On Any Given Axes: TNF, Bengals vs Browns

Andy Dalton is actually very good this season! Johnny Football is actually going to play football! A divisional matchup that the NFL thought would be less one-sided at the start of the season when they decided the TNF games!

Amongst all these heart wrenching story-lines weren’t you desperate for someone to post some simple (and some less simple) graphs to clear the air? Well look no further.

Today I’m starting up the first of hopefully many On Any Given Axes features, where I take a game that I’m watching and share graphs that I’ve made about it. I’ll share the graphs on twitter and copy the tweets here, and will try to respond to any interesting comments on either, so do keep in touch!

What I’ve got: A divisional matchup with two maverick quarterbacks

What I’m going to do with it: Watch it and graph it.

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Are NFL officials biased with their ball placement?

[Disclaimer: I’m British and trying to talk about the NFL, so it’s pretty likely I’m going to sound like either an idiot or an alien while trying to describe what’s going on here, my only request is that you send abuse using the anonymous field at the bottom which goes straight to my email instead of the comment box which everyone can see]

Imagine walking down the street and someone with a clipboard and a bored expression asks you the question “How many glasses of water did you have in the last week?”. You probably don’t really know the answer, and the person asking doesn’t really give too much of a crap. Maybe you could guess at any number between 30 and 40 glasses of water with an equal amount of belief, but you have to choose a number – are you just as likely to choose 32 as 35?

Maybe not, and in the NFL when the guy with the ball gets tackled or stopped at the end of a run and the officials only get a few seconds and a compromised view to decide where it stops, Will every yard line be treated equally?

What I’ve got:  A spreadsheet containing every single play run in the NFL from 2000-2014 (500,000 in all)

What I’m going to do with it: Show that the referees subconsciously change the outcome of a play based on where the painted lines are on a field, and subsequently show that it doesn’t matter.

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ELECTION SPECIAL: The Hating Game

Doing stats during an election is like talking in a crowded room. Me doing stats during an election is like whispering lines from the phonebook in a crowded room while everyone else talks through megaphones giving away Amazon gift card codes. I may not have banks of telethonners calling and polling choice constituencies and asking questions like “which party leader would you most like to meet in the smoking area of a club?” but one thing I do have is 47 hours of people tweeting about hating Nigel Farage et al.

What I’ve got: 47 hours of tweets mentioning any of the parties or party leaders with the words ‘hate’ or ‘love’.

What I’m going to do with it: Construct a way of quantifying the hate of each party. Find out each party’s hate factor, each leader’s hate factor and the difference between the two. Plot a graph of hate against time over the full 47 hours.

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Who’s hungry? Or how people who ‘and’ are twice as twit-ficient as people who ‘lol’.

I’ve got no business writing a blog about statistics. This isn’t going to be zeitgeisty and impactful because I’m neither of those things, and it isn’t going to ‘make statistics fun’ because statistics generally isn’t fun. However, since we’ve accepted that, we can have some fun by asking questions that the smart people don’t have time for. That’s what gutterstats is about, stupid questions with stupid answers. Today’s question is: who’s hungry? We’re gonna look at the kind of person who tweets about their stomach and see how they differ from the ‘average’ tweeter.

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