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Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by mattyb, Sep 22, 2007.

  1. mattyb

    mattyb Guest

    OK...I'm new to sports journalism. There has to be an easier way to keep football stats. Does anyone have any suggestions?
  2. I'm guessing all of it.

    That's not a criticism - I've never had to keep my own football stats (as a newsie I've written features but not gamers.) So count me interested, as well. I've kept baseball stats since I was like 6 years old but I just now realized I've never done football.

    Is there a scoring sheet like baseball?
  3. In Cold Blood

    In Cold Blood Member

    How are you keeping them now, mattyb?

    When i cover a game, I have a sheet I take with me that I use to keep running totals of stats. I'll keep play-by-play on a separate notepad.

    I'm too lazy to look, but if you do a search, I think there was a thread a few weeks back where people discussed their methods of keeping stats.
  4. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    If there is, it's an improvised one. I've got my own system, and I'm sure everyone's got theirs.

    Mine involves one legal pad and one notepad. Each team gets one sheet of legal paper, and I go back and forth depending on who's got the ball.

    I draw three horizontal lines on the top three-fourths of the legal pad, dividing it into three sections: passing, receiving and rushing. In the margins, I write the top offensive players' names and numbers. Each player gets their own line, because my handwriting's sloppy. (Without a pregame roster, I'll leave room in each section and write in a new rusher/receiver the first time they get the ball.)

    During a drive, I'll write in the yardage amounts after each play. For passing, I'll write in a yardage amount for a completion and an X for an incompletion. Asterisk next to the number is for a touchdown, star next to an X is a pick. (If I'm ambitious, I'll do the same for receivers, with intended passes.) At halftime, I total them and write the first-half yardage in the margin next to the guy's name. For instance:

    4-Favre 7 x 10* x x 13 x 25 10 = (that means he's 5-for-9, 65 yards, 1 TD)

    81-Rison x 10 10 = (2 catches, 20 yards)
    86-Freeman 7 x x 13 = (2 catches, 20 yards)
    87-Brooks x 25* = (1 catch, 25 yds, 1 TD)

    34-Bennett 4 6 4 10 -2 10 8 = (7 rushes, 40 yards)
    25-Levens 4 1 42* = (3 rushes, 47 yards, 1 TD)
    4-Favre -7 8 -4 = (3 rushes, minus-3 yards)

    When the other team has the ball, I'll flip to the next sheet and keep their offensive stats the same way.

    On the bottom half of the legal sheet, I draw small vertical boxes for defensive/team stats that we keep: First downs, punts-yardage, fumbles-lost, Penalties-yards. Again, just make a small notation for each one.

    P R P Pen R R R P Pen = (9 first downs; 3 by passing, 4 by rushing, 2 by penalty)

    36 38 37 = (3 punts, 37.0 avg)

    x O x = (3 fumbles, 1 lost)

    hold-5, false-5, false-5, PI-15 = (4 penalties, 30 yards)

    Make extra boxes for any other stats you want to keep track of. Tackles, sacks, third-down percentage, kickoff/punt returns, etc. (I usually don't keep track of everyone's tackles, but if there's a stud linebacker on that team I'll try to at least keep up with his.)

    By the end of the game, the rushing totals (especially in most high school games) can get pretty long. One guy might have 35 carries, or eight guys might get the ball at the end of a blowouts. Or hell, both in the same game. Do what you have to do to keep track of it, but if you're organized you can make it work. And if you total up the first-half stats during halftime, it makes it a lot easier if you're trying to compile the final numbers on deadline.

    4-Favre 7 x 10* x x 13 x 25 10 ... x x* 5 -2 12 13 x 4 x 7 x 42* x
    first = (5-for-9, 65 yards, 1 TD)
    total = (12-for-22, 146 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT)

    81-Rison x 10 10 ... x 12 4 x 7 42*
    first = (2 catches, 20 yards)
    total = (6 catches, 85 yards, 1 TD)

    34-Bennett 4 6 4 10 -2 10 8 ... 2 4 6 8 10* 31*
    first = (7 rushes, 40 yards)
    total = (13 rushes, 101 yards, 2 TDs)


    On my notepad, I keep the scoring summary on its own page. At the end of the game, I make sure I have them all. totaled up and write the score very big and circle it to confirm.

    I also use the notepad to keep a detailed description of the PxP. When a drive begins, I'll note the time and what yard-line the ball is on. Then, after each play, I quickly mark the yardage on the legal sheet -- after the first drive, you get a feel for where the top players are listed on the legal pad and can do it in a split second -- and then I write in a hasty description of the play in the notepad. Before each snap, I'll mark down/distance and the yard-line for the next play. After the play, I'll mark the yardage on the legal pad then write it in on the notepad. Rinse, repeat.

    When they score or turn it over, I make a heavy horizontal line in the notepad and write the time of the new drive and yard-line where it begins, and start over.

    Once you get the hang of your system, it's a lot easier than it sounds. You can't be afraid to shout out to anyone within shouting distance for confirmation ("Who carried that ball?" "What's that guy's number?" "How many yards was that?"), especially if a team is quick out of the huddle or it's late in the half.
  5. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Or, there's the easier way:

    Get an NFL gig. There, they'll hand you a printout after each quarter. ;)
  6. GB-Hack

    GB-Hack Active Member

    I always hung out with the chain gang, and had an A4 pad. Split it into six columns.

    columns 1+4 are for down and distance + yardline.

    columns 2+5 are for plays

    Columns 3+6 are for running game stats. You'll need to be good at mental arithmatic, but I could usually figure them out between drives.
  7. Tom Petty

    Tom Petty Guest

    or even down to D-III, they keep stats as well.
  8. That's a lot of work covering a high school football game.
  9. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    You guys need to move to Texas. Every paper I've ever covered high school football for had pre-printed stat sheets ready for use. You get yourself one of those babies, and keeping stats is just a matter of quick addition.
  10. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    Here's mine, using a legal pad:

    Split the page down the middle, lengthwise. One side is labeled Offense and the other Defense. Both refer to the same team.

    I label the first posession, let's say "my team of coverage" gets the ball first.

    I write the following:
    1/10 on 25 - Pass com #80 + 18 yrd
    1/10 on 43 - Pass inc #81 NG
    2/10 on 43 - #35 run R + 7 yrd
    3/3 on 50 - #35 run L NG
    4/10 on 50 - punt
    2 min., 4 plays, 20 yrds.

    So, the posession started at 15:00 minutes. Ended at 13:00 minutes. Was four plays for 20 yards. And you can see, for example, the first run play was by #35 to the right for seven yards. NG means No Gain.

    I do this all game, add up the passing plays and completions and yards. Add up the running plays and yards. Add up the penalties and yards.

    And I do it for Defense too, just marking who made the tackle or sack with #75t or #75s.

    Seems to work for me.

    And, of course, I ask for the photocopies of the hard copy of the scoresheets afterwards, but they only have the long runs and passes, which aren't always key plays. Sometimes a one-yard sneak is, so that's why I refer back to my notes.
  11. Jeremy Goodwin

    Jeremy Goodwin Active Member

    Here is the link: http://www.sportsjournalists.com/forum/threads/46555/

    It has some good stuff on it. Someone posted their stat sheet, and others explained their ways of setting up sheets.

    I've only covered one HS football game and the hardest thing for me was keeping stats because I'm used to covering colleges. The one piece of advice I can give is be confident and don't doubt yourself. The box you come up with is what will be published, so if you are not sure who made a run pick your guy and move on. You don't want to get behind on the next few plays because you are questioning whether it was the back who already has 20 carries or some third string guy you thought might have slipped in for a 2-yard rush on 1st and 10.
  12. They sell football stat sheets. Most high schools use them. They're easy to use and easy to interpret after the game. I suggest going out and picking up a few unless you're really keen on improvising your own using a legal pad and then spending half an hour after the game trying to figure out what the fuck you've done.
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