Action Plays – Plays in which a quarterback dropped back to pass or ran with the ball: pass attempts + rush attempts + sacks – kneels – spikes

ANY/A – adjusted net yards per pass attempt (really per dropback): (pass yards + 20*(pass TD) – 45*(interceptions thrown) – sack yards)/(passing attempts + sacks)

AP1 – first team Associated Press or UPI All Pro

AV – Approximate Value: Pro Football Reference’s detailed metric for measuring a player’s individual contribution in a given season. Read the fine print.

AY/A – Adjusted yards per pass attempt:  (pass yards + 20*(pass TD) – 45*(interceptions thrown))/(passing attempts).

Dropbacks – The times a quarterback drops back to pass: Pass attempts + sacks.

Equivalency Rating: An era-adjusted version of the NFL Passer Rating that uses floating coefficients that are determined by league averages in a given season. See the fine print.

Frye QB Rating – Simply put: (TAY/P)*10. This takes the output from TAY/P and turns it into a rating that should be familiar to casual fans.

Log5 – Bill James’ formula to determine the probability of victory for one team against another, using each team’s W% as inputs. The chances that team A will defeat team B are:

(W%A – W%A*W%B) / (W%A + W%B – 2*W%A*W%B)

Marginal – I will use this term often. Marginal, at this site, means relative to league average. Thus, if a quarterback’s completion rate is 50% when the league average is 60%, his marginal completion rate is (50% – 60% =) -10%. This can also be applied to volume stats. For instance, if that same quarterback attempted 400 passes, he would have produced (-10% * 400 =) -40 marginal completions. In other words, if he completed passes at a league average rate, he would be expected to complete 40 more passes than he actually did.

New TAY/P – See TAY and TAY/P for the complete breakdown of the base stat for this metric. New TAY/P is simply standard TAY/P with only half credit given to quarterbacks for receiving yards gained after the catch.

NY/A – net yards per pass attempt (really per dropback): (pass yards – sack yards)/(passing attempts + sacks).

Passer Rating –  The NFL’s antiquated method for measuring quarterback performance. Based on averages for the 1960s, the formula is:step1

With a lower limit of 0 and an upper limit of 158.33. A little algebra shows us that this formula is essentially equal to:


PB – Pro Bowl: Includes any time a player made the Pro Bowl as a starter, backup, or alternate.

PA – Points allowed: the number of points a team cedes.

PF – Points for: the number of points a team scores.

PFRPro Football Reference: the greatest football database known to man or alien.

Pythagenpat Record – Similar to the Pythagorean record below, but the exponent changes based on the scoring environment:

Exponent = ((PF + PA) / G).248

Pythagorean Record – Based on Bill James’ formula to measure a baseball team’s true strength, this formula uses points scored and points allowed to determine a more accurate proxy for winning percentage:

PF2.37 / (PF2.37 + PA2.37)

Real Playoff Record – Gives players, teams, and coaches credit for making and advancing in the playoffs. All first round byes count as a win, and all playoff misses count as a loss. This helps a guy like Peyton Manning and hurts a guy like Eli Manning.

SPat – Strength-of-schedule-adjusted Pythagenpat Rating. Start by finding Pythagenpat scores as described above. Then convert Pythagenpat scores into Win Ratios (WR):

W = PPat * 16
L – (1 – PPat) * 16
WR = W / (W + L)

Now find the product (Z) of team and opponent Win Ratios

Z = WRteam * WRopp

Last, convert back to Win Probability (SPat)

SPat = 1 / [1 + (1 / Z)]

This will give you a number that looks similar to the standard Pythagorean or Pythagenpat score, but it will be adjusted based on a team’s opponents.

TAY – Total Adjusted Yards: Generally, this is a comprehensive measure of offensive output, which takes positive and negative plays into account. The measurement is Yards + 20*touchdowns + 9*first downs that aren’t touchdowns – 45*interceptions – 25*fumbles. This metric is also used to measure passing, rushing, and receiving production from individual players.

TAY/P – Total adjusted yards per play:  A holistic quarterback rating that turns a QB’s whole stat line into a number similar to ANY/A, with which stat guys should be familiar: [(pass yards + rush yards – yards lost on kneels) + 20*(pass touchdowns + rush touchdowns)  – 45*interceptions – 25*fumbles + 9*((pass first downs + rush first downs) – touchdowns)] / (action plays).

This can also be used to measure teamwide offensive efficiency, so context is important.

*Note that, for individuals,  first down data is only readily available back to 1991, and spike and kneel data is only readily available back to 2002.

W% – Win percentage: (win + 0.5*ties) / (wins + losses + ties).

Weighted Playoff Score – Gives players, teams, and coaches credit for winning big games (think of it as a way to further a narrative using math). Advancing to the playoffs counts as 1 point; making the divisional round is worth 2.5 points; making a conference championship game is worth 5 points; making it to the Super Bowl is worth 10 points; and winning the Super Bowl is worth 20 points.

YScm (or YFS) – Yards from scrimmage: Rushing yards + receiving yards.

Team Abbreviations

ARIArizona Cardinals
ATLAtlanta Falcons
BACBaltimore Colts
BALBaltimore Ravens
BISBuffalo Bisons
BKNBrooklyn Dodgers
BKTBrooklyn Tigers
BLTBaltimore Colts (defunct)
BOSBoston Patriots
BOTBos/Bkn Yanks/Tigers
BOYBoston Yanks
BUFBuffalo Bills
CARCarolina Panthers
CHCChicago Cardinals
CHHChicago Hornets
CHIChicago Bears
CHRChicago Rockets
CINCincinnati Bengals
CLECleveland Browns
CLRCleveland Rams
CRDChicago/St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals
CRPChi/Pit Cards/Steelers
DALDallas Cowboys
DENDenver Broncos
DETDetroit Lions
DLTDallas Texans
DLXDallas Texans NFL
GNBGreen Bay Packers
HOOHouston Oilers
HOUHouston Texans
INDIndianapolis Colts
JAXJacksonville Jaguars
KCKansas City Chiefs
LACLos Angeles Chargers
LADLos Angeles Dons
LARDLos Angeles Raiders
LARMLos Angeles Rams
MIAMiami Dolphins
MINMinnesota Vikings
MISMiami Seahawks
NENew England Patriots
NORNew Orleans Saints
NYBNew York Bulldogs
NYGNew York Giants
NYJNew York Jets
NYTNew York Titans
NYYNew York Yankees
NYYNew York Yanks
OAKOakland Raiders
PHIPhiladelphia Eagles
PHOPhoenix Cardinals
PHPPhi/Pit Eagles/Steelers
PITPittsburgh Steelers
RAIOakland/Los Angeles Rams
RAMCleveland/Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams
SDSan Diego Chargers
SEASeattle Seahawks
SFSan Francisco 49ers
STCSt. Louis Cardinals
STLSt. Louis Rams
TBTampa Bay Buccaneers
TENTennessee Titans
TNOTennessee Oilers

I’ve been asked about my choice of colors to represent teams (especially in regards to Tampa Bay). The answer is simple: Certain color combinations that look good on jerseys actually become very hard to read when put into a table. White on orange is easier to read than is red on pewter. I do it for you, trust me.