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Win Probability Calculator

Posted by Mike on November 6, 2013

By now you've likely seen our win probability tweets or the graphs on box score pages. Today I've pushed out a win probability calculator into which you can put any game situation & get a corresponding win probability. For instance, say it's the 4th quarter and you're trailing by 2 with the ball on your own 20 at 2nd & 10 and 29 seconds remaining, the calculator says you have a 3.8% probability of winning (don't tell the Jets that, though).

Looking at this weekend's Bears-Packers game, we can figure out the risk the Bears took in going for it on 4th and 1 on their own 32 in the 4th quarter. If they fail and the Packers take over at that spot, Green Bay will have a 55.9% win probability (ignoring that our model knows nothing about Aaron Rodgers' injury, of course). However, by succeeding Chicago raised their own win probability to 80.6%.

11 Comments | Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Pro-Football-Reference.com

NFL Team Records vs. Each Division Since 2002

Posted by Neil on October 24, 2013

A user wrote in asking how many games each team has played vs. every division since the 2002 expansion set up the NFL's current 8-division alignment. Since we don't currently have that function in the Team Game Finder (though we might someday), I figured I'd just run a quick database search on the subject...

First, records vs. the AFC divisions:

+---------+-----------+--------------+--------------+--------------+--------------+
| team_id | division  |   AFC East   |  AFC North   |  AFC South   |   AFC West   |
+---------+-----------+--------------+--------------+--------------+--------------+
| atl     | NFC South | 11 (6-5-0)   | 12 (7-4-1)   | 12 (5-7-0)   | 12 (10-2-0)  |
| buf     | AFC East  | 69 (23-46-0) | 23 (11-12-0) | 23 (8-15-0)  | 23 (11-12-0) |
| car     | NFC South |  9 (3-6-0)   | 12 (5-7-0)   | 12 (5-7-0)   | 12 (7-5-0)   |
| chi     | NFC North | 12 (6-6-0)   | 10 (5-5-0)   | 12 (6-6-0)   | 12 (7-5-0)   |
| cin     | AFC North | 22 (6-16-0)  | 68 (32-36-0) | 23 (10-13-0) | 23 (11-12-0) |
| cle     | AFC North | 22 (12-10-0) | 68 (17-51-0) | 23 (10-13-0) | 23 (9-14-0)  |
| clt     | AFC South | 24 (13-11-0) | 23 (18-5-0)  | 67 (49-18-0) | 23 (15-8-0)  |
| crd     | NFC West  | 12 (5-7-0)   | 12 (5-7-0)   |  8 (3-5-0)   | 12 (2-10-0)  |
| dal     | NFC East  | 12 (7-5-0)   | 12 (6-6-0)   | 12 (7-5-0)   | 11 (4-7-0)   |
| den     | AFC West  | 23 (12-11-0) | 24 (18-6-0)  | 22 (9-13-0)  | 67 (39-28-0) |
| det     | NFC North | 12 (2-10-0)  | 10 (4-6-0)   | 12 (2-10-0)  | 12 (8-4-0)   |
| gnb     | NFC North | 12 (6-6-0)   | 11 (4-7-0)   | 12 (5-7-0)   | 12 (10-2-0)  |
| htx     | AFC South | 23 (12-11-0) | 24 (10-14-0) | 67 (26-41-0) | 22 (11-11-0) |
| jax     | AFC South | 23 (9-14-0)  | 23 (9-14-0)  | 67 (26-41-0) | 24 (13-11-0) |
| kan     | AFC West  | 23 (8-15-0)  | 23 (9-14-0)  | 23 (11-12-0) | 67 (30-37-0) |
| mia     | AFC East  | 67 (26-41-0) | 22 (7-15-0)  | 24 (8-16-0)  | 23 (16-7-0)  |
| min     | NFC North | 12 (2-10-0)  | 10 (5-5-0)   | 12 (8-4-0)   | 12 (4-8-0)   |
| nor     | NFC South | 10 (7-3-0)   | 12 (5-7-0)   | 12 (6-6-0)   | 12 (7-5-0)   |
| nwe     | AFC East  | 69 (55-14-0) | 21 (15-6-0)  | 23 (17-6-0)  | 23 (14-9-0)  |
| nyg     | NFC East  | 12 (8-4-0)   | 12 (5-7-0)   | 12 (5-7-0)   | 10 (5-5-0)   |
| nyj     | AFC East  | 69 (33-36-0) | 21 (9-12-0)  | 24 (14-10-0) | 23 (12-11-0) |
| oti     | AFC South | 24 (13-11-0) | 24 (13-11-0) | 67 (33-34-0) | 22 (7-15-0)  |
| phi     | NFC East  | 12 (8-4-0)   | 12 (6-5-1)   | 12 (5-7-0)   | 11 (5-6-0)   |
| pit     | AFC North | 21 (14-7-0)  | 68 (47-21-0) | 24 (12-12-0) | 23 (11-12-0) |
| rai     | AFC West  | 23 (8-15-0)  | 23 (9-14-0)  | 22 (7-15-0)  | 69 (24-45-0) |
| ram     | NFC West  | 12 (2-10-0)  | 12 (5-7-0)   | 10 (5-5-0)   | 12 (6-6-0)   |
| rav     | AFC North | 22 (13-9-0)  | 68 (40-28-0) | 24 (12-12-0) | 24 (15-9-0)  |
| sdg     | AFC West  | 23 (11-12-0) | 23 (11-12-0) | 24 (18-6-0)  | 67 (42-25-0) |
| sea     | NFC West  | 12 (5-7-0)   | 12 (5-7-0)   | 12 (7-5-0)   | 12 (5-7-0)   |
| sfo     | NFC West  | 12 (6-6-0)   | 12 (5-7-0)   | 11 (4-7-0)   | 12 (6-6-0)   |
| tam     | NFC South | 10 (2-8-0)   | 12 (7-5-0)   | 12 (3-9-0)   | 12 (5-7-0)   |
| was     | NFC East  | 12 (4-8-0)   | 12 (3-9-0)   | 12 (7-5-0)   |  9 (3-6-0)   |
+---------+-----------+--------------+--------------+--------------+--------------+

And the NFC divisions:

+---------+-----------+--------------+--------------+--------------+--------------+
| team_id | division  |   NFC East   |  NFC North   |  NFC South   |   NFC West   |
+---------+-----------+--------------+--------------+--------------+--------------+
| atl     | NFC South | 23 (12-11-0) | 23 (13-10-0) | 68 (34-34-0) | 21 (15-6-0)  |
| buf     | AFC East  | 12 (5-7-0)   | 12 (6-6-0)   | 9 (3-6-0)    | 12 (7-5-0)   |
| car     | NFC South | 24 (8-16-0)  | 24 (12-12-0) | 66 (34-32-0) | 23 (15-8-0)  |
| chi     | NFC North | 22 (10-12-0) | 68 (37-31-0) | 24 (13-11-0) | 23 (12-11-0) |
| cin     | AFC North | 12 (8-3-1)   | 11 (9-2-0)   | 12 (4-8-0)   | 12 (6-6-0)   |
| cle     | AFC North | 12 (2-10-0)  | 11 (3-8-0)   | 12 (5-7-0)   | 12 (6-6-0)   |
| clt     | AFC South | 12 (7-5-0)   | 12 (9-3-0)   | 12 (7-5-0)   | 10 (9-1-0)   |
| crd     | NFC West  | 23 (10-13-0) | 24 (10-14-0) | 23 (8-15-0)  | 69 (30-39-0) |
| dal     | NFC East  | 69 (35-34-0) | 20 (10-10-0) | 23 (15-8-0)  | 24 (14-10-0) |
| den     | AFC West  | 11 (8-3-0)   | 12 (4-8-0)   | 12 (9-3-0)   | 12 (6-6-0)   |
| det     | NFC North | 21 (8-13-0)  | 69 (16-53-0) | 23 (8-15-0)  | 24 (7-17-0)  |
| gnb     | NFC North | 21 (12-9-0)  | 67 (48-19-0) | 23 (12-11-0) | 24 (17-7-0)  |
| htx     | AFC South | 12 (3-9-0)   | 12 (6-6-0)   | 12 (7-5-0)   | 11 (4-7-0)   |
| jax     | AFC South | 12 (6-6-0)   | 12 (5-7-0)   | 12 (6-6-0)   | 10 (4-6-0)   |
| kan     | AFC West  | 11 (5-6-0)   | 12 (7-5-0)   | 12 (3-9-0)   | 12 (10-2-0)  |
| mia     | AFC East  | 12 (4-8-0)   | 12 (7-5-0)   | 10 (5-5-0)   | 12 (7-5-0)   |
| min     | NFC North | 21 (10-11-0) | 68 (35-33-0) | 24 (9-15-0)  | 23 (15-8-0)  |
| nor     | NFC South | 23 (15-8-0)  | 24 (12-12-0) | 68 (37-31-0) | 21 (13-8-0)  |
| nwe     | AFC East  | 12 (10-2-0)  | 12 (11-1-0)  | 11 (9-2-0)   | 12 (9-3-0)   |
| nyg     | NFC East  | 68 (37-31-0) | 22 (11-11-0) | 24 (12-12-0) | 23 (15-8-0)  |
| nyj     | AFC East  | 12 (2-10-0)  | 12 (8-4-0)   | 10 (5-5-0)   | 12 (7-5-0)   |
| oti     | AFC South | 12 (8-4-0)   | 12 (7-5-0)   | 12 (9-3-0)   | 10 (5-5-0)   |
| phi     | NFC East  | 69 (41-28-0) | 20 (12-8-0)  | 24 (15-9-0)  | 23 (14-9-0)  |
| pit     | AFC North | 12 (9-3-0)   | 10 (7-3-0)   | 12 (8-3-1)   | 12 (7-5-0)   |
| rai     | AFC West  | 9 (3-6-0)    | 12 (3-9-0)   | 12 (3-9-0)   | 12 (5-7-0)   |
| ram     | NFC West  | 24 (7-17-0)  | 23 (8-15-0)  | 22 (8-14-0)  | 68 (25-42-1) |
| rav     | AFC North | 12 (8-4-0)   | 9 (4-5-0)    | 12 (6-6-0)   | 12 (9-3-0)   |
| sdg     | AFC West  | 10 (8-2-0)   | 12 (5-7-0)   | 12 (4-8-0)   | 12 (8-4-0)   |
| sea     | NFC West  | 23 (9-14-0)  | 23 (13-10-0) | 21 (12-9-0)  | 68 (42-26-0) |
| sfo     | NFC West  | 23 (8-15-0)  | 24 (12-12-0) | 20 (5-15-0)  | 69 (39-29-1) |
| tam     | NFC South | 24 (9-15-0)  | 23 (15-8-0)  | 68 (30-38-0) | 21 (10-11-0) |
| was     | NFC East  | 68 (24-44-0) | 23 (12-11-0) | 23 (8-15-0)  | 23 (16-7-0)  |
+---------+-----------+--------------+--------------+--------------+--------------+

Comments Off | Posted in Announcement, Data, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Stat Questions, Trivia

Unique Scores in Pro Football Games

Posted by Mike on October 21, 2013

As Chase notes on Twitter:

Since for some reason these always fascinate me, I found myself wondering just how often a unique score occurs. Obviously by definition, the number of them should decrease over the years as there are fewer unique scores to have, and the chart of scores per year (including the NFL, AAFC, and AFL since 1920) mostly bears that out (the blue line is the number of unique scores per year, the red line is the percentage of games resulting in a unique score in a given year):

1920 is the first year of the NFL so of course it has the highest number of unique scores at 46 (out of 90 total games played). There are spikes at 1946 and 1960 correlating to the starts of the AAFC and AFL, respectively, owing mostly to the much larger number of games. That spike you see after 1980 is the introduction of the two-point conversion in 1994, making possible a lot of scores that weren't seen previously. For example, there have been 167 times since 1940 that a game has ended with one team scoring 15 points.. and 101 of those have come since 1994.

What missing game scores are we unlikely to see any time soon? Well, according to our summary of all scores, we've only seen a team score 4 points one time ever, so it seems that it'll be a while before we remove any more X-4 scores from the list. Even a final score of 5 has been achieved a whopping 13 times since 1940, including this very unlikely 8-5 final score. Still, at nearly 15,000 games and counting, it's pretty impressive that every week brings the possibility of seeing something unique.

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

Worst. Monday Night Football Matchup. Ever. (By combined winning percentage)

Posted by Neil on October 21, 2013

Just a quick hit of a post to let you know that tonight's MNF matchup between the 0-6 Giants and the 1-4 Vikings is, in fact, the worst ever this late in the season by combined winning percentage:

+--------------+------+---+----+---+-----+-----+------+---+----+---+-----+-----+---------+----------+------------+-----------+--------------+-------------+
|   game_id    | home | W | L  | T | PF  | PA  | road | W | L  | T | PF  | PA  | year_id | week_num | game_date  | comb_wpct | comb_pt_diff |   winner    |
+--------------+------+---+----+---+-----+-----+------+---+----+---+-----+-----+---------+----------+------------+-----------+--------------+-------------+
| 201310210nyg | nyg  | 0 |  6 | 0 | 103 | 209 | min  | 1 |  4 | 0 | 125 | 158 |    2013 |        7 | 10/21/2013 | .091      | -12.6        | NULL        |
| 197512150sdg | sdg  | 1 | 11 | 0 | 148 | 282 | nyj  | 3 |  9 | 0 | 221 | 378 |    1975 |       13 | 12/15/1975 | .167      | -12.1        | sdg, 24-16  |
| 199411210oti | oti  | 1 |  9 | 0 | 147 | 218 | nyg  | 3 |  7 | 0 | 171 | 220 |    1994 |       12 | 11/21/1994 | .200      | -6.0         | nyg, 13-10  |
| 197211060nwe | nwe  | 2 |  5 | 0 |  92 | 220 | clt  | 1 |  6 | 0 |  94 | 145 |    1972 |        8 | 11/6/1972  | .214      | -12.8        | clt, 24-17  |
| 197011020pit | pit  | 2 |  4 | 0 |  71 |  94 | cin  | 1 |  5 | 0 |  93 | 156 |    1970 |        7 | 11/2/1970  | .250      | -7.2         | pit, 21-10  |
| 198110190det | det  | 2 |  4 | 0 | 118 | 126 | chi  | 1 |  5 | 0 |  89 | 133 |    1981 |        7 | 10/19/1981 | .250      | -4.3         | det, 48-17  |
| 199710200clt | clt  | 0 |  6 | 0 |  88 | 155 | buf  | 3 |  3 | 0 | 122 | 159 |    1997 |        8 | 10/20/1997 | .250      | -8.7         | buf, 9-6    |
| 201211260phi | phi  | 3 |  7 | 0 | 162 | 252 | car  | 2 |  8 | 0 | 184 | 243 |    2012 |       12 | 11/26/2012 | .250      | -7.5         | car, 30-22  |
| 200001030atl | atl  | 4 | 11 | 0 | 251 | 351 | sfo  | 4 | 11 | 0 | 266 | 419 |    1999 |       17 | 1/3/2000   | .267      | -8.4         | atl, 34-29  |
| 200512190rav | rav  | 4 |  9 | 0 | 171 | 253 | gnb  | 3 | 10 | 0 | 255 | 255 |    2005 |       15 | 12/19/2005 | .269      | -3.2         | rav, 48-3   |
| 198310240crd | crd  | 2 |  5 | 0 | 137 | 218 | nyg  | 2 |  5 | 0 | 126 | 156 |    1983 |        8 | 10/24/1983 | .286      | -7.9         | tie (20-20) |
| 201112120sea | sea  | 5 |  7 | 0 | 216 | 246 | ram  | 2 | 10 | 0 | 140 | 296 |    2011 |       14 | 12/12/2011 | .292      | -7.8         | sea, 30-13  |
| 201011290crd | crd  | 3 |  7 | 0 | 188 | 292 | sfo  | 3 |  7 | 0 | 160 | 219 |    2010 |       12 | 11/29/2010 | .300      | -8.2         | sfo, 27-6   |
| 200911160cle | cle  | 1 |  7 | 0 |  78 | 209 | rav  | 4 |  4 | 0 | 206 | 154 |    2009 |       10 | 11/16/2009 | .313      | -4.9         | rav, 16-0   |
| 198011240nor | nor  | 0 | 11 | 0 | 181 | 341 | ram  | 7 |  4 | 0 | 294 | 228 |    1980 |       12 | 11/24/1980 | .318      | -4.3         | ram, 27-7   |
| 201112050jax | jax  | 3 |  8 | 0 | 138 | 200 | sdg  | 4 |  7 | 0 | 249 | 275 |    2011 |       13 | 12/5/2011  | .318      | -4.0         | sdg, 38-14  |
| 198312120tam | tam  | 2 | 12 | 0 | 212 | 345 | gnb  | 7 |  7 | 0 | 396 | 407 |    1983 |       15 | 12/12/1983 | .321      | -5.1         | gnb, 12-9   |
| 198711020dal | dal  | 3 |  3 | 0 | 135 | 134 | nyg  | 1 |  5 | 0 |  99 | 142 |    1987 |        7 | 11/2/1987  | .333      | -3.5         | dal, 33-24  |
| 199910250pit | pit  | 3 |  3 | 0 | 117 |  93 | atl  | 1 |  5 | 0 |  74 | 153 |    1999 |        7 | 10/25/1999 | .333      | -4.6         | pit, 13-9   |
| 200211180ram | ram  | 4 |  5 | 0 | 194 | 196 | chi  | 2 |  7 | 0 | 182 | 232 |    2002 |       11 | 11/18/2002 | .333      | -2.9         | ram, 21-16  |
| 200511210gnb | gnb  | 2 |  7 | 0 | 201 | 184 | min  | 4 |  5 | 0 | 154 | 228 |    2005 |       11 | 11/21/2005 | .333      | -3.2         | min, 20-17  |
| 200012040nwe | nwe  | 3 |  9 | 0 | 192 | 253 | kan  | 5 |  7 | 0 | 283 | 274 |    2000 |       14 | 12/4/2000  | .333      | -2.2         | nwe, 30-24  |
| 200412130oti | oti  | 4 |  8 | 0 | 231 | 294 | kan  | 4 |  8 | 0 | 341 | 326 |    2004 |       14 | 12/13/2004 | .333      | -2.0         | kan, 49-38  |
| 200712100atl | atl  | 3 |  9 | 0 | 171 | 272 | nor  | 5 |  7 | 0 | 266 | 279 |    2007 |       14 | 12/10/2007 | .333      | -4.8         | nor, 34-14  |
| 199112090mia | mia  | 7 |  6 | 0 | 256 | 275 | cin  | 2 | 11 | 0 | 211 | 374 |    1991 |       15 | 12/9/1991  | .346      | -7.0         | mia, 37-13  |
| 197311260sfo | sfo  | 3 |  7 | 0 | 180 | 232 | gnb  | 3 |  5 | 2 | 138 | 198 |    1973 |       11 | 11/26/1973 | .350      | -5.6         | sfo, 20-6   |
| 197811130cin | cin  | 1 |  9 | 0 | 110 | 184 | rai  | 6 |  4 | 0 | 193 | 164 |    1978 |       11 | 11/13/1978 | .350      | -2.3         | rai, 34-21  |
| 200711260pit | pit  | 7 |  3 | 0 | 269 | 145 | mia  | 0 | 10 | 0 | 183 | 274 |    2007 |       12 | 11/26/2007 | .350      | +1.7         | pit, 3-0    |
| 199311290clt | clt  | 3 |  7 | 0 | 154 | 233 | sdg  | 4 |  6 | 0 | 164 | 195 |    1993 |       13 | 11/29/1993 | .350      | -5.5         | sdg, 31-0   |
| 198010270nyj | nyj  | 1 |  6 | 0 | 114 | 164 | mia  | 4 |  3 | 0 |  99 | 144 |    1980 |        8 | 10/27/1980 | .357      | -6.8         | nyj, 17-14  |
+--------------+------+---+----+---+-----+-----+------+---+----+---+-----+-----+---------+----------+------------+-----------+--------------+-------------+

It is not, however, the worst by combined PPG margin. That honor belongs to this 1972 game between the 2-5 Patriots and the 1-6 Colts (Baltimore ended up winning 24-17).

4 Comments | Posted in Announcement, History, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Trivia

Stat Questions: Team Passing Yards vs Individual Passing Yards

Posted by Neil on October 16, 2013

This is a question we get ALL the time... In fact, it's come up twice in my inbox over the last 2 days:

"How is a total of -11 (-1 Dallas and -10 Green Bay) passing yards figured in the Oct 24, 1965 game when Individual stats show Craig Morton for 61 yards and Bart Starr for 42 yards?"

"This query should return this game [...] Elvis Grbac threw for 504 yards, and the Raiders scored 49 points. That game was not returned by the query[.]"

In both cases, it's a question of individual passing totals seemingly not matching up to team totals. And that's because the NFL doesn't define "passing yards" in the same way for teams as it does for individuals.

Confusingly, sack yards do not count against the "passing yards" you see listed next to individual players, but they do count against "passing yards" at the team level. To put it another way, individual passing yards are always presented as GROSS yards (with sack yards not subtracted out), while team passing yards are always presented as NET yards (meaning sack yards are subtracted out).

So despite Morton & Starr's combined GROSS pass yards, there were also 114 combined sack yards in that game, leading to a record -11 total combined NET passing yards in the game. And despite Grbac's 504 GROSS pass yards, he was sacked 4 times for 30 yards, meaning KC only had 474 NET passing yards in the game.

This probably doesn't make a great deal of sense in 2013, but it does come in handy for years before QB sack data was tracked (a.k.a. the history of football up until 1969). Because of this practice, we know how many gross yards a quarterback -- and, therefore, a team -- had, as well as how many net yards they had, since sack totals were recorded for teams (but not players) before 1969. It would make for even more confusion if, starting in 1969, we all of a sudden began defining yardage for individuals differently than it had been defined in the past (though as we saw yesterday, this didn't stop the NBA from abruptly changing how team rebound totals were defined).

So it's a minor inconvenience now, but probably a necessary one from an historical perspective. And hopefully this post will reduce some of the confusion going forward (though I doubt it).

Comments Off | Posted in Announcement, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Stat Questions, Trivia

Win Probability Explained

Posted by Mike on October 7, 2013

You may have seen our in-game Tweets and the win probability graphs on our box score pages -- we now have a detailed explanation of the win probability methodology from Neil Paine if you're curious how it works.

1 Comment | Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Pro-Football-Reference.com

Team and Yearly Splits

Posted by Mike on October 3, 2013

Using the play-by-play data that powers our play finder, I've built detailed season split pages for each team on offense and defense, as well as league total splits and league average splits for the year. Now you can compare your team's performance by field position to the league's, or see which team is best in the fourth quarter. If you can think of a situation you want to see that's not covered here, leave a comment & we'll see what we can do.

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

P-F-R Position Abbreviation Glossary

Posted by Neil on October 1, 2013

We often get emails about some of the more... let's say "esoteric" positional abbreviations in the P-F-R database (the most confusing of which date back to the earliest days of professional football). Here's a handy guide in case you ever get stuck wondering what in the world some of these positions are:

Comments Off | Posted in Announcement, FAQ, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Stat Questions, Trivia

Pro Links on College Players

Posted by Mike on September 25, 2013

In the interest of unifying our college football and pro football sites a bit better, we've added draft information and links to pro stats for college players from Karim Abdul-Jabbar to Eric Zeier.

Comments Off | Posted in Announcement, CFB at Sports Reference, Pro-Football-Reference.com

Team Owners & Executives

Posted by Mike on September 20, 2013

Thanks to the research of Neil Paine, we now have lists of team executives and owners dating back to 1936, a page for each executive, and owner/executive lists for each team. These lists are complete for active franchises, though we have partial data for defunct franchises as well.

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

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