Finding the Winning Factors - Time of Possession per Drive

This week in the Finding the Winning Factors series, let's take a look at another semi-conventional stat:  Time of Possession per Drive.  This was suggested by Cassieper, so a special thanks goes out to him.  There also was some talk of this last week, so I thought I'd bump this stat up the ladder and check it out.  Here's the formula:

    (ToP Minutes + ToP Seconds / 60) / Drives

When I pulled the data, it was much easier, for calculation purposes, to split ToP into minutes and seconds.  That is why they are 2 separate categories.  But don't worry, I've made everything look normal in the tables below, so it is easy to read.

Since this involves searching through the play-by-play data (to find the number of drives), I can only go back to 2001 to see how teams do.  That means I'll be looking at 4,080 games over the past 8 years.  I did this calculation for every game, then found the overall average for a game.  I then went back and compared every game to this average, and found wins/losses based on being above or below average.

Here's what I found:

  • The Overall Average over the past 8 years is 2:39 / Drive.  I really wasn't sure how this number was going to turn out, but I figured it would be around 3:00 (30:00 ToP, 10 drives), so it may be a little low from what I thought it would be.
  • This was the closest stat so far offensively, but much like every other one, the Colts are #1 in the league at 2:55 / Drive.  They beat out the Steelers by just under 2 tenths of a second per drive.  It was extremely close.
  • Defensively, the Ravens are #1 at 2:28 / Drive.  Again the Steelers are second, making them very good on both sides of the ball in this category.  How about the Colts?  31st at 2:54 / Drive.  What we all see on the field every week is exactly what the numbers show.  The defense needs to get off the field quicker.
  • How often do teams win when they are Above Average on Offense?  1330-705-0, which is 65.4%.  Even better than Yards / Drive.  Having an Above Average defense produces a record of 1334-707-4, which is 65.3%, pretty much the same as the offense.  It like what I'm seeing.
  • When both the Offense and Defense are Above Average, their record is 843-216, or 79.6%.  This is much better than straight Time of Possession, which has a record of 1328-585, which is only 69.4%.  You know see why I went with the Per Drive stat.
  • The best game since 2001?  Week 4 in 2005, where the Redskins had a whopping 5:37 / Drive against the Seahawks.  Unfortunately for the Colts, the defense was in 3 of the top 5 games, and 5 of the top 11.  Best game for the Colts offense?  Week 12 in 2002 against the Broncos, when they had 4:52 / Drive.
  • The worst game since 2001? Week 10 in 2002, where the Lions could only muster up 1:17 / Drive against the Packers.  That is not good.
  • I'm surprised at how well the Jets have played when both offense and defense are above average, going 24-1, which is tops in the NFL.  The Buccaneers being 3rd is also surprising.
  • The Colts have a better Win Percentage when the defense is Below Average than when the offense is Below Average.  Again, this isn't earth shattering news by any means, but good confirmation from what we've seen on the field.
  • You'll also notice in the 5 year data that both the Colts' offense and defense are over 3:00 / Drive.  Great for the offense, bad for the defense. That also shows how the Colts have the fewest drives in the league, averaging that high on both sides of the ball.  Just imagine if the defense could just be merely average...

After the jump you'll see the offensive and defensive numbers for each team, as well as Win/Loss records when going above/below the league average.  Click on the headers to sort.  Here's a link to the last 5 years worth of data.  There's not much of a difference, especially since it only took out 3 years worth of data.

Here are the Offensive and Defensive Numbers...

Team Offense Defense
ToP Mins ToP Secs Drives ToP/Drive ToP Mins ToP Secs Drives ToP/Drive
Colts 3782 3615 1311 2:55.8 3795 4075 1331 2:54.1
Steelers 4122 3704 1429 2:55.7 3509 3796 1425 2:30.4
Patriots 3941 3900 1395 2:52.3 3662 3597 1431 2:36.1
Jets 3734 3569 1340 2:49.9 3905 3958 1365 2:54.5
Broncos 3953 3660 1439 2:47.4 3667 4043 1419 2:37.9
Jaguars 3861 3721 1412 2:46.7 3713 3872 1401 2:41.8
Chargers 3831 3962 1425 2:44.1 3790 3641 1481 2:36.0
Buccaneers 3910 3902 1466 2:42.7 3738 3709 1464 2:35.7
Vikings 3873 3556 1458 2:41.8 3715 4068 1447 2:36.9
Rams 3907 3613 1473 2:41.6 3695 4009 1452 2:35.4
Texans 3240 3535 1227 2:41.3 3416 3122 1219 2:50.7
Titans 3921 3882 1486 2:40.9 3667 3547 1471 2:32.0
Chiefs 3800 3482 1444 2:40.3 3800 4051 1441 2:41.0
Falcons 3817 3660 1455 2:39.9 3831 4054 1454 2:40.9
Giants 3866 3610 1478 2:39.4 3785 3887 1485 2:35.5
Packers 3887 3809 1488 2:39.3 3696 3843 1496 2:30.8
Saints 3802 3823 1460 2:38.9 3782 3772 1448 2:39.3
Redskins 3854 3752 1482 2:38.6 3734 3775 1468 2:35.2
Bills 3722 3887 1435 2:38.3 3854 3675 1418 2:45.7
Cowboys 3879 3963 1499 2:37.9 3708 3671 1491 2:31.7
Bengals 3731 3816 1447 2:37.3 3864 3849 1441 2:43.6
Ravens 3876 3708 1507 2:36.8 3732 3917 1537 2:28.2
Cardinals 3776 4267 1474 2:36.6 3837 3320 1479 2:37.9
Raiders 3683 3821 1449 2:35.1 3927 3823 1470 2:42.9
Dolphins 3746 3822 1479 2:34.6 3840 3610 1459 2:40.4
49ers 3761 3552 1486 2:34.2 3888 3925 1442 2:44.5
Seahawks 3675 3892 1472 2:32.4 3945 3702 1480 2:42.4
Browns 3635 3753 1464 2:31.5 3973 3800 1451 2:46.9
Panthers 3735 4046 1510 2:31.1 3861 3686 1504 2:36.5
Eagles 3732 3865 1517 2:30.2 3885 3638 1514 2:36.4
Lions 3507 3880 1474 2:25.4 4086 3629 1462 2:50.2
Bears 3677 3753 1555 2:24.3 3936 3716 1590 2:30.9
Total 121236 120780 46436 2:39.3 121236 120780 46436 2:39.3

Here are the Win/Loss records of teams when they go above/below average:

Team Offense Defense
Above Average Below Average Above Average Below Average
Win Loss Tie Pct Win Loss Tie Pct Win Loss Tie Pct Win Loss Tie Pct
Patriots 73 9 0 0.890 24 22 0 0.522 61 7 0 0.897 36 24 0 0.600
Steelers 71 17 0 0.807 14 25 1 0.363 62 19 1 0.762 23 23 0 0.500
Colts 70 18 0 0.795 21 19 0 0.525 43 8 0 0.843 48 29 0 0.623
Chargers 47 25 0 0.653 24 32 0 0.429 53 21 0 0.716 18 36 0 0.333
Packers 47 18 0 0.723 28 35 0 0.444 51 22 0 0.699 24 31 0 0.436
Cowboys 48 17 0 0.738 18 45 0 0.286 45 33 0 0.577 21 29 0 0.420
Eagles 42 12 0 0.778 39 34 1 0.534 53 15 1 0.775 28 31 0 0.475
Ravens 35 20 0 0.636 36 37 0 0.493 57 26 0 0.687 14 31 0 0.311
Seahawks 42 15 0 0.737 29 42 0 0.408 42 14 0 0.750 29 43 0 0.403
Jets 42 33 0 0.560 20 33 0 0.377 34 5 0 0.872 28 61 0 0.315
Broncos 57 22 0 0.722 17 32 0 0.347 44 20 0 0.688 30 34 0 0.469
Rams 37 32 0 0.536 23 36 0 0.390 42 28 0 0.600 18 40 0 0.310
Dolphins 37 22 0 0.627 24 45 0 0.348 43 24 0 0.642 18 43 0 0.295
Panthers 36 14 0 0.720 28 50 0 0.359 50 22 0 0.694 14 42 0 0.250
Bears 29 14 0 0.674 40 45 0 0.471 49 32 0 0.605 21 26 0 0.447
Giants 42 26 0 0.618 26 34 0 0.433 42 21 0 0.667 26 39 0 0.400
Titans 42 21 0 0.667 28 37 0 0.431 48 23 0 0.676 22 35 0 0.386
Falcons 45 21 0 0.682 17 44 1 0.282 36 23 1 0.608 26 42 0 0.382
Buccaneers 50 19 0 0.725 16 43 0 0.271 45 26 0 0.634 21 36 0 0.368
Saints 37 27 0 0.578 23 41 0 0.359 37 26 0 0.587 23 42 0 0.354
Chiefs 38 26 0 0.594 21 43 0 0.328 37 18 0 0.673 22 51 0 0.301
Vikings 41 23 0 0.641 20 44 0 0.313 36 28 0 0.563 25 39 0 0.391
Bills 30 33 0 0.476 22 43 0 0.338 33 21 0 0.611 19 55 0 0.257
Jaguars 49 25 0 0.662 13 41 0 0.241 39 22 0 0.639 23 44 0 0.343
Browns 28 19 0 0.596 21 60 0 0.259 31 22 0 0.585 18 57 0 0.240
49ers 34 19 0 0.642 19 56 0 0.253 30 22 0 0.577 24 52 0 0.316
Bengals 34 21 0 0.618 20 52 1 0.281 37 22 1 0.625 17 51 0 0.250
Redskins 37 26 0 0.587 21 44 0 0.323 42 33 0 0.560 16 37 0 0.302
Cardinals 33 27 0 0.550 16 52 0 0.235 35 27 0 0.565 14 52 0 0.212
Raiders 32 25 0 0.561 13 58 0 0.183 30 31 0 0.492 15 52 0 0.224
Texans 28 32 0 0.467 12 40 0 0.231 25 18 0 0.581 15 54 0 0.217
Lions 17 27 0 0.386 14 70 0 0.167 22 28 0 0.440 9 69 0 0.115
Total 1330 705 0 0.654 707 1334 4 0.347 1334 707 4 0.653 705 1330 0 0.346

And finally, Win/Loss records when the offense is above average, and the defense holds the other team below average

Team Above Average Below Average
Win Loss Tie Pct Win Loss Tie Pct
Patriots 46 3 0 0.939 9 18 0 0.333
Steelers 51 10 0 0.836 3 16 0 0.158
Jets 24 1 0 0.960 10 29 0 0.256
Packers 30 6 0 0.833 7 19 0 0.269
Falcons 27 7 0 0.794 8 28 0 0.222
Chargers 34 6 0 0.850 5 17 0 0.227
Giants 25 9 0 0.735 9 22 0 0.290
Ravens 29 7 0 0.806 8 18 0 0.308
Seahawks 24 3 0 0.889 11 31 0 0.262
Rams 25 13 0 0.658 6 21 0 0.222
Eagles 24 3 0 0.889 10 22 0 0.313
Jaguars 29 7 0 0.806 3 26 0 0.103
Bears 18 6 0 0.750 9 19 0 0.321
Broncos 32 8 0 0.800 5 20 0 0.200
Cowboys 32 8 0 0.800 5 20 0 0.200
Panthers 29 5 0 0.853 7 33 0 0.175
Colts 29 4 0 0.879 7 15 0 0.318
Buccaneers 37 4 0 0.902 8 21 0 0.276
Dolphins 26 5 0 0.839 7 26 0 0.212
49ers 21 7 0 0.750 10 41 0 0.196
Chiefs 25 7 0 0.781 9 32 0 0.220
Saints 23 11 0 0.676 9 26 0 0.257
Titans 30 8 0 0.789 10 22 0 0.313
Raiders 21 6 0 0.778 4 33 0 0.108
Cardinals 25 11 0 0.694 6 36 0 0.143
Vikings 22 8 0 0.733 6 24 0 0.200
Bengals 21 5 0 0.808 4 35 0 0.103
Browns 14 3 0 0.824 4 41 0 0.089
Bills 19 11 0 0.633 8 33 0 0.195
Redskins 24 12 0 0.667 3 23 0 0.115
Texans 16 8 0 0.667 3 30 0 0.091
Lions 11 4 0 0.733 3 46 0 0.061
Total 843 216 0 0.796 216 843 0 0.204
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