- Publication date
- CC0 1.0 Universal
- Rainbow Magazine
[Note: This program has issues with a short ML routine that does not
appear to work properly on a late-model CoCo. It has not been fully
The NFL Report Can Choose This Fall's Winners
Put down that Fourth of July firecracker. Did you know the National
Football League pre-season action starts next month? There is still
time to get your 80C into the NFL if you start following this series.
Last month in Part I, we talked about some overall League statistics
that were gathered while watching the 1981 season. We also left you
with our program that would generate a week-by-week schedule for the
1982 NFL season. This month it is time to get down to real business
and talk about the NFL REPORT program. If you get your enjoyment from
watching the NFL games and trying to guess the winners, this is the
program for you. It will make every NFL game a little more
entertaining this year.
By now you know that in order to have a good chance of guessing the
winners, you must have good data on the individual teams. With the
NFL REPORT program, on your 80C, you will get 32 pages of summarized
team data, updated each week of the season. This program will even
keep track of team performance against the "spread" or "line."
For those of you who don't remember all the details from last month,
the "spread" or "line" is a small number of points given to one team
before the game starts to "even up" the two teams. Since the NFL
REPORT is the heart of this series, we will be devoting all of Part II
to explaining the software listing that follows.
Specifically, what information is in the NFL REPORT?
Let's take a closer look at what you get in the report. The first
item generated by the program is called the NFL ranking. In this
listing, all 28 teams are ranked accoring to their won-loss-tie
record. Yes, the program will properly rank ties. Other items in the
list include total points scored in the NFL to that week of the
season, the average points per team per game, the average point
difference per game and the current home team winning percentage.
The next listing in this report is the "spread" ranking. This list
ranks the 28 NFL teams according to their W-L-T records, but this time
the 80C takes into account the final score including the point spread.
You would be amazed at how the won-loss records change when you
include the spread. For example, last year Dallas has a 12-4 record
without the spread, and that changed to a 9-7 record with the spread
figured in. Now, that is good information to have, but you won't get
it from Bryant Gumbel or Phyllis George. This listing also includes
the home team winning percentage -- including the spread.
Another important listing is the Power Factor Ranking. This ranks all
teams according to their power factor (calculated by the model) from
the most to the least powerful. In one quick listing, you get the
complete picture of how the power is distributed across the various
NFL teams. It is very interesting to watch this listing change from
week to week. You'll be hanging over your printer, waiting for this
information to come out.
The most important single item in the REPORT is the Team Summary
information. Each week of the season, this program will generate
individual team data for each of the league's 28 teams. In last
month's issue of the RAINBOW, I included the team summary for the San
Francisco 49'ers. I did this because they are the World Champions and
Super Bowl winners. For that reason, I thought most readers would
find it interesting to see what this team's data looked like. This
month, I have decided to illustrate a team summary by using the data
for the Minnesota Vikings. I selected this team because their data
has a great deal of variation.
How do I read a Team Report?
We will answer that question by looking at a team summary and
discussing each item from the top.
Notice in the upper left hand corner that it says "after week 16."
This means that the data presented is current through the 16th week of
the season. Since the REPORT is updated weekly, it might be possible
to get old sheets mixed up with new ones. Therefore, each page is
numbered with the week it represents. Also, since there are 16 weeks
in the regular NFL season, this means the data shown represents all
data for last year's play.
Under the team name, we can see the division ranking for that week --
fourth. If they were tied for fourth, it would have said "4T." In
any case, Minnesota finished next to last in the NFC Central
(sometimes called the Black and Blue Division) last year.
Continuing down the page, we see the Vikes were tied for 17th place
(17T) when comparing their Won-Lost record with all other teams in the
league. We also note they did a little better (tied for 11th) when
you include the spread.
Perhaps these facts are pointed up in a more interesting way when you
see the Vikings had a W-L-T record of 7-9-0 on pure scores and then
went to 8-7-1 with the spread. That is a middle of the road
performance. They did about the same at home, with and without the
line being taken into consideration.
The "Games Played” section might need some explanation since there is
a lot going on in this portion of the summary. The first line, moving
from left to right, indicates which regular season games were won,
lost or tied. The second line indicates the same information -- when
you use the spread for that particular game. The last line in this
section shows w hat the actual spread was for each game that was
played. For example, 21) means Minnesota was a two-point underdog. A
3F means they were favored by three points. The "0E" stands for a
zero-even game -- no points were given to either team.
The "Last 3 Games” section is a sort of moving window which indicates
what the offense and defense have done for the last three gomes. You
also get the Average Score Difference in points per game. A negative
number here shows the team is losing by that number of points per
The "Total Season” section gives you the season-to-date average of all
offensive points scored and all points allowed by the defense. This
section also calculates the Average Score Difference per game for the
The next team summary item is important: The Team Power Factor! This
number is a relative indicator of overall team power. It changes
every week. The higher the number, the stronger the team. If the
number is negative, the team is probably losing more than winning.
The Power Factor takes into account each team's total wins, total
points scored and total points allowed.
The final section of the team summary gives a rundown of the games
which each team has played so far. This listing tells you the
opposing team's name, the game outcome (W-L-T), the field of play (H
or A) and the final score. This is good information to have as the
What should I look for in the Team Summary?
All the data in the team summary has been presented so you can do
quick comparisons. That is the key.
First, compare NFL Ranking and Spread Ranking. If the Spread Ranking
is higher, the "line" is helping this team win games. If the Spread
Ranking is lower, this team is not doing well as a favorite. You can
even compare a team's ranking with the team that it will be playing
Another comparison that can be significant is to look at the total
games won and the total games won at home. Look at our example.
Minnesota won seven games last season and the comparison shows you
that five of those wins came at home. That says the Vikings did not
do well on the road last year. But watch that because the same
comparison will also tell you that they were 50-50 when you include
There are some interesting comparisons in the Games Played section.
Take a closer look at games five, nine and twelve. Notice that in
game five, Minnesota was a three-point favorite, won the game, but was
tied when you consider the spread. In both games nine and twelve,
they were four-point underdogs, lost the game, but lost by less than
four points -- so they won with the spread. You can also find the
names of the opposing teams by looking at lines five, nine and twelve
of the schedule at the bottom of the summary.
Even more interesting comparisons can be made between the "Last Three
Games" and "Total Games" sections. Look at our example again and
compare Minnesota's "Total Season" offensive scoring with the "Last
Three Games" scoring. See what I mean? Their offense could not put
points on the board for the last three games. They averaged 20 points
per game for the year, but only seven points per game for the last
On the other hand, their defense seemed to hold (well, it is the Black
and Blue division) its own all year. They gave up 23 points per game
all year and 22 in the last three.
Comparisons play a very significant role when you consider the Team
Power Factor. As we said before, this number is an attempt to place a
numerical value on team strength. Use it when comparing two teams to
predict the outcome of a game.
When comparing teams, you cannot say that one with a Team Power Factor
of 12 will beat another with a Team Power Factor of 9. The game of
football is not played with that much, repeatable, precision.
However, a team with a Power Factor of 18 will, more certainly, beat a
team with a Power Factor of -9. The key is to look for opposing teams
which produce large Power Factor differences.
Before I go on and talk about the program that generates all this
information, it occurred to me that not every reader has an 80C with
32K and a printer (which this program requires). If you are
interested in this information and would like a complete copy of the
NFL REPORT from Week 16 of last year's NFL season, send me $5.95 and
I'll send you one post-paid. My address is on the program listing.
If you have an 80C with 32K and a printer, you will be able to
generate your own NFL REPORT. You can do this because I have included
all the data from the 1981 season in the program listing which appears
below. That's right: All the games, all the scores, spreads and
spread winners. It is a ton of data (as you will see from the DATA
If you load the listed program, it will produce the NFL REPORTS or any
week of the season that you choose. If you wish, you can actually
replay the 1981 NFL season one week at a time.
This program is configured for an MX-80 printer. However, it can be
modified for most popular printers. Also, don't forget to change Line
55 for your baud rate. You must have 32K and extended basic to run
When you RUN the program it will ask "Which Week's" Report you desire.
Enter your week of interest and the program will ask you to press
ENTER when the printer is ready. After that, it will prepare the
REPORT's title page and then there will he a delay while it calculates
all the numbers in the REPORT. This delay can be substantial (about
90 seconds for a Week 16 REPORT). There is just a lot of data.
In next month's issue of the RAINBOW, our concluding article will show
you how to collect data during this year's season (using your
schedules from Part I) and how to enter data into the program. We
will also discuss what we found as a result of closely watching each
team's performance last year.
See whether you agree with our predictions and trends in Part III.
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