FanPost

Why pass efficiency (offensive & defensive) matters

1. Sports stats analysts have repeatedly found that pass efficiency is one of the keys to winning. I included a few sources in this prior post

2. Note that NY/A is predictive. I've charted the regular season NY/A difference for 2000-2013 and annotated the Super Bowl participants. Notice that 20 of 28 (i.e. 70%) of Super Bowl contestants since 2000 have been in the top 5 in NY/A difference (i.e. the difference between offensive NY/A and defensive NY/A). You don't have to be a CSI detective to see the pattern.

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A point that people get confused about is the use of the word 'prediction'. For example, you'll see people claim that difference in passer rating 'predicted' who won the game 95% of the time. In that context, I don't like the word 'predicted' ... I prefer the word 'fitted' better ... because a prediction wasn't made. You cannot take the passer ratings for 2 teams before a game and 'predict' with 95% accuracy who will win. But after the game is over, if you give me only the passer rating section of the box score, I can say who won (i.e. the team with the higher passer rating) and I'll be correct ~95% of the time. I hope that distinction makes sense.

NY/A is predictive. You can look at NY/A difference at the end of the regular season and make a prediction. Concretely, you can predict that the Super Bowl contenstants are probably going to come from the top 5 teams in NY/A difference.

3. Note that these metrics do not include turnovers. A couple years ago I charted a bunch of different metrics and what I found is that including turnovers clouds the picture. This isn't surprising. A large component of turnovers is randomness. Concretely, what you'll often observe is where teams have a large giveaway/takeaway advantage in the regular season ... that advantage doesn't carry over to the playoffs. One simple explanation for that observed pattern is that the regular season performance had a large element of randomness.

4. So what does this mean for Dallas fans? Simple: if you want to see Dallas in the Super Bowl then Dallas needs to focus on improving offensive and defensive pass efficiency. Right now defensive pass efficiency is the bigger problem (Dallas was 29th in 2013).

5. Links to code and code viewer

https://gist.github.com/anonymous/14e986ccf7995c75834b

http://nbviewer.ipython.org/gist/anonymous/14e986ccf7995c75834b

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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