Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Terry McAulay and Super Bowl XLIII (Cardinals-Steelers, February 2009): Part Two

Terry McAulay will be the head referee in Super Bowl XLIII between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers on February 1, 2009.

For this second post, let’s look at whether a good offense or a good defense is more important for Terry’s regular season games.

If you look at all 2008 regular season games for all referees, the home team’s offense is the most important followed by the visiting and home team’s defenses. The least important factor is the visiting team’s offense. This does not help us with the Super Bowl because it is a neutral field game -- unless you look at the Super Bowl as if both teams are visitors...

Anyway, let’s take a look at the combined offenses and defenses and see whether a stronger offense or stronger defense was better for the home team. We focus on the perspective of the home team rather than on the stronger team regardless of whether home or visiting to reflect how there is a home team advantage.

Looking at all the games for all referees, there is a similar correlation to the margin of victory for a better offense and a better defense. If we focus on which team won (regardless of the margin of victory), it is more important to have a stronger defense than a stronger offense (0.365 versus 0.288 correlation).

Now let’s focus on Terry McAulay’s regular season games: just like with the analysis of all referees, it is equally good to have a better offense and a better defense when you compare correlations to the margin of victory. But if we focus on which team won (regardless of the margin of victory), it is even more important for Terry than for most referees to have a stronger defense than to have a stronger offense (0.425 versus 0.233 correlation). This favors the Steelers in the Super Bowl.

Take a look at games where one team had a stronger defense but a weaker offense (similar to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl), those teams went 4-3 in Terry’s regular season games. If you exclude the games where one team’s advantage was less than one point per game, the teams went 3-1.

For the 3-1 record, the games where the better defense won over the better offense were: (three wins) Buccaneers 30-21 Packers, Steelers 38-17 Texans, Bills 30-23 Broncos and (one loss) Raiders 3-34 Saints.

This could be good news for the Steelers, but watch out for the really small sample size!

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Blogger mberenis said...

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