What stats, above all others, bug you when NFL pundits use them to rank teams? if you're like me it's the Total Yards and Total Yards Allowed stats.
Before the 2004-2005 playoffs, I decided to look at all 32 NFL teams in terms of points scored and points allowed per yard, instead of ranking teams based on total yards and total yards allowed. Just seemed more fair.
Now I will say these stats were NOTHING like the incredibly cool stats that the guys at Football Outsiders do, but it was fun and certainly more telling than how most pundits rank offenses and defenses.
Here are the 2004-2005 end of year stats. I tried to do weekly for 2005-2006 starting in week 3, but the lack of interest and the manual nature of the calculations caused me to stop. I also got some feedback from the Colts message board on indystar.com along the lines of "who cares about stats all I care about is the score." To me that seems silly, but what do you think? Would Stampede Blue readers like to see weekly OPSPY and OPAPY stats? Would NFL members of the SB Nation like to see that?
If I can write up a script this summer that will automate the number crunching for me, I'll do a weekly 'column' about these stats for Stampede Blue. Even if I have to do them manually, I might if there is interest (and time).
An example of the stats, as well as their definitions, in the extended copy:
For offense: Rank by offensive points scored per yard (OPSPY). Offensive points scored is: rushing and receiving touchdowns, point after, field goals and 2-point conversions minus safeties (as a penalty to the offense). This will benefit teams with efficient offenses as well as teams with defenses and special teams that give their offense good field position.
For defense: Rank by offensive points allowed per yard (OPAPY). Offensive points allowed is: rushing and receiving touchdowns, point after, field goals and 2-point conversions. This eliminates kick returns, int returns, etc. from the equation and doesn't punish defenses for offensive or special teams mistakes that lead to scores (it will punish teams that have offenses or special teams that leave their defense in poor field position, though)
I also made an "aggregate" ranking where defensive points allowed per yard are subtracted from offensive points scored per yard. (PPYA)
The rankings and commentary before the 2004-2005 playoffs:
Defenses ranked by offensive points allowed* per yard allowed:
(league rank) (team) (league yards allowed rank) (difference)
1 New England (9) (+8)
3 Philadelphia (10) (+7)
5 New York Jets (7) (+2)
7 Pittsburgh (1) (-6)
8 San Diego (18) (+10)
11 Indianapolis (29) (+18)
19 Atlanta (14) (-5)
21 Seattle (26) (+5)
22 Denver (4) (-18)
23 Minnesota (28) (+5)
24 Green Bay (25) (+1)
25 St. Louis (17) (-8)
Offenses ranked by offensive points scored** per yard:
(league rank) (team) (league total yards rank) (difference)
1 San Diego (10) (+9)
2 Indianapolis (2) (0)
3 New England (7) (+4)
7 Philadelphia (9) (+2)
8 Pittsburgh (16) (+8)
10 Seattle (8) (-2)
11 Green Bay (3) (-8)
13 Minnesota (4) (-9)
17 Atlanta (20) (+3)
22 Denver (5) (-17)
23 New York Jets (12) (-11)
30 St. Louis (6) (-24)
So what playoff team has the most overrated Defense?
*Denver, at -18 comparing offensive points allowed per yard rank to yards allowed rank.
What playoff team has the most underrated Defense?
*Indianapolis, at +18 comparing offensive points allowed per yard rank to yards allowed rank.
What playoff team has the most overrated Offense?
*Denver, at -17 comparing offensive points scored per yard rank to total yards rank.
What playoff team has the most underrated Offense?
*San Diego, at +9 comparing offensive points scored per yard rank to total yards rank.
How do the playoff teams rank when subracting Defensive points allowed per yard from Offensive points allowed per yard?
1 New England
2 San Diego
9 New York Jets
21 Green Bay
30 St. Louis
Who is the worst team in the playoffs?
*St. Louis. They rank at the bottom of both offensive and defensive points per yard as well as the aggregate offensive - defensive points per yard.
Who is the best team in the playoffs?
Tougher to say, but as much as it pains me probable New England based on these statistics. They are #1 in Defensive pts/yd and #3 in Offensive pts/yd as well as #1 in aggregate pts/yd.
One last interesting note: 5 of the 6 AFC teams have positive aggregate points/yard - all except Denver. 5 of the 6 NFC teams have negative aggregate points/yard - all except Philly.
(remember, those stats were for the playoffs in 2005, NOT the most recent playoffs.)
What do you think? Is it worth a column on Stampede Blue for the 2006-2007 season?