An experiment: minute-by-minute league table

A few seasons ago I tried to explore how league tables would look if matches finished earlier, and ended up putting together an animated league table which cycled through each scenario from a 1st minute to 90th minute finish. The problem was that having 90 frames of animation made it quite a ponderous experience and there was far too much information on the screen for anyone to read in the few seconds that each frame flashed up.

While tinkering today I’ve come up with an alternative prototype version below (click it to open a larger version in a new tab) which is hopefully an improvement. Rather than cycling through each minute of a match it cycles through each club (a much smaller number) in descending order of current league position. Each club’s line shows what its league position would be if every match this season had finished at a different minute, with time increasing from left to right (chopped into 5 minute segments). I’ve chosen League 2 as a guinea pig:

MBM L2 2015-01-25

The point of doing this in the first place is to identify teams who perform particularly well or badly at various points during matches. A few observations to give you the idea:

  • Current leaders Wycombe are much more impressive after half time than before it – if only first halves counted then they’d just be scraping into the play-offs.
  • Conversely, Wimbledon have better first halves than anyone – they’d be top of the league rather than mid-table if second halves didn’t exist this season.
  • Bottom side Hartlepool actually start matches reasonably well – if games were only 10 minutes long then they’d be in no danger at all this season.

Before I went and pumped out a whole load of these I thought I’d test the water to see whether they’re a massively over-engineered / esoteric waste of time, so thoughts very much welcomed.