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.

Welcome to the Future

By Aynom

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We’ve seen some NBA GMs blatantly attempting to tank by letting their star players leave through trades and free agency. The Jazz, Celtics, Bucks, Hawks, and 76ers are  examples of teams letting go of star players. All in the hopes of landing a player in the 2014 draft that can carry their team for the next decade. Hardcore basketball fans have heard of Andrew Wiggins of the Kansas Jayhawks. Wiggins is only the 2nd player ever to be named a preseason All-American honors as a freshman (Harrison Barnes was the first). Wiggins is a super athletic wing who many consider to be the top pick in the 2014 NBA draft.  Due to the obvious tanking by some teams, fan-base are making slogans like  “riggin’ for Wiggins”  Unfortunately, there are multiple tanking teams but only 1 Andrew Wiggins.

But he isn’t the only player that can change the fortunes of a franchise. In fact, Wiggins wasn’t even considered the best prospect for this class initially. He was expected to graduate high school in 2014 and enter the 2015 draft, but ended up reclassifying so he can graduate in 2013 and play college basketball this season.

The original top prospect of 2013 was a forward from Chicago named Jabari Parker.  He was dubbed by Sports Illustrated as “the best high school basketball player since Lebron James.”

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Parker played for Chicago powerhouse Simeon Career Academy (same school to produce Derrick Rose, Benji Wilson and others that would play in the NBA). Simeon has had a long tradition of not letting freshmen play on the varsity team no matter how talented. But for Parker they made an exception and he became the first freshman ever to start for the varsity squad. During his 4 year career he was named freshman of the year, sophomore of the year, junior of the year, and national player of the year. He was a 3 time state time champion, and won 2 gold medals in FIBA Americas U16 & U17 championship.

Parker is a highly skilled player. He can play multiple position and has a versatile game. Like Lebron, he is an excellent passer, and has a reputation for making his teammates better. He posses excellent footwork and is very patient. He plays like he’s been receiving NBA caliber coaching his whole life. He is very polished, dangerous scorer. The main knock on him is his athleticism but his critics might need to reconsider that after this amazing dunk he had during a scrimmage. A foot injury during his senior season also caused some weight gain which affected his athleticism last year.

He seems to be in better shape in his first (and probably last) season with Duke. Coach K will get the best out of this talented player. The Blue Devils’ style of play and roster also compliments Parker very well. Parker scored an efficient 22 points in 23 minutes in his season debut against Davidson. Next, he’ll face Kansas and fellow freshman phenom, Andrew Wiggins. They both have tremendous respect for each other and this won’t be the first time they’ve faced off and it sure won’t be the last. Wiggins has the elite athleticism to get defenders into foul trouble quickly but if Parker can perform well, he’ll have a chance to show GMs why they might need to reconsider the order of their draft board. Some fans might trade one stupid slogan for another. They might go from “Riggin for Wiggins”  to “Plunging for Parker” (or “Jeopardize for Jabari”). Wiggins and Parker are developing a rivalry and will forever be linked, especially if they’re drafted 1st and 2nd in the draft. I look forward to watching them go head to head and hope that we can get a rematch in March.

Scary thing is that these aren’t the only prospects expected to enter this upcoming draft with NBA superstar potential . Keep an eye out for other players like Julius Randle of Kentucky and Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State who some also consider to have a shot of getting drafted 1st or 2nd overall (or at the very worst top 5).