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On Sunday night the Seattle Seahawks
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April 15, 2019
2:42 am
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January 9, 2019
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will host the Kansas City Chiefs Will Dissly Jersey , potentially with a shot at securing a playoff berth on the line depending on how the games earlier Sunday go. The Chiefs bring their explosive offense to town, and look to take advantage of a young and beat up Seattle secondary. The Hawks, of course, will look to take advantage of the fact that they are playing at home, and perhaps one of the biggest things that will be in their favor will be the simple fact that the game is being played in primetime. The Seahawks have been extremely, extremely good in primetime in recent seasons, with key primetime victories in recent years including the 2016 victory over the New England Patriots and the 2017 defeat of the Philadelphia Eagles. In fact, since Pete Carroll arrived in Seattle the Hawks have been among the best teams in the NFL in primetime. What’s the secret to the Seahawks primetime success? We don’t really know the answer to that, however, last month I took a very high level look at whether or not the Hawks might be better suited to play in primetime simply because of the fact that they play on the West Coast. Some fans didn’t like the proposed idea that the Hawks could be enjoying an advantage simply because of the fact that they play on the West Coast, demanding a more rigorous look into the effects of time zone differences when it comes to the games in question. As noted in the previous article, it was a very high level analysis that was only attempting to determine whether this was something that would be worth looking into in more depth. Based on the results, I certainly thought so, so I dug deeper and here’s some of what I found. Specifically, what I did was to look at every single primetime game that has been played in the NFL since 1976 when the Seahawks entered the league. From that sample of 1,449 primetime games, I eliminated games between teams from the same time zone or only one time zone apart. Thus, for an example for those older Hawks fans who remember the AFC West days, the sample eliminates any primetime games against the Oakland-then-Los-Angeles-but-now-back-in Oakland Raiders, the Los Angeles (nee San Diego) Chargers and the Denver Broncos. However, because of the two time zone difference between Seattle and Kansas City, it does include primetime games against the Chiefs, including the 1999 monsoon game at Arrowhead which saw weather delays due to thunderstorms. In any case, the result was a sample of 332 games played in primetime between two teams that had a two or three hour time zone difference between their home cities. The results from the sample show that in these games, 55.42% of the time the team from further west won, and that takes nothing into consideration outside of the home location of the two teams. As Josh Hermsmeyer (@friscojosh on Twitter) noted in an piece for FiveThirtyEight.com Friday, the home team wins over 57 percent of games played at the NFL level. Looking at the numbers for the same timeframe from which my primetime numbers are drawn, since 1976 NFL teams playing at home enjoy a .5781 winning percentage (5,834-4,255-23 per Pro-Football-Reference.com). Thus, when a team from the Mountain or Pacific Time Zone (or, technically also from the Arizona Time Zone since Arizona splits the season between these two time zones. For the purposes of this analysis, games in which the Arizona Cardinals played were looked at based on the actual time in Phoenix on the date of the game) is playing in primetime against a team from two or more time zones to the east, the more western team wins 55.42% of the time (Author’s note: These numbers are current through Week 15 of the 2018 NFL season). That makes being the more western team in a primetime game almost as big of an advantage as being the home team in a random NFL game. So, if this body clock matter actually has an effect on on field performance, we’d expect the effects to show up and alter the home field advantage of teams. To look at this, I broke the sample of 332 games played in primetime down to two groups:The team that plays in the Eastern or Central Time zone is at home (Group 1) andThe team that plays in the Mountain or Pacific Time zone is at home (Group 2). If the body clock issue actually exists for primetime games, we’d expect it to show up by dropping the primetime home winning percentage of Group 1 below .5781, while helping to prop the home winning percentage of Group 2 above .5781. Is this what we actually see? Home team record in primetime by time zone when there is at least a two time zone differenceGroupHome Winning PercentageDifference from NFL Overall Winning PercentageGroupHome Winning PercentageDifference from NFL Overall Winning PercentageWhat we see is a performance dip for Group 1 that is very, very close in size to the performance improvement we see for Group 2. Certainly interesting, but far from definitive, so let’s look at a little bit more data. Specifically, if this body clock issue does indeed exist for primetime games, then we’d expect it to get larger as the time zone gap increases. Thus, since we already have the data set of all primetime games played between teams that are at least two time zones apart, what happens when we narrow it down even further to only look at primetime games that involve two teams that are three time zones apart? That sample gets even smaller, as there have been only 152 games since 1976 which meet these criteria, but let’s see what the data looks like. Keeping things as similar to before as possible, let’s define two more groups.The team that plays in the Eastern Time Zone is at home (Group 3) andThe team that plays in the Pacific Time Zone is at home (Group 4). As noted, if this body clock effect is indeed real, we’d expect the impact on this sample to be even larger than on the prior group. So Shaquem Griffin Jersey , without beating around the bush, let’s jump right to the data, which is as follows.Winning percentage of home team when there is a three time zone difference between teamsGroupHome Winning PercentageDifference from NFL Overall Winning PercentageGroupHome Winning PercentageDifference from NFL Overall Winning PercentageBefore anybody asks, I won’t bother to bore everyone with the math behind the calculations, but the difference for Group 3 is statistically significant at the p < .01 level, while the other three groups are only statistically significant at the p < .25 level.So, at some level, there is a measurable effect at play here. However, that does not necessarily mean that this is an effect which is in fact affecting NFL games. The sampling I have done here controlled only for time zones and home field. There was no account made for the actual quality of the teams playing, which could have a material impact on the results. As such, while the results of the sampling I have done definitely seem to indicate that teams from further west have an advantage when playing teams from further east when the game takes place in primetime, it could simply be the result of quality teams, like the Seahawks, playing horrible teams, like the Green Bay Packers, in primetime over and over and over. Thus, while this is something that I definitely find interesting, it will require some more digging before the results are truly reliable.FootballOutsiders: What to expect in the future of OL evaluation Once again, FootballOutsiders has lended itself to SB Nation, answering five questions from each blog about their team. These questions and answers should slant towards the advanced analytics that FO focuses on, specifically in regards to DVOA. To find out more about the great work at FootballOutsiders, you should definitely be keen on their annual almanac, which is available now in the FO Store.On Monday, we talked about Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, and the 2017 RB problemOn Tuesday, it was all about Brian SchottenheimerToday, we’re looking at how advanced analytics could better serve the evaluation of offensive linemen.Q: From our writer John Fraley: “Do you have designs on exploring advanced OL stats beyond adjusted line yards? Or is that a fool’s errand?”Bryan Knowles:I wouldn’t call it a fool’s errand, but it’s very difficult. We have a number of stats measuring offensive line play – adjusted line yards, adjusted sack rate, pressure rate, stuffed percentage, power success and so on – but it’s all sort of only covering the offensive line in a reflective sense. Skill position players are easy – so and so passes the ball, so and so catches it, so and so runs off-tackle – but how much credit do you give the line for each play, and how do you separate that from overall team success? That’s a real challenge, even before you start to think about crediting individual linemen.We’ll likely never have DVOA or DYAR for linemen, because any useful rating system for linemen has to include subjective factors. We keep track of these things – our partners at Sports Info Solutions chart blown blocks on both the individual and team levels, and try to credit sacks to individual linemen – but without knowing the actual blocking assignments on each play, many of these decisions are going to be judgment calls. Which lineman was responsible for the lineman who split the A-gap; did the left tackle blow his block or did the quarterback hold the ball for too long, and so on and so forth. The nice thing about DYAR and DVOA is that it’s objective – play X gained Y% more yards than average against a defense that is Z% better than average. While we tinker and work with the system in the offseason to make it more predictive, we’re not assigning subjective qualities to each play and presenting it as a final rating. We prefer to let the rating speak for itself, and then write about more subjective and charting elements that help interpret the numbers (see our annual adjusted interception article, for one). That’s not really possible to do for offensive linemen with the data we currently have, and so we’re it’s unlikely that we’ll roll out a new rating system in the near future.That being said, the data is always improving. We have a new partnership with EdjSports which gives us some more tools to use, and the NFL’s Next Gen Stats are providing more and more interesting stuff each year. I doubt we’ll have an offensive lineman-specific stat in the near future, but we may be able to provide more splits – which teams run best with a pulling guard, or which linemen get extra blocking help from tight ends on a regular basis. We’re always looking to provide new things!
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