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 • 4 294

  • Off_mah_lawn
    Off_mah_lawn  10 hours back

    29:00 They do look like champagne bubbles!

    • Doug SwampRat
      Doug SwampRat  12 hours back

      I feel like I deserve a medal for getting through this video. I mean I like stats, but this was overload and in the end you feel like you do at the end of a Lars Von Trier movie.

      • Yalwin Khales
        Yalwin Khales  12 hours back

        What is that Sailor Moon-esque music that starts at 23:35?

        • tmosh_04
          tmosh_04  12 hours back

          jon bois: the only person on earth that can make punting fun

          • Vontos' Magic Murder Bag
            Vontos' Magic Murder Bag  12 hours back

            I think it means 10 is too small a sample size.

            • wdrewjr
              wdrewjr  14 hours back

              High-school Me: Will I ever use this type of math in real life?
              Math Teacher: Only if you're lucky son, only if you're lucky

              • wdrewjr
                wdrewjr  14 hours back

                < heh heh> figure 4 < heh heh>

                • Logan Kandel
                  Logan Kandel  18 hours back

                  Seriously, how is a 54 minute long video about PUNTING this entertaining?

                  • Patteo
                    Patteo  19 hours back

                    What does this mean

                    This means that I’ve wasted 1 hour of my life

                    • Max Bailey
                      Max Bailey  21 hours back

                      why is Houston better than Dallas? lol

                      • Kung Fu Kenny
                        Kung Fu Kenny  1 days back

                        Biggest plot twist ever

                        • chairmanofrussia
                          chairmanofrussia  1 days back

                          Nightmare music...jesus jon, I’m watching this at night. Have some mercy

                          • Nathan Sheets
                            Nathan Sheets  1 days back

                            this is amazing

                            • Matthew Sawczyn
                              Matthew Sawczyn  1 days back

                              "It's a sad game."
                              Yes. Yes, it is.

                              • Tomas O'Brien
                                Tomas O'Brien  1 days back

                                So the football gods do have mercy?

                                • RUNdone DIDit
                                  RUNdone DIDit  1 days back

                                  Why is it so damn quite. I can't hear anything

                                  • Maphack
                                    Maphack  1 days back


                                    • Malvandra
                                      Malvandra  2 days back

                                      Anyone who calls the superbowl, the worst game ever to watch or the worst superbowl. Simply isnt a fan of football

                                      • MatthewB
                                        MatthewB  2 days back

                                        That ending left me shocked!

                                        • Paulymer
                                          Paulymer  2 days back


                                          • Connor pauler
                                            Connor pauler  2 days back

                                            I wonder how long it took to make this video

                                            • ArlanKels
                                              ArlanKels  2 days back

                                              Think I saw two safeties in the first week of 2019.

                                              • B-Thrash
                                                B-Thrash  2 days back

                                                Ebody likes the coach that doesn't punt, otherwise it's not coaching. When I was a punter in HS I had almost no playing time as we hardly ever punted (Summerville SC)!!!

                                                • Артём Залавский

                                                  sees new Chart Party Yes! sees it’s 52 minutes long YES!

                                                  • K2 Line
                                                    K2 Line  2 days back

                                                    Wow this video is incredible.

                                                    • Morgan Ritson
                                                      Morgan Ritson  2 days back

                                                      "Buffalo's only pro sports team"

                                                      I may be wrong, but don't they have a hockey team?

                                                      • Jake Jarvis
                                                        Jake Jarvis  2 days back

                                                        I know literally none of the rules of football and have only ever sat through one whole game, which was a Super Bowl game that I was more or less forced to attend. Did I understand this video? Kind of. Do I care? No. Raw data just gives me a bit of an erection, and I won't apologize for that.

                                                        • Brock Smeltzer
                                                          Brock Smeltzer  2 days back

                                                          40:29 umm ever heard of the Buffalo Sabres?

                                                          • Amateur MidwestPyroG
                                                            Amateur MidwestPyroG  3 days back

                                                            You mean to tell me... a web series that has to do with sports is watched by mainly people who don’t watch sports? Okay bro

                                                            • MemeyLoaf
                                                              MemeyLoaf  3 days back

                                                              Jon: I will explain punting for viewers who don’t watch sports
                                                              Also Jon: *explains whole damn game of football*

                                                              • Alex Miller
                                                                Alex Miller  3 days back

                                                                “Houston beat Dallas in football that day, just like they do in everything else.”

                                                                • Basser
                                                                  Basser  4 days back

                                                                  44:20 if you wan to skip

                                                                  • Alex Fox
                                                                    Alex Fox  4 days back

                                                                    umsubscribed /s

                                                                    • blakeywakey
                                                                      blakeywakey  4 days back

                                                                      44:19 yw

                                                                      • shmajent
                                                                        shmajent  4 days back

                                                                        28:54 "That's the number one rule of data journalism. Come in with an agenda, [and] bend the rules however you need to in order to prove your point." - LOL!!

                                                                        • wanderlustwarrior
                                                                          wanderlustwarrior  4 days back

                                                                          The most important figure in punting is Fig. 4.

                                                                          • Pepega
                                                                            Pepega  5 days back

                                                                            This is my 4th time watching this just to satisfy my chart party craving

                                                                            • pokepress
                                                                              pokepress  5 days back

                                                                              You mentioned in the number 1 scenario that the game was played in a domed stadium. Did you ever compare stats between open-air and enclosed venues?

                                                                              • Sisyphus40
                                                                                Sisyphus40  5 days back

                                                                                One of the superior rule differences between the CFL and the NFL is the on side punt. Anyone who lines up behind the punter can recover the ball.

                                                                                • John Juanda
                                                                                  John Juanda  5 days back

                                                                                  punting is not quitting. you can score on defense.

                                                                                  • Jackson Gilbert
                                                                                    Jackson Gilbert  2 days back

                                                                                    John Juanda well that’s like one in a thousand since the other team will probably only run the ball

                                                                                • John Juanda
                                                                                  John Juanda  5 days back

                                                                                  what software did you use to create this?

                                                                                  • Cesare Smetters
                                                                                    Cesare Smetters  6 days back

                                                                                    So i think 1 thing you missed in your index is the ability of the defense. If you have a very good defense i dont think it is as much of a sin. Especially if it is like the 2006 bears where the defense is great and you have hester returning kicks. Hell i almost think the 2006 bears would have been more successful to punt the ball every time they hae it on offense

                                                                                    • Gerard Vinet
                                                                                      Gerard Vinet  6 days back

                                                                                      There's no karma!!!!!!

                                                                                      • Aphex28
                                                                                        Aphex28  6 days back

                                                                                        Going to have to take issue with something.  You have to factor in time of year and stadium (and maybe even weather) into your equation.  For example, Heinz field is notoriously difficult to hit long field goals, especially late in the season.  With respect to the game @35:00; attempting a field goal  of that length, in that stadium is the same as handing the ball to the other team, ESPECIALLY that time of year.  No way the 51 yarder would have been made.

                                                                                        • hi i'm emily
                                                                                          hi i'm emily  6 days back

                                                                                          One amendment I would make to the index: If a team is only down by 1-3 points, the multiplier should be x5 or even x6. Just try to get into field goal range!

                                                                                          • Charlie's PlayStation
                                                                                            Charlie's PlayStation  6 days back

                                                                                            So it IS football!

                                                                                            • Chigozie Ilozue
                                                                                              Chigozie Ilozue  7 days back

                                                                                              buffalo sabres will remember that

                                                                                              • George Belevetz
                                                                                                George Belevetz  7 days back