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Pro Football Prospectus: 2002 Edition Paperback – August, 2002

3.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sean Lahman is a pioneer of making sports data publicly available on the Web, starting with his Baseball Archive site. As a writer, he has contributed to THE FOOTBALL ANALYST, TOTAL BASEBALL, and BASEBALL: THE BIOGRAPHICAL ENCYCLOPEDIA. As a senior editor for Total Sports, he was the editor of TOTAL STOCK CAR RACING and coeditor of TOTAL BASKETBALL. Lahman and Todd Greanier are cofounders of the Football Project, and both live in Rochester, New York.

Todd Greanier is a cofounder of The Football Project, he lives in Rochester, New York.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books (August 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157488557X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574885576
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,780,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Adam Strasberg on September 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
When I heard about Football Prospectus, I was very excited. For years, I have wished for a book on football with the depth and breakthrough research that the Baseball Prospectus provides.
For those of you who don't know, Football Prospectus is the spin off of Baseball Prospectus, in my opinion the best baseball book on the market year in and year out.
That being said, I have to say I was disappointed with the content of this book. Most of the articles amount to little more than opinion. There isn't the research and analysis to back up the opinions like there is in the Baseball version.
The book is organized by team with a general essay, a section on the o-line, a section on the defensive front 7, and a section on the defensive backfield. There is a skill players section organized by position in the back.
I wanted more analysis, I wanted a different way to look at the game, some new statistical tools, I didn't get it. What I got was some interesting writing from a group that I respect but nothing really special.
Would I buy this book again? Well, if you're going to buy a couple of $7.50 magazines, then I would buy this book instead. I would only buy it to support the guys at Baseball Prospectus and encourage them to keep going and refine this product.
Would I buy this book again next year? I think yes because I believe in the Prospectus people, and I think this is a work in progress. Given another year and some feedback, I think they can make something special and needed -- a book dedicated to football that offers cutting edge statistical analysis and insight.
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Format: Paperback
To apparently justify the publisher's attempt to expand the 'Prospectus' brand name (i.e., the successful Baseball Prospectus annuals), the authors proudly proclaim that they watched a tape of every NFL game played last year. Apparently, this experience was solely for entertainment purposes, as it is nearly impossible to determine what new statistical information they derived from this exercise. Most of their statistical analysis is comprised of taking common stats and haphazardly throwing them together to come to some predetermined conclusion.
For example, in the Pittsburgh Steelers' chapter, the writers attempt to show Kordell Stewart's escapability. The authors conjure up the Quarterback Elusiveness Score, a ratio between quarterback rushes to sacks. Chicago Bear QB Jim Miller places number two on this list, by virtue of his low sack total (a product, in part, of his chucking the ball away at the slightest sign of pressure) and his rushes, which were primarily kneel downs (30 att., -23 yds.). The only thing elusive is what this is trying to tell us.
With the information at their disposal, they could have analyzed the times a QB forced a throw, fumbled while scrambling, sidestepped in the pocket to throw for yardage, etc. However, such creative thoughts seem to elude the writers again and again.
Thus, much of this book isn't a whole lot different than your average yearly football magazine. It's even chock full of cliches -- halfway into the book, the authors have credited the aftermath of 9/11 in aiding the efforts of three different teams to 'come together'.
When you put together a football annual, the reader should expect more than rote analysis, particularly when you boast that you have much more up your sleeve. This book is below average.
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Format: Paperback
Some of the reviewers here rip the book for not living up to the standard of the Baseball Prospectus, but that's not really fair. The BP guys are building on a 20-year foundation of baseball analysis, and that book has been around for five or six years. There isn't a similar foundation of hardore football analysis to build on. I think these guys deserve some credit for what they did do in their first edition. Compare it to the first edition of BP, or the first Baseball Abstract by Bill James, and this book compares very favorably.
There are some new analytical tools here that other reviwers are simply ignoring. I think the system for objectively rating defensive players is intersting -- the first effort to do this that I've ever seen. There are special team stats that you're not going to find in football magazines, and data on offensive and defensive coordinators. They analyze the offensive lines and the secondary, adn the defensive front seven. Say that this pales in comparison to BP if you must, but give them credit for covering topics that aren't generally covered in football books.
Rather than blasting the book for what it didn't do, I'm excited about the things that they did do. Futuer editions will only get better, and I'm grateful that my favorite sport is finally getting some serious attention.
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Format: Paperback
Following in the footsteps of the Baseball Prospectus series of books comes the Pro Football Prospectus. I think it's a good first try but I can't tell if it will grow to be as strong as BP, which covers each major-league team and presents new and interesting research in each annual. If you're buying PFP for a fantasy football draft it will be useful to get the rankings at each position and see the trends of all the skill-position players' rate stats (although not that much better than one of the newsstand fantasy mags). It's also nice to see the authors go back several years in grading the drafts of each team.
The research does not, however, stack up to the corresponding analysis in Baseball Prospectus. Of course this is an unfair comparison for a couple of reasons: baseball research has been going on for far longer, and BP has been publishing for seven years now and has gotten a lot of framework in place for studying the game; and even more fundamentally, football is a much harder game to analyze. Each play in baseball involves primarily the batter and the pitcher and usually one fielder; it is relatively easy to assign credit or blame on each play. (Rating fielders is difficult, but play-by-play data and new techniques are helping to improve fielding metrics.) Each play in football is affected by the majority of the 22 players on the field -- even, say, wide receivers on a running play are throwing blocks or acting as decoys to stretch the defense. As a result, the authors' rankings of each team's offensive line, front seven, and defensive backfield seem pretty dicey when just calculated from raw stats.
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