There's been a lot of discussion recently about the game becoming too fast, and cheap possessions inflating stats. So I thought it might be interesting to have a look at just how much quicker the game is getting. Looking at the last 20 years (1990-2008) we get the following graphic: (League Pace on the Y-axis, Year on the X-axis) Likewise, we can have a look at Team Pace: The average number of possession in a game featuring Team X. Or in terms of an eqn; For example, for 2008 it looked like this: With adjusted pace, we're comparing Team Pace to League Pace. So basically, Geelong games were 7% faster than the League Pace, Sydney games were 10% slower, and everyone else is within 4% of the league average. Now that we have Team Pace, we can also look at Possession Rate: The frequency with which a particular player finds the ball. (note: we multiply by 1000 simply to make the figures a bit neater - this changes nothing). For example: Joel Corey led the league last year with 29.2 possessions per game. In 2002, Scott West led the league with 26.2 possession per game. But who had the higher Possession Rate? Corey's PR = 29.2/762.7 x 1000 = 38.3 West's PR = 26.2/605.5 x 1000 = 43.3 So despite averaging 3 fewer possessions, West's Possession Rate is actually higher by 5, which is a pretty significant difference. This is because the Dogs circa 2002 played a lot slower than Geelong circa 2008. Below is a table of the highest Possession Rates of the last 20 years: So what can we glean from this? Well, Robert Harvey was a freak. We can also see that it's very hard to register a high Possession Rate in a team that plays quickly - this is logical, as it's a lot easier for a mid to get to most contests if his team is playing slower. In fact, the only two players on that list who played for teams that could be considered as fast-paced teams are Greg Williams in 1990 (although that was in just 11 games so could probably be ignored) and McDermott in 1992. As a final thought - where would Ablett's 38/game appear on that table if the season finished today? Well, he'd come in with a PR of just under 50, which would be good for third behind Harvey's 2 Brownlow seasons. Considering he's doing it in a team that plays much, much faster than the late-90's Saints makes it all that much more impressive.