Print Story Sportscasters loves stats
By jayhawk88 (Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 03:46:30 AM EST) (all tags)
They're just not very good at them

Heard from Nameless Color Guy during the Eagles/Packers game yesterday on the radio:

"Well Green Bay really wants to win this game, because it's been proven that teams who win the first game of the year make the playoffs twice as often as teams that don't".

Ignoring the obvious "Green Bay really wants to win" part, I did find the second part interesting: Teams that win the first game of the year make the playoffs twice as much as teams that lose the first game. I've no doubt that this is probably true, yet sort of misleading, for a couple of reasons:

  1. I fail at math, but I suspect that stats could show that winning the first game gives those teams a certain percentage higher chance of making the playoffs simply because they have one more win under their belts compared to the first week losers. Certainly that percentage wouldn't be +50%, but still.
  2. Quoting that stat seems to imply that there is some mystical quality of the first win, but isn't it just as likely to assume that the +50% playoff chance is due more to the fact that on any given week, the best teams in the NFL have a better chance of winning, and these will be the teams that will make the playoffs? In other words, I would be very interested to see what the teams winning week 5, for example, or week 10, says about teams making the playoffs. I suspect the numbers would be almost identical.
Baseball will always be the sport with the stats love affair of course, but I have noticed that NFL announcers tend to pull out some interesting ones from time to time as well. Must be all the down time between plays, the need to fill dead air.

In other news, the Chiefs suck. I know I've said that before, but after watching them yesterday, I just don't see how they're going to get 4 wins this year. You know you're in trouble when the Texans offensive line dominates you on a 10 minute scoring drive in the 4th quarter, and your defense is supposedly one of your teams strengths. Granted the Chiefs D had been on the field quite a lot and was tired, but it's not like that Chiefs O is going to get significantly better as the season wears on. Teams are just going to load 8 in the box and beat LJ's head in all year, and basically dare the Chiefs to throw on them.

As crazy as this sounds, I'm seriously considering starting Grossman next week against them. If the Chiefs could only score 3 against the Texans, the Bears are going to hold them to negative points somehow. I mean even Grossman can complete passes against d-backs that are crawling on their hands and knees, right?

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Sportscasters loves stats | 11 comments (11 topical, 0 hidden)
I dunno by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #1 Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 04:09:51 AM EST
Rex 'Sex Cannon' Grossman versus guys on their hands and knees might confuse poor Rex..

Yeah by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #2 Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 04:12:08 AM EST
The ESPN radio guys (Mike and Mike) were talking about that this morning. They said that since 1972 (or somewhere close to that) teams that won the first game have made the playoffs roughly 50% of the time. So it doesn't mean much except maybe that you played a team that sucks more than you do.

That said after one week it's pretty easy to pick out the more sucky teams like Atanta (duh) or KC or Clevia.

Warmest regards,
--Your best pal Bob

How's my blogging: Call me at 209.867.5309 to complain.

Kind of makes me wish by jayhawk88 (2.00 / 0) #3 Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 04:47:39 AM EST
I had a working knowledge of stats and a lot of time on my hands. I bet you could find all kinds of interesting stuff:

"Well John, the Bears just don't seem to have what it takes tonight against the Lions."
"Yeah, and this is really going to hurt their playoff chances. Did you know that 80% of the teams losing to another team north of the Mason-Dixon line in the month of November when the moon is less than 3 phases from full don't make the playoffs?"

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I took a stats course last spring... by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 05:18:26 AM EST
and my prof used multiple regression techniques (beyond what my intro course got into) every year to figure out who should be on his fantasy baseball team. He said he had not lost in quite a long time. It's interesting, but without the proper software and a large initial time investment, it'd be difficult to really use all of the data that are available.
If you don't get a Bonnie, my universe will not make sense. --blixco
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wait, WHA ? by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #4 Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 04:52:56 AM EST
Bob, you admit cleveburgh has a sucky team ? Especially after the demoralizing loss to the stillers ?

[ Parent ]
NFL Sports Commentators by duxup (2.00 / 0) #6 Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 07:04:18 AM EST
For the most part NFL sports commentators are almost entirely morons.  I LOATH listening to them.  The number of mathematical mistakes is horrifying.  Not just percentages, simple addition!

Oddly I enjoy the low ranking TV commentators more than the guys who get the good games.  Being a Vikings fan that means we've had some humane commentators over the past year or so.  It is a strange thing worrying after a win that we might get higher ranking morons to cover our next game.

I watched some of the Bears and Chargers game this past weekend and I couldn't help but wonder.

Most Chiefs games are like that too by jayhawk88 (4.00 / 1) #7 Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 08:13:01 AM EST
It wouldn't surprise me to learn that Ian Eagle and Solomon Wilcox lease apartments in KC.

A lot of people seem to have a mad on for Joe Buck, but I actually don't mind him so much, I think he and Aikmen are probably the best top-flight booth going in the NFL right now. Buck's main problem is that he works for Fox, and gets caught having to do all those horrible in-game "Let's make up some stats that will go well with a cheesy graphic" things.

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I can't take much Buck by duxup (2.00 / 0) #8 Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 09:05:04 AM EST
I think Buck is a hack for the most part.  He can speak well, and he has what I’m sure passes for a nice cadence to his voice when he does his work but there's nothing there.  It is all a shell, they need to find some guy who has something to contribute and put his brain in Buck's head.

I can’t think of a time where Buck said anything that contributed to the broadcast.  He just sounds nice, but it is all so empty.  I swear he’s a robot (maybe one of those stupid fox robots with human skin).  You can probably mark the rise and fall of his voice with a stopwatch.

Too bad because his father was one of the best.

[ Parent ]
To me by jayhawk88 (2.00 / 0) #9 Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 10:04:59 AM EST
...that's what the color guy is for. Really I don't care if the play by play guy has anything interesting to say or not, so long as he knows how to pronounce all the names and can call the plays accurately.

[ Parent ]
Is he just play by paly? by duxup (2.00 / 0) #10 Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 10:22:13 AM EST
My impression is that Buck is supposed to be the play by play guy but he keeps tossing in his own opinion (and a remarkably unremarkable one at that) by tossing loaded questions in the direction of the color guy(s).  Now maybe that is by design as he’s not exactly surrounded by great people.

IMO Aikman also has nothing to contribute either except to provide some legitimacy to whatever painfully cliché football wisdom we're being fed.  Even when Aikman has something to say he struggles to get it out and talks too fast.  Perhaps Buck is just predicting what Troy has to say and is trying to pave a path for him. 

Yet even during baseball games I find Buck difficult to listen to… Granted baseball has to be the hardest to announce but dang watching a game with him announcing just doesn’t have the sense of momentum or pace that the good announcers have.

Perhaps it is a grass is greener situation but I like some of the CBS guys a great deal more than Fox’s band of goofy halfwits (the ironic exception being their low ranking announcers who seem to really try to learn the teams beyond two players).

[ Parent ]
Maybe I just don't pay enough attention by jayhawk88 (4.00 / 1) #11 Mon Sep 10, 2007 at 10:35:58 AM EST
I mean all play by play guys have to do the "So is it good or bad that the Bears have given up 300 yards rushing, Troy" thing from time to time when their partner is about to fall asleep or whatever, and you're right that if the PbP guy is not skilled it's painful to listen too, but I've never really been seriously offended by anything Buck's done on football broadcasts. Baseball is another story, but then Buck's a "baseball guy" and he gets stuck in there with McCarver, what are you going to do?

I will agree with you that the C teams for both major networks are much better than the top tier guys for the most part.

[ Parent ]
Sportscasters loves stats | 11 comments (11 topical, 0 hidden)