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:
- Floating Index/Offensive Finder System
- Yards per Catch
- 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.