The Carolina Panthers Fought The Stats — And Won

A Super Bowl statistics special from our sports podcast Hot Takedown. Listen above, or subscribe on iTunes. It may be a distant memory now, in the wake of a 17-1 record and an NFC championship, but at midseason the Carolina Panthers were a litmus test for the depth of a football fan’s sabermetric beliefs. Sure, the Panthers were undefeated, and they looked like a solid team. But there was nothing about their underlying numbers that made them seem like a steamroller hellbent for the Bay Area come early February. If anything, their impressive record seemed liable to regress toward the mean as the season went on.Instead of backsliding toward their “fundamentals,” like many fast-starting teams have over the years, the Panthers did something remarkable: They actually improved their core metrics to match their record, and kept right on winning. Since midseason, Carolina truly has played like the best team in football, culminating in some of the most impressive early blowout wins in playoff history.How rare was Carolina’s victory over the fundamentals? Since 1978 (the advent of the 16-game schedule), a shade under half of all NFL teams have improved their schedule-adjusted1Using our Elo ratings to measure the difficulty of each opponent at the time of the game. Pythagorean winning percentage between the first and second halves of the schedule. Of those teams, a little more than half again saw the improvement move in the direction of the team’s midseason winning percentage. In other words, their actual record was better than their Pythagorean percentage at mid-year, and their Pythagorean percentage over the rest of the season improved toward their record. According to rest-of-season Pythagorean percentage, the 2015 Panthers finished as the 11th-best team of that group, which also includes the 1985 Bears, 1984 49ers and 2014 Seahawks — pretty heady company.But what makes the Panthers’ improvement even more special is the degree to which their actual and Pythagorean records differed halfway through the season. At midyear, they were 8-0 but had the point differential of a 5.3-win team — the second-biggest disagreement of any team in our sample.2The 2005 Packers were 1-8 with the point differential of a 4.3-win team midway through the season. When a team’s actual and Pythagorean records disagree that much, the Pythagorean number is right more often than not,3Specifically, among the upper quartile of “disagreements,” Pythagorean record is the better predictor of rest-of-season form 52 percent of the time after properly regressing first-half winning percentage and Pythagorean percentage to the mean for predictive purposes. though to be fair it’s close to a coin flip. But in Carolina’s case, their winning percentage was right on the money — only five other teams since 1978 saw their second-half Pythagorean improvement predicted more accurately by their first-half winning percentage. And all of those other cases featured teams floating around .500 with subpar point differentials — Carolina is the only team in modern history to post a stellar first-half record with solid fundamentals, then turn into a Pythagorean behemoth down the stretch.Without a doubt, it was offensive improvement that drove Carolina’s overall uptick in performance, and practically all of that change has come in the passing game. According to expected points, the Panthers’ special teams only marginally improved in the second half, and their defense, while great, stayed pretty much the same all season.Back in November, when I infamously described the unbeaten Panthers as the worst team ever to start 11-0, I also wrote that Cam Newton was having a “decent, but not great” season, and that “quarterback play probably isn’t the main driving force behind the Panthers’ success.” That may have been true at the time, but it surely isn’t the case now. Since midseason, Newton has been the second-most valuable QB in football according to combined passing and rushing value over average,4Trailing only Seattle’s Russell Wilson. and his rate statistics have undergone a particularly remarkable metamorphosis.At midseason, Newton’s numbers looked much the same as in years past: His rates of completions, interceptions and sacks were subpar, and his yards and touchdowns per attempt were only average. He had one of the league’s highest rates of off-target throws5Pass attempts judged by ESPN’s Stats and Information group to have fallen incomplete only because Newton missed his intended target, whether because of an overthrow or underthrow., with the only mitigating factor being that he also ranked among the game’s most frequent deep passers. (Deep passes are more valuable but harder to complete; Newton was inaccurate even if we adjust for this.) The majority of his value added was with his legs, as the game’s most prolific running QB. It was pretty much the same Cam we’ve seen the last few years.But to say Newton has improved his passing since then is like saying he only slightly enjoys dancing in everyone’s mug. Since Week 10, he suddenly ranks among the league’s most accurate passers, with a drastically reduced rate of off-target throws. He hasn’t cut back on the deep tosses, either — his air yards per attempt have dipped only marginally in the second half of the season. He’s slinging the ball for significantly more yards and touchdowns per attempt, and he’s hardly ever giving it away; his TD-INT ratio is 21-1 over his last 8 games.The changes to Newton’s game have come with a few tradeoffs: His sack rate is up and his rushing output slightly down since his midseason transformation began. But his value added per game has increased by a factor of nearly six over the season’s back stretch. That gives him the sixth-biggest second-half improvement of any Super Bowl starting QB since 1978. Few QBs in history have gone into a Super Bowl on a better roll than Newton is on right now.Now, quarterback play is unquestionably the main driving force behind the Panthers’ success. The only remaining question is whether Newton can keep up his newfound passing production against one of the toughest defenses he’s ever faced. Given the remarkable way he and the Panthers overcame the odds and molded their fundamentals into those of a championship squad, I wouldn’t bet against them finishing the job on Sunday.Check out our live coverage of Super Bowl 50. read more

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Buckeyes derail Boilermakers with secondhalf resurgence

Evan Turner and Robbie Hummel have more in common than a history of back injuries. Hummel tied a Purdue record by nailing eight 3-pointers in the first half, but Turner torched the Boilermakers down the stretch, fueling the Buckeyes to a 70-66 win Tuesday at Mackey Arena.Down 12 at halftime, the Buckeyes rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final four minutes, as Turner scored 14 consecutive OSU points to push the Bucks ahead, 66-64.Turner finished the game with 32 points —23 in the second half — and nine rebounds. Hummel finished with 35 points — 29 in the first half — and 10 rebounds, hitting 11 of 19 field goals, including 8 of 13 from beyond the arc.Still, despite the forward’s refusal to misfire, Ohio State kept close for much of the game, thanks in part to a feisty defensive press and, of course, Turner’s dominant play.“We just kept fighting and coach [Thad Matta] really stressed toughness,” Turner said.Ohio State (12-5, 2-3) plays host to Wisconsin at home Saturday. read more

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Leader of alleged secret International Sex Cult charged with child porn

[BuzzFeed] The co-founder of NXIVM, the self-help group that was allegedly used as a front of a secret sex cult, now faces child pornography charges.Federal prosecutors, who announced the charges Wednesday, allege Keith Raniere took photos of two underage girls, one of whom he made a “slave.”Authorities in New York arrested Raniere last year, busting open the bizarre operation of the self-help group that prosecutors say recruited women into a type of pyramid scheme, then brainwashing and manipulating them into becoming sex slaves while following strict diets and performing manual labor.Several women, including former Smallville star Allison Mack and Seagram liquor heir Clare Bronfman, allegedly helped run the operation and are awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.Read more: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/briannasacks/nxivm-group-founder-child-porn-charges Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedCops finally nab sex ring mastermind in TrinidadFebruary 22, 2019In “latest news”La Luz del Mundo church leader charged with child rape in USJune 5, 2019Similar postHorrifying details emerge as mom who used teen daughters as ‘sex slaves’ remains in custodyAugust 13, 2019In “Crime” read more

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1 dead 2 injured after motorcar slams into bus shed

A father of one was killed while two others were injured after the car in which they were travelling slammed into a bus shed at No. 43 Village, Corentyne Berbice in the wee hours of Thursday.Dead is Kenrick Matheson of No. 43 Village. The identities of the two injured men are yet to be released.Dead Kennrick MathesonBased on information received, the now dead man along with his cousin and a friend were returning home at about 2:00h when the accident took place.INews understands that Matheson handed over the car to his cousin to drive after he insisted.However, as they journeyed home, the cousin who was reportedly under the influence of alcohol lost control of the car crashed into a bus shed. Matheson who was reportedly the front seat passenger sustained injuries and was pronounced dead on arrival at the Skeldon Hospital.The driver along with the back seat passenger remains hospitalized as police continue their investigations. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related12-Y-0, cousin die in horrific Essequibo accidentAugust 13, 2015In “Crime”UPDATE:1 dead, several injured in WBD accidentFebruary 3, 2018In “Crime”Women killed after car slams into bus shedDecember 30, 2018In “latest news” read more

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Man feared drowned at Splashmins Resort

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedBody of WBD man recovered at Splashmin’s Fun ParkMarch 25, 2019In “latest news”Pomeroon man feared drowned – after boat hits Ballahoo he was travelling inApril 27, 2016In “Local News”Norton Street teen drowns at resortJuly 15, 2018In “Local News” The search is on for 25-year-old Dinesh Ramdas of Coglan Dam, West Bank Demerara who reportedly feared drowned at the Splashmin’s Fun Park, Soesdyke/Linden Highway on Sunday.Dinesh RamdasWhile information remains sketchy, <<>> understands that the young man and his family were outside of the resort when a ball accidentally went inside the compound.In an attempt to get the ball, the man reportedly attempted to crawl under the fence. After some time has passed and Ramdas did not return, the family frantically started to search for him.Up to late Sunday evening, his body was not yet discovered. An investigation has been launched into the incident. read more

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Teen miner fatally stabbed by drunk employer

A teenager is now dead after he was allegedly murdered by his employer, who happened to be a close relative.Dead is 19-year-old Dave Boyal, a miner of Batavia, Cuyuni River. He was reportedly killed on Friday March 22, 2019 around 22:00h in the vicinity of Blackwater Island Backdam, Cuyuni River.Reports are that Boyal and other miners were in their hammocks when the alleged perpetrator, who appeared intoxicated, entered the mining camp. He then proceeded to cut down the hammocks that the miners, including Boyal, had tied.According to the police, Boyal tried to persuade his relative to desist from doing so, and it was during this intervention, that the suspect picked up an arrow and fatally stabbed the teenager in the abdomen.The 30-year-old suspect, who also hailed from Batavia Island, Cuyuni River, was subsequently arrested and is currently in police custody where is said to be assisting with the investigation.Boyal’s body is presently at the Bartica Hospital mortuary awaiting a post mortem examination (PME).Meanwhile, police are still conducting investigations into the circumstances surrounding the youth’s death. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedMiner charged for murder of cousinMarch 26, 2019In “Court”Police investigating Puruni Landing murder of porknockerNovember 12, 2018In “Crime”Miner stabbed to death during argumentJanuary 7, 2015In “Crime” read more

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21yearold miner stabbed to death during row over hammock

A 21-year-old miner who was stabbed during a row over a hammock at 111 Miles Mahdia, Region Eight on Tuesday last succumbed to his injuries while receiving medical attention at the Georgetown Public Hospital.Hubert Willi, of Campbelltown Village, Mahdia reportedly took his last breath earlier today.Based on information received, the now dead young man and the suspect were under the influence of alcohol when the stabbing incident took place.According to the police, on the day in question, Willi was walking along the Mahdia roadway when he saw the suspect and confronted him about a hammock belonging to him.An argument ensued between them and it was at this time, the perpetrator became annoyed and dealt the victim several stabs to his body before escaping.The injured man was picked up and transported to the Mahdia District Hospital but due to the seriousness of the injuries, he was referred and transported to the GPHC to seek further medical attention.Willi was a patient at the medical institution until his demise at about 10:00h today. A post mortem is expected to be performed on Monday.The suspect was arrested and has subsequently confessed to wounding the now dead man. He is expected to be arraigned with murder when he makes his first court appearance. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedAnother miner murdered, police arrest twoApril 5, 2017In “Crime”Miner fatally stabbed after refusing to give attacker alcoholMay 10, 2019In “Crime”Miner killed after assaulting man for throwing squibs in his yardJanuary 1, 2015In “Crime” read more

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Cops to use body cameras during traffic stops arrest situations

As part of the reformation process for a more modernised and efficient Guyana Police Force, 40 ranks from within ‘D’ Division were trained to use Portable Video Recording kits (Body Cameras).The purpose of the training was to allow ranks to be able to operate the equipment to capture digital audio and video evidence for criminal, civil and traffic related offences, which will also assist ranks with recalling facts and other details captured by the equipment that would accurately relate a chain of events when writing reports, Police Headquarters said in a statement. The ranks will be required to wear the Body Cameras during their shift at all times and should activate it when it is absolutely necessary in situations such as: traffic stops, priority responses, vehicle pursuits, arrest situations, vehicle searches, physical confrontations and crimes in progress etc.The training was conducted at the Leonora Police Station Recreational Hall on March 27 by Constable 24148 Callace Isaacs and Constable 24606 Leon Joseph of the Information Technology Department (IT) of the Guyana Police Force. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedRanks not allowed to confiscate documents – Traffic ChiefJune 6, 2016In “latest news”In excess of $2.3M being repaid by ranks for damaging GPF vehicles in 2018- Top CopJuly 18, 2018In “Crime”Two policemen busted with large quantity of ganjaDecember 21, 2016In “Crime” read more

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Major improvements for Everest Cricket Club

Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedRajesh Singh returns to helm of Everest for 3rd termFebruary 28, 2016In “Sports”GECOM’s Chairman accused of colluding with OppositionAugust 6, 2014In “Politics”Ramkarran discredits Nadir’s interpretation of vote on No Confidence motionSeptember 7, 2014In “Politics” Manzoor NadirArguably one of the best local cricket venues, the Everest Cricket Club (ECC) is aiming to outdo their competitors by improving their facilities.The recently-elected executive body already has a number of ventures in mind, which it hopes to embark on in the near future.“Our 2019 Executive has a very ambitious plan, a plan that costs about $25 million. And we’re looking to implement that plan for the years 2019 and 2020,” stated Manzoor Nadir, the new president.Among the projects planned is the expansion of their sport base. Nadir explained that the number one-ranked tennis player in Guyana, Anthony Downes will be part of the resuscitation of the Lawn Tennis Club.Additionally, hockey and squash will also be introduced.The Club has also been building their portfolio of equipment and facilities. The Cricket Club currently boasts a batting facility, dirt wickets, all-weather wickets, a five-ton roller and industrial grass cutter for pitch and field maintenance, and will soon have an up and running bowling machine.Citing reasons for the expansion, Nadir noted that the executives were keen on producing better sportsmen and women.“The thinking behind Everest for the next two years is even if we don’t have the best talents in the area of sport, let us make Everest the place with the best facilities and the place with the best facilities will eventually produce the greatest talents. And that’s what’s going to drive Everest in the next two years,” Nadir explained.In addition, the largest project that will be undertaken by the Club will ensure that they become one of, if not the best, spots for local and regional cricket. read more

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LETTER The APNUAFC circus continues

Dear Editor:Both Ministers in the Ministry of Public Health ventured away from their air-conditioned, plush  offices on Brickdam and traveled to Region 6 last week, pretending they were there to commission significant upgrading of the health sector. In the aftermath of the December 21st No-Confidence Motion, APNU+AFC has embarked on a desperate charade, a “circus”, to demonstrate they care for the people. After four years of total neglect, after four years of bourgeoisie-style and elitist  government, the NCM woke them up. Just a few days ago, they stepped out of their castles into their front lawn at the Square of the Revolution, a mere one to two minutes walk, for a circus deemed “bringing government to the people”, never mind the people had to travel to see the Ministers in the Ministers’ front lawn. After that circus failed, the Ministers are desperately seeking some other way, any other way, to fool the people.It is this desperation that brought the two Ministers in the Ministry of Public Health to Region 6. If the Square of the Revolution fiasco was the “biggest circus ever” in Guyana, the foolishness of this rare Region 6 visit by the Ministers was, simultaneously, farcical, disgusting and insulting. While the Ministers were present in Region 6, the whole area from Fyrish Village to Bloomfield was out of any potable water service from GWI. Thousands of families were exposed to major inconvenience, facing a serious public health threat. Neither Minister showed any concern, providing no evidence they care an iota for these Guyanese sisters and brothers, for the thousands of Guyanese children living there. Sadly, a young woman in Williamburg, a small community about 5 minutes drive from the Port Mourant Hospital, was brutally murdered by her husband and neither Minister found it necessary to visit the family or address the out-of-control domestic violence against women and girls. Even as that tragedy was playing out, workers from the Albion Sugar Estates were on strike, their families further burdened, but neither Minister engaged them.While savoring the idea of an appreciation dinner in their honor, the two Ministers went to New Amsterdam Hospital, totally ignoring the shame that the mortuary at New Amsterdam Hospital is closed and families who are already traumatized by the death of their family members must pay to use private mortuary services. The Ministers ignored also that just within the last two weeks, residents in Region 6 have been protesting poor services at the Hospital and the high-handed behavior of the present CEO. The Ministers pretended that nothing was wrong at the hospital, ignoring questions surrounding maternal and child deaths at the hospital and the chronic medicine and medical supplies shortages. But the Ministers were gleeful that there was an appreciation dinner on their behalf.Besides the local health officials prostrating themselves on the feet of the Ministers at their appreciation dinner, the two Ministers, pretending they brought profound new and improved health services, went and commissioned a refurbished kitchen at the New Amsterdam Hospital. After neglecting maintenance for the kitchen and after millions of dollars of questionable spending at the hospital, two ministers showed up to boast of a refurbished kitchen as a big health achievement for APNU+AFC and as an important upgrade of the health sector for Regions 6 and 5. The kitchen, of course, is important for the hospital. But the refurbishment would not have been necessary had they maintained the kitchen, rather than the total neglect since May 2015. In the meanwhile, the Ministers ignored that a High-Dependency Unit was constructed, but remained unused because it was constructed in the wrong place. It is a shame, an absolute disgrace.The Ministers went to Port Mourant Hospital to re-commission the Port Mourant Ophthalmology Hospital. This important hospital has been dormant, literally closed soon after the May 2015 elections. After four years of ignoring the Ophthalmology Hospital, the Ministers, like Knights in Shining Armors, showed up to re-commission the hospital. They failed to announce that the hospital still will not resume its main function, provide eye surgeries, like cataract surgeries. They did announce an outreach eye care team from the US military will be using the facility to perform some eye surgeries. This US military medical outreach has existed for almost two decades, it is an important and successful outreach program, but this does not solve the problem of a once successful hospital being virtually closed for almost four years now. What were they commissioning?This kind of comedic behavior is shameful. It is disgusting that taxpayers money is being used in such a wasteful manner, for a show. The Ministers’ outreach insult has not escaped the people. They see it for what it is – a farce, disgusting and insulting. The people are not fooled. Their eyes are wide open and they are waiting impatiently for the elections because more than 80% of Region 6 cannot wait to register their rejection of these Ministers and APNU+AFC. The Ministers may be able to parade, in a charade of power, but the people have a simple X that is far more powerful than anything APNU+AFC has.Dr. Leslie Ramsammy Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedOp-Ed: Govt breaching labour laws by not paying sugar workers their full severanceJanuary 11, 2018In “Opinion”OP-ED: Govt’s secret health insurance deal must be investigated- RamsammySeptember 12, 2017In “Opinion”Ramsammy accuses Harmon of trying to insult intelligence of GuyaneseMarch 12, 2017In “Opinion” read more

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