Welcome to the first NFL PT Awards. The purpose of these awards is to help raise the publicity for those systems that have been superior in various qualities of interest. Most awards will be based entirely on the numbers I've monitored with my prediction tracker web pages. I have followed the weekly performance of 25+ computer ratings systems over the course of the past two seasons. Since I didn't give any awards last year I will mention last year's winners when applicable. BEST STRAIGHT UP WINNERS (Entire Season) Winner: CPA Rankings, Steve Wrathell The simplest and possibly most important way of measuring the predictive ability of a system is to count the number of games where the winner is correctly predicted. The prediction Tracker page followed predictions on all 259 games played in the 2000 NFL season. I'm going to give this award to Steve Wrathell's CPA Rankings because he picked the most games correctly for the full season. I get to give myself an asterisk or a honorable mention here because my PerformanZ Ratings using a team specific home field advantage actually had the best picking percentage. But since I started it several weeks into the season I have to resist the temptation to give myself this award. The CPA Rankings finished with a record of 172-87, 66.4%. This was two games ahead of ARGH and 4 games ahead of Ken Massey. I'm sure my new enhanced PerformanZ would have given CPA a run had I thought of it sooner. CPA's 172 correct games is one more than Ken Massey who was last year's winner with 171. My PerformanZ rate of 68.4% is a little lower than last years best of 68.9% by the scoring effeciency method. Scoring effeciency's mark last year was also based on a partial season (16 out of 17 weeks) BEST AGAINST THE SPREAD (Entire Season) Winner: Yourlinx, Ray Waits Picking agains the spread needs no introduction. This season the best system picking against the spread was Yourlinx ratings, by Ray Waits. He claimed not to be trying to beat the spread but that is what he did with an excellent 57.6% against the line. ARGH Power Ratings gets an honorable mention with a very close second place at 57.4%. The computer systems did much better picking against the spread in the NFL than they did with the NCAA. 20 of of 24 systems did better than 50%. This year 5 systems did better than the leader did last year. Last year the best was PerformanZ Ratings at 54.8%. SMALLEST MEAN ABSOLUTE ERROR (Entire Season) Winner: Vegas Line Mean absolute error is the average of the absolute value between the game outcome and the predicted game difference. As in the NCAA this year, the system with the lowest mean absolute error was the vegas spread. The spread really does a good job of predicting the final outcome. No system has ever beat it over the last two seasons for college or the pros. However, the systems do a better job in the NFL than they did in the NCAA. Here several of the systems at least come close to matching the spreads performance and we have cases where they beat the spread over the second half of the season. For the season as a whole the top computer system was the Pigskin Index at 10.71. That isn't much behind the spread's 10.63. SMALLEST BIAS (Entire Season) Winner: Pigskin Index If we take the error for each game in relation to the home team to be the prediction minus the actual game outcome then the mean of these errors is the bias. A positive value would mean that the system tends to give to many points to the home team and a negative value mean a system tends to give to many points to the road team. So the closer to zero the better. The smallest bias over the entire season belonged to the Pigskin Index. Which was very accurate with a bias of 0.027. I get to give myself another honorable mention here as PerformanZ was a very close second at 0.048. The superbowl actual decided the outcome of this category. Last year this award would have been given to the Flyman Ratings, which had a bias of -0.038. SMALLEST MEAN SQUARE ERROR (Entire Season) Winner: Pigskin Index Mean square error is the average over all games of the error squared. Where the error is the difference between the prediction and the game outcome. Square error differs from the absolute error in that there is a greater penalty the farther away the prediction is. Mean square error also has the cool property of being equal to the variance of the predictions plus the bias squared. The smallest mean square error for the entire season goes to The Pigskin Index at 178.2. The vegas line had the smallest absolute error but only managed to come in second here. SECOND HALF AWARDS I like to look at the results over the second half of the season. The systems have had time to become 'burned in' to the season's data. This is when the systems show how good they are rather than how accurate the preseason rankings were. Second half data consists of all games from week 9 through the superbowl. BEST STRAIGHT UP WINNERS (Second Half) Winner: PerformanZ Ratings, Todd Beck Winner: Scoring Effeciency Two methods tied for the most predicted winners over the second half of the season. The first is my own PerformanZ Ratings using a team specific home field advantage. This system was only an experiment this year to test whether it was better than using a uniform home field advantage. It turned out quite a bit better, so expect to see this version replace my old standard next season. Sometime in the off season I will add the HFA's to the website. The second system is more of a method of predicting outcomes than a system. I based it on a technique that some professional gamblers use. I call it scoring effeciency because in it's simplest form it would be based on points per yards of offense/defense. Both of these systems were at 67.6% over the second half. They lead by a relatively large margin of 4 games over the nearest competition. The going was a little harder than last year when 3 systems, Ken Massey, Ed Kambour and the Pythagorean Ratings all were 69.7%. BEST AGAINST THE SPREAD ( Second Half) Winner: Pythagorean Ratings The system that beat the spread the most time over the second half of the season was the Pythagorean ratings at 56.5%. These ratings are another system that I maintain. They are based on Bill James' pythagorean theory of baseball. points for squared devided by(points for squared + points against squared). This quanity give a teams expected winning percentage. As you can see from my site this can be very accurate, often matching a teams actual winning percentage. Last season the best against the spread for the second half was least squares regression using a team specific home field, it was 56.2%. SMALLEST MEAN ABSOLUTE ERROR (Second Half) Winner: Pythagorean Ratings See an explanation of the Pythagorean ratings above. Pythagorean's average absolute error was about 10.46 per game. This is actually significantly lower than the second place system at 10.69 and considering half the systems had values over 11. The values for the second half actually tend to be larger than they are for the full season. So in this case our predictions don't seem to be improving as the year goes on, they are getting worse. I don't have the numbers but the Pythagorean ranking led in the category last year as well. SMALLEST BIAS (Entire Season) Winner: Flyman Performance Ratings I think the results in the category reflect a quirk of the NFL 200 schedule. Almost all of the values are between -1 and -2, meaning on average too few points were given to the home team. The road teams got off to a very strong start in 2000. Some systems even had negative home field advantages very early in the season. The home teams then started balancing things out in the second half of the season. The Flyman had the only second half bias that was under 1, with a value of -.50. This is a result of his use of a global home factor of 4, compared to many using 3. Looking at last year's number I was surprised to see the same pattern. We also had the same winner last season, as The Flyman's second half bias was a good two points better than anyone elses at -.74, SMALLEST MEAN SQUARE ERROR (Entire Season) Winner: Pythagorean Ratings The pythagorean method picks up another second half award. Has anyone ever seen Bill James write about this as applied to football? The football pythagorean theory produces the lowest mean square error over the second half of the season at 166. Here the second half values are much lower than the entire season totals. The Pythagorean ratings would have won this category last year as well. Best Predictive System (Entire Season) Winner: Ed Kambour Football Ratings, Ed Kambour This came somewhat of a surprise. To come up with the award I gave points for each category. The system with the most points in the 'entire season' data is the winner. In an extremely close vote Ed Kambour's Football Ratings come out on top. The numbers for the top 4. 1. Kambour 67 2. ARGH 66 3. CPA 64 3. YourLinx 64 Best Predictive System (Second Half) Winner: Pythagorean Ratings This award was also determined by giving points for each of the above categories and summing for each system. For the second half there was no competition. The Pythagorean Ratings ended up with almost twice as many points as the 2nd place system, scoring effeciency. Best Predictive System Overall in 2000. Winner: Scoring Effeciency Best overall considers both full season and second half data. Since the second half was only half the season I only gave it half the weight of the full season. 1. Scoring Effeciency 63 2. Pythagorean Ratings 60 3. PerformanZ w/ HFA 56 4. Vegas Line 50 5. CPA 46 RETRO AWARDS The season is long gone now but I wanted to finish this off before baseball season starts up. The retrodictive categories are based on each systems final standings and measure things by applying those final ratings to the entire season in retrospect. Most Retrodictive Wins Winner: CPA Rankings, Steve Wrathell The best retrodiction record this past season goes to Steve Wrathell's CPA Rankings. CPA also won this award for his NCAA rankings. CPA's retro record was 189-70, or about 73%. That was three games better than second place Ken Massey. I also have to make note of my sytem. After the season was over I plugged my PerformanZ using a team specific homefield advantage into the program and it came out even better than CPA at 192-67. So look out next year. Smallest Retrodictive Absolute Error Winner: Least Squares using a team specific home field advantage. This category is interesting just to see who could come close to matching the regression methods. What least squares does is minimize the squared error terms. And the least absolute error regression rankings minimizes this absolute error. Least squares using individual home field factors ended up with the lowest average absolute error at 9.27 and least absolute regression was second at 9.4. I would suspect that a least absolute value regression using team specific home field factors would be about as good as you could get here. Smallest Retrodictive Bias Winner: Massey Ratings, Kenneth Massey Kenneth Massey's NFL Ratings win this award for the smallest bias with a bias of almost zero, -.006. Several other systems do a very good job of this. Sagarin is the next lowest at +.03. In some sense this is a measure of how well you are measuring home field advantage. Since the value was around 2.90 this season anyone using the traditional value of +3 was very close. Retrodiction System of the Year 2000 Winner: CPA Rankings, Steve Wrathell Steve Wrathell's CPA Rankings take home the award for retrodiction system of the year. CPA was near the top in every category. The closest competition for the overall title was Kenneth Massey. Massey fell a little bit in the mean error category. If it was not for a large bias Least Squares using team specific home field advantage could have been the winner.