NFC West: Wade Richey
Not just any sports conference. It's the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, where a placard to my immediate left carries a headline reading, "Going for three: Predicting the likelihood of field goal success with logistic regression."
The placard summarizes findings from MIT's Torin Clark, Aaron Johnson and Alexander Stimpson regarding how certain field goal kickers performed from 2000 through 2011 in relation to expectations, and to what degree certain stadiums were more likely to facilitate successful tries.
Rob Bironas, Robbie Gould, Connor Barth, John Kasay and Dan Carpenter topped the list for added points per attempt. Wade Richey, Jose Cortez, Tim Seder, Nick Novak and Steve Christie were at the bottom.
Anyway, the point isn't to go on forever about field goal regressions, but rather to provide a glimpse into the sort of work that's on display here. I'll be attending presentations throughout Friday and Saturday.
In the meantime, we've got another item scheduled to appear at noon ET. That one touches on every team in the NFC West.
But if you're really interested in that kicker information, here you go.
Sebastian Janikowski, Carpenter, Ryan Succop, Josh Scobee and Mason Crosby were considered most underrated by raw field goal percentage. That means they attempted longer field goal tries on average, affecting their percentages. Stephen Gostkowski, Mike Vanderjagt, Gary Anderson, Shayne Graham and Lawrence Tynes were considered most overrated by raw percentage. They benefited from shorter tries.
Former Arizona Cardinals kicker Neil Rackers owned the second-best single season during the period in question. That was in 2005, when he added 18.7 expected points. Only Janikowski's 2009 season (plus-19.4) was better.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Neil Rackers' sensational 2005 season as the Cardinals' kicker ranked among the three best kicking performances from 1960 through the 2007 season.
That's the verdict from Chase Stuart's exhaustive analysis for Pro-Football-Reference.com. The analysis adjusted for eras by comparing kicking performances against other performances from the same seasons.
Players associated with current NFC West franchises posted some of the best -- and worst -- performances during the seasons in question (1960 through 2007).
Among the best
3rd: Rackers (2005). Made 40 of 42 overall attempts, including 13 of 14 from 40 to 49 yards and 6 of 7 from 50-plus yards.
30th: Bruce Gossett, 49ers (1973). Made all five attempts during 36-34 victory at Denver.
31st: Jim Bakken, Cardinals (1967). Led NFL in field-goal percentage.
32nd: Jeff Wilkins, Rams (2003). Made 39 of 42 attempts overall. Hit 14 of 15 tries in five victories decided by a total of 19 points.
44th: Gossett, Rams (1964). Led NFL in field-goal percentage (75 percent).
Among the worst
12th: Greg Davis, Cardinals (1992). Missed four times from 20 to 29 yards.
22nd: Mike Cofer, 49ers (1991). Missed all four attempts during 17-14 defeat to the Falcons. Overall, hit only 3 of 10 from 30 to 39 yards.
40th: Steve McLaughlin, Rams (1995). Missed 8 of 16 tries overall, but none was particularly consequential.
44th: Wade Richey, 49ers (1998). Missed a third of his attempts, including his ony try during a 24-21 defeat to the Patriots.
Apologies in advance if any of these references stir traumatic memories.