Turnovers Are Turnovers

Discussion of technique and strategy.

Turnovers Are Turnovers

by FenderGuy69 » Wed Nov 26, 2014 3:41 pm

Another interesting article from our friends over at Harvard Sports Analysis Collective. It looks at turnovers & their impact upon the game depending what down & position on the field.

The first thing to notice about the graph is that turnovers on earlier downs are much more costly than those on later downs. This is because 1st down and 10 from a certain field position has a much higher expected point value than 3rd and 10 from the same spot. This makes sense as a turnover on 3rd down is just delaying the mostly inevitable change in possession that would occur from a punt on fourth down anyway (although the better field position from the turnover results in this being a negative expected point play).

Another interesting thing to note is that turnovers are clearly more costly close to either goal line than in the middle of the field. In fact, for each down situation, the least costly field position for a turnover is the 50-yard line. At the tails of the graph, we see that a red zone turnover isn’t necessarily worse than a turnover in the deep zone except for on 2nd or 3rd down where red zone turnovers are slightly more costly than deep zone turnovers

So is the value of a turnover really constant like early analytics would suggest? Definitely not. However, football traditionalists are also wrong by overemphasizing the importance of red zone turnovers when there are other places on the field where it is just as damaging to give up the ball. The next time you hear someone condemning a red zone turnover, consider the idea that 1st down turnovers and deep zone turnovers deserve at least some of the attention currently given to red zone turnovers.



http://harvardsportsanalysis.org/2014/1 ... turnovers/
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Re: Turnovers Are Turnovers

by Mark » Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:37 pm

The analysis is quite interesting. There's also a psychological effect, I believe, that comes with multiple turnovers in a game. It would be interesting to create some sort of study (how, I don't know, and I've done social science research) to assess this.

However, there has been ample evidence all along that a turnover is NOT a turnover.

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