Alright NFL fans…I have some trivia for you.
- Who is the fastest player in the league this season?
- Who is the fastest player…without the ball?
- Which teams rank 1st and 2nd in average top speed by offensive ball carriers this season? And what were their speeds?
- The San Francisco 49ers generate pressure on 34 percent of pass plays with Dee Ford on the field (which would rank them 1st in NFL if someone was keeping tabs). But, do you know how much that percentage drops when Ford is not on the field?
- Patrick Mahomes ranks in the top 5 among quarterbacks in three categories. What are they?
These are just a few of the questions that were answered earlier this week at a press conference I had the privilege of hosting in Miami ahead of Super Bowl 54.
Matt Swensson, Vice President of Emerging Products and Technology for the NFL, as well as Zebra’s very own John Pollard (who you heard from a couple days ago here on Your Edge) sat down with a room full of reporters to share some enlightening and previously unknown stats about the two teams competing in this Sunday’s game: the Kansas City Chiefs and the 49ers.
First off, did you know that these are two of the league’s fastest teams? Or that statistical analysis of the player-tracking and ball-tracking technology used during regular season play revealed that the 49ers’ running attack, if executed well, could help give them an advantage against the Chiefs?
If you didn’t before, you do now, and it’s all thanks to the data that’s captured by Zebra for the NFL using RFID tags in player equipment and the football itself. (Zebra has been the Official On-Field Player Tracking Provider of the NFL for the past six seasons.)
As Matt and John shared with reporters, Zebra and the NFL have been collecting massive amounts of information on players all season long, including location, speed, distance traveled, accelerations and decelerations. We’ve also been tracking ball velocity and rotations as well as height information for all passes, punts, and kicks.
So, if you’ve been tuned into the Next Gen Stats shared by the NFL and broadcasters, you may have been able to use these learnings to your advantage in your fantasy leagues or just friendly debate with friends, family and co-workers about which team or player is best and why.
In fact, if you want to impress people at your Super Bowl watch party, I highly recommend you check out the full replay of the press conference now. It was chockful of fun facts that even the biggest NFL superfan may not have known until today. For example, we shared a ton of fascinating stats about superstar tight ends Kelce and Kittle and did a deep dive on “The Mahomes Factor.”
Then tune in on Sunday during the Super Bowl for more Next Gen Stats that we’ll be working with the NFL to share live online and via broadcast commentators. We want to help you see everything that’s happening on the field (especially those things you wouldn’t be able to easily see without the insights generated by this on-field RFID tracking systems).