A lot of you have wondered why the Green Bay Packers still call Mason Crosby their kicker.
After all, Crosby had the worst field goal percentage in the NFL in 2012 (63.6) and he’s only hit more than 80 percent of his kicks in one NFL season. Not really awe-inspiring numbers.
That being said, Crosby is actually underrated according to an MIT study.
Yes, the eggheads at MIT did a pretty exhaustive (and exhausting to read) study on field goal kicking in the NFL. Among the things they considered are how playing surfaces, weather, distance and playoff vs. regular season games affect the likelihood of success. They constructed a binary logistic regression model based on this data from 2000-11.
What the hell is a binary logistic regression model?
Anyway, all of this was designed to factor in the difficulty of a kick.
First of all, we should point out that Lambeau Field was the second toughest venue to kick in, according to the research. The only tougher venue was New England’s Gillette Stadium, when it had grass. Gillette now has turf (and is ranked 26th), so Lambeau is actually the toughest active venue to kick in.
Here’s where this binary logistic regression model comes into play. While Crosby is actually 33rd in make percentage (again, from 2000-11), he’s also the fifth most underrated kicker in degree by make percentage.
What does that all mean? Crosby probably isn’t as bad as he usually looks because a lot of his kicks come in some of the NFL’s most difficult conditions.
If you have several hours, go pour through this white paper. If you actually have other stuff to do, at least take a glance at the tables.
Someone worked really hard on it.
(Thanks to Adam for the tip)