This Week in AFL Stats - AFL Week 2
Tuesday April 7, 2015
Welcome to our weekly look at the week in AFL stats and records. We'll be going over record setting performances by teams and players, and even the league itself, and also the trek of team and player averages as the season wears on vs. past performances.
Importance of "Average" Stats
While the league tends to lean on things like "Most Yards in a season," "Most Points in a season," etc, we at ArenaFan like to look more at averages (per league games in the season) and ratios. We see these are better comparisons vs. past seasons since the AFL has had a varied season length, from as short as 4 games in 1989, to the current 18 games per season the past 4 years. In between, the league has seen 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16-game seasons at various points.
If all we compared was the "most" of anything in a season, most likely almost every record would be since the league went to 18 games, or certainly 16. While that is great for the league, which would like to focus more on recent events and players, ArenaFan likes to look back over the whole history of the league. Even more so, a guy who had the same yards in a 12 or 14-game season is certainly more impressive than doing the same numbers in 18 games. While we'll keep track near the end of the season for players nearing those record setting seasons for the "most" of something, we'll be tracking all season long the teams and players who are near the head of the pack in "per game" superlatives.
Weekly Team Game Records
The Orlando Predators
started off the week with a 55-54 win over the Jacksonville Sharks
. For a team which only averaged 1.7 rushing touchdowns per game last season, we never figured that Orlando, of all teams, would break the record for the most rushing scores by a team in a game. The Preds though, had seven scores on the ground, five of which came from quarterbacks, a league record.
The Las Vegas Outlaws
had their piece of history last week as well. In the process of snaring their first ever franchise victory, they also posted the biggest win for an expansion team in the history of the AFL against a team which was defending an ArenaBowl crown. The 70-53 win was also the most points that an expansion team scored in any game since 2006.
In addition to all of that, Gerald Young became the first man in AFL history to return two missed field goals for touchdowns. All of last season in the AFL, there were only four missed kick returns for scores. There were only three in 2013, three in 2012 and just one in 2011.
Team Scoring Records
So far in 2015 there haven't been any teams to do anything superlative in scoring in any one single game. Scores have been pretty constrained so far, with the lowest being 28 points by the KISS this past week, and 70 points being the most scored by 3 different teams in the first 2 weeks.
In scoring averages vs. the league averages for the season, teams are getting set up early to have record setting seasons:
Best Season Average Points For vs. League Avg.
Cleveland is currently +13.12 points over the league average points per game, which is good for 8th all-time.
Worst Season Average Points For vs. League Avg.
Los Angeles is currently the worst all time with a little over 19 points below the league average per game.
Best Season Average Points Against vs. League Avg.
San Jose is #1 all-time so far with its defense giving up 17+ points less than the league average given up.
Worst Season Average Points Against vs. League Avg.
Orlando is fifth worst all-time so far with a little over 10 points more than the league average points against.
Best Season Average Point Differential
Not surprisingly, San Jose and Cleveland, who are both 2-0 and both near the tops all-time so far in either offensive or defensive PPG vs. league average, are tied for best all-time point differential per game at +22. If they can keep that up, their Saturday, May 23 game should be quite a treat to see if the SaberCats defense can hold up the Cleveland offense.
League Average Attendance
Prior to the season beginning, some were optimistic that the league average attendance could jump over 9,000 for the first time since the league restarted in 2010. Between low attendance teams in Iowa, San Antonio, and Pittsburgh being scuttled, and Orlando moving back to the Amway Center, the thought was if the teams could just improve across the board a little bit, 9,000 would be fairly "easy" to reach.
Unfortunately, the first two weeks of the season have brought upon a harsh reality. The league average attendance in Week 2 was 6,632, which is the lowest since Week 2 of 2013 (6,572), and the 6th worst week since the "reboot" in 2010. Las Vegas and New Orleans both couldn't crack even 4,000 in attendance, which bodes very poorly for both franchises, even with both teams having the two biggest upsets of the season so far, against ArenaBowl favorites Jacksonville and Arizona.
Portland is starting 2,400 under last years pace, and Tampa Bay only had 1 game reported under 10,000 last year, but already has its first game under 10,000 this season.
About the only bright spots on this front for the league are that Orlando had over 12,000 for their first game back in the Amway, and that the three teams still without a home game yet are ones with usually healthy attendance numbers (Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia). Hopefully for the league those teams do not disappoint as well.
ArenaFan's Dave Carlson and Adam Markowitz contributed to the compilation of this report.