Statistical Thinking in Sports

Last month a book entitled Statistical Thinking in Sports was published by Chapman&Hall/CRC. Edited by Jim Albert and Ruud Koning, this book brings together a collection of essays examining various statistical aspects of sports. Included in this collection is work examining soccer, baseball, running, tennis, and one article on professional football.

The football chapter, which represents my lone contribution, is entitled “Back to Back Evaluation on the Gridiron”. In this chapter you will find the complete story behind the QB Score model, introduced in Chapter Nine of The Wages of Wins. In writing WoW we deliberately left out all the equations. We did include more than 60 pages of end notes, so we think you can get the basic idea behind everything we did. But if you wanted to see the equations, you were out of luck. At least, until now. In Statistical Thinking in Sports you can see the math behind both QB Score and RB Score.

I would add that there is a website – statistical-thinking-in-sports.com — associated with this new book. At this website you can find additional details behind many of the chapters. So far, though, I have not posted anything there. Perhaps when the NFL season gets going I will post something at that site as well.

Let me close by noting that the full theoretical structure (and all the equations) behind Wins Produced and Win Score will be published in a paper entitled “A Simple Measure of Worker Productivity in the National Basketball Association.” This paper will appear in The Business of Sport, a collection published by Praeger Publishers. The editors of this collection are Brad Humphreys and Dennis Howard and I am told by Brad that the book should be available in the early part of 2008. At least, that’s the plan at the moment.

– DJ

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