by Aaron Schatz
It's time to take one more trip into the past, with the last of the three new years of historical DVOA that we promised to deliver this summer. We're going back over 30 years to the wonderful year of 1986. The radio waves were filled with the sound of "That's What Friends Are For," "Addicted to Love," and "Party All The Time." The No. 1 movie at the box office was "Top Gun." And the defenses of the NFC ruled the National Football League.
Two years ago, in 2015, we had a year of defensive extremes: the Denver Broncos were one of the top defenses in NFL history, while the New Orleans Saints set (what was at the time) a record for the worst defensive DVOA ever. 1986 was a similar season. According to DVOA, the top three defenses in the NFL belonged to the top three overall teams in the NFL. But the top defense (and top team) was not the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants, who were third. It also wasn't the legendary mid-Bill Walsh dynasty San Francisco 49ers, who were second.
No, the top overall DVOA and defensive DVOA of 1986 belonged to the defending champion Chicago Bears. The 1986 Bears pass almost every other team we've ever measured and now have the No. 2 defensive DVOA of all-time.
|Best Defensive DVOA, 1986-2016|
|Year||Team||DVOA||W-L||Pass D||Rank||Run D||Rank|
This kind of dominance from the Bears is not really a surprise. Some football historians believe that the Bears had a better defense in 1986 than in 1985, but a significantly inferior offense. The Bears allowed fewer points per game in 1986 (11.7 vs. 12.3) as well as fewer yards per play (4.12 vs. 4.38). The 1986 Bears had fewer takeaways, but the difference was small: three fewer interceptions and three fewer forced fumbles. The starting lineup was the same in both years, except for starting cornerback Leslie Frazier, who had a career-ending knee injury while returning a punt in Super Bowl XX.
The 1986 Bears still fall significantly short of the 1991 Eagles. That means it is likely that when we finally break down 1985, the "Super Bowl Shuffle" Bears will not hold the title of the greatest DVOA defense ever. At least, not when we only look at the regular season. Of course, part of what makes the 1985 Bears legendary is the way they destroyed opposing offenses in the postseason. The 1986 Bears are legendary for what they did in the postseason, but for a different reason: Doug Flutie's hideous playoff performance at quarterback. Flutie went a dismal 11-for-31 for 134 yards, with one touchdown and two picks, as the Bears lost at home to Washington, 27-13.
(Brief digression: The 1986 Bears defense wasn't great in the playoff loss to Washington either. So when we include the postseason in DVOA, as I did in the ratings I did for our ESPN Insider "30 for 30" series this summer, the Bears drop to No. 3 all-time behind the 1991 Eagles and the 2002 Buccaneers.)
The struggles of the Chicago offense were a huge storyline for the entire season. The Bears finished 20th in offensive DVOA; every other team in the overall top 10 was also in the offensive DVOA top 10. However, the difference in offensive DVOA with and without Jim McMahon is not as big as you would expect. McMahon battled injuries all year, and ended up playing in six games: Weeks 1, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 12. In those weeks, Chicago's offensive DVOA was -2.1%. In the other 10 regular-season games, Chicago's offensive DVOA was -10.1%. There's a gap, but not a colossal one. During the regular season, it was actually Flutie who had the highest passing DVOA, suggesting that Mike Ditka's decision to start him in the playoff game was not absurd. No Bears quarterback had the 200 attempts needed to be ranked in DVOA, but the breakdown went like this:
- Jim McMahon: 6 starts, 150 pass attempts, -13.0% DVOA
- Mike Tomczak: 7 starts, 151 pass attempts, -26.2% DVOA
- Steve Fuller: 2 starts, 64 pass attempts, -34.8% DVOA
- Doug Flutie: 1 start, 46 pass attempts, -12.6% DVOA
Tomczak, a second-year undrafted free agent out of Ohio State, actually had the highest net yards per pass attempt at 6.94, but he also completed less than half his passes and had a horrific ratio of 2 touchdowns to 10 interceptions.
I said that 1986 was a year of defensive extremes, and the other side of that coin is the horrible defense played that year in the state of Florida. But before we get to the Bucs and Dolphins, let's run the entire 1986 table.
* * * * *
Here are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings for 1986, 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 averaged based on situation and opponent 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) and week of season. NON-ADJUSTED TOTAL VOA does not include these adjustments.
As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.
- 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.
- WEIGHTED DVOA is adjusted so that earlier games in the season become gradually less important. It better reflects how the team was playing at the end of the season.
- 1986 SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#28, most negative).
- PYTHAGOREAN WINS represent a projection of the team's expected wins based solely on points scored and allowed.
- VARIANCE measures the statistical variance of the team's weekly DVOA performance. Teams are ranked from most consistent (#1, lowest variance) to least consistent (#28, highest variance).
DVOA for 1986 is now listed in the stats pages:
The 1986 Tampa Bay Buccaneers pass the 2015 New Orleans Saints as the worst defensive DVOA ever, by a very slim margin of about 0.05%. The Bucs allowed 5.97 yards per play, with only 13 interceptions and 19 sacks. The NFL averages in 1986 were 4.98, 21, and 43, respectively.
1986 is famously the year that Tampa Bay had the No. 1 pick and took Bo Jackson, only to have Jackson decide he wanted nothing to do with the Culverhouse family and would play baseball instead. However, the massive black hole of essentially blowing the No. 1 overall pick on nobody hides the fact that Tampa Bay's defensive drafts were also a complete fiasco. The Bucs took defensive players with their next four picks after Jackson: SMU cornerback Rod Jones with another first-round pick, then two second-round picks and a fourth-round pick. Jones had a long NFL career, but he mostly had it in Cincinnati. The second-round linebackers were Jackie Walker, who never developed, and Kevin Murphy, who didn't start until 1988. Fourth-round pick Craig Swoope was the starting strong safety as a rookie and the Bucs loved his performance so much they cut him halfway through his second season.
And this was the best defensive draft the Bucs had enjoyed in years. You can't accuse the team of not trying to solve the defensive problems. In 1985, the Bucs also used their first four picks on defensive players -- over seven rounds, because they had dealt three picks away. The big find there was safety Mike Prior in the seventh round. Prior played in the NFL for 14 years. Of course, almost all of them came for Indianapolis and Green Bay, because Tampa Bay cut him after his rookie season. In 1984, the Bucs didn't have a first-round pick but used their second- and third-round picks on defensive players. Linebacker Keith Browner Sr. only started for three years, and defensive back Fred Acorn was out of the league after one year. By the way, the Bucs didn't have a first-round pick in 1983 either. Were they taking advice from the Cleveland Cavaliers?
|Worst Defensive DVOA, 1986-2016|
|Year||Team||DVOA||W-L||Pass D||Rank||Run D||Rank|
Continuing our tour through NFL Florida, the 1986 Dolphins also rank among the 10 worst defenses in DVOA history. The Dolphins were No. 1 in offense for three straight years 1986-1988, and either 27th or 28th in defense each year. Oh, and they were 28th in 1989 too. Are you wondering why Dan Marino never won a Super Bowl? This is why. Notice that every team with a top 10 offense in 1986 is in the total DVOA top 10 with a winning record, except the Dolphins who were 8-8 and ranked 13th in overall DVOA. Marino led all 1986 quarterbacks in passing DYAR and ranked second in passing DVOA, and he was simply playing a different game than everybody else. Marino threw 44 touchdowns in 1986, while no other quarterback threw for more than 24. He had 643 pass plays, while Bernie Kosar (571) and Jay Schroeder (572) were the only other quarterbacks above 550. Yet incredibly, the Dolphins were also dead last in the league in sacks allowed. Marino only took 17 sacks all season.
These extreme defenses are not the only peculiar records for 1986. Let's take a look at some other interesting teams, starting at the top and going down the DVOA rankings:
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS/NEW YORK GIANTS
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The curious question here might be how the 49ers were No. 2 in DVOA but went only 10-5-1, while the Giants were 14-2 but finished only third in DVOA, ten percentage points behind the other 14-2 team in Chicago. The answer was performance in close games, as it often is. The 49ers crushed the bad teams on their schedule: a 31-7 win over Tampa Bay, a 43-17 win over St. Louis, and a 35-14 win over Indianapolis. However, they were 1-3-1 in games decided by less than a touchdown, while the Giants were 7-2 in such games.
From Week 9 to Week 12, the Giants won four straight games by a field goal or less. In Week 13, they went to Candlestick Park on Monday Night Football and beat the 49ers, 21-17. That's one of the Giants' seven close wins and one of the 49ers' three close losses. The rematch in the playoffs was not quite as close. The 49ers went to the Meadowlands and the Giants completely destroyed them. The final score was 49-3. This is the famous game where Jim Burt knocked Montana out of the game with a concussion. Lawrence Taylor intercepted that pass for a pick-six while Montana spent the night in the hospital.
There's more to say about the Super Bowl champion 1986 New York Giants in this interview with Bill Belichick we did where he answers questions about the 1986-1988 Giants teams.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
The Patriots had gone on a bit of a Cinderella run to Super Bowl XX before they were crushed by the Chicago Bears. They looked even better as defending champions. In five of their first eight games, the Patriots allowed a touchdown or less. Of course, they allowed 27, 31, and 38 points in the other three games and lost each one. The Patriots ended up finishing 11-5 as AFC East champions, but the way they did it was really strange.
The 1986 New England Patriots essentially stand as a monument to how much the passing game matters more than the running game in the NFL. The Patriots went 11-5 with a good defense, a good pass defense, and a running game that was complete garbage. In the year of "Top Gun," the Patriots certainly did not feel the need... the need for speed.
|Worst Run Offense DVOA, 1986-2016|
|Year||Team||Pass DVOA||Rank||Run DVOA||Rank||Yd/Car||Top Running Backs|
|1991||IND||-29.0%||27||-30.2%||28||3.30||Eric Dickerson, Ken Clark|
|2005||ARI||12.3%||14||-29.1%||32||3.16||Marcel Shipp, J.J. Arrington|
|2002||HOU||-37.9%||32||-27.4%||32||3.18||Jonathan Wells, James Allen|
|2013||BAL||-9.0%||24||-27.2%||32||3.14||Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce|
|2013||JAC||-24.2%||32||-27.1%||31||3.33||Maurice Jones-Drew, Jordan Todman|
|1986||NE||25.2%||6||-26.5%||28||2.93||Tony Collins, Craig James, Mosi Tatupu|
|1995||ARI||-11.2%||24||-25.1%||30||3.52||Garrison Hearst, Larry Centers|
|2015||WAS||31.4%||6||-23.5%||32||3.65||Alfred Morris, Matt Jones|
|2016||MIN||8.6%||19||-23.3%||31||3.17||Jerrick McKinnon, Matt Asiata|
|1991||PHI||-17.8%||25||-23.0%||27||3.13||James Joseph, Heath Sherman, Keith Byars|
|1998||NO||-11.8%||27||-22.9%||30||3.54||LamLamar Smith, Ray Zellars, Troy Davis|
Halfback Tony Collins averaged 2.6 yards per carry, and fullback Craig James averaged 2.8 yards per carry. Each had over 150 carries. Backup fullback Mosi Tatupu added another 71 carries at 2.4 yards per carry. As a team, the Patriots couldn't even average 3.0 yards per carry. The only running plays to gain at least 20 yards all season were a Tony Eason scramble and an Irving Fryar end-around. At least Collins was useful as a receiver; he had five receiving touchdowns and ranked third in receiving value among running backs behind Gary W. Anderson of the Chargers and Darrin Nelson of the Vikings.
Only three teams since the AFL-NFL merger have averaged below 3.0 yards per carry, and all three of them came in years for which we have DVOA ratings. The worst is another Patriots team with a massive imbalance between the passing and running games. The 1994 Patriots led by Drew Bledsoe and coached by Bill Parcells averaged just 2.79 yards per carry on the ground. Despite that low average, the Patriots' -16.9% rushing DVOA wasn't even last in the NFL that season. Essentially, the offense was so heavily built around Bledsoe that the Patriots passed on first down to put the running game in strong down-and-distance situations instead of running on first down to put the quarterback in manageable situations. The Patriots averaged a league-low 7.3 yards to go on runs that year. (The NFL average was 7.9 in 1994; last season it was up to 8.2.)
Then comes the 1992 Indianapolis Colts at 2.91 yards per carry (-18.5% rushing DVOA, because they were at least good running in the red zone) and then the 1986 Patriots at 2.93. Before that, the last team that averaged less than 3.0 yards per carry was the 1966 Pittsburgh Steelers at 2.91. Washington somehow averaged less than 3.0 yards per carry three different times in the '60s: 1961, 1962, and 1965.
NEW YORK JETS
The 1986 Bears are not the only team in 1986 to rank on the all-time DVOA lists. The Jets had phenomenal special teams in 1986, ranking as the No. 4 special teams ever and passing the 2016 Rams as the best punting team on record. Punter Dave Jennings didn't have as much individual value as Johnny Hekker did last season, but the Jets had phenomenal punt coverage with four forced fumbles. The Jets also got Pat Leahy going 16-of-19 on field goals and had kick return touchdowns from both Bobby Humphery and Jo-Jo Townsell (Your Life is Calling). It was part of a fabulous run where the Jets are No. 1 or No. 2 in special teams DVOA for three straight years from 1986 to 1988. The Jets weren't even the only all-time great special teams of 1986. New Orleans also makes it into the top ten, thanks mostly to Hall of Fame kicker Morten Andersen, punter Brian Hansen, and kick returner Mel Gray.
|Best Special Teams DVOA, 1986-2016|
The greatness of the special teams was somewhat overshadowed by the horrible tragedy of the Jets going Full Kotite. The Jets started the season 10-1 and looked like they might be Super Bowl-bound. Then they got wracked by defensive injuries and quarterback Ken O'Brien saw his performance collapse. They lost their final five regular-season games. Then somehow they turned things around a bit in the playoffs, walloping the Chiefs 35-15 in the wild-card game and then losing in respectable fashion, 23-20 in overtime to Cleveland.
|1986 New York Jets DVOA, Weeks 1-10 vs. 11-16|
|Weeks 1-10||Rank||Weeks 11-16||Rank|
Despite having the best punter in the league, the Jets ran a fake punt on fourth-and-20 against the Patriots in Week 2, even though they were losing by 11 points halfway through the fourth quarter, because they were still the Jets.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Speaking of Kansas City, the Chiefs may be the weirdest team of the entire 1986 season.
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The 1986 Chiefs stand out like a sore thumb, both among 1986 teams and among Kansas City Chiefs teams. Look above and you'll notice that the 1986 DVOA ratings generally track the win-loss records. The top 14 teams in DVOA have winning records or are 8-8, while 13 of the teams from 15 to 28 have losing records. The Chiefs are the one exception, ranked 22nd in DVOA despite a 10-6 record. At the same time, 1986 is the only year between 1972 and 1989 where the Chiefs managed to make the postseason or record double-digit wins.
What's going on here? It's not really about close games, as the Chiefs still had 8.9 Pythagorean wins. It's only a little about schedule, where the Chiefs ranked 23rd in the league. The Chiefs had a horrible offense, where Todd Blackledge started half the games and completed 45.5 percent of his passes. But they had a very good defense that also got phenomenally lucky when it came to making big plays, and a special teams unit that piled up the big, generally "non-repeatable" plays that aren't included in special teams DVOA.
The Chiefs recovered 16 of 22 fumbles on defense, but what's more important is what they did with fumbles and interceptions. The Chiefs had a grand total of TEN non-offensive touchdowns during the regular season, plus one in the wild-card loss to the Jets. In Week 16, the Pittsburgh Steelers outgained the Chiefs 515 yards to 171 but the Chiefs won 24-19 because of a fumble recovery in the end zone, a kickoff return touchdown by Boyce Green, and a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown by Lloyd Burruss. A Week 7 win over San Diego was even more wild. The Chargers outgained the Chiefs 512 yards to 222 and won the time of possession battle 39:17 to 20:43. The Chiefs won the game anyway, 42-41. Again, they had three non-offensive touchdowns. Lloyd Burruss had two interception returns for a touchdown, and Kevin Ross added a third when the Chargers fumbled a kickoff return. Meanwhile, the Chargers also had an interception return for a touchdown; the Chiefs had first-and-10 from their 14 near the end of the second quarter but Leslie O'Neal picked off Todd Blackledge nine yards behind the line of scrimmage and went five yards into the end zone. There were also three fumbles in this game, and the Chiefs recovered all of them.
After the season, the Chiefs fired head coach John Mackovic and replaced him with special teams coordinator Frank Gansz Sr. And what do you know, it turns out that a ridiculous rate of non-offensive touchdowns is tough to repeat. The 1987 Chiefs went 4-11 (4-8 in regular games, 0-3 in strike games) and dropped from 22nd in DVOA all the way to 24th.
This is one Football Outsiders has already taken on, way back in 2006 when Mike Tanier wrote a feature about the Sacked and Looted 1986 Eagles. Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks were sacked 104 times in 1986. That's 6.5 sacks per game for an entire season. By comparison, only one quarterback was sacked that often in Week 1 of the 2017 season, when DeShone Kizer took seven of them.
No other offense in 1986 took more than 64 sacks. Hell, no other offense in NFL history has taken more than 78 sacks. The 1997 Arizona Cardinals are the lucky ones in second place, with the 2002 Houston Texans third with 76 sacks. No other team has ever taken more than 72 sacks. So only two other teams in NFL history have even come within 30 percent of the number of sacks Philadelphia took in 1986. In fact, only two other teams in NFL history have taken more sacks than just one player took in 1986. Randall Cunningham took 72 sacks by himself. This is partly because of the weird way Buddy Ryan used Cunningham. As Mike Tanier explains in that piece about the 1986 Eagles' sack record, Ron Jaworski started much of the year for the Eagles but Cunningham would come in specifically on third-and-long where his scrambling ability would theoretically be of more value. In Weeks 1-9, Cunningham was in for 62 pass plays and 47 of them came on third or fourth down. Twenty of those 47 plays were sacks. Meanwhile, Jaworski took 22 sacks, backup Matt Cavanaugh took 9 sacks on 67 dropbacks, and Keith Byars threw in an extra sack on a halfback pass play just for the hell of it.
Seriously, go read Mike Tanier's article on the 1986 Eagles. It is insane. Buddy Ryan was insane.
Now let's take a look at the best and worst players by position:
Quarterbacks: As noted above, Dan Marino easily led all quarterbacks with 1,693 passing DYAR. No other quarterback would come close to Marino's 1986 performance for over a decade, and no other quarterback reached 1,650 passing DYAR or more until Peyton Manning did it in 2000. Tommy Kramer of the Vikings actually led the league in passing DVOA, in part because he played a very difficult schedule. Marino had over 200 more pass plays than Kramer did. Boomer Esiason was second in DYAR and third in DVOA. Jay Schroeder and Bernie Kosar rounded out the top five.
Indianapolis second-round rookie Jack Trudeau finished last in the league in passing DYAR; he completed less than half of his passes and had more than twice as many interceptions (17) as touchdown passes (8). Randall Cunningham was next-to-last in passing DYAR but led the league in rushing value. Cunningham, Steve Young, and Mark Malone (!) all had five rushing touchdowns in 1986.
Running Backs: Curt Warner of Seattle and George Rogers of Washington are neck-and-neck atop our rushing value table. Warner just narrowly edges out Rogers with more carries and more yards per carry while Rogers had more touchdowns and a higher success rate. James Brooks was third in rushing DYAR and first in DVOA, and also ranked fourth in receiving DYAR. Eric Dickerson, in his final full season with the Rams, was fourth in rushing value. As noted above in the section on the Patriots, the top receiving backs were Gary W. Anderson of the Chargers and Darrin Nelson of the Vikings.
Wide Receivers: Very few people remember the stars of the pre-Belichick New England Patriots, but wide receiver Stanley Morgan had his best season in 1986. For most of his career, Morgan was strictly a deep threat. He averaged over 22 yards per reception in 1979, 1980, and 1981, but caught fewer than 50 passes each season. Then suddenly, for one year in 1986, the Patriots used him as a modern No. 1 receiver. Morgan had never caught more than 60 passes before, or had over 1,050 yards. In 1986, Morgan caught 84 passes for 1,491 yards. He also had 10 touchdowns, and his 62 percent catch rate ranked fifth among wide receivers with at least 50 targets. So Morgan was far and away the No. 1 receiver of the year by DYAR. His 544 DYAR put his 1986 season among the top ten wide receiver seasons in DYAR history. Mark Duper finished second but way behind Morgan with 366 DYAR. Jerry Rice was third, Wes Walker fourth, and Gary Clark fifth.
The surprising name at the bottom of the wide receiver table is Hall of Famer James Lofton, who had quite the off-year in 1986. Lofton was coming off three straight seasons with over 1,150 yards but only had 64 catches for 840 yards in 1986. That season's 13.1 yards per reception is the only time between 1978 and 1991 where Lofton had an average below 16 yards per reception. Lofton also had a low 45 percent catch rate. We can't completely blame that on quarterback Randy Wright, who was close to NFL average for quarterbacks that season. Lofton's bad year got even worse when he was charged with sexual assault in December because of an incident in the stairwell of a Green Bay nightclub, though he was later acquitted. After the season, the Packers traded him to the Raiders for two mid-round draft picks. He bounced back after that, even making the Pro Bowl for the 1991 Bills.
Tight Ends: 1986 was peak Todd Christensen. No other tight end could match his 1,153 receiving yards, his eight touchdowns, or his beautiful perm. Honestly, I'm serious about the touchdowns. We're so used to tight ends as red-zone weapons these days, but Christensen and Steve Jordan (6) were the only tight ends with more than five touchdowns in 1986. The legendary Mark Bavaro was second in receiving DYAR with Jordan third. Rodney Holman of Cincinnati was the top right end in DVOA but only had 54 targets compared to 146 for Christensen and 102 for Bavaro. In last place for receiving DYAR was Greg Hawthorne, who was originally a halfback for Pittsburgh, played some wide receiver for New England, and then was suddenly thrust into the starting tight end role for the 1986 Patriots. The next year, Hawthorne couldn't make an opening day roster but showed up with the Indianapolis Colts during the strike. Those were his final three games in the NFL. I'm guessing there's more story here than what I can find online, but it looks like this guy had a really strange career.
Here are a few more fun tidbits about the 1986 season:
- The Giants would never have won Super Bowl XLII if Mike Carey called "in the grasp" the way officials did in the mid-'80s. Here's a good example from a Week 1 Jets-Bills game. Ken O'Brien is barely touched.
- The NFL implemented uniform number restrictions before the 1973 season, but grandfathered in pre-existing numbers. San Diego wide receiver Charlie Joiner, who wore No. 18, was the last player left whose number did not fit the restrictions. Joiner broke the all-time receiving yards record in the same Week 5 game where Seattle's Steve Largent set a new record for consecutive games with a catch.
- In the second Seahawks-Chargers game, Week 15, the Seahawks somehow ended up in second-and-52. Two offensive holding calls and an illegal crackback block call gave them first-and-44, and then Dave Krieg took an 8-yard sack. And then, on second-and-52, Lee Williams of the Chargers got flagged for roughing the passer and the Seahawks got a new set of downs.
- There was a weird punting situation for the Minnesota Vikings in Week 8. Apparently, punter Greg Coleman was hurt. Although he was listed as active, quarterback Wade Wilson punted in the first half (he had done it in high school) and kicker Chuck Nelson punted in the second half.
- The Week 8 Redskins at Giants game on Monday Night Football was being played simultaneously with Game 7 of the Mets-Red Sox World Series, and Joe Jacoby got flagged for a false start for jumping when the crowd cheered Ray Knight's seventh-inning go-ahead home run on the Jumbotron.
- Detroit didn't score a point in the first quarter until Week 9.
- We can't give enough thanks to Jeremy Snyder for all his hard work transcribing these old gamebooks. He also put together a Year in Quotes from 1986 for us, just like he did for 1987 and 1988. You can read it all here. It's kind of gigantic.
There's still a lot to do to add 1986-1988 to the Premium DVOA database and player pages. We'll be working on that over the next couple months. Meanwhile, after the 2017 season ends we'll get started on 1984 and 1985. We have all of 1985 except for one quarter: the first quarter of the Week 6 Colts-Broncos game has an unreadable mimeograph in the official gamebooks in both the Broncos and NFL archives. If we can't find a record of it elsewhere or a videotape, we'll need to piece it back together based on game stats, but we'll do our best. As for 1984, there are two games where we do not have any gamebook or video: Week 13 Bengals-Falcons and Week 14 Bills-Colts. If you know anything about a tape of one of these games, please let us know.