Advanced Football Analytics

Categories

Football

Archives

2016
January

2015
December
November
October
September
August
April
February
January

2014
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
February
January

2013
December
November
October
September

November 2013
S M T W T F S
     
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Syndication

Chase Stuart returns to the show just in time to discuss his latest Football Perspective research. Dave and Chase begin by breaking down the historical context of Peyton Manning's single season passing touchdown record. They then cover the Carolina Panthers and break down the changes they’ve made over the past year, the storylines surrounding Cam Newton, and how overall team performance can sometimes obfuscate an individual player's development

Next, Chase takes to his soapbox to make the case that the Jets should fire Rex Ryan and explains how retaining him would set a unique historical precedent. Dave and Chase then turn their sights to the Giants, and discuss what to make of Eli Manning’s interception spike.

The episode concludes with a look ahead to the week 17 Bears/Packers and Cowboys/Eagles matchups. Chase weighs in on what he’s most excited for in this year’s playoffs, and why playing a Superbowl outdoors might actually be more fair than playing in a dome.

Direct download: 014_AdvNFLStats.ChaseStuart.mp3
Category:Football -- posted at: 10:49pm PST

This week Harold Sackrowitz, professor of Statistics at Rutgers University and author of "Refining the After-Touchdown Decision" joins Dave to discuss two point conversions. Harold first became interested in football analytics in the mid-90's when he and his son penned a paper on ball control, and whether the strategy of paying "keep away" from talented opposing offenses is an effective strategy (spoiler alert: it's not). His research found that an inferior team sacrificing offensive efficiency would require an unrealistically large reduction in the number of possessions to make a "ball-control" offensive strategy effective.

In the second half of the interview, Dave and Professor Sackrowitz talk about his paper on two point conversions. Harold was initially intrigued by repeated mentions of "the 2 point chart" on television broadcasts, and after digging up "the chart" he found it to be lacking in context. He devised a dynamic programming model to incorporate score differential, the number of possessions remaining in the game and a particular team's chance of converting a two point play. With this model he created a series of new charts to more accurately fit a variety of two point decision situations. Harold also describes the responses he's received and his subsequent conversations with NFL decision makers about his work.

Direct download: 013_AdvNFLStats.HaroldSackrowitz.mp3
Category:Football -- posted at: 12:30am PST

Brian Burke is back on the show to break down his latest work. He explains the details of the updated win probability formula and the story behind the brand new New York Times 4th Down Bot. Dave and Brian also discuss his latest post analyzing "streakiness" and how it can measure momentum.


They then dive into the wildly entertaining week 14 slate of games, beginning with a look at Keith Goldner's intentional touchdown post and a review of the best (Matt Prater) and worst (Philadelphia/Detroit) of the week 14 kicking game. Brian lays out the interesting math behind the Alabama/Auburn missed field goal return, and how the analysis behind it presents some tricky challenges. The show ends with a look at late season winter weather, and how it may affect teams as they prepare to battle for the chance to play outdoors in this year's New York Superbowl.

Direct download: 012_AdvNFLStats.BrianBurke12.11.13.mp3
Category:Football -- posted at: 12:30am PST

Dave interviews Pete Palmer, one of the original great minds in sabermetrics. Pete co-authored the Hidden Game of Baseball, and later, the Hidden Game of Football. Pete describes how he discovered a scorekeeping error that incorrectly listed Ty Cobb's 1910 batting average as too high, thereby literally rewriting the baseball record books. He then discusses what it was like to edit baseball and football encyclopedias, how he made the move into football analytics and his current role as a member of the New England Patriots stat team. Pete outlines the major findings he and his co-authors reveal in The Hidden Game of Football, including early versions of expected points and win percentages.  The show concludes with a discussion of questions he's interested in analyzing in today's NFL.

Direct download: 011_AdvNFLStats.PetePalmer.mp3
Category:Football -- posted at: 12:30am PST

David Romer, professor of economics at UC Berkeley, is on the podcast this week to discuss why coaches should be more aggressive on fourth down. David is the author of "Do Firms Maximize? Evidence From Professional Football". In this interview, he explains his novel approach to analyzing fourth down decision-making. He outlines reasons why coaches are incentivized to make sub-optimal choices and how they can improve their team’s chances of winning by following his advice.

Direct download: 010_AdvNFLStats.DavidRomer.mp3
Category:Football -- posted at: 12:30am PST

Brian Burke is back to discuss momentum, clock management and topics from his weekly roundups. In his recent post on momentum, Brian used three different methods to investigate whether momentum is a measurable phenomenon in NFL games. Dave and Brian discuss why momentum is such a popular concept and hypothesize why coaches and analysts seem to rely so heavily on the idea. They also discuss Brian’s article on clock management, and why it’s unlikely that truly non-zero sum scenarios exist in a football game. They finish up the show with a "rapid fire roundup" of some interesting articles and analysis from around the web.

Direct download: 009_AdvNFLStats.BrianBurke.mp3
Category:Football -- posted at: 12:30am PST

Dave talks with Jeff Sagarin and Wayne Winston about their four decades of work in the field of sports statistics. Wayne and Jeff met while studying at MIT and have been friends ever since. In the early 80's, they had their first collaboration on a football play-calling project for Indiana University's head football coach, Sam Wyche. Since then, Jeff has been publishing his team ratings in USA Today while Wayne published his book, "Mathletics", and currently teaches at Indiana's Kelly School of Business.

Direct download: 008_AdvNFLStats.SagarinWinston.mp3
Category:Football -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Joining the show this week is Virgil Carter, the man many consider to be the founding father of advanced football statistics. Dave, Brian and Virgil look back at the Virgil's playing days when he was suiting up at quarterback for the Bears while studying for his MBA at Northwestern during the off-season. It was there at Northwestern that he published his first paper, Operations Research on Football. That paper introduced the idea of expected point value based on game situation, an idea that is still at the core of advanced football analysis. Virgil also talks about what it was like to play under head coach Paul Brown, and why if it weren't for him,  Bill Walsh might have never needed to create his "west coast" style passing offense.

Direct download: 007_AdvNFLStats.VirgilCarter.mp3
Category:Football -- posted at: 12:30am PST

Ben Alamar, author of Sports Analytics: A Guide for Coaches, Managers and Other Decision Makers is on the show this week to discuss his new book. Ben is a professor of sports management at Menlo College, and works as a consultant to a variety of NBA and NFL teams.

The episode begins with Ben describing his background in economics and why he saw a need to found the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, the only peer-reviewed journal solely for papers on sports economics. They then discuss his work with Michael Lewis for the book Moneyball, and how he approached the question of analyzing the success of offensive linemen.

Ben then discusses his new book, and breaks down some of the experiences he’s had working to build the analytics programs of professional sports organizations. Finally, the episode ends with his thoughts on the recent NFL season by continuing the now weekly tradition of praising Peyton Manning for his otherworldly statistical year.

Direct download: 006_AdvNFLStats_BenAlamar.FINAL.mp3
Category:Football -- posted at: 12:00am PST

Brian Burke is back for another episode of the Advanced NFL Stats podcast. This week, Dave dives into Brian’s most recent articles. First up is a study analyzing when defenses should decline penalties after a loss. This piece uses expected points to determine the break even yardage required for a defensive coach to opt for a loss of down over a loss of yardage.

The second part of the episode is dedicated to the Baltimore Ravens and their mediocre rushing attack. Inspired by his favorite team’s recent offensive woes, Brian looked at which teams might be better off if they abandoned the run completely as part of their offensive game plan.

The show concludes with a discussion based on a comment from the Brian’s previous podcast appearance. Dave asks Brian to justify his claim that most NFL coaches are relatively interchangeable, and that at the highest (NFL) level, there is little discernible difference different head coaches.

Direct download: 005_AdvNFLStats_BrianBurke.FINAL.mp3
Category:Football -- posted at: 12:00am PST