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Archive for September, 2012

PFR and Hockey-Reference.com Now on a New Server

Posted by admin on September 7, 2012

We recently leased a newer, more powerful machine to host our football, hockey and basketball sites. Basketball hasn't moved yet, but today we flipped the switch on the football and hockey sites. This new machine boasts 16 cores and 16GB of RAM, so it will be a lot faster than our previous machine.

This should mean you can now view Tom Brady and Jurrell Casey's pages much more quickly.

4 Comments | Posted in Announcement, expire7d, Hockey-Reference.com, Pro-Football-Reference.com

Basketball Hall of Fame Section

Posted by Neil on September 7, 2012

With the Hall of Fame's inductions tonight, just a reminder that you can check out a list of Hall of Famers here... Also, you can select HoF induction status as a criterion in Play Index searches.

12 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, expire7d, Features, Hall of Fame

Game Score Finder

Posted by Neil on September 7, 2012

We don't know what this weekend's games will hold, but maybe one of them will end with an historically-unique final score. If so, as a Pro-Football-Reference user you'll know first because you can run a search on any combination of final scores to see how often they've occurred all-time.

Using the main table on this page, and clicking the "count" column header to sort by he number of instances in the database, you can find the rarest and most common scores in pro football history. You might be surprised to see the number of combinations that have taken place just once, running the gamut from 66-0 blowouts to brutal 5-3 affairs. And at the other end of the spectrum, 20-17 is by far the most common all-time final score.

Play around with the tool for a while, and you'll always know where to find an answer when somebody asks, "how often does this score happen?"

Comments Off | Posted in Announcement, Features, Play Index, Pro-Football-Reference.com

PFR Player Splits

Posted by Neil on September 6, 2012

If you want a variety of detailed splits for a player's stats, check out the Splits [+] option on his player page. By mousing over "Splits [+]", you can access career splits, as well as the numbers for any individual season of his career.

Comments Off | Posted in Announcement, Features, Pro-Football-Reference.com

Things I Learned From the New PFR Play Finder: QBs in the Clutch

Posted by Neil on September 5, 2012

Might as well face it -- most people are going to use our new Play Finder tool to search for clutch stats on quarterbacks. How do I know this? Because, when Basketball-Reference rolled out its Play Index+, the most popular searches (by far) involved some combination of Kobe Bryant and clutch/late-game shooting splits.

And if there's anything fans love more than the fabled NBA "closer", it's the crunch-time QB.

So let's do this. Much like I did in the clutch receivers post, I'm going to dig up clutch stats for QBs from a variety of different angles. There is no one single, unifying definition of "clutch", but we can at least try to get close to a consensus by using the splits most people would think about when looking for clutch performances.

4 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Features, Play Index, Pro-Football-Reference.com

Oracle of Baseball

Posted by Neil on September 4, 2012

Want to find a chain of teammates between any two players in MLB history, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon-style? Then check out our Oracle of Baseball, which can help you find things like this:

Chain from Mickey Mantle to Mike Trout

Mickey Mantle played with Bobby Murcer for the 1965 New York Yankees
Bobby Murcer played with Otis Nixon for the 1983 New York Yankees
Otis Nixon played with Torii Hunter for the 1998 Minnesota Twins
Torii Hunter played with Mike Trout for the 2011 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Comments Off | Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Features

Things I Learned From the New PFR Play Finder: Which Teams Chewed Up the Most Rushing Yards by Half?

Posted by Neil on September 4, 2012

One old football aphorism was always that teams needed to "establish the run" -- running early, as the theory went, would set up the pass later in the game. Often it was cited that "Team X is 10-1 when they run 30 or more times in a game," or some such number that failed to see the difference between correlation and causation.

Later, researchers like Football Outsiders' Aaron Schatz would point out that teams have such great records when they rush so frequently because the running game is used to run out the clock late in games by the team in the lead. Teams run when they win, not win when they run.

Using our new Play Finder tool, you can illustrate this by looking at rushing yards by half. Here were the teams who had the most rushing success in the first halves of games a year ago:

Team G Plays Yds Avg
CAR 16 218 1369 6.28
DEN 16 271 1325 4.89
MIN 16 249 1260 5.06
OAK 16 247 1225 4.96
HOU 16 262 1200 4.58
PHI 16 228 1145 5.02
CHI 16 230 1125 4.89
ATL 16 237 1064 4.49
BAL 16 223 1064 4.77
PIT 16 193 1029 5.33
SFO 16 227 1026 4.52
JAX 16 222 1015 4.57
MIA 16 237 988 4.17
NOR 16 180 979 5.44
KAN 16 246 969 3.94
DAL 16 206 960 4.66
STL 16 224 952 4.25
BUF 16 191 938 4.91
WAS 16 220 913 4.15
SDG 16 207 896 4.33
NYJ 16 225 896 3.98
IND 16 220 865 3.93
SEA 16 225 857 3.81
CIN 16 217 801 3.69
NWE 16 193 789 4.09
CLE 16 221 782 3.54
GNB 16 161 721 4.48
NYG 16 184 707 3.84
DET 16 165 696 4.22
ARI 16 176 695 3.95
TAM 16 176 671 3.81
TEN 16 170 592 3.48

And here were the most successful rushing teams in the 2nd half:

Team G Plays Yds Avg
HOU 16 284 1247 4.39
DEN 16 258 1233 4.78
NOR 16 248 1138 4.59
PHI 16 221 1129 5.11
MIN 16 199 1057 5.31
CAR 16 227 1033 4.55
SFO 16 269 1006 3.74
MIA 16 230 987 4.29
BUF 16 200 984 4.92
CIN 16 238 978 4.11
NWE 16 245 975 3.98
JAX 16 267 956 3.58
BAL 16 236 932 3.95
SDG 16 220 915 4.16
KAN 16 234 906 3.87
ARI 16 201 900 4.48
SEA 16 218 900 4.13
CHI 16 224 883 3.94
OAK 16 217 879 4.05
PIT 16 241 875 3.63
TEN 16 206 847 4.11
DAL 16 198 842 4.25
GNB 16 234 838 3.58
DET 16 191 825 4.32
NYJ 16 218 796 3.65
TAM 16 172 784 4.56
ATL 16 215 772 3.59
CLE 16 192 732 3.81
IND 16 162 731 4.51
NYG 16 227 722 3.18
WAS 16 178 698 3.92
STL 16 184 696 3.78

If you look at how those numbers correlate to winning percentage, total 1st-half rushing yards have a Pearson coefficient of -0.090 (meaning there's practically no relationship -- and whatever relationship there is is negative!), while yards per rush in the 1st half have a 0.179 correlation with winning. 2nd-half total rushing yards have a correlation of 0.289 with winning percentage, and yards per carry in the 2nd half has a correlation of -0.303.

These are small correlations, but the point is that total 2nd-half rushing success is much more correlated with winning than 1st-half rushing (which has practically no relationship with winning whatsoever). In other words, so much for "establishing the run."

More interestingly, per-play rushing success in the 2nd half has the strongest correlation of any of the variables I looked at above... and it's negative! This makes sense, because teams running out the clock are often calling safe, straight-ahead plunge plays, while defenses with the lead are willing to concede effective runs to the trailing offense.

Because of those factors, the most telling numbers of all are simply that 1st-half rushing attempts had a -0.312 correlation with winning, while 2nd-half rushing attempts had a correlation of 0.612.

Which basically proves once again that teams need to establish the pass early, not the run, and use rushing to run out the clock once they have the lead.

2 Comments | Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Features, Play Index, Pro-Football-Reference.com

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