After the terrible performance from the Denver Broncos coaches and players on Thursday night, many cried out that this was a sign that Thursday night games caused below-par performance from both teams and leads to less enjoyable games to watch. I wanted to look at this by studying the Thursday night games of this season. To do this I looked at a few key areas:
– Points per game- Total yards per game
– Passing yards per attempt
– Rushing yards per attempt
– Penalties per game
I looked at these five because points and yards are a decent indicator of the offensive play of the game while the two efficiency metrics (the two yards per attempt numbers) show if the teams were efficient in getting their yards and points. Lastly I added penalties because those are one of the bigger indicators of preparations and sloppiness of a teams play. These five are hardly perfect but provide a good sampling of what the game was like both in magnitude and quality.
I’ll take these and compare each teams performance on Thursday against their season averages to see if they are above or below those averages. Finally I’ll include a percentage difference, that this means is that I take the difference between their Thursday game and their seasons averages and then divide it by the season average to get a percentage difference.
For example if a team normally averages 25 points a game but had 20 points on Thursday, that’s a difference of -5. Now take that -5 and divide it by the season average of 25 and this team underperformed by 20%. Another example is a team that normally has 5 penalties but only has 3 on Thursday has a difference 2 penalties and did better by 40%.
Here is a link to the table.