Monday, August 31, 2009

Site News

Some computer issues mean posting both here and at Total Titans will likely be slow for the next couple days. I'll have an announcement-type post up Wednesday.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Linkagery

Time to dump some more links.

Yakuza Rich, despite annoying tendencies related to being a Cowboy homer, does a relatively decent list of best players by position on offense. I was holding onto this until he did defense, but that hasn't happened yet. He's another person who recognizes roster prediction posts are easy and relatively interesting, as he's done six of them.

AFL stuff: Bud Adams had a conference call with media people and talked about stuff. The Houston Chronicle had a couple pieces, one by McClain on Bud, another on Hennigan and Groman, star wideouts.

Unlike the NFL, the NCAA makes its rules available online to everybody. Ditto the records book.

Prolate Spheroid has been writing about coaching rivalries: Robert Neyland v. Frank Thomas and Johnny Vaught v. LSU's Paul Dietzel.

I kind of got busy/lazed out on doing it, so I'll just link to FO's interview with Music City Miracles.

Don't wish your team had a Lance Zierlinski focusing on them? Listen to this podcast about the Texans' first preseason game, and you might.

Jason LaCanfora had a look at the particulars of Michael Vick's contract. When this info is available for every player to us unconnecteds, I'll be happy.

Chris of Smart Football wrote about USC's passing offense. The other half of the picture is to find the dividing line for when USC players stopped being NFL successes and started being NFL underperformers, and re-read the article with that in mind. Coincidence, or conspiracy?

Running out of money, like roster predictions, is a topic that's interesting and I like to link to posts about it and how not to do it, like this one by Jack Bechta of NFP.

Hinton (ex-USM) to Favre (ex-USM): Just ... give it up, man.

I'm beginning to feel like the WSJ's Sports section is the bane of my existence. Take, for instance, the article Undersized NFL Players Even the Playing Field. Did you know Willie Parker wasn't drafted because he was "too short"? It's really too bad the NFL doesn't draft running backs shorter than Parker, like Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith, or even LaDainian Tomlinson. Parker going undrafted COULDN'T have anything to do at all with him being firmly planted on the bench at UNC, absolutely not. And, though he's not mentioned in the article, Dwight Freeney is listed as being among the "Undersized, Overlooked and Dominant" in the slideshow. Yup, 11th pick in the first round of the NFL draft, that's really overlooked. I think I've mentioned this before, but this wouldn't normally bother me that much, except it's the WSJ and people who don't pay that much attention will think this stuff is true.

Finally, for now, Tommy McDonald's NFL Hall of Fame induction speech is worth a watch if you haven't seen it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Total Titans

New post up, the latest roster prediction. I tried for more change in my prediction, but I couldn't manage it. Maybe I'm trapped in my own mind again, but I really do think I'm pretty close. I'll be doing this again after the fourth preseason game.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Plus Ca Change, or Quote of Not Today

A couple weeks ago, the WSJ published an article that asked Are Americans Becoming Soccer Fans? After all, the US had had a pretty productive summer before the loss in Azteca. So, it was with interest that I picked up my copy of Walter Camp's American Football that evening and read:

Of the Association game one can say but little as regards its American following. It is quite extensively played in this country, but more by those who have themselves played it in Great Britain than by native-born Americans. Its popularity is extending, and at some day it will very likely become as well understood in this country as the derived Rugby [i.e., American football] is to-day.


Not bad for 1891, if you ask me.

UPDATE (8/25/0009 2112 CT): i.e., not viz, darnit. Also changed reference to "American football" from "gridiron", since that's the title of Camp's book.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Book Review: Run It! And Let's Get the Hell Out of Here!

One thing that annoys me about sports books is a percentage of the books out there about sports aren't so much actual books as compendiums of some basic lists around a gimmick. These can be better (The Maisel Report) or worse (The Paolantonio Report), but ultimately they pretty much all end up feeling gimmicky and unsatisfying. When I first saw a listing of Jonathan Rand's "Run It! And Let's Get the Hell Out of Here!": The 100 Best Plays in Pro Football History, I noted it on my spreadsheet, but mentally marked it as "Maybe, if the local library has it and I'm bored," and pretty much forgot about it. After listening to this podcast interview with Rand by Chase Stuart of PFR Blog, I ended up picking up a copy for classic Amazon used price of $0.01 + shipping during my Month of Book Buying.

So, having read and acquired Run It!, how was it? Well, pretty much as I expected it to be. The definition of "play" is not limited to a "play" as the NFL rulebook might define it-a single snap or kickoff-but instead a somewhat more metaphorical definition more like "the actions of a single player in a single game, which is preferably but need not be a single play." I'd expected this from the book title, and Rand confirmed as much in the podcast, so this wasn't a surprise, even if the purist in me doesn't like it (Vernon Perry's 4 INT game is not a "play", darnit). Each play gets a couple pages to have its story told, and Rand generally includes an interview with one or more of the people involved in the play in addition to the description of what happened. It's all quite competently done, but if I don't sound excited, it's because I'm not. Run It! fulfilled its purpose, in that it served me reasonably as something to read during, say, a lunch break at work, because it's the sort of book you can consume in smaller sized chunks without any need for immersing yourself in it. Of course, it's also the kind of book that doesn't reward immersing yourself in or mass consumption-if I tried to read more than 5 or 10 plays in a row, they all started running together pretty quickly.

Overall, I'd say I wish I hadn't been swayed by the podcast into forking over the $4.00 for Run It!, simply because I don't tend to enjoy this kind of book. If you're someone who does, though, Run It! might be a book you'd enjoy.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Total Titans

Game recap post is finally up at Total Titans.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Total Titans

I'm liveblogging tonight's Titans-Cowboys game on Fox over at Total Titans.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Book Review: Dixieland Delight

Some books deserve a long review that thoughtfully considers their merits. More, don't really, either because they're not really thoughtful considerations of the subject matter, others because they're not really the kind of book that thing is about. Clay Travis's Dixieland Delight falls into that latter category. In the tradition of accurate and boring subtitles, Dixieland is described as "A Football Season on the Road in the Southeastern Conference," and it is just that. The book is Travis's catalog of his experiences traveling to a game at each of the dozen SEC schools, plus the SEC championship during the 2006 season. As you might expect from someone who wrote for Deadspin and now writes for Fanhouse, the book probably appeals most to the male 18-34 demographic (guilty), particularly those whose fall Saturdays in college were a boozy celebration of the gridiron game (not guilty). For someone who went to the wrong DC George school (no, Ohio State is not the only school that uses "The" in its name), Travis is a reasonably amusing writer, and Dixieland definitely qualifies as an enjoying romp through a fall college football season in the SEC. Were I a nicer, less serious person, I'd say it's a fine combination of his experiences, a view of a southern mindset not necessarily shared in other places, and some slightly broader observations that rise above the mundane and (fairly mild) debauchery that characterizes the rest of the book. I'm not, though, so I'll merely note this book could have been a disaster if Travis pretended he was writing something other than an enjoyable romp. He didn't, thankfully, so Dixieland Delight ended up fairly amusing.

Now, though, the question is whether it's worth reading. Dixieland was initially published in July 2007, pretty much the normal time for books like this about the previous season, and read then, it would be a nice way to relive the previous season and whet your appetite for the previous season. Now, though, it's reliving the good or painful memories of a couple years ago, with players (other than, notably, Tim Tebow) since departed from the scene. The enjoyable romp both hurts and helps Travis here-helping, because an enjoyable romp is never really out of style, and hurts because there's really nothing to learn from reading Dixieland. I suppose the best thing I can say is I enjoyed reading Dixieland Delight, never thought about not finishing it, and don't regret the money I spent acquiring it.

Total Titans

New post up on Total Titans, the delayed safeties positional analysis.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Site Update

Updated sidebar link to reflect Smart Football's flashy new digs.

I also joined a Y! public fantasy football league, for reasons that will be revealed in time. My first fantasy football experience. Still time to back out and find a real league instead.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Book Review: Loser Takes All

The relationship between a pro football team, its fans, and the local media is a complicated one and an important one. It's less important now, of course, with the teams' ability to connect to fans directly, but it was hugely important. Take, for instance, Ralph Wilson's selection of Buffalo for his AFL franchise. Yes, Miami rebuffed him after their negative experience with the AAFC Seahawks and the AAFC Bills showed pretty well, but what really sealed the deal was the sports editor of the local rag (the News, IIRC) agreed to provide daily coverage for 5 years. If only Bud Adams had made the same deal...

Unlike Wilson's Bills, the relationship between the Oilers and the Houston press was never so smooth. In Pro Football Chronicle, three of the top five press-sports feuds are between members of the Oilers and Houston sportswriters, which gives a little bit of an idea as to how friendly the relationship has been. And so we come to Ed Fowler's Loser Takes All: Bud Adams, Bad Football & Big Business. As you might guess from the subtitle and my telling you that Fowler, at the time Loser was published, had been at the Houston Chronicle for nearly two decades, this book is pretty much a rant. Fowler didn't particularly care for Bud Adams or 80s era exec Ladd Herzeg, and makes it quite clear in this book. Mind you, assuming Fowler's descriptions are accurate, each man had his distinctly unlovable characteristics. Herzeg was more personally odious, it seems, while Adams continually cried poor while mismanaging a generally poor football team.

This could have been a very useful book. As someone whose football consciousness only dates back to the mid- to late-1980's, a history of Bud Adams' football franchise in the nation's fourth most populous city would have been quite useful. Fowler's perspective, as noted above, though, prevents the telling of such a useful story-Bud Adams is never right and never wronged, but instead seemingly always wronging and/or permitting wrongdoing. Even when Fowler is inveighing against Bud and Paul Tagliabue in their pleas for Houston to spend money on the Oilers, a case where I completely agree with him, I feel slightly dirty for doing so. And, of course, this is a journalistic book, with no index or bibliography, and hardly any reference to any source or method of sourcing to be found. Righteous indignation is the sole tone to be found, and Fowler is hardly Paul Johnson as a polemicist. Thankfully, there's also Oiler Blues, a review of which will appear here after I finish reading it, but which in its first 40 pages has much more worthwhile content than Fowler's volume does in its entirety.

Miscellanea

Time to dump some more links.

Reasonably decent Titans 2009 preview by Andy Benoit.

Lance Zierlein had a nice post on Jim Johnson's passing. See also Doug Farrar at FO re same.

Jack Bechta of NFP wrote about the role the head coach can play in negotiating contracts. Really, it's all about finding where the leverage is.

In case you need a reminder, Texas Monthly is the best magazine in the country, as a perusal of this article on how Texas was able to put its athletic department on extremely solid financial footing demonstrates. See also this point highlighting UT's limited sporting options.

How much better was Jim Brown than Jim Taylor? Per PFR blog, the answer might not be as far apart as you think.

PFR also continued its series of great players playing together with a look at the secondary. Only one of the top 20 started training camp in my lifetime.

Courtesy of The Sports Economist, a nice New Yorker interview with sports economist Andrew Zimbalist.

Aside from wondering how Trent Edwards got people to think he's good when he's "secretly" lousy and asking for a great piece on Mitch Mustain, this Ray Gustini article isn't necessarily about football, but it's still amusing.

Something you probably won't see in a newspaper: Michael Lombardi picked out the worst game managers. I can't believe Brad Childress is only #3.

Lombardi also had a nice series looking at the "blue chip" players on various teams; see AFC East and AFC North and AFC South and AFC North.

PFR continued its series from last offseason on the best QBs with a look at the career rankings. Manning behind Montana seems pretty reasonable to me; note I'm not sure how much I trust this to make inter-era rankings. No, by linking to this, I am not endorsing the idea that Kurt Warner is better than Bart Starr and/or Otto Graham. Thankfully, with weather and location adjustments, Warner fell behind both in the rankings.

Drew Brees, archer! Gimmicky, but very impressive to watch.

Finally, for now, courtesy of Dr. Saturday, one of my favorite teams pulling one of their favorite upsets: Northwestern 19 - Michigan 13 from 1995.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Total Titans

Another post on Total Titans, this one my second look at predicting the 53-man roster.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Site Update

Blogging here likely to be slow the next couple days, as it has been. Actual content (that is, beyond links to Total Titans posts) here this weekend-ish, like book reviews, a link post or two, and/or some stat stuff. In the meantime, enjoy a look at the differences in the NFL Rulebook from 2008 to 2009. Thanks to Travis for doing what I would be too lazy to do.

Total Titans

New post on Total Titans, about linebacker signings. Woo, bottom of the depth chart fodder.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sports Illustrated's All Pro Teams

One way to waste a great deal of time if you're a sports fan is to peruse the Sports Illustrated vault. Joe Posnanski recently wrote a post about some of his favorite stories, which are generally quite good, but I was interested in something else: who Dr. Z had picked to his All-Pro team each year. So, without further ado, here's what I've found:

1979: Found
1980: Found
1981: Found
1982: Found
1983: Found
1984: Found
1985: Found
1986: Found
1987: Found
1988: Found
1989: Found
1990: Found (p. 30-31 in issue, no article link)
1991: Found
1992: Found
1993: Found
1994: Found (chart in Scorecard, no article)
1995: Found
1996: Looked for, not found
1997: Found
1998: Found
All Century Team: Found (published August 1999)
1999: Found (online)
2000: Found (online)
2001: Found (online)
2002: Found (online)
2003: Found (online)
2004: Found (online)
2005: Found, offense and defense (online)
2006: Found (online)
2007: Found (online)
2008: Found (online, chosen by Peter King)
2009: Found (online, chosen by Peter King)
2010: Found (online, chosen by Peter King)
2011: Found (online, chosen by Peter King)

I spent a great deal of time looking for the All-Pro team for 1996 NFL, perusing every logical SI issue, but have not found it. I can't claim I haven't missed it, since I struggled to find 1990 and 1995 and found them, but I'm pretty sure I didn't. I also didn't check for before 1979, but Z said 1979's team was SI's first All-Pro team, so I'm not going to bother.

UPDATE (8/13/09 0034 CT): Added 1979, 1982, 1983, an inadvertently excluded 1986, and 1989. Updated last para accordingly. I'll update when I figure anything out about 1990, 1995, or 1996.
UPDATE (1/12/10 0025 CT): Added 2009.
UPDATE (1/21/11 0904 CT): Added 2010.
UPDATE (4/7/11 0057 CT): Corrected link to 2006 team.
UPDATE (2/15/12 2228 CT): Added 2011.
UPDATE (2/16/12 0024 CT): Added 1990 and 1995. Still can't find 1996.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Total Titans

I forgot to put it up here when I was doing it, but here's a link to the liveblog I did of tonight's game. I also did a recap post, more or less.

Still behind on book reviews and other posts, but I was out doing my patriotic duty and stimulating the economy.

Total Titans

Post on five Titans to watch tonight put up for the sake of putting up a post before the liveblog.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Total Titans

As the post I put up says, I will be liveblogging Sunday's Titans-Bills game over at Total Titans. I'll post a reminder here before then, and hopefully write at three posts before then-a pregame post, a positional analysis, and a book review here.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Linkagery

Andrew Brandt, of NFP and also of the Eagles, had a very useful three part series on rookie contracts.

Every college football team's record for the past five years, including a couple splits. Only two teams have a better record away from home than at their home stadium: Notre Dame (barely-56% v 57%) and, surprisingly enough, Georgia (78% v 86%). Boise has the 3rd most wins, but a losing record (4-5) against teams that finished in the AP Poll Top 25.

Year of Sports Death Update: The latest entry is of course, Peter King's column today, but I'm catching up on links here so you get older ones. See, for instance, this post on the NFLPA using its political connections. I wonder about De Smith's election as head of the NFLPA-he apparently sounded impressive, but I'm curious how much his connections to Obama and AG Holder played a role. The players can't fight the owners-they control the stadiums and have a wide net of broadcast contracts, so they're in a good position, so they have to fight on other grounds. Thus, political lobbying. See also this Biz of Football article on the same lines.

Charts that look ominous and meaningful but aren't really: breakdown in bowl money between BCS and non-BCS teams. BCS teams are more popular than non-BCS teams. BCS teams are generally better than non-BCS teams, and go to bowls more often. Plus, the best teams tend to be BCS teams, for a number of reasons. More bowls means more BCS teams in bowls. The Bowl Alliance is an important part, too-increasing returns to excellence reward BCS teams. Really, this chart doesn't mean very much.

Oh, always fun... no matter how not hugely distinguished a player may be, there's somebody who makes an argument he belongs in the Hall of Fame. In this case, it's former Cleveland Browns wideout Gary Collins. He's probably the only guy ever to lead the league in both punting average and TD receptions. For a recent comp, using PFR's database, think Derrick Alexander, or maybe a less good version of Ed McCaffrey. But, you know, he made two Pro Bowls, so he's obviously a great player.

Fun stuff from PFR: the best players since 1950 by uniform number. Given my lack of regard for Aaron Brooks, it's dispiriting to see him as the best guy to wear #2.

PFR's Jason Lisk also continues his series on the AFL v the NFL with a look at the 1964-66 drafts. The NFL had started treating the AFL like a real competitor, and bringing its resources to bear, and it really shows out here.

Smart Football's proprietor, Chris Brown, has been contributing content to Dr. Saturday's blog. See, for instance, his piece on Virginia Tech's defense or Louisville's offense. He's more optimistic than I am about the Cardinals' fate-frankly, were I Louisville's AD, I would have fired Kragthorpe after his first year, or at least demanded he figured out what the heck he was doing, a process that apparently only happened this offseason, and that at the cost of alienating some of the faithful.

Finally, I leave you with the weirdest thing I've linked to lately:
We find a significantly positive, non-spurious, and robust correlation between the Redskins' winning percentage and the amount of federal government bureaucratic activity as measured by the number of pages in the Federal Register.

As Prof. Ribstein, from whom the link, said, "Whether this is a comment on football, politics or economists I leave to readers to discern," though of course my mantra here remains There's No Politics In Football.

UPDATE (8/7/09 1725 CT): Coincidence or conspiracy? This morning's Reading the coverage by ESPN AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky linked to the PFR piece on uniform numbers linked above. If you gakked it from here, Paul, thanks for reading and yes, I am the Tom in Chicagoland who showed up thrice in this week's chat.

Book Review: Game Time

It seems like my most common complaint about books on here has been they're not really substantive works. And it's true, I do appreciate well-researched, thoughtful, comprehensive books that demonstrate knowledge about the subject (America's Game is probably the best example currently on the sidebar). The problem with those books though is a steady diet of them can be a little monotonous. Mixing in lighter fare can be a worthwhile exercise. Yes, too often light and short ends up being short and light on content, but it need not be, and Ted Kluck's Game Time: Inside College Football is proof. Game Time makes no great pretensions to be something it's not. Instead, in the manner of The Draft, Kluck, who played the game at the small college level before turning to the pen to earn his living, writes 15 short chapters (generally about 12 pages) on people associated with various aspects of college football. The list includes two former players, one (Charlie Thornhill of Michigan State) reliving his college glory and the other (Danny Wuerffel) avoiding it, a couple players at schools large and small, a couple draft prospects both heralded (Dan Bazuin) and not (Cullen Finnerty), an agent, Todd McShay, Phil Steele, a couple assistant coaches, one still trying to play the game for money, and, of course, the mandatory chapter on a star recruit (Ronald Johnson).

These aren't complete stories of these people-The Draft's narrower focus allows for greater exploration of the main subjects and to see how they act over time, but they're generally reasonably interesting. One thing I feel like I should point out is Kluck's Michigan home shows through-other than Wuerffel and a chapter on the Senior Bowl, college football's Southern influence doesn't really show up. Were this a different book, one that intended to Say Something, that would be a real critique. But Game Time isn't trying to say something, just tell stories about some people, and it does a reasonable job at that. Should you read it? To me, it's not really worth the $24.95 list, or Amazon's current $18.96 sale price, but it's worth a library rental (if available), and I don't regret the $5 or so I paid to pick up my used copy.

Site Update

Took Monday off, didn't have or make time Tues or Weds. Will get up something tomorrow, barring life intervening again. Three book reviews to do, even. In the meantime, per Adam Schefter's Twitter, Gil Brandt guaranteed Tim Tebow as a top 10, maybe top 5, pick in the 2010 draft. I don't doubt some team could fall in love with him, but I'll believe that one when I see it.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Total Titans

New post up at Total Titans, this one a positional analysis on the middle linebackers.

Two book review posts to write, one or both of which may happen tomorrow.

The Solution to, and Cause of, Life’s Problems

Today, LenDale White spoke about coming into camp at 228 pounds, nearly 40 pounds below where he played last season (note: video link).  As Jim Wyatt wrote in the Tennessean, White attributed his weight loss not to doing a better job of watching his diet, but instead to giving up Patron tequila.  By doing so, he reminded me of perhaps my favorite sports interview of all time.  No, not Todd Stottlemyre’s fantabulous rant.  Instead…

The time was May of 1999.  It was junior year of college, and I was spending the year in Japan, where I spent the occasional afternoon watching sumo.  The Hawaiian Musashimaru (birth name Fiamalu Penitani) came into the Summer Basho off a win on Day 15 of the Spring Basho (held in May) with a chance to make yokozuna with another tournament win.  Maru-chan triumphed over Akebono (birth name Chad Rowan) on Day 15 to avoid a playoff and claim his second straight yusho with a 13-2 mark and a virtually certain promotion to yokozuna.  As is customary for yusho winners, Maru gave an interview to NHK.  Normally, interviews with rikishi are dull enough the advice in Bull Durham makes it seem edgy, with credit given to extra practice, hard work, and diligence in training.  So, the interviewer for NHK asked Maru how he was able to perform at such a high level.  Maru replied that after the January tournament he had given up beer.  The interviewer pressed him, asking him if he had trained particularly hard or focused more on practice.  Maru again eschewed the diplomatic answer, stating simply, “No, I just stopped drinking beer.”  Well, it was enough for him, and hopefully it’ll be enough for White as well.

Titans Rush Success Rate in 2008

Hey, it's finally time for the long-forthcoming follow-up to this post I did back in September with full season data. As with that post, there'll be an accompanying Total Titans post. That post will discuss in more detail the rushing success on down and distance, which will also go up in a separate post.

BackGameCarriesYardsSuccess Rate
Ganther621199.9%
1232333.3%
171-1 0.0%
Tot.63350.0%
Hall23966.7%
31199.9%
61699.9%
813 0.0%
910 0.0%
Tot.71957.1%
Johnson1159340.0%
21910942.1%
3167437.5%
4176152.9%
5184433.3%
61816855.6%
7197742.1%
8248962.5%
914821.4%
10176452.9%
11104620.0%
121612550.0%
131913647.4%
14136546.2%
15166931.3%
17117254.5%
Tot.262129444.3%
White1154046.7%
2185955.6%
3164943.8%
4111336.4%
534 0.0%
61714988.2%
7101340.0%
887762.5%
9101430.0%
10145257.1%
111-1 0.0%
122310647.8%
13249970.8%
1482637.5%
15154853.3%
17154520.0%
Tot.20879350.5%
TEAM13013343.3%
24017750.0%
33312442.4%
4287446.4%
5214828.6%
63833473.7%
7299041.4%
83316960.6%
9252224.0%
103111654.8%
11113518.2%
124225447.6%
134323960.5%
14219142.9%
153111741.9%
172711633.3%
Tot.482213947.2%


Hopefully this table will look ok-if not, I'll fix it.

Titans scoring drives

Inspired this recent Smart Football post questioning the value of big plays, below is a data dump inspired by this Burnt Orange Nation post. I'll probably turn this into a Total Titans post eventually.


WeekPlaysYardsTD PlayTD YdsYPPLongest
1632FG475.3318
1775CJ rec710.7127
1985White run19.4444
21161White run15.5519
2780Gage rec1111.4351
21056FG345.6019
31177White run27.0021
31068Scaife rec96.8017
3774White run110.5737
3534FG446.8032
41174FG206.7318
4933CJ run13.6711
4858FG327.2528
4511White run12.209
4733Bironas494.7119
416CJ run66.006
540FG350.000
51381FG266.2326
51180Alge rec117.2715
71049FG494.9016
7653White run68.8328
7980White run28.8924
7831FG463.8810
7391White run8030.3380
7269CJ run6634.5066
81140FG343.647
8940FG444.4413
81480White run15.7123
8617FG482.8311
81366White run15.0816
8116CJ run1616.0016
91153FG314.8225
91248FG254.0015-pen
9474CJ run318.5054
9713FG221.8610
91055FG415.5016
10422Scaife rec105.5014
10656Gage rec129.3316
101152White run24.7312
11857FG327.1320
11755Jones rec137.8613
11363Gage rec5621.0056
11451Gage rec3812.7538
121250FG434.1717
121147FG494.2715
12466Hall rec616.5037
13234CJ run617.0028
13477CJ run5819.2558
13431White run67.7520
131591White run26.0723
13529FG495.8021
13939FG414.3326
1344FG451.008
13761FG438.7154
141068Hall rec286.8028
141093White run39.3020
14211Gage rec95.509
14125CJ run2525.0025
15624FG264.0014
15493FG2323.2540
15930FG513.3312
15645FG347.5028
16517FG423.4013
16339Gage rec3413.0034
161178CJ run217.0921
16937White run14.1117
19665CJ run810.8328
19632FG275.3312


Drive averages and medians by types:
Avg PlayMed PlayAvg YdsMed YdsAvg LongMed Long
TD6.74757.086527.6923
FG8.03841.694018.8916.5


Commentary:
  • Offensive touchdowns only, defensive scores not included.

  • In doing the table, I excised my column with context-providing information. For example, the 0 yard scoring drive leading to the 35 yard field goal in Week 5 was created by an interception. Overall, there were 4 fumbles, 4 interceptions, 2 punt returns, and 1 punt muff in this category. Note that I only noted INTs, etc. for short drives. 70 yard TD drives where the drive started off an interception are not included.

  • Casually speaking, most of the drives without a 20+ yard play featured multiple plays that earned double-digit yardage. Take, for instance, the 7 play 55 yard drive that concluded in Brandon Jones' 13 yard TD reception Week 11 in Jacksonville. Jones' catch was the drive's longest play, but there were also 11, 10, and 8 yard plays earlier in the drive.

  • Unsurprisingly, drives that resulted in field goals were shorter and had more plays than did drives that resulted in touchdowns. The difference between the average and median play length is also greater for TD drives than for FG drives.

  • My very preliminary conclusion is that "explosion" plays drive scoring less in the NFL they do in college, though this may be a reading of the data consistent with my intuitive biases w/r/t college v. the NFL.

  • All the data here is the dog that barked, rather than the dog that didn't bark. To really do a decent job, I need to compare scoring drives with non-scoring drives and some metric of "explosion plays" (20+ yards?) and how frequently they result in scores.