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  • Locked thread
sc0tty
Jan 8, 2005

too kewell for school..

Football 101 Post info here for stupid newbies like me to read and learn

Required Readings:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Football_League
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_football
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nfl_lore
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signif...ries_in_the_NFL
http://smartfootball.com/

Books for nerds

McKracken posted:

Besides Football Scouting Methods, I would recommend some of the Coach of the Year Clinics, and books specifically aimed at coaches if you think your knowledge is up to par to understand the terminology.

I wouldn't really buy anything written by a sportswriter or journalist. I know Pat Kirwan has a book, which might not be totally awful, but it also might be aimed more towards completely casual fans so I wouldn't expect any great breakdowns in it.

Here is a good book written by the great Tubby Raymond regarding his area of offensive expertise...

http://www.amazon.com/Delaware-Wing-T-Passing-Science-Coaching/dp/1585182028/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1316567026&sr=8-2

Here's something on pass defense that I've heard good things about
http://www.amazon.com/Coaching-Pattern-Read-Coverage-Tom-Olivadotti/dp/1606790463/ref=sr_1_15?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316567206&sr=1-15

McKracken posted:

There are a few books I've got queued up but haven't had time to read yet. Maybe we can add a recommended reading list to the OP at some point.

I've never come across a book that gives a good general overview of football from a strategy/scheme standpoint while covering coaching points like technique, alignments, assignments etc.

There are tons of coaching books and manuals, some are great, some are garbage, so it's hard to give specific reccomendations. I know Gus Malzahn has a book out about no huddle offenses, and while he's clearly a competent and expert source of information there's no garauntee it's presented in a clear and concise manner.

Most coaching books are meant to cover a very specific area of offense/defense that the writer is familiar with, so I'd suggest looking for an area you want to learn more about and finding some books and google reviews. There might be sites like CoachHuey that have knowledgeable people commenting on the usefulness of the book.

Strange Matter posted:

I enjoyed Jaworski's "The Games that Changed the Game," though some of the games he chooses seem kinda wonky. It is very rewarding to read about how Buddy Ryan's Bears dismantled the Cowboys though.

Also, The Blindside is good. Even if you aren't in the mood for an inspirational sports story, it's a fantastic study of some of the more subtle changes in the game over the past 30 years. The chapter about the ideological war between Bill Walsh and Bill Parcells is thrilling.

I'm currently listening to an audiobook of Mark Kriegel's biography of Joe Namath, which has a lot of cool historical stuff about the AFL and the merger.

Ozu posted:

1. I asked the same questions a few weeks back and came back with recommendations for "Football Scouting Methods" by Steve Belichick (Bill's father) and "Finding the Winning Edge" by Brian Billick and Bill Walsh, which is out of print. Just started on the Belichick one and it's pretty fantastic so far.

2. yukijersey.com or toonjersey.com. They're both the same outfit under different names.

jeffersonlives posted:

Yeah, this is what I wrote the last time it came up:

Someone really needs to write an entry-level strategy book that doesn't suck. Hell, maybe Kirwin did, I still haven't read it.

The Education of a Coach by David Halberstam gets into a lot of strategy and such in between fellating Bill Belichick. It's a great book.




Useful Threads

The rules thread
http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3431516

Football Injuries Thread
http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3441579


Awesome detailed breakdown of things

jeffersonlives posted:

OFFENSIVE FOOTBALL

Let's start with some basics. There have to be at least seven players lined up on the line of scrimmage at all times in American football. If there are less than seven players, it is an illegal formation and will be penalized. Of these, the two players at each end are eligible receivers, and the five interior players are ineligible receivers/offensive linemen. All players lined up behind the line of scrimmage are also eligible receivers.

I FORMATION



This is probably the most used formation in football. As you can see, there are five offensive linemen - two tackles, two guards, and a center - lined up on the line. On the left side, a wide receiver is also lined up on the line (a WR lined up on the line is also known as an X). On the right side, a TE (also known as a Y) is lined up on the line. Both of those players are eligible receivers. A second WR is lined up on the right side (a WR lined up behind the line is also known as a Z). A fullback and a halfback (a term used interchangeably with tailback or running back) are lined up behind the quarterback.

This formation is fairly neutral and will be used as both a passing and a running set. An I formation is typically run with 2 WR and 1 TE or 2 TE and 1 WR, but other variations exist. Many teams also use an offset I, where the fullback lines up even with the guard instead of the quarterback. Another variant is the pro set, where the fullback and halfback line up at even depths instead of halfback behind fullback.

The most basic running play out of this formation is lead:



That's a basic lead play from Notre Dame's playbook in the late 90s. The offensive line blocks the guys in front of them, attempting to clear the space around where the guard lines up. The fullback goes in the hole first and blocks the nearest second-level defender, typically the middle linebacker. The tailback gets the ball and runs through the hole, and if everyone has done their job gains some yards.

Other basic running plays out of this formation:

Trap - this describes a group of plays where one or more defensive linemen are not blocked or blocked into the backfield because the runner is intending to run towards the space where the defensive lineman was before he left.

Counter - a group of plays where the offense takes a step or two in one directio to fake the defense into going that way, then reverses direction and moves the other way

Toss - an outside running play where the quarterback tosses the ball laterally to a running back, the RB then attempts to beat the interior defenders to the outside of the field, and then turns upfield

There's a lot of different types of these type of plays. The I formation and offshoots have been the core formation of football since about the late 50s, but have been recently overtaken by the spread offense.

SPREAD OFFENSE

A spread offense attempts to spread the offensive players around the field to create space for runners and receivers. This is mostly a passing formation, although certain teams such as West Virginia have been successful with a run-heavy spread offense. Most spread offenses are run out of the shotgun, where the quarterback stands around five yards behind the line of scrimmage and receives the ball thrown between the center's legs instead of passed. The spread offense typically eliminates the fullback position and operates with 3 to 5 wide receivers, taking backs and tight ends off the field.



A typical three wide receiver shotgun set. Because there is an extra receiver and the play can happen quicker because the QB is in a better position to throw quickly, the defense has to spread out more to cover the possibilities.



These are four fairly typical spread offense passing plays from the holy grail of playbooks for coaches, Urban Meyer's (from Utah). It would take awhile to explain everything going on here, but there are both short options and deep options on all plays. With a quarterback who can figure out who is open (called reading progressions) and athletic perimeter players (WR and RB), it is almost impossible to cover everyone, which is why this formation is so effective. The spread also tends to have a lot of routes working towards the middle of the field instead of the sidelines, which has led to some college quarterbacks putting up insane numbers without even acceptable arm strength. Because the defense has to defend the pass so vigorously, running plays can also be effective out of this formation.

The "wildcat" formation, which has become en vogue in both college and professional offense, is essentially just a spread option offense with only running plays and a fast guy playing quarterback. The wildcat sets increase the prevalence of option runs, which are runs where the quarterback has the option to keep the ball himself if he sees an open running lane, or pitch or hand the ball to a perimeter player.



That's four basic zone read plays, a typical spread option play where the quarterback or wildcat player can hand it to the running back or keep it and run depending on which way he reads the defense.

I was going to go over the passing tree here, but I found a basic explanation here instead.

That's a very very very basic introduction to offensive football philosophy and leaves out like 9 million important things, but it's a start.

WombBroom posted:

I am working on an edit for this post that will answer your questions, but it will take a bit of time to get them fully fleshed out, as I want to add in some reference spots for you. In the meantime, I will give you some cursory information that should whet your whistle while I go more in depth.

Let me first get out of the way:

The Cowboys are evil incarnate and if you become a Cowboy fan, you will rot in hell alongside Jamarcus Russel, and he won't give you any of his Skittles.

On to your questions!


While I'm not completely certain what you're asking, the main statistics that everyone cares about vary. this is because Offensive, Defensive, and Other statistics are all rated individually. For instance, no one cares if an Offensive player has any Sacks, and no one cares if a Defensive player has a high completion percentage. So, I will break it all down based upon position.

Offense

Quarterback

The Quarterback is often referred to as "The most important position," or some variation thereof, on a football team. That is because, in most situations, the Quarterback is the first player to have possession of the football on Offense. The Center, the guy who plays in the middle of the Offensive line, hikes the ball to the Quarterback and the play begins. The stats that matter most for a Quarterback is his Passer rating.

This rating is a mix of Completion Percentage, Passing Yardage, Touchdowns and Interceptions. In the NFL, a perfect passer rating is 158.3.

More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passer_rating

Fullback

The Fullback position is largely gone from football these days. In the past, the Fullback was mainly a blocker for the Halfback (which we'll get to next). There is no statistical measurement of blocking as it is a very difficult thing to keep track of.

Halfback

The Halfback or Runningback is the primary player when running the ball (imagine that!). Usually, the Quarterback hands the ball to the Halfback who tries his best to weave his way through defenders and gain positive yardage. The primary stats most people care about for a Runningback are Attempts, Total Yards, Average Yards, Touchdowns and Fumbles. A Runningback who gets more than 1,000 yards in a season is considered above average.

Tight End

The Tight End was traditionally seen as a big guy who could block pass rushers and lay blocks down on running plays. However, the past 15 years or so have seen a large number of receiving tight ends pop up in the league, so the position has changed somewhat. All tight ends will be asked to catch the ball at some point, but some (Dallas Clark from Indianapolis and Kellen Winslow from Tampa Bay) are extremely good at it. However, their size and athletic ability makes the more suited to Tight End than receiver. The stats that matter most to a TE are the same as the ones that matter to a Receiver: Catches, Yards Per Catch, Yards After The Catch, Touchdowns and Fumbles.

Wide Receiver

Some one will inevtiably tell you that not all receivers are Wide Receivers, because some are Flankers and some are Slot guys, or several other terms that aren't important for this discussion. Just understand that there are several places Receivers can line up which dictates the routes they will run through the defense. The stats that matter are Catches, Yards Per Catch, Yards After the Catch, Touchdowns and Fumbles. There have been numerous attempts over the years at recording the Drops each receiver has, but this is not an official stat.

Offensive Line

I'm grouping the line together because it makes more sense for this particular discussion. They are the big guys who get little notice and less money (on average) than most other players, but IMVHO, are the most important guys on the Offensive side of the ball. The stats that matter are: Sacks Allowed. That's really all that matters. Officially, the NFL website only shows the Games Played and Games Started stats for Offensive Lineman. Linkage: http://www.nfl.com/players/jefffaine/situationalstats?id=FAI112720


Defense

Linebacker

These are the guys who stand behind the Defensive Line and either cover the short to intermediate receiver routes, or try to tackle the runner on running plays. There are several different Linebacker positions, and each one will have a preference to one of the stats, depending on their main responsibility (runn-stuffing versus coverage) but all of them care about these stats: Tackles (solo and assisted), Sacks, Forced Fumbles and Interceptions.

Defensive Backs

There are several positions that fit under the guise of Defensive Back. Cornerbacks, Nicklebacks, Dimebacks, Strong Safety, and Free Safety are all considered to be Defensive Backs. Like Linebackers, each different DB will be measured differently upon each stat because of different responsibilities, but the main stats are: Passes Defensed, Tackles, Forced Fumbles and Interceptions.

Defensive Line

These are the big boys up front whose two main jobs are to sack the Quarterback and Tackle the ball carrier before plays can develop. Again, each one will be measured with differeing weight on each stat, but the ones that matter most are: Sacks (solo and Assisted), Tackles for a Loss, and Tackles (solo and assisted).

I think I'm gonna need more than one post!

Edit: wow, I totally thought he was asking something different. Crap.

Gendo posted:

Sure. I'll give you a rough overview of a simple box score to start out with, then if you have more questions we can go from there.

This is a pretty typical NFL box score. Let's go over it piece by piece. First there's the scoring summaries and stat summaries:



Scoring Summary

The scoring summary is pretty self-explanatory. Scoring drives are listed in the order they occurred by quarter. The icon indicates which team scored. The time is at what time in that quarter the score happened. The next column is the scoring play and the result of either the extra point or two point conversion (if applicable) and the score after the drive is listed next to that.

The team stat comparison is a little more complicated.

Team Stats

1. First downs is the total number of first downs for each team, which is then broken down into the numbers of first downs each team earned as a result of passing, rushing or as the result of a penalty.

2. Third down efficiency is a measure of how many times each team converted a third down to a first down.

3. Fourth down efficiency is the same as above but for fourth downs.

4. Passing lists the total passing yards for each team.

5. Comp-Att is a measure of how many passes each team completed versus how many attempts, in this example the Vikings completed 28 passes out of 33 attempts.

6. Yards Per Pass is exactly what it says. The number of total passing yards divided by pass attempts.

7. Rushing is the number of rushing yards each team earned.

8. Rushing attempts is the number of rushing plays each team ran.

9. Yards per rush is the number of yards gained divided by rushing attempts.

10. Turnovers is the number of times each team turned the ball over to the other team either as the result of a lost fumble, interception or loss of downs.

11. The above is then broken down into fumbles lost and interceptions thrown.

12. Defensive / Special Teams TDs is a measure of how many times each team scored a defensive TD (on an interception or fumble return) or a special teams TD (blocked kick returned for a TD, punt or kickoff return for a TD, etc).

13. Possession is a measure of the time of possession for each team. Basically how long each team's offense held onto the ball.

Now to move onto the individual offensive stats:



Passing Stats
1. C/ATT is shorthand for the Completions/Attempts we discussed above. So in this example Favre threw the ball 25 times and completed 22 passes. That is 22 were caught.

2. YDS are the number of yards passing he had.

3. AVG is shorthand for yards per pass. So passing yards divided by passing attempts.

4. TD represents passing touchdowns.

5. INT represents interceptions thrown.

6. Rating stands for QB rating, a statistic that attempts to combine all QB passing statistics into one easy to digest number. If you're curious it's ((((Comp/Att) * 100) -30) / 20 + (((TDs/Att) * 100) / 5) + ((9.5 - ((Int/Att) * 100)) / 4) + (((Yards/Att) - 3) / 4)) / .06. Yes really.

Rushing Stats

1. CAR stands for carries, the number of rushing attempts for each player.

2. YDS are the number of yards gained for each player on rushing attempts.

3. AVG are the average number of yards gained, so yards / carries.

4. TD represents rushing TDs for each player.

5. LG is the longest rush for each player.

Receiving Stats

1. REC is the number of receptions for each player. So in this game Shiancoe has the most receptions with 8.

2. YDS are the number of receiving yards.

3. AVG are the average number of yards per catch, so yards / receptions.

4. LG, as above, represent the longest reception for each player.

5. TGTS are the number of times each player was targeted with a pass.

FUMBLES
This is kind of an in-between category as both offensive and defensive players get lumped here. You are listed here if you lose or recover a fumble. In this example we only see Heath Farwell who recovered a Seattle fumble for the Vikings but obviously these three categories are FUM (Fumbles), LOST (Fumbles Lost) and REC (Fumbles Recovered).

Now for Defensive Statistics.



Defensive statistics are split into two categories here. Tackels and Misc.

1. TOT is total tackles.

2. SOLO is solo tackles, tackles made without assistance from another player.

3. SACKS are total sacks, the number of times an eligible passer was tackled behind the line of scrimmage.

4. TFL is tackles for a loss, the number of times a ball carrier was tackled behind the line of scrimmage.

5. PD is passes defensed, the number of times a defender tipped, deflected or otherwise interfered with a pass in the air intended for an offensive player.

6. QB Hits are the number of times the defensive player hit the QB but it did not result in a sack.

7. TD represents defensive touchdowns.

Now let's finish with special teams.



Kick Returns

1. NO is the number of kick returns.

2. YDS is the number of yards gained on those kick returns.

3. AVG is the average number of yards per kick return (yards / no).

4. TD is the number of kick return touchdowns.

Punt Returns

Same as above but for punts.

Kicking



1. FG The fraction lists the number of successful kicks over the number of attempts. (So if you made 2 but attempted 3 it would be 2/3).

2. The PCT is the percentage of kicks made.

3. LONG is the longest kick made.

4. XP (see Vikings example) is the same as the FG but for extra points, the number of successful extra points over attempted extra points.

5. PTS is the total number of points gained by kicks (FGs * 3 + XPs).

tk posted:

I'm going to expand on this. Not all of this directly pertains directly to football, but it comes up a lot and can be useful to know.

First, there is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which is pretty much what it sounds like. They make the rules and poo poo for "amateur" college sports, and throw the hammer down on USC when they do bad things.

There are three divisions: DI, DII, and DIII. There are qualifications for each divisions based on number of sports fielded, athletic scholarships granted, and a bunch of other stuff. To make it easy, DI is the big boys. In the late 70s, DI was further split into DI-A and DI-AA based on the status of the football program (number of scholarship players, attendance numbers, etc.) Again, DI-A is the big boys.

A couple years ago, DI-A and DI-AA were renamed Football Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship subdivision (FCS), respectively. FBS has bowl games at the end of the season, FCS as a playoff.

Outside of NCAA classification, the conferences in FBS are further differentiated into BCS auto-bid (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-10, SEC) and non-auto-bid (C-USA, MAC, MWC, Sun Belt, WAC) conferences. This pretty much splits teams into the haves and have-nots of the college football world.

adaz posted:

This will probably cause Notre Dame fans to froth at the mouths (so a win-win) but Bob Davie wrote an excellent series of columns for ESPN.com years ago on various formations, schemes, blocking, basic football, etc breaking them down and how they work. It's insider only content but I'll post an example. With mod approval I can post more.

http://search.espn.go.com/bob-davie-football-101/

adaz posted:

As it turns out a few of these are NOT insider only and are really awesome sources of information. I've compiled some links for you all.



Terms & terminology, a basic practice schedule - http://a.espncdn.com/ncf/columns/davie/1424560.html

The box & the 8 man front - http://a.espncdn.com/ncf/columns/davie/1427720.html

The zone Blitz - http://a.espncdn.com/ncf/columns/davie/1430750.html

The screen Package - http://a.espncdn.com/ncf/columns/davie/1433797.html

The Cover 2 defense - http://a.espncdn.com/ncf/columns/davie/1437187.html

Running out of the spread (shotgun) offense - http://a.espncdn.com/ncf/columns/davie/1443120.html

Option football (running offense) - http://a.espncdn.com/ncf/columns/davie/1447132.html

I-Formation football (running offense) - http://a.espncdn.com/ncf/columns/davie/1450473.html

Special Teams (punting) - http://a.espncdn.com/ncf/columns/davie/1453702.html

Special teams (kicking) - http://a.espncdn.com/ncf/columns/davie/1457486.html

Defensive substitution packages - http://a.espncdn.com/ncf/columns/davie/1460709.html

Spring football (college football player development) & staff development - http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/columns/story?id=1522879 & http://a.espncdn.com/ncf/columns/davie/1530733.html

nnnAdam posted:


Cool Photos!:
  • http://www.daylife.com/ - This site is pretty good. Easy to search and good layout to view multiple photos per page. Whether it's pregame, mid-play , practices or the Dan Marino Celebrity Classic Golf Tournament, Daylife usually has a wide selection. The only downside is the quality of some of the photos is grainy and less than perfect.
  • http://www.life.com/ - Better than Daylife simply because of how extensive their collection is and the high quality of the work. You can easily find pictures of players dating back to college and you can view 60 thumbnails per page which is nice. You can't directly copy the pictures though so you'll have to Print Screen and then go from there. Seriously, Life.com is incredible.
  • http://sports.yahoo.com/ - They usually have lots of photos posted directly after games which in my experience are different than a lot of ones you see on other sites. Sometimes the viewer gets messed up though and it can be a hassle to find/navigate things.

WombBroom posted:

This is an extremely complicated question to answer, but I will do my very best for you.

There are two major defensive formations used in the NFL. These are the 4-3 and the 3-4. The first number refers to the number of Defensive Lineman and the second to the Linebackers.

Note: There are exceptions to every single rule I'm about to put forward, this is simply the basics of formation theory.

4-3

First, we will start with the 4 Defensive Lineman. On either side are Defensive Ends, and in the middle are 2 Defensive Tackles.

Defensive Ends in this formation should be about 280 pounds, tall (6'3" or taller) with long arms and very quick off the line, usually referred to as having a "quick first step." This allows them to get around the Offensive Tackles on either end of the Offensive Line.

The good ones will also have different moves they employ, like the swim move, where they move their arms up over their heads to push the Offensive Lineman's hands out of the way. Another popular move is the spin move where they will spin in a circle to try and confuse the Offensive Lineman and get past them.


Defensive Tackles in this scheme should be around 6'4", about 290 pounds, and also be quick off the line. They will use the same moves as the Defensive Ends in most cases.

Linebackers should be taller than 6'2", weigh around 260 pounds, and have good or great speed. Linebackers will often be tasked with coverage short to intermediate routes, so having good hands for making interceptions is also important. The Middle Linebacker or MLB is considered to be the Quarterback of the Defense, calling out the Defensive plays and assigning coverage and blocking assignments.

The Weakside or Will Linebacker is usually most responsible for coverage, and should be the fastest Linebacker. More on this in a minute.

The Strongside or Sam Linebacker is usually most responsible for making tackles on ballcarriers. They are usually a little larger than the other two.

3-4

In this formation, The Defensive Ends should act similarly to the Defensive Ends in a 4-3. They are trying to swallow blockers and get after the passer.

In the middle is the Nosetackle or NT. This guy's primary responsibility is to hold one or two lineman in place and not allow them to open holes for a ball carrier or block anyone trying to sack the Quarterback.

The Linebackers are usually larger than the backers in the 4-3. They are the primary pass rushers, attempting to get to the Quarterback on passing plays. They should also be good at "wrap-up" tackling, literally wrapping their arms around players and pulling them to the ground. Strength is a very important consideration.

Now, there are two basic coverage schemes which can also have a big factor on the physical characteristics of the players. These are Man Coverage and Zone Coverage.

Man Coverage

In Man, the Defensive Backs cover the wide receivers man-on-man, following them in their routes and trying to discourage the Quarterback from throwing to the receivers. If a pass is thrown, they must either knock the ball down, tackle the wide receiver, or make an interception. In this scheme, tall, fast DBs are needed.

The Linebackers pick up any Tightends, Runningbacks or Receivers running in the middle of the field.

Zone Coverage

The most popular Zone Coverage scheme in the past 15 or so years is the Tampa 2 or Cover 2 scheme. The two safeties stay deep, covering the down the field routes. the Cornerbacks are tasked with covering the short or intermediate routes, depending on the playcall. The Linebackers cover the middle of the field. Derrick Brooks helped define what the Weakside Linebacker does in the Tampa 2. Here's his wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derrick_Brooks

The idea of Zone Coverage is a Defensive player stands in one spot and covers their "zone". Theoretically, this will help bait the quarterback into throwing passes he thinks he can make, but the fast DBs will make a play on the ball. Also, since the Quarterback must take more time to make a decision, the Defensive Line has more time to fight through blocks and get a sack or disrupt the Quarterback.

Smaller, faster DBs are the bread and butter of Zone Coverage. Ronde Barber is a good indication of the physical type needed: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/players/profile?playerId=1260

I should add there are also Cover 1, Cover 3 and Cover 4 schemes which can effect things.

Please understand that this is the most basic breakdown I could do and there are numerous hybrids, exceptions and other things that must be taken into consideration from team to team, year to year, and even play to play. I hope it helps to answer your question.

No Safe Word posted:

Just be ready for crushing depression when the Texans go 1-5 in their division again.


While I'm at it, might as well write up a quick post on one thing I do understand.

The NFL Scheduling Formula
Now that the NFL has a neat and tidy 32 teams split into 2 conferences with 4 divisions of 4 teams each, scheduling is done by a nice, balanced, predictable formula.

Wikipedia has a pretty good write up on it but I'll go over most of it here so we have more info in the thread.

Each team plays 16 games in the regular season, and they break down like this:
  • 6 divisional games against their 3 divisional opponents, one home and one away each = 3 home games, 3 away games
  • 4 intra-conference games against the teams from a pre-determined division (other than their own) in the same conference, and which division this is rotates every year (eg, AFC South rotates from the AFC West (2010) to the AFC North (2011) to the AFC East (2012) and then back again to the AFC West in 2013), these are split home and away between the four opponents = 2 home games, 2 away games
  • 4 inter-conference games against the teams from a pre-determined division in the other conference, and this also rotates ever year but takes four years to cycle through because you don't have to worry about your own division (eg, AFC South plays NFC East (2010), NFC South (2011), NFC North (2012), NFC West (2013), and back to the NFC East in 2014), these are split home and away between the four opponents = 2 home games, 2 away games
  • 2 intra-conference games against teams finishing the same place in their division - so if you finished 1st in your division, you would play all three of the other division winners but since one of those is already accounted for in the second bullet point, that only leaves two other opponents. These are also split home and away = 1 home game, 1 away game

All that together adds up to 8 home games, and 8 away games. How they determine who is home and who is away is a little trickier, though they tend to basically alternate home/away based on the last time you played those opponents but there is a bit of leeway taken in order to reduce East-to-West Coast (and vice-versa) travel to make sure teams aren't getting worn out from travel during the season.

korranus posted:

A look at the bowl system and conferences of the Football Bowl Subdivision:



The Football Subdivision is controlled by the almighty Bowl Championship Series, basically a cartel made of the presidents of the schools in the six major conferences, the BCS corporate steering committee, and executives of the ESPN television network. The BCS determines access to the five top postseason bowls -



Rose Bowl - Pasadena, CA. It's the first bowl, played in the afternoon on January 1. Traditionally the winner of the Pac-10 Conference vs the winner of the Big 10 Conference. Will take the winner of a non-BCS conference if the Big 10 or Pac-10 team makes the BCS National Championship.

Fiesta Bowl - Glendale/Phoenix, AZ. Usually played on the evening of January 1 but has moved down the calendar to get a prime time network spot. A newer bowl grown out of the WAC's lack of bowl tie-in but quickly gained prominence. Usually takes the winner of the Big 12 Conference and another selection among available teams (called an at-large), but now seems to take the winner of a non-BCS conference, or two non-BCS conference schools like it did last year.

Sugar Bowl - New Orleans, LA. The second bowl, usually played on January 1 but as late as the 4th. Usually takes the winner of the Southeast Conference and an at-large.

Orange Bowl - Miami Gardens/Miami, FL. First played in 1935. Takes the winner of the Atlantic Coast Conference vs an at-large.

BCS National Championship - Rotates among the sites of the BCS bowls. Matches the two top-ranked teams in the BCS poll for a de-facto college football championship game, like a college version of the Super Bowl.


These are the FBS conferences:

- Major Conferences, AKA Auto-Qualifying ("AQ") Conferences, AKA BCS Conferences

The top six conferences control most of the money, and dominate the standings, polls, and prestige of FBS.


Atlantic Coast Conference: A mixture of fairly high-end academic schools along the eastern seaboard. Has potent football programs but is generally more famous for basketball.


Southeast Conference: Generally considered the best football conference. Comprised of extremely large state schools (and private Vanderbilt) in the Deep South. Their stadiums are large, their fans are crazy, their programs are rich and deep and powerful, and their fans on SA can be found in BYOB.


Big Ten Conference: Eleven (soon twelve) schools in the northern states. The Big Ten was the first athletic conference and all ten are extremely strong academic schools. The US's two largest stadiums belong to the Big Ten - Michigan Stadium and Penn State University's Beaver Stadium. Both seat somewhere over 110,000.


Big East Conference: The Big East is a 16 school conference for basketball and eight for football in the eastern and northern states. It is the smallest of the six BCS conferences and it is regularly mentioned in conference realignment doomsday scenarios.


Big 12 Conference: The Big 12 is located in the Midwest and Texas. It stands at 12 schools currently, but is losing two members over the next two years. The conference is operationally controlled by two titanic programs - the University of Texas at Austin and University of Oklahoma.


Pacific 10 Conference: Located along the Pacific Seaboard and Arizona, but is expanding to include the Universities of Utah and Colorado. Generally strong academic schools, left-leaning, but resistant to change. Has not really embraced the BCS. This conference was dominated by the University of Southern California for years, but with sanctions and other teams stepping up this looks to be coming to an end.

- Mid-Major Conferences, AKA Non-Autoqualifying (Non-AQ), AKA Non-BCS Conferences

The next five conferences put together make less money than a single BCS conference. Mostly these schools have small-time football program, or new programs, or are in some cases keep football teams to satisfy Title IX requirements. However, these conferences do hold serious teams who hold their weight against the big boys with no trouble.


Mountain West Conference: The Mountain West is considered the top non-BCS conference. Its programs split off from the Western Athletic Conference about ten years ago to build their own base. They have done an extremely good job doing so, and three teams have developed into regulars in the Top 25. In fact, you can find Texas Christian University and newcomer Boise State University regularly in the Top Ten. The MWC (with Boise State) has three BCS bowl appearances to its credit with two wins. It is currently on track to become a BCS Conference for the 2013 season.


Western Athletic Conference: The WAC was created in the 60s for schools in the Western and Rocky Mountain States with growing populations and programs. Its power peaked in the 80s with champions in football and basketball, but their influence has waned as time wears on. The WAC has been almost totally dominated by Boise State University in the last decade (seven championships in ten years), but it is moving to the Mountain West in 2011. The remaining members are 0-1 in BCS bowls.


Conference USA: Conference USA is spread out regionally from eastern North Carolina to west Texas. CUSA used to be the best non-BCS conferences, but the Big East stole most of its power in 2005 when the ACC raided the Big East for members. The remaining members have had little luck establishing themselves nationwide but once in a while a CUSA team climbs the polls.


Mid American Conference: Established among the smaller schools in the Northern states and shares footprint with the Big Ten. These schools play in the shadow of their Big Ten neighbors and thus have problems generating interest; however they are much too good to drop down to the Championship Subdivision. The MAC's schools have sent some good quarterbacks to the pros, most notably Ben Roethlisberger from Miami University (the one in Ohio).


Sun Belt Conference: The Sun Belt is the newest football conference, formed in the last decade. Its teams are mostly new programs to Division I looking to get in on the money. It's generally considered the weakest of the FBS conferences. Because of the newness of the programs, or lack of finances involved, the conference's teams are known best for renting themselves out to get beat down by BCS conference schools (mostly the SEC).

Independents: Additionally, three schools play without being in a conference - the United States Military Academy (plays as Army), the United States Naval Academy (plays as Navy), and Notre Dame University. These three schools do not have the benefit of eight conference games, though all have regularly scheduled games they play every year - such as the Army-Navy game. Notre Dame enjoys a special status generally equal to that of a BCS conference school and has a unique television deal with the NBC television network to broadcast its games nationwide.



Choosing a team

Any suggestions on choosing a team for those that are new to the sport. Obviously its easy if you actually live in the US, but for us dirty foreigners we have free reign to choose whatever team won last year we like.

For myself, I recently visited the old Cowboys stadium so that seems like a logical place to start for me.

sc0tty fucked around with this message at 14:26 on Nov 2, 2011

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Ben Has Tiny Weenus
Feb 17, 2007
MSU Will Not Be National Champions

So I really should learn to shut the hole under my nose.

sc0tty posted:

2010 FBS Team Breakdown (I don't know what FBS is but this looks to be College football. I am smart)
http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3323981

Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as Division 1, is the top level of college football, where the post season consists of a series of bowl games instead of a playoff. Most people, I believe, want to go to a playoff system, but there is so much money tied up in bowls that this may never happen.

Tahm Bwady
Aug 7, 2008

Its 1 thing to jump and be able to land on 2 feet but I had no idea I was landing in Heaven.Hope all is well on this good Friday

sc0tty posted:



Q. Seems surprising that there is no Los Angeles team. What's up with that?



LA has gotten so many chances for a football team, but has run them all out. Still the Jaguars look like they might move there.

a neat cape
Feb 22, 2007

Aw hunny, these came out GREAT!


sc0tty posted:


Q. Can someone explain the 'Wildcard' entries. Like with the previous question, what effect does this have on the regular season.



After the regular season is over, the division champion (The top team from each of the four divisions per conference) advance to playoffs. In addition, two "wild card" teams from each conference advance as the fifth and sixth teams in the playoffs. These teams are the teams with the two best records in the conference that didn't win their divisions.

adaz
Mar 7, 2009



sc0tty posted:

Q. Whats the deal with divisions and division grouping. The Cowboys with NY, Philly and Washington?

The NFL realigned a decade or so back to 8 4 team divisions from 6 divisions of various sizes. It is far more geographically sane that it was but to keep some traditional rivalries intact (like the cowboys/redskins) some teams are a bit "odd" in where they are located.

quote:

Q. In the wiki it mentions that there is no salary cap in 2010. This sounds like a pretty big deal. Is this true?

It's true, but it hasn't been a big deal so far. The biggest impact has been teams cutting players who they otherwise wouldn't have been able to. a lot more trades than you would've seen happen in a capped year, and quite a few contract extensions that are heavily front loaded to take advantage of the no cap year.

Kalli
Jun 2, 2001




quote:

Q. Seems surprising that there is no Los Angeles team. What's up with that?

They had the Rams in the mid-90's but they're more useful as a scapegoat to extort funds for stadium upgrades from other cities than as a team hosting city. The NFL is so insanely popular right now that while it'd be a nice market to have a team in, it's not at the top of anyone's priorities to move to. The Jaguars are the most likely to move there in a few years though.

quote:

Q. Whats the deal with divisions and division grouping. The Cowboys with NY, Philly and Washington?

Historical rivalries is the answer to the slightly odd placement. The divisions were re-aligned in 2002, from a 3 division per conference format (East, Central, West) to a 4 division format. As there were some very, very odd situations back then like ARIZONA being in the NFC East, TAMPA BAY being in the NFC Central and ATLANTA being in the NFC West. However, the Cowboys have hue ongoing rivalries with the other 3 teams in the East, so they stayed. There's a few others like that, like with Miami being in the AFC East instead of say, Baltimore or what will happen if the Jaguars actually do go to LA eventually.

quote:

Q. In the wiki it mentions that there is no salary cap in 2010. This sounds like a pretty big deal. Is this true?

Yes and No. Yes in that going forward, if there's no salary cap, and no salary floor, a baseball like situation might develop where payroll levels are drastically apart. However, there are numerous things keeping it in check this year. The salary floor was quite possibly more important then the cap the last few years, as teams have to spend near 90% of the salary cap.

Basically, the salary cap is set at a certain percentage of league revenues. The last collective bargaining agreement raised this really high, and combined with the last round of television deals, saw the salary cap skyrocket. There were also rules put in place that the teams that made the divisional round were somewhat restricted in signing free agents this offseason, but that really didn't seem to impact much.

When the salary cap was put in originally (back in 1993), it was $34.5 million per team. It increased at a somewhat level pace until 2005 where it was $85.5 million. Then the CBA was re-negotiated and it jumped to $102 million for 2006 all the way to $128 million for 2009. The salary cap was increasing so fast, that, combined with the uh... "inventive" accounting methods teams use when writing player contracts, the salary cap had mostly ceased to be an issue.

Gendo
Feb 25, 2001

His place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

sc0tty posted:

Q. Could somebody explain the statistics and 'boxscore' formats that are typically used to cover NFL games. Coming from the NBA these things can be a little confusing.
Sure. I'll give you a rough overview of a simple box score to start out with, then if you have more questions we can go from there.

This is a pretty typical NFL box score. Let's go over it piece by piece. First there's the scoring summaries and stat summaries:



Scoring Summary

The scoring summary is pretty self-explanatory. Scoring drives are listed in the order they occurred by quarter. The icon indicates which team scored. The time is at what time in that quarter the score happened. The next column is the scoring play and the result of either the extra point or two point conversion (if applicable) and the score after the drive is listed next to that.

The team stat comparison is a little more complicated.

Team Stats

1. First downs is the total number of first downs for each team, which is then broken down into the numbers of first downs each team earned as a result of passing, rushing or as the result of a penalty.

2. Third down efficiency is a measure of how many times each team converted a third down to a first down.

3. Fourth down efficiency is the same as above but for fourth downs.

4. Passing lists the total passing yards for each team.

5. Comp-Att is a measure of how many passes each team completed versus how many attempts, in this example the Vikings completed 28 passes out of 33 attempts.

6. Yards Per Pass is exactly what it says. The number of total passing yards divided by pass attempts.

7. Rushing is the number of rushing yards each team earned.

8. Rushing attempts is the number of rushing plays each team ran.

9. Yards per rush is the number of yards gained divided by rushing attempts.

10. Turnovers is the number of times each team turned the ball over to the other team either as the result of a lost fumble, interception or loss of downs.

11. The above is then broken down into fumbles lost and interceptions thrown.

12. Defensive / Special Teams TDs is a measure of how many times each team scored a defensive TD (on an interception or fumble return) or a special teams TD (blocked kick returned for a TD, punt or kickoff return for a TD, etc).

13. Possession is a measure of the time of possession for each team. Basically how long each team's offense held onto the ball.

Now to move onto the individual offensive stats:



Passing Stats
1. C/ATT is shorthand for the Completions/Attempts we discussed above. So in this example Favre threw the ball 25 times and completed 22 passes. That is 22 were caught.

2. YDS are the number of yards passing he had.

3. AVG is shorthand for yards per pass. So passing yards divided by passing attempts.

4. TD represents passing touchdowns.

5. INT represents interceptions thrown.

6. Rating stands for QB rating, a statistic that attempts to combine all QB passing statistics into one easy to digest number. If you're curious it's ((((Comp/Att) * 100) -30) / 20 + (((TDs/Att) * 100) / 5) + ((9.5 - ((Int/Att) * 100)) / 4) + (((Yards/Att) - 3) / 4)) / .06. Yes really.

Rushing Stats

1. CAR stands for carries, the number of rushing attempts for each player.

2. YDS are the number of yards gained for each player on rushing attempts.

3. AVG are the average number of yards gained, so yards / carries.

4. TD represents rushing TDs for each player.

5. LG is the longest rush for each player.

Receiving Stats

1. REC is the number of receptions for each player. So in this game Shiancoe has the most receptions with 8.

2. YDS are the number of receiving yards.

3. AVG are the average number of yards per catch, so yards / receptions.

4. LG, as above, represent the longest reception for each player.

5. TGTS are the number of times each player was targeted with a pass.

FUMBLES
This is kind of an in-between category as both offensive and defensive players get lumped here. You are listed here if you lose or recover a fumble. In this example we only see Heath Farwell who recovered a Seattle fumble for the Vikings but obviously these three categories are FUM (Fumbles), LOST (Fumbles Lost) and REC (Fumbles Recovered).

Now for Defensive Statistics.



Defensive statistics are split into two categories here. Tackels and Misc.

1. TOT is total tackles.

2. SOLO is solo tackles, tackles made without assistance from another player.

3. SACKS are total sacks, the number of times an eligible passer was tackled behind the line of scrimmage.

4. TFL is tackles for a loss, the number of times a ball carrier was tackled behind the line of scrimmage.

5. PD is passes defensed, the number of times a defender tipped, deflected or otherwise interfered with a pass in the air intended for an offensive player.

6. QB Hits are the number of times the defensive player hit the QB but it did not result in a sack.

7. TD represents defensive touchdowns.

Now let's finish with special teams.



Kick Returns

1. NO is the number of kick returns.

2. YDS is the number of yards gained on those kick returns.

3. AVG is the average number of yards per kick return (yards / no).

4. TD is the number of kick return touchdowns.

Punt Returns

Same as above but for punts.

Kicking



1. FG The fraction lists the number of successful kicks over the number of attempts. (So if you made 2 but attempted 3 it would be 2/3).

2. The PCT is the percentage of kicks made.

3. LONG is the longest kick made.

4. XP (see Vikings example) is the same as the FG but for extra points, the number of successful extra points over attempted extra points.

5. PTS is the total number of points gained by kicks (FGs * 3 + XPs).

WombBroom
Dec 3, 2008

I'm not afraid of heights; I'm afraid of widths.


I am working on an edit for this post that will answer your questions, but it will take a bit of time to get them fully fleshed out, as I want to add in some reference spots for you. In the meantime, I will give you some cursory information that should whet your whistle while I go more in depth.

Let me first get out of the way:

The Cowboys are evil incarnate and if you become a Cowboy fan, you will rot in hell alongside Jamarcus Russel, and he won't give you any of his Skittles.

On to your questions!

quote:

Q. Could somebody explain the statistics and 'boxscore' formats that are typically used to cover NFL games. Coming from the NBA these things can be a little confusing.

While I'm not completely certain what you're asking, the main statistics that everyone cares about vary. this is because Offensive, Defensive, and Other statistics are all rated individually. For instance, no one cares if an Offensive player has any Sacks, and no one cares if a Defensive player has a high completion percentage. So, I will break it all down based upon position.

Offense

Quarterback

The Quarterback is often referred to as "The most important position," or some variation thereof, on a football team. That is because, in most situations, the Quarterback is the first player to have possession of the football on Offense. The Center, the guy who plays in the middle of the Offensive line, hikes the ball to the Quarterback and the play begins. The stats that matter most for a Quarterback is his Passer rating.

This rating is a mix of Completion Percentage, Passing Yardage, Touchdowns and Interceptions. In the NFL, a perfect passer rating is 158.3.

More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passer_rating

Fullback

The Fullback position is largely gone from football these days. In the past, the Fullback was mainly a blocker for the Halfback (which we'll get to next). There is no statistical measurement of blocking as it is a very difficult thing to keep track of.

Halfback

The Halfback or Runningback is the primary player when running the ball (imagine that!). Usually, the Quarterback hands the ball to the Halfback who tries his best to weave his way through defenders and gain positive yardage. The primary stats most people care about for a Runningback are Attempts, Total Yards, Average Yards, Touchdowns and Fumbles. A Runningback who gets more than 1,000 yards in a season is considered above average.

Tight End

The Tight End was traditionally seen as a big guy who could block pass rushers and lay blocks down on running plays. However, the past 15 years or so have seen a large number of receiving tight ends pop up in the league, so the position has changed somewhat. All tight ends will be asked to catch the ball at some point, but some (Dallas Clark from Indianapolis and Kellen Winslow from Tampa Bay) are extremely good at it. However, their size and athletic ability makes the more suited to Tight End than receiver. The stats that matter most to a TE are the same as the ones that matter to a Receiver: Catches, Yards Per Catch, Yards After The Catch, Touchdowns and Fumbles.

Wide Receiver

Some one will inevtiably tell you that not all receivers are Wide Receivers, because some are Flankers and some are Slot guys, or several other terms that aren't important for this discussion. Just understand that there are several places Receivers can line up which dictates the routes they will run through the defense. The stats that matter are Catches, Yards Per Catch, Yards After the Catch, Touchdowns and Fumbles. There have been numerous attempts over the years at recording the Drops each receiver has, but this is not an official stat.

Offensive Line

I'm grouping the line together because it makes more sense for this particular discussion. They are the big guys who get little notice and less money (on average) than most other players, but IMVHO, are the most important guys on the Offensive side of the ball. The stats that matter are: Sacks Allowed. That's really all that matters. Officially, the NFL website only shows the Games Played and Games Started stats for Offensive Lineman. Linkage: http://www.nfl.com/players/jefffaine/situationalstats?id=FAI112720


Defense

Linebacker

These are the guys who stand behind the Defensive Line and either cover the short to intermediate receiver routes, or try to tackle the runner on running plays. There are several different Linebacker positions, and each one will have a preference to one of the stats, depending on their main responsibility (runn-stuffing versus coverage) but all of them care about these stats: Tackles (solo and assisted), Sacks, Forced Fumbles and Interceptions.

Defensive Backs

There are several positions that fit under the guise of Defensive Back. Cornerbacks, Nicklebacks, Dimebacks, Strong Safety, and Free Safety are all considered to be Defensive Backs. Like Linebackers, each different DB will be measured differently upon each stat because of different responsibilities, but the main stats are: Passes Defensed, Tackles, Forced Fumbles and Interceptions.

Defensive Line

These are the big boys up front whose two main jobs are to sack the Quarterback and Tackle the ball carrier before plays can develop. Again, each one will be measured with differeing weight on each stat, but the ones that matter most are: Sacks (solo and Assisted), Tackles for a Loss, and Tackles (solo and assisted).

I think I'm gonna need more than one post!

Edit: wow, I totally thought he was asking something different. Crap.

BRB MAKIN BACON
Mar 22, 2007

I am Tuxedo Mask.
Russell Wilson, look into your heart and find the warrior within.
It is your destiny.

~:Seattle Seahawks:~


Gendo posted:

:words:

I don't like this post.

I love this post. :Berman:

Kalli
Jun 2, 2001




quote:


Q. The fixtures format is quite interesting and nothing like I have seen in any other sport. Can anyone give a brief rundown on what the effects of this are? I understand how it works from the wiki, but it seems to me that crappy teams are unfairly rewarded by playing other crappy teams (via the whole 'play the teams in other divisions who finished in the same spot as you last season' thing), and good teams have a harder time by being made to play other good teams? Is that the whole point of it?

Okay, how the schedule works is slightly odd since the season is only 16 games long, but here's how it works.

We'll use the Buffalo Bills as an example.

6 games - The play each other team in their division twice (the Jets, Patriots and Dolphins)
4 games - They play all 4 teams in one of the 3 other divisions in their conference. For 2010, it's the AFC North, and rotates every year (in 2009 they played the AFC South and 2008 was the AFC West's turn).
4 games - They play all 4 teams in one of the 4 divisions in the opposing conference. For this year it's the NFC North. Last year was the NFC South, and in 2008 the NFC West.
2 games - These are the strength of schedule balancing games. They play the two teams in divisions in their conference that finished in the same spot they did (dead last), that aren't in the AFC North, since they're already playing that team. So this year, the Bills will be playing fellow basement dwellers in the Jaguars from the AFC South and Chiefs from the AFC West.

This method of making the schedule started when the divisions were realigned in 2002 and means that every team will play every other team at least every 4 years, and will visit every other team's stadium at least every 8 years.

Democrazy
Oct 16, 2008

If you're not willing to lick the boot, then really why are you in politics lol? Everything is a cycle of just getting stomped on so why do you want to lose to it over and over, just submit like me, I'm very intelligent.


So would anyone be interested in a write-up on the defensive positions and a few schemes and formations? If someone else could do the offense while I write something up on defense, it'd be pretty cool.

WombBroom
Dec 3, 2008

I'm not afraid of heights; I'm afraid of widths.


Well, I'll go after this one that no one else has yet:

quote:

Q. The fixtures format is quite interesting and nothing like I have seen in any other sport. Can anyone give a brief rundown on what the effects of this are? I understand how it works from the wiki, but it seems to me that crappy teams are unfairly rewarded by playing other crappy teams (via the whole 'play the teams in other divisions who finished in the same spot as you last season' thing), and good teams have a harder time by being made to play other good teams? Is that the whole point of it?

I've been watching football my whole life and even I'm confused by it. Here's a handy dandy table for you:

quote:

Each team plays home and away against its three division opponents, which accounts for six games on the schedule.

Each team plays four teams from another division within its conference on a rotating three-year cycle, which accounts for four more games.

Each team plays four teams from a division in the other conference on a rotating four-year cycle, which accounts for another four games.

Each team plays two intraconference games based on the prior year's standings. For example, the first-place team in a division will play against the first-place team from another division within the same conference. The second place team in a division will play against the second-place team from another division within the same conference, etc...

Link: http://football.about.com/cs/football101/a/bl_schedproced.htm

adaz
Mar 7, 2009



quote:

but it seems to me that crappy teams are unfairly rewarded by playing other crappy teams (via the whole 'play the teams in other divisions who finished in the same spot as you last season' thing), and good teams have a harder time by being made to play other good teams? Is that the whole point of it?

It's one of the many things the NFL owners & players do to keep parity in the league. Yeah, about once a year some team gets really lucky with an easy schedule and waltzes into the playoffs but really, considering how teams can rise and fall so fast, it evens out. I haven't ever heard a NFL fan or team complain about the scheduling to be honest.

It also leads to lots of dollars when you can establish near permanent things like Colts/Patriots rivalry this decade, despite each team being in different divisions, have played each other for like 9 consecutive years since they basically always win their respective divisions. Matchups like that are cool and cause TV executives to drool as they tend to be extremely highly rated.

sc0tty
Jan 8, 2005

too kewell for school..

adaz posted:

It's one of the many things the NFL owners & players do to keep parity in the league. Yeah, about once a year some team gets really lucky with an easy schedule and waltzes into the playoffs but really, considering how teams can rise and fall so fast, it evens out. I haven't ever heard a NFL fan or team complain about the scheduling to be honest.

It also leads to lots of dollars when you can establish near permanent things like Colts/Patriots rivalry this decade, despite each team being in different divisions, have played each other for like 9 consecutive years since they basically always win their respective divisions. Matchups like that are cool and cause TV executives to drool as they tend to be extremely highly rated.

Yeah I think its awesome, even more so coming from the NBA when divisions don't mean anything and almost all rivalries seem pretty boring and dull.

a neat cape
Feb 22, 2007

Aw hunny, these came out GREAT!


adaz posted:


It also leads to lots of dollars when you can establish near permanent things like Colts/Patriots rivalry this decade, despite each team being in different divisions, have played each other for like 9 consecutive years since they basically always win their respective divisions. Matchups like that are cool and cause TV executives to drool as they tend to be extremely highly rated.

This was especially hilarious because the one time recently when the Pats finished second in their division (2008), the Colts ended finishing up 2nd as well. And even if the Colts had finished first, the AFC East and AFC South played each other in 2009 so the Pats and Colts would have played anyway.

oldfan
Jul 22, 2007

"Mathewson pitched against Cincinnati yesterday. Another way of putting it is that Cincinnati lost a game of baseball."


Democrazy posted:

So would anyone be interested in a write-up on the defensive positions and a few schemes and formations? If someone else could do the offense while I write something up on defense, it'd be pretty cool.

I'll work on something for offense, sure.

Doppelganger
Oct 11, 2002

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger


I only got into football during the 2008 season, so I'm glad to see a thread like this. I'm sure I'll have plenty of random rear end questions to contribute, like this one:

Why is operating out of the shotgun considered more of a primarily college style offense? I can see the value in a QB being able to quickly read the defense and pass the ball from under center, but what do you lose by taking a shotgun snap?

Impossibly Perfect Sphere
Nov 6, 2002


Does anyone actually have the honest to god official NFL wording of what constitutes a catch these days?

Sigvard
Mar 12, 2005

Protect Ya Neck, Kid
(from crowbars)

Awesome idea for a thread, hopefully it will help me not sound dumb when talking about football with my bros. I got into football last season after countless/awesome hours of playing NFL Street and being forced to play Fantasy Football. I started following the Eagles since I fell in love with Donovan McNabb in Street, though that's not really a proper reason of picking a football team to hopelessly devote your life to.

Being from NY, I chose to also secretly follow the Jets because Rex Ryan is awesome. I know I'll be called a bandwagoner when they dominate the sport in the next 5 years.

Maybe I just like fat coaches.

Q: The creation of the forward pass: the greatest innovation in football?

Kalli
Jun 2, 2001




Doppelganger posted:

I only got into football during the 2008 season, so I'm glad to see a thread like this. I'm sure I'll have plenty of random rear end questions to contribute, like this one:

Why is operating out of the shotgun considered more of a primarily college style offense? I can see the value in a QB being able to quickly read the defense and pass the ball from under center, but what do you lose by taking a shotgun snap?

The main thing you lose is being able to run convincing play action, as well as generally making running plays less desirable. Also, the snap has more of a chance to be botched, and some centers/qb's are really, really bad at handling it. Damien Woody way back in the day was the center for the Patriots, but couldn't long snap, so they didn't use the formation for a few years.

tk
Dec 10, 2003



Nap Ghost

Ben is not cool posted:

Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as Division 1, is the top level of college football, where the post season consists of a series of bowl games instead of a playoff. Most people, I believe, want to go to a playoff system, but there is so much money tied up in bowls that this may never happen.

I'm going to expand on this. Not all of this directly pertains directly to football, but it comes up a lot and can be useful to know.

First, there is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which is pretty much what it sounds like. They make the rules and poo poo for "amateur" college sports, and throw the hammer down on USC when they do bad things.

There are three divisions: DI, DII, and DIII. There are qualifications for each divisions based on number of sports fielded, athletic scholarships granted, and a bunch of other stuff. To make it easy, DI is the big boys. In the late 70s, DI was further split into DI-A and DI-AA based on the status of the football program (number of scholarship players, attendance numbers, etc.) Again, DI-A is the big boys.

A couple years ago, DI-A and DI-AA were renamed Football Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship subdivision (FCS), respectively. FBS has bowl games at the end of the season, FCS as a playoff.

Outside of NCAA classification, the conferences in FBS are further differentiated into BCS auto-bid (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-10, SEC) and non-auto-bid (C-USA, MAC, MWC, Sun Belt, WAC) conferences. This pretty much splits teams into the haves and have-nots of the college football world.

Gendo
Feb 25, 2001

His place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Doppelganger posted:

I only got into football during the 2008 season, so I'm glad to see a thread like this. I'm sure I'll have plenty of random rear end questions to contribute, like this one:

Why is operating out of the shotgun considered more of a primarily college style offense? I can see the value in a QB being able to quickly read the defense and pass the ball from under center, but what do you lose by taking a shotgun snap?
The NFL game operates at a higher speed than the college game. Reaction times are faster, players read plays more quickly, players close more quickly. All that makes it harder to run out of the shotgun without some kind of misdirection.

Establishing the run game is an important part of most NFL offenses so unless you're going to replace most of your run game with a short passing game you really do need to get under center into a pro set or I formation to run the ball consistently. Otherwise your back is set so far in the backfield and run plays are so telegraphed they get blown up unless the defense really sells out on the pass rush and you can sneak a draw or delay past them.

adaz
Mar 7, 2009



NC-17 posted:

Does anyone actually have the honest to god official NFL wording of what constitutes a catch these days?

It's in an archived thread awhile back (week 1 when louis murphy had his td catch overturned). I'm 95% sure this is correct (it came from Trin)

quote:

"A player is in possession when he is in firm grip and control of the ball inbounds. To gain possession of a loose ball that has been caught, intercepted or recovered, a player must have complete control of the ball and have both feet completely on the ground inbounds or any other part of his body, other than his hands, on the ground inbounds. If the player loses the ball while simultaneously touching both feet or any other part of his body to the ground or if there is any doubt that the acts were simultaneous, there is no possession. This rule applies to the field of play and in the end zone."

"A player who goes to the ground in the process of attempting to secure possession of a loose ball [with or without contact by a defender] must maintain control of the ball after he touches the ground, whether in the field of play or the end zone. If he loses control of the ball, and the ball touches the ground before he regains control, there is no possession. If he regains control prior to the ball touching the ground, it is a catch, interception or recovery."

e: NFL rulebook isn't public (of all the retarded things) but this was quoted by the NFL director of officiating last season as well.

adaz fucked around with this message at 02:24 on Jul 6, 2010

sants
May 17, 2003

free beavis


being a cowboys fan will catch you a lot of poo poo in general but it's no longer the bandwagon it once was, so welcome.

most of the questions here have been answered, figured i'd throw in a couple more wiki links that can be a good read for someone new

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nfl_lore
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Significant_rivalries_in_the_NFL

Arnold Layne
Nov 4, 2008



sc0tty posted:


Choosing a team
Any suggestions on choosing a team for those that are new to the sport. Obviously its easy if you actually live in the US, but for us dirty foreigners we have free reign to choose whatever team won last year we like.

For myself, I recently visited the old Cowboys stadium so that seems like a logical place to start for me.

If you wish to live the life of a fan of a team that always finds a way to fail when it matters most, then you should be a Vikings fan, it is the life though.

Perhaps make a choice if you favor offense or defense.

Or could always do what I did as a little kid and just pick the team with the coolest name/uniform/helmet

oldfan
Jul 22, 2007

"Mathewson pitched against Cincinnati yesterday. Another way of putting it is that Cincinnati lost a game of baseball."


OFFENSIVE FOOTBALL

Let's start with some basics. There have to be at least seven players lined up on the line of scrimmage at all times in American football. If there are less than seven players, it is an illegal formation and will be penalized. Of these, the two players at each end are eligible receivers, and the five interior players are ineligible receivers/offensive linemen. All players lined up behind the line of scrimmage are also eligible receivers.

I FORMATION



This is probably the most used formation in football. As you can see, there are five offensive linemen - two tackles, two guards, and a center - lined up on the line. On the left side, a wide receiver is also lined up on the line (a WR lined up on the line is also known as an X). On the right side, a TE (also known as a Y) is lined up on the line. Both of those players are eligible receivers. A second WR is lined up on the right side (a WR lined up behind the line is also known as a Z). A fullback and a halfback (a term used interchangeably with tailback or running back) are lined up behind the quarterback.

This formation is fairly neutral and will be used as both a passing and a running set. An I formation is typically run with 2 WR and 1 TE or 2 TE and 1 WR, but other variations exist. Many teams also use an offset I, where the fullback lines up even with the guard instead of the quarterback. Another variant is the pro set, where the fullback and halfback line up at even depths instead of halfback behind fullback.

The most basic running play out of this formation is lead:



That's a basic lead play from Notre Dame's playbook in the late 90s. The offensive line blocks the guys in front of them, attempting to clear the space around where the guard lines up. The fullback goes in the hole first and blocks the nearest second-level defender, typically the middle linebacker. The tailback gets the ball and runs through the hole, and if everyone has done their job gains some yards.

Other basic running plays out of this formation:

Trap - this describes a group of plays where one or more defensive linemen are not blocked or blocked into the backfield because the runner is intending to run towards the space where the defensive lineman was before he left.

Counter - a group of plays where the offense takes a step or two in one directio to fake the defense into going that way, then reverses direction and moves the other way

Toss - an outside running play where the quarterback tosses the ball laterally to a running back, the RB then attempts to beat the interior defenders to the outside of the field, and then turns upfield

There's a lot of different types of these type of plays. The I formation and offshoots have been the core formation of football since about the late 50s, but have been recently overtaken by the spread offense.

SPREAD OFFENSE

A spread offense attempts to spread the offensive players around the field to create space for runners and receivers. This is mostly a passing formation, although certain teams such as West Virginia have been successful with a run-heavy spread offense. Most spread offenses are run out of the shotgun, where the quarterback stands around five yards behind the line of scrimmage and receives the ball thrown between the center's legs instead of passed. The spread offense typically eliminates the fullback position and operates with 3 to 5 wide receivers, taking backs and tight ends off the field.



A typical three wide receiver shotgun set. Because there is an extra receiver and the play can happen quicker because the QB is in a better position to throw quickly, the defense has to spread out more to cover the possibilities.



These are four fairly typical spread offense passing plays from the holy grail of playbooks for coaches, Urban Meyer's (from Utah). It would take awhile to explain everything going on here, but there are both short options and deep options on all plays. With a quarterback who can figure out who is open (called reading progressions) and athletic perimeter players (WR and RB), it is almost impossible to cover everyone, which is why this formation is so effective. The spread also tends to have a lot of routes working towards the middle of the field instead of the sidelines, which has led to some college quarterbacks putting up insane numbers without even acceptable arm strength. Because the defense has to defend the pass so vigorously, running plays can also be effective out of this formation.

The "wildcat" formation, which has become en vogue in both college and professional offense, is essentially just a spread option offense with only running plays and a fast guy playing quarterback. The wildcat sets increase the prevalence of option runs, which are runs where the quarterback has the option to keep the ball himself if he sees an open running lane, or pitch or hand the ball to a perimeter player.



That's four basic zone read plays, a typical spread option play where the quarterback or wildcat player can hand it to the running back or keep it and run depending on which way he reads the defense.

I was going to go over the passing tree here, but I found a basic explanation here instead.

That's a very very very basic introduction to offensive football philosophy and leaves out like 9 million important things, but it's a start.

MourningView
Sep 2, 2006


Is this Heaven?


Great idea for a thread, gonna sticky it so it doesn't get lost before the season.

sc0tty
Jan 8, 2005

too kewell for school..

Loads of great info so far. Plenty to read through. I'll go through and update the first post with as all the awesome offense/defense breakdowns and stuff like Gendo's stat breakdown as the thread goes. Keep them coming.

Any recommendations on which websites to follow the NFL? Is ESPN its usually horrible sensationalist self? How does Yahoo compare? The official website?

BlackJosh
Sep 25, 2007


Arnold Layne posted:

If you wish to live the life of a fan of a team that always finds a way to fail when it matters most, then you should be a Vikings fan, it is the life though.

Perhaps make a choice if you favor offense or defense.

Or could always do what I did as a little kid and just pick the team with the coolest name/uniform/helmet

Pick a team that doesn't have a superbowl yet (The Vikings are clearly the best from my completely objective point of view).

But honestly, that would be the best team to jump on to to root for. A team like the Vikings, Eagles, or Chargers that are good but haven't made it over the hump is a team that you can have fun rooting for without feeling like a bandwagoner, I'd imagine. Also the best years are still, technically, ahead of the team and you won't have to be one of those people that's enjoying a championship that occured before you even cared about the team.

WombBroom
Dec 3, 2008

I'm not afraid of heights; I'm afraid of widths.


sc0tty posted:

Loads of great info so far. Plenty to read through. I'll go through and update the first post with as all the awesome offense/defense breakdowns and stuff like Gendo's stat breakdown as the thread goes. Keep them coming.

Any recommendations on which websites to follow the NFL? Is ESPN its usually horrible sensationalist self? How does Yahoo compare? The official website?

It's really all about your personal preference. Since I am a Tampa Bay fan, I frequent not only NFL and ESPN, but fansites dedicated to Buccaneers news.

I usually go to NFL.com for the videos and draft coverage. Lots of times they will have players in and will demonstrate football theory on the set during interviews like this one: http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-network-total-access/09000d5d818f3528/Bold-predictions

ESPN is awesome during the season and the draft, though they always promote their Insider thing which I've never bought, but I hear has good information.

SBNation.com is also pure sports awesomeness.

Draftguys.com is wonderful starting in about November and going up until the draft. They don't post much besides then.

Hope this helps!

Crunkjuice
Apr 4, 2007

That could've gotten in my eye!
*launches teargas at unarmed protestors*

I THINK OAKLAND PD'S USE OF EXCESSIVE FORCE WAS JUSTIFIED!


jeffersonlives posted:

OFFENSIVE FOOTBALL

This is really awesome info, any chance you or someone could do a defensive write up? I can do pretty well in identifying offensive schemes, but i can't read defenses for poo poo.

HOTLANTA MAN
Jul 4, 2010

by Hand Knit


Lipstick Apathy

BlackJosh posted:

Pick a team that doesn't have a superbowl yet (The Vikings are clearly the best from my completely objective point of view).

But honestly, that would be the best team to jump on to to root for. A team like the Vikings, Eagles, or Chargers that are good but haven't made it over the hump is a team that you can have fun rooting for without feeling like a bandwagoner, I'd imagine. Also the best years are still, technically, ahead of the team and you won't have to be one of those people that's enjoying a championship that occured before you even cared about the team.

Seconding this. When I was little my parents raised me a Cowboys fan and the whole basis of being a Cowboys fan back then was "kiss the rings."

I started rooting for the Chargers a long while back and while it sucks to die in the playoffs every year there's a lot of enjoyment and excitement in thinking that next year is gonna be "the year."

Doppelganger
Oct 11, 2002

Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger


BlackJosh posted:

Pick a team that doesn't have a superbowl yet (The Vikings are clearly the best from my completely objective point of view).
I got into football, and the New Orleans Saints the year before they won their first super bowl. I got to skip the decades of frustrating losses, but got on board JUST early enough to not be a bandwagoner. I'd say as a fan, I beat the system.

Eifert Posting
Mar 31, 2007

Most of the time he catches it every time.


Grimey Drawer

The correct choice for a team to bandwagon on is the Cincinnati Ochocincos. They are academically the most entertaining team in the sport.

Blackula69
Apr 1, 2007

DEHUMANIZE  YOURSELF  &  FACE  TO  BLACULA


Yahoo Sports has really good commentary and a pretty funny blog, that's where I go for all my NFL news usually - NFL.Yahoo.com. They've signed a few big writers, including a former Sports Illustrated guy (Mike Silver) who's just about the only NFL writer I read consistently.

adaz
Mar 7, 2009



This will probably cause Notre Dame fans to froth at the mouths (so a win-win) but Bob Davie wrote an excellent series of columns for ESPN.com years ago on various formations, schemes, blocking, basic football, etc breaking them down and how they work. It's insider only content but I'll post an example. With mod approval I can post more.

http://search.espn.go.com/bob-davie-football-101/

bob davie on Zone Blocking posted:


Over the past several years, Minnesota has done a better job of consistently running the football than any other team in the country. Most college football coaches would agree that even though the Gophers have had some talented players, no staff has done more with less than Minnesota's -- particularly in the running game.

Glenn Mason, who has been named Coach of the Year in the MAC, Big Eight and Big Ten, is committed totally to the running game. Much like with the Denver Broncos, it doesn't seem to really matter who lines up at tailback for the Gophers. They all have success.

Every team in the country has some kind of zone blocking scheme, but Minnesota's looks different because of its efficiency. This is a credit to the offensive staff led by coordinator Mitch Browning. No one does it better, which is why coaches from all over the country study Minnesota every spring to see what it does differently.

When you watch the tape, though, it is not what the Gophers do that makes them unique, it is how they do it. Minnesota has made a total commitment to the running game and zone blocking. Commitment is an easy word to say, but the tape clearly proves that the Gophers' identity is formed by their ability to run the football.

What is zone blocking?

Zone blocking in the running game is when two offensive linemen work in tandem to block an area as opposed to each having a predetermined specific man to block. The concept calls for two adjacent linemen to come off in unison and hip-to-hip to attack a down defensive lineman or area. Depending on the charge of that defensive lineman, one offensive lineman will stay engaged on the defender, while the other will come off for the linebacker. The initial double-team at the point of attack provides movement and allows the offensive linemen to be aggressive because they have help if the defender pinches inside.

It appears that the linemen have double-teamed the down linemen and allowed the linebackers to go free. However, all four eyes of the offensive guard and tackle are on the linebacker while they are engaged in the initial double-team on the down lineman.

If the down lineman stays outside, the offensive tackle will stay engaged and the offensive guard will come off the initial double-team and block the linebacker.

If the down lineman pinches inside, the offensive tackle will go to the linebacker and the offensive guard will stay engaged and take over the down lineman.

Keys to Minnesota's zone blocking technique

1. The linemen stay hip-to-hip as they attack.

2. The linemen keep their shoulders square.

3. Most importantly, all four eyes of the two offensive linemen are on the linebacker as they double-team the down lineman.

4. The linemen must know who and when to take over the defensive lineman and who leaves to block the linebacker.

What separates Minnesota?

When watching Minnesota on tape, you see there are two things the Gophers do better than anyone in college football. The first is their ability to pull linemen on their outside stretch play. The second is their great technique in cutting defenders with legal cut blocks.

Pulling linemen on outside stretch

Minnesota does a great job pulling linemen on their outside stretch plays. Which lineman pulls is based on the alignment of the defense. This is actually a man-blocking scheme with the tight end blocking down on the defensive end and the guard blocking down on the defensive tackle. The offensive tackle pulls around for the outside linebacker and the center pulls around for the middle linebacker.


Cut blocks

Minnesota linemen do an outstanding job of utilitizing legal cut blocks to chop linebackers to the ground. The reason they are good at it is they practice the block at full speed. Many teams in the country don't like to chop block in practice because of injury concerns. As a result, they never get good at it. Again, we mention the word commitment. The Gophers are committed to chop blocks and obviously practice them.

Cut blocks are illegal if two linemen are engaged on one defender at the same time or if an offensive blocker is blocking from the outside back in toward the line of scrimmage and blindsides a defender. As long as the defender sees the chop block coming, it is legal.

Summary

Minnesota is obviously well-coached and totally committed to running the football. Every college football team uses zone blocking, but no one does it as well as the Gophers.

Gendo
Feb 25, 2001

His place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Give me a minute I have to overcome the massive wave of depression that just hit me.

oldfan
Jul 22, 2007

"Mathewson pitched against Cincinnati yesterday. Another way of putting it is that Cincinnati lost a game of baseball."


Crunkjuice posted:

This is really awesome info, any chance you or someone could do a defensive write up? I can do pretty well in identifying offensive schemes, but i can't read defenses for poo poo.

Democrazy said he was writing one up so I'll let him handle that, if you have any specific questions I'll take a shot though.

A really good site that breaks a lot of this stuff down is Smart Football.

adaz
Mar 7, 2009



Gendo posted:

Give me a minute I have to overcome the massive wave of depression that just hit me.

I might have picked that one intentionally :twisted:

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Gendo
Feb 25, 2001

His place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

Seriously just take that and give it a competent defense WHAT THE gently caress MINNESOTA

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