Not Sure Who to Cheer for During Super Bowl LVI? These Next Gen Stats May Help with Your Decision.

We’ve got your breakdown of exclusive team and player performance metrics from the 2021-22 season and a preview of Sunday’s matchup.

Zebra`s 2022 NFL Super Bowl Press Conference
by Bill Burns
February 11, 2022

Surprised that the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams made it to Super Bowl LVI? If you were watching what I was watching all season, probably not. I was watching the NFL’s Next Gen Stats feed. As the Official On-Field Player Tracking Provider for the NFL, Zebra generates the data that fuels Next Gen Stats. You may see this data appear during games in the stadium and on TV. 

What does it say? 

Here are some examples:

  • Offense: LA Rams Quarterback Matthew Stafford finished the year with +89.1 pass Expected Points Added (EPA) against the blitz, the highest ever in the Next Gen Stats era! And Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Joe Burrows had a positive Completion Percentage Over Expected (CPOE) in 18 games this season, the most in the NFL! In other words, they are both impact players who deliver results. But the Rams will be coming after “Joe Cool,” who was sacked the most times during the regular season.

  • Defense: The Bengals’ Jessie Bates leads the NFL in Ball Hawk Rate among defenders with 80+ targets in coverage at 25.3%. (Ball Hawk Rate is the percentage of targets in which the nearest defender made a play on the football, such as an interception or defended pass.) His teammate, Trey Hendrickson leads the NFL in career pressure rate on 3rd down at 22.7%.

  • Special Teams: The Rams’ Mat Gay has the second-best field goal percentage at 94.1%.

Of course, these season stats don’t even begin to sum up what we witnessed these two teams accomplish during the NFL playoffs. But I suspect Sunday’s Super Bowl game is going to be just as exciting and memorable. These two teams are sure to leave it all on the field! 

My colleagues Adam Petrus and Hale Hentges agreed during their Chalk Talk session yesterday:

On Sunday, I encourage you to pay close attention to the Next Gen Stats. We will be collecting performance data using RFID tags in player’s equipment as well as the football itself. And the NFL will share highlights throughout the game. 

Want to learn more about how Next Gen Stats are collected? Watch this video, which also includes a replay of my Super Bowl press conference discussion yesterday with the NFL’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Troy Vincent:

Bill Burns
Bill Burns has been named Chief Executive Officer, Zebra Technologies, effective March 1, 2023. Bill has more than 30 years of experience in the technology sector and joined Zebra Technologies in 2015. In his prior role as Chief Product & Solutions Officer, he oversaw the strategy, investments, and development of Zebra’s expansive portfolio of products and solutions. During this time, Bill extended Zebra’s market share leadership across its core businesses while entering adjacent and expansion markets, delivered on the company’s Enterprise Asset Intelligence vision, and strengthened Zebra’s strategic relationships with its customers and partners.
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