Last night the United States enjoyed a little (American, not rest-of-the-world) football match wherein two squadrons competed upon the pitch for the glory of their squadron colours. Thankfully for those of us who wanted a preview of the match on data’s terms, well, the Guardian put together a fantastic piece breaking down some of the numbers.
The data is not terribly complicated—I still think baseball makes the most use of advanced metrics, though it helps they play more than 10 times as many games per season. The Guardian looked at yards gained or lost per play by the offence or defence, respectively. Click through the link to explore the other charting forms used, in particular the four quadrant scatter plot and the small multiples that follow. Also, a sophisticated and restrained colour palette allows the user to clearly understand when he or she is viewing the Denver–Seattle matchup or the historic match-ups of the NFL.
Regardless of the quality of the presentation, we shall see Monday morning—I am writing this Sunday afternoon—whether this piece will still hold with its talk of the best match-up ever.
And hey, for all this talk about the best offence, look at which squadron is ranked second. Fly, Eagles, fly.
Credit for the piece goes to the Guardian’s US Interactive Team.