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!