Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gaps in statistics : NFL

People always tell us, ::insert sport:: is a team sport. My biggest arguement is, why are the statistics individual, and why do you draft a player for fantasy and not the team. A team sure has a "portion" of sucess, but come on, we are humans we can calculate that addition and remove it! However, as I continue my quest to give every player a particular metric, I get stuck at certain parts. I have listed a few of them below.

Missed Field Goals:
A touchdown is simple, a team scores 7 points and that is the end of it. If they fail, no one is really at fault. The better question is, who is to blame for a missed field goal. Is it the kicker? Well sure if the ball is on the goal line and the kick is missed than naturally it is the kickers fault. This of course, assuming the ball is snapped properly the wind is normal and the weather is without snowfall/rain. So given normal conditions we expect an NFL kicker to kick from a range. A dome, well throw out all the previous remarks because we assume they will be able to make a kick from any reasonable distance. What is reasonable though? The Average Longest kick is 53 yards. And the Average kick distance is 36.3 yards. Now lets set 36.3 yards as a threshold. We would assume that an NFL kicker would be able to score from that range. Now lets assume the ball is at the 37 yard line, and the coach calls for a field goal. The kicker shanks the ball left. Here in lies the question, whose fault is it? In sports we always blame the person at hand. Why dont we blame the Quarterback/offense. Maybe those few extra yards would have allowed the kicker to get a better kick, more breathing space. Is it the coaches fault, he should have known that the kicker was in his average range. That nothing is promised, and maybe they should have known that.

my thoughts : Now given all of the nfl drive/statistics, it is shown that the expected score depends on yards to go. 6.5 - (.081235)*(Yardstogo) = Expected Points. Now we want to know when it is better to go for it rather than to kick a field goal. So we set our expected points to 3 and reverse solve. This leaves us with 46 yards. An average kicker can make a 46 yard field goal. Thus it should be a quarerbacks second goal (obviously the first to score a touchdown) to get his team safely to the 46 yard line. Now with more research we can calculate field conditions such as rain, wind and snow. There is most likely an Expected Points for any weather condition. So I propose to use the method above until a weather additive model is created. On the otherhand, a Quarterback should be given the portion he is responsible for divided by the total * 3. REGARDLESS of if the kicker actually makes the kick (assuming it is withing the 46 yardline). This will eliminate any errors caused by the kicker.

Sacks or Interceptions:
When I always watch a game at my local watering hole, i always hear "WHY DID YOU GET SACKED". That is normally in the direction of the quarterback. I take sacks differently. I applaud the sack! What the quarterback did was realize that a fumble or interception is worse than a sack. Sure a thrown away ball is better than a sack, but without an intended receiver it becomes tricky. Possession is like gold in football. It is the ultimate prize, and losing it turns the game quickly. Not only did you go from being able to score, you now have to prevent the other team from scoring. As in Moneyball (Micheal Lewis 2003), outs came at a premium and so does possession in football. It is ok to lose a down as long as you keep possession. Sacks should be treated as a lost of yards rather than a "Sack". The sack is really the offensive line's fault. This is two fold in my "I haven't played a game of football in my life" mind. This is because not only did the offensive line not provide him enough time (even if it is a long time) they didnt give the Quarterback another option. They didnt give the quarterback a running hole, or even break the tackles so that he could throw it away. The sack should rarely be considered the fault of the Quarterback. The only time it should be considered is if a better outcome (being a throw away) is possible.

4 comments:

Chris R said...

Makes a lot of sense about the missed Field Goals, except when you kick from the 46 yard line you are kicking a 64 yard field goal. You snap the ball back 8 yards and the end zone is 10 yard deep.

To kick a 46 yard field goal you need to be on 28 yard line.

White Shadow said...

17 yards...

Rolen said...

Shouldn't some fault in sacks lie on the WR for not creating opportunities to receive the ball? If true there should be a negative correlation between QB ROI and number of times sacked.

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