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Offensive Efficiency: Yards Per Point

This is the fifth part in my series on offensive efficiency. Here are the other four:

O-Score: Measuring Offensive Efficiency (A Preface)

Offensive Efficiency: Yards Per Drive

Offensive Efficiency: Turnovers

Offensive Efficiency: TD% And Points Per Drive

There’s nothing less efficient for an offense than to put together a long, time-consuming, 60+ yard drive and not end up with points. Offenses which can pile up yards but not points are often the same offenses which aren’t good enough at the “little things” to be truly elite units. Here are the 15 best offenses in terms of Yards Per Point since 1970:

You’ll notice that a team’s YPP+ usually correlates to a high Points Per Game (PPG). Noticeably absent from this list of great YPP teams are the Greatest Show On Turf Rams from 2000 and 2001). Here are the best PPG offenses of all time and their YPP:

The 1998 49ers and 1982 Chargers are the big under-peformers here, although still pretty good. Here’s the correlation between PPG and YPP in graphical form:

One thing that sh0uld be mentioned here is that  the average YPP has not changed in the last 40 years:

What this tells us is that all of the changes which have benefited offenses (illegal contact/pass interference rules, defenseless receiver rules, the increase of spread offenses, etc) have not actually made offenses more efficient. In fact, the amount of yards needed to generate a touchdown has stayed remarkably consistent throughout the last 40 years:

On average, a team scores one offensive TD for every ~150 yards of offense it generates.

So what do the best Yard Per Point offenses have in common? Not much, actually. Efficient scoring offenses come in many different varieties. There is no real correlation between a team’s pass/run ratio and their ability to convert yards into points:

There’s also not much of a correlation between a team’s YPP efficiency and their turnover ratio.

There is a correlation, albeit a fairly weak one, between Yards Per Point and Yards Per Play:

Here are the top 15 YPP offenses again, this time with their Pass%, Turnover% and Yards Per Play (Y/P):

And the worst 15 YPP offenses:

Through this series, we’ve seen a number of different ways to evaluate an offense’s efficiency.  Each of them is a piece of the puzzle; the final part of this series will bring all these pieces together into a single metric by which to measure offensive efficiency.


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  1. December 1, 2011 at 4:29 am

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