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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

Things I Learned From the New PFR Play Finder: Clutch Receivers

Posted by Neil on August 30, 2012

For the few week or two, I'll be looking at a different example search from the new PFR Play Finder tool. Today's topic: Clutch Receivers...

Who was the best clutch receiver in the game last season? Obviously any definition of "clutch" is going to be pretty arbitrary, but let's use the Play Finder to look at this from a couple of different angles.

First, who were the best receivers in the 4th quarter or OT? Here's who had the most yards:

Player T C Pct Yds TD
Victor Cruz 59 39 0.661 692 6
Larry Fitzgerald 62 32 0.516 682 5
Steve Smith 35 22 0.629 457 0
Calvin Johnson 43 29 0.674 452 5
Wes Welker 43 31 0.721 418 2
Reggie Wayne 47 29 0.617 411 3
Dwayne Bowe 49 27 0.551 393 2
Rob Gronkowski 32 26 0.813 392 4
Jimmy Graham 36 26 0.722 380 2
Pierre Garcon 56 30 0.536 370 2

1 Comment | Posted in Announcement, Features, Play Index, Pro-Football-Reference.com

NBA Referee Pages on BBR

Posted by Justin Kubatko on August 27, 2012

This is just a short announcement to let you know that I have added a referees section to Basketball-Reference.com. The main index lists each referee and includes a link to his or her page. Please note that the personal fouls columns on these pages include all fouls, not just fouls called by a particular referee.

Referee data is available for the 1988-89 through 2011-12 seasons. There are 13 games from the 1990-91 season and one game from the 1995-96 season that are missing referees:

  • Jan 15, 1991, CHH at LAL
  • Mar 2, 1991, ORL at DEN
  • Mar 2, 1991, SAC at SEA
  • Mar 23, 1991, MIN at UTA
  • Apr 27, 1991, HOU at LAL
  • Apr 27, 1991, GSW at SAS
  • May 4, 1991, SEA at POR
  • May 10, 1991, LAL at GSW
  • May 11, 1991, BOS at DET
  • May 11, 1991, POR at UTA
  • May 18, 1991, LAL at POR
  • May 25, 1991, CHI at DET
  • May 26, 1991, POR at LAL
  • Dec 19, 1995, POR at SAS

If you can can find a source that lists the referees for any of these games, please let us know in the comments section or by sending us a message through our feedback system.

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

New Injury Information at PFR

Posted by Neil on August 20, 2012

We're happy to announce that we've added new injury information to Pro-Football-Reference:

  • Current-Season Injuries - The 2012 team pages now have "Current Injuries" tables that pull from the NFL's most recent injury report.
  • Team Injury Grids - Dating back to 2009, we have team injury grids that display the injury-report status for every player on the roster for each week of the season.

Hopefully these will help you in your research and with your fantasy teams!

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

NBA Contract Data at Basketball-Reference

Posted by Neil on August 15, 2012

Basketball-Reference is proud to introduce our new NBA contract data, courtesy of Storytellerscontracts.com's Jeff Kramer.

The main elements we've added are contract tables on player and the team pages, complete with future payroll commitments for future seasons, the amount of guaranteed money each player is owed, and "payroll notes" describing the conditions of each player's deal. (Think of it as Cot's Contracts, but for the NBA.)

Check out the main contracts portal here and be sure to explore your favorite team's financial situation. Have fun!

15 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Features

Hockey-Reference Template Update

Posted by Neil on August 13, 2012

As you might have noticed, we updated the site template at Hockey-Reference over the weekend, bringing it up to code (pun intended) with the rest of the S-R sites.

What does that mean for you? Here's a rundown of the new features we added:

  • Rollover menus in the navbar. Rolling your mouse over the "play index | boxscores | players | etc." menus at the top of pages will now give you more options, including quick access to recent results.
  • Improved table sorting. Now, you can reset tables you sorted (via header clicking) by clicking the header again until the original sorting returns -- the order goes from Default --> Descending --> Ascending --> Default.
  • SHARE stats.You can now use our SHARE capability to customize tables, link to H-R content, and embed stats on your own site.
  • Link to specific tables. Every table has a Link option that lets you send people directly to the table you want.
  • ...and more!

As always, you can report ongoing bugs here: Sr.FogBugz.com

Comments Off | Posted in Announcement, Expire30d, Features, Hockey-Reference.com

Support Basketball-Reference.com, Sponsor a Page

Posted by Neil on August 2, 2012

Sponsoring a page is fun, fast, and easy way to support what we're doing here at Basketball-Reference. With a sponsorship, you can:

  • Show your support for your favorite player or team.
  • Drum up traffic for your own site & draw in fans with a common interest.
  • Get some well-deserved recognition for your support of BBR.
  • Make your voice heard by the tens of thousands of people who visit Basketball-Reference every day.

Here's all you have to do to get involved:

  1. Create a membership account.
  2. Find the page(s) you'd like to support, and click "sponsor" (available pages).
  3. If the page you want is already sponsored, click "Alert Me!" to be informed when the current sponsorship expires.
  4. Follow the instructions to create your message and make your payment.
  5. Your message and links will be visible on the page after we approve them (usually in less than 24 hours).

And who knows, if you're clever enough, your message might end up on lists like these.

4 Comments | Posted in Announcement, Basketball-Reference.com, Features, Sponsors

Olympics at Sports-Reference

Posted by Neil on July 31, 2012

Just a friendly reminder to check out our Olympics site, which is being updated daily throughout the London games.

Comments Off | Posted in Announcement, Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, CFB at Sports Reference, expire21d, Features, Hockey-Reference.com, Olympics at S-R, Pro-Football-Reference.com

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