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SITE NEWS: Look, Kids, FO's Annual Call for New Game Charters!

Time for our annual call for game charting volunteers. If you've read Pro Football Prospectus 2008, you know just how valuable this information is. The more charters we have, the quicker we can turn around the data and use it during the season -- and the fewer people who have to cover a full game instead of just one half. If you join the charting project, you'll get access to all the charting data once it is complete. You'll get to contribute your thoughts to our "Game Charters Speak" articles during the season, and your comments may end up in PFP 2009. Dependable charters over a certain minimum number of halves in 2007 also received their choice of either a free PFP 2008 or free KUBIAK projections. Any charter will tell you how much you learn from watching a game for charting -- it really gives you new insight on the sport. If you are interested, please e-mail Bill Moore at charting-at-footballoutsiders.com. We'll be doing the first half of the Oakland-Tennessee national broadcast on August 15 as practice for prospective new charters (and any experienced charters who may feel rusty after a few months off). You can compare your charting to mine and ask any questions you may have, and then decide if you want to be involved during the regular season.

Comments

9 comments, Last at 11 Aug 2008, 4:18pm

1 Re: SITE NEWS: Look, Kids, FO's Annual Call for New Game Charters!

by Chris // Aug 04, 2008 - 4:44pm

On a typical basis, do you have multiple charters on a game to compare/average things out? How do you determine which charter is "right"? It seems like in a data intensive business being precise is VERY important.

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2 Re: SITE NEWS: Look, Kids, FO's Annual Call for New Game Charters!

by Lance // Aug 04, 2008 - 7:10pm

Does being a charter require anything besides a TV? That is, I don't have TIVO or anything-- though I suppose I could records games on VHS...

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3 Re: SITE NEWS: Look, Kids, FO's Annual Call for New Game Charters!

by NewsToTom // Aug 04, 2008 - 7:18pm

You'll need to be able to record the game, as you need PBP to do the charting, plus it'd be damn hard to do in realtime.

It's quite possible to do charting with a VCR-I did it in 06. It may be a little hard to read the numbers at times, but nothing too bad.

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4 Re: SITE NEWS: Look, Kids, FO's Annual Call for New Game Charters!

by Ted // Aug 04, 2008 - 8:14pm

Dude, the "kids" thing was funny the first 100 times.

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5 Re: SITE NEWS: Look, Kids, FO's Annual Call for New Game Charters!

by Fnor // Aug 05, 2008 - 12:25pm

Doing it off broadcast/vcr is hellish, but possible. Thank god I'm not relying on that stupid VCR this year.

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6 Re: SITE NEWS: Look, Kids, FO's Annual Call for New Game Charters!

by mikeabbott // Aug 05, 2008 - 7:20pm

I tried to do this last year when I had an HD PVR and just ended up wasting the FO peoples time.
These were some of my mistakes:
1. I need bifocals and I'm clumsy with the keyboard.
The FO data is distributed and edited in a giant spreadsheet. Sharp eyes that can easily switch between near and far are a must. Not hitting wrong keys and getting confused as to which row you are in is a useful skill.
2. I didn't have enough football knowledge. I started with the idea that the PVR would let me learn as I went. This was true for stuff that is shown consistently enough like counting rushers and people in protection but the NFL shows don't broadcast everything.
The defensive backfield was difficult for me, I think you need to know enough to tell what is happening with a minimal set of clues here.

Similar to that,offensive formations were reasonably easy to chart but I often had no idea what the backfield was doing between the limited TV coverage and the normal disguise techniques defenses use.

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7 Re: SITE NEWS: Look, Kids, FO's Annual Call for New Game Charters!

by Arthur // Aug 06, 2008 - 4:44am

Is it possible to collect data on a game even when you´re living in germany?

I live there but i could do some research on single games.

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8 Re: SITE NEWS: Look, Kids, FO's Annual Call for New Game Charters!

by socctty // Aug 07, 2008 - 12:41am

I would LOVE to do this, but uh... I'm cheap so I always go over to a buddy's house to watch DirecTV during the season. I don't even have cable right now and I'm not in any particular team's media market (New Mexico is Dallas, Denver, and Arizona at any given time - and for baseball, sometimes Houston as well, so if the Texans improve greatly they could get leverage here too).

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9 Re: SITE NEWS: Look, Kids, FO's Annual Call for New Game Charters!

by zlionsfan // Aug 11, 2008 - 4:18pm

There's no way you could chart a game live. There are too many things to catch all at once.

You can do it with a VCR - like other charters, I did the first couple of seasons I charted - but I think it's much easier in HD and with a DVR. For my first few games, there was a lot of rewinding required to catch the right formations and such, and even now, I typically watch the first few seconds of every pass play several times to make sure I get the rushers and protection correct.

Mike has a good point. This will be more difficult if you have less football knowledge ... the one thing I feel I still do poorly is tell the difference between zone and man coverage. I know this may sound funny, but one way to improve your knowledge (other than reading this site) is to play Madden. NCAA will work as well, but the terminology's more likely to be consistent in Madden, plus you get more accustomed to things like jersey numbers (90-something on defense: must be a LB).

I also like to download the NFL's Game Book so I can easily bring up rosters ... on the horror that is the Lions, I occasionally forget players, and certainly on other teams, there are a number of players I wouldn't otherwise recognize.

For a lot of games, there is one person assigned to the first half of a game, one assigned to the second half, and one or more backups who would chart the game if someone falls through ... hopefully we'll reach a point where everyone charts only a quarter, and maybe at that point the turnaround will be quick enough that we would be contributing to the weekly stat update. (Something to think about when you are looking through the data this season: if you'd like to see charting-related data, help us!)

NOTE: I am just a volunteer and sharing my views. I'm not making any commitments on behalf of FO. They know where I live. :)

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