Monthly Archives: January, 2013

Could kickers make the difference in Super Bowl XLVII?

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

David Akers kicking a field goal

David Akers kicking a field goal with the Philadelphia Eagles(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With experts expecting a close game for Super Bowl XLVII, the kickers could play an important role in next week’s game.

The two opposing kickers offer quite a contrast. First we have rookie Justin Tucker with the Baltimore Ravens who had a great first season making 30 of 33 field goal attempts, a 90.9 percentage. In the playoffs he has kicked two FGs, making both.

San Francisco kicker David Akers has 367 made field goals on his resume. He has led the league in field goal attempts in four of the last five years. He has 23 playoff games experience, making 36 of 44 (an 81.8 percentage). That’s the good news.

This year, however, has been a struggle for Akers. He missed 13 FGs in the regular season ending the year with a 69 percentage rate, the lowest of his career and far below his career mark of 81 percent.

Akers is, however, one of 26 kickers who has made 80 percent or more of his field goals in playoff games. Here’s a look at the kickers who have the best field goal made percentage in the post-season (from 1966-2012, minimum of 10 attempts).

Field Goal percentage, kicker
92.9%: Martin Gramatica
92.0%: John Kasay
90.9%: Chuck Nelson
90.0%: Brad Daluiso, Stephen Gostkowski
88.9%: Mike Hollis, Jeff Reed
88.0%: Steve Christie
87.5%: Sebastian Janikowski
86.7%: Chris Boniol
85.7%: Josh Brown, Billy Cundiff, Olindo Mare, Rafael Septien
84.2%: Jason Elam
84.0%: Matt Bahr
83.3%: Mason Crosby
82.8%: Adam Vinatieri
81.8%: David Akers, Jim Breech, Shayne Graham
80.6%: Matt Stover
80.0%: Gary Anderson, John Carney, Toni Fritsch, Pat Leahy

In looking at the past 46 Super Bowl games, there have been 10 games where a kicker missed two or more field goals. Dallas Cowboys kicker Efren Herrera in the 1978 Super Bowl missed three field goal attempts, the only time three have been missed by one kicker in a Super Bowl game. Nine kickers have missed two FG attempts in a single Super Bowl contest: Lou Michaels (1969), Jim Turner (1969), Roy Gerela (1976), Rich Karlis (1987), Mike Lofer (1989), Jason Elam (1999), Al Del Greco (2000), Adam Vinatieri (2004), Josh Brown (2006).

Two more interesting stats:

* Two kickers missed a field goal in a Super Bowl game where their team lost by a final margin of three points or less. Buffalo’s Scott Norwood missed a FG in the Bills 20-19 loss in the 1991 Super Bowl against the New York Giants; Rams’ kicker Jeff Wilkins missed a FG in St. Louis’ 2002 Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots, 20-17.

* Field goal kickers from the Super Bowl winning team have made 73 of 98 field goals, a 74.5 percentage. Kickers from the Super Bowl losing team have made 41 of 64 FGs in the big game, a 64.1 percentage.

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Will a Golden State Warriors player finally play in the NBA All-Star Game this year?

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

English: 2010 NBA All-Star Game at Cowboys Sta...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Later today the NBA will announce the reserves for the NBA All-Star Game that will be played February 17 in Houston. The starters were recently announced via fan voting.

Each year we see a lot of familiar names on these all-star rosters. For some franchises, however, it has been a long time since one of their players has set foot on the court for an all-star game. Case in point: The Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors have not had a player play in the NBA All-Star Game since 1997 when Latrell Spreewell led the West team with 19 points. Since then no Warriors player has appeared in the game.

That could change this year. A pair of Golden State players are receiving mention as possible additions to the West roster as reserves. Power forward David Lee and point guard Stephen Curry are both being mentioned as potential West team all-stars. We’ll see if that is the case tonight, and if that 15-year streak without an all-star will end for the Warriors.

Following are the teams that have had the longest wait for having a player in the NBA All-Star Game.

Last year player appeared in All-Star Game, team (player that appeared in that game)
1997: Golden State (Latrell Sprewell)
2004: Milwaukee (Michael Redd); Sacramento (Brad Miller and Peja Stojakovic)
2008: Washington (Caron Butler and Antoine Jamison)

2009: Detroit
2010: Charlotte, Cleveland, Toronto
2011: Atlanta, Denver, Houston, New Orleans, Utah
2012: Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Dallas, Indiana, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Miami, Minnesota, N.Y. Knicks, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio

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When was the last time your team won an NFL playoff game?

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

English: Greg Brooks during the November 5, 20...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Cincinnati Bengals had a chance this past season to end a 21-year drought with a win in the playoffs when they faced off against the Houston Texans in an AFC Wild Card game. The Bengals had not won a playoff game since 1990.

The Texans beat the Bengals 19-13 in that Wild Card contest, thus extending Cincinnati’s streak of consecutive seasons without winning a playoff game to 22 years, the longest current wait for a post-season win in the NFL.

There are now nine teams that have not won a playoff game in the last 10 years or longer. The Tennessee Titans joined that list this past season when they failed to make the 2012 playoffs. Their last playoff win was after the 2003 season.

Here’s a look at the last time each of the 32 NFL teams won a playoff game.

Last season they won a playoff game, team
1990: Cincinnati
1991: Detroit
1993: Kansas City
1994: Cleveland
1995: Buffalo
2000: Miami
2002: Oakland, Tampa Bay
2003: Tennessee
2004: St. Louis
2005: Carolina, Washington
2007: Jacksonville
2008: Philadelphia, San Diego
2009: Arizona, Dallas, Minnesota, Indianapolis
2010: Chicago, N.Y. Jets, Pittsburgh
2011: Denver, New Orleans, N.Y. Giants
2012: Atlanta, Baltimore, Green Bay, Houston, New England, San Francisco, Seattle

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Colin Kaepernick: From less than half a season as starting QB to Super Bowl


Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers. 

Despite only nine career regular starts at quarterback (seven regular season and two playoff), the legend of second-year San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick continues to grow. With a start at QB in the Super Bowl just under two weeks away, Kaepernick can certainly write his name in the record books with a Super Bowl victory.

But just taking the field as the 49ers QB will be enough to put Kaepernick in special company. Consider this: Kaepernick will become the fifth starting QB in Super Bowl history with less than half of his team’s regular-season starts at that position. Kaepernick started seven of the 49ers 16 games, replacing an injured Alex Smith in the 10th game of the year. He led the 49ers to a win over Chicago and never relinquished the starting position. San Francisco went 5-2 in the games he started at QB.

Kaepernick’s seven starts in the regular season is not, however, the fewest by a Super Bowl quarterback in that season. A pair of NFC QB’s had only two regular starts in the year that they started the Super Bowl. Washington’s Doug Williams started only two regular season games (Washington lost both games) for the Redskins in the 1987 season replacing Jay Schroeder, but he started at QB for the Redskins when they went on to win the Super Bowl that year. Williams was the MVP of that game.

New York Giant Jeff Hostetler in 1990 started only a pair of regular season contests for the “G-Men” replacing an injured Phil Simms. The Giants won the Super Bowl that year.

Here’s a look at the four QBs before Kaepernick who started less than half their teams regular-season games in a year when they started at QB in the Super Bowl.

Season, QB, team, regular-season starts at QB
1972: Bob Griese, Miami (five regular-season starts)
1979: Vince Ferragamo, L.A. Rams (five regular-season starts)
1987: Doug Williams, Washington (two regular-season starts)
1990: Jeff Hostetler, N.Y. Giants (two regular-season starts)
2012: Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco (seven regular-season starts)

Note: Two more Super Bowl starting quarterbacks started only seven games in the regular season before their Super Bowl start: Len Dawson and Terry Bradshaw. For both Dawson and Bradshaw, those seven starts represented exactly half of the games the 14 games their teams played that season.

One more note: Of the 92 starting QBs in the 46-year history of the Super Bowl, 46 (exactly half) started all of his team’s regular-season games that season.

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Washington Redskins finally get a divisional title in this century!

Redskins primary logo 1972-1981, 1983-present

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Of the eight NFL teams that won divisional titles this season, six of them also won that division title in 2011. The two teams that went to the top of their division this year (but not in 2011) were the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins.

The Falcons last won the NFC South in 2010. For the Redskins, this past season’s divisional title was a long time coming. The Redskins last won a division in 1999; that drought was tied for the fourth longest in the league.

Back in 2002, the NFL went to the current four divisions in each of the two conferences format. Of the 32 NFL teams, 28 have now won at least one division title since ’02. The four that are still looking for their first division championship this century are: Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit and Jacksonville. Browns’ fans have been waiting the longest as their team has not won a division championship since 1989.

Following is a look at when each NFL team last won a division title.

Year of last division title, team(s)

1989: Cleveland

1993: Detroit
1995: Buffalo
1999: Jacksonville

2002: N.Y. Jets, Oakland
2003: St. Louis
2007: Tampa Bay
2008: Carolina, Miami, Tennessee
2009: Arizona, Cincinnati, Dallas, Minnesota, San Diego,
2010: Chicago, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle
2011: New Orleans, N.Y Giants
2012: Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, Green Bay, Houston, New England, San Francisco, Washington

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