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Podcast: The FiveThirtyEight Crash Course In QB Stats
Hot Takedown

Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (Oct. 13, 2015), we have another edition of “Stat School” — in which resident expert Neil Paine teaches us the basics of statistical evaluation in a sport. The last two Stat Schools covered baseball, but now we turn our attention to the gridiron. This time, Neil teaches us about three quarterback-centric statistics: win percentage, passer rating and expected points.

Stat one: QB win percentage

The frequency with which a team wins when starting a given quarterback.

Stat two: Passer rating

A measure of passing performance using passing attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns and interceptions.

Stat three: Expected points added

An estimate of the scoring margin generated by a player’s performance, based on a model predicting how many more points his team was expected to score after each play than before those plays began.

Stream the episode by clicking the play button, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to above. Below is a video excerpt and — just in case you didn’t believe us — a look at the spreadsheet Neil was working from during the conversation.

The QBR rating spreadsheet "Stat Man" Neil Paine was working from during the conversation. Cam Newton's stats are along the top.

The QBR rating spreadsheet “Stat Man” Neil Paine was working from during the conversation. Cam Newton’s stats are along the top.

Jody Avirgan



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Neil Paine is a senior sportswriter for FiveThirtyEight.

Kate Fagan is a writer for espnW and a regular panelist on the FiveThirtyEight sports podcast Hot Takedown.

Chadwick Matlin is a senior editor at FiveThirtyEight.

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