1985 Card Set Evaluation

I’ve reached the conclusion (224 of 224 regular season games) of my 1985 NFL replay. My evaluation criteria is stringent but in line with my “Pursuit of the Perfect Replay”.  I’m an independent party with twenty-five years’ experience in the “Test and Evaluation” field. This evaluation is based purely on “objective” findings. The criterion is the same one used to evaluate all card sets associated with my previous replays.   

Plan.  I’ve used a five-tier (Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor) rating system to individually evaluate team wins and 48 other offensive and defensive categories per conference. I’ve compared the replay’s league average against the actual league average per category, assigned a weighted score (i.e., Excellent is worth 5 points, Very Good is 4 points, etc.), summed and averaged to determine the overall rating. For example, if the league average for first downs was 36.3 per game and the replay averaged 34.2 resulting in a difference (+/-) of 2.1.  When compared against the criteria, this category would be rated as “Fair” and assigned 2 points.

The most important replay statistic, “Ball Control Plays” or “Plays from Scrimmage” was not evaluated. Rushing attempts, passing attempts and sacks combined determine the total amount of “Ball Control Plays” or “Plays from Scrimmage”.  Since two of three of those are controlled by the gamer, it would be unfair to evaluate this statistic. 

Execute.  Each game was replayed in accordance with my “Method of Play” presentation.  All quarterbacks were strictly limited to a 60-40 short/screen pass to medium/long pass ratio.  Dual threat running backs carded with 15-16-17-19 were strictly limited to a 50/50 inside to outside run ratio. Running backs carded with 3-5-7-9 were limited to only outside runs.  Running backs carded with 4-6-8-10 were limited to only inside runs.

The following innovations were used:

Offense:

  • Floating Index/Offensive Finder System
  • Yards per Catch

Defense:

  • Fletch67
  • Situational Down & Distance Chart
  • Sack & Interception Ratings
  • Forced Fumble & Recovery Charts

On game 21 of the replay, I stopped using the A* and D features of the Floating Index. The disparity between good teams and poor teams were so great, that I found these features to be to punitive. On game 92 of the replay, I quit using the Floating Index and began using the Offensive Index Finder System. My rationale for the change was two-fold; first it enhanced my pleasure calling a play without knowing what the offensive index was in advance. When using the “Floating Index” or using the traditional “Plus 8/Minus 8” rule, the gamer either already knows the index or has a very good idea what it will be. Now it doesn’t matter if the offense is -18 against the “85” Chicago Bears defense, they still have a 1/36 chance at being in “A” for that play. In a nutshell, playing this way eliminated any conscious or subconscious gaming of the system. Secondly, I no longer determine the offensive index by series but for each individual play.

Report.  The overall grade of the set is determined by adding the numerical value (i.e., excellent is 5 points, very good is 4 points, good is 3 points, etc) associated with each category being evaluated and determining the mean average. The grading scale used to determine the overall rating is:

  • Excellent = 4.0 – 5.0
  • Very Good = 3.5 – 3.9
  • Good = 3.0 – 3.4
  • Fair = 2.5 – 2.9
  • Poor = 2.4 or less.

The AFC had 49 categories evaluated for a sum of 193 resulting in a mean average of 3.9 to earn a “Very Good” rating. A total of three teams matched their actual record.  It requires an “excellent” rating in both the offensive and defensive category to receive an overall “excellent” rating. The AFC earned an unprecedented eight “Excellent” ratings in the following categories:  Rushes (Net) Yards Gained, Average per Gain (Rush), Interceptions, Average per Punt, Penalties, Fumbles, TDs Rushing, TDs Passing, and TDs on Return.

The NFC had 49 categories evaluated for a sum of 186 resulting in a mean average of 3.7 to earn a “Very Good” rating.  A total of four teams matched their actual record.  The NFC also earned eight “Excellent” ratings in the following: Rushes (Net) Yards Gained, Average per Gain (Rush), Passing (Net) Yards Gained, Net Yards Gained (Pass/Rush), Penalties, TDs Rushing, TDs on Return, and Extra Points.

This set grades out with an overall score of 3.87 or rounded up to 3.9 for a “Very Good” rating or borderline “Excellent”.

The one glaring negative for me was the performance of the Denver Broncos. In all the replays that I’ve conducted, I’ve never had a team six games below their actual record.

Conclusion:  I can’t thank Mark Zarb enough for carding this set for me, one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. It has brought me months of enjoyment and played as well as it looks.  

evaluation-template for 1985

2011 Mid-Season Report Card

I’ve reached the midway point (128 of a 256 game season) of my 2011 NFL replay. I’ve attached both American Football Conference (AFC) and National Football Conference (NFC) statistics and “Evaluation” workbooks for review.  My evaluation criteria is stringent but in line with my “Pursuit of the Perfect Replay”.  I’m an independent party with twenty-five years experience in the “Test and Evaluation” field. This evaluation is based purely on “objective” findings. The criterion is the same one used to evaluate all card sets associated with my previous replays.  In addition, I’ve listed both positive and negative “subjective” observations noted during the course of the replay.  

Plan.  I’ve used a five-tier (Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor) rating system to individually evaluate team wins and 50 offensive and defensive categories. I’ve compared the replay’s league average against the actual league average per category, assigned a weighted score (i.e., Excellent is worth 5 points, Very Good is 4 points, etc.), summed and averaged to determine the overall rating. For example, if the league average for first downs was 36.3 per game and the replay averaged 34.2 resulting in a difference (+/-) of 2.1.  When compared against the criteria, this category would be rated as “Fair” and assigned 2 points.

The most important replay statistic, “Ball Control Plays” or “Plays from Scrimmage” was not evaluated. Rushing attempts, passing attempts and sacks combined determine the total amount of “Ball Control Plays” or “Plays from Scrimmage”.  Since two out of three of those are controlled by the gamer, it would be unfair to evaluate this statistic. 

Execute.  Each game was replayed in accordance with my “Method of Play” presentation.  All quarterbacks were strictly limited to a 60-40 short/screen pass to medium/long pass ratio.  Dual threat running backs carded with 15-16-17-19 were strictly limited to a 50/50 inside to outside run ratio. Running backs carded with 3-5-7-9 were limited to only outside runs.  Running backs carded with 4-6-8-10 were limited to only inside runs.

 I’ve used two innovations on offense (Floating Index and Yards per Catch) and defense (Fletch67/Situational Down & Distance Chart and Sack/Interception rating) throughout the replay. On game 70 of the replay, I implemented Howard Ahlskog’s, Fumble Frequency Number (FFN) innovation, to mitigate an excessive number of fumbles. 

Report.  The overall grade of the set is determined by adding the numerical value (i.e., excellent is 5 points, very good is 4 points, good is 3 points, etc) associated with each category being evaluated and determining the mean average. The grading scale used to determine the overall rating is:

  • Excellent = 4.0 – 5.0
  • Very Good = 3.5 – 3.9
  • Good = 3.0 – 3.4
  • Fair = 2.5 – 2.9
  • Poor = 2.4 or less.

The AFC had 51 categories evaluated for a sum of 169 resulting in a mean average of 3.3 to earn a “Good” rating. A total of four teams matched their week 9 record.  It requires an “excellent” rating in both the offensive and defensive category to receive an overall “excellent” rating. The AFC earned “Excellent” ratings in the following categories:  Average per punt return; Total TDs; TDs on Returns and Extra Points.

The NFC had 51 categories evaluated for a sum of 171 resulting in a mean average of 3.4 to earn a “Good” rating.  A total of four teams matched their week 9 record.  The NFC earned “Excellent” ratings in the following three categories: Fumbles; Total TDs and TDs on Returns.

I’m extremely impressed with the performance of kickers’ cards.   This set has received the highest grade ever with regard to percentage of successful field goal attempts.

I’ve observed the following statistical inaccuracies:

Fumbles:  Players that never fumbled during the course of the year received a fumble number(s).  This is especially prevalent with kickers and punters cards.

Interception Returns:  Players carded with return yardage when they didn’t have any in real-life.  For example, game 95 between the Jets and Chargers, Jim Leonhard had a 44-yard interception return for a TD but only had one interception for zero return yards during the season.

Missed Extra Points:  John Kasay was 63 for 63 in extra points during the season; however, he currently is 39 out of 41 during the replay.  

Subjective Observations.

Pro:  The “card” format is a major upgrade over the perforated sheets for a multitude of reasons.  The convenience of no longer having to dedicate hours separating the individual cards and eliminates the risk of tearing a card(s).  The cards are delivered with the starting offensive and defensive lineups already prepositioned. The cardstock is heavier which greatly increases the durability of the card set. The appearance of the front and back of the cards is not only impressive but the print (RPN numbers) has not faded with use. The cost of the set and extra players might be prohibitive for the casual player; however, for a person like myself who intends to replay every game it’s quite reasonable (i.e., 39 cents per game).  

Con:  It’s obvious that teams post season performance was taken into consideration when crafting offensive/defensive ratings. For example, the Super Bowl Champion, NY Giants, finished the season with a 9-7 record and had the 27th ranked defense; however, their split defensive rating is 41/40.  The Giants defense gave up an average of 376.4 yards per game; however, during this replay they only allow 279.6 yards per game.      

Conclusion:  Is the quality of this set good enough for me to face the grind of 128 more regular season games? You bet it is! This set is a “Good”, quality set that has already brought me countless hours of entertainment. For further proof, just check out the box score of my last game (game 128) played: Actual Score – Green Bay 45, San Diego 38; APBA Score – Green Bay 44, San Diego 37.  

2011 AFC Stats     AFC Mid-Season Card Set Evaluation

2011 NFC Stats    NFC Mid-Season Card Set Evaluation

1998 Card Set Evaluation

I used Lee Young’s APBA set to conduct a modified NFL replay of the 1998 season.  I replayed the schedules of 10 teams (5 AFC/5 NFC) who finished with 10 or more victories.  For whatever reason, the AFC cards performed better than their NFC counterparts.  The five AFC teams combined for an average score of 3.6 with 22 excellent ratings.  The NFC registered a combined 3.2 average and only 11 excellent ratings.  The overall score for this set is 3.4 resulting in a “Good” rating. The individual teams graded out as follows:

  • Bills 3.6
  • Broncos 3.5
  • Jaguars 3.6
  • Jets 3.4
  • Dolphins 3.7
  • Falcons 3.4
  • Cowboys 3.3
  • Packers 3.4
  • Vikings 2.9
  • 49ers 3.0

1981 Card Set Evaluation

I often get asked, what was the best card set that I ever played with?  The answer for me is easy; it was Mark Zarb’s 1981 set.  The AFC graded out at 3.8 and the NFC 3.6 to earn an overall rating of 3.7.  This is a prime example where there numbers don’t tell the whole story.  It requires an “excellent” rating in both the offensive and defensive category to receive an overall “excellent” rating.  There were eight “excellent” ratings on the AFC side and six on the NFC side.  To me the most important single categories in judging a set is “Net Yards Gained (Pass/Rush) followed by QB completion percentage and Average per Gain (Rush).  This set received “excellent” ratings in 2 out of 3 of the above mentioned categories for both the AFC and NFC.  A total of 102 categories were evaluated.   

1981 AFC Card Set Evaluation     1981 NFC Card Set Evaluation

2006 Card Set Evaluation

The APBA 2006 AFC card set graded out at 3.2 to earn a “Good” rating.  This was my first season replay and basically was conducted right “out of the box”.  With lessons learned over the years and the multitude of innovations I employ, I’m sure the results would have been better.  A total of 51 categories were evaluated.

2006 Card Set Evaluation

1968 Card Set Evaluation

Mark Zarb’s 1968 AFL card set was a gem.  Without a doubt, one of my favorite card sets ever created.  My beloved Jets performed as advertised and won the AFL crown.  This set earned an “Excellent” rating with a 4.2 grade.  Same strengths as 65 and 67 sets, however, yardage was “spot-on” during this replay.   A total of 26 categories were evaluated.   

1968 Card Set Evaluation