Here at Acme Packing Company, we have been discussing DVOA and what it is even mre than usual since “The Demovsky Dustup” last Friday. As one of the longest-tenured APC writers to make frequent use of DVOA, I wanted to weigh in on why it’s a good and valuable stat.
And also try to get you to buy one of our cool shirts, with all proceeds going to charity in support of STEM education.
The Weakness of Old Stats
All stats require context to accurately convey the intended information. What’s interesting about DVOA (and most “advanced stats”) is that built-in, additional context is precisely what makes them “advanced.”
Let’s start with what the NFL refers to as “Total Defense.” I’ve been annoyed by this forever because “Total Defense” is really just “yards allowed,” and yards allowed is a pretty terrible defensive metric. It’s entirely possible for very good defenses to allow a ton of yards for a variety of reasons, from having a higher percentage of “garbage time” per game than other defenses to simply playing on the same team as a fast-paced offense, which in turn provides both teams with more possessions. If you use “Total Defense” without understanding pace of play or game situation, you will frequently get the wrong impression.