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Calculating Reggie Wayne's Consistency

Over the years, Reggie Wayne has been one of the best receivers in the NFL with his consistency being second to none. Where does he stack up against other similar veterans and is he the most consistent receiver in the NFL?

Justin Edmonds

When it's all said and done, Reggie Wayne will go down as one of the greatest receivers of this generation. Wayne has a Super Bowl ring and has the honor of working with Peyton Manning for most of his career. What makes Wayne great is his consistency through the years.

If you look at Reggie Wayne's yardage stats over the years, you'll see eerily similar numbers almost every year. Not including his rookie year, this season and putting a projection of 1149 yards in 2013, Wayne has totaled 13,867 yards in his career. That is an average of 1260 yards a year. That puts him amongst the best over guys who have played over the last decade. Wayne can make plays after the catch and for a guy who has never been fast, he always seems to be get open. What separates him is his coefficient of variation, which measures the dispersion between his yardage totals over each season. Wayne's coefficient of variation is an extremely low 19.4%, which indicates little change from year to year.

Reggie Wayne's catches numbers are just as close. Wayne has been able to amass over 1,000 catches in his career, but for the purpose of this calculation, we've eliminated this season and his rookie season (like the yardage category). He's averaged about 82 catches from 2002-2013, which puts him amongst the best in the NFL. He's been Peyton Manning's favorite target since the departure of Marvin Harrison, and came up huge even when Harrison was still in his prime. Wayne has established himself as not only a great possession receiver, but also a security blanket for Peyton Manning and now Andrew Luck. Even during the 2-win season, Wayne was still able to haul in 75 catches, which with the trio of Kerry Collins, Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovksy, is extremely impressive. Wayne manages to amaze everyone every year and 10+ catch games seem to happen a few times in a year for him. After calculating everything, Wayne's coefficient of variation was 21.17%, which again, is a very low number, and that indicates the little amounts of fluctuation in his play (more consistency).

Reggie Wayne used to be a touchdown machine and would generate 10+ touchdowns in a season during the mid-2000s. I used the words "used to" for a reason. Over the past 4 years, Wayne has slowly been regressing. In 2010 he had 6 touchdowns, and slowly dropped to 3 years after. A drop in production will hurt his consistency. What's even more boggling is that for a guy who has 1,015 career catches he only has 80 touchdowns. That means that 7.8% of his catches are touchdowns. Comparable all time greats like Hines Ward, Torry Holt, and Isaac Bruce have percentages in between 8% and 9%, which are above Wayne's 7.8%. Legends like Jerry Rice, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens had percentages between 12.5% and 16%. If ever you're arguing why those guys are in a league of their own, those percentages are indicators why. Wayne's coefficient of variation comes in a bit higher here at 34.99%. This is relatively high and shows the fluctuation between his numbers. Reggie Wayne never was and never will be a guy where you can predict how many touchdowns he'll score. He could surprise you and he could disappoint you in that regard.

There are two active receivers whose data are similar to Reggie Wayne and who have been around in the league for almost as long as him. Those players are Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. Let’s compare the 3. Andre Johnson’s coefficient of variation for yards was almost identical with Wayne’s, but had a lower (better) percentage of catches, indicating that Johnson is more consistent in terms of receptions. In terms of touchdowns, Johnson’s numbers fluctuate a lot and his percentage is over 50%, which shows too much inconsistency. Larry Fitzgerald had a higher yardage percentage than both Johnson and Wayne indicating more fluctuation in the numbers. His catches percentage was lower than both of them which means that Larry Fitzgerald was more consistent than both of them in that regard. He was also more consistent in terms of touchdowns with a coefficient of variation percentage of 30.2% for touchdowns, which was much lower than Andre Johnson and lower than Wayne's as well. Even though he shouldn't be mentioned in this conversation because he hasn't been around for as long, Calvin Johnson's percentages were in the mid 20s for both yardage and receptions, and in the mid 40s for touchdowns. He may be the best, but he's not the most consistent.

Although Calvin Johnson is clearly the best receiver in the NFL today (Johnson's consistency numbers were worse than the three players, especially in terms of yardage and receptions), is Wayne the most consistent (consistently good)? How do you define consistency? You define it by the unchanging of something over a period of time. Johnson has only been around since 2007, so he doesn't have enough data yet. Reviewing the data from the two players compared to Reggie Wayne, it would seem that Larry Fitzgerald would have the slight edge over Wayne. Larry Fitzgerald's average coefficient of variation (the three percentages calculated, divided by three) was lower than that of Reggie Wayne's. Fitzgerald had an average C.O.V. of 22.74%. Wayne had an average C.O.V of 25.18%, and Johnson had an average C.O.V of 30.38%. Fitzgerald had the lower average and he was lower in two of the categories, making him the more consistent of the three, but by the slimmest of margins.

*How Everything Was Calculated*

First, we needed to organize his data in a table. You split it up in three columns, the first being the "x" column that has your data. The 2nd one is your "x" data minus the "average of the x" column, and the 3rd is where you square root the number you get in the 2nd column. After you find all the numbers, you add up all the numbers in the 3rd column. With that, you divide that number by the "population" or in this case, the numbers of seasons. Once that number is divided, you square root that number to find its standard deviation. With that number, you divide it by the mean (the average calculated earlier). Multiply it by 100 and you get your coefficient of variation, which is the true, ultimate and UNBIASED way of finding consistency.

To give you an image of how it works, take a look at this table consisting of Wayne's receiving yardage totals:



(X-Average) 2






































Mean (Average) = 1260 Yards

717157 / 12 = 59763

√59763 = 244.46 --> Standard Deviation

244.46 / 1260 = .194

.194 x 100 = 19.4%

Tweet me at @AndrewAzizEC for any questions, comments or concerns regarding the article or any statistical information you would like to know. My email is also available if you click on my profile.