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December 2013
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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 PDT

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 PDT

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 PDT

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 PDT

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