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Checking Meyer's Number

October 30th, 2008

In the Kentucky-Florida game last Saturday, Florida blocked two punts and a field goal. After the first blocked punt was converted into a touchdown by Florida, Raycom play-by-play announcer Dave Neal said “Urban Meyer has said a team that blocks a kick during a game wins ninety-percent of the time.” An article this week by David Jones in the Fort Myers News-Press attributed the same claim to Meyer.

I decided to check the data to see if it supports Meyer’s claim. It’s not necessarily that I didn’t believe him; I really had no pre-conceived idea of what the percentage might be. Besides, Meyer and his staff have been pretty accurate in the past when they have given the results of their research to the media.

For this purpose, I’m going look at all games involving FBS teams from the 2005 season through the current season. Since the term “kick” is fairly vague and could include punts, field goals, PAT kicks, or any combination of the three, I’m going to break it down by each blocked kick type.

Here are the win/loss numbers for the team that blocks a kick during a game:

Team That Blocks... G Wins Losses Win %
A Punt 449 295 154 65.70%
A Field Goal 350 199 151 56.86%
A PAT Kick 228 91 137 39.91%
Any Type of Kick 971 556 415 57.26%

No matter which way a “kick” is defined, these win percentages are nowhere close to 90%. I was really surprised by the low win percentage in games that a team blocks a PAT kick — not sure of the reason for that.

It’s unknown what set of games that Meyer used to come up with his 90% number. It’s possible that he may have only been looking at games involving teams he coached during his career. Under Meyer, Florida is 15-1 (93.75%) in games that they’ve blocked a punt, field goal or PAT kick.

UPDATE: Readers Galen and Ryan pointed out that the likely reason that teams have a losing record in games that they blocked a PAT kick is because teams that lose games generally give up more touchdowns, and therefore have more opportunities to block PAT kicks.