Pro Football Historical Abstract

Pro Football Historical Abstract

by Sean Lahman
     
 

Do football teams need a franchise quarterback to win? Who is the best running back in pro football today? How can we objectively rate the performance of individual defensive players? Such questions have engaged Sean Lahman throughout his career. As Bill James did with baseball, Lahman now takes the next step with The Pro Football Historical Abstract

Overview

Do football teams need a franchise quarterback to win? Who is the best running back in pro football today? How can we objectively rate the performance of individual defensive players? Such questions have engaged Sean Lahman throughout his career. As Bill James did with baseball, Lahman now takes the next step with The Pro Football Historical Abstract. Taking the analytical methods he’s developed over the years in his annual football preview books, he applies them to past players going back to the earliest days of the NFL. The result is an exhaustive and revolutionary new look at the history of pro football.

 

Beginning with an overview of how the game has evolved from the 1920s to the present day, Lahman examines changes in playing styles and rules, and how other external events affected pro football on the field from decade to decade. And he discusses how all this must be considered when comparing modern players like Tom Brady, Dan Marino, and Emmitt Smith with players of past eras, such as Sammy Baugh, Jim Brown, and Johnny Unitas.

 

Lahman then moves to the book’s centerpiece: his rating and ranking of the players in each position throughout the same period. Using his tried and tested methods (such as “adjusted yards” and “Q-ratings”), he takes a detailed look at nearly 1,000 players—yielding new insight into their playing styles and their strengths and weaknesses on the field. Next he looks at the history of each NFL franchise, examining how each team functioned collectively and the extent to which management, venue, or ownership affected its performance. A section on coaches looks at the men who had the most success on the field and the most influence on the game. 

 

What makes a coach? What variables determine his success? Including biographical essays on more than 500 players and coaches, the book closes with detailed statistics for the game’s best players, including some never before published stats for defensive players and offensive linemen. 

 

Setting a new gold standard in books on the NFL, The Pro Football Historical Abstract is a must for everyone who considers football more than just a game.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

New York Sun columnist Lahman also names Bill James and his Historical Baseball Abstract as his inspiration for this massive undertaking. He has written several statistical football annuals, and this time he offers the most ambitious and fascinating football book of the year. He uses metrics of his own design to rank the greatest professional players at each position as well as the greatest coaches. While there are some errors (Del Shofner was not a hybrid tight end; Deion Sanders had 53, not 77, interceptions; and, contrary to Lahman's contention, there have been several football equivalents to Lawrence S. Ritter's classic The Glory of Their Times), the book is impressive in both scope and execution. Lahman's insight into the styles of so many players across time makes for a lively, enlightening read. Highly recommended.


—John Maxymuk

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781592289400
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
08/12/2008
Pages:
576
Product dimensions:
7.70(w) x 10.84(h) x 1.55(d)

Meet the Author

Sean Lahman, a pioneer in the field of sports statistics, is the author of the annual Pro Football Prospectus 2002 & 2003 and the Pro Football Forecast 2004. He is a contributor to the ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia and a football columnist for The New York Sun. Lahman’s Web site, seanlahman.com, receives 55,000 visitors per month. He lives in Rochester, New York.

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