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September 14, 2011

Stathead is Closing Down

Stathead is Closing Down

With apologies to our dedicted users, we’ve decided to stop publishing the Stathead blog. The blog just never generated the needed readership to be profitable, so we’ve decided to end the project and put our efforts into other projects.

Thank you to the readers who supported us. Thank you for the publishers for putting so much great content out there. And especially, thank you for Neil Paine, our intrepid users affairs maestro, who waded through hundreds of articles each week distilling them down to their essence.

If anyone cares to pick up the torch and run with this idea (or if you just want to get the articles for yourself), I’ve attached an OPML file from the list of RSS feeds we were using for this blog. Feel free to grab it and add it to your favorite RSS reader.

Stathead RSS Subscriptions in OPML format

September 8, 2011

September 8th, 2011 Recap: Today in football… Jason Lisk debunks the idea that the NFC South was the toughest division of 2010… Advanced NFL Stats is looking for analytical writers to contribute this season… Scott Kacsmar looks at Aaron Rodgers’ career as a “front-runner” (a QB who wins from ahead rather than coming back from behind)… PFR’s Chase Stuart previews the 2011 New York Jets season… Bill Barnwell finishes Grantland’s mega NFL preview… Andrew McKillop digs into opening-week factoids… and Lisk looks at the probability of the Packers repeating as champs.

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September 7, 2011

September 7th, 2011 Recap: Today, Bill Barnwell continued his NFL preview… Jason Lisk wrote about inexperienced O-lines (like the Cowboys now have)… FO’s staff made their 2011 NFL predicitions… Brian Fremeau talked about the most valuable play in college football… And Code & Football took a look at the yardage value of a TD.

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September 6th, 2011 Recap: Yesterday, Football Outsiders released their 2011 DVOA Projections… Meanwhile, Jason Lisk and Brian Burke attempted to determine how many wins Peyton Manning was worth.

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September 3/4/5, 2011 Weekend Recap: Over the holiday weekend, Code and Football looked at passer rating as a scoring model… Outside the Hashes determined what a yard is worth in terms of expected points… Keith Goldner gave his Super Bowl projection… Aaron Schatz looked at how often, historically, a player listed as “doubtful” (like Peyton Manning) actually played… Finally, Jason Lisk wrote about Washington’s QB gamble and teams with good point differentials but mediocre records (like the 2010 Chargers).

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September 2nd, 2011 Recap: On the 2nd, Jason Lisk detailed some major reasons why the Patriots are due for a regression in 2011… He also busted the myth that college coaches make poor NFL head coaches… Finally, Scott Kacsmar used a linear regression model to predict NFL teams’ winning percentages.

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September 1st, 2011 Recap: Last Thursday, Jason Lisk looked at how Texas A&M’s SRS stacks up against SEC schools since 1992… Outside the Hashes posted an Expected Points model for college football… Code and Football wrote about “scoring potential”-based metrics (like expected points)… And Jason Lisk studied the possible impact of Jay Cutler’s 2010 sacks on his health and production in 2011.

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August 31st, 2011 Recap: A week ago, Outside the Hashes broke down the logical process that should go into any coaching decision (using this infamous game as an example)… Also, Jason Lisk looked at reasons why the Miami Dolphins might regress to the mean (in a good way) this season.

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August 30th, 2011 Recap: On the 30th, Brian Burke analyzed aging patterns for quarterbacks… Keith Goldner looked at net expected points for kickers… Scott Kacsmar asked whether Michael Vick’s big new contract was justified (a question Jason Lisk echoed at TBL)… And Lisk looked at how well the preseason predicts the regular season when looking at quarters where the starters typically play.

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The modern NFL – are completions and yardage truly independent variables?: On 8/29, Code and Football looked at whether yds/completion was a de facto constant at the team level.

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August 29, 2011

2011 Big East & Big Ten Simulated Previews: Whatifsports continued previewing the 2011 NCAA football season by simulating the Big East and Big Ten slates.

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Appearances & Rankings in the Weekly AP Poll (1936-2010): At Sportsdelve, Andrew McKillop also researched each school’s historical appearances — and placement — in the AP poll.

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Chris Johnson’s Impact on the Passing Game: Maybe Johnson’s EPA impact on the ground doesn’t warrant a huge new contract, but The Big Lead’s Jason Lisk points out that the erstwhile Titans RB has a big impact in the passing game as well.

August 26, 2011

Records As and Against the AP No. 1: SportsDelve’s Andrew McKillop compiled each school’s all-time record as and against the AP’s #1-ranked team.

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2011 ACC & Big 12 Simulations from WhatIfSports: WhatIfSports ran the 2011 ACC and Big 12 through their simulator.

Most overrated/underrated players in NFL ($): FO’s Aaron Schatz looks at the Scouts Inc. player rankings, identifying players the scouts improperly valued.

Defensive Passer Rating – 2011 Strength Of Schedule: CHFF’s Kerry Byrne computed every team’s 2011 passing strength of schedule based on the passer ratings allowed by their opponents in 2010.

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August 25, 2011

Receiving Efficiency – With & Without Incompletions: Drive-By Football’s Keith Goldner looks at how the receiving net expected points leaderboard changes if the target does or does not get blamed for incomplete passes.

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Call for New Game Charters: You can help Football Outsiders by volunteering to chart games for them.

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August 24, 2011

Increased RB Injuries in High Leverage Situations Show Why Committees Have Become Popular: At The Big Lead, Jason Lisk studied the relationship between RB injury rates and the closeness of the score in a high-carry game that may have preceded an injury.

Scouts Inc. 2011 player rankings: Scouts Inc. released their ranking of the top 200 NFL players at ESPN this week.

August 23, 2011

All About Overtime: SportsDelve’s Andrew McKillop compiles a complete record of NFL overtime for each team, and asks whether the NFL should use the playoff OT rule in the regular-season.

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Can Larry Fitzgerald break Jerry Rice’s receptions record?: PFR’s Chase Stuart looks at the pace Fitzgerald would have to maintain to have a shot at Rice’s all-time record for catches.

Peyton Hillis Is Undervalued Because People Believe in Curses and Flukes: At TBL, Jason Lisk analyzes several reasons why would-be fantasy owners might be (foolishly) holding back on drafting Hillis.

Vote for the NFL’s GOAT’s: Pro-Football-Reference.com has added an Elo Rating-based fan voting system for historical & current NFL players, so make your picks for the all-time greats.

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How Much Will — and Should — Chris Johnson Be Paid?: On the “how much will he paid?” front, TBL’s Jason Lisk says that CJ had better not expect Larry Fitzgerald money. Meanwhile, Brian Burke writes about the true value in wins of a boom-and-bust back like Johnson.

August 22, 2011

SportsDelve on AP #1s and the Preseason Poll: A couple of AP poll-related posts from Andrew McKillop — first, a year-by-year look at where the defending AP champ ranked in the following preseason poll; then, a full list of AP preseason #1s (and how long the managed to keep the ranking).

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The football pythagorean expectation, and other analytics notes: From Code and Football, a look at the proper pythagorean exponent for football (among other topics).

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Can a quarterback’s throwing motion be improved?: Smart Football guest poster Dub Maddox writes about the biomechanics of QB deliveries. Can a passer’s motion get better with proper coaching?

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Texas A&M Aggies, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Mississippi State Bulldogs could disappoint ($): At ESPN, FO’s Brian Fremeau breaks down a handful of teams whose preseason buzz might not be justified by their on-field performance in 2011.

Bradford’s Effect on the Rams Defense: TBL’s Jason Lisk wonders whether there’s any legitimacy to those those who would give some credit for the 2010 Rams’ improved defense to rookie QB Sam Bradford.

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Commenting on ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating (QBR): WoW’s David Berri offers his take on ESPN’s Total QBR.

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Mike Curtis – Canton In The Crosshairs: At MyHOFS, MJ Calabrese makes the case that 1960s/70s All-Pro LB Mike Curtis should be in the Hall of Fame.

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August 19, 2011

Viva Las Vegas – Sabermetrics in the Wasteland: What happens when a football stats guy packs up and moves to Vegas? Grantland’s Bill Barnwell is about to find out.

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Most Points Scored in a Pro Football Game / List of 60+ Point Games: SportsDelve’s Andrew McKillop researched the top scoring games across many different pro football leagues.

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FOA 2011 Now Available!: Football Outsiders’ yearly preview is out in electronic form today (hard copy coming next week).

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Blogging the NFL Rule Book – 2011 Changes: Quirky Research lists the differences in this year’s NFL rule book, compared to 2010.

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2011 Pittsburgh Steelers = The New Over-The-Hill Gang: Jason Lisk of TBL writes about the Steelers, and specifically their aging defense. Historically, what does starting a bunch of guys on the wrong side of 30 mean?

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‘Canes take NFL scoring by storm: Hank Gargiulo of ESPN Stats & Info writes about Miami’s remarkable streak — a Hurricanes alum has scored a touchdown in 139 consecutive NFL regular season weeks, dating back to Week 15 of 2002.

August 18, 2011

Will Chris Johnson’s salary demands prohibit Tennessee from winning the Super Bowl?: Chase Stuart looks at the Johnson contract situation in Tennessee — specifically, how little impact caving to Johnson’s demands would have on the Titans’ search for an elite QB (essentially a prerequisite for winning a Super Bowl).

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Vick and Vince – What Happens When Vick Goes Down?: Drive-By Football’s Keith Goldner looks at Vince Young’s efficiency stats. Based on Young’s 2009 and 2010 passing performances, the Eagles won’t be in bad hands when Vick’s inevitable injury comes.

What 2008 and 2009 Tell Us About the 2011 Panthers: TBL’s Jason Lisk looks for similar historical teams that fit Carolina’s profile in 2011 — teams that were ghastly the year before, but above-average in the 2 seasons before that.

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Is Eli Manning a Top-10 QB?: This week, Eli Manning said he was in the same class of QB as Tom Brady. What sayeth ESPN’s new Total QBR?

August 17, 2011

Introducing The Win Probability Metric: CHFF takes their stab at an NFL win probability metric, and ranks 2010 offenses according to how much their drives increased the team’s probability of winning games.

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August 16, 2011

FEI Quality Control: At FO, Brian Fremeau explains some changes to his eponymous efficiency index, and the new philosophies behind them.

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Sam Bradford’s rookie season has been incredibly overrated: Wondering just how overhyped Sam Bradford was last season? Chase Stuart of PFR breaks it down for you.

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CHFF on Team Red-Zone Regression, Jerry Rice’s Place in History: At the CHFF, read about teams whose red-zone performance will regress (and progress) to the mean in 2011, and the unassailable nature of Jerry Rice’s records.

August 15, 2011

Early Returns On New Kickoff Rule: At the CHFF, Scott Kacsmar looks at what week 1 of the preseason might tell us about the season-long impact of the NFL’s new kickoff rule.

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A Thought About the Minnesota Vikings’ Offensive Collapse: At The Big Lead, Jason Lisk notes that Minnesota scored 189 fewer points in 2010 than in ’09. Historically, is there a “plexiglas principle”-type effect for teams whose offenses decline so sharply?

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August 12, 2011

Is Florida State set up to disappoint?: Trendy teams that make huge preseason leaps in the polls (like FSU) rarely live up to expectations, writes ESPN’s Chris Fallica.

A Thought About Larry Fitzgerald Plus Kevin Kolb Minus Steve Breaston: Fitzgerald’s career features not only a major split between time with a great QB (Warner) and bad ones, but also a similar split with the quality of his opposite WR, writes Jason Lisk.

Added 2011 Pages, Historical Coordinator Data: Pro-football-reference.com now has complete team offensive and defensive coordinator data going back to the 1970s.

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QBR, ESPN’s Deeply Flawed Made-For-TV Stat: You knew this was coming… A post, by the CHFF’s Kevin Braig, vigorously defending passer rating.

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August 11, 2011

Top QBs – QBR vs NEP: Drive-By Football’s Keith Goldner compares the top 10 in his Net Expected Points metric to the top 10 from ESPN’s new Total QB Rating.

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August 10, 2011

Four Decades of Super Bowl Quarterbacks: From the blog Slip and Tackle, an infographic (and accompanying data) regarding Super Bowl quarterbacks.

The 2011 New Orleans Saints, SB Favorites?: PFR’s Chase Stuart writes about why the Saints — not the Packers, not the Eagles — are his preseason favorites to come out of the NFC.

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What’s New at SR/CFB?: Read about the epic additions Sports-Reference/College Football made to both its data and research tools.

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Flash Over Substance – DeSean Jackson and the Eagles: 74% of respondents to a recent ESPN poll think DeSean Jackson will be more valuable to Philly in 2011 than Nnamdi Asomugha, but Grantland’s Bill Barnwell points out that Jackson will be overrated until he improves his catch rate.

A Thought About Eli Manning’s League Leading Interceptions: At The Big Lead, Jason Lisk writes about Eli Manning — specifically, why his monster INT total last year is due for some heavy-duty regression-to-the-mean in 2011.

August 8, 2011

Race & NFL QB Bias: Does race play a role in NFL front-office decision-making about quarterbacks? The Wages of Wins seems to think so. But Brian Goff of The Sports Economist detects a different source of bias — not specifically against African-American QBs, but against mobile quarterbacks in general.

College Football Upsets – Small Colleges (FCS) Defeating Ranked Opponents: Andrew McKillop of SportsDelve.com found every known instance of a small (FCS) college beating an FBS team in football.

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Football Analytics Primer (Part 1): The NFL Minds Blog writes about the history and current philosophies of modern NFL “sabermetrics”.

Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) Reax: Tons of reactions this weekend in the wake of ESPN’s Friday launch of a new QB rating: TBL’s Jason Lisk posted an initial take, then compared QBR to passer rating … At PFR, Chase Stuart gave his thoughts, while Neil Paine looked at how QBR correlates with other QB metrics … Outside the Hashes also ran correlations with Brian Burke’s stats, and last but not least, Code & Football posted an overview of the critiques of QBR.

UPDATE: Drive-By Football also weighs in.

August 5, 2011

Even More on Total QB Rating: Want more info on ESPN’s new QB rating system? Read this Peter Keating piece on why it’s necessary, this Chris Sprow article on scrambling leaders, check out the 2010 overall leaders here, and 2008-10 3-year leaders here.

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LT, TD big winners on ‘rusher rating’ list: At CHFF, Ken Crippen of the PFRA presents an era-normalized ‘rusher rating’ (based on the framework of the NFL’s passer rating formula) and ranks all-time RB performances.

More on ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating: Dean Oliver explains more of the nuts and bolts of the new ESPN QB rating system; also, for an assessment of the methodology, read this Outside the Hashes post. UPDATE: And check out the discussion thread at Football Outsiders.

August 4, 2011

New ESPN quarterback rating system factors in larger set of variables: ESPN is rolling out a new QB rating tomorrow night, and the early signs are encouraging — it’s developed by some top analytic minds (Dean Oliver, Jeff Bennett, Ben Alamar, etc.), and it’s going to take into account down-and-distance, plus the play’s impact on win probability (a la Leverage Index).

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August 3, 2011

Formation Analysis – Number of RBs, Part I: FO’s Danny Tuccitto has game-charted stats on how often teams lined up with a certain number of RBs on the field (and how effective they were in those formations).

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2011 NFL win totals released by the Hilton ($): For those looking to compare projection systems to the Vegas numbers, ESPN’s Chad Millman posted the Hilton’s team-by-team season win over-unders.

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Who will next year’s Hall of Famers be?: Writing for CHFF, Scott Kacsmar handicaps next year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

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Randy Moss, Game Changer Extraordinaire and Sure Hall of Famer: Jason Lisk of The Big Lead writes about Randy Moss’ huge impact on his teams’ offensive output.

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August 2, 2011

Who won the QB derby? ($): ESPN’s KC Joyner uses his quarterback metrics to decide which teams made themselves better (or worse) in last week’s mad QB scramble.

Undefeated/Winless in NFL Preseason Play: SportsDelve.com’s Andrew McKillop looked at each franchise’s historical instances of going undefeated or winless in the preseason.

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NCAA Resource-Centric Model, Part II. Writing for FO, Kevin Haynes continues his analysis of how a school’s resources determine its on-field success by looking at coaches who won more (and less) than we would expect from the resources their schools provide.

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Pro football’s Hall of Very Good (yes, it exists!): At Cold Hard Football Facts, researcher Ken Crippen writes about the PFRA’s official “Hall of Very Good”.

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July 29, 2011

Greatest Cornerback Tandems of All-Time: In light of a possible Nnamdi Asomugha-Darrelle Revis pairing in New York, The Big Lead’s Jason Lisk looks at other great CB tandems throughout history.

July 28, 2011

Belichick’s Home for Disgruntled Little Wanderers: CHFF’s Kerry Byrne looks at whether Albert Haynesworth can help the Pats where they really need it — 3rd down D.

NFL Under-25 Organization Rankings ($): FO’s Danny Tuccitto ranks every NFL team based on how they acquire and cultivate young talent.

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Panthers up, Raiders down: CHFF’s Adam Dombrolowski uses the Plexiglas Principle to dampen Oakland’s optimism for 2011, while the Panthers are due for some positive regression to the mean.

There’s More Than One Way To Get a Winning Quarterback: The Big Lead’s Jason Lisk looked at how teams acquired their starting QBs (since 1995), and how successful each archetype was.

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July 27, 2011

2011 NFL Free Agent Tracker: PFR has a master list of free agents, along with their career and 3-year Approximate Value totals, that is constantly updated to reflect new signings.

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Ranking the top 10 prospects in the NFL ($): At ESPN, Aaron Schatz and Bill Barnwell unveil the top 10 of their annual prospect rankings.

Measuring the Mankins Impact: CHFF’s Kerry Byrne looks at the Patriots’ 2010 data to see how much impact Logan Mankins made when he returned from his holdout. Did the Pats overpay to keep him?

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July 26, 2011

Kyle Orton is Available, and Teams Should Be Calling Now: As TBL’s Jason Lisk writes, Orton has gone from overrated to underrated. History says Orton will produce better over the next 5 years than Kevin Kolb or a rookie top-5 pick at QB.

Timing is everything for Georgia Tech: Georgia Tech’s option offense is so unique that they have a great built-in advantage when facing an opponent who only had 1 week to prepare. Unfortunately, as Josh Parcell of ESPN Stats & Info points out, the downside to this is that opponents who have longer to prepare fare much, much better against the Jackets.

Ravens Shedding Some Feathers: With Baltimore cutting Derrick Mason and Willis McGahee, Drive-By Football’s Keith Goldner looks at their expected points and efficiency statistics from recent seasons.

Ranking the top 25 prospects in the NFL, Nos. 11-25 ($): At ESPN Insider, Aaron Schatz and Bill Barnwell present the first installment of their annual NFL prospect rankings.

Roethlisberger’s Ranking: The Big Lead’s Jason Lisk gives an overview of why Ben Roethlisberger is such a divisive figure in the world of QB rankings.

July 25, 2011

A Resource-Centric Model for NCAA Football Success (Part I): At FO, Kevin Haynes researches the degree to which college football success is determined by a school’s resources.

Coaching Trees & Training Camps: SportsDelve’s Andrew McKillop concludes his series on NFL Coaching Trees, and updates his historical NFL training-camp location data.

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Why it’s almost always a bad idea to go for a two-point conversion in the first half: Smart Football’s Chris Brown writes about why going for 2 early is a sub-optimal strategy.

Interception Returns for Scores: At The Big Lead, Jason Lisk researched how often teams win when scoring each type of non-offensive touchdown, and the typical score situation in which they occur.

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July 21, 2011

Catch Rate, 2010 WR: At Drive-By Football, a brief look at how well a wide receiver’s catch rate (catches per target) correlate to net expected points added.

Don’t Be Fooled By Age and Previous Year’s Beauty: Apropos of fantasy football, Jason Lisk of The Big Lead examines RB aging patterns to help identify the riskiest runners to avoid.

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NFL Coaching Trees, Pt. 3 – In the NFL: At SportsDelve.com, Andrew McKillop continues his series on NFL coaching trees by tracking the connections current coaches made while working as an NFL assistant.

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Five Teams Endangered by Free Agency ($): These teams could be in deep trouble when the lockout ends and their free agents scatter, FO’s Rivers McCown writes at ESPN.

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July 20, 2011

NFL Coaching Trees: SportsDelve’s Andrew McKillop is researching NFL coaching trees in his newest series of posts. In Part 1 he looks at coaches’ experience levels as players, and in Part 2 he breaks down the connections current NFL head coaches made as assistant coaches/graduate assistants in the college ranks.

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NFL free agents you meet in hell: At Grantland, Bill Barnwell put together a list of free agent archetypes that almost never produce at a level commensurate with their pay.

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Assessing the Blame on Sacks — QB or Offensive Line?: At NFL Minds, a look at which QBs hold the ball too long, and how that translates to their sack numbers.

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