All throughout the 2016 season, NFL.com writers were tweeting out statistics about play length, maximum speed, and other numbers that simply weren’t available to the common sports viewer like you or me.
Today, that’s changed.
The NFL’s “next gen stats,” including things like the league’s fastest ball carriers (DeSean Jackson was third in the league at a peak speed of 22.6 MPH, which DEAR GOD), charts that show the trajectory of wide receivers’ routes throughout an entire game, and much more.
If you’re an NBA fan, and you’ve been able to play around with SportVU technology on the NBA site over the past couple years, this is very much akin to that stuff. Some of it is immediately accessible and valuable. Some of it is probably just noise. And some of these stats are probably going to take a little more time to figure out how to properly work into discussions of value and strategy.
But that’s one of the fun parts of the NFL, and sports in general, in 2017: we’re figuring out new ways to consume things, to understand things, and to evaluate things.
So jump in, mess around with those sliders, and look at numbers telling you how fast these athletic freaks are compared to your average human self.
Oh, and don’t forget to look at the air distance and air yards NFL.com has so graciously compiled, because it proves how completely and utterly useless the argument in favor of air yards was by football commentators who will remain nameless.
- Matt Barkley (8.65) averaged more air yards than Russell Wilson (7.68).
- Trevor Siemian (7.41) averaged more air yards than Aaron Rodgers (6.55).
- Jay Cutler (8.47) averaged more air yards than Matt Ryan (7.61).
But, you know, let’s keep telling quarterbacks to just launch the ball down the field with reckless abandon and not consider literally everything else at work in the offense.
Hopefully, with these new, super fancy statistics, we can help people avoid sounding like such dummies in the future.