the be all, end all.

157
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 2:31pm

#154 LOL! That just made my day.

I've been thinking lately about comments like #149 (and others, previous to this week). Why do they bother? What do they hope to accomplish? My best guess goes something like this:

1) People love to complain (at least in my experience). So that's probably a general human nature thing.

2) People feel threatened by things they don't understand. "Team A beat Team B" is a much simpler concept to grasp than "Team A's offense is 15% better than league average, once adjusted for strength of schedule, which counts as approximately 3/7ths of their total team performance." This is particularly true when you take into consideration that we're all busy and it can be difficult to find the time to educate ourselves.

3) I think some of these posts are attempting to educate "Aaron and the regulars." They genuinely feel that just using win/loss record combined with conventional wisdom is a superior way to rank teams compared with DVOA, and they're going out of their way to try to get us to stop wasting our valuable time. This is admirable, in some ways. (Although it's generally not persuasive.)

So there's my dime-store psychology on the subject. Take it with a large grain of salt.

Oh yeah, the Colts kickoff coverage is really bad, and they are NOT getting any better at it with more practice.

158
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 2:43pm

RE: 152

The leeches response to #149 is hilarious.

159
by MCS (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 2:43pm

Nice Orwellian reference.

Oh, and um. . .In rod we trust!

BTW 149, I've been reading FO since TMQ came here back in '03. And I'm a Packer fan by birthright.

Key to what's going on here:
15 yard play on 3rd and 17? Worthless!

160
by T. Diddy (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 2:50pm

#153: Actually, that's exactly what you'd expect. A really good team with a very low variance is going to do really well in the estimated wins category, since estimated wins takes into account the variance.

That is, who's going to win more games in the long run between two equally good teams: the one that is consistently good, or the one that's half awesome, half terrible?

The opposite would hold true for awful teams. Bad teams that have a high variance would have more estimated wins, since it indicates that they occasionally, for whatever reason or not (for example: they used to have Donovan McNabb and now they don't), play like gangbusters, and the rest of the time are truly, truly awful.

161
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 2:59pm

Isn’t it odd that the team with the smallest variance has the largest difference between actual wins and projected wins? What is up with that?

Estimated wins isn't adjusted for schedule. If you do something just as simple as boost up Indianapolis's estimated wins by their previous schedule strength (so, by say 10%), it'd be dead on.

162
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 3:02pm

Whoops, Oakland has the lowest variance, not Indianapolis. My bad.

Same argument as above, though. Just reverse the direction of the adjustment.

T. Diddy: Yah, but it's going in the wrong way. Oakland's a slightly positive team, with a tiny variance. That should help them win games, and they're not winning.

The reason it's so off is because Oakland's played the hardest schedule in the league. They should be a 6-6 team.

163
by Sara (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 3:05pm

#157 - you're right. Ever notice that the "wins are all that matters" crowd are usually fairly marginal fans of winning teams? As long as their team's winning, they don't care how. Whereas a fan of a team with a mediocre record will scramble for any bright spots. Trust me, I'm a fan of a team who went 1-15, but who lost most of those games by under 7 points! Yay!

It's just human nature. Some of us are ignorant and can only handle 2 numbers at a time. Some of us like to understand WHY and HOW teams win and lose. We love our teams, but we love the game more. I for one understand that if my guys had 1) a tougher schedule, and 2) a running game, we'd be ranked higher. That drop from 5 (unadjusted) to 10 (adjusted) says it all.

Oh yeah. "Inanimate carbon rod"? Don't talk about Keary Colbert/Ricky Proehl/Rod Gardner/Brad Hoover/Nick Goings that way! ;)

164
by admin :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 3:08pm

No, no, actually, estimated wins IS adjusted for strength of schedule. It is supposed to estimate how many games the team would have won with an average schedule and average luck ASSUMING similar consistency and performance in key situations like first quarter offense and red zone defense.

165
by wr (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 3:15pm

Re 140: Thanks, I figurued it was probably something along those lines.

166
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 3:17pm

#157:

The difficult thing about that is when you only look at wins and losses, the result becomes just as difficult to understand - see beatpaths.

The basic problem with power rankings is that you can't do them. There's nothing in football that says that if Team A beats Team B who beat Team C, they're unequivocally better than Team C, and would beat them no matter what. You can't make a linear graph.

Also, regarding post #1: The Colts beat the Bengals by 8 points, which is one score. Given that the Bengals have a very very good offense, this isn't a very comfortable win.

167
by Purds (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 3:30pm

I am a Colts fan, and while I'd like to dismiss their very low ST ratings, I think their particular weakness (kick coverage) is actually more of a problem for them than for most other teams. Here is my reasoning:
1) The Colts defense is evolving, but it still often relies on the big stop, the sack or turnover, to end drives. (D Line stats show them #15 in adjusted yards versus rush, and #22 in power situations, so people can run on them for a good average and power in for first downs on short-yardage situations. But the Colts are #8 in stuffs and #1 in sack rate, so they often get a team in 3rd and long after a stuff, and then come through with a sack.)
2) Therefore, having lots of ground (field position) to give up allows the Colts more chances to make the big play to put the opponent in a difficult situation (third and long, etc.).
3) With a shortened field due to poor kick coverage, Colt opponents are more likely to be able to score because the Colts D has fewer chances to come up with a big stop.

Thus, I'd argue that the poor kick coverage and its affect on ST and DVOA is an accurate reflection of a very real Colts weakness, even if the Colts O doesn't care and even if they have yet to give up a kick return TD.

168
by sully (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 3:31pm

so, a team rates within a single % point above another utilizing raw data. Then when weighted the team drops behind by a little over a % point. Basically saying here that both teams are very, very close to one another.

One team has yet to lose a game--even beating common opponents. The second team loses 25% of its game (losing to common opponents) yet is darn near statistically even by the FO model.

Do you see anything amiss?

You can continue to read the tea leaves to discern my intent. You can read it with a defensive mind set. Or, you can accept it for simply a statement. Not sarcastic, not insulting, and certainly not troll like. There is nothing personal in the statements. There is nothing negative directed at the creaters of the DVOA.

But, I think it fair to allow one to question the accuracy of the ratings. I do not think it heresy to question the underlying, subjective values assigned to the areas being evaluated to determine ratings. That way the "creators" may figure out another way to look at the picture--even if it is a nominal tweak. Hopefully without destroying their mainframe.

As to snide and sarcastic--so far I have gone out of my way to keep it beyond a personal attack. Open mindedness seems to have come up pretty short here. I cannot stop anyone from reading personal perspectives into something a third party types. I do, however, know my own intent. I think i readily admit that there is a great value to the FO DVOA system. I think it was me that introduced the phrase "gold standard" to this thread.

Odd that demeaning comments concerning individuals are made to defend DVOA. Looks more like a little misdirection to cover up a flaw. Or, at least gloss over an issue that the person doing the insulting is wholly incapable of explaining--let alone understanding. (oh, just in case you missed it--that was meant as an insult directed at just a couple of the serious thinkers here--whoops I even used ssarcasm).

169
by Purds (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 3:34pm

To finish the statement:

I know those reasons would apply to any team, but I think the make-up of the Colts defense makes field position more important than perhaps for defenses with more consistent rankings in run defense, stops, etc. The Colts defense succeeds by making a big play (see: Freeney's sacks), not because of consistently good defensive plays (see: Freeney running himself out of plays).

170
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 4:04pm

Hmm. I notice that very few of the people who do not see much or any value in DVOA have any specific suggestions for improvement.

Re 99: unfortunately, the Lions are no longer in the top 10 in ST, breaking a multi-year streak that has been mentioned before (with respect to ST strength generally being random and not a predictor of future ST strength, recent exceptions through 2004 being Eagles and Lions). This season, they quickly sought out the bottom of the ST rankings and have been content to stay there. Injuries to Hanson and Drummond and a general reluctance to tackle have been the primary culprits.

<strong_sarcasm>I'm sure Millen will address that in the offseason.</strong_sarcasm>

171
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 4:07pm

sully:

If your main argument is wins, you should be looking at estimated wins, where Indianapolis leads Cincinnati by a large margin.

DVOA correlates to points, not wins. That, and the fact that Indiapolis is far, far less variant than Cincy means that Indy's going to win more games, but Cincinnati has the potential to hang with Indianapolis in any game they play head to head. (They also have the potential to flop flat)

Which, given the fact that Indianapolis only beat Cincinnati by one score, kinda agrees with that.

172
by DavidH (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 4:18pm

Sully:

Sorry if I came across too strongly. I don't think you are trolling at all, I was just trying to give examples of why people might not appreciate your comment as much you would like. You've been very civil.

As for the closeness of Indy and Cincy's rating despite Indy doing better against common opponents. I'll look at the schedule closer later today, but off the top of my head I remember thinking that Indy was not really taht impressive at the beginning of the year. They were winning, but by not as much as you would like, often by only one score. At the same time Cincy was demolishing people. Since then, Indy has shown themselves to be a little better, although again they only beat Cincy by one score at home.

P.S. I didn't get much sleep last night, so I may be a little cranky today.

173
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 4:29pm

RE: 171

Pat, DVOA certainly does correlate to wins. It's just that the correlation to points is a stronger relationship.

174
by David Mazzotta (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 4:53pm

asg, or anyone--

Can you point me to the page referencing 17% reduction for the road team? I couldn't manage to turn it up in a search.

thanks.

175
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 4:53pm

spenceKarl: True. I should've said "DVOA is designed to correlate to points, not wins." You're going to get an ancillary correlation to wins due to the fact that points in general correlate with wins. But on a team-by-team basis, if you want to determine whether or not they're doing what a team needs to win, you would look at estimated wins.

One response would be "why bother ranking by weighted DVOA rather than estimated wins", though. Since weighted DVOA is a better predictor than estimated wins, though, I'd say that's a good justification for weighted DVOA being used. Leads to exactly what I said before - weighted DVOA says that if Cincy and Indy play, Cincinnati can give Indianapolis a real game, but Cincinnati isn't doing all the things necessary to consistently win games.

176
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 4:55pm

David: It's here, down at the bottom.

177
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 5:02pm

RE: 175

Yeah, I was just nitpicking. I followed what you were saying.

178
by Mark aka #149 (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 5:05pm

OK, I just have to respond to the leech comment. Leeches are still used this very day as a medical device. See this website:
http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/answers/2004/ANS01294.html
Regarding the Colts special teams; they are having a very bad year so far, however, other than the kickoffs, they are not the worst in the league. Just think if they were really good how scary that would be. The only way the Colts will lose is if they beat themselves like they did in last year's playoffs.
Aaron, I respect the massive amount of work you have done with these rankings. All I'm saying is that it is a work in process. It does make very interesting reading. My comment (#149) was a bit harsh for someone who visits your site several times a day.
Are the Seahawks that good or is Philly toast? Probably both. Is T.O. going to land somewhere? He's like Bobby Knight. Very talented but comes with baggage.
#157, After football and computers, complaining is what I do. It's a lot easer to complain than to say something nice.
To the Packer fans. Sorry about the Packer reference. Those people in Wisconsin have tailgating down to a science. The best beer, brats and cheese!

179
by IzzionSona (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 5:17pm

sully:

One other thing you must think about is overall schedule quality. Indy has had six games against awful teams--Houston, Tennessee, San Fran, St. Louis--as well as several one-dimensional or really bad offenses, such as Jacksonville, Baltimore, Cleveland, and (to some extent) Pittsburgh. It seems pretty clear from these games that Indy can stop one-pony shows with the best of them. But when they played Cincinnati, the Bengals hung right with them for the entire first half. The only time that Indianpolis's defense started to gain traction and make a few stops was when Cincinnati shifted out of the no-huddle offense in the second half. Thus, it makes sense to suggest that at least some of the difference between Cincinnati and Indianapolis in the NFL standings is a function of schedule differences. But, as has been reiterated, the form of DVOA considered most accurate is weighted DVOA, which attempts to account for how a team is playing now by lessening the impact of early season games.

180
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 5:18pm

178: The Colts didn't beat themselves in last year's playoffs, the Patriots beat them, fair and sqaure. It wasn't a case of Manning "choking" in a playoff game, the Colts were pushed around, beaten up and beaten in all aspects of the game.

181
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 5:20pm

RE: 178

"All I’m saying is that it is a work in process."

Aaron has never suggested otherwise. Nothing that follows a scientic process is ever absolute.

182
by james (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 5:35pm

Still waiting for someone to tell me why I should pay attention to DVOA this late in the season as opposed to just VOA.

I think VOA is dead on without the schedule adjustments after 12 games.

183
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 5:47pm

Cause DVOA is a better predictor of future performance than VOA. After all, Indy doesn't get to play Houston or San Fran any more this year.

184
by Xian (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 5:59pm

re: 149

Actually, this site makes me feel a lot better about my beloved Packers. I can point to some of the stuff on here (like #1 vs. #1 WRs, and #1 in the NFL vs. runs to the right) and think, hey, not everything sucks right now.

Also, Aaron, best commentary EVAR. The inanimate carbon rod was good, but 1984 made my week.

"I'll show you inanimate!"

185
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 6:08pm

#178 You said the rating system is, and I quote, "worthless." That is a lot different than saying it's "a work in process."

In any event, I didn't mean to single you out, that post was just the most recent one on this week's thread. And there have been plenty of others on different threads this year.

In my opinion, Philly is toast, and T.O. will be playing somewhere in the NFL next year because of his talent. (Just like BK is coaching somewhere.)

I have no opinion about the efficacy of leeches, but they sure are nice.

186
by Daniel Warehall (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 6:18pm

#178,

Leeches are used in medicine, but to the best of my knowledge, they are not currently used to treat colds...

How dare DVOA suggest that the Lions are not one of the ten best teams! Look at the talent! (Weeps and runs out of the room...)

187
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 6:18pm

In a related story, the Patriots just signed the inanimate carbon rod to play cornerback. Personally, I think this will be an improvement.

188
by GBS (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 6:26pm

Is the carbon rod going to take the vending machine's roster spot?

189
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 6:36pm

I think VOA is dead on without the schedule adjustments after 12 games.

VOA doesn't have adjustments for fumbles, either. Opinions will usually track VOA, as VOA is a measure of what you actually see in the game. However, opinions aren't predictive. DVOA is. If you've got a team that wins because it recovers all of their fumbles, they look like a very strong team. But they won't play like that team in the future.

I'm not sure why you think all teams have played even enough schedules to ignore the corrections, anyway. They haven't. It's ridiculous how easy some teams' schedules are this year.

190
by james (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 7:03pm

Pat,
You're right. I guess I'm becoming flumoxed with DVOA. VOA says redskins 0.0%. Est wins says 7.6. Actual wins say 6. DVOA says top 10 team. Me confused!

The skins play the same against every team. Lead through 4th quarter without ever putting anyone away.

I guess I should have truncated my statement to "I'm just gonna believe VOA when it comes to skins, they'd find a way to be 6-6 no matter what they're schedule or fumble recovery rate".

As always, I still love the site. I just hate my skins right now.

191
by Bowman (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 7:20pm

Quick Drive Stats question:

Jax and Den have same amount of drives on Offense. The percentage of TO / drive is identical. Why does Den rank (1) and Jax (2)? It isn't an additional decimal point...

192
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 7:21pm

Wait, weren't you upset about DVOA underrating the skins earlier? Now it's overrating them? Sorry, let me enjoy the irony, okay? :)

I mean, I know they're 6-6, but they're there mainly on heartbreak losses, and the fact that they had to play the AFC West. Easiest way to go 0-4 when against an average division they would've gone 2-2, and be 8-4.

I mean, c'mon. The Skins still have a decent shot to win out and pick up a wild card. No fair being depressed when Philly fans have much more to be depressed about. :)

193
by Ray (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 8:14pm

Pat, you know that if you continue to console the Redskins fans, you risk being disowned as an Eagles fan. No sympathy when they're doing better! ;^)

194
by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 8:32pm

Hey, it's only part consoling. It's also part taunting as well! "You think YOUR team sucks? Bring it!"

195
by Kevo (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 8:44pm

As long as it's not the Cowboys, it's okay with me.

Cowboys suck.

196
by admin :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 11:34pm

The Washington thing is really wrapped up in fumbles even more than schedule, I mean to look at that for the next mailbag so look for that.

Individual stats, ol, and dl all now updated.

197
by Brian (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 11:43pm

this is the most confusing and pointless system ive ever seen. It obviously is for a bunch of number crunching nerds who can jsut watch a game of football to figure how good a team is. who cares if a team wins every game by luck or skill does it really matter aslong as there winning. I still dont understand what these numbers help people with. One last note the writer of this article should give up on sports writing and maybe become a geometry teacher or something because your system is just so stupid it doesnt even interest the common football fan

198
by asg (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 12:00am

197 obviously missed the posts where people cashed in using DVOA :)

So where's the Wednesday FO contribution to FoxSports.com? Can't deal with the heat, guys? ;)

199
by Brian (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 12:00am

ok i would just like to take back that last statement. My point came across to strong. I was just trying to say that football isnt about math and equations. It is about going on to the field and trying with all your might to beat the man across from you. Do you think in games coaches or players are thinking,o darn are points scored to points allowed percentage just changed and now were not predicted to win as many games so now this game does matter so we should just quit.Statistics really are pointless because human production is not constant one a player could have through the roof stats and the next day gain hardly any yards. What im trying to say is heart and drive, what really matters in sports, no matter how hard you try is not graphable and cant be put into some weird equation

200
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 12:39am

Brian (#199), there have been a bunch of people that have come to this site recently and express sentiments similar to what you've expressed. The only thing different about your comments is you didn't immediately mention a favorite team that "got screwed" by the ratings, so I'm finally genuinely curious enough to ask:

Why are you here? If you don't even have the least bit of curiousity about the premise of this site, which attempts, with the best information that we have, to quantify the heretofore unquantifiable aspects of football performance, then why bother even reading it?

Oh and judging by some comments I've read in various books by various people in the game itself, they use even more statistics than what are available here, since they have access to even more data than FO does. So I'd guess that at least some involved in the game would disagree with your take about what "really matters in sports."

201
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 12:40am

I was just trying to say that football isnt about math

Good point.

Consequently, there we should no longer tally yards, wins, losses, turnovers, or even points. We'll just throw darts at a board and determine which two teams make the super bowl.

Which will be quite boring since we won't be keeping score.

202
by Slippery Pete (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 3:22am

#199,

Statistics aren't meant to rewrite past history or replace the win-loss record in the standings. They are used as tool to help predict the future. Simply using win-loss records is not always the best way to predict what teams will win. DVOA is a statistic that is intended to be better than any other statistic at predicting things such as who wins and loses next week, who will win and lose in the postseason, what teams will breakout next year, and what teams will collapse next year.

As an example, DVOA says that despite a losing record, the Redskins are actually a good team. Despite similarities on the surface, DVOA says that the Redskins team this year is much improved over last year's team. DVOA says not to be to surprised if Washington beats Dallas and/or the Giants. DVOA also says to not be surprised if Washington is a good team next year.

Statistics really are pointless because human production is not constant one a player could have through the roof stats and the next day gain hardly any yards. What im trying to say is heart and drive, what really matters in sports, no matter how hard you try is not graphable and cant be put into some weird equation

Have you ever wondered why a player one week can look like a Pro Bowler and then next week look like an afterthought? Have you ever wondered why New England was able to go into Pittsburgh in last year's AFC Championship game and win despite a blowout loss earlier in the year? "Heart" and "drive" cannot explain the huge difference in performace. Did Pittsburgh have "heart" and "drive" early in the year and then lose it right before the AFC Championship? Even if "heart" and "drive" is the only thing that determines winners, how does a team acquire it, and how do they lose it? How can you tell if a team is on the cusp of gaining it or on the brink of losing it? There will never be a way to perfectly predict the outcomes of all games. But as impossible as it might be, DVOA is trying to do the best possible job to predict the outcomes of NFL games. In the never ending quest to perfectly predict the future, DVOA is arguably the best statistic out there for this purpose.

203
by Slippery Pete (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 3:25am

And despite what DVOA says, Cincinnati is still 9-3, Indy is still 12-0, Indy will still get homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, and Indy will still probably win the Super Bowl.

204
by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 4:44am

Caffeine Man:

"judging by some comments I’ve read in various books"

You read books? I'm sorry dude, but books have no soul. I picked up a book once that said over 600,000 people died in the Civil War. It was meaningless because it didn't tell me crap about how the soldiers' felt. It also said U.S. Grant was a good general because he won a lot of wars. I know that's not true because human production is not constant (duh), and so all the other generals had to be just as good, you know, because they're humans too.

That's the last time I bothered reading a book. Also, I'm pretty sure the South won. Everything I know about the situation tells me they wanted it more. That's proof positive.

205
by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 4:56am

In that last post I meant, battles not "wars," but my point stands that he couldn't have won any more of them than any other general, and none of you nerds with your calculators can change that. Battles are won and lost out on the field. You can make pie charts with dead counts and stuff, but none of those charts will tell you how many of those guys left their hearts out on the field.

206
by Moe (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 7:49am

Just read through all 200+ comments and I noticed that the troll comments diminsh quite rapidly over time. I would vote to stay away from a registration system.

1. The trolls are kind of cute in an ugly dog sort of way. To steal from Simmons they have a high unintentional comedy rate.
2. They remind us of how good we have it compared to most sports talk environments.
3. Don't forget that God invented the "page down" button on your keyboard. A quick and virtually painless way to avoid trolls.
4. Not that they are likely to listen since it involves math, but perhaps it would help them if they imagined a +/- 3 or 4% "sampling error" when looking at teams ratings. This would allow them to see Indy on top without getting their shorts in a bunch.

The best thing the DVOA table does is point out that the difference between each ranking position isn't a fixed amount - the difference between #1 and #2 could be razor thin or huge.

207
by derek (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 11:53am

Pythorronthegram, Pathoream, Pythagorean, whatever.....You do know that the Packers are 2-10. The Derek Win Formula says that they dont win too often. A loss is a loss, no matter if it is by 1 or 49. Either you are a huge Packers fan, or you are just making up a skewed ranking list each week to get a rise out of people. This team is terrible, please move them down to 29 on the Power Rankings where they belong.

208
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 12:10pm

A loss is a loss, no matter if it is by 1 or 49.

You, sir, have not watched the San Francisco 49ers play.

If you think the 49ers and Green Bay (same record!) are in the same class, you're sadly mistaken.

209
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 12:23pm

Damn that Derek Win Formula. I spent all morning plugging data into it, and all it told me was that the Packers "don't win too often."

210
by jebmak (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 1:55pm

Jerry F. and spenceKarl, nicely done.

211
by jebmak (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 2:13pm

One thing you forgot to mention though, was that the North had more swagger, and just plain wanted it more.

212
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 2:51pm

Please don't start a registration system; it's a pain in the neck. The typical post lamenting the use of DVOA can be easily scrolled past, and some of them can be unintentionally amusing.

One question, though, to those who are outraged by the information and opinions put forth in this forum: did your computer arrive from Dell with software which uses Football Outsiders or FOX Sports as a homepage? Really, if using quantitative analysis to evaluate past football performance, as a means to better predict future football performance, is so offensive to you, why on earth do you visit these sites?

I mean, really, I don't believe in the validity of astrology, therefore I don't visit websites which discuss such things. I'm truly curious; could you please explain why you spend time in forums which discuss things that you believe to be of limited utility? I could understand it if the NFL was like NCAA football, thus making the means by which people formed opinions important to how teams were allowed to advance into post-season, but that isn't the case here. It is quite puzzling.

213
by Al Gore (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 4:02pm

Re #206:

God did not invent the PageDown button; I did. See also: internet, PythaGOREan theorem, trolling.

214
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 4:14pm

please move them down to 29 on the Power Rankings where they belong.

DVOA is calculated by taking the NFL's numbers for every play and determining the efficiency of every play by each team on offense and defense.

There's no such thing as "moving them down" as its not a subjective opinion poll. The only way they could be "moved down" is if they sucked more.

215
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 4:38pm

Yah, and look at the teams between GB and #29: TEN/BAL/DET/BUF/ARI/NO/STL. After that, NYJ/HOU/SF. Add in CLE and you've got the "lower tier" of the NFL.

There are 38 wins on that list. But there are only two teams - BUF and NYJ - on that list that has won more than one game (and it's only 2) against a non-"lower tier" team. St. Louis has 5 wins - 4 of which are against ARI/TEN/NO/HOU. So wins versus those teams are somehow better than losses to CAR/TB/MIN/MIN by a field goal or less?

I mean, I could see saying "Buffalo should be ranked higher" or "the Jets should be ranked higher" but the other teams? C'mon.

216
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 4:50pm

Quick question: I forget what years represent the baseline of average values for use with VOA. Is it still 2000-2003?

217
by Nathan (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 5:04pm

I'm for a registration system. With karma similar to slashdot if you really want to go nuts.

218
by IndyMike (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 5:57pm

The whole "weighted" concept is flawed in a sport where 16 games constitutes a season. Each game is important. I will forever attach more value to a team's Net p100y as to the overall strength of that team as a WHOLE. This system has proven itself out year after year.

For the uninitiated, simply take offensive points per game and divide by total offense, then multiply that number by 100. This will give you how many points a team scores per 100 yards of offense. Do the same thing for the defense; points allowed per game divided by total defense, times 100. The difference is the team's net points per 100 yards. This accounts for all factors, offense, defense and its ability to give their team good field position, and special teams, also determining field position.

After week 13, here are the ranks for Net P100Y for the top 12 (coincidentally, 6 are AFC and 6 are NFC. The AFC East leader Pats came in at 17 (-0.25):...

1) Colts - 3.44...
2) Bears - 2.55...
3) Panthers - 2.28...
4) Seahawks - 2.21...
5) Chargers - 2.16...
6) Giants - 1.89...
7) Broncos - 1.49...
8) Bengals - 1.40...
9) Steelers - 1.08...
10) Jaguars - 0.97...
11) Cowboys - 0.53...
12) Falcons - 0.51

219
by DavidM (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 6:02pm

While I'm a huge Seahawks fan and have criticized this ranking system. I feel that the best improvement maybe to tweak it a little. I believe there are areas that are not accounted for that could make it a little closer to reality. I use Aikman Ratings for an example which has the Seahawks offence at 3 and defense at 9. My thought behind this it takes in to consideration more pieces of the game.

I believe that most current ranks don’t fit for the Seahawks bend but don’t break defense. If you are not giving up points in the red zone you will win games which make you more powerful and therefore should be higher in the rankings. Who cares if you give up 400+ yards if you only allow 17.3 or less points and your offence is averaging 28.2 points?

220
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 6:31pm

My thought behind this it takes in to consideration more pieces of the game.

Nah. The Aikman ratings actually take into account less of the game. They're missing opponent adjustments, for instance.

DVOA uses the entire play-by-play of a game. What pieces, exactly, would it be missing?

221
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 6:33pm

A "Bend don't break" defense relies on having an offense/special teams that doesn't leave your defense in bad field position. Since a defense shouldn't be rewarded for something the offense does, I think the Seahawks defense is properly rated. After all, saying "Seattle's defense compliments thier offense" isn't the same as saying "Seattle has a good defense."

222
by B (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 6:35pm

"DVOA uses the entire play-by-play of a game. What pieces, exactly, would it be missing?"
The coinflip, pre-game stretching (don't laugh, this has affected at least one game this year).

223
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 6:39pm

Oh, and the other thing to remember: your brain tells you "hey, they're only giving up 17.3 points per game! they must have a great defense!"

Points per game doesn't come from defense alone. A large portion of it comes from special teams, and offense as well.

Seattle has very good "special teams defense": KICK+PUNT. As I've mentioned elsewhere, a team with high KICK+PUNT and a good offense will give up less points per game than their defense would normally suggest. They're just putting opponents in poor field position.

Seattle also has the fewest fumbles per drive in the entire NFL, and the sixth-best interceptions per drive. They just don't turn the ball over. Protect the ball, kick well, and get enough yardage on each drive to win field position, and yah, you're going to help your defense a whole lot.

224
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 6:40pm

B: Why do you remind me so? It's torture, I tell you.

225
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 7:12pm

Jerry F., lol... :D

DavidM, RE: Aikman Ratings compared with DVOA

The problem with the Aikman ratings compared with DVOA is that it's hard to find any complete description of them in one place. While the exact DVOA algorithm is not provided to the public, many of the items it takes into account ARE provided and all in the same place. If you want to review the methodology, you can. Aikman doesn't provide the same opportunity. He just says: "Yards is a bad measure, here's a better one," but never discusses WHY in any sort of depth. Well, of course there are lots of things that may be better than yards gained or allowed, so he gets props for shaking up the status quo. But not for really providing enough details for his ratings to allow it to be discussed.

Which brings me to your comment: I use Aikman Ratings for an example which has the Seahawks offence at 3 and defense at 9. My thought behind this it takes in to consideration more pieces of the game.

What pieces are you talking about and where are these described by Aikman?

226
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 7:19pm

CM:

Nono, the formula is public. It's at the bottom here.

It's already been pointed out that DVOA is better than yards per play, however. There's an article on that somewhere around here. (Which should be obvious, anyway - you gain 14 yards on 3rd and 26, big whoop de doo).

227
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 9:06pm

Pat, thanks for the link. So a quick look confirms your comment that it doesn't adjust for opponent, which to me makes it worse than DVOA.

228
by Nate (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 9:17pm

This may be a little late to be asking this question, but does DVOA keep track of length of returns of interceptions or fumbles? The Bears seem really good at that, and have 150 more interception return yards than anyone else in the league (500 -> 350). That seems like a form of "hidden yards."

229
by admin :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 9:23pm

Right. I've spoken to the fellow who helps Aikman do the ratings. Here are the main differences between the two:

1) Aikman's ratings will have teams with better run offenses or defenses higher than DVOA because it considers running and passing as separate categories, whereas DVOA considers all plays together. I think this is the main "philosophical" disagreement between me and Aikman, as I am definitely a believer that the passing game is more important than the running game for both offense and defense.

2) No opponent adjustment

3) No special teams

4) The Aikman ratings are only meant to correlate to wins this season. DVOA tries to correlate to wins this season, but it also meant to be a better measure of how teams will play over the long haul, meaning not just for the rest of the current season but next season as well.

5) DVOA is not promoted by a (soon to be) Hall of Fame quarterback.

and most importantly

6) DVOA can be broken down and used to measure individual players

and

7) The Aikman ratings can be separated into the seven categories used to compute them, but only those seven things can be used to compare teams. The advantage of DVOA being based on every individual play, in my opinion, is that you can split it in all kinds of ways to analyze team strengths and weaknesses and look at specific matchups, as well as what teams can do to improve from season to season. You can't do this with Aikman's ratings and you ESPECIALLY can't do this with something like Sagarin's ratings.

230
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 9:28pm

I feel like my last question might have been lost in the mix...I forget what years represent the baseline of average values for use with VOA. Is it still 2000-2003?

231
by admin :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 9:35pm

Sorry. 2002-2003 for offense/defense, 2000-2003 for special teams, and yes, it is going to be redone (probably with 2002-2005) in the off-season as part of a substantial upgrade to the system. (We didn't want to add in 2004 this summer because we didn't know if the increased offensive environment would be permanent or not ... turns out not, so holding off was probably a good idea.)

232
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 10:02pm

Thanks. I know you've answered that question before, but I had no clue in which Ramblings I last saw it.

So in response to #229, FO needs its own Hall of Famer. Someone who can be sold on the concepts of DVOA; And will promote the sh!t out of it. He might have to be someone who doesn't like Aikman to begin with. Not necessarily a Ray Finkle. Just someone who's willing to challenge Troy and his whole Aikman Ratings system.

233
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 10:11pm

I'm curious also Aaron how return yardage on Interceptions is accounted for. I know the turnover is rated but is the return yardage?

I thought I read in the game thread that its random and not accounted for, but that yardage is still occurring - Does it or should it work something like punt or kick off return yardage, only for the defense?

234
by DavidH (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 10:12pm

Now that Aaron has pointed out the main philosophical and categorical differences between DVOA and the Aikman ratings, here are the main differences in their rankings, for easy reference:

(Oh, I averaged the offense and defense ratings to get an overall rank for the Aikman ratings)

Team (Aikman rank, DVOA rank) [main cause]

Liked better by Aikman
Carolina (4, 13) ....... [off: Aik 8th, DVOA 18th]
Atlanta (12, 17) ....... [def: Aik 12th, DVOA 25th]
Seattle (2, 6) ....... [def: Aik 8th, DVOA 18th]
Chicago (7, 11) ....... [I'm confused. See below.]
Dallas (8, 12) ....... [off: Aik 3rd, DVOA 6th]

Liked better by DVOA
Denver (9, 3) ....... [def? Aik 17th, DVOA 13th]
Washington (15, 9) ....... [def: Aik 21st, DVOA 9th]
Cincinnatti (6, 1) ....... [def: Aik 18th, DVOA 11th / good ST DVOA]
Jacksonville (11, 7) ....... [def: Aik 7th, DVOA 4th / good ST DVOA]

(CHICAGO - The offense is 29th in both rankings. The defense is 1st in both. They're only different overall. Their special teams are actually better than average, so that wouldn't be it, either. It's just a quirk of the "combining two ratings into one" thing, I guess.)

235
by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 10:19pm

Perhaps this is a minor consideration, but is, say, a 15 yard gain on third and 20 worth anything at all? Obviously, it's not that great, but it's still 15 yards of field position, so it's better than an incomplete pass.

236
by Paul Anderson (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 10:29pm

Re #206 I like the trolls. I may be a pathetic loser, stuck in a dead-end job, but when I read an ignorant comment, I can at least take heart in the fact that there are those out there worse off than I. Sort of like basking in the glory of mauling the 49ers. But hey, a win is a win, as a troll might say...

237
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 10:39pm

RE: 235

Yes it's still worth something. Eventhough 15 yards on 3rd and 20 is an unsuccessfull play, the system will still award a fractional "success value" to that gain.

238
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2005 - 11:01pm

#235: Plus the other thing to remember is that the "success point" value isn't really what's used - you compare the success points from the play to the average success points that a team gained in the same situation. So if you've got 3rd and 20, and you gain 15, and on the average, teams only gain 10 on 3rd and 20, that's a positive VOA - because you did better than average.

(Now, the VOA for the first two downs was definitely negative, because most teams don't end up in 3rd and 20.)

239
by admin :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 12:01am

Oh, I'm not looking to "challenge" the Aikman ratings. They're definitely a massive step forward compared to the standard NFL rankings in

a) more accurate measurement of teams, and
b) teaching people about the importance of things like measuring yards per play instead of total yards, and measuring first downs instead of just touchdowns.

It's weird to have the Aikman ratings on the same site where DVOA is the "official" power ratings, but I have to tell you when Aikman comes on during the broadcast and talks about his ratings, which he seems to do once every game, you're definitely listening to a guy who is smart and is willing to challenge conventional wisdom, and that's what a lot of us are looking for out of TV commentators and/or ex-players.

Most of those rating differences are schedule strength issues, with Washington also being an issue of fumble recovery percentage. Cincinnati and Jacksonville have much better defenses against the pass than the run, so I think that's related to Aikman having rushing and passing measured separately. I'm not sure what the deal is with Dallas, that's the one mystery.

240
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 12:05am

I was mainly trying to figure out how to work Ray Finkle into a post.

241
by Catfish (not verified) :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 12:27am

Re: 233

Aaron has stated elsewhere that returns off of turnovers are not accounted for, because he doesn't want to judge an offense on its tackling ability. But, he's also said that when he gets data on how where on the field an interception occurs, he will look into adjusting based on the length of an interception in that situation.

242
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 1:15am

I think the other important thing missing from the Aikman ratings is special teams rankings. I'm always amazed at people who completely ignore special teams.

243
by NF (not verified) :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 1:31am

#236: I for one, will bask in the glory of a Seattle Defense smackdown of SanFran,even though I am an Eagles fan, because I'm counting on the Seattle defense to help put me into the playoffs in my FFL. Other than that, Seattle is on its own.

Aaron: Does Washington really have a 0.0% non-adjusted VOA? That's...impressive...I think. Well, it's perfection in one sense. A perfectly competitive market will result in all sellers having 0 economic profit in the long-run.

244
by admin :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 1:42am

It is actually 0.019967%, if you want to get really, really specific.

245
by Andrew (not verified) :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 3:00am

Aaron:

About that much discussed 10 yard gain on 3rd and 20.

Does DVOA assign more success to such a play in a situation where a 4th down is a necessity, or a field goal is desired. Something like:

1) Driving for a score from behind in the final 4 minutes of a game?
2) Driving for a tying/go-ahead field goal at the end of regulation?
3) Moving the ball forward for purposes of improving field goal position in overtime or at the end of the first half?

Obviously in the middle of a game, 10 yards on 3rd and 20 is nearly worthless, but not necessarily so at the end of halves.

246
by Brian (not verified) :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 3:34am

This is Brian, the Colts fan.

We really need a login to get rid of using the same Aliases, so it doesn't make posts by trollish people look like they came from me ;o) I'll use something else.

#245
DVOA does take into account most of the situation, including time on the clock and score differential.

247
by DavidH (not verified) :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 4:33am

Re: 246

But I thought it only took that stuff into account when it was comparing plays to eachother, not when assigning points. So if 10 yards on 3rd & 20 is worth 0 in the 1st quarter, it's worth 0 in the 4th. Maybe I'm wrong about this, though.

If I'm right, then taking into account score and time when comparing teams won't do what Andrew is asking about, because it still won't be able to distinguish the 10 yd play from the 2 yd play (both 0 success points).

It's tired and I'm late. Er. YOu know what I mean. So sorry if this is wrong, but I'm not looking it up right now.

248
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 9:36am

RE: 247 (DavidH)

I agree with you, accept for the part about 0 success points. In a 3rd and 20 scenario, a 2 yard gain or 10 yard gain are not the same. Yes, they're both unsuccessfull, but there's still a fractional value credited to the play...And from there, it's compared to the average for the particular scenario.

249
by DavidH (not verified) :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 12:45pm

Totally off topic, but you know what would be cool? A version of DVOA that only includes plays against teams that are in the top half (or third or whatever) of the normal DVOA rankings. Kind of like when they show college basketball teams' records against teams in the top 50 of the RPI...

I know STOMPS are supposed to be a better predictor of playoff success than GUTS. But I would think that teams that performed well (regardless of win/loss) against good teams would tend to do well in the playoffs. I could be way off, of course.

250
by MRH (not verified) :: Fri, 12/09/2005 - 6:29pm

In looking thru the latest numbers, I noticed that KC now has the #9 def in weighted DVOA and the #6 off in wtd DVOA. I know the schedule is a killer, but I'm liking their playoff chances more and more.

251
by BG (not verified) :: Sat, 12/10/2005 - 1:07am

Some of the Colts special teams problems are due to the kick off specialist not being able to get the ball inside the 10. The other is the law of averages is against you. When you kickoff as much as they have this year the other team is bound to break one. The Colts on the other hand are not even trying in most cases to even go for a big return. They would rather control the clock with the offense and give the defense a rest. Are the special teams hurting the Colts as much as the formula would suggest?

252
by BG (not verified) :: Sat, 12/10/2005 - 1:26am

Bobman:

I went back and re read most of the posts and noticed that you had listed some detail about the same topic. Wouldn't you agree that the Colts need to get someone new to kickoff? If you going to have a spot to specialize in kicking off can't you get someone to at least make it to the 5?

253
by Pat (not verified) :: Sat, 12/10/2005 - 3:57am

I would like to take this moment to remind frequent readers of the Fire Mike Vanderjagt campaign, which I've been pushing vehemently ever since Vanderjagt bounced a kickoff to the thirty yard line last year in the playoffs.

Playoffs. Thirty yard line.

Yes, I know the Colts have a kickoff specialist. But they couldn't afford the roster space for one during the playoffs, and so in comes Vanderjagt. Vanderjagt's not worth it - for one thing, they kickoff far more than they kick field goals. Take the Cincinnati game, for instance: 1 field goal that any kicker in the league could've made (heck, Mark Simoneau, the linebacker who kicked an extra point for the Eagles could've made it), but 7 kickoffs.

I just don't get it. I cannot figure out why a team that kicks field goals as infrequently as Indianapolis feels the need to keep a dedicated placekicker around. I mean, 1 touchback all season? Out of 72 kickoffs? Playing half your games in a dome?

254
by Anticheese (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 1:22pm

LMFAO, you guys are idiots, or this might be the dummest idea to get exposure.

But hey guess what??? Since you retards think Colts are #2 ppl will think you are retards and never come back.

255
by senser81 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 2:17pm

Even though the Colts defeated the Bengals 45-37 in week 11, Hunter Smith did not have a particularly good game and the Colts' kick coverage was horrible. Call it a 'moral victory' for the Bengals.

256
by spenceKarl (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 3:21pm

RE: 254

We're not all as "dummest" as we look.

257
by Bencoder (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 9:46pm

It would be interesting to see if a new value could be derived comparing off and def DVOA's in particular matchups. Then that could be compared to historical wins and losses to check for correlation and relevance.