Stat Analysis

Advanced analytics on player and team performance

Stat Analysis

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

Bye Week, Schmye Week

Conventional wisdom says teams coming off a bye week have an advantage over their opponents, but what does the statistical analysis say? FO's Ryan Wilson breaks down the numbers for 2004.

3 comments, Last at 25 Aug 2006, 1:00am by tenuate dospan

Refreshing Brees

Does it seem like every football writer that you read regularly penned an article about Drew Brees on Wednesday? Guess what, you're right, and that includes Football Outsiders. Now, in an expanded version of an article from Wednesday's New York Sun, Aaron says that it isn't a surprise that Brees has had a rebound season in 2004. Coming to that conclusion introduces the FO version of a classic baseball analysis tool: similarity scores.

1 comment, Last at 21 Apr 2006, 2:06pm by Software

The Owens Effect

Did you expect Terrell Owens to have such a dramatic effect on the Philadelphia offense? You shouldn't have. It turns out that the improvement in Philadelphia is unprecendented when compared to other recent situations where a star receiver changed teams. And a closer look at Donovan McNabb's numbers shows that the improvement is almost entirely driven by Owens. Michael David Smith and Aaron Schatz investigate in an expanded version of an article previously available in the New York Sun.

1 comment, Last at 18 Jan 2007, 2:52pm by adult asian dvd

2004 Strategy Revisited, Weeks 1-6

Each week at, William Krasker reviews the major coaching decisions of the week through the eyes of his Dynamic Programming Model. Today he revisits the most interesting of those decisions for Football Outsiders, reconsidering them and addressing comments made in the discussion of his articles on Extra Points. Included: Quentin Griffin's fumble in Week 2, San Francisco's punt from the St. Louis 30-yard line in Week 4, and Seattle's clock management in Week 5.

Game Preview: NYJ-NE / KC-SD Switch Special Teams

Two articles for the price of none. First, this week brings us the first meeting of two undefeated teams with at least five wins apiece since 1973 and hardly anybody in either Boston or New York has paid attention. Aaron tells you what to look for in this game using our innovative Football Outsiders metrics. Second, a year ago everyone was talking about Dante Hall. Now the numbers say Kansas City has the worst special teams unit in the league. Why special teams have contributed to the fall of the Chiefs and the rise of their division rivals in San Diego. Both articles originally appeared in the New York Sun.

Setting the Pace, Part II

In the first half of his guest column on offensive pace, Jim Armstrong showed that a faster or slower pace seems to have absolutely no connection with winning more games or even scoring more points. In part two, Jim looks at competing theories about how teams should change their pace. Should teams find the pace that works for their offense and stick with it, or should they specifically slow down against stronger opponents?

4 comments, Last at 27 Mar 2007, 12:47am by online new car buying

Setting the Pace, Part I

Pace is a popular subject in NBA analysis, but what about the NFL? Are there any strategic elements to setting the pace? Does a so-called "ball control" offense really help when a team is overmatched? Jim Armstrong explores these issues in a two-part guest column. In part one, which were the fastest and slowest teams in 2003, and does a faster or slower pace help a team to win?

6 comments, Last at 08 Jan 2008, 2:52pm by DavidH