I don't have access to pff's premium services and don't know what all they provide to people who subscribe. Maybe they offer something different to nfl teams. Maybe someone with more direct knowledge can speak to that.
Finster how do you know that nfl teams only use their stats and not their grading system? I have heard of a couple of coaches that are not fans but have not heard teams come out and make that statement.
I thought their grading system was one of the main things they offered.
I think the point may be that since their grading system is widely quoted by sports writers it might be safe to think that it has more weight than the opinion of an average fan.
I think they have said that it is not the end all be all of anything but it is a good place to start.
...http://www.si.com/nfl/2014/08/25/mike-z ... ball-focus
I reached out to Sam Monson of PFF for a response.
"I understand Mike Zimmer’s reservations, but while coaches like to maintain the mystique of football, the bottom line is most plays are simple enough to decipher," Monson told me. "We won’t get everything 100 percent right, the same way the Vikings won’t get everything 100 percent right when watching tape of any other team in the league – it doesn’t mean they’re not right most of the time and it’s still not a worthwhile exercise.
"We would never want anybody taking our grades and stats as the definitive answer to any question. Football is way too complex for that. But they provide a fantastic starting point and can give you a big shortcut to answers you might be looking for. PFF currently sells to 13 teams and once we get to sit down with people within organizations they immediately recognize the value of the grading and what we do -- from coaches to the scouting department to the analytics guys. If Coach Zimmer wants to learn a little more about PFF and our processes, we’re always here."
However, I've never been very fond of any single-point grading system -- the game is too complex to draw it down to a number, no matter how may decimal points you put behind it. PFF always explains their grades, but I would love to see more words behind those specific numbers. Those numbers don't tell the whole story, and while the PFF guys will be the first ones to agree with this, it's still easy for some to mistake a shortcut for empirical evaluation.
I also agree completely with Monson. If you watch enough tape and learn from enough people in and out of the league who know more than you do, you can discern when a team hits a nickel defense, or blocks inside, or has certain coverage concepts in a general sense. You won't always know what those assignments are, but as many people have said over the years, perfect is the enemy of good.
If you wait until you have enough information and enough connections to get it right every time, you'll never get the bat off your shoulder often enough to get anything right one time. PFF does the best they can with the information they're given, and they do a pretty solid job, as do many other analysts, paid and unpaid, who don't work directly for the league. That may counter Zimmer's seeming insistence that those in the league know best, but that's the way it goes.
Zimmer may find that reaching out to Pro Football Focus, and perhaps even availing himself of their services, could help his own case down the road. One thing's for sure -- more and more teams are using all kinds of information from all kinds of different sources, and the teams who hang back will eventually be a bit behind the curve.
...http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/sport ... nki/nbLPG/
“To be honest with you, I don’t spend a lot of time looking at their numbers,” Dolphins defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle said. “I don’t know where they can have statistics and quantify these statistics without really knowing what the calls are or what a guy’s responsibility is.”
Grimes pointed out one example: Between various man and zone coverages, the defender closest to a receiver isn’t always the player “burned.”
“How do you know?” said Grimes, adding he can’t always be certain when he’s watching games on TV.
Hornsby: “Most of the time, it’s brutally obvious. Some of the time, it isn’t.” He said that on those occasions, his staff will comb through various angles of a play before assigning a grade. It might even consult with team sources. “In at least 50 percent of the time, we can find out.”
It’s probably no coincidence that he says he’s “very, very proud” of the offensive linemen’s grades but “much less comfortable” with rankings for safeties.
Hornsby said subscribers include NFL players and about a third of the teams, although he declined to say whether the Dolphins are among them (a source indicated they are). He said some teams use Pro Football Focus to help with roster cuts.
Dolphins center Mike Pouncey said he supports grading offensive linemen, but “it better be somebody that played this sport and understands it. I could sit back and tell LeBron James to make a 3 every time, but I’ve never played basketball, so how can I criticize him?”
Hornsby, a business consultant, said each analyst undergoes six months of training. Grading on each play is done on a scale ranging from +2.0 to -2.0, with a 0 being average. Analysts are told if they’re not “95 percent sure” on a given play, not to assign a grade, but also not to be afraid to use judgment.
Hornsby believes objectivity is bolstered by having U.S.-based graders who don’t work for teams. Coaches, he said, “tend to like certain players because they’re nice guys.”
Hornsby cited a case of a weak team whose position coach had given all his players positive grades. The head coach colorfully pointed out that the team was getting crushed, obtained Pro Football Focus’ grades and said they were closer to reality. Many teams begin their relationship with Pro Football Focus “being sniffy,” Hornsby said, but quickly come around to thinking it’s “incredibly accurate.”
Hornsby sometimes tires of defending his ratings.
“There will always be people who won’t believe in it — up until the point they do,” he said.
“Sometimes I think I like the debate because the more debate you have, the more you’re challenged, the more stringent you have to be. But there are times you get fed up with it.”
Love it or scoff at it, the detailed numbers might be here to stay. Or even multiplying.
College Football Focus, Hornsby said, might be his next undertaking.
Those are some of the reasons I think their grading system is of higher value than the average fans opinion. Not perfect but with a good chance of being more right than fans.