Is it just me or has football gotten a bit messy? I mean there seem to be a lot of bad football games. So is football getting worse or are we just more critical of it? Well, I went ahead and dug through the stats of the last five seasons and made some simple annualization projections for the remainder of the season. Thanks for the folks at http://www.sportingcharts.com/ for compiling the data.
If football is getting sloppier than is it possible that we would see more turnovers than we have in the past? After 12 weeks and 11 games, the NFL is trending towards 750 turn-overs. This average is actually on par with 2014’s 758 and 50 TO’s less than the 2013 and 2011 seasons. So the turnover issue can’t be that big of a problem can it? The total number of fumbles are pretty static projected total is 298 the average for the past four years is about 305. What is interesting is that the last two seasons have shown a dramatic decrease in interceptions. So what can be troubling about the turnover rates? Well, the way things are going there is an excellent chance that 20 NFL teams will finish the 2015 regular season with a negative turnover ratio. So either the top teams are superb at being ball hawks or the bottom half teams have a problem with ball security. You have to combine the bottom three teams (Lions, Ravens and Cowboys) to get the total turnovers the Carolina Panthers have caused (28).
How about big plays? Do they seem to factor into all this? Currently, this season is trending to have the second most total plays in the last five years, and the teams appear to be defending against the run better as the total rushing big plays is on a downward trend. However, the total projected number of big pass plays sees a dramatic increase. There will be a 12% increase in big passing plays this season over last.
Last stat to think about is that if current trends continue the 2015 season will end with 3,648 penalties called. That is almost an increase of 300 penalties than 2014 (3,386). It is not even funny how many more flags we are seeing flying out this year. It’s no wonder that Orlando Brown has been seen hiding in his fallout shelter every Sunday.
What can we take away from these turnovers and penalties? Are the new rules designed to lower the rates of CTE’S by limiting the number of full-pad practices during and before season leading to players not comfortable with their playbooks? Is it because the NFL referees have had a turnover problem of their own? Replacing 23 officials in the past two years alone cannot be good from a quality control perspective. It is a lot easier to call a penalty and have the turnover booth fix the problem than it is to call the play correct the first time. Are these newbie refs calling too many penalties against the secondary causing them to second guess defending the pass causing an increase of big passing plays? Or do you think the pass-happy NCAA and sub-par secondary in the college has led to the secondary playerss trying harder to intercept passes rather than defend them leaving them out of position to make a tackle?
In closing, all these things are either combining to turn the 2015 season into a Godzilla El Nino shit storm and the law of averages will prevail by having a massive correction in the 2016 season. Or this is the new norm and if that’s the case buckle your seat belts ladies and gentlemen, because this will be a bumpy ride… and it’s still better than baseball.