Roundup 8/21/10

The Roundup feature returns for the 2010 season. The twitter feed over there to the right has served as my voting ballot for interesting football links recently, but the Roundup lets me make comments and explain what I found interesting in each link. There's a backlog of links since the last roundup, so although some of these off-season links might be a little stale, they are still worthy of note.

If a free-agent who brings a certain number of wins comes to a big market team, he'll increase its revenues more than he would to a small market team. So why do teams tend to pay equal prices for free-agents? Phil Birnbaum tells us. Part II.

More Phil. This time a great essay on numeracy. Understanding the world around us requires and understanding of math, but sound logic is just as important if not more so.

Reviving fallen franchises.

What if the draft was an auction? (Off topic, here's a funny/disturbing auction. Apparently they have an edgy sense of humor in New Zealand. Helmet-knock: Mind Your Decisions.)

Player-specific win-loss records. (Part II) A very cool idea from Tango using Win Probability.

Projecting future NFL sack totals by rookie draft picks?

More from one of my new favorite Xs and Os sites, Blitzology. I hope the author keeps posting. Another one. And another sample.

Let's face it, the Internet and blogs are becoming the center of the sports coverage world. And as far as baseball goes, advanced statistics (sabermetrics) has literally become the center of the online baseball universe. (Helmet-knock: Tango.)

"Soccerizing" the Super Bowl. Imagine the talk radio grist and general media fever between the two games.

We frequently hear how one team is the "oldest in the League" or the "youngest in the League." But that's usually just a blanket average age, weighing each player equally. After all, who cares if one team has a 22-year old kicker and another has a 38-year old kicker? Chase Stuart at Fifth Down gives us the real story on team age.

More Chase. Projecting Yards Per Carry by top RBs. (Part II)

Cranking up crowd noise.

Non-sports related: Which one are you? I'm a guesser, big-time.

"Approximate Time of Knockout" from PFR. Very cool.

Ken Pomeroy is now doing WP graphs for D-I college basketball games. He goes beyond my own NCAA basketball WP model by including an adjustment for team strength. Awesome. As he writes, "While you might be looking for raw win probability, adjusted is the only way to go. Nobody was watching the opening moments of the Kansas/Alcorn State game with any notion that the game would be competitive, even when Alcorn State somehow scored the first four points." In other words, he's including an adjustment for the pre-game expectation of team strength. This is important for college bastketball where the spread in team talent is enormous. It's relatively tiny in the NFL, even between the best teams and worst teams.  (Here's the graph from last year's championship game.)

I wonder which NFL executives and owners suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect?

Solving the minimax on 3-2 counts in baseball. (Helmet-knock: Tango)

Tigers manager Jim Leyland on team chemistry: “Take all that clubhouse [stuff] and all that, throw it out the window. Every writer in the country has been writing about that [nonsense] for years. Chemistry don’t mean [anything]. He’s up here because he’s good. That don’t mean [a hill of beans]. They got good chemistry because their team is improved, they got a real good team, they got guys knocking in runs, they got a catcher hitting .336, they got a phenom pitcher they just brought up. That’s why they’re happy.”

In my book, that's some smart [stuff]. The bottom line is that winning leads to locker room chemistry. It's hard not to be having fun on a winning streak while playing a game. Good chemistry doesn't make teams win. Correlation ≠ causation. (Helmet-knock: Fangraphs)

The Peltzman Effect in action. It's why better helmets and other equipment will probably not protect NFL players from serious injury in the long run.

A guest post at Smart Football looks at "playing defense, not playing defenses." I love that line.

That clears out about half of the backlog of links. More to come.

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7 Responses to “Roundup 8/21/10”

  1. Edward Lee says:
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  2. Edward Lee says:

    Given that HFA is worth about 3 points (possibly more, in case of opposite-weather teams?) and that seeding is so sensitive to strength of division, soccer-style home-and-home playoff rounds wouldn't be a bad idea at all. Doesn't seem particularly necessary for the Super Bowl though, and having the second game count double is dumb beyond all measure. (That's not what actually happens in soccer; in two-legged soccer playoff rounds the total points are added up, and then the tiebreaker is points/goals scored on the road. If it's still tied after that, extra time and/or penalty kicks ensue after the end of regulation of the second game.)

  3. Football Polemics says:

    Home and home would never happen for the playoffs of course, because the season is already pretty long as it is. Obviously we should eliminate 2 games (or maybe all the preseason, and let teams do as they please scrimmage-wise) from the NFL season, but hard to imagine they'd add them in later.

    It's worth noting that not even soccer uses home and home for their championship games. The World Cup is a variancefest akin to the NFL playoffs, with it being a single elimination tournament once the field is narrowed to 16. The final game is just one game. Likewise, the final game of the Champions League (by far the biggest club competition) is one game. Likewise for Europa League. There some exceptions, of course (South America's Copa Libertadores is currently home and home for the finals, but does NOT use the away goals rule in the finals that Edward Lee mentioned above) but generally soccer does not use home and homes for the championship games.


    But to be honest, though traditionalists would be annoyed, it'd probably be a huge moneymaker for the NFL. Double the ad time!

  4. Anonymous says:

    The World Cup does in fact use home and home for qualifying play, leading right up to the tourney. This is because HFA is so much stronger and evident in international matches. Playing on the road in the NFL is tame compared to what some soccer teams have to endure when playing abroad.

  5. bytebodger says:

    "The Peltzman Effect in action. It's why better helmets and other equipment will probably not protect NFL players from serious injury in the long run."

    One of my favorite suggestions for drastically reducing concussions is to remove face masks. Although there are a few serious consequences that could occur if the face mask was removed (having something thrust into your eye), most of the injuries prevented by face masks are cosmetic - broken nose, lost teeth, facial cuts. Heck, even a broken jaw is not, in the grand scheme of things, usually that serious. But more importantly, if you removed the face masks, almost no one would be dumb enough to lead with their head. Protecting your face is a powerful human instinct and I don't believe that would change, even for athletes who are earning millions of dollars for making tackles. Football players who have a legitimate fear for their own safety tend to lead with their shoulder or their chest (when you make a tackle that resembles a bear hug).

  6. Football Polemics says:

    Anonymous: you are more wrong than right.

    The World Cup is technically considered every match of qualifying, but popularly it almost always means the actual tournament (technically the World Cup Finals) of group play and then single elimination that occurs every 4 years. In the World Cup finals, there is no home and home.

    As for World Cup qualifying, each of the 6 regional associations makes up its own rules and frequently changes them for the next World Cup. Africa does not use home and home series at all for World Cup qualifications. Asia used groups. Europe used home and home series for about 1/3 of its spots. CONCACAF used a group stage of 6 where the top 3.5 qualified. CONMEBOL used all 10 countries in a group stage.

    There is more complexity than just that, as the winner of Oceania had to play a home and home against an African team to qualify.


    In short, your comment was rather misleading. Yes, home and home is used in World Cup qualifying, sometimes directly for a spot in the World Cup finals. But the vast majority of the process is not home and home.

  7. DA Baracus says:

    That soccer post is terrible, for reasons already pointed out and others such as the original author probably doesn't watch much soccer, thinking that the 2nd game counts double and ignoring that a lot of times the 2nd leg is boring as hell because if a team won the first leg comfortably, especially on the road, they just sit on the ball. Also because the NFL already has a system of home and home--division play.

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