The start of the 2015 NFL season is only a month away, and, like all football fans, we at STATS can’t wait for the games to begin. Among other things, it gives us an opportunity to showcase the remarkable depth of our company’s NFL data. A big part of our NFL client support package comes from STATS’ proprietary X-Info data—specialty stats such as sacks allowed, yards after contact, burned defenders and numerous other categories that are the product of long hours of videotape analysis by STATS personnel. This in-depth data is used throughout pro football by NFL GMs, scouts and coaches. Just as importantly, X-Info helps us provide compelling and unique content to our broadcast and digital media clients.
As a way of demonstrating how X-Info data is used in action, we thought it would be fun to show you a few statistical nuggets from the 2014 NFL season — all of them culled from the game notes we produce each week for our NFL broadcast clients. We’ll begin with a note highlighting the defensive dominance of the Houston Texans’ J.J. Watt:
J.J. Watt of the Texans ranked in the top two of nearly every major defensive line category in 2014, and in some cases led by quite a distance over the next closest player.
Watt, 2014 – w/NFL Ranks
|Sacks||20.5||2nd||(J. Houston, KC – 22)|
|Knockdowns||60||1st||(next closest: J.Houston, 29.5)|
|Hurries||31.5||1st||(next closest: J.Galette, 28.5)|
|QB Hits||51||1st||(next closest: C.Dunlap, 28)|
|Tackles for Loss||29||1st||(next closest: J.Houston, 23)|
|Batted Passes||10||1st||(next closest: A.Ogletree, 7)|
That looks like a pretty special player, wouldn’t you say? Sticking with defense, here’s a note about another defensive stalwart, Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks:
Over the last 20 seasons, no defender has allowed a lower passer rating when targeted than Richard Sherman of the Seahawks (minimum 300 times targeted).
Lowest Passer Rating Allowed When Targeted Defender – Since 1995 (Reg & Post)
(Minimum 300 Times Targeted)
When a broadcaster can present data that puts a defensive player in the category of NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, that’s pretty compelling stuff.
Shifting over to the offensive side of the ball, X-Info can also help demonstrate why Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch is known as “The Beast”.
No NFL running back averaged more yards per contact last season than the Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch.
Most Yards After Contact per Rush – 2014
(minimum 100 rushes)
|Marshawn Lynch, Sea||2.75||(771/280)|
|Eddie Lacy, GB||2.63||(647/246)|
|Chris Johnson, NYJ||2.53||(392/155)|
|Steven Jackson, ATL||2.46||(468/190)|
|C.J. Anderson, Den||2.43||(435/179)|
X-Info can also show why some statistics can be deceiving — for instance, the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III’s increase in completion percentage last year compared to 2013.
One likely reason for Robert Griffin’s increase in completion percentage last season (from 60.1 in 2013 to 68.7 in 2014) was that he was throwing a lot more short passes. In 2013, just 17.3 percent of Griffin’s passes were thrown at or behind the line of scrimmage. But last season, his percentage of such passes nearly doubled to an NFL-high 30.8 percent.
Highest Pct of Passes Thrown At or Behind the Line of Scrimmage – 2014
(Minimum 150 Attempts)
|Robert Griffin III, Was||30.8||(66/214)|
|Russell Wilson, Sea||30.8||(139/452)|
|Alex Smith, KC||28.7||(133/464)|
|Kyle Orton, Buf||28.0||(125/447)|
|Nick Foles, Phi||27.3||(85/311)|
And X-Info can shed some light on why particular teams struggled on defense in 2014.
No NFL defense missed more tackles last season than the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Most Missed Tackles by Team, 2014
(Plays from Scrimmage Only)
|New Orleans Saints||97|
|St. Louis Rams||97|
That’s just a few examples of STATS X-Info in action, and we’ve really only showed you the tip of the iceberg. There are numerous other areas in which STATS X-Info can provide compelling and illuminating information to NFL teams, broadcasters and fans. X-Info is just one more reason why STATS continues to be the worldwide leader in sports data, technology and information.
By: Don Zminda, STATS Vice President/Director of Research