Final 2010 Big Play Index

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 03, 2011



The Big Play Index measures how each team performs when it comes time to make those few critical Big Plays that so often prove the difference between victory and defeat in the NFL. The nine "Big Plays" we track are:
  • Fumble recovery
  • Interception
  • Defensive or special teams score (return TD, safety)
  • Pass play of 40 yards or more
  • Run play of 25 yards or more
  • Kick return of 60 yards or more
  • Punt return of 40 yards or more
  • Blocked kick or punt
  • 50-yard+ field goal
2010 Big Play Index Overview
Data is current through the end of the 2010 season. Data provided by Cold, Hard Football Facts contributor Luis DeLoureiro
 
According to the old saying, the beer foam rises to the top ... or something like that. And that pigskin proverb  certainly holds true in pro football.
 
The Patriots and Steelers are the top two teams in the NFL over the past decade, the top two seeds in the AFC playoffs (again) this year, the top teams in the eyes of the wise guys to win the Super Bowl, the top two teams across the board in our year-end Quality Stats (that annual comparison will be out soon) and, lo and behold, the top two teams here at the end of the year in the Big Play Index.
 
Both marquee franchises were adept at producing, and preventing, Big Plays across the board. Both are among the league leaders at producing Big Plays (New England No. 3, Pittsburgh No. 5) and at preventing Big Plays (New England No. 1, Pittsburgh No. 2).
 
The Eagles, meanwhile, tumbled quickly from the lofty nest of Big Play greatness they displayed in their Week 15 win over the Giants. Philadelphia is still among the best in football at producing Big Plays with 68; only the surprising Raiders produced more (69). But Philly, after stumbling across the finish line with two inept losses, stands at No. 5 overall in the indicator at +17, well below the elite Big Play teams of New England and Pittsburgh.
 
Oh, and that explosive Big Play fourth-quarter against the Giants?
 
In retrospect, it was a perfect storm fueled by Philly's incredible ability to produce Big Plays and New York's incredible ability to get burned by them. The Giants end the year easily the worst team in football at preventing Big Plays. They were burned for 71 of them over the course of the year, easily the most in football.
 
The Big Play Index once again proves to have a high correlation to success. New England was the No. 1 team in football during the 2010 regular season, and easily the No. 1 team on the Big Play Index. Nine of 12 playoff teams finished in the top 12 on the indicator.
 
The beauty of the Big Play Index is that it confirms what the eyes tell us: NFL football is a war of attrition between two generally equal teams in which one or two Big Plays each game prove the difference between victory and defeat.
 
Final 2010 Big Play Index
 
Team For Against Difference 
1
New England 64 23 +41
2
Pittsburgh 58 30 +28
3
N.Y. Jets 56 33 +23
4
Oakland 69 48 +21
5
Philadelphia 68 51 +17
6t
Atlanta 51 38 +13
6t
Tampa Bay 56 43 +13
8
Baltimore 45 33 +12
9
Green Bay 53 42 +11
10
Chicago 58 50 +8
11
Tennessee 54 48 +6
12
Kansas City 41 36 +5
13
Detroit 52 49 +3
14
Houston 44 42 +2
15
St. Louis 43 42 +1
16t
Cleveland 46 48 -2
16t
Seattle 55 57 -2
18
Dallas 56 60 -4
19
Washington 55 60 -5
20t
San Diego 51 57 -6
20t
San Francisco 45 51 -6
22t
Arizona 54 64 -10
22t
N.Y. Giants 61 71 -10
24
New Orleans 46 57 -11
25
Buffalo 42 54 -12
26t
Indianapolis 40 53 -13
26t
Carolina 49 62 -13
26t
Minnesota 40 53 -13
29
Cincinnati 43 61 -18
30
Miami 35 54 -19
31
Denver    39 64 -25
32
Jacksonville 36 65 -29

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