Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Meet The Outsiders


Compared to Bill James by The New York Times Magazine, AARON SCHATZ is the creator of Football Outsiders and most of the original statistical methods used in NFL analysis on this website, as well as lead writer, editor, and statistician on the book series Football Outsiders Almanac. He also writes for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine, and during the 2011 season was a regular panelist on the ESPN2 show Numbers Never* Lie. Before Football Outsiders, Aaron spent five years on the radio at WBRU Providence and WKRO Daytona Beach, and three years as the writer and producer of the Lycos 50, the Internet's foremost authority on the people, places, and things that are searched online. He has written for a number of publications including The New Republic, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Slate, The American Prospect, and the Boston Phoenix. He lives in Framingham, Massachusetts.


SCOTT KACSMAR got his start in football analysis by creating the first standardized database of fourth-quarter comebacks and game-winning drives: two statistics that are increasingly used (and often mis-used) in NFL coverage. His first article appeared at the pro-football-reference blog in August 2009, indisputably crowning Dan Marino as the NFL’s “Comeback King” and putting an end to John Elway and “The Myth of 47.” Scott joined Football Nation in July 2011 and wrote the weekly Captain Comeback column for Cold, Hard Football Facts before moving over to Football Outsiders as assistant editor in August 2013. He has also written for Sports Illustrated, Colts Authority, Bleacher Report and NBC Sports in addition to providing project data for NFL Network. Scott has an Industrial Engineering degree from the University of Pittsburgh, which he wants his statistics professor to know has been very applicable to his football work. Contrary to belief, his interest in fourth-quarter comebacks was not the result of only wanting to do 25 percent of the work for 55 percent of the games. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Scott eternally credits Kordell Stewart for his desire to study better quarterback play.

VINCE VERHEI was raised to love football by his father, who explained that the players in blue jerseys were the "good guys" and their opponents were the "bad guys." With every Seahawks game effectively turned into another battle between the Super Friends and the Legion of Doom, with the fate of the world presumably at stake, he was hooked. After Al Gore invented the Internet, Verhei spent a lot of time Googling "football stats," and discovered FO shortly after its birth. He worked his way up the chain from commenter to guest writer to game charter to assistant editor, and now explores the upset of the week in the ESPN column Any Given Sunday. Verhei is also a writer and podcast host for Figure4Online.com, a Web site covering pro wrestling and mixed martial arts.


BILL CONNELLY, author of the college football column "Varsity Numbers," grew up a numbers and sports nerd in western Oklahoma. His favorite teams growing up were, in no particular order, the Missouri Tigers, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Portland Trailblazers. Perhaps he should have taken the hint and given up on sports a decade ago. Instead, he spends his time creating massive Excel files full of NCAA play-by-play and attempting to create the perfect, most all-encompassing football statistic ever. He lives in Missouri with his wife and pets, working for his alma mater. You can find more of his material at his SB Nation blog, Football Study Hall and in his book, Study Hall: College Football, Its Stats and Its Stories.

J.J. COOPER is a shameless frontrunner. There's no other reason to explain why a Georgia native would become a Pittsburgh Steelers fan in the 1970s, beyond the fact that the Steelers were always on TV and were always winning. But he does point out he was two years old when he developed his Steelers fandom and he's stuck with it for more than 30 years now, including the Cliff Stoudt, Mark Malone and Bubby Brister eras. J.J. graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism and has spent the past 15 years as a sports writer. He is the managing editor for Baseball America, a founding writer at the now defunct AOL FanHouse, and one of the owners of the Steelers Lounge blog.

Like many, it was a single moment that brought CIAN FAHEY to writing about football. Unlike many however, that moment came in peculiar circumstances. Cian grew up a soccer and rugby fan in Ireland. It wasn't until he was 12 that he found out what real football was. At 1am around Christmas time, Brett Favre led a game-winning drive against some team or another after throwing a horrible interception early on in the game. He went from villain to hero in a moment and Cian went from oblivious to obsessed at the same time. Over the next 10 years, his late night passion would slowly turn into a profession. A job covering the New England Patriots for Irishcentral and some freelance work with The Guardian supported him as he earned a Journalism degree from Griffith College, before the conception of his website Pre-Snap Reads brought him into the spotlight of the NFL landscape. From there, roles with Bleacher Report, Football Guys and Football Outsiders were born.

BRIAN FREMEAU contributes the Fremeau Efficiency Index and other drive-based college football stats and analysis to Football Outsiders. Officially created in 2002 in an attempt to quantify momentum, FEI's roots actually extend to an early-1990s NCAA hoops tournament forecasting project Brian still hopelessly maintains today. He spends every home fall Saturday cheering for his beloved Fighting Irish from his seat in the South end zone of Notre Dame Stadium. He lives in South Bend, Indiana with his wife and two daughters.

TOM GOWER has been a fan of the Tennessee Titans since they were the Oilers and he was growing up in Houston. He has remained a fan of the franchise in subsequent stints in North Dakota, Illinois, Washington, D.C., Japan, Maryland, Ohio, and back to Illinois. With degrees from Georgetown University and the University of Chicago Law School, he currently considers himself the most over-educated member of the FO staff. (Clearly, recent football success was not a priority in school selection.) Tom currently maintains Reading and Thinking Football and contributes to Total Titans. His contributions to each week's Audibles at the Line should not be considered legal advice.

ANDREW HEALY looks forward to the day when teams go for two after a late touchdown that cuts into a 14 point deficit. He supports aggressive strategy, the New England Patriots, and Joe Benigno. An associate professor of economics at Loyola Marymount University, his research on voting behavior has been profiled in The New Yorker, as well as on CNN and CBS Sunday Morning. This work ranges from looking at how elections may lead to inadequate natural disaster preparation to considering the impact of college football wins and losses on election outcomes. He also writes about football statistics and history at Football Perspective.

MIKE KURTZ spent years as a Pittsburgh fan in the vast football wastes of Northeastern Ohio, with only his family as support, before moving to Chicago to heckle Rex Grossman. Deep in his heart a baseball guy among the three sports, he became an obsessive football fan in an attempt to make the hurting stop, with surprising success. Despite a somewhat notorious dislike of college football, Mike attended The Ohio State University. There he studied many things, was handed some paper, and then went to law school in Chicago. When he is not practicing law or editing the NFL content on Football Outsiders, Mike plays trombone in the CBA symphony orchestra and works as a NCAA Division III football official.

RIVERS McCOWN wants to strongly express that he has no known relation to Randy McCown, Josh McCown, or Luke McCown, though he is thankful that the latter two have made his last name pronounceable in several iterations of Madden. He started charting games for Football Outsiders in 2007 on a lark and soon found himself engrossed in football writing, statistics, and the idea that Phil Simms was often wrong about things. A lifelong Houstonian by choice, he has built up a tolerance to humidity and bad football teams. Prior to joining Football Outsiders, Rivers was Managing Editor for SB Nation Houston. Although he has left our assistant editor position to cover the AFC South for Bleacher Report, he still writes occasionally on the site and for Football Outsiders Almanac.

BEN MUTH was raised in Phoenix, Arizona and had season tickets to both the Cardinals and Sun Devils. As a result, he insists on irrationally defending Jake Plummer as quarterback. He left the state to go to college in California. He played offensive line at Stanford from 2004-08 and was named first team all conference in his final season. He now literally bleeds Cardinal red (for the Arizona Cardinals and Stanford). He was picked up by the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2009 but released later that same year, due to combination of injury and giving up too many sacks in practice. Ben contributes to both Football Outsiders and SB Nation, and currently lives in Dallas.

CHAD PELTIER was raised in Georgia by Ohio State Buckeye parents. He graduated from the University of Georgia where he developed a love for Athens, GA, a respect for “Run the damn ball, Bobo!”, and serious confusion over how to feel about Urban Meyer. In addition to writing biweekly college football columns for Football Outsiders, he also contributes to the SB Nation blogs Football Study Hall and Land Grant Holy Land. He currently lives in New Haven, Connecticut, but misses SEC country.

It is rumored that MATT WALDMAN is not exactly a person, but the product of a top-secret, joint experiment by IBM, the Air Force, and the Vatican in an attempt to clone and robotize a young Mel Kiper. As a child living at the Ninth Gate of Sports Hell (Cleveland), Waldman engineered skip days from elementary school to absorb the lessons of Bronko Nagurski, Gale Sayers, Jim Brown, and Billy "White Shoes" Johnson. Waldman eventually found his way to Athens, Georgia; legend has it that Waldman spotted Terrell Davis at the tail end of his disappointing college career, offered a few timely pointers, and the rest is history. What has been confirmed as fact is that for the past eight years, Waldman has been studying college football players at the offensive skill positions. He presents his analysis, rankings, and play-by-play documentation in a downloadable tome known as The Rookie Scouting Portfolio. Another fact is that Smart Football and Grantland's Chris Brown said via Twitter that the RSP "is a very good read," and "the best pre-draft scouting report on every conceivable [skills position] guy." Waldman also writes for Footballguys.com, contributes to The New York Times Fifth Down Blog, and is an associate editor at the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business.

ROBERT WEINTRAUB bleeds orange, both because of his inexplicable passion for the Cincinnati Bengals (he grew up in suburban New York, not Ohio) and because of his alma mater, Syracuse University. Robert is a regular contributor to The New York Times and writes their college football previews. He also pens a media column for the Columbia Journalism Review, and writes for ESPN/Grantland, Slate, The Guardian, and many others. His first book, The House That Ruth Built: A New Yankee Stadium, the First Championship, and the Redemption of 1923, was published in 2011. His second book, The Victory Season: World War II, The Homecoming, and the Birth of Baseball's Golden Age, was published in the spring of 2013. He lives with his family in Decatur, Georgia.


Seattle-based DOUG FARRAR started writing for Football Outsiders in 2006, covering the scouting angle with his column Cover-3. He then moved on to cover the NFL for Yahoo! Sports, where he was editor of the Shutdown Corner blog. He now writes for SI.com and returned to the pages of Football Outsiders Almanac in 2013.

Longtime Football Outsiders writer MIKE TANIER is currently a Senior Writer for Bleacher Report. He previously wrote the regular Walkthrough column on Football Outsiders and wrote weekly game previews for The New York Times. Mike has also contributed to his hometown Philadelphia Inquirer. His first solo book, The Philly Fan's Code, covers the history of Philadelphia sports and was published in 2011.


PETER KOSKI was born in San Francisco and was spoiled rotten by the 49ers dynasty before attending San Diego State, where pre-Sunday Ticket television forced him to watch the train wreck that was the Ryan Leaf-era Chargers. His return to the Bay Area coincided with similarly terrible football being played by his beloved 49ers. Peter has been part of the FO game charting project since 2007; after a few years in the game-charting minors and earning his MBA at Santa Clara University, he now coordinates the team of game charting volunteers. On Sundays, you'll find Peter sporting his Patrick Willis jersey, constantly reminding everyone within earshot that they share the same birthday and claiming undeserved credit for Willis' greatness.


Technical Director STEVEN STEINMAN took over mastery of the Football Outsiders code in the summer of 2013. He's also developed custom internal software for Broadcom and Western Digital, and is creator and co-founder of the online searchable point-spread database Spreadapedia. He's a graduate of UC Irvine (ZOT!) and lives in Newport Beach, California.


SEAN McCALL works on the Premium DVOA Database and is the mastermind behind the customizable KUBIAK spreadsheet. He lives in Houston.

Atlanta-based BENJY ROSE was the original Creative Director and programmer for Football Outsiders; he still contributes graphic design to the site when not devoted to his job as proprietor of design agency B:COMPLEX Creative, his hobby playing keyboards in a classic/modern rock band, and his responsibilities as husband, dad to two kids, and ignorer of two dogs. Benjy is a rabid Jets fan, and is extremely proud that Abby learned her J-E-T-Ss just after her ABCs. On Sundays during the season, Benjy can be found wearing his Kelly Green classic Al Toon #88 jersey and laughing at his son's obsession with Dustin Keller.

Drive stats provided by Jim Armstrong

Adjusted Line Yards and Win Projection System developed in conjunction with Dr. Benjamin Alamar

Weekly Playoff Odds calculator developed by Mike Harris

Long-Term Career Forecast developed by David Lewin

SackSEER and Playmaker Score developed by Nathan Forster

Additional programming on statistical tools: John Argentiero, Chris Povirk, Dennis Doughty, Evan Davidson, Eliot Horowitz, Pat Laverty

Former regular contributors: Bill Barnwell, Andy Benoit, Al Bogdan, Alex Carnevale, Will Carroll, Ian Dembsky, Stuart Fraser, David Gardner, Vin Gauri, Tim Gerheim, J.I. Halsell, Matt Hinton, Russell Levine, Ned Macey, Sean McCormick, Brian McIntyre, Vivek Ramgopal, Mike Ridley, Ben Riley, Michael David Smith, Danny Tuccitto, Ryan Wilson

Staff cartoonist from the old days: Jason Beattie