Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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» Impact of the NFL's Kickoff Rule Change

After three NFL seasons of kicking off from the 35-yard line, what has been the impact on touchbacks, returns, field position, scoring and injuries? Also, is this rule responsible for a record number of big comebacks?

31 Jul 2007

FO's Fourth Annual First Anniversary Bash

On July 30, 2003, we opened up Football Outsiders to the world by announcing our presence on Boston Sports Media Watch. We had 738 visitors that day and didn't reach 700 visitors in a day again until mid-October. The staff originally consisted of me and a few college buddies, and the only regular columns were the DVOA ratings and Scramble for the Ball.

Well, here we are four years and three books later. Last year, Football Outsiders ran a dozen columns on a regular weekly basis. FO writers now appear in a wide variety of locations, both in print (New York Times, New York Sun, ESPN the Magazine), and online (FOXSports.com, Rotoworld, AOL Fanhouse, ProFootballTalk.com). Once again, we thank our readers for making this possible.

As I do every year in honor of our birthday, I've put together a list of some of our best articles as well as a few of Jason Beattie's best cartoons. This list is a bit incomplete, because it doesn't include any of the FOX exclusive columns (Quick Reads, MDS Report, Manic Monday, Rundown, and the DVOA commentary). However, FOX's archives are sort of non-existent right now, so there's not much we can do. We have all these articles and plan to get them up on FO as archives some point in the future.

Our birthday is also an opportunity to congratulate some contest winners. Let's start with the New Writers Contest. We received a bunch of entries from FO readers who wanted to become part of the staff and contribute to Pro Football Prospectus 2008. We whittled it down to ten finalists, and then whittled that down to three new writers. Say goodbye to any "east coast bias" at Football Outsiders and say hello to:

  • Ben Riley, a Seahawks fan and lawyer from San Francisco.
  • Sean McCormick, a Jets fan and writing instructor from San Francisco.
  • Stuart Fraser, a Steelers fan and nanoscience Ph.D. student at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

That's right, folks: FO is now international. Sean McCormick has written for us before; if you have Pro Football Prospectus 2006, you will see his name on the Jets and Raiders chapters. Stuart Fraser is known as "Ilanin" on the discussion threads. Ben Riley is known as Peter Parker's clone and will be played by Elijah Wood in "Football Outsiders: The Motion Picture."

Along with being assigned PFP 08 chapters, Riley will also be taking over The Week in Quotes; McCormick and Fraser don't have specific columns during the season, but they'll be contributing to Audibles and perhaps in some other places. We also set aside a couple of writers who will be on the "practice squad" in case of emergency -- for example, if a writer has to drop out next spring because of increased work at his day job or something -- and a couple of writers who did good research and may write stats articles in the future. Thanks to everyone who applied.

Two other new writers are not connected to the contest. First, Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle will be contributing to next year's book, making him the third San Francisco-based addition to PFP 08, not to mention our first actual full-time journalist contributor (well, not counting Will Carroll). Second, Brian Fremeau will be doing his Fremeau Efficiency Ratings for FO on a regular basis. This will be our first stats-based college football column, launching with a preseason preview and then running weekly beginning with the first BCS ratings in mid-October.

We also have to announce our winner for the 2007 "Old Faces in New Places" free agency contest: Joe Putnam of Bellefonte, PA. He won a free copy of PFP 07 as well as a free download of the KUBIAK spreadsheet. Our two second place winners each get a Football Outsiders t-shirt: Juan Carlos Rodriguez of Monterrey, Mexico and Tim Shipman of San Francisco. All three readers were actually tied, correctly guessing the new homes of six players and correctly guessing three Washington cap casualties. The tiebreaker was the most accurate picks for players who were not unrestricted free agents. Joe Putman got three of these players correct: Drew Bledsoe retiring, Randy Moss getting traded to New England, and Jake Plummer being traded to Tampa Bay. His other correct picks were Eric Johnson in New Orleans, Ahman Green in Houston, and Leonard Davis in Dallas.

While we're at it, some housecleaning notes:

  • We noticed that there has not been a lot of discussion on the two new open discussion boards. We've set up one to discuss fantasy football and one to talk about Pro Football Prospectus 2007. We will also be using these open discussion boards for the weekly game discussion threads during the season, so you definitely want to register if you are a regular commenter on the site. Unfortunately, the old-style open threads were being accessed by so many people that it shut the website down on Sundays, particularly during the playoffs. We are keeping the old-style threads for discussions of articles and Extra Points.
  • Some people may not have noticed these new boards because they access the site with an RSS reader. If you use an RSS reader, remember to come by the site every so often, because there is a lot of useful information that doesn't end up in actual articles, including announcements of radio appearances and KUBIAK updates.
  • We know that some people have had a problem where the FO store that sells KUBIAK projections does not come up on the screen. We believe we have solved the issue, but if you still have the problem, try refreshing your browser.
  • The premium stat database was supposed to debut as part of this birthday article, but we're still working out the kinks because the original programmer of the subscription code bailed on us. We didn't want to rush it out with tons of bugs, so we're taking our time and will probably start selling access next week.
  • While we're on the subject of FO products, allow us to once again point out our Cafepress store with Football Outsiders t-shirts, hats, and mugs, including the much-requested ROBOPUNTER jerseys. With the season approaching, now is the perfect time to prepare for those Sundays at the sports bar by purchasing a conversation-starting Football Outsiders t-shirt. Come on, wear our logo. You know you want to. Even your dog wants to.
  • The planned series of articles looking at the best and worst players in the 11-year history of DVOA has been postponed a bit while I work on an idea that I think will really improve Quick Reads each week. It would have an impact on the DPAR numbers, and I don't want to write those articles and then have them immediately become obsolete.
  • As you may have noticed, the new ESPN "Fantasy Football Hall of Fame" bears a VERY strong resemblance to the South Jersey-based FFHoF run by Virgil Parks and introduced in this December 2005 Too Deep Zone. Mr. Parks has some thoughts on the issue and we'll be running his response later this week. Unfortunately, we may have seen the end of yearly voting for the FFHoF in the Football Outsiders awards, but I'm leaving that up to Mr. Parks himself.

-- Aaron Schatz

THE BEST OF FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS, YEAR FOUR

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY

FOX BLOG POSTS

TOO DEEP ZONE

CONFESSIONS OF A FOOTBALL JUNKIE

EVERY PLAY COUNTS

STRATEGY MINICAMPS

OTHER

THE BEST OF JASON BEATTIE


Posted by: admin on 31 Jul 2007

25 comments, Last at 07 Aug 2007, 2:26am by NYCowboy

Comments

1
by James, London (not verified) :: Tue, 07/31/2007 - 7:56pm

Congrats guys!

Who's writing "Scramble" with Bill this year?

2
by Randy S. (not verified) :: Tue, 07/31/2007 - 8:07pm

Congrats to the new writers! Looking forward to another year of "This Week In Quotes".

I also wanted to say that the Marmaduke comic above is the best thing Jason Beattie has done. I'd like to see more along those lines.

3
by Lou (not verified) :: Tue, 07/31/2007 - 8:39pm

Congrats Guys!

Heres to many more years of the best football writing found anywhere.

4
by footballprofessor (not verified) :: Tue, 07/31/2007 - 8:42pm

Many congratulations!

But seriously, how did "The Bears Trend" not get any honorable mention? Come on, I told you so!

5
by Vince (not verified) :: Tue, 07/31/2007 - 9:04pm

Ben Riley is known as Peter Parker’s clone

Outstanding.

6
by ABW (not verified) :: Tue, 07/31/2007 - 10:07pm

Completely random and off-topic post:
Anyone know of bars in Brisbane, Australia that play NFL games? Contact me at awebber@cs.oberlin.edu.

7
by Jerry (not verified) :: Tue, 07/31/2007 - 10:27pm

More congratulations!

And congrats to the new writers as well.

8
by Not saying (not verified) :: Tue, 07/31/2007 - 10:46pm

Re: 2

If you want more Marmaduke-related humor, try here.

9
by Bill Barnwell :: Tue, 07/31/2007 - 10:50pm

#1 - It's a SURPRISE.

10
by RH (not verified) :: Tue, 07/31/2007 - 11:09pm

Man, reading about the Fremeau Efficiency Index brought back heady old memories of last college football season, where I myself tinkered wiht my own rating system for college football. I took a per-play approach instead of per-drive, but the focus on per-??? efficiency was still foremost. Got it refined fairly well, predicted the results of the bowls with something like 75% accuracy if I recall right. Think I'll do a writeup on it and post in on the message boards- any idea which forum I should stuff it in?

11
by Harris (not verified) :: Tue, 07/31/2007 - 11:10pm

I wish I had read Tanier's rant about Garcia vs. McNabb back in December because I was saying the same things to every fool who fell in love with Garcia. Those of you who don't live in Philly would have been astonished at how quickly this city turned on one of the best QBs in the league. Now I get to laugh at the half-wits who dropped $75 to buy the jersey of a backup journeyman QB playing on a one-year deal.

12
by CA (not verified) :: Wed, 08/01/2007 - 12:50am

Congrats to all the new writers and the entire Football Outsiders staff. This site just keeps getting bigger, better, and more influential.

One article that I wish had been included in the "Best Of" list is "Never Punting," by guest writer Jason Scheib last August (see link in my name). Flawed though it was, I found it to be one of the most intriguing pieces ever published on this site. Also, the comments section on that article is excellent. I'm going to reiterate the call for one of the Outsiders to give that work a more polished, sophisticated, advanced statistical treatment. If such a project found that Jason was even close to right in his conclusions, that could turn out to be the most important bit of analysis ever conducted by Football Outsiders.

13
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Wed, 08/01/2007 - 1:38am

Thanks Football Outsiders and fellow readers who add to the discussion in the comments and those willing to take the time to submit a guest column.

14
by James, London (not verified) :: Wed, 08/01/2007 - 6:47am

#9,

Bill please tell me you've got "Catholic Match Girl" to partner you this year.

15
by Ilanin (not verified) :: Wed, 08/01/2007 - 7:50am

Thanks for the congrats everyone, and thanks Aaron for letting me on the team.

I'd also like to point out that FO's writing corps now has two Seahawks fans (Ben Riley and Doug Farrar), and two Steelers fans (Ryan Wilson and myself), which is twice as many as the Patriots have.

16
by Adam B. (not verified) :: Wed, 08/01/2007 - 10:20am

Congratulations. FWIW, I keep trying to register for the boards, and it keeps telling me I've screwed up the confirmation code. Not sure if I'm alone with that problem.

17
by RMGreen (not verified) :: Wed, 08/01/2007 - 11:18am

Congratulations, FO!

Oh, and by the way, I'd love to particpate in the new FO forums, but I registered months ago and my account was never activated. Kinda tough to get those forums going when you won't approve new users. ;^)

I sent an Email to Bill about it. Hopefully I can be deemed worthy of a forum account.

18
by admin :: Wed, 08/01/2007 - 11:30am

At one point, we were having a serious problem with spam memberships to the boards. We have mostly fixed that, but people might want to try registering again.

19
by Bill Barnwell :: Wed, 08/01/2007 - 11:44am

If your account hasn't been activated, send me an e-mail at bbarnwell-at-footballoutsiders.com and I'll activate it.

20
by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Wed, 08/01/2007 - 2:21pm

Happy Birthday FO! I lurk alot less than I used to (I get drowned out now), but I still enjoy reading and commenting from time to time. Nice to see the old regulars on here too.

21
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Wed, 08/01/2007 - 5:35pm

Congrats to Aaron and the rest of FO on the anniversary, and to all the new writers.

22
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Wed, 08/01/2007 - 6:11pm

#17:

Funny, I had no problem registering at all. Maybe you can have my account after I'm banned for being the most hated poster here :-)

23
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 08/02/2007 - 2:53pm

DolFan, you have to get in line for that distinction. Two names come to mind immediately, and you are not among them. I can recall some discussion threads that devolved into 80% commetns bitching about a poster, rather than the purported subject of the article.

So you have some serious stupidity ahead of you if you really want to get ambitious. Good luck.

24
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 08/02/2007 - 3:24pm

Okay, you guys officially suck. Do you know how much of an otherwise productive workday you just cost me, you bastids?

I got so involved in re-reading last year's stuff I shirked my responsibilities at work, blew off an IRS audit, and allowed my office to burn to the ground. And I blame you. Thanks.

25
by NYCowboy (not verified) :: Tue, 08/07/2007 - 2:26am

Congrats to the new writers.

Beattie's stuff is awesome, it's like the 3rd or 4th time I've read some of these, and they're still hilarious.