Sunday, October 7, 2012

Putting a stat-keeping debate to rest

In high school football, it is a lock if you have four different people keeping track of statistics, you're going to have four varying sets of numbers. A running back, depending on interpretation, could have 19 carries for 100 yards, or 18 carries for 97 yards, or 20 carries for 102 yards ... you get the point.

A lot of times, this situation occurs when there aren't hashmarks for every yard. So if someone catches a pass and advances midway between the 40 and the 45, it comes down to interpretation whether the receiver advanced to the 42 or the 43.

One instance that seems to guarantee differentiation is what to do with rushing yards on a holding penalty. For example, it's first-and-10 at your own 25. A running back takes the handoff and goes 8 yards to the 33. Hang on, though, because there was a hold - so 10 yards from the spot of the foul. The hold occurred at the 29, so the penalty is marched off to the 19.

This is where it gets murky. Some statisticians will not count any rushing yardage on that play. Some won't count yardage or an attempt because of the penalty.

My understanding over the years has always been the rusher still gets credit, in the example used, for the 4 yards of progress to the 29, since that's where the hold took place.

This year, after a couple such examples, and subsequent varying rushing totals from good folks who keep stats around the area, I figured it was time to settle this once and for all.

As luck would have it - allowing for a sigh of relief on my part in the process - my interpretation apparently hasn't been wrong this whole time.

Granted it's a higher level of football, but the NCAA puts out a manual for statisticians, which can be found here. Section 14 (a) explains: "The basic enforcement spot for fouls in the field of play or in the end zone on a running play is where the run ends beyond the line of scrimmage. If the foul is by the team in possession and it occurs behind the spot where the run ends and as long as it is beyond the previous spot, the enforcement is from the spot of the foul."

Article 1 of Section 14 then states examples of a rushing play in which a penalty occurs, the third example stating: "A.R. 3. Team A’s ball on its 30. Adams rushes for 20 yards to the 50. A clipping penalty is called against Team A on Team A’s 47. The enforcement spot is the 47 (where the foul occurred), and Team A is penalized 15 yards to its 32. Credit Adams with a rush of 17 yards and charge Team A with a penalty of 15 yards. This accounts for the forward movement of the ball by a net of two yards."

If it's good enough for college football - in a manual specifically produced for keeping statistics - then it's good enough for me.

It's not a major point, of course - the chase for Week 11 around the area is what really matters.

But hopefully this helps put to rest what has been a slight point of contention.

- Chris Lillstrung | @CLillstrungNH


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home