Re-Engineering Statis-Pro Footbal Cards

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One of the things I really do not like about the original Statis-Pro Footbal game is the player rating. Players with a rating of 4 could be played once a half. Often they had the best cards due to a limited amount of stats. For example, if someone ran the ball once a season and got 15 yards on their one run attempt, their card would make them almost unstoppable on the ground. This is because the original cards only took the average rushing into account. The average for 15 yards a carry, so the card would reflect that. It didn't matter that there was only 1 carry. The effect was more pronounced in receivers.

When I redesigned the process, I wanted to use a minimum of stats, mainly due to the fact that many detailed stats were just not available for earlier seasons. One way of doing this was to make a rough guess at the standard deviation to understand how often a person gained a certain amount of yards. Doing this would differeniate a player that averaged 4 yards a carry, but ran for 1300 yards versus a player that averaged 5 yards a carry, but ran for 1100 yards. The former would have smaller numbers due to average, but more of them would be above average. The latter would have larger numbers up front, but smaller numbers at the end.

This is better explained visually, especially folks that have not played the game for years. Let's take one of these rating 4 backs, DJ Dozier:

On the original card, he had better normal and short gain numbers than Barry Sanders and Emmitt Smith, the two leading rushers that season. Because of the relative rarity of a breakaway run, DJ Dozier would be a very desirable card if it weren't for the pesky rating of 4 under his name. With the new version of the card, he can play all he wants, but he is now much less valuable. He can still breakaway for 20+ yard gain (He had two that year), but otherwise he will not dominate anyone's offense.

Speaking of Detroit, let's look at Barry Sanders that year:

Okay, I know. The short gain rushing yardage is much less and the pass yards are more spread out. One reason for this is an average 4.5 yards per carry that year. Another reason is that he didn't play in game 1 that year. The main contributing reason is that Barry didn't have but seven running attempts of 20 yards or more. Most games, he longest rush was 14 or 16 yards. I could be wrong, but I feel like the new card better reflects this. Let's compare to Emmitt Smith's cards:

Wait a minute, didn't Emmitt take the rushing title that year? Why does he have a worse New card than Barry Sanders? The main reason is that he had a lower yards per carry, 4.3. After considering his 75 yard run, he really didn't have any other huge runs that year. (I need to confirm this, I don't have the stats for him in front of me right now.) Despite catching more passes, his average per reception was more than two yards lower than Sanders. The ultimate reason that Emmit's card is not as valuable as Barry's is that Barry had more yards from scrimmage that year at a higher averages than Emmitt.

You know, of course, that this system make Thurman Thomas' card the most valuable RB card in 1991. He led the league in yards from scrimmage.

Next time I talk about Stais-Pro, it will be time for QBs and WRs.

Statis-Pro Football Stuff

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Link to Statis-Pro Football Cards & Utilities page

A couple years ago, I tried to play in Statis-Pro leagues, but quickly discovered that I could not afford the time to play. Somehow in my nostalgia, I didn't remember games taking 3 hours to play. I later discovered that I enjoy playing this game casually by severely  limiting substitutions, but that's fodder for another post.

One site I enjoyed was Lee Harris' site. He published formulas for making the cards as well as several sets. Unfortunately, I couldn't provide any funds for the site to keep going, so it is now gone. Going to archive.org, I managed to find everything by searching through the many snapshots. For example, the formulas page isn't in the most recent snapshot, but is in snapshots that are from the previous year. Since the last update was 2003, I don't feel like anything was lost.

I began thinking about Statis-Pro because I get at least two hits everyday from folks looking for Statis-Pro Football stuff. My previous post about streamlining the system gets traffic, but I'm certain it produces a fair share of cursing as well because I haven't finished it. Believe it or not, I got out the spreadsheets to generate my variation of the cards and began to fiddle with it again. Who knows where this may lead...

Having said all that I have added a page for Statis-Pro Downloads that have the Lee Harris cards as well as links to the UK League which also make their own cards with some rules variations. I feel like the two folks that end up here should at least get something for their trouble.

If Lee or other members of the Football Sim community feel that my hosting these files is somehow a bad thing, I'll take them down. I'm not trying to steal or infringe on anyone, I just want to promote a game that I still enjoy playing. Considering that these files are all available from archive.org, I don't see why this would be a big deal.

Rock on football sim folks! (I own five different sims.) Given the nature of negotiations within the NFL, it looks like sim action may be the only real NFL action for this upcoming season.