Other Stats' Correlations with Wins

Some might question why I quickly settled on the 4 efficiency statistics as those most descriptive of team performance and ability. It's a fair question.

Let's take a look at offensive passing stats and see the difference between Yds/Game and Yds/Att. In this exercise we'll expand the data set to get better results, so we're talking about the 04 and 05 NFL seasons.

Here's a look at some passing stats and their correlation with team wins:

Comp Pct 0.347
Pass Yds* 0.193
Pass Attempts -0.354
Completion percentage correlates slightly with team wins, but total pass yards (and yards/game) does not and is not signficant. Even more surprising, the number of pass attempts correlates negatively with team wins. So the more often a team passes, the less likely it is to win.

We turn our attention back to the efficiency stat--Pass Yds/Attempt. It is merely Pass Yds divided Pass Attempts, right? So we have an insignificant variable divided by one with a negative impact on winning. We would expect to have a fairly meaningless result, but we don't.

Comp Pct 0.347
Pass Yds* 0.193
Pass Attempts -0.354
Yds/Att 0.594
Yards per Attempt correlates with team wins positively, and it is very significant, even though other related variables do not.

We would expect a slightly different case with run efficiency. We would expect total rushing yards to correlate stronger with team wins because teams that are ahead tend to "run out the clock," racking up running yards (and attempts) while preventing an interception. This is exactly the case, but using Rushing Yds/Att eliminates most of that effect.

See below for a list of metrics and their correlation with team wins. * denotes the correlation is not significant.

STAT                CORRELATION

Pass Attempts 0.439
Pass Att/Game 0.438
Completions 0.280
Completion % -0.143*
Total Yds Allowed 0.028*
Yds/Game Allowed 0.028*
TDs Allowed -0.373
Interceptions (taken) 0.464
Sacks 0.393
Sack Yds 0.407
Fumbles (taken) 0.307
Points Allowed/Game -0.701
Rush Yds Allowed -0.644
RushAttempts -0.716
Yds/Rush Allowed -0.251
Yds/Pass Att Allowed -0.351

Points Scored/Game 0.711
Competion % 0.347
Total Pass Yds 0.193*
Pass Attempts -0.354
Yds/Attempt 0.594
Ints Thrown -0.602
Net Turnovers 0.701
Completions -0.131*
Yds/Completion 0.572
YdsPerRush 0.415
Fumbles Lost -0.543
Oppenents' Avg Win% -0.111*

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