Matching to estimate the causal effects of firing an NFL coach
I want to be Mike Lopez when I grow up.
Note: This post is a bit longer than usual. It’s part tutorial and part analysis. Feel free to jump to the conclusions, which are (I think) quite interesting. Additionally, the data and code are posted on Github.
The 2016 NFL regular season has ended, and with it has come the usual coaching carousel in which many franchises have opted to fire their head coach.
As of January 2nd, six of the league’s 32 teams have openings, with five of those coming by way of a fired predecessor (Denver’s retiring Gary Kubiak being the lone exception). But it’s not like 2016 is any type of outlier; roughly 4 coaches per year have been canned since the early 1980’s.
What’s interesting, though, is that despite the frequent, franchise-altering decisions made across the league, it’s mostly unknown whether or not this choice benefits longterm franchise prospects. (Postscript: Today, Brian Burke looks at the…
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