Monthly Archives: September, 2013

Cards, Pirates and Reds all reach 90-win mark

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

Busch Memorial Stadium, Thursday night, Septem...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the sixth time in the last 20 years, three teams from the same division will win 90 or more games. This year the Cardinals, Pirates and Reds, all playing in the National League Central Division, each won 90-plus (through games of 9/27/13, Cardinals had won 95, the Pirates had won 92 and the Reds had won 90). Major League Baseball went to a three-division format in each league in 1994.

This is the third consecutive year that three teams from the same division have won 90 or more games. Here’s a look at the five previous times this has happened:

A.L. East, 2012: Yankees (95), Orioles, 93, Rays (90)

A.L. East 2011: Yankees (97), Rays (91), Red Sox (90)

A.L. Central, 2006: Twins (96), Tigers (95), White Sox (90)

N.L. West, 2002: Diamondbacks (98), Giants (95), Dodgers (92)

A.L. West, 2002: A’s (103), Angels (99), Mariners (93)

With three teams in the N.L. Central winning 90 games this season, the N.L. East Division is the only division that has not had three teams win 90-plus in the same year since the three-division format began in ’94.

One final note: Of the five previous times when three teams in a division won 90-plus games, none of those teams that won the most games of the three 90-win teams made it to the World Series that year. Ironically, three of the teams that had the second most wins of the 90-win trio made it to the World Series (2002 Angels, 2002 Giants and 2006 Tigers). Could that be good news for the Pirates this season?

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Advertisements

Ain’t no lie… time for NFL teams to go bye, bye, bye

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

The NFL begins its’ annual bye week format as two teams, the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers get the first byes of the 2013 season this weekend. For the Pack, who are off to a 1-2 start, the bye will help them get some of their key players (see Clay Matthews, Jermichael Finley, James Starks) an extra week of rest. For Carolina, also 1-2, the bye comes after a big 38-0 victory over the New York Giants.

So do teams play better the week before their bye or after their bye? Looking at the last 10 seasons, it appears teams play a little better after their week off than before. In the past 10 seasons, NFL teams were 162-158 (a .506 winning percentage) the week prior to their designated bye, while teams were 174-143-3 (a .548 winning percentage) the week after their bye.

With byes starting this coming weekend (Week 4) and lasting until Week 13, here’s a look at each of the 32 teams and how well they have played before and after their bye week the past 10 seasons (does not include Green Bay and Carolina’s games from September 22, 2013).

Team                   Before the bye week     After the bye week

Arizona                             2-8                                      4-6
Atlanta                              7-3                                      7-3
Baltimore                         4-6                                      9-1
Buffalo                              0-10                                    5-5
Carolina                            5-5                                      6-4
Chicago                             5-5                                      6-4
Cincinnati                         4-6                                     3-6-1
Cleveland                          3-7                                      4-6
Dallas                                 7-3                                      6-4
Denver                              5-5                                       8-2
Detroit                               1-9                                      5-5
Green Bay                         7-3                                      8-2
Houston                            7-3                                      4-6
Indianapolis                      6-4                                      8-2
Jacksonville                       6-4                                      4-6
Kansas City                       5-5                                      4-6
Miami                                 5-5                                     5-5
Minnesota                         7-3                                      6-4
New England                     8-2                                     9-1
New Orleans                     8-2                                      5-5
New York Giants               7-3                                     6-4
New York Jets                    4-6                                     6-4
Oakland                              4-6                                     0-10
Philadelphia                      4-6                                      9-1
Pittsburgh                          5-5                                     7-3
San Diego                           6-4                                     6-4
San Francisco                    4-6                                    3-6-1
Seattle                                7-3                                      3-7
St. Louis                              4-6                                    3-6-1
Tampa Bay                         5-5                                     6-4
Tennessee                          6-4                                     5-5
Washington                        3-7                                    4-6

Two quick notes: The Buffalo Bills 0-10 record in games before the bye in the last 10 years extends even further. In fact, the Bills have not won the week prior to their bye since 1999, a streak of 13 games. The Oakland Raiders have lost 10 straight the week following the bye week; their last win after the bye week was in 2002.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Could Brett Favre become this generation’s George Blanda?

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

English: Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett F...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What would an NFL season be without a good Brett Favre rumor?

Sports media is having a great time with recent comments made by Favre’s agent, Bus Cook. Speaking at an event earlier this week in Mobile, Ala., Cook told the audience that Favre, who will turn 44 in October, is coaching football at the local high school and is in “great shape.” He added:

“He could play (in the NFL) today, better than a lot of them out there today.”

Was this an innocent comment? Was it one meant to plant the seed in the minds of NFL fans across the country? Or, was it a calculated statement by Cook to generate some buzz and see what interest there might be from NFL teams looking to upgrade their quarterback play. I’ll let you decide which of these questions makes the most sense to you.

But for the record, how have 44-year-old (or older) quarterbacks done in the NFL? A quick scan of the files and we see that four different players have tossed a pass or two at age 44 or older.

Here’s a brief look at this quartet.

George Blanda: The poster child for aging quarterbacks in the NFL. Blanda, who also doubled as a Hall of Fame placekicker, played in the NFL from 1949-75, scoring 2,002. From age 44 until his retirement in January, 1976 at age 48, Blanda threw 80 passes for the Raiders, completing 39 of them. He threw six TD passes after the age of 44. He is the oldest player to make a pass attempt and have a pass completion in NFL history. He completed one pass in three attempts in a game on December 21, 1975 at age 48.

Steve DeBerg: DeBerg played in seven games as QB for the Atlanta Falcons in 1998 at age 44. He completed 30 of 59 passes with three TDs and one interception.

Warren Moon: Eight days after his 44th birthday, the Hall of Famer started at QB for the Kansas Chiefs versus the San Diego Chargers. The result was not a good one. The Chiefs lost 17-16. Moon completed only 12 of 31 passes for 130 yards and had one interception. It was his last career game.

Vinny Testaverde: Barely a month after turning 44, Testaverde got the start in three games for the Carolina Panthers in 2007. In those three games he completed 49 or 91 passes with four touchdowns and five interceptions. He played his last NFL game on December 30, 2007.

Will Favre join the above list?

NFL 3-0 teams hope hot start leads to playoffs and Super Bowl

English: New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton ...

The last time the New Orleans Saints and Coach Sean Payton started 3-0 they won the Super Bowl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

Seven teams – the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks- are undefeated after the first three weeks of the 2013 season. For a few of these teams, the 3-0 start is something new. Here’s a quick look at the last time each of eight teams started the season 3-0.

Chicago: They won their first three games in 2010 and then lost their next contest to the New York Giants. They finished the season 11-5, made the playoffs and eventually lost to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game

Denver: Last time they started the season 3-0 was in 2009. They started that season by winning six straight, had the bye week and then lost eight of their last 10. They finished the season 8-8, missing the playoffs.

Kansas City: Kansas City started 3-0 in 2010. They ended the season with 10 wins and lost a Wild Card playoff game to Baltimore. The Chiefs went 3-0 in 2010, had the bye week, and then lost their next two games.

Miami: Of the current 3-0 teams, the Dolphins have had the longest wait for a 3-0 start; they last started 3-0 in 2002. Unfortunately, they lost their fourth game in 2002 and missed the playoffs with a 9-7 record.

New England: The last time the Pats went 3-0 was their 16-0 regular season in 2007. Their only loss that season was a Super Bowl defeat at the hands of the New York Giants, 17-14.

New Orleans: Saints fans are excited about this year’s 3-0 start because they hope it mirrors their last 3-0 start; in 2009 the Saints started 3-0, extended that record to 13-0 before losing their last three games, and then won three straight to win the Super Bowl that season.

Seattle: The Seahawks last started 3-0 in 2006. They lost their fourth game that year and finished the season 9-7. They made the playoffs and won one and lost one in the playoffs that year.

In the last two seasons (2011, 2012), six teams (three each year) started 3-0. Of those six, four made the playoffs; two did not.

Of the 24 playoff teams over the past two seasons, four started the year 3-0, 12 started the season 2-1, and eight were 1-2 after three games.

Taking a look at the past 94 Super Bowl teams, a 3-0 or 2-1 start has been most common of the title game opponents (this past year’s Super Bowl opponents were both 2-1 after Week 3). Eighty-four of the 94 Super Bowl teams were either 3-0 or 2-1 to start that season, (89.4 percent). If you add in the two teams that started 2-0-1, then 86 of the 94 (91.5 percent) Super Bowl teams were either 3-0, 2-0-1 or 2-1 in the first three games in their Super Bowl year.

Here’s a breakdown of the record of the Super Bowl teams after Week 3 of that season.

Record after three games, Super Bowl teams

3-0: 48 teams (22 won the Super Bowl; 26 lost the Super Bowl)

2-0-1: 2 teams (one won the Super Bowl; one lost the Super Bowl)

2-1: 36 teams (19 won the Super Bowl; 17 lost the Super Bowl)

1-1-1: 3 teams (one won the Super Bowl; two lost the Super Bowl)

1-2: 5 teams (four won the Super Bowl; one lost the Super Bowl)

Note: The last team to win the Super Bowl after starting the season 1-2 were the New York Giants in the 2007 season.

Failure to capitalize on great starting field position doomed Packers

Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy. Ph...

Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy was not smiling about his offense’s execution in the game against the Bengals. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

Monday Morning quarterbacks and Packers fans in general are trying to figure out how the team could create four takeaways, score 30 unanswered points, and still find a way to lose yesterday’s game to the Cincinnati Bengals, Well, here’s my two cents… this simple stat may be the answer.

The Packers yesterday had great starting field position on six drives. They started at their own 40, twice at their own 42 yard line, once at the Cincinnati 37, and twice inside the Cincinnati 30-yard line. And what did they have to show for those six great starting field positions? Two field goals. Six points. On the other four possessions, the Pack had two punts and two interceptions. Scoring only six points with six starting field possessions with 60 yards or less to go to score is I’m sure not what Mike McCarthy expected.

Here’s a little comparison to put this in perspective: In the first two weeks of the NFL season, there were 134 drives where teams started at their own 40-yard line or better. Of those, 79 resulted in either a TD or field goal (59% of the possessions). The Packers were two of six (only 33%). Of those 134 possessions, TDs were scored on 47 of those drives (35%). The Packers scored zero touchdowns in their six possessions from their own 40-yard line or better. Zero percent!

Scoring only six points on those six possessions was bad enough. But when you play in a close game and lose by only four points, every possession is important. To start at the Cincinnati 37-yard line, lose 15 yards and then have to punt the ball… there’s no excuse for not putting at least three points on the board when you have that kind of starting field position. Then to have to settle for two field goals when they started inside the Cincinnati 30, again… if you’re looking for why the Packers lost yesterday’s game, not capitalizing on great starting field position has to be a key factor.

One final stat: Teams that started two or more drives in their opponents’ territory in games were 18-3 the first two weeks of the NFL season.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp