KJ6BWB OP t1_jdqv1n6 wrote

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/H/HillTa00.htm lists him as a quarterback and https://www.sportingnews.com/us/amp/nfl/news/taysom-hill-position-fantasy-football-stats-te/h8kjnky1khbcgw1gja1eousn says although his team listed him as a tight end, they've been using him as a quarterback. His stats seem to suggest if another team picked him up as their starting quarterback then he wouldn't be bad in that position.


KJ6BWB OP t1_jdqten0 wrote

> You’re looking at volume here when you need to be looking at efficiency. Players who throw more pass for more yards.

I did that at https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/122c5b2/american_football_starting_quarterback_pass/

Why should I let a player's past greatness affect their current stats? If they have one foot out the door to retirement now and aren't doing so great now then they aren't doing so great. And probably the overall tenor of the game has changed over time. For instance, as overall player height increased in basketball, we see an overall net increase in slam dunks over long three pointers. If you can take two or three steps and have a better chance at making more points then why not do that.

However, i admit a greater volume of data might show something different. Feel free to put that together, I'm excited to see what you come up with. :)


KJ6BWB OP t1_jdqseo1 wrote

I have that table. It's how I created this chart. I wanted to see if there was clustering, obvious outliers, etc. There's not really. So if taller players tend to get more pass yardage and pass yardage and attempts are strangely correlated, shorter players tend to try for pass yardage less often, in general.


KJ6BWB OP t1_jdpusmg wrote

Because pass attempts is highly correlated with overall yards as shown here: https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/122c5b2/american_football_starting_quarterback_pass/

Since they're so highly correlated, we can ignore them in this chart if desired -- I included them as bubble size because I thought I might get a response like this.


KJ6BWB OP t1_jdpuh37 wrote

No, it's not news. However, I was expecting to see more outliers like Patrick Mahomes, with a z-score of 1.6. Actually, I just calc'd z-scores for everyone and Tua Tagovailoa has the highest z-score out of starting quarterbacks at 2.88 which is just insane.

While he's not shown on this chart, as I didn't want to tweak data labels for 108 people so they weren't hiding each other, I did do the numbers for everyone who attempted to pass the ball and we can see that Taysom Hill is best in the league at getting the most mileage from his throws and should get more playtime. Also, Sam Darnold as we can be fairly confident his 140 pass attempts for 1143 yards weren't flukes.

Here's the average yards per pass attempt, best in the NFL:

Name Average yards per pass attempt
Taysom Hill 12.63158
Jordan Love 9.285714
Nick Mullens 8.96
Sam Howell 8.894737
Tua Tagovailoa 8.87
Gardner Minshew 8.723684
Teddy Bridgewater 8.64557
Bailey Zappe 8.48913
Sam Darnold 8.164286
Patrick Mahomes 8.101852
Brock Purdy 8.082353
Jalen Hurts 8.045652

On that table, only Tua Tagovailoa, Patrick Mahomes, and Jalen Hurts are starting quarterbacks. The others should possibly get more playtime.

But that's the thing about doing a statistical analysis. You don't really know what you're going to get until you do it. If you never do an analysis on anything that you think is probably true anyway, you could miss stuff.


KJ6BWB OP t1_jdpsnvx wrote

> but are shorter QBs more likely to run rather than drop back and pass

Based on this, I would presume so. This post was created in response to https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/121pvx7/oc_nfl_quarterbacks_of_passes_batted_down/ which stated:

> I always just assumed, like some others may have, that shorter QBs have a higher rate of passes batted down. While we can easily look at Baker Mayfield or Kyler Murray to try and explain this as true, we can also look at Russell Wilson, Tua Tagovailoa and Drew Brees as examples of short QBs with a below average batted ball rate.

I thought, "But who cares about just batted balls? If we're looking at passes successfully made then don't we want to look at all passes? And even all attempted passes? Do shorter quarterbacks have more trouble finding the people they want to throw to?"

I think the answer is, "Yes, in general the taller a person is the more often they attempt to throw the ball and the more yards they throw for overall."

See also https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/122c5b2/american_football_starting_quarterback_pass/ in which I explored what relationship pass attempts has to overall yards (they're pretty closely correlated).


KJ6BWB OP t1_jdpsaou wrote

Injuries should average out across the season unless shorter people have a better chance of being injured? Although, come to think of it, it probably is the case that shorter people are more likely to get injured when tackled by someone over 300 lbs.

Anyway, I ran the stats for all quarterbacks, even teams that had four. I even included everyone who even attempted to throw a ball. That's 107 people. In general, considering all of them, the trend bore out. It was basically still the exact same trend when I limited it to only people who threw more than 1,000 yards in the season, etc.


KJ6BWB OP t1_jdpqv9f wrote

I was thinking that perhaps there's diminishing returns if a quarterback is too tall. Does it make it too easy for opposing players to see where the quarterback is looking and where the ball will be thrown? Probably not.

If I limit the sample to players who threw at least 1000 yards then remove Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray, there does appear to be diminishing returns for the tallest football players but if I then remove Patrick Mahomes that apparent diminishing return goes away. In other words, although in general more height means more yards, Patrick Mahomes is so good he makes everyone taller than him appear to be slacking.


KJ6BWB OP t1_jdpq4ok wrote

Total passing yards appears to be highly correlated with attempts to pass the ball. Other than Patrick Mahomes, out of the 32 starting quarterbacks, there doesn't appear to be statistical outliers. In general, per https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/122avg2/taller_american_football_players_tend_to_throw/ taller quarterbacks means more total yards but it would appear total pass attempts is even more important.

Although, the trendline is polynomial. It would appear there is some slight amount of diminishing returns as number of pass attempts increases -- it's not purely linear. As pass attempts increases, in general you have to throw more and more passes to continue to increase in total yardage (which everyone does).

Unless you're Patrick Mahomes who is apparently a throwing machine.


KJ6BWB OP t1_jdplye0 wrote

I saw https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/121pvx7/oc_nfl_quarterbacks_of_passes_batted_down/ and it said there wasn't a relationship between quarterback height and how many throws get batted down. Ok, that's interesting but what about the throws that didn't get made because the quarterback didn't think he could throw through/past a defender? Or throws purposefully thrown out of bounds or to nobody for the same reason? I mean, who cares about just what happens at the line of scrimmage? I want my team to win!

So I compared the heights of everyone who passed a ball with how many yards total yards they threw over the season.

One person said, "But you're including backup quarterbacks in that and some of them threw for bupkus." Yup. But when I cut out everyone who didn't throw for a total of at least 1,000 yards during the season, it's still basically the same chart. I just don't have a bunch of small-yarders at the bottom of the chart. In fact, I think it's fair to only look at the 32 main quarterbacks and not include everyone else because there's far more deviation in that small group of 32 than there among the group consisting of everyone else who even attempted a pass, even if they weren't a quarterback.

In any case, Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray aside, in general more height means more passing yards.


KJ6BWB t1_j9iip77 wrote

> Even deleterious mutations and traits can rise to fixation in a population

To be fair, it requires a lot for a new mutation to spread through a population. For instance polydactylism, or having more than 5 fingers on a hand, is a dominant trait but despite its advantages most of still only have 5 fingers on a hand because it's really hard for a new trait to spread unless it confers a real evolutionary advantage, meaning those who lack it die and most of the survivors have that trait.