With the 2011 regular season in the books, here are the final efficiency scores:
|1||2||Green Bay Packers||53.95|
|2||10||New Orleans Saints||48.95|
|3||17||New England Patriots||42.35|
|5||182||San Diego Chargers||17.65|
|8||243||San Francisco 49ers||13.90|
|9||280||New York Giants||12.60|
|18||723||New York Jets||-4.50|
|29||1135||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-26.40|
|31||1201||Kansas City Chiefs||-37.95|
|32||1209||St. Louis Rams||-40.70|
|1||20||San Francisco 49ers||36.65|
|6||270||New York Jets||12.88|
|9||324||Green Bay Packers||10.70|
|11||446||New England Patriots||5.93|
|18||621||Kansas City Chiefs||0.54|
|21||771||New York Giants||-4.42|
|25||943||New Orleans Saints||-12.46|
|26||955||St. Louis Rams||-13.10|
|27||982||San Diego Chargers||-14.61|
|32||1190||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-34.40|
Offensive Efficiency Rankings Through Week 16
|1||2||Green Bay Packers||54.25|
|2||14||New Orleans Saints||45.45|
|3||21||New England Patriots||40.55|
|6||233||San Diego Chargers||14.35|
|9||320||San Francisco 49ers||10.95|
|11||352||New York Giants||9.75|
|16||678||New York Jets||-3.15|
|29||1129||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-25.70|
|31||1199||Kansas City Chiefs||-36.40|
|32||1217||St. Louis Rams||-47.05|
With 15 weeks of the NFL season in the books, here are the OSCORE and DSCORE rankings:
|1||3||Green Bay Packers||52.35|
|2||14||New Orleans Saints||43.20|
|3||21||New England Patriots||40.05|
|4||185||San Diego Chargers||17.05|
|10||339||San Francisco 49ers||10.15|
|11||371||New York Giants||8.90|
|14||565||New York Jets||0.90|
|28||1110||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-23.65|
|31||1192||Kansas City Chiefs||-35.25|
|32||1213||St. Louis Rams||-43.55|
|1||8||San Francisco 49ers||44.34|
|6||252||New York Jets||14.02|
|8||318||Green Bay Packers||11.18|
|12||446||New England Patriots||5.98|
|22||843||San Diego Chargers||-7.76|
|23||852||Kansas City Chiefs||-8.18|
|24||864||St. Louis Rams||-8.52|
|25||886||New York Giants||-9.74|
|27||1005||New Orleans Saints||-15.72|
|29||1115||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-25.00|
Yesterday, I posted my final Offensice Efficiency (O-SCORE) rankings for 1970-2010 (you can find them here: 1970-2010 Rankings). Here are the 2011 scores, along with their all-time rank:
|1||3||Green Bay Packers||52.46|
|2||18||New Orleans Saints||39.56|
|3||38||New England Patriots||33.02|
|8||354||San Francisco 49ers||9.07|
|9||385||New York Giants||7.69|
|18||582||San Diego Chargers||0.52|
|22||814||New York Jets||-7.70|
|26||1042||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-17.60|
|31||1193||Kansas City Chiefs||-33.77|
|32||1209||St. Louis Rams||-37.79|
Through 11 weeks, the Packers have the 3rd most efficient offense since the 1970 NFL/AFL merger. They still trail the 2007 Patriots significantly in most variables, so I doubt they will get to #1. It’s possible that they overtake the 1984 Dolphins (52.64) though, given Green Bay’s fairly soft schedule the last 5 weeks.
On the other end of the spectrum, the 2011 Rams have the 13th worst offense since 1970. It’s possible (especially if A.J. Feeley gets more starts) that they drop into the bottom 10 but even a total collapse probably wouldn’t get them in the bottom 3. St. Louis’ 2009 offense was 5th worst since 1970. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1976, 1977) are the only other team to have two appearances in the bottom 20 within 5 years of each other. The 1977 and 1985 Buffalo Bills and 1972 and 1998 Eagles are the other repeat offenders.
The big surprise for me here is the Minnesota Vikings being a little better than the Steelers. This is mostly due to turnover % (the Steelers have had 5% more offensive drives end in a turnover than Minnesota) and Yards Per Point (the Steelers are 23rd best, the Vikings are 16th).
In case you missed it, here are the first five parts to this series:
Some final thoughts on our variables before we look at the final scores:
– Turnovers: It seems like common sense that a team that turns the ball over a lot is unlikely to score a lot of points – but that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, a team’s turnover rate is only very weakly linked to their points scoring. The 1977 Cleveland Browns, 2001 St. Louis Rams and 1993 Houston Oilers all had offenses which scored 10%+ more than league average but are all bottom 2o (since 1970) teams in turnover ratio. However, of the 50 teams which turned the ball over the least, only 5 had worse-than-average scoring offenses (measured by points per drive). The conclusion here seems to be that great scoring offenses who turn the ball over a lot aren’t hurt too much since they are so efficient at turning their other drives into points. Offenses which turn the ball over a lot tend to be mediocre or worse at scoring points, but some of that is probably due to a lack of talent. After all, how many great QB’s turn the ball over a ton? How many high-quality RB’s fumble a lot? A few, for sure. But in general, elite scoring offenses are laden with elite talent – the type of which doesn’t turn the ball over and can overcome the mistakes they do make. The negatives effects of offensive turnovers are more likely to appear in their team’s defensive stats.
– Yards Per Drive: Again, the takeaway point here is that great scoring offenses generate a lot of yards per drive. Teams who have high points-per-game or points-per-drive tend to have high TD%. Because TD drives are (usually) longer than drives which end in field goals or punts, a high YPD is very common amongst high TD% teams. Since 1970, there have been 571 offenses which have been below-average in terms of YPD. Of those, only a mere 83 (14.5%) put up a PPD better than league average.
-TD% – A variable which is closely tied to Points Per Drive. Touchdown drives maximize the number of points your team scores (i.e. it’s unlikely you will be outscored in a game if you score a TD on every drive, assuming a PAT conversion, your opponent would either need an extra drive or to make a 2 point conversion). Furthermore, drives which end in TD’s obviously cannot end in turnovers or punts – both of which can lead to an opponent scoring a non-offensive TD.
– Yards Per Point – At the risk of sounding redundant, great scoring offenses almost always have high YPP rankings. However, there is a large “middle class” of YPP offenses which under-perform their expected PPD ranking. This could be due to a number of variables (shaky field goal kicker, red zone troubles, turnovers, etc). It’s rare for a below average YPP offense to have an above average PPD (about 15%). This stat can be skewed a little by a team having an elite defense or special teams – creating an unusually high number of short fields for the offense.
-Points Per Drive – This is the most important measure of an offense. It tells us what the offense does with what they are given. It’s a much better way to measure an offense than Points Per Game – as teams with terrible defenses will have fewer offensive opportunities. The problem with using PPD as the sole measure of offensive efficiency is that it doesn’t the whole story. Imagine these two scenarios:
Team A: 8 offensive drives, 8 FG’s = 3 PPD
Team B: 8 offensive drives, 4 TD, 2 punts, 2 turnovers = 3.5 PPD
While team B scored 4 more points (assuming XP and not 2 point conversions), the 2 turnovers and 2 punts are more likely to lead to their opponent scoring than Team A’s 8 kickoffs (even more the case with the new kickoff rules). Therefore, while team B scored more points, they are more likely to give up more points – assuming league average defense and special teams for both Team A and Team B. Another way to think of this is that Team B’s offensive points are worth less than Team A’s
So, in coming with my final scoring system, I took these five variables and weighted them in this order:
Points Per Drive
Yards Per Point
Yards Per Drive
All variables were taken as a percentage of league average. For example the 2007 New England Patriots had a YPD of 43.58, which was 40% better than league average. So for my rankings, I assigned them a YPD value of 45. The 2007 San Francisco 49ers had a YPD of 20.98, 33% worse than league average, so they get a value of -33.
The coefficients by which I weighted each variable were determined largely by a series of linear regression models. If you’re unfamiliar with regression analysis, it’s a way of mathematically determining the effect a variety of different variables have on another variable. The goal was to determine which offense gave their team the best overall chance to win, assuming a league average defense. Because the math is as boring as it is complicated for most, I’ll skip it for now (and revisit it perhaps in a future post for the math geeks out there).
The other, smaller, part of the coefficients is much less scientific. There’s a point to which stats unfortunately can’t explain everything. There’s simply no way to know how many times a drive which ends in a turnover would have otherwise ended in a score. Furthermore, there is very limited data (in terms of years) available on things like points of turnovers and red zone scoring %. There’s also stuff which isn’t reflected in stats, such as “can this offense effectively run out the clock when they’re winning, even if they’re not a high-scoring team” (YPD is probably the closest we can come to figuring that out statistically). To this end, I put a little additional weight on TO% and YPD and a little less weight on TD% (which is partially overlapped by PPD anyway).
Here are the top and bottom 20 offenses of all time. For rankings of every team since 1970 click here. Keep in mind that an OSCORE of 0 would be exactly average
|1||2007||New England Patriots||65.48|
|3||2010||New England Patriots||50.26|
|5||1994||San Francisco 49ers||49.22|
|6||1993||San Francisco 49ers||49.19|
|8||1992||San Francisco 49ers||48.86|
|9||1982||San Diego Chargers||47.26|
|11||2000||St. Louis Rams||45.25|
|12||2006||San Diego Chargers||43.11|
|19||2002||Kansas City Chiefs||38.33|
|20||1973||Los Angeles Rams||37.69|
|1170||1973||San Diego Chargers||-35.44|
|1172||1997||New Orleans Saints||-35.55|
|1173||1990||New England Patriots||-36.01|
|1180||1976||New York Jets||-38.76|
|1184||1976||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-40.56|
|1185||2009||St. Louis Rams||-41.96|
|1189||1977||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-61.32|
This is the fifth part in my series on offensive efficiency. Here are the other four:
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.
This is the fourth part in my series about offensive efficiency. In case you missed the other three:
Today we look at perhaps the most obvious of all the variables in the discussion of “What Makes An Offense Efficient?”: Touchdown % and Points Per Drive. The goal of an offense should be to score a touchdown on each and every drive. While there are some productive non-scoring drives (the field position scenario I touched on earlier), a touchdown should be the ultimate goal of an offense on every drive except for those where a team needs a FG to win a game in the final minutes. So the best offenses should be thought of as those which score touchdowns the most frequently. Here are the best and worst teams in terms of the percentage of drives which culminated in a touchdown (TD%):
1. In most cases (with the exception of FG attempts at the end of a half/game or in overtime) a field goal attempt is the result of offensive failure. While it’s a better result than a punt or turnover, it still indicates a stalled (i.e. inefficient and/or unsuccessful) drive.
2. Field goals aren’t a sure thing. A team’s ability to convert FG attempts is dependent upon its kicker. Therefore, a team’s points scored off of field goals cannot be wholly attributed to its offense. Furthermore, a missed or blocked FG can set up an opposing team with great field position – giving them a better chance at scoring. Any time your offense is putting your defense at a disadvantage, you are giving your opponent a scoring advantage.
3. Settling for field goals allows your opponent to outscore you. Any time you score a field goal, you are allowing the opponent a +4 (or 5, if they go for 2) point swing if they convert their ensuing drive into a TD.
That said, the job of an offense is to score as many total points as possible. After all, a failed drive which leads to a field goal is better than failed drive which ends in a punt or turnover. A good stat to measure an offense’s scoring efficiency is their Offensive Points Per Drive (OPPD). Here again are the best and worst Point Per Drive offenses since the 1970 AFL/NFL merger:
Now looking at those 4 charts you might notice that for roughly every 1% increase in TD% we expect to see an increase of 1 PPG. Since 1970 there have been 1189 team seasons. In that span, teams have averaged 19.1 PPG and have scored TD’s on 19.5% of their drives. 995 of the 1189 teams fall between .85 and 1.15 PPG per TD%. Here it is in graphical form:
In 2010, the average PPG (combined offense, defense, special teams) was 22. So, an offense which scored TD’s on roughly 23% of their drives should be (on average) a winning team. Here are those teams:
You’ll notice 3 non-winning record teams here: Jacksonville, Dallas and Houston. All 3 teams allowed 400+ points (25 PPG). Noticeably absent from this list were the Jets (11-5), Steelers (12-4) and Ravens (12-4) who were the 6th, 1st and 3rd best defenses (points allowed) respectively.
The next part of this series will focus on points in a different way, measuring the points per yard ratio of a team.