Sunday, 22 February 2015

Building a Grey Cup Champion

If you were a head coach of a CFL team heading into the 2015 season, what would you want your team to be best at, league-wide? What is that one factor that you will have painted on the locker room walls and emphasized at every opportunity?

If my goal is to make it to “The Peg” this coming November 29 and ultimately win the 103rd Grey Cup, that one factor, that one phrase and statement that I will scream from the mountain top would be simple:

Lead The League In Turnover Ratio!

Of the last 10 Grey Cup champions, six led the league in turnover ratio. That is an incredibly high percentage. Interestingly, though not surprisingly, that is also the exact same percentage last 10 division-final-winning hosts. Those are pretty good odds and ones that I would be more than willing to take if you ask me.

Outside of leading the turnover battle over the course of the season, another quality that I would want to instill in my team is being stout against the run. Teams that led the league in lowest yards-per-rushing-attempt have made it to the big game 60 per cent of the time and claimed the trophy five times in the last decade.

Overall, where did the last 10 Grey Cup champions rank during regular season when it comes to many of the most important statistical factors on the gridiron?

Upon collecting and analyzing the data, I did find a few things to be a little surprising.
  1. Leading the league in rushing the football does not appear to be very important.
  2. Protecting your quarterback is slightly more important than getting to theirs.
  3. Points scored upon you are more important than the points you score.
  4. Leading the league in Touchdowns is more important than total points scored.
  5. Putting up the most offensive yardage is not a recipe for success.
As far as overall rankings, who are the best and worst Grey Cup Champions over the last 10 years? Well, the 2009 Montreal Alouettes ranked first across the league in eight of 13 categories and second or third in four others. The worst statistically ranked team to hoist the Grey Cup in the last decade goes to the 2012 Toronto Argonauts, who only ranked first in the area of turnover ratio while ranking, on average, in the lower third of the league in all others.

So, what do you want your team to be best at during the 2015 CFL regular season?

I Turn It Over To You!

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