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Stat Nerds Needed: Calculate Plays/First Downs

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Brady'sButtBoy, Nov 17, 2007.

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  1. Brady'sButtBoy

    Brady'sButtBoy Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    This idea popped up at a 3a.m. on a trip to the can; I hope that's not reflective of it's worth! BTW, I sent in a trademark claim on it already.:D

    In an effort to measure how explosive a team is we measure total yards, yds/play, yrds/attempt, first downs, etc. but all these can be skewed by situational circumstances. maybe my stat can also, we'll have to see.

    here goes-
    If a team is really smoking they would move the ball in large chunks at a time, maybe gaining a first down on every play by exceeding 10yds (or more if they've been penalized). If a team is stinking (like Cleveland at Pitt in the second half last week) they might have a dozen or more plays and not get a first down at all but still gain a total of nearly a hundred yards, a total that would be misleading considering each possession was a 3 and out.

    So if you calculate the number of plays divided by the number of first downs gained, you could get a decent measurement of a team's explosiveness. 10 first downs gained on 10 plays (the ideal ratio of 1 to 1) obviously is more explosive than 10 first downs on 30 plays. The stat would isolate the true offensive potential of team more than just saying the Pats racked up 25 first downs vs. 12 for the Fins and provide a gauge to compare the fire power of one team to another.

    here's my problem - I have to leave for work soon and can't do any of the math. I was hoping some stat nuts out there like me would calculate the plays/FD's value of at least a few of the Pat's games this year and maybe compare them to other teams or Pats teams from the past. TD's would count as a first down, but kneel downs should not be included in the number of plays. Punts should be counted as a play, but I'm not sure how to handle FG's. Have some fun and I'll check back around 6p.m. Thanks!
  2. makewayhomer

    makewayhomer Rookie

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    a lot of DVOA is based on first downs. some quotes from football outsiders:

    "On first down, a play is considered a success if it gains 45 percent of needed yards; on second down, a play needs to gain 60 percent of needed yards; on third or fourth down, only gaining a new first down is considered success."

    "Imagine two running backs who each gain three yards. Player A gains three yards under a set of circumstances where the average NFL running back gains only two yards (for example, third-and-1), it can be argued that Player A has a certain amount of value above others at his position. Likewise, if Player B gains three yards on a play where, under similar circumstances, an average NFL back would be expected to gain five yards (for example, second-and-15), it can be argued that Player B has negative value relative to others at his position."

    so, their DVOA stat reflects this, and is much better than traditional stats which treat all yards/Ds as being equal

    if you want to measure "explosiveness", I dunno, I think Drive Stats come pretty close to this.

    Yards/Drive, Points/Drive, TD's/Drive, Punts/Drive, etc

    see here

    http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/drivestats.php
  3. Pass_The_Rum

    Pass_The_Rum Rookie

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    Stat nerd crunches numbers and replies:

    While loosely correlated to success, it breaks down too much to be a reliable indicator. Note in particular how highly the Dolphins score by this measure. I have arranged the teams in order from highest to lowest using this ratio:

    1 Patriots
    2 Colts
    3 Cowboys
    4 Saints
    5 Giants
    6 Broncos
    7 Dolphins
    8 Browns
    9 Bengals
    10 Lions
    11 Eagles
    12 Steelers
    13 Packers
    14 Seahawks
    15 Jets
    16 Buccaneers
    17 Texans
    18 Chargers
    19 Rams
    20 Jaguars
    21 Redskins
    22 Vikings
    23 Titans
    24 Cardinals
    25 Bills
    26 Raiders
    27 Bears
    28 Ravens
    29 Chiefs
    30 Panthers
    31 Falcons
    32 49ers (note: the Niners are awesomely bad here, having the worst ratio, least first downs, and least plays)
  4. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Not to be facetious here, but what do you consider "reliable"? [Stat geek question--if you're going to compute an r^2 value, what are you going to compare it to? Points scored? The ability to beat other teams? etc.]

    I'm not saying you're right or wrong, merely that statistics are just numbers. What matters is how you decide to use them.
  5. Pass_The_Rum

    Pass_The_Rum Rookie

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    It's not reliable because it doesn't measure what it was intended to measure well, and it doesn't do that because it doesn't look at certain things, most importantly touchdowns. The statistical method linked in the Football Outsiders takes that into account, and their rankings match the subjective experience of watching the offense in question more reliably.
  6. Satchboogie3

    Satchboogie3 Rookie

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    You have to take into account field possition.
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