Magnus mentioned this issue in profiling Matt Wile today in his TTB countdown and I seem to recall this issue coming up recently on a front-page post here as well: punting averages don't give you much meaningful information about a punter's performance because they are skewed by pooch kicks and other short-field situations. So, I was wondering whether there might be a more sophisticated way of measuring punting performance.
I was originally just going to ask, “hey, can anybody suggest a better way of evaluating punting stats?” and see what suggestions arose. But before doing that, I figured I might as well run a quick Google search and see if anything good came up. Not surprisingly, I found something. On a page called “Iggles Blog,” a guy came up with the following method:
To calculate this statistic, you need to know (i) the yard line from which each punt was taken, (ii) the gross distance of the punt, and (iii) the distance of any return. I am pretty sure items (ii) and (iii) are available, but I am not sure anyone keeps track of (i) (I did a quick Google search for that too, but came up empty). But if the data necessary to calculate this statistic is (or becomes) available, this seems like a much more useful way of comparing punters--though perhaps not as useful as comparing the number of star systems under their control.