Only our YPA is correct
Most every team yards per attempt figure you see out there is wrong! Or, at the very least, it's not calculated properly. Go to ESPN.com, Yahoo Sports, wherever. Basically, a lot of places like that will publish a net yards figure and then, in the next column, the yards per attempt figure will be based upon gross passing yards. The math just doesn't add up, at least not when you use the published figures.
So here's what you'll find from the Cold, Hard Football Facts. We use only NET passing figures to determine yards per attempt. This is gross passing yards, minus yards lost via sacks, divided by passsing attempts. If we were merely looking at individual quarterbacks and their yards per attempt, we might (might!) be inclined to use gross passing yards, so as not to penalize the quarterback if he has a sieve of an offensive line.
Sacks count as pass attempts
Our yards per pass attempt is a "Quality Stat
" – a stat that has a direct correlation to victory. So we're looking at team data. After all, it's teams that win and lose football games.
There's more to our calculations, though. Instead of just dividing the net passing yardage by pass attempts, we add in the number of sacks to the attempts column. We believe this gives a far more accurate gauge of a team's ability to pass the ball. After all, when a QB is sacked, it's because he was attempting to pass. Why shouldn't this attempt to pass count as an attempt?
For example, if a quarterback attempts 10 passes for 100 yards, his yards per attempt is 10.0 YPA. Easy enough, right? But what if that QB was sacked three times and lost 22 yards? Suddenly, the team's passing YPA is a mere 6.0 (78/13).
Hey, the team only gained 78 net yards when attempting to pass. And those 3 sacks came on attempts to pass. So, to accurately measure a team's ability to pass, that's our formula:
Net passing yards/(pass attempts + sacks allowed)