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Sox Appeal
05-26-2010, 10:48 PM
Wellp. Maybe it was tougher and there were harder fouls and less techs/flagrants, etc, called...

But, I've been watching a lot of games from the 80's-90's lately. Talk about a foul-fest. I'm seeing a ridiculous amount of FTs. I was under the assumption that players got fouled all the time, and the refs just made 'em play. Or at least, that's what you would think, by the way people talk about basketball from that era.

So, I decided to do a little research.

I looked at how many fouls a team gets yearly (league average year by year) and averaged that by decade.
2000s (2001-2010) - 21.7 fouls per game
1990s (1990-2000, skipped shortened season) - 22.8fpg
1980s (1980-1989) - 24.9fpg

Granted the pace was a little faster in the 90's, then it is now (101.5 average back in the 80s compared to 91.3 in the 2000s) So I decided to look at it on a per 100 possession basis. My results?

2000s - 23.8
90s - 24.2
80s - 24.6


Can someone explain why? I thought this was an era, where the refs called everything, and players like Wade, LeBron, etc, got every possible call? The refs used to call it a lot closer back in the day, whether fans of that era would like to admit it or not.

NPH
05-26-2010, 11:08 PM
Pshhhooooom!

arkanian215
05-26-2010, 11:12 PM
Wellp. Maybe it was tougher and there were harder fouls and less techs/flagrants, etc, called...

But, I've been watching a lot of games from the 80's-90's lately. Talk about a foul-fest. I'm seeing a ridiculous amount of FTs. I was under the assumption that players got fouled all the time, and the refs just made 'em play. Or at least, that's what you would think, by the way people talk about basketball from that era.

So, I decided to do a little research.

I looked at how many fouls a team gets yearly (league average year by year) and averaged that by decade.
2000s (2001-2010) - 21.7 fouls per game
1990s (1990-2000, skipped shortened season) - 22.8fpg
1980s (1980-1989) - 24.9fpg

Granted the pace was a little faster in the 90's, then it is now (101.5 average back in the 80s compared to 91.3 in the 2000s) So I decided to look at it on a per 100 possession basis. My results?

2000s - 23.8
90s - 24.2
80s - 24.6


Can someone explain why? I thought this was an era, where the refs called everything, and players like Wade, LeBron, etc, got every possible call? The refs used to call it a lot closer back in the day, whether fans of that era would like to admit it or not.
My guess would be what you said earlier. The pace was faster. There must've been about 10 more possessions per game so there should be more fouls per game. Maybe you should look at the fouls per possession if that stat exists. That's just my interpretation of what you just wrote.

Sox Appeal
05-26-2010, 11:18 PM
My guess would be what you said earlier. The pace was faster. There must've been about 10 more possessions per game so there should be more fouls per game. Maybe you should look at the fouls per possession if that stat exists. That's just my interpretation of what you just wrote.

I posted fouls per 100 possessions in the second half of my post. It appears to me, the NBA things calling closer in the 90's = myth.

Bishnoff
05-26-2010, 11:21 PM
My guess would be what you said earlier. The pace was faster. There must've been about 10 more possessions per game so there should be more fouls per game. Maybe you should look at the fouls per possession if that stat exists. That's just my interpretation of what you just wrote.

The OP did in the 2nd half of his post.

Korman12
05-26-2010, 11:22 PM
Damn, excellent research. Can't thank you enough for your take on this. Agree 100% with your stand on the issue.

Bishnoff
05-26-2010, 11:28 PM
I'd say that the game used to be a lot more physical, hence more fouls. Take a look at the Jordan Rules. The Pistons couldn't stop MJ so they bruised him up at every opportunity. The Knicks also used this tactic against the Bulls in one of the early 90s Playoff series.

Going further back, Centres used to deck (clothesline) any guard who tried to drive the lane. Players didnt attempt to dunk the ball out of fear of having their legs taken out from underneath them. If a Centre tried that nowadays hed probably be suspended for quite a few games.

hotpotato1092
05-26-2010, 11:35 PM
Gotta love the dedication you put into this, I really had no idea this was happening. My one guess is that there were simply more stars back then getting calls, now it's really just LeBron, Kobe and Wade, with sometimes Howard. Back then it was Jordan, Clyde, Ewing, Reggie, Stockton, Malone, Barkley, Olajuwon, Payton etc... and if you go back to the 80's it was Bird and Magic. The other way to look at it is that the game was simply more physical back then and thus more fouls were called, but again I was under the impression that star treatment was much bigger nowadays.

SteveNash
05-26-2010, 11:42 PM
Most became fans of the NBA with Magic/Bird/Jordan and want to convince themselves that everything was better in the past because the game today has changed.

gwrighter
05-26-2010, 11:43 PM
Wellp. Maybe it was tougher and there were harder fouls and less techs/flagrants, etc, called...

But, I've been watching a lot of games from the 80's-90's lately. Talk about a foul-fest. I'm seeing a ridiculous amount of FTs. I was under the assumption that players got fouled all the time, and the refs just made 'em play. Or at least, that's what you would think, by the way people talk about basketball from that era.

So, I decided to do a little research.

I looked at how many fouls a team gets yearly (league average year by year) and averaged that by decade.
2000s (2001-2010) - 21.7 fouls per game
1990s (1990-2000, skipped shortened season) - 22.8fpg
1980s (1980-1989) - 24.9fpg

Granted the pace was a little faster in the 90's, then it is now (101.5 average back in the 80s compared to 91.3 in the 2000s) So I decided to look at it on a per 100 possession basis. My results?

2000s - 23.8
90s - 24.2
80s - 24.6


Can someone explain why? I thought this was an era, where the refs called everything, and players like Wade, LeBron, etc, got every possible call? The refs used to call it a lot closer back in the day, whether fans of that era would like to admit it or not.

Making me open up my psych textbooks.

I'm sure there are some confounds to be discovered. People tend to base their judgements about something on 1 tiny thing that they might notice. for example, you see somebody push somebody else and you say "hey that guy is an *******." when really he's a nice guy having a bad day...so possibly when it comes to the geezers remembering the good ol' days they base their judgements off of the most intense games(playoffs). The most intense games happened to be the ones that were the most rough. the most rough happen to be the ones that were the most memorable. So over the years it went from hey remember that one rough game to.. Hey every single game was ROUGH! kinda like playing telephone. but with you mind. (cue x-files theme music)

Korman12
05-26-2010, 11:47 PM
Most became fans of the NBA with Magic/Bird/Jordan and want to convince themselves that everything was better in the past because the game today has changed.

Man, I'm agreeing with everyone today.

arkanian215
05-26-2010, 11:50 PM
I posted fouls per 100 possessions in the second half of my post. It appears to me, the NBA things calling closer in the 90's = myth.

Sorry. I clearly can't read.

Guess #2. The amount of three pointers attempted over the years has increased drastically.

Sample average 3PA per team in the
80's:
409.6086957 387.5217391 273.6086957
90's:
1124.448276 1042.827586 1373.896552 1315.827586 1255.148148 811.3703704 734.2222222 625.8518519 585.6296296
2000's:
1486.1 1484.766667 1389.033333 1310.433333 1291.633333 1223.862069 1203.827586 1209.482759 1124.034483

I think they're all reverse chronological order. Anyway, you can see that the number of 3PA is going up every year. The average 3PA in the 2000's is much higher than that of the 90's (just eyeballing it). That would make you think there's a lot fewer fouls committed since guys are less aggressive going at the rim. There's still guys who run into the 3PT shooter though. I think the change in offensive mentality warrants a drop in fouls per possession and is not necessarily an indicator that refs are calling it more loosely now than they were before.

tredigs
05-26-2010, 11:52 PM
Wellp. Maybe it was tougher and there were harder fouls and less techs/flagrants, etc, called...

But, I've been watching a lot of games from the 80's-90's lately. Talk about a foul-fest. I'm seeing a ridiculous amount of FTs. I was under the assumption that players got fouled all the time, and the refs just made 'em play. Or at least, that's what you would think, by the way people talk about basketball from that era.

So, I decided to do a little research.

I looked at how many fouls a team gets yearly (league average year by year) and averaged that by decade.
2000s (2001-2010) - 21.7 fouls per game
1990s (1990-2000, skipped shortened season) - 22.8fpg
1980s (1980-1989) - 24.9fpg

Granted the pace was a little faster in the 90's, then it is now (101.5 average back in the 80s compared to 91.3 in the 2000s) So I decided to look at it on a per 100 possession basis. My results?

2000s - 23.8
90s - 24.2
80s - 24.6


Can someone explain why? I thought this was an era, where the refs called everything, and players like Wade, LeBron, etc, got every possible call? The refs used to call it a lot closer back in the day, whether fans of that era would like to admit it or not.

Just another example that when you actually put research and thought into the "conspiracies" of the NBA, they lose all their mustard.

Good research.

The reason for having slightly less calls now, which goes along with the poster above me who mentioned the more 3's being taken now, is because there's less of an emphasis on post play. Less true centers = more outside shots = slightly less fouls.

Raph12
05-27-2010, 12:21 AM
Just another example that when you actually put research and thought into the "conspiracies" of the NBA, they lose all their mustard.

Good research.

The reason for having slightly less calls now, which goes along with the poster above me who mentioned the more 3's being taken now, is because there's less of an emphasis on post play. Less true centers = more outside shots = slightly less fouls.

Bang, hit the nail on the head.

The fouls on the perimeter are called much closer, which is why dominant inside presences are often in foul trouble (ie: Dwight, Yao, etc...). The game is called closer now, but since most of the game is dominated by wings, there aren't as many fouls called as there used to be.

Iodine
05-27-2010, 08:25 AM
I love this thread

C_Mund
05-27-2010, 03:36 PM
I'd guess that a lot of it comes from how many fouls were being committed that weren't called.
The early 90's pistons caused the NBA to slow down, but it became more physical. The per-possession averages are what you stated, but I think you had to hit somebody a lot harder to obtain a foul. Now that there's more threes and hand-checking rules in place, people are more shy on defence. It's just less of a contact sport now, so the mentality of stealing/blocking/stopping has become more of a *****-footing affair instead of hitting a guy three times until the ref's seen enough.