For years, the baseball nerd galaxy of the sports universe has had their king. . .his name is Bill James, and he's responsible for all sort of stat permutations that allow fans to figure out exactly how productive (or, in some cases, surprisingly unproductive) a particular player is. It breaks this down so far as to let us know that Johan Santana averages 8.6 strikeouts a game when he starts on days that begin with the letter "t" after he has Raisin Bran for breakfast.
(Just kidding. . .I don't even know if Johan likes Raisin Bran. He's always struck me as more of a Shredded Wheat kind of guy. But I digress.)
Now, while I am a baseball fan (GO TWINS!), I've never been able to get into it to the level that Bill James has broken it down to. I like my batting average, I like my home runs, I like my RBI and ERA and that sort of stuff. But I often wondered when someone would come out with something similar for the NFL.
Well, wonder no more, because that time has come.
KC Joyner is now the Bill James of professional football, and he has released the second edition of his book, entitled Scientific Football 2006 (which is the follow up to. . .get this. . .Scientific Football 2005). After going through and breaking down almost every single play from the 2005 season (Joyner estimates his percentage at about 99% due to things beyond his control. . .bad camera work and the like), he has come up with metrics that break down the performance of every single player that met the minimum qualifications in the NFL last year. Offense, defense, passing metrics, rushing metrics. . .you name it, K.C. Joyner has a statistical category for it.
As a Viking-based example. . .here's what Joyner has to say about a man near and dear to all our hearts, one Mr. Pat Williams:
Pat Williams defeated 44 blocks last year, which was nine more than the 2nd place finisher. His 35.5% success rate was the 4th best among DTs and his 2.2 SYPA was tied for the 8th best. There were games when Williams was simply unblockable, yet he still didn't make the Pro Bowl.
Short translation - Pat Williams is pretty good. Duh.
Longer translation - As good as we thought Pat Williams was last year, he might have been even better.
I could get into explanations of all of K.C. Joyner's metrics, but it would take a looooooooooooooong post in order to do it justice (and I'm not sure most of you have even read this far, so there you go), so I'll leave it up to you to purchase the book for yourself. I can't recommend it highly enough to anyone that wants to see how their favorite players and/or teams really stacked up on the field in 2005.