Wednesday, July 14, 2021

RESEARCH: "Yards Lost Attempting to Pass"/"Individual Sacks"

By TJ Troup 

TJ Troup "The King of NFL Turnover Stats"-Editors Note)

There are people who enjoy the statistical history of the game. There are people who enjoy the evolution of strategy both on offense, and defense. There are people who just damn enjoy watching football film. 

Yes, am one of those people who fits into all three of the above categories. Am I alone? Hell no! Have detailed in the past how my quest began, and does not need to be re-visited, but what does need to be explored are the folks have encountered who actually understand the word "research". 

Using on of my favorite lines...research is not putting on a pot of coffee and looking at stats, and then sharing an opinion. Sean Foreman at Sport Reference has built a website/empire in more than one sport----and what is available at Baseball reference is the pinnacle! 

Earlier this year he purchased a literal ton of historical stat data from me, and hopefully Sean and myself can continue to work together to add even more details to the historical pro football boxscores. Beginning in 1949 the NFL finally began to list in the team stats "yards lost attempting to pass". 

Having a starting point is all well and good, BUT looking at the yards lost or attained by the pass rush leads to the inevitable...who got to the passer (almost always the quarterback)? John Turney worked endless hours on attempting to list who got to the quarterback—or as Mr. David Jones coined "sacked". 

Through John met Mr. Nick Webster, and it is about damn time credit is finally given to these two men for what they have accomplished. There is a bias at work here, and yes folks we all have those. Both men are steadfast and loyal friends. We all want/need those in our life, and am fortunate to have a few. So how did they accomplish this daunting task? 

Since 1982 the play by plays of the game list who garnered the sack, and previous to '82 for some teams have the name, or names were listed (most of time accurately). Contacting teams and more specifically public relations or media departments is not always easy. Can go into detail about teams that are a joy to work with, and then some teams that are just damn difficult. Turney & Webster----sounds like a law firm just kept plugging away. 

Both men have shared what they saw on film, and that is the key....since film is the truth.  Have had many talks/discussions with both of them over the years. 

Steve Sabol and Paul Zimmerman

Questions abound, opinions shared, and as my departed friend Steve Sabol would always reflect "everyone loves a good story". Steve Sabol relished every aspect of the game, and his ability as a film maker allowed us to see the pass rush come to life on team or weekly highlight reels/shows. Paul Lionel Zimmerman was a brilliant, and complex man, and have mentioned him a time or two when I write here at Journal. 

He is without a doubt the best football writer ever....there is no debate, and will take that to the grave. Dr. Z was a staunch advocate of John Turney, and the "work" he did. Maybe should not use the word work? 

Oh yeah, the word is RESEARCH. Pro Football Talk did not mention Turney & Webster by name; shame on them. Sean Foreman did; way to go Sean! The hours fans will spend looking at the stat data compiled by Webster & Turney just might be listed in the category of countless. Discussions, and opinions will ensue. Yes, this is a good thing, a very good thing. 

Congratulations John Turney & Nick Webster!


  1. Coach Troup ... before Gino Marchetti of course, who did you feel was the NFL's best pass rushing player ?

    Turney listed some players he thought were as good as Sprinkle, do you agree ?

  2. ....hey Brian Wolf, hope you are doing well. Have seen lots of film of Sprinkle, and he was adept at rushing the passer, yet is over rated. By far the best, is Len Ford, he is the premier pass rusher 1950 through 1954....and in 1951 he had at least 21 sacks in a 12 game season, and watching him in film....he was just a damn beast----unblockable.

  3. Thanks Coach. Yeah, I forgot about Ford and Willis for the Browns. I have to keep reading the archives to keep up on glorious NFL history. Norm Willey fascinates me as well but despite some recognition, may not have kept his rush as consistent.

  4. On a day where I got to take a specialized tour of a college campus, the older sack stats being put on PFR was the highlight. Tremendous step in recognizing the legends on the earlier NFL.

  5. Great to see the guys of the 60's, 70's finally get the recognition they deserve and kudos to Turney & Webster, their research is incredible!

    1. ....for Drewmanster & Wasatch....long overdue, yet finally Webster & Turney get the credit they deserve unless you are Michael David Smith at Pro Football Talk, who refused to list their names.

  6. Congrats to you all for getting these stats recognized. I say this is the best site on the web and I love interacting with all of you.

  7. Its amazing that Coach Troup mentioned Ford having 21 sacks in 12 games in 1951 ... Reggie White did the same thing in the 1987 strike-shortened season.

  8. Ford must have been amazing. Very few fans outside of us here have heard about him though.

  9. .....hey Alen Bailey, hope you are doing well, and as always appreciate you and Brian Wolf commenting. Not sure how it would ever happen, but having you two guys in my den with a cup of coffee or a beer watching old film of players such as Len Ford, or Marchetti would be a joy for me. Len Ford had size, quickness, strength, technique, and was very motivated. His stand up stance with his ability to get to the quarterback, and pursue and recover fumbles is "eye-popping"....he has plays that would be the highlight of Sport Center. My goal when I was suppose to be hired at the NFL Network was to champion the great plays and players of yesteryear.

  10. I noticed you mentioned Ray Krouse for the HOVG ... Do you believe Cannady, Drazenovich, Doll, David, Lahr and others are deserving Coach Troup ?

  11. ....Krouse is close for HOVG, just a notch below; David was rock solid, and made the Pro Bowl, yet other corners better. Don Doll should be in HOVG; film study shows him to be the complete package, issue in Detroit was he had to compete for left safety post with Jack C....and other than Emlen no one better than Jack. Lahr is deserving, was consistent, and played the ball well. Ranking MLB's for the '50's, and this will be viewed poorly by NYG fans....Joe S. by far #1, Bill George a strong second, and then a drop-off, yet Charley Cro ....Drazenovich nickname...he was superb, but is the 3rd best MLB for the decade----instinctive, strong tackler, scraped the c-gap well, pursuit and pass coverage excellent...all is in my book, and finally John Cannady, did not last long enough, but improved and by 1949 was just a damn good linebacker. Versatile, based upon his varied alignments in Steve Owen's '50 defenses. Like him just not sure? Covered some ground didn't we? In your opinion Brian who is the least appreciated defender for the decade of the '50's, or list one lineman, one linebacker, and one defensive halfback. thanks.

  12. Thanks Coach, based upon the great information from this site, At linebacker it would have to be Drazenovitch and Cannady, guys I had never known before. When you praised Cannady for possible HOF senior election with the guys at talkoffamenetwork, I had to look him up and reevaluate. I always thought George or Huff were the first recognized middle linebackers. Hazeltine and Forrester were underrated as well.

    Jim Holt mentioned Big Daddy Lipscomb on the line, who like Faison in the 60s, could dominate when he felt like it.

    You guys mentioned Doll and Schnellbacher, who had short careers but I thought David and Lahr were underrated as well. They both forced big turnovers in championship games.
    I felt Rechichar for Baltimore was underrated as well. Not the best defender but could hit and force turnovers. I like when a player past his prime will find any excuse to get on the field and play ...