Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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» 2017 Adjusted Games Lost

Two NFC teams were hit hardest by injuries last year. One already set the AGL record in 2016, while the other has a coach with the worst AGL since 2002. Also: the Rams' incredible bill of health in L.A., and Tampa Bay's questionable injury reporting.

30 Jul 2005

Happy Second Birthday to Football Outsiders

As of today it has been exactly two years since we opened up Football Outsiders to the world by announcing our presence on Boston Sports Media Watch. Immediately, we became one of the least-visited football sites on the Web. 738 people came the first day, and we didn't get that many visitors in one day again until October 14, 2003, the day we were mentioned in the last-ever ESPN.com Page 2 Tuesday Morning Quarterback column.

That was the beginning of the spread of the Football Outsiders gospel to the masses. By the end of our first year, we had been mentioned in the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and on websites like ESPN.com and Slate. By the end of our second year, we had actually written articles featuring our advanced NFL stat analysis for the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and for websites like ESPN.com and Slate. The Football Outsiders staff took over the majority of both pro and college football coverage in the New York Sun newspaper. A handful of articles we wrote for a football annual produced by another website served as a trial run for our own book, produced after we partnered with the Internet's leading stat analysis website, Baseball Prospectus. Pro Football Prospectus 2005 just arrived in stores and has received rave reviews since the first readers received their copies a week ago.

As our footprint has grown, so has our staff. Football Outsiders started out as me and a couple of college buddies. Within our first year, we picked up two great writers in Michael David Smith and Russell Levine. (Neither of whom I've ever actually met in person, by the way; when you meet us on the book tour, it will also be the first time we are meeting each other.) In the last year we've added six more regular writers to the site, including Mike Tanier -- who had actually been paid to write about football before he joined FO! -- and award-winning injury columnist Will Carroll.

Onto year three, and even bigger and better things. Here's a list of some of the features we have coming for you in the next couple of months:

  • The Black and Blue Report, a weekly injury analysis by Will Carroll.
  • Any Given Sunday, a weekly analysis of the week's biggest upset by Ned Macey.
  • Too Deep Zone, a weekly column on whatever the heck Mike Tanier is thinking about.
  • Every Play Doesn't Count, a weekly round-up of pre-season action.
  • Translation of DVOA into adjusted points per game (as featured in PFP 2005).
  • Advanced metrics for measuring individual defensive players.
  • (Tentatively) a stat database offering DVOA by game as well as sortable splits like DVOA by down and quarter.

Last year, in honor of our birthday, I put together a list of some of our best articles as well as a few of Jason Beattie's best cartoons. (Here's the first anniversary article.) This year, in honor of our birthday, I've done the same, featuring highlights from our second year. We hope it brings back some memories for those who have been reading for a long time, and hooks some of you who just found out about our site recently. In the words of the legendary Alexa Tobin, "Rock on."

-- Aaron Schatz




(1999 ratings coming in August 2005)












Posted by: admin on 30 Jul 2005

38 comments, Last at 10 Aug 2005, 3:05am by NF


by Theo (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 11:19am

Congrats too all of you.
It’s great to see the site develop from a pioneer stance into a full force serious 3 point stance, ready to go, ready to sack the QB…rating.
I don’t even know when I first saw this site, it’s been more than a year let alone HOW the hell I got here.
I truly hope this becomes an even greater success. Analyze the bullcrap out of the lame cliché football comments. You’re the first thing I do when I get to work.

BTW, I love the humor on the site, keep it up.

by Ray (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 11:48am

Happy Birthday, FO! And congratulations on your continued success. :^)

by Phil P (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 11:59am

Happy B-day and congrats. Can't wait for my PFP '05 to show up!

by James, London (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 12:22pm

Congratulations! I found the site through TMQ in 2003 and, "you've come a long way baby".

The writing's grand, the analysis is razor-sharp, the humor is biting and (with the exception of Brady vs Manning) the reader comment is always well argued. As I said on another thread, this is the best NFL site on the web (and my copy of the Book is still not here).

Can we have more of the same please?

by AndyNH (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 12:30pm

Congrad-diddly-ations! I too found FO via TMQ (some comment about interesting stats late in 03), and have been hooked ever since. My PFP arrived pretty immediately - one weekend, Harry Potter. The next, PFP. Now that's some good weekend mail luck.

Anyway, keep up the good work!

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 12:38pm

A well-deserved congratulations to everyone at FO. As with many others, I meandered here when the site was first mentioned in TMQ, and stayed during the few weeks it hosted TMQ prior to the move to NFL.com - and haven't left.

That's even more impressive given that I'm more a college football kind of guy (OK, more than 'kind of', I love college football), but the writing and interaction between columnists and readers/posters keeps me coming back for my daily dose of the NFL (and it does have those college football articles out there to keep that side of me happy, too).


by karl (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 1:30pm

Just went to the Internet Wayback Machine to see what the original site looked like. Click the link on my name to see how FO looked in August of 2003.

by krugerindustrialsmoothing (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 1:32pm

my morning routine at work is now...
1. turn on computer
2. open internet explorer
3. click favorites..football outsiders
4. and continue to refresh throughout the day for new content

There's 41 days till kickoff, but probably only minutes to the next fo article.

Nicely done, keep up the great work.


by MDS (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 1:42pm

It just so happens that FO and I share a birthday, although I'm 27 years older.

by beedubyuh (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 2:33pm

Imagined first meeting between Aaron and MDS...

Aaron (taking MDS's hand): Hey, Mike! It's great to finally meet you in person after all the writing you've done for FO!

MDS: Yeah, Aaron, I know what you mean. It's nice to finally put a face to the name. It's funny...(trails off)

Aaron: What?

MDS: Oh, nothing.

Aaron: Really, what?

MDS: It's silly...

Aaron: C'mon, man, you can tell me. I feel like we know each other pretty well after all the e-mailing.

MDS: Yeah, you're right, I was just thinking that you'd be taller. That's all.

Aaron: Huh?

MDS: I told you it was silly.

Aaron: Yeah.

MDS: I mean, y'know, you're so...

Aaron: Short?

MDS: Well, yeah. You're not offended are you?

Aaron: Offended? Me? No. Not at all. Y'know it's funny...

MDS: Hmmm? What's that?

Aaron: I thought you'd be thinner.

by Stiller Fan in Cle (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 3:23pm

Congrats on your success, anywhere where you can post at 2 in the morning and possibly recieve a fairly quick response is tops in my book...

Although, did you have to link to the AFC championship preview?

by Mr B, Nottingham UK (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 4:55pm

Seems like a big thank you is required for TMQ since he sent us all here! Keep up the good work.

I'm still looking forward to reading PFP but I live in the UK so might get it before 8 September I suppose.

by Joe Pisarcik Magnet (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 8:24pm

I found this site through the old Baseball Primer site. Thanks, Aaron and company.

by Old James (not verified) :: Fri, 07/29/2005 - 8:30pm

I came here through Aaron Gleeman's Twins blog in September '03...what brilliant work you guys do. Keep it up.

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 12:13am

You know, most two year olds can't even speak in complete sentences. FO is just two and it's already written dozens upon dozens of articles. Being that FO is so clearly ahead of the curve when it comes to two year olds, I can only conclude that by the time it is 11 or 12 it will have solved world hunger. Anything less will be a disappointment. A disappointment, I say!

Seriously, congrats on a superb job so far.

by Timdog (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 6:03am

Well, congrats, guys. I came from the TMQ reference as well and I really dig the site.

I don't comment much and I still owe Aaron my IIR-formula for weighted DVOA (its infinite, baby - and vastly superior to the current FIR based WDVOA formula, as I will someday demonstrate in well formatted Excel), but I still read obsessively as the stat geek indside me just won't let me let go...

Anyways, Aaron and company, good deal and happy birthday for FO.


by Gatts (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 11:02am

Yeah, I've been here since the beginning, saw it on Primer. It's been great.

by its (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 11:05am

first time writing after more then a year reading but can not think of a better opportunity..

by Duncan (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 11:19am

Congratulations, especially on the book, which I just got and have already read most of.

I wish there were a thread just for the book, but I guess this is as good a place as any to share my thoughts. The player comments in the back are really solid. I like how every now and then you have an extra-long one with more detail or even a chart. The team chapters are pretty good. Seattle stands out as a really good one. I've noticed a couple of typos but I can understand how that would happen on your first book. One thing I didnt' like was that you didn't predict actual records for each team. The percent chance that each team would finish within a range was OK, but I'd rather have your ultimate projection of overall record.

Are you guys doing Prospectus 2006?

by Pat on the Back (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 11:57am

I love this site, even if every time I mention a stat from it in a football argument at a bar all my friends roll their eyes at me. Then again, they do that pretty much any time I open my mouth, so whatever. Happy birthday.

by Ken (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 1:15pm

Superb site that keeps going from strength to strength... keep up the good work!

by Aaron (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 1:19pm

Hi ho. OK, OK, I've been convinced by all the requests. I'll put up a book mailbag next week answering some book-related questions I've already received, and people can use that to discuss the book as well.

by Jon (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 7:13pm

Congrats on making it so far, the book is great!

by Catfish (not verified) :: Sat, 07/30/2005 - 8:25pm

Congrats on another great year! I got the book last Saturday and by Sunday I had already read the whole thing. I'd say that speaks volumes for the quality of work you guys put out. Here's hoping for many more years of FO greatness!

by Kyle (TCN) (not verified) :: Sun, 07/31/2005 - 1:53am

i came over from tmq, too. this is my main NFL site, now. espn.com isn't even in my history file anymore. this is a great community.

happy birthday, fo.

by Andrew SV (not verified) :: Sun, 07/31/2005 - 8:16pm

Congratulations, you have a cool site. Hey, are you friends with the Cardinals owner? You should suggest a move to Las Vegas, it would be great both for the team and the city. It's a big city and it's kinda unfair that they don't have franchise in any proffesional sport. Los Angeles was the first city I thought of but 4 teams in California would be just too much. Please do something!! I'm just a Cards fan in Canada. I'm alone in the world!!!

by Larry (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 12:09am

Just wanted to add a hearty thank you for providing somewhere to get good football insight and interesting conversation on the subject. Not to mention the very good writing, too. Keep it up.

by Lou Doench (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 11:56am

Happy Birthday!!! And congrats on getting the Pro Football Prospectus Gig, I've already finished mine. Pretty soon you'll be driving Ferrari's and sipping Kristal just like those Baseball guys... ;)

by Bassett (not verified) :: Mon, 08/01/2005 - 3:56pm

Funny, i share the same Birthday too, happy birthday FO & MDS!!!

by SteelerBill (not verified) :: Tue, 08/02/2005 - 12:01am

Happy Birthday and congrats!!

by Heath (not verified) :: Tue, 08/02/2005 - 12:43pm

"What? No mention of the Peter King Homage contest? What kind of stupid site is this?

"Uh, like the best football site ever?"

Two cheers for FO - keep it rolling!!

Heath -
(Fan of New England Defense West - aka - Cleveland)

by bravehoptoad (not verified) :: Tue, 08/02/2005 - 4:58pm

I feel like F.O. is to football sites what Disney is to amusement parks. The top six football sites are all F.O.: "DVOA Analysis", "Scramble for the Ball", "Four Downs", "Every Play Counts", "Extra Points", etc., etc.

Though I have to confess, my favorite thing of all is the quality of readers and posters that F.O. attracts. Try, just try, to have a decent football conversation over at Yahoo or on Sportsline. Before F.O. I was beginning to despair of finding good football fans. Thanks, guys!

by Jeff J. (not verified) :: Thu, 08/04/2005 - 10:31am

Congrats to the Outsiders! And thanks to Aaron who gave my sports writing and site a big push when I started out. TMQ introduced me to FO, and I'm glad I followed the link.

I wish you all the very best and continued success.

by Tarrant (not verified) :: Thu, 08/04/2005 - 11:42am


I agree. Ugh, trying to have an even semi-decent conversation on Sportsline about any topic is worthless (I've tried for college football, I never braved posting NFL there). It doesn't help that their messageboard system is a POS and everything scrolls away after only a little over 100 comments, but it's filled nothing but constant "Patriots Rule Manning Sucks" and "Manning Rules Patriots Lucky"...well, maybe that isn't the best example, but anyway, I agree.

The articles are great at FO, but they wouldn't be as interesting without the commentary. I look forward to the start of the college football reporting here too, even though that's a much-less-emphasized part of the site, it's still better than what one gets at the major sites (and hey, this season we can have the Fred Edelstein Lock Challenge to see if readers can do any better...)...


by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 08/05/2005 - 12:11am

Book tour? I can't wait!

Happy birthday, Football Outsiders!

Major kudos to Aaron and the rest of the Outsiders for this site, which has provided me with quality information since I found this website (it was through TMQ; late 2003). It has also given me a chance to run the FO Reader Participation Mock Draft (linked in name) for the past 2 years, which I have enjoyed greatly.

by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 08/05/2005 - 12:23am

Happy birthday MDS and Bassett!

by Israel (not verified) :: Fri, 08/05/2005 - 6:56am

I don't like to post unless I think I have something new to say, so in addition to HAPPY BIRTHDAY, let me add that I did not get here via TMQ, but via Aaron's QB analysis as shown on ESPN's web site.

by NF (not verified) :: Wed, 08/10/2005 - 3:05am

You should have some of the best quotes from the last year listed here. The one from the 1st anniversary about the Raiders was hilarious.