I'm drafting this on Sunday morning before the games today are played so the numbers I quote here will not include today's games. I had some time over
the Thanksgiving holiday to let my mind wander - and that is never a good thing - and I thought about a new statistical measure for successful and
less than successful NFL teams. I'll call it the Sack Surplus for the lack of a better term - and because I'm the one who made it up.
I have always been mildly upset when people talk about the "Turnover Ratio" because if you even got a D+ in Algebra 1, you should recognize that the
"Turnover Ratio" is not a ratio. It is a difference. My Sack Surplus is the analog to the "Turnover Difference"; it is the difference between the
number of sacks that a team makes and the number it allows.
As with many stats, it is very good at explaining why the good teams are where they are and why the bad teams are where they are. In the "great
unwashed middle", there are teams with "good Sack Surpluses" and teams with "bad Sack Surpluses".
Going into today's games, there were 8 teams with records of 7-3 or better. The cumulative value of their sack surpluses (the number of sacks these
teams recorded minus the ones they allowed) was +75. Only one team had a record of 7-3 or better and had a negative number for its Sack Surplus and
that team was the Atlanta Falcons.
If you looked at all the teams with winning records in the NFL as of this morning, the cumulative sack surplus was +86. Only 3 teams with winning
records out of 13 had a negative sack surplus.
Going into today's games, there were 8 teams with records of 3-7 or worse. The cumulative value of their sack surpluses was -29. Only one team had a
record of 3-7 or worse and still had a positive number for its sack surplus and that team was the Carolina Panthers.
If you look at all the teams with a losing record in the NFL as of this morning, the cumulative sack surplus was -55. Of the 17 teams with losing
records, only 3 had a positive sack surplus.
I understand that there is only one statistic that absolutely measures success in the National Football League. The team that has the greater number
of points in the most games over a season will have the best winning record. I'm not suggesting that my Sack Surplus is an infallible indicator and I
realize that if you calculate this earlier than about halfway through the season you will come up with some real anomalies. But as the season moves
through the second half, you might be able to discern a winner or a loser in a game based on the Sack Surplus numbers for games between two teams with
It can't hurt - - or can it?
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon