The 2012 season closely mirrored 2011 in terms of winning percentages of the categories we track. As you can see in the graph below many of the categories are very similar and some even overlap the other to the extent that it’s impossible to distinguish the two.
There are, however, a couple of categories where 2012 was vastly different than 2011: Turnovers and Penalty Yards.
In 2011 teams with fewer turnovers won 56.80% of their games. By definition this does not include games where the turnover battle was even, these games were not included on either side of the equation. In 2012 the team with fewer turnovers won 75.40% of their games – a whopping increase of 18.60% – a remarkable change in one year. The question moving forward is which year was an aberration, 2011 or 2012? On the flip side of that are penalty yards.
In 2011 winning teams had less penalty yards 52.16% of the time. Amazingly, in 2012 winning teams had less penalty yards only 43.37% of the time and winning teams actually averaged more penalty yards per game than losing teams. Not only that, but in perhaps my all-time favorite stat teams with 100+ yards in penalties were 55-33 in 2012 a winning % of 62.5% – higher than several of the categories we track.
In the big scheme of things two years is not a lot of history on which to base conclusions or identify trends. Still, we have 1,404 games currently in our database, which is not an insignificant number. The ultimate goal is to identify which stats are a signal and which are noise.