Big Moves

Okay, so I’ve been holding off on writing this in case there was another move that happened that I would want to include in this post, but if I wait any longer the ship will have sailed.

So as many probably know the first big trade that happened was Jason Taylor going to the Washington Redskins for a second round draft pick in the 2009 draft and a sixth rounder in 2010. On the first day of training camp, starting defensive end, Phillip Daniels, went down with a knee injury. This injury was quickly diagnosed as season ending (and now looks like it could be career ending) and nine hours later a trade was made with the Miami Dolphins to acquire 6-time Pro Bowler and 3-time AP first-team All-Pro selection, Jason Taylor. By the time Week 1 rolls around Taylor will be 34 years old, but age hasn’t seemed to slow him down yet. He’s been to the Pro Bowl each of the last four years and has averaged over 12 sacks per season over the last three years. Many Redskins fans will tell you that what they really needed was a dominant pass rusher, and that now they have one. This trade should really help this team make the playoffs this year and maybe even farther than that.

The second big trade that happened was the New York Football Giants sending tight end, Jeremy Shockey to the New Orleans Saints for a second and a fifth-round draft pick in the 2009 draft. Shockey will add one more dimension and weapon to an already dangerous Saints offense. This will be Shockey’s seventh season in the league, and is hoping it will be his first full one. He hasn’t played all 16 games of a season yet in his career. Shockey has been to the Pro Bowl in four of his six years and has been productive when healthy. Per 16 games (rather than per season) Shockey has averaged over 815 yards, 5.2 TDs, and 71.5 receptions. There have been questions raised however about how well Shockey will fit in with the “easy-going Saints locker room” which could be something to watch our for. If all goes well though, this should be a huge boost for the Saints offense, some have even gone far enough to predict them as having the most prolific offense in NFL history. Either way, this should help the Saints bounce back from last year’s disappointing 7-9 season, especially considering the improvements they made earlier in the off season on the other side of the ball.

Feel free to see how these, or any other teams stand in my latest power rankings.

More stories will arise as the training camps get underway, and if I am able to keep you informed, I will most certainly be doing it.

NFL Power Rankings (Preseason)

Okay, so I’ve been putting off doing this in case any big trades went through in the last week before training camps, and seeing how now quite a few training camps have actually started and that a couple trades have happened I’ve decided to put this up. So to cut to the chase, here they are:

RK (LW) Team Rec Comments
1 (1) Giants 14-6 Champs.
2 (2) Colts 13-4 Peyton, Marvin Harrison, Dwight Freeney, and Bob Sanders should all be 100% for week 1 and if things stay that way they should be in the runnings to win their second Super Bowl in three years.
3 (3) Chargers 13-6 If they can keep injuries to a minimum then they could be in the hunt for a Super Bowl.
4 (6) Cowboys 13-4 They have talent, but they haven’t won a playoff game in over a decade. Them moving up two spots since my last power ranking is because it’s looking more and more likely that Adam Jones will be reinstated by the league, and out of the assumption that he is before the season starts.
5 (4) *pats 18-1 A horrible set of defensive backs, an o-line exposed during their last game, an unproven running back and one less option at wide receiver. If you heard that about any other team what would you think?
6 (5) Jaguars 12-6 They hope to win the division, but with question marks at wide receiver, it won’t happen this year.
7 (7) Steelers 10-7 Roethlisberger has had a good off season, so with an improved receiving corp and a studly back field this team will be in the mix.
8 (10) Vikings 8-8 Tavaris Jackson should be improving which will be aided by off season acquisition, Bernard Berrian. That dangerous d-line got even scarier with the addition of Jared Allen, and if Adrian Peterson doesn’t have a sophomore slump, which he shouldn’t behind that o-line, then this team will be playing in January.
9 (8) Browns 10-6 The Browns have depth, which will be tested early with recent injuries.
10 (9) Redskins 9-8 If Jason Campbell can have a break through year then this team should be in the playoffs again. Clinton Portis will provide a reliable ground attack and having Malcolm Kelly should make things that much easier on Campbell. The recent addition of Jason Taylor will also help, if he’s as effective as he’s been in years past.
11 (11) Saints 7-9 Getting Shockey from the Saints gives Drew Brees one more target to throw to with an already dangerous offense. Other off season moves to improve the defense should help this team bounce back from a disappointing 2007 season.
12 (17) Buccaneers 9-8 If the defense can play like they did last year and the running game can find some consistency then this team will be fighting for a playoff spot.
13 (15) Cardinals 8-8 They have entirely too much talent to not win this division, but it’s been like that in years past and they haven’t made the playoffs in a decade.
14 (12) Packers 14-4 No Brett Favre but a young and talented roster could put together a good season. But not taking Favre back could haunt this team in more ways than one.
15 (13) Seahawks 11-7 I don’t think this team quite has the pieces in place this year. If they make the playoffs it will only be because of the division they’re in, though my pick is the Cardinals.
16 (14) Eagles 8-8 If McNabb can stay healthy and that defense has improved as much as everyone thinks then this team could be in the playoff picture. It will also help their cause if DeSean Jackson can make an immediate impact.
17 (16) Titans 10-7 Without a primary target for Vince Young I don’t see this team making any huge improvements from last season unless Mike Heimerdinger can work a miracle.
18 (18) Texans 8-8 The Texans are getting a lot better but with the division they’re in it may not be reflected in their record, but if they play well this season they could aspire to move out of the bottom spot in the AFC South by moving in front of the Titans.
19 (19) Bills 7-9 Trent Edwards is reported to have had a great off season and with a Turk Schonert as the new offensive coordinator this team could hope to steal a playoff spot.
20 (20) Panthers 7-9 Jake Delhomme has to stay healthy and be 100% all season and running back Jonathan Stewart has to be effective immediately for this team to have any hopes of accomplishing anything this year.
21 (21) Jets 4-12 The question: do they have enough power in their offense to make a playoff run? The answer: Erik Ainge… how can you go wrong with a quarterback from Tennessee?
22 (22) Ravens 5-11 They’ll try to scrap together a winning season, but it will be interesting to see how things play out.
23 (27) Bengals 7-9 They better hope Chad Johnson decides to play, and play his best or this team is going to have a bad year. Mike Zimmer may be able to help the defense, but that won’t be enough if they’re without ocho cinco.
24 (25) Rams 3-13 If they can get and keep Orlando Pace healthy this team could improve drastically from last year’s 3-13 season, which was littered with costly injuries.
25 (23) Raiders 4-12 This year will be interesting, big spending in the off season should help their cause but only time will tell.
26 (26) Lions 7-9 Improving that defense is going to take time, until then they can only hope to have .500 seasons.
27 (24) Broncos 7-9 This team seems to be slowly getting worse. Their lucky to be in a division with the Chiefs and Raiders, because it’s caused many not to notice, but if they don’t turn things around soon they could be in trouble.
28 (28) 49ers 5-11 Alex Smith to Mike Martz: “Help me, Mike Martz Kenobi, you’re our only hope.” – Was that a stretch?
29 (29) Chiefs 4-12 I feel bad for Tony Gonzalez.
30 (30) Bears 7-9 Until they get rid of rex grossman, and replace him with a non-gator alum, this team won’t see any huge success.
31 (31) Dolphins 1-15 Bill Parcells brought in new staff and coaches and new players, the question remains at quarterback. Trading Jason Taylor almost dropped this team below the Falcons, but Atlanta will keep that spot for the time being.
32 (32) Falcons 4-12 A new look for the Falcons won’t mean immediate success, this is going to be a rebuilding process that will take a lot of time.

Schleuderball

This is the heavily anticipated first post about schleuderball. Since I’m pretty sure that there won’t be anybody (except for a select few people that I know) reading this that will have any idea what schleuderball is, this post will simply be a brief explanation of the game. I will include some pictures and a video, to help me out with showing you how this works. I will start with explaining the dimensions and layout of the field that the sport of schleuderball is played on as well as a description of the ball itself.

Let me start by saying that the first rule on the official American schleuderball website is “if it doesn’t hurt then you’re not doing it right.”

The ball is made of leather and it weighs 1.5 kilograms (or about 3.3 pounds) most commonly filled with cork, similar to that which a baseball is filled with. Attached to the ball is a leather strap, there is a picture of two schleuderballs above, on the right side of the page. The field is 100 meters long and 15 meters wide, and is broken into three sections. Two thirty-meter sections on the ends with a 40 meter section in the middle. At the ends of the 100 meters there are end zones that extend indefinitely. So the way that the field looks is demonstrated by the picture below, it’s not exactly in proportion to itself, but you should get the idea.

The game can be played with up to 8 people on each team. Though similar to basketball, football and other sports you can play pick-up games with less than the total of 16 people, such as 2-on-2, 3-on-3 and so on. The object of the game is to get the ball to land in the opponents end zone. The game starts with each team standing at their own 30. The team starting with the ball throws (schleuders) the ball from their 30, and the other team tries to stop the ball as soon as they can. As soon as the ball’s momentum is stopped, it is the second teams turn to throw. They then schleuder from the the new line of schleuder, which is where the balls momentum was stopped. Then this process continues to repeat itself. Each team has a throwing order, similar to a batting order in baseball, determining which player’s turn it is to schleuder when it’s his or her team’s turn to schleuder.

Now it gets really interesting when a player catches the ball. If Team A schleuders the ball and a player from Team B catches it then the player that caught the ball then gets to shock the ball. A shock is when a player throws the ball without using the strap. After the shock, it is still Team B’s turn to schleuder from where the shock was stopped. So essentially if a player catches a ball then that team gets two throws, the first being the shock by whoever caught the ball and the second being the schleuder where normal throwing order resumes. A shock itself can be caught and in term shocked back, but only three shocks can occur per schleuder, though this is a rare occurrence.

When a team gets the ball to land in bounds past the other teams goal-line, then they score one point, and they then start back at the 30, with the team getting scored on starting with the first throw. However if a team scores with a shock then they get two points, and this is known as a shock-point. There are quite a few other specifics to the rules, but hopefully this has given you a general idea of what it’s all about. To show you what the sport is like in action, I’m inserting this video that was put together by some German students here at KU. They were doing a class project and were assigned an area of German culture, and this group was supposed to put together a demonstration on the sports in Germany. With that said, you can watch the whole thing if you want to, but you don’t actually get to see schleuderball clips until you get about two minutes into it. Here it is:

The Worst NFL Offense In The Last 30 Years

Following up my last post about the best offense from the last 30 years, I bring to you the worst offense from the last 30 years. This is very similar to that post in terms of the way I went about gathering the data and statistics and as well as the way I analyzed them. Upon request from someone who read my last post, I changed/added one thing. The only difference is that I also looked at how they compared to the league averages. I took the league averages and then took what percentage off the team was of that league average. So hypothetically let’s say a team got a total of 52 yards in a season, but the league average was 100, then they would be exactly 48 percent off of the league average. Granted this example was simplified down to use numbers that would make the explanation easier, because no team is only going to get 52 yards in a season nor would a league average be 100, but hopefully you get the point. This provides a more realistic look at how poor the teams offense truly was. I plan to go back and do this with the best offense post, but I’m making no promises.

After finding what percentage off of the league average that the five teams were in each of my four categories that I discussed in the last post, I arranged and ranked them by that number rather than their actual totals and it looked like this:

Total Points Scored League Averages
Year Team Points Pts/Game Plays Pts/Play Points Plays Pts/Game % Off
1992 Seahawks 140 8.750 945 0.148 299.7 958.5 18.731 53.29
1991 Colts 143 8.938 923 0.155 303.8 972.2 18.988 52.93
1998 Eagles 161 10.063 1017 0.158 340.5 1008.8 21.281 52.72
2000 Browns 161 10.063 859 0.187 330.8 1007.5 20.675 51.33
2006 Raiders 168 10.500 949 0.177 330.5 1000.0 20.656 49.17










Points Per Play League Averages
Year Team Points Pts/Game Plays Pts/Play Points Plays Pts/Play % Off
1998 Eagles 161 10.063 1017 0.158 340.5 1008.8 0.338 53.10
1992 Seahawks 140 8.750 945 0.148 299.7 958.5 0.313 52.62
1991 Colts 143 8.938 923 0.155 303.8 972.2 0.312 50.42
2006 Raiders 168 10.500 949 0.177 330.5 1000.0 0.331 46.44
2000 Browns 161 10.063 859 0.187 330.8 1007.5 0.328 42.92
Total Yards Gained League Averages
Year Team Yards Yds/Game Plays Yds/Play Yards Plays Yds/Game % Off
1988 Lions 3405 212.81 920 3.701 5153.2 1026.7 322.08 33.92
2002 Texans 3572 223.25 947 3.772 5253.8 1017.8 328.36 32.01
2000 Browns 3530 220.63 859 4.109 5110.8 1007.5 319.43 30.93
1992 Seahawks 3374 210.88 945 3.570 4770.5 958.5 298.16 29.27
1992 Patriots 3584 224.00 928 3.862 4770.5 958.5 298.16 24.87
Yards Per Play League Averages
Year Team Yards Yds/Game Plays Yds/Play Yards Plays Yds/Play % Off
1992 Seahawks 3374 210.88 945 3.570 4770.5 958.5 4.98 28.26
2002 Texans 3572 223.25 947 3.772 5253.8 1017.8 5.16 26.93
1988 Lions 3405 212.81 920 3.701 5153.2 1026.7 5.02 26.26
1992 Patriots 3584 224.00 928 3.862 4770.5 958.5 4.98 22.40
1978 49ers 4047 252.94 1062 3.811 4810.6 1033.0 4.66 18.17

As you can see adding the “% Off” category didn’t actually change the total point rankings at all, but did effect the other three. As you can see, there are a total of nine teams making up these four charts, and two teams are actually from the same year. Just like last time, I’m going to give you some numbers to think about. Only the 1978 49ers were on one list, six teams were on two of the lists and again, only one team was on all four lists. This time around, no two teams are from the same franchise.

Like I mentioned in the best offense post, I prefer to work with averages and percentages because I believe looking at just flat totals can be deceiving.  The only team to make both the yards per play list as well as the points per play list, also happens to be the only team that made all four lists, the 1992 Seahawks.

In my eyes, this made the decision pretty easy. Making it on all four of my lists, being at the top of two of the lists, it makes them stand out like a sore thumb. The worst NFL offense from the last 30 years in the 1992 Seattle Seahawks.

Feel free to check out the post that will explain this whole process in more detail as well as give you who I picked as the top offense from the last 30 years.

The Best NFL Offense In The Last 30 Years

In this post I will be walking you through how I determined which offense I believe was the best offense in the last thirty years. First I will address, why I’m going back only thirty years, for those of you who haven’t already guessed it. Exactly thirty years have passed since the league switched the number of games played per team in each season from 14 games to 16 games in 1978. You may be asking yourself why I chose not to include teams before that point just because they played two less games, because you could still look at their success in terms of averages per games rather than total numbers for the end of the season. Well, while this is true, I figured I would stick with these last thirty years for a number of reasons. One of these reasons is simply that it’s a nice round number of seasons to reflect upon, but also because if you go back too much further than that, you get to the point where the game was played in a much different fashion. Another factor was that teams may have had better averages because adding those two extra games throw in variables like durability, and stamina, though I doubt that one had too much effect on things.

Okay, so let’s get down to it. After about an hour or so of research I quickly narrowed down my list of candidates to eleven teams. I did this by looking at four main statistical categories when trying to determine my best offense from the past thirty years. These stats were total yards, points scored, yards per play and points per play. Points per game and yards per game were quickly ruled out simply by the fact that all the teams played the same number of games in a season. I put in points per play and yards per play because some teams on my list of eleven had as many offensive plays in a season as 1,129 while others had as few as 968, and because I am looking strictly at offenses I don’t think a team should be punished because their defense couldn’t stop the other team from staying on the field longer or punished for scoring faster and with fewer plays thus, not getting as many plays in over the course of the season. I would also like to point out that I ruled out the 1982 season because of a strike that cut the games played by each team from sixteen down to nine.

Shown below are the top 5 teams of the past thirty years in each of the statistical categories that I mentioned above.

Total Points Scored
Points Per Play
Year Team Points Pts/Game Plays Pts/Play
Year Team Points Pts/Game Plays Pts/Play
2007 *patriots 589 36.81 1058 0.56
2007 *patriots 589 36.81 1058 0.56
1998 Vikings 556 34.75 1008 0.55
1998 Vikings 556 34.75 1008 0.55
1983 Redskins 541 33.81 1127 0.48
2004 Colts 522 32.63 968 0.54
2000 Rams 540 33.75 1014 0.53
2000 Rams 540 33.75 1014 0.53
1999 Rams 526 32.88 994 0.53
1999 Rams 526 32.88 994 0.53


























Total Yards Gained
Yards Per Play
Year Team Yards Yds/Game Plays Yds/Play
Year Team Yards Yds/Game Plays Yds/Play
2000 Rams 7075 442.19 1014 6.98
2000 Rams 7075 442.19 1014 6.98
1984 Dolphins 6936 433.50 1070 6.48
2004 Colts 6475 404.69 968 6.69
1998 49ers 6800 425.00 1100 6.18
2001 Rams 6690 418.13 1007 6.64
1981 Chargers 6744 421.50 1129 5.97
1984 Dolphins 6936 433.50 1070 6.48
2004 Chiefs 6695 418.44 1089 6.15
1999 Rams 6412 400.75 994 6.45

I would also point out that if the 1982 Chargers had played a full 16 game season and played the other seven games as well as they played the first nine then they would have made it onto the ‘Total Yards’ list as well as the ‘Yards Per Play’ list. The ’82 Chargers averaged 6.56 yards per play and 449.44 yards per game, which would have given them about 7,191 yards in a full 16 game season, but that doesn’t take into account injuries and fatigue, but I thought they at the very least had an offense worth noting.

So the eleven teams that compile those four lists are the same eleven teams I mentioned above. From those eleven teams it was hard to narrow it down. I analyzed the lists and stats and came up with some interesting things to look at. Five teams only made one list, four made two lists and only one team made it on to all four lists. Also only one frachise had more than one team make it on to the lists, which was the Rams, who actually had three teams, and not so coincidentally the three came from successive years, being 1999, 2000, and 2001.

For those of you who know me and/or how I analyze statistics you know that I’m all about averages and percentages, so I deemed the points per play and yards per play more important than total yards and total points, because as I mentioned above, these offenses shouldn’t be punished for a defense that can’t get them back on the field. With that said, only three teams made both the yards per play and points per play list. These three teams are the 1999 Rams, 2000 Rams, and 2004 Colts. The 2000 Rams and 2004 Colts get an edge over the 1999 Rams with this because they are both ranked higher on both lists.

Also, while in the end what’s most important is to put points on the board, I think those numbers are slightly deceiving because they also include defensive and special teams touchdowns. If you’re wondering why I didn’t take out the defensive and special team scores, it’s because a defense can benefit from a good offense just like and offense can benefit from a good defense. What I mean by this is that if the offense puts points up fast and early then that puts the other team in a situation where they’re trying to play catch up the entire game, which often forces them to have to throw more, and can make the opposing quarterback try to force throws he normally wouldn’t, which gives the defense more and better chances to score.

To make a long story short, it was difficult to pick which team I wanted to deem the best as having the best offense in the past thirty years. However, when it really came down to it the decision was pretty straight forward. It’s the 2004 Colts.

I’m kidding!

Calm down, I know you just freaked out, and probably started yelling at your computer screen because I clearly made this pick with blinding bias and all sorts of other stuff. But don’t worry, I’m not actually picking the 2004 Colts to be who I believe had the best offense from the last 30 years. Who I really think had the best offense is the 2000 Rams, which a pretty clear decision in my opinion. They’re the only team to ever have over 7,000 yards of total offense in a season, they’re the only team to make all four of my top 5’s, they basically averaged 7 yards per play that season, and clearly produced with consistency seeing how the year before and the year after they also had stellar offenses. The 2000 Rams had the best offense of the last 30 years in the NFL.

My next post will be about the worst offense in the last thirty years of the NFL. I know you’re excited.

Leaving again

First off, Josh Hamilton is not human. He is amazing.

Second, I will be leaving for about a month. Weller will take care of you.

—————————————————————————————————–

Weller would like to add that in about a week he will also be leaving and will be returning at the same time as Bryan. He and I are going to florida (we will be wearing as much Tennessee paraphernalia as possible) and will be returning in the second week of August, I believe. If we can find a way to do it, we will be blogging from the beach, but the first hurdle is that we both have desktops and not laptops, the second hurdle is we will be on a beach, and probably won’t be up to blogging.

My SEC Rankings Based on the Past Five Years

This is just some food for thought, but a brief explanation is necessary. I woke up a little before 6 o’clock this morning thinking about how much I hate florida. For those of you who know me, this doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, though I must admit that it isn’t frequent that this hatred disturbs my slumber. So unable to fall back asleep, I decided to do some research. It started as just research on Tennessee and florida, but quickly turned into an investigation of the entire SEC’s recent football history. I was soon working on ranking the twelve teams based on their production and success over the past five years, from 2003 to 2007.

I first went back through and ranked all of the teams 1 through 12 for each year based on their records within the conference, not including SEC Championship games. I had to go back through and rank the teams myself because most resources out there only rank the teams 1 through 6 within each division. As you can probably assume, this soon hit a road block, because in each of the past 5 season there have been at least 4 ties among the teams based on conference records. So I developed a tie-breaking method. My first tie-breaker was head-to head matchups. The winner of the game between the two would obviously take the slot. If the two teams did not play, or if there were three or more teams tied (and one team did not beat or lose to both of the other teams) then I used their overall records for my second tie-breaker. My third tie-breaker was strength of schedule, but lucky for me it never came down to that, because that would have cause significantly more research.

After I had ranked each of the five seasons I went through and found two more pieces of information to compare how the teams had done overall during these years. I found their average rankings over these five years, based on how I had ranked them, and then their overall record from these years. I used one as the initial determent on how the teams were ranked and then used the other as the tie-breaker. I don’t specify on which is the tie-breaker and which isn’t because either way you do it you get the same results.

Here’s how the rankings turned out:

My SEC Rankings for 2003 – 2007
Overall Rank School/Team Avg Rank Total SEC Record Win %
1 Louisiana St. 2.2 32-8 0.80
2 Auburn 3.2 31-9 0.78
3 Georgia 3.2 28-12 0.70
4 Tennessee 4.2 27-13 0.68
5 florida 4.4 27-13 0.68
6 Arkansas 6.2 20-20 0.50
7 South Carolina 7.2 17-23 0.43
8 Alabama 7.6 17-23 0.43
9 Mississippi 9.0 13-27 0.33
10 Kentucky 9.4 11-29 0.28
11 Mississippi St. 10.4 9-31 0.23
12 Vanderbilt 10.4 8-32 0.20

If you have any questions about the any of the specifics or want to share your thoughts on the subject, please feel free to leave a comment for us.

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