Today we are joined by Bob Dunkel, of DunkelIndex.com, to talk about how the world of sports numbers & analytics has changed over the years.

Ryan Knuppel

Hey, what’s going on everybody? Welcome to the Knup Sports Show, episode 156, so glad you’re here with us today. It’s a Thursday here in Orlando, Florida. We’re enjoying weather here. Hopefully, the rest of you across the United States are not getting stuck in this snowstorm. I hear that it’s snowing everywhere. But hey, we’re here. I’m in sunny, Florida, doing well. If you have any questions for today’s guest, if you have any comments, please feel free to leave them in whatever channel you’re watching, we always encourage that. We’ll address those however we can and go from there. But, without further ado, I have another special guest here for you today. I have the one, the only Bob Dunkel of Dunkel Index with me here today. Bob, how are you doing my friend?

Bob Dunkel

Hey Ryan, I wish I was in Florida with you. I’m up on the Northeast Coast, in the Washington, D.C area. No snow today, but a lot of rain. So, the storm that’s hitting our area though, is the new name, The Commanders. What do you think of it?

Ryan Knuppel

The Commanders? What a big announcement for them? I mean, I like it. Sometimes, I don’t like the names these teams come up with, or these franchises come up with, but for some reason, I was like, “Ah, I like that. That makes sense. That fits.” So, I don’t know. What did you think? Did you like it?

Bob Dunkel

It’s tough to replace a traditional name. I mean, they-

Ryan Knuppel

Yes.

Bob Dunkel

Never quite resonate like the old name, but Washington had, I think, the example of probably, one of the worst name changes, with the Bullets going to the Wizards years ago. So, by comparison, I think Commanders, it may not excite, but I don’t think it’s got that many detractors either. So, probably all in all, a job well done by Washington. Now, the harder job is to get a football team that can win on the playing field.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah, get the actual product on the field, right? That is always the harder part in that situation. Well, cool. Well, Bob-

Bob Dunkel

Yeah.

Ryan Knuppel

Let’s jump right in. I want to make sure we have time to really cover you and what’s going on with Dunkel Index and everything of that nature. But, first of all, give us some background about yourself. Just a little background that led you up to where you are to today, and what you’re doing today.

Bob Dunkel

Yeah, much appreciated Ryan. So, the Dunkel Index, for those who don’t know, is the oldest rating service, still in existence. My grandfather, Dick Dunkel Snr. started it back in 1929. And of course, that was the Leatherhead era of college football. And the big debates were over who would win on the East Coast, say, playing a Tennessee, or a Penn State. And who would win on the West Coast, a USC and a UCLA, and you didn’t have the travel that you have today. So, those debates were pretty hot and pretty heavy. And so, my grandfather who had a background in the advertising business and learned about metrics and waiting markets in the advertising world, applied those to college football and started the Dunkel Index in 1929. I know, you mentioned you’re 156th episode, you’re slightly older than us.

Bob Dunkel

We’re 92 this year. And I’m the third generation Dunkel, to be running the Dunkel Index. But, my grandfather did a phenomenal job. He constructed some algorithms that are still the standard for what we do today. We of course, have tweaked them to more reflect the modern game and have added sports along the way. And a couple of the other things like props, that we’re now covering to, I think, give our visitors a better and broader perspective on sports. But, he did a phenomenal job of getting it up and running. It was sold to news papers. He syndicated it, sold it to newspapers. At the height of the Dunkel Index in the ’40s and ’50s and ’60s, the index was being run in two to 300 newspapers nationwide.

Ryan Knuppel

Wow.

Bob Dunkel

I still run into a lot of older generation folks who remember every Saturday getting their scoreboard page and looking and seeing the Dunkel Index. And what my grandfather was able to do was, do the traditional rankings, but then also based on his metrics, he was able to provide a point spread.

Now, he was adamant about not using it as a gambling tool. And of course, if you remember back into the 1950s, I mean, we did have some point shaving scandals. And so, at one point he lost a lot of coverage in the newspapers, because of the closeness between the Dunkel Index and gaming. But, fast forward to today and obviously, the world is changing around gaming. More and more states getting in every day. And so, it’s provided an opportunity for the Dunkel Index to get back into that world. We’ve done a new website. I think those who visited dunkelindex.com will really enjoy the experience. And we’re doing the traditional things that my grandfather, and then my father, when he took it over in the 1970s, have done. So, we’re very excited about the future here at the Dunkel Index, 92 years old, but still going strong.

Ryan Knuppel

Man, Bob, every time I think about your story, it just blows my mind, honestly, because nothing stays around for 90 years these days, right? And I’m really heavily immersed in this industry now. And I have been for 20 years and I feel like that’s forever. But, 90 years, that is crazy to me. And just thinking about all the products and services and people that are giving attention to sports data now, and what you’ve been doing since 1929, now all of a sudden is common for people to be launching different pick services and different indexes and different numbers. And just to think of that experience that you guys have, it’s quite remarkable what you guys have done. And I just think back to in the ’40s and ’50s, obviously wasn’t here, but seeing this stuff in newspapers back then was probably, just different, right? It was just a different mindset than it is now, where it’s just flooded all over the place. So-

Bob Dunkel

Oh.

Ryan Knuppel

Really props to you and your family, for just being around that long. That’s such a cool story.

Bob Dunkel

I appreciate that, Ryan. Yeah. You know what? You’re not the going to find too many companies that were around in the 1920s. I mean, I can think of Coca-Cola and Ford and Western Union, but it has been a challenge to keep it going. And as I said, traditionally, the revenue stream for the Dunkel Index came through the newspaper industry.

Ryan Knuppel

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bob Dunkel

And I think anybody who’s looked at newspapers lately, knows that that industry has been in decline for some time now. And so, newspapers carrying syndicated items like the Dunkel Index went away a long time ago. So, it really was up to us to evolve and-

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah.

Bob Dunkel

Move into the internet age. And as you said, Ryan, I mean, there are a lot of competitors out there, doing similar things to the Dunkel Index. I like to think, just about every MIT engineer out there, comes up with an algorithm and can start an index.

So, I think what Dunkel has, is a history, a tradition.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah.

Bob Dunkel

I think people who have used Dunkel over the years, appreciate the transparency of Dunkel. We don’t fudge the numbers at all. We don’t change the numbers, to meet certain needs. We stick with what we’ve got, win, or lose. And then, I think we are constantly fine tuning as well. I mean, just because you’ve got a good mouse trap, doesn’t mean you can’t make it better and you don’t try to make it better. And so, we are constantly looking at the data and the algorithms, trying to find ways, that make the index more accurate and a better tool for visitors. And I feel really good about where we’re going. As I said, we’ve added of sports, what is it?

Necessity, is the mother of invention. During those dark days, early days of COVID where we had no sports, remember that everybody? I mean, we had-

Ryan Knuppel

Yup.

Bob Dunkel

Three, or four weeks, where we were wondering if we were going to be playing team sports again in a long, long time. And so, it led me to start looking at more of the individual sports. So, we started our golf index. We started NASCAR, very happy with how those numbers have been. Of course, we have NASCAR starting this weekend, out in the Coliseum in LA, we’re back into the PGA Tour with Pebble Beach today.

Ryan Knuppel

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bob Dunkel

So, feel good about all the sports that we’re adding and looking to do more down the road.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah, it’s amazing. I want to touch on a few things that you said there. One, I totally am in agreement with you that you have to have evolve, right? You have to continue growing and not get comfortable in what you’re doing, especially in this day and age, when just things keep evolving as the industry, as a whole, involving the product, involving what you guys are doing. But, one thing that really comes to mind in this space, especially is just, you can have the best product in the world, right? The best service, the best index, but getting that attention, it’s so hard to get that attention these days, because the attention is… There’s just, I don’t know what it is, right? There’s so many people that have low attention spans, and then there’s so many products.

Ryan Knuppel

And so, people bouncing off different indexes and different things. But, what I want them to think about on the Dunkel Index is, that tradition and that time has been put into this index, making it just above and beyond a lot of these new ones that are just popping up and coming in, you guys have tried and tested what you’ve done for 100 years, 100 years. And that just, again, blows my mind. So, getting that attention, I’m sure it’s been a challenge for you guys, right? As you guys have developed and come to the 2020s, I’m sure it’s been a challenge to keep that attention on what you’re doing.

Bob Dunkel

Oh, without a doubt. We probably don’t hype the system maybe, as much as we should. Certainly, not as much as others do. It hasn’t been Dunkel’s way-

Ryan Knuppel

Becomes a market game-

Bob Dunkel

To do that. And in some ways, I’m glad not to just be out there, shouting from the rooftop about our numbers. I like to think the proof is in our product. I know the people who come visit it religiously, and-

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah.

Bob Dunkel

I’m hit every day by folks reaching out saying, “My gosh, I didn’t realize the index was still around. I remember seeing the index in Cleveland, Ohio in 1965.” So, those are great stories, but no doubt, I think we’ve got to keep our voice out there. We can’t just leave it to people to try to stumble upon us and appreciate the opportunity to be on your show, Ryan. We’re going to be looking to do more of this. And I encourage anybody to reach out. When you get the Dunkel Index, you truly get a Dunkel. It’s not a team of minions here, crunching numbers. It is Bob Dunkel, doing it almost 24/ 7. So, feel free to reach out anytime, happy to talk about our numbers, talk about sports, whatever. I think you get personal treatment from the Dunkel Index, as well as quality picks.

Ryan Knuppel

That’s what relates to me so much as well, obviously with my name on my show and things of that nature. But, tell us a little bit about what it’s been like working with family all these years, right? Because, I know your son’s been involved and you’ve been involved and your whole family’s been involved. So, I have a soft spot in my heart for that. Because, I’m obviously working with my brother and my son’s now helping with my business, and it’s just been a traditional thing through our company as well. So, tell me a little bit about how that experience has been for you with Dunkel Index.

Bob Dunkel

Well, it’s been great, as you said Ryan, starting off. I mean, this is the third generation now, working on this and you don’t get the opportunity to have a link to your grandfather who passed away in 1975. And my father who passed away in 2002, to continue to… I feel their energy every day when I sit down and I crunch the numbers for our day’s picks. And that’s really nice to be able carry that on. And then, as you said, with my son, who’s still out in Portland, Oregon and getting his other career going-

Ryan Knuppel

Yup.

Bob Dunkel

But, he still has a very much a hand and an interest in the Dunkel Index. And I think when I’m probably about ready to hang it up, I have no doubt that he’ll want to step in and take it over. So, it is the thing that I’m most proudest of, is to be able to work on something that a family started, to keep that legacy going. Hasn’t always been easy, certainly taken a lot of time.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah.

Bob Dunkel

But, it’s been well worth it from that aspect.

Ryan Knuppel

Good, good. Well, before I let you off here, I would be kicking myself if I didn’t ask, who you got in the Super Bowl coming up here in a couple weeks? Who you got? Who we putting our money on? Who’s the Dunkel Index love for the Super Bowl?

Bob Dunkel

It’s really funny. One thought that comes to mind is, for all those SEC haters out there, we did have an all SEC College Football Championship. And now, we’ve got two SEC quarterbacks playing in the Super Bowl. So, I know there are those who think the SEC is overrated. I think, this year more than ever, maybe-

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah.

Bob Dunkel

It’s about right. That conference, it just keeps on keeping on- [crosstalk 00:14:15].

Ryan Knuppel

Machining away, exactly.

Bob Dunkel

And also, after going 54 Super Bowls without having a home team win it, we of course, broke that trend last year with Tampa.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah.

Bob Dunkel

And now, we’ve got the Rams in LA. I’m going to go with the Rams at SoFi. The Bengals, no doubt, as we said, have been probably the best story of the post season. I think we’ve going to see a lot more from Joe Burrow, down the road. I mean, he’s just incredible, but I think this Rams team and Stafford, boy, doesn’t it feel good to be out of Detroit? This is what we thought for Matthew Stafford-

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah.

Bob Dunkel

When he came into the league. Never had the pieces around him-

Ryan Knuppel

Yup.

Bob Dunkel

To do it. Certainly, has the pieces now. They were built to win. Now, they made a couple of those deals mid-season, bringing in Vaughn Miller, [crosstalk 00:15:07]. Bringing in OBJ.

Ryan Knuppel

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bob Dunkel

Didn’t look like it worked out at first, but listen, McVay has done a wonderful job, bringing those personalities together. They are built to win now. Dunkel Index is going to go with them. We’ve got the Rams, minus the four right now. Looking for a low scoring game though. I think these defenses both, have been really tough here in the post season. So, looking to play the under as well on this one.

Ryan Knuppel

That’s cool. That’s really awesome. I think I’m in agreement with you, Bob, but you know what? I’ve been going against the Bengals for weeks here and I keep doubting them and they just keep showing up. They just keep showing up. Joe Burrow keeps showing up and doing his thing. And last week I thought for sure, the Chiefs were going to blow them out. I thought that was going to be a no-brainer, blowout situation. And wow, was I wrong? It started to look that way in the beginning. And then, man, the Bengals defense came to play in that second half. And so, who knows? [crosstalk 00:16:05].

Bob Dunkel

Well, let me tell you Ryan, that stop-

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah.

Bob Dunkel

At the goal line, at the end of the first half, looking back on it and Andy Reed kicks the field goal, it could be a different outcome. But, they felt good, pedal to the metal. Don’t know about the outpass of Tyreek Hill. But, that being said, anytime you get the ball in Hill’s hands, good things usually happen. So, hard to knock that. But yes, the Bengals, listen, I go back to the ’80s. I think they’re probably very happy, they’re not playing the 49ers.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah.

Bob Dunkel

Because, they would be having visions of Joe Montana-

Ryan Knuppel

Yup.

Bob Dunkel

Beating them in those two Super Bowls in the ’80s. So, they get the other NFC West team. It will be a game of first, no matter how it turns out. Because, obviously it’ll be the first Bengals Super Bowl Championship.

Ryan Knuppel

Yup.

Bob Dunkel

Also, be the first Rams in LA, right?

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah, yeah.

Bob Dunkel

The only Super Bowl Championship came in that greatest show on turf back in-

Ryan Knuppel

Yup.

Bob Dunkel

’99-

Ryan Knuppel

Yup.

Bob Dunkel

In St. Louis.

Ryan Knuppel

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Bob Dunkel

So, one way or another, somebody’s going to enjoy a first.

Ryan Knuppel

Man, what a good atmosphere that’s going to be, huh? In LA. Oh man, at SoFi Stadium that place is just a monstrous place. We got to go there. Earlier this season, I got to bring my boys there and go to a game and sit in the end zone, watch them play. It was just an amazing monstrosity of a facility. And so, pretty cool place to have a Super Bowl.

Bob Dunkel

Yeah, still haven’t been. Need to get to that, need to get a leak to Allegiant out in Vegas as well. Two state-of-the-art stadiums. I mean, they’re not building them like the old age.

Ryan Knuppel

They’re not building tall.

Bob Dunkel

We lived up in Philly for a while and I have fond memories of Veteran stadium, but the old cookie cutter doesn’t compare-

Ryan Knuppel

No.

Bob Dunkel

With these stadiums of today. So yeah, it’s going to be a great game. Who would’ve thunk, going into the post season, we had Rogers, we had Brady, we had Mahomes. We had the best quarterbacks maybe, in the history of-

Ryan Knuppel

Yup.

Bob Dunkel

The game. And none of them are in this game. It’s Burrow versus Stafford. So, I think that’s refreshing in a way.

Ryan Knuppel

It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be fun. Well, Bob, I’ll let you go here. Hey, if any of the listeners wanted to get a hold of you, wanted to check out Dunkel Index. I know they can go to dunkelindex.com, but is there any direct way to get a hold of you, yourself?

Bob Dunkel

Sure, yeah. Reach out bob@dunkelindex.com and happy to respond to any and all emails. Really appreciate the time Ryan, and appreciate everybody coming to visit the site.

Ryan Knuppel

Yeah, anytime Bob. I mean, I hope to have you back on in another 90 years, well that’s maybe, a little long for all of us. But, in another however many years, I hope our sons are now doing this and still talking Dunkel Index in another however many years. So, really appreciate all you do for the industry, Bob. And I think you’re doing great things. Can’t wait for people listening. I really want to encourage you head out to dunkelindex.com, check out the numbers, check out the picks, check out everything they’re doing. As you can tell from Bob here with me, super great people. And that’s what it’s all about sometimes, is doing things with great people. So, Bob, I appreciate you being here.

Bob Dunkel

Awesome, Ryan. You bet. Appreciate it. And we’ll catch up after the Super Bowl.

Ryan Knuppel

Absolutely. Take care, enjoy the game.

Bob Dunkel

Thank you, bye-bye.

Ryan Knuppel

All right, that was Bob Dunkel of the Dunkel Index, episode 156. Hopefully, you guys enjoyed that. Hopefully, you go out and check out the index and check out what they’re doing over there. Some really cool numbers behind what they’re doing. I’ve been following it for many of the sports. We actually help contribute there and do some things to really help push them and excited to see where that leads for Dunkel Index in the future. All right, thank you so much for tuning in. If you need anything, I’m Ryan Knuppel. Hey, super bowl is coming up. I was leaning Bengals, but now that Bob pretty much told me Dunkel Index is taking the Rams, I think I’m flipping, I’m going Rams in the Super Bowl as well. So, hopefully you enjoy the game, get a hold of me on LinkedIn, email however you want, anytime. Thank you for tuning in. Stay safe, stay warm and we’ll talk to you soon. Bye-bye.

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