rcade's profile

Name: Rogers Cadenhead
Homepage URL: http://workbench.cadenhead.org/
Member since: January 23, 2002
Last visit: January 25, 2015
Status: editor

rcade has posted 2186 links and 10388 comments to SportsFilter and 85 links and 687 comments to the Locker Room and 8 columns.

Sports Bio

I follow the teams from Dallas-Fort Worth because I grew up with them, but I've adopted the Jacksonville Jaguars, the only pro team my new hometown is ever likely to get. The most memorable sporting event I attended live was game 6 of the NBA Western Conference finals in 1988 at Reunion Arena -- Mavericks vs. Lakers -- when Mark Aguirre and his prodigious caboose received half the game MVP award, and the 17,007 fans in attendance received the other half.

Recent Links

Josh Gordon Fails Substance Test, Out for Another Year: The fantastically talented Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has failed a substance test -- this time for alcohol -- and faces a one-year suspension. Gordon failed a marijuana test in college at Baylor, began his NFL career with a two-game substance abuse suspension and was suspended again after driving while impaired during the off season. He led the NFL in receiving yards his rookie season with 1,646, but this new incident puts his entire pro career in jeopardy. Another talented wideout with substance abuse problems, Justin Blackmon, has missed the last 24 games in Jacksonville due to suspension.

posted by rcade to football at 05:09 PM on January 25 - 5 comments

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team: Sports quantitative analyst Warren Sharp has found an interesting statistical anomaly involving the New England Patriots: The team has fumbled dramatically fewer times than any other NFL team the past five years, measured in term of fumbles lost per offensive play run: "There is no other team even close to being near to their rate of 187 offensive plays (passes+rushes+sacks) per fumble. The league average is 105 plays/fumble. Most teams are within 21 plays of that number." The Patriots five-year run of non-fumbling is the best five-year run of any NFL team in the last 25 years, raising the question of how the team is able to hold on to the ball so much better than anybody else.

posted by rcade to football at 06:51 PM on January 24 - 16 comments

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports: The NFL inspected the balls used by the New England Patriots during the AFC Championship Game and found that 11 out of 12 were inflated 2 pounds per square inch below NFL rules, NFL sources told ESPN. The balls had been inspected under three hours prior to game time by the referees and were properly inflated, the sources said. No word yet on any potential punishment. One source described the league as "disappointed ... angry ... distraught." Jackie McMullen of ESPN writes that if Belichick was involved, he should be suspended for the Super Bowl.

posted by rcade to football at 04:14 PM on January 21 - 134 comments

Seahawks Advance to Super Bowl 0x31 with 16-Point Comeback: Down 16-0 at the half and 19-7 with 10 minutes remaining in the fourth, the Seattle Seahawks beat the Green Bay Packers 28-22 on the first overtime possession with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Jermaine Kearse. Wilson was terrible until he wasn't, throwing four interceptions before leading one of the greatest comebacks in an NFL playoff game. The Seahawks become the first Super Bowl champ to reach the game the next season since New England in 2005.

posted by rcade to football at 06:50 PM on January 18 - 43 comments

NFL Playoff Pick 'Em Contest, Conference Championship Round: Pick the winners and the spread of the NFC Championship and AFC Championship Sunday, along with the top passer, rusher and receiver. The first game is Green Bay at Seattle at 3:05 p.m. Eastern Sunday, followed by Indianapolis at New England at 6:40 p.m.

posted by rcade to football at 01:34 PM on January 16 - 18 comments

Recent Comments

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Sharp has posted a followup. I haven't read the full piece, but it looks like he doesn't address criticisms. Instead he finds more ways to say the Pats look dodgy.

posted by rcade at 10:51 PM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

It's weird Goodell seems to want to punish. I'd love to see a reporter contact as many NFL owners as possible to see how much they care about this.

posted by rcade at 09:54 PM on January 25

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

The NFL used to have a third-place game called the Playoff Bowl? I've been a fan since I was a kid in the '70s and I never heard of this.

posted by rcade at 06:52 PM on January 25

Josh Gordon Fails Substance Test, Out for Another Year

I can't rule that out. It worked for Don Meredith.

posted by rcade at 06:47 PM on January 25

Josh Gordon Fails Substance Test, Out for Another Year

The Jaguars are actually keeping open the possibility of letting Blackmon play for the team again if he gets himself sorted out. Before his suspension last year he had a few preseason and regular season games where he showed talent beyond anything else I've seen on the team from the current crop of receivers.

posted by rcade at 05:11 PM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Because the Ravens weren't caught with dodgy balls.

Bill Nye has been a science educator for 22 years. He's got a mechanical engineering degree, has multiple patents and has done work in aeronautics and the space program. I think he's qualified to talk about the inflation of footballs without being dismissed as a "media personality." Nye declared himself a Seahawks fan in the GMA piece, so it's not like he hid that.

Belichick himself talked about the "rubbing process" in relation to PSI, so I don't see how Nye is being unfair to him.

To me, Belichick's explanation is pretty silly when you consider that the Colts balls were in the same environment as the Patriots, were tested in the same place and exposed to the same elements, yet were not below required PSI.

... that the Patriots violated any rules whatsoever is completely uncertain.

I think the fact 11 of 12 balls were below required PSI, while none of the Colts balls were, is enough evidence of rulebreaking to levy a fine. It might have been smart for Goodell to just do that right away and leave the rest for a future discussion on how non-kicking balls are tested and handled in games.

The world didn't end when the Patriots' groundskeeper cut a path for their kicker in the Snowplow game. If Goodell just punished the Pats for improperly inflated balls without getting into intent, this circus might already be taking down the tents.

posted by rcade at 04:50 PM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Bill Nye the Science Guy scoffed at Belichick's ball-rubbing theory.

posted by rcade at 01:35 PM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

A WSJ commenter points out that a better metric would be fumbles per rushing attempts and pass completions, since no one is fumbling an incompletion. He notes: "When you re-analyze regular season data from 2010 to 2014, with total fumbles (not fumbles lost) in the numerator and rushing attempts plus receptions (not total offensive plays) in the denominator, the lowest incidence of fumbles is with the Ravens (0.82 fumbles per 100 rushes plus receptions). The Pats are ranked #2 on this statistic, at 0.85. Next come the Saints (0.90), Falcons (0.99) and Packers (1.06)."

posted by rcade at 10:35 AM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

More fun from a Wall Street Journal piece about Sharp's post:

Additionally, according to Stats, LLC, the six players who have played extensively for the Patriots and other teams in this span all fumbled far less frequently wearing the New England uniform. Including recovered fumbles, Danny Amendola, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Wes Welker, Brandon LaFell and LeGarrette Blount have lost the ball eight times in 1,482 touches for the Patriots since 2010, or once every 185.3 times. For their other teams, they fumbled 22 times in 1,701 touches (once every 77.3).
The WSJ presents a graph on this with a proper axis beginning at 0. It still looks plenty dramatic.

posted by rcade at 08:40 AM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

An interesting comment to a Slate piece about this blog post:

If you watched the press conference today the Patriots admitted what they did and what their practice is. They create friction on the ball resulting heat which temporarily raises the PSI of the ball. They do this until the ball is turned over to the refs. The balls are checked or tested when received by the Refs in an 80 degree room before the game. After that the balls are secured and then taken to the field in the cold outside air where the air inside the ball reduces with temperature and therefor cause the ball to lose pressure.

They claim that don't break the rules technically because their method does not involve mechanically deflating the balls and they advise the refs to be sure the balls have pressure per the rules (which at that time they do). Their intention is to get balls that are under inflated and their practice in ball preparation makes it likely to occur.

posted by rcade at 08:34 AM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Plays-per-fumble is hardly an unknown statistic. It is brought up in broadcasts where running backs are concerned.

I'm not a numbers geek. But looking at how often a team loses fumbles per offensive plays run seems like a relevant statistic to me. Turnovers have a strong effect on the outcome of games. If Belichick devised a way to increase ball security -- whether it was a "rubbing process" that results in deflation below 12.5 PSI after testing (his words), a coaching technique or a trait he can identify in players -- it could be a meaningful advantage.

You're making a lot about the graphs not having 0 as the base of Y axis, making them more visually dramatic and somewhat misleading. That's true, but I think you make too much of it. We're talking about a blog post, not a peer-reviewed academic study. Newspapers do what he did all the time in graphs -- I can remember my J profs yelling at us about doing it in the school paper. It's not always a calculated attempt to mislead. Sometimes it's just sloppy thinking in how a graph should be presented.

Personally, I've never seen it as much of a problem when the Y-axis range is right there on the graph and can be taken into account.

Which means, honestly, precisely nothing.

You use the Patriots passing a lot as a possible reason to explain this stat, but dismiss the Saints passing a lot as meaningless.

It seems to me you're trying to have it both ways. You're calling his statistical finding meaningless misleading junk while also coming up with reasons why the Patriots are so good at not losing fumbles.

posted by rcade at 08:27 AM on January 25

Stats Guru: Patriots Hold Onto Ball Far Better Than Any Other Team

Unsurprisingly, a team led by a no-doubt Hall of Fame quarterback runs more passing plays than normal.

New England's pass attempts per game, ranking in league:

2014: 7th
2013: 8th
2012: 4th
2011: 3rd
2010: 18th

Do you really think that explains New England's five-year run of non-fumbling? Here's New Orleans' pass attempts per game, ranking in league:

2014: 1st
2013: 4th
2012: 2nd
2011: 1st
2010: 1st

All those passes, yet New Orleans fumbled once every 126 plays over that time.

posted by rcade at 09:33 PM on January 24

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

I declined to join the suit because they weren't asking for enough.

Every football game I watch now consists of me muttering either "Dez woulda caught that" or "that's a football move" after all pass plays.

posted by rcade at 11:13 PM on January 23

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

... sports reporters are one thing and sports talking heads are quite another.

True, but there are enough reputable, professional sports reporters that we generally can get enough of the truth on a situation like this to form an educated opinion. So I disagree with the idea that we were going on nothing but baseless speculation the past several days before the NFL finally went on the record.

posted by rcade at 10:34 PM on January 23

11 of 12 Patriots' Balls Deflated, ESPN Reports

The NFL has issued a statement that makes the investigation sound like something it could drag out for months.

posted by rcade at 02:05 PM on January 23