Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

25 Nov 2010

When Will Bounces Stop Going Jets' Way?

This article isn't just about the Jets. There are segments about the Cowboys punter and the Patriots tight ends, too. Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by: Mike Tanier on 25 Nov 2010

16 comments, Last at 28 Nov 2010, 11:55am by Billy Rubin


by ammek :: Thu, 11/25/2010 - 10:36am

Been a while since the average completion rate was that low: last time 2003, in fact. This year it's 61.3%. Keep up, Mike!

by Bob P (not verified) :: Thu, 11/25/2010 - 10:43am

Just as I was suprised to see Vince's article a few weeks ago say something similar, I am surprised to see this article say:

"Remember, the Jets aren’t causing a lot of fumbles — they cause just about as many as they give up — they are just recovering a lot of them. That’s not skill, it’s good fortune. It will turn around on them some time before the season ends."

Once again, this is flawed logic. It is no different from saying that if a coin comes up heads 100 times in a row, the odds are greater than 50-50 that it will come up tails next time.

by Tomczaked :: Thu, 11/25/2010 - 11:19am

I don't think that's the implication. I think its that we would expect the next 100 flips to be evenly distributed between heads and tails so the overall percentage gets closer to 50%. Applied to turnover recoveries for the Jets this would mean the expected recovery rate should cause their overall rate to "turn" over the course of the rest of the season - although it likely will not reach 50% since their aren't enough opportunities left in the season to bring the rate down that far (unless they go through a random "unlucky" streak).

by Vincent Verhei :: Thu, 11/25/2010 - 11:36pm

And to paraphrase myself from that comment thread, what we're saying is that the coin won't come up 100 times in a row again.

by Bob P (not verified) :: Fri, 11/26/2010 - 3:41pm

Not to belabor the point, but what you mean to say is that the coin MOST LIKELY won't come up 100 times in a row again.

by Spielman :: Fri, 11/26/2010 - 10:49pm

The point is belabored.

by gratif1 (not verified) :: Sat, 11/27/2010 - 7:42am



by Bob P (not verified) :: Thu, 11/25/2010 - 11:36am

That may be the implication, but the quote is "it WILL turn around on them..." (caps mine).

I think we can all agree that over the course of the full year it MAY turn around on them, but to say it WILL turn around on them may not be accurate. We can only know that at the end of the season.

by Tomczaked :: Thu, 11/25/2010 - 12:21pm

I think I agree. But if someone flipped 100 heads in a row, i might say something like "I guarantee the flipper cannot do that again!" even when I can only really say "it is extremely unlikely the flipper will flip 100 heads in a row again despite the fact it just occurred".

[unless I doubted the F.O. assertion of random coin flips and then I might ask to examine the coin].

by Billy Rubin (not verified) :: Sun, 11/28/2010 - 11:55am

OK, let's put this in basic terms. The Jets have been involved in 31 fumbles, 22 of which have turned out their way, rather than the expected 15-16. How likely is this to happen again? In other words, how likely are the Jets to come out on the favorable side at least as many times as they did in the first part of the season?

The answer is 99.90%(!). Meaning the Jets haven't been just lucky, they've been really, really lucky, and you can't expect that to continue.

Aside: no one is saying they're going to be 99.9% unlucky the other way, we're just saying they can't count on getting those extra 6-7 fumble opportunities to go their way again.

Details: Treat fumbles as a fair coin toss, calculate the st. dev. for 31 tosses, use the normal approximation (typically valid for 25+ tosses) to evaluate the likelihood

by loneweasel (not verified) :: Thu, 11/25/2010 - 12:10pm

If a coin indeed does come up heads 100 times in a row, there's a much better chance it's loaded.

by Mr Derp (not verified) :: Thu, 11/25/2010 - 12:11pm

The bounces seemed to go the Patriots way for plenty of years. Ask non-Patriot AFC team fans.

by stevegrogan (not verified) :: Fri, 11/26/2010 - 10:32am

The fact of the matter is, it's always needed to be lucky as well as good. The Jet's have beaten only ONE better than .500 team, (Patriot's) and you should see them slip the next 3-4 weeks. If the Patriot's outlast them to win the AFC EAST, it's well deserved as they will have played a much tougher schedule.

by Shawn K. (not verified) :: Fri, 11/26/2010 - 3:27pm

The Jets have played three .500+ teams and outscored them by four. The Patriots have played four .500+ teams under moderately tougher circumstances and outscored them by five.

Of the four games they don't have in common, the Jets play Denver (-15% DVOA through Week 11), Houston (-2%) and New England (+27%) twice while the Patriots play Indianapolis (+12%), San Diego (+16%) and New York (+14%) twice for a tougher strength of schedule by a 1.1% DVOA margin.

by Jake R (not verified) :: Sat, 11/27/2010 - 1:53am

Including the games they play against each other in their SOS is somewhat disingenuous. It penalizes the superior team for being better. The easy fix for this is to either eliminate those games or include dummy games played against themselves. But, the Jets, when compared to the Patriots, absolutely should not get a SOS boost because the Patriots are a better team.

If you eliminate the head to head games, the difference becomes much more pronounced between the two schedules.

by Shawn K. (not verified) :: Sat, 11/27/2010 - 1:51pm

The unbalanced schedules are already the proxies for teams being unable to play themselves. A game being head to head doesn't change the quality of competition faced and its effects can't be excluded.