Checking a Reported Drop in Starting QB Injuries in 2016: Definitions and Counts

I saw a remarkable stat reported in Pro Football Talk (PFT) this morning: that starting QBs missed only 35 games in 2016, vs. 76/77/59 in 2013-15, respectively. The claim is sourced to Peter King’s MMQB column this morning, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a source document for the actual numbers. Per King, the NFL’s Competition Committee views these data as evidence the new QB protection rules are having their intended effect.

Now that seemed like a huge drop to me. I did some quick calculations – Teddy Bridgewater (16 games) plus Tony Romo (10 games) plus Jay Cutler (11 games) alone gets us to 37 games missed by starting QBs in 2016. That’s already more than the number reported by King.

Epidemiologists spend a large chunk of our time just counting things. As it turns out, that’s not grade school math. It’s really, really hard, and a correct count relies on counting a.) the right things and b.) doing so in a consistent manner. So I wanted to go into my injury data, sourced from Pro-Football-Reference (pro-football-reference.com), and see if I could replicate the numbers reported by King (and, ostensibly, the NFL). Spoiler alert: I couldn’t really.

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The “Post-Probable” Injury Report Era: Full-Season Update

Hey, long time. Been awhile. How are the kids? Childish? That’s good.

I’ve been a bit distracted with side projects lately – buying a house, co-teaching a high-level statistics course, my dissertation…you know, little things – so sorry for not updating this blog that no one reads for a few months.

BUT! I’m back with a very exciting post: I’m updating my prior investigation into the effects of the NFL’s decision to remove “Probable” from its injury report this past season, now that we have a full season to see how teams adapted (the original analysis had only weeks 1-8). Let me tell you, it’s been miserable for NFL injury analysts and honestly…probably pretty much fine for everyone else.

Since my previous two posts lay out all the relevant background, methods, and data sources in detail, we’re gonna skip right to the results update!

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Is it Really Too Soon to Judge Roberto Aguayo?

I threatened to do this occasionally in my introductory post, but steel yourselves for a football analytics post that has nothing to do with injuries. You have ESPN’s Bill Barnwell and my friend and colleague Daniel Adler to blame for this.

On Bill’s December 5th show the two were discussing Roberto Aguayo, the kicker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that the team drafted in the 2nd round this year. Due to his high draft position Aguayo’s struggles – he is currently just 15/22 on field goals in the NFL – have been highly publicized. I’m heavily paraphrasing, but they basically came to the conclusion that it’s obviously far too soon to judge whether Roberto Aguayo is, in fact, a good, bad, or mediocre kicker.

Now Bill and Daniel are super smart guys, but I wondered if the statistics would bear them out…

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