The search for the saddest punt in the world | Chart Party

  • Published: 20 February 2019
  • To punt is to give up, and in the 21st century, NFL teams have given up nearly 50,000 times. Most of those punts were reasonable decisions. But a few were so cowardly, and in such defiance of all reason, that they must not be forgotten. In this episode of Chart Party, it’s our mission to find them.


    3:43 - I misread this line. The rule was changed prior to the 2016 season.

    6:08 - Fig. 2 lists 46,290 punts as opposed to the 46,377 punts claimed by the original chart -- a discrepancy of 87. The higher number was found through the Play Index, which is highly accurate but not completely perfect -- for example, it classified a few plays as punts that were actually passes. I manually removed as many as I could find, especially the outliers, but there are still a few hiding in there. The lower number was found by the listed NFL season totals. Since I also found the touchdowns, field goals, et al. in this manner, I decided to leave the punts total intact so as to keep the ratio consistent.

    8:39 - Specifically at the opponent’s 25-yard line, you’ll notice that there’s a significant decline in the green “go for it” total. This data was found through Pro-Football-Reference’s Game Play Finder. Since this tool only returns 500 plays at a time, I had to pull the 46,000-plus punts through a series of smaller searches. This gave me just 39 “go for it”s at the opponent’s 25; however, if I ran the search in a different sequence, it gave me a more expected total of 111. For reasons I can’t explain, this discrepancy only shows up exactly at the opponent’s 25. Rather than patching in this total, I decided to leave the chart as is so as to preserve its consistency, but the actual total is likely closer to 111 than 39. The Game Play Finder is like an F1 car: it’s very powerful, but it has to be handled very carefully.

    9:45 - This was Hekker’s gross punting average. I probably should have used his net punting average instead, which is closer to 40 than 45.8.

    10:50 - A bit of a miscalculation on my part. In the 21st century overtimes have occurred once every 539 games, not once every 483 games.

    12:00 - We believe there’s an error in the play-by-play report. This play likely occurred near the beginning of the fourth quarter, not the end of the third.

    31:01 - The third Dolphins drive is slightly misplaced; it’s a few yards off from where it should be.

    36:07 - These two field goal attempts are shown in the wrong order. The Steelers’ attempt should be on the left side of the screen, and the Falcons’ on the right.

    36:19 - This chart title should read, “with five or fewer seconds left in the half or game.” Plays at the end of the second quarter were included in this sample. Additionally, hail marys as defined here are even more rare than I claimed: four plays found their way into the sample that were actually turnovers that resulted in touchdowns in the other direction. Hail mary touchdowns are actually 12-for-780 in this sample, not 16-for-780.

    39:08 - I misspoke. These two punts came on fourth and 11, not fourth and 13.

    40:31 - I can't believe I did this. The Bills are not Buffalo's only major pro sports team. I forgot about the NHL's own Buffalo Sabres. Sincere apologies.


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Comments • 4 074

  • Craig Hurley
    Craig Hurley  14 hours back

    Amazing, 54 minute punt documentary! Loved it

    • matt corcoran
      matt corcoran  1 days back

      Punting in 4th and 5 in thei. Other teams territory is always a bad decision ask Doug Pederson. He literally will almost always go for itbabd won a superblwl because of it

      • Part-Time PrimeTimer
        Part-Time PrimeTimer  2 days back

        Ok these guys don’t get enough credit for the work they put in. An hour long video and probably a week or more of research and only 20k likes?? I’m proud of you SB Nation tho. Great work

        • Ryan Smith
          Ryan Smith  3 days back

          Buffalo has the Sabres

          • muhammad adam
            muhammad adam  2 days back

            I think he is joking...or maybe you aware that he is joking and simply add the jokes a punt this one

        • James Jackson
          James Jackson  3 days back

          This is amazing.

          • Chaitanya Murali
            Chaitanya Murali  4 days back

            I wonder, how do punts returned for touchdowns figure on this index? Some might have been reasonable punts, but how about things like the Miracle at the New Meadowlands? Game's somehow tied 31-31 with time expiring, after the Giants throw away a fourth quarter 31-10 lead, and now Coughlin sends Matt Dodge out with one instruction - don't kick it to DeSean Jackson. And what does Dodge do? Oh, nothing - other than setting up the best comeback I've ever seen in football (I'm an Eagles fan, so I kinda rate this one over even the Pats-Falcons game, call me biased). I kinda want to see how those kinds of decisions would fare on this index.

            • Mountaineer3615
              Mountaineer3615  6 days back

              The Sabres play in Buffalo 40:34

              • Brandon Wright
                Brandon Wright  6 days back

                Watching this video late at night in my living room was a nightmare. I'd turn it way up to be able to hear your voice, only to blown out, waking up my kids and wife, every time the transitional music would play. Whoever does the sound mixing on your videos... if you could PLEASE try and level these two things out a bit, in the future... I would really appreciate it. :)

                Otherwise, a great video! Love this stuff.

                • JB's Highlights
                  JB's Highlights  6 days back

                  If you are in desperation and you have to punt instead of kick, you should try to drop kick a field goal for the point

                  Doug Flutie would agree

                  • SneakCoot
                    SneakCoot  6 days back

                    Thanks for the Finger Eleven easter egg...also shut up.

                    • EzPzLemnSqueezy
                      EzPzLemnSqueezy  1 weeks back

                      8:05 Fig. 4, I see what you did there 😉

                      • Clayton Hurdle
                        Clayton Hurdle  1 weeks back

                        I just noticed Fing. 11

                        • sayntfuu
                          sayntfuu  1 weeks back

                          I think it means that it ain't over till the fat lady sings.

                          • Joey Thieme
                            Joey Thieme  1 weeks back

                            Of course it’s the Bengals who punted from the 24

                            • Scott Bradley
                              Scott Bradley  1 weeks back

                              "actually a lot of people who watch chart party don't even really follow sports." ...Oh man was I called out.

                              • EtelorveHc49
                                EtelorveHc49  2 weeks back

                                Is this what you do with your time

                                • EebstertheGreat
                                  EebstertheGreat  2 weeks back

                                  I know the idea of the video is the saddest _decisions_ to punt, but in terms of the saddest performance from a punter, Sean Landeta's record shortest NFL punt deserves a mention. The book "Football's Most Wanted" has the following description:

                                  "On January 5, 1986, the New York Giants met the Chicago Bears in a playoff game in Chicago. In the first quarter, the Giants' Sean Landeta punted from his own 12-yard line. The ball squibbed off the side of his foot and was picked up by Chicago's Shaun Gayle, who ran it in for a touchdown. Landeta was credited with a minus-seven-yard punt. The Bears defeated the Giants 21–0."

                                  • David Gallego
                                    David Gallego  2 weeks back

                                    Ain’t no party like a Jon Bois Chart Party because a Jon Bois Chart Party don’t stop

                                    • Tamim Suhail
                                      Tamim Suhail  2 weeks back

                                      What! U punted with only 30 seconds left in the video!

                                      • Henry Wright
                                        Henry Wright  2 weeks back

                                        Buffalo has the Sabres, bills aren’t their only sports team

                                        • Aron Fredriksson
                                          Aron Fredriksson  2 weeks back

                                          Im a punter and this makes me sad

                                          • Fluffshep Network
                                            Fluffshep Network  2 weeks back

                                            That just might have been the greatest cinematic experience I've ever had.

                                            • Fluffshep Network
                                              Fluffshep Network  2 weeks back

                                              Anyone notice this caption at the bottom-left corner of the screen because I kinda' liked it: 27:09.

                                              • Fluffshep Network
                                                Fluffshep Network  2 weeks back

                                                0:08: I know I'm a Pats fan but I don't know about that.

                                                • gooqqwwee
                                                  gooqqwwee  2 weeks back

                                                  Never doubt the lions.

                                                  • J M
                                                    J M  2 weeks back

                                                    I think you're exactly right about ball placement by officials on even, big field markers (35-40-45-50). This is always the idiot point in the idiot broadcasters where they say "It's a game of inches."

                                                    • Dylan McPeake
                                                      Dylan McPeake  3 weeks back

                                                      Why is there a picture of Bret Hart and Ric Flair for?

                                                      • MightyTax
                                                        MightyTax  3 weeks back

                                                        Lol I remember that cowboys game

                                                        • Aaron_G
                                                          Aaron_G  3 weeks back

                                                          As a Bengals fan, this video feels like a personal attack.

                                                          • Colin Hice
                                                            Colin Hice  3 weeks back

                                                            the only football game I watch is the superbowl yet here I am just having finished an hour long video on punting

                                                            • Andrew Hall
                                                              Andrew Hall  3 weeks back

                                                              Definitely don't mention the strangest anamoly of punt statistics. What Philadelphia Eagles player has the longest punt in the franchise history. (Hint, it's a quarterback and not a punter who holds the record)

                                                              • Lonzo Ball MVP 2020
                                                                Lonzo Ball MVP 2020  3 weeks back

                                                                6 minutes in I realized this was an hour long video

                                                                • Zach Hoffa
                                                                  Zach Hoffa  3 weeks back

                                                                  “A tie which happens about 1 in 500 games.”
                                                                  2018 Browns: Hold my beer.

                                                                  • Nottellin yuo
                                                                    Nottellin yuo  3 weeks back

                                                                    Sorry Dolphins, you won. I know it's not what you wanted. LMAO!!!!

                                                                    • Sloan Kettering
                                                                      Sloan Kettering  3 weeks back

                                                                      24:13 ding ding ding d-ding d-ding ding

                                                                      • Mike Stevens
                                                                        Mike Stevens  3 weeks back

                                                                        That was pretty good , the dogs lips didn't move hardly at all !

                                                                        • SirBop
                                                                          SirBop  3 weeks back

                                                                          27:09 - Should Be 'Their'

                                                                          • Ronald Gorman
                                                                            Ronald Gorman  3 weeks back

                                                                            This needs to become an official STAT in football.

                                                                            • Cody Erdmann
                                                                              Cody Erdmann  3 weeks back

                                                                              Did you say that the Buffalo Bills were the only pro sports team in Buffalo? Because the Sabres would beg to differ, the much more successful pro sports team over the last 20 years

                                                                              • kayboord
                                                                                kayboord  4 weeks back

                                                                                Is this possibly the saddest Chart Party every??? :D

                                                                                • Curt
                                                                                  Curt  4 weeks back

                                                                                  I clicked on this video with the intention of forwarding it to the last 2 minutes to only see the ending. I ended up watching the whole thing. What a surprisingly interesting, informative and entertaining video!!

                                                                                  • Bobby Goetz
                                                                                    Bobby Goetz  4 weeks back

                                                                                    I bet this guy never played a sport in his life

                                                                                    • ztoob8898
                                                                                      ztoob8898  4 weeks back

                                                                                      Production values in this one are amazing. I don't think NFL Films could do better.
                                                                                      But man, seeing that cassette/FM/Shortwave receiver really took me back. I used to sell that kind of stuff. Nostalgically horrifying, is how I'd put it.

                                                                                      • Mr. Long
                                                                                        Mr. Long  4 weeks back

                                                                                        Wow. This video is so well made it actually brought tears to my eyes when it ended (out happiness and utter satisfaction of course). I clicked on the video so that I could scroll to the comment section and find someone who listed the exact time that the saddest punt was announced. When I got to the comment section, however, I was surprised to find that everyone was excited about this video. "Why would somebody waste fifty four minutes looking at charts? How could that be fun?" These thoughts immediately popped into my head. I figured I might as well watch the first ten minutes or so and then skip to the end to see the saddest punt before I go watch something else. Maybe some Ravens highlights. I didn't. I watched fifty four minutes and twenty three seconds of the most well made and captivating YouTube video I have ever seen. I am subscribed now. This was beautiful.

                                                                                        • 4077Disc
                                                                                          4077Disc  4 weeks back

                                                                                          40:31 Saber’s fan gather their pitchforks and torches...

                                                                                          • redrounin
                                                                                            redrounin  4 weeks back

                                                                                            I read somewhere that officials do like to place the ball on the five yard markers. Apparently it makes it easier to officiate the more important cases of whether or not a first down has been reached. No one really cares that much about the exact inch distance of a four or five yard rush on second and ten, but when it's fourth and one and those inches make the difference between a first down or a turnover, having the bold white line there comes in really handy. So yes, it is about neatness, but pragmatic also.

                                                                                            Edit: To be precise, what the article said was that on a kick or punt return if the returner gets pushed out somewhere around, say, the 29 yard line, it makes for more accurate officiating down the road to just place the ball on the 30. Even though you could place it on the 29, or even 29.5 yard line for accuracy's sake, down the road you're going to have to struggle to call conversions if you're trying to determine if the ball crossed the unmarked space between the 39 and 40 yard markers. Better to just start 30 and try to get a look at the 40.

                                                                                            • K2 Mally
                                                                                              K2 Mally  4 weeks back

                                                                                              38:17 SB Nation: what if we did a show like that? Like what? A team collapsing.

                                                                                              • Jack Kahler
                                                                                                Jack Kahler  4 weeks back

                                                                                                At 27:09 he uses the wrong form of "their" in the lower lefthand corner of the screen. This video is unwatchable