Stat Analysis

Advanced analytics on player and team performance

Stat Analysis

A Different Look at the Best Running Backs Ever

When we talk about the greatest runners of all time, we often talk about total yards or yards per carry. But the NFL has seesawed back and forth from a league dominated by rushing to one dominated by passing, and then back again. How can we analyze yardage in the context of the offensive environment of each player's career? Ryan Wilson takes a look.

165 comments, Last at 21 Dec 2005, 8:26pm by felix adams

Going Long in Kansas City

No matter how bad the field position in Kansas City, you know there's always a threat the offense will score. Of course, that goes for both the Chiefs and their opponents. Mike Tanier takes a look at the numbers for short drives and long drives in 2004, and what that tells us about the specific strengths and weaknesses of the Chiefs. Plus, short drive and long drive stats for every team.

32 comments, Last at 08 Jul 2005, 3:15am by Jason

A Revolution in NFL Analysis

Here at Football Outsiders, we're committed to the advancement of football research, even if it means giving equal time to a potential competitor. In this guest article, Dr. William Kilgore explains a new statistical method that may change the way football is watched, played, and talked about.

2 comments, Last at 07 Dec 2005, 9:02pm by L. Goodman

Zone Blocking vs. Man Blocking

Does "the Denver system" really help running backs? What about other teams that switch to a so-called "zone blocking" scheme? In this guest column, Brian Hook looks at the (admittedly limited) data from Denver, Atlanta, and Houston, and tries to discern a trend.

5 comments, Last at 06 Feb 2007, 7:27am by Frank

Tight Ends Break Loose

2004 may have been the best year for passing offense in NFL history. Surely the re-emphasis on illegal contact was the reason, right? Actually, maybe not. Guest columnist Michael Horn shows how the 2004 numbers are the natural culmination of recent expansion in the role of the tight end.

1 comment, Last at 07 Feb 2006, 4:31am by adam

2004 Patriots vs. History

You've heard a lot in the last week about the Patriots and their standing in history. Now, Football Outsiders presents two takes on the argument that will rage all offseason long. First, Aaron Schatz asks how the 2004 Patriots compare to the teams discussed in Eddie Epstein's book Dominance. Then Ned Macey uses his own criteria to compare the Patriots to the greatest teams of the Super Bowl era.

1 comment, Last at 07 Jul 2005, 2:19am by RamTime

How Much Should Rookie Quarterbacks Play?

Three first round quarterbacks will be leading their teams this weekend in the conference finals. Ben Roethlisberger was forced into action immediately, Donovan McNabb took over his team at midseason, and Michael Vick didn't take over for good until his second year. Which is the best way to develop a rookie passer? Ned Macey takes a comprehensive look at every quarterback drafted between 1993 and 2002, and offers some conclusions.

6 comments, Last at 12 Dec 2007, 6:44am by best life ins

How Play Selection Affects Touchdown Percentage

Some people say that you have to run the ball to win in the NFL. Others say that you score with the pass. Jason McKinley believes the answer is one or the other, and sometimes both. It all depends on which team you examine. This guest column introduces a new metric that measures how often a team scores when it runs compared to when it throws the ball, and gives a closer analysis of this season's 12 playoff contenders.

Marino vs. Manning

There's a lot of talk out there about the Peyton Manning breaking the passing touchdown record, but very little talk about how Dan Marino set it. Michael Tanier compares the two seasons to find out if Manning is guilty of padding his stats -- or if Marino was guilty of padding his. Or neither.

1 comment, Last at 27 Mar 2007, 9:24am by car cover mercedes

2004 Strategy Revisisted, Weeks 6-12

At his website, William Krasker regularly reviews major coaching decisions through the eyes of probability theory. In this article for Football Outsiders, he revisits his analysis from the past six weeks, and talks about a few new situations. Included: Mike Martz's fake field goal call from Week 12, Mike Tice's two-point conversion decision in Week 11, and the possibility of teams taking penalties on purpose to eat clock time. Plus, Jets fans think Herman Edwards makes a lot of bad decisions, but one decision this year surely must rank as the worst, and you may have never even noticed it.

1 comment, Last at 20 Sep 2006, 7:12am by Klassenfahrt