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Friday, February 1, 2013

The One Man Show (OMS) for Quarterbacks

Finally, I found an advanced quarterbacking metric that Manziel does not win. He finishes 3rd.

Football is played in drives and downs, but individual player statistics are collected as totals per game and averages per play. The problem is that performance in the latter does not equal success in the former. For example, a player that gets 4 yards on every play will score twice as often as a player that scores a long touchdown once every five plays and gets 0 yards on the other four, but the second player will have the higher yards per play (and will get on Sports Center).

The One Man Show (OMS) is my attempt to measure a player's ability to keep the drive alive. Here's the situation: using actual plays from the past season for each player, I simulate drives. If the player can get a first down on three plays they continue the drive. The field is infinitely long, so the drive could go on forever. The drive can also end on a turnover. Each player is given 10,000 plays and they average about 1,700 drives (I would like to get that up to 100,000 plays but with my current computing speed that would take most of a day; if you would like to see 100,000 simulated plays, make a donation and help me get a new computer . . . seriously, do it). These are based on real game plays and are not adjusted for the strength of the opposition, and the list is limited to quarterbacks with at least 200 plays.

The Yards/P is average yards per possession or per drive. This is the average number of yards the player was able to gain in simulations without getting to 4th down. The Cowboys' Walsh averaged almost 70 yards, followed by David Fales, The Johnny and Aaron Murray. Fales led the nation in completion percentage and Manziel and Murray were no slouches in that department and were at the top nationally in explosive plays - big plays move the ball down the field in a hurray.

At the other end, the mighty quadrumvirate of Colorado, Hawaii, Southern Miss and UMass are represented. Their quaterbacks averaged fewer than 22 yards and around four and a half plays per drive (remember, you get three just for showing up).

The second column, with similar results, is yards of field position per possession. In this case, the team punts on fourth down, unless they have turned the ball over, and the total change in field position is reported. The third column is the average points scored assuming the team started on their own 20 yards line. Again, a quarterback that performs well in the first two performs well here as well; Walsh average six times as many points as Hawaii's Schroeder.

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