Is it Time for a Statistical Revolution in Football?

By Aynom

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What if I told you that in the NBA, you can win the scoring title without having the most points? I know it sounds crazy but it happened last season. Kevin Durant had 2280 points last season but the scoring title was awarded to Carmelo Anthony who had 1920 points. The reason why Carmelo Anthony won the scoring title was because he averaged more points per game. This seems strange to casual sport fans but most of us know that sports like basketball and baseball use averages to quantify a player’s contributions instead of the season total. This system doesn’t penalize a player’s stats if he misses time to injuries.

The weird thing is that football, the sport that is most known for violence and a high number of injuries doesn’t use this system. Football players know that injuries are a part of the game so why don’t the statisticians calculate stats by averages to account for this?

Changing the stat system to averages would cause us to see some players in a different light. The current system is designed to have players with the most longevity to break records. Statistically, Brett Favre is the best passer and Emmitt Smith is the best rusher. I know most fans disagree with that but the current system is designed to statistically credit the least injury prone players and not necessarily the most talented players.

Another disadvantage of the current system is that it puts players of past eras at a disadvantage because they play more games now in the NFL. Many consider Eric Dickerson to have the greatest rushing season since he broke the single season rushing record with 2105 yards. What fans don’t realize is that Dickerson needed 16 games to break the record. O.J. Simpson ran for 2003 yards but did it in 14 games. If you judged the 2000 yard seasons from Simpson & Dickerson by the average of yards per game, you would realize that Simpson had a more impressive season since he had a higher average.

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Even in college football, some teams play more games in a season compared to others. If we installed the statistical averages system in college football it would make it easier to select Heisman candidates, All Americans, and other award winners. It doesn’t seem right for a player not to have the chance to break a record because his team didn’t schedule enough games and/or make it to a bowl game.

No statistical system is perfect, this system is no different. You don’t want guys who have 1 good game all season (like Matt Flynn a few years ago) to win the passing title. With this statistical averages system, you would need to have minimum qualifiers to prevent any statistical anomalies. But overall, it would help us reward players in a fairer manner.

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