and yet sacks are a fundamentally flawed statistic that offers absolutely NO advantage over "pressures"
Why not?A sack takes an offense 7 yards back, and a loss of down. That's incredibly difficult for an offensive team to dig out of.
With "pressures", you're including incompletions (3rd and 5 is a LOT more manageable than 3rd and 12), and quarterbacks who escape pressure and do something good with the ball.
Actually taking down the quarterback, instead of just forcing him to run around is a better result.
If the NFL tracked Pressures *AND* Tackles for a loss, then a lineman would still get rewarded for a sack. He'd get a pressure, and he'd get a tackle for a loss. If he pressured without tackling, he'd get the pressure. If he tackled without pressuring, he'd get the tackle for a loss. See, isn't that much more descriptive of what actually happened on the field?
Pondered this for a bit. Couple of questions.
I'm sick and tired of the NFL publishing sack numbers. It's such an inane and useless statistic. If the NFL is trying to gauge how frequently a defender pressures the QB, wouldn't "Pressures" be a better statistic to use?
When I read this it sounds like you think the NFL is "pushing" this as some sort of glamour statistic. I don't see how publishing the stat does this on its own. Its just a stat.
And if the NFL is trying to gauge how frequently a player puts a team in worse position than it was the down before, wouldn't "tackles for a loss" be a better statistic?
Is the NFL trying to gauge how frequently a player puts a team in a worse position? Why would they care about this? Isn't it the reader that places emphasis on the statistic?I guess I don't get it. Are we looking for a better way to determine how good a defense is? Wouldn't points allowed be the best measure? Actually, if you're looking for an objective measure so you can compare teams points allowed might not be the best. Like I said above, the Seattle defense has serious issues, but they've had a slide schedule. Not sure how we could factor all that together.
I guess I just don't see the advantage sacks have as a statistic over pressures and tackles for a loss. It seems like a super-precise and non-descriptive statistic. Why doesn't the NFL keep track of tackles on WR screens? Why don't they keep track of completions of over 20 yards to TEs? These stats are just too precise and non-descriptive to be of much use. I feel like sacks fall in that same category.Anyway, you sound like the kind of guy who would be interested, so I'll try the pitch. I've been pushing this independent football stats site, www.footballoutsiders.com , all season. I really think they're the best thing to happen to football analysis since... well, since ever. What they do is they record the result of every single play in the entire NFL. They then chart whether this play was "successful" or not (with success being defined as getting 40% of the necessary yards on 1st down, 60% on 2nd down, or 100% on 3rd/4th down) and award "success points" based on how successful it was (an 8 yard completion on 1st and 10 = successful, an 8 yard completion on 3rd and 16 = unsuccessful). They then adjust this for down, distance, situation (i.e. score and time remaining), and quality of the opponent.
Say for instance a team runs for 4 yards on 1st down. That's normally an alright play. Now let's say that this team runs for 4 yards on 1st down with a 14 point lead against the Chicago Bears defense. The system would recognize that this was a VERY good play, given the situation and opponent, and reward it accordingly. Anyway, the end result is a rating of every team based on exactly how well it performed against the competition that it faced. They also have a whole bunch of other neat stats, and they update the stats every week, weighting them to place emphasis on more recent weeks.
They've run several regressions, and their stats correlate better with future wins than points scored, points allowed, scoring differential, winning percentage, yards per attempt, or any other straight NFL stat out there. A couple of the loyal readers have been charting all season and their stats ALSO correlate better to wins than any of the other Power Rankings published by the major sports site (ESPN, SI, CBS Sportsline). So obviously the stats work.
Like I said, I've been pimping them all season, because I really think it's great, insightful stuff. If you've always wished better statistics existed than simple yards and points allowed, this is the site for you.
Earlier this season, they got picked up by Fox Sports, who uses their stats for their power rankings, so you might have been exposed to the numbers, even if you didn't know what they were. They caught a LOT of heat last offseason and even more early this season because their stats maintained that the Atlanta Falcons were essentially a mediocre team... and we all know how that worked out. Their stats also predicted this recent explosion by the Redskins, as well as last year's midseason turnaround of the Panthers and the Packers. Even MORE impressively, their stats predicted Seattle's offensive explosion this last offseason, and the year before predicted that San Diego would have one of the best offenses in the entire NFL (remember, SD was just coming off of a 4-12 season and a SD columnist joked that they were the worst team on their own schedule). And last season, they won King Kaufman's preseason prediction award, which he hands out to the media outlet or prognosticator whose preseason playoff predictions most closely predicted the actual playoff teams.