Monday, July 02, 2007

Football Outsiders

Skin Patrol at Hogs Haven touts these guys all the time. Greg Trippiedi's recent post at Hog Heaven finally convinces me. I've got to pay more attention to those wonks at Football Outsiders.

There are "lies, damned lies and statistics." The origin of that phrase is open to argument, but I can tell you that it was me after looking at exam grades for my undergrad stat classes. I just couldn't grasp it, despite the valiant effort of the cute blond grad assistant who took me through the concepts while using little words. I was distressed to be informed that I would have to retake statistics in grad school. I no longer recall exactly what the prof said, but one day in that hated classroom in Madison, Wisconsin, a light bulb came on. I not only understood everything the prof was saying, but everything the other prof said in those undergraduate statistics classes that remain anchors on my GPA. Although I nailed three out of four grad level stat exams, the whole experience left an emotional scar about statistics buried deep in my easily bruised psyche.

Football Outsiders apply statistical concepts to challenge conventional wisdom about about pro football teams and their performance. They developed measures like Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, or DVOA, to analyze individual players and squads. Trippiedi's article assessing the Redskins O-line was an example of applying the stats to reach logical conclusions. I can see that I'll have to overcome my fear and loathing of statistics and pay attention to DVOA and the other measures at Football Outsiders. (another example of the artist suffering for his art.).

So, dear reader, in this lull before training camp, I'll be spending time at the FO site to understand what the numbers say about about the Redskins and the NFC East. I'm only posting about once a week anyway.

Football Outsiders is now added to the Running Redskins blogroll. Also added are those funny, irreverent writers at Kissing Suzy Kolber.

1 comment:

Skin Patrol said...

I swear by them. They justify their statistical breakdown in a manner that is far more compelling to me than anything I've experienced elsewhere. When their metrics are criticized, they either acknowledge a proper criticism and amend the statistics, or else explain why the criticism is wrong. Convincingly.

It is always the first place I go to determine how we played on any given season.