DVOA Analysis
Football Outsiders' revolutionary metrics that break down every single play of the NFL season

Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

A bit of a close call in their final game isn't enough to drop the Seahawks out of the top spot in the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings, making Seattle our top team for 2012. Denver and New England had convincing wins in the final week and move a bit closer to Seattle, but still rank two and three. San Francisco is fourth, and Green Bay rounds out the top five.

Each year, we go through and look at how the best and worst teams of the year fit in among all the teams which have DVOA ratings; right now, that goes back to 1991. Perhaps what's most remarkable about this season is that three different teams end up in the all-time DVOA top 12. When I announced this on Twitter, one follower responded that none of these teams really seems like an all-time top ten team. That seems true, and I wonder why that is. Some of it may be that Seattle stuffed so much of its value into three games, but that's not true of Denver or New England.

BEST TOTAL DVOA, 1991-2012
Year Team DVOA
1991 WAS 56.9%
2007 NE 52.9%
2010 NE 44.6%
1996 GB 42.0%
1995 SF 40.0%
2012 SEA 38.3%
2004 PIT 37.6%
2012 DEN 36.6%
2010 PIT 35.4%
1992 DAL 35.1%
2012 NE 34.9%
2004 NE 34.2%

Honestly, if you compare this year's best teams to some of the other great teams of the last 20 years, they look pretty good. The 1992 Cowboys, for example, went 13-3 and outscored opponents by 166 points. That's often considered the best of the three Cowboys teams that won the title. Well, the Broncos just went 13-3 and outscored opponents by 192 points. The Patriots went 12-4, the same as the 1993 Cowboys and 1995 Cowboys, and outscored opponents by 226 points, far more than either of those Cowboys teams.

The 1992 Cowboys lost to Philadelphia 31-7 in Week 5. The 1994 49ers lost to Philadelphia 40-8, coincidentally also in Week 5. The 1996 Packers lost to Dallas 21-6 in Week 12. That's three of the best teams of the 90's, and each one had at least one loss by two touchdowns. But Seattle, Denver, and New England combined for zero losses of more than two touchdowns. In fact, the only double-digit loss by any of those three teams was when New England beat Denver 31-21.

These are legitimately great teams, in part because they are so well-balanced. Seattle ended up ranking in the top four in offense, defense, and special teams. Denver (and San Francisco as well) ranks in the top five in both offense and defense, although the special teams are a little lower. The Patriots are known for being much better on offense than on defense, but even their defense ended up 15th in DVOA this year. Is that partly because they have so many turnovers? Sure, but FO metrics don't exactly overdose on the value of turnovers. We know that they are more variable than yardage totals.

The other remarkable thing about both Seattle and Denver is the improvement. Seattle was 19th in DVOA last year; Denver was 24th even though the Broncos snuck into the playoffs. That means that both Denver and Seattle make the list of the best year-to-year DVOA improvements we've ever measured. Denver is second behind only the 2010 Lions, while the Seahawks are fourth.

Best Year-to-Year DVOA Improvement, 1991-2012
Year Team DVOA Y-1 Rank DVOA Rank Change
2010 DET -51.6% 32 -1.1% 18 50.5%
2012 DEN -11.8% 24 36.6% 2 48.3%
1999 STL -9.9% 20 34.0% 1 43.8%
2012 SEA -1.5% 19 38.3% 1 39.8%
1999 OAK -18.3% 27 21.2% 3 39.5%
2000 NO -40.3% 31 -0.9% 19 39.4%
2004 PIT -1.6% 19 37.6% 1 39.1%
2004 BUF -7.3% 23 31.3% 3 38.7%
2008 CAR -20.6% 26 18.0% 6 38.6%
2007 TB -19.7% 28 17.8% 8 37.6%

Readers know we've been tracking how well the best 2012 teams rank in DVOA for a few weeks now, not only for total DVOA but also for each unit. In the end, the 2012 Patriots don't end up on the list of the top dozen offenses ever. The Bears defense and the Ravens special teams don't end up ranking as highly as we expected a few weeks ago, but they do make the all-time lists:

BEST DEFENSIVE DVOA, 1991-2012 x BEST SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA, 1991-2012
Year Team DVOA x Year Team DVOA
1991 PHI -42.4% x 2002 NO 12.2%
2002 TB -31.8% x 2007 CHI 11.2%
2008 PIT -29.0% x 1994 CLE1 10.1%
2004 BUF -28.5% x 1996 CAR 9.8%
2008 BAL -27.8% x 2009 CLE 9.7%
2012 CHI -26.8% x 1998 DAL 9.2%
2009 NYJ -25.5% x 2012 BAL 9.0%
2000 TEN -25.0% x 2001 PHI 8.9%
2003 BAL -25.0% x 1997 DAL 8.9%
1991 NO -24.5% x 2000 MIA 8.8%
2000 BAL -23.8% x 2005 BUF 8.8%
1995 SF -23.7% x 2004 BUF 8.7%

On the other hand, we've got the Indianapolis Colts, otherwise known as "the worst 11-5 team in NFL history." I don't mean to take anything away from the Colts' big win over Houston yesterday. The Colts get 54.3% DVOA for that game, by far their best single-game DVOA of the season. It was enough to raise them up almost five percentage points, and they went from 28th to 25th. But this is still the worst 11-5 team ever. The Colts have -16.0% DVOA, making them the first team to ever go 11-5 with a DVOA below -10%. The only other teams to go 11-5 with negative DVOA were the 2000 Vikings (-6.3%), the 2004 Falcons (-4.8%), and the 2005 Bears (-0.9%). In fact, even if they had lost to Houston on Sunday, the Colts would be the first team to ever go 10-6 with DVOA below -10%. 

Would you prefer simple points scored and allowed to complicated DVOA? OK, well, the Colts were the first 11-5 team ever to be outscored by their opponents, 387-357. The difference between the Colts' regular winning percentage and Pythagorean winning percentage, .238, is the second-highest since the AFL-NFL merger. The only team with a bigger gap was the 1992 Indianapolis Colts, who went 9-7 despite being outscored 302-216. That Colts team had a -27.2% DVOA. They were 1-15 the year before and 4-12 the year after. I have a feeling that the 2013 Colts won't be that bad, because they're going to get improvement from their young quarterback and they'll draft a lot of talent on defense, but their luck will regress even if their Luck does not. The Colts are also unlikely to play the league's easiest schedule again.

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The Colts do not have the worst DVOA of any playoff team ever. Three teams were worse: the 2004 Rams (-27.2%), the 2010 Seahawks (-22.9%), and the 1998 Cardinals (-17.1%). All three of those teams won their first playoff game anyway.

The flip side of the Colts would be the Detroit Lions, who went 4-12 despite finishing 16th in DVOA. The Lions had 6.4 Pythagorean wins, and went 3-9 in games decided by a touchdown or less.

Despite the yardage totals of Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson, this year there really weren't any players who came close to any DVOA or DYAR records. We'll look at the best and worst players in a Quick Reads article tomorrow. 

All stats pages should now be updated (or, at least, will be in the next few minutes) including snap counts and the FO Premium database. Loser League results will be updated with the winner announced on Wednesday afternoon.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through the entire 2012 regular season, 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 to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) 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. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE. LAST WEEK represents rank after Week 16, while LAST YEAR represents rank in 2011.

To save people some time, please use the following format for all complaints:

<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>

TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
LAST
YEAR
W-L WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 SEA 38.3% 1 19 11-5 46.6% 1 18.5% 4 -14.1% 4 5.7% 3
2 DEN 36.6% 2 24 13-3 41.4% 2 22.1% 2 -13.8% 5 0.7% 13
3 NE 34.9% 3 3 12-4 37.5% 3 30.8% 1 1.3% 15 5.5% 4
4 SF 29.9% 4 6 11-4-1 24.1% 5 17.0% 5 -14.3% 2 -1.5% 20
5 GB 26.6% 5 1 11-5 24.2% 4 19.5% 3 -7.3% 8 -0.2% 18
6 CHI 20.5% 6 15 10-6 15.7% 8 -10.9% 26 -26.8% 1 4.7% 6
7 NYG 13.5% 9 12 9-7 9.5% 10 12.9% 7 1.4% 16 2.0% 10
8 BAL 9.8% 8 7 10-6 8.3% 11 3.0% 13 2.2% 19 9.0% 1
9 WAS 9.6% 11 21 10-6 18.1% 6 15.3% 6 1.8% 17 -4.0% 27
10 ATL 9.1% 7 8 13-3 2.4% 13 6.1% 12 -2.9% 12 0.1% 16
11 HOU 6.6% 10 5 12-4 -3.0% 19 0.1% 16 -14.2% 3 -7.7% 32
12 CIN 6.1% 13 17 10-6 18.0% 7 -1.8% 17 -3.8% 10 4.1% 7
13 CAR 5.5% 12 20 7-9 10.9% 9 7.1% 10 -3.1% 11 -4.8% 29
14 MIN 2.0% 16 29 10-6 -1.5% 17 0.3% 15 3.1% 21 4.7% 5
15 STL 1.1% 17 32 7-8-1 4.3% 12 -4.7% 21 -9.2% 7 -3.4% 26
16 DET 0.2% 15 11 4-12 1.3% 14 12.3% 8 7.0% 24 -5.1% 30
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
LAST
YEAR
W-L WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 DAL -0.4% 14 14 8-8 -0.4% 16 6.1% 11 6.7% 23 0.2% 15
18 PIT -1.0% 18 4 8-8 0.6% 15 -3.8% 19 -2.9% 13 -0.1% 17
19 NO -5.2% 20 2 7-9 -1.8% 18 11.9% 9 14.8% 32 -2.3% 23
20 TB -6.6% 21 30 7-9 -9.1% 23 0.6% 14 3.0% 20 -4.3% 28
21 MIA -7.3% 19 18 7-9 -12.1% 24 -8.4% 22 -0.6% 14 0.4% 14
22 SD -9.1% 22 16 7-9 -7.0% 22 -10.1% 24 2.0% 18 3.0% 8
23 BUF -12.2% 24 23 6-10 -6.9% 21 -4.3% 20 10.6% 27 2.7% 9
24 CLE -13.5% 23 25 5-11 -6.6% 20 -15.1% 27 4.5% 22 6.1% 2
25 IND -16.0% 28 31 11-5 -14.0% 25 -2.9% 18 14.0% 31 0.9% 12
26 ARI -16.3% 26 28 5-11 -23.4% 27 -31.0% 32 -13.5% 6 1.1% 11
27 NYJ -17.9% 25 10 6-10 -18.2% 26 -20.6% 30 -4.2% 9 -1.5% 21
28 PHI -22.7% 27 9 4-12 -27.3% 30 -10.8% 25 9.4% 26 -2.6% 24
29 OAK -27.8% 29 22 4-12 -26.2% 29 -9.6% 23 12.5% 29 -5.8% 31
30 TEN -29.3% 31 13 6-10 -23.6% 28 -20.5% 29 7.4% 25 -1.4% 19
31 JAC -33.0% 30 27 2-14 -29.6% 31 -18.3% 28 11.7% 28 -3.0% 25
32 KC -40.4% 32 26 2-14 -39.8% 32 -25.1% 31 13.2% 30 -2.1% 22
  • NON-ADJUSTED TOTAL DVOA does not include the adjustments for opponent strength or the adjustments for weather and altitude in special teams, and only penalizes offenses for lost fumbles rather than all fumbles.
  • 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 the second 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.
  • 2012 SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative).
  • PYTHAGOREAN WINS represent a projection of the team's expected wins based solely on points scored and allowed. Please note that this is based on the new formula introduced last year which changes the exponent of the Pythagorean formula based on the offensive environment of each team's games.
  • VARIANCE measures the statistical variance of the team's weekly DVOA performance. Teams are ranked from most consistent (#1, lowest variance) to least consistent (#32, highest variance).
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK 2012
SCHED
RANK PYTH
WINS
RANK VAR. RANK
1 SEA 38.3% 11-5 30.6% 13.0 3 5.1% 4 12.5 3 14.3% 21
2 DEN 36.6% 13-3 38.8% 14.7 1 -6.8% 31 12.5 2 7.7% 4
3 NE 34.9% 12-4 37.6% 13.4 2 -2.9% 21 12.7 1 11.8% 11
4 SF 29.9% 11-4-1 24.0% 12.5 4 6.3% 3 11.4 4 21.7% 31
5 GB 26.6% 11-5 18.8% 11.8 5 2.2% 9 10.5 7 16.3% 27
6 CHI 20.5% 10-6 18.2% 11.0 6 2.8% 8 10.8 6 12.6% 12
7 NYG 13.5% 9-7 12.3% 9.5 8 2.1% 10 10.2 9 33.5% 32
8 BAL 9.8% 10-6 11.6% 9.2 9 -1.0% 16 9.4 11 15.6% 24
9 WAS 9.6% 10-6 13.7% 9.9 7 -0.7% 15 9.2 12 8.5% 5
10 ATL 9.1% 13-3 14.7% 9.1 10 -4.3% 27 11.2 5 13.7% 17
11 HOU 6.6% 12-4 14.7% 8.3 14 -4.0% 26 10.2 8 14.0% 18
12 CIN 6.1% 10-6 12.1% 8.7 13 -5.6% 29 9.9 10 14.0% 19
13 CAR 5.5% 7-9 5.0% 8.8 11 0.8% 13 7.8 18 13.1% 13
14 MIN 2.0% 10-6 -0.3% 8.8 12 4.9% 5 8.8 13 7.6% 3
15 STL 1.1% 7-8-1 -6.3% 8.1 15 9.6% 2 6.6 22 9.9% 8
16 DET 0.2% 4-12 -5.7% 7.6 18 4.1% 6 6.4 23 5.3% 1
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK 2012
SCHED
RANK PYTH
WINS
RANK VAR. RANK
17 DAL -0.4% 8-8 -4.6% 7.9 16 4.0% 7 7.4 19 6.9% 2
18 PIT -1.0% 8-8 5.5% 7.4 20 -5.2% 28 8.7 14 14.5% 23
19 NO -5.2% 7-9 -3.3% 6.4 23 2.0% 12 8.2 15 14.1% 20
20 TB -6.6% 7-9 -3.6% 7.8 17 -1.2% 17 7.9 17 13.6% 16
21 MIA -7.3% 7-9 -4.9% 7.6 19 -1.9% 19 7.1 21 16.1% 25
22 SD -9.1% 7-9 -4.5% 6.6 21 -6.6% 30 8.0 16 9.3% 7
23 BUF -12.2% 6-10 -13.7% 6.5 22 -3.3% 24 5.7 25 16.5% 28
24 CLE -13.5% 5-11 -8.3% 6.2 25 -2.4% 20 6.1 24 11.5% 10
25 IND -16.0% 11-5 -9.7% 6.2 24 -7.4% 32 7.2 20 11.4% 9
26 ARI -16.3% 5-11 -27.7% 4.8 27 10.7% 1 4.8 27 16.1% 26
27 NYJ -17.9% 6-10 -15.9% 5.6 26 0.1% 14 5.3 26 17.6% 29
28 PHI -22.7% 4-12 -26.6% 4.5 28 2.1% 11 3.9 30 13.4% 14
29 OAK -27.8% 4-12 -23.5% 3.7 29 -3.9% 25 4.1 29 14.4% 22
30 TEN -29.3% 6-10 -28.3% 3.3 30 -3.0% 22 4.6 28 20.2% 30
31 JAC -33.0% 2-14 -29.7% 2.7 31 -3.3% 23 3.3 31 8.8% 6
32 KC -40.4% 2-14 -44.0% 2.3 32 -1.5% 18 2.5 32 13.4% 15

(Note: Although this post is titled "Final DVOA Ratings," unofficial postseason ratings will continue each Monday through the playoffs. Also, play-by-play changes made over the next few weeks could result in some small changes to these final ratings.)

Comments

190 comments, Last at 04 Jan 2013, 7:59pm

1 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

In addition to being the worst DVOA team ever with at least 10 wins ('12), the Colts are the worst-rated team with at least 9 wins ('92), 13 wins ('99), and 14 wins ('09). FO hates the Colts :)

106 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

That's kind of neat. I used to gripe to Aaron that they always under-projected the Colts and DVOA just couldn't really grasp Manning's contribution. Turns out it's the damn horseshoe that's the problem. Given the turnover at all levels over the years, that's a pretty odd quirk for one team out of 32 to have.

Though regarding "luck" I'd have to say this year was actually pretty crappy. Injuries, turnovers, Cecil Shorts--half of the Jags' win total! Crosby missing a late kick for GB is the only "they won because of a lucky bounce" event I can remember offhand. I DID read that Luck had a high total of dropped INTs, which is both fortuitous and correctable as a QB matures.

I cannot see their luck being measurably worse next year.

114 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

You may be not be remembering other "lucky bounces". For instance, on their game-winning drive against Detroit, Drayton Florence dropped a Luck INT that hit him in the hands (no, I'm not still angry/bitter). I didn't watch every Colts game, but with has many close wins as they had, there are bound to be others (and not just on the final drive).

168 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

You have obviously forget about the absolute garbage blowing of the whistle towards the end of regulation against Tennessee, in which a fumble that was recovered by Tennessee in winning field goal range was called due to "forward progress." If you watched that game, then you can probably agree the receiver/tight end/back that had the ball was not even close to the point that the whistle is blown the other 99 times. Thus, being another lucky bounce that they received.

So, with the current comments we have three lucky bounces they got. They outplayed themselves a lot this year, though with Luck progressing over the offseason I don't think they will fall off much, if at all.

4 Best teams in DVOA history

Best teams in DVOA history does not equal best teams in NFL history. To begin with, DVOA only goes back to 1991; no 1985 Bears or 1972 Dolphins, for instance. Second, DVOA has been adjusted so that the league average is 0. All you can say is that Seattle, Denver and NE are among the best teams at beating the league average.

36 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

God, yes. It's so obvious that the wide receivers and the offensive line have been carrying the Broncs all season. Peyton was just along for a ride.

5 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

Defining accomplishment of the 2012 Jacksonville Jaguars:
"In the end, the 2012 Patriots don't end up on the list of the top dozen offenses ever."
The Jags got to spoil something anyway.

7 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

The point about not having a big loss is a big deal for teams like Seattle. Last night I went back and looked to if d that for the entire season the team was behind by more than 7 points for a TOTAL of 25 minutes and 44 seconds. Most of that comes from the New England game where Seattle fell behind by 13 points for most of a quarter. Of course, they ended up coming back to win that game. Take out the NE game and Seattle was playing while behind by more than one possession for roughly 10 minutes. Someone might be able to prove me wrong...but that seems to be a pretty good sign of a great team.

20 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

I'm not sure that really means anything. The Redskins, who are a merely a good team, had only one loss by two possessions (steelers game). They trailed for most of the Panthers game too, but I think they led in the 4th quarter in their other 4 losses.

I haven't looked back at the game logs, but I don't remember them trailing by double digits for extended period of time other than the Steelers game.

I'm sure some other good or even average teams have seasons where they don't lose any big ones.

33 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

Yeah, weird stats like that don't really mean that much. Stats like Pythogorean wins are much more indicative of ability, the 2011 Giants notwithstanding, and here, Seattle is 3rd and Washington is 12th.

45 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

Pretty sure that never being down by a large amount is important to judging a teams skill. They listed above that one reason the three team performed so well in DVOA was cause they never got blown out. Staying close consistently. Through the ups and downs of your team is a good thing

47 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

Not getting blown out matters. The order in which the points are distributed within the game doesn't. It's like crediting the 1990 Cincinnati Reds as a team of historical significance, despite winning 91 games, based on leading the NL West every day of the season. That's trivia.

56 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

Right. New England's DVOA didn't get dropped more than normal when they went down 31-3 against San Francisco (and thus were behind by more than 7 points for a long duration), because they ended up losing 41-34. I mean, even the 1985 Bears lost their only game by double digits. One or two bad games doesn't disqualify a team from greatness.

34 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

That Panthers game was a fluke. The Panthers touchdown came 35 yards after the play had been whistled dead. The Redskins defenders heard the whistle and stopped trying to tackle DeAngelo Williams, because that's a good way to get a 15-yard penalty and a hefty fine. Even though Williams never stepped out of bounds and continued running to the end zone, the ref thought he had stepped out, and blew his whistle. Therefore, it sucks that it was a bad call, but the play is over.

But no! The refs retroactively decided the whistle didn't count (and in fact denied that there even was a whistle) and awarded a touchdown to the Panthers. It was one of the most infuriating calls of the season, even moreso than the more famous Seattle-Green Bay miscall. On that one the replacement refs were close, if incorrect. On this one the regular refs were absolutely wrong, and wrong in a way that destroys the authority of the referee and the integrity of the game. Just a terrible, terrible call.

117 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

I think the most infuriating call of the season was when the NFL changed their rule on coaches challenges after a TD/TO after the Detroit-Houston game, and didn't tell anyone.

Because they sure didn't enforce it in the MIN-GB game.

126 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

They didn't "change[] their rule". Per the officials, McCarthy's challenge came after the replay booth official signaled to the crew chief that the Jones fumble should be reviewed.

Schwartz, on the other hand, threw his challenge flag before the replay booth official signaled for a review. (I believe he even threw it while the play was still going on.)

Now, you can quibble with the timing (did McCarthy actually throw his flag prior to the signal, and the officials didn't see it - or worse, willfully ignored it?), but the rule absolutely did not change.

128 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

If every TD or turnover is to be reviewed by default, then why would it matter when the challenge flag came out? Both plays were going to be reviewed, it shouldn't matter if the booth signaled for review before the flag or not. The officials changed how the rule was enforced.

133 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

Every touchdown or turnover is most emphatically NOT reviewed "by default". Scoring plays and turnovers are treated as any other play that happens inside the two-minute warning: the booth official is the one to trigger a review, but it's still at his discretion.

135 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

The actual statute is interesting in the context of the DET-HOU and GB-MIN rulings. Regardless of interpretation, they aren't a consistent application of the rules.

The rule (Rule 15, Section 9) is that the replay official has authority over scoring plays and turnovers, as well as two-minute warning situations. The penalty application is specifically that a challenging team cannot benefit if they trigger a delay-of-game penalty. (Which is how the NFL justifies not reviewing the erroneous Forsett TD).

Thing is, GB was penalized 15 yards for an illegitimately challenge. Thus, they were ruled to have delayed the game. Under 15:9, that means that the challenge had to stop -- GB was now forbidden by rule from benefiting from the ruling. The rules make no allowance for the timing of a coach's challenge.

Either the referees completely botched one of the two situations, or the NFL changed the interpretation midstream.

141 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

I disagree.

The Schwartz foul was considered a delay, since it came before the booth official requested a review.

The McCarthy foul was not considered a delay, since it came after the booth official requested a review.

The fouls themselves are considered Unsportsmalike Conduct.

I'm curious as to where you found that text, as well. Is that from the full rulebook or the digest?

143 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

Full rulebook. (page 97 of 120 of the pdf)

Thing is, if the booth is going to review it anyway, then throwing the flag *isn't a delay*.

More and more, I'm of the opinion that the officials completely botched the application of the rule in the DET-HOU game, and the NFL won't come out and admit it because it determined the outcome of the game. They are damned lucky that also bungling the GB-MIN call didn't.

Because god knows, complete rule misapplications didn't totally change the seeding of Houston, Minnesota, GB, or Seattle this year.

145 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

"Thing is, if the booth is going to review it anyway, then throwing the flag *isn't a delay*."

But when Schwartz(*) threw the flag, no one knew that the play would be reviewed. The booth official had yet to make a decision. In theory - as in, why the rule is in place - Schwartz could have been throwing the flag to stall while the booth official has more time to look at the call.

(*) Possibly McCarthy, too, but the officials' position is that McCarthy's flag came out after the booth official called for a review.

185 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

So are you saying that if the official in the booth had decided not to review the Lions play then Schwartz would have been unable to challenge it? And if the booth decided not to review it Schwartz would still have gotten the penalty?

187 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

"So are you saying that if the official in the booth had decided not to review the Lions play then Schwartz would have been unable to challenge it?"

Correct. Coaches cannot challenge turnovers and scoring plays. Only the booth official can call for a review.

"And if the booth decided not to review it Schwartz would still have gotten the penalty?"

Correct. Throwing a challenge flag on an unchallengeable play is a fifteen-yard unsportsmanlike conduct foul.

92 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

The Seahawks, however, had the 4th toughest schedule compared to the Redskins' 15th toughest schedule. That makes a difference when looking at the "close games" issue. Also looking at total point differential I think also helps if you're going to look at close games...the Seahawks ended up 3rd in point differential compared to 12th for the Redskins.

8 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

If I were Jim Schwartz, and I were about to meet with the owner about my job, I would pull up this article on my iPad and bring it with me to the meeting (for the all-time DVOA improvement in 2010, and for all the advanced metrics saying his team had rotten luck in 2012, and will improve next year from regression to the mean alone).

Also, I would hack into Youtube and erase all the videos showing the Justin Forsett touchdown and challenge.

I still would like for him to be fired, though.

118 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

The NFL has already changed the enforcement of the Forsett rule, based on week 17.

WC Ford has never fired a coach who showed even the faintest glimmer of promise, and has even retained some who stunk like old cheese.

There are a lot of coaches worse than Jim Schwartz, and the man deserves at least one mulligan year. He did inherit an 0-16 team and got them to the playoffs fast. Besides, since Bobby Layne left, when the Lions haven't boomeranged from season to season, their other option has been putrescence. I'll take the Fontes boomerang.

125 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

I would prefer, rather than settling for the Fontes boomerang/treadmill of first-round playoff exits, the ownership try to reach the next level. Of course, when the Fords try to "think outside the box" they do silly things like hire Matt Millen, so maybe I should be careful what I wish for.

136 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

Thing is, last year's team was basically a 7-9 team that was lucky. This year's team was basically a 7-9 team that was unlucky. Otherwise, they had almost the same performance.

Schwartz may not turn out to be what they need, but I don't think he's done anything to get himself thrown out onto the street. Not without some damn good replacement idea in place.

180 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

"Thing is, last year's team was basically a 7-9 team that was lucky."

I don't disagree that the 2011 team had a lot of luck, but saying they were 7-9 quality is overstating it just a bit. The had a solid DVOA, had a few blowout wins, only 1 blowout loss, and pretty much matched their pythagorean win total exactly, while only overperforming their estimated wins by 0.6. A few of the unsustainable things that we should have expected to regress this year included fumble luck, third down defense, and a few other things. They all regressed far more than I expected.

But your overall point about Schwartz may still be valid. He did a good job in 2010 and 2011, but subjectively he did not seem to be on top of things in 2012...game management and preparation/motivation of the team seeming to be chief amongst them. Those were two things he used to be good at, so maybe he'll recapture the mojo in 2013, but I'm somewhat skeptical.

9 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

3 teams in the top 10 for highest DVOA would seem to indicate a lack of parity. How do the bottom teams, by DVOA, compare to the lowest DVOA values of all time?

29 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

In my opinion, parity in the NFL doesn't mean all the teams are equal. It means that any team has a shot at greatness. When you see the top/bottom teams in the league rising and falling consistently across the league, parity is working as intended.

46 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

That's not really the definition of parity.

The dictionary definition would be that all teams are roughly equal, with low variance in their quality. It has nothing to do with having "an equal shot at greatness."

51 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

But Ranccor is right about the functional definition of parity as applied to the NFL. When people talk about parity it's always about how many teams have won the Super Bowl or been in the playoffs in the last X years.

97 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

This year's worst teams were nowhere near as extreme as this year's best teams, either in total DVOA or in any of the three splits. The Chiefs end up as the 10th worst team ever in total DVOA. The Jaguars aren't even in the bottom 25.

The Cardinals are the 11th worst offense since 1991.

The Saints don't even make the 40 worst defenses since 1991. This year's defenses were very closely packed except for Chicago.

The Texans are the 14th worst special teams since 1991.

10 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

While DVOA and conventional stats hate the Colts, they actually faired well (win/loss) against other playoff teams. They played 5 games against teams going to the playoffs and went 3/2 (Wins against MIN, GB, HOU, Losses to NE and HOU). So to say, this team can't compete in the playoffs, I think is short-sighted. In fact, I like their chances in BAL despite DVOA greatly favoring BAL.

The other teams in the AFC haven't exactly done tons better against other playoff teams. In fact, the Colts are the only team in the AFC with a winning record against playoff teams.

NE => 3/3
DEV => 1/3
HOU => 3/3
BAL => 2/4
CIN => 2/2

Both of BAL wins against playoff teams were in weeks 1 and 3. They definitely have faired well against playoff teams since.

** Forgive any errors in the records. I compiled these quickly and may have overlooked something.

11 Re: Final 2012 DVOA Ratings

Denver went 2-3 but that aside, here's an article that analyzes how predictive wins against quality opponents are compared to large wins against weaker opponents.

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2005/fo-fox-guts-and-stomps

I mean, I agree that it's be foolish to say that the Colts can't win in the playoffs. I mean it was pointed out above that other teams that made the playoffs rated even worse won games in the playoffs nonetheless, but it does mean that DVOA doesn't favor them in any game that they play and DVOA correlates fairly well with future success, so it's not a good sign.

But just saying that you didn't choose a particularly predictive stat for what you're saying.