Bambi Awards 1920-2017

The Bambi Award, named for graceful dynamo Lance Alworth, is given to the league’s premier wide receiver each season.1 Like the quarterback and running back awards previously published, the Bambi Award leans heavily on statistical output in determining the winner. In general, I look at yardage and scoring, emphasize first downs gained when available, and give a tiny little head nod toward receptions (because catches in and of themselves don’t mean all that much to me). I also take into account the passing volume of…

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How Technology Has Improved NFL Analytics

Today’s article is a guest post by Jay Booth, who had some thoughts to share and figured The GridFe was as good a place as any to share them. Enjoy. The impact of technology in sports is undeniable and it has, in many ways, given birth to a movement: that of analytics in sports. It is the heart and soul of the Moneyball theory, traditionally associated with baseball but whose precepts — rigorous gathering and analysis of data — are widely used in professional leagues…

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Motley Awards 1920-2017

Named in honor of dominating fullback Marion Motley, the Motley Award is given to the league’s top fullback each year. When bestowing this award, I emphasize blocking prowess, but I make plenty of exceptions for versatility. Although fullbacks are technically “skill position” players (as though one can succeed at left tackle or cornerback through sheer tyranny of will), I am not nearly as concerned about their statistical production as I am with that of the other offensive glory hogs.  If the goal is to showcase…

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Supersonic Awards 1920-2017

Named for Supersonic Steve Van Buren, the Supersonic Award is given to the league’s top running back each season. In general, I base this on production, both on the ground and through the air. In the days when rushing mattered more than it does now, I emphasized running prowess. For the modern game, I put a greater emphasis on versatility, especially the ability to run routes, catch, and pass protect. Ball security is also important, although teams themselves didn’t seem to place much value on…

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Slinger Awards 1920-2017

Named after Slingin’ Sammy Baugh, the Slinger Award is given to the league’s top quarterback in a given season. In general, statistical production is the primary factor that goes into determining the winner. The focus on production is meant to differentiate between the most statistically dominant quarterbacks and the most valuable players each year. Most of the time, they are one and the same, as the quarterback with the best stats tends to have quite a lot to do with his team winning football games.…

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GridFe Hall of Fame Coaches

There are two primary reasons coaches become legends: they won or they influenced. Some coaches are known for winning championships. Others are famous for their innovations. A few have the distinction of falling in both categories. How we perceive head coaches often depends not just on what they did but how they did what they did. Don Coryell is rightly regarded as one of the league’s greatest offensive minds – but he didn’t win enough. Marty Schottenheimer is one of just seven coaches with more…

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GridFe Hall of Fame Safeties

Expectations for safeties have evolved as offensive trends philosophies have evolved. The earliest pure safeties lived up to their names, acting as safety nets deep behind the rest of their defense, combating the long ball tendencies of the day. As offenses became more sophisticated, roles on defense became more complex. Safeties now had to be able to cover most all areas of the field, as well as run and pass blitz, as well as their requisite support against the rush. The position has seen several…

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GridFe Hall of Fame Cornerbacks

Cornerbacks have one of the toughest jobs in football. Usually playing in a reactionary posture, they have to rely on technique and savvy to keep some of the most athletic people in the world from catching the ball. They have to do this on every play of every game. Okay, not every play. On running plays, they have to first respect the pass and then react to much larger men coming their way to clear a path for the runner. When they do their job…

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QB Defensive Support: Part 2

Last week I outlined my methodology for measuring QB defensive support, and looked at the best and worst seasons using that metric. Today’s post will explore the career numbers for the 107 quarterbacks in my study. I originally planned to simply tally the seasonal numbers without adjustment, but that presented a problem: The top of the support leaderboard was disproportionately filled with QB’s who were exceptional at avoiding interceptions. This makes sense because throwing picks generally makes it harder to prevent the opponent from scoring,…

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GrideFe Hall of Fame Outside Linebackers

Even among contemporaries, outside linebackers are difficult to compare with one another. Those who excel in coverage tend to be overlooked for postseason honors in favor of pass rushers, and both (perhaps rightfully) overshadow the pure run pluggers. This problem is exacerbated when trying to assess the relative accomplishments of outside linebackers across different eras. How do you evaluate Dave Wilcox, a run stopping maven from the 1960s, against Seth Joyner, a hypertalented cover backer from the 1980s? And how do you measure either against…

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