Quarterback Pocket Pressure

In a recent article leading up to the Super Bowl, the New York Times used visuals from Second Spectrum analytics to highlight the impact of quarterback pressure on performance. The first visual highlights the disparity between completion percentage for quarterbacks when under pressure versus with a clean pocket to throw from. The visual compares this disparity for all thirty two NFL quarterbacks benchmarked against the league average and particularly highlights the Patriots and the Falcons. The Patriots fall from the fourth ranked to the sixteenth ranked team under pressure while the Falcons only drop from second to fourth.

This comparison leads into the next visual which uses new data released by the NFL to create a heat map showing defender traffic around the pocket in games Brady and Ryan both lost. The graphic also shows the average defenders in the pocket per snap benchmarked against the league average and team average. This element of the visual allows readers to better quantify the significance of the heat map.

These visuals aim to show that while pressure significantly effects the performance of all NFL quarterbacks, Tom Brady is particularly susceptible. Thus, a game plan designed to focus on pressuring Brady is the optimal strategy for the Falcons to defeat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. This data presentation was intended for readers who wanted a deeper analysis of the upcoming Super Bowl, and was successful in doing so by using a new data set to draw an intriguing comparison on the games key players.