Oakland Raiders Inspired Passion for Data Analysis and Sportswriting

Honor Warren Wells TheTorch@dbintayaelSenior Writer IIJuly 18, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 1:  Cliff Branch #21 of the Los Angeles Raiders runs the ball against Mel Blount #47 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the AFC Divisional playoff game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on January 1, 1984 in Los Angeles, California.  The Raiders won 38-10. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
George Rose/Getty Images

This is the 400th article that I have written as a Bleacher writer. I looked back over about 16 pages in the archives to remember the very first article. It was published on April 2, 2009, and Jim Chandley was the editor.

Chandley wrote this feedback:

"Nice work. I just fixed some grammar and stuff. You did very well."

Wow, that made me smile. And, it has become a wonderful journey from that point to now. I admit that the Oakland Raiders inspired my passion for data analysis and sportswriting. And, the Bleacher Report has given me an outlet for my voice and my questions. It's a wonderful world!

I loaded the data analysis onto the webpage, arguing my point about a handful of wide receivers. Most of my motivation was to educate myself since during my younger day I really did not put a lot of time into the analysis of a game. I just enjoyed the games.

Here is what I posted back in April 2009. Cliff Branch and Warren Wells were highlighted. The study was narrowed down to the first five years of their career:

Senior Wide Receiver during the First Five Years

A numerical and graphical representation of the first five years of selected wide receivers is presented for comparisons. Otis Taylor’s rookie year was 1965; John Gilliam’s was 1967; Gary Garrison’s rookie year was 1966; Cliff Branch’s rookie year was 1972; and Warren Wells' rookie year was 1964.  The order of the presentation is Taylor, Gilliam, Garrison, Branch, and Wells.

WR                              Year**                        Avg                 TDs

Otis Taylor                  65 (1)               17.2                 5*

John Gilliam                67 (1)               12.0                 1

Gary Garrison             66 (1)               14.0                 4

Cliff Branch                72 (1)               13.7                 0

Warren Wells              64 (1)               10.5                 0

Otis Taylor                  66 (2)               22.4                 8*

John Gilliam                68 (2)               11.8                 0

Gary Garrison             67 (2)               17.5                 2

Cliff Branch                73 (2)               15.3                 3

Warren Wells              67 (2)               23.2*               6

Otis Taylor                  67 (3)               16.2                 11*

John Gilliam                69 (3)               19.2                 9

Gary Garrison             68 (3)               21.2                 10

Cliff Branch                74 (3)               18.2                 13

Warren Wells              68 (3)               21.5*               11*


Otis Taylor                  68  (4)              21.0                 4

John Gilliam                70  (4)              21.2                 5

Gary Garrison             69  (4)              20.1                 9

Cliff Branch                75  (4)              17.5                 9

Warren Wells              69  (4)              26.8*               14*

Otis Taylor                  69 (5)               17.0                 7

John Gilliam                71 (5)               19.9                 3

Gary Garrison             70 (5)               22.9                 12*

Cliff Branch                76 (5)               24.2*               12*

Warren Wells              70 (5)               21.5                 11

Five Year Yardage Comparisons

Branch             Wells

41                    12                    First year

290                  302*                Second year

1092                1137*              Third year

893                  1260*              Fourth year

1111                935                  Fifth year

The results of an assessment of yardage per ordinal year of Branch versus Wells show that Wells exceeded Branch during the second, third and fourth years of the first five years of their professional football career. Below is an incremental change chart of differences for each ordinal year, indicating  /∆/ to assess the magnitude of the difference of each player’s data.

























In the categories Y/G (yards per game), career average, and total touchdowns over total years, the results show:

Branch             Wells

47.5                 56.2*               Y/G

17.3                 23.1*               Career avg

4.785                  8.4*              TDs over total years

This parameter shows that Wells dominates in Y/G, career average and in average number of touchdowns divided by total years, using the first five years only.

An equation of proportions can give more insight on the rate at which Branch and Wells performed during the first five years of each career:

8685/14 = 3655/x      x = 5.891

The analysis shows that 5.891 is the number of years Wells would have needed to attain and exceed Branch’s 8685.  A conjecture is that it took Branch 14 years to get 8685 and at the rate Wells was going, it would have taken Wells only 5.891 years to reach 8685 or above.


Now that I have written 400 articles, I must say that I have learned a lot about football, the Raider Nation, Bleacher Report, and the Oakland Raiders.

Will I continue cheering for the Oakland Raiders? You betcha!

Will I continue writing, analyzing and questioning? Yes, indeed.

Will I continue to respond to almost every post? Yes, I will.

Thanks for the reads and "like" votes.

Let's just say that these articles demonstrate my "commitment to excellence." And since I am committed to excellence, I am cheering the young Oakland Raiders so that they, too, demonstrate a commitment to excellence in the style of my youthful memories in the late sixties and beyond.

Go Raiders!


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