The search for the saddest punt in the world | Chart Party

  • Published: 20 February 2019
  • To punt is to give up, and in the 21st century, NFL teams have given up nearly 50,000 times. Most of those punts were reasonable decisions. But a few were so cowardly, and in such defiance of all reason, that they must not be forgotten. In this episode of Chart Party, it’s our mission to find them.


    3:43 - I misread this line. The rule was changed prior to the 2016 season.

    6:08 - Fig. 2 lists 46,290 punts as opposed to the 46,377 punts claimed by the original chart -- a discrepancy of 87. The higher number was found through the Play Index, which is highly accurate but not completely perfect -- for example, it classified a few plays as punts that were actually passes. I manually removed as many as I could find, especially the outliers, but there are still a few hiding in there. The lower number was found by the listed NFL season totals. Since I also found the touchdowns, field goals, et al. in this manner, I decided to leave the punts total intact so as to keep the ratio consistent.

    8:39 - Specifically at the opponent’s 25-yard line, you’ll notice that there’s a significant decline in the green “go for it” total. This data was found through Pro-Football-Reference’s Game Play Finder. Since this tool only returns 500 plays at a time, I had to pull the 46,000-plus punts through a series of smaller searches. This gave me just 39 “go for it”s at the opponent’s 25; however, if I ran the search in a different sequence, it gave me a more expected total of 111. For reasons I can’t explain, this discrepancy only shows up exactly at the opponent’s 25. Rather than patching in this total, I decided to leave the chart as is so as to preserve its consistency, but the actual total is likely closer to 111 than 39. The Game Play Finder is like an F1 car: it’s very powerful, but it has to be handled very carefully.

    9:45 - This was Hekker’s gross punting average. I probably should have used his net punting average instead, which is closer to 40 than 45.8.

    10:50 - A bit of a miscalculation on my part. In the 21st century overtimes have occurred once every 539 games, not once every 483 games.

    12:00 - We believe there’s an error in the play-by-play report. This play likely occurred near the beginning of the fourth quarter, not the end of the third.

    31:01 - The third Dolphins drive is slightly misplaced; it’s a few yards off from where it should be.

    36:07 - These two field goal attempts are shown in the wrong order. The Steelers’ attempt should be on the left side of the screen, and the Falcons’ on the right.

    36:19 - This chart title should read, “with five or fewer seconds left in the half or game.” Plays at the end of the second quarter were included in this sample. Additionally, hail marys as defined here are even more rare than I claimed: four plays found their way into the sample that were actually turnovers that resulted in touchdowns in the other direction. Hail mary touchdowns are actually 12-for-780 in this sample, not 16-for-780.

    39:08 - I misspoke. These two punts came on fourth and 11, not fourth and 13.

    40:31 - I can't believe I did this. The Bills are not Buffalo's only major pro sports team. I forgot about the NHL's own Buffalo Sabres. Sincere apologies.


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Comments • 4 445

  • Jonathan Constant
    Jonathan Constant  50 less than a minute back

    I mean, the Vikings were playing the Lions. So giving the Lions the ball wasn't the worst decision ever.

    • Jonathan Constant
      Jonathan Constant  1 hours back

      It's the Michigan game, isn't it?

      • gunzakimbo
        gunzakimbo  6 hours back

        "Pro football is not primarily a game of scoring, it's a game of punting. It's a game of, in a sense, giving up. Failing."

        So what you're telling me is, the 24 years of living in Cleveland, I've been watching the Browns do really good in Football?

        • MOTHforLife
          MOTHforLife  18 hours back

          The Sabres arent really worth mentioning anyways

          • Kenneth Miner
            Kenneth Miner  1 days back

            You actually made a mistake with the bengals punt from the 24’s surrender index. The play did come about a minute in the 4th quarter, so I scored it myself and got a score on 356.304. This is because the game clock score is 2 times greater than yours. I don’t know if this was known, but I wanted to let you know. This punt is 5th, but was canceled.

            • Shayne Hughes
              Shayne Hughes  2 days back

              20 minute videos? YouTube, my time on this Earth is precious.

              Give me a video at least the length of a short film, or leave me be.

              • droutlaw2183
                droutlaw2183  4 days back

                The conclusion about the victories was surprising

                • Paul Bradford
                  Paul Bradford  4 days back


                  Watched your whole presentation. Great work. Entertaining. Informative. Just beautiful.


                  • Dizzle
                    Dizzle  5 days back

                    congrats you made me watch a 54 min on punting and saw the whole thing hats off

                    • Will L
                      Will L  5 days back

                      Poor punter was probably sore are hell after that

                      • Mikky
                        Mikky  6 days back

                        Why Dont You Say There Real Name. I Am Umsubscribing

                        • Mikky
                          Mikky  6 days back

                          27:09 bottom left corner

                      • David Fontenot
                        David Fontenot  6 days back

                        I never thought I could laugh so at an algebra equation. Thank you!

                        • Joseph Bilderback
                          Joseph Bilderback  6 days back

                          Top 10 plot twists

                          • A.K.
                            A.K.  6 days back

                            8:00 BAHHH GAWWWWD IT'S THE FIGURE-FOUR LEGLOCK

                            • Eric Kutepow
                              Eric Kutepow  6 days back

                              Great video. You should be an NFL coach

                              • Bakorafanboy13
                                Bakorafanboy13  1 weeks back

                                Jon, you very nearly make we want to become a statistician

                                • John Mullen
                                  John Mullen  1 weeks back

                                  Just a note, putting red/green together on a chart like that (around 8:50) makes it extremelyyyy hard for a colorblind person to see. Just throwing that out there :)

                                  • Ryan Downing
                                    Ryan Downing  1 weeks back

                                    Ummm buffalo has hockey

                                    • MrUscultimate
                                      MrUscultimate  1 weeks back

                                      Buffalo sabers

                                      • Thomas Kimble
                                        Thomas Kimble  1 weeks back

                                        Why tf was this so intriguing?!!

                                        • revinevan87
                                          revinevan87  1 weeks back

                                          why is this video so quiet?

                                          • Eddie Day
                                            Eddie Day  1 weeks back

                                            Best video I’ve ever seen in my life

                                            • Christopher Ramsue
                                              Christopher Ramsue  1 weeks back

                                              @13:34 Here's the clip. Looks like it went out at the 1 in actuality.

                                              • iLO80
                                                iLO80  1 weeks back

                                                I instantly thought of Reggie Roby’s 1 yd punt. I then saw that it’s deeper than that.

                                                • trackmaster152002
                                                  trackmaster152002  1 weeks back

                                                  This was obviously awesome, but the one problem I have with this is that he didn't strike a cancel for the Ravens one. As a big Ravens fan I know what was going on. We literally had a defense and ST that was better at scoring than our offense. We knew that if we put them within their own 10, we'd have better odds of getting them to cough it up for getting a defensive score than converting on a 4th down and scoring too.

                                                  I did the math. If you multiply our defensive and ST TD's that year by 7 that year, its still more points than we gave up. Honestly, Jon Bois needs to do a stat party special on the Ravens 2000 defense.

                                                  I'm surprised that he didn't put two and two together that we were talking about possibly the greatest defense of all time paired with a terrible offense. He did kind of make up for it with the closing montage though. He at least brought up that we went on a historic run for a dominant SB run.

                                                  • Fluffy Bunny
                                                    Fluffy Bunny  1 weeks back

                                                    4:45 I have been a football fan for as long as I can remember, and I still chose to listen to you describe in detail what a punt is and how it works: I'm that fascinated by your work. I feel I'm not alone.

                                                    • Groovy Baby
                                                      Groovy Baby  1 weeks back

                                                      There could be an issue with the way you explained first downs in that part where you said checkpoints and you drew the markers every ten yards. You even said after the yards you get a reset. I think some could think it was every ten yards regardless on the field markers so like 1st n 10 at the 30 even if you got 15 they could think it would be 1st n 5 to get to the 50 for a reset checkpoint. Wherever we know when you are downed that’s a 1st n 10 from there outside of when you get inside the 10 then it’s 1st n goal

                                                      • Groovy Baby
                                                        Groovy Baby  1 weeks back

                                                        There’s more touchdowns than field goals? Crazy

                                                        • joe nobody
                                                          joe nobody  1 weeks back

                                                          I'm not saying I didn't enjoy this but that's an incredible amount of work put into finding the saddest punt in football history

                                                          • Nate Canfield
                                                            Nate Canfield  1 weeks back

                                                            Its Cool but overtime has way to much weight compared to the end of the game

                                                            • Jamie White
                                                              Jamie White  1 weeks back

                                                              So this guy knows a lot about football, but has he ever actually played?

                                                              • Shane Klumpp
                                                                Shane Klumpp  1 weeks back

                                                                This is some high quality work

                                                                • Pierre Jacquot
                                                                  Pierre Jacquot  2 weeks back

                                                                  "The Angry Floridian Mob makes a very good point." is something I really want like on a plaque somewhere, or on a t-shirt at least.

                                                                  • kelloggswag
                                                                    kelloggswag  2 weeks back

                                                                    The number 2 punt can be forgive because that means you get the 2000 ravens defense on the field, the most dominate defense in the history of the NFL

                                                                    • The Mayor
                                                                      The Mayor  2 weeks back

                                                                      Lmao!!!! Not enough people here are mentioning figure 4

                                                                      • AllRightsRejected
                                                                        AllRightsRejected  2 weeks back

                                                                        I am just absolutely relieved (and surprised) the Lions weren't the ones with the worst... well anything.

                                                                        • Joel Ramos
                                                                          Joel Ramos  2 weeks back

                                                                          Mind blown love your charts video

                                                                          • Dave
                                                                            Dave  2 weeks back

                                                                            How long dis it take to make this video. I mean over 40k punts even if you use computer to calculate someone needs to look up all the variables and enter them into a program. My guess over a year

                                                                            • McJohnson
                                                                              McJohnson  2 weeks back

                                                                              53:46 - What does it mean? I'll tell you what a friend of mine told me: I told her about an AI game of _Madden NFL 2005_ I'd been watching, where the Bengals (hi again!) were at Cleveland's 35 yard line; it was halfway through the 2nd quarter, Cincinnati was losing 14-3, and it was 4th & 8. Pretty good spot for a field goal that they clearly kinda need, and their kicker Shayne Graham wasn't atrocious either - 83 power, but _98_ accuracy; so he was trustworthy for a situation like this.

                                                                              The AI-controlled Bengals punted. It rolled into the endzone for a touchback, meaning it was a 15-yard punt. (It scored a 15.98 on your Surrender Index, by the way.) What happens next? The Bengals get a pick on the ensuing Browns drive, and eventually come back to win 25-24.

                                                                              Her response? "Football rewards cowardly decisions." *That's* what it means.

                                                                              • Heather Munroe
                                                                                Heather Munroe  2 weeks back

                                                                                I just want you to know that I will never, ever view a punt the same way because of this.

                                                                                • Professor Mario
                                                                                  Professor Mario  2 weeks back

                                                                                  I can’t believe how well this was made

                                                                                  • HasTAlaVIsta39
                                                                                    HasTAlaVIsta39  2 weeks back


                                                                                    • Aaron B
                                                                                      Aaron B  2 weeks back

                                                                                      Fig. 4. Brilliant.

                                                                                      • dalton burnett
                                                                                        dalton burnett  2 weeks back

                                                                                        "On average an nfl team chooses to quit about 5 times per game". Lol sounds like me everyday

                                                                                        • H F
                                                                                          H F  2 weeks back

                                                                                          27:08 I like the little touch in the bottom left

                                                                                          • Nick21 oof
                                                                                            Nick21 oof  2 weeks back

                                                                                            Ok well the bills just punted it backwards sooo

                                                                                            • xiii-Dex
                                                                                              xiii-Dex  2 weeks back

                                                                                              The 2000 Ravens ones did have the factor of having one of the best defenses in history. In 2000, the Ravens only allowed 165 points, the least ever in a 16-game season. Perhaps a bit too confident, but you can see why they might have liked their chances of shutting down their opponent after punting.

                                                                                              • Your boi Beans
                                                                                                Your boi Beans  2 weeks back

                                                                                                19:30 i cant believe it was bangladesh