Sports Reference Blog

Archive for the 'Pro-Football-Reference.com' Category

Play Index Tools are Moving to Stathead.com

13th May 2020

The Play Index first launched on Baseball-Reference.com over thirteen years ago and has been one of the most used research tools for baseball ever since. Many of these tools have been recreated on our Basketball, Football, Hockey and College sites over the last twelve years, and, likewise, they have earned a dedicated user base of their own. Our Baseball Play Index was always a subscription product, but we never applied that model to the other sports' tools. It was always our intention to charge for these products, but for a variety of reasons that never happened.

The Sports Reference sites have continued to grow in traffic and advertising revenue over that time to the extent that the Play Index and our ad-free options are a very, very small portion of our revenue. Most of that is on us, as we have not done a great job of promoting and marketing tools that are highly valued by a dedicated group of users. The Basketball, Football, Hockey, and College Play Indexes represent well under 1% of our revenue. In addition, the Play Index tools are complicated to maintain and manage, and quite frankly are a money-loser for us at this time. It's well past time for us to re-think how these tools are positioned within our constellation of sites.

While Sports Reference is doing well overall, I'm not comfortable with having so much of our revenue dependent on advertising. We are very beholden to search engines continuing to send us traffic, and likewise the ad market can be fickle and difficult for a small to medium size operator to navigate. With the economic downturn currently taking place, our ad revenue is down significantly as well.

In addition, advertising on the sites does not make it easier for you to answer the questions you have. This is our primary mission. We maintain a relatively low level of advertising on the sites (at least compared to your regional newspaper), and we are loathe to add additional advertising units or more intrusive units. Some of you may use an ad blocker, in which case we are making no money from your use of the site at all, and the audience for our ad-free product has proven to be very small as well.

A subscription model aligns our interests much better with our users' interests as well. I realize that users are being asked to sign up for lots of subscriptions these days, but we feel the tools within the Play Index are so specialized and useful that they warrant a paywall.

So we are making some changes. The Play Index for each site will be moving to Stathead.com. Stathead.com will become the center for all of our subscription products. We expect these products to include tools and information beyond just a redesigned set of Play Index tools. This won't happen all at once, but we've started with baseball and are proceeding through the remainder of our sports over the next two months. Also, we have ended our dedicated ad-free product and instead Stathead memberships will have ad-free built-in. There just aren't enough users to justify a separate ad-free product. These changes will began in April for baseball and will be followed by Hockey in May, Basketball and probably Football in June and then College over the summer.

You can try out Stathead Baseball now. If you do a little digging, you will see that we are charging $8/month for a single sport and subscribing to all sports will cost $16/month. We realize moving from free to $8/month is a big ask, but we feel the tools provide a great deal of value and also believe that we can't continue to support the products without a viable revenue stream.

During the deployment of these changes, the existing Play Indexes will remain free.

--sean forman

Posted in Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, CFB at Sports Reference, Hockey-Reference.com, Play Index, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

2010s All-Decade Team + HOF Monitor Updates

12th May 2020

The Pro Football Hall of Fame 2010s All-Decade Team was announced a while back, and Pro Football Reference now lists the team in its Awards section, as well as in the Awards table on player pages for those who were selected. This year's All-Decade team had the peculiarity of being released without a first-team/second-team distinction, the first time that's happened since the 1960s All-Decade team. With that, our Hall of Fame Monitor also made a small change to its methodology to accommodate this; you can read the formula used for that here.

Here's a look at some of the more interesting impacts All-Decade selections might have on Hall of Fame cases:

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore were already on their way to Canton, but All-Decade selections greatly help LeSean McCoy, Marshawn Lynch and Darren Sproles' future cases. McCoy's HOFm score is now at 80.76, moving him ahead of current top eligible RB Roger Craig. Lynch's score is now 68.94, which puts him just below the lowest-scoring HOFers who played in the 1980s or later. Sproles took a major jump to 64.4 thanks to making the All-Decade team on offense and special teams, and now finds himself in the range of borderliners Ricky Watters and Shaun Alexander.

Wide Receiver: This position is a little more scattered in terms of predicting who ends up making it in, but Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones and Antonio Brown will appreciate having their names in here. Considering his off-the-field meltdown, Brown is the strangest HOF case, but on paper his HOFm score is now at 89.12, which puts him right next to HOFer Art Monk and within sniffing distance of Michael Irvin.

Offensive Line: Jason Peters gets a healthy boost as he approaches the end of his career, his new HOFm score putting him inbetween HOFers Rayfield Wright and Orlando Pace, as well as right next to perennial finalist Tony Boselli. Jahri Evans and Marshal Yanda also got elevated into the mix of HOF guards with this selection.

Defensive Line: Calais Campbell gets some help for his HOF case with this selection, putting himself in the range of the highest borderline defensive ends like L.C. Greenwood and Neil Smith.

We hope you enjoy this addition and use it as a reference in friendly debates to come. Please let us know if you have any comments, questions or concerns.

Posted in Announcement, Awards, Features, Hall of Fame, History, Pro-Football-Reference.com | No Comments »

Advanced Player Game Logs on Pro Football Reference

10th April 2020

In 2019 Pro-Football-Reference added advanced statistics provided by Sportradar such as air yards, yards after contact, drops, and passer rating allowed among others. We have those available at the season level on player pages, as well as on the game level within box scores. We have now added advanced game logs, accessible from player pages, so you can see an individual's advanced stats at the single-game level.

Here are links to some examples:

Aaron Rodgers

Christian McCaffrey

Richard Sherman

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 Advanced Stats, Announcement, Features, Play Index, Pro-Football-Reference.com | No Comments »

NFL100 Awards on PFR

16th March 2020

Part of the celebration of the National Football League's 100th anniversary included celebrating the top 100 in the league's history in various categories. Pro Football Reference has collected the major awards for display on the site: top 100 games of all time, top 100 teams of all time, and the NFL's 100th Anniversary All-Time Team. You can find them all linked on PFR's Awards index. The top 100 games list is unique in that we include a summary of what made the games notable, as well as a link to YouTube for games that the NFL has officially uploaded in full in case you want to go through history in the offseason.

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, Awards, Data, Features, History, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Super Bowl | No Comments »

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

10th January 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 Pro-Football-Reference.com. 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, Pro-Football-Reference.com | 1 Comment »

Provisional 2019 Approximate Value Now on PFR

2nd January 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, Pro-Football-Reference.com | 2 Comments »

Introducing the PFR HOF Monitor

19th December 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. 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, Super Bowls/titles, 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. This reflects the reputation boost afforded to players who led the league in short careers like Gale Sayers and Terrell Davis. For players not yet inducted, small bonuses are also added for semi-finalist 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 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. For the full methodology, check out our PFR HOF Monitor explainer page here.

Similar to JAWS, a score of 100 is around the average modern-era HOF inductee for each position. All eligible players with a score over 120 got into the Hall of Fame fairly quickly, save for a few exceptions such as Willie Wood. A score of 150 would be a first ballot lock (sole exception of Alan Page who had to wait a year).

A score of 80 or above means they're a good candidate to eventually get in, or they’re the highest-profile borderline candidates. The absolute lowest score for HOF inductees would be 40, although most of these lower scoring Hall of Famers are courtesy of senior committee selections.

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 311.81
Peyton Manning QB 258.00
Reggie White DE 238.23
Tom Brady QB 225.94
Lawrence Taylor OLB 215.68
Walter Payton RB 214.91
Bruce Smith DE 211.35
Ray Lewis ILB 197.85
Tony Gonzalez TE 196.33
Jim Brown RB 190.29

As for the Centennial Class of 2020, here's how the HOF Monitor judged the modern-era semifinalists on the ballot, with this year's inductees marked with an asterisk:

Player Pos HOFm
Alan Faneca G 141.93
Steve Hutchinson* G 118.53
Zach Thomas ILB 112.20
Reggie Wayne WR 107.01
Torry Holt WR 104.27
Isaac Bruce* WR 99.81
Edgerrin James* RB 99.58
Richard Seymour DE 96.65
Troy Polamalu* DB 95.73
Patrick Willis ILB 89.60
Leroy Butler DB 89.28
Steve Atwater* DB 85.13
Tony Boselli T 84.83
Ronde Barber DB 83.58
Hines Ward WR 72.90
John Lynch DB 71.30
Bryant Young DT 65.43
Ricky Watters RB 64.77
Darren Woodson DB 60.53
Sam Mills ILB 57.33
Simeon Rice DE 53.35
Clay Matthews OLB 52.30
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, Pro-Football-Reference.com | 24 Comments »

Advanced Passing Revamp At PFR

20th November 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, Pro-Football-Reference.com | Comments Off on Advanced Passing Revamp At PFR

Coaching History Added For All Head Coaches in NFL History

18th November 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, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Trivia | 1 Comment »

Row Isolation Added to Sports-Reference Sites

16th October 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, Baseball-Reference.com, Basketball-Reference.com, CBB at Sports Reference, CFB at Sports Reference, FBref, Features, General, Hockey-Reference.com, Pro-Football-Reference.com, Tips and Tricks | 2 Comments »