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.


    Check out our full video catalog:
    Visit our playlists:
    Like SB Nation on Facebook:
    Follow on Twitter:
    Follow on Instagram:
    Listen to our podcasts:
    Explore SB Nation:
  • Sport Sport

Comments • 4 080

  • Philip Hunt-Bull
    Philip Hunt-Bull  13 hours back

    I cant understand any of this.

    • Scott Sullivan
      Scott Sullivan  1 days back

      Anyone watching this video for the second time? It's hypnotizing and fascinating

      • Michael Molash
        Michael Molash  2 days back

        Wow... Just... Wow.... I'm laugh crying at this... Excellent work. One of the best compilations and presentations of data I have ever seen.

        • 0 subs no vids
          0 subs no vids  2 days back

          51:41 Me:Ofcourse these punts ended horribly

          51:56 SB Nation:Oh how the turns have tabled

          • Daniel Wilson
            Daniel Wilson  2 days back

            Love the Fig. 4 with Ric Flair. Woo!

            • Sordas Volantyr
              Sordas Volantyr  3 days back

              25:00 What's the music that was playing here?

              • Craig Hurley
                Craig Hurley  4 days back

                Amazing, 54 minute punt documentary! Loved it

                • matt corcoran
                  matt corcoran  4 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  5 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  6 days back

                      Buffalo has the Sabres

                      • muhammad adam
                        muhammad adam  5 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  6 days back

                      This is amazing.

                      • Chaitanya Murali
                        Chaitanya Murali  7 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  1 weeks back

                          The Sabres play in Buffalo 40:34

                          • Brandon Wright
                            Brandon Wright  1 weeks 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  1 weeks 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  1 weeks 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  2 weeks back

                                    I just noticed Fing. 11

                                    • sayntfuu
                                      sayntfuu  2 weeks back

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

                                      • Joey Thieme
                                        Joey Thieme  2 weeks back

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

                                        • Scott Bradley
                                          Scott Bradley  2 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  3 weeks back

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

                                                    • Aron Fredriksson
                                                      Aron Fredriksson  3 weeks back

                                                      Im a punter and this makes me sad

                                                      • Fluffshep Network
                                                        Fluffshep Network  3 weeks back

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

                                                        • Fluffshep Network
                                                          Fluffshep Network  3 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  3 weeks back

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

                                                            • gooqqwwee
                                                              gooqqwwee  3 weeks back

                                                              Never doubt the lions.

                                                              • J M
                                                                J M  3 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  4 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