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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter February 21, 2014

An expectation-based metric for NFL field goal kickers

R. Drew Pasteur and Kyle Cunningham-Rhoads

Abstract

The standard metric for American football field goal kickers is simply the percentage of attempts successfully converted. Due to variance in distance of attempts and other conditions (weather, altitude, defense, etc.), we argue that field goal percentage is an insufficient measure of kicker performance. Using three seasons of NFL data, we construct a multivariate logistic regression model for the success probability of a given attempt. This leads naturally to metrics in which a kicker’s performance is compared to model expectations, if a replacement-level player was attempting the same kicks. Player salaries correlate only weakly with our measures of field goal kicking success. We find that those kickers selected to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams were rather mediocre by our metrics, over the seasons studied. The relative difficulty of kicking in various stadiums is also considered. Finally, we discuss the degree to which field goal kicking is a skill that can be maintained over multiple seasons.


Corresponding author: R. Drew Pasteur, Mathematics and Computer Science, College of Wooster, 311 Taylor Hall, 1189 Beall Ave. Wooster, OH 44691, USA, Tel.: +330-263-2486, e-mail:

Appendix A

Overall Kicking Results, by PARK (minimum 48 FGA)

Player & YearFGM/AFG%Repl%FG%+PARKFGM dist.
1) R. Bironas81/9387.1% (4)71.1% (4)+16.0% (2)+44.6 (1)37.6 (3)
2) S. Janikowski83/10083.0% (24)68.6% (2)+14.4% (3)+43.1 (2)37.3 (4)
3) D. Akers107/12883.6% (23)74.6% (16)+9.0% (15)+34.5 (3)34.1 (24)
4) J. Hanson54/6484.4% (15)66.7% (1)+17.7% (1)+34.0 (4)40.2 (1)
5) J. Kasay75/8786.2% (8)73.5% (9)+12.7% (4)+33.1 (5)36.4 (7)
6) J. Brown83/9983.8% (20)74.1% (12)+9.8% (11)+29.1 (6)37.6 (2)
7) R. Gould75/8786.2% (8)75.2% (18)+11.0% (7)+28.8 (7)34.9 (14)
8) J. Feely81/9684.4% (15)74.6% (15)+9.8% (10)+28.3 (8)35.4 (13)
9) R. Longwell74/8290.2% (1)78.9% (30)+11.4% (5)+28.0 (9)34.3 (22)
10) N. Rackers74/8587.1% (5)76.2% (21)+10.8% (8)+27.6 (10)34.9 (15)
11) D. Carpenter77/9581.1% (28)71.8% (5)+9.3% (13)+26.5 (11)36.4 (6)
12) J. Reed83/9983.8% (20)75.1% (17)+8.7% (17)+25.9 (12)33.0 (29)
13) O. Mare76/8688.4% (2)79.4% (31)+9.0% (14)+23.2 (13)33.7 (26)
14) J. Nedney57/6785.1% (11)73.8% (10)+11.3% (6)+22.7 (14)35.8 (10)
15) P. Dawson70/8384.3% (17)75.5% (19)+8.8% (16)+21.9 (15)32.9 (30)
16) R. Lindell74/9280.4% (29)72.7% (6)+7.7% (20)+21.2 (16)34.5 (19)
17) N. Kaeding84/10084.0% (18)77.3% (25)+6.7% (22)+20.1 (17)33.5 (28)
18) S. Gostkowski72/8584.7% (14)76.9% (23)+7.8% (19)+19.9 (18)34.3 (21)
19) A. Vinatieri57/6686.4% (7)76.5% (22)+9.8% (9)+19.5 (19)35.8 (9)
20) G. Hartley50/5787.7% (3)78.2% (28)+9.6% (12)+16.4 (20)34.4 (20)
21) S. Graham58/6885.3% (10)77.4% (26)+7.9% (18)+16.2 (21)32.6 (32)
22) M. Prater71/8781.6% (27)75.6% (20)+6.1% (25)+15.8 (22)35.7 (12)
23) M. Bryant67/7984.8% (13)78.3% (29)+6.5% (24)+15.4 (23)33.9 (25)
24) R. Succop45/5581.8% (26)74.2% (14)+7.6% (21)+12.5 (24)34.5 (18)
25) S. Suisham66/8577.6% (31)72.8% (7)+4.9% (28)+12.4 (25)34.8 (16)
26) M. Crosby80/10476.9% (33)73.0% (8)+3.9% (30)+12.1 (26)34.1 (23)
27) B. Cundiff51/5986.4% (6)79.9% (32)+6.5% (23)+11.6 (27)31.4 (35)
28) C. Barth47/5979.7% (30)74.1% (13)+5.5% (27)+9.8 (28)35.9 (8)
29) M. Stover46/5583.6% (22)78.0% (27)+5.6% (26)+9.3 (29)31.9 (33)
30) J. Carney56/6684.8% (12)80.4% (34)+4.5% (29)+8.9 (30)31.9 (34)
31) J. Scobee59/8172.8% (35)69.8% (3)+3.0% (31)+7.3 (31)37.3 (5)
32) N. Folk70/9276.1% (34)73.9% (11)+2.2% (34)+6.0 (32)35.7 (11)
33) L. Tynes47/5683.9% (19)81.2% (35)+2.8% (32)+4.6 (33)32.7 (31)
34) J. Elam42/5182.4% (25)80.1% (33)+2.2% (33)+3.4 (34)34.6 (17)
35) K. Brown54/7077.1% (32)77.0% (24)+0.2% (35)+0.3 (35)33.6 (27)

Appendix B

Seasonal Kicking Results, by PARK (minimum 16 FGA)

Player & YearFGM/AFG%Repl%FG%+PARKFGM dist.
1) S. Janikowski ’0926/2989.7% (14)61.6% (1)+28.1% (2)+24.4 (1)42.5 (2)
2) J. Hanson ’0821/2295.5% (1)64.8% (3)+30.7% (1)+20.3 (2)42.9 (1)
3) R. Bironas ’0830/3585.7% (32)68.4% (8)+17.3% (6)+18.2 (3)37.7 (11)
4) J. Reed ’0832/3688.9% (18)72.7% (30)+16.2% (8)+17.5 (4)33.3 (70)
5) J. Brown ’0831/3686.1% (31)70.9% (16)+15.2% (14)+16.4 (5)39.0 (8)
6) S. Gostkowski ’0836/4090.0% (12)76.7% (59)+13.3% (22)+16.0 (6)34.4 (56)
7) R. Bironas ’0927/3284.4% (45)68.4% (9)+16.0% (9)+15.3 (7)39.1 (7)
8) A. Vinatieri ’1029/3193.5% (4)77.2% (64)+16.4% (7)+15.2 (8)35.9 (30)
9) J. Kasay ’0828/3190.3% (10)74.5% (43)+15.8% (10)+14.7 (9)36.7 (22)
10) J. Carney ’0838/4388.4% (22)77.1% (63)+11.3% (35)+14.6 (10)32.3 (86)
11) N. Folk ’0820/2290.9% (8)69.3% (11)+21.6% (3)+14.3 (11)40.8 (4)
12) J. Kasay ’1025/2986.2% (29)70.6% (14)+15.6% (11)+13.6 (12)37.6 (12)
13) D. Akers ’0842/5084.0% (49)75.0% (48)+9.0% (47)+13.4 (13)33.6 (66)
14) D. Akers ’0932/3786.5% (28)74.6% (44)+11.8% (29)+13.1 (14)34.8 (46)
15) J. Elam ’0830/3293.8% (3)80.1% (84)+13.6% (20)+13.1 (15)34.6 (50)
16) J. Nedney ’0829/3387.9% (23)74.8% (47)+13.1% (24)+13.0 (16)35.7 (35)
17) J. Feely ’1024/2788.9% (18)73.3% (32)+15.6% (12)+12.6 (17)36.6 (26)
18) K. Brown ’0829/3387.9% (23)75.4% (50)+12.5% (26)+12.3 (18)34.6 (51)
19) R. Succop ’0925/2986.2% (29)72.5% (29)+13.7% (19)+11.9 (19)34.0 (59)
20) P. Dawson ’0830/3683.3% (51)72.3% (28)+11.0% (37)+11.9 (20)34.6 (52)
21) N. Rackers ’1027/3090.0% (12)76.8% (60)+13.2% (23)+11.9 (21)35.9 (31)
22) R. Longwell ’0829/3485.3% (37)73.7% (36)+11.6% (31)+11.8 (22)37.1 (17)
23) R. Gould ’0924/2885.7% (32)71.7% (24)+14.0% (16)+11.8 (23)35.7 (33)
24) J. Feely ’0933/4180.5% (65)71.0% (17)+9.5% (42)+11.7 (24)36.8 (19)
25) N. Rackers ’0830/3585.7% (32)74.7% (45)+11.0% (38)+11.6 (25)34.0 (60)
26) B. Cundiff ’1030/3390.9% (8)79.2% (78)+11.7% (30)+11.6 (26)32.5 (80)
27) S. Janikowski ’1033/4180.5% (65)71.2% (19)+9.3% (45)+11.4 (27)36.3 (28)
28) R. Bironas ’1024/2692.3% (6)78.1% (70)+14.3% (15)+11.1 (28)35.7 (33)
29) R. Gould ’0826/2989.7% (14)77.0% (62)+12.6% (25)+11.0 (29)35.5 (37)
30) R. Longwell ’0928/3093.3% (5)81.2% (92)+12.1% (28)+10.9 (30)33.1 (74)
31) M. Bryant ’1028/3190.3% (10)78.8% (75)+11.5% (34)+10.7 (31)34.5 (54)
32) S. Suisham ’1017/2085.0% (39)67.5% (7)+17.5% (5)+10.5 (32)34.9 (45)
33) O. Mare ’0824/2788.9% (18)76.4% (57)+12.5% (27)+10.1 (33)36.7 (23)
34) S. Graham ’0821/2487.5% (25)73.6% (35)+13.9% (17)+10.0 (34)33.6 (66)
35) D. Carpenter ’0925/2889.3% (17)77.7% (67)+11.6% (32)+9.7 (35)35.2 (40)
36) M. Prater ’1016/1888.9% (18)71.1% (18)+17.8% (4)+9.6 (36)38.0 (10)
37) J. Reed ’0927/3187.1% (27)77.3% (65)+9.8% (40)+9.1 (37)33.2 (73)
38) R. Lindell ’0928/3384.8% (41)75.7% (52)+9.1% (46)+9.0 (38)32.7 (78)
39) O. Mare ’0924/2692.3% (6)80.8% (88)+11.5% (33)+9.0 (39)33.4 (69)
40) D. Carpenter ’0822/2684.6% (43)73.5% (33)+11.1% (36)+8.7 (40)37.3 (14)
41) R. Lindell ’0830/3878.9% (72)71.4% (20)+7.6% (50)+8.6 (41)36.4 (27)
42) D. Carpenter ’1030/4173.2% (88)66.6% (5)+6.6% (55)+8.1 (42)36.8 (21)
43) D. Akers ’1033/4180.5% (65)74.1% (39)+6.4% (59)+7.9 (43)34.0 (60)
44) P. Dawson ’0917/1989.5% (16)76.0% (55)+13.5% (21)+7.7 (44)33.7 (65)
45) J. Brown ’0919/2479.2% (71)68.5% (10)+10.7% (39)+7.7 (45)39.1 (6)
46) G. Hartley ’0914/1687.5% (25)71.9% (25)+15.6% (13)+7.5 (46)35.4 (39)
47) N. Kaeding ’0932/3884.2% (47)77.7% (68)+6.5% (56)+7.4 (47)32.2 (87)
48) S. Janikowski ’0824/3080.0% (68)72.0% (26)+8.0% (49)+7.2 (48)33.0 (76)
49) J. Scobee ’1022/2878.6% (74)70.2% (12)+8.3% (48)+7.0 (49)38.2 (9)
50) M. Crosby ’0827/3479.4% (69)72.8% (31)+6.6% (54)+6.8 (50)35.1 (41)
51) D. Rayner ’1013/1681.3% (60)67.4% (6)+13.9% (18)+6.7 (51)39.8 (5)
52) N. Kaeding ’0829/3485.3% (37)78.9% (76)+6.4% (57)+6.5 (52)32.4 (82)
53) N. Kaeding ’1023/2882.1% (55)74.8% (46)+7.4% (51)+6.2 (53)36.8 (20)
54) M. Prater ’0930/3585.7% (32)79.8% (82)+5.9% (63)+6.2 (54)33.8 (64)
55) M. Stover ’0831/3783.8% (50)78.3% (74)+5.5% (65)+6.1 (55)31.7 (88)
56) R. Gould ’1025/3083.3% (51)76.6% (58)+6.7% (53)+6.1 (56)33.4 (68)
57) J. Nedney ’0917/2181.0% (62)71.6% (22)+9.4% (43)+5.9 (57)37.2 (15)
58) M. Crosby ’1025/3278.1% (75)72.0% (27)+6.1% (60)+5.8 (58)34.9 (43)
59) C. Barth ’0914/1973.7% (85)64.3% (2)+9.3% (44)+5.3 (59)41.6 (3)
60) M. Bryant ’0832/3884.2% (47)79.5% (80)+4.7% (68)+5.3 (60)33.2 (72)
61) R. Longwell ’1017/1894.4% (2)84.8% (94)+9.6% (41)+5.2 (61)31.4 (91)
62) A. Vinatieri ’0821/2680.8% (63)74.4% (42)+6.4% (58)+5.0 (62)37.2 (16)
63) J. Brown ’1033/3984.6% (43)80.4% (85)+4.2% (72)+4.9 (63)35.5 (38)
64) J. Kasay ’0922/2781.5% (59)75.6% (51)+5.9% (62)+4.8 (64)34.5 (55)
65) S. Gostkowski ’0926/3281.3% (60)76.8% (61)+4.4% (69)+4.3 (65)34.5 (53)
66) N. Rackers ’0917/2085.0% (39)78.1% (71)+6.9% (52)+4.1 (66)34.8 (48)
67) O. Mare ’1028/3384.8% (41)80.7% (87)+4.2% (73)+4.1 (67)31.4 (89)
68) J. Feely ’0824/2885.7% (32)81.0% (90)+4.7% (67)+4.0 (68)32.4 (83)
69) J. Hanson ’0921/2875.0% (82)70.6% (15)+4.4% (70)+3.7 (69)36.6 (25)
70) C. Barth ’1023/2882.1% (55)77.8% (69)+4.4% (71)+3.7 (70)34.9 (44)
71) R. Lindell ’1016/2176.2% (79)70.5% (13)+5.7% (64)+3.6 (71)33.9 (62)
72) D. Beuhler ’1024/3275.0% (82)71.6% (23)+3.4% (74)+3.2 (72)36.9 (18)
73) M. Stover ’0915/1883.3% (51)77.4% (66)+5.9% (61)+3.2 (73)32.3 (85)
74) L. Tynes ’0927/3284.4% (45)81.1% (91)+3.2% (75)+3.1 (74)34.1 (58)
75) M. Nugent ’1015/1978.9% (72)74.0% (37)+5.0% (66)+2.8 (75)33.8 (63)
76) P. Dawson ’1023/2882.1% (55)79.4% (79)+2.7% (76)+2.3 (76)30.2 (93)
77) G. Hartley ’1023/2882.1% (55)79.6% (81)+2.6% (77)+2.2 (77)34.8 (47)
78) J. Scobee ’0819/2576.0% (81)74.1% (38)+1.9% (78)+1.5 (78)37.6 (13)
79) N. Folk ’1032/4276.2% (79)75.1% (49)+1.1% (81)+1.3 (79)33.3 (70)
80) L. Tynes ’1019/2382.6% (54)80.7% (86)+1.9% (79)+1.3 (80)31.4 (90)
81) S. Suisham ’0923/2979.3% (70)78.1% (72)+1.2% (80)+1.0 (81)33.1 (75)
82) S. Suisham ’0826/3672.2% (89)71.4% (21)+0.8% (82)+0.8 (82)36.3 (29)
83) R. Succop ’1020/2676.9% (76)76.2% (56)+0.7% (83)+0.6 (83)35.1 (42)
84) B. Cundiff ’0921/2680.8% (63)80.8% (89)0.0% (84)0.0 (84)29.9 (94)
85) M. Prater ’0825/3473.5% (87)73.5% (34)0.0% (85)0.0 (85)36.6 (24)
86) M. Crosby ’0928/3873.7% (85)74.1% (40)–0.4% (86)–0.5 (86)32.4 (84)
87) J. Reed ’1024/3275.0% (82)75.8% (54)–0.8% (87)–0.7 (87)32.5 (79)
88) J. Scobee ’0918/2864.3% (92)65.7% (4)–1.4% (88)–1.2 (88)35.8 (32)
89) S. Graham ’0923/3076.7% (77)78.9% (77)–2.2% (89)–2.0 (89)32.8 (77)
90) J. Carney ’0913/1776.5% (78)84.6% (93)–8.1% (91)–4.1 (90)31.2 (92)
91) G. Gano ’1024/3568.6% (90)74.2% (41)–+5.6% (90)–5.9 (91)35.6 (36)
92) N. Folk ’0918/2864.3% (92)75.8% (53)–11.5% (92)–9.6 (92)34.4 (56)
93) J. Elam ’0912/1963.2% (94)80.1% (83)–16.9% (94)–9.6 (93)34.7 (49)
94) K. Brown ’0921/3265.6% (91)78.2% (73)–12.6% (93)–12.1 (94)32.4 (81)

Appendix C

Stadium difficulty, by average yardage adjustment. Raw yardage is relative to a domed stadium with an average defense. Final yardage is relative to the NFL league-wide average value.

StadiumTemp.WindAltitudeDefenseRawFinal
Buffalo+2.11+2.01–0.13+3.98+2.57
Pittsburgh+1.87+1.04+0.99+3.90+2.48
Cleveland+1.98+1.24+0.17+3.38+1.97
Chicago+1.93+1.09+0.15+3.16+1.75
Green Bay+2.02+0.74+0.34+3.10+1.69
Cincinnati+1.25+1.64+0.11+3.00+1.59
Baltimore+1.28+0.49+0.71+2.48+1.06
New England+1.41+0.68+0.32+2.41+1.00
San Francisco+0.67+1.89–0.16+2.40+0.98
Misc. venues+2.22+0.56–0.41+2.38+0.97
New York (old)+1.13+0.96+0.27+2.36+0.94
Philadelphia+1.21+0.79+0.22+2.22+0.80
Kansas City+1.31+1.20–0.66+1.86+0.44
Dallas (old)+0.05+1.82–0.09+1.78+0.36
New York (new)+1.22+0.44+0.10+1.75+0.34
Tennessee+0.79+0.58+0.22+1.59+0.17
Oakland+0.79+1.02–0.32+1.50+0.08
Washington+0.98+0.37+0.05+1.41–0.01
Seattle+1.33+0.49–0.68+1.14–0.27
Carolina+0.86+0.38–0.14+1.10–0.32
San Diego+0.25+0.42+0.17+0.85–0.57
Dallas (new)+0.07+0.54+0.14+0.75–0.67
Tampa Bay–0.27+0.77+0.18+0.69–0.73
Indianapolis +0.22+0.29+0.15+0.65–0.76
Houston+0.17+0.53–0.10+0.60–0.81
Miami–0.48+0.81+0.26+0.59–0.83
Jacksonville+0.07+0.80–0.48+0.38–1.03
New Orleans+0.24+0.24–1.17
Minnesota+0.19+0.19–1.22
Atlanta+0.11+0.11–1.30
St. Louis–0.44–0.44–1.85
Arizona–0.70–0.70–2.12
Detroit–0.89–0.89–2.31
Denver+1.47+0.59–3.15–0.68–1.77–3.19

Domed stadium with convertible roof (sometimes closed). Domed stadium with permanent roof (always closed).

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Published Online: 2014-2-21
Published in Print: 2014-1-1

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston