Sports Reference Blog

AP Player of the Week (1963-1973) Added to PFR

Posted by Alex Bonilla on January 10, 2020

The NFL began handing out Player of the Week awards in 1984, but before then the Associated Press handed out their own Player of the Week awards. Thanks to compilation work by John Turney, we now have that award's history from 1963 to 1973. Notably, before 1970 there was an AFL and NFL version of the award. Len Dawson and John Hadl lead the way with 8 AP Player of the Week honors. The AP was also liberal enough with its criteria to award entire units, such as the Raiders Linebackers in Week 2 of 1973, or the entire Fearsome Foursome of Merlin Olsen, Deacon Jones, Lamar Lundy and Roger Brown in Week 14 of 1967.

Check out the full list of Player of the Week recipients at If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact us through our feedback form or Pro Football Reference's official Twitter account. Thanks for following us!

Posted in Announcement, Data, History, | 8 Comments »

Provisional 2019 Approximate Value Now on PFR

Posted by Alex Bonilla on January 2, 2020

With the season concluded, we're pleased to report that we've added 2019 Approximate Value (AV) numbers to the site for all NFL players. Note that these numbers are just provisional right now; the final numbers will be released after the Pro Bowl rosters and All-Pro rosters are finalized. However, there's already some interesting preliminary information to take a look at.

As of now, Lamar Jackson is the clear AV leader at 26, tied for the all-time record with LaDainian Tomlinson's 2006 MVP season. Michael Thomas, Patrick Mahomes, Dont'a Hightower and Dak Prescott round out the top 5.

Not sure what AV is? To learn more about PFR's attempt to put a single number on each player-season since 1960 (for the purposes of comparing players across position and era), check out this link. Feel free to send us feedback via our site's form.

Posted in Announcement, Features, | 4 Comments »

Introducing the PFR HOF Monitor

Posted by Alex Bonilla on December 19, 2019

Baseball-Reference tracks various Hall of Fame predictor statistics such as Bill James' Hall of Fame Monitor and Jay Jaffe's WAR Score System. Basketball Reference also has a Hall of Fame Probability formula that we display on player pages and gives people a brief glance at where players stand based on their statistical case.

With the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2020 being debated this winter, we figured it was time to work up a Hall of Fame predicting formula for the NFL, and so we have devised a new HOF Monitor metric that we are deploying for Pro Football Reference beginning today! Here's a link to the quarterback HOF Monitor page, which also includes links to the other positions. Links to these tables will also appear under the Leaderboards and Awards section of player pages.

The base formula uses weighted Approximate Value (which is 100% of the player's peak year, 95% of their second-best year, 90% of their third-best, and so on) as a starting point. Bonuses are added for Pro Football Hall of Fame All-Decade selections, MVP awards, Defensive Player of the Year awards, first-team AP All-Pro selections, championships and Pro Bowls, in descending weights. In addition, bonuses are added if a player has earned first-team All-Pro in over 33% of their seasons, which helps out short but excellent careers like Gale Sayers and Terrell Davis. For players not yet inducted, small bonuses are also added for semifinalist and finalist appearances on previous HOF ballots, since that indicates that they've already been seriously considered.

On top of the base formula, there are statistical bonuses given depending on the position. For example, running backs are given extra credit for any rushing yards over the 10,000 mark and any rushing touchdowns over 75, or defensive ends getting extra credit for sacks over 125. For quarterbacks, wide receivers and tight ends there are different thresholds depending on the era they played in so as to narrow the gap between the depressed passing stats before 1980 and the explosion after that.

Similar to JAWS, if a player's HOF Monitor is 120 or higher, there's a good chance they'll be first ballot inductees. A score of 100 is around the average modern-era HOF inductee for each position. A score of 80 or above means they're a good candidate to eventually get in, or are the highest-profile borderline candidates. The lowest score players already inducted in the Hall of Fame will get will be around 50 (sorry, Curley Culp).

To get a sense of what absolute HOF locks look like in this system, here's a look at the highest HOFm scores:

Player Pos HOFm
Jerry Rice WR 275.78
Peyton Manning QB 245.79
Reggie White DE 223.63
Lawrence Taylor OLB 210.43
Tom Brady QB 208.73
Bruce Smith DE 196.35
Ray Lewis ILB 195.43
Walter Payton RB 184.39
Jim Brown RB 179.63
Rod Woodson DB 176.28

As for the current modern era semifinalists for the Class of 2020, here's a look at how they stack up:

Alan Faneca G 141.43
Steve Hutchinson G 121.03
Zach Thomas ILB 111.70
Edgerrin James RB 103.83
Troy Polamalu DB 96.23
Richard Seymour DE 96.15
Reggie Wayne WR 94.73
Torry Holt WR 94.64
Steve Atwater DB 90.63
Isaac Bruce WR 90.14
Patrick Willis ILB 89.60
LeRoy Butler DB 88.78
Tony Boselli T 84.33
Ronde Barber DB 83.58
John Lynch DB 70.80
Hines Ward WR 66.69
Bryant Young DT 64.93
Ricky Watters RB 64.52
Darren Woodson DB 60.53
Sam Mills ILB 56.83
Simeon Rice DE 53.35
Clay Matthews OLB 52.3
Fred Taylor RB 52.13
Carl Banks OLB 51.50
Steve Tasker WR/ST 14.88

We want to stress that this is especially meant to judge a player's chances of getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and not necessarily for "who is the best middle linebacker" debates. Many analysts agree that championships won reveal little to nothing about a player's individual skill, but it's certainly a factor that's taken into consideration by Hall of Fame voters. With that caveat out of the way, we're eager to hear feedback on the formula. Particularly, if you're interested in testing out your own tweaks, feel free to reach out to us via our feedback form and we can share the player data used to test out this system.

Posted in Announcement, Awards, Features, General, Hall of Fame, History, | 11 Comments »

We Have Details on 99% of Triple-Doubles in NBA History

Posted by Mike Lynch on November 27, 2019

As we continue to make efforts to flesh out as many historical NBA box scores as possible, one of the benefits is being able to capture many of the most outstanding individual efforts in NBA history. A prior example is that we have shooting numbers for all but one 50-point game in NBA history. Recently, we were curious to see how robust our coverage of NBA triple-doubles is. We're happy to report that we believe we have details on 99% of the triple-doubles in NBA history (well, technically it's only 98.6%, but we'll round up).

Read the rest of this entry

Posted in Announcement,, Data, History, Play Index | 3 Comments »

Advanced Passing Revamp At PFR

Posted by Alex Bonilla on November 20, 2019

Earlier this season we announced our partnership with Sportradar to bring advanced offensive statistics to Pro Football Reference. We are happy to announce that for the 2019 season and beyond, we have now added additional advanced passing statistics to help provide context and key breakdowns for the quarterbacks around the league.

We can use MVP candidate Lamar Jackson as an example of the new statistics provided in the Advanced Passing table of quarterback pages. In the Accuracy tab, you'll now see batted passes and spikes in addition to previously added stats such as throwaways and bad throws. We also show passes on target and on target percentage, which ignores spikes and throwaways. Jackson has a 75.4 on target percentage in 2019.

In the Pressure tab of the Advanced Passing table, in addition to previously provided stats such as times blitzed, times hit, and scrambles, we also have pocket time for 2019. Jackson in 2019 has had on average 2.6 seconds in the pocket between the snap and throwing the ball or pressure collapsing the pocket.

In the Play Type tab of the Advanced Passing table, we provide breakdowns for run-pass option plays and play-action situations. Jackson has run 106 RPO plays this season, passing on 51 and rushing on his own for 52 of them. Jackson has run 87 play-action plays, throwing for 559 yards on those plays.

Finally, we already provided air yards information, but in order to paint a more complete picture we are now showing both intended air yards, which includes all pass attempts, and completed air yards. That information is displayed in the dedicated Air Yards tab of the Advanced Passing table.

In addition to displaying this information at the individual level, we have also implemented this tabbed approach on the team advanced stats page. As a team, the Saints lead the league in on target percentage at 81.9%. In terms of pocket time, the Chargers, Chiefs and Bengals trail with just an average of 2.2 seconds. Unsurprisingly, the Ravens and Cardinals have both run over 150 RPO plays, while no other team has even 100.

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to contact us through our feedback form or Pro Football Reference's official Twitter account. Thanks for following PFR!

Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Data, Features, | No Comments »

xG, Passing, Plus/Minus, and More Stats Added to FBref

Posted by Alex Bonilla on November 19, 2019

As part of our partnership with StatsBomb, FBref has made more advanced statistics available for players in the major international leagues. We launched expected goals data a couple of weeks ago, and you can read more in depth about the process that goes into calculating those figures at our xG explainer page.

A more recent big addition to the advanced stats we carry is a new Passing table, which tracks total number of passes attempted and completed, as well as a breakdown by pass distance. Other passing information includes key passes (passes that directly lead to a shot attempt), breakdown of left-footed and right-footed passes, through balls, and passes that enter the third of the pitch closest to the goal. In the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League, among players with at least 150 long pass attempts (25+ yards), only Sergio Busquets of Barcelona and Manuel Akanji successfully completed 90% of their long passes.

A new Playing Time table includes basic stats such as minutes per match as well as breakdowns by starts and substitutions. For seasons where we have match reports, we are also able to display points earned in standings per match played, goals scored and allowed by team while the player is on the pitch, and a plus/minus stat using that information. For example, in the 2018-19 English Premier League, Virgil van Dijk and Aymeric Laporte were tied for the league lead among non-goalkeepers in plus/minus, with their teams scoring 67 more goals than their opponents when they were on the pitch.

We have also added a Miscellaneous table that provides season-level statistics we were already providing in match reports such as fouls committed and drawn, offsides, crosses, tackles and interceptions. In 2019 Major League Soccer, Jorge Moreira of Portland led the league with 69 tackles. Zlatan Ibrahimović led the league in offsides committed, 15 more than 2nd place Sam Johnson.

You can keep up with the latest additions of competitions coverage and new features here on the Sports Reference Blog, or by signing up for the This Week in Sports Reference mailing list. Feel free to send us any questions or suggestions through our feedback form or FBref's official Twitter account.

Posted in Advanced Stats, Announcement, Data, FBref, Features | 1 Comment »

Coaching History Added For All Head Coaches in NFL History

Posted by Alex Bonilla on November 18, 2019

With 6 new debuts this season, there have now been exactly 500 people in NFL history to be credited as head coach of a NFL team. Many of those coaches had to work their way up the ranks or prove their success elsewhere before getting their chance at the top position in the NFL. For a while, Pro-Football-Reference had full coaching history on the pages of modern coaches such as Bill Belichick, so you could trace his rise from a special assistant on the 1975 Colts to where he is today. However, we did not include that information for many historical coach profiles until now, as we have now filled in the coaching history of every head coach in NFL history where applicable.

While in today's environment it's more common to hire a coach with NFL assistant experience over a college coach, in the past many great coaches jumped directly from college to the NFL. Paul Brown rose from nearly a decade coaching at Massillon Washington High School to three years at Ohio State, and following two years coaching the Naval Station Great Lakes team got the call to coach the nascent Cleveland franchise. Sid Gillman was a head coach at Miami of Ohio and Cincinnati before getting his first NFL head coaching spot with the Los Angeles Rams.

The addition of this information also helps fill out NFL coaching trees, as displayed by the Employed and Employed By tables on our coach pages. Looking at Brown's Employed table, he employed future Hall of Fame coaches Weeb Ewbank (as a tackles coach) and Bill Walsh (as a QB and WR coach). A common narrative today is how the assistants of Bill Belichick have not gone on to solid head coaching careers, and similar things were said about Vince Lombardi's coaching branches, which included folks like Bill Austin, Norb Hecker and Mike McCormack.

Assistant coaches did not become the norm until around the 1940s, although even in the early days of the NFL there were cases such as Dim Batterson of coaches assisting before rising to the top post. In those days player-coaches were common, and most of them never went on to a different coaching position, which is why those coaching history tables will mostly remain bare. There were exceptions, such as Bob Dove who was a player-coach for the Chicago Rockets and would go on to take assistant positions with the Lions and Bills before becoming a long-time assistant for Youngstown State. College coaches were also common in the early days of the NFL, such as Ed Robinson, who began his coaching career way back in 1896 with Nebraska before eventually coaching the Providence Steam Roller for one season.

We give thanks to the Professional Football Researchers Association and the work of John Maxymuk who had done extensive research on NFL head coaching history, along with additional newspaper verification by Alex Bonilla. In the future we may also fill in the coaching history of offensive and defensive coordinators we are currently lacking that information for. If you have any corrections or additional information to share or suggestions, feel free to contact us through our feedback form or Pro Football Reference's official Twitter account. Thanks for following PFR!

Posted in Announcement, Data, Features, History,, Trivia | 1 Comment »

Match Reports and Player Match Logs Now Complete for MLS History

Posted by Alex Bonilla on November 8, 2019

Major League Soccer's first season was in 1996, and since then the league has expanded to 24 teams playing in this 2019 season, and has the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC preparing to face off in the MLS Cup on November 10. (Editor's note: congratulations to the Sounders on their 3-1 victory and the 2019 MLS title!) With that, FBref is happy to announce that we now have match reports and player match logs available for the league's entire history.

The first MLS Cup was held on October 20, 1996, where DC United defeated LA Galaxy 3-2 in extra time. Our reports include substitutions, cards issued, time played, goals, assists and missed penalty kicks.

With the addition of match reports comes having match logs for all players in MLS history. Carlos Ruiz had an amazing debut MLS season in 2002 for the LA Galaxy, leading the league with 24 regular season goals. Ruiz's 2002 match log shows you quickly that he scored in each of his first 4 games of the season. We also have his postseason logs, which included 3 multi-goal games en route to Los Angeles' MLS Cup victory over New England that season.

We want to give a big thanks to SportDirect, Howard Hamilton and Jay Hutchinson for their work and research done for this particular project. FBref will continue to expand its historical offerings for the various leagues we currently cover. You can keep up with the latest additions of competitions coverage and new features here on the Sports Reference Blog, or by signing up for the This Week in Sports Reference mailing list. Feel free to send us any questions or suggestions through our feedback form or FBref's official Twitter account.

Posted in Announcement, Data, FBref, Features, History | No Comments »

2019-20 NBA Player Projections Added to Basketball Reference

Posted by Alex Bonilla on October 18, 2019

Basketball-Reference has added 2019-20 NBA player projections, using our Simple Projection System, which is adapted from Tom Tango's Marcel the Monkey Forecasting System.

Since we're not controlling substitution patterns, all projections are for per-36 minutes statistics. In addition to the full list of player projections linked above, we are also displaying them on individual player pages. Please use these responsibly and enjoy! Also, take the time to check out some other features you may be unaware of in the site's Frivolities section.

Posted in Announcement,, Features, Statgeekery | 2 Comments »

Row Isolation Added to Sports-Reference Sites

Posted by Alex Bonilla on October 16, 2019

Sports-Reference has added a feature to tables that will make it a lot easier to compare teams and players in an easily scannable fashion. Now, when you select a row on a table, a popup will appear with a button: "Show Only Selected Rows". Highlight the rows you want to isolate, and once you're ready, click the button. The site will then fade out the unselected rows so the only rows displayed are the ones you highlighted. If you want to return to viewing the full table, just click on the "Show All Rows" button.

This feature applies to any tables that don't have row summing capabilities. This will work on both desktop and mobile. You can see a video of the feature in action at Baseball-Reference's Twitter account. You can contact us through our feedback form if you have any questions or suggestions.

Posted in Announcement,,, CBB at Sports Reference, CFB at Sports Reference, FBref, Features, General,,, Tips and Tricks | 3 Comments »