Roundup 11/27/10

Reader Gautham Venugopalan alerted me to this article that describes how Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers grades out his defense. It sounds similar to a simplified success rate stat.

Behind the net on the randomness of NHL win-loss records.

What are the most prominent "wrong football beliefs?" Punting all the time, maybe. Running back overuse? The importance of running?

Bruce D shares his breakdown of lucky plays at the Community Site. He tracked each team's "lucky" plays, defined as non-repeatable things such as kick returns for TDs or fumble recoveries. He scores out each team in terms of these plays. Bruce then demonstrates that these plays do not correlate from one half of the season to the next, at least for 2009, suggesting they really are lucky plays. Awsome. I'd love to see more from Bruce and more from all you guys crunching numbers on your own.

This site appears to have some sort of EI algorithm for telling you which games on your DVR you should watch and which ones you should delete. Interesting idea, but how many people would use this? Helmet-knock: Tech Crunch and premium subscriber Borat. (For Christmas this year, I'm renewing Borat's premium subscription for half-price. I was raised to be very generous like that.)

Manning vs. Brady using EPA and WPA.

There's a great new ESPN stats blog, simply called Stats & Info. According to the site, it started as an in-house source of content for producers and analysts, but now it's publicly available. Nice blend of conventional and advanced statistical insight. Here are some example posts. Look for more advanced stats, including for football, from ESPN in the future. It's a niche they're looking to fill, and they have some very bright guys working on their stats team.

How statistical analysis may have changed the English Premier League.

Net point differential can be a fairly good indicator of team strength. So which team is leading the league?

Playoff probabilities from are updated.

Roddy White and Brandon Lloyd are scorching NFL defenses.

Nate Silver shows that for college football, pre-season rankings are nearly as reliable as post-season rankings. Computer-based objective rankings, however, were marginally better at predicting bowl winners than the human polls or Vegas. H/K-Tango.

Dave Berri interviews J.C. Bradbury about his new book on baseball economics. One criticism I have about economic-centered sports analysis in general is its focus on how winning relates to the financial bottom line. I believe that in sports, perhaps more than any other field, as long as enough money is "there," the owners, management, and players are not financial maximizers. I have more to add here, but will save it for a future post.

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6 Responses to “Roundup 11/27/10”

  1. Ian Simcox says:

    Some good articles there. Really enjoyed the one about the Packers defensive coordinator and his success rate-lite system. It just strikes me as odd that they would choose to use such a simple system when they must have access to far more detailed data than the play-by-play descriptions we amateurs all have.

    I'm tempted to try a similar system for grading bowlers at my local cricket club next year now. If it's good enough for the pros...

  2. Borat says:

    Thank you Brain.

    But in the Borat Household we celebrate Festivus. This year the stars align tomorrow on November 28th, a day remembered in infamy. We will disclose the list of greivances this evening at our Festivus Eve Clam Bake and Pork Rind Crunch.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Packers article got me thinking...It seems to me that the reactive nature of defense makes it much easier to coach for defensive success rate than it would be to coach for defensive efficiency. Any one else agree or disagree?

  4. Jim Glass says:

    What are the most prominent "wrong football beliefs?"

    Candidates: "Red zone scoring efficiency" is a stat that means something. (#1 and #2 are Buffalo and Detroit, a combined 4-17) ... Great team/coaches win close games (Walsh's 49ers in 3-pt games, 41%; Lombardi's Packers, 50%) ...QBs (instead of teams) win championships. All of which are variations on the greatly exaggerated myth of "clutch play".

    BTW, Thaler's #1 myth to be debunked is the one he himself cites as "true", that science long believed the world was flat. The ancient Greeks knew it was round, had measured its size accurately, and science knew that forever after. IIRC the ancient Egyptians had too, long before the Greeks. If people in Columbus's time believed the world was flat he could never have gotten a crew willing to risk sailing off the edge.

  5. Jim Glass says:

    What are the most prominent "wrong football beliefs?"

    Candidates: "Red zone efficiency" is a meaningful stat (#1 and #2 are Detroit and Buffalo, a combined 4-17) ... Great coaches/teams win close games (Walsh's 49ers in 3-pt games, 41%; Lombardi's Packers, 50%) ... QBs (instead of teams) win championships. All variations on the greatly exaggerated myth of "clutch play".

  6. Ian Simcox says:

    Good link on red zone efficiency Jim. Quick check on it, I got red zone efficiency correlating with winning with an r of 0.04, which is pretty much as good as random as you can get - not that that'll stop commentators telling us all how important it is every week.

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