Once upon a time I saw OneRepublic in concert. I’ve only been to a handful of concerts in my life (true story… my first one ever was Taylor Swift in 2011), so you know I dug it.
Among the many different tracks that OneRepublic puts together is crowd-favorite “Good Life”. It’s a sweet tune that actually has a spot on my writing playlist, so that makes things really convenient and meta today, doesn’t it?
Ryan Tedder tells us that he woke up in London yesterday, blah blah blah. He says he got some new names and numbers that he doesn’t know, and addresses to places like Abbey Road.
Now I don’t know if Tedder meant the B507 or the seminole album by The Beatles, but on his way to Abbey Road if he was digesting those “numbers that he doesn’t know” he might have been talking about Price Per Yard.
After a week away from Inside The Star I couldn’t wait to get back to my keyboard and start cranking out some quality and high-octane content for you guys once again. As has been the Monday tradition for the past month, I’m starting with the numbers that I do know – Price Per Yard.
The PPY metric and I have become quite close over the last few months. I spent a large amount of time building excel spreadsheets and crunching numbers, and I dropped some of that analysis here at Inside The Star:
There are two more pieces left to this PPY pie (Pies Per Yard would be an incredible analysis as well…). There’s today, hey hi there welcome to this article you’re already 250+ words into, and next Monday. Today is a summary of the past three seasons and what trends we’ve seen, and seven days from now will be a Price Per Yard projection into the 2016 season.
Shall we? Or shall we? I think we shall.
Price Per Yard: The Base Value
It’s important before we get started that you understand a key element in the PPY puzzle – The Base Value.
By now you are well familiar with the methodology that went into PPY (it can be found in the introductory link), and you are likely familiar with the notion that base values need to be used in order to discern who is truly great at this game.
I’m shaking things up a bit (by the way I consumed about 18 milkshakes in the time it took to fully complete the PPY analysis) and giving you the base value calculation to kick things off. I’m so nice, aren’t I? You’re really nice, RJ. Thanks man.
2013-2015 Price Per Yard: A Look At The Entire NFL
**Click the image to zoom in
Well well well, that’s a lot of colors.
You’ll notice right away that the Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, and St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams all have asterisks next to their names. This is because
they don’t matter there isn’t data available for all three seasons analyzed for these specific teams. For all intents and purposes we’re purging them from this exercise (by the way that purge movie looks terrifying… I had to step away from this article for a second to calm down after thinking about it).
There are three teams that we need to discuss here as they seem to be the best ones in this realm over the course of the last three seasons.
- Running Back Spending = $9,775,156
- Offensive Line Spending = $75,132,328
- Run Game Spending = $84,907,484
- Team Rushing Attempts = 1,200
- Team Rushing Yards = 5,233
- Price Per Yard = $16,225.39
- % Diff From RY BV = 4.41%
- % Diff From PPY BV = -8.81%
The World Champions, in my estimation, earn the bronze medal when it comes to the three-season summarized Price Per Yard. This might seem perplexing as from 2013-2015 the Orange Crush are the only team to be spending less than the BV per yard AND out-gaining the BV in overall rushing yards.
Over the course of Price Per Yard I’ve fielded the question “Well what does this mean in the grand scheme of football?” many times. Simply being good at PPY, obviously, doesn’t guarantee anything. It’s just math. Numbers. Data.
The reason PPY is important is because of the value that it represents and the freedom that it allows. If Team A is having success in one avenue of their team at a reduced rate, it means that they can devote the funds that they’re not spending to an area where they need them.
The Broncos personify this quality more than any other team. Due to the value they’ve had at the run game over the last three seasons they’ve been able to make huge investments on the other side of the ball in players like DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, and TJ Ward. Those three served as the foundation for one of the greatest defenses we’ve ever seen, and one that secured Super Bowl 50 for Denver.
The New England Patriots
- Running Back Spending = $10,647,054
- Offensive Line Spending = $59,946,124
- Run Game Spending = $70,593,178
- Team Rushing Attempts = 1,126
- Team Rushing Yards = 4,825
- Price Per Yard = $14,630.71
- % Diff From RY BV = -3.73%
- % Diff From PPY BV = -17.78%
The ultimate Price Per Yard bridesmaid is the team that has won more games this century than any other, so I think that’s a fair trade off.
In 2014 the Pats made what one could argue, I won’t, one of the biggest Free Agent Signings in NFL History when they secured the services of Darrelle Revis for one season. Why one of the biggest? Just check that ring on their finger, boss.
Revis served as the linchpin for the 2014 Patriots Defense and leader of their secondary, you know the one that featured Malcolm Butler who you’ve probably never heard of. Renting Revis indisputably helped New England get over the ten-year hump that had plagued them since their previous Super Bowl Championship in the 2004 season.
How was New England even able to afford Revis, though? That’s where Price Per Yard comes into play. Over the last three seasons the Patriots have spent 17.78% less than the BV per yard. Sure, they’ve gained 3.73% less yards than the BV, but that’s a minimal number when you consider the savings they’ve had and the benefit that it’s provided – you know, winning Super Bowl XLIX. Small little benefit, right there.
The Dallas Cowboys
- Running Back Spending = $8,236,678
- Offensive Line Spending = $57,862,006
- Run Game Spending = $66,098,684
- Team Rushing Attempts = 1,058
- Team Rushing Yards = 4,929
- Price Per Yard = $13,410.16
- % Diff From RY BV = -1.66%
- % Diff From PPY BV = -24.64%
The qualifier for “How is Price Per Yard useful to an NFL team?” is obviously a Super Bowl title. The first two teams we’ve named here comprise 66% of the last three so they’ve obviously got their ducks in a row in that avenue.
The team I believe to be the best at Price Per Yard over the last three seasons only has one playoff win, no Lombardi Trophies, to show for their success. The facts of the matter are that the facts numerically suggest this.
Dallas has spent a staggering 24.64% less than the BV per yard, and managed to only fall 1.66% below the RY BV. You need to understand how mathematically incredible this is.
Let’s look at the Run Game Spending. Among teams we have complete data for (so excluding GB, CLE, STL/LA) only the Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers devoted less money to their overall run game. Those teams have 4,073 and 4,223 yards respectively while Dallas has 4,929 (6th in the NFL in this span).
It could be argued that the Cowboys spent 2013 understanding Price Per Yard, 2014 mastering it, and 2015 fell apart in more ways than one. Where they deserve criticism, I know I’ve handed out a ton, is in that they haven’t devoted the resources they’ve saved via Price Per Yard to areas where they need them like the Broncos and Patriots have.
The important thing to remember about Price Per Yard is that there is no indisputable winner. All we can do is make our own observations based on the data at hand.
Next week, August 1st, I’ll be launching the final installment in my Price Per Yard series by using what we know about 2016 from a financial perspective to predict and project what teams need this season in order to have equal, or great, returns on their investments.
If you have any comments or questions about Price Per Yard, the philosophy behind it, the formula that went into it, or just simply want to talk and/or debate it… you can comment below, email me at RJ@RJOchoaShow.com, or Tweet to me at @rjochoa.